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Showing posts from February, 2014

Preparedness on the Cheap: Making a Phone List

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One of the cheapest preparedness activities you can do is to make a phone list. This very easy activity will give you and your family peace of mind when an emergency arises. This list will also let your family know who you prefer to do business with as well as who to call if they can not contact you.

You might think you have all the important numbers memorized, but that does not mean your children, any caretakers, or other family members do. When an emergency does arise, you can get very flustered quickly. You might blank out and forget the number just when you need that phone number the most!

I believe it is important to have these phone numbers in your cell phone as well as having a printed list in a preparedness binder and hung up by the main phone or in an office. If you are away from home, you have the list in your cell phone. If your cell phone dies and/or you are not able to recharge it, you have a printed copy of the phone list. This might seem excessive to have lists in that ma…

Single Mamas: Life Does Get Better

Dear Single Mamas:

Life Does Get Better.

Someone said this to me when I was going through my divorce and I thought I couldn't be a single mama, full-time working mama, soccer mama, and whatever hat I also needed to wear. I thought life was going to be even harder when I realized I was truly on my own and their father wasn't going to be an active part of their life.

But life got better. And it will for you too.

It is hard to see that when you are knee deep in the trenches. It is hard to see that when you are crying with frustration in bed. It is hard to see that when your child is disappointed and you are powerless to help. It is hard to see that when you are robbing Peter to pay Paul and may need to rob Simon too. It is hard to see that when you have a screaming toddler and impatient, attitude-filled teenager. It is hard to see that when all you need is another person who understands your situation and you think no one does.

Life does get better.

Your children will pass through …

Monday Frugal Update

From last week's post, I told you about the van battery dying and having to get a new one. A friend was able to put a different battery in my van until I could get something else. On our way to Rob's house Saturday we got a different battery at Mills Fleet Farm. That battery cost me $77 which is about $50 less than in the town we live nearby. Rob put the battery in for me which saved me the money of a mechanic doing the same work. Since we didn't make a separate trip to the store, we saved that money too. I figured we saved additional $50-75 in gas and labor fees, but I did get Rob some Girl Scout cookies. Does that count as payment for labor?
I was able to get more apples on clearance for $.50/6. Last week's apples were eaten by the kids (mostly Dane). This morning, I sliced about 10-12 apples for the slow cooker to make applesauce for supper. I might slice some more up tonight for the dehydrator. We love our dried apples! Or turn them into apple butter...yum!
I have …

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 runn…

Choosing Easy vs. Challenging

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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 hav…

Monday Frugal Update

This week was going really well until Monday. I know today is Tuesday, but Monday was very frustrating for me and going to be a bit expensive to me.

The battery is dead in my van. The van would not start at home in -15 degree temps. Considering I don't work well in those temps either, I didn't really blame the van. However, locking the keys in the van and having no clue where your second set is does not bode well. That was $60 to get the van unlocked. I get to drive 45 minutes away this week to get a new battery. Yes they do sell batteries in a closer town, but I refuse to pay $128 for a battery that I can get for $75 in that town. Throw in the gas and it is still cheaper to drive that 45 minutes!

I am trying to make a frustrating situation into a more frugal situation and change the battery myself. I know that sounds crazy, but it is not that hard. And the temps are suppose to be in the 40's tomorrow. Yeah!

My focus this week has been leaning towards prepping. I am not to…

2014 Gardening Plans and Goals

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This year's garden is going to be super awesome! Well, it has to be better than last year. Last year was a pretty much a learning experience (i.e. a failure). I will be doing some things different and expanding a bit.

I should be home more this summer since we do not have any more high school softball girls in the house. I will be contending with one in 7th grade softball and one in 3rd grade baseball. That shouldn't be so bad. Also we are looking at methods that will make gardening easier like keeping the weeds down with material and mulch.

I realized that last year I did not post any gardening plans or goals. That may account for why I felt like a failure in the garden last year. After some solid learning experiences, I am learning to have plans and goals. They do give me something to work towards and keep me in line for the future.

2011 Garden ( How sad!)
2014 Garden Plans and Goals

1. Buy a rear-tined tiller. (Like this one.) My ground gets very hard even with the additiona…

25 Totally Free Things To Do While Staying Home - Winter Edition!

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Unless we have plans with family, I usually stay home on the weekends or choose activities to do that will not cost me any money. I try to get my children to do the same, but they are not always feeling that. Especially my teens.

Anyway, I always hear about how people don't like to be cooped up in the house during the winter or that there is nothing to do at home during the winter. Personally, I love being home during the winter so I can hibernate! Although I understand that might not be for others! The ideas below can be done by yourself, with your significant other, or as a family! But they are sure to cure the winter blues for free while staying home!

25 Totally Free Things To Do While Staying Home - Winter Edition

1. Stay home. We have covered why, but the money savings is great!

2. Stay off the internet. No shopping!

3. Have a date night at home. Bunker down in the bedroom, play games, talk, watch a movie together, read together, reminiscence about the early years, make a special …

If You Want To Save Money on Your Groceries, Eat Less Meat

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We ate twice as much meat as our families did in the 1950's. Meat prices have quadrupled since then if not more. Livestock raising has become less about quality and more about quantity. We are becoming more and more obese every day.

All those factors have led to our household eating less meat. The only way I buy meat (except chicken) anymore is straight from the farmer who delivers it to the butcher that I choose. I can get the cuts I want, soup bones for broth, and fat to make tallow or lard. I pay a bit less than buying at the grocery store. Even though I pay less, I treasure that meat more. Even though I have meat in my freezer, I do not serve meat every meal or night.

Although we buy meat like that, meat is still the most expensive item(s) on everyone's grocery list. A three pound roast easily costs $8-10 if not more. 85% ground beef is over $3 a pound and rarely on sale for less than $2.79 a pound. For a week's worth of groceries, one could easily spend $30-40 on meat…

Monday Frugal Update

This week was a good week for this house. We didn't have to go to a lot of school activities and got some things done at home.

Monday night we were invited to a friends' house to have a very, very good supper of spaghetti and meatballs. Delicious! We did the same thing on Sunday night after deciding that Paige was in fact feeling better to watch the Super Bowl. Can't beat good friends and good food!

I mended one of Paige's jackets that had a tear in the hood.

I restored a pair of snow boots so they can be worn again or donated to someone. The cat had not been very nice to them and they needed a bit of cleaning. I also washed and dried a pair of the girls' moccasins so they could be worn again. They looked horrible before I washed them!

I made another bucket of laundry detergent trying to be more on the ball this time and not wait for both buckets to empty out. This time I am experimenting with just one bar of castile soap to see how that works.

I made my own vanill…