Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not So Halloween Breakfast

The kids wanted toast. And pancakes. I wanted something different without 10,000 carbs. So what did we come up with? Smoothies. Having frozen strawberries and blueberries in the fridge, we pulled the blender out of the cabinet. I put in

2 bananas,
1 cup frozen strawberries,
1 cup frozen blueberries,
1 cup soymilk

"Wow!" the kids exclaimed as I pushed the magical yet loud button. I only had to push the berries down once and that was because I hadn't added the milk yet.

However, just throw everything in and push that magical "on" button.

Easy as pie! Or a smoothie.
Thanks for reading

These were the quickest thing they have ever finished for breakfast. Very tasty and healthy at the same time. Now to see if they will drink a "green" smoothie. Never know until you try...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY Woman

Don't you mean handyman? Nope. I can do anything if I am motivated enough.

After 3 years of not having the grout finished in our kitchen under the trash can, I decided it needed done. Hubby asked me to clean the grout lines so he could "finish" it several times and I obligingly did so. Only to find out he was "too tired" or had bigger projects to complete. We had to replace these two tiles due to shorter cabinets in our kitchen remodel.

Sitting on the fridge was the small tub of pre-made grout. Awesome. The rest of the tools were in the garage. A grout float/trowel,  large grout sponge (dish sponges will not work), and bucket with water (to rinse out sponge several times).

To be honest, filling in grout was quite easy.

Tools needed
 Take the spade looking tool and scoop the grout out of your bucket like ice cream.

 Fill in grout lines. Make sure you fill them in well and overfilling is good to do. Just watch out for air bubbles.
This is what you'll end up with after you get your grout in your grout lines. Seriously easy.

 I couldn't touch my camera after this step. Sorry! Take the grout trowel and swipe it sideways at a 45 degree angle. This helps push the grout down and get the air bubbles out. Don't worry about getting the middle of the tiles dirty. This will be cleaned off with your sponge in a few hours.

Wait a few hours (many people say 12-24 hours). I let mine sit for 3-4 hours. I'm very impatient- I wanted it done! You might as well move onto another project for the time being. Me? Laundry is always a huge project in my house.

Since I know you waited your proper length of time, all you have to do is take your sponge and wipe in circles on top of the grout. You will need to rinse your sponge and possibly refill your bucket several times. I had to since my bucket was so small.

After sponging your tiles and grout to the perfected level, stand back and admire your hard work. I know I did!

My phone doesn't take the best pics. This picture was taken one week after I filled in the grout.
Aren't my grout skills magnificent? See- I really can do anything if I put my mind to it. What's next?

I realize the kids could have helped with this project, but I needed to learn how to do it first.  They will definitely help next time!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week at Home Alone

Once in a blue moon, hubby leaves town on one of his amazing work adventures. This leaves the kids with me 24/7 for the time being. This can be a good or bad thing.

My daughter, 4, being independent hates staying home. I'm the same way, but I'd rather not take the kids to ten stores in one day. Heck, I don't like taking them to one store in a day. Between sitting in the cart or hanging on, they always manage to make trips to store as annoying as possible. Some days they are good, but they have so much pent up energy, that they're boasting to run free.

Our latest venture included my son, 3, has learned to go for what he wants. So as I made an emergency trip to the grocery store, I put our four things on the belt to checkout. Then one, two, three packages of Twinkies fly onto the belt. "Where did those come from?" The guy next in line is laughing that when I see the fourth package of Twinkies fly up, I see my little man's hand. Of course. Trying to teach them candy is really bad for their teeth and tummy is like telling a dog not to eat his bone.

The kids and hubby always want to go out to eat. Hubby claims its saves us from washing dishes and using our household food supply. Ha! Just because they want to go out to eat, does not mean we will. Yesterday I did a bunch of yardwork and scraped together meals for the kids and I all day. We were out working in our yard and before the night was over, we went to say hello. To make a story short, they invited us to stay for dinner (even though I was covered in dirt)! How's that for eating out?

The kids have actually helped me out more this week than ever before. My daughter wants to vacuum and my son wants to mop. They do a pretty decent job out of it. Yesterday, I had to dig up some dirt and move it to one of the front yard flower beds. They opened the two backyard gates for me and made sure the dog stayed in the backyard. It was amazing! Then I gave them a ride in the wheelbarrow!

