family In The Wars

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Susan Dayley says




Living Abundantly: Finances*Family*Food
by susandayley on November 10, 2010
A Reuters headline said China is predicting a global economic collapse. Last week I mentioned the declining dollar in my post. In this last year alone my DH’s business profits on an order shipped from Japan to Canada have been cut by 50% because of the decline. Anyone who tracks what they spend on groceries knows that the dollar has lost value. Some call it inflation, but it is basically that the dollar is worth less. The more that is printed, the less value it has. this means we are buying less and it is costing more. Where is the abundance? How do we live abundantly in a declining economy?

This post will feature ideas under finance, family, and food.

Finance: Put your money into something of value. China understands this. For some time they have been buying up natural resources around the world. Natural resources have real, intrinsic value. Money, whether the Yuan Renminbi, the Euro, or the dollar does not. As markets decline, and the dollar continues to be worth less, what you purchase today will take fewer dollars and (since wage increases will be much slower), cost you less. Your labor is your value. Put today’s labor into hard assets.

A few years ago my DH and I were blessed to be able to purchase our home. That peace of mind is invaluable. Food storage, shoes, garden supplies, and gold (if you can get it) are better securities than a balance at the bank. Remember, what you earn today will buy more than what you earn tomorrow.

I am not recommending you drain all your cash—you still have to meet expenses, businesses need to pay for advertizing, and Christmas is coming. However, if you can budget some extra, buy food storage; and for long term savings (college funds), you might consider investing in precious metals or commodities. Get professional advice.

Family: Fear feeds fear, and Abundance is a state of mind. Finances need to be faced bravely and honestly, but don’t let them rule the spirit of your home. Parents could schedule a weekly meeting to assess whether they need to readjust their budgets, spending, and /or sources of income. But beyond those moments, rejoice in the good things all around you.

I remember waking most winter mornings to my mom making oatmeal or Cream of Wheat. She greeted us with a cheerful, “Good morning” as we gathered around the table. We loved to see how deep the snow had accumulated during the night and our dad’s footsteps across the driveway from when he left for work at 6 a.m. When we got ready to leave for school, if our boots had holes in them, mom would rummage through the bread drawer and produce some bread sacks to pull over our feet before they went into the boots. Then she’d give us kisses and send us out the door to trudge the 8 blocks to school through the snow. We did not lament about the bread sacks or the ugly boots that passed down from one child to another until the soles fell off, or the distance we’d have to walk. We didn’t dwell on the fact that we were poor. We were thinking about sliding in car tracks and figuring out whose boots got the most slide from their run. We’d also corral the little ones along, so that we arrived together.

Foster an atmosphere of wonder, gratitude, kindness, respect and courtesy; not fear, tension, arguments, or complaints. Live the life you have with happiness.

Food: During prosperous times I only bought chicken in the form of boned, skinned breast meat. Call me a snob, but I’m not alone. But when incomes don’t keep pace with a growing demand, it’s time to rethink a few things. Like how many meals can you get from a whole chicken? I admit I have developed a phobia about touching raw meat, but I can place a whole bird into a pot of water, add veggies, some bay leaves, thyme and whatever appeals, and then boil it. Then when the whole bird is cooked I drain the broth for chicken noodle soup and when separating the meat from the bird, save the breasts for another meal. Two breasts can serve fajitas to four people with rice on the side. Or be frozen to add to other breasts from another chicken for a larger meal.

And since I mentioned chicken noodles, I’m including a recipe for homemade egg noodles. There is no better way! In a pinch I buy the frozen egg noodles, but homemade can usually be made from what is on hand, cost less, and they are longer. As a child I would help unroll the noodles and drop them into the boiling broth, and the longer the noodle was, the greater the fun eating it. Think sluuuurp.

Homemade Egg Noodles
Place a mound of flour on your work surface (4+ C.) Mix in 1½ tps. salt.
In a bowl, mix 4-5 eggs and 2-3 Tb. of water or milk. Some people add ½ egg shell of milk per egg.

Make a well in the flour and pour the eggs in. Work in the edges of the flour to form dough. Keep the walls up so the eggs don’t run out until the dough begins to form. Only use as much flour as you need for a stiff dough.

There are websites with specific amounts, but usually the author admits they tried to translate what their grandmother did into measured amounts. Women made egg noodles from flour and eggs without measurements their whole lives. It’s more a feel for the dough than anything. If it’s too sticky, add flour. If it’s too dry, carefully add water. But try not to overwork your dough.

Then roll it out thin on a floured surface. Sprinkle the top with flour and roll up the dough like a jelly-roll. Slice into noodles. I like to use a pizza cutter. Unwind each noodle and drop it into boiling broth. When the noodle floats, test it. They cook in minutes.

My mom always hung her noodles to dry slightly first, the kitchen looked like a laundry, but with thin strips of noodles instead of sheets hanging everywhere.

Susan's article gives us a really good look at the way we live and what we should be watching for