Thursday, December 29, 2011

They say it cant be done ...

Okay, maybe that's too dramatic lol but, for the most part, I think people think we (I) am reaching for stars much too far beyond my grasp. So, it won't stop me, of course, but I am thinking about starting a new blog focused on our self-sufficient ish endeavors. This blog, I think, should go back to focusing on homeschooling and mommy things. I hate to add another blog, but I'm hoping to get more connected online and I wonder if the homeschooling interest will be bored by the gardening, etc.  And, more importantly, these are two subjects that having clear notes will help me plan and adjust. I think the seperation will help me be more organized.  Maybe one day I'll figure out how to have several blogs in one!  So, I'll update later with a locale for anyone who'd like to chat about composting and energy efficiency ... oh and feeding a family of 6 on a tight budget (and only one of those 6 is a child lol).

So, for now, check out my view from my balcony!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snow, snow, snow, SNOW!

We made it to our house over the weekend.  Still no internet, bit who needs it with all this SNOW? Ok, I do, but we'll figure it out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I want to be like Tori ... Spelling and Hipster Homemakers

So, it's sort of funny how I get interested in something and soon it seems like the world is also interested.  It's, obviously, more that I tend to surround myself with people, articles, programs that center around my interest, but it's still funny sometimes.  Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself (sorta) and watched a few episodes from last season's Tori and Dean.  Love her or hate her has little bearing on my thoughts about it right now, it's more that she seemed to be pushing toward a similar (if on a significantly higher budget) lifestyle that we are embarking on.  Of course, I can't say, "Oh, chickens are the next purchase," and run out to buy them, but the idea is there.

Mainly, I watched and wondered how she does it.  Must be some serious energy in that girl!  I know that we are seeing an edited version of her life and I'm sure there are far more bad days than what we see (however, I loved seeing her facing some 3 year old issues while Dean was away).  It still makes me think ... I want that!  I want to be so enthralled with my child that I have less frustrated days.  I want to have tons of ideas and then take those ideas and make something from them.  I love that.

Anyway, I had planned to post about this yesterday, but for some reason blogger was being a child and refused to open.  Then, today I hop onto facebook and see this article: Hipster Homemakers and "Extreme Domesticity" by Rebecca Cusey.  I would love to just copy/paste the article here, but it'll really just take up so much space.  I encourage you to read it and then let me know what you think.  Essentially, Ms. Cusey describes the modern housewife/stay-at-home-mom as some kind of rebellion against feminism and a life choice that should only be made if you just love it ... you know, those people who are just naturally talented in the garden, with their kids, at the stove, etc.  She talks about new methods being unequivocally better, simply because new must mean better. Another of the huge beefs I have with this article is that those of us who are "hipster homemaker's" are doing this out of an excess of wealth (ha!) and neurosis. Maybe I can't argue against being neurotic ... hmm.

Now, I don't know this author, so maybe her words aren't translating the way she means them to (something she, herself, claims responsibility for should her points be misconstrued).  I have a lot of arguments to this article.  First, I don't live this mom/gardener/homeschooler/cook, etc, life because I am just so damn good at it. I'm not, not at all!  I might, on some level, even be happier if I was back in my working woman lifestyle.  Surely we'd have more money because we're fortunate right now to live near so much family.  Would I be happier, though, hitting the drive-through because everyone was too tired to cook or shop?  Or when I came home and spent an hour with my son before we went to bed?  The idea of being drained from an outside-of-the-home career and then trying to pull together a bit of energy for my family and home just sounds so sad to me.

Having fresh eggs and produce from our own garden may not save a ton of money, but putting the effort in, watching our work grow and then the satisfaction we get from what we receive is so much bigger than saving, or not saving, money.  It brings us responsibility and a relationship with the world around us.  Composting allows us to do something productive with the waste we generate ... and we actually learn why that's a good thing.  Having such an active hand in my family is FAR more satisfying then being able to buy more.  I don't have to wait for someone else to tell me what my child is learning or struggling with.  I'm there.  I see it.

And, on to this "excess of wealth" comment.  So funny!  Now, maybe that's the case for a celebrity or someone who is wealthy, but who cares?  I mean, teaching your family to garden, to raise animals, to do things for yourself ... how can that ever be a bad thing?  Shocking, truly!  But, for most of us, there isn't excess wealth.  But, what's so odd about this article is that Ms. Cusey goes from accusing this modern homesteader to having too much money to saying that instead of trying to save money by recycling, growing food, etc, mom's should go out and get a job.  That this extra income is better for our kids than having less and having one or both parents at home.  What?!  I'm very confused by all of this.  

