Showing posts with label randomness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label randomness. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tired of the Election Chaos? A Guide on How To Vote American!

I'm tired of the elections, the politics (and I love politics), the saying something and meaning nothing of this current batch of candidates. They sure can promise a lot of things that may or may not happen. They can throw a lot of smoke to cover up their past deeds and mistakes. This year, they sure can throw a lot of mud and not be bothered with telling the American people what they really need to know. This is the first election that I don't want to vote in. I want nothing to do with it even though it is my American duty to vote. Women fought very hard for my right to vote and that effort should not be wasted even 97 years later. However, my gut feeling tells me nothing good will come out of this election no matter who gets elected. I don't ignore my gut feelings. Ever. So I won't be posting who I am voting for or endorsing. I don't know who I am voting for. I don't know if I am going to vote, but I probably will. Don't ask me or give me kind suggestions either. I am well aware of who is out there. I am well aware there is third party candidates who are not being given a fair chance in a rigged two-party electoral process. Just as I am aware that women are voting for Hillary just because she is a woman and people are voting for Trump because he is brash and bold. None of those reasons are legit, you know. How about where they stand on education, gun control, Agenda 21 (or the newest version of it), war, foreign relations, domestic relations, state vs. federal rights, national healthcare, EPA, water rights, eminent domain, agriculture, subsidies to big oil, jobs being kept in America, supporting American manufacturers, tax breaks for small businesses, and so on? How about those issues? Voting for someone should not be about how much you are getting for free, what gender they are, their personality, or their religion. It should be about their past actions, accomplishments, achievements, and somewhat their experience. How have these candidates lived their lives? Were they honest and fair in their dealings with others? How have they handled failure and still continued on their careers? How have they represented America in the past? It should not be about getting free weed, marriage freedom, or where they stand on abortion. Those issues have absolutely nothing to do with running a government or being one of the most powerful leaders in the world. They are smokescreen issues designed to take away from the real issues at hand like keeping us out of war with Russia or Syria. It should not be about how the government is going to take care of you. The government was never designed to take care of you. Until 1913, when income tax was imposed upon American citizens, the government never had the money to take care of you. With the Great Depression came programs that were never meant to be permanent. With the anti-poverty laws created in the 1960s came programs that were never meant to be a permanent lifestyle. Supporting a candidate who will make sure you don't lose your benefits is not a legitimate choice. Choosing a candidate should be about who is going to uphold the laws of our land, support the Constitution, not going to trample all over the rights and freedoms we have already been given, and be an American to the core. A candidate is someone who is not going to sell America to the United Nations, become an puppet state for ISIS, suppress our international power in order to not offend other countries, and not deliberately going to anger other countries who could give us a heck of a fight. A candidate is someone who is going to tell all immigrants and refugees that we have rules about coming into this country, you wanted to come here, and you will obey them in order to have the rights and privilege that we enjoy now. A candidate should be someone who is going to say that when you are in America, you are in the greatest country in the world. A candidate should be someone is going to stand for America in all ways and look at the presidency as a public servant would. A potential POTUS should not look at this job as a way to become a new world order or to conquer the world. They would respect our privacy, not want to be Big Brother, and not spy on us - in essence abolish that part of the NSA. A potential POTUS should look at this job as a way to make America great again. Because that is what their constituents want - an America that is great again. Thanks for reading, Erica

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Thoughts - Week of August 14


The Friday Thoughts might give you the impression I am obsessed with certain things, but then again maybe not. Many people ask what I think about things and I am not a very good talker. I will start trying to put my thoughts here every week and see what happens. I am going to keep it to five things that have been on my mind or heart, but I am not making any promises. 

1. I am really looking forward to this weekend. I will be kid-free for the weekend. As much as I love them, as a single mom, I need this once in a while. I need the mental break. Maybe I can get organized again too with my planner and my calendar!

2. If you are inclined, please say a little prayer or send some good vibes for Shali. She is having an MRI on Sunday for her ankle and will probably end up with surgery. We will know more after her follow up appointment on Thursday. She injured it playing sports in high school and, at 20, is in constant pain. Too young for that!

3. Wow, did you all see that explosion in the port of Tianjin, China? Holy moly. I am impressed! However, I think the implications of this will be felt worldwide. It was a major port for China and the exporting of desirable goods across the planet. And as much as we don't want to think about how much of our own goods come from China, a large majority of them are manufactured or are refined by China. This might impact us more than we know.

4. What are you interested in this week? Some times I feel like this changes from week to week depending on my week. As I have confessed before, I am not a super organized person. I am a barely organized person. I have learned the value of having a huge family calendar to keep track of everything. I have learned the value of having that same calendar in my phone and setting up reminders for myself. I am now using an app that has my to-do list and my grocery list on it.

This week has been all about being even more organized. Setting up systems, having more extensive menu plans, and just knowing where everything is because everything has a place. I have been learning more than doing, but I have some ideas about what I want to do. However, the thought in my mind is that some times people try to become more organized in direct relation to the stress in their lives. They are so stressed out that they seek control in their lives by being more organized. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how extreme you are being. (Yes, I read that somewhere. I just can't remember where.)

