Category Archives: Lifestyle

Removing plastic from the kitchen

Removing plastic from the kitchen

homesteading bottled water

The CDC found BPA in 93% of urine samples collected in 2004, this is scary because BPA mimics estrogen in the body and not only does it increase cancer cell growth but it reduces sperm count. High estrogen levels have linked it to the US’s children going through puberty at a younger age than ever.  If BPA mimics estrogen then it is safe to say that this it contributing to the problem.   The FDA has admitted that all plastic leach chemicals into our food.

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OEFFA conferance

We are going to the OEFFA conference in Feb. OEFFA stands for Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. We will spend the weekend of the 16 + 17 of Feb filled with workshops and networking with like minded people in the state of Ohio, exciting! Be sure to let us know if you are attending we would love to meet you.

The Generosity Of Our Fellow Man

I just had 5 wisdom teeth removed (yes I am extra wise) then on the car ride home we had a tire blow out. Something I could have easily changed out myself if I had not just had surgery. So we had to change the tire on the side of the road, during below freezing weather. So homesteaders the moral of this story is, if your car is vibrating hard at every speed go have it checked out and do not drive it until the tire literally explodes at the worst possible time. Fortunately someone stopped to help us change that tire.

And to the dear man who stopped on the side of the road to help strangers, people he had never meet, and will never see again.  I THANK YOU. We usually only hear about the worst in our fellow man, and often forget of all the kindness that is in this world. This man is the reason that the world is still a great place, he is a perfect example of why I believe, we as humans are still mostly good.

Couponing 2.0

Couponing 2.0

Well with careful planning I was able to increase my savings from 20% last time to 26% this time. What did I do different this time you ask, not much the coupons were different and I sign up for a Walgreens and Rite aid card so I was able to take advantage of some of their good deals.

The one thing I do differently than most is I make my grocery list first, that way I don’t buy things I don’t need or will not use.  I carefully sorted all coupons and pulled out the ones I thought I might use. Then I separated them into envelopes that were labeled with the store I planed on using them at. Then I went through all ads and made a list of the good deals in the ads: item, price, size and store that had it advertised.  Next I compare the good deals with my grocery list and make a combined list of the items I am planning on buying. Then I go though all coupons I pull out only the ones that I already have the item on my grocery list. Then I write on my list not only the price match for the item (If I have one) but also the coupon and what it is worth; example 55 cents off Carmex lip ointment. Then I divide the list up between Wal-mart and Kroger’s (the two store I do the majority of my shopping at). Any coupons under $1 are used at Kroger unless there is a really good price match for that item then I use it at Wal-mart. If the coupon if for $1 or more I use it at Wal-mart because they usually have the items a little cheaper than Kroger’s.

Here is a list of some of the best deals I got during this trip: Carmex lip ointment .04 cents; Pom pomegranate juice 8 oz free; Birds eye frozen veggies 24 oz .74 cents a bag; M&M’s priced matched to 2.50 which was a .28 cent savings then I used a $1 off two bags coupon which made each bag $2 a savings of .78 cents; Brick stone sour cream 16 oz for .55 cents; and Chex corn or rice cereal priced matched to $1.99 from $3.25 a savings of $1.26 then I used a $1 off two boxes coupon and got each box for $1.49 savings of 1.76 per box.

With careful planning I know you can do just as good if not better so get out there and give couponing a try. If you have any questions or you got a really good deal and you want to talk about comment I would love to hear your stories.

Start Your Family’s Holiday Tradition

Start Your Family’s Holiday Tradition

Let this year be the year you start a holiday family tradition, one that your children will continue with their children.  It doesn’t take much to start a tradition just pick a day and time to do something special with your family. If your family has a good time then remember to do it again the next year, if it’s a really good time chances are your children will remind you. Need some ideas, well look no further.

Movie Night: Everyone put on their favorite pajamas and meet in Mom and Dads room where you will all cuddle and watch your favorite holiday movie while enjoying a bowl of popcorn or other favorite snack. Let the Children choose the movie and snack a few days ahead of movie night and then be sure to bring it up several time over the next few days to get them really excited.

Craft Night: Make your holiday cards, the children will love helping decorate each card for that special person and you get help finishing up a task that it usually kind of boring. Or have the whole family help to make handmade gifts for the people on your list. Grandma would love a famed picture that the kids worked together on. Make this more fun by voting on what to make for each person on your list. Be sure to talk about it often before it happen and have lots of fun snacks to share.  Involve the kids in the entire process from picking the craft to buying the supplies to making and raping the finished product. Take pictures of each person with their finished creation, not only to remember the fun you had but the person who is receiving the gift would love to see it too.

