Making global changes from your own backyard.

http://civileats.com/2016/07/07/how-women-farmers-are-changing-u-s-agriculture/

I found this link and wonderful article while looking for a photo for the topic of making a difference in this world without even leaving your home.

Now, this article is about how women farmers are growing here in the US and making changes in farming with organics and sustainable farming.  I know from several articles I skimmed today that this is actually a global thing.  Women all over the world are taking up the plow and making a difference.

But how do we make a difference right at home?  Be you a homemaker or office lady or gent, you can make a huge difference without much effort, let me show you some ways:

  • Put your money toward companies and establishments that are doing business and farming in sustainable, conscientious ways that take into account all humans and animals and the Mother Earth.
  • Discontinue buying from companies not practicing ethical and environmentally kind, responsible ways.
  • Support organic farming, especially local farming.
  • Support local mom and pop shops and stores.
  • Plant trees.
  • Plant flowers that feed the bees and birds.
  • Hang bird feeders and water feeders, especially during summer months or droughts.  Water those squirrels too, they plant trees.
  • Learn ways to conserve water.
  • Don’t waste food.
  • Replace your lawn with a garden and share the food with elders and lower income families.
  • Bring your own bags when you shop.
  • Don’t buy plastic bottles.  Either get a filter on the faucet or a Britta pitcher and use reusable bottles.
  • Choose some charities you care about and become a member and donate monthly.  Even $10 here and there helps.
  • Help your neighbors, especially elders that may need help mowing a lawn or going shopping once a week.
  • Adopt pets from shelters.
  • Consider Foster care or adoption of children.  Even overseas adoption.
  • Consider planning your family and stopping at two or three children.  We do have a population issue that also needs to be taken seriously.
  • Try having a few vegetarian days a week or go vegetarian completely.  This is sometimes very hard to adjust.  Our family is down to a chicken a week and that is it but we do like meat, sadly.
  • Get rid of a car and walk everywhere.
  • Try to live, work, shop, and play locally.  This will create an amazing community for you and your family.
  • Homeschool and teach your children manners, integrity, and caring for others and the Earth.
  • Volunteer a few hours a week.
  • make your own house cleaners and laundry detergent that is green and clean for the environment.

These are just some brainstorming ideas.  See what you come up with!

 

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Why it’s more important than ever to become sustainable and green.

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With Donald pulling out of our Global Climate Change deal and pushing the coal as a way to start up our economy, I was feeling my old fears creeping back into the late night hours when one lays in bed trying to slumber peacefully before another long shift of homemaking and child rearing.  I started to think the old defeatist thoughts of doom and gloom.

Then I received a letter from Al Gore.  Not personally, of course, but it was a chain letter on email to all us grassroots environmentalist.  He was talking about how, despite Trump’s backward efforts, we would keep going forward.  He spoke of a sustainable and green movement that has gained so much momentum over the years that it is unstoppable and all the corporations and groups, big and small, that are on board to make changes for this environment.  He talked of all the incredible achievements we have already made such as towns that are almost 100% clean energy and how we are reducing pollution daily with all our efforts.  This sustainable movement has gained such huge momentum that we can maybe sleep some at night.

It seems that Trump has come to this game and is playing the role in this drama as the bad guy to wake us all up.  He is serving a great purpose in doing that.  He plays the villain and we all come alive and begin to fight the good fight spurned on by our feelings of revulsion for this very bad king.  And we have…awakened that. There are more groups and movements than ever before and I truly believe that even with the US now out of the Paris agreement and reopening coal mines, we will convert to clean energy and morph into a green country faster than you can blink.  Why?  Because so many feel motivated to do the opposite of what these old, white politicians are doing.  They are from the olden days, a time that has passed, this is a new age.  Coal, humph, that is so old school.  Coal stopped working ages ago.  Whole cities are starting to go all natural 100%.

Even on a small scale, I see us humans changing.  I see more people biking and walking than ever.  Organics have grown some 30 billion dollars (I may or may not be exaggerating)  and even corporate farms are testing out organics and biodiverse farming.  Forest and Amazons are being protected and replanted because farmers have seen what happens with over farming and deforestation.  The soil turns to sand and will no longer serve you.  The Great Mother will not take care of us if we abuse her.

People are becoming aware every day.  They are watching what they eat, concerned about the environment, paying attention to where their money goes, installing solar, working closer to home so they can bus or bike, spending more on non-GMO popcorn, reading labels, reading reports.

