Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Todd and I have decided to do some major Spring cleaning.  We don’t have just one house, we have TWO.  The house next door has been used as a “shed” since we bought it, and it’s just too much.  We (meaning Todd) lose things all the time because these items are transferred from one house to the next, and then back again.  I had enough and am determined that we are going to go through the house next door (along with our primary residence!) and get rid of anything we don’t use and don’t need!

The main goal for the house next door (or the “crap house” as we call it) is to be torn down.  We don’t want to do that until we have CASH to pay for the demolition and have money to fence in the yard as we have right now.  So, needless to say, the “crap house” may be there for a little while.  But that doesn’t mean we need to keep filling it with JUNK! 

Todd’s father gives us stuff all the time.  Some items we use.  Some items, we don’t.  The light in the dining room is something that Todd’s father salvaged and we made to be a little more modern (with the new sconces.)  Also, some of the wood that Todd is building the chicken coop with is scraps from his father.

We also have two metal sheds behind our primary residence that I haven’t been in for over 2 years!  It’s time to purge!

Todd and I both work very well on a deadline.  We procrastinate, and then knock things out at the last minute.  In the past, we never cleared out the house next door because we didn’t know how much trash the garbage company would take, and a lot of the items are in perfectly good condition.  I hated throwing things away.  But I found out that the Salvation Army will come out to our area and pick everything up!  I am happy that it will be picked up so that we don’t have to worry about making 5,000 trips to Goodwill while they are open, and the fact that these items will be used by someone makes me so happy. 

Now, we have no reason NOT to start working on it.  I need to check my hoarding behavior at the door when we go in and clean it out.

I had a goal to chuck 2 items a day, every day, for the entire year.  Well, I have only sold 8-10 books, but when we start to clean out our primary residence and the house next door, the 730 out of the “house” will not be a problem. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Double Dipping

Todd has been making fun of me for several months now because I get so excited about earning SwagBucks.  I threatened him that I’d sign him up one day!  Well, I finally did it. I don’t think he realizes how quickly I accumulate SB’s and how many $5 gift cards I’ve accumulated from doing nothing out of the ordinary but search the internet, something I do every day at work.  I now have 3 people I’ve referred and I get points when they get points for searching the internet.  I will admit, the reason behind signing up Todd was completely selfish.  I wanted more points!  After just a few days, he’s already up to 100 SB’s.  He has earned me over 60 SB’s, and between the two of us, I hope to be getting enough points to get a $5 gift card every two weeks or sooner.

I am accumulating gift cards to right now for Mother’s Day gifts for my mom as well as Todd’s mom.  I have $20 worth of gift cards from using SB’s, and need only 20 more SB’s to get my next $5 card.  Total for Mother’s Day Gifts that I need to accumulate: $40!  I’m half-way there. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quick Sweep

A couple of weeks ago, my father, step-mom, brother and two nieces came over to our house for dinner after work during the week.  My brother had just gotten into town from Camp Lejeune and it was the first time we’ve seen him since he left for Afghanistan last year.  It was great to have everyone over for dinner; however, Todd worked on his two days off to clean the house from top to bottom.  He did a great job, but was exhausted the whole rest of the week!  His joke is that he goes to work to “relax” from all the stuff I “make” him do.

I wanted to keep the house picked up.  It has been difficult.  I come in and out of the house several times in the morning and also in the evening when I get home from work because of taking Lana out to go potty.  So there ALWAYS seems to be a coat hung out on a chair.  Add to that when Todd takes her out, there is another coat (or 3) on chairs because sometimes it’s really cold when he takes her out in the morning, and then it will warm up a little, so he’ll wear a lighter jacket, and then a hoodie!

I decided that I wanted to do a “quick sweep” of the house a couple of times a week.  This means to put everything away.  On Sunday, Todd went to the hardware store down the street, and I wanted to see how much I could get done in the time he was gone.  He was only gone for 15 minutes, and in that time, I picked up the kitchen counter, put away 3 jackets that were hanging on the backs of chairs, put all the dirty laundry (Todd likes to leave a pile on the floor next to the tub when he gets in the shower, and it accumulates) into the laundry basket and threw a load in the wash of Todd’s work clothes, made the bed and put away some towels that were folded on the dresser from the laundry the week before.  I was miserably sick on this particular Sunday and was exhausted when I was done, but one side of the house looked so good!  The house looks so much more cozy and inviting when it is picked up.

A few days later, it was looking pretty rough again.  I asked Todd if we could both take 10 minutes out of our evening and do a “quick sweep” again.  That night, after work, we both got to it and did another quick sweep, put things in their places and picked up.  It is amazing what can be done in just 10 minutes with 2 people working on it!

On the weekend, I plan on going over the bathroom to keep it clean, along with sweep the floors.  I figure if we do it little by little, the house will be kept up and there will be a lot less stress for BOTH of us during the week and when we invite someone over.  It really is a lot less stressful to come home to a clean house or to even wake up to a clean house. 

New Beginning?

Over the past week, I have been contemplating whether or not I want to keep up with the blog.  I was considering not writing any longer – cold turkey.  And then it dawned on me.  I ENJOY writing on the blog!  I ENJOY taking pictures and showing everyone my world.  Why would I want to stop doing that?

I feel like I don’t have many readers, and I wonder if anyone gets anything out of my posts.  I know the blog is a mish-mash of everything that goes on in my life from great deals we find, to our animals, how we save money, rants, my dreams and everything in between. 

I have also been dreading work lately.  It is to the point that I cannot stand going into work in the mornings and I count down the hours until I leave.  I was texting Todd while at work asking him if I can quit.  He said, “Sure, as long as you have another job lined up!” 

