Monday, September 24, 2012

Freezer and Fridge Staples Part 3

Here is a list of items that I keep in my fridge and freezer. Some of the items I get from Aldis on my stock up day, and some I make from scratch and keep frozen for later use.

  • milk (whole or skim) I like organic
  • cheese -block, shredded and sliced. (cheddar, colby,or whatever else I'm in the mood for)
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • eggs usually about 7 or 8 dozen
  • fruits and berries whatever are in season
  • veggies (collards, mushrooms, celery, carrots,and other yummy goodies i find on sale. sometimes ill try something new)
  • maple syrup
  • butter 6 pounds
  • crescent rolls
  • bread
  • bananas that have browned ( you can later turn them into sweet breads or muffins to freeze and eat later)
  • frozen veggies. I stock up when stores have them 10 for 10 and I use them in soups, side dishes, pasta the possibilities are endless!
  • frozen fruit. good for smoothies, to make pie fillings and to thaw and eat as a treat. yum!
  • homemade pizza dough
  • yeast breads
  • sweet breads
  • ground turkey
  • chicken breasts (boneless)
Tomorrow I will write out all the menu possibilities there are with just these staples alone! 01 02 18

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pantry Staples -Living on a Budget Part 2

So as I promised, I am back to share with more money saving tips. As I said before, we have had some really hard times, at more then one occasion we have had to swallow our pride and take food donations from a food pantry. We are very blessed! You don't know what poor is until you have to chose what to spend the 20 dollars you happened upon and don't know when you'll see more money again. That is how bad it was when my husband lost his job a year ago. I was pregnant, had no health care or benefits for me or my two oldest children, the unemployment and government assistance were making us jump through months worth of hoops and in the mean time, we were stuck looking for handouts and trying in anyway to make a buck while my hubs searched desperately for a job in the tri -state area. When he finally did nearly 6 months after unemployment it was not a high paying job. So we are in an incredible amount of debt, and still have to feed five (7 counting our cats) mouths while catching up on all of the bills we were deferring before.
Here is what I prefer to keep in our pantry. When you have a odd assortment of food in your pantry you really get creative in order to make a yummy AND nutritious meal for your family. That is always a fun challenge, and I have created some really good keepers to add to the recipe binder.

So no more yapping , here is the list!

  • cream of mushroom soup
  • cream of chicken soup
  • a variety of pastas
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • crushed pineapples
  • creamed corn
  • whole corn
  • olives
  • jalapenos
  • tuna
  • yeast
  • flour
  • pie fillings
  • rice
  • dry beans
  • Lipton onion soup mixes
  • taco seasoning packets
  • spices of all varieties   salt, pepper, onion powder, savory, basil, parsley, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg,all spice, dill, thyme, rosemary, lemon pepper salt. these are what we keep in our pantry.
  • stuffing mix
  • evaporated milk
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • 10x sugar
  • pasta sauce
Next post I will give you the list of the items I always keep in my freezer and fridge. The post after that I will give you guys a list of the recipes I use on a weekly basis, and all of the different recipes you can make with the lists. Yesterday I made corn and peas to go with the chicken stroganoff and had leftovers. Today I sauteed up some ground turkey with taco seasoning, mixed in the leftover corn and peas and put them in a taco shell sprinkled with shredded cheese! Two meals out of one side dish. :)
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Friday, September 21, 2012

How to make meals on a budget Part 1

Our bulleton board
This is going to be a many part series to how my family and I eat on a very very low budget. I think I speak for most people these days, no matter how much money you have, we all need to spend it wisely. This economy is rough! It is not easy starting out a family in the recession. We personally have been hit left and right with financial woes. So we are always looking for ways to save money. I have been doing a weekly meal plan, for all three meals AND snacks every Sunday. Saturday I will sit down with my coupons, my grocery sales flyer and my list of items we ran out of during the week. I will then ask my family if they have any requests. This week my son wanted chicken stroganoff. ( he calls it chicken strong enough haha) I have seen alot of cute menu boards you can attach to your kitchen wall. I put mine on a bulleton board that hangs either in my kitchen or my dining room.

