Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Live in Your House Forever!

Ok, I promised to tell you why you don't want to live in your house for 30 years until you have it paid for. First of all, think about the house you live in now. What will it be like in 30 years? What will your family be like in 30 years? What will the neighborhood be like in 30 years? Those are probably 3 good reasons to not live in your house for 30 years right there, but I have another reason.

Your house will lose value if you stay there for 30 years (unless you are in some district like Highland Park in Dallas where the values go up no matter what and we don't have that district in Texarkana!) We have dealt with couples that 30 years ago lived in Texarkana's finest neighborhoods. They stayed in their houses until they were paid off, then they realized that the neighborhood was not what it used to be, the house was way smaller than most people live in now and should a spouse die, they wouldn't want the other one left in that older house in a run down neighborhood. So, they went out looking to buy a new home. Those people had to pay from $250,000 to $350,000 to get a home they would be happy with. Both couples sold their existing houses for about $70,000 - barely enough for a good down payment on the new home and they now owe for 30 more years on a house and they are in their 60's! NOT where I want to be in my 60's!!!

Gary and I, on the other hand, being in the building profession and loving new homes, bought and sold. Depending on the economy, we did this every 3 - 9 years. We sold the home when the neighborhood was in it's prime - not on the downhill slide. We would make a little each time on our investment due to rising housing cost and the fact that we kept our home well maintained. We always reinvested all of the equity and profit we got out of our house back into the new home and we would always finance the new home for the same amount of years that we owed on the old home. We never pocketed any money from the sell of the house and we never added years to paying off a home. The idea behind this is that you should be able to afford a little more on the monthly payments by the time you decide to sell the home and move up and you have a larger down payment each time. We are in our 50's and living in a house that is paid for and worth more than $70,000. (And, remember from the last post about money, we paid an extra $100 a month on the principal to get this debt down quicker.) Now which scenario would you rather have for your life - the two couples I told you about, or the one that Gary and I lived?

That is why I say you don't even want to consider living in the same house for 30 years. We made a commitment soon after we were married to never finance anything that did not go up in value. We saved our money and bought what we needed when we could afford it - even cars! I do NOT like paying interest to someone to use their money. There have been times we have financed small amounts on cars when there was 0% interest, but monthly payments are no fun. They take the joy out of life. I will talk more about that in another blogging time.

Hope this helps you down the road in life. Make wise decisions. Seek advice if you need it or even if you don't think you need it. There is always something that we can learn.

Love you and have a Blessed rainy day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have a new pasta recipe that I thought I would share today. I love pasta dishes! If some of you have macho husbands that like to have meat with every meal, I will tell you I added two grilled chicken breasts left over from the night before to this dish. I chopped them up and stirred them in. If your man likes to SEE the meat, then I suggest you slice that chicken and lay it across the top! ha

2 (12 oz) pkgs of vermicelli
4T canola oil
4T fresh lemon juice
1T Accent
1Cup minced celery
1/2 C onions, minced fine
1 bell pepper , minced fine
1 can ripe olives, minced fine
1 big jar chopped pimento, drained
1 pt. mayo
salt and pepper to taste
Cook, rinse and drain pasta. Add oil, lemon juice, and accent; refrigerate overnight. Next day, add
remaining ingredients. Chill and serve.
(I only made 1/2 half the recipe. This makes a very large amount. Great to serve a crowd! I really don't know why you would have to cook the pasta the day before. I think it would work fine as long as it got cool before you proceeded. One other thing, be sure to mince all the veggies. I used my food processor. The idea is not to crunch down on any bite size pieces. All the flavors mix better if they are small pieces.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time to Add One New Thing to Your Home!

Fall always makes me want to update my house! And what better way than adding some new accessories! We build lots of very nice houses, but unless the person accessorizes the house, it is just a house with no personality. Here are a few ways to give your house an updated look. The three frames hanging on the wall to the right are in my bedroom. Gary made these frames and I painted them. They are for sale at Park Street Market exclusively.

The two pictures below are of the smaller frames that I paint. They hold a 3.5 x 3.5 picture. I am not sure which ones Whitney has left in her store, but if there is one you are dying for and she has sold out, I can make it for you. I can also make them in any color you like. This is just a side kick for me. Gives me something to do in my spare time! ha The smaller ones sell for $25. The larger frames above are around $70.

