Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Tale of the New Stove

I’ve talked this last week of my kitchen appliance issues.  It was getting annoying, so with money in hand I started to look at replacing my stove and dishwasher.

I like to spend money.  I don’t spend much anymore, but I wouldn’t have the debt I do if I hadn’t known how to spend it at some point.  After tightening our belts when moving to SmallTown, I noticed a funny thing.  As soon as I’ve given myself permission to buy something I lose a lot of interest in it.  So now that I had money to buy new appliances, I didn’t really want to do it.  As soon as I’d given myself permission to go out and spend I decided that maybe these old ones weren’t as inconvenient after all.

My family and friends thought I was nuts.  Friends especially couldn’t believe that I’d suffered through so many months with these crazy things.  Watching my mom help make Easter dinner last year was particularly funny…she couldn’t believe that my oven really DID change temperatures 5 or 6 times in  half an hour.  She’d heard me complain during our phone conversations but until that visit I think she thought I was merely exaggerating.

We were still a one vehicle family at the time, just having our van.  I knew I didn’t want to pay delivery charges for the 30-70 miles it could be to shop out of town for better deals, so I decided I’d find the best deals locally.  There are two appliance stores in SmallTown so I figured I’d find something reasonable.

In my dreams I’d love a huge stove with two ovens, stainless steel maybe…you know, a dream stove.  That was NOT what I was shopping for.  First it would look quite out of place in my modest kitchen.  Second, that is WAY more money than I intended to spend.  After thinking about it (for months) I decided that I had to have just a few small things…a window in the oven door, self-clean feature and it needed to be white.

As I began my search I learned from a nice salesman about differences in burners (I already knew I did not want a flat top but didn’t realize there are variations in the coil style) and I noticed that there was a difference in oven capacities.  So now I added high efficiency burners to my list as well as a larger oven capacity.

The store with the nice salesman couldn’t offer installation of the dishwasher so we’d have to hire someone to do that.  And they only offered a couple of dishwashers to choose from.  Also their selection of electric stoves was quite small.

The other store had much more to choose from but the staff was made up of a few odd guys.  They were always pleasant but didn’t seem to remember me from time to time when I was in looking…and they weren’t very eager to make a deal.

I first went in and explained to one of the main salesmen what I was looking for.  They had just the oven I wanted but it wasn’t white.  He assured me they could get me white for another $120.  What???  There was no negotiating.  I declined having them order it in, wrote down prices and left.

A week later I went back to look around again.  The same gentleman helped me and seemed to have no recollection of our previous meeting.  I asked some questions, expanded my browsing to include the wall of dishwashers and then left.

Now, I’ve never been much of a negotiator.  I will bargain at garage sales but generally don’t in the retail world.  But with cash literally in hand and Dave Ramsey’s urging I figured I’d give it a try.  So far, no good.

Several days pass and my husband and I decide to go look together.  He tends to leave this stuff up to me but I think he was eager for me to buy something already. Again I was treated like I was a stranger off the street.  Same employees at work…but they didn’t seem to remember that I was the girl shopping stoves. We looked, asked a few questions and again went home still holding our fist full of cash.

A few more days and I go back AGAIN…not a glimmer of recognition on the employees faces.  Am I being punked?  Is this the Twilight Zone??  I’m really starting to wonder.

Over the course of this several weeks I’ve asked what the lowest price is. The price is what’s listed there. I’ve asked if I could get a discount for buying both the dishwasher and stove.  Sorry ma’am, we only give discounts on three appliance package purchases. How about free delivery or free disposal of our old appliances?  Oh no, we can’t do that.

I got a written quote on the two appliances and left.  I couldn’t believe that these people weren’t willing to work a little harder to get my money.  Most people I knew couldn’t believe I wouldn’t buy the dumb stove already!

I waited longer this time and went back once more.  Of course they didn’t remember me so I thought I’d use it to my advantage and question the lowest prices on the appliances I’d pretty much decided on over a month ago.  They couldn’t match the prices on the folded paper in my purse but would throw in a free cord for the stove.  I produced the quoted prices and ordered my appliances.  Then I reminded them not to forget that free cord when they delivered everything.

