Friday, June 28, 2013

Updated Dehydrator Photos

I thought I would update my dehydrator photos. I realized I have not done that since I got it. I adore this machine more then you will ever know. I received it off of Craigslist a few years ago. This guys Grandfather made the machine, and they have used it and used it, but it has been sitting in the garage. And wanted to give it to someone who could use it. Well who better then I?

It stands 6-7 feet tall.

Oh about 1 1/2 feet wide?

Handmade shelves.

Hubby says it runs on a condenser. IDK I just fill it and plug it in.

Updated Front Yard Garden Photos

Well the rain finally left and the sun came out and I found a sea of green outside my front yard window.

This is my view

Front bed of herbs, back bed is Kale that needs to be cut again, hopefully this weekend?

Herb bed number 2, bed in back is lettuce, and salad fixins' sadly lettuce has not been doing good. It needs SUN.

Mix bed in front of eggplant, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Back bed is all tomatoes.

Peas and Celery in front, basil in back.


Pumpkins invading peas.

All sorts of things. Blueberries are almost ready.

Almond tree looking good.

See my bed in back? Well it will be a new bed by next year. All sorts of herb flowers.

Blind bunny. He was roasting in his outside cage so I set him in the yard for some green grass and to cool him off. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Penny Pinching Books

So I get asked all the time how do you afford this or that or do it all on how little you have coming in? So I'm starting a new serious. As I think of things I can share on how we pinch pennies I will share.

First one, I have a cookbook collection. I am crazy nuts over cookbooks. I adore them and use them and abuse them. I had an author sign one, one time and flour and other things fell out of it. She was like, well I'm glad to see you use the book.

OK first when I find a book it goes onto my Amazon wish list. From there I go to the library website and put it on hold. Once I get it in my hands, is the book really worth buying? Some are not and are quickly deleted from the Amazon Wish List. Some like the one last night was quickly bought and is all ready shipping I have to have this book. BUT because I buy used off Amazon I spent less then 5 dollars on book and shipping.

Because really we don't have the budget for cookbooks, I often use my Swag Bucks to pay for books I do a search or two daily they add up, I cash them in for Amazon gift card. In turn letting me collect cookbooks without it killing our budget.

I also buy used school books this way, but that comes out of budget. But I don't know how many times I have bought a book for a penny plus shipping. I try and buy one school book a week or if something just drops in price I buy it asap, but because I'm watching it on Amazon I can watch for the best deal. And it allows me to get more for the kids. Especially like their drawing books and such. I can't afford those but buying them used I can buy 3-4 for the price of one new.

So there you go, it's how I'm able to have a ridiculous amount of cookbooks and not spending much on them.

Four Weeks Until Mortgage Challenge

And I'm soooooooooooooooooooo excited. We are not looking to pay off our mortgage right now, just pay it down. Couple of things are playing into this.

First you can't trust big banks. And even through our bank is not in the news daily, it's close behind and that worries me.

Second if something were to happen to hubby's job, we have three months of mortgage payments socked away and then what? We can't afford our Mortgage, we can barely afford it today

Thirdly if lets say we get the mortgage down to 100k, that gives us some re-fi options. Depending on rates, terms and other things. We will be able to drop PMI. In turn giving us a payment we can afford if something were to happen to hubby's job. Not that I think something will happen, you just don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Fourthly, I see this as part of our retirement. I don't want a mortgage payment when we are retired. I want the house paid off so we can focus on savings.

Fifthly, think of all the interest we will be saving. OH man, I would be curious on what number that would be at the end of all of this.

So in less then four weeks, we will be tightening our belts even more and squeezing every penny out of our budget. We will make mini goals, hopefully hit them, take a break and make more goals. I don't know how long this will take, I know it won't be a year or two, unless one of us magically wins the lottery, but we can't afford tickets so that isn't going to happen.

So every week a set amount of money will be set aside, if we make it through the week without touching it, it will be sent to the Mortgage company as a new week starts. At the same time, I am setting aside I believe about ten dollars a week for savings. No it's not a lot, but it's a start and it will add up. Having that money in case if something were to happen, will allow us not to touch the mortgage money. In turn hopefully keeping us on track.

Also it's June, now is the time to be thinking about Christmas, I know you are thinking hum Marcie it's JUNE!!!!!! But I will tell ya now is the time to think about some things. My kids have a DS and every week I have been buying a game. I buy them used often times game and shipping are less then 5 dollars. But with me getting them now and stock piling them, I am beating the Christmas rush. I can also use them as prizes as when Ethan finished Third Grade Math. He was over the moon getting a new game and I was fine because I spent 7 bucks, on game and shipping. But I have a list of games I'm watching on Amazon. The best deal wins every week.

They are also into Lego's and now is the time the new Lego sets are coming out. In buying one set a week or as budget allows, won't hurt my budget come Christmas time. I'm not rushing to find money and out buying things and over spending. I am making a Lego list and working on it. Sure other things may pop up as "wants" but with me not buying Lego's or games I might be able to afford their "wants" But my kids are good and they know they are lucky in what they get. They know our budget is so very tight. They see it every week. They see us pinching pennies and putting this off or doing this that way. We have a brick project going, but can only afford so many bricks a week. That sort of thing.