I am trying not to be extreme. However, I do understand that I do want more control in my life.

5. #4 was several thoughts rolled into one segment. That is enough for this week.

This week's blog post: Preppers and Homesteaders Need To Eat Healthy Too!

What I bought on Amazon this week: The Ultimate Self-Sufficiency Handbook by Abigail R. Gehring (this has been on my wish list for quite some time.)


I have also become an affiliate for the Molly Green Magazine and Website. This site and magazine has some of the best homesteading articles I have ever read. I am a subscriber myself and totally love what they are doing! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


This does contain affiliate links, but I only share my favorites with you!)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Thoughts - Week of August 7


The Friday Thoughts might give you the impression I am obsessed with certain things, but then again maybe not. Many people ask what I think about things and I am not a very good talker. I will start trying to put my thoughts here every week and see what happens. I am going to keep it to five things that have been on my mind or heart, but I am not making any promises. 

1. I did not watch the presidential debates last night. I could care less about the debates unless they are really going to talk about the real issues. And although I think Donald Trump could contribute a lot to this country, I really don't think he is presidential material. I like a few other candidates and will just wait to see how they do.

2. In a couple short weeks, I will have two kids in their own apartment at college and two kids at home. That just seems so strange. I love them so much, but life has more in store for them and I can't wait to see the adventures they go on in their lives.

3. In relation to #2, I was doing laundry last night and remembering the good old days when I had to do a load every morning and night along with several loads on the weekends just to keep up with the laundry. With four kids at home, I had a lot of laundry to do! Now I am down to once a day, maybe, with a couple loads on the weekends. Jordan has been doing her own laundry this summer so I haven't needed to worry about hers. That seems strange too, but I do enjoy doing less laundry!

4. We need rain. I want to get a fall garden in, but the ground is so hard. I can't get the tiller in the garden to do a decent job breaking up the dirt. The ground is cracking around my onions. However, the tomatoes are doing well with lots of green tomatoes. Hopefully soon, I will have lots of red tomatoes!

5. The chickens have been molting. I think they are mostly done molting now. I was only getting 1-2 eggs a day for two weeks and now we are back to 7-8 eggs a day. Hopefully we will be getting a dozen a day again soon.

6. I have been more driven lately to be organized. So much so that I am going to clean out and organize my freezers. Yikes. (I will be putting up a post about that later!) I am getting so cluttered in my mind that I need my surroundings clean and decluttered. I want to know where everything is and I want to be able to find it immediately. I have not gotten everything done yet, but I will!

This week's blog post: Is It A NEED or a WANT? What Should You Spend Your Money On?

What I bought on Amazon this week: Sterlite Deep Ultra Basket with Titanium Inserts, White, 6-pack (for organizing the freezer)

Thanks for reading,
Erica

This does contain affiliate links, but I only share my favorites with you!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Thoughts - Week of July 24


The Friday Thoughts might give you the impression I am obsessed with certain things, but then again maybe not. Many people ask what I think about things and I am not a very good talker. I will start trying to put my thoughts here every week and see what happens. I am going to keep it to five things that have been on my mind or heart, but I am not making any promises. 

1. Well, there is certainly something going on in the air financially in this country. All signs are not pointed to the good either. If you are not paying attention to the financial news in other countries, you might want to be. If a recession or depression happens in this country (again), this will be hard on everyone. So many people depend on the government or other services to stay alive and that may not be possible if something happens. 

For the frugally minded, this might not be such a hurt for you. For those that are not frugally minded, you might want to jump on the spend less, save more train. Having cash reserves at home and tucked away at other places will be a saving grace during this time. Learning to do for yourself will be too. Get your food storage in a better shape and always be adding to it. 

2. I am continually amazed by people who do not take advantage of when the price is low on certain things (maybe all things). I can understand just not having the money to pay for it. However, the price of propane is the lowest it has been in ten or more years. People say they do not have the money to fill their tank at this price, but have the money for a vacation or to send their kids to every camp they can. I would think having a warm home and saving money would take precedence, but some people are really hung up on living the good life before all else. 

3. On a positive note, I love Summer! I wish it was warm all year round in Iowa, but it isn't. 

4. I am getting ready to put in the fall garden. I didn't plant as much this Spring due to the busyness of the season. I let that section of garden go to weeds. I just mowed it off last night and will rent a tiller to till it up again. I want to plant green beans, carrots, radishes, potatoes, and maybe a few other things (I haven't decided yet). 

5. I just about bought two feeder pigs the other day. I want to try raising a couple of pigs so badly just so we can raise own our meat. However, my family is not on board. At all. And I need a good area built for them first. I have a tendency to jump first and think later so I am trying the opposite. Hopefully, in the next year, we will be adding a feeder pig or two to the homestead. 

