Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Riot for Austerity

Well, I figure I should break the news to my husband that we are going to join this little foray into sustainability. Sharon Astyk is starting up the Riot for Austerity project again this June. I found out about this a couple years ago, but it was at the end, and it seemed like the project blog had gone away, and I wasn't part of the yahoo group...so hopefully this time it will be able to make a big impact on all aspects of our lives. I know the biggest challenge will be oil usage. In Maine, most people use oil for heat, not natural gas, and definitely not electric. And in this big old house, we use a lot of oil, no matter if my thermostat is set seriously low. Our hot water is also off the oil, but it at least is one of those on demand tankless water systems. My hope is to install the woodstove that we have. What are the chances of replacing the roof AND installing a chimney this summer? Definitley looking forward to starting this, anyone else want to try???

books

I love books, and I am looking for suggestions! I seem to be reading a lot of garderning/homesteading/end of the world books at the moment. I think it might be good for me to get back into some fiction, which I also love. I rarely find a book that I don't love, but have been reading the same ones over and over as of late. So if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them! One can only read Pride and Prejudice so many times...favorites? anyone?

Sorry so quiet around here!

It has been pretty busy around here as of late. Friday was my birthday...the big 3-0...not entirely sure how I feel about it yet. I think I am still in denial that the past decade has gone as fast as it has. We had a lovely day of going to breakfast and going to the book store so I could drool over all the books I want. I always say that if I have to get a job outside the home, I think I would like it to be at a bookstore. Although I am all for getting rid of the stuff of our home, books could never be in the "stuff" category. It was a lovely day where the hubs didn't work AT ALL! Yay for me! First time in a while that we could just relax and not worry about how many hours we need to make up :-)

The other reason the blog has been quiet...well my lovely daughter decided she needed to water my computer. Yeah...just what I needed...a forced shut down of the internet :-) Add to that I had fraudulent charges on my credit card and need to change all of my auto payments...always something I suppose! But, I am getting the computer back on track. I have a laptop, and the mouse no longer works, have you ever tried to tab through a website to get to what you want? It isn't even worth the time! I got an old mouse from my mom now, and so far everything else seems to be ok. Let's keep our fingers crossed because a new laptop is NOT in the budget...not even the no interest Best Buy kind of way!

Yesterday was finally a semi-nice day, and I was able to get outside with the kids and rake out the front gardens at my house (the flower ones). I need to figure out what I am going to do for a veggie garden this year, and hoping that the rain stops so I can do that this weekend. I need to get some manure from our friends to spread once I figure out where I am going to plant...and what...Mother nature has been cooperating with my procrastination this year though, seeing that it is the end of April and still getting down to freezing at night. Oh, and raking/pulling weeds with an 8 1/2 month old baby on your back, yeah, that is hella hard work! Last night I couldn't move off the couch :-) With the rain the rest of this week I will have a big of a healing time before I am back at it this weekend!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

my weekend

We had a lovely visit yesterday with my brother-in-law and his family. We hadn't seen them since January and knew we probably wouldn't be getting together for our girls very close birthdays (May 9th for my niece, and the 12th for Emma), so a princess birthday party was on the agenda! It was a lot of fun to watch the three girls play, and then to watch them play with Jack as well! I wish we lived closer so we could do it more often!!

I was able to give my niece a sweater that I made for her. She loved it, and that is every auntie's wish :-) Now that I have given it to her, I can post some pictures of it (had to keep it a secret from her mama too ;-)).



Monday, April 11, 2011

debt and stuff

When did debt become a normal part of our lives? Why is it accepted as normal to take out so much debt to buy a home, pay for college, take vacations, buy whatever we want, whenever we want? I'm pretty sure that it has only been common place for the past 25 years. And why doesn't any school every talk about taking on debt and the risks involved?

Obviously part of the problem is the greediness we all have now in such a consumer oriented society. We watch some program on TV and expect that we should have *fill in the blank.* I wish that I knew then what I know now. That all that stuff is not really going to fulfill your existence, and pretty soon it will be tossed aside for the next latest and greatest thing.

I think about the Christmas's in the past, when I can barely remember what I got. Or the look on Emma's face when she opened her presents to throw them aside and really only care about the doll that I knit for her. Why is it that when Matt spends the time to build a beautiful kitchen for Emma, that we felt the need to also buy her the talking Elmo doll which she could care less about? Am I teaching my children to be consumers of stuff too? Probably...better try and break that pretty quick!