    As I go through my list of ingrediants that I need, I look through my coupons, and the sales. If I can find sales that I have coupons for, I will get that. I sit with my calculator and plug things in as I go so I know if Im getting off budget. Now make sure you know how much you want to spend for the week. Do not go over this, for any reason. If you want to make sure that you do not go over your budget, shop using cash. So if you are only budgeted to spend 300 dollars for your trip, make sure that you only bring 300 dollars. That way you know that while you are shopping, you will not just throw in that exta treat becuase it was on sale.

   I have things that I always keep in my pantry. I buy it once a month in bulk. I get most of them at Aldis but if I find them on sale AND have a coupon I will get them at Pathmark or Giant. Im going to type up the staples in my pantry tomorrow. I will also post some simple recipes to make with these items. I will later post what I always keep in my bulk freezer as well as my fridge, so keep checking back!

  My kiddos are starting to wake up so that is all for today, I hope I helped in some small way today to get you started and on track to saving money.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Day on the homestead

What is a typical day for me? busy...especially the three weeks leading up to the first day of school. I will go through everything we own and donate or throw away things we dont use. Then I will wipe down all the walls and wood work and windows. I leave no stone dirty in this house. That way we have a nice fresh start to the school year.  Here was my schedule for today.
6 am woke up
6 to 730 i cleaned out my lady bugs closet, went through  my moms shoes and put them away. threw out the trash before the truck came.
730 fed kids breakfast and ate mine
8 am did a craft with the kids
830 did dishes and wiped down kitchen
9 am put baby down for nap
10 am made strawberry jam
1130 made lunch for kids
noon folded laundry
1 pm put both babies down for nap
1 to 3 checked emails, entered contests and pinned on pinterest
3pm snack time
3 to 430 colored with the kids
430 to 500 played outside with the kids and weeded the garden beds
5  to 6 made and ate dinner
6 to 730 more outside play, more weeding
730 to 8 bathed all 3 kids, put on pjs and read a book.
now Im back to emails, pinterest and blogging, I did a lot of tidying up after the kids through out the day too, But this is our typical day. 01 02 18

Friday, August 10, 2012

Learning About My Mother

This time of year has been hard for my family and I ever since 2010. Its the time where my mom got seriously sick, and we had started to allow ourselves to believe that she wasn't going to recover. It was around this time, she had planned to go see the Phillie's with my oldest son Talon. She doted over Talon, her first grandson, tremendously. She loved him so much. So when she called to tearfully tell me she was too sick to go to the game, and that we should just take the tickets and go with someone else, I told her no, that she had to go, we could make it work. I did not want to believe what she was telling me. She told me more firmly that she could not go. And how all she wanted was to go there with him, but she was just too sick and weak. Not knowing how to cheer her up, I told her not to be sad, there will be another game. I think I was the last person to really believe that she wasn't go to make it. Even as we took her off of life support a month later, on September 13th, I stood by her side and said to her, I would see her tomorrow. I just believed that she would start breathing normal again, and that she would miraculously survive this horrible cancer. She did not.
Summers have never been good for me, If I could, I would just skip from spring to fall, (my two favorite seasons) and sleep through summer. However I cannot. From the summer I lost my friend to cancer, to the summer I lost my mother to cancer and each summer in between that things have just never looked up for me. I am not sure why I have bad luck in the summer. But I am determined to set things straight. Next summer I vow, to the Gods, that I will have a good summer. There will be no mishaps, no mistakes made, no people I love dying or turning on me. No hardships whatsoever. But for now, I grieve for my mother. I relive these days two years ago, all the last times i hugged, kissed and talked to her. I think of all the questions I have still to ask her. I had so much more that I wanted to learn about her. And I might never know. I have been going through her clothes, for now its all my dad will let me take of hers, and since they all smell like her, I am happy to take ALL of her clothes. As I put them up in my closet, and remember all of our memories we had while she wore this dress, or that shirt, or that skirt with those shoes....I realised I'm learning things about who she was by what she wore. She was so darling! She has the four of the same shirts just in different colors, and the same shoes in different colors. Each outfit had a reason she bought it, a certain intention. It showed her character.  A lot of who she was. Even her pajamas. I cannot express how much I wish she was still here, wearing these clothes, but since besides my memories, this is all I have of her, I will search her clothes for all the answers to the questions I wish to ask her, and hope that they will tell me the story I am trying to read, without the author. I will use them, to keep her alive. I miss you mom. Everyday. 01 02 18

Friday, July 27, 2012

How to make your own Liquid Fabric Softener

You will need a bottle of cheap conditioner (pick your scent carefully, your clothes will smell like it!) 3 cups of vinegar and 6 cups of water. Hang onto some empty bottles to transfer the softener into.

