Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 2 Challenges


So I had an epiphany, you know what would be really cool? If I had enough followers where we could do en-mass weekly challenges. Right now I'm just challenging myself, but imagine if there were other people like me who struggled with the same thing, or not necessarily struggled, but just wanted to improve. Wouldn't that be cool to have an online guide and a new thing you do every week... but maybe not? Since we are all different maybe we all should make our own weekly challenges? Anyway food for thought!

This week is a bit different because it won't start for a couple days. My original plan with the weekly challenges were that they run continuously, but life happens! I'm going out of town which was not part of the original plan, and since this week is focusing on healthy eating it is also not ideal! Rather than set myself up to fail by starting the weekly challenge now, I'm waiting until I return from my short trip! Eating healthy in a hotel is not easy!

My week two will start Wednesday. Here are my weekly goals:
#1 Drink one glass of water per day
#2 Eat salad for one meal per day
#3 throwbacks, also continue with week one challenges!

Some of you might be surprised by number three, but you know the saying: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!". I didn't meet my goals on week one, neither task was done 7/7 days which was my original goal and intent!

Although I didn't make it and do all 7 days on both of my week one challenges I'm still happy with my first week because there was progress. My dogs don't usually get walked six days a week, and week one was good for them and me!

How My Week One Challenges Went


Week one is over, but I'm just beginning! My challenges for week one were doing daily chores, and walking my dogs daily. For someone like me, it is hard to stick to something. I'm not sure what it is, a lack of motivation, depression, laziness, lack of will power? In some ways I am very mature, but in this I'm still like a child. These weekly challenges are to help me change, and get the willpower to push through things I don't want to do, to give up things and try new things!

Here is how I did on my challenges:
Cleaning 5/7 days
   cleaning according to my chore list: 3/7 days
Walking the dogs 6/7 days
    I have been super sleepy lately so my husband told me I shouldn't worry about walking them the last day since they were going to their boarders, where they spend a bit of time outside running around with other dogs, such a enabler my husband!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Two story Tiny House Shell!


This story begins where many home stories begin, at a Home Depot! My husband Chris and I went there the other day to buy a new bathroom sink, and in the parking lot I saw a beautiful two story building that looks like a small house (pictured above).

Peak Roof
New Day

All prices include delivery & installation

The price for this shell is not exorbitant, and the size is not all that small when you consider it has two stories so any of these sizes we take the sq ft we get from the measurement given and double it, bringing the smallest one in at right around 500 sq ft and the largest in at just over 1200 sq ft!!! Since I saw this in the Home Depot parking lot I've been googling to find out more about it and came across this vlog where a man does a short interior tour of one of these!

The price listed is for the base model (without a porch, and with a different entry door) so any options like the porch etc would be more expensive, and depending on the additional cost may be better to pay to have built on once you have the home on your property (or DIY).

I think this could be a wonderful option, IF it is well built to last! I have come across some buildings built as "sheds" that really aren't well made and don't last long at all (maybe 5 years). Since this is obviously built to appeal to the tiny house movement it hopefully will be well constructed!

In the past I talked to my mom about converting a cute little cabin "shed" into a home... I did estimated on the total cost of it finished which I'll use those estimates here to give you a general idea of cost to finish this (probably on the low end since I'm frugal and my mom doesn't have high end tastes... and if she wanted granite I'd check the restore before going to a big box company!). According to my estimates, someone who is not the DIY type would spend about $15,000 to finish the house out. The cost of this finished for the biggest (and most expensive) base model would come to around $35,000 in my area on the low end! Depending on where you live and the construction on this depends on whether that is a good price or not!

You can find a link to the website here. What do ya'll think? Would you buy it?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Week 1 Challenges


I had originally planned to wait until the new month to begin my weekly challenges, but why wait? I am a horrid procrastinator, and it is something I need to work on. I'm always putting off starting til "tomorrow" but tomorrow never comes. I decided to start my weekly challenges TODAY =)

This is week one of my challenges and this week I'm starting off simple. I have two challenges I am doing this week.
Challenge #1: Do daily chores
 -I wrote out chores on a whiteboard so this challenge is all about me following through with my cleaning goals, and about having a cleaner house of course! This does allot one day "off"
Challenge #2: Walk the dogs daily
-This is something that I have been meaning to do for sometime and started in the past but then would stop due to weather, or my cycle, or me not feeling well. My dogs deserve better. This will probably be a reoccurring challenge until it gets to be a integrated part of my daily routine!

At the end of the week I will tell ya'll how I did with these challenges, and then we will have week 2 challenges. Eventually once I get passed some of the easier challenges and start making progress at changing my life and becoming healthier, than I'll be taking fitness challenges!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekly Challenges


I am kind of a flaky person, and not in the dandruff sense. I haven't really figured out who I am yet, and part of me hates pushing the status quo to find out! When I was reading other blogs I came across a journalist who did a new challenge every month, I was inspired. Trying to change for a whole month is pretty hard though, so I decided to do something a little bit different: weekly challenges! You can do ANYTHING for one week!

