Who says we are poor?

I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance from an online moms group that I am a member of. She is married to an Equine Surgeon at a large Equine Clinic in Kentucky….Needless to say, he’s making MORE than enough for them to live quite comfortably. In a thread about how other moms save money for their families, she asked me(in response to my list of things) “How can you stand to live so…thriftily…” The undertones were more than obvious. What she was really asking was “How can you stand to be so poor?” That comment kind of stung.

According to the country’s standard, yes we are technically “poor”. According to someones list of numbers, as a family of 3 we live well below the poverty line. However, I firmly believe that being “poor” is a state of mind. We aren’t poor. We are blessed.

We have food on our table, gas in our vehicles, clothes on our backs…in reality, what more can you ask for? We are blessed every day with things that honestly, I consider people poor if they never get to experience.

We wake up every morning to a beautiful sunrise coming up above the trees in the pasture. Often you can sit outside and watch the mist rise off the ponds. The deer & turkey are usually wandering around in search of breakfast. If you leave the yard, you will probably be greeted with the irritated call of the Great Blue Herons as they take flight to wait for you to leave.  There are no cars. You won’t hear them out here. The only human sound you may hear on a clear day is the distant whump whump whump of an oil well.  Other than that it’s just the sound of the birds, bugs & the horses tearing grass. We go to bed each night to the symphony of cicadas, coyotes, and the barred owl asking his never answered question, “Who cooks for you?”.  The sunset each evening that sets behind the hill is more stunning & breathtaking than the most expensive watercolor painting on the planet.

At night we can lay on a blanket and see a whole sky full of stars. Not just a handful of the brightest ones that those in the city can see, but ALL of them. Seeing the milky way stretched out above you is very humbling.

We can walk out my back door and go fishing. We can walk out the front door into the woods to go squirrel hunting. I can ride my horse for hours and never leave the dirt roads.

The smells are amazing. Depending on the season, we are met with the smells of fresh turned dirt, wet grass, the tangy smell of fresh cut alfalfa. If you don’t know what a handful of fresh turned warm dirt smells like, well then I would consider YOU poor.

In an effort to stretch our food budget I began baking a lot & making MUCH of our food from scratch. Those who always buy their food pre-made in packages at the store will never understand the richness that comes from the satisfaction of eating something that you made yourself. The smell of home-made bread floating through the house smells better than the most expensive air fresheners.

Our family is full of love & laughter. My husband is my best friend and we get along better than I thought I would ever get along with anyone. We VERY rarely fight, and when we do it always ends with a hug and asking for forgiveness for getting angry. Our son is a happy child who is loved more than life itself by his parents. We look forward to adding additions to our family and the joy that they will bring.

We are not poor.

Today I shall…

I have had this phrase stuck in my head for awhile now and I knew that I wanted to embroider it. There was a photo floating around on pinterest that said “Today I will be happier than a Corgi on stilts”. I thought it was the coolest thing EVER!

Original piece created by Etsy seller, Sometimesiswirl

I finally got around to getting my own version done. I am planning on bringing it to the fair, however I know it’s not going to score real highly. Heavens, we can’t place anything that has uneven writing! :-D It was very important to me to do it with my own handwriting. I want this to be a simple cute piece that my kids grow up seeing every day and as adults they can think back and smile. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomato Couscous

Goat cheese is one of those things that people either love or hate. I love it, I always have. I love its strong tangy flavor. I haven’t done much cooking at all since Ryan has been gone, so I figured today I should at least pretend to make my kitchen look occupied :-) This is a 100% original recipe, so if you hate it I can’t even blame it on anyone.

Goat Cheese & Sun-dried Tomato Couscous

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 tbs marjoram leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese(I used the goat cheese with tomato & basil but you can use any flavor you prefer)

To start off, heat the chicken broth & olive oil to a boil.

While the water is warming up, roughly chop the tomatoes & goat cheese and set aside.