This week's posts are: 9 Things I Have Learned As A Single Mom Prepper/Homesteader

My favorite Amazon item this week: 

Have a good week and let me know what has been on your mind!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


(This does contain affiliate links, but I only share my favorites with you!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"What Do You Think Is Going To Happen? Is The World Going To End?"


The answer would be "I don't know" or "I doubt it". Literally, I don't know. I can guess and not be right. I can only give you my views and let you make your own decisions.

I see a lot of signs of potential bad things happening, but I don't know which way anything is going to go. I see a lot of signs that I find rather alarming and very disturbing. I see a lot of questionable decisions being made and a lot of questionable people making those decisions. We have natural events happening in unexpected places as well as expected places. We have things going on that are out of our control.

I don't ever see the world self-imploding or blowing up. I also believe that everything works in cycles. The weather works in cycles. Nature works in cycles. Animals work in cycles. You get the idea.

Natural disasters do not worry me that much. They are part of life and nature. We have no control over them. We can prepare for them as much as possible, but we always need to understand that everything we own can be destroyed in seconds. However, not having water, food, and other things on hand just in case is pure foolishness. Not being ready for something that can happen every year and at anytime doesn't make sense. You should have at least three to seven days worth of water and food ready for any natural disaster as well as other disaster supplies. FEMA put out a pretty good starter list for this and I would definitely check it out.

Our troubled economic status actually worries me a bit. Between being lied to by so-called experts, the amount of national and personal debt piling up, and the dropping value of the dollar gives us quite a bit to be worried about. I am no expert, but I can tell you this. Getting out of debt should be a priority. Learning to live on cash should be a priority. Having a cash emergency fund should be a priority. Having multiple streams of income should be considered important. You should do what you can now so when a recession or a depression comes around, you won't be at the mercy of creditors.

Widespread power outages, EMPs and solar flares do exist as a threat. They have happened before and more than likely will again. I do believe it is possible to have a EMP event or a widespread power outage. Learning to live without electricity and not be dependent on electricity will be extremely important. The skills needed to do this need to be practiced now. Many people rely very heavily on electronics and not enough on learning natural skills.

Job loss should always be on the mind. The most secure jobs in the world can become the least secure in a day, month, or year. Ask all the oil workers who were fired or laid off. I bet they didn't see that coming. Even if you work for yourself, the economy might dictate how your business will be doing. This is where emergency funds become crucial and multiple streams of income become the difference between starving and eating.

War and military action seems pretty far-fetched for most Americans. However, our administration is making some very questionable decisions and alliances. We have been attacked. We have proof of being infiltrated by terrorist groups. We could have a war on our hands. We have enemies with very powerful weapons and technology. We have a lot of people with their head in the sand. In my mind, nothing is impossible. Being prepared for this is mind-boggling. Being prepared for this means being able to defend yourself and your family. You have to be ready to make a lot of sacrifices and quick decisions. Start reading literature about how people lived through war conditions in the past. Learn and imagine what if?

Lack of morals and ethics in people in general worries me also. Stealing, looting, lying, lack of justice, lack of common sense, lack of accountability, and a convoluted justice system makes for very troubled times. We have millions of people who have a victim mentality and believe they are entitled to whatever they want without working for it. I know preparing for this can be difficult. Who do you trust? Will this happen in your area? What can you do to help? Who should you help? What can you do to be more alert and ready to defend your family and home? All we can do is do the best we can and prepare accordingly.

Any of these things can be true. There are many more scenarios to think of and ponder. However, being prepared for anything is the peace of mind that we need. While I admit to being worried about things, I do not fear them. Fear leads to irrational thinking and that just means mistakes will be made.

You have to do what is best for you and your family. Being prepared means that you are taking care of them and yourself. I can't think of doing anything better than that.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Posts of 2014!

The end of the year is here which is unbelievable to me. However, time keeps marching on and life goes on!

These are the top posts of 2014! This little old blog really grew this year and it is all because of you! Thank you all so very much for reading this posts, sharing with others, and giving me the boost to keep blogging!
 






















Thanks for reading! 
Erica

Monday, July 14, 2014

Things in Life Do Not Happen In My Time: Tales From A Frustrated "Homesteader"

Today's post will be funny, a bit frustrating, trying not to be whiny, and wondering what decisions I should have made differently. Just for your own information. I do try to warn people. Sometimes.


I should have gotten more chickens. Before my family attempts to shoot me about that last statement, I mean I should have gotten meat chickens along with the layers. I am a super excited chicken owner who cannot wait to have her chickens start laying! Bring on the eggs! However, I wanted to start small and work my way into this. I now realize I could have handled 25-30 meat chickens in addition to 14 layers. Chickens, so far, have been really easy to raise and give me much amusement some days. Next years plans: 25-30 meat chickens. And maybe a couple of feeder pigs?

I should have also bit the bullet and started a few beehives this year. We love honey. I use it to replace sugar in a lot of things. Producing our own would have saved me much moola as raw honey is starting to creep up the price ladder a bit.

