Uncle Sam Opened His Doors…Will He Open His Wallet?

I saw the OPM notification come through around 1:30 this morning.  Didn’t make a difference to us.  My husband never stopped working.  He did stop getting paid to work, though.  As I lay there in bed, I wondered if the government would decide to pay it’s employees for the more than two weeks of shutdown.  Back in the 1990’s, they paid everyone retroactively.  EVERYONE.  They paid the “essential” people who continued to work during the shutdown, and they also paid the people who didn’t go to work.  That doesn’t seem very fair, does it?  Don’t get me wrong, I think this whole situation is a pile of dog poo and nobody deserved to be furloughed and not paid.  But shouldn’t the priority be the folks who have been working, and working extra shifts, at that?  If those who didn’t work get paid, isn’t that tantamount to a two-week paid vacation?  Without any loss of leave?  So those folks can then take another paid vacation?  Those individuals were legally allowed to file for unemployment, or even get another job.  My husband could do neither because he still had to go to work.  So the time that could have been spent earning additional income, fixing up something around the house, or just enjoying the family, was not given to us.

Trust me, I’m not in any way complaining about the furloughed workers.  Nor am I stating they shouldn’t get paid at all.  What I am hoping for is a priority level when the government decides on payment and funds.  If there is not enough money to pay everyone, how about we pay those who were forced to keep working?

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Sometimes You Can’t Have What You Want

The government shutdown is now in day 16.  Today we received a partial paycheck for working the week before the shutdown.  It was 1/3 of our regular take-home.  (Let’s not even talk about the fact that my husband is still working – for free).  I’ve already mentioned that I cannot buy groceries, and that we’re living off what is in the cabinets and freezer.  But now I am 100% certain that we cannot pay the mortgage on November 1st.

One thing I have always enjoyed was monthly subscription boxes.  I used to get a lot of them.  But in the last 3 or 4 months, I started canceling.  Obviously this was nothing to do with the shutdown, but it had a lot to do with:

1.  poor box curation,

2.  skyrocketing prices,

3.  crappy shipping

In all, I’ve cancelled 20 boxes in the last 6 months.  Each of them for one or more of the above reasons.  I currently only have  5 active subscriptions, and 2 that are finishing out their pre-paid subscriptions.  Today I cancelled Ipsy Glam Bag.  Mainly because I don’t wear makeup, and no matter what I do with my profile, they keep sending me mascara and eyeliner in every bag.  I only subscribed for the cute little bags, but they’ve been quite rubbish, too.

So when the news came out today that the POPSUGAR Must Have box with Neiman Marcus would be $250 (instead of the typical $100 for the luxury boxes), I about died.  Not a fat ass chance in hell could I even budget for that!  It would have been a struggle to come up with $100!  As I commented on Liz’s Blog, I think POPSUGAR plans to increase the prices of all their luxury boxes.  Had it not been for a great October Musthave box, I would have cancelled POPSUGAR as well.

The fact is, we really can’t have everything we want.  Sometimes, we can’t have anything we want.  Right now I’m thankful I have a little bit of food left in the house to feed my son.  I know there are some in my position who don’t.  I don’t need a $250 box.  What I do need is a $5 half-gallon of milk.

Shutdown Dinner: Kale & Goat Cheese Frittata Cups

I was finishing off what was left of the fresh food in the refrigerator when I noticed a huge amount of kale.  Having made an egg/cheese/sausage cup recently, I figured this wouldn’t be too hard.  Here’s what I did:

2 cups chopped kale

1 garlic clove, sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

8 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few shakes of ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Crumbled goat cheese

I removed the kale ribs and cut the leaves into 1/2 inch strips.  

I chopped kale!

I chopped kale!

Then cooked the garlic in the olive oil in a skillet for like a minute.  Then I added the crushed red pepper and kale and cooked it till it wilted.

I love these bamboo utensils

I love these bamboo utensils

Whisked the eggs salt and pepper in a bowl, added the thyme and kale.  

Looks like vomit, doesn't it?

Looks like vomit, doesn’t it?

I sprayed 8 silicone muffin cups with organic olive oil and poured the mix in.  I crumbled goat cheese on the top.  It looked terrible.  I felt as though there was not only too much kale, but that the kale was cut way too big.  

Oh my, I'm terrified this won't work!

Oh my, I’m terrified this won’t work!

Either way, it was too late now…I baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes, which was when I noticed they had popped up.  