My daughter had been fighting me at the start of the week and trying to teach her life lessons has really paid off. "Mommy, you don't want us to have any fun!" was Monday's statement. With it being Friday now, she told me, "Mommy, this is fun!"  I'm not one for making chores fun and I want them accomplished correctly. The kids do have their chore list and its mostly filled with stickers this week. I realized I've been pushing them away so I can get my job done faster, but in the long run, that doesn't work. If the sky's the limit, then don't give them boundaries. Include them in everyday chores and you'll be amazed at what they learn. A child needs structure and discipline, but if you're not including them, then they won't learn how to do anything.

Overall, this week was a proven success in getting housework, yardwork, and childwork done. The kids learned many life lessons. I didn't have to cook a huge meal every night and there were no complaints about any meal. The dishes and laundry were washed daily. The house was picked up every night. All without yelling. All without spanking. I'm not saying hubby is a negative influence, but it's hard to maintain a relationship when people and circumstances change.

It has been a good week.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fridge to Freezer...a well worn path

We spent a lot at the farmer's market last week. Then we went to Costco and a grocery store (well, hubby did). Major drain on the grocery budget. However, the pantry, fridge, and freezer are stocked, ready to go. Glad I didn't go with hubby to Sacramento or Bishop this past month! Don't get me wrong, I love Bishop and sometimes Sac, but I am really trying to save money overall. That didn't happen whatsoever when hubby and the kids grocery shop with me.

Luckily with it being fall, apples are in season. My kids love anything with natural sugars aka fruit, so when I saw apples with no food wax at the farmer's market, we bought some! They only had two varieties to choose from: pink lady and gala. I'll take pink lady apples any day.

So how did I get my fridge, pantry, and freezer full? Ok, I lied. The freezer isn't quite full, but the fridge is. I hate having food packed in the fridge. I love being able to see the light and how dirty my shelves are. We don't really need to buy all the extra food especially with hubby gone. So I froze the squash, zucchini, bell peppers, and potatoes for when he returns. Potatoes O'Brien sounds really good...

Today's project was to get the store-bought tomatoes into the fridge. Hubby bought some vine ripened tomatoes that weren't quite ready, so they sat in a paper bag. I'm glad I checked that paper bag today since I completely forgot about them! There was absolutely no room in the fridge and the only thing to do was to remove the extra veggies and freeze them.
They say you should eat colors of the rainbow!
It wasn't hard It took me maybe an hour to get all the chopping and bagging. Bell peppers are the easiest thing to freeze. You wash, chop, bag, and freeze. This time I tried something different. I put the seeds inside snack sized baggies and froze them for next year's garden. I probably saved between $3-$6 right there.

The squash (and zucchini), I froze without blanching. Looking at the reader's comments at, squash can be frozen without cooking it at all. Easy peasy! Another slice, bag, and freeze method. Another quick and easy way to save my precious food. The only catch is you have to eat it before 4-6 months in the freezer.
Glad I don't have to toss these

 The potatoes, I figured since hubby isn't home, I might as well freeze them. You can't freeze raw potatoes, so I half cooked them/simmered them and let them cool. Then I drained them, bagged them, and froze them. It's a little different than the website:, but we'll see how they turn out since they are cooked before frozen.

Food for the chickens

There you have it. Another opportunity to not waste food, but to save it for later. Maybe I should buy some stock in Ziploc...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finding my Niche

I'll be honest. I want to see the world. I don't want to go back to work, although I do want the income. I want to homeschool the kids, yet I have absolutely no patience with them. I apparently want a lot of things. That's normal though.

So in order to find my niche in life, I have to look at my hobbies.

Cake decorating
Baking sweets (when its not 200 degrees in the house)
Metal Detecting
Photography (although I do need more practice)
Writing (always wanted to be an author)
Teaching (math, spelling, and English)

These are pretty broad hobbies. Where does one start? Well, I took classes on cake decorating. It was fun and I made great friends.

I don't own a metal detector. I have the gold panning "pans", but I haven't gone all year. I need to just go (although its snowing in the mountains now). I really want to rent an actual metal detector and go to the Mojave or Death Valley.

I've been learning different aspects of photography, but the only people I can seem to photograph are my own kids. Sometimes those don't even come out good.

As for writing, I have an outline for a few different stories, plus a blog. It's one of the few hobbies that I truly enjoy and can do from anywhere. Just not anytime. I like a silent room/house so I can concentrate.