One of the two cars I am trying to get rid of.

I am trying to sell two vehicles right now because we need the money and I want them gone. Neither have sold yet over a 2-3 week span. I have had interest, but nothing solid. I understand that selling anything does not happen in my time, but I am a bit frustrated. We could have used that money yesterday (in a figurative sense). However, the book selling has been taking off again so maybe I need to take comfort in the small blessings instead.

The garden is not producing like I want it too. I have had some small successes such as the onions actually growing and three times more raspberries than last year. The potatoes are nice and tall and green beans are starting to take off. However, it appears I should have really added a lot of nitrogen before the garden was tilled. And too much rain is not helping either. Right now the garden needs heat which is not happening until later this week. The peppers are not growing. The green beans have staged a bit of protest as did the tomatoes. I replanted beets yesterday with the hopes of a late fall harvest. I may replant carrots yet with the goal of a late fall harvest too. Only 5-6 plants came up for each. Not going to feed a family much this winter on that.

When the garden is done producing this fall, I will start laying the soiled chicken bedding in the garden as well as letting the chickens play in the garden. Hopefully that with some well rotted manure from a farmers will help tremendously. I will have to stop about three months before I am ready to till so it will not burn the garden, but the effort will be worth it.

And maybe, just maybe, I will get the compost area built and started.

In my mind, I should always do more. The bugs have been terrible so I haven't been outside as much. I will have to buckle down this week and make some homemade bug repellent and move some citronella candles into the garden so I can work there more. The weeds keep growing! The yard has been sprayed twice and the mosquitoes don't care. They are still out in full force. I have been free ranging the chickens a lot more so they can eat their fair share. However, I am getting a lot of decluttering done on the inside of the house so that is a definite plus.

The goal is to be self-sustainable and self-sufficient. People in my life are learning to appreciate that I want to produce for myself and my motley crew. I enjoy things that I have made myself. I am learning to understand and possibly appreciate that things do not happen in my time. I am impatient a lot and want things done now. I look back at decisions I have made and realize I should have made them differently with a little less fear that I couldn't handle more or this/that. Unfortunately I don't want to look ridiculous either, but anymore I just don't care.

Some days I think it is ridiculous to consider myself a "homesteader" because I only have a garden and laying chickens. Then I remember that I have a "homesteader" attitude and I am closer to my goal every day and every year. Some days I think it takes a lot of money to be a homesteader until I remember that I will save money and be more self-reliant in the end. Getting started might cost some, but the end result will save me money.

I need to quit beating myself up, but I have been a bit frustrated this week. Homesteading is just one of those areas. Hopefully as the week goes on, I can elaborate on the rest.

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Facing Adversity While Living Life You Want

I have several hats I like to wear: Gardener, Homesteader, Prepper, Cook, Writer, Seller, Coordinator, Experimenter, Reader, Crafter, Hobbyist, Nature Lover, Natural Lifer, Deal Finder, Tightwad, etc.

I have several roles that I try to fulfill in my life: Mom, Girlfriend, Friend, Daughter, Granddaughter, Niece, Cousin, and Acquaintance.

What do you do when the people in your life do not support you and the hats you like to wear? What do you do you have no encouragement to pursue your dreams in life? What do you do when you get mocked and teased for living the life you love?

I have struggled with this for awhile. Last summer, much of it came to a head for me. I became very disgusted with the lack of support in my life to pursue my passions. I had great friends who supported me all the way and I had friends/family who supported me in some ways, but not all. Then I had people who did not support me at all.

Granted, their arguments were valid. I was creating too much work for myself. I was stretching myself out too thin. When did I have time for all of this? Why should I dive in head first? Shouldn't I just dabble in it? Maybe I should wait until the kids are out of school and then I can pursue my dreams.

One thing I have learned in my life is that the possibility of later may not exist. The cliché "No time like the present" speaks a lot to me. There is no time like the present to embrace life and live the life you dream of. I want a life of simplicity. I want to know that I can accomplish a lot with my own two hands. I want to be self-supporting. I want my kids to see that anything is possible once you put your mind to it and stay positive.

I will always have people in my life who are concerned about my well-being and worry about me. I have people who I worry about. That is natural. I also have people in my life who don't believe I can accomplish what I want because they have unrealized dreams, have faced adversity and have given up. Many people say you should rid your life of those people, but I don't agree. I think they are in my life for a reason - to give them hope.

Many people believe that adversity is bad and should be eliminated. However, I don't believe that. I think adversity is a great motivator. Those people who question me, worry me, and tell me it won't work are the great motivators in my life. Not that I love to prove people wrong, but I like to prove to them that dreams are possible, tangible, and achievable.

Adversity in life is not bad, but it cannot rule your life either. Living in fear of what others will think and of the reaction you will get are not going to give you the life you love.

Live the life you want! Live the life of your dreams!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day...

...And this is a holiday that I don't care for.

Commercials proclaiming "Show her your love on this special day." Really? If you really are in love, shouldn't you be showing her or him your love everyday?

