Maybe I just think differently

I get really frustrated with people very easily.  It’s a terrible terrible flaw I have.

Let me tell you what frustrates me most about people: Somewhere along the way we got our priorities all mixed up.

As I say this I try to think back in time to when this could have happened, but there is no REAL time period to blame it on.  The 80’s/90’s when the electronics boom started? The 1950’s when it became the it thing to be like the Jones’s?  The 1920’s when the stock market was at it’s best? The French Revolution?  The Romans? Greed has always existed.  It’s one of the deadly sins for Pete’s sake.  It has been around forever and it will be around forever.  Somewhere along the lines though, the greed became ok.  Normal everyday greed became ok.  Even to the point where we mask it with good intentions, and place greedy people on pedestals.

This is the greed that I am talking about though: The decisions we make to get things instead of help people.

Black Friday is a big day for me.  I have hyped up my sales, sent out cards, called, emailed, and texted people.  Now it’s the waiting game.  I know in my heart that this is going to be a pretty slim Black Friday.  Three of my best customers this year have all but completely left me. One I think has a relative that is a consultant now, one i have no idea, and one is upset with me about leaving my ex (two years ago).  I get that things will happen, my business suffered this year because of my sons surgery, my own bouts with depression, and other things beyond my control.  I can’t expect a fabulous Black Friday like I have had in the past.

Now here is where I am going to sound a bit selfish (I guess I am being selfish, but at the same time I have to sound selfish to make a point).  WHY AM I SUCH AN ADVOCATE FOR BUYING LOCAL….EVERYONE knows, all of my customers, facebook people, etc, that 100% of my profits are going towards this house project.  That is a real tangible thing.  That is something you can see the results of something your money did.  We buy almost 100% local for the holidays (and most times when we can get away with it).  We buy our real trees from local vendors, we buy gifts from local shops.  I already bought half of our gifts this year and they were all handmade goods from the actual artists.  I feel good about the money I give people.  I know my money is going towards things they need.  I feel like I am making a difference.  So yes, I get frustrated as I watch my friends spend hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars on things because why?  It’s what you do?  Christmas is the time when you spend way too much money on stuff you wouldn’t normally get during the year so you can make someone happy for a short period of time?  What kind of values are we instilling in our children?  Christmas is about stuff not people.  And heck, not just Christmas, life in general.  When did THINGS become more important than PEOPLE?  You know what my kids are getting for Christmas?  A used video game we bought off a guy on ebay, some handmade ornaments for the tree, and probably some sort of craft thing we will pick up at one of our craft shows, and I know what most people are thinking, “wow, you suck as a parent”.  My kids may complain that they didn’t get the latest ipod, or new video game, or whatever toy but I want them to care about people more than things, so I am going to continue this tradition, because I want them to know what we feel is imporant, people.  So buy your big plastic toys, your tvs, video game systems, the things that are going to keep you locked in your house for hours on end and fund the big corporations while meanwhile us local businesses are literally BEGGING our customers to buy from us.  I can guarantee that very little of your money is going to fund anyone’s dream.  Why dont you make a difference this holiday season.  I know I am.  BUY LOCAL.

Advertisements

We made wine! well, sort of…

Back in July or so we helped someone harvest their bee hives.  It was quite a large harvest and we received a bit of honey in return.  We made the grand decision to try our hand at making meade.  We had never made wine before, didn’t really know what we were doing, but decided it would be a fun thing to do.  We mixed 3 quarts of honey with water in a 5 gallon bucket, added champagne yeast, sealed the lid with an airlock on it and waited.

It has been 4 months (we did this in August) and from much convincing from a good friend we decided to bring out the meade for Thanksgiving.

It was….

Interesting.

Granted this was our first go round of making wine, we weren’t expecting it to be perfect.  I can’t lie though, we were hoping, really hoping, but not expecting.

We had a not so lovely mix of really dry vinegary meade.  It’s not terrible.  It’s a little drinkable, sort of.  But certainly not anything we would openly share with people.

That said I bottled up a mason jar of our fine meade and took it to thanksgiving dinner (you can’t go to Thanksgiving dinner empty handed).  With a bit of added sugar from my friend the jar ended up being completely empty by the end of the evening.  I consider that a score on my end.  Although as C said,”if you have to add sugar for the meade to be good, it’s not good meade.”

But I somehow feel like I had a win.

Go me, our first round of wine is somewhat drinkable….  somewhat…

What did I earn for next time?  We had some issues throughout the process, especially in the beginning, with the meade being exposed to too much oxygen.  We started with the wrong type of lid, which we have fixed.  Baby girl kept pulling the airlock out.  Next time we will fix these problems.  The lid issue has been resolved. The baby girl issue….  We may just have to put the container where she cant reach it.

