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The Unexpected Shower

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I was so excited about Mr. A fixing my shopping cart that I couldn’t wait to try it out. I grabbed up Katie and off we went. The cart worked wonderfully but as we started back home a loud clap of thunder made me jump and scream.

“A little bit of thunder so you scream? Like a girl? A little ten-year old girl!” Katie teased, quoting Doctor Who.

“It was loud and I didn’t expect it. You know I hate storms!” I huffed.

That was when it dawned on me. We were over a mile from home, it was thundering, and our umbrellas were hanging on our pantry door at home.

I looked up at the angry clouds overhead as the first drops of water fell. “I think we’re gonna get wet,” I announced. “I was so excited about the shopping cart I forgot to check the weather. Sorry!”

Katie grinned. “Oh well, that just means we won’t have to take a bath tonight Mom!”

And then the heavens opened. It didn’t just rain, it came down in buckets, so there we were, pushing our newly repaired shopping cart through the downpour, laughing like idiots.

We got some strange looks as we walked in the rain back home but we didn’t care. Our shopping cart was fixed and life was good. We even got washed in the process!

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Mr. A to the Rescue!

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I showed Mr. A my battered shopping cart and asked him if he could find me some heavy metal clothes hangers so that I could fix it. He examined it for a moment, started to grin, then picked it up and marched it across the street to his house.

I followed behind, puzzled.

He fished through a box, grabbed some tools, and set to work. Two repurposed monkey wrenches later and he had repaired my cart! He had to straighten the pipes holding the front wheels slightly, but that man not only fixed the broken side, he reinforced the other side to match by inserting the wrenches into the pipe and cutting them to fit.

I swear that man is a lifesaver! I squealed and gave him a hug as he grinned in shy embarrassment. “I LOVE you, Mr. A—you are my hero!” I cried.

“Aww, I didn’t do much, Miss Annie. Besides, you take care of me too! I’m just glad I could fix it.”

So now I’m back in business in the shopping cart department. Life is good.

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Death of a Washing Machine

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When it rains, it pours. My beloved Maytag washing machine finally bit the dust just today. I loved that washer. It was wonderful to be able to have clean laundry without having to go to the laundromat. However, the motor is gone and it will be much cheaper to replace it than repair the poor thing.

On the bright side I got two good years of use out of it. I would have spent a bit more than that if I had been going to the laundromat the whole time. I’m trying to catch up to Mr. A so that he can haul it off and make a few bucks for himself by recycling it.

Oh well, now I have a reason to start looking for a replacement. Perhaps I will find something even better, who knows? I am disgusted right now but I know that something better will come along. I can just ride the bus to the laundromat in the meantime.

On the bright side, by going to the laundromat I will have access to dryers. This will mean that we will have softer towels and less pet hair on our clothes. We won’t spend as much time as we do now removing said pet hair (and lint) from our clothes. Win!

Okay, I confess. I’m really bummed and I suck at hiding it.

Shopping Cart Update

I’ve gotten an idea about repairing the shopping cart. I believe that I can cut up some heavy metal clothes hangers and stick the pieces into the piping to repair and reinforce the weak spot. Some duct tape on the outside of the piping will help to prevent it from breaking entirely.

When I catch up to Mr. A I’m going to see if he has any of those heavy metal clothes hangers. I believe that the wire on the cheap ones will be too weak to do the deed. Wish me luck!

So how are things going in your neck of the woods? Tell me something awesome – I could really use the lift!

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Death of a Shopping Cart

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I killed my shopping cart the other day. I had walked to WalMart to buy pet food and groceries and on the way home the front wheel hit a pebble of all things! It bent the pipe holding the wheel in place :(.

broken wheel

It was actually bent double before I tried bending it back :(

I tried to straighten it out when I got back home but the metal had weakened to the point where I’m afraid I will break it the rest of the way so now I’m brainstorming ways to repair it. If I can get a piece of pipe bent at the proper angle perhaps I can attach it over the weak place.

There’s a metal fabrication shop in the area so I may give them a call to see if they can do something to repair it. They are located a few miles out of town but I can get a friend to drive me there if they believe that they can help.

Until I can repair it I’m using my messenger bag to haul milk and stuff from the grocery store on my weekly trips and schedule the bus to take me to stock up every month or so.

I miss that shopping cart. It made hauling groceries a lot easier. Hopefully I can get it repaired soon.

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Stubbornness is Essential to Success

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Becoming a successful published author means that you have to follow a path that is riddled with rocks, walls, mountains, dead ends and other challenges.

Your friends and family will discourage you and try their best to make you get a “real” job. Marketers will tell you that they will help you to achieve your goal—for a price. Give them all your money and they will show you ;) .

The truth of the matter is that there is only one thing that you really need if you want to be successful. You can cultivate this item if you don’t have it already.