Recruit an adorable helper who enjoys pouring and stirring.

Squirt the entire bottle of conditioner into a pan. You are "supposed" to only use 2 cups, but I used the whole bottle. Lady bug would like me to warn, the bottle makes "toot" sounds when squeezing, apparently.

It causes giggles to ensue.

So once the conditioner is in the pan, add 3 cups of vinegar and turn pan on medium high heat.

Stir the conditioner into the vinegar until its all incorporated. Not everyone does this, but I like to do this because I feel it makes it more "soapy" and less "conditionery" No that isn't a word, but I like to throw the spell checker through a loop every now and again.

Pour the vinegar and conditioner mix into the 6 cups of water and have a little lady bug that likes to stir, gently stir it all together.

Once that is all done, pour it into your empty containers you set aside and wash as usual. Enjoy! (As much as you CAN enjoy doing laundry.)
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

We are Jammin! Cause the jammin is GOOD!

This is my best friend June, for ten years now we have been raising our kids, exchanging stories, encouragement, and laughter and experimenting in the kitchen. Every Tuesday and sometimes on Sundays well get together and make something yummy. Last Tuesday she and her four youngin's came over my house and we made and canned a whole 'lotta jam!

This is her littlest one. Hes a cutie pie, and he approves of the jam! Since he approves, I will share it with you! Here is the step by step guide on how to make and can your very own strawberry jam. It looks like its pretty involved but its not, its super easy. If you haven't canned before, this is the best to start off with. You can find this recipe in the Ball canning book.
You will need 5 cups of mashed strawberries.
4 tables of lemon juice (to add acid)
a pad of butter to reduce the amount of foam needed to be skimmed later
a package of powered fruit pectin
7 cups of sugar.
a big stock pot
and a huge canning pot
8 oz canning jars

rinse the strawberries, then hull them, and cut them in half, or in slices
Mash them up and measure them as you go. Should be five cups of strawberries.

yummy mashed strawberries! Take the mashed berries and put them in your big stock pot. Then add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pad of butter, and the packet of pectin. Whisk that all together.

(If you have one of the containers of pectin, use 3 tablespoons)

(This is a pad of butter)

Cook the mixture on medium high heat stirring occasionally until it gets to a rolling boil, then add in the 7 cups of sugar all at once.

Turn the heat up! Once it gets to a raging boil, where if you stir it, it will not stop boiling. let it cook for a minute or so more. Then skim off the foam on top. It looks like whitish stuff.
Now I like to keep my jars in a pot that I have sterilized them in. I sterilize them by putting them in the canning pot and boiling them. Once they have been at a boil for five minutes I will turn it off and let them sit in the hot water. Then I fill my sink with boiling water and transfer them there using wire tongs. BE CAREFUL! The jars are hot! Boil the lids also and set them aside. The jars have to be hot when you pour the hot strawberry jam in them, because of not, the change in temperature will make the jars crack.

Now take each jar out of the boiling water, fill it with the jam leaving a 1/4 of head space. Take a butter knife and run it around the edge of the jam to break any bubbles. Using a clean rag dry any jam that might have dripped off the lip of the jar, then put the lids on the jar, no need to tighten the lids super tight, just tight enough there is a bit of resistance.

Once all of your jars are filled with the jam, its now time to give them a really really super hot water bath. Take your canning pot, and make sure you either line the bottom with jar lid rings, or if you have one, a canning rack, you just want to make it so that the bottom of the jars aren't touching the bottom of the pan.
This is my beauty! Is it possible to LOVE a pot? If it is, I love this pot. My heart sings every time I look at it, and the joy it brings me is blissful. Its definitely a part of this family. OK, Ill stop being gushy now, lets move on!

