art ~ jewelry ~ interfaith devotions ~ peace to you...

2/17/10

cash or credit?

Due to the economy over the past few years, most of us have been re-thinking our priorities in terms of how we handle our money. What we buy, new or used, and how much can we save. What can we do without. How to pay for the things we do need.

There's a new way (not really new, just revived) of thinking these days. It's about buying ONLY what you can afford with what you have right now, in your wallet (or savings)! Of course that doesn't work for everything, but think about how much you could really be paying for with the cash you have instead of using credit or debit cards. And how much less it will really cost you!

Which leads me to: Move Your Money! Please! Big banks have got the little guys (us) by the you-know-whats and are beating us while we're down. There is a movement to quit the mega banks and end your abusive relationship now. Move your hard earned dollars to your local main street bank or credit union.

My money (what there is of it) is now at a credit union 2 blocks down the street from where I live. I have free checking accounts, even for my jewelry business. They know who I am. Extra bonus-I don't even have to fill out deposit slips.

I moved my one credit card balance to the same credit union and now enjoy a very low rate while I work to pay it off. I refuse to add anymore purchases to my card. Once that is paid off - I'm saying NO to the credit card companies. Even with the new laws that just took effect this week, I do not feel protected enough from these money sucking giants.

If you need extra incentive, take a look at this PBS documentary "The Card Game".

What are you doing to stay out of credit card debt? If you don't use credit cards, please share your game plan!

2/12/10

three layer banana cake with cream cheese frosting

This is my first three layer cake. I made it for a special friend's birthday. I added the nuts. You could garnish with strawberry halves, artfully arranged, if you like.
As you can see by the photo, there wasn't enough frosting, which was disappointing, as the cake doesn't look as nice as it could. I suggest doubling up on the frosting so you can have a nice layer in between and still cover the whole cake.


Cake:
1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 c. mashed bananas (about 4)
1 t. vanilla
1 c. low-fat buttermilk
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
2 c. sliced bananas
Oven at 350 degrees. Coat bottoms and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and egg whites. Beat well with mixer. Add mashed banana, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix well.
In another bowl, mix all the dry stuff together. Add the wet stuff and stir well. Pour into the three pans evenly. Tap pans on counter to get rid of air bubbles. Bake 15-18 minutes, or when toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack for one hour.

Frosting:
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
1 oz. low-fat cream cheese
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk

Put everything into large bowl and beat well. Refrigerate for an hour. I didn't.

To Put Together:
Spread frosting on bottom layer, then spread enough banana slices around to cover. Top with second layer, frost and spread with the rest of the banana slices. Finish with last cake layer and frost the top then the sides of the whole cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill for awhile before serving.

Serve with Chocolate chip ice cream! Lasts quite awhile in the fridge.


Collected this recipe from Healthy Cooking Oct. 2004


2/10/10

100 thing count - decluttering

I started my "thing" count. What an eye-opener...and a downer. I feel the weight of more stuff after finishing each room. I ask myself how could I be so blind, so unconscious of what I buy, accumulate, buy, save, buy, and don't use. An unaware consumer is a dangerous thing.
Never again!


I'm on the lookout for "dead" stuff (stuff that never gets touched/used)to purge while going about my usual business at home. I figure it'll be that much less stuff to decide what to do with when it's time to really whittle my "things" list down!

So tonight I went to the kitchen to put together some dinner and ended up cleaning and reorganizing my fridge. Then found several items around the kitchen that I don't need...like olive forks?! I don't even like olives. Could use them for pickles, but don't like those either. Along with the tiny forks I found:

2 ugly serving utensils.

Wooden salad set with giraffes for handles.


Weird shaped rubber spatula-it came that way.


Cake cutter used at my second wedding-bad karma.


Microwave egg poacher-always ruin the eggs anyway.

2 star cookie cutters-a five-sided and a six-sided one. I'm keeping the nine-sided one.


Wire basket connected by daisy shapes-don't know what I was thinking the day I bought it.

Extra attachments to my hand beater-guess I don't need them since I never knew I had them.

About 20 rocks and shells-last weekend I counted everything in my kitchen and found out I had (in the whole house) over 200 shells and almost as many rocks, so, starting in the kitchen, I picked 20 to go first.

Not bad for dinnertime.



Please note:
Nothing goes into the trash! Everything gets a new home through
The Freecycle Network, Craig's List or is donated to local charities.

2/2/10

lightening my life - the 100 thing count

I've been looking back over the past year and thinking about where I am now and where am I going...and how in the heck am I going to get there! Year after year what stays with me is the desire to simplify. Use less. Own less. Live more lightly on the earth and all that stuff.

It doesn't take long before my environment overwhelms me and I want to chuck everything. But is that going too far? And won't I regret it later? How do I know for sure what to keep and what to let go of? There is no sure answer. I think it's called faith. To let go and have the knowledge that when I need something it will be there at that time.

The best I may be able to do is find a balance that feels internally right for me. I found a few links that can help me start down a "clutter-free" path.

100 Thing Challenge

Remove Clutter From Your Home

Organize Clutter

2010 will be my year of lightening my load. I look forward to "traveling" through life more joyfully because I will have less things to worry about, to take care of, to clean, to move, to pay for....and the best bonus of all-

leaving a smaller foot print on our planet.

Up next...counting what I have now. To understand how much I really do have.

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