Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Can Do It Myself

 I am the first to admit that I am selfish.  Always have been - Always will be. 
The problem is that I have used the last 7+ years with my husband to become more selfish and lazy at his expense.  I always thought: “He gets 15 days off a month – he can do this.”

This thought process is not fair.  My poor husband does have 15 days off each month because of his rotating schedule; however, the days he works, he works 12 hour days!  I cannot imagine leaving for work at 4AM and getting home at 6:45 in the evenings.  No wonder he is always so tired.  He needs those “extra” days to re-coop: not for me to create a never-ending honey-do list!

Even though I feel loved most when getting help from my husband (my love language is acts of service), I have been requiring too much from him.  Every week, there was a list on the white-board of things for him to accomplish.  One day, I erased them all.  Clean shower?  I guess I better get to it. (I hate cleaning the shower – I will do toilets, counter-tops and wipe down the walls every day if I have to, just don’t ask me to do the shower!)  Clip puppy nails?  I just started taking over this task about a month ago.  Come to find out, it isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (Lana’s nails are jet black and there is no telling where the quick is so I cut her nails a little every week to keep them under control.)  Clean upthe house a little every night?  I’m on it!  The dog’s water dish needs refilled?  I’ll take care of it!  Call cell phone company for credit – I got it! (I have more patience with customer service reps than hubby does.) 

It was the menial little tasks I did not feel like doing that I put Todd in charge of.  It never occurred to me he did not enjoy doing them either!

As of late, I have been trying to take over as much of these silly little tasks as possible in an effort to keep Todd’s stress down so he can focus on chores that really need completed (and I prefer not to do) such as: mow the lawn, clean up the garage, install new flooring in the living room and cut wood for winter.

I always told myself that I didn’t need a man – I could do everything I wanted to do by myself.  That is not necessarily true.  It’s nice to have a husband who can do home improvements, cook and even clean! However, it is liberating knowing that I can do many tasks myself without his help.  The problem was that I was just too lazy and selfish to do them myself!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Summer Fun on a Dime

I am a cheapskate.  There, I said it.  It is no surprise to most of you, because you know me.  I am always looking for ways to cut our spending.  I have noticed this year that we are doing more fun things together that don’t require money.  I love me a good fair (and fair food!), but the prices are becoming outrageous at $7+/person, plus $6 for a sandwich, $3 for a bottle of water…you get the gist.  When all is said and done, a few hours at the county fair became a $50 ordeal!

Instead, we have been doing the following this summer:


Mill Creek State Park 

Mill Creek State Park 

Nelson Ledges

Nelson Ledges
Big Creek State Park

Happy Puppies: Salt Fork State Park

Stony Brook State Park (New York)

Stony Brook State Park (New York)

Stony Brook State Park (New York)

We don’t actually own a pool, but we got out a few times with the pups to go swimming!  Our Buddy boy just loves the water!  The pups love to swim, and we get a great laugh at watching our little otters in the water having a good ‘ole time.

Big Creek State Park

Salt Fork State Park

Salt Fork State Park
Car Show and Petting Zoo at a Local Festival
(We spent $3 total to get into the petting zoo and to feed the animals – it was worth it!)


4th of July Fireworks 
4th of July Fireworks

Cousin's Wedding Out of State

Camping Weekend with Family

Making Memories with Niece


I’m sad that summer is officially over; however, I look forward to the leaves changing and the cooler temperatures.  We have plans of enjoying another season (fall) on a dime by going on hikes with the pups at surrounding state parks, taking a road-trip through the county north of ours that has 18 covered bridges, and getting away to Cook Forest in western Pennsylvania the first week of November

What have you been up to this summer?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Want it Now

Every time I think about consumerism, I think about Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  "I dont care how...I want it now!"

Todd and I watched a movie a few weeks back we hadn't heard of when it was out at the theaters entitled the Brass Teapot.  The premise of the movie is about a young broke couple who come upon this brass teapot.  Every time they hurt themselves, the teapot provides them with money.  The whole movie shows how far they would hurt themselves for money.  It gets to a point where they have to hurt themselves to pay for what's owed. (Sound familiar to anyone who is in debt and has to go to work to pay the bills?  *Raising my hand.*)

"Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the 'gotta have it' scale.” - Zig Ziglar

The reviews from the library showed that not many people enjoyed the movie; however, Todd and I both liked it.  Through the entire movie, we were talking about what we would do if we came upon a brass teapot.  Of course, the characters in the movie went overboard, and we swore we would never go to extremes as they had.  The more I thought about it, I thought that maybe we would be {somewhat} as frivolous as the characters in the movie. They paid off bills, bought a really expensive car, purchased a (huge) house, had great parties and threw money away on things that did not matter to them.

I've always said that I am too practical to spend an absurd amount of money; however, once I  truly considered the situation, I can completely see how this could happen to me and Todd if we had a large sum of money.  We would...
  1. Pay off the mortgage
  2. Tear down the house next door
  3. Get new siding and gutters
  4. Replace furnace and add air conditioning
  5. Get a new (practical: inexpensive and high gas mileage) vehicle
  6. Go on a vacation
As you can see, the list can continue on and on.  The "wants" continue to multiply when some of the most basic wants are met.