Feminists who want to work, go for it!  But, isn't feminism a movement to allow women to make their choices?  Just because my husband goes to work and comes home to a (sometimes) clean house, dinner (usually) in the oven and clothes (now and then) clean and put away, doesn't mean that my lifestyle challenges that of the feminist movement.  Not at all!  I boost that movement because I am doing what I choose; what I deem best for my family.  I'm not doing what I think society expects of me.  I'm making a choice to live the way that I think provides my child the best opportunities and creates a home that is safe, loving and supportive.  I am doing what I think is one of the most important, necessary jobs ... in our life.  Now, if someone wants to live a different life, well, go for it!  Just stop analyzing everyone else, look around, find what works for you the best and use that.  Let the rest go.  Women should be the very last people criticizing other women for choosing to live a certain way.  Men shouldn't complain either ... they either get a career woman who brings home the bacon or a woman who fries it up in a pan!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What can I do?

As the days speed by, I find myself wondering what I can do ... for myself, my family, the world.  It's been theory up until now.  I recycle.  What else?  What do I do now that is leading my family to a better way of life?

1. I recycle.  Which I've said.  I try to reuse and I have more than enough reusable shopping bags (despite the fact that I forget them a lot).  But, I need to do more.

2. I make our own soap.  I haven't bought hand, body, shower, etc soap in over a year and a half.  I would like to reopen my Etsy shop next year, but we'll see about that.

3.  I make our own laundry detergent.  I also haven't bought store laundry soap in the same amount of time.

By this time next year I am hoping that we have had our fill, or are still having our fill, of veggies and fruit from our garden.  By the following year, I am hoping that we are spending almost nothing on produce from the store.

Almost immediately, we will have our composter up and running so that we are greatly reducing the amount of garbage we are sending to a landfill, while also providing all of the great dirt we will need for our garden.

Chickens.  Still debating on how and what we'll be doing with chickens.  I need to research more to see if this will be a viable option for us to cut back with.  Will having our own eggs be financially advantageous or not?  Will we be able to barter/sell the surplus, if any?

I'm also hoping to learn about bartering over this next year.  I'd like to really be able to reduce the amount of money that we spend on things that people around us have a surplus of.

I think it will be interesting to look back next year to see how far we've come!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crafty updates

Well, I'm really good at coming up with ideas.  I'm not so good at actually going through with those ideas.  The faerie houses took hold of us and we've had a lot of fun!  I'll be honest in that I did most of this first batch, however, I wanted to get some experience before Monkey had questions I couldn't answer.  The first is a decent size, maybe 8-10 inches square.  We cut a door and added in a window.  We also carved in some other decorations and Monkey helped with that before baking.  Still waiting to make a roof and paint, but for now it's fun to see! 

 I was expecting them to come out of the oven hard, but after an hour and a half, they were tough, but not hard.  Over the last few days they have hardened more, though.

Monkey wanted to take a picture too!  This was all pre-baking.
After baking, I used four clay "sticks" to glue the walls together.  Adding a roof will hopefully add in some stability!

 Monkey's carving contribution, unfortunately it doesn't show up too well.

We also made many small little houses and mushrooms.  We painted three to give to a few friends the other night.  I wish I could do all that photoshop magic so the colors were better, but, c'est la vie!  This one went to a good friend of ours ... Monkey, of course, picked the colors!

I have also been thinking a lot about how we can not only save money, but eat better and more naturally.  There are three things I don't think I will ever go to the store for again: Laundry soap, 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Faerie Homes

There are a lot of things we are looking forward to in this new adventure.  What has my attention tonight is providing homes for all of the little faeries who are sure to inhabit such a lovely place!  This will be such a fun project for our family and friends to connect us tightly to nature.

Clay, recycled boxes, stones, twigs, leaves and flowers are a few of the things we'll use. I'm looking at ideas tonight and we'll get started tomorrow.  I'm really hoping that over the next couple of months all of our friends and family here will help us so that we'll have a part of them with us in Parks.  I don't know if it's obvious or if I've mentioned it before, but are so blessed!  We have patiently waited for the beautiful friends we now have.  It makes me sad to leave, but also so happy to know that they are in our lives, whether we live here or somewhere else!

I've stumbled upon not only many images, but also some cool websites on creating a faerie house.  What I'd love to find is a website that includes not only creating a faerie home, but also some of the natural correspondences.  This is so exciting!

Who doesn't love Faerie??? :)

Fun websites:
Fairy Houses
Fairy Woodland

Monday, October 3, 2011

Country Living Around the Corner

We have found a house!  2.5 acres and massive inside, we are so very excited!  It's a unique house and will fit us perfectly.  We will have room to have lots of guests and fit them all comfortably.  We will also have room for gardens and eventually horses and chickens ... fresh eggs and beautiful rides in the Kaibab Forest.  We will even get to cut our own Christmas Tree!!

Even though we've lived in two houses together before as well as own a home in Texas, this is feeling like a brand new beginning and it feels like this is our first house.  Can't wait to share more about our country life ... from our gorgeous living room!