Holiday Light Tour: dress the children up in warm clothes and make hot chocolate to go then load up in the car and drive around looking a Christmas lights see who can spot different things such as a snow man, Santa clause ext. make a fun game of it. Don’t want to go out in the cold or waste gas driving around? Gather the family around the computer and Google Christmas light displays under Google images and let the tour begin.

          Game Night: Holiday edition. Here are two fun ideas I found just doing a quick Google search on holiday family games.

Holiday Trivia

Half the fun of playing a holiday trivia game is preparing the questions for it. Create questions that members of the family know the answers to, but that they’ll have to search their memory banks to find. Examples of questions you can write are “What dessert did Aunt Bertha bring to the Easter luncheon last year?” and “Where did Uncle Ray go to college?” Put family members in teams of two or three so that even the youngest members can participate. Keep a scorecard handy to add up points and provide prizes for the winners.

Unwrap the Gift

The game of Unwrap the Gift is similar to musical chairs, in that the action starts and stops with the music. Select a present that anyone in your family would enjoy winning. Wrap the present in several layers of gift wrap. Ask everyone to sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Turn on some music and tell family members to pass the gift around. When the music stops, the person who is holding the gift gets to remove one layer of gift wrap. Keep turning the music on and off until the gift is unwrapped. The person who peels off the last layer of gift wrap wins the gift.  This is a partially fun game to play with lots of children provide you have enough gifts to unwrap that everyone gets one.
Read more: Fun Family Holiday Games | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6793575_fun-family-holiday-games.html#ixzz2EhZlXkYD

Cookie Exchange: This is more fun to do with the extended family but with a little creativity you could do it with less. Invite everyone over to the house to either bake lots of different cookies or bring homemade cookies to share, let everyone try one of each and then nominate their favorites for cute prizes like a holiday cookie cutter.  The children will love getting to taste all the different kinds of cookies. The more people the more cookies so invite everyone. Have plenty of milk and hot coco on hand to wash down all the sweets. Have everyone bring some cookies and a few copies of the recipe to share. Take pictures of the winners with their prize winning treats.

Whatever you decide to do make it fun and unusual; hang up signs around the house to build excitement.  Talk it up for a few days before the big event. Involve the children at each step in the process and more than anything else have fun. Have an idea for a fun family tradition? Please comment and we will pass them along. Trying one of my suggestions comment and tell us how it went we would love to hear all about it.

Christmas Cleanse

Christmas Cleanse

This is a cleanse for your house not you body, I just wanted to get that out there right away to avoid confusion. Why Christmas time? Christmas is a great time to purge the unwanted items from your life because you can give all the items to charity which will help someone else have a Merry Christmas. Plus getting rid of stuff is not as hard when you think that you will soon have new items to replace what you are giving away (this is particularly true with children’s toys).

I would start in your closet and remove any clothing that you haven’t worn in a year along with anything that is too big or too small. Move from your closet to your kids and if you haven’t put away out of season clothes yet this would be a great time to do so. Let your children choose a few items that they no longer wear to give away. Take the time to explain to them why it is nice to give away the items that you no longer want instead of just throwing them in the trash. Move from clothes to the rest of your house remove anything that is broken I know you think you might get around to fixing it but be honest with yourself do you really have the time, energy, ext.? I would save the kids toys for last.

Now that you’ve done the rest of the house lets tackle the children’s toys. Start by reminding the Children how many gifts they got the previous year and that they need to make room for the gift they will receive this year. Explain to the children that by giving their toys to charity they will help someone else have a better Christmas. Go slow and let the children lead, if they are not ready to get rid of something you think they should just wait and give them time to come to that conclusion on their own. Once your child has decided to give something away make it disappear quickly so they are not tempted to change their mind. If they ask about that toy in the future remind them of what a good decision it was to give it away and that some other child it now loving and playing with that toy.

Of course leading by example is the best way to help your child let go of excess things, it is hard to explain to a child that they should give away their toys if you hang on to everything. Good luck and I hope your Christmas Cleanse goes well. Leave us a comment and let us know how this article helped or didn’t help. If you have some tips that you want to share comment on this article and we will make sure to share them with our readers.

Beautiful Ohio taken by Jim Palmer

Taken by Jim Palmer

Our first camping trip.

Our first camping trip.