I think cider will be our next adventure!

One Step Forward…

I’m sure you all know the saying, one step forward two steps back.  Well, right now it’s more like half a step back, or maybe two steps forward one step back.  I have the hardest time with saving money BECAUSE if I dont remove the money from my account as soon as I get it then I somehow feel secure in the fact that we have a little bit of extra money so we spend more than we have.

So we in essence rob peter to pay paul, per se.  I have $150 that I sold last week that I havent gotten paid for yet.  so I know I have that money.  I have put aside $150 of the $250 and the rest of the $100 is coming from the $150 I still have yet to be paid, so I shouldn’t feel bad.  I keep telling myself I shouldn’t feel bad but I do.  I do feel bad.  I feel like I lied to you guys because I don’t have the full $250 I claimed last week.  This is so frustrating.  It’s the frustrating part of having a business like this, because there still is this chance that the rest of the $150 wont come through and I will feel that much worse.  I can’t think about that, I’ll look at the bright side of things, we definitely have $150.  Yay for that!  Actually we definitely have $200, i sold $60 today and have the money.

My goal this week (actually my goal for this week plus a day because I am counting the 30th), is to sell $500 and put aside another $200 for our savings, that would be amazing.  So far I have $60 towards that goal and I am having a BIG black friday sale.  PLUS C is displaying his business at the local coffee shop for small business saturday.  He makes things out of leather, like bags, holsters, bracelets, hair things, archery equipment, etc.  He is really talented.  His business is called Wildland Outfitters and he is on facebook.  Check him out https://www.facebook.com/WildlandOutfitters !  We are hoping he sells something on saturday.  That would be nice.  Not banking on it though.  Things like that are hit or miss.

Well all, have a safe Thanksgiving, we will be doing nothing.  Neither of us have family here and the boy and oldest girl are with their other parents for thanksgiving so it will just be the two of us and baby girl.  We will probably have a small dinner and watch a bunch of movies, we are thankful we have this much though! God bless!

I’m sick…

I’m sick, which almost never happens. It used to. I used to get sick at least 6 times a year. In the past four years I have been sick maybe twice each year? What do I attribute to this? I’m not sure, I’m no doctor and I’m not about to tell people how to live.

That being said… First off about 4 years ago I stopped using harsh cleansers. To clean my house I use a mixture of water dawn and vinegar. To wash laundry I use borax, washing detergent, and dawn.

Second I started eating better. I cut out preservatives and started eating “clean”. Which I think also helped boost my immune system.

The final thing is when I start to get sick I take organic apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”). I drink about a shot glass full once, maybe twice a day.

So yesterday I started to feel sick. I rested on the couch all day and drank my vinegar. Today I woke with some general aches and some nasal discomfort but nothing like what I used to suffer from. I’m still out of sorts, still sick, and still going to sleep through the day. But at least I can rest knowing I should be back to normal tomorrow.

We went back…

So given the amazing yay free money we received yesterday we decided to go back to Lucky’s and complete our shopping experience. My budget? $40. Maybe $60. (I am doing this blog to show myself as well as others how you can live well in very little). C’s budget? ?????? He really has no issue spending $80, $100, $150 (if we had the money to do so). I on the other hand would have a Heart attack, a complete fall down at the register call 911 heart attack if we ever spent $150 on food at one time. I just cannot fathom that. To me, that’s like a months worth of food. That’s gonna go bad I guarantee it.

We didn’t spend $150. We did however spend $80, which to me is still heart attack worthy but C eased my mind a bit because almost nothing we got was for immediate consumption. We got tons of veggies, we are freezing 2 bags Of Brussel sprouts, dehydrated 2 bags of cranberries, 2 bags of mushrooms, he bought a $10 steak roast that he had the deli slice thin and he is currently dehydrating that into jerky (he makes the most OMG amazing jerky…). I did buy bacon to make this week. Their in house nitrate free bacon is $5.99 a lb. WHAT?!?!? That’s crazy! I couldn’t pass that up. We got a couple more inexpensive things of cheese, another load of bread, a big thing of expeller pressed oil because we have no oil in the house at the moment, a 2lb roll of Amish butter. … Yes, I said that correctly. A 2lb ROLL of Amish butter. Give me just a moment to regain my composure, I’m drooling… Ok, I’m back now. Oh, those potatoes I was telling you about, which I was incorrect in the last posting, they are 2 5lb bags for $3. Cabbage, treats for the kids cause they were super good and we didn’t go to Kroger who gives free cookies (sorry kids). Sour cream, tortillas, raisins, I’m not sure what else because it’s currently 2 am and I’m up after getting up with the boy again because OMG he moves in his sleep more than any other person I have ever met in my entire life and can’t get back on his pillow without someone helping him, and thinking about food. But anyway, it was $80 worth of a lot of stuff that will last for a while. We made sure that we wouldn’t need to return to the store for another 2 weeks ( although I am going on the 1st to get the flour I still didn’t get yesterday because we didn’t NEED flour but 2 bags of it will probably last us at least 4-6 months).

