Three Things Thursday

I missed last Thursday, so, evidently, Three Things Thursday is not yet a thing.  I’ll get there, though.  I hope!

sky 2012

1.  Starting a business, starting a blog, running a home all while being busier than ever at your real job is very hard.  Rewarding, but hard.  I’m so tired.  And I really hope nothing’s falling through the cracks. Oh yeah, something is…working out.  It’s too hot for that anyways?

2.  I love to read and go through spurts where I devour book after book relentlessly until I burn out.  Then I don’t read for weeks until something piques my interest.  I’m craving books right now, but cannot squeeze another minute out of my day.  I do, however, sit in my car at least two hours a day which leaves prime time for listening.  I can only take so much radio and songs played endlessly.  For a while I was listening to Dave Ramsey on iHeartRadio and Jillian Michaels’ podcast on iTunes.  Still love them both, but I needed a break.  I started listening to Dave Ramsey’s daughter’s book, Smart Money, Smart Kids.  I got it free for pre-ordering the hard back.  Loved it.  Loved listening to it.  Then I took a free trial of Audible to listen to The One & Only by Emily Griffin.  Now I’m “reading” Nora Roberts’ The Collector.  It’s not quite as good as reading the words, but it’s satisfying my need to keep my mind going all. the. time.  My main complaint, though, is the expense!  I was downloading books from my library through Overdrive last summer and was able to read all summer for free.  Audible is $14.95 plus tax for 1 book a month.  After I’m finished with this one I have until July before I can get another!  I don’t even know what I’m going to do with myself!  (Side note, follow me on Goodreads.  I’m trying really hard to keep it updated better than I have been.)

3.  We’re getting into Texas summer, which means beautifully long, productive days, sunshine, bright blue skies with big fluffy clouds, and heat.  I love three of the things listed.  Can you guess which ones they are?  (My Jeep declared the temperature as 101 when I got in it to leave the real job yesterday afternoon.  It wasn’t, I guess my Jeep is preparing me for the days ahead.  Bring it, I guess….)

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Chicken Math: It’s Real

I’ve explained before how I ended up with 44 chickens, right?  It’s a little convoluted, and you might wonder how I didn’t notice that I had 40 chicks living in a box in my garage. It happens quickly…especially when they’re small, and cute.

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I’ve been worried that the 40 chickens in my coop were crowded.  It seemed like you couldn’t walk in the coop without nearly stepping on a chicken.  Especially as they got older and larger.

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Last night, the 20 I was keeping for a friend went to their new home.  I was so excited for them to get to live in their brand-new-never-been-lived-in coop!  And I went to bed with dreams of what I’d do with all the extra money from cutting my feed bill in half.

Then I woke up and went out to see what I had left (it had been dark by the time they’d left the night before).  The coop was virtually a ghost town!

Now keep in mind that the most I’ve ever owned up to this point is 12, so the 20 I have is still a lot.  It really maxes out the coop.  The problem is chicken math.

Chicken math; chik’-uhn. māth  (noun) The phenomena in which no matter how many chickens you expect to own or for which you build your coop, you will end up with more than that number, even when you take into account chicken math.

It’s very real.

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Jo(e)

I currently have 38 chickens in my coop.  That’s more than I ever planned for, and it was ok until they got big.  Holy smell, Batman!  But it’s ok, because 15 of them will be leaving at the end of the week, leaving me with exactly as many as I’ve ever wanted.  (And approximately 10 more than I ever thought I’d actually have.)

The chick's first field trip into the garden.  That's Joe in the grass at the bottom.

The chick’s first field trip into the garden. That’s Joe in the grass at the bottom.

How did I get this many you ask?  Well, I had 6 laying hens and decided it was time to expand.  So I ordered 25 1-day-old chicks with the plan to split them with a friend.  The day before they were to arrive, we went to the feed store to get supplies.  There were day-old chicks there, and boy were they cute!  When you have 25, what’s 5 more, right?  The next weekend my friend went to the feed store with her 4-year-old.  Chicks were still there.  And they were still so cute!  What’s 7-ish more at that point?  And did I mention that I received not one, but two free “exotic” chicks in my shipment.  Then, another neighbor somehow ended up with a single chick after a trip to the feed store.  Chickens cannot live happily by themselves, so I adopted it, naturally.  What’s one more, right? (So I guess the moral of this story is that you don’t look at the cute little fuzzballs in the bins at the feed store in March.)

