Part One~Why use a reel mower?

August 29, 2007 at 2:44 am | Posted in frugal, Health, simplicity | 5 Comments

cleanairgardening_1963_94772951.gif When our gas powered push mower started to go on the fritz this year, we made the final decision to retire it. The cost of maintenance, gasoline, and what it’s use was doing to the environment just was not worth it. We had purchased a reel mower some months before, but had not made the commitment to it we had planned. My idea was that I could use it while the kids played nearby. We do not condone the use of gas powered mowers in the close vicinity of children (or anyone for that matter) as flying rocks, debris, gas fumes, and the off chance someone could fall into the path of the blades, is to much for us. This seemed a safe way for me to get some exercise, and keep the yard looking nice, all the while being kind to the environment. Now the reel mower was going to become a necessity.Not having to deal with gas, engines, and not to mention that I can mow anytime of day or night without disturbing the neighbors! Other great reasons to make the switch can be found at EPA Lawn Care Facts. There is a small amount of reality check needed here before you rush out and purchase a reel mower. Like any lawn mower, reel or rotary, it shouldn’t be used to mow over sticks, stones or hard objects. If you have lots of trees and can’t pick up the sticks, then a reel mower is probably not for you. The sticks, even small ones I have found, will get stuck in the blades. You can also have problems if your grass gets to high. For this, you will want to borrow a neighbors gas mower, cut the grass to acceptable levels, then begin your reel mower maintenance of your lawn.

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Gnome love

August 25, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Craft, frugal, humor, recycling | 3 Comments

gnomesbefore.jpg As you work on your yard and home improvements, don’t forget how important it is to keep those that are most important happy, yes, your yard gnomes! My little gnomes have been out working so hard in the elements that they were looking a bit worn and tired. Now if your gnomes are tired, don’t send them to the Old Gnome Home, just give them a day at the spa! Ya know, treat them to a soak (some water with a bit of Borax) and a light exfoliation (baking soda) and massage them well (use a toothbrush for the hard to reach areas). Follow all this with a nice skin treatment (acrylic paints followed by a coat of waterproof sealer) and some rest (let them hang out inside for a day or two). You will find your gnomes are refreshed and feeling the love again in no time! Look at my happy little boys! Amazing what a day at the spa will do!gnomes-after.jpg

R E S P E C T

August 23, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, simplicity | 2 Comments

Find out what it means to me!I means not ever hearing of my kids being rude like this!

http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2007/08/where-have-all-kind-people-gone.htmlI love how polite and respectful my kids are! I think one of the reasons they have picked up a few languages is because they love to say “Hi” to everyone! I have also tried to teach them to help anyone who looks like they need it. It doesn’t have to be a little old lady, it can be a strapping young man, with one to many bags of groceries. There are very few reasons in life to not hold a door open for the next person you see coming to it. In fact, it might just be the little spark of light that person needed to make their whole day. You never know when a small act of courtesy, or politeness can restore a person’s faith in the human race.If you are wondering why you should be nice when everyone else seems so rude, I’ll tell you what I tell my kids. “Sometimes people seem to have forgotten how to be behave. Since their mom isn’t here to remind them, we can help them remember by showing them how to be polite and kind.”

Let’s all get out there today and be nice!

Yup, we eat off the floor.

August 22, 2007 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Personal, simplicity | 5 Comments

Don’t you?                         table-fort.jpgThe other day my kids built a fort out of the kitchen table while I was cooking dinner. They were so cute and happy under there that I just couldn’t ask them to dismantle their fort, and end their pretending for the sake of eating dinner at the table. So what do you do? Incorporate dinner into the play and let them eat in their fort. They thought it was great! And ya know what? So did I. As I am learning to be more flexible and pay attention to what is important, we have more and more fun! So, break a little tradition today and go out there and do something fun and different. Have a picnic in front of your office where there is some greenery. Go home and have a family picnic, even if it is in the middle of the living room floor. A little fun in life goes a long way!

Anyone else have ideas for putting a little fun into a person’s day?

Expensive being frugal

August 19, 2007 at 1:48 pm | Posted in frugal, recycling, simplicity | Leave a comment

It is amazing how much it costs to start being frugal! It is also amazing how much work it takes to be simple. I have been de-cluttering and simplifying for a few years now. I no sooner get through with going through the whole house, when it is time to go through again. Dang! So much work. I just keep picturing myself in my little straw bale home and trying to decide what I am going to need or want in it. When I have to go out and buy something (like a knife sharpener) I make sure it is something that will not need electricity to function. There were some super cool electrical ones, but learning to hand sharpen is a good skill to have, and I won’t have to waste electricity when I need a good edge. Then there are those odd items out. I saw an outdoor solar lamp in Home Depot the other day. It was stunningly beautiful! Now, the dilemma is do I purchase a new lamp contributing to all the evils of manufacturing, but will be using solar power in the house (placing the lamp by a window during the day, use the light at night)? Maybe I will find a way to convert my current lamps to solar. … Then there are things like this Apple Press. Expensive but useful in many ways.

http://www.happyvalleyranch.com/pioneer_junior.php

                                                                        pioneerjr1.jpg

I want an apple press too. I plan to have fruit bearing trees in the ol’ homestead, so I would love to have a press. I understand these work with grapes also. Since we are not in real grape country (unless I move up near Altus) I wonder if they would work with muskadines? I might be able to press sunflowers with it to get my oil also, if I am reading how to do it properly.