I've always loved math and other few subjects. I looked into becoming a substitute teacher and it cost me more to put my kids in daycare than the actual salary. Plus, there are so many teachers out there plus budget cuts. Very scary time for education. Another thing about the school system-I watched a documentary on Netflix and it basically said public schools are similar to prison. The education system needs fixed badly. I'm so scared to put my kids in public school, yet we can't afford private school.

So this leaves me with gardening. The ultimate goal is homesteading. We don't have a large budget for groceries and I'm so sick of hubby's convenience addiction. I've been a DIY most of my life and he's still engrained with his parent's materialistic world. He's always comparing our lives to his parents. Ugh. We sat down and came up with the goal to be "green" and homestead. He doesn't want to be totally off the grid, but I do. I hate bills. Call me greedy.

Right now, I am trying to plan the garden. Who knew it was so much work? The biggest question is peppers and tomatoes. Can they be combined? I've seen it both ways that they are and are not companion plants. Does this only apply to certain varieties? There's a huge nitrogen war in the soil if you don't plan your garden correctly. Who knew?

I know you enjoy pics, so that's on my to-do list. I keep wanting to write, but am finding it harder and harder to get on the computer. I need to set time down to actually get these on the computer. Finding my niche isn't easy and if you want to find yours, seriously look at your hobbies. Everyone has hobbies, even if it is watching tv or playing video games. Then figure out what you like about them.

Best of luck and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prop 37

This is just my opinion. If you don't know what's going on with Prop 37, you should definitely check it out. Yes, it will cost us in food prices, but hasn't gas already gone up? Groceries? Utilities?

California propositions this year on the 2012 ballot have millions scratching their heads. Billions have already been spent in advertising the yes and nos to several propositions and people. They are counting on all those who do not research the propositions. Looking at the sample ballot via the mail, each ballot informs voters how much it will cost the state. This bit of information gives ignorant voters the cause for voting yes or no on each particular measure.

Hubby is voting no on all the props so we don't have higher taxes. Good luck with that one honey! There are two similar and confusing props (30 and 38) threatening educational and public safety funding.  It's very confusing even if you read the fine print. Prop 30 taxes the wealthy and funds schools, but only for a specified amount of time. Any tax money after the specified time goes into...??? Loophole right there. 38 is for funding early childhood education, yet it's for elementary schools and low-income families. What about my children? They wouldn't receive any incentives from this. 38 also supposedly goes to paying back federal debt. Now it says it will promote preschools, but the only preschools around here at church-ran organizations. Hmmm....

There's a prop about rezoning district lines (40). If you look at the bottom of San Joaquin Valley, the district lines look like a giant spiral around Bakersfield. Seriously? County lines apparently mean nothing.

Another proposition is about the auto insurance companies (33). This will promote supposedly lower rates on a driver's history. Why are we voting on this? Either way, the illegal non-insured Mexicans will continue to drive on our roads. 

The Death Penalty. California wants to repeal the death penalty (34). It saves the state money if we take it away. Okay, so instead we continue to overfill our prisons and pay for them to live a life of luxury as us taxpayers foot the bill. Wow.

Human Trafficking (35). Harsher penalties. This will cost the state a few million to maintain, but hey, it's public safety. This also includes sex offender's must tell officials their internet activities and identities. They aren't doing that already? Do we have to vote to leave crumbs on the floor too?

Prop 36 is the 3 strikes law for repeat offenders. Another public safety issue. Haven't heard much on this either. Primarily harsher laws for harsh crimes.

Prop 39 is a big pet peeve of mine. Want to do business in California yet headquartered in another state? Let's mix energy efficiency in with this one. Out-of-state businesses would have to pay state taxes based on sales and that money will towards making California "green". Last I checked, they still had to pay a set fee for taxes, but only one more form than an in-state business. This sounds too good to be true. Half the revenue would be spent on "energy efficient projects. Of the remaining [meaning the other half] revenues,  a significant portion likely would be spent on schools." So where would the rest of it go? Sounds like another loophole to me.

