December 31, 2014

2015 Here I Come

I am so excited for this new year, I can't even tell you. Last year, I pretty much missed the start of the year, and kind of half-assed some goals somewhere near the middle of January.

This year, totally different. I have so many goals and personal desires for this year. I want to make it so much better than the last two years. First, I have picked my "theme words" for 2015:

Grow & Simplify. 

I know, that kind of sounds like an oxymoron, but I can explain! I want to Grow in my knowledge and skills, but Simplify my schedule and how I do things so I don't go crazy. Because I'm tired of feeling crazy.

So! Here's what I'd like to accomplish for us as a household, and my personal goals for this year.

  • Get Chickens
  • Get Rabbit(s)
  • Payoff Truck (we broke down and finally bought one that will actually fit us all. Yes, it meant going back into debt, but we felt it was needed, and have a goal of paying it off in a year.)
  • Eat as much from the Garden as possible
  • Successfully grow potatoes
  • Put up as much food as possible
  • Lower grocery budget to as small as comfortably possible

  • Paint & Decorate Kitchen (this is a personal goal, since it's more of a desire than a need-to)
  • Spin all the fiber that I have right now
  • Finish the knits I have half-started and waiting
  • Redo current knitting patterns (change name & layout)
  • Design more/Write up current knitting designs
  • Watch the Creative Live classes I bought 
  • Cook through the Essential Pepin book
  • Make decent sourdough bread
  • Read through my 2015 book list (more on that later)
  • Simplify our schedule & routine (includes redoing and utilizing Household Management Binder and creating a work flow schedule for Bumblewood)
Did you guys see that first one? That one that says GET CHICKENS? YES! Ben approved getting chickens, and I am so excited!! I will finally have my own flock of chickens! Our goal for chickens is mostly egg laying, but also a source of meat as well. Not our only source, obviously, but we're trying it out here before we go to a bigger scale on our someday-farm. The rabbit was his idea, we're trying out one for meat as well.

I have a big desire to get back into gardening and putting up food this year. For a few reasons - it's cheaper, it's healthier, and I think it's good for my soul. Hopefully we will be able to grow a decent enough amount to lower our grocery bill, which has climbed a lot the last two years. Four hungry boys means lots of food. I will also be looking for other sources for bulk items, as well as revisiting the price list to get the best prices again.

This is the first time I've made such an extensive personal goals list. I figured this year I should just write down all the things I want to do so that I don't forget, and see how it goes. Since my goal is to Grow & Simplify, writing these down will allow me to schedule these activities throughout the year so that I can make time to accomplish them.

The other big one for the year is to read through my 2015 book list. I'm still adding books to it, but I have a ton of homesteading how-to & lifestyle books, some herbal medicine books, and a few others. I'm sure I'll add more as I find goodies at the library.

I think that's a pretty good list for now, and I'll probably be adding a few more as the year goes on and I think of things.

Do you have any goals or desires for the year? Do you pick a theme for the year?

December 29, 2014

In a Nutshell

A handful of hats. Blissful monotony.
Soaps, soaps and more soaps.... And other stuff.
Exploring the mountains

Our new little brat

Well hello there. Nice to see you again!

February was the last time my fingers crossed this space, and it's been a long and interesting year. A year of additions, a year of loss, and a year of getting my butt kicked by just about everything this world could throw at me.

The quick points:
The blog is back to it's old name. It really just fits. Every thing around here comes in little bits, and sometimes slightly larger bits, all to make up the big whole. I'll slowly be fixing all the links, so if something doesn't work it hopefully will soon.

My sister gave birth to her two beautiful baby girls in March, 11 weeks early. Gave us quite a scare actually, but apparently that's how us women have our first babies now. After a long and (thankfully) boring jaunt in the NICU, they were home early this summer. They are perfect and gorgeous giggly little things covered in the most gorgeous dark hair. So many things to knit for them...