Now you want to fill the pot with water, I usually use a pitcher and transfer the water rather then try to haul this heavy pot of jam and water from the sink to the stove. I thought of this after the second time I canned. I know, sometimes I can be a bit slow, I call it "mommy brain". Once your pot is filled with water, till the jars are all covered by an inch of water over head, put the lid on and turn your stove on high. And let it get to a boil. The raging boil. You will want it to be raging boiling for 10 to 13 minutes abouts. Then turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes.  

This is what a "raging boil" looks like. when you say "raging boil" make sure you say it with a southern accent, its so much cooler that way.

Once they have sat for 5 minutes, take your handy jar tongs that I picked up at a local Walmart and carefully remove the jars and set on counter, I usually put a cloth down  or my wooden cutting board. This is the really awesome part of the whole process, when you take out the jars, or after they have been sitting for a bit, you'll hear a "pop". That's when you know you did it right. That little "pop" from the jars means that the lid is sealed, and its such a satisfying sound. Say it with me "aaaaaah".

Here is June and mine's latest bounty. She did most of the canning while I refereed the children and she did a mighty fine job! I think our next canning adventure will be fig jam, with the figs picked from a friends tree! So "wink wink" and "nudge nudge"  stay tuned for a post about making figgy jam! Happy Homsteading ya'all!
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I know a lot of us are looking for ways to save money. One easy way I found was to make my own soaps. Laundry soap is something I first started off with and found it to be easy to do, and lasted quite some time. When we were a family of four, it lasted an entire year! Now we are a family of five, one of which is a baby, I find I'm making it twice a year. Still, considering the ingredients cost 8.00 dollars I think that is still an incredible deal! Here is my step by step detailed instructions with pictures!

                       1)    This is what you will need.

2) these are the kitchen gadgets you will need

3) having some cute helpers doesn't hurt

4) Let the fun begin! Take a cheese grater or an apple peeler and grate (peel) down the soap bar until its into little bits.

 5) place the shavings into a pot cover with water and then cook on medium heat while stirring occasionally.

6) All the soap will melt down into liquid.

7) I buy one of these large wonderfully orange home depot buckets to keep the condensed laundry soap in. You will store it in here, but save a regular soap dispenser to use while doing laundry.

8) Take a cup of super washing soda and throw in the bucket. (gently of course)

9)1/2 a cup of Borax

10) It will look like this!

11) Put the liquid soap in with the Borax and super washing soda and mix!

12) fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot water

13) Put your soap mixture to bed for the nite. nitey nitey!

14) In the morning get your saved soap dispenser, i usually will save a water bottle and cut the top off and use that to pour the soap in.

15) Open up your bucket and stir the soap really good, put half of the mixture into your dispenser then fill the dispenser the rest of the way with hot water and shake!

You now have your very own home made laundry soap! Enjoy!
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lukes Birth

Luke 18:27  What is impossible with men is possible with God

         John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

                             I have taken my time in writing my birth story. It took me time to digest all that has happened and get all my words and thoughts together on the matter. You see it isnt just a normal birth story, it has been a long awaited finale with a journey that was never easy to get to the outcome. A beautiful outcome it was! So let me finally begin.