I know we can do this, because we use to use this money weekly to pay for gas going to and from school. Now that we are homeschooling that money was set aside to buy hubby a new "very used" truck. Now we are using it to pay down medical and just breathing room in the budget. So I believe we can do this, in seeing the total go down weekly and our amount of debt go down it will be nice, it will be breathing room. Less stress and the nice fact in knowing this is our house, we own it and no one can take it away. I have this fear that even through we pay our mortgage monthly and on time someone at a big bank can make an oops or do this or that and we are up a creek. Most banks are unwilling to work with you. Also the fact my parents lost their house. But given the fact my mother has a spending habit played a big factor into that. But my neighbor is loosing her house. Same bank as ours. I have a feeling they will offer her a deal, but until that happens we all worry.

So I will be updating the blog weekly and make mini goals and you can watch (hopefully) us hit them. I know I"m excited.

Currently 124,380.13

I believe the first mini goal is 123k.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Funny how life can be sometimes. So last week we saw this week coming. We got hit with just about every bill under the sun. Everything due or things left and right will be turned off. ARGGGG so math wise leaving us with 50 dollars for the week. BUT wait, I had a doctors appointment so there goes 20 dollars. Leaving us with 30. OK we can do this right? But at the doctors appointment they didn't take the money, YEAH, well until I got home and had an email saying our garbage is being turned off. GAHHHHH, back down to 30 dollars. On the way home from the doctors appointment I picked up a few things we had to have food wise and now home for the week.

Which in turn is fine. As we have the Mortgage Challenge coming up and I"m hoping we can live on such a low amount very often.

I am sooooooooooo excited about the Mortgage Challenge coming up. To pay off the house is a dream. I read a story and this so called "expert" calls it stupid to pay off your mortgage early. Well must be nice to have a high paying job and can afford your mortgage? Or you need the tax deduction? We don't. I see it as a few different ways. What if hubby lost his job tomorrow? We can barely afford the mortgage as it is. I also see it as part of our retirement plan. I don't want a mortgage payment when we are retired. Plus think of all the interest we will be saving? So after our vacation in July, I have it all sketched out, we will take it week by week. Hit goals, take a break, hit more goals. The big goal is to hit 100k and decide what to do. Do we re-fi and go down to a 15 year? But if the rates are not there then pay for an appraisal and get pmi removed. We will decide what to do later. It will be awhile before we hit 100k.

But my goal is to put up as much food as possible so we can live on as less as possible, to not only pay down the Mortgage but build a savings. So I"m hoping it will be a busy persevering summer this year.

(what a pretty sight, dried red pepper all ground up, red peppers left over from meals)

(our Kale harvest so far, only half the bed, put enough for 19 meals into the freezer today)

I finally picked up running again today. Been itching do it again. I'm started at 10 minutes and will climb from there. We have a track up the road and I'm hoping to start using it. Ethan has been wanting to run, but I wanted to start first to make sure I wasnt' going to drop dead first? But realized how much I have been missing it. So forward we go. I need running shoes. I haven't had a new pair of shoes in about four years. So maybe as we get up there in time, take Ethan up to Olympia and run around the lake on a nice day. All sorts of running trails up there. 

I am also still packing around 20 extra pounds. Would love to drop at least 5 this year. I dropped 16 last year and was able to keep it off. It's always hard to loose those last few. I'm not stressing over it, but there are times it's tiring. So aim for 5 and hope for more. I won't ever be a size two again, but I want to be OK with me and right now I'm not. Close, but I can still knock myself out with my arms so still have some work to do.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Slowing Down

I thought I would go out into the front yard and take a few photos.

Our first Sunflower

Sunflower Patch Doing Well.

We shall have Blueberries.

And Blackberries


Rhodies are in Bloom

So are the purple ones

Bleeding Heart

I can't remember

Another bleeding heart

A mess, we planted the blue flower and got a bonus.

Strawberries, not our normal big hauls, but that is what I get for tearing up three beds!

Make a Wish


The Apple Tree that wouldn't die will be giving us many babies this year. Impressive.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Weekly Update

And it has been a week. See we went to the Mother Earth News Fair and silly me sat through a few herb speakers. Hubby finally got the OH that is why you are into herbs. He knew, but know he really knew. So on the way home he was saying I need more beds. Hum YEAH. So on his two days off we made new beds. 13 in all. They are not big beds, but 2 x 2 or 2 x 3 and such. Enough for a herb. Verses a veggie bed.

So this is my new thyme bed. This is Lime Thyme.

I lined it up with my other thyme's.

Grapes are doing well.

These are next to the new swing.

We left this space as Trixie comes and goes through this fence. I didn't want her in my beds.

8 new beds here. The small squares on the edges will be lavender. All ready planted. The first bed on the left is for comfrey it's a good 2 x 4 bed. Not only is comfrey a great medical herb, but it's good for the garden.

This was our dirt load.

At the end of day one we still had dirt. It's why I now have 13 beds instead of 8. We needed to put the dirt somewhere.

I spent all of today just planting. I had about 7 flats left in the green house. I'm down to two mixed flats left. Every thing I had laying around was just planted. Now that everything is planted, (well almost) it's time to tend to the garden. Keep it weeded. Tonight I pruned the tomatoes. Thinking of getting out my worm liquid poop and getting it into the garden. Just time to tend to everything. 

Hopefully I can take full garden photos soon?