Regarding Ads On My Blog

Good morning!  I have been informed that political ads are showing up on my blog via Google ads.  Please know that I have NO CONTROL over what ads pop up when you are on my blog.  Please understand that Google ads change constantly.  What you see one time on particular post on my blog will NOT be the same if you visit it again.  Also know that the Google ads that you see are specific to you.  Google takes your searching/viewing history & shows you ads that it thinks are relevant to you.

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(Click on the picture to take you directly to that page.)

While I do have my own political opinions, I have always chosen NOT to share those views on my blog, & I will continue to do so.  However, from reading my blog, I pray that you are aware that my views on how I try to live my life are based on the Bible, God’s word, and I will NEVER apologize for sharing those views, & I will continue to share them.  If my faith in Christ offends you, I will be sorry to see you leave, but I will understand that it is your right to do so.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.  Again, I will do my best to remove any ad spots that I can, but I am not sure that I can without having to make major changes that are outside of my financial realm right now.  My blog is a FREE blog.  I do not pay to host it.  I hope you will continue to follow my blog.  If not, please know that I pray only God’s blessings on each of you!

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And Life Goes On……

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Even though I haven’t been blogging for a while, life has truly gone on.  Which is why I haven’t been blogging.  Our little family has gone through some major changes in the last year and a half, but God has been at work through it all, and He’s been faithful to walk with me and get me through each rough spot as I climbed the mountain in front of me.  At times, when my strength failed me, He even carried me.  I am so thankful that I have a loving Heavenly Father to walk with me through the good and the bad that this earthly life brings.

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Part of the changes that have my family has gone through is we are now grandparents!!!  Our oldest daughter, Melia, had moved out last year against our wishes, but out of the ashes comes a beautiful blessing, our grandson, Jayce who was born in March, 2016!  Oh, what a joy & blessing he is!  Our daughter & Jayce are staying with us for now, which has been wonderful! Jayce 0716

 

Pigs 2015

Last fall, we acquired two young Red Wattle/Yorkshire mix pigs.  The male was slaughtered back in the spring by the family that we acquired them from, but we kept the female, who was pregnant.

Piglets 0616On June 30th, she gave birth to 11 little ones.  We lost one due to mom laying on him, and then we lost another one the other day when he somehow managed to get into mom’s water bucket & drown.  But, we have not lost any due to any health issues, and we pray that we do not lose any more.  Soon, we will have a few for sale.  We plan to slaughter the mom in a couple months, but we will be keeping a couple of the females to raise for breeding in the future.  We’ve got our eye on a little male Red Wattle that’s just a little older than our piglets that we’re planning to purchase & raise to breed with our females.  We will be keeping at least one other one for meat for us.  We originally planned to keep two, but since we have lost two, we haven’t decided yet about keeping the second one.  We shall see.

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Our daughter, Katie, also graduated high school this year!  Our homeschool graduation ceremony was so amazing!  I love how personal everything was!  And we are so proud of Katie & her accomplishments.  She is looking forward to attending college this fall to begin her education to become a science teacher!  She has such a heart for science & math, & she feels that this is what God is calling her to do.  Pray with us as we go through this journey – pray for God’s guidance for us & for financing.  She’s also enjoying being an aunt!

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Our son, Michael, will be in 10th grade this year, and he’s getting to spend time with my dad, who is getting to pour a lot of his vast knowledge & experience into him & teach him a lot about life.  He’s also learning a lot about farm life & all that comes with it, as well as learning about all the joys that come with being an uncle!

Demo Work 0716Another big change going on here at MCH, we are also in the process now of doing lots of demolition on our property!  We have moved a storage building that we have to a new location and are building a new garage where the building once stood. But, that’s not all we’re doing!  We’re also going to be demolishing our current home & bringing in a new modular home!!!  Stay tuned to see what all we are doing!  I’ve been taking pics & short videos as we’ve been working, so I’ll be sharing some of those with you as I have time.

My life is a little crazy, especially with having a new grandbaby & now new piglets to care for, but I’m not complaining!  God has blessed us with so much!  I pray that we continue to try to honor Him & give Him all the glory in all that we do.

We have fallen off of the frugal wagon lately, but we’re trying to hop back on.  We need to cut back wherever we can so that we can accomplish all that needs to be done here.  So, stay tuned as we continue on this crazy journey!  I will do my best to share things with you in a timely manner so that you can follow along with all the laughter, frustration, & tears that come with all the changes going on.  Thank you to all of those who have waited to see a new post from me, and welcome to all of the new followers that I have!

 

 

Thinking and Pondering

20130718_202339  I think I’ve still been reeling from the major changes that my family have recently gone through.  Prayers are still needed in this area, please.  Things have not changed.  We miss our daughter desperately & continue to pray that God will use whatever means necessary to open her eyes to her situation & her heart to Him.