You see, when it comes to writing, methods change. So do trends, technology, marketing and writing styles. What sells one day may be obsolete the next. Writers have to stay on their toes in order to succeed, no matter what they write about. That’s just how it works.

This is why the most important thing you need in order to be successful is stubbornness.

Stubbornness is the thing that will keep you going when the whole world seems to be working against you. It is what you will throw against every barrier that you will ever encounter. It will keep you digging until you figure out a way under, over, through or around any hurdle that springs up in your path.

For instance, when I decided to start writing books I had no idea what to do or how to even start. Rather than let that stop me, I looked around until I found some people who were publishing books on their website and started asking questions.

When they blew me off (and some of them did), I kept asking until they gave me a little titbit just to make me leave them alone.

I read books, I researched blog posts and I experimented with all of the suggestions that I found until I discovered the method that worked for me. As a result, I have been able to live successfully off of my book royalties since 2011.

Stubbornness is not only beneficial when it comes to being an author. It is essential if you want to be successful in any endeavor, whether personal or professional. For instance, when I left my husband I had a VERY limited income. Rather than give up and go back to my husband I refused to quit and kept experimenting—and I made it work no matter how little we had.

When we didn’t have enough money I would find extra work wherever I could, even if that meant taking my kids with me to some very strange places. I learned to stretch a penny until it excreted quarters—and I didn’t give up.

When I wanted to learn how to repair computers so that I could open a business, I looked around until I found a class that I could actually afford on my limited budget. I got creative with my time, sometimes working straight through the night even though I had to go to work early the next morning so that I could get my coursework done.

When I wanted to open that business I had no clue about what to do. I placed an ad in the paper and dealt with the problems as they came along, even though at times they felt insurmountable. I succeeded because of pure stubbornness—I simply refused to quit.

No matter what it is that you wish to accomplish in your life—it could be a certain career, owning your dream home, achieving a personal goal—stubbornness is the one trait that will help you to get there. It is the fuel you need to help you keep pushing forward through whatever challenges you may face.

It did for me.


P.S. If one of the things you need to achieve your goals is training in Microsoft programs, Webucator offers some free online courses to help you on your way. Go here for details.

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A Corny Meal

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2014-08-18 14.53.40


I love fresh corn on the cob. I can literally make a meal out of it and I frequently do during the summer.

I’m a bit lazy though so I don’t like going through all of the muss and fuss of shucking it, heating the water, boiling it then fishing it out of the pot so my beloved Auntie showed me how to avoid all of that.

You take two ears of unshucked corn, plop it in the microwave and set the timer for ten minutes. I have a low-powered microwave – my Auntie sets hers for eight minutes. Once it dings you allow it to sit undisturbed for about five minutes. Take it out of the microwave and cut off the base right where the corn starts. I try to get the first row of kernels cause it makes the next step easier. Peel that corn like you are peeling a banana, and use the shuck to wipe off all of the silk.

Rub the cob with butter (real butter – not that fake stuff), sprinkle on some salt and chow down!

I had a couple of ears in the fridge today so that’s what I had for lunch. Two ears of corn microwaved to perfection.

Oh, man, it’s a delicious meal!

I could have fixed something else with it but why bother since all I wanted was the corn, but if I had been fixing a meal for the two of us I probably would have fried up a hamburger patty, slice of sausage or some sort of meat to go along with it.

If you have a grill, open up a little spot in the shuck near the tip (where the silk peeps out). Add a pat of butter (the real stuff!) and maybe a bit of garlic powder. Close the shuck back up, wrap it in aluminum foil and stick it in your grill in the coals. Leave it there for a half hour or so and then fish it out. Best. Corn. Ever. My Uncle showed me that one.

When I have a friend with a surplus of corn to share I freeze it whole right in the shuck. My Auntie throws a fit at this (she says freezing doesn’t kill all the bacteria) but I think it keeps (and tastes) so much better than if you do all of that blanching stuff. Also there’s the lazy factor, which I completely own.

This is the type of meal I like. Fast, tasty and dead simple. Oh—and cheap as well. Those two ears of corn only cost 33 cents apiece, and if I lived by my Auntie I could have fished them out of her garden for free.

Do you eat anything similar? Please share your food in the comments below :)

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How to Wash Dishes in a Single Bowl Sink

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Originally published on the Yahoo Contributor Network.

Sometimes we just have to play the hand life deals us. Sometimes that hand does not contain the perfect cards, but play them we must.

Most of us are used to double-bowl sinks in our kitchens, or perhaps triple-bowl if we’ve done any restaurant work. When confronted by a single bowl sink, we tend to stare at it in confusion trying to figure out how to wash dishes in the thing.

That is what happened to me. I was so spoiled my multiple bowl sinks I was lost when I realized the sink in my cottage only sported a single bowl, but I figured out a great way to have my sink and wash in it too!