My birth starts with the outcome of my first two births. I tried both times to have a natural birth, both ended up with csection because of being set up to fail. Doctors told me that my hips were just to narrow and I could never birth a baby naturally. Anyone that knows me, knows that when someone tells me I cant, Im going to let you know that I CAN. So I asked everyone why I coudnt. Nobody could give me evidance why I coudnt, but I found tons of evidance why I could. My local ICAN chapter helped me out alot with this. My midwives helped me out alot with this. My doula helped me out alot. My chiropractor gave me alot of encouragment and help. I had a really good team. But even with that, I still had the words from the drs. stuck in my head, especially my recent doctors. " I am too small." They said. "he has broad shoulders and will get stuck" they said, "There is so much water he could get hurt"  they said. It was a battle to not get caught up with those lies. Finally at 41 weeks, It was time to prove them all wrong. I woke up after having off and on contractions for three days, I didnt sleep much at all the nite before becuase of them, and when I went to use the potty, I lost the rest of my mucous plug ( I had lost some of it two days prior) It was gross. I love all birth stuff, but I have a queezy stomach). I realised that I was unable to walk through the contractions anymore. I went downstairs and drew a bath. I remembered that I had to go get blood drawn that day, as well as a chiropractor appt. I also had to take my friend who was staying with us for a few weeks to the airport. It was a busy day, and none of it was going to be achieved by me becuase today was the day I was finally going to have my baby! I asked husband to text Karen (our midwife) and explain that I coudnt get the blood drawn today, she was happy! And to let Heather (our doula) know that I was in the tub relaxing and that today was the day. She came right on over! I am a very needy person and need constant reassurance, it was so nice to have Heather there with me, becuase she helped me alot! I spet the first hours and hours of my labor listening to Bob Dylan while pacing back and forth, and resting while watching the Iron chef with the sound turned down. My friend came to keep my kids busy. As the nite fell and my other midwife Wendy arrived I felt exhausted and was worrying that I will never have him. I tried to sleep but it was so hard, contractions had been comimng every three or four minutes since the morning, and it seemed like it would never get time to push! Well when I finally got into the pool, I was able to take a nap. Im not even sure how long it was, but that nap was so nice! Once I woke up things got super more intense and thats when Karen asked to check me. I had to get out of the pool and she seemed pleased at where I was, I asked her how open I was but she woudnt tell me ( I had asked her at some point in my pregnancy not to). It didnt seem much longer after Karen checked me that I was feeling like my body was trying violently to push the baby out. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet and started to push as hard as I could but nothing was happening! I was so tired, and I remember closing my eyes right there on the toilet and that is when I heard the birds. I knew right then, that a new day was coming and panic started to set in. I was exhausted, I was pushing for a while it seemed and maybe what the doctors said was right, Maybe my pelvis was too narrow. Maybe I coudnt do this! In a short time my kids would be awake again and I knew that if I didnt give birth to my baby soon, I would have to miss out another day with my kids! I needed to birth him NOW. I opened my eyes and looked at Heather and burst into tears stating "I cant do this! I know Im a failure but I have to go the hospital now and have him NOW!" Thats when Karen popped in and said in a gentle voice " Let me help you Ellie, come sit on the birth stool and see if we can have this baby, if I cannot help you, then we will take you in" . So I followed Karen, Heather and Wendy into the living room and sat on the birthing stool. I immediately got another contraction and started to push. Karen put a warm rag on my bottem and I pushed again. She put a chux pad over her and Wendy did the same, then she said, one hard push Ellie! So I did, thinking that it would do the trick, and POP!! and WHOOSH! Out came all of that water I was carrying around, like a ocean wave RIGHT ON KAREN AND WENDY! I think Karen got the most of it, I apologised and she laughed and said it was part of birth. I went to push again and he was crowning! They told me to feel for his hair and I felt it....I still didnt believe that he was coming though! I pushed again and out came his head! He was crying! Now even though I never felt like I got much of a break between the contractions before, waiting to get the push sensation after his head came out felt like an hour. lol I wanted so badly to push him the rest of the way out and hold him in my arms (not to mention comfort him since he was crying) and finally that last push and in two seconds he was in my arms with a hat and a blanket (wow Karen and Wendy are QUICK!) and I was just shocked! I sat there holding my baby in my arms. He was my third child and the first baby I got to hold, got to birth and got to nurse immediately. He latched on perfectly before I even pushed out the placenta! I realised that I  didnt see whether or not he was a boy or girl (I was so sure my gut instincts were right) but I checked anyway, and there it was, hes a boy! I looked up at Heather who was taking my picture and crying too, I had forgotten she was there becuase in my exhausted state I coudnt see her anymore, it turns out she was behind me holding me up! So there it is. I gave birth, to a almost 9 pound baby, surrounded by the 4 people that believed in me most and that I trusted, and woudnt have been able to do without. Karen always said throughout the entire pregnancy that its the mammas that do all the work, and should take all the credit,but with my situation I must insist, that without Karen and the rest of my birth team, Luke would not have come naturally. He would have been another heart breaking unnecesary cesarean. Even though I believe in birth, and I knew in my heart that my body wasnt broken, with my lack of self esteem and confidance in myself and my abilites, I needed someone that I can trust, to tell me that I CAN do it. Karen was one of the people that I trusted, if she said I could do it, I can! She had earned my trust 6 years earlier when she caught a problem with my first born, so I knew that if I could do it, she'd know it. She woudnt put me and my child in danger. I thank her and Wendy and Heather every time I look down at my precious little boy, becuase even though I was the one to grow, love, nourish and then push him out of me, without them, and without God..I would NOT have known it was in me. My body is NOT broken.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear Mamma