How funny is that?

How funny is that?

I’ve never seen this before, but they literally popped up out of the cups, LOL!  This made it real easy to remove them.

I LOVED the goat cheese kick, and felt it would do better with more throughout.  I would also cut the kale very small and put in a little less next time.

My husband ate 5 of them!  But again, who knows if that means it tasted good or not.  I fear he’d eat soup off the floor if I asked him to.  My son wouldn’t eat it, he just screamed.  Then again, he hates eggs.

The finished product

The finished product

So, now I’m down to fingerling potatoes, a single apple, and some grapes for fresh produce.  Will start on the frozen stuff soon.

Shutdown Dinners

Yeah, the government shutdown is causing my kitchen creativity to suffer.  I’ve not purchased any meat because we can’t afford it.  We’re living off of what we have stocked in the house, most of which was purchased for my 18-month-old.

Last night we had Annie’s Homegrown rotini pasta – essentially an organic version of Velveeta Shells & Cheese.

Throw in some peas and kale and you’ve got a meal.  Yum. 

Tonight I threw Mom Made Food’s Chicken & Apple Meatballs into some Organic Turkey Gravy.

Add Organic Quinoa and Organic mixed vegetables, and you’ve got another shutdown meal.

I guess I feel fortunate that I had previously bought so much frozen food.  I wasn’t watching the news and didn’t know the shutdown was even on the table when it happened.  The truth is, we’ve seen the posturing before.  In my many years as a Fed, they did this a lot.  In fact, it got pretty serious a few years ago, but they just kept on with these continuing resolutions.  My husband never came home and said, “Hey, there is a possibility of a shutdown.”  Had he done so , I might have planned our finances better.  But for now, we’re just going to have to survive on Mac & Cheese and frozen meatballs.

What The Tuck Tuesday

1.  Jackhammering the street in front of my house at 8:30 in the morning = hysterical child.  No, he wasn’t asleep at 8:30, he was having fun playing in his room when the house started to vibrate and the world’s largest noise overtook our senses.  We live under the flight path of one of the busiest airports in the US, and this jackhammer had us going.  This continued for a full hour, as they hammered out a nice hole in the street.  An hour of inconsolableness.  Poor C.

2.  iGoogle’s passing is starting to really concern me.  I mean, what am I going to do for a homepage?  How am I supposed to subtly get my nerd on with the RSS feed from TheOneRing.net?  I discovered igHome, so let’s hope that doesn’t suck.

3.  I had to empty the dishwasher this morning.  Oh, I know…That has to be the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard, right?  But since it is one of two things that are my husband’s responsibility around the house, it snarls my day (remember the hysterical child and jackhammering?).

4.  Not watching FOX on Tuesday night really sucks.  My husband is working (for free – thank you government shutdown), and he would want to watch New Girl and The Mindy Project with me, so I’ll wait and we can watch together on demand.

Apricot BBQ Chicken

I’m not a cook.  I’ve never enjoyed cooking – ever.  I remember when my son turned 1, the pediatrician told me I have to start cooking family meals.  When I said I didn’t know how to cook, she said “You better learn.”  Sheesh!  My husband and I had decided before C was born that he would eat & drink Organic exclusively.  Little did I know how expensive and limiting that would be.  But, C is now almost 18 months old, and I have to say I’ve tried and succeeded at a few dishes, and I’ve pulled a lot of dishes out of my – well – you know.

I didn’t have a recipe for what I wanted to make last night, but the idea sounded good, so I winged it.  Here’s what I did:

2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1 12oz bottle of Annie’s Homegrown Original BBQ Sauce

1 10 oz bottle of apricot preserves

1 pouch Lipton Onion Soup Mix (I know, it’s not organic)

A few sprinkles of garlic powder

Throw it all in a crockpot and cook on low until finished.  I gave mine about 4 hours.

I served it with Basmati Rice and Edamame.

I feared it would be too sweet, but it was actually the opposite, in a good way.  It had a bit of a kick to it, which was enjoyed by all.  Having never used Annie’s BBQ sauce, I can say that this was where the kick came from, as when I opened it I was a bit taken aback.  Either way, my crappy cooking turned out on Monday.

Now, to plan for the rest of the week.  As we have been impacted by the government shutdown, we’ve not bought any meat (organic is so expensive).  We’ll see what I can pull off with grains and veg for the next few days.