Simply Getting By

Simplifying my life & taking back control of my choices, possessions, lifestyle, and nourishment in order to salvage my finances, the environment, and my sanity.

Free Simple Living Posters/Pics February 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 10:57 pm

I found the links for these posters via Simple. Organized. Life.

I especially love “Simplicity is the Key to Successful Living” & “Eat Local, Buy Local, Grow Local!”

You can download all the posters as PDFs here at ReadyMade.


The Simple Woman’s Daybook ~February 9th Edition~

Filed under: Simple Woman's Daybook — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 7:17 am

For Today…
Outside my window… the sun isn’t quite up yet, so the horizon has a pink glow to it.
I am thinking… about grabbing a blanket -it’s cold in here.
I am thankful for… a warm house with working heat & air.
From the kitchen… I made homemade pho [Vietnamese beef broth & rice noodle soup] last night, and had some over rice for breakfast.
I am wearing… a blue jean skirt & denim skirt.
I am creating… yet another blog design.
I am going… to go to my in-laws tomorrow to shampoo the carpet for them.
I am reading… The Man Who Created Paradise by Gene Logsdon
I am hoping… we can get financing for the homestead we looked at.
I am hearing… Hotel California by The Eagles
Around the house… it smells like ginger, peppers, and beef now.
One of my favorite things… is being able to sleep in on a cold morning.
A few plans for the rest of the week: visit the in-laws, post pics of the puppies we’re giving away to some local sites, order seeds, do the taxes if there’s time, take my father-in-law to see the house/land we’ve been looking at
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

A Jersey calf. Isn’t it just the cutest? These are the type of cows I’d like to have.

To participate, please see The Simple Woman’s Daybook at


Found the Perfect Home! February 7, 2009

Filed under: change,homestead — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 4:04 am

The hubby and I looked at a house and land on Wednesday that is only 5 miles from where we are living now. It will need some work [new tin roofing in a couple areas & possibly replacing part of the roof structure because of previous water damage], but it is exactly what we both want. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and I wish I had taken more pictures [these are from the real estate site], but we both fell in love with the place.

Now, all we have to do is figure out something on financing. The loan officer said she’d already had trouble financing it for someone else, because of the roof, but that may be a blessing because it will buy us some time while the hubby waits to hear back on some of the jobs he’s applied for.

The house itself is older, with low ceilings, but that will make it easier to heat. It has the old crystal doorknobs with holes for a skeleton key on the inside doors, which remind me of my great-aunts house. It also has an old door with stained glass details going out to the back porch, which is enclosed like a sunroom, and 3 tilt-in windows over the kitchen sink, to let in light and air. The main bedroom is pine paneled, and the bathroom is absolutely gorgeous, with a brick floor, pedestal sink, and clawfoot tub with modern fixtures.

I wish I’d thought to take some pictures of the land, but I’ll remember the camera if we end up going back [we may take my father-in-law to see it – he offered to help us with the down payment if it needs to be more, and to help us out as we get things set up]. It sits on 9.3 acres, with a large fenced pasture to the right, attached to a small barn with 3 stalls, 2 levels of storage, and a tack room. there is also a small pasture with a low fence in front of the barn that may be good for goats, and a rabbit hutch out front. There is a huge backyard with room for a very big garden and a small pond with a dock off to the right. In front of the house, there is a big garage with an enclose block room in the middle, a workshop with shelves and benches on the left [approx the size of a 1 car garage], and an open 1 car garage on the right. There is a chicken coop built on the back side of the garage, facing the house, and convenient to door nearest the kitchen.

There is also a hill up from the house, beside the driveway, and sort of across from the barn. It has a big blocked off area for a compost heap, 2 fire rings, 2 smaller woodsheds, and a 3-hole outhouse. It’d be a great place to invite people to cookout and camp during the months with good weather, or to set up a camper or small kit cabin as a sort of guest house. I also like that is on the very end of the road, with its own gate, so we won’t have to worry about a lot of traffic or people passing through and messing with things.

