Meet the geese!

20170907_145556Welcome the newest members of our homestead.  Ummmm…. I really didnt want geese and I said I didnt want geese.  So my kinda crazy mother wanted a goose and went to a poultry show.  I said i do not want geese.  She said ok.  Long story short, we have 2 geese.  Meet Lincoln(white) and Mary Todd (gray).

What to do before the husband gets home?

20170907_102114.jpgWe all do it (speaking to all women who proudly title themselves as a housewife/full time mom/homemaker).  We get through the day and somehow lookup and notice the clock.  Oh no! The husband will be home in 20 minutes.  I am not diminishing what I do all day but I know I look around and haven’t accomplished all that I would have liked to.

How to prevent this from happening?  I set an alarm on my phone everyday for 1 hour prior to him getting home.  When that alarm goes off.  I go into action.

1.  Dump a load of laundry in the washer.

2.  Thaw items for dinner if needed.  Set them out or run them under water.  Get them started so dinner won’t be late.

3.  Do dishes.  Trust me this goes a long way toward making everything look tidy.  By the way,  I’m embarrassed about my dirty dishes all piled up.  Please know it took courage to post that pic.  In truth it took me 20+ minutes to wash that all by hand and wipe out my sink (no dishwasher).  I reccommend not letting it get like this at the end of the day. Instead try to wash them as you use them.

4.  Wipe off counters and wipe out sinks.

5.  Take your swiffer around and touch up your floor.

6. Set a timer for 10 minues and walk around and pickup/straighten up things around your house.

7.  Take a few minutes for yourself.  I am so busy some days I forget the basics.  Maybe I’ve been working outside all day and my hair and outfit is something I only let my chickens see.  Its nice to take a little pride in my appearance now and then.  My husband has seen me at my worst and loves me no matter what but there is something kind of nice about having him come home to see that he married superwoman.  -able to accomplish everything while still looking amazing.

8.  When he comes home make it look effortless.  Give him a glass of sweet tea and let him unwind.

 

DIY: Liquid Laundry Soap

It time to buy more laundry detergent.  Ugh, my wallet can’t always handle the hit.  Buying laundry detergent can easily increase my checkout costs by $15 or more depending on brand.  And of course im going to want the brand with disclosed ingredients that i can actually pronounce.  I want a soap thats a natural as possible. I want somethingthat makes my skin feel normal not itchy, something that preserves my treasured clothes, removes stains and odors.  I want a product that doesn’t ruin environment just to wash a load.  And i want it all for cheap.

To the internet  I went.  I searched and read many DIY’ers accounts and recipes; until I came up with a basic formula of 3 main ingredients plus water and scent.

You will need:

1/2 cup Borax

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1/3 bar Fels-Naptha (grated)

Stainless steel pot

Grater

Whisk

5 gallon bucket

Empty laundry soap containers

Essential oils for scent- try lavender

You can buy all the ingredients together in a kit here. 

My recipe makes about 2 gallons of laundry detergent per batch.  You could add more water to it and stretch it to 3 gallons if you want but i like mine a bit thicker.  Total that means 1 bar of Fels-Naptha will make 6 gallons of laundry detergent.


1.  Melt grated Fels-Naptha in 3 cups of water on medium heat. Let completely dissolve.  Keep stirring,dont let it boil over.

2.  Add borax and washing soda.  Stir until dissolved. About 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3.  Pour mixture into 5 gallon bucket.

4.  Add 2 gallons HOT water and stir until well mixed.

5.  Let it sit overnight.

6.  Stir again and pour into individual containers.

7. Add scent to mixture in individual containers and shake well.

 

We have a volunteer pumpkin!

She sprang up almost overnight.  A week ago we mowed this area.  Nothing there.  Days ago noticed the plant and its curly cues, and thought maybe we have something here.  Last night I saw a bud.  This morning its a big flower.  I looked it up and sure enough its a pumpkin.  I do kindof remember our halloween pumpkin rotting out there last year a bit before i finally threw it out.  Well I guess it decided to pay us a visit this year.  Wooo hooo.  I’m excited.  I’ve had such a terrible time this year in the garden. I have used these seeds in previous years with great success.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to make some truly homemade pumpkin pie.

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A volunteer pumpkin!

Reblogged: Why you should raise chickens for eggs?

Nutritionally Superior to Grocery Store Eggs 1/3 less cholesterol • 1/4 less saturated fat • 2/3 more vitamin A • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids • 3 times more vitamin E • 7 times more beta carotene Benefits Eggs from well-tended backyard chickens are healthier Eggs from backyard chickens are tastier Chicken droppings enrich […]

via Why You Should Raise Chickens for Eggs? — How to Provide

How to make a grocery list.

I am trying to build my homestead but the road to self sufficiency is a long one.  We are not ready to abandon the grocery store just yet.  Everyone has certain dietary prefences and cultural dishes they love so heres mine:

Non GMO (if possible)

Organic (if possible)

No snack foods (soda, chips, pretzels, or pre-made cookies etc.)

