Finding True Serenity

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Thrifty Thursday: Homemade Grapevine Trellis June 18, 2009

Okay, I can officially say I have two of the greatest men in my life who I truly adore!  My husband and son noticed our neighbors throwing last years fancy gazebo with the metal scrolled corners out on the curb and a light bulb went off…”Didn’t mom want to make a trellis for the grapevine?”  Our neighbors were greatful we were taking their eye sore away and we quickly went to work. 

Here’s what it looked like before:

grapevine before

And after unbolting a few things and a little rearranging here is the final product!

grapevine after

And look, what do we see?

grape investigators

Oh wait…I know!  It’s baby grapes!

Baby grapes

So in the end this is thrifty and economical in a few ways…

1.  We gathered the items needed for the trellis curbside, while helping our neighbors, so there was no initial cost.

2.  The grapevine that we are training to climb this trellis will provide us with grapes this fall saving us even more on our food budget.

3.  We were able to repurpose something that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.

4.  And last but not least, the remaining posts and corners that we removed will be used to stake up our garden and the peas shall climb up the corner metal scrolls!   (Don’t worry, I will post about this later after my garden has matured a bit for another Thrifty Thursday!!!!)

I love being thrifty when you can create such a beautiful addition while helping others and Mother Nature!!!  And that is how we have it on Thrifty Thursday!   Thank you so very much for stopping by my first post on TT!!!

 

A lovely day of homemade goodness… January 16, 2009

Today was one of those days when I felt really good about what I’ve accomplished.  Here here, be easy on me!  I have pretty low standards!  🙂

This morning I woke up, hung up a load of laundry to dry, fixed the kids some breakfast, got my son out the door for school and started working with my daughter on the alphabet and identifying objects/animals. 

Hanging Clothes

I had received a recipe, from a lovely blogger who inspires me everytime she posts, for Easy Oatmeal bread.  Today was the day I worked up enough nerve to try making homemade bread for the very first time!  I followed the recipe to a “T” and waited the longest 2.5 hours of my life!  It was amazing torture!  Smelling the dough, drooling and praying it turned out as good as it smelled! 

 The dough has risen to double it's size

Prepared dough is ready to be baked

)

We pulled the first loaf out of the oven and it was all we could do to wait for it to cool down enough to pull it out of the pan!  We all lined up and enjoyed the first warm slices.  It was perfect.  Miranda, I can’t thank you enough…my husband adored it, and that is saying something!  🙂

Going back for seconds and thirds!!!

For lunch today we ate some homemade tomato soup I had canned this last summer while one of our amazing neighbors was teaching me the art of preserving!  My husband filled up on more bread!

I washed a load of dishes and began working on supper, we threw some things together from an idea of another fellow blogger, Sara.  She’s quite clever!  We started with Ramen noodles, some pork, brocolli, ginger, garlic, orange juice, and nama shoyu stir fried together…. and oh it was yummy.  After supper, my husband leaned over and kissed me while whispering sweetly “…good job honey”….

I feel quite accomplished with all the baby steps I’ve been learning to become more self sufficient.   I am humbled but I also realize I need to keep an open mind because there are so many more things I have to learn!  For now though, I’m going to savor this lovely day of homemade goodness….

 

Black Friday December 3, 2008

How did you spend your day after Thanksgiving?  Were you surrounded by crazed shoppers willing to trample someone to death to get that unbelievable bargain at Wal-Mart? 

For the past two years now, we have opted to avoid the chaos.  This year was the most amazing yet…we met my husband’s extended family for the first time and on Black Friday, we were surrounded by people we Love dearly. 

Tim, Shawn, Jonathan, TJ, and Shian

We decided to go hiking on Green mountain and enjoyed the views…

Covered Bridge

We didn’t go shopping for our children to get some really cool flashy toys this year for Christmas, I know…I’m a bad parent and all…but we gave them memories instead…

TJ skipping rocks...

Jon and Shi

You can find more photos of our adventure in Alabama with Tim, Lindsey, and TJ here!

It may seem difficult to break habits, but please evaluate each choice you make.  How will you spend your next Black Friday?

Before I go, I have to recommend a wonderful reading…titled Good Will.  This is written by a dear friend of mine and her words touch my heart every time I read one of her amazing posts.  Please take a moment of your time and stop by her site.  She writes from the heart and this post truly brings things into perspective…

 

The Disposable Choice October 8, 2008

In my first post I spoke of us trying to make changes that will lessen our footprint on Mother Earth.  I would like to share some of the things we have been doing differently since making that decision.

Over the past couple of years we have been trying to get rid of our disposables.  It’s funny how odd you feel when you go against mainstream!  Even family members can have a hard time accepting that you are not using paper plates!  🙂  But, I have always felt a little different, so what’s new!  Here is a list of things that we have chose to change so far!  The list is ever evolving as we are a work in progress!

Paper Plates:  We use our Pfaltzgraff dinnerware set that we bought at a garage sale.  Wash, dry, and they are ready to go for next time!  We even have a stainless steel camping set of plates and cups that we can take with us!

Plasticware:  I hate plasticware.  It just doesn’t hold up.  I’d rather use the silverware my in-laws purchased for us for Christmas any day!