To me, love is not flowers, jewelry, expensive clothes, expensive dinners, and whatnot. Those things are nice and can show appreciation, but to me they do not show love.

Love is changing the oil in the car, changing the light bulb when it goes out, fixing the door, holding hands, an occasional hug, a just because card, fixing dinner for the other or together, calling just because, laughing together, and all the other everyday things that happen.

Love is appreciating the person beside you by doing the little things for them. 

Love is showing someone everyday you care.

Love is going through a tough time together and becoming stronger because you did together. 

Love is buying them Caramel De-Lites because you know they love them (yes he did love them!).

Love is running out to get ice cream because she is craving some at the moment (yes he did that!).

I used to work for a florist. That should just about sum up why I don't like the holiday, but that is not all. I would see guys buy expensive flowers just because it was Valentine's Day. I would see that same couple the next day yelling and screaming at each other. I would see guys buy their wives flowers and having an affair behind their back. I would see people buying expensive flowers when they didn't have the money for them, but they were expected to buy them.

Money and things are not love.

Don't get me wrong, I love flowers! I don't want those flowers just because it is a holiday to show his love. I want those flowers because he was thinking of me and thought I would like them. I want them because he could afford a little something extra and he thought of me. I want them because he thought I needed cheering up and that would do it.

Every day should be Valentine's Day.

Every day you should show that someone you love them, care for them, appreciate them, and are thinking about them.

Make every day Valentine's Day!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Choosing Easy vs. Challenging

Some days, it is a war in my mind. The war isn't a new one, at least not to me. I am sure it is not a new one to anyone.

The war of doing something the easy way versus doing something challenging or will challenge me.

I have written about laziness and entitlement before. This is not what I mean in this respect. A lot of people find life easier by taking the easy way: everything handed to them, always choosing what takes the least amount of effort, not having to work for much, and being very content with life being that way. I actually struggle to understand people like that, but they have the right to live like that. That path is their choice.

I enjoy learning new things and constantly challenging myself. Some days are just about surviving the day, but I always try to read or watch something everyday that will teach me something. That something could be a new skill, a new recipe, cooking technique, gardening, homesteading, preparedness, survival living, history, or parenting. I have always wanted to learn and be challenged. I still do.

However, I have an internal debate going in my mind. One that has very prevalent since Dane was born and I became a single parent two years later. Sometimes I just don't have time for challenging. Sometimes I can't do it all and be supermom/super-gardener/superwoman/super(whatever). Some days, I want to take the easy way too.

I have the attitude sometimes, "I want to do it myself!" Trust me on this one, my mom heard that plenty when I was little. The attitude hasn't changed much since then. I play well with others, but I need the challenge. Even though I have learned to say no and realize I have time limitations, in my mind I think I can do it all and do it myself. I take great measures to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on anyone. That attitude has its pitfalls and learning experiences. It is not always the best attitude to have.

I find myself struggling because of a recent conversation Rob and I had (one of many that have gone this way, I just picked one). His neighbor is an awesome gardener that has many, many years of experience. So whatever gardening idea I am pondering and happen to speak out loud, Rob asks his neighbor about. That kind of irritates me, but not something to get upset over. Whatever his neighbor says about the current subject of gardening, Rob thinks I should do. Without question, without thinking over the advice. I am just not that kind of person. I can't just blindly follow advice.

Granted, he probably is right. There is a large part of me, though, that wants to try things a certain way just to see if I can do it that way or conquer that project. I want to take the challenge and prove myself a success or find out why it failed. For example, starting seeds. I have tried to start plants from seeds many times. Every time I have a little more success and that makes me want to try it again. However, it is much, much easier to buy the plants and plop them into the ground. More expensive, but much easier. I try to do a combination of both, but he thinks I should just buy the plants from an Amish farmer that is close to him and be done with it. Rob knows that I don't really have a lot of time to be starting my own plants and this would be easier for me.

Another example would be when I wanted to try no-till gardening. Plenty of people told me that they don't till, they just go in the garden, and plant. They feed their garden from the top. They also use plenty of mulch to keep the weeds down, letting the mulch break down, and become part of the soil.. I researched it and thought that is pretty simple and that I could do that. That particular method went bust for me. I tried it for three years and the garden is harder than a rock now. My Iowa soil needs some fluffing and nutrients tilled into the soil. My frustration would have been simplified if I would have just have given up a year or two sooner. But I love a challenge...

Sometimes life is made easier if you do just follow others' advice and choose the easy way. Sometimes, though, life is better for fighting through the challenges and proving you can do it. Life is choosing your own path whether you choose the easy path or the challenging path, but whatever path you choose, that path is yours.

Do your research before deciding which path is for you. Realize the path can change with each situation, stage, and experience in life. Just because that path was right for someone else does not mean it is right for you. If you fail, chalk that up to a learning experience. Failure is not bad. Failure just means that you tried and didn't produce a certain result. Success is great, but success should be built upon and not be an end result.