I am assuming I am not the only one with debt out there (crazy assumption, huh?). And my family definitely has a long way to go before we get out of debt. What would you do to get out of debt? Would you sell everything, cut to the bare bones, get second jobs, sell your home, move in with your parents again? There are so many choices. I think that the biggest choice though is to realize that we need to start living within our means. Does that mean not living? No, not necessarily. But, for us anyways, it means cutting out some things like driving down town...do we need to drive down town??? It is literally down the hill...ok a little farther than that, and that hill is a crazy steep hill that I'm not sure I could push the stroller up...but it is one way. So there, we save a couple bucks on gas. Can I make three meals this week using beans, yup, I certainly can...probably more actually. Make my coffee instead of the occasional coffee out, even if it is just a dollar. Even though these are little things, they add up after a while. I just need to be diligent. It is not easy, but with summer coming, the warm weather will definitely help me to stay motivated, and stick to that budget!

How do you stay motivated to keep to a budget? Or am I insane and should I just live life to the fullest and debt be damned?

update

This past week was really great. I was able to get outside with Emma and Jack. Emma has LOVED the freedom to run around, and I think the vitamin D was a bit help to all of our moods! I have to say that I didn't go completely off the grid or anything like that, but I did reduce the amount of time I spent reading blogs and writing e-mails. It was nice. But, I have realized that the computer is not the reason I am never getting anything done around here, it is a little girl named Emma :-) Not that it is a bad thing, but here I was (and the hubs was) thinking that my computer usage was keeping me from getting stuff done. But, when I actually took a step back and looked at the big picture I realized that wasn't the case.

Instead I saw someone who would spend hours cooking and playing and reading and playing and more reading, and more cooking and more playing :-) So, I'm less concerned about getting "everything" done. I think I need to pare down my expectations. I should probably remember that having an almost 3 year old (yikes!) and an 8 month old definitely should put me in the "survival" category. Bare bones! If I can get food on the table 3 times a day, on clean dishes, and have clean clothes (even if they stay in the laundry basket for a day...or three), then I am doing a good job :-) My days won't always be like this, and I really need to treasure them. It's hard to do that sometimes.

I definitely feel like Matt has an easier time playing with the kids, because he isn't thinking about how much longer the bread needs to rise, or how long does it really take to chop up all those veggies for soup later, or did I remember to put the soap in the washing machine. He just concentrates on playing. But, I need to maybe try to concentrate on playing a little bit more, and the other stuff a little bit less. Being a stay at home mama is a hard job! But definitely the most rewarding!

What about you? Whether or not you have kids, how do you find balance?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Project Simplify update

Everyone may be wondering why I don't update about Project Simplify anymore...well I have this uncanny ability to clean the "hot spot" for the next week the weekend before. I did it with the kids toys/clothes, and then I did it again for the pantry and fridge...I'm hoping that this week will have a different hot spot...but I am not holding my breath. The hubs and I spent most of yesterday deep cleaning the bathrooms and generally washing down the house :-) So...we shall see!

disconnect

I have been thinking about it again...disconnecting the internet/tv/cell phone etc. Why? Well, I read a post over at Fimby. She lost power from the snow storm we had on Friday (yes, snow storm, we got about a foot), and it sounded nice. Her family sitting around together while her husband read to them all. I think I am longing for a simple time. Of course, nothing is ever simple in my life. I just keep striving for that balance, and maybe completely getting rid of technology would be the other end of the spectrum...but I haven't tried it, so maybe it would be a nice break!

The thing is, I know that there are a lot of people out there that don't have as many electronics humming in their homes right now. Plenty of people are without internet, and even TV's now. Not that I would get rid of the TV completely, I think I would still need to watch movies once in a while :-) There is e-mail to consider, it's how people communicate today. Not that it is a bad thing, but sometimes it is nice to receive a letter in the mail, even if everything you write in the letter is already outdated since you e-mailed that person the next day. And banking...all of my banking is online...but do I really need to have internet access to get through all that? Maybe it would be more pleasant to go to Barnes and Noble on Saturday morning and take advantage of their free wireless internet.

I have this blog now, and obviously keeping up with it would be nice (however, I tend to trail off on the same old stuff every post...), but I could still write posts and then just post them when I have access to the internet. And my husband does work from home so he needs the internet...although he has been working at my mom's the past month (just down the road), and that has been pretty good actually. I guess it is kind of cheating that I can walk 2 houses down and watch all the cable tv I want, and have access to wireless internet...but it wouldn't be in my house. What do you all think? Am I completely off my rocker?

I guess I will have an opportunity to see what that is like when we go on vacation this summer. We are going to the land of no cell phone service to a lovely camp on a lake. I am really looking forward to it. Granted, that is in August, so I don't know if it will be a test so much as normal by the time the end of the summer comes around. An as an aside, if someone wants a pen pal out there, let me know! :-)