Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Garden plans

It's January. Which means the only gardening I'm doing right now is with my pencil and a pad of paper.

Then again, this may be the most important part of gardening.

I need to know what I'm planting and where and when. What's going in when one plant stops producing.

This year I'll be planting

Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Spinach
Peppers
Onions
Garlic
Yams
Peas
Beans
Radishes
Cucumbers
Kale

I'll be doing the peas on poles. cucumbers and pumpkins on trellis. The peppers I'll put in pots so I can move them to the green house in the fall and hopefully get a few extra weeks out of them.

I can't wait to get my fingers into the dirt!

I'll also be adding to my herb garden (both cooking and medical) and attempting to propagate some starts from my grandma's hydrangea so I can have my own.

I love hydrangeas!

I also have several bulbs planted and some to put in late still. As those multiply, I'll be selling the extras.

What are you growing this year?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sidetracked? Me?

Maybe you've noticed something while following my blog, if not you'll notice soon enough.

I start projects with gusto.

I have huge plans.

I have... Ummm... Trouble with follow through and upkeep.

In every area of my life.

My house has to change. I know that. I've always known that.

I'm a far cry from where I was 9 years ago with just one baby. My apartment was disgusting.

Now my home is mostly clean but cluttered about half the time. Truly clean (in at least one room!) a quarter of the time. The other quarter is spread along the spectrum of "maybe we should pick some stuff up" and "call in hazmat before I burn this place down and start over "

That's the hard truth.

I want a clean house. I enjoy a clean house. I try to have a clean house.

But it doesn't come naturally to me. It takes major effort and I'm so disorganized I can rarely keep it up.

But I've finished the first book on my list this year "Sidetracked Home Executives" and you know what, I am just like these ladies.

I set things down on bookshelves and dressers, but never make it back to put them away.

I start a project but then I need tape. Tape is in the junk drawer... As I'm cleaning the junk drawer to find the tape, I remember I left the tape in my closet with the wrapping paper.

And a million other examples. I spend an entire day doing stuff with nothing to show for it. Nothing got done, but everything got started.

In the book is outline the system the authors used to reform their sidetracked habits.

I like it, in theory. But I can't find my 3x5 notecards (surprise!) and the entire project is overwhelming me.

Instead I plan to choose one chore or task a month that I struggle with and focus on it. Each month I'll build on the positive habits I've already established.

I have a decent laundry routine mostly.

I wash and hang a load in the morning when I get up and again after dinner. Before I hang more, I take down and have the kids put away what's dry.

Occasionally, I'll do 3 loads if the space is available to hang it.

The one area of laundry I don't manage well is ironing. I've put it off so long at this point it scares me.

Today I will tackle the ironing pile and make Saturday my new day to iron.

And it will be so good to wear my favorite dress again!

Next month I plan to tackle the dishes. Not just the washing, but the organizing!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pantry Challenge

Some friends and I are embarking on a pantry challenge.

We will be doing our best to avoid grocery shopping and cook from only what we have on hand.

While one of my goals is building up portions of my stockpile, this pantry challenge is much needed.

We all have those things that we end up with sitting in the cupboard for 8 months and you wonder why you bought it.

Also, with some of the changes I'm making to our food choices, somethings need to get out and stay out!

I'm not very good at meal planning, I need to get better. So here's my first attempt!

Tuesday
Breakfast: pancakes and fruit
Lunch: sandwhiches, fruits/veggies and cheese
Dinner: homemade pizza

Wednesday
Breakfast: rice pudding and fruit
Lunch: zucchini bread
Dinner: bbq chicken, veggies, yams and toast

Thursday
Breakfast: pancakes and fruit
Lunch: quesadillas and chili
Dinner: curry & rice with veggies

Friday
Breakfast: oatmeal, sausage and fruit
Lunch: sandwhiches and fruit/veggies
Dinner: mashed potatoes and gravy, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin bread

Saturday
Breakfast: pancakes and fruit
Lunch: peanut butter banana bread with carob chips
Dinner: leftovers

Sunday
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch & dinner: leftovers

There will probably be some changes since I'm not sure which day this week I'm working, but we have a goal!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New year, new goals

In 2010 one of my friends challenged everyone to make 10 goals for 2010.

It was the first year I called them goals, not resolutions.

It changed my thinking about them.

Goals are concrete, achievable things.

Resolutions are something I make and forget before February.

Every year I have continued to make 10 goals for the year. Never have I achieved them all. I have a 60% success rate usually, but always make progress toward achieving all of them.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2015!

I make 10 goals each year. This years goals are:

1. Read: Bible, God isn't in a hurry, sticky faith, crazy love, Lord where are you, secrets of the bible, basics of biblical parenting, living on God's economy, don't waste your life and sidetracked home executives

2. Work on house: my room (floors and paint), build canning pantry shelving, update electrical

3. Work on yard: cut down trees by road, fence front yard, put in 3 raised garden beds, 3 apple trees and 2 blueberry plants

4. Plan, license and open my new business venture

5.Earn at least $15,000 (I have several small goals set to help achieve this one!)

6. Animals: grow at least 1/2 of feed for year, fence off new chicken/duck pen, add rabbits back in

7. Build up a 1 year stockpile of coconut oil, nuts, rice, beans, flours and applesauce

8. Find a new church

9. Get rid of our TV and set more concrete standards for other media influences

10. Stop smoking (look at that, a repeat goal from last year!)

Some of these will be easy for me to accomplish rather quickly. Others will take time and effort and be rather challenging for me. I plan it that way.

The easy ones have a place in the grander scheme of my life plan, but they also are a good boost to help keep me going. The quick progress and success gives great satisfaction and motivation while I continue to press forward on the more challenging goals.

