2.03.2016

Gotta Get Back Into A Frugal Habit

With such a large change coming soon, I'm suddenly feeling the need to get back to being more frugal - like last summer - hanging clothes out on the line, eating only from the CSA box, doing free activities, and in general, just buying less stuff.

So I'm starting up actually listing out five frugal things that I've done in the past few days. I'm hoping that I can inspire myself to keep doing more and more frugal things.

1. Walked the Monkey to school today - the car is in the garage, no gas used today. WOO HOO. Well, gas is cheap at the moment but still, we didn't use gas.

2. Turkey 4 Bean Chili for lunch - I made it back in January and froze it, one of my all time favorite freezer meals - chili always tastes better leftover!

3. The Monkey needed a new scarf so I pulled out my crochet hook and her favorite purple yarn and made her an awesome scarf.

4. I received a bulb catalog in the mail and suddenly realized I had all these seeds saved from last year - I can't wait to get them started with the egg cartons that I've saved, but I just have to be realistic about how much I can plant in May after I give birth.

5. My neighbor has been slowly clearing out her closets too - which means that we've been reaping the rewards! We've received a whole bag of paper, and next is scissors! Art projects galore!

Happy Frugal Wednesday to you!

February. It's Here!

It's the 3rd. There was a blizzard. AND IT'S SO AWESOME. I've shoveled twice, watched The Monkey build an "igloo," and we walked to preschool. I really do love snow!

Baby Chewy's room has been painted, the rug is down, two pictures are put up, a few necessities have been purchased, and we're well on our way to having a finished 2nd child's room by May. Hopefully.

I signed up as a repeat customer at Turnip Rock Farm for a CSA. I signed up for a medium box, a cheese share, and a half egg share (6 eggs per week instead of a full dozen). I'm hoping to get the similar amount of veggies so that I can fill our freezer again for the winter (we've got corn left...and that's it!).

If you have a child then you know just how much stuff kids have. And clothes. The Monkey has so many clothes so I've been trying to explore different options to sell her clothes. So far I've made over $80 at Once Upon A Child however, she has a lot of really nice clothes that I know I can resell for much more than $1 or $2 per item. I've been looking at Kidizen (I listed one item...we'll see how it goes considering I have no idea what I'm doing), and also trying to figure out how people are actually selling clothes on Instagram (I KNOW...PEOPLE SELL STUFF ON INSTAGRAM). I'm a bit leery of selling items on Facebook groups - I've had one person absolutely flake on me three times and then she asked me to meet her in a city that's 30 minutes away for a $5 item. No, that's more than the amount of gas it would take.

SO. Do you sell clothes? Do you sell kids clothes? Do you sell your clothes? I need ideas of how to sell buckets and buckets of STUFF.

1.11.2016

BRILLIANT - DIY Canvas Painting

OMG. I just had a lightbulb moment.


I just found THIS ON PINTEREST

Screw buying prints when I can have The Monkey make her own. 

Tissue paper, scissors, punches, canvas, sponge brushes, water. 

I HAVE FOUND THE ARTWORK FOR THE MONKEY'S ROOM. 

Looks easy enough - cut, punch or tear the tissue paper, paint water over the canvas, layer the tissue paper and either let it dry or add more water. When dry, pull the tissue paper off and BAM! Artwork!

The Kids' Rooms

The Monkey is super excited to be a Big Sister and we want to keep her feeling like she's special too - because I know when this baby comes, it's going to turn her world upside down and she's probably not going to feel as good as she does now. I get it - she won't be the center of attention anymore, a little kid will be in the way, a baby will be crying, she'll need me but I won't be able to help right away... Oy, big changes!

I'm going to change up The Monkey's room - her walls will be getting a fresh coat of paint (a super warm gray instead of the bright blue, which I've ALWAYS HATED), and she even helped pick out a bright pink over-dyed rug which should be coming in the mail in the next week or so. This means that I get to do bright pink accents (I made a hot pink wreath awhile ago, and I need to find some fun vintage Barbie posters that would work well in her room). I would love to do a minimalist garden art theme - as in simple line drawings of plants and flowers but I have to remember - this is HER room, the items that go into HER room need to be loved by HER and they need to inspire HER. If that means Barbies and Princess stuff, then so be it. She'll probably want to change it all by the time she's a teenager anyway. So it's hard to convince Bimmer Man of the same for the new baby's room - I want simple because in approximately 4 years, I'll be doing the same thing, changing up the boy's room (referred to hereafter as "Chewy") with things that Chewy likes - which may NOT be cars.

Children are their own persons, they have their own likes and dislikes - if The Monkey doesn't want a Ferrari flag in her room and only agrees to it because she thinks her dad wants her to, then that's not ok with me. Children need to be allowed to say NO to things too and to feel just fine with saying no. As a parent there are times that you need to advocate for your child's choices - not force a choice upon them because you as a parent like it. I'm sure I'll encounter this debate again in the future regarding decor with both children. That's fine with me. I'm just not painting any of the rooms black, dark pink, or dark blue or any other dark color besides Benjamin Moore Ashley Gray if either child wants a dark color. Dark colors are a pain in the ass to paint over.