I am not sure how all of this will work out, but I know that if we are meant to live there, then we will find the means and they way to get it and to fix it up somehow. In the meantime all good thoughts, prayers, positive vibes, or whatever anyone can send our way are much appreciated. My husband has totally got his heart set on this house [to the point of saying he’d stay even if he gets the Charlotte job – a 70 mile drive], and I do too. I’m trying not to get too set on it until I hear something back, but I see so much potential in this property and in the things we could do there.


A Few Helpful Sites – To-Do Lists, Calendar, & Planting Guide February 4, 2009

Filed under: free,garden,organizing — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 5:11 pm

I thought I’d make a quick post and share a few of the sites that I use to manage my time:

BackPack is my homepage on the computer. I just use the free version, which doesn’t include the calendar, but works great for my to-do list [with checkboxes to mark theings off as I get them done], flylady routines, shopping list, etc. You can set up reminders to receive by email or text message, and can also use the site as a journal. It is designed mostly for business users, so the example sites are oriented to business applications, but you make and customize your own page and it works wonderfully to organize your home as well.

The next is Google Calendar. It’s a great way to keep your calendar accesible and eay to update anywhere you have a computer, and can also be accessed and managed from a mobile phone. I like it because it can be set public or private, or you can track multiple calendars [home, work, school, or one for each member of the family, for example] with some events shared and others not. This program also has a phone or email reminder system, and a way to send invitations and let guests RSVP and leave comments about an event right on your calendar page.


My last site is a bit more old-fashioned than the other two, but extremely useful this time of year. It is a customizable planting calendar/table from the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Click on the link and type in your zip code, and it gives you a table of outdoor planting dates for early and late garden vegetables, with favorable moon dates included for those that plant “by the signs”. [My in laws plant by the moon signs. I’d never given it much credence, but their garden has always done better than mine has, so I may try it this year].


The Simple Woman’s Daybook ~February 2nd Edition February 3, 2009

Filed under: Simple Woman's Daybook — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 4:07 am

For Today…
Outside my window… the dogs are curled up against the backdoor sleeping/guarding it.
I am thinking… about what to do if we do end up moving.
I am thankful for… my foot spa & Epsom salt at the end of a long day.
From the kitchen… I made pasta primavera tonight & have chicken thawing for Wednesday.
I am wearing… my comfy nightgown [grey jersey knit made like a t-shirt dress].
I am creating… another real estate website as a placeholder for my business domain name.
I am going… to make a big pot of chicken stock on Wednesday.
I am reading… my blogroll, trying to catch up on the posts I’ve missed this week.
I am hoping… for my husband to get a definite answer back on a job soon.
I am hearing… my dryer. [it’s old, and LOUD]
Around the house… I think the laundry walks out of the closet and multiplies when I’m not looking
One of my favorite things… is being able to sleep in on a cold morning.
A few plans for the rest of the week: sort & put away more clothes, maybe look at more houses, go hiking with the hubby if it’s pretty out on one of my days off.
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Atlantic Beach, NC. Near my hometown – I took this pic a couple years ago, while home for Christmas.

To participate, please see The Simple Woman’s Daybook at


The Simple Woman’s Daybook~January 26th Edition January 27, 2009

Filed under: Simple Woman's Daybook — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 2:35 am

For Today…
Outside my window… it is dark, but was pretty when I came home & could see the stars.
I am thinking… about how to make a move to another part of the state go smoothly.
I am thankful for… my husband & everything he does for me.
From the kitchen… the hubby just brought me popcorn. 🙂
I am wearing… my uniform from work, because I got home about half an hour ago and haven’t changed yet.
I am creating… a scarf to match the hat I knit.
I am going… to lay down pretty sooon & get some rest for tomorrow.
I am reading… “A Woman’s Place Is In the Kitchen”: The Evolution of Women Chefs
I am hoping… to go look at houses with my husband on Friday.
I am hearing… my husband trying to teach are cat to talk.
Around the house… I need to clean the living room & put up some laundry.
One of my favorite things… is my pink BlackBerry.
A few plans for the rest of the week: organize the closet & pick out close to donate, research & look at homes closer to the Charlotte metro, plan for a garden and order seeds in case we stay here for a while.
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Wilson Creek – one of my favorite places to go in the mountains.

