Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Focus and Stay on Track!

I created Sparing Change earlier this year as a way to talk about ways my husband and I save money, but also speak about the changes we are going through in attempt to be more self-sufficient as well as grow as individuals and as a couple.  Lately, I feel like I have been way off track on why I created this blog and have gone on to talk more about personal things that have nothing to do with my vision of where I would like Sparing Change to go. 

That being said, I am going to try to get back on track and write more about what Sparing Change is all about.  I realize that there will be personal information because this is about our life and our journey, but not so much petty things like my favorite color and what I may or may not fear.  Next week, I will start fresh and post about things that Sparing Change is all about. 

I appreciate each and every one of you that follows the blog, provide feedback when I ask a question on my FB page, and those who have supported me through this whole experience.  Thank you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 13 Cocoa Jar

I cannot believe that Christmas is only 13 weeks away!  Are you ready?  We have been working around here making some homemade gifts, but I have alot more to start from this series. 
This week's gift I think is absolutely adorable.  I love hot coca, and this gift is oh so cute. 

Source Credit

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project.  Be sure to check them out!  Happy Crafting!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 14 Decorative Post-It Notes

As soon as I saw this, I loved it!  I am not very crafty, but I can do this!  What a beautiful, inexpensive gift!

Source Credit
Hop on over to Violet Paper Wings to get inspired to make some of your own for your Christmas Gift list.

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project.  Be sure to check them out!  Happy Crafting!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding Frugal (and Fun) Things to Do

My husband and I love to explore and learn.  I am quite fortunate that I found someone to share my life with that enjoys an adventure just as much as I do (if not more!) 

Todd was not scheduled to work last weekend and we had no prior plans with either of our families (for the first time in a while!)  I am perfectly content with sitting at home in my pajamas and relaxing for the entire weekend, but Todd always has to be doing something.  I decided to see what I could find for us to do (locally) to change up our frugal dates together. 

Whenever Todd and I are traveling or even when we are looking for something to do close to home, I Google “Things To Do” and then the City we will be close to.  Nearly every single time I do this search, I can find something for us to do within a 5-20 mile radius of where we will be located.  The great thing about doing a search like this is that it pulls up a lot of museums, parks, and landmarks among other places that are either free or very inexpensive!

Two other website I like to use to find activities to do for our frugal dates are:

This weekend, I ended up finding a house tour to go through in Youngstown which is about 25 minutes away from where we live.  Todd and I went to lunch and then headed over to the Arms Family Museum.  We had no idea that such a beautiful piece of architecture was in Youngstown or even the history behind the mansion.  We spent over 2 hours with our tour guide and it cost us a total of $4 total for the two of us to tour this beautiful home.

A brief history of the Arms family is that the home we toured was built by Olive Arms and her husband who also had the Arms last name (he was a first cousin.)  The home was built next to an enormous stone castle which is where Olive grew up with her family.  The castle has since been purchased and used as a church.

The Arms family was generally wealthy from coal and other material.  They did not create anything, but it was an inherited wealth among the generations.  To read more about the family, you can visit this link 

What I think is incredible is that Olive Arms left the house to the Historical Society under a couple of conditions: 

  • The first floor would remain unchanged
  • She decorated the home exactly how she wanted it to be for people to tour

This is so awesome because she planned every tea cup and book on the bookshelves, every setting on the dining room table and where every chair would sit.  Nothing has been changed since Olive Arms lived in this home, and I love that!  She was a very detail-oriented woman and it reflected with the intricacies throughout her beautiful home.  Another awesome thing about this home is that Olive Arms had a trust fund for the home so that people would never forget the Arms name.  Olive and her husband never had children, and it was extremely important to her for their name to be carried on, and she did this by deeding the home to the Historical Society.  The tour guides are paid tour guides and the upkeep of the grounds is done through the trust that she provided.

Todd and I had never heard of the Arms name, but now, we do.  We are actually looking forward to going back sometime in the next year when the second floor will have the original furnishings and layout as the house had while Olive inhabited the home. 

We were the only people on the tour with the tour guide, who was extremely knowledgeable.  We talked to our guide for two hours about places we’ve been and where we’d like to go.  I never realized how many places we’ve been (and how inexpensive our adventures) in our short 4 year marriage together until we were talking with our tour guide last weekend.  We can thank the internet for affording us the possibility to experience so many great places for very little money!