So for us, we will continue to save the $2 everyone wants us to contribute toward this month's MegaMillions Jackpot and put that money toward things that are important to us (such as the list above).  We are content with working hard to achieve our material* wants ...but in due time.

If you had a brass teapot that spewed out money, what would you do with it?

*I feel like everything on the list is exactly that: material.  We have a (sturdy) roof over our heads, food on the table, one another for support and need for absolutely nothing.  We are so much more fortunate than majority of people around the world.     

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day

(This is a rant on pessimists.  I know that not everyone would agree with me and that’s OK.  These feelings are purely my own.)

My husband is a serial pessimist.  He calls himself a realist.  When something goes wrong first thing in the morning, he is certain the rest of his day is going to be horrible.  I try to cheer him up and ask him to calm down and think positively but he says, “I’m POSITIVE it’s going to be a bad day!”  I have friends on FaceBook and in real life that act like every situation they go through in life could very well be the end of the world.

Unfortunately, I don’t have patience or apathy for serial pessimists.  Believe me, I wish I had just a little bit of apathy for them but I don’t: which makes me seem like an insensitive, heartless witch (with a capital B).  I keep my mouth shut as to not rock the boat, but inside, my thoughts run wild.  I try to ignore the negativity they spew out, but sometimes, I just want to shake them and tell them to open their eyes to all of the blessings around them!

We all have bad days and even bad situations that happen to us; however, I believe that a person chooses the way their day plays out.  If you believe your day is going to continue to be a horrible, terrible, no good very bad day (like the children’s book), then you are seeking all of the negatives that happen throughout the day instead of opening your eyes and heart to all of the greatness the day has to offer.  With every negativity my husband speaks about, I can name two (or more) positive things that have happened to him in the last 24 hours or things he can look forward to throughout the day.  In the whole scheme of things, this situation is but a blip on the radar.  It won’t be remembered a month from now let alone a year from now.  What difference does it make?

I enjoy looking for the little things to brighten my day.  They are simple things like the dogs not fighting me when it’s time to go outside while I go to work, sunshine through the clouds, fuzzy chicken butts, wind whipping through the trees, a dog enjoying the fresh air with it’s head out the window and its ears blowing in the wind, breakfast with my husband, a cat that wants to cuddle, my bi-weekly lunch out with a coworker, a phone conversation with my mom, a letter in the mail from our Compassion child, the sight of a hummingbird enjoying the nectar I put out for it, a conversation with my friend at work, pictures of everyone’s children on FaceBook and the fact that I made it one more day on this beautiful earth!

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Great Purge 2013

Over the past few weeks, I have really been inclined to stop talking about how much I dislike cleaning and actually do something about it.  While putting in the time to clean up our home little by little every day came the desire to de-clutter.  The first three days of my new-found cleaning routine, I realized how much clutter I did not want to continue dusting each and every week.  I started purging items from my bedside table and ended up with one whole box of items to donate as well as one plastic bag of trash. 

After being able to see the wood surface of my bedside table and having next to nothing in the drawers, I was motivated to continue de-cluttering throughout the house.  After three days of my husband watching me clean, purge and enjoy my hard work, something in him changed.  His mentality of “more” was morphing into the realization that we have too much!  He realized that he did not enjoy living with the stuff that littered nearly every flat surface of our home.  The best part of this change is that I did not have to say a single word about it: he discovered this himself (which in my mind, leads to long-term change).

The purging process is going to take (a lot of) time and I’m sure it will never really be complete but I love that we are finally moving in the right direction.  After just a couple of weeks, we have been watching our possessions leave our home and it does not bother us one bit.  I am very nostalgic which is one reason we have so much, and that will probably never change, but it is getting better.

My husband brought up a good point: I have my hand in too many pots.  It is time to focus on just one or two activities.  I have always wanted to be able to maintain our home, spend quality time with family, have a huge (productive) garden, love on our (6) fur-babies, raise chickens, grow fruit, compost and keep up with my new-found love of getting lost in books.  Oh, and lets not forget about having to work 42.5 hours a week with a 10 hour commute..  The issue is that I am trying to do too much and I am not doing any of it well!  Case in point: this year’sgarden.

My focus right now is going to be on:

  1. Quality time with family
  2. Taking care of the fur-babies
  3. Maintaining a clean home

That’s it.  Nothing more. These are the three areas of my life that I am focusing on.  The garden is done this year, so I don’t have to worry about that. I have some things to do with the fruit trees, bushes and vines but it is not very time consuming (not to mention I have 2 months to do it in).  Everything else is being put aside for now.  I am even contemplating selling the flock to someone who wants to raise their own chickens.  There are several people in our area selling free-range brown eggs for $2/dozen.  It is much easier to pick up eggs twice a month versus the time to clean the chicken coop, feed them and count heads twice a day to make sure none were taken by a predator!

I am learning that purging leads to simplicity, and that is what we are aiming for in life.
Less stress, more time together and with family, and contentment with our possessions.

Have you been de-cluttering lately?
What tips or suggestions do you have for this newbie?