Whatever path you choose, make it your own.

Thanks for reading!
Erica

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2013

Ever year I like to share with you what maybe drew you to this blog of mine or a post that you might have missed that was wildly popular. These, as do all of my posts, mean a lot to me and I am so happy to share what I have learned with you in 2013.

1. Dehydrating Blueberries










9. Monday Frugal and No Spend Update

10. What Do You Carry In Your Vehicle?

Thanks for reading this blog and giving me the opportunity for doing this post! Have a great 2014!

Thanks,
Erica

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday Shopping: Is the Headache Worth It?

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping can be crazy. Stores opening at midnight if they even closed at all. Standing in line and getting a ticket to buy an item at a significant savings. Missing out time with family and friends to go shopping. Employees missing time with family and friends on a holiday to satisfy a corporation's greediness.

No, I don't agree with stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. It is a holiday after all and just because someone works retail doesn't mean they need to pay that price. I don't agree with stores opening at ungodly hours to satisfy their bottom lines while offering deals that are irresistible to shoppers. I don't like the whole craziness of these shopping days and what they stand for. I personally try to never participate if I can help it. Last year, I got one thing online and regretted it because despite the reviews, it was cheaply made.

The problem with Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping is that the people are feeding the problem. The stores are offering these deals and opening at ungodly hours. The public flocks to these sales forsaking their families, work, and sleep. The workers are scheduled and, in a lot of cases, forced to work on the holiday because they are told they cannot take those days off or call in sick.

Quite frankly, the public is a huge part of this problem. If they would not shop at the sales, the stores would not feel the need to be open. Standing in lines for hours, collecting a ticket, rushing the doors, and rioting just brings out the ugliness of the whole situation. Stores make everyone stand in line if they want the item and get a ticket so they can purchase it. When did honor and morals go out the window while shopping? Just ridiculous.

Trust me, I understand the lure of the sale. I understand why shoppers do go to get a good deal on a item. If the shopper really needs the item, it would be very difficult to pass up the good deal. I usually advocate saving money any way you can, but for some reason I can not condone Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping. I see a lot of people going in debt and using credit cards to pay for items they cannot afford. People buy gifts for their families and friends that will be played with or used a few times and discarded just because they were able to get that gift at such a "great" price.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Stay home on Thanksgiving. If you feel the need to be out on Black Friday, do so at a reasonable hour. Camping out at a store, battling others for the sale items, and spending you do not have is not the way to make great memories. Send the stores a message that their early sales and being open on a holiday is just not what consumers want.

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some days and dreams are better than others...

I struggle. We all struggle.

Sometimes the right response to a situation absolutely does not come to me. Sometimes the right thing to say becomes clouded in what I want to say and can't. I am not a good verbal speaker most days. I have a tough time putting my sentences together and making sense. But I can write.

Some days I feel like I am back in junior high. Let me tell y'all - I HATED junior high school. I am still trying to wipe that whole time frame out of my mind 23 years later. The self-doubt, the mocking, the immature having mature feelings, and the feeling like I was going to be a mess are all feelings I don't miss from that time.

I have a serious need to help people because so many people have helped me when I was in need. I have a need to pay forward and bless others with the knowledge I have gained. I get so excited to know that I can help others. For so many years, I didn't feel like I had anything to contribute to the world much less friends and family. Now that I feel like I can, I want to smother everyone in it.

So many people, though, want to take that excitement away. They want to bring me down to their level and make me feel worthless and stupid. They don't like how I handled a situation, how or what I spoke about a subject, what I have done, and where I have been in life. They want to create drama where no drama should exist just because of their ego, pride, self-righteousness, and/or selfishness.

Some people want to get in the way of your dreams because their dreams haven't been realized.

My dream is to write. I don't know most days what I want to write or should write about. Most days I just want to inspire others, whether it is living the frugal dream, being self-sufficient, being self-aware, and/or just to be an encouragement to others. Some days, like today, I just want to write from the heart and tell everyone it will be okay.

It is okay to dream, encourage, and be the person you were created to be.

Others will tramp all over those dreams. They will try to make you feel less than them. Worse than all of that? They will try to give you the practicalities of why your dream is not possible.

In all honesty, nowadays, I use those people to push me to my dream. I want to prove them wrong in a way I couldn't do in junior high. I took the wrong path so many times that I feel I have left is the right path. Will I succeed? No telling. I am writing now and, to me, that is all that counts.

What is your dream?

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Scenes From The Farm

If you stopped by today and visited with us, this is what you would see!


We have bell peppers starting to blossom and some are growing peppers. I can't wait for them to turn red and orange!


Some rugs over a chair waiting to go back inside


Some wild roses on their last bloom


We are surrounded on all four sides by corn growing tall


Beautiful yellow daylilies


The tomatoes are growing big and we have tons of blossoms!


An apple tree loaded with promise for a large crop!

Not much right now, but I love the promise of this farm and the potential for what is here! Such beauty on five acres!