But I didn’t pay cash.  After all the work I did to get a few dollars knocked off of the full price and probably due to the stellar customer service, I put it on my rewards credit card.  They could pay the 2 or 3% to the credit card company and I’d take the rewards points.  I had given them the chance to give me a cash discount.  Then I went home and made the payment to my credit card.

I couldn’t help but wonder why it had to be so hard…little did I know the fun part still hadn’t happened.  Tune in next week if you want to hear about delivery and installation.


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Filed under In the Kitchen

How I Wanted to Buy a Stove

Over a  year ago I was not a happy baker.  My oven had given up baking nice and was being temperamental.  One minute it would be 350 degrees and happily baking cookies…the next minute it would shoot up to 450 degrees and would be burning cookies.  I would sit in front of the oven window peering in at the oven thermometer inside, making adjustments as needed all the while my cookies were baking.  It was ridiculous and I told my oven that repeatedly.

Casseroles and quick breads generally did OK, as they aren’t quite so picky about the temperature fluctuations.  They still needed watching though.  Having a home daycare and cooking from scratch as much as I do made this a pretty inconvenient time.  Unfortunately Dan and I both agreed that buying a new oven just wasn’t  feasible then.  That alone shows how far we’ve come in spending…in HomeTown we would’ve gone out and charged one the week after it started acting up.   Instead we listed all the things that were more important and why we shouldn’t spend any emergency money on it.  I’ll be honest.  I resented telling myself no.  I thought about new stoves a lot.  And I quit baking cookies.

This went on for 6 months and during that time the stove top burners were  iffy too.  When we moved in one of the large burners didn’t work.  The other large burner worked when it wanted to…sometimes weeks at a time and then would quit for days.  I could count on two small burners and a wonky oven.  Eventually it was starting to suck the joy out of my time in the kitchen.  That, and my crock pots got a lot of use.

In May we finally had some money put aside to buy a new one…but it took me another month to part with my money and actually buy one.  Crazy?  Tune in tomorrow to find out why I waited.

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Filed under Doing Without, In the Kitchen, Making Do

Alternate Uses for My Dishwasher

I had just told you all about how I don’t like dishwashers when I ran across this article at Homemaker Barbi.

I have done a few of these…#4 for example, and #15.

But I think there are some other uses for my dishwaher that I might try.  I may take out that top rack and wash  a few of my smaller garbage cans in there.  It’s tough to take them outside and really clean them during a MN winter (which of course runs mid-Oct to at least mid-April).  I also think that next time I find one of those baseball hat forms at the thrift store I’ll snatch it up and give hat washing a try.  And with all the toy washing and disinfecting I do, I might put together a load of toys from time to time and see what I think.

Once I’ve tried out some of these other uses, I’ll let you know how it worked out…maybe I’ll fall in love with this dishwasher after all.

What do you wash in the dishwasher besides dishes???

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Making Do

Sunshine on Saturday

It is 8:30 and I just got out of bed.  The sun is shining and it is a balmy 25* with the potential to hit a tropical 40* today.  Isn’t it wonderful what a good night’s sleep and some sunshine can do to make the day look so full of promise and possibility?

Stanley had a wrestling tournament here in SmallTown last night.  He did well and we had a good time.  It is fun getting out to do things as a family and visit with friends.  A nice start to the weekend.

My house did not get that Friday cleaning that I’ve been loving, but somehow it looks good with the sunshine pouring through the windows.   There will be plenty of time to clean today.  I’ll get out the Spring decorations too.  We may have snow piled several feet high but it is starting to feel like Spring!

Has Spring come to your town?  Is your weekend full of promise?  Whatever it holds I hope you enjoy it!

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Washing Dishes

I like washing dishes.  Really.  Some people in this house will tell you I don’t and that they do all the dishes.  Those people are not to be listened to.  I like to do dishes like I like to paint…on my own and without interruption.  I love the solitude of it, the simplicity.

What I don’t like?  Putting dishes away.  Hate it.  I don’t care if they need put away out of the dishwasher or from the drain board.  I can’t stand putting dishes away.  I put them away as a kid.  I don’t remember hating it then, but maybe I did.  Sometimes that is why I let dirty dishes pile up…because clean ones need put away first.

