Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spending or Saving: Two Habits We Practice

Sun is pouring into the farmhouse and it is sure to be fleeting, so let's enjoy this brightness together, yes?

We've been slowly, steadily, and hopefully wisely making our way through a series about finances.  It began a long time ago when I presented this info to a local home school support group, and then realized it would be valuable to capture these ideas for my ongoing benefit, possibly theirs, and I hope the farmkids.  You can read about it here, as well as catch up with the other posts in the series.

The last habit I shared is one of several our family practices, and today we're gonna press on with two more that Weekend Farmer Husband and I actually apply with some measure of consistency.

We try to have as many multiple use items in our home as possible. It just makes sense to us that we would cultivate a pantry, medicine chest, and cleaning closet that cross pollinate. (One of my favorite phrases from Marie!)  For example, you probably know that vinegar is great for adding a bright flavor to sauces, salad dressings, and soups.  Apple Cider Vinegar in particular has amazing health supporting properties and can fix what ails 'ya on many levels.  White vinegar is a great cleaning agent, and although stinky, my spring cleaning routine includes throwing open some windows and cleaning off the panes from all their winter grime.

Vinegar is one of but many multiple use items we keep handy. The list keeps growing, but this is what we currently keep around:
Castille Soap- bar and liquid
Baking Soda
Hydrogen Peroxide
Coconut Oil
Raw Unfiltered Honey
Some Essential Oils (lavender, tea tree, peppermint, rosemary)
White Distilled Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Green Tea
Spices (cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper)
Witch Hazel

The list is in no particular order and if you'd like to read more, please click here to access some of my Pinterest boards with links that explain a little more in detail. ("yes" - I've at least tried most of what I've pinned, and many I've adopted.  They remain pinned either because they were successful, or I believe I can tweak them to work more effectively for us.)

If you google, check Pinterest, or read blogs that feature these items, you'll find that a number of them can be blended together so you can make your own cleaners, health and beauty products, and of course, many of them you commonly use for food preparation.  So, naturally, you find yourself figuring out if you can make it yourself before you dash off to the store to buy it.

Yup, that's another habit of ours.  It's a natural extension of being a DIYer, so I make my own cream based soups, shampoo (if necessary - oftentimes we just use baking soda with water, rinse, follow with vinegar), laundry detergent, cough syrup, vapor rub, to name a few.

We don't use mixes for baking, or items like bouillon cubes.  I just make it.  It's maybe just a smidge more time, but it's almost always as economical.  And, in the event that it costs a little more, I make the trade because we're cleaning up our diet and it's beneficial to know the ingredients in our food, and to be able to avoid the multiple additives and preservatives found in much processed food.

It's true.  Sometimes I fail to plan, and have to come up with a crazy substitution, but so far I've not had any epic fails.  Just don't ask me for the recipe.

One last thing on multipurpose items and making things ourselves: Young moms especially ask me how I "do it all" or alternately, "how did you figure this all out?"  I join the ranks of thousands of bloggers, women, mothers, and professionals who all. Ever. Just like you, I keep trying.  Sometimes it works out great.  Others - well, you know.  As far as figuring things out, who doesn't love the internet?  And, since I'm youthful but no longer young, (read "old school"), I do find myself heading to the library more frequently than to a Wikipedia page!  It begins with a question or a need, then some reading, then some considering how to implement incremental change, and then layer upon layer a habit is formed.

I'd be thrilled if you added to my list!
What obvious thing am I missing?
What common but surprisingly adaptable item do you have in your cupboard?


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spending or Saving - One of our Habits

Howdy y'all - time to get back in the saddle and on the trail of this little series I started about handling our finances.

You've been so gracious about waiting for me to get back here and get on topic, so let's see what we can get nailed down today, okay?

We've been talking about habits to cultivate, and I've up to this point shared what I think are general ideas.  The following, (and final), habits are some that Weekend Farmer Husband and I have personally adopted.

I've only got a few minutes so I think I'll only get to one...
(And, pssssst - today is Weekend Farmer Husband's BIRTHDAY!  I'm gonna scuttle away from the computer really quick like and help my little farm chicks make their daddy breakfast in bed. Awwwww.)

Be Healthy.  Honestly, this is something we didn't pay much mind to until our post 40 bodies demanded it.  Suddenly there were aches, pains, noises, mild injuries, ailments, and energy drain that seemed to come from nowhere.  And, they were chronic.  They got our attention.

We changed a number of our practices - exercise, food, supplements, reducing toxins in our food and environment, began learning about essential oils, and overall became our own health advocates. Not only are we doing this for ourselves, we're including the farm kids.  They tease that I'm a little too out there when I suggest for example that we might try rubbing some essential peppermint oil on their temples and neck when they've got a mild headache rather than offering a  common pain reliever, but once they get the initial thrill of ribbing their mom, they're respectful participants.

And, you know what?  We all feel better.  True story.

Although we cannot see into the future, and we can't know what health threats we might encounter, we've decided to pursue a slow but steady progression of stewarding our health day to day rather than singularly having a well funded medical savings account.

Specifically, we've increased our food budget and decreased our medical expenses budget.  Understanding food as medicine, we pay our grocer and our farmer more, and we participate in our local health food center's buyer discount. And, when necessary, we visit our pediatrician, chiropractor, and other health care practitioners.

We started by reading blogs, newsletters, journals, books and talking to folks who are ahead of us in adopting and integrating these practices.

As I've said before, the changes we've made have been incremental. We're a strong willed highly opinionated bunch, so changing everything all at once was not only financially too complicated, I think I would have had mutiny on my hands.

So, if this is of interest to you I'd suggest picking an area or two that seems "right" for your circumstances to research and then apply your findings.  And, then pre-plan how it will impact your budget so that there aren't surprises to the bottom line.

The little chicks are barely able to contain their excitement - off I go to scramble up some super healthy eggs from our hens and whip up some sort of spicy and potent warm drink.  I think something with chocolate is the way to go - what do you think?