We've lost three family members this year,  including my grandpa, which was particularly painful and rather sudden for me. There is still a gaping wound in my chest, but time is slowly moving things around to account for it.

We added a shelter dog to our family. She is a very, very hyper and crazy chihuahua/dachshund mix, but is a sweetheart who loves to snuggle, and has been a really good addition for us, despite the fact that she drives me crazy sometimes. 

The twins started 2nd grade this year, and Duder is in Kindergarten. Munchie doesn't have an official grade yet, but is content to join us in most of our schooling. For the parts he doesn't want to join in, he's usually running around being a "Supie Hero".

Bumblewood boomed this year, with so many fun craft shows and lots of new and wonderful people met. Three stores are now carrying my products, which is really exciting.

And in the end.... I burned out. This year has been so rough on my soul for so many reasons. I hardly did any of the things I used to like doing. I hardly knit. I hardly baked. I barely gardened at all, and putting anything up in jars? Pssh. I was lucky to put a quart of berries in the freezer. I've battled depression. I spent most of my days with the goal "just get to the end of today". My mojo was gone and missing.

Over the past year I have really had to look at and examine myself. I couldn't keep going the way I was going. I couldn't be super woman. I couldn't do everything for everyone. I couldn't make everyone happy. I (and my house) couldn't be perfect.

And you know what? That's ok.

And since I've let go (mostly...), I've found my mojo in bits and pieces. I'm knitting again, simple things. I'm cooking again, in small quantities. I'm dreaming of next year's garden, a small one. And I have a ton of ideas for things I want to do/make/put up. Which is amazing, considering a few months ago I spent most of my time staring out of windows with no desire to do anything. I'm reading homesteading books and I'm excited about it again. I'm working on scheduling things so they still get done without making me crazy to get them ALL done at the same time.

And I've given myself permission to not freak out if the things don't get done. I've given myself permission to breathe. I'm not still not back to my old self, but I'm getting there.

Because it's ok. Life's to short to be perfect.

Here's to a better 2015.

February 26, 2014

What's Cookin': Berry Cheese Danish

I made danish for the first time in my life! It turned out so good, and it was so stinkin' easy I don't know why I've never tried it before now. A little time consuming, but easy. Seriously.

I had some blueberries that needed to be used, and I still have gallons of boysenberries from last year in my freezer. I need to get those out and make room for this years upcoming crop. So I hopped over to Pinterest (which is a horribly evil place, by the way) and after searching for "berry pastry" and lots of scrolling, found this recipe:

Raspberry Pastry Braids

And just used the blueberries and boysenberries I had to equal the same amount of berries from the recipe.

BUT, the recipe doesn't call for cream cheese filling. And I don't know about you, but to me, it ain't a danish if there ain't cream cheese filling. So here's my modification.

Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1/2 C sugar

Beat all together until well blended. Spread on dough in 4 inch section before adding berry filling.

Then go on to follow the recipe as posted.

This is so delicious! I had some as a midnight snack... Don't judge. If you had been in my kitchen to smell it, you would have joined me. Then we had it for breakfast with coffee. And for snack. I will definitely be making this again, and already thinking of doing a batch with apples, or strawberries, or cherries....

The recipe makes a TON of pastry. It makes 4 very large danish braids, which was great for the 6 of us, but if you don't need as much I would halve the recipe. Or I'm sure any un-iced braids could be frozen and reheated later.

Happy Eating!

February 24, 2014

Scenes From the Weekend

Sorry for the horrible iPhone picture. I was excited!

We had a CRAZY busy weekend. It all started on Friday with a trip to Lowe's to pick up trellis, yard tools, and bags and bags of manure and mulch. We've tried the green-waste facility's compost and it was "eh", so we decided this year we'll try bagged.

Ben got all of the beds tilled and turned with manure and the compost we had left from last year.  Doesn't it look pretty? We found a TON of worms! Every shovelful had at least 3. That made me so happy! Our dirt is finally starting to have life!