I started to post earlier today and thought, “I really don’t have anything to say.”   Then, while I was checking in with a couple of the groups that I’m part of on FB, I started thinking about frugal living and all the things that a lot of us do on a regular basis that we might not really even think about any more.  We also tend to forget that there are others out there that are still learning (whether by choice or by necessity) ways to save money & help their families.  So, I thought that I would share some of the ones that I do on a regular basis, as well as some that I’ve become very lax in for the  last few months.

Some of the frugal things I try do regularly:

  • Keeping the heat turned down a bit in the winter time & layering up/using blankets. (By keeping the heat down, I mean keeping it between 66 – 68*.  If you’re still cold, put on another layer or grab a quilt/blanket.)  Now that it’s warming up, the heat is not needed, so the doors & windows will be opened.  The AC units will only be put in when absolutely necessary, and only used when absolutely necessary!  We have a whole house fan, so this helps us to be able to push this off until mid June, usually.
  • Cook meals at home, making enough for lunch the next day, when possible
  • Try to use up leftovers
  • Try to keep an eye on the fruits/veggies in the fridges to try to use up things before they go bad
  • Cut open toothpaste tubes when we are unable to “squeeze” any more out.  You would not BELIEVE how much is still left in those tubes!   I also cut open lotion containers/tubes & scrape the remnants into a small container to be used up.

Frugal things that I really need to get back into the habit of doing more regularly:

  • Keep a better eye on the contents of the refrigerators
  • Cook more meals from home (I’ve allowed my schedule to dictate whether we end up grabbing fast food instead of my dictating my schedule & making sure that I have something quick & easy to fix or throw in the Crock Pot before leaving for the day.
  • Can more foods on a regular basis (whether it be foods that require pressure/water bath canning or dry canning, or even vacuum-sealing foods).
  • Now that the weather is turning nice again, I need to get back to hanging ALL laundry out to dry

Here is a list of some frugal activities that I need to complete:

  • Finish making my cloth napkins that are already cut out & ready to be sewn together
  • Go through each room of our home & purge
  • Get the garden ready for planting

I know that there’s more, but this is what’s coming to mind.  One thing that I plan to try to accomplish VERY soon is to can more beans.  We are almost completely out of my canned beans.  This is not a hard job, it’s just very time consuming.  And, I haven’t had enough time to accomplish this from start to finish.

I’d love for you to share some of your favorite frugal activities in the comments with me!  Let’s share & help each other possibly learn new frugal ways!

Fire on the Mountain!

Early Morning Fire on the Ridge  We recently dealt with a situation that I never really thought could happen to us. We’ve been through numerous tornado warnings (several were very close calls), but we have NEVER had to deal with the threat of a fire! Yes, we live in an area with a lot of wooded areas and ridges, but we had never really thought about the possibility that it could/would threaten our home. So, when the ridge across from us caught fire, it suddenly became a very real threat.

I won’t go into the fact that the fire traveled about 2 miles over a 3-day period, or the fact that our local county took THREE days to call in the local forestry division to help them deal with the fire. We were so blessed that, even though the fire was in a very heavily wooded area, it mainly just burned the low brush and fallen trees. But, the biggest blessings of all was that none of our dear neighbors were hurt, none of the fireman or forestry men/women were hurt, and no one lost their homes!

Mid Afternoon - Fire had spread & gotten quite a bit worse.

So, why am I telling you about this? Not very exciting, right? Well, I didn’t say that it never came close to any homes, because it actually came within just a few hundred feet of THREE homes. We were also supposed to have a very high chance of thunderstorms with strong winds, but God was gracious and allowed the storms and winds to hold off, which allowed the fires to stay low. Otherwise, there was a very real chance that the fire could have gotten worse and jumped the road to our side.

When the fire was quickly starting to get worse (for a short time before it was brought under control), we had to take a serious look at the situation and decide what we needed to grab to take with us in an emergency.

Early evening - the fire had gotten worse right before they got it under control.

Yes, I know we should have gone over this beforehand, and we have, to an extent, but it had been quite a while. So, here is a few of the things that we learned:

*we do have a fireproof box for important papers, but I definitely need to go through it and update some items

*need to work on being able to grab meds, first-aid supplies, clothing essentials, etc., within a moment’s notice. (Some are easily accessible and some are not)

* While my food pantry will supply our needs IN our home, what would we do if we have to LEAVE our home at a moment’s notice? (We are working on this one. Any ideas would be appreciated!)

*If we have time to save some items from our home, what would they be? (This is a tough one since we have many items that may not have a lot of monetary value, but the memories attached to them are priceless!)

My sweet husband and I took the time to discuss these things and, while we still have several kinks to work out of our plan, I know that, should this threat ever happen again, we will be as prepared as humanly possible. Ultimately, it will be in God’s hands. With our being in the heart of tornado season here in East Tennessee, we need to make sure that we are prepared as we can be.