I recently moved to a farming community.  I live in town and have my own small bit of land.  For me, it is a wonderful opportunity to really practice all my sustainable and green tricks.  I started my homemade compost behind the detached garage and went to work planting fruit trees, a strawberry patch and two really big raised garden beds.  As soon as I find my rope I will hang my clothes line.  We also walk to whatever we can which is almost everything.  I will be shopping at Farmers Markets and I buy pretty much all organics and free range.

Even Grocery Outlet has tons of organics, nonantibiotic meat, and free range eggs now.  Lowes and Home Depot had so many organic compost and soils I had trouble choosing.  Change is here.  People want to change, they want to be connected to nature and eat clean.  People want to feel the soil in their hands and get back to the land even if just a bit such as more trees in their city.

I recycle, reuse, compost, donate to causes that are actually teaching people how to fish not just giving them handouts.  I am careful about where I spend my money and I try to stay local, local, local.

A green and frugal life is far easier than some might think.  It’s also fun, inspiring, and creates such peace of mind and freedom in life that once you really get into it and live it for a time you will not be able to go back to anything less.

A frugal lifestyle means choosing libraries and movies in the park over Barns and Noble and the Cinema 6 (although I love the movie theater and try to get a movie night once a month).  It means creating a compost in your backyard instead of throwing away food scraps from the salad you made that night.  Frugal means spending more time at home and learning to love it and getting all sorts of free or inexpensive projects going.  It means hanging your clothes on a rope outside instead of running the dryer all day.  Then there is the next step of baking your own bread and gardening, planting your own herbs and fruit trees, and cooking from scratch.  These are easy things to do and they save money, are good to the environment, create more of a homey feel, the family enjoys it and benefits because some of these actions mean healthier foods and more family time.

Living sustainably and being thrifty creates more peace of mind in two ways: one is that you get out of debt and don’t have that burden, and the other is that you learn to slow down and be present because you aren’t running here and there shopping and spending money, using car gas and making pollution.

Times are changing, some for the good of all humanity, Earth and all the creatures.  Some changes aren’t good for anyone or thing.  We must be strong, smart and wise in our choices and how we create our worlds right in our backyards.  It’s time to become aware of our effects on the whole world.  We can do it right at home, we can make huge impacts and influence thousands by our actions.

Walk to work, bring your own tin water bottle and cloth shopping bag.  Grow a garden, hang a clothesline, get chickens, donate to great causes, sign petitions to save jungles and Gorillas, plant trees.  Care and love and show it.  Get out of debt, reduce your footprint, your waste.  Let’s go back to how our great grandmothers lived.  They were sparing and shrewd.  They wasted nothing and they had fruit bearing trees and gardens in their yards, not pools (although pools are great).  They saved and reused everything!  And back then there was half the population.  Now we’ve doubled and the waste is ridiculous.  But that is changing.  Be a part of that.  Make it into a game, have fun with it.

I have very motivating and fun books out on Amazon to teach frugality and sustainability.  My books are all .99 cents so everyone can afford them.  The most enjoyed and popular right now is my new book The Homemade Housewife.

 

The simple and frugal life outlined for the beginner.

The Homemade Housewife: The last book you will ever need on homemaking and frugal living by [Singh, Kate]

I was having a chat with an old friend today.  They make great money and haven’t much to show for it.  They have high rent (who doesn’t nowadays), two car payments, lots of expenses going out each month.  They make double what my family makes a year and still do not own a house or investments.  Both parents work and they struggle.  Does this sound familiar?

The excuse is, “it’s too hard to save money.”  Maybe.  Sometimes it just takes a couple changes to start saving money.  The easiest way to save money is to wait for your tax refund, if you get one, and open a separate saving account and have it deposited into that account each year.  That can be a great way to save a lot of money each year without trying.

If you have some big goals, such as buying a home or starting a business, you may have to get more structured.  Or say you, as a couple or family, want to go down to one income.  Perhaps a spouse wants to go back to school or you just had a baby and mama or papa wants to stay home and be with the wee one instead of returning to the world of quotas and commuting.

What do you do?  There are hundreds of things you can do.  If you are broke now and need help then look through my recent and old post.  I share all kinds of great ideas.  I also have some great books out there for only .99 cents on ebook and a couple paperbacks like the ones I have posted on the top of this blog.