If we have it on the farm i’m not buying it at the store (eggs, beef, and some fruit/veggies)

groceryshopping-949x451.jpg‘I just write down what i think i want and then i go to the store and buy it all.’ – thats what my husband said one day.  He thought i was taking a bit too long to make a grocery list.  I suppose if that was all i was doing then it wouldn’t take very long.  In thruth i do much more.

Rule 1- less time in the store is less money spent

What i mean by this is take your time to make a really good list and you won’t wonder through the store and add random items and jack your bill up.

Rule 2-  Note isle numbers

There are some recurring trends you will notice like buying milk every week.  Go ahead and automatically put these on your list.  As you go to the grocery store ask for a store map.  Note what items were found in which isles.  As you note which isles have the items on your list;  consider organizing your list by isle numbers in the future.  The first few times you wont have all the isle numbers.  Over time you will know many by heart.  This will make your trip much faster.

Rule 3- Meal planningCOHN-Pinterest

Before i go to the grocery store i look through my calendar, whats going on this week?  Are there any events i need to plan around- visitors coming over, husband will work late, going out for the evening?  Then i look through my fridge.  What do i already have that i need to use up?  i look through my recipes- thank you pinterest.  The necessary items get added to my list.  More on meal planning in a later post.

Rule 4- take 5 minutes for coupons

I tried the extreme coupon thing.  It took hours and created a stock pile but it wasnt for me.  If you added up the money saved it was great however if you added in my time spent it truly wasnt worth it for me.  It was a true challenge to find the healthy items i wanted to purchase, they almost never had coupons.  I refuse to do extreme couponing anymore but i will do 5 minute couponing.  There are several websites you can go to and print coupons for free.  I take 5 minutes and look to see if anything i would actually buy has a coupon available, if so i print it.  Thats it.  No hours of clipping, no huge coupon binder, no crossing my fingers that i understood the fine print.  If i save money and it only took 5 minutes then it was worth it.  Bring coupons with you.

A side note about coupons… i have had friends that would create a coupon trade  Basically you find other that wish to coupon who may have access to coupons you dont get or may use that they dont want.  You trade.  They would just drop them off once and a while in the mailbox.  If you can coupon with friends it is much better.  Again i am a 5 min. Coupon girl.

Rule 5- Eat firsteat-before-you-go-shopping

This is very important.  Eat something before you go grocery shopping.  If you go on an empty stomach you are more likely to buy snack food and overspend.

Rule 6- Go during off-hours

Your area may be different but in my area the best times are super early in the am or mid-afternoon, not when everyone gets off work, Not on weekends.

Rule 7- stick to the list

Rule 8- buy when things are on sale

Generally, i only buy paper towells and toilet paper when its on sale.  It doesnt have an expiration date and it will be useful.  So even if its not on my list-the one time your allowed to stray from the list- if its a really great sale, buy it.  This works best for things without expiration dates or dry foods that keeps for years.

Rule 9- tally up a budget and stick to it.  6123794-When-counting-a-tally-sheet-is-often-very-useful--Stock-Photo

I have found that by keeping a tally right at the bottom of my list i have a good ballpark figure for where i am spending-wise. I almost always round up.  If the item is x.25 or less i will round down.  Everything else i round up.  Each mark is a dollar.  The tally makes it easy to count by 5’s to see a rough total.  If i am approaching my budget then i may not have room for a few items and i will put them back.  Putting a couple items back usually doesnt really change my whole plan that much.  Many times it makes me get more creative.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

8 things to do on a Rainy Day

1504354267581876273565.jpgIts September and the temps are dropping and its raining cats and dogs outside.  What should I do?  Just because of a little wet that’s no reason to completely veg out and avoid the world today.   Really, you could try being productive.  Here’s how.

1.  If you have outdoor animals like myself, remember, they may not have it so good.  Go check on them.  Yes that means you need to put on some rain gear: muck boots , hoodie, rain poncho… Then go outside and say hello to your wonderful creatures.

Chickens will probably stay under roof or not leave the coop all together.  Check that they have food.  Maybe give them a treat to show them you care and avoid boredom.  Check that they have fresh water.  Clean up a bit.  Give them fresh dry straw.  You should do this for your hens regularly anyway but consider making an extra effort on a rainy day.

Goats. My goats hate to get wet.  They will spend much of the day inside.  Also, getting wet can even make them catch a cold and get sick.  Again the prescription is the same.  On rainy days make extra effort.  Check in, give them treats, clean their pens, put down dry fresh straw. Feed and water and give lots of love.

My animals are all content, whew… now what else or should I fire up Netflix and completely say screw it.  A netflix afternoon is great but maybe just a few other things first.

2.  Consider deep cleaning or decluttering inside for the day.  Do you have demons lurking in your fridge that need to go.  How about going thru that pile of paperwork in the corner.  Clean it up.

3.  If you have a blog update it.  Look back through old articles and correct spelling, grammar… add other pics and links.  Ahem, I need to do this.

4.  Read other blogs that interest you.  Maybe you can learn from someone else today and use that knowledge another day.

5.  Food prep.  There always seems to be something I was going to chop up and freeze, make jam, can stuff, make ahead snacks, and breakfasts to make life easier, that kinda thing.  Maybe there is a recipe you’ve been dying to try, today is the day.

