Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

Hey Everyone!

If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

Shortbread Cookies and Daylight Lightbulbs

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I had gotten some new lightbulbs for my bedroom, I had picked up some IMG_1453daylight lightbulbs. In this part of the country, we are used to grey, wet winters and we don’t get enough sunlight. While I don’t have S.A.D, well at least not from the amount of grey and wet we have, this winter and spring has been particularly hard for some reason, as it has been more grey and wet than normal. I am trying to see if the daylight bulbs help out with that. I am aware that the ones I got are not the same as full spectrum light bulbs, which are for those who do have S.A.D. I also wanted to try these bulbs to see if I liked the lighting, and if it was any good for Vlogging, as I want to do more of that, once I get my own place again. So far I am liking how much brighter they are than the soft white lightbulbs. They will definitely make it easier to see to knit and read in the evenings.

IMG_1446Yesterday I also baked up a batch of Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Shortbread Cookies, using the Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is the third or fourth time I have made these cookies, the first time using my new round cookie cutters with the rippled edges. I love how these cookies turned out. I had also used my Scottish Thistle Cookie Stamp. Each time I have made these cookies, the better they have turned out. The first time I made them, was kind of a disaster. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you do something the better you will get at doing whatever it is you are doing.

Today was one of those days where the idea of home has been on my mind a lot. Beings as the city has really never been home to me, I have though a lot about how I would love to move back to the one place I do consider home, if I had the opportunity. I had to move back to the city after college because of the lack of employment in the area. Being someone who prefers the outdoors and homemaking, and would love to live on some acreage with a garden, some chickens, and a few goats, the city life grows old real quickly.

I have been interested in and intrigued by homemaking of generations past, especially during the 1950’s as well as the 19th century in the American West (life on the frontier & homesteading). Back then the food was real, without all the added hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. The meat was grass fed, and quite often free range (especially the bison, venison, elk, fish, cows, etc). Women worked hard. Back in the days before electricity and running water they had to haul water, cook over an open fire or on a wood stove. They did laundry by hand, cooking took a lot more time, they also had to can and preserve a lot more food in the summer to sustain their family during the winter. They also made clothes for their families, and had many children, all without epidurals, and many at home, with a midwife.

While I really don’t want to live completely off grid, there are things to be learned from the lives women led throughout history, and be able to take what we have learned from that to live the best life possible. I consider what I would like to do, to be able to live semi off grid. I still want running water, toilets that flush, a hot shower daily, electricity and internet. At the same time I would love to be a part of building my own house, on some land, having solar panels, and getting as much electricity as possible from those, and using the main grid electricity more as a back up (especially in winter, when there is not as much daylight), canning, preserving food, and growing as much of my own produce as possible in the summer.

 

Baking Day

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday, I had decided to do some baking. I was wanting something sweet, but didn’t have chocolate chips, so I mixed up a batch of gluten free & dairy free Oatmeal Raisin cookies. 


I had also mixed up, and baked a loaf of gluten free & dairy free rustic flat bread to go with dinner, beings that we still have split pea soup. 


I know cookies and breads are not the best, when it comes to watching what I eat, but when it still feels like late February outside, and has the rain to go with it, baked goods are comfort foods. 

Both the cookies and the rustic flat bread turned out really well. 

#Gardengoals

Hey Everyone!

With spring being here, as rainy and chilly as it is, I have gardening on the brain, as well as the desire to have my own place and enough room to have a decent sized fruit and vegetable garden, as well as a rose garden (it doesn’t have to be huge), and a flower garden (again, doesn’t have to be super big). 

I love working outside, and working in the dirt. I definitely want to do a lot of canning and jam making. Homemade and homecanned food, tastes better than store bought. When it comes to things like garlic dill pickles, canned peaches, canned pears, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, etc I can totally taste the difference between homemade and store bought, since I was raised on homemade.

Over the past few years I have been collecting cookbooks, including the ball complete book of home preserving, as well as the illustrated cook’s book of ingredients. They are both really cool, and I want to put them both to really good use. 

Three of the things I love about this part of the country, are how well fruits and vegetables grow here, as well as the availability of nurseries and such to purchase what you want in the way of starts (like rose bushes, lilac bushes, fruit bushes, fruit trees, strawberry plants, etc). We also have places like the Portland Honestead Supply Co, as well as Home improvement stores that have awesome garden centers that have everything you want and more, to be a modern homesteader. 

Black Currants:

Elderberries:

Black and Golden Raspberries 

Homesteading Goals

Hey Everyone!

Being able to be a homemaker, has something I have definitely felt strongly about for a while now. Not just a homemaker, but also being able to do some modern-day homesteading / urban homesteading.

Homemaking is more than just keeping a house clean and tidy, and more than just having dinner on the table for a man at a certain time.