I am a top contestant when it comes to being frugal.  I don’t have a ton of original ideas, however, I have hundreds of ideas that I have gleaned from hundreds of wise homemakers and advice that have been passed down from great grandmothers that have lived through a different time altogether and know how to make a dollar stretch.

When you become a veteran of the frugal life you will find that there isn’t a lot of new ideas out there.  When I first started learning how to be thrifty I devoured every book, article, blog, and YouTube I could find on the subject.  I completely embraced this lifestyle and, although we make more money now, we still live this way.

Why?  Because this is a life of peace, freedom, deep sleeping at night, no stress, and making our dreams come true.  Like buying a house recently.  Which was also a very frugal find.  This is a great life, environmentally sustainable, and focused on family and fun.

I have now filled and packed my books with this info.

Get on amazon and find me:

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Singh/e/B018FNFDSM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The Homemade Housewife.

The Homemade Housewife: The last book you will ever need on homemaking and frugal living by [Singh, Kate]

This is my last homemaking book!  I think…

This is a whopper of a book loaded with all the best from all my books.  It’s got the recipes for scratch cooking, household cleaners, even beauty products.  I cover Urban farming, affording organics, going green and creating a sustainable life.  There are ideas for working from home and earning money, getting out of debt easily, and stretching that dollar.  How about traveling, holidays, parties, having house guest?  Covered.  Raising children and pets?  Homeschooling?  Covered!

The ebook will be free for the next few days and after that, it is a tiny .99 cents.  Of course, it must be frugally priced as it is a book on frugal living.  You will definitely want this for your library.

 

 

What does a frugal lifestyle feel like?

 

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My favorite topic!  I love being wise with my pennies because I know what the difference is in being frugal and spending beyond your means.  What it works out to is either sleeping well at night and being at peace over all or staring at the ceiling at 3:00 am and hearing your heart pound with anxiety.

Living a frugal life is living a simple life.  It may be hard to get used to at first but eventually, it becomes a way of life and as you gain the rewards of being debt free and having an emergency fund when trouble comes a callin’ you begin to really enjoy it.  There are even bigger rewards like owning your own home and taking vacations with your family.  But overall it is personal freedom, environmentally and globally considerate, and easy.

Here is a simple trick to get started:  If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy.  If you are in a financial downturn, don’t spend period, on anything except the bills and rent.

There is hardcore frugal and everyday frugal.

Hardcore is when you downsize everything: home, utilities, cars, groceries.  You walk to work, you move from a 5 bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment, you go from shopping at the Natural Foods Coop to Winco, you trade in the gym membership for a free daily walk in the park, you start considering the library your new Barnes and Noble.

This hardcore is for people in huge debt and wanting out now! Or suddenly on a fixed income like disability or a baby came into the picture and mom wants to stay home and you have to learn how to live with half the income you were making.  Perhaps you have decided to go to med school or become a full-time writer.

This is where you decide to make huge sacrifices to have a better life in the end.  You trade in the consumer driven, keeping up with the Jone’s life for the simple life.  You go from eating out daily to brown bagging it.  But you have a goal in mind…or you’ve been forced by critical circumstances.

Everyday frugal:  This is for people like my family.  We were in debt and suffered and now that we are free from that slavery we do all we can to never return.  We have emergency funds, house buying funds, a common household fund.  We even have a coin jar.  We get these backup funds by being frugal every day in all we do.  Our lifestyle has morphed into one of major thrift and frugality.  Sales and free are two of my basic words.

Families that live on one income and do it with ease have learned to enjoy a house half the size of their peers.  They have learned how to grow food and make easy compost in their little backyards.  They are the family that has the weekly wash blowing in the wind on the outdoor clothesline.  They have a large wagon they drag the kids and groceries around in on foot because they walk EVERYWHERE.  They don’t buy pets, they wind up with rescue pets (some of them just show up at their back door).  They use vinegar and baking soda for everything.  They learn to sew and borrow from the neighbors.  They make do with what they have or they go to the thrift store to find the item.  They love hand me downs.  They can be seen picking up a piece of furniture off the curb that had a free sign on it.  They find the local farms where they can pick their own produce for cheap.

I live this life.  Well, it’s not as intense as it used to be.  There are times we had to be ultra frugal because we had very little funds or no funds coming in for a time.  Now we live like this out of habit and because the benefits outweigh shopping and dining out on a regular basis.

