Our little piece of the world

A mother, wife, and teacher aims to make life simple

Archive for the tag “Frugal Living”

This is why I don’t have a cell phone

My decision to not have a cell phone does come with many disadvantages. There are often times when I’m downtown picking something up, or I’m going to be late, or I’m not near a phone, that I would love to just be able to take my phone out of my pocket and make the call.

I have never been happier about my decision than I am after reading this post entitled “How to Miss a Childhood”.

Let’s face it: that title tugs at the heartstrings before you’ve even read the blog.

I am a very distractable person, and I’m often guilty of messing around on my computer while my son is finishing his lunch (and I feel guilty enough about that). Thank goodness I don’t have a cell phone to distract me while I’m grocery shopping with him, or playing outside with a ball, or picking him up from daycare. Instead we talk about what we’re buying at the store, kicking a soccer ball back and fourth, or having a big hug after not having seen each other all day.

I am not a perfect parent, but I am so grateful that I’ve somehow been wise enough to see that making my son my number one priority is so important. Perhaps it’s because I see kids every day whose parents don’t.



Blog recommendation

I forgot that I wanted to recommend a blog that I have been reading in an attempt to learn more about canning and preserving.

Heavenly Homemakers has a ton of great information, but I’ve really focused on the canning and preserving section. If you’re into gardening and find that you have too many veggies, this is a great place to start learning how to preserve it for your pantry.

Well said, Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food.

Jamie’s TED talk on why we should include educate children about the importance of good food.
I’m proud to say that my school does teach a “family studies” class to grade 7 and 8 students about healthy eating and cooking.
… not sure they’re getting it after I see them eating poutine every day, though.

Earth Hour

This past Saturday was earth hour. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (which is probably not many of you- but I digress), earth hour is an initiative that was created in order to raise awareness of climate change as well as to reduce energy consumption for a little while. It’s a very simple concept- everyone is asked to turn off the lights, tv, and other electronic devices at 8:30 pm local time.

It’s really too bad that it’s come to this… that asking people to turn off their lights and tvs for one day a year is actually asking anything at all.   My husband and I try to make it a goal to do this for a night at least once a week. We light up a couple candles, play a board game or just chat for the night with a glass of wine. I’ve heard of other families having a family board game night or a no-electronics night. Everyone has their own reason for doing this: some want to save electricity, some want to spend some time together with loved ones, some genuinely enjoy having less dependance on electricity in their lives.

For our family it’s a combination of all those reasons. We often talk (on our electricity free nights) about how nice it will be to someday have a firepit outside, or a bunch of lanterns in the house (we’re working on our collection), or a working masonry fireplace. We think fondly about the day that we’ll be able to have electricity-free days, and we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of this happening in the near future.

Did you celebrate earth hour? Did it inspire you to make a bigger change in your life?

Clyde’s garden planner

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you have probably already figured out that a big part of self-sufficiency to me is cultivating your own food. Nutrition is one of the most important things to survival and if you can take care of that yourself you have one of your most important bases covered.

I am very much an apprentice gardener, but I have learned a lot over the past few months of research. Since I live in a fairly cold climate with a short gardening season (zone 3a), starting seeds indoors is very important.

Not too long ago I heard about Clyde’s Garden Planner, and ordered it that day to see what all the fuss was about. For $5 how could I loose?

…this thing is amazing.

For a novice gardener I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of information this tiny little chart contained. The problem with following the information on the seed packet is that it doesn’t take regional frost dates into account.

Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land?


I came across this on pinterest this weekend and was very surprised by it. I would be interested to hear if anyone reading this has any insight on this. My husband is a hunter, so we won’t be raising livestock for meat, but I do have it as a long term goal to try and raise chickens and goats in the future (for eggs and milk).

Book review : Country Wisdom and Know-How

Amazon link

This was the first book that my husband and I read about homesteading so it was only natural that it’s the first book review I do on this blog. My parents actually bought this book as a gag-gift for my husband, but it quickly became clear how useful it actually was. This book has so much information in it, it took us a few weeks to fully process all the information and figure out how we wanted to use it to improve our lives. The book contains information on raising livestock, quilting, gardening, training cats and dogs, home brewing and so much more.

There are countless tables, check lists, recipies, and step-by-step instructions for making even the most inexperienced (ie. me) would-be homesteader feel comfortable living a self-sustaining lifestyle.

The only problem that I encountered (and was mentioned over and over in the reviews on Amazon) is the physical size of the book. It’s far too big, and it’s a soft cover, so it’s difficult to hold and read. My copy also seemed to be missing a few pages… I’m not sure what that’s all about (but it could have been a problem with how my mom bought it).

Regardless of those problems I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in homesteading, whether novice or experienced. There is so much varied information that I’m sure there is something that anyone could learn from it.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Not too long ago, I came across this post about how to make your own laundry detergent. Not being one to look a cheap-laundry-solution in the mouth, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m certain that my husband thought that I was completely insane as I grated the bar of soap on the cheese grater and mixed all the ingredients in a gallon-bucket, but he did keep saying how good it smelled.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well this soap has worked, and I do a lot of really dirty laundry (I am the mother of a two year old afterall). I got two very large jars of laundry detergent out of the deal, and I got to get rid of the ugly cardboard box in my laundry room… and yes.. it does smell better in there as well. I’m excited to see how long the soap will last. I do a lot of laundry and you only have to use a (heaping) tablespoon.


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