No Spend August Update

How in the world have I not gotten around to updating about our no spend year? Well, the main reason is that it has just started to become a norm for us. And, I can officially say that we made it through the summer without dipping into the savings. That’s a first! Getting a paycheck was sooo nice!

Since the school year started, we really didn’t buy much for the beginning of the year. The only things that the boy needed for school were a new pair of shoes (which we do splurge for since that is all that he actually cares about), and a binder. As for me, I only bought a new pair of sandals, because mine completely broke! However, I had a gift card and got a great deal!

In August, we went on an end of the summer getaway. We took the camper and the pups and headed to the Chesapeake Bay to enjoy a beautiful weekend. We used our KOA rewards card (from our camping trip this summer) and saved some money and packed all of our own meals. So, lots of savings!

Camping at the bay

We have also been harvesting lots more from the garden. The boy and I have had way too much salsa in the past month, but we still had more last night! I know that technically it doesn’t save us money, if I calculate in how much time and effort I put into it. However, since I love gardening, that also gives me a free workout and yummy food!

Haul from the garden

Another way that we save money is finding things around here that we enjoy doing that don’t involve leaving the house. Have I mentioned before that I don’t really like going out in public? It’s not the people, it’s just that I have talked all day to little people and I just want to stay home and relax. So, one thing that I have loved doing here lately is raising the monarch caterpillars that are on my milkweed. I collect the little caterpillars and feed them and keep them safe until they come out of their chrysalis and then release them to nature. It is fun for me! Heck, I even have the rest of my family looking for the tiny creatures.

Handsome male monarch

The composting service that we provide for 12 families has been a nice addition to the food for the chickens. They love the extra fruits and veggies and also kicking around in the compost looking for bugs. Double win!

Squash for the chickens

The garden produced so many tomatoes this year! I have sold some, given some away, chopped them for salsa and this weekend I have canned a lot of them for ketchup and pizza sauce. They will give us some delicious fresh food in the winter!

Ketchup from our tomatoes!

I was also able to put up some zucchini for future zucchini cake this winter and took a few pie pumpkins that we grew and turned them into a yummy pumpkin pie. The boys said that it was delicious.

Homemade pumpkin pie!

It’s so weird how you just get used to not really spending money. I won’t lie and say that we haven’t had any take out this year, but it has been a very rare occurrence! My husband and I have been packing a lot more for lunch and eating up the leftovers more often. So, that cuts back on waste more too. This year of saving has made us realize how wasteful that we can be.

I really am hoping that we can continue to find more ways to save, and would love to hear what else that you all do! Any tips that we can try in September?

Keep blooming friends!

August Goals Update 2018

Well September, you just snuck right up on us! August helped to grow some delicious food and work in some fun before school started!  And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I continue to get great harvests! The before and after below!

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My big idea
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How it turned out! 

 2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! This month we took the camper on another trip in August to the Chesapeake Bay!

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3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! We are still talking about our fun trip and I love hearing the boy talk about what he saw and what he learned! (I am still in awe of all of the beautiful sights that we saw!)

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 much is still blooming! And my favorite part is that I have been able to raise and release monarchs because of the milkweed planted!

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A beautiful female tgatcwe released last week! 

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We had to finally get rid of bag 3.

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6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month we had an excess of cherry tomatoes, so the boy and I walked around the neighborhood to give away extra tomatoes! We also passed along a lot of my boy’s clothes in to people who could use them!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I upcycled some old cat litter containers into recycling centers at school and into more compost buckets for my son’s composting service! 

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Recycling center at school 
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Upcycled containers from kitty litter and laundry detergent containers 

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They are going to be repotted this month and set outside to start being put into dormancy for winter.

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year!

10. Grow different produce- We have been able to start harvesting some of those different fruits. We ate our first Apple melon this month and have picked so many cucamelons.

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Glass gem corn 
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Apple melons

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- August was a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

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12. Work on garden cart sales- We have been selling lots of extra produce to friends and neighbors! Mostly tomatoes here lately! I love being able to sell organically grown deliciousness to people who can enjoy it! (Below is before and after our sale)

How have you been crushing your goals lately?! Have you been enjoying any deliciousness from your garden? Keep blooming friends! 🌱

No Spend Year June Update!

I’ll start off with how we were able to go on such a nice trip this summer, while saving money.

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1. We haven’t been on a big vacation in 3 years. Only little weekend trips. (But still very fun!)

2. We camped all along the way in the camper that we could double our money on, if we sold it today. (Because we upgraded it so much!)

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3. We saved up all year to make sure that we wouldn’t have to dip into our savings for our trip! (By choosing to not eat out, buy things that we don’t need and limiting our spending for the holidays!)