Today we have no debt, no car payments, no credit card payments and we have big savings set aside.  My husband has a good job now so I have relaxed in certain areas.  I purchase store bought cleaners and I enjoy store bought cakes now and then.  I shopped at Safeway the other day because there is a really fancy one down the way and I just felt like shopping in a fancy store.  I still looked for sales and stayed with produce in season.  I bought the basics because I don’t shop outside the main produce, meat, eggs, flour….I cook from scratch a lot more now than I did in our poorest days simply because it just tastes better.

I buy laundry detergent and cleaners because I just got tired of making my own and we can afford it now but I only buy a couple cleaners: one is Fabuloso and a jug last years and is all purpose. It actually winds up being cheaper.  The laundry detergent is simply because I got tired of grating soap and I have a used washer that sucks and I needed an intense detergent (I’m sure that is just an excuse I tell myself).

I go on more shopping sprees these days…at the thrift store.  Most of my boy’s toys and all our clothes are a thrift store item or hand me downs or gifts.  We have a big TV in the living room.  It was given to us and is 20 years old.  It is 35 inches and weighs the same as a car engine.  I refuse to get rid of it because it was free and works fine.  All my furniture was either my mothers or found at Goodwill or a yard sale.  I have a couple pieces we purchased new and I look at those pieces and know that I could have saved thousands and done so much better at a yard sale or thrift store.  Couches and mattresses are two items…and shoes that I DO buy new.  You can’t throw a couch or mattress in the washer for a hot and soapy wash.  Shoes will mess up your feet and back if molded already with someone else’s foot.  This took me time to learn.

We don’t have a date night and Sizzler is as fancy as we have gotten.  We have little children and it’s not worth it.  I’d rather put the $50 toward 4 days worth of groceries.  I have started going to the movies again after 5 years of settling for Netflix.  I LOVE the theater and that hideous butter oil they put on theater popcorn.  I allow that luxury for myself at least once a month now.  But I don’t get my hair or nails done.  I don’t go to salons.  I’d rather spend that money on movie tickets.

I get all my books from the library and if I really love a book and want it in my library I order a used copy on Amazon.

I do really cheapo stuff like water down my dish soap and add new coffee grounds to yesterday’s grounds in the coffee pot to save on filters and use less coffee grounds.  I use washable dish rags and mop clothes.  I haven’t purchased a sponge or mop in years.  I do buy diapers.  I wish, wish I could do cloth and I tried for a few months.  I’m not proud of that failure to go green.  I would if I had to.

We live in a tiny house but we take trips to the coast and Marin to stay with friends.  When we do travel and vacation we stay with family and friends.  We purposely choose to vacation at friends/family.  First of all, what is vacationing if not with those you love?  And it’s almost free.  We pack a cooler and basket with groceries and we don’t buy food on the road.  When we stay with family/friends we sometimes cook for them to take the burden off.  We also choose free activities like the beach for the day, local parks, walks, and thrifting.

I am a housewife and I would like to remain in that position forever.  I have found ways to make money at home.  Once I built an adorable little daycare and that paid the bills for a bit when Bali was out of work.  Now I write books and make a little extra.  But it is my frugal decisions that keep me as housewife CEO.

 

 

How to enjoy being poor on your way to a better life.

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I recently wrote a quickie book called Dirt Poor and Lovin’ It!  It was a mini hit.  I have added more to it since I first published it and I keep adding when I get an idea or hear some great advice.

I believe that all things have seasons and that includes being poor.  If you are smart about being poor and make it work for you, the tables will surely turn.

I was inspired to write this booklet when we started our own house search.  We desperately wanted to buy our very own home and it just felt like it was time.  When I worked with a lender for a pre-approval I was a little disheartened to find that we only qualified for $130,000.  We live in Sacramento California where the average house is now going for $350K to $500K.  A dumpy house in the ghetto would be $200K.  So, I was feeling beyond challenged.

We have a large savings that we have been building for this purchase but it wasn’t looking like nearly enough.  I began to get back into my hardcore frugal and penny-pinching mode.  I was saving every nickel and dime.