To me, it is also about being able to take care of my food intolerances in the best way possible, and make more of my food from scratch, as well as being able to obtain the best product possible to take care of my body. I also want to do more in the way of growing my own produce, and what I can’t grow, or would not be as efficient to grow on the small scale, purchase from local farmers who have grown what I am looking for. Like it would be more cost effective for me to purchase the cucumbers (and dill for pickles), cherries, peaches and pears (and apples until the apple trees I want to have are mature enough to produce enough apples to be able to make pies, and applesauce), to be able to can and eat.

Being able to cook, bake and can from scratch is important to me, and it is a part of history that has been greatly lost over the past 70 or so years.

Having developed food intolerances as an adult has definitely helped me appreciate knowing have to cook, bake and can from scratch. I am better able to take care of my body, and not be dependent on others to take care of my needs.

Besides just homemaking & homesteading, I want to live a more outdoorsy life. I would love to do more hiking, traveling, and knitting.

My generation, of young women, have been taught that once you graduate from high school you go to college and have a career out in the business world, while that isn’t a bad thing if that is what you want. At the same time, among my peers anyway, the art of homemaking, cooking & baking from scratch and canning has been lost, and few of my peers know much about it. Why should they when there is all the processed garbage labeled as food is so readily available to them, that is quick, easy and cheap. Why work for your meal when someone has combined all the right chemicals and called it food for you so all you have to do is a few very simple steps.

I am no expert when it comes to homemaking like my grandmothers, great grandmothers, and women before them did. I definitely want to continue learning more, trying new recipes, can a lot more food, make more jams and jellies, and help preserve this for future generations. I don’t want girls to just read about it in a history book, I want them to be able to meet people who still know how to do all of this, as well as find blogs, and vlogs / youtube videos about it, so they can learn about it if they are interested.

Urban Homesteading?

Hey Everyone!

For the past year or so, Urban Homesteading has been something I have definitely been wanting for myself. 

The whole idea of being able to grow most of my own fruits and vegetables, and what is not feasible to grow on the small scale or can’t grow enough of to do all the jam making, canning and preserving, that I would like to do, I would locally source my food by going to the farms themselves, and purchase from farmers at farmers markets. 

In the past couple of years, I don’t know exactly when, some time after developing food intolerances, I have definitely taken a turn somewhere from being very mainstream to being more non traditional. 

In today’s society, we have become all so consumed with having what we want when we want, that for many, the idea of working with our hands outside, growing our own food and self sufficiency are a thing of the past. 

Part of it is the city I live in, the self sufficiency, DIY, Urban Homesteading, shopping local, buying local food, shopping at farmers markets, organic food, is definitely very prevalent here. 

I am very much one who would rather be outside, working in the dirt, growing as much of my own food as possible than sitting in an office. When I was little, I was the one who would be outside playing in the the dirt, digging up worms. I was also the one who loved camping and fishing so go figure. 

The part of the country is a great area for growing food, like Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peaches, pears, cucumbers, corn, pumpkins, squash, cherries, apples, pears, and so much more. 

Healthy Eating is Taking Shape

Hey Everyone!

Today, being my day off of work, went out and ran errands. My errands included, but were not limited to: Bob’s Red Mill, Fred Meyer, New Seasons and Safeway. 

For breakfasts this next week, I bought what I needed, but didn’t have for DIY home made cranberry almond clif bars, using almond butter instead of honey or peanut butter, and I added some puffed rice cereal to it as well. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how good it turned out. 


For dinners this next week, I made spaghetti, using organic tomatoes and tomato sauce as well as a pound and a half of antibiotic free, hormone free, ethically raised, free range, yada yada yada, chicken. Yes it was a dollar more a pound than the stuff at the large chain grocery store, but it is also about as close I can get to doing it all myself – which living in the city doesn’t afford me. I noticed that this chicken that I bought not only tastes better, but is a better texture than the large chain grocery store ground chicken. If I had the means to raise my own chickens and do it all myself, I totally would. 


I also picked up some gluten free & dairy free bread to try, with my lunches. Yes, I had picked up a single orange, I had had plans for it, which I ended up not doing, yet anyway. 

I am really working to get back to being on the gluten free band wagon 95% or more of the time. I always feel better when I am. 

I realize that being as hardcore eating as natural as possible is totally sustainable while I live in the city. I am preparing myself for the eventual fact that if I am able to make it happen where I am able to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, it is going to be a lot harder to keep it sustainable. I am definitely going to have to find a way to stick to being gluten free and dairy free, that’s not an option. I just realize it is going to be more difficult than living here in Portland, where living the gluten free, dairy free lifestyle is so common. 

Sticking with a 100% dairy free and avoiding gluten as much as possible, isn’t easy. Though anything that is worth doing, is never easy. I can’t imagine my life now if I weren’t dealing with these food intolerances and sensitivities. Yes I am pretty much OCD about kitchen cleanliness and washing my hands pretty much every time I touch something in the kitchen. I am this way, because I know what it is like to have food make me sick, and it taking my body a week or more to get back to normal after each run in. It’s not pleasant. 

I wouldn’t trade having food intolerances for being normal any thing now. Part of my love of homemaking has grown out of having developed food intolerances as an adult and sharing what I have learned with others.