First, designate one bowl or container to hold liquid or goo and set it nearby in a spot free from spill risk. That is the container we will pour any unexpected liquid that we encounter.

Next, remove all of the dishes from your single bowl sink, making sure they are raked out and any liquid is drained away.

Rinse out the sink and put in the stopper. Fill the sink with about one inch (1″) of warm water with a tiny bit of dishwasher detergent.

Take all glasses from the pile of dirty dishes and put them in the water. Look around for any glasses or cups that you may have missed. If you find any with liquid still in them, pour the liquid into the container you reserved especially for this purpose.

Place all of your silverware except for knives in the water to soak.

Wash all of your glasses, rinsing them by running a small stream of water from the faucet just enough to rinse well. Be careful not to have too full of a stream or your sink will fill with water too soon and some will have to be let out.

After washing cups and glasses, start washing the rest of your dishes in order of cleanest to dirtiest. Normally, saucers and plates go next, and then bowls, silverware, and finally your greasy dirty cookware. If your water gets too dirty or the sink gets too full of water, let some water out or change it entirely.

Once you are done with all of your dishes, use the dishwater to clean your countertops and stove. Drain out all of your water, then dump the liquid from the reserve container into the sink and wash out the container quickly with soap under running water.

After that is complete, use your sponge to clean out your sink, rinse out the sponge well and place a drop of dishwashing detergent on your sponge and work the lather through your sponge before setting aside. This will help to keep germs from growing in your sponge. If you have antibacterial soap use it instead of dishwashing detergent.

Now that your dishes are clean, get out of the kitchen and relax!

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Coney Fixins

Katie made a deal with me: she would fix dinner if I would fish out the supplies. I happily agreed.

So tonight we are having coneys for dinner. A coney is a hotdog topped with Cincinnati chili and Cheddar cheese. For one with all the fixins you add diced onion, ketchup and mustard to it.

We started making this meal when we moved to Western Kentucky. They don’t have Gold Star chili places out there and we missed it so we started buying the occasional can of the chili to fix the meals ourself.

Well, actually I FIRST tried making Cincinnati chili from scratch but the results weren’t edible. I’m never doing that again.

Tonight we will bake some french fries for a side and eat one coney apiece. That will use less than a quarter of the can of chili so tomorrow night I will cook up some spaghetti noodles and we will have chili spaghetti to finish it off.

Chili spaghetti is Cincinnati chili, spaghetti noodles and some Cheddar cheese on top. Yum!

A can of Cincinnati chili (we prefer the Gold Star brand) will give us 2-3 meals. One meal of Coneys, one meal of chili spaghetti and (if there is enough chili left over) a batch of chili cheese fries for one or both of us. The remaining hot dogs will be tossed back in the freezer for the next time we are in the mood (I just break them off while they are frozen instead of thawing the whole pack).

We eat this only once every month or so because it takes us several days to finish a can of chili. By the time we are done finishing it off we are tired of it.

Do you eat something similar? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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The Subject of Food

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I’ve received a number of requests to discuss the foods that we eat. I hesitate to comply because frankly I’m afraid I will scare you!

You see, I don’t cook a lot of stuff from scratch these days. It’s just me and Katie so old-fashioned cooking from scratch leaves us with too much waste. We don’t eat out a lot, however. Over a year it probably averages out that we eat at restaurants maybe once a month, if that. We splurge a bit on meals when my Smashwords payment comes in quarterly by getting a pizza or going to Biancke’s. We rarely eat at places like McDonald’s – we’ve only eaten there once or twice this year. I must confess I like to treat Katie to a meal out when she gets good grades on her report card, but aside from that and our Smashwords splurges we usually eat at home.

Another concern I have is the fact that I don’t have a regular food budget. I stock up the deep freezer when I can and eat that until we empty it out. We take a stock up trip to WalMart about once every month or so; otherwise we purchase things like milk and bread from Family Dollar or Ken’s (a local grocery). Our last trip to WalMart cost us about $100 – but some of that will last us for quite a while.

However, if you really want to know what we eat I will start writing about it. I’m not going to play it up and say that I make all of these fancy dishes – because I don’t. In fact, Katie discourages me from scratch cooking because she says that I couldn’t cook my way out of a paper bag.

So the question of the day is: do you really want to know how and what we eat, even knowing this? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

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400 Ways to Save a Fortune Now In Print!

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Due to popular demand I have now released my book, 400 Ways to Save a Fortune in print format. To celebrate, I’ve added over 100 new tips (bringing the total to over 500) and included not only the money saving posts I referenced in the original ebook, but some new posts I’ve written since the ebook was originally released.

For now, this book is only available on CreateSpace but it will be available at Amazon and other retailers in the coming days.

Please note that I have no plans to release this updated version in ebook format due to a lack of time, so if you want the complete list of tips (as well as the articles in the Appendix) you will need to purchase the print edition.

Have a nice day!

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