Contact Whitney at parkstreetmarket@gmail.com or go to her website and shop at http://www.parkstreetmarket.com/

Have a Blessed day and enjoy sprucing up your home!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Money Lessons

Ok, time to hit a financial issue with you girls. My mind is loaded with these especially when related to housing issues. I wonder why? ha This weeks hint is how to pay your house off sooner, or at least build up more equity sooner.

If you have a 30 year mortgage and the mortgage company will allow you to make payments twice a month (1/2 when the payment is due and 1/2 in the middle of the billing cycle), depending on your interest rate, you can have that 30 year mortgage paid off in 18 to 21 years. Think of the interest that has saved you! By making 1/2 payments twice a month, it is equivalent to making an extra payment per year. If your mortgage company won't allow you to pay that way, send in extra money with the one payment. For instance, if you can send in an extra $100 a month with your payment (and be sure to write on the check that the extra is to be applied to the principle, i.e. $100 extra principle) that would be paying an extra $1200 a year down on your principle. I know I did this on our last house and when we sold it, I had saved 6 years of payments and had that much more equity in the house than I normally would have had if I had only paid the normal payment. Be sure to keep good records of the extra you pay and each year when you get your statement from the mortgage company showing what you owe that the amount has been applied.

Always when you take out a mortgage, make sure there will not be a prepayment penalty should you decide to pay if off sooner than the length of time on the original loan. Also note, making an extra payment per year does NOT allow you to skip a payment! And, last, I know you could put that extra $100 a month in savings and use it to pay off your house later, but honestly, how many are that disciplined to do that. A hundred dollars sent to a mortgage company is a savings that you can't cheat and take it out and it is earning you the interest rate that you are paying on your house since you are saving that much interest a year.

Next Money Lesson will be to explain why you should never buy a house and live in it 30 years to pay it off.

Have a wonderful and Blessed weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kid Notes

I hope I am not posting too often. If I am, let me know. I am new to this, ha, but something has come to my mind that I think you could benefit from.

Some of you are starting to have families and some of you are teaching and dealing with God's precious little angels on a daily basis. And that is the point I want to stress. We are all God's precious little angels, even though we may not act like it. So, I want you to love the precious little angel but not their bad actions. It is easy to love the child that acts wonderful, but what about the one that can never shut their mouth, or stay in their seat, or doesn't seem to want to cooperate? You have to find a way to let that child know you love them even when they are bad or disappoint you, AND, you have to discipline them also. When Whitney was a baby, I read all of the James Dobson books on child rearing and a couple of facts stuck in my mind all these years. One was never to spank a child with your hand. They relate this to your "person" being mean. Always use another object should you feel the need to spat the hand or the bottom. I used the wooden spoon! ha (I know some of you won't believe I ever did that, but I did.) The child will relate the hurt to the inanimate object rather than the parent.

The other piece of advice I remember was to always count to ten before you lash out punishment. This allows you to take a deep breath and think. Punishment should not be something that punishes the entire family or classroom, only the child that needs to be punished. Hopefully, it will allow you to step back and look at the situation clearly and keep your tone of voice cool and under control. A screaming parent raises kids that scream. Yelling tells the child you have lost control and lets them know they have raised your dander. It lets them think you are on their level and not in control. Stay calm. Remember you are the one who has authority (under God) so act God like. I just never remember a time that God has screamed at me! ha And, I do remember times that He maybe should have!

I love you gals! Have a Blessed day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Am Second

I wasn't going to post a new blog today. I didn't really have anything great to post until now. I got one of the best websites sent to me that I have ever gotten and I wanted to share it with you. Go to: http://www.iamsecond.com/. There are pictures of lots of people rolling across the screen. Place your cursor on each picture to see who that person is and a brief description of them. After you see them all, click on the bottom of the screen on the word Seconds. I suggest you start with Bailee Madison and just go from there. Jason Castro even mentions David Crowder in his talk. For those of you that don't know David, he was born and raised in Texarkana and went to FBC and now has several CD's out and is well known in the Praise and Worship world. I told Whitney that it was all because he was in my 4-year old choir at church that he has become what he has. ha Hope you enjoy this site as much as I do. It appears to add new people daily so the site will always be something you will enjoy going to. Enjoy and have a Blessed day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bacon - Tomato Cups