I marked out my beds with an extremely high tech method of using a yardstick to scribe 12" squares. We're all about the crazy technology here...

Another high-tech tool was used for making holes... A wooden screwdriver from a long gone play set. It works fantastically well! I think I'll keep it around. 

All in all I planted onions, shallots, cilantro, beets, chard, spinach, lettuce, and cosmos. This week I will plant radish, green beans, probably more chard and lettuce, and whatever else I can think of that doesn't need the hotter temps of summer.

We are *supposed* to get lots of rain this weekend. Please please pray that it happens. We desperately need it!

About two weeks ago I started seedlings for tomatoes and peppers. My seeds are really old - the youngest being ones I ordered last year, most are three years or more. But I had good germination success on everything but the hot peppers. So I'll buy new seed and restart those. Come to find out I'm crazy late with the seed starting (I'm still trying to get this whole timing thing down). But I figure since we have such a long growing season, it's all good. I know I promised you a post on how I start seeds. It's coming, but since this is the Year of Not Stressing Out, it will come when I'm able to get it done.

I just love the first little peek of a new seedling. It's like welcoming a precious new baby. So tiny and fragile, but full of so much life and possibility. 

And now the seedlings will have a new home! Ben slapped together a PVC greenhouse this afternoon and it's awesome! I found the idea on Pinterest, and he ran with it (he's good like that). 

 We picked up the pipe and fittings on our Lowe's trip, and he cut everything and fit it together (no glue) so that it folds up and down, sort of like a baby stroller hood. For anyone who wants to build something of the same design, hopefully  you can see from the picture how he put it together. He attached the widest frame to the wall with conduit straps, and the rest hangs free to move up and down as needed.

My sexy man. He'll probably kill me if he finds out I put him on the blog. Sorry babe! You're too hot to crop out. (Plus the floating hand would be awkward.)

I put my tomato seedlings under it this afternoon. Not sure if that was a good idea, or a bad one. But the only way to find out if something works is to use it! Plus if they die then that's just an excuse to go to my favorite nursery.

Happy Monday,

February 13, 2014

Just Random

Happy almost Valentine's day! My mom-in-love brought me these cheerful beauties the other day after I told her I was desperate for color. They brighten up my kitchen and I love them so much.

Despite my attempts to keep them from blooming and to stay focused on growing their foliage, our silly little strawberries are at it again. I picked all of their little flowers on Sunday, but today I saw at least a dozen little blooms. Ok, I give up. It is warm enough now, I will just let them do what they want. It is nice to have tiny little white flowers.

This is probably going to sound silly to those who don't garden/homestead, but I've achieved a successful compost pile! Isn't it beautiful? I'm so excited!! To be honest, I started out trying to mix equal parts "brown" and "green" at the beginning of last spring, but it really just turned  into me throwing in whatever I had, then I gave up somewhere around September. And I wasn't great about covering it, but I did bury it half way through. I didn't think it would actually become compost.

But, even though I didn't follow the technical directions, I still wound up with beautiful black compost! It's my first successful try! My grandmother just buries her kitchen scraps straight in her garden, has been my entire life, and I think I will follow more in that direction. It's just easier for me, since I don't have a large space for a big compost pile. And since that's pretty much what I did here, I might as well go along with something that worked!

Yesterday was such a beautiful, warm day and I have been feeling the need for something quiet and peaceful I decided it was time to bring out my spinning wheel and sit awhile. The poor thing had been stashed in the corner of our room for so long, but after a good dusting and oiling I was able to spin about 3/4 of a bobbin while the kids were down for a nap. I sat and listened to the doves coo to each other, and at one point there was a line of 5 or 6 finches sitting on the fence just watching me. It was wonderful.

I started some tomato and pepper seeds the other night. I'll have a post on how I start seeds soon. Are you starting seeds yet?

Happy Thursday!

February 11, 2014

Grocery Planning: The Pantry

Can you tell by my pictures that I am desperate for spring? There is absolutely nothing to take pictures of around here.