I watered down my detergents, my shampoos, the bubble bath.  I would just add fresh grounds on my old grounds to my coffee filter for days using the same filter, therefore, using less coffee and only one filter for 3 days.   I refused to even buy light bulbs.  When a light died I stole a bulb from another room where I never used that overhead light.  I even swept the floor when I thought my vacuum was broken (turned out to just have a large lego lodged in the pipe).  If I needed anything I would first look about and see if I could repurpose something I already had or borrow from the neighbor.

I stopped spending completely outside my rent, utilities, and groceries.  I cut way back on the grocery budget.  We went from maybe around $1,000 a month to between $300 and $600 at the most when I had to get toiletries, dog food, and diapers.  I had some friends that had to do food stamps for a short time because times had gotten a bit challenging for them.  They were allowed $400 for a family of 4.  I was inspired to see if we could do that.

We have been living as though we have very, very little funds, as if we are on food stamps, and we have nothing to spare.  I have put all the extra in savings.  When we got our refund I distributed it wisely.  Paid off a tread climber (the only luxury item we have purchased in years).  I created what I call a ‘household savings’.  We have the big daddy savings in another bank so we never touch it but we have no savings for our regular use.  I opened one to connect to our checking account.  I stocked up on everything.  My pantries and bathroom cupboards are loaded.  I must have enough toilet tissue for 6 months.  I have enough soap and shampoo for months and months.  My stockpile pantry in the kitchen is loaded.

I still didn’t buy light bulbs.  Those and paper towels are a luxury right now.  I’ve gotten super cheap.

Has our quality of life decreased?  No. We are playing at parks, forest, and home.  I have stacks of books from the library I’m really into.  I have great music going all the time on Pandora.  I have my coffee. I have TV and Joyce Meyer.

But you see, when you have been frugal and living on one income for years you learn to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.  At first, it’s hard to go from a life of going out all the time, shopping for what you want when you want, buying groceries without looking at prices.  It seems so restrictive and depressing.  Then you get used to it and find that the quality of your life has increased 10 fold.  You are now spending quality time with your family and enjoying life.

Then you take it up another level and just stop spending outside the bills and rent.   And groceries of course.  I prefer my homecooked food to going out.  Most food that is convenience and packaged or diner food taste so lifeless.  My food is fresh, hot, and delicious.  I make my own versions of everything out there.  I make my own frozen burritos, my own Ranch dressing, my own pizza.

I can even make my own laundry detergent, household cleaners, shampoo, and face masks for pennies and come out ahead and environmentally kind.

Then I got to thinkin’ even more.  Just how broke could I handle getting?  If my dryer broke down I would hang my clothes out.  If it was winter I would hang them on homemade racks like the shower rod and chairs.  I used to hang my clothes out but we moved into town and I have no clothes line and…I just got lazy ok?!

Even if my washer broke down and I had no money for the laundry matt…I would wash my clothes in the tub.  Heck, our great, great, great grandmothers went down to the river or used a washboard and tub.  The Amish still do.

As for groceries, you can just buy produce, meat, cheese, flour, and make a ton of great food from scratch.  I love homemade food SOOOOOO much better than going out to eat.  Well, at least where we can afford to eat.  The HomeTown Buffet isn’t considered fine dining, I do know this.  We also have kids and it’s no fun.  Won’t be for years and years and years.  We just use that $50 for a weeks forth of groceries.

We used to not have the internet and just an antenna.  I loved the local channels.  We pay a small sum for stripped down DirecTV package now and I swear that 95% of it is infomercials and reality TV that I detest.  I loved all the old movies and westerns, the 80’s sitcoms.  The antenna doesn’t work well in the city sadly enough or I’d still be with it.  As for the internet, I used to just go to the cafe or library to use it.  I would buy a cheap cup of coffee and enjoy being out in the social cafe scene.  Now I do need it for the blog and books and I have the cheapest I can get that isn’t dial-up.

When my family and I lived on a fruit farm by the river I did hang our clothes on the line, I did make big buckets of homemade detergent, I only used vinegar and dish soap for cleaning.  With permission, we picked the fruit on the farm.  We had pears, cherries, lemons, oranges, plums, mandarins.  It was great.  We bought cheap eggs from the landlady.

We have been poor, poor, and poor.  And we have never suffered.  We live better than some friends of ours that are wealthy…or upper middle class.  We don’t stress about money, borrow from Peter to pay Paul, wring our hands when bill paying time comes.