I thought it was time to share a new recipe with you girls. With football season upon us, you might need a new appetizer to make for a gathering and this one was wonderful. It comes out of my favorite cookbook - Keep Your Fork Cookbook. You can buy it at my favorite gift shop in Carlisle, Ar - Park Street Market. I think you can even get it online by going to www.parkstreetmarket.com. This cookbook is as close to having the same recipes as my personal hand written cookbook as I have found. It has turned Whitney into a wonderful cook since she lives in a town with only a couple of places to eat out. So here is the recipe:

Bacon - Tomato Cups

8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon basil
1 (7 1/2 oz) tube refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bacon, tomato, onion, cheese, mayonnaise and basil. Divide each biscuit into thirds (I used my kitchen scissors and cut them into three equal triangles), placing each one in greased muffin pans. (I rolled mine out with a rolling pin and laid them in the muffin pan. You kind of have to work with it to keep it stretched out to add the other ingredients.) Place a small amount of mixture into each biscuit. Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Yields 30 servings. I used a small amount of PAM in each muffin tin to make sure they would come out.

These were a hit to our party a few weeks ago. There were no leftovers for 22 people. They would be good for any party whether it is an early brunch or an evening party. Very easy mini quiche. Never took a picture since I wasn't even a blogger then! Sorry. I will try to do better in the future.
Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I went to the doctor last week and found out that my cholesterol is high. Not good and even worse is that he told me I probably needed to get on medication due to my age. Great. That got me to thinking about eating a little more healthy and I remembered a newsletter I got from Sprouts, a juice bar here in t-town, that was talking about celery and how it was one of the best foods you can eat. They said, "Celery is the number one medicinal food for lowering blood pressure. It also helps control appetite and lowers stress hormones. Celery is a great source of silicon which is very benefical for joints, bones and connective tissue." Now I don't care if you are young or old....we all could use celery for one of those items! ha

So here is what I ate last night for dinner (since I ate TaMolly's for lunch with Nacho Club). I took a piece of Flat Out Light Original (from Super One Foods back close to the deli - kind of like a tortilla but better) and layered it with spicey brown mustard, 98% Fat free turkey, imitation mozzarella cheese (they have really improved on these imitation cheeses over the years) and a stalk of celery the width of the Flat Out bread. I rolled this all up and it was sure yummy and so healthy! The only item that had any cholesterol was the turkey. This would be great to take in a lunch to work since there is nothing to get soggy in it and you get the celery for green, crunchy feel and nutrition to lower those stress hormones! ha

Advice for you young gals: Keep your weight off now!! Don't get to where I am. It is easier to lose 5 -10 pounds than 40 - 50 lbs for sure! Exercise even when you are dead tired. It will make you feel better. Then why do I have such a hard time doing something I know will make me feel better? Go figure.

Have a Blessed day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome to my world

For those of you that may not be aware, I have a hobby of making barbed wire crosses and picture frames. I call this little hobby "Cathryn & Co." so that is where the name for the blog comes from. The hobby started about a year ago when Whitney opened her gift shop. I decided I could make her a few things to fill in the empty spaces and voila! it has snowballed on me! So on occasion, I will share pictures of things I have made and would like to sell, but this will not be my primary reason for blogging.
My plan with the blog is to share little tidbits of knowledge that I have gained over the years that may help you at some point in your life - kind of like giving motherly advice. I imagine the ones that read this would practically consider me their second mom anyway, so they are used to me giving advice. ha There will be random thoughts on a wide spectrum of issues. Hopefully, at one time or another, something will be useful to you.

Todays thought will be something I read online today and actually prodded me into starting the blog so I could share this with you:
"Don't tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is." You know we probably all pray over the big storms in life, but we have real comfort when we pray over all the little things in life too. When you are young and starting new lives with spouses and then on to starting families, we don't always seem to find the time to talk to God about the little things in life. If you can learn to do that now, life will be much easier and a lot more peaceful.
Have a Blessed day!