Besides that, I'm going to swap the children's rooms when The Monkey is a teenager and suddenly realizes the front bedroom has a larger closet. I absolutely know that will be a HUGE contentious debate at some point.

For furniture for Chewy's room I'm planning on buying the blue Hemnes dresser from Ikea -


The Monkey has the same dresser in white.

And confession:

I am in love with this linen cabinet:

I want to put it in our upstairs little dressing area that Bimmer Man has or even in our bedroom so we can hide away all the linens we have or books...because I have to sell a bookcase which means we each need to sort out and get rid of half of our books. Each of us had a bookcase that was mainly our own books but sometimes we'd stick each others books wherever so...books need to go. BOO. I guess that's just part of having a baby - plus downsizing, er, decluttering, er, minimalizing stuff is really great anyway, right?

Oy, The Monkey's new rug comes on Wednesday so today, if we don't do a playdate, we're going to Home Depot to get 4 gallons of paint and recycle old light bulbs. I'll update with photos next week.

Oh, and order new "vintage" Barbie prints that The Monkey has picked out herself. 

2016 New Year's Resolutions

I think, much like last year, I'm not sure that I have any. Mostly because I think that's it's ok to start something ANY time of the year. You want to de-clutter in June? YAY! Start biking in May? WOOT! And biking in May is way more practical than getting a fat bike outfitted in winter to find out that a fat bike is probably not the best choice for biking around town in summer anyway... 

SO. 

With a new baby coming, I'm sort of resigned to figure out how to make my life easier before AND after this baby comes. By that I mean - how can I get rid of more crap in this house that we don't use? And how can I grow a garden when planting time is the weekend BEFORE baby comes? I suppose I'll have to get everything in the ground the weekend before. And what's the best way to transition The Monkey to having a little brother? 

And does anyone need girls clothes? Sizes 0-3 months up to 2T? Because if you do, please come and shop out of my storage bins. I've recovered 8 bins total from our storage areas.

And also, I need to complain about something. A lady has flaked on me 3 times (YES, THREE TIMES!!!!) for a pair of Sorel boots I'm trying to get rid of for $5. Yep. $5. $5 NAME BRAND SOREL BOOTS. THIS IS FREAKING MINNESOTA. GET YOUR FUCKING BOOTS. Ugh. So today if she doesn't get them, I'm re-listing them on the local group garage sale Facebook page and telling her to go find them somewhere else, and then reporting her for flaking for a whole week. SO NOT COOL.

In general I'm one of those sellers that sets stuff out on the front step and says to leave the money in the mailbox. I'm not usually one to open the door to strangers so this works well for me - I've never had anyone NOT leave money - and I don't usually sell anything for more than $20. If I do, I meet at the local police station or largest parking lot. I'm not one for the creepers... YUCK. 

This year I'm going to make my life easier. How? 

1. Read more books, watch less TV.
2. Try out listening to podcasts while cooking.
3. Sell/Donate/Give away all The Monkey's outgrown clothes/girl stuff
4. Figure out a clothing organizing system since I JUST CAN'T GO WITHOUT MY CLOTHES
5. Don't buy yarn - use the yarn in 5 bins in the basement. 
6. Sign up for a CSA again - Turnip Rock - and sign up for their cheese, egg, veggie share (although it seems to me that every time I sign up for a larger CSA share I get pregnant... so maybe not?). 
7. Bike MORE. AND MORE. I love biking.

1.04.2016

Book Challenge for 2016

Last year I read SO MANY BOOKS. And it was lovely. I went through books like crazy some weeks and other weeks (like when I had morning sickness or was trying to crochet for fall/winter sales) I rarely read.

Some of the best books - I started a new Scottish mystery series, currently on book 7 or 8; read some crazy young adult fiction about nuns that were hit men (or hit ladies...); tried some new sci-fi (which I've decided it's not my favorite but I'll read if I have to); joined a book club (I'll be hosting in October); and amazingly enough read a few more Outlander books in the series even though they are SO LONG.

SO onto the Popsugar Challenge link. Click here to be taken to the link for the Popsugar Challenge. Download their list of books to read. I'm thinking this year's books will be much easier than last year - plus the list is shorter too.

Now, with a newborn and a 4 year old this summer I may have some problems reading as much as I want to (or gardening or doing laundry or just vacuuming the living room), so I'm going to try and tackle what I can before May (much like how I'm still crocheting like a crazy lady so I don't have to worry as much about my items for next fall/winter sales!).

I'll try to update what I'm reading on a somewhat regular basis - though not all of the books that I read will fit into the categories.

Currently I'm still working my way through The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins when I bring The Monkey to her dance class. I'm about halfway through (but reading only 20-30 minutes per week on my phone at dance class, so hopefully I'll be finished by May).

I'm loving the library because in general I only read books once - except for the books that I REALLY love and don't mind re-reading and "wasting" my reading time over and over again. Otherwise I buy a book and try to pawn it off on people or donate it.