Meals we can now make:
Tuna salad
Salmon cakes
Quesadillas
Chicken salad
Bacon roasted cabbage (yum yum)
Chili (which usually lasts about 4 nights)

Plus we have snacks
Beef jerky
Dried cranberries (sugar free)
Homemade granola

So I don’t feel so bad. Everything we bought will be put to good use in the next 2 weeks and even beyond that. So spending $130 on food in 2 days isn’t so bad. Plus we have food. Like, breakfast, lunch, and dinner food. I can handle that.

There is a new love in my life

That’s right, I said it. I am in love.  Again…

With a grocery store.

It’s called Lucky’s and it’s in Louisville off Hurstborne Ave and it is amazing.  It’s like a mix between Trader Joe’s and Earthfare except it has beer on tap so you can drink while you shop.  And it’s cheap!!  We bought close to a weeks worth of food for $51.25.  We bought chicken breast, strip steak, in house smoked pastrami, organic lemon juice, crimini mushrooms, brussel sprouts, four different types of artisan cheese, cranberries, in house bread (which is my favorite because there are 4 ingredients), oats, cane sugar (twice as much as we normally get), free range GMO and antibiotic free butter, and so much more that I can’t remember.

So far this is our list of meals we will be making:

mini chicken pot pies

steak and veggies

pizza

pastrami sandwiches

cranberry and oat muffins

and more but i cant think of them right now.  All completely “clean” meaning absolutely NO preservatives, all home made, and so good for you!!

we still have about $15 to spend monday because we were not really prepared to do a weeks worth of shopping and forgot some key items, like potatoes (with are 2/5 5lb bags), flour (we dont NEED this but they are also 2/5 when regularly king arthur whole wheat flour is close to $5 on it’s own), oh and more brussel sprouts to bag and freeze (cause they are an amazing price), and non-button mushrooms to dehydrate.  If you can’t tell I am SO SUPER EXCITED, and completely in love….

IMG_1050.JPG

The end of week 1

I should know by now not to doubt the amazingness of life.  God does wonderful things and it’s when I give up trying to control things that He always comes through for me.  I started writing this post yesterday.  This is what it said:

Welcome to the end of week 1.  The super frustrating end to week 1.  My goal was to sell $500 so I could finally have $200 in savings.  I have sold $257.  A little more than half.  I had 3 parties booked at the beginning of the week which was really exciting for me.  all i needed was for 1-2 to hold and I could most likely reach my goal.  None of them held.  not one.  This rarely happens that so many things cancel.  It’s tough because I know people are going through stuff, especially this close to the holidays, but I needed this win.  I really did.  I needed to be able to say that i had this goal and I hit it.  I know that this is the first week of MANY, but at the same time  i would really like to be able to have something to show for this project by now.  Instead I think we owe more money than we did when we started.  The most frustrating part is that I am TRYING so hard to get people on board with my goal that they are rooting for me and wanting to help out (and by the way, if you cancel an appointment with, well, basically anyone, then post pictures of you partying with your friends it’s really kinda hurtful so don’t do it.  Either tell them the truth of why you are canceling or don’t post the pictures).

I saved this entry, cried, then went to sleep totally and completely deflated.

Then welcome to Saturday! The actual last day of the week.  This is a great lesson for you all, and one that I should have learned by now.  Don’t count anything as a loss until you are actually at the loss.  Until it is 11:59pm on the last day.

Aside from (so far) selling $300 this week (still $200 short but that’s cool), I went to the mailbox and found a check for an account I had paid off last year.  Apparently they decided that I had overpaid the account by quite a bit.  So here we are, the last day of week 1 and (so far) we have raised (drumroll please…….)

$250!!  That’s $50 more than my original goal!!  we may actually end this month with $500 saved.  I think I would FREAK OUT if we did.  LETS DO THIS!!!

The ups and the downs

When you start something, especially something exciting and scary, there is a huge roller coaster effect where at first there are really high up and really low lows until eventually it evens out but you have to go through those crazy ups and downs to get through it. If you just give up you will never see the amazing results.

Today is a low day. Today is an “I should give up because life is against me” day. But I won’t. It’s just frustrating. When your work is relying on other people and those other people aren’t coming through for you it gets really really frustrating. So here we are. Today is a day I have to push through the pain and hurt and anger and force myself to work when I really don’t want to. The full update will be tomorrow.

