Friday, April 1, 2011

New Website Up

I just listed the first post on the website that will be my money-savings, recipe, homesteading site.

If you want to check it out, the link is:
http://sparing-change.blogspot.com/

Frugality, Minimalism & Homesteading

I was looking at YouTube videos on how to make inexpensive chicken coops last weekend, and stumbled across Becky’s Homestead   She has some great videos, so I decided to check out her website.  I have been trying to watch all of her videos since!  It’s a great video blog if you are interested in keeping up with her.

Then I started thinking (yes, THAT’S what you smell.)  Todd and I love log cabins and nature, but we also really enjoy where we live now.  It is quiet, we have an acre of land, a manageable mortgage, no one ever bothers us, we have great neighbors, and we can get to Aldi’s and WalMart with a 15-20 minute drive.

As I have mentioned numerous times before, I am obsessive compulsive.  I get something stuck in my head and I research the heck out of it.  I also talk about it constantly until the newness calms down (or I have a bit of a breakdown.)  I had a “homesteading” obsession last year.  I’ve had a “minimalistic” obsession as well.  And, well, we live the frugal life.    

What do we want out of life? 
We want a little bit of each category.  I feel they all pretty much use the same principals but vary in the ways of accomplishing them.

By definition (according to Wikipedia):
  • Frugality – “prudence in avoiding waste”
  • Minimalism – “extreme spareness and simplicity”
  • Homesteading –  a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency”

As I mentioned, we are pretty frugal.  Yes, there is always room to improve, but we are pretty good about pinching pennies and making the most out of our money.  I would like to minimize the amount of waste we create, not only with the landfill, but with resources such as electricity, gasoline, oil, etc.

I like the idea of minimalism; however, we have SO MUCH STUFF!  I would love to pare down a lot of our belongings, but I am part of a team.  Todd seems to attract “stuff!”  I guess I am just as guilty.  But this is something I am definitely working on personally.  I’m hoping I rub off on Todd so that he does the same.  I am not looking to get rid of everything and live in a hut.  I am also not looking to have one piece of furniture in our home.  There has to be a happy medium, and I am striving to find what that is.

Last, but not least, is homesteading.  I really like the idea of homesteading.  There are two pitfalls for me though.

1.      I do not want to raise my own meat.
2.      I don’t necessarily want to make everything we eat homemade.

I love animals.  I couldn’t have a cow or pig, raise it for several months and then butcher it.  No way, no how.  We have our 4 chicks that we are raising for eggs.  That is good enough for me.

I enjoy making homemade bread (artisan bread,) and I enjoy cooking meals for my husband and me, but I don’t want to churn my own butter or make my own cheese and peanut butter. That is just not something that interests me right now.  That could change in upcoming years, but for now, I will buy these types of items at the store. (Since writing this post over three weeks ago, I have changed my tune on making my own butter and peanut butter! I am going to try making them both in the upcoming weeks!)   We go out to eat two, maybe three times a month and I am OK with that.

My point is that we can be a little bit of all three without going anywhere or moving.  We just have to take small steps to getting to where we want to be.  We have the land, we have the means and we have the ability to be a semi-homesteading, frugal, quasi-minimalist.  And darn it, that is what we are striving to be.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Life

It amazes me how Todd and I can have NOTHING planned for the next 8 weeks to having nearly every weekend Todd has off jam-packed within a 12 hour time-frame. 

The only thing we had planned for the next few months was our vacation the first weekend in May.  Now, all of a sudden, we have a birthday party to go to April 9th, I am going out of town to visit my mom for the weekend of the 16th, we are going away the weekend of May 6th for a 4 day weekend and now the weekend of May 20th for a 4-day weekend. 

It seems like when the weather turns, there is so much to do, and not enough weekends to do it in!

Weight-Loss Challenge

Todd and I are going away in 6 ½ weeks on our vacation to the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.  We both have been complaining about being too fat and out of shape.  So, we have a challenge.  We are both going to try to lose weight for our vacationi in the beginning of May.  He would like to lose 15 lbs.  I would really like to lose 20 lbs. 

I have been putting off taking Lana for a walk in the mornings because it’s been so darn cold (freezing temps here!) and the fact that Todd lost the leash we walk her on.  Well, I have a new leash for her to go walking with.  I just have to get my butt up and out of bed, and out the door to walk the little pup.  We will see when I start.  I have to figure out how this leash works (it is one that goes around her head and nose called a gentle leader.)

So…the countdown begins.  We are weighing ourselves to determine who wins.  What will the other win?  I don’t know.  It’s just a competition. But I definitely need to lose some of this weight!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicks - Week 4


I cannot believe that we’ve had the chicks for 4 weeks.  I say this every week, and I’ll say it again: they are growing like crazy!!!   I swear, you can WATCH them get bigger.