Then there's my favorite: Prop 37, where all genetically modified foods have to be labeled. I'm completely for this since I want to know if there are pesticides or even biotechnology is used. Our bodies are not science experiments and our food shouldn't be either. Europe does not allow biotechnology, yet we've been eating it since the 1970s. Our country also has a higher number of health problems, obesity, a prescription drug empire, and just plain convenience for every demand in our lives. Yet we just sit back and let our government say GMO foods are the way we eat. I don't think so. I've made the change to non-GMO and I've lost weight, gained confidence, and know that my family is eating healthy on a budget

There have been billions of dollars spent by the big food companies to get people to vote NO on prop 37. They want to hide the fact that country eats only GMO foods. Monsanto, Pepsi, ConAgra, and countless others are spending billions just on California to stop this campaign. 

To me, Proposition 37 is the most important one during this election. I really wish this topic was discussed at the debate, although neither president really cares about such "nonsense". 

Yes on 37!

October 2012

I can't believe October has pretty much flown by. Luckily, we already have costumes from last year that the kids want to wear. My daughter wants to be no one else but Cinderella. My son, really into trains, is going to be Thomas the Tank Engine again. Yay! The neighbors have decorated their yards yet again and it's quite funny to see two houses trying to out-do each other for Halloween. Halloween has more decorations in our neighborhood than Christmas. Not that its that cold for Christmas here. One more reason to love Bakersfield in the winter.

October has been a good month. Monopoly is at McDonald's, so lunch lines are shorter elsewhere. The Christmas junk is proudly displayed in stores, and we are able to get outside to walk while the sun is still up. The temperatures have been jumping from 70s-90s. Today is suppose to be 99 degrees. My winter plants really don't like this heat! Our winter garden is primarily planted: purple broccoli, spinach, and iceberg lettuce. I need to get to Home Depot to get the rest of my lettuces.

I'm hoping I can keep the tomato plants growing and producing for a bit longer. Bako's frost is November, so as fast as that is coming, the plants don't have much longer.

I'm also researching hydrogen fuel cells that we can make at home. One step to getting a "greener" car. Our macho SUV and the $4.69 gas prices apparently do not mix well for our budget. I've been filling up when the gas hits half a tank just because that's a big enough shock! I'm so sick of paying bills when we could actually NOT be paying bills. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

This weekend (or next), we are going to try to build a small scale fuel cell to see how it works. I found a great website that uses most items from around the house:  There's only one item that I have to order, but since hubby is in Sac, he's going to look at Fry's before I order. I'll definitely post those results!

October 2012 is also the Presidential debates. Did anyone else watch? It was definitely a debate unlike the first one. I'm not going to get too much into politics since everyone is entitled to their opinions. Since you're reading this and it is my opinion, our country is doomed either way. They both are running to protect and fund their own wallets.

Overall, October has had confusing weather, a new garden, and extremely high gas prices. Our neighbors are going all out for Halloween, the kids have inexpensive costumes, and we're taking that first step to become "green". It's a very exciting month at the Bako Depot!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Day at the Bako Depot

Another day has come and gone. Still in the lovely fall weather, they are actually talking about an actual thunderstorm tomorrow! We haven't had a good t-storm in a LONG time, so I'm very excited. This cooler weather is making me want to drink hot chocolate already. Living in the midwest for 15+ years, I got use to the snow and do I miss it? I miss looking at it. That's about it. If I want to bundle up, the mountains are about thirty minutes away. Good enough for me!

Today, hubby and I went for a walk in the wee hours of the morning. It wasn't until halfway through that the rooster crowed. He's been later than usual. The kids woke after hubby left for work so I made them some eggs with diced jalapenos (whoops) and then dumped that out so I could cook canned chilies (Anaheims), which instead of opening the can to dump in diced chilies, they turned out to be whole chilies. So I diced them and put them in the skillet with the mushrooms. I can't tell you how much my three year old hates mushrooms. I've showed him a little snippet on YouTube about Mario eating mushrooms and growing biger. It unfortunately didn't work!

After that, I read a book (Little Blue Truck) to the kids and they are actually picking up more and more words. I had them paint on a large piece of paper before they decided it would be more fun to paint each other. Another shower for them...

We baked red velvet cupcakes, brownies, and made grilled a whole chicken for dinner (with other stuff). Plus, we made bread in the machine. Nothing beats homemade bread.

Like I said, the weather has been great, so the kids can go outside and I don't have to worry about sunburns anymore. Now it's climbing trees and fighting with sticks. I'm hoping I get a chance to deflate the pool now that summer is over.

I got more weeds pulled in the garden, filled up the yard waste bin, and found the peppercinis and tomatillos are still producing like crazy! We will definitely be planting more of those next year. I also found I need to put a net over the grapes and tomato plants next year. The birds attacked with a vengeance for my fruit.