My current library book is Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. Not only is it disturbing and sad and disgusting but it really opens your eyes to the problems in America. Just a fact - 90% of people who commit a rape get away with it. Does that make you mad? Because that makes me mad. Another fact - police stations still quote papers from the 70's and 80's about women who lie about rapes trying to discredit victims AND officers try to discredit victims by asking about significant others. How fucking sexist is that? THIS BOOK MAKES ME SO ANGRY FOR AMERICA. And women. And my daughter.

Moving on from my small rant about rape culture, I'm excited for this year's challenge because I think what I normally read will fit into categories - plus I want to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and my sister gives me some awesome books that have been translated into English (from Swedish - Swedish mystery authors are really good!).

Happy reading!!!

12.22.2015

September 2015 Family Photos

You can thank Gracie + Gold Photography for the photos. 















Merry Christmas!

Oh holy shit, it's been so long since I've updated this thing.

In general I'm really good at updating my blog at least once a month, however, in this case, life sort of got away with me.

Two weeks after I last posted in September we learned some AWESOME news (which I really didn't think would happen - that's a story in itself) - I'm pregnant, and we found out it's a boy yesterday - so that means that in May there will be another rowdy, rambunctious, and loud child in this house. Nope, no puppy yet - at this point I would like another dog but that will NOT happen with a newborn in the house. The chance of a puppy being returned or put up for sale or me leaving a non-existent fence gate open are quite high. So the answer is NO, NO PUPPY FOR THIS HOUSEHOLD. Possibly a foster before the new baby is here? Maybe - as long as the office has been turned into a nursery, the stairs are finally fucking painted and the drywall is done in the basement. Those are my conditions.

My crochet was a super hit this past year too - my artsy neighbors and I hosted an open house where we sold jewelry, pottery, and crochet. I made a couple hundred bucks which made it worth it to me, plus I sold more from my Facebook page and other people contacted me about buying other items. I also made some money from Finch's Boutique - but I didn't send much over, I had really bad morning sickness and there was NO WAY IN HELL I could have made more items to send. Plus she had someone drop off 5x as much crochet items at the last minute which overshadowed mine (even though mine sold really well!). So I'm super happy about that.

Some notes for next year:

I'm going to make only the items that sell well -

Headbands - soft, alpaca, with nice wooden buttons, plus a few acrylic for those allergic to wool
Slouchy striped hats with gray/variegated yarn with a textured fpdc/bpdc brim
3 button cowls - with directions for 3 ways to button
1 button cowls
Simple DC cowls with alpaca or nicely textured yarn

Unfortunately all of the items above that me a very long time to make, which means that I've already started putting together headbands for next year (I KNOW!!!), but with a newborn AND a preschooler, I'm going to need all the time in the world.

So there was that.

And then I'm not sure what else is new. I hosted Thanksgiving - which was AWESOME. We had steak, mashed sweet potatoes, a 3 Sisters Salad (I tried to bring in a Native American recipe), and pies from Byerly's.

And that's kind of it.

I'll update more posts with pictures in the next week or so. I'm trying to get my butt back into gear after having morning sickness and thinking I was going to have to hire a few people to care for the house and my child.

Merry Christmas!

9.06.2015

My To-Do List

1. Print off Fall coloring pages for The Monkey.

2. Pick the rest of the tomatoes: make and freeze salsa, tomato sauce, and pizza sauce.

3. READ. Finished The Last Days of Video (totally reminded me of the movie Empire Records and I enjoyed the book!). Definitely recommend it for some light reading. I have the first book of the Aurora Teagarden mystery series by Charlaine Harris, so that will be started tomorrow. 

4. Laundry/organize clothes/put everything away.

5. Finish a crochet blanket. I am so freaking close to being done. SO CLOSE. Then I can start on boot cuffs, cowls, and slouchy hats for this Fall.

6. Convince The Monkey that pooping shouldn't take 45 minutes. 

8.28.2015

Fall & Winter Crochet

This year I'm having an open house with my two artist neighbors to show off and sell our artwork (jewelry, pottery, & crochet). I can't quite decide what to make yet.

Scarves are a usual suspect but I also want to make more headbands, some kid stuff, and maybe a few other things. I've purchased several patterns over the last few years and I have a few things that I really want to make.

This week I'll be pouring over my Pinterest boards and my patterns deciding what to get to work on for this year's sale. I've got a few chunky infinity scarves left plus three headbands and several hats that I had been working on for a sale a few months ago which turned out to be pretty crappy - it was a "Ladies Night Out" and turned out to be a networking even instead. No one was looking to buy anything. BOO.

I'm almost finished with a wedding blanket, but I have two baby blankets to make (one baby is due in October, the other in December, so at least I have some time and they're spread out!). Also, one baby is a girl and I haven't made a "girl" blanket in so long! I'm so excited! That one will be striped - gray, white, and then either a heather pink or a heather purple with some sort of teal or aqua accent. The "boy" blanket will be easy - I've done so many "boy" blankets that I have blue yarn in my stash, so that will be blue, aqua, and white striped. I might have a gray too in the same yarn.

So... in the next few weeks I'll be posting some ideas for items to make. I really just need to get my brain storming going and getting out of the "summer" swing of things (which was doing... well, nothing for crochet except making blankets for other people!).