When my brothers and I were younger, we were not the wealthiest family on the block, not even close. We weren't poor per say, but we weren't given everything we wanted whenever we wanted. Instead of Atari (yes, I'm THAT old) we got the off brand for Christmas, though it did come with some games I think we actually had the Donkey Kong or maybe it was called Donkey King, but at that age I had NO idea what the real one looked like. My brothers and I couldn't wait to be older and have jobs, so we could buy the things we really wanted.
I was about 5 or 6 years old when my older brother, D, was in the Phoenix Boys Choir. It was quite the coveted position apparently, especially the mustard colored jacket. Oh that thing was ugly with a capital UG, but it was important to my brother. Other than the exorbitant fees for the privilege of being in the PBC, the Choir would also go on a world-wide tour during the summer. Again, I was pretty young at the time and don't remember how much it cost my parents, nor exactly how long the tour lasted, but I do remember the yard sales to pay for it and where in lies the family catch phrase: De-rust it, paint it and sell it!
A little back story, my dad was a "collector," ok, reality, now would be termed as a hoarder. It started in the garage, moved to the family room - turned dad's "office", later to the back yard, and further down the line to the rental property (old family farm land, sold off during the years to the present size of 2 1/2 acres). As a kid, it wasn't that noticeable, my mom kept it contained to only certain areas of the house, thankfully the rest of the house was normal and clean. As a teenager, when it finally started spreading to the backyard, it was embarrassing. I rarely had people over with the only exceptions being close friends, egad, the idea of a party was mortifying!!!
At the time of said yard sales, the hoarding was still relegated to the garage and his office. All of us in the family contributed, we cleaned out our rooms and closets, my dad found all sorts of things to sell. He was always the salesman, as long as I can remember he was always selling something, farm tools, insurance, vacuums and later on specialty car parts. The yard sales were right up his alley. After a few yard sales, we were still short on the money needed for my brother's trip. We were running out of things to sell and time. So in comes the family catch phrase: de-rust it, paint it and sell it! My poor brothers spent many a weekend and week night fixing things up to sell, even after the trip was paid for and even if we weren't actually selling anything. Not surprisingly, today its the family joke, heck, my husband uses the phrase although my dad died a year before we met. Getting rid of all of my dad's "collection" after he died is a whole other story!
Of all the things I've learned from my parents I think frugality has been the most useful, especially in today's economy and back I was really broke, after I had my eldest daughter, when I was feeding myself, her dad and Lauren on $25 a week! When grocery shopping, I look for the best deals for the limited amount of money I have to spend. Whole chickens are our friends, especially when they are on sale!!! I've never been really good at roasting chickens. I'm always fearful of under cooking them, so they have turned out dry, but thoroughly cooked. Instead, following my mother's example, I would usually boil them. My hubby isn't a fan, but hey, you get two things for the price of one; cooked chicken to use in a variety of dishes and chicken stock, bonus!!! Yes I know, in order to get a really good stock, one should boil the heck out of the chicken and the bones. then the chicken is pretty worthless at that point, but if you take the chicken out, de-bone it, then add the bones back in to the stock, you'll get a beautiful stock and some pretty tasty chicken to boot! Yeah there have been plenty of times where I missed that all important step of removing the chicken meat, but it was thoroughly cooked! =)
We received an older rotisserie from my mom a while back, yes one of those Ron Popeil Rotisseries. Its pretty cool, we haven't done a whole lot in it, because its tucked away in the cabinet, so I tend to forget about it and its a monster! We have limited space on our counter top as it is, that thing takes up a lot of space! A couple of weeks ago I pulled out a whole chicken out of the deep freeze, apparently we've been collecting them. I've been picking up at least one or two, if they are one sale. Since the deep freeze is in another building on the property I forget to look to see what we have before I buy more. Needless to say, we aren't going to starve anytime soon as long as we have electricity! After about three days of thawing, it was finally ready for the rotisserie. Didn't do a darn thing to the chicken, beyond taking out the innards and rinsing it off. Stuck it on the pointy things (not a clue what those are called), slid it into the rotisserie and cranked it up. A half hour to 45 minutes later (didn't keep track), perfection! At this particular meal, I was only feeding hubby, myself and Miss J. My step kids were at their mom's. We were able to eat off that chicken for several meals.
I actually braved baking a chicken the other day and shockingly (to me) it turned out pretty well. Again, I didn't do much to it: salt, pepper, a little lemon pepper, dried rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder and 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil, inside the cavity and out. Plopped it into a casserole dish that it barely fit in, breast up, 350* F for about 45 minutes. A meat thermometer is a beautiful thing! 175* - 8* in the thickest part of the thigh (try not to hit the bone) and the juices run clear. Take it out of the oven, let rest for 10 minutes (for the juices to redistribute and it continues cooking - it really does make a difference). Cut up and serve. If you don't know how to cut up a chicken, there are some wonderful tutorials online.
Up Next: What to do with the left over chicken!