What goals are you making this year?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Proverbs Intro

The first section we will cover in bible study is Proverbs.

Each week I'll take one or a few verses from Proverbs and share with you what the Lord has given me regarding those verses.

I hope this helps others to think and truly dive in to their bible reading and come to deeper understanding of His truths as much as it is helping  me.

All verses will be taken from the King James version.

Proverbs 1:1-6

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

These first six verses are an introduction to the rest of the book of Proverbs. They tell us who is writing and why.

There are a few other authors in Proverbs, but we start out with King Solomon, a man with great wisdom from God.

The Proverbs are essentially life instructions. Guidence in wisdom.

Basically: it's there so we don't have to learn everything the hard way.

If we take the time to learn and apply the lessons and truths found in Proverbs we take the path with less struggle because we're not falling into our own foolish and flesh driven traps.

Many people practice reading a proverb a day to continue to keep these instructions in wisdom close to their heart and mind.

I look forward to diving into these truths with each of you and any respectful discussion that comes out of this study.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'm back! With a year end update and a promise

Okay, I've neglected my poor blog again. Not happening again. I'm working on a plan for 3 posts a week. Tuesday will be a scripture study and life application post. Thursday and Saturday posts will be a mix of homeschooling, frugal, parenting, garden, canning and critter posts.

So how have I done on those goals I set at the beginning of the year you ask???

1. Read the bible and 4 other books
I'm still on track with my bible reading and have read 9 other books this year.

2. Take a meal to one family/person a week
This one got neglected. Around June finances got tight and gas became a precious commodity. We've managed about once a month since then.

3. Get off TANF
Last TANF payment was in August. Things are tighter than I'd like, but we're managing.

4. Grow or produce most of our food: grocery goal budget is $200 or less
I've managed to keep my grocery budget at a $225 average for the last 6 months.  Mostly due to changes in shopping habits, the garden wasn't very fruitful this year.

5. Get involved in another ministry at church
I have not taken on a specific ministry in the church. With illnesses and the chaos of my schedule, it's not practical. I have however continued to step in to help where I can as often as possible.

6. Work on house: paint interior, replace carpet, upgrade some insulation
The carpet and paint are done in every room but my own. The insulation went untouched, but we did install a wood stove to improve the heating efficiency and lower the cost. So far, I have spent $0 to heat the house this fall!

7. Build up stock for craft fairs: complete 10 projects a month, not including orders
I've hardly been able to keep up with orders and things we need, but I have managed a small amount of stock items.

8. Eat better: more organic, no soy, mostly GF, less sugar
We've gotten rid of the soy and really cut back on sugar. We're about 50% organic and everyone eats less gluten. At least 3x a week our meals are gluten free.

9. Stop smoking
Still a lingering bad habit. I'm doing better and still making a conscious effort to cut back.

10. Expand animals and their housing
Due to some unforeseen events, I was forced to sell the goats. We now have 7 ducks (1 Drake and 6 hens) and 8 chicken hens. 

Other than the smoking, I'm pleased with the progress I made this year and can not wait to see what the coming year holds!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Weekly Goals~ July 7th 2014

It's been a fairly productive week around here! Hopefully soon I'll be able to add more blog work back in.

Finance
~Earn $300... and more!

Animals
~enlarge chicken run... didn't get finished, but I did get started and get a different water set up that freed up some space

~either sell or slaughter roosters... I have some possible interest, I'm waiting on a firm answer before I butcher

~continue to try to catch or kill the wild rabbit... continued to try, but she's still winning

~determine what materials I need for milk stand... I have most of what I need, now to find the time to build it!

Food
~$50 max... $49.62

~meal plan from pantry... accomplished easily

Sewing/knitting/crochting
~finish afghan... done

~reusable produce bags... done

~ cut purse pieces... done

Reading
~Bible, follow plan... on track
~Clean House finish... finished
~Sheparding a Child's Heart, finish... finished

Business

~Make business cards... I'm slacking
~Contact local Saturday market... did I mention I'm slacking

Homeschooling 
~Accomplish at least 2 hours of school per day... mostly

~ start looking for more curriculum... looked and realized it's just not in the budget

Projects

~rest of carpet up... nope

~haul, rake and level the (free) gravel for shed area... hauled several loads and raked them, but didn't get it finished

Garden
~rip out peas... done

~plant something else in their place... went with sunflowers, they'll be beautiful and then we'll save the seeds to help offset critter feed

Other
~deliver one meal... done

~house & pet sit for family that is out of town... and I enjoyed their Netflix too

~make an updated project list... that was scary

~make a detailed list of potential changes and the likely savings... that was enlightening and slightly depressing

Additionally
~baby hat to match Afghan
~turned scrap yarn into pot holder
~finished over half of a gift for my mother

I need to work on managing all my tasks I need to get to run our life and be able to expand my business. for this week.....

Finance
~Earn $300
~set up online bill pay for water bill

Animals
~finish enlarging chicken run
~either sell or slaughter roosters
~continue to try to catch or kill the wild rabbit

Food
~$50 budget
~meal plan from pantry

Sewing/knitting/crochting
~finish 5 pot holders
~embroider butterfly on purse

Reading
~Bible, follow plan
~start reading Pay Dirt

Business
~Make business cards

Homeschooling 
~Accomplish at least 2 hours of school per day

Projects
~rest of carpet up
~haul, rake and level the (free) gravel for shed area
~move shed
~finish floor in girls room

Garden
~make a plan for a fall garden
~determined what edibles I can grow indoors and in the greenhouse for the winter

Other
~deliver one meal
~go through all the garage sale leftovers and get them posted online
~figure out the rest of the Christmas gifts for family and friends