Thanks for reading (and looking!),
Erica

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Those Tired Days


I am having one of those periods in my life. I call them the "tired days". I am exhausted. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally.

I know I can't be the only one. I know I am not the only one.

These days happen when I have a lot going on in my life, some big decisions that need to be made, some emotional issues to get through, and all I want to do is shut down. I don't want to think, I don't want to do, and I don't want anything.

Well...I do want things. Not exactly things, but things to happen. I just don't want to make the decisions. 

I like living my simple life, even though at the surface that life may not seem simple. I like the decisions I have made thus far and don't want to make the wrong one. That scares me the most - making a wrong decision. I would rather stick my hand in a blender than to make the wrong decision. I get very insecure at the thought of potentially screwing up my life, my kids' lives, and those that are around me.

Having self-confidence has always been an issue for me. Maybe the twelve years of feeling stupid and small when something didn't work out right has contributed to that feeling. When I decided to file for divorce, I felt empowered and confident again for the first time in a long time. Several "tired days" followed, but I felt as though life would be alright again. I hold on to that feeling when I get "tired".

What gets me through the "tired days"? I do allow myself a little shutting down by resting, relaxing, reading and reflecting. I feel as though I need to feed that side of me for a little while so I can feel refreshed and ready to tackle the problems/issues I have going on.

Then I take stock of my life and write down my priorities. I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Write down your priorities for your life, your family, and your home. Often when I write down my priorities, some of my decisions are very easily made. We often get so wrapped up in the details and drama in our lives that we forget what is important to us.

After I do that, I like to seek advice from those I respect, admire, love, and whose counsel makes good sense whether I like or don't like what they are saying. You are going to hear things you don't like or don't make sense to you, but don't throw that counsel away. I find I really need to hear those things because I am so focused in one direction and what I want that I am not thinking clearly about what is best for me or my family.

After I get through those steps, I reflect and make decisions. Sometimes I have to do baby steps in my decisions to make the big ones seem easier, but I make the decisions all the same.

My motto is "I Do What I Can." That applies to all areas of my life. When I am having those "tired days", I do what I can to make the best decision, to have a good day, to get something done at home, and to take care of my family and myself.

We all struggle and we all want to shut down. Just know that you are not alone. Take the steps and work your way out of the "tired days".

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Update

Until next week, I will make no promises that I will be posting regularly. Now that I think about it, next week isn't looking good either...

maybe the week after that...

anyhoo...

What has been happening in the crazy busy life of this household?

Only this:

See the pretty girls ready for prom? That took a bit of work plus some creative complaining to have this come about. More about that another time. They both had a great time and were sad to see it over with.

See the walls and the floor? They are sort of new! The walls that needed to be replaced, got replaced. The walls all got textured and painted. The worn out linoleum got replaced with laminate hardwood.

I love it all! I was so happy with the results that I had to pinch myself! Now to get everything back together and get ready for the bathroom that needs new walls. I am glad that I found someone willing to get these projects done!

As some of you may know, we got some snow on Wednesday-Thursday last week! 8 inches of the wet, heavy stuff! It did some pretty significant damage on the trees around the farm:

 My clothesline

 My driveway or what you can see of it

The kids' playset and fort. Thankfully it missed the powerline!

Fortunately we did not lose power, but this is a sampling of the trees and branches that have to be cleaned up. We have a lot of work ahead of us! Thankfully we decided to not have graduation at the house! That would be a whole new level of stress I don't need!

We also have some new critters around the house:

Katrina the 10 month old puppy/dog

Rebel the 7 week old kitten

Whew! And I still have graduation to get ready for and the start of the baseball/softball season this week.

Have a great day! Thanks!
Erica

Friday, April 5, 2013

Frugal Tip Friday: Spend Time with Your Minions

Today's frugal tip is not so much frugal as it is just plain needed.

Spend time with your minions, ummm...children!


I call my kids minions from time to time because we love that movie, Despicable Me. And, sometimes, it fits.

As they are growing up more and more, I have learned something. Spend time with them and let them know you care. Love on them. Listen to them.

This is the most frugal thing you could do as a parent as it costs nothing but your time and your heart. They will be more secure with themselves and the world because they know you love them. Sometimes, they will remember that love and caring when they get into tough situations and it will help get them through.

It also might stop you from completely melting when you think about having one graduate from high school, two with drivers' licenses, three who can look you in the eye, and four who might be too smart for their own good. Just saying.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!
Erica

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Now that Christmas is over with...

We can get back to the daily life business that suits me so much better. I do apologize for the lack of Christmas posts this year and promise I will have some pre-written and ready to go for next year. I just was not in the Christmas spirit this year. I am not exactly sure how or why, but life sent us a few curve balls before Christmas that did not help. Namely sickness and a lot of doctor's visits.

Part of the problem may also be that I am not a traditionalist. I rarely remember what we did the year before to do again next year. I also like to try new things all the time (except change the furniture which is another post) so doing the same thing year after year does not always appeal to me. Some things do stay the same, however.