Overall, it was a productive day. I still have lots more to finish: laundry, cleaning the kitchen (never-ending), filing (sitting on my table for a month now), and general fall cleaning. Did I mention I want to get a few projects done in case we need to move? I swear the list never ends.

And as for the kids, I've decided I'm going to homeschool Lizzy during her kindergarten year. I'm going to try it and see what she thinks of mommy teaching her. I'm trying my best to stay calm and patient, but I'll write more about that later.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Garden

Another summer is over. Am I going to miss it? Not really. Sweating through triple digit days plus intense smog are never my idea of a good time. You couldn't even stand in the shade without breaking a sweat.

It seems our garden didn't really have a chance. Between the hot weather and my lack of attention/selfish desire to stay in cooler weather, the garden suffered a horrible death. All because of me. I intended well and next year, I will be better armed to fight for them.

My wanting to stay at home largely depends on how much food we can grow and preserve. This didn't happen this year, but the upside to it, I did some research and found what should work better and best for next year's garden.

Although now that the triple digit days are officially over, the cooler weather has brought me outside once again. I absolutely love it! There are a couple plants still doing producing, but once I get the weeds and other objects (weeds) under control, I can finally plant my winter garden. It's primarily lettuce and green leaves, but with us eating salad most nights with and sometimes for dinner, it's a huge money saver. Yes, I can buy salad for $3 for 6 organic romaine hearts at Sam's, but really, what's the harm in growing my own?

Our fruit trees have been much, much better since the weather has cooled down as well. They aren't producing yet, but I'm sure they will be bountiful in time -especially my dwarf lime tree. The pear tree came up all by itself with the trunk half rotted, so I think we're going to pull it out and plant a new one (if we don't move). We'll also pull up the olive tree that branched up as well since we're not sure its fruitless or not. Apparently there are a ton more fruitless olive trees than fruited trees.

I can get back to weeding the flower bed as well, too. I'll begin spraying the flower beds (since they are primarily rock and fruit trees) with vinegar. Vinegar kills 99% of plants- weeds or not. It will kill the seeds they spread while I pluck them out as well. So protect your wanted plants if you spray vinegar on them.

I've learned how to compost as well. Not quite as appetizing, but its a gardener's best friend. It's what creates that expensive top soil. Dog poop really should be picked up out of the yard since it has too much nitrogen in it even for grass. Livestock (chickens, cows, etc) manure is the way to go, however, it needs to be decomposed before being put in the garden. If it's not decomposed properly, it will burn the plants. Believe me, I tried putting chicken manure in my garden and the plant died within a day.

Back to the fall season. Cooler temperatures. I should say reasonable temperatures, have lulled me back outside to enjoy my garden and yard again. The house needs a lot of work and if we are going to get it ready to sell (fingers crossed), then we (not only myself) need to get a few projects done.

After doing my research, I found that zone 9 can actually grow a winter garden. How awesome is that? It makes me wonder how and when we move back to the Midwest how we will get to have a winter garden? I really want to avoid the greenhouse route, so any input would be great.

With gas prices rising above our expectations, food prices will of course be rising as well. Will you be able to handle the rising cost of living or will you be stuck like me, having no choice but to raise my own food?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Government, In my Opinion

I'm not the numero uno politics follower. I know who the president and the mayor are. I know Capitol Hill people are old decrepits who stuff their wallets and get their way much like babies. I can't explain how much I want to fix the government, yet I'm just one person. One voice- out of millions. Doesn't anyone want to do anything about it? We give our government billions of dollars through taxes (residential and commercial), yet we get a poorly funded country at best. No wonder so many are revoking their citizenships.

There's so many people, departments, and programs that contribute to the federal deficit, yet we keep adding more each year. When will it end? Senate and Congress don't see a deficit, they see their jobs. If they can keep the country in turmoil, then they remain there scratching their heads, including the President.

This was the first time I actually watched the Presidential debate and I know its not the only debate before elections, but, to put it plainly, it were purely stupidity. Obama is trying his best (at least, he thinks its his best) to create a socialist country where everyone, regardless of anything, healthcare will be neutralized so both the jobless and the wealthy can share the same doctor and its facilities. He doesn't want the separation of classes, he wants equality across the board. I'm assuming this includes illegals. Are these beliefs of his because his is Muslim? I highly think he got chosen president of his skin color in the Southeast. That's why more people voted him in my opinion, plus all the non-white classes. I'm not sure his opponent McCain would have done any better. Of course, with the electoral college, our votes don't count anymore.

