Thursday, December 28, 2017

A forgotten art: letter writing

I hope you all had beautiful holidays! We had a lovely time here around the homestead. Something I wanted to encourage everyone to put on their " to do lists" for 2018 includes letter writing!

This past year my 10 year old daughter has become friends with a super sweet older lady at our church. She is widowed and has taken a fancy to my daughter, as my daughter has to her. I don't remember exactly how it all started but now they are pen pals ( even though they see each other at church two times a week).  My daughter loves checking the mailbox to see if she has gotten a letter and then she hurries to write  a letter to her friend. I think it's a win win for everyone!

I've also really tried hard this year to send more letters. When someone has a family member pass away I try to drop a note in the mail of sympathy. When someone is sick I put a get well soon note in the mail. I also think there is a place for other forms of hospitality ( such as taking meals) but a note or card can certainly brighten someone's day.

There is a young lady in our church that is going through a particularly difficult time- I try to send her a card a week letting her know that I'm thinking of her and praying for her.

I would like to just encourage you all to be more mindful of the difference just a kind word, phone call or card can make when someone is having a rough time.

Happy Homesteading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I've slid back into the Non Frugal ways.... Need to get back on track

So you may recall that my previous blog post discussed a possible adoption for our family. You can read about it here. Well without going into all the details- that did not work out how we hoped. We are not the family that these children need and of course we wish them well. During the process of training for adoption, hoping for a placement and just a few other things that have been going on the last 6 or so months we just fell off the frugal wagon. Not terribly bad- but still bad.

There have been ebbs and flows for our frugality for sure! Right now we are in a let's get back on board mode. We haven't added any NEW debt which of course is great and we have paid off some debt- but not as much as I wish we would have.

You may also recall that I am coming in on the home stretch of my PhD and we have been cash flowing that degree as well as all related travel to the site ( about 12 hours away!!) and books and such. I am happy that we are able to cash flow that and that I have not added any new student loan debt while getting my doctorate. I've even managed to score several scholarships to help me along.

Today's Frugal Accomplishments
Today I made a big pot of chicken and dumplings in the crock pot and we have 4 servings left over- they are packaged up and ready to go for lunches next week for either my husband or myself.

I looked through our deep freezer and made a note of what all we have in there. I made a list of what meals we will have for this upcoming week.

We stayed at home all day today ( outside of church) so they only money we technically spent was the gas back and forth to church ( which is about 1 mile away).

My parents and husband and kids and I sat outside for about 2 hours today while the kids played on the trampoline and swing set and we all just visited.

How did you all spend this wonderful Sunday? Getting prepped for a frugal week?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How does a family of 8 sound?

Well it sounds pretty good to us! You may recall ( or not) that we recently completed the very long process to become foster/adoptive parents. Well fast forward not very far down the road to now and we have received a pre adoptive placement of 3 beautiful siblings that need a home. It started out with just some phone calls with their case worker, then we read their biographies and saw their picture. Then it progressed to a few casual visits in the park then we started getting them for a whole day. We are now to the point where we are getting them for the weekend. We will slowly progress to having them full time- then after about 6 months we can legally apply for adoption.

Can you believe it? Wow. Overwhelmed, overjoy, just not even sure the emotions we are feeling. But blessed is certainly one of them. To think that these three precious children came out of a place that was very unhealthy and harmful and now they have a chance through us to be in a loving, safe, caring home. It truly is a wonder!

Our own three children have some mixed feelings. For the most part they really "like" them. I mean they are good kids. They are all three younger than our three kids ( our youngest is 5) so these kids are younger. The older kids are excited about more siblings but aren't super stoked about sharing a room and probably on some level sharing attention.

My oldest daughter who is almost 12 seems to have the best grasp of what a beautiful process adoption can be and that we are giving to these children what their biological family couldn't provide to them at the time. It's not easy to talk about for sure and since my kids have never experienced trauma or loss like the three little ones have- it's hard for them to fathom that not all families are loving like ours are.

I'll keep you posted. We are excited and honored that we feel that God chose us as the family for these three littles :)

I'm glad they like eggs- as we are getting about a dozen and a half a day now.

Happy Homesteading!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Our foster/adoption training is over- now we wait

You may remember me sharing about my heart to adopt here. And our desire of having a large family.

As a Christian I feel called to the ministry of helping children and young people. I remember feeling so overwhelmed as I began to learn about how many children are in foster care, how many children are being shuffled throughout the system and how many children are waiting to be adopted. I then remember realizing that if we as Christians would step up and care for these children then there would not be a "foster care crisis"- every child would have a home. I can think of probably 20 families in my church that would be beautiful foster parents. But for some reason many people seem a bit scared, a bit unequipped even. We did too! But we certainly did feel this call on our life. So here we are.

We finished our training our requirements to become a foster/adoptive parent last night. I have to say some of it was pretty difficult to get through- learning about the traumatic pasts some of these children go through- it was rough and there were tears from my husband and I both multiple times. There were also tears of joy as we learned how God transformed some of these seemingly hopeless stories into stories of redemption, hope and grace.

So we turned in all of our paperwork and now we are waiting for our final walk through from an outside consulting firm. He/she will come into our home and ask a bunch of questions to my husband and I and will review our home again. I'm not sure when this will happen but it can take up to 8 weeks- that honestly seems so long at this point as we have been going through this process so long already- but we are just praying for a quicker turn around and patience.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Don't all 16 year olds talk about adopting one day?

