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).

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It’s Finally Turning into Fall!

Hey Everyone!

This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend. During the course of which I spent with my parents. Saturday we had gone out to Sauvie Island, and had gone to Kruger Farm, since my mom wanted to can pickled beets.

We had picked up 20 pounds of beets as well as a few other things while we are there. I am always amazing and how much less produce costs at farm stores and farmers markets than it does in the normal grocery stores.

This weekend we had also done some cooking and baking. I had made two pumpkin pies, one was the regular kind with evaporated milk and the other I made dairy free with coconut milk.

This is my dairy free pie before I baked it:

Yesterday, being Labor Day, my mom and I canned the beets. We got 9 quarts and 2 pints of pickled beets.

Today I spent some time out in the garden, picking raspberries, tomatoes and starting to trim back the raspberry bushes for the winter. I got just over a pint of raspberries and I got three pints of tomatoes. Our tomatoes have really been taking off.

I also saw this perfect spider web while I was out picking raspberries.

I am not a huge fan of spiders but I thought the web was amazing. I don’t see complete ones like this very often.

Most of the past week or so has been cooler, though we are having a little bit of a heat wave over the course of yesterday, and today. The next couple days is supposed to be hot for us. I am ready for fall to be here in full force. We are in the transition of late summer / early autumn when it still can get hot, but the days are generally cooling off, the nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter. Sunset is now before 7:45 pm! Late August is when we usually start seeing a dramatic drop off and difference of the days getting shorter.

Last Batch of Jam for the Summer!

Hey Everyone!

We have (hopefully) had our last 90 degree day of the year.

The next 10 days at least are looking much cooler, with a slight potential for some more hot weather, but I am hoping we have seen the end of the hot weather.

Today I picked two pints of raspberries to add to the two pints I picked Tuesday. I also picked a pint of tomatoes.

This afternoon I also made a batch of raspberry jam. This is my eighth batch for this summer.

Today was a good 20 degrees cooler than it was yesterday, and most of the day was nearly 30 degrees cooler.

I also went to a job interview a couple days. I am still waiting to hear back. If I don’t hear back tomorrow than I know I didn’t get it.

Just your average working class neighborhoods

Hey Everyone!

Today I needed to get out of the house and go do stuff, so I went out.

I got a coffee from black rock coffee, and went on my way. I had also stopped at my local Fred Meyer store and picked up a couple things, including more soothing lotion Kleenex. My allergies are still so bad for the fourth day in a row. For now I should be called sneezy, since I have been doing a lot of that lately.

Part of why I went out today was to do a little checking out of neighborhoods. There are a couple I really like, that is if I were to find a decent job and were able to afford to live in the city. The area I like is over in NE Portland, and was traditionally a working class neighborhood. It is the type of neighborhoods that would have been the type of neighborhoods my grandparents and great grandparents would have been raising families in. They are just normal homes in decent areas without being over the top and fancy. The kind of area where your everyday joe, who went to work and raised a family would have lived.

While I was at Fred Meyer, I found this really cute reusable shopping bag, and I fell in love.

I love anything that even resembles the 1950’s. It’s not just about being a stay at home wife and mother. While there are parts of this era where women were repressed, and didn’t have much say, yet they knew how to do a lot. There are things like being able to cook and back from scratch, canning as well as things such as sewing, needle point, knitting, crocheting, and so much more that isn’t common place much anymore. There was also a sense of class and decorum during that era.

Living in Portland, the whole “green” movement, reduce/reuse/recycle mentality is huge. We have yard debris bins that our compostables, and food scraps go in, as trash service every other week. It is also to the point where Multnomah County banned plastic grocery bags and bringing your own reusable bags encouraged.

Today, I was also able to pick two pints of raspberries as well as quite a few tomatoes. There are still quite a few tomatoes on the vines.