Money saved: -34 (that’s chase. You can suck it).

To cow or not to cow?

Tonight C and I discussed whether it not to have a milk cow on the property. Here is what we came up with:

Pros: fresh milk every day. Fresh butter, cream, we could make cheese. Lots and lots of fresh yummy dairy goodness.

Cons: This is where it gets interesting…

C: we would have to get up and milk that sucker every day
Me: you know, I wouldn’t mind that so much, I think I could do that possibly. My issue is, we would have to do something with that milk every day, and I’m just not sure we are the people to do that
C: ya, but it’s really not that much. It’s what like 1-2 gallons of milk per day? I think we could handle that. Why don’t you look it up.
Me: (while looking at my phone) according to Midwest dairy “Most dairy cows are milked two to three times per day. On average, a cow will produce six to seven gallons of milk each day.”
C: SIX TO SEVEN GALLONS A DAY!!!! That’s insane. What would you possibly do with six to seven gallons a day?!?!? That’s like an entire 50 gallon drum a week. Christ how did the pilgrims starve to death?!?! All they needed was a freaking cow.

At this point I am laughing so hard I am in tears.

C: (in a much calmer voice) maybe we should just find a friend who has a cow.

What is an earthship?

When I tell people our plans of building an earthship oftentimes I get a blank stare.  That’s ok!  I had one too when I first heard the term three weeks ago.  C however has been hearing about them since he was little.  His dad always wanted to build one.

So the premise of an earthship is to be completely self sustainable and using as many natural/ recycled materials as you can.  It’s also typically built underground to maintain a more constant temperature.  After you pass what’s called the “frost layer” of the earth the ground maintains a stable temperature.  It’s usually about 70 degrees but can vary depending on your location.  Thus reducing the need for any type of heating or cooling.  The outer walls, and inner load bearing support walls are built using tires.  Many places practically give used tires away because there are too many in used tire dumps.  it takes probably about 1500 tires to build a typical earthship.  The tires stacked and filled/pounded with dirt to create 300 pound bricks.  once the tire walls are complete the spaces in between the tires are filled with dirt and aluminum soda cans.  the walls are then completed with a thick layer of adobe the inner non support walls are built with concrete and aluminum cans, the cans are basically used as filler.  Then also completed with a layer of adobe.

(image from rucusroots.com)

Usually 3 sides of the house are below ground.  the fourth side is the south facing side that is where the greenhouse goes.  This side does not have a wall of tires.  It has greenhouse windows.  This is what helps keep the house warm, and also grows food indoors.  Our earthship will have a front door on the other end of the house as well, built into the ground.  we like the idea of our house looking like a hobbit hole.  We are also starting with a cement floor.

The most expensive parts of the build will be the cement floor and the solar panels which will provide all of the energy to run the house.  Off grid systems can be pretty expensive.  The final expensive part of the build will be the water system.

We will most likely be getting our water from a well, most earthships use cisterns.  We are choosing to do the well because our roof will be a living roof so we wont have rain water collection.  the water enters the house, is filtered, goes to a pump that pumps the water into sinks and showers.  At that point it is run into the greenhouse where an intricate filtering system called the botanical cell will filter out the stuff from the grey water, water the plants, and end up in the toilet.  From there it will be run into a septic tank that will filter the solids out, filter the liquids, and use that to water the landscaping outside (all underground)

.(image from http://www.collective_evolution.com)

The final exciting part will be the roof.  We are not doing a typical earthship roof.  We will be using a reciprocal roof (a circle of logs placed in such a way that they lock into each other forming a round skylight in the process).  We will place the roof, use pallet wood for the wood connecting the logs, plastic on top of that, then a living roof on that with a skylight.

(image from naturalbuildingblog.com)

The whole idea is so exciting to us.  We love the idea of not only living in a self sustaining house, but also to build it ourselves.  Once we get the land and the approval to build it we will probably see about doing some sort of thing for homeschoolers to come, learn about self sustainability, and have firsthand experience building a sustainable home.

The super cool part about these earthships is that they are building them, and cob houses, all over the world.  Especially in areas where there has been some sort of natural disaster.  Michael Reynolds, the creator of the earthship, has a crew out of Taos, New Mexico who not only build them for profit, they also have crew that they send to devastated areas to build sustainable houses for people in need.  The whole idea is really amazing to me.  If I didn’t have kids, or obligations, I would pack up tomorrow and move out there to help with the cause.  This to me is exciting.

Here are some fun sites to check out and learn more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship

http://earthship.com/

you can also look up earthship on youtube.  There are some really amazing videos on there too.