No Spend mid-February Update

Last month we were able to put extra money into our savings and are proud of another major achievement! We are now officially car payment free!! Yay!!!

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The Mr.’s beast is paid off!

I also managed to not spend money on valentines for my students! I used thread and cardstock that I already had to make these:

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Friendship bracelets for my students!

My hubby was so sweet and made me my Valentines gift!

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Pollinator hotel

It was crafted from some old redwood fence posts that were given to us by my dad! The empty shelves will be filled with pieces of cut up bamboo  and will be home to a lot of pollinators to lay some eggs! The total spent was $0 and it is way better than expensive flowers or chocolates!

My boy is such a sweet soul, especially  for a teenager. He doesn’t ask for anything. So, when I saw this pattern for a crocheted poke ball, I made him one! I had all of the yarn already here!

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My boy loved his poke ball!

We did spend a little money on our new lights set up! We like to grow different varieties, and starting from seeds allows us to have our pick of whatever heirlooms that we want!

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Our seed starting rack! Sherman is playing “Where’s Waldo!”

We haven’t been spending money on anything, but when I was in the craft store, these were hard for me to not buy! I loved them!

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I actually didn’t buy them!

So, for the first half of the month, we have been doing a pretty fantastic job! It’s kind of odd not going out to eat or just going shopping for the fun of it. I think when spring arrives, and there’s more to do, it will be easier to be consumed with outdoor living! Is anyone else having a great no spend month?

No Spend January

Month one of our no spend year went pretty fantastic! The Mr. has managed to not eat out for lunch a single time! He never eats a huge meal, just grabbed a snack here or there. But he’s saving is around $80-$100 a month by just packing! I have also not spent money on eating out for lunch! I will continue to be a packer.

We had to buy a new hot water tank for the camper because the old one was leaking and was original to the camper. I also bought these necessities:

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Seeds for the garden (used PayPal money from craft sales!) 
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The boy’s birthday cake! (Got it 1/2 off because it was from Christmas!) 
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Bought the boy ice cream on his birthday and another for a neighbor that shares his bday! 
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Towel for a baby shower gift. Not much money because I crafted it myself! And made the gift wrap! 

I started up a free site for our small town and I have been able to find homes for our no longer needed items. The boy scored some military gear for free in his size! He loved it all!

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All free! 

We have been eating at home for every meal and no one has complained yet! The picture below is the best pizza I have made to date, as well as my cinnamon rolls!

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Delicious 
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Also delicious! 

We were able to drop a little extra down on our mortgage and almost have the truck paid off! Gotta keep that debt snowball rolling!

Next month I am going to see how much money we go into the month with and compare it to what we end the month with. That way I’ll be able to tell you all how much we will be able to put into savings!

Weekend working!

This beautiful weather awoken our working spirits this weekend. We came out of our hibernation mode for a bit!

My cousin is having a baby boy very soon and I made her a homemade gift, along with the wrapping paper that I upcycled from a paper bag! I even made a little card and bow from that single bag!

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Homemade hooded towel! 

I also was able to enjoy some crocheting and finished off projects that were almost completed!

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Crocheted dishcloths

The boy and I whipped up a large batch of lip balm. We are going to use the profit that we make from selling them to buy food for the Union Rescue Mission. Good deeds are being done! ✅

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Beeswax lip balm 

The boy and Mr. helped to measure off the area of the garden that we are going to expand and I’m going to start planning where I’m going to plant everything! And I also started putting some planning into our pollinator garden area!

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Pollinator Area planning! 

The Mr. was busy in the garage working on the camper, and doing other projects.  I’m excited that he put together our bat house and that he even painted the Batman logo on it! I love it!

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Bat House!! 

He also up cycled the mount from an old satellite dish into a holder for a flag. He’s been wanting to put a flag outside of his garage!

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America! 

And now to brag on the boy! He made this  nice trivet in shop class last marking period! I think he did a great job!

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Made by the boy! 

I’m going to enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts! Are you all starting to plan out your garden?! 🌱💚

Growing Popcorn

Last summer one new thing that we tried our green thumb on was popcorn. We grew 2 varieties: strawberry popcorn, on the right and a mixed color variety on the left.

We noticed right away the height difference between the 2 varieties! The strawberry popcorn was much shorter than the colored variety. It also seemed like the ears of corn developed faster on the strawberry variety.

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Popcorn stalks

I left the corn on the plant to dry as long as they could and when the cold weather started setting in, we pulled the cobs off and brought them in to dry out the rest of the way.

Just now, in January, we decided to shell the corn. At first, we tried to just use our fingers, and that was painful. And then we read where if you rub 2 cobs together, they will come off easier. That worked better with less cut up fingers!

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Our popcorn!

We decided to save some of both seeds.

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Some of the seeds for next year

We used a funnel to pour all of the popcorn into a mason jar to keep everything sealed up!

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Yep, that’s homework still on the table!

And here was how much we got for a very small patch!

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Our whole harvest! 

And for the leftover cobs and husks, the chickens enjoyed looking for any kernels that we missed and kicked everything around!

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A nice winter treat! 

Now on the the important part, did it pop?! It sure did! They might not be as large as the store bought, but the taste is much better!

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Popcorn! 

Next year I’m going to focus on the strawberry variety because they seemed to pop much better, and took up less room.