6.  Rainy day = errands day.  Today may not be your usual day out for groceries but maybe its time to switch it up.  Note: sometimes this works out to be less people and shorter checkout lines.  Sometimes this doesn’t work so well and you are stuck in traffic from poor driving conditions, use your best judgement with this one.

7.  Consider a DIY or craft project.  I normally make my own laundry detergent. Its super easy.  I’m out right now so maybe ill make more this afternoon.  Not all DIY is useful products.  Maybe you have a ton of seasonal Pinterest crafts, today might be a great day to try that door wreath you’ve been planning.  Also, i knit and make homemade candles and soap to give as gifts and sell.  I might work on something along those lines.

8.  Go on a date.  I know im married but we go out together on dates.  We hang out with friends.  We don’t have children yet, but if you do, consider making today about doing something with them.  The point is, be social.

Tried it all and it’s not even noon.  Ok, maybe now you can breakout the Netflix and catch up on some serious binge watching, if your into that.

I’m broke, now what?

So, I’m broke.  I resigned from my teaching position-for a variety of reasons, maybe someday I’ll write a post about it.  I have almost no money left in my bank account and I need to figure out how to adult again.  My husband has been very patient with me.  He still has a decent, not great, paying job.

So what now?

Step 1- Reduce my bills

Okay, so my husband and I are planning to move in with family and try to sell our house.  (I know i said earlier that we moved to the farm; the answer is… its complicated)  = no mortgage

Living with family we will contribute to the utility bills but our contribution is very small. =very little in utilities

I paid my car insurance up through the end of the year.  = no car ins. at least for a while

I called my cell phone company and reduced my plan. =saving $20/mo. on phone

I have free eggs, hamburger, some fruits and veggies from the farm.

By reducing our cost of living we should be able to live more on less.  Living on less is kinda what the whole homesteading movement is about.

Still need help try this:

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Step 2- Build the homestead

We have been doing this.  This is an ongoing process.  I will continue to post on this later, but the idea is to make money from the homestead as a business and love what we do.

Step 3- Make money

Ok this one is not as simple as its sounds.  I’ve been trying all sorts of avenues.  I applied at Rev.com.  This is a legit make money from home online business.  You watch videos and caption or transcribe text.  This sounds easy but they have their own style that they want you to conform to.  It’s not easy and it’s time consuming but you could make a little extra money from it if you’re a fast typist and willing to put in the time.

What else?  I have a blog, which i am trying to build up.  Trust me you can make money doing this.  But I’m still learning.  I’ve turned to a lot of online resources for help.  So if you’re trying to start a successful blog don’t dispare.  You can turn to articles about affiliate links or try reading Make Money Blogging by Victoria Pruett.  

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Arguments with purpose

I know usually I post about farming and homestead projects. But if you don’t work on your marriage then you may lose your partner.  Today’s post is about keeping your partnership so you thrive together in your homesteading adventure.

The other morning my husband was cursing everything as he tried to get ready for work.  Yes he still works a 9-5 job, we aren’t able to do without paychecks yet.  Nothing is organized he would say.  I’m pretty sure my name was used in vain a couple of times.  The truth is nothing is organized because we need more storage and he is grumpy because he is not getting enough sleep.  So what is a good wife to do?

First I called and scheduled an appointment with a marriage counselor.  Seeking outside help seems worth it if it saves your marriage.  So let’s do that cause I’m tired of the arguments.  Second, I’ve tried to do something small to save him time in the morning… which for us means I’m packing his lunch the night before.  I’m a teacher and so I am off for the summer and have the time.  It’s a simple way to show him that I care.  Also it saves him the time of making it himself in the morning or the money of buying out.  He can just grab and go.  I hope that this small gesture helps him get his mornings back under control.

Now that I’ve been making his lunch for just a few days this morning there was a new crisis.  He couldn’t find his car keys.  So today I’m shopping for a key hook thing.  I mean sure you know them.  I’m going to place it at the door and hopefully solve that problem.

So I say that frustrations should lead to innovations and arguments should lead to compromise.  Go ahead and bring it.  What’s your new challenge?  What’s that one small thing that could ruin your day that I can fix for you in a thoughtful and meaningful way.  I will take that challenge.  I will fix it so we can grow together.  I think arguments should have a purpose.  I want us to grow and change together for the positive.  To me this is how you keep a partnership.

Time to Trim Up

Ok so I’ve gained a little weight.  I’m 35, so I guess I should expect it.  I’ve always been small but curvy.  I’m 5’2 and an hourglass figure.  I’m not fat by any measure; but I’m not comfortable with myself right now and many of my clothes don’the fit like they used to.  So I’m going to start adding some targeted exercise routines to my day.  We’ll see what happens.   Right now I weigh 135 pounds and my size 6 stuff which used to be my ‘fat clothes’ fit tightly.  My goal is to slim back to my comfortable loose size 4; which is about 120 pounds.

Check out this awesome blog I found on exercise and weight loss.