4. We rarely ate out. Because we were camping, we made a majority of our meals in the camper. It was so nice having that stove and our fridge!

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Burgers for dinner! 

And remember the adorable toaster oven/griddle/coffee maker combo for the camper?

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This beauty?!

It was amazing! We were able to have morning coffee from our campsite and… the thing holds a freezer pizza perfectly!

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15 minutes in the toaster over for perfection! 

It was so nice to be able to have some of my boy’s favorite food available for him without ordering out! We ❤️❤️❤️ That toaster over! (We got it on amazon FYI!)

5. We were not big souvenir buyers. The boy and I got a shirt and we took lots of photos that I will be turning into a scrapbook at some point.

Now on to the rest of the month! We have been working really hard at paying down the house! And we are down below the next $10k! We enjoy seeing that number fall!

We also have been eating more from the garden and saving up on our grocery bills. Since I love gardening, it’s a win-win!

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We had fried zucchini and zucchini cake! 

We have also sold a bit of our produce and will use that money to buy plants and garden supplies next year!

June was really a blur, due to school finishing and our trip all at one time! The summer is a time for us to focus on saving (since I don’t get paid again until September!) I’m looking into more ways to save, and would love hearing any suggestions! Thanks for reading along and keep blooming! 🌱💚

June Goals Update 2018

Happy July all!! June was a fun month of finishing up school and traveling! Plus, the garden is taking off!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I get a great harvest!

2. Fix the camper– We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! We are going to update it some more, now that we lived out of it for 2 weeks!

3.Travel out west- We did it and enjoyed every single stop! (And the last blog posted was all about our adventure!)

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. We are finally starting to see what we envisioned! The pollinator hotel is being used, and flowers are blooming!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Bag number 2 was just taken out!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I didn’t do a big do-good gesture, but the boy’s composting service has kept around 220 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- this month we were able to pick up some pallets and the Mr. turned them into compost bins that the chickens gladly turn for us! Post will come later on how to make them!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! The little sprouts are starting to look like trees!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! I also was able to pick up some ground cherries at a local nursery!

Genovese tomatoes

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.47 MWh and just the connection rate for an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this weekend! We will have garlic, eggs and some birdhouse gourds! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month things grew so well while we were out of town! I hope that your gardens start to produce some fruit and veggies for you! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Llewellyn family road trip!

For almost 2 weeks this month we had the chance to travel through 15 states, including the one that we live it. We made lots of great memories and experienced it all together! The camper worked out great!

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All the different campgrounds!

First stop: Sandusky, Ohio KOA- it had a nice scenery and very nice pool and great view of Lake Erie!

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Lake Erie

Second stop: the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan! This is where Lake Erie and Michigan come together!

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We walked on the beach a lot
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Brrr!

The water was way too cold to actually get in past our feet!

We then traveled through the upper peninsula of Michigan and even saw a moose by the side of the road! (If only I were faster with the camera!)

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Lake Superior!

The third stop was a KOA in Minnesota! It decided to rain the days we were there, but the camper didn’t leak and the boy still found time to play in the game room and went for a swim!

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Minnesota campsite!

Next stop (after lots of driving) was the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was my favorite! The scenery was beautiful, prairie dogs were adorable and the hiking trails were great! I could have stayed there for much longer!

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The first buffalo we saw!
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Hiking!
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Beautiful scenery!
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Sunset from our campsite!

The next stop was Yellowstone! We stayed at a really nice KOA near the West gate! The boy and his dad loved the fudge that was sold in the store and the boy loved the indoor pool. The park was only a couple minutes from the campsite!

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Grand Prismatic

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We ate our lunch at a picnic area!
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Old faithful was beautiful!
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Hiking with bear spray was a new experience!

The following stop was Mount Rushmore! The boy really wanted to see it, so we had to stop. It’s a nice little stop!

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Mount Rushmore!

The last National Park was the Badlands. They were beautiful in a whole different way. The views were amazing, and were able to get some hiking in there too!

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It was like looking at a different planet!

After leaving there, we kept noticing all of the signs for a store called Wall Drug. I googled it and read all about the history of it and we had to stop! We had lunch there and I had one of their free ice waters as advertised with my food and my Mr. had to get one of their 5 cent coffees! It was a neat place!

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Wall, SD

Our last stop on the way home was in Le Claire, Iowa to see the pickers store. It was more of a museum instead of a store, but worth the quick stop!

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Pickers store Iowa

I loved making tons of memories with these 2! So much so, that we are already thinking about where we want to travel next summer!

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My family!

And now I need to go get in that garden and work! Those plants tripled in size while we were gone!