Mar 172018

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There are so many “National _____ Month” or “National ______ Day” or “Celebrate This Day” that it is hard to keep track of them all.  Honestly, at times I do well to remember my family’s birthdays.

You may then consider this your friendly neighborhood reminder – March 25th is Neighbor Day.  While you do not necessarily need a specially designated day to be a good neighbor, nor do you have to physically live right next to them to still consider them your neighbor (yes I am talking to you Neighbor-Lady-Who-Is-Still-Hibernating, “Hello”), a reminder does not hurt either.

Being a good neighbor is not the same as being a nosey neighbor.  How are they different?  Here are some examples:

  • Did you see that Bob was in the paper again?  Yup, got arrested.  Poor Betsy, what is she going to do now? tsk tsk Nosey Neighbor
  • Did you see that Bob was in the paper again?  I am going to take Betsy some diner and see if she might need someone to talk to. Good Neighbor
  • “There are those kids again, running around in the middle of the street.  Don’t they have better sense than that?  Their mother really needs to step up and parent those kids, being that it is just her after all…I wonder if she has found a job yet? Probably not.  I think I will run and take her this week’s classifieds, see if has heard from their father recently.”  Nosey Neighbor
  • “There are those kids again, running in the middle of the street.”  Goes outside and speaks to the kids, comes back inside for some apples and water, takes them out to the kids and plays on the stoop till mom comes back from work.  Finds out mom is currently working two jobs with no child support. Talks to mom about letting the kids play in her/his yard after school and possibly start on homework till she gets home.  Good Neighbor
  • Sees elementary aged kids running around outside with no adult supervision.  Sits on porch watching the kids for almost an hour with no adult in sight.  Calls police “out of concern”.  Nosey Neighbor
  • Sees elementary aged kids running around outside with no adult supervision.  Sits on porch watching the kids for almost an hour with no adult in sight. Goes and knocks on neighbor’s door.  Sees neighbor inside slowly get up from chair by window.  Once the door is open the cast on the foot is exceedingly obvious. Good Neighbor

While the line between Nosey Neighbor and Good Neighbor can be a fine one, most of us know the difference, if we are being honest with ourselves.

But what about those times when you are not sure how to help?  Or when the problem seems bigger than what solely one person is able to accomplish?  What can one person do in those situation?

A little over a year ago I reviewed Make It Zero: the movement to safeguard every child by Mary Frances Bowley.  Here is a bit of what I wrote at that time:

Make It Zero is not about children only.  It actually began by talking about adults, parents, and teenagers, not exactly who one thinks of when talking about the children in our society.  However, by the end of the second chapter I was starting to understand.  Safeguarding the children means giving them a good foundation.  That foundation is the parent/s in their lives.  If the parent is struggling, the children will struggle.”

This week, I am going to be giving one of you a chance to read this book for yourself.  Here is how it works:

  1. Leave a comment on another blog post.  It needs to be relevant to the topic of that post.  As cute as your Yorkie may be while trying to jump through snow, telling me that on a post about starting seeds is not the place. 🙂
  2. Come back here, leaving a comment telling me where you left your first comment. (The post title will be sufficient.) Please make sure you leave your email address somewhere, either in the comment or as part of your login.
  3. You will need to do this by midnight ET on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
  4. I will randomly select a comment and contact the winner.  You will have 24 hours to respond.

Open only to U.S. addresses.

Now, if you would like to share a picture of your Yorkie jumping through snow, I am not opposed to such.  Feel free to send me an email with a photo.  Who knows, it might just make it onto the blog for all to ooh and ahh over!

Mar 162018

This post contains affiliate links.

January has a reputation for being a recovery month.  Coming off several large holidays, one may find they are feeling a bit down, are having a rough time with cabin fever due to colder weather, or perhaps feeling overwhelmed by their goals for the upcoming year.  While January was, personally, an odd month, I did not find myself struggling through it.

My slump came during the last half of February and the beginning of March.

I suddenly felt like I was spinning my wheels in a spot of slick mud, not gaining ground yet exerting a lot of energy.  My actions were taking me this way and that without a clear direction.  Looking back I realized that I was heading in a direction, that it took working on a bit of this and that and trying different things to find the firmer ground.  Or so I hope.