Sitting on the food.  Time to get a cover!

Sitting on the food. Time to get a cover!

Any who, up until this last batch, they’ve each had names, but now there are so many of each breed that I can’t keep them straight.  But there are one or two that stick out from the chicks that I accumulated this spring.  The most memorable, and the favorite of all visitors, is Jo(e).  (S)he was one of my “free exotic” chicks, which usually means rooster, and that’s what I’m leaning towards, but I just can’t tell!  When we unboxed the shipment, we immediately noticed Jo(e).  His head had a small cotton ball on top of his head.

Jo(e) dressed up as a 90's boy-bander.

Jo(e) dressed up as a 90’s boy-bander.

Too cool for school!

Too cool for school!

Checking out the new digs!

Checking out the new digs!

As he grew, it only became more pronounced, until now I’m really not sure if he can even see.  I have to say he’s not the brightest chicken in the coop, and that’s saying a lot.  Chickens are not the smartest animals in the world.

We love watching him grow, although the other chicks are not a fan.  He’s different, and his hair’s kind of out there, so they pick at him.  He’s currently growing out his bald spot.  At least he’s got that capability!

On the catwalk!

On the catwalk!

Strutting his stuff.

Strutting his stuff.

He takes his job as protector very seriously, laying in the middle of the door to the coop every night counting each chick as she comes in for bed.  It’s so pitiful to see him slowly get pushed out of the way by the larger, pushier chicks.  Eventually he finds a way to get back in the doorway to keep watch at night.  Though I’m not sure what he’d ever do if danger actually made it’s way in, probably run and hide!  Maybe when he gets a little older…

Birchbox

I’ve recently been introduced to the new world of subscription boxes. For the longest time, I looked from afar, but really didn’t see the benefit. I don’t spend the money on these items now, so I wouldn’t be saving any money by subscribing. But, after reading reviews of StitchFix from Meals and Miles and KERF, I finally decided to make the plunge and order a box. For those who haven’t heard of StitchFix, let me fill you in. You pay $25.00 and fill out a questionnaire about your style. A stylist then selects five items for you and sends them your way. You can then choose to purchase items (one or two pieces or all of them). If you don’t like them, you send them back. The pieces I’ve seen are really more expensive than I like to spend, but my wardrobe needs some serious help, so I decided to try it. My first box will arrive in late July, after all of our summer trips are done and all I have left is work. I’m excited to see what they’ve selected.
I then saw that Birchbox was running a special: $5.00 for May’s box. That was half off! Thanks to Maskcara and How Sweet Eats, I have a new obsession with beauty items and makeup, so I thought I’d try this one, too! In this box, you receive 5 samples of new products and makeup after filling out a short questionnaire about your style and interests. I received my box yesterday and couldn’t wait to dig in. At first, I was seriously underwhelmed. I knew this was going to be samples, but I really thought they would be bigger than the samples I get with every Ulta purchase. And, again, to purchase the full-size of the products is probably more than I will ever want to spend, but it was worth a try! But the more I looked and studied the products, the more excited I got. There is some pretty cool stuff in that one little box!

First Birchbox
This morning I did use the spray, the eyeliner and the perfume. I won’t be reviewing until the samples are gone, to make sure I give them a fair shot. I will, however, say that I LOVE the perfume. I want the full-size, something I haven’t said about a perfume in years. The smell makes me so happy!
I will keep this subscription on a month to month basis. If there’s a month where my budget just can’t handle the $10, I’ll cancel, but who doesn’t love getting a gift in the mail every month!
Both programs, like most, have a referral program, and all links in this post are referral links. There’s also a link on the side bar for both StitchFix and Birchbox, as well as my favorite online shopping tool, Ebates. Don’t know about that one? I’ll have to tell you about it someday! The more referrals you get, the more points you get towards purchases, which may one day result in me actually buying something from these!
*Tell me all about your favorite subscription services. Food? Clothes? Pet Products? I’m all ears!

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!

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:

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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!