Once at a boil, add the couscous to the water and allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Add in marjoram leaves & garlic and stir well.

Mix in tomatoes & goat cheese and stir until the goat cheese is melted.

Serve as a side dish to any middle eastern dish :-D

Makes approximately 4 small servings

Easy Seed Trays

I am very frugal. Okay frugal is the wrong word, I am just downright cheap. I have to be, but that doesn’t mean I have to use second best of everything. This spring while getting ready to get my garden started, every time my mom called she told me that I “need to go buy some seed trays!” Problem is, they are expensive out here!

Trays I never buy.

After some careful consideration I made of list of what the trays needed to do.

  • Retain Moisture
  • Warm(greenhouse like)
  • Keep animals our(In my house the cats like to climb in the trays…)

As I was walking down the cooking aisle, I saw some pans with clear lids. My brain said “Ah ha!” and into my cart they went. I purchased 3 trays for $1.79

When I got home, I pulled out some pepper seeds that I had been waiting to start and got them planted in the trays. The trays were a little wobbly when picked up while full so they probably wouldn’t work super well if you wanted to plant a long tray of seeds but the little ones were fine as soon as I put them on the shelf. The plastic lids snap on and *bang* instant seed tray.

I watered the seeds well when I first planted them and then didn’t touch them again for several days. I was curious to see how well they would grow in these trays.

Very quickly I began to see many little green seedlings popping out. They are growing great now and almost ready to go into the garden.

Don’t feel obligated to buy the majorly expensive stuff! Use your imagination and you can find all sorts of inexpensive shortcuts!

 

Cloth Diapers…one of my favorite things

In honor of last week being “Real Diaper Week”, I decided to dedicate this post about one of my favorite baby items…cloth diapers! There is a lot of speculation & misinformation regarding cloth diapers and I would like to clear some of that up.

I knew before I even got married that I wanted to use cloth diapers on my kids someday. I managed to talk Ryan into them as well so I knew that when the time came, my babies butts would be cloth covered!

When I was pregnant with Maverick, I got a LOT of flack from people about how “Oh you won’t last using them”, “You’ll change your mind”, “It’ll be to much work”. I will admit that it was more than slightly discouraging to hear so many people put down a choice that I had made because I believed it would be better for my child. The three big reasons we chose to go with cloth – #1. MUCH healthier for my child, #2. Less Expensive! We spent approximately $300 on cloth diapers that we will hopefully be able to use for multiple kids, versus $1500-$3000 per child for diapers(depending on which brand you purchase), and finally #3, cloth diapers are better for the environment because they don’t end up in a landfill.

When Maverick was born, he was only 6lbs 11oz. Most of the diapers we had purchased were One Size diapers, that even at their smallest setting were quite large on him. We had been given a case of newborn diapers by a wonderful woman at my church and so we used those until Mav was big enough to fit into the cloth diapers. I’ll tell ya, while it was a necessity, that month we used disposables was the biggest headache! We were fighting constant diaper rash & more trash than we knew what to do with! I was so thankful when he was big enough to get into cloth. As soon as we switched him into the cloth diapers his diaper rash was gone and he’s never had it again!

I think as a whole, there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to cloth diapers. Older folks think of cloth diapers as folded pieces of fabric held together with pins. While you can still buy those types(they still exist because they are the cheapest of all the diapers), MOST people who cloth diaper use the more modern diapers. Most of the diapers now days use velcro or snaps for closure. While there are multiple types of diapers, I am only going to talk about the ones that I personally use, One Size Pocket Diapers & One Size All-in-Ones.

The pocket diapers are my personal favorite. There are many different brands you can buy each with their own special features. I personally use Kawaii Baby, Fuzzibuns & BumGenius. Shaped just like a disposable diaper, these are super easy to use. The cloth inserts go inside a pocket made of a soft fabric on one side(the side that is against baby’s skin) and a waterproof fabric on the other side(the outside). They have various snap settings that allow these diapers to fit children from approximately 8lbs-35lbs.