If there is an empty dish rack or drain board and a stack of dirty dishes I will likely wash them instead of put them in the dishwasher.  I don’t like dishwashers.  More often than not they leave bits or scum on the dishes.  That little bit of sandy stuff dried inside a glass?  I hate that.

Now that you probably think I’m nuts, I’ll tell you that we actually waited to replace out broken dishwasher for over a year.   There were two reasons I bought a new one.  The first was because it meant much more to my husband and kids than it ever would to me.  The second is that it seemed like a waste of space to have that broken dishwasher in the kitchen.

And secretly I sometimes wish it was still broken.  Especially when I am chiseling that sandy grit off of a glass.

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Filed under Doing Without, Family, In the Kitchen, Making Do

Menu Plan Monday: March 3

mpm3bannerMy menus are planned and I’m ready for another week.  Instead of going through the work of assigning a day to everything, I’ll just list what we’ll be having by meal time.  It is pretty much in M-F order.


  • Fresh fruit  with bagels, muffins or oatmeal and  milk
  • 100% juice with cereal and milk


  • Stromboli (turkey pepperoni), broccoli, peaches, milk
  • Chicken patties on bun, carrots, spinach salad, milk
  • Grilled cheese, tomato soup, apple with peanut butter, crackers, milk
  • Tuna casserole, peas, pears, milk
  • Scrambled eggs, oranges, hash browns, toast, milk


  • French fries, milk
  • Apples, cheese cubes
  • Cottage cheese, oranges
  • Bagels, milk
  • Cookies, milk


  • Burritos (ground turkey & refried beans), salad, mexicorn
  • Fresh fish, broccoli & cauliflower, toast, apple
  • Spaghetti, green beans, garlic toast
  • Waffles, bacon, strawberries, banana, milk
  • Leftovers

The spaghetti comes from taking out a container of homemade sauce for the stromboli lunch.  The waffles will be a double or triple batch so there are plenty in the freezer for the next two weeks at breakfast.  Fish are biting again so when Dan goes fishing tonight he should come home with some fresh pan fish.  If not, there are plenty in the freezer.

If you are looking for hundreds of other menu ideas, check out all the offerings at OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.  Happy Planning!


Filed under In the Kitchen

What’s Happening Here?

Wow, it’s been longer than I thought.  I think about stopping here and writing something.  But then I don’t.  I find something else, or someone else calling my name.  I look for a reason to leave.

This is a year for growth I suspect.  I’m looking around and looking within.  Just trying to make sense of it all.  There is so much I want to do, so much I want to change, so much I want to be.  But what does God have for me?  Where is He leading?  I’m feeling called to reflect on all that I have, all that I am.

This is not easy.  It is not comfortable.  And I’m not good at shining a light in the dark corners of myself.  I like to look put together.  I’ll make you laugh, at me or with me.  Either is fine.  Just so long as I look like it’s all put together.

I have felt more myself here in SmallTown than I did as an adult in HomeTown.  I came here without baggage.  No one knew me and that was liberating.  The friends I’ve made here are good and I enjoy them.  Recently though I get the idea that they don’t really see me.  When I tell a funny story of a failed kitchen endeavor it is met with a laugh and “oh, so you can’t do everything perfectly?”  While I know they mean no harm, it is hurtful.  I wonder where they began thinking I could do it all.   I thought I had been more transparent here.  Maybe not.

And so began my quest for 2009 to make some changes.  I break all the “goal setting” rules.  I don’t have a larger goal broken down into measurable steps…in fact I have no real goal written down.  I’m not that far along yet.  Right now I am working on looking and listening.  I’m working on listening, and really hearing…looking and really seeing.

I have single words that come to me at odd times.  Words that sound so good.  Relax.  Smile.  Simplify.  Focus.  Enjoy.  Breathe.   And the sweetest of them: Grace.

I don’t know where this is going…  I just feel the need to be honest and open.  To let you see me and not hide behind all the tips and hints I have that work for me and make me look like I am all put together.  I’ve certainly learned some things over the years that I’d like to share.  It just needs to be clear that there is a lot of mess left to figure out too…so I’ll take all the hints and tips I can get.  And grace…I need grace.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you’ll come back to see what else I have to say…I don’t plan to stay away so long next time.

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