Then, the next day, he said, “Why don’t you blog?  There are people who make money blogging! It’s something you seem to have a lot of energy about doing.”  You know, he has a point.  It seems like when we are out and about, I say, “I am going to blog about this.”  Or if we find a way to save money, I tell him I am going to blog about it.

My fears about starting a blog:

  1. No one will join
  2. No one will care
  3. I will offend some people
  4. I will not write well enough (I can tell my English and spelling skills are going down the tubes.  I blame it on spell-check and not writing enough!)
  5. I will not be able to come up with enough content
  6. I will fail

I feel I have some topics that haven’t been covered by other bloggers.  I would like to create a blog about homesteading (or partial-homesteading,) quick and easy recipes, money savings tips, garden basics, how to save on vacations, getting healthy, how to use certain sites like SwagBucks, teaching about chickens and how easy they are and have been to raise, simplifying our lifestyle, negotiating on bills, great websites for saving money on eating out or fun activities, and much, much more.  I would like to do a little blogging, a little vlogging (video blogging,) lots of discussions and a lot of pictures.

I am not looking to make lots of money blogging.  I am looking to make a passive stream (or trickle) of income and help others along the way.

What are your thoughts on all of this?
Should I take the plunge?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicks - Week 2

Not much has changed with the chicks other than the fact that they are looking a bit awkward with partial feathers and fluff.  It is pretty cool to see, it’s like the feathers form out of nowhere.  Also, some of the feathers coming in are really dark brown.  I tried to get pictures of it the other day.  Oh, and they are getting BIGGER by the day!!!

Last week, I mentioned to Todd that the 4 chicks ate only 2 cups of their starter feed.  Well, just 5 days after that, they ate another 2 cups.  This means they are eating more! And when they eat more, they poop more. 

Todd had a good idea to put them into a bigger area, and since doing so, they are so much more animated.  They chase each other around, and they flap their wings a bit more. They can jump about an inch off the ground to get in top of their food/water dishes.

Speaking of water dish.  We may be investing in something else to give them water in.  They make such a mess in their water dish.  Todd read online that people have trained their chicks to drink out of a hamster/rabbit water bottle.  We may be doing this in the future.  For now, the dish works fine.

Looking at the bag of food we bought them, we MAY need to get another bag before they are 10 weeks old if they continue to be little piggies.  Only time will tell.

I have given them pieces of potatoes and apples along with their oatmeal this week.  They didn’t really take to the apple so much, but the potato disappeared over night.

So far, we are holding strong at $24.95 for the chicks.

Oh wait…that’s not true.  I forgot.  Todd bought supplies to make the chicken coop.  It was a bit of an investment that I’m not sure this first batch of chicks could pay for by their egg production.  We have about $105 in supplies for the coop so far (EEK! I know. But like Todd said, he wanted to make it sturdy so we can keep chicks from here on out.) 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

K-Cups at a Discount!

My husband is always looking out for me and the things I enjoy.  I love that about him.  He went to Amish country last week on his day off with his parents.  He found a store that sold many different items that the boxes were beat up a bit, or close to expiring.  Todd found a box of 50 K-cups (for our Keurig coffe/tea machine) for $11.99!  That is a great deal!  Generally, the K-cups sell for $0.50/each, or $9.99/box of 18.  These Hazelnut coffee K-cups end up being $0.24/each!  And the best part is, I can use the same K-cup 4 times because I don’t like my coffee very strong.  This ends up being $0.06/cup of coffee.  The box, though damaged, was shipped from

He also found some Hot Cocoa K-cups that he bought.  So, we are definitely stocked up on K-cups and coffee/cocoa for our Keurig machine for a year (or more!)

He enjoyed a deal just as much as I do.  I love it!

I'm Sig

What is “sig,” you ask?  When you have such bad sinus problems, you cant really pronounce “sick.” So, in our home, we call it “sig.”  And that is exactly what I am right now.

People at work have been passing around a cold, and though I don’t think I have a cold (denial,) I have major congestion!  I am fortunate enough not to get sinus headaches, but when my sinuses are clogged, my ears feel like they are clogged.  They feel like I am in an airplane or on a high mountain and need to pop them, but cant.  The pressure is horrendous, and it makes me feel as though I’m in a daze.

With my sinuses completely clogged, I have a really hard time breathing.  I am NOT a mouth-breather.  It’s times like these that I realize how much I breathe through my nose.  Also, when I have a hard time breathing, I get a little paranoid.  Even though it was over a year and a half ago that I had severe H1N1,  that hospital stay and recovery are not things I want to go through again.  Nor do I want to put my family though that again.

I have given in and took a decongestant for the past couple of days, which helps for a little while.  If things get worse, I promise to go to the doctor.  Otherwise, I think I’ll just suffer through it as I always do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Frugal Weekend

On Saturday, Todd and I went to our friend's house  in Cleveland.  We decided to go to a greenhouse (free) and an art museum in Cleveland (also, free!)

We had a great time, and we spent only $25 for lunch!  Not too bad for  10 hours out and about.  Here are some pictures of the botanical garden, our friends (Sharron & Jim,) and one awesome picture from the art gallery.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Chickens Get An Upgrade!

The chickens seemed a bit cramped in the little Rubbermaid container we had them in.  I cant believe how quickly they are growing.  It has been a lot of fun to watch.

Todd had a great idea to use our plastic garden container as a chicken area until the chicken coop is complete.  The garden container has been used for garden supplies at one time, was made into a grow-box for our vegetable plants last year, and now a chicken house for the next 8-10 weeks until it's time to put them outside.  They seem to be MUCH happier, and they chase each other around the area.  It's so funny to watch.

Here are a few pictures :
Squished chicks
The new box
Still squished
Spreading her wings
Close-up of the one I call fluffernutter
New area - so much more room!
Getting aquainted
Little Runt