Paper Napkins:  We hardly ever used them, but now I have some homemade cloth napkins that we use occassionally!

Paper Towels:  I have to admit we do keep one roll in the kitchen in case one of the dogs has an accident, but we now have a huge stash of hand towels in the kitchen that we use for a little bit of everything.  (Hint:  dark colors don’t show stains as well!)

Disposable Diapers:  My daughter just started potting training when we added this one to the list so we switched out all of the disposable pullups to cloth training underwear.  I’m so glad we chose to do this one.  It amazes me how much we were throwing away…in the trash and out of our pocketbook. 

Toilet Paper:  The boys in our family haven’t tried this one yet, but my daughter and I have made a huge dent in our toilet paper use and expense per week by using cloth family wipes.  I made our family wipes out of flannel and terry cloth and they are so soft and refreshing!  I actually dread having to use toilet paper now because it is so crumbly and icky!  For those of you out there that aren’t getting the just of it all, just keep reading!  🙂

You take a wipe (dry for pee, wet for poo) and wipe as usual.  Instead of flushing it down the drain we throw ours in a waterproof container to be washed.  Simple!  We do obviously keep a roll of regular toilet paper in the bathroom for the boys and guests, but just us girls making the switch has made a huge difference…give it a try!!!

Femanine Personals:  I chose to not use tampons and pads anymore.  They were always uncomfortable so the swtich was easy for me.  I started using the The Diva Cup.   For those of you out there that are not comfortable with this idea please keep an open mind here.  Be informed and research what exactly goes into your tampons, (for all products really).  I guess what I’m trying to say here is don’t judge someone on their decisions; make informed decisions for yourself.  🙂  And be happy with them!  This has been a work in progress.  I didn’t make a change until I was comfortable with it myself, and only for myself. 

Paper and Plastic Grocery Bags:  We have several reusable bags that we carry with us.  Now a days, most of the stores are carrying cheap bags that you can buy for less than a dollar and they will reduce the amount of plastic bags used drastically!  Remember, every little bit helps!  I’m not perfect by any means, and this particular one is one that we really do need to buckle down on because we do forget our reusable bags.

Wrapping Paper:  We tried this last Christmas by making a few simple cloth drawstring bags to put gifts into.  It was so easy and such a hit with family.  I actually had to convince some of them to let me have the bags back so they could receive something next year!  tehehehee.  And did I mention cleanup was a snap!!! So after Christmas last year I bought clearanced fabric to make more gift bags this year!  I can’t wait!  This isn’t limited to Christmas however, you can make/buy bags to use for any gift giving occassion.  I love it!

So far to date, making the decision to eliminate as many disposables as possible has been a wonderful experience.  Our family is producing less trash and has been conservatively saving money.

We are still learning though and welcome any advice!  We just urge you to try just one on our list and see if it works out for you.  We added to our list as we become more comfortable with the idea of it all and that has helped us tremendously!

Please, take time to evaluate your options and choose reusable today!

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

Jes

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Borrowed Earth October 7, 2008

Filed under: Consumerism — findingtrueserenity @ 8:08 pm
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With all of the modern conveniences today it is hard for some of us to imagine how our grandparents or even great grandparents were able to survive.  They can’t imagine a world without McDonald’s or Wal-Mart.  Where will this path that our nation is headed take us?  We have legalized harmful chemicals into our food supply, our cleaning supply, our homes, our transportation, especially our beauty products!  Despite what your dietary ideas are, there are some people out there that didn’t realize chickens had bones and skin thanks to Tyson.  Many people look through the meat department and are completely unaware of what kind of life those animals have led, let alone that they were animals at one time.  They don’t know what the animals have been subjected to.  Produce is quite similar.  How far away was that out of season produce shipped to be available year round.  What chemicals were sprayed on the fields, the plant, and the fruit?

I walked around oblivious to the notion that it was anything different from how I grew up.  Our grandparents cows and chickens grazed on the land.  They were our friends!  We tended to them, cared for them and loved them.  My mother grew an amazing garden.  We all worked hard to plant and care for the delicate sprouts of produce popping through the dirt.  We were greatful for the weather and for the food we were able to eat.  It was only until a couple of years ago that I watched a movie, titled the Rave Diet, that changed my perspective drastically.  I highly recommend you to read and watch anything related to factory farming.  It truly was an eye opener. 

We were so busy enjoying all our liberties and complaining about how expensive everything was without looking more so at the problem.  We are buying and consuming more than what we really need to.  Since dealing with out daughter’s health issues and being more aware of what goes on behind the scenes, our family has strived to be more aware of our actions and we try to change what we comfortably can.  Our ideals are evolving on a daily basis as we gain more knowledge on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.    Small change in big numbers can have a dramatic impact. 

The Native Americans believe that what happens today affects the next seven generations; that we borrow this Earth from our children.  This is so true.  I have experienced some emotional and spiritual growth over the last few years and my family and I have been striving to find small changes that work with our lifestyle and beliefs that reduce our footprint on Mother Earth.  I am going to post more about this further and hope that maybe us sharing our experiences through the internet we might inspire a few others to find their true Serenity!

~jes~