To participate, please see The Simple Woman’s Daybook at


Planning & Uncertainty January 26, 2009

Filed under: change — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 1:45 am

My husband has had 2 job interviews recently, both about an hour from the house, in different directions. He’ll probably have another interview in the Charlotte area next week. Either way is too far for him to drive, so he’s decided that we’ll move somewhere closer to where he works.

I did get my promotion, and a slight raise, on my job, so we’ve talked about buying a house about halfway between the two cities. This would mean about a 30-45 minute drive for both of us, but it’s not much further than our last commutes [I drive about 50 minutes, and his was around 30 minutes]. If I could transfer closer to Charlotte, then we may do that, because it would put my closer to the city and I may be able to do school there. I have no idea how I’d afford it, but there is a Johnson & Wales campus in Charlotte, which would look much better on a resume than a community college culinary degree. There’s also at least one internship offered in the general area.

Right now, we’re just waiting, and trying to plan ahead. I have found a few affordable homes in the area, some with a decent amount of land. Most will need some work, but they are houses and not trailers, so they will gain value over time as we are able to fix it up. Selling our current home may be a problem, because we are “upside down” on our mortgage, but I’m sure things will work out if they’re meant to be. I have thought it would be nice to live closer to a city, but still in a rural area, and this may give us a chance to see what it is like. I just didn’t plan on it having so many things on my plate in the process.


Changes January 21, 2009

Filed under: career,change,fitness,Uncategorized — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 3:28 am

There have been a lot of changes in my life in the past few months, and I haven’t had much time to blog. I’d debated whether or not to keep updating, because I know that doing so would probably mean some changes in the content and overall tone of things.

I’ll try to keep things more honest, rather than holding back as I tend to do. I try to keep a positive attitude not not to make posts that will drag people down, but that means I tend to censor myself and not to write about emotional turmoil or issues that are bothering me. I don’t mean that I’m going to start blogging all bad moods and depressing news from here on out, just that I’m going to try to be more real and share both the highs and lows of life, and probably a few more personal opinions as well.

As far as the life changes, they’re mostly in the career field:
My husband lost his job at the beginning of November – they day after the election. He’d worked there one year and one month, after being laid off from his previous job of 13 years due to the plant shutting down. He works in the furniture industry, which has been in steady decline for years, and is looking for a new job, but not having a lot of luck.
Two weeks after he was laid off, the real estate office I was working at announced that they were closing their doors, with very little notice. I am keeping my license active as a referral agent for another office in our company, but am no longer actively engaged in the real estate business. I don’t know if I will try to go back into it when the economy picks back up or not – I liked parts of it, but am not sure how well I’d like it as a career.
I have re-discovered my passion for cooking, and my husband is encouraging me to go to culinary school. I realize it’s a little crazy for my to consider a career in that field [long hours, low pay, probably having to move, and at least several years before I could look for any sort of advancement], but I feel like I’d be happier cooking than I am at the prison or doing office work. I guess the only way I’ll know for sure is to do it.

As far as some of my other goals, I got pretty far off track on everything during all of the changes and turmoil this winter. I pulled my chest wall while running towards the end of August, took some time off to heal, and never got back on track with the exercise program. I gained the weight back, plus some, and let the house get pretty rough again too. I did get some nice kitchen things for Christmas, which inspired me to clean it pretty well, but the rest of the house is in need of serious work. Same for the finances – I had a budget and was starting to pay down the debts when Billy lost his job; now we’re just trying to make ends meet until he gets another one. I’m sure this is just one of those cycles in life, and I already feel like I’m getting back on track but, in many ways, I’m back to where I started.