Pocket Diaper & Insert

We have very few of the All-in-One diapers. They are great for when you send your kid to day care or grandma’s for awhile. These are EXACTLY like disposables. There is no pinning, no stuffing, no folding. You just pull them out of the laundry basket & stick ‘em on.

A lot of people are grossed out of the idea of putting diapers in the washing machine. The thing you have to remember is that the technique you use to wash cloth diapers assures that there isn’t going to be any residue left. The widely accepted washing method is a full wash cycle on cold with no detergent, a full wash cycle on hot with detergent, and finally one more rinse in cold. If you are formula feeding or your child is eating solids, you do need to knock any solids into the toilet before washing, however if you are exclusively breast feeding, you can just toss diapers directly into the washer. The diapers cannot go into the dryer however(inserts can though) because it will ruin the waterproof fabric. A clothes line outside or rack inside is the way to go. The added benefit to line-drying clothes is that the sun bleaches any stains out. I’ve hung inserts outside thinking there was NO WAY were those stains going to come out but sure enough they did!

If you have ever considered cloth diapers, but weren’t sure where to start, please feel free to ask any questions you may have! There is rapidly  growing community of cloth diapering mommas that are always happy to help someone get started.

On a side note, at the conclusion of Real Diaper Week was The Great Cloth Diaper Change. Parents got together at 300 locations in 13 different countries to try and break the world record for the largest number of cloth diapers changed at one time. We are still waiting to hear back on the official number, but I’m pretty sure we beat the record!

Oh I love Pinterest…

With Ryan being gone, I have tried to find different things to mail to him so he knows that I miss him & am still thinking of him. I found this idea on pinterest and my first though was “We HAVE to make this!” In case you aren’t familiar with Dr. Seuss, the quote comes from Horton Hears a Who

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It actually turned out easier than I expected. The hardest part was trying to keep Maverick’s hand out of his mouth while I was trying to wash it off. I happened to have some silver paint in my craft bin that worked perfectly. I let it dry & then added the accents with a fine point sharpie(which consequently broke while I was using it and ended up all over my hands) and a purple pen.

These are my kind of crafts…quick, easy & adorable!

Garlic Hummus

Hummus is probably one of the easiest things to make on the planet which is probably why it suprises me that people pay sooooo much money to buy it at the grocery store! I grew up eating a lot of hummus during my high school years after my mom got onto a middle eastern food kick. We tired a lot of things from lamb stew to wrapped grape leaves, some of which were amazing…some that I will never eat again. It’s a shame that my husband doesn’t like Hummus to much, otherwise I’d probably make it a lot more often!I hope you at least give it a shot once in your life. It only takes about 5 minutes to make…what have you got to lose? The only thing I will say about this recipe is you cannot substitute for the Tahini. For those of you who don’t know what Tahini is, it is a runny paste made from sesame seeds. It looks like thin peanut butter and has a mild nutty flavor. I had a very hard time finding Tahini in Kansas and I actually had to have my mom mail me some from New York. Some recipes say you can use peanut butter in place of the tahini, but it really doesn’t work…trust me, I’ve tried! You will end up with a funny tasting, odd textured goo.

Garlic Hummus

  • 1 (16oz) can Chick Peas
  • 1/4 cup liquid from the canned chick peas
  • 3-5 tbs lemon juice(depending on personal preference, I personally use only 3)
  • 1 1/2 tbs tahini
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves(or 2 tsp chopped garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil

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To start off, drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas. You want to save 1/4 cup of it because you are going to add it back into the hummus later.

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Next combine all ingredients except the olive oil & chickpea liquid in the blender.

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Blend on low for a few minutes until things start to look pretty well blended

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Add the liquid from the chickpeas. Blend an additional minute or so until the mixture is creamy.

Pour into a bowl. Make a small indentation and add the olive oil.

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Mix well, serve with crackers or warm pita. Enjoy!

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