So, here I am tonight eating ice cream and celebrating our new house.  We bid on a cheap HUD house and God was kind and blessed us.  I had to get frugal and smart with the house buying and I’ll go into that with another blog.  We have just enough left over after closing cost to get the work done on the home.  And it will need some work but not that much.  Old homes were built simply and solidly.

So, all that frugal and thrifty living has paid off.  And once I got used to it, I have to say that it’s enjoyable.  It sure beats having to work.  Being a housewife suits me just fine.  I did have to find an outlet and that is with my blogging and book writing.  We all need a hobby and if it’s free and then starts making you some money….well, yee haw!

 

7 Days into the 40 days to change.

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My household is 7 days into our own self-made 40 days to change experience.  We are not doing anything extreme, such as cutting out a thing or making a big lifestyle change.  We are not going on diets or selling all our belongings to backpack through the wilderness.  We aren’t even practicing zero spending.

As a homemaker I’ve kept a nice home, cook healthy food from scratch, I’ve been fairly frugal, and we are active.  But, and this is a nice sized but, I have slacked in the last year and a half.  I have been so into my writing of books and posting of blogs, doing all my own editing (not recommended) and publishing, marketing, and promoting…well, my home and family need some sprucing up.  So do I.

I have been feeling tired and irritable lately.  My home looks dusty and messy more often than I like, my spiritual practice is inconsistent, I have no schedule as of lately, I’m gaining weight and haven’t been aboard my Tread Climber in weeks, my kids are getting too much media, and I have succumbed to convenience foods more often than I will admit publicly.  My home and family life is out of balance with the writing life.  Also, my writing needed to be really worked and polished.

So, I’ve written a blog a few days ago outlining my desires.  I’m not stopping or starting anything per se, I’m working with what we have and improving it vastly.  I’m giving myself 40 days to explore new ideas and ways of doing things for our home and health and implementing what will work long term.  Each day I chunk out a bit of work to improve all the areas I’ve listed.

Thus far I have scrubbed and organized the kitchen and created a new menu and way of cooking for my family that is extremely healthy and gives me more time for play and work.  I did not choose one diet.  We have gone wacko in trying to be completely vegetarian, vegan, and then to the opposite end with paleo.  We failed after 3 weeks.  We enjoyed each diet and the benefits but, after trying again and again for 5 years, it’s obvious not one will stick.  I decided to combine the best of all three!  I have created a diet that is half vegetarian, with some vegan substitutes, and many of the paleo ideas…organic, nonGMO, free range, grass fed…

This may sound crazy but we have the best diet now.  I did not get rid of our junky food, I just created a cupboard shelf up high where I keep it all.  We love our junky food once in awhile and with it around it’s less of a constant thought and obsession, if I really want mac and cheese or to bake a cake I can.  I have also taken to doing, what I call, mass cooking every few days.  I will start the week off baking a big chicken, simmering a big pot of black or pinto beans, baking two loaves of whole week bread, steaming a big cooker of brown rice, and making a huge container of fresh, organic salad.  Oh, and a pot of homemade yogurt that lasts a whole week.  We then eat off all that good stuff for a few days or more.  You can make burritos, salads, or just have the rice and beans.  The chicken can last days by taking some to make burritos one night and a quarter of it for pasta another night, chicken salad the following night.  The bread is toast in the mornings and yogurt at lunch with apples and nuts and honey.

I find I have all sorts of time.  My mass cooking day really only takes a morning.  I have my coffee and turn on my Cuban music on Pandora and cook for a few hours and voila!  I have three days of cooking done.

To get really healthy I have decided that there are two great changes to our families diet that we can live with.  I have cut the sugar out completely for myself and the boys and husband never had that much to begin with.  I was the one hiding chocolate in the cupboards.  I have also upped our vegetables times 10.  I do green juices almost every morning and most days I add green smoothies.  We have salads every night along with up to 3 to 5 vegetables at every meal.  My kids were getting too into snacks and starting to snub the vegetable and that is why I have gone hardcore.  I also want to loose weight.  I’ve been watching sugar documentaries and I don’t want any of us to have adult diabetes or be obese thank you.  My kids are so incredibly healthy already.  This was the longest, coldest and wettest winter and they suffered a few days of a cold.