I am definitely not crunchy, nor will I likely ever be. Though there are some “crunchy”/”hipster”/”natural” traits that are also more “traditional” that I have adopted. Some of which include: shopping local as much as possible, cooking and baking from scratch, I love farmers markets – which also ties into the shopping local bit as well. I also like that you can get a lot more fresh produce and such at farmers markets for a good price. It hasn’t had to travel that far, so the product is fresher and hasn’t had sit for a while, and not as much fuel was used in the transport from farm to market, which is a money saver. You can also find more interesting things you wouldn’t normally find at a grocery store. The reusable bag I bought, I would eventually like to use when I am able to go to farmers markets.

Born in the Wrong Era

Hey Everyone!

Earlier I was thinking about what I was going to fix for dinner since I hadn’t marinated the chicken I got at the store yet.

I knew I had a lot spinach in the fridge, so I decided to make sautéed spinach with yellow cherry tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice sautéed in olive oil. I also decided to cook some of the tricolored quinoa I had in the pantry to add to add to my concoction, for some protein. I had also added a bit of salt as well.

On the side I had broiled some left over rosemary potatoes I had made the other night.

Before starting in on making dinner I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, vegan cherry brownies. I used apple sauce instead of butter, and I really like how they turned out.

After I had dinner and cleaned up the kitchen I went out to the garden and picked raspberries. I also checked the tomatoes and the lettuce. The tomatoes are still very green, and I had picked lettuce a couple evenings ago so there was not anymore ready at this point.

I am working with have I have available to me at this point. I would love to live outside of the city on more property, and have a larger garden. I would love to do more canning, and freezing of what I can grow and obtain fairly locally, as well as freezing meat obtained from hunting and fishing.

Part of this comes from the fact that I was raised in the city, where I have always been reliant on the grocery stores for all my food, unless we went to a produce stand, farm store or farm stand locally. Be even then, most of the meat I have eaten in my life came out of a package.

While there are certain items I would still need to pick up at the grocery store, I am the kind of person who wants to know where my raw food, especially and produce is coming from, how it was raised, and that it was butchered properly. I also want to be doing more to support my local farmers and helping them succeed. I prefer local food, when you buy it from the farm itself, it is a better quality, and has better flavor.

As I have gotten older, the quality of my food has become more and more important, as well as supporting the local smaller farms and such, over the big chain stores. The chain stores have been having so many issues with recalls on food for e.coli and salmonella and other contaminates.

I also love cooking and baking and using the best quality ingredients in what I create. There are times when I feel like I was born in the wrong era, because I do enjoy Homemaking, gardening, knitting, hard work, and all that goes along with it.

Urban Gardens

Hey Everyone!

The past few months I have been becoming more and more obsessed with gardening, and urban gardening. I would love to have a home and yard of my own that I could turn into a garden. I want to be able to grow more of my own produce. That being said I have no real desire to turn full on crunchy.

One of the great things about living in Portland is all the nurseries around as well as stores that carry canning and preserving supplies, and all the farmers markets we have.

While I was out and about scoping out neighborhoods I kind of like, I ended up in the area where I worked a few years back. Just down the street from the gluten free vegan bakery that is near where I used to work, there is this little garden center place that is so cute.

As much as this city can be annoying, and I am not a fan of all the traffic or how expensive it is getting, there are many good points about it, like all the Homemaking resources we have nearby.

I love that whatever I couldn’t/ didn’t grow, are available within a couple hours drive.

Summers are so Busy

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting oatmeal raisin cookies for a few days now.

Today I finally made half a batch. The full batch would have just been way to many cookies to try to eat before they get stale. Being the only person in the house who is gluten free, dairy free and egg free, my specialty food costs more money, and since I am the only one in this house who really needs it, I tend to make half a batch of these kinds of things.

I also was in the mood for gluten free vegan rustic flat bread. So I mixed one up this evening and baked it along with my cookies.

It’s been a while since I felt like baking, and I picked the busiest day to do it on. This afternoon I spent a couple hours working in the backyard and around the garden, picking berries and such. I also spent some time knitting, and then baking and dinner. After all that was done, it was time for a quick shower and off to church.

Summers are short (which is great since don’t like the heat), and we have to pack in all that we can to maximize the growing season and what we can put up for winter. We have to make the most of the long days to get the most done.