Oh my goodness. These past few months. Almost a year actually- but these past few months have been such an emotional roller coaster.

I'll start way way back. Like when my husband and I were dating in high school. Yes we dated way back then and have been married almost 14 years now. I remember when we were dating and driving around in his truck we would talk about the day when our home would be full of little feet. Even as teenagers we knew that we were called to be parents. Even back then we talked about if we could not have children ourselves we would be open to adopting.

Well we graduated ( high school and college!) and got married and started working on our family. Within a year and a half of marriage we welcomed our first child- a beautiful baby girl. A bit later came daughter number two then several years later came our son. Three beautiful children. And let me tell you we are blessed. Blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

When our son was born we always thought we would have another. We prayed about timing and when God might see fit for us to try to start trying again. Many a night we prayed that if it was time for us to have another child that we would know. We never felt that the timing was right and never felt that calling to try to have another child.

So come last October we started feeling VERY strongly that adopting from foster care might be in our cards. We both prayed about it a lot and on January 1st of this year (2017) we submitted our paperwork to become a foster family with the intention of adopting.

Okay guys- the time is almost here. We've done paperwork and background checks and physicals and more paperwork, and home visits and this weekend we will finish up our training. Meaning that it could just be a few weeks ( probably longer but who knows?) until we see a child in our home. That is both terrifying and amazing at the same time. We are very excited about the possibility for our family to provide love and care for a child ( or children) that may need it.

I hope to talk a bit more in the coming days about the decision to become a foster family as well as some of the training we have went through ( it's been great by the way!) in coming blog posts.

If I can be an encouragement to just one person reading this then I'll be overjoyed. If this is just an outlet for me to write and share my heart- just for my sake- I'm okay with that as well.

Until next time!
Happy Homesteading Y'all!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April- the first of the canning season- some strawberries

The strawberries are coming!!!

I'll just be honest- I've been busy lately. Work has been busy, around the homestead has been busy- we've gotten new chicks, new baby bunnies- we've been planting the past few weekends and we have just been busy.

But the strawberries are here. I bought two flats last weekend, and we ate most of them- packing them for lunches, eating them as snacks and all that goodness. Then I frozen only 4 pints for the freezer, and then experimented with dehydrating strawberries and they turned out pretty good. I hope to be able to get some more strawberries soon this season to put up some more frozen berries as well as make some jam. I've kicked off my canning season though here around the homestead. Keep up with my progress at my 2017 Freezer/Canning total page. 

Besides that- our garden is producing just a bit of lettuce mix right now- enough for us to put on our hamburgers we had for lunch but that's about it.

I've got out tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, zuchinni, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, beets and carrots.
The beets and carrots honestly aren't doing that well right now and honestly don't grow well around here it seems so we'll see.

How is everyone else doing this season? Have you gotten your plants out? Are you planning for an amazing canning season?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January- No Clothes Shopping- complete (almost)

So I have written about our financial distress, and how even though we have nice jobs and nice salaries, we also have a lot of debt. A. LOT. We also got caught up in the cycle of spending money on this we didn't need. I slacked on the grocery budget, I slacked on the clothing budget.

January 1 I implemented a NO CLOTHES BUYING MONTH. I actually hope that I can go the whole year without buying myself anything. Not even stuff from the thrift store!!
The kids are a bit different because they are growing. Literally growing like little weeds. So with them I will just try to be extremely frugal with their purchases.

My husband has a super plain wardrobe anyways, and I'm thinking he may need a pair of shoes soon, so he's not going to be in on my little experiment. I do plan on documenting what I actually buy for him though as well.

So even though it's only January 26th so not technically a whole month. But so far this year I have bought NADA. No underwear, no socks, no shoes. Nothing. For some of you that is not a big deal, but for me and my family and me trying to get back into a super frugal habit, it's something. So we'll start with that.

I don't want to be restrictive or have lots of rules. I don't want to wear ugly things that don't fit or aren't comfortable. But what I do want to do is get back into the habit of really examining our purchases. Contentment! Yes I should save money in the mix, but I also want to learn to be content with what we have and not feel the need for more. I want to teach my kids that contentment also.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Content with being me

I didn't ask you to be her. 
I asked you to be you. 

You may remember that this year I chose my 2017 word to be "Contentment". You can read about that here

I found the quote above scrolling through instagram and thought. Whoa. I work in the world with women. I go to church with some amazing women. My children's friends have some amazing mothers. It's easy sometimes to get carried away with comparing ourselves to others. She's taller, she's thinner, she's smarter, she has a better this or that or seems closer to her kids or husband or this or that. It's easy to do that. SO EASY!

But God didn't ask me to be like her ( and of course her could be lots of people here). He wants me to be the best ME I can be. He's given me my family, my job, my body, my home. Yes it's important to try to keep ourselves healthy which may result in a fitter body, and we need to keep our home nice. But we have to stop comparing ourselves to other mothers, to other women. I've really trying to be content in the life God has chosen for me. A beautiful family, a beautiful love with my husband. We all have issues, but I chose to be content with the greatness God has prepared for me!

Do you guys ever struggle with this? What are some solutions?