In this post I want to go over planning the pantry (and by "pantry" I mean pantry, freezer, under the bed, whatever). I mentioned before that I listened to an episode of the Busy Mom's Survival Guide  in which she (Pj is her name) explained the way she did her pantry and menus and such. I liked the way she explained it, so I've kind of combined some of those ideas with my own system.

The first step, which I've already done awhile ago but wanted to mention for those who are starting this from the beginning, is to write down all of your typical pantry/freezer items. Things you normally buy and use to make your favorite go to meals, or like to keep on hand. In the last post I talked about picking 15-20 meals for rotation. So I'll be making sure all the ingredients I need for those meals are on my pantry/grocery list.

For us this includes things like rice and beans, canned veggies, condiments, dried pasta, canned tomatoes, corn meal, flour, yeast, butter, etc. I am focusing on things that can keep for long periods of time, since I want to start a 3 month supply. Don't worry about fresh things right now. Just write down long term storage items. (Yes, butter is probably considered a "fresh" item, but I buy enough for a whole month and it can be frozen, so it gets put on my pantry list.)

Next, an idea I'm incorporating from PJ is to write down how many I want to keep in stock at all times. So let's say I want to keep 3 months worth of canned tomato sauce. I will figure out how many cans of tomato sauce we would go through in a month (let's say one large can a week, so 4/month) times 3 = 12 large cans of sauce for a 3 month supply. So now my list looks something like this:

20 lbs Rice
20 lbs Beans
12 28 oz cans Tomato Sauce
48 cans Green Beans
 And so on.

If you're not looking to create a big stockpile, just figure out how much you want to have on hand for the week, or two weeks, or whatever stretch of time you prefer and would be easiest for you.

Now when I am getting ready to go to the store, I can print out my list, look in my pantry and any items that are below quota get the number I need to buy written next to them. If I only have 30 cans of Green Beans, but my list says I want to have 48 cans, then I need to buy 18 cans in this store trip.

If you are just starting out and wanting to build a large pantry you can either budget and spend the money up front to get the whole pantry stuffed, or - the route we'd probably all choose - do it slowly over time. If your budget only allows you to buy 3 extra cans of Green Beans this week, buy 3 extra cans. Then the next week you can buy 3 more. It will build up over time, you can do it!

Make this is as easy as possible for yourself in how you list and sort your items. If you like to group a-z, do that. If you like to group by category, or by aisle in the store, do those. Make it a system that will be easiest for your brain to work with. I prefer by category. If you can arrange both your list and your pantry in the same way, excellent! It will make it much easier and quicker when you go to check stock.

**Bonus points: If cooking from scratch is your goal, take a look at your list and try to find items on there that you can start making yourself. If you typically buy enchilada sauce, you can start making your own with just some flour and chili powder, tomato sauce and water. Bam! Cross the enchilada sauce off your list and just stock the ingredients. Or make your own chicken stock and freeze it instead of buying. Try one thing at a time so you don't burn out or get overwhelmed. **

I am going to be including toiletries and personal items in my 3 months supply. Since those won't need to be rotated as often, I will just purchase a few extras each time I go to the store. 

And that's it for this step! Super simple! It might take a bit of time to put together at first, but once it's done it's done. If you can get it typed up then all you have to do is print it out for each shopping trip.

To recap:
Pick 15-20 (or however many) meals based off ingredients you can store.

Write a list of all the ingredients you need to make those meals.

Figure out how many of each item you need for your desired storage time (Two weeks, one month, three months?), and write that number next to each item.

The idea with this plan is that if there is ever an emergency (crazy weather, or job loss) then you know you will be able to make those meals with what you have in your pantry for the amount of time you stocked for.

Just a note - my "pantry" isn't one specific place in my house. I have a tall cabinet in the kitchen and a hall coat closet that got converted with shelving. If you are wondering where to store a stockpile of goods try places like linen closets, bedroom closets, under the bed, under the dresser, etc. It doesn't have to be pretty and perfect. 