Henna Party!

August 16, 2007 at 3:13 am | Posted in Craft, frugal, Personal | 2 Comments

henna1e.jpg

I love henna! What a great way to express a mood, a celebration, an idea, and not be stuck with it till you are dead.henna2e.jpg

 I love being able to change up the look every few weeks when it washes off. Here are some of the designs I have done on myself recently (meaning last few months).

henna4e.jpghenna6e.jpghenna7e.jpg

 I don’t know anyone here that does Henna/mendhi so I am on my own. Hey! It is more frugal that way, at $2.30 a tube which will cover a whole lotta skin!henna8e.jpg

A little at a time

August 14, 2007 at 1:26 pm | Posted in frugal, recycling, simplicity | 2 Comments

According to Wikipedia, homesteading is, broadly defined, a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency. Well, then, I must be getting closer. I recently read this entry at Down to Earth, http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2007/08/small-steps-simplicity.html , and realized that I am closer than I thought to being where I want to be. For living in the city, we are fairly self sufficient. I guess I kept thinking that I had to have my straw bale to “really” be there, but I do not. I have already embraced the simple things in life in so many ways. We use natural cleaners, make our own soap and candles. We use cloth napkins and try to stay away from disposable items and over packaging. We try (each year) to win the battle of the city squirrels and grow a garden, but at least my herbs are surviving (indoors). My compost pile is awesome and I am so proud of how hard we have worked to make it so successful! I guess I am not the only one thinking on these lines because I turned around and saw this entry at Frugal for Life, http://www.frugalforlife.blogspot.com/2007/08/reducing-re-using-and-re-claiming.html . So, I may not have my “green” house, but I am working on all the things that one does inside a home to make it green and self sufficient. I guess that comes into what my little blog is about, it is the process we are undertaking to become the self sufficient folks we wanna be. Each day, it seems, I learn something new to help me get closer to that goal. I hope that each of you will go out into your day and see what little changes you can make to bring your world and your goals into harmony!

Making the most of diapers

August 13, 2007 at 2:38 am | Posted in Craft, frugal, recycling, simplicity | 1 Comment

What to do with a stack of single ply diapers? A friend recently gifted me a HUGE stack of single ply diapers and I am trying to find all the ways I can use them! First thing the kids did was turn them into playsilk ( http://www.thecolorfarm.com/silks.html ) type dress up items! Are these not some scary looking critters? single-plye.jpgHere are more diapers posing as cleaning cloths. I keep a clean cloth, and a bottle of vinegar in each room in the house. This makes it much easier to clean when I see a mess because I don’t have to go looking for my cleaning supplies!singleply2.jpg

I also found a link to handkerchief (http://www.mtnlaurel.com/Crafts/apple.htm) dolls, which I made a basic one of, it doesn’t have a face or hair here, but it is another use for the diapers. singleply1.jpgIt has also been recommended that I can used them to make some doll clothes. Tons of uses!

Spinach boats

August 9, 2007 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Health, simplicity | 4 Comments

OK, so you all know how I tried introducing the Kale to the kids? Now it is raw spinach! I sat down at the table with my bowl of washed spinach and began to wrap the leaves around some thin cheese “fingers.” This looked quite exciting to the kids so they wanted to try it. I then picked up some lunch meat sliced turkey and wrapped it in my “boat” of spinach. That looked good to them too! Before long, they were asking for “more boats” and sticking everything they could find into them, including popcorn, grapes, and dipping them in ketchup. Sigh. How great it is to see them enjoy something so healthy without feeling like a party pooper!

How about you all? Any special tricks in getting your kids to try new raw foods?

57 Soldiers

August 8, 2007 at 1:07 am | Posted in getting involved, politics | Leave a comment

With the loss of SGT Bradley Marshall the total of Arkansas soldiers killed is now 57. This does not include our wounded in body and spirit. May peace be with the families and friends.

 

Go to http://www.todaysthv.com/life/people/Arkansas_Fallen_Heroes/default.aspx?GID=Xgz6fqGj6Re6EzQ1teHGu5gMiQmhi/D+lyUrZqWSyH0%3D

To see them all.

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