Simple and Homemade

Hey Everyone!

I have been trying to enjoy the few days off in a row that I have had. I was asked to go in on my day off yesterday (which is a normal occurrence this time of year), but turned it down, as I am already scheduled to work 4 days in a row this week.

Yesterday, I was able to get quite a bit done around the house. I got a couple loads of laundry done, as well as making dinner. I made chicken penne, with a mix of whole wheat noodles and black bean penne noodles.

I also baked the reindeer sugar cookies we picked up at the grocery store.

I definitely miss being on my own, having to budget, living frugally, and living a simpler life. I have finally come to the point where I know what I want to be doing, and how I want to be living. I have realized that it’s time to be looking to move away from where I currently am, to an area with a better cost of living. I don’t really mind not having a lot of money, and making due with less. I am also the kind of person who wants and needs to do more for myself and my future family, such as gardening and canning. Homemade, homegrown and home canned food is better than store bought.

Wasting Food and Money Saving Apps

Hey Everyone!

Over the years, seeing how much food, we, in the industrialized world waste, is very disheartening. It is disheartening, because there are children in this country who don’t have enough to eat. It is also a waste of money, and other resources.

I work in a retail store where we have a food department, that we call “Gourmet”, and I have seen so much product from that department expire and have to be thrown out because it’s past is best by / sell by date. While there are some cases when the food looks like it’s gone bad (primarily the chorizo and some other packaged meats), or it’s something that is better left unchanced, so yeah, write that off and toss it. Other things, like in my case today, bags of whole bean coffee, that had best by dates of the 5th and 6th of this month, and are still completely sealed in their bags, they are still good.

Even though we couldn’t sell them to the customers, I was able to purchase a few, and my parents will use them up. I had sent a picture to my mom this morning of what I had pulled, as kind of a “the amount these are worth at retail value would cover two of my shifts” text, and she asked me if I could pick up a few at a discount. My manager said yes (we have special discount stickers for food that is getting close to their expiration, but I was allowed to use a few for these bags that were a few days past their best by dates). Due to being an employee (not the same liability as a regular customer), and the type of product it was (whole bean coffee still sealed in its bag), it was one of those, “at least it’s all not a loss” situations.

Over the last few years I have tried several money saving apps. Quite honestly, the ones that are beneficial for someone like me, are the store apps for the stores I frequent, like Safeway and Fred Meyer (Carr’s and Kroger in other parts of the country). I have tried fetch, drop, and Ibotta. While I still use Ibotta, I only really use it when I shop at where I work, since there is quite often a 2% back deal. When the day comes that I no longer work, where I work, 2% won’t be worth going shopping at where I currently work any more. I use it, because it’s 2% in addition / after the fact of getting my employee discount and any other percentage off sales that are going on in store. When I no longer have an employee discount, the likelihood that I would shop at any location of the company I work for, would likely go back to the way it was before I began working for the company, which was rarely. Having an employee discount, and on occasion a $10 shopper reward coupon (one of the two coupons we are allowed to use) as well as any in store non coupon based percentage off sale we could use too, has made it so I could pick up a few things in terms of decorations (especially Christmas and Easter decorations), at a reasonable price. Ok, I was talking about “money saving apps”, before I went off on my tangent. So, yeah, once I eventually find a different job, and leave the company I am with, the likelihood I will continue using Ibotta will be slim to none. While there are deals for places like Fred Meyer, most of them are for things I can’t or don’t use, with my food sensitivities and lifestyle. I had been using Ibotta, the first time, under an old phone number, and I had forgotten which one it was so I couldn’t remember my points once I had gotten enough. It had taken me over three years to get to that $20. I started a new ibotta, with my current phone number about six months ago. I am now almost to $15, and more than 95% of that is from shopping at work.

These apps may be great if you do a lot of shopping at the places they will let you earn point for shopping at, but for me, I don’t shop a lot at most of these places. If I do shop at some of these places, it’s not often enough to earn rewards through most of these apps. In addition to that, I really am trying to be more frugal, additionally, I eventually want to move someplace that doesn’t have a lot of these stores, and live a simpler, more frugal life.

I am still going through my closet, and trying to reduce the amount of clothes I have, since I still have a lot that I don’t wear, and I have my favorites that I wear way more than anything else. There are some things that I will be keeping that I don’t wear as often, as they are more for special occasions (or church clothes, and for weddings and funerals etc).

I am / have been doing some spending on myself during this season, since I am working some extra hours, I am still single, don’t have a family of my own to feed, and I am still living in the city. Besides my favorite tea, what I am ordering specifically for myself,bare for accessorizing the clothes I am keeping, and taking them from two half season outfits (late spring & early fall) and making them wearable for three seasons, by having warmer accessories for the cooler temps. Most of what I am picking up at work, are decorations for my future home, so while I am buying them because I like them, I hope they will help bring joy and festivity to my family and anyone who comes to visit.

Setting Up a Budget

Hey Everyone!