We went camping for the first time recently; we went to Shawnee State park near Portsmouth Ohio. Because it was our first time we stayed at a campground. Unfortunately we choose the weekend that the campground was having their Halloween celebration, so it was really crowded. Our campsite had a fire ring and a place to set up a tent along with a place to park. The campground had decent bathroom with toilets that flush; a separate bath house; laundry facilities; along with two playground areas for the kids. There was a small camp-store that served as the office. The cost was 18 dollars per night.  When I went online to check out the campground it said that they didn’t have grills at the campsites so that limited our choices when it came to meals, however the fire ring included a small grill that could increase your food possibilities, this was not known until after we arrived.   We set up our tent and filled it with our supplies; cooler, clothes, extra shoes, food and the seats from our mini-van along with the spare tier and jack. Then we inflated our queen size air mattress and made up the bed.

We chose to sleep in our mini-van because our tent is 15 years old and we were not confident in its ability to keep out the weather. We gathered twigs for the fire and bought some wood because we didn’t know we could bring it into the park. As long as the wood is from Ohio it is ok to bring with you (used to not be able to take fire wood across county lines). We started our fire and roasted some hot dogs for dinner. Then we enjoyed the cool fall night and fire while watching the stars until we decided it was time to go to bed.  But not before we roasted some marshmallows.

Morning came early so with the sun we were up. We made breakfast and everyone got dressed. Broke down camp and put the van back together. We decided to go for a hike after we explored the campground in the day light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hike ended up being shorter than we anticipated because it was not well marked and somehow we ended up off the trail and back at the campground before we should have. After that we stopped in the camp office for a hiking map and decided to drive the country roads throughout the park. It was a beautiful drive and after a couple hours we headed home happy with our first experience camping. We determined that next time a campground would not be necessary in fact we would prefer to be in a less populated area.

My first week coupon-ing

My first week coupon-ing

This week I started coupon-ing. I started by talking with a friend who is a self proclaimed coupon queen. She showed me a few websites and pointed me in the right direction. So I dove in, I bought one Cincinnati Enquire Sunday paper, went on to the websites she suggested and a few others. I clipped coupons and went through all the printed ads to find price matches for Wal-Mart. I have to say I made my grocery list first then looked for coupons for things I was going to buy anyway, without being brand loyal. In my mind it is not worth buying things that you are not going to use just to use a coupon. Example is I do not eat much processed food so I did not cut out those coupons even if it was going to end up being a great deal.

Then I organized the coupons into whether I would use them at Wal-Mart or Kroger’s and made a very concise list including price matches for Wal-Mart and what coupons I would use. Any coupons for $1 or more I would use them at Wal-Mart (hopefully with a price match) and anything under $1 I would use at Kroger’s because they double all coupons up to $1. I was careful to record the price of each item so that I got the best deal; some items are cheaper at Wal-Mart even if you use double coupons at Kroger’s.

One website I found to be very helpful is www.savingslifestyle.com. When I returned home after my shopping trip I added up all the items I saved money on using coupons and price matching and ended up saving a total of $54.68 which was a little more than 20% of my total bill. I found Kroger’s receipt to be helpful because it gives you your saving total, and the total number of coupons.

One example of a great deal was on Ziploc baggies, they were originally$ 4.38 I got them price matched to 2.50 then used a coupon for $1 off 2 which I was planning to buy anyway which made them $2 a box for a savings of $2.38 cents each. A great deal I got a Kroger’s was on Blistex chap stick it was on sale for $1 then I used a coupon for 55 cents off 1 which Kroger’s doubles to $1 which means I got it for free.  I know this kind of deal is few and far between but I think I did great for my first week. I have faith that if you choose to give this a try you will be saving this much a more which means more money for your family to do other things with. I love to hear about great deals that you get so please leave comments and share you savings stories

Simple Living Tips

Simple Living Tips

 

Limit your media consumption.  Try a media fast. TV, radio, internet, movies, etc.

Purge your stuff. If you can spend a weekend purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels really good. Use old boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or if donating means just letting the stuff collect dust in a spare room just toss it.

Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary.  Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time.

Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close. Do this by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear.

Spend time with people you love. Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, play, or just be close.

Eat healthy.  Think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs throughout your life. Might be years down the road, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … can get expensive not to mention you just won’t feel good.  Eating healthy simplifies all of that over the long term and the present.

Exercise.  For the same reasons as eating healthy, it simplifies your life down the road, but for the present: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better.

Find an outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, painting, drawing,creating websites, dance, skateboarding, etc. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that brings joy to your life.

Play. Find ways to have fun in your daily life. Be it playing with your kids or grandkids or creating a weekly game night with friends, adding more play time to your life will reduce stress and give you the ability to burn off excess energy (physical or intellectual).

Organization. Everything has a place and everything in its place. There’s much to be said for not having to search for things.

Living simply means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. Start small and try one step at a time.