Christmas Eve will always be at my parents. We do a birthday lunch because my dad and my Paige have birthdays on the 22nd and my niece has a birthday on the 14th of the next month. After lunch, we start with birthday presents and then go to Christmas presents. Supper is usually leftovers from dinner because we are all stuffed from lunch and the goodies put out after lunch. Supper also becomes optional. But the apple did not fall far from the tree here either. Rarely do things happen the same twice at my parents for various reasons. Things get forgotten. People can't remember what was done the year before. But it is all good.

Christmas morning is at home. I did insist upon this from the time Jordan was a baby. With Shali, I really didn't think it was too big of a deal to have our family Christmas wherever we landed. When Jordan was born, I decided that we would have our own Christmas in our own home Christmas morning. I like the consistency of this as well as having our own time as a family. I have no idea how I will address this when the kids get married and have lives of their own, but that is in the future and not now.

We usually have breakfast of French toast and, sometimes, apple fritters, on Christmas morning. French toast is a family favorite and very easy to do in the morning. Apple Fritters is a recipe from my great-grandmother and are delicious! I love them. I didn't get them made this year, but there is always New Years Day! Maybe with Lemon Ricotta Beignets....yum!

Christmas lunch may be at home or the kids may go to their other grandparents. Afternoon and supper may also be at home with company. Now that we have entered the realm of dating, sometimes the girls have gone to their boyfriend's family Christmas celebrations. This is actually fairly new for us and I am still adjusting a bit because I would just like to have everyone home!

The kids will have Christmas this weekend with their father, grandparents, and the rest of the family as well as a birthday celebration for the birthdays that are around Christmas. Hopefully, I will be starting to feel a little better and I will be out of town for the weekend.

I am grateful that Paige took the initiative to get the house decorated for Christmas. Although she swears she did not use every ornament and decoration we have, the house seems to say something else. Christmas baking did not get done at all due to the illness and busyness of our schedule. Jordan and I made our annual right before Christmas shopping trip. We went on the 23rd and found some excellent deals for presents. I thought we would be battling crowds more, but they were not too bad.

Now that the actual holiday is over, but the twelve days of Christmas are not, I am looking towards next year as well as looking back over the last year. While I am not trying to borrow trouble, I do see some troublesome things coming on the horizon for the country and think we may see some problems. I am also looking towards things we need to get done as a family as well as things I would like to post here. I am also looking for ways to make this blog more user-friendly and what I envision this blog to be.

Thank you to all of you who follow this faithfully and put up with my randomness as well as my busy schedule. I have several articles written already for this next year and I can't wait to share them with you! We do go through some changes in our household and I have changed some of the ways we do things so I will be sharing those with you as well.

Happy New Years to You All and Thanks for Reading!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Random Thoughts of a Busy and Somewhat Unfocused Mama

Since my mind has been going in many different directions again lately and is losing focus rapidly, I will attempt to refocus here and torture you all with it too.

#1 Kids and injuries go together. Right? No? We have a 50% injury rate among kids right now with a pulled groin muscle and a broken arm. The other 50% knows they should not get injured right now. Mama may end up doing something crazy like order huge rolls of bubble wrap even though that is not in her budget right now.

#2 Who are we kidding? These are my kids with my genetics. Bubble wrap won't help them. Hmmm...

#3 Speaking of budgets, I would like to create a workable budget. One that I can consistently use month after month. I am not good at budgeting so this might be a bigger challenge than I am willing to commit to. But a budget I need. Dang.

#4 My garden was not what I wanted it to be. I'm a bit disappointed.

#5 Hopefully the rain we get today and Saturday will be enough to loosen the ground so I can get my potatoes out and garlic planted. Right now, it is like digging into concrete.

#6 Where would I be without my friends? You all have no idea how you restore my sanity some days.

#7 I am having a blast canning tomatoes and all the different ways to do so. I am going to love having instant meals at my fingertips later courtesy of my work now.

#8 My kids think all the canning I do is a bit over the top. They don't know what they are talking about.

#9 Sometimes I have to jump all over my kids' cases about things. I feel horrible about when I do it, but I am reminding myself that this will be for the better. Sometimes I have to demand respect and sometimes I have to be the bad guy. I don't want to be, but being a parent can be tough sometimes.

#10 I am constantly amazed at what my kids learn when they ride the school bus. Some of it is good, some of it is not good. Dane has learned to crack his neck like it is no big deal and at angles I never knew a human head could twist. I know it is not good for him, but honestly I am a bit in awe. I wish I could crack my neck!

#11 I need to get back on track with my preps. I feel like I have fallen a bit behind and, with a lack of funds, have not been able to do what I would like. I just keep reminding myself there is a lot to do that is free. Like getting my compost area set up!

#12 I need to get a handle on our daily schedule and calendar. I don't know who is coming and going anymore!

What are your random thoughts for today? Crazy where the mind goes sometimes...

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

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