Go forth and make a list! In the next step I'll talk about a price book and shopping for the best price.

Happy Planning,

February 10, 2014


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

After continuously being frustrated with the Blogger blog reader not updating and not showing all of the lovely blogs I follow... I decided to jump on the Bloglovin bandwagon. You can follow Little Homestead on Bloglovin by clicking the link above! :)

February 7, 2014

Grocery Shopping: The Menu

I am going to try to make these posts and explanations as clear and understandable as possible. If anything is confusing or you need me to clarify, please let me know! It's kind of a work in progress as I see how things work for us at this stage in life, so it could be changing as we go.

I thought I should start out with my goals for the pantry and our food life. I already cook from scratch as much as I can, so that is a big part of our life and I don't consider that a goal. But you might, so please feel free to write up your own goal list if you want to do this along with me.

My Food Goals:

 - To stock our pantry to have 3 months worth of food for emergencies, to facilitate surprise crowds, or to help others out in times of need. I would like this to include water, so I need to find a place to store large amounts of water if I can.

- To save time in planning our menus and lists. And hopefully get down to shopping once a month.

- To have less waste. I've been pretty bad about tossing things lately.

- To save money on our groceries. Over the last year I have spent an average of $800 a month on groceries. Considering I used to spend $400 for 5 people, that was a major jump. Now, we do have 6 people eating full meals, and the boys are all getting bigger and eating more so I do realize that we are spending more for a reason, but I am hoping a better plan can lower us to about the $600 or under range (and I will admit our spending went up because the junk food consumption did...).

- To get our diet back on track and get rid of the junk food that has crept in while I was being lazy.

Planning Menus
I had originally planned on talking about the pantry first, but it made more sense to go over menus first, since that's why you pack the pantry!

My routine lately has been to write down whatever sounds easiest at the time, then shop for that. My menus have almost been the same from week to week lately, usually including enchiladas, a crock pot meal, and spaghetti. Which are all fine meals, but when I put the same things on the menu every week it gets boring.

So, my new plan is to come up with 15-20 of our favorite meals and rotate those. I might even try to come up with a meal for every day of the month and have the same menu every month. My plan is to use meals that involve mostly pantry items, since my goals is to have a stocked pantry, but you must rotate and use your pantry goods on a regular basis. I will have some days that are special meals, or trying new meals, but for the most part I am trying to simplify and focus on pantry building.

As far as what meal to put on what day, this is how I usually do it:

I usually plan for two weeks, since that is my shopping schedule right now. I am going to try to get on a one month routine, aside from quick trips for milk and such.

I use a blank calendar for my menus. You can print one out from your email/calendar program, or I'm sure you could find something on pinterest.

Mark down any special days like birthdays, anniversaries, etc that would have a special menu or going out. For example, we have a family dinner coming up at my mom's to celebrate some birthdays so I will put "OUT" on that day. If you will be cooking a special dinner, write out that menu on that day.

Make note of any days that need to be a quick meal or easy meal. If you have soccer practice every Thursday night, then a crock pot meal put on the in morning will probably be easier than making a 4 course meal. My cousin comes over every other Wednesday, so on those days I try to plan a crock pot meal or something quick so I can spend more time visiting and less time cooking (and cleaning up).

Fill in all the other days that are still blank. Try to include meals that will use leftovers from previous meals, or produce that needs to be used up. If I have leftover chicken from Wednesday, I will try to use it in pasta salad or enchiladas on Thursday or Friday. If you have some peppers that are starting to look a little sad, try to find a meal that will incorporate those so they don't go to waste.

That's pretty much it! So to recap:

Have a set number of go to meals that rely mostly on ingredients from the pantry. Fresh things can be a bonus as they are in season or the budget allows.

Use a blank calendar and fill in special meal days.

Fill in "busy" days that need easy meals.

