Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WELCOME HOME MOM!

Good morning guys and gals. How are you doing today? I am one tired but happy pup! Mom came home yesterday YAY! So we had a late night setting her up in the new house! DOUBLE YAY! No more R.V! TRIPLE YAY! I am so happy for her. I’m hoping she got a good night’s sleep… I’ll find out later when I go over there. But she said I had to have my blog up before I came over LOL! But just because she is home, doesn't mean my job is finished. The ever-vigilant daughter must maintain the super-sonic speed for a while longer LOL!

OMG there was an article on Yahoo headlines this morning that just the headline alone tickled me pink! I think it’s the greatest thing! Read this…

Frugality among consumers is outliving recession
A new frugality among consumers whose wealth has shrunk is outliving the recession

Jeannine Aversa and Bernard Condon, AP Business Writers, On Sunday May 2, 2010, 1:42 pm EDT

Even as the economic recovery plods ahead, many American consumers are refusing to come along.

They're not spending freely -- and they have no plans to.

Many of them have steady income. They aren't saddled by high debts. They don't fear losing their jobs. Yet despite recent gains, they've lost so much household wealth that they're far more cautious about spending than before the recession.

Their behavior suggests that the Great Recession may have bred a new frugality that will endure well into the recovery. And because consumers fuel about 70 percent of the economy, their tightfisted habits means the rebound could stay unusually sluggish.

That's the picture that emerges from an Associated Press survey of leading economists and interviews with more than two dozen ordinary Americans. The new AP Economy Survey asked 44 leading economists whether the recession created a "new frugality" among consumers that will outlive the recession. Two-thirds said yes.

They had in mind people like Marjorie Feldman of suburban St. Louis, who retired three years ago as a systems analyst for a utility company. The stock investments in her retirement account have sunk 15 percent from 2007. The value of her home is down 20 percent.

"I had retired assuming I'd make money" off the investments, said Feldman, who's in her early 60's. "I just don't feel as confident in the economy, and I never will again. I won't spend money the way I used to."
Feldman's husband works full time in academia. She has a part time job preparing tax returns at H&R Block. But her prime earning years are behind her.

"I don't think it will ever get back to where it was before," she said of her nest egg. "I won't spend money the way I used to."

Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody's Economy.com, notes that baby boomers, in particular, enjoyed spending sprees for most of their adult lives as their assets steadily grow.

"But the recession changed that," Hoyt said. "Many have retirement and children's education looming. All of a sudden, they see their balance sheets decline in a way they've never seen before."

To be sure, many shoppers, especially the wealthy, are buying into the recovery. Partly on the strength of consumer spending, the economy emerged from recession last year and has been growing steadily, if moderately, since. Major retailers logged solid sales in March. Employers have begun to add jobs, including a net increase of 162,000 in March. The stock market has risen 70 percent from its low in March 2009.

Yet many who became penny-pinchers during the recession are in no mood to start shopping again with abandon for clothes, cars and home additions. They've discovered the peace of mind that comes with rebuilding savings, shopping more prudently and learning to live with less.

At their nerve-racked peak last year, Americans socked away 6.4 percent of their disposable income. That compared with less than 1 percent hit at one point during the pre-recession boom. The savings rate has since dropped to 3.1 percent. Yet few expect it to approach the near-zero savings rate that would signal high-octane spending has roared back.

Susan Wilson, 55, a freelance PR specialist in Scottsdale, Ariz., says her business is picking up. But her spending isn't. Wilson still feels burned by the recession, when she lost her home to foreclosure.

"Shame on me," she said. "I wasn't paying enough attention to my financial health. That will never happen again."

Wilson is renting now. She traded in her leased car for a used car she could buy outright. She's started growing her own vegetables and air-drying her laundry to save money and stay out of debt. She's looking to buy a home, but not one with an outsize mortgage.

"I'm looking for pretty much the smallest house I can live in," she said.

Interviews with ordinary Americans suggest a new frugality endures even though consumer spending has risen for five straight months and retail sales for three.

In the AP's new quarterly survey, a majority of economists agreed that a new frugality will persist even as the recovery gains firmer footing.

"I would call it a 'mini age of austerity,'" said Sean Snaith, an economics professor at the University of Central Florida.

"Consumers will not run up multiple credit cards to their limits, and when buying a house the objective will not be to get the maximum square footage for which they can afford the payment. A higher savings rate will be in place for several years."

Jeff Thredgold, an economist at Thredgold Economic Associates, predicts "less impress-my-neighbor-type spending" in coming years.

Count Keith Flowers of Manassas, Va., in that category. He's decided that the hit he took in the housing slump requires him to continue to rein in spending. He's cut off his landline phone and has become a regular at discount retailer Costco.

He isn't worried about losing his job in business development at an information technology company.

What's led him to cut back spending is the sunken value of his condominium. He bought it in 2005 for about $270,000.

"I doubt right now it's cracking $100,000," Flowers said.

Rajeev Dhawan, director of Georgia State University's Economic Forecasting Center, says: "I think the chances of us being big spenders in the next 10 years are pretty low."

So much household wealth was inflated by the housing boom, Dhawan said, that the real estate bust spooked consumers. States hardest hit by the bust -- California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona -- together account for about 30 percent of national economic activity, he noted.

Household net worth -- the value of assets like homes, checking accounts and investments minus debts like mortgages and credit cards -- has risen for three straight quarters. But economists say consumers would need a stronger and prolonged increase in wealth to lead them to ratchet up spending. Net worth would have to rise an additional 21 percent just to get back to its pre-recession peak of $65.9 trillion.