The other changes I started after getting the kitchen and cooking schedule in order was my exercise and spiritual works.  I had not been able to sleep the other night and caught Joyce Myers on TV.  Her sermon was perfect for me and so I pulled out her books that I had stocked up on months ago.  I also dusted off the tread climber.  I now read and work out an hour every day, combining my spiritual readings with my fitness.  I ordered The Case for Christ at the library and I’m off to see The Shack.  I love the Christian lifestyle, however, I’ll admit that I still have a lot of questions about the Bible and how to really connect to God.  I am open minded and love the metaphysical and I often wonder if the Bible isn’t filled with some parables to teach us through stories.  I just keep reading and researching until one day I find what feels true.  I know that faith feels good and a wholesome life is a good life.  I also know that you have to keep filling up on the good and spiritual works and continue to work on righting the mind.

As for the house, I rearranged the living room and stored some items in the garage.  I love uncluttering but found that I got too extreme with that also and now I miss some of my stuff (like the coffee grinder).  I now pack it up and store it if I may want or need it later.  I cleaned the house from top to bottom and created a daily cleaning schedule to keep my home tidy and kept up.  I do extra chores daily such as wash dirty walls or get the mold out of the tub.  I did have to go to a chemical bathroom cleaner for the tub.  It was so moldy and we have no window in there.  I tried a natural way and sometimes that doesn’t cut it.  I found a great cleaner that makes my shower/tub sparkle.  I took down some of my paintings because my walls looked cluttered and silly.  I run the vacuum throughout the house daily.  I have to, I have children and two dogs and long haired cat.   I either do a quick morning cleaning or have some tea and do an afternoon sprint of cleaning and tidying.

Now for the writing.  I have sent every one of my books off to be properly edited.  I thought I’d done a great job but have received criticism for my typos in reviews.  I want my books to be nice and neat.  I have also bought covers for the last remaining books.  People are more likely to buy books that have covers that don’t look free.  People respect a writer that doesn’t have grammatical errors in her books even if they are only .99 cents.

I also have fiction under a pen name and I have one book I’m working on and 3 on a back shelf that I had started and dropped for one reason or another.  I would like to work on getting these done and build my fiction library.

The last item for this week was house hunting.  I have been having some frustration and blues around what we can afford and what the market offers.  Right now we can get a loan for 130K and we have 30K saved to work with.  We are in California.  Yes, you see my problem.  There is hope believe it or not!  We live in Sacramento and that is now too expensive with the city folk coming on down.  I have found that we can still buy a house in Yuba City that is decent and in a decent neighborhood.  But we must be very clever.  I found a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood yesterday and put an offer on it this morning.  It is a great old house in a charming neighborhood.  The catch is that it is trashed and filthy beyond imaginings.  The yard has cars and furniture and probably 3 years of dog poop.  We were asked not to go out in the yard.  We would probably need hazmat suits for that.  But hey, this is a chance.  I offered very low with the offer of buying As Is.  We would do all the cleanup.  Other potential buyers may give them their price but will want them to clean and repair all sorts of stuff and they don’t seem to be the “clean and repair” sort of people.   We will see.  They may tell me to go stick it or they may pack their overnight bags and be on their way to a trailer park nearby.  I’m working on my judgment too, did I mention that?

What else, what else…tried to give up coffee.  Not that I have an issue with coffee.  I love coffee and everything that is coffee and it’s cousin.  I turned to tea because I can’t seem to have my coffee without sugar or honey and heavy creamer.  I tried to do Stevia and milk to take it down a notch but detested it.  I also found I was feeling aggressive and not sleeping at night much.  Well, I did tea for 4 days and found I could barely stay on my perch alert during the day and still didn’t sleep great at night.  I was not happy without it and so I have gone back and now I find I don’t mind milk and Stevia now that I have been separated for some time.  I will never part with you, my dear coffee.  I now have my spunk back and my chores are done swiftly with a cup and a song.

Media and my boys.  They are now only getting an hour of PBS in the morning or an hour of Netflix in the late evening.  The weather is warm and sunny and they play outside all day soaking up the vitamin D and running, climbing, digging.  We play good music most of the day in the house and play or read.  Not to say that I don’t resort to Netflix more often at times when I need to conduct business and I can’t throw them outside.  There will be days where I will use it as a tool to get some work or peace accomplished.  I’d like to start turning the focus to ABCMouse daily for at least a half hour for the oldest to prepare him for his homeschooling that will begin at the end of summer.

So, there is my first week.  I’m feeling good.