Three Things Thursday

So I’m three weeks in and I have nothing to say. That bodes really well for the success of the blog, doesn’t it? Since I have nothing to say, I guess I can just ramble. Get ready!


1. This spring has been really mild and rainy. I love it. So does my garden! I’ve harvested pounds of radishes and sugar snap peas, but I think that’s coming to an end. No worries, though, that just leaves room for the tomato, squash, and zucchini and cucumber plants to take over!

Tomatoes! Okra Sugar Snap Peas Beans and Cucumbers!
I’ve got beans climbing a trellis and cucumbers that are expanding quickly. My onions are blockbuster sizes and this year I’m trying corn. I have 4 whole stalks. Hoping for enough to feed my family one meal. I also have 4 okra plants and three pepper plants. Neither of those has ever done much for me in years past, but I have a feeling that this year will be different. I’ll let you know!
2. I think I’m sending 5 chicks to their new homes this week, and for that, I’m thankful! I’ve loved watching them grow, but 40 chicks grow really fast. They also love to eat. 50 lbs of chicken feed in 6 days. They’re 11 weeks old. It’s time for them to go out and get a job. For. Real!

 I'm too sexy!
3. We have three dogs. 10-year-old boxer-pit mix: Lou, 3-year-old black and tan coonhound mix: Memphis, 1-year-old corgi mini-aussie mix: Bear. I love them all. They are family. Family that chews everything. Bear starts it. Memphis and Lou join in, then point the finger at Bear when Mr. R starts asking who chewed up xyz. Memphis went through a brief chewing phase, but figured out very quickly that we didn’t like that. She quit. Bear doesn’t care. He’s so stinking cute, there’s no way I can stay mad at him. We’ve been through no less than 5 dog beds in 5 months. Right now the two we have look horrible and are missing half their stuffing. I refuse to spend the money to replace them, but will have no choice soon. Any suggestions? Keep in mind, we can’t ever catch them in the act.

Bear


Well, all of three things. I’m going to call this Three Things Thursday. It’s totally a thing!

See you on the flip side!

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The argument for healthy

About 2-3 years ago I found KERF. That lead me to a whole new world of healthy eating blogs. My most recent find was 100 Days of Real Food which led me to Food Babe. Vani Hari is so thorough in her research, she often comes across as preachy, but is an outstanding source of information.
Through all these ladies, I’ve finally come to the realization that the foods you eat can heal you or harm you.
Like Kevil in Garbage In Garbage Out, I searched to find the final blog, study, or book would convince me that the bad stuff could, and would, do more harm than good. I think I’m almost there.
About a month ago, I went a week without grains and sugar. I cut out coffee in the morning and replaced with unsweeted hot tea. I felt great. So great that I decided a few weeks later to minimize my grain consumption. In the two weeks, I’ve lost 7 pounds and feel so much more energetic and focused. I haven’t included my family, but I am slowly cutting back on the grains I buy. To say they aren’t on board is an understatement. Of course, they haven’t spent the years I have soaking in the information that today’s food sources are contaminated and dangerous. I know it will take time, and they may never be 100% on board, but as long as I’m the one buying the groceries, I’m the one in charge!

Living Intentionally

I’ve not really lived my life up to the recent past with intention. I’ve been very blessed to stumble my way into a very comfortable position. I did realize last year, however, that this lifestyle was not the best, and definitely wouldn’t lead my daughter to an intentional lifestyle.
Failure to plan is planning for failure.
So I’ve taken steps this year to begin living my life with intention. I do want to create a better life for my family and myself. The only way to spring us forward is to plan.
Budgeting

I found Dave Ramsey last year and was drawn to his methods and teaching. My favorite part is his instruction to give every dollar a name; to spend it on purpose, on paper, before the month begins. For the last year I’ve been doing that. I may sometimes be a little off in my planning, but I definitely have a much better sense of how I’m spending my money. And he’s so right, I feel like I’ve gotten a raise since I know what I’ve got and what I can spend. I no longer feel guilty about purchasing a pair of shoes or new makeup, because I planned for it ahead of time and know my bills will be taken care of. I’m being more proactive about spending, instead of being reactionary.

Planner

Whitney English Day Designer

I also found this beautiful Day Designer on Etsy. I can directly attribute the idea for my design business to the forms at the beginning. They forced me to examine aspects of myself and my dreams that opened my mind to the possibilities of developing and running my own business. Each day has so many opportunities for me to double check the direction my day is taking to make sure I’m working towards my larger goals. This planner is the epitome of intentional living and I’m in love with it.