Starting next month I'm doing at least one challenge per week, maybe more than one if they are in different areas =)! I want to challenge myself to become better. I want to do some fitness challenges, some eating challenges, lifestyle, etc. One week at a time I want to challenge the status quo and hopefully learn and change!

Right now I don't have many challenges planned out, but I have some ideas:
1. Walk the dogs every day for a week.
2. Eat only salad for dinner everyday for a week.
3. Do week one of an ab challenge
4. Do Pilates everyday for a week.
5. Do X amount of work everyday for a week.
6. Cook dinner everyday for a week.
7. Keep the house completely clean for a week (other than doggy mud prints, can't be helped =/ )

I know some of these seem simple to some of you, or like I should already be doing it... but these are things I want to work on in my life! Being happy is something I need to work on in my life, not that I'm depressed but I have a ways to go still =)

Any of you thinking of trying short term challenges? My goal with this is to give me confidence and strengthen my will power so I can turn the ones I choose into long term changes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SNAP Challenger Shout Out


This post is way past due but during my S.N.A.P challenge I was perusing some other blog entries and decided that after I had finished my challenge I would highlight some other challengers! Here goes!

Lessons Learned from the Flock was one of my favorite reads on this subject. I think she was fair on the subject, not overly bias for either side of the issue. Some of the things I loved about her challenge is she didn't go crazy with coupons, she ate healthy, and she shopped smart. Everyday she posted what she had for meals that day (and maybe even how to cook them!). From the posts I read it looks like she ate healthy, and the food looked pretty good!
On her last day she projects whether she could keep going on the budget allotted to her based on the S.N.A.P challenge, and estimated she could and would in fact have a surplus with which to buy the staples when she ran out or spices, treats, etc! As I said, this lady is not bias. She took and passed the challenge, but she didn't gloat and say food stamp amounts are too high or just right. Her position was that it is POSSIBLE to eat healthy buying all your groceries on food stamps, but you pretty much need to know how to cook! I agree with that as someone who doesn't know how to cook many meals!

FoodSafetyNews has a food stamp challenge article I also found intriguing. The author Suzanne decided to take a new challenge every month, something I very much admire actually! Her goals for the SNAP challenge were listed as
  1. To gain a better appreciation for how difficult it is to eat healthfully on a very restrictive budget.
  2. To determine whether the diet I ate during the month would provide the daily recommended intake of nutrients, vitamins and minerals on what some have deemed to be a less-than-adequate budget.
She did a much better job than me I think at both eating healthy and tracking what she ate (like most other bloggers). While she was more sympathetic to the recipients hinting that food stamp amounts might be inadequate she did state that she did think that is was doable with a bit of effort and if you have a vehicle. 

Freedomworks is my last feature, and at the beginning of the article probably my least favorite. This one seems very scornful to me, and while the scorn is directed at Donald Payne, the Democratic Party, and some other member of Congress, it still starts off as a harsher read. Once you get past the abruptness of the intro you get down to her grocery list, and then you have to give props to the woman! Her grocery list was pretty healthy, if I was going to nitpick I would say there was probably TO much meat in there, but since most people say they are poor and can't afford meat she is once again disproving chatter! As originally displeased as I was at the beginning of the article I was very impressed by the end. This is a woman I want in congress, someone who can manage a budget!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

03/11/2015 Grocery Haul!


Every now and then when I get AMAZING deals I like to post my grocery haul on here, that or when I'm trying to convince myself and you that eating well on a budget is a cinch! Today was my grocery day, and lets just say I definitely went a little crazy!

My fridge and freezer are COMPLETELY full. I even had to take out the ice box and turn off the ice feature just to fit everything in! I had to rearrange the top section to make sure all of my older meats were in the front so they would be eaten before the meats I just bought! I always try to remember to do that so I don't have old freezer burnt meat hiding in the back of my freezer!

For this haul I went to 3 different stores: Knights, Kroger, and Dollar Tree.

Knights was my first stop, and the only one I planned on making. Knights is a locally owned discount grocery and fast becoming my favorite grocery store! I used to only make it to Knights on occasion, because the only one I knew about was 30 minutes away... I found one much closer, and that is the one I hit up today!
Here are the best deals I got there:
(2) Cocoa Pebbles Cereal $2/ea
(2) Fresh Jalepanoes $.50
Artisian Tomatoes Pack $.99
(2) Artisian Cherry Tomatoes Pack $.99/ea
(2) 1 lb Strawberries $1.18/ea
PICKLES .99 for a BIG ole' jar
Celery bunch $.97
(16) Chicken Cuts .99
(these are for the pictured packages!! to the right)
Asparagus $2.49/lb
Fresh Green Beans .53/lb
(15) Catfish Nuggets $1.39/lb
Boneless English Roast $6.61
Eye of Round Steak $4.46
Chuck Tender Steak $3.45
These are just the best deals, but certainly not everything I bought there. In total I spent $111.44 there!

After Knights I hit up the Dollar Tree, which is right next to Kroger in this town so I always run in Dollar Tree first! The good deals there are for their canned seafood. Vancamp oysters are $1 there, $2 most other places. I also buy canned clams there for clam chowder. Other than those two items I found some frozen blueberries and mixed berries (same brand sold in Kroger) for just $1, and I bought some spring rolls, coffee syrup, feta cheese, and evaporated milk. In total I spent $31 here, all but $4 of that was for food items with about 1/2 of it being just on stocking up on oysters!