Birthday Dinner for the Hubby November 16, 2008

Filed under: cooking/recipes — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 3:40 am

I’m one of those people who tends to cook or bake when under stress or trying to make decisions, and it seems like the more that is on the mind, the fancier or more complicated I tend to get with the recipes. Well, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and my husband’s birthday is coming up [this is the closest weekend to it I’ll have off], so I ended up going a little fancier than normal with dinner. The funny thing is that I did it to showcase the cake [torte] I made, but then I forgot to take a picture of it, but here’s the main dinner:

Basically, it’s bacon-wrapped filet, which I cooked by roasting a little garlic and onion in a pan with olive oil, then added a bit of butter and tarragon to saute the filets in, sprinkled them with a touch of seasoned black pepper and grey sea salt when done, and they were ready to go. The pears were poached and served sprinkled with walnuts and drizzled with a reduction of honey in apple cider over chopped walnuts and pecans, then topped with strips of proscuitto and slices of shaved gouda. Add some fresh baked French bread drizzled with oilve oil & herbs, and a glass of Pinot Noir, and there’s a restuarant-style meal that only took about 10 minutes longer than I’d spend on every day family fare.

Desesert was my take on a sachertorte, which did take a while to fix but, like I said earlier, baking is one of my ways of relaxing and allowing myself to think and de-stress. In mine, I substitute white chocolate for dark for the icing/glaze, and use rasperry jam with a touch of mint in the filling, rather than apricot, but I am giving the original recipe I go from, in case anyone is interested in the real thing. [Notes and numbers in brackets are my “close enough” translations of the measurements – I use grams because I tend to bake by weight rather than measurement]:


  • 225 g [2 bars] dark chocolate[for baking]
  • 1.5 dl [5 oz] almonds
  • 225 g [2 sticks]butter
  • 3 dl [300g or 10 oz] sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1.5 dl [150g] white flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 6 egg whites

Icing and filling

  • 200 g [1 used 2 bars again, 225g, of white chocolate instead of dark] dark chocolate
  • 1/2 Tbs cooking oil [I used canola, but prefer liquified coconut oil for sweets]
  • Apricot jam [I used raspberry Pollander all fruit, plus fresh mint leaves]


  1. Set oven to 175C [350 degrees F].
  2. Melt chocolate.
  3. Blanch, peel and grind almonds. Mix with the flour and baking powder.
  4. Blend sugar and butter until white and fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolks, one at a time, to butter-sugar mixture.
  6. Stir in melted chocolate.
  7. Stir in almond mixture.
  8. Whip egg whites to hard foam and fold in.
  9. Pour batter into baking pan lined with baking paper.
  10. Bake for 30-45 minutes.
  11. Let cool. Split in two and spread apricot jam in between.
  12. Melt chocolate and spread over cake. Let cool.
  13. Serve cold with whipped cream [freshly whipped heavy cream is awesome].

Cheap & Easy Compost Bin November 11, 2008

Filed under: diy,garden,green — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 9:25 pm

It seems like our compost pile always ends up getting spread out and hard to manage, and then given up on because it turns into a hard to manage eyesore. For several years, I’ve been saying we “should” get a bin or turner, but always ended up looking at fancy pre-made deals that were fairly expensive and still pretty ugly.

I’m sort of cheating right now by using an old Rubbermaid tote with a bunch of holes drilled in it as a mini worm bin. It works pretty good, and does look better, but is pretty small for the amount we really will be composting [we typically garden about 1/10 an acre, and are slowly adding fruit trees and other edible plants to the yard, and we have a big yard with trees all around, so there are lots of leaves and grass clippings, plus trimmings from the kitchen].

I’ve decided the best solution for this is going to be to build a 3-bin compost bin out of old shipping pallets. I found a good site with photos and directions for this here, and a plan for building the 3 bin type here, if anybody is interested.

The finished project should look something like this ,
but lined up 3 wide, like in this drawing .