Fill in the rest, again, still using meals that are based off of pantry staples.

Now, make a note of breakfasts and lunches, and snacks you want to have on hand (or preferably make). For us breakfast is almost always eggs and toast, in one fashion or another, or oatmeal/pancakes. Lunches are sandwiches or leftovers or hot dogs.

In the next grocery post I'll talk about my plans for the pantry and getting it stocked.

Happy Weekend!

February 6, 2014

Revisiting the Shopping List

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It's raining today! Weeeeee!!!
Thank you all so much for the comments on the gardening post! I love your ideas - especially about growing the herbs in pots! I'm glad you're all here to keep me accountable! :)

In the past I've shared how I menu plan and handle grocery shopping. Over the past year we've really gotten away from, well, being super responsible and had a year of.... Let's just say it was a "generous" year when it came to buying things, including groceries.

As we try to focus on paying off our house and achieving some other financial goals, I have been revisting and reorganizing my systems and not only trying to get back in the swing of things, but seeing if there is any way I can improve and make it a bit easier. I've also been feeling the need to stock our pantry to last a few months, in the case of any emergency events. (I just have a weird feeling we're due for a good sized earthquake, since that's the part of the country we live in. Not to mention the drought I talked about in the last post that will surely be causing prices to rise.)

I was thinking of this the other day when I was listening to a new podcast I have found that I have been enjoying (The Busy Mom's Survival Guide - she makes soap too!). A few days after I had thought of redoing my methods, I heard her talking on a past episode of how she handles her pantry and food shopping, meal planning etc. I really liked how she explained it, and thought I would incorporate some of her ideas into my own system.

My previous system involved a pre-written grocery list of items that we typically buy, sorted by category, and a blank calender. I would print out each, fill in the calender with our meals for the next two weeks (my typical shopping schedule) then check off items I needed for those meals on the list. I would try to make those meals use what was on sale in the grocery fliers, and add anything that we might be getting low on but weren't specific to the menus.

Over the last year I've let that method slip, I wind up making the same boring things from week to week because I can't think of anything else, and my pantry has gotten more bare. I also have lost track of what's the best price for items because I've ignored my price book for so long. Add to all that the dynamics of a new business and a schedule shift, it's definitely time for a change!

I'll be going into more detail on my new ideas and methods in a bit, but until then I'd love to know what methods you use, how you stock up, your favorite recipes, etc. I love hearing how differently people get the same things accomplished.

Happy Thursday,

February 5, 2014

Garden 2014 - Ideas

** The domain name I had ( is expiring/expired and I don't see the point in renewing it, so you'll be able to find us at our normal blogspot address: If you need to update your readers to reflect that, please make sure you do! ** 

If you're from around here, or follow California news at all, you'll know our part of the nation is having an extreme drought. Really extreme. And unfortunately, that means that the price of food will be going up soon to account for it. So in an effort to keep that part of our budget in check, and to be more prepared for things in general, I'm trying to plan our garden again.

I would like to try providing a lot of our food from our garden this year. (Ok, I say this every year and it never works, but good intentions...). I'm going to write it all down here so you all can hold me accountable. If you run into me on the street, ask me something like "Have you been weeding and keeping your garden alive?" That way I can be guilted into keeping it going and maybe that will work.

We already have:
a cherry tree
an apple tree
4 blueberry bushes (although I think only two are still alive)
a lime tree that has yet to produce anything
7 Boysenberry bushes that produce more than we ever wanted, and make for crazy good jam
and strawberry plants I planted last year that have continually bloomed all winter despite my trying to dead head them.

So that's what we're starting with. I'm hoping we'll get at least something from any of those this year.

The first attempt at green bean trellis

What I'd like to plant for the year:
Green Beans
Butter Beans
Various herbs including basil, cilantro, chives, rosemary, and anything else I can squeeze in. And good insect attracting flowers.
And probably some other things that I'm forgetting.