Monday, September 12, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 15 Cinnamon Stick Candle

I love candles, and when I found these beautiful candles, I thought they would be a great gift to make! I can smell them already, can you?

Photo Credit

Hop on over to Imp Online to get the super-simple directions on how to make these decorative candles for someone on your Christmas list this year!

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project.  Be sure to check them out!  Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recipe: Biscuits

Todd and I enjoy homemade biscuits a few times a year.  We both like moist  biscuits, not the dry ones, and this recipe is perfect for us!


2 Cups flour
1 tsp salt (optional - I leave it out)
1 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 Cup butter
1 1/4 Cup milk


Preheat Oven to 450
Melt butter in microwave for 30 seconds
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and milk with the melted butter
Spoon into cupcake pan, cups or silicon baking cups (I love ours!)
Bake for 10-12 minutes and voila!
These biscuits are great with jam, butter or with country gravy over top of them.  Yum!

This blog post is linked up with So Followed Saturday Blog Hop.

Monday, September 5, 2011

25 Weeks 'Til Christmas: Week 16 Photo Tile

I have heard alot of things about pinterest, but never went there.  I found this week's gift idea on this website and love it!  I cant wait to make these!  They are great for practically anyone!  Even the sports fans in your life.

Every Monday through the week of Christmas will be a new homemade gift idea/project.  Be sure to check them out!  Happy Crafting!

This post is linked to About A Mom's Wild Wednesday Blog Hop!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Amish Country

Todd and I have always enjoyed going to Amish country.  We are fortunate enough to live about 20 minutes from a large Amish community and about an hour and a half from one of the largest Amish populated counties in Ohio, Holmes County, OH.

Last weekend, we decided to make the trek down to Holmes County to see what may have changed and to enjoy the Amish surroundings and simplicity. Here are a few pictures from our journey:

On the road at 6:30 in the morning.

I love this picture of a farm.

Amish School

Heini's Cheese : You get to taste all of their cheeses! They are so good!!

Beautiful stained glass window inside Heini's Cheese.

I like this brochure picture and saying.

This is where Todd & I got married 05/03/2007

A picture of the B&B we got married at.  We visit every time we go to Amish Country.

When we go to Amish country, I am revived and want to build our homestead to be as self sufficient as possible.  I enjoy driving around Amish country and seeing the solar panels on the roof, the farm animals, people working and tending the fields and setting up produce stands at the side of the road.  I kick myself for not keeping up with my garden and reaping it's harvest as the Amish and our ancestors have done so long ago.  Next year I will attempt the garden and harvesting again and will hopefully be motivated enough to keep up with it.

We are striving for a more simple, self-sufficient life: we have alot to learn from these wonderful people. 

This post is linked with Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop,Homestead Revival's Preparedness Challenge, HomeMaker By Choice's Week Long Blog Hop, Give A Hoot Blog Hop and So Followed Blog Hop.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And the Winner Is....

The winner of the 4 x 6 sign is....


This was my first giveaway and I have decided to give one to all four responders.

I will try to contact you through email (  If you dont hear from me, please contact me with the sign of your choice, and I will send it out within the week.

Congratulations, everyone! :-)

Cost Analysis of the Chickens (August 2011)

Last month, I wrote about how much it has cost us to own our chickens versus the number of eggs we have collected.  We are still on the first bag of layer feed for the chickens, so I thought it may be fun to have another cost analysis of the chickens vs. the eggs.

This is what our cost analysis looks like (as of 08/31/11):

Cost of chickens: $14.94
Cost of food: $51.45
Total Cost*: $66.39

Amount of Eggs collected through 8/31/11: 145

Cost per dozen: $5.49/dz

The question of the month: Are they worth it?
For yet another month, I say that yes, they are more than worth it!
We had a bit of a scare earlier last month when our pup plucked Blondie of her feathers, but after 4 days of loving care indoors with us and reintroducing her back into the flock, she is 100% (minus a few feathers.)  The way my husband took care of Blondie was completely selfless– I could tell that the chickens have made their way into his heart.  They are definitely part of the family now, and still an absolute blast to have around!

Next month, the price per dozen will be higher as we have to incur the cost of another 75 lb bag of their food.  I am interested to see how long it takes 3 chickens to go through 75 lbs of food and how many eggs we get!

*These totals do not include housing the chickens.  It cost us nearly $200 in materials to build the chicken tractor. We plan to keep the chicken tractor for many generations of chickens.