Creating, and sticking to a budget can be a challenge when you (and by you, and really mean “I”) work inconsistent hours paycheck to paycheck and have had periods of unemployment.

Now that I have hit the six month mark at my job, having made it through the crazy holiday season and got kept on afterward. I still have a job, even though the hours are inconsistent and at times really doesn’t seem worth it to run the gas out there for as few hours as I am getting.

This has made me start thinking long and hard about my own future, and what is right for me. Staying in the city, in a state that has more Government overreach and regulations than it should, is not really an option anymore.

It’s time for me to really start looking for new opportunities, and saving as much money as I can, while I am working, in order to go explore the areas that I feel would suit me and the life I want to live.

Being able to budget now, and determine what are necessities and what are not, will definitely help.

The current trend of young adults becoming homesteaders, or full time RVing is on the rise. My desire to be a homesteader on some level, that doesn’t include Urban Homesteading, has been ever increasing as I have watched the country and economy change dramatically in the years I have been an adult. Being able to provide for my family in as natural means as possible is important to me. I have no desire to be any kind of “doomsday prepper”, I do want to be able to have life carry on as close to “normal” as possible. I want to have a garden, and be able to can and freeze food, and be a part of a relationship where one of us (ideally the him in the relationship), goes hunting, and fishing (that’s an equal opportunity activity), and all around just way less reliant on the grocery store for things we can grow and procure on our own. There are certain things I really don’t want to give up, like running water, a power source of some sort (whether it be grid power, solar power, generator, wind, hydro power or some combination), indoor toilets, and a washing machine. That being said I am all on board with cloth diapers, and other alternatives that would make the lifestyle I want to live possible.

All that being said, I want to live a “simpler” life away from the rat race of the city, where everything costs money, and “fun” / “entertainment” costs money. Life does cost money yes. On the same token, there is nothing wrong with going for a nature walk & having a picnic, or a family baking and movie day, or exploring the property. All of those are a lot less expensive than going to the movies or going bowling, and it’s about finding the joy and then fun in the simpler things.

I am trying to start saving money now, and be better about spending money so I can make the life I want for myself happen. It’s time to trim off the excess and entertain myself the way I did in college – cooking / baking, reading books, going for walks, knitting etc. I want to be able to have to money to buy fresh produce from farmers markets, that I wasn’t able to, or just didn’t grow, as well as being able to get food to can each summer. Having internet, at least fast enough to be able to post regular blog posts is important, as well as amazon orders (especially if I am a bit more remote, and a town / city with more than a small grocery store is a ways away).

Preparing for my Future Home

Hey Everyone!

One of the things I have been doing since I was a teenager, has been collecting things for my future home. Well, at least for my future kitchen anyway. I didn’t start on collecting things for other rooms until I was in college.

I always knew I wanted a home of my own, and a kitchen of my own, where I could cook, bake, can, and so much more.

How I have wanted it to turn out has changed a bit over the years, I have known that Black, White, red and grey were the colors I wanted in my kitchen. So, over the years I have been collecting things to go with that color scheme to go in my future kitchen.

I am not one who wants super fancy and ornate, I prefer simple and down to earth, diy, kind of person.

At work, I had seen this set of dish towels that I knew would go perfectly in my future kitchen. Today, I picked up the last one we had in stock at the moment.

We had had this one set left for a little while, so I didn’t feel bad about snapping it up. It definitely helped that I had a couple loyalty rewards coupons to use, as well as my discount. In trying to be frugal, I like taking advantage of coupons and sales. I definitely like getting quality items at a good price.

The older I am getting, the more refined what I want my home to look like, and have take place in said home looks like. I want my home, to be homey, inviting, and welcoming, yet be practical and functional. I would love to homestead, have animals that I raise for food, as well as being able to can, and preserve food for winter.

When the time comes that I have my own home, I definitely want to work on my YouTube channel, especially if the whole Homesteading works out. I have a lot of ideas for videos that I really cannot make happen right now, that I could in my own home. I definitely will keep blogging, this blog really isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I still have ideas for this blog as well.

Starting a Garden Journal

Hey Everyone!

Now that I have been getting more into Gardening, and hope to continue gardening well into the future, I decided to start a gardening journal.

I know that moving is in near enough future, and depending on where I move, the longitude and latitude I am at may change a bit or a lot. Unless I am able to move to Alaska, which could happen, in all likelihood I will stay in Oregon, Washington or Idaho, as I love this part of the country and the growing regions we have out here. We have everything I want out here, in terms of agriculture and produce. Not to mention hunting and fishing.

Each year is different, and different vegetables grow differently at different elevations, in different climate zones and at different latitudes.

I decided to start keeping this journal to track all of that on a regular basis (daily or almost daily).

I am only needed to record longitude, latitude, elevation and town / closest town each time I move, just to know where I am at and to be able to go back and look as a reminder.

At the beginning of the season I want to track if I planted anything new, what I planted, and how many plants, as well as what plants returned. From there, when I do maintenance stuff like staking the tomatoes or transferring starts from the greenhouse to the outdoor garden. I also want to track when things first start coming on.