I never thought I'd be writing you this letter. A letter you will never read. I never thought Id never be able to speak to you again. Atleast not this soon. I miss you so very much, I am angry,sad and heart broken. Tomorrow I will go back to your house where I grew up, and where you spent thirty or so years making it cozy, and go through your clothes and shoes. I know it sounds melodramatic but most nites, I cry myself to sleep. Because you are not in my world anymore, and I feel so very alone. What can I say? You were always my home base. You were who I went to to feel validated, and loved. When I needed assurance, you gave it to me. When I needed to be put in place, you put me there. You knew me better then anyone else, and you loved me in spite of it, for good and for bad. And now that your gone I feel listless, lost and alone. I just had another baby, a little boy, who you will never meet. I will get to watch him grow but you will never get to even know his name. I hate this. I hate watching my daughter growing up doing things that she got from YOUR gene pool and not be able to call you up and thank you for it. Share the cute and proud moments with my children with you. You always were the next person to appreciate them as much as me. You loved my kids, almost as much as me. Because you truely loved me. I want you back....but thats not ever possible. I keep waiting for you to come back, like if I have good behavior.....or if I just suffer long enough, the phone will ring and it will be you, telling me it was just a bad dream.
As I go through my days without you, trying to adjust to the world without you in it, I remember all of our memories. I remember as a child I hated going to school becuase I didnt want to leave you, I was afraid that if I left you something bad would happen to you, or to me and I woudnt find you again. I remember going on vacation with you and how you always made it so special, even if it just meant that I could pick out my own cereal, and a movie to watch at the cabin. I remember how you always would remind me of my good traits when I was down about myself. I remember dancing with you ever Sunday nite to Jackie Wilson, in your bedroom before bed. Who will dance with me now? I remember you taking me to dance three nites a week and all my competitions and recitals and rehearsals. Telling everyone how proud you were of me to have such a good dancer in the family. I remember how sentimental I was and still am, and I would never throw anything away, especially if you gave it to me. I once got upset with you for sending me to my room and I threw a knick knack you gave to me from the beach agaisnt my walla nd it never punished me for it because you knew from my face how sorry I was. I remember you tucking me in every nite and making my stuffed monkey dance to the "witch doctor" song before kissing me goodnite.I remember years later I would tuck you in to the same bed when I cared for you during your first battle with cancer. Then a year later, It would be the last place I would talk to you before you left this world. And now...on my bed, the bed where I used to feel so cozy as a child, reading my books...daydreaming about my future, lies all of your clothes and things waiting for me to come and get them. I never imagined this would happen, atleast not now or not for a very very long time. Quite honestly Mom, I am mad. I am sad. I am wondering if I will ever feel "right" again. Can you tell me? If only you can hug me one last time and tell me that I will be alright. 01 02 18

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bucket List

Does everyone have a bucket list? Ive always been a big fan of lists. I remember reading Anastasia Crumpnik book when I was a little girl, and she wrote lists about everything and I remember feeling like finally I was understood, or maybe I understood more about myself? Hah. Well I thought Id share my list on here. Its changed and expanded over the years. Im constantly adding to it and taking things away. but most have stayed the same since I was a kid.

1) To have children (check!)
2) To live on a farm/homestead
3) play the violen
4) go to culinary school
5) write a novel
6) own the first edition of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
7) be a treasure broker
8) travel to the west coast
9) learn french
10) visit iceland
11) own and run a bakery
12) hike the entire length of the Apalachian trail 01 02 18

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lifes A Bloomin'

Look what I found in my garden today!

Arent they lovely?! And Kayce, Ive got my eye on you! If my lavender is missing, I know who to ask first! ;)
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