My main focus so far this year has been on homemaking, personally following routines and habits to help me run our home better and feel a certain way.  While I want to have the kitchen picked up before bed, that does not mean I need to spend all my waking hours at the sink waiting for a dirty dish to appear.  Instead, I also can work on something else.  Some of the areas I have been tackling are:

  • finding a new rhythm for grocery shopping
  • trying a few new ways of saving money, and joining online groups to help in learning
  • sticking to a laundry routine
  • keeping the house picked up, or picking it up once at minimum
  • focusing on one main garden activity each month (compost tumbler, rain barrel, new flower bed)
  • finding a bedtime routine which works for everyone, and writing it down to post on the wall
  • participating  in one or two home school playgroups each week
  • offering to help others, in general being a friend who actually thinks about others and acts on it
  • having music playing throughout the day
  • clearing out unneeded items – donate to others, give away, recycle, reuse, or throw away
  • compare insurance quotes before renewing
  • encouraging kids to take along a book, instead of an electronic, when running quick-ish errands
  • make small changes in how I approach and plan our school week/month
  • begin to think about school over the summer, implement some of the routines now
  • send the kids outside to play, “and don’t come in till supper”

A lot of small things, which add up to a larger, hopefully positive, change in the feel of our home.  It is not perfect, far from it.  What it is is better.  I may spin my wheels more than I like, but I am heading in the right direction.

 My mother-in-law was also able to come for a week long visit.  Jack enjoyed having her here all day. She would chat online with her sisters in the morning, Jack sitting right beside her doing whatever it is Jack could get away with doing because “Grandma is here and we should not have school”.  Let’s just say that picking up his room was not high on his list of priorities.

We also took a few days to get away to a city we had never visited before.  While there was nothing wrong with the trip or the location, the timing was not the best.  It took us all a few days to identify what we had all been feeling, we just wanted to be home.  The last day we cut short possible plans and headed home, all sleeping better that night.

The next few weeks might see my husband traveling some.  Or perhaps not.  It is all up in the air.

What I have decided to do is set a goal for myself and tell you all what I plan to accomplish.  When I did this a few years ago I was amazed at how much I was able to accomplish.  Not only then, but in the time following.  Momentum begets momentum.  I have been lacking momentum as of late and am starting to feel like I will never get unstuck from where I am.

While I am not ready to share it all right now, it will be coming soon.  As in the next week or two soon.  If I delay too long I wouldn’t be surprised if a few seasons pass before I gain motivation again.  🙂

Something I have been working on a bit each day, which has paid for my compost tumbler and rain barrel, is Swagbucks.  This is another area I have been trying out a few new things, as well as joining an online group in hopes of increased learning and earning.  So far it has worked well, though I did ease up a bit this past week as my focus needed to be elsewhere during those early morning hours.

Every little bit helps

Want some extra boost for your budget this month?

If you haven’t tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up as my referral in March. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me, you can earn an additional $3 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 4/1/18. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you want even more bonuses, you’ll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That’s in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.

My earnings for this month are a bit shy of 1,200 points called SB.  That is equivalent to $12.  This time around I am working toward reducing the cost of building a flower bed and purchasing seeds.  While my costs may not be covered completely, every little bit helps.

The same goes for compost – “every little bit helps.”  This is how I was able to turn shredded documents, coffee ground, kitchen scraps, and other compostable items into something that resembled black gold.  No one part was large, often I doubted if I was even making a difference.  As I added the not yet fully composted mix on top of cardboard for a new flower bed, I no longer had my doubts – I was thrilled with “free” organic matter to utilize.

What are you working toward currently?  Do you have a plan to accomplish it?  A timeline?

Mar 152018

Last October I shared this video with the intent of increasing garden knowledge for those who like to tuck such facts away for when they will be useful.

For the rest of us, here is the video at a time which may be more appropriate to your gardening preparations.

Do you grow onions?  What is your preferred type?



Feb 102018
Grow Your Cents by using rain barrels

This post contains affiliate links. January seems to have the reputation for being the slower month.  Coming off almost two months full of celebrating holidays, I can see why.  However, that was not the case for me this year.  Instead, January ended up being a fairly physically restful, emotionally eventful, finding our groove month. February…I […]

Jan 142018
A Love-Hate Relationship, in which fugality won Part 2

Beans. According to “There is no exact number, but the world gene banks set the count at about 40,000 different types of beans, though only a very small number of these bean types are mass-produced for common consumption. “ These little orbs of understatedness are great sources of fiber and protein.  They are easy […]