Meal Planning

For more than a year now I’ve used Deliciously Organic’s meal plans to plan my dinners. Then, I found the Gracious Pantry’s meal planning forms to help me with the rest of my meals. Because of these two tools, I’m able to plan breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks that are healthy, balanced and use the foods I have on hand. Not only have a I been saving money at the grocery store, I’ve also been wasting less food, eating out less and losing weight.

This may all seem like a great deal of work, but it allows for a less cluttered mind and a life that, I feel, is moving forward. I’m setting an example for my daughter, hopefully, a good one!

Wandering

We love to travel.  We travel often.  My favorite feeling is the excitement of landing in a new place.  I take weeks to scour the internet, looking for things to do in our planned destination.

Our last big trip was to California to drive along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco.  My weeks of planning led to this:

Image

In the space below I had specifics about hotels, addresses, pricing and confirmation numbers.  I saved this file in Dropbox so I could access it at any time along the way.  We also had a printout in our file folder that holds boarding passes, email confirmations and car rental information.

The work done ahead of time ensured that this trip was, by far, the best family vacation we’ve ever taken.  And, of course, the amazing scenery didn’t hurt either!

These are only the pictures that I posted on instagram.  I have thousands to edit from my DSLR and my phone, not to mention what the rest of the family got.  In the future I’ll tell you all about it, but for now, I hope you enjoyed the preview!

Why do I homestead?

With a full-time job, 100 mile commute, family and a social calendar, most people ask why I take the time to grow my own food and keep my own chickens.  It’s not like I have an abundance of time.  In fact, spring is my favorite time of year, but it’s also the most difficult.  With new chicks in the brooder and my ever-expanding garden needing to be started, keeping up with the chores isn’t easy.  And because the chickens and garden are my passion, I don’t really believe in asking for help.  Really, who am I kidding, I am the worst at asking for help anyway!

I was once content with the conventional American diet.  We ate out regularly, purchased processed foods, and I never would have thought to raise chickens in my backyard.  But right before we moved, I found KERF.  This blog opened my eyes to the dangers of the conventional American diet and how easy a real food diet could be.  When we found our dream house sitting on 3.25 acres with 2 acres of pasture, chickens and a vegetable garden became a possibility.  As a child I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie.  I loved the idea of living off the land and self-sufficiency.  I’m nowhere near self-sufficient, nor can I really even call myself a locavore, but every year I feel like I get closer.

As a mother, nourishing my family with the best quality foods is one of my many responsibilities.  My goal is to provide healthy, filling foods at as many meals as I possibly can.  To me, this means purchasing organic every time the budget allows.  But if I’m growing my own organic vegetables and getting eggs from my happy, free-range chickens, the budget allows more often than not.  I do not use pesticides, I only use organic compost, and I’ve finally found an all-natural, non-soy, non-GMO chicken feed for my chickens that I can get locally.

This spring my chicken coop holds 40 chicks and 4 laying hens.  I’m only keeping 20 total, but I will be able to sell eggs to feed my chicken addiction!  My garden is started and I’m so excited about its progress.  I have sugar snap peas that are almost ready to begin harvesting, radishes I’ve already started harvesting, onions, tomatoes, various peppers, okra, melons, squash and zucchini, and green beans.  Every one of them is from organic and/or heirloom seeds.  This year I’d really like to harvest seeds from my tomatoes at least. But we’ll have to see how they do.  I am still learning, and have yet to succeed with any leafy greens.  The bugs really like to munch on those, and I just can’t keep them under control.  This is my third year of gardening, and I feel like I learn so much each year.  Last year the grasshoppers destroyed most of my garden.  This year, I’d like to keep that from happening.  If you have any tips, let me in on them!

Garden

Some of my favorite places for gardening and chicken information:

The Chicken Chick

Texas Natural Feeds

Backyard Chicken

GrowVeg

Seeds of Change

Square Foot Gardening

 

Who I am and why I’m here

Did you notice my last post was over a year ago?  Yeah, I know my shortcomings.

I turned 35 in December and decided this was the year I would finish something.  This little blog was the first thing that came to mind, so here I am!  I’m a working mother of one precocious 12 year old daughter and three lovely puppies.  The six of us live on 3 acres outside a small town near Dallas.  Six?  There is a husband.  We’re coming up on our 5th (I think) wedding anniversary.  He’s my best friend and oft reluctant partner in crime.  I can’t imagine life without him!

At this time, I’m working full time in outside sales, starting up an online interior design business, and trying to manage my small homestead.  With all of this going on, I need to write as my sanity.  You’ll get to read about my commute, my attempts at gardening and chicken raising, my family and our travels, and our many DIY adventures.  I may also write about my attempt to get into the best shape I’ve ever been in.

Basically, this blog will allow me to unload.  Hopefully you’ll get something out of it!