And here we have Mr. Mitt Romney. Another big white bullshitter who loves the sound of his own voice. He described he wants to create a perfect country. Okay, so where's your plans for this perfect country you described? In my opinion, he's all talk. Once either man steps into that oval office, our country is doomed.

You want to fix the government and the federal deficit Mr. President? Look at those around you. Those men and women on Capitol Hill earning over $175,000 average. Make them a GS-11 or 12 salary. Don't make them special. They don't know whats best for people, they only know what's best for them. So how are they representing my family and I? I know how to say yes or no to a question. I don't compromise on things that matter. You make a pros and cons list for the bigger issues.

Watching the debate just made me angry to see these people are actually in charge. All they want to do is make promises to moms, small businesses, and families, yet they turn around and take money from large corporations. Talk about bending your values. This country needs help and these are not the ones to do it.

A dreamer and a socialist. Who will win?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homesteading. Is it worth it?

Homesteading. Some think it’s a day's long list of chores on a plot of land. Others see it as a way to avoid any communication with the retail grocery stores. Me? I’m just trying to provide for my family. I want to be able to provide the best for them. What do you get at the grocery store? A ton of processed, preservative filled food. Crackers, juice, canned vegetables- you get the idea. Now I don’t plan on raising my own cattle or pigs, but I do plan on raising chickens. If you don’t have one, you should. Not only do they eat leftover food, they also provide eggs without the rooster (and I enjoy watching them). Currently, we don’t have a homestead thing going on, but hopefully soon.

Currently, we purchase our groceries at the Farmer's Market. This way I know hubby's hard earned money goes back into the community -local farmers. They work so hard to produce a quality item that benefits you and them. I do admit there are some items we can't get at the farmer's market that we will buy from Sam's or Costco since their organic doesn't cost an arm or leg like the typical grocery store. For household items, we will buy after realizing we can't DIY it. I know it sounds cheap and crazy to try making your own pillowcase or tiling the floor, but we are on a fixed income (halfway to becoming senior citizens).

One time at Sam's, hubby (not quite 100% on board with my new plant-based diet or saving as much as we really can) bought an 8pk of canned peas, 8pk of canned corn, and 12pk of green beans. All because he can just open it and heat it quickly. That added up to over $20. $20.00! Each canned item is full of salt, laden with pesticides, and will last through another ten years. If I have to purchase canned vegetables, I'll buy the salt free canned vegetables or frozen, but only sparingly if I can't get it at my farmer's market. I could have grown these vegetables and saved plus grow triple that amount! All for convenience. I looked at the canned peas ingredients. They actually put sugar in their canned sweet peas. They have absolutely no taste, not even a slightly sweet one.

So the true question is this new urban homesteading phase worth it? There will be a higher water consumption for our household, but I know I won't be using any pesticides or insecticides on my mini farm. I will have more flying insects around to pollinate the plants, but the chickens will eat the crawling ones. I will have to learn how to organize our produce and properly can, freeze, and preserve, but we will save money in the end. I, as well as hundreds of others, think homesteading is worth it.

The initial start-up cost will be a few seeds, egg cartons (seed starting trays), plastic wrap (keep moisture in), and tomato cages. Plus the water. I will have to install a sprinkler system, but a hose or my yard's sprinkler system is just fine for now. I don't plan on building a greenhouse. It's not in our budget. It might be later, but we have to start small and save what we can. I don't work, so this will be my "job" to provide fresh produce for our family.

Homesteading takes planning and commitment. We are able to start a winter garden here soon, but I haven't quite planned that yet since we are waiting to find out some news about hubby's career. We are praying he transfers to Sac although I really do love the Bako Depot. I think homesteading will be worth it, not only for me, but also for my family. This way, I'll be able to find what I need when I need to- unlike the grocery and department stores. My produce will be original, unlike the orange crunchy "tomatoes" imported from Mexico year round. My kids will learn what it is like to grow and do instead of shop and depend on others for food (sounds like a homeless or welfare person). Plus, if I fill my yard with growing produce, I can sell the extra (if I want to) and have less lawn to mow (sounds like a win-win).
Do you homestead? What do you think?