Some economists put their hopes for the economy in the rich, who are spending more freely than the rest of the population. They hold out hope that this will encourage more hiring and stimulate spending by the less wealthy. More spending could increase companies' revenue, which allow them to boost hiring and pay. And that would lead their employees to spend more.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. returned to a first-quarter profit as more travelers vacationed on its ships and spent more money on board. And makers of luxury goods are benefiting from a release of pent-up demand for jewelry, watches and high-end furnishings.

High-end retailers have reported blowout results. Nordstrom's revenue in stores open at least one year jumped 16.8 percent last month. Saks' surged 12.7 percent.

McClaren Automotive has announced it will debut a $200,000 sports car in the U.S. next year. And business is picking up faster at high-end hotels than at mid-priced and budget hotels.

Whether spending by the wealthy will cause the less-well-off to spend freely, too, remains unclear. For now, though, many people have embraced a more frugal approach to spending.
Or maybe they've just learned to go without.

Jan Iris Smith, 57, and her husband of Cabin John, Md., put off furniture and clothing purchases after the stock market's collapse in early 2009.

"We were counting on our income from our investments," said Smith, a psychotherapist whose husband is retired. "We just stopped pretending everything was going to be OK anytime soon."

Aversa reported from Washington, Condon from New York. AP Business Writers Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Christopher Leonard in St. Louis contributed to this report.


OK so you know how big I am on charity work right? Well today’s craft hits close to home. As a former chemo patient, keeping what little modesty and dignity you have is a big issue for some people. Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, and its hard for ladies to deal with it. So why not help out by making a few of these caps and help them retain that feminine dignity? Check with your local hospital oncology department as to donations.



Craft Idea of the Day: Chemo Caps

Designed by: Hancock Fabrics' Home Economists

Choosing an all-cotton knit makes these easy caps very comfortable on sensitive skin. Some folk state that this pattern is a tad too tight... so you may wish to increase the size of the band pieces from 17" x 21.5" to measure 17" x 22" (adding 1/2" to the circumference of the band).

Materials: (makes 2 (adult medium/large size)
1/2 yard 60" cotton interlock knit
thread

Cut:
(2) 17" x 21 1/2 " pieces (band) (21 1/2" is stretch of fabric)
(4) 7 1/4" circles (crown)

Directions: 1/4" seam allowance RST - Right Sides Together



1. RST, fold each band to measure 10 3/4" x 17". Stitch as shown. Press seam open.



2. Wrong sides together, bring one end of each band through tube, matching seam and raw edges. Quarter and pin mark along doubled raw edge.

3. Lay two circles wrong sides together for each crown. Quarter and pin mark each. Matching marks, pin a crown to inside of each tube. Stitch, easing as necessary. Turn.

To wear: Band may be folded up once or twice to create a comfortable fit.

Ok, Susan would like some Cinco de Mayo recipes. Okie dokie girlfriend. Now don’t go having that baby on me just yet LOL! Cinco de Mayo offers a great opportunity to try some new and exciting ethnic foods. If you have never experienced them, they can be a real treat. Now lets start simple.You asked for a zippy Guac recipe, so try this one on for size!



Zippy Guacamole

Ingredients

2 large avocados
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of chopped Roma Tomato
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Cut the avocados into halves. Remove the seeds, and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the avocado. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

And of course you have to have a main course to any meal right? So how about some of these…



Angela’s Awesome Enchiladas

Ingredients

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cut into chunks
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 (1.25 ounce) package mild taco seasoning mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped, divided
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
5 (12 inch) flour tortillas
3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives

Directions

Place the chicken in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken pieces are no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Shred chicken by placing two forks back to back and pulling meat apart. Set the shredded chicken aside.

Meanwhile, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chili powder in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, chopped green chilies, taco seasoning, half of the bunch of chopped green onion, and water. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, onion powder, and garlic powder; simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stir 1 cup of the soup mixture into the skillet with the chicken mixture. Spread the remaining soup mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the chicken filling before folding the tortillas, reserving half of the shredded cheese for topping the enchiladas. Fold tortillas over the filling and place seam-side down in the prepared pan.

Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese.

Sprinkle the reserved chopped green onions and the sliced olives on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until filling is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

So there ya go… a dish and dip suitable for any Cinco de Mayo party! As for me, I am gonna get off here and get dressed to go out to mom’s YAY! Its much better than saying I have to go to the hospital. Recovery is so much easier and successful (I think anyway) in the comfort of your own home! I will see you in the morning for more crazy fun ideas and adventures! HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Hello everybody!!! Its a great day!!!! I finally got to come home from the hospital. Now I will be pushing Renee to get back to more frugal efforts and less nursing duties. Let me tell you, a daughter is a wonderful thing when your down and unable to do your own thing, if ya'll know what i mean. Thank you to all of you who sent well wishes and prayers to me through Renee. Being positive is very healing! So now that I am heading into my next 50 years of living I have a lot more things to accomplish....my bucket list as Renee and I call it. LOL So all of you have a good day, enjoy life, and try the recipes for dinner. Gotta love Mexican food! And gotta love " THE FRUGAL MOM"!!!

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  2. The Carter FamilyMay 6, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Welcome Home Debbie! We missed you around here! I wish you a speedy recovery. You are so sweet. I am glad your daughter is helping you so much. She sounds like an awesome lady! Take care.

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