They are real pigs, too.  They eat more than my little porker used to eat.  Right now, we are going through 2 cups of food every two days.  Mind you, I have been giving them pieces of bread, stale bran flakes we had in the cupboard for a while, and oatmeal.

We have turned the heat lamp down to 75 right now.  It is still cold outside, so there has been no progress on the chicken coop.  Todd cannot paint when it’s only 35 degrees outside.  Not to mention he freezes in the garage.

The new rabbit water bottle is working out great!  The chicks took to the water bottle within a few hours.  Now, they go there to get their water, and we don’t have to worry about droppings and messy water every day.  Right now, the 32 oz. waterer lasts 2 – 3 days before needing refilled.  We are considering buying another one that is larger (64 oz.)

At this point, the chicks are getting so big and eating so much that they are pooping ALL the time.  Their area starts to smell after 3 days with no new bedding.  I turn their bedding after 2 days and start fresh every 5-7 days.  Luckily, it’s not a lot of work.  It takes about 5 minutes.  I put the chicks in their old small container while I change out their bedding.  Lana likes to smell them.  I try to remind myself of all the fertile soil we will have from all of this bedding!

video

I’ve decided NOT to include the price of the chicken coop into raising chickens.  We plan on having this chicken coop for the rest of our chicken-rearing years (aka the rest of our lives!) 

Don’t tell the others, but Fluffanutter is still my favorite.  She is the one that is always willing to perch on my hand and then jump on my shoulder.  She is the friendliest of the bunch.  I still try to handle each of them at least once a day.
Runt

Fluff

Butch (she's the biggest and the most dominant)

I still have no clue what breed these chickens are.  I am anxious to see how many eggs they lay.  The only additional cost that we’ve incurred on the chicks is $3.99 for the waterer. 

This brings the cost of raising the chicks up to:  $28.94



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Clean Cars!

This weekend, Todd cleaned both of our cars and got them ready for the warm(er) weather!  Snow tires have been taken off of both vehicles, new Spring tires put on, cleaned, waxed, paint touch-ups and all doors and hinges greased.  They look like brand new cars.

I wrote it on FaceBook, and I'll write it again.  Todd and I have an ongoing "arguement" about who has the cuter vehicle.  I'm sorry, but Bianca is the cutest.  She is one of the cutest cars on the road. 


Big Red & Bianca

Even Bianca's headlights are more attractive!

As well as her back-end!

Bianca (and the house next door)

Big Red (and the house next door)

And the winner of the cutest car award is....BIANCA!
Bianca hit 120,000 miles this past week.  The only repairs she's had thus far are:  brakes, air filters, tires, spark plugs (preventative) and headlight.  I was telling Todd, if all Toyotas are like Bianca, I'd only have to own 5-6 of them in my LIFETIME, because they last THAT long.  I've had Biance since August 2006 (even though she's a 2007 Yaris.)

I am still wanting to see Bianca hit 250,000 miles.  At the rate I've been driving her, it would be another 4 1/2 - 5 years.  To be honest, I'd love to see her hit 500,000 miles or even more! However, we will see how feasable that is if we start a family.   

Monday, March 28, 2011

Books

I finished the last book I needed to read and review last weekend.  This past week, I read a book of my choosing from the library.  It was nice not to have to write a review afterwards. 

My goal for this year was to read off of a Book List; however, I just read a book that was NOT on the list.  It was quite nice to read something that I wanted to read and not HAVE to read. 

For the first time since I can remember, I dont have a single book from the library to read.  They are all read.  I DO, however, have an armoir full of books that I bought from garage sales and such that I'd like to read and get rid of.  Maybe I will read one of those before getting another one from the Book List.

What are you reading right now?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jealousy

For the past few weeks, I've been dealing with jealousy issues.  I am generally a content person happy with the way things are in my life.  If not, I do what I can to change the things I am unhappy with.

I was talking to Todd yesterday in the car while going to Akron about my issues lately.  I am jealous of a friend of mine.  I am jealous of her strong and unwavering faith, her beauty, that she gets to stay at home with her kids, that she HAS kids and shows no signs of ever being frazzled. 

I feel that though we are both 30, I am so much less mature than she is.  I cant control what comes out of my mouth.  I tread water frequently for the things that I say that may possibly offend others.  I just feel like a complete failure in comparison.

But I dont know why I compare myself to her and her family.  We are two, completely different people with completely different backgrounds.  I have an incredible husband who I am so thankful for. Todd and I grew up with parents that loved us and still do to this day.  We are both very close to our families, even with my split family.  We have a nice house that he has pretty much built from all the remodeling he's done over the past 4 years.  We are happy with each other and with our life. 

So why am I still a bit jealous?

I still wish first and foremost that my relationship with God were stronger.  Everything else, I can deal with and get over.  I wont truely be happy until I realize all that I have and work toward what I want from life...including my relationship with God.