Our Junk-Filled Economy

Walking through the grocery store or department store with produce, it boggles my mind to try to find anything. I went to the grocery store for one item the other day and had to walk around the store twice to find what I needed. It's not my usual grocery store, but shouldn't items be easy to find? It made me aware of how much junk we have in our lives. Cookies, potato chips, salad dressing, canned vegetables. What happened to self-sufficiency? Have we gotten so lazy that we can't make anything anymore? A box of cake mix is $2+ per box. Are you waiting for the bugs to start invading your flour at home? Are the eggs in your fridge for decoration?

Someone said America cannot live without convenience or something to that effect. They are 100% right. Fast food, prepackaged potato salad, bagged salad, the list goes on. Since I've cut back on spending, I found myself couponing and only shopping at grocery stores for awhile. I became burned out trying to find a specific product for a specific amount at a certain location. The coupon mission really didn't make buying food any cheaper. So I stopped and realized coupons are primarily for junk food. There's a few for health foods (still processed), organic, and rarely produce.

People buying whatever is inexpensive because they think that is all they can afford. Whenever there's a new product, there's a coupon for cheap or even free. No wonder people are obese and lazy. People need to change their mindset. Cheap is not good. Cheap is unhealthy. I'm not saying buy only organic and expensive things. I'm saying purchase quality. Don't think the grocery store is the only place to purchase produce.

With all these coupons available, comes trash. The trash bins overflow with boxes, plastic bags, paper, food cans, etc. It is horrifying to trash bins bursting with items we are made to think we need every week. Our pantry was bursting at the seams and yet we went shopping for more every week. That's the mindset we have. The prepackaged food never goes bad and although we only consume so much per week, we continue trek on to the grocery store.

A year later, my family started watching a show called "Clean House" through Netflix. It was mesmerizing to watch families with a mess so big that it often had $1,000+ yard sales. Our house wasn't as bad as most of those, but we knew we needed to change. What did we do? Our family downsized. We got rid of the extra clothes, baby toys, extra camping gear, etc. We freed ourselves of the trash, from our cupboards, our closets, toyboxes, yard, and most importantly, we got the junk out of our bodies. Sounds like a cleansing, doesn't it?

Getting out of the house is the hardest part. You can live your "cleansed" lifestyle at home, but when you drive down one major street in town, you'll find a plethora of drive-thru chains for breakfast, lunch, snacktime, and dinner. Wow. Yes, its nice to have someone else cook or not have any dishes to wash, but you end up filling the landfill and your arteries. Unless you order that iceberg salad, there's not much left on the menu.

Another issue I have when dining out is where does the food come from? 99% of it comes from foreign countries and/or an overcrowded feedlot. That's why its cheap. Inexpensive antibiotic filled meat-that's not counting the soybeans and corn syrup companies add to the meat. Grass-fed animals are expensive, but in my opinion, 100% worth the cost.

Meat is like Wal-Mart and Target. Wal-Mart sells low priced items, based on quantity. Target sells a little more expensive items than Wal-Mart, but they are based on quality. See the difference? I'm not promoting or bashing either company, but I get tired of spending countless hours and hubby's hard earned money to these big corporations that will not benefit me or my family in the long run. I'm not getting my money or health back. Once your money and health leave, it's gone.

The one-stop shopping is convenient, especially when you have kids. Who has time to unbuckle them three or four times and put up with temper tantrums? Why would you take your kids to a sit down dinner when the drive-thru is just as convenient? As a whole, we are lazy and obese Americans. I'm not saying I'm energetic or at a healthy weight. I'm just seeing the big picture of how these corporations and the government operates.

Junk in Pantry
Convenience has pushed us consumers at a cost. It has created a government and corporations to throw junk (and trash) in our homes, our bodies, and minds. We have come dependent on other countries for our food and their hard work in making our products. This makes me wonder what are Americans good for? Yes, we are the leader of the world, but why? What do we, as a people and not government, provide?

Our self-sufficiency mindset has been stripped away. Why do something yourself when you can just pay for it? I challenge you to look at the labels. Buy local, buy organic. Don't buy from the big box store or fast food chain for one week or one month. Before purchasing anything. Ask yourself two questions: 1. Can I grow it? 2. Can I make it myself?

Just because the store might be cheaper, ask yourself who is my money benefiting? My local economy or the billion dollar corporation? No wonder so many are under and unemployed.

Thanks for reading!