So, I consider this new crop to us a success! Does popcorn make your list for the 2018 garden? I’m going to stay under these covers and dream of the beautiful weather that will eventually come! 🌱💚

Baking/cooking and not spending $

This weekend is a continuation of below freezing weather. I’m really missing those warm summer days and growing my own food! However, I have been enjoying making soup with the tomatoes that I preserved and eating my own pickles, catsup, garlic and green beans!

I have been making most of our meals from scratch, and made some awesome cinnamon rolls earlier in the week and then a pizza that was perfection today!

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Cinnamon rolls! 
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Best pizza I have ever made! 

To keep busy, I have been crocheting lots of messy bun hats!

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Crocheting away! 

I also made this matching set for an adorable little girl and her beautiful momma!

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I love the way they turned out! 

While I have been crafting, the mister has been out pounding on the anvil! This is a bottle opener for a friend out of a railroad spike!

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Bottle opener! 

And the only extras that we have purchased so far: a McFlurry for my birthday boy and another for a neighbor that shares his day!

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McFlurry x2

And we also bought the boy an ice cream cake for his day! It was a great deal at 1/2 off because it was a Christmas cake! I added some extra frosting, some sprinkles and put the 13 on it. No one knew it was a Christmas one!

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Happy birthday to my big teenager! 

And I will continue to sit around and enjoy my footed pajama pants (feejays) and dream about warmer weather!

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Love these pants! 

Is it so stinking cold where you live?! Stay warm friends!

 

2018 New Year Goals!

All year long I keep a list of things that I would like to accomplish in the future. Last year we accomplished a good bit! But, as long as I’m able, I will continue to work on accomplishing more. Here’s how last year went:

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This year we have set 12 more goals:

1. Expand the garden– We need more fencing put around the larger garden. I’m looking forward to having a more permanent fence and growing more food!

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2. Fix the camper- My sister in law saw this beauty along the road this summer. The next day, it was in our driveway. It needs some work, but I know that we can do it!

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3. Travel out west– That camper is going to be making some trips this year! Our boy is 13 and I want him to see more than I have.

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat– There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So, that’s what the plan is! Native flowers, insect homes, water source … it’s going to be great!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage. This year, the plan is less than 6!

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6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month– I teach 8/9 year olds. Of course it’s my job to teach curriculum, but I love to set an example of spreading good things! There are tons of good people in this world, I plan on being one!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend or reuse– It’s a No Spend year for us, so we will need to be creative! People are always offering me things that they don’t know what to do with, so maybe I’ll be able to save more things from the landfill.

8. Paw Paw trees– This native trees have grow near here for such a long time! I can’t wait to give it a try to grow them this year, and eventually (maybe) eat one!!

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9. Build a pizza oven– this is the Mr.’s idea! He built his own Blacksmithing forge, so I’m looking forward to having a delicious out of the oven pizza!

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10. Grow different produce– This year I’m going to grow: several different varieties of tomatoes, Apple melons, different gourds, cucumelons, luffas and so much more!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels– Last year was our first year of tracking our panels. Next year I’m hoping that they continue to produce well for us!

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12. Work on garden cart sales– The Mr. made that beautiful cart for sales this summer!

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Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all al them next year! Let’s make 2018 a great one!

 

2017 Goals Update!

Last year was my first year setting and blogging about my goals. It was amazing to run into people and they would ask me questions about how I was doing with them! They went pretty well and here were the results: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2016/12/31/2016-goal-recap/

This year we are pretty proud of what we accomplished! Here’s our year in review:

✔️1. Zero waste our home! We are still working on creating less trash! We took inaround 130 pumpkins to compost or feed to the chickens! My hubby also made an awesome lockbox for our produce stand using old license plates! And, of course, we grew a lot of food and preserved it! Yard to table!

✔️2. Declutter 20 items per month. It might not have been exactly 20 per month, but we continued finding homes for things that we no longer needed!

✔️3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. We crushed this goal! I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s 7 bags for the year, because the one in the garbage can is pretty much full.

✔️4. Merge crafting and homestead business. Yep, we did it!!  I’m so proud of my hubby for really doing great with his Blacksmithing! We got so many compliments on his metal creations! I’m still sewing and crocheting away, which is my love!

5. Create a summer kitchen. Ugh! This just didn’t happen. I’m ok with that!

✔️6. Expand the garden. The fence line garden provided us with a lot more produce! Plus, we cleared out a lot more space for the 2018 garden!

✔️7. Grow some different plants. The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!
 Plus the mushrooms were delish and it turns out that I don’t like beets

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, we decided against this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

✔️9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled almost 200 pounds so far! I also convinced my principal to buy a zero waste glue stick recycling box and we are also recycling our cereal bowls and markers! My coworkers are now recycling their plastic in the lounge and I have been recycling their k cups. Oh, and my students (from last year)  also planted a beautiful pollinator garden!

✔️10. Track our solar panels. We are loving the panels! This month’s bill was still only $5 and some odd change. This year we created a total of 14.26 mwh!

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✔️11. Continue beekeeping. We are still loving our bees! We caught swarms, spun honey, sold honey and even made a nice watering hole for our bees! We are still going to enjoy our winged friends next year!

✔️12. Travel more with the family! This year we took a quick trip to an indoor water park with the boy and also visited Williamsburg. Next year we are planning on taking a nice trip out west and renovating this beast:

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Camper for next year! 

Accomplishing 10/12 goals is pretty great to us! We have some great ideas for next year too! How did your goals go? Did you check off something from your list? Just keep blooming friends! 🌱💚