On the daily basis track things like high temperature, humidity, whether it was an overcast or sunny day, if there was rain, or that I watered. I also want to track how much of each item I harvest each day. From there, I also want to document if I was able to make a batch of jam or something like that from what I harvested.

Part of why I am writing it down is so I have it easily at hand to track and look back on, as well as the fact it will be easier to search than my blog. I also feel that I would bore you all and lose followers if I posted all that here on a daily basis.

Not to mention that this blog is more than just about gardening, even though that is taking up a bit of my time in the summer.

I want to keep things as well rounded as possible, with Homemaking, Cooking, Baking, Canning, Gardening, cleaning, budgeting couponing, Decorating, entertaining, and all of that,

Thanksgiving Dinner and Preparing for Christmas!

Hey Everyone!

Wednesday I had helped my mom start preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had made the Pumpkin Pies and mixed up the rolls.

I had made myself a Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie for thanksgiving, and made two regular pumpkin pies for the rest of the family.

This year we had kept Thanksgiving dinner simpler than we have in years past. Now that it is down to just my immediate family, as my grandparents and great – aunt who used to join us for holiday dinners have all passed away, it is a lot simpler.

After we had had dinner and before I had to take a nap before going to work Friday morning, I put up and decorated my little artificial Christmas Tree.

Over the past couple weeks I have been ordering Christmas gifts for those in my life, to make sure I get them in, in time for Christmas.

As I am getting older, what I want for Christmas, is less about just things, or getting the latest and greatest electronics. I have what I need and some of what I wanted in that department. I don’t need the latest and greatest. I have a smartphone, that is a bit older, but still works great and has everything I need. This past year, I have been learning how to be content with what I have.

This year for Christmas and my Birthday I know I am getting some practical things. Well practical to me things. They wouldn’t be practical for everyone.

That is how I am trying to live my life, is more practically, and be more frugal. That is part of the focus of this blog, is Homemaking made simpler. Those who know me, know I love history, especially the era of westward expansion / frontier life / pioneer life / Homesteading as well as the 1950’s. I also have been interested in learning about and diving into Women’s History. While these are two very different periods in history,

In the years since my food intolerances really began manifesting themselves, learning where my food comes from, and the concept of being self sufficient and eventually living on one income, has been something I have been researching. At least with where I am from, living the more traditional lifestyle where the husband works and the wife is a homemaker and raises the kids is all but a memory.

I have always preferred being able to go outside and work on the land, like having a garden, some fruit trees, and maybe some chickens, pigs and goats. I also enjoy cooking and baking, as well as knitting.

I am one of those who wants a home of my own, but I don’t want anything fancy. I want a home to keep, and hopefully one day raise kids in. I also have realized that I am more of a country girl than a city girl. I would also make memories than have a bunch of things that I don’t need and will not use often enough to justify buying them.

As I get have gotten older, having frivolous things is less and less appealing. Which is why when I am asked what I want for Christmas and my birthday (they are less than a week a part), it is getting harder.

Buying Men’s Razors (budgeting series #1)

Hey Everyone!

With everything I love doing, and the lifestyle I am living and want to continue living (and take it to the next level and beyond), it is time I really start budgeting and learning how to save money / spend less when I do shop, I am working on learning how to maximize my use of coupons, store apps, store rewards programs / money saving programs, Ibotta, and doing way more DIY stuff.

Learning to be Frugal is what I am trying to do.

I still have a lot to learn, especially on which things it’s ok to buy the generic brand or the less expensive option, and on which things you want to buy the name brand or more expensive item, because the quality is better. When it comes to things needing to last, spending a bit more money for a quality item, that you then maintain, will last for a while.

I have know about and used the Safeway club card for years, as well as looked at in store deals and in store coupons when I am looking at, say shampoo or razors. Yeah, I have the ones I like, but when it comes to shampoo and conditioner if one of my favorite brands is on sale or has a coupon to save some money, I would go with that brand. For instance, one of the brands of shampoo and conditioner I bought today were on 2 for $10, when they are regularly $5.99 a piece. I also got a bottle of each shampoo and conditioner of one of the Herbal Essences bio renew line of hair care. I had seen that it was on Ibotta for get $1.50 back on each one, effectively making them $4.49 instead of $5.99.

One of the frustrating things, is that women’s razors are always more expensive than the men’s razors. Seriously, there is no reason we need girly colored razors when they guys work just as well or better, and cheaper. That is why I bought a package of the guys razors instead of a similar product marketed to women. There was also an in store coupon for $2.00 off, which is even better.

This is just the first post in a series I hope to continue in the future.

Over the past few months I have really begun to see why things are really necessary in life and what things are not. Once the holidays are over, I am getting rid of my Hulu Plus and Netflix subscriptions, as that is when the seasons of a couple shows I am currently watching will be over, and I will be caught up as much as possible on The Black List.