What I learned from last year:
 - Due to our rear neighbor's trees getting larger and creating shade and the height of the fence, the two very back beds of the official garden don't grow much at all.  I will have to stick to the very front of the beds, or maybe not at all. The back flower bed won't grow much either, but I might be able to trick some shade tolerant plants into growing back there.

- Tying the middle trunk of tomatoes to a stake as they grow and  cutting out the little "crotch" shoots will really give a large tomato crop. This practice made my tomatoes the best producing crop out of the whole garden. More on this little trick in a later post.

- Cattle/hog panel zip tied to posts driven into the ground works great as a bean trellis. I'll be doing that again for beans and peas this year.

- I need to get on a feeding schedule. Because our dirt quality is so poor, and we've only been doing this for a few years, I really need to work on fertilizing our plants during the season. We've budgeted for manure/compost and will be doing that in the next few weeks. You know, after we get all the weeds out...

- We definitely need a weed barrier of some sort, because I get very discouraged and give up when the weeds take over. And the heat we get during the summer makes the weeds grow very quickly.

- Double digging the beds last year made a big difference in not only quality (because I dug in compost) but made planting and pulling plants so much easier because the soil was much looser. 

- I think getting some shade cloth will come in handy in keeping our poor plants going when the heat rises during the summer.

I am going to try my best to keep it going and have something to show for it this year. And I want to share how we're doing it to help anyone else that might be on a small parcel (or just wants to garden small). I'll be sharing in the future our official layout for the year, what I'm doing with certain plants, things I'm learning and anything else I can think of.

One thing I am really enjoying already is a little app I purchased for my iPhone. It is called "WhenToPlant", it was $2.00 and it is put out by Mother Earth News. I have tried many times in the past to find information about when to plant in our specific area. And while I've found things that go off our USDA zoning, it never seemed quiet right. It's always warmer here and I think we can plant earlier than the little guides say I can. This particular app goes off of the averages from your nearest weather station, and it seems to be a much closer planting guide. So I am excited to try it out and I'll let you know how it goes.

Are you planting anything this year? I'm curious to know what your plans are and any tips and tricks you might have.

Happy Wednesday,

February 4, 2014

A List

I am crazy busy. And my brain doesn't work enough these days to form coherent paragraphs, but I wanted to check in. So here's a list of what's going on around here:

1. We are (sort of) getting the garden ready for the year. We have been talking, and making plans. We finally got around to tearing out/down all of last year's garden... Now we just need to add manure and compost and such and plant when it's time. I should be starting seeds, I just haven't gotten that far yet.

2. Bumblewood has moved from Etsy to it's own online shop! You can find it at I'm very, very excited about this little step for the business. There are a lot of new features that I am loving - like all of our products being listed even when out of stock, a "notify me" option for things you want to know about coming back in stock, and the chance to leave reviews on individual products. You can still find a selection of our products on Etsy if you prefer to shop there, but I'm now offering a greater selection (like our new body butters!) on the main shop.

3. I am trying to redo my Household Planner. I want to get all of my important information, blank menu calenders and grocery lists, garden planners, etc. all into one place. I also want to write up a list of chores that need to be done at certain times of year, or reminders to purchase things for the house (like refrigerator filters). Anything to make life smoother and easier and get back in control.

4. Some of you who have been following along for awhile might remember that a few years ago we worked really hard to become debt free. We got rid of all of our commercial debt (cars, credit cards, etc) within 2 years, and since then have been working on paying down our mortgage. Eventually we'd like to buy a piece of land for larger gardens, animals, and for the kids to have lots of running around space. We bought our house in 2009 and as of this month we now owe under 50k. I can't tell you how excited this makes me feel. I dream of space and quiet and feeding ourselves from our property (and chickens. I will get my freaking chickens some day!) and this is just one step closer to that.

5. I told you back in December that my sister is having twin baby girls. There will be knitting. Stay tuned. ;)

6. Ok maybe I can make full paragraphs.

Happy Tuesday,
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