The Importance of Having a Well-Stocked Pantry

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If you are like me, you like to keep a well-stocked pantry, not only to help out with the monthly grocery budget, but also to help out when times are tough (i.e. money is tight, sickness, job loss, etc.). For me, it is very comforting to know that I always have food on hand to feed my family, no matter the circumstances.   It is one less thing we have to worry about, especially when times are tough.

But, it honestly doesn’t matter if you have a few days or a few months worth of food on hand if you don’t have a organizational system in place to help you keep track of it all! If you go to the store to buy groceries & you have no idea what you have on hand already, you will end up buying duplicates of items that you already have, AND items will go to waste because they get lost in your cabinets/on your shelves/in your refrigerator or freezer.   Not only are you throwing items away, but you are also throwing your hard, earned money away in the process. When you throw items in the trash, picture yourself throwing away a $5 bill, $10 bill, or even a $20 bill, depending on how much you are throwing away. OUCH! That really stings, doesn’t it?

Here are a few tips that I have that have helped me keep my pantry more organized (not perfect, but better organized), & it keeps me from throwing out a ton of unused items!

*Keep like items together: Either on a shelf in a pantry area, cabinet, freezer, or refrigerator, make sure that you keep like items together. A few examples would be to keep herbs/spices together, keep condiments together, keep like canned items together, keep all like meat items together (beef, chicken, fish, etc.) etc.

*Keep your stock rotated – oldest in the front: When you buy new items, make sure to pull the oldest to the front & put the newest items in the back. This keeps you from using up the newest item first & then ending up throwing the oldest item away because it was shoved to the back & forgotten

*Make a weekly/biweekly/monthly menu plan: I know a lot of people who have said that they can’t menu plan. The reason? Because when they’ve done it in the past, they’ve not been able to “stick to it” & ended up wasting food. They key to menu planning? FLEXIBILITY! Yep. That’s it! When you plan a menu, always remember to be flexible. You can’t plan sickness, last minute meetings at work, deaths in the family, unexpected trips out of town, etc. Be willing to change things around.

*Shop at home first: Before you even grab your shoes to head out the door, grab your menu & see what you already have at home that needs to be used up. Make your grocery shopping list accordingly.

*Only keep items in your pantry that you KNOW that you will eat/use! Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean that you need to buy it! If you’re family will not eat it, then you might as well throw it away as soon as you get home. Remember that mental picture of throwing $5 in the trash?

*If you are storing several months worth of food in your pantry, make sure that it is stored properly in air-tight containers. If the food isn’t stored properly, it will not last as long as it could & you will end up throwing it out.

Always remember that, just like snowflakes, no two pantries are alike. Everyone’s family eats differently & doesn’t like the same items. Just because your best friend stores pinto beans in bulk in her pantry doesn’t mean that you will do the same especially if your family doesn’t like pinto beans.

One last tip. If you don’t already have at least 3 months worth of basic items in your pantry, I would strongly suggest that you do so. Again, you never know what life will throw at you & when emergencies will arise. It’s always smart to be prepared.   And stocking your pantry will not happen overnight. It will take time. Start by setting aside $10-$20 of your normal grocery budget to start buying extras of items that you use on a daily basis (i.e. coffee, sugar, flour, salt, canned fruits/veggies, etc.). Stock up a little bit at a time as the items go on sale or as you can afford. It will take time, but you will be so glad that you did!

(On a side note: Please note that most of your store bought canned goods do contain BPA in the inner lining of the can, so while my family & I have chosen to not buy store bought canned goods & can much of our own fruits/veggies, I know this is not always an option for everyone. Always use your best judgment. When in doubt – buy frozen!)

Update On My Speckled Sussex

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Well, they are 12 weeks old now.  It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been 12 weeks since I brought them home.  They have grown by leaps & bounds, & they are doing very well.  We did have a fox discover them, but, thankfully, it only managed to pick off one pullet before we discovered it & sealed up the area where it had managed to get it.

In about 6 more weeks, I’ll begin integrating them in with the rest of the coop.  In about 8 more weeks, I’ll start getting eggs from these beauties! I can’t wait!

Garden update

Full garden pic

Full garden pic

Things have been busy, as usual, around here.  But, I thought that I’d give you a quick update on how the garden is doing.

The onions & beans are coming along nicely.  The carrots never did come up, so that row was tilled back under, and I will be planting more beans in it in the next week or so.

Onions & Beans

Onions & Beans

Here is a pic of our okra, corn, pepper, squash, & tomatoes.

Okra, corn, peppers, squash, & tomatoes

Okra, corn, peppers, squash, & tomatoes

My herb garden is also coming along nicely.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

The only thing that didn’t come up that I planted was chives.

My marigolds, dill, echinacea, parsley, cilantro, sage, & some basil that I planted from seed have all come up & are coming along nicely!  As soon as they are ready for planting, I will get them in the ground, & then I’ll be ready to mulch it all!

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It won’t be long before I’ll be sharing with you about all of my canning endeavors!  I can’t wait!  It’s always a lot of hard work, but I look forward to it!