Last but not least are my Kroger deals!
The best deal I got at Kroger by far was on cereal! I got 15 boxes of Raisin Bran Crunch for $1.49 a box, being the angel that I am I did leave a couple boxes on the shelf... but I bought 15 cause my husband loves him some Raisin Bran Crunch and I swear that boy eats like 1/2 a box a sitting!
Organic Mushrooms .99 (pictured above, King Trumpets)
(4) Ole Wrap Tortilla's $2.19/bag of 10
(2) Pineapple $1
My total at Kroger was $84.62!

All together today I spent $227! That is the majority of my grocery budget for the MONTH! I also got about 135 items which makes my total come down to $1.69 an item, which is pretty impressive considering the bulk of my haul is meat, fish, produce, and cereal and I put no extra effort into shopping, just shopped the sales and clearances!

For the rest of the month I have $50 left of grocery money. I'm planning on spending that money on milk, lettuce, peppers, and soda!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Our Dogs got BLING!


I have been volunteering with a rescue in my area for about a year now. In that time I have had 4 foster dogs. Our second foster, Annie, was a puppy and had a MUCH nicer collar than my Nina-Bina! As soon as I actually noticed Annie's nice leather studded collar I thought of Nina's... I am actually embarrassed to say I don't think Nina has gotten a new collar (or had her collar washed) for 4 years!
My dogs both had regular nylon dog collars. Nina's at least was colorful, but it was red which made people think she was a he. Shadow just had a black collar, on a all black dog. For their new collars I opted to go with a leather like material. Nina got two, since I couldn't decide which one I wanted for her and figured they might not last as long (different material and low price). Pictured below are Nina's 2 collars (still waiting for the pink one to arrive), and Shadow's collar.

If your interested in any, they are all sold on Amazon. You can drag and drop the images to google to go directly to the page to buy them.

Here are pictures of them on my dogs... not the best pictures, cause Nina has a double chin and Shadow wasn't cooperating! Since those two aren't great I'm throwing in a freebie of my dogs looking adorable together!

What did I pay for the collars?
Nina's Blue: $10.50
Nina's Pink: $4.87
Shadow's: $9.90

I spent about $25 for 3 collars! A collar like Shadow's would cost much more than that all by itself, but what is the quality of these like?

So far I'm not seeing ANY issues with Nina's blue collar. It looks super cute on her, although the rhinestone bow makes it a little heavy so I wouldn't recommend it for super small dogs!

Shadow's collar, on the other hand, is already showing wear (one week of having it). He wears it 24/7 and does scratch... and is scratching the red right off the collar! It is super cute but probably not the best choice for a everyday collar. I might have gotten a defective one, but there wasn't a way to contact the seller directly about it... still for $10 it isn't worth returning. It is attractive, and might make a great choice if the dog rarely scratches.

What do ya'll think?

Edit: Got Nina's pink collar in and I'm less than pleased. The bow is much smaller than it appears and not a vibrant pink at all. Still for the money I can't complain too much, but don't expect too much if you decide to buy it!

No more Chickens


The title says it all with this new blog entry. We have said goodbye to our chickens, although I will miss Snowball and Sparrow they needed to go. Our precious wolf-dog, Shadow, finally got into their tractor and killed one of the chicks! Until we have a better layout/chicken area I'd rather not risk it!
As a final good-bye I thought I would post a picture of the silkies snow day, taken a few days before they found a new home!

As a former regular BYC member and contributor I feel like I lost an online forum of similar minded people! I just went on today to post that I no longer had chickens, and unsubscribe from most of my forums there.

In the future after we move I am hoping to once again have chickens & ducks! I'm just waiting for circumstances where I can have them and they will be safer (Shadow cough cough)!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snap Challenge: Failure!


So as many of you know I tried the Snap Challenge last month, what you may have guessed from the title is that I failed. I am not devastated over this fact though, for a couple reasons.

Reason #1- If you have extra money than your less likely to take the challenge super seriously, not that I didn't try but that I did give into wants and cravings because at the end of the day I had money to pay for those things.

Reason #2- As I have been saying SNAP stands for SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program. It is not designed to cover the average recipient's complete grocery bill, however some people CAN make it stretch if they are thrifty, couponers, hunters, etc.

Reason #3- I am not a chef. Although I am an adult I was never taught to cook, so I don't know how to make a delicious meal out of just about anything... in fact there are many ingredients I don't even know how to use/cook!

Reason #4- I am sure someone COULD live healthily on just SNAP. Given the amount I pay for lettuce, which is super healthy and all the fruit/veggies I have found cheap I know it could be done. The fact I didn't do it equates to me not having the will power to do it, it doesn't mean it can't be done.

Due to my reason #4 I think in the future I will do the SNAP challenge for a shorter time period. Trying to change my diet abruptly and maintain that change for a month was too much for me and my husband, but I think a week would work to show it is possible. What do ya'll think?