Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Are you in need of a few extra dollars? Do you have big plans for the Spring and Summer, like we do, and need to curb some spending to help with the costs? Or do you just want to simplify and cut back to feel at peace? (Me! Me! Me! raising my hand and jumping up and down)
Join me while I work with a limited budget and freeze all extra spending for the month of March!

During this time I am planning daily de-cluttering projects, no cost fitness goals and at home cooking that you can follow along with. I am going over my calendar today and setting my goals for the month.

Here are my intentions for March:
A date night using a gift certificate we have had for too long. Planning a fun book and soup swap among friends. (follow my facebook posts for more info) Putting in some elbow grease, cleaning out and deep cleaning the house.  Working on updating my decor with what I have on hand and hopefully by the end of the month starting on a spring clean up outside. I want to get on track with my exercise and continue my clean eating. All of these things will be easy to follow along with if you choose to and I hope you find inspiration in the positive quotes and daily posts.

Now let's plan it out....
If you followed along earlier this month, when I did my mini freeze, you saw that I de-cluttered and took inventory of the household cleaners and supplies I had on hand. If you have not done this, that is a good goal. You also want to inventory your cupboards, freezer and fridge. See this post for more information - http://downhomeonadime.blogspot.com/2017/02/preparing-to-freeze.html

Now, take a look at your finances. Make sure you have every bill and financial obligation written down. Do you have gifts to buy this month? Medical appointments you need to pay for? Anything that you know will be an expense for the month needs to be written down and accounted for. Now, what is your typical grocery expense? Choose a reduced budget, I am dropping mine by 30-40%. Now, the goal is to not spend beyond this. No extras for the house, no new clothes, no eating out and no spending beyond your current income and budget.

There are so many great things to work on when you are on a freeze! You won't be out shopping so what better time to evaluate some things.
I am going to spring clean! Here is a basic list of what I will be working on:

                               spring cleaning list:

Use up those cleaning products and if you want some help with natural, low costs products....check my post on making your own: http://downhomeonadime.blogspot.com/2012/03/mix-away.html
I scrub with Murphy's oil soap, I LOVE my homemade glass cleaner and I use Thieves cleaner as a disinfectant...ahh, I can smell it already. These ones below are great too! I use the dusting spray with my lemon essential oils.

                                                         . Want to make your own cleaning products out of stuff you already have at home? This list is fabulous and easy to follow! #green #cleaning #recipe #howto #makeit #heandsheeatclean:

Do you need a checklist of things to de-clutter? I never have struggled in this department. It may get away from me but when I do get a chance to tackle it I am pretty ruthless. But this is a handy checklist of areas of the house and the items that can use some attention. This will probably spark other ideas and thoughts of parts of your own house that could use a good cleaning out!

              Nothing is more relaxing that coming home to a calm de-cluttered house. If you are one of the many people who have difficulty deciding whether to throw something out, use this hand de-cluttering list to organize your home. Live your healthy lifestyle with BodyRock:

Last but never least.....your health. Winter is coming to an end. Have you put on a little seasonal weight? Maybe you have not been drinking your water and hydrating your dry, winter skin. Do you need a little boost? I am always happy to share about Juice Plus and Shred10, the health benefits and the wonderful support to your body while you detoxify. I also will be following the charts below and working on strength and toning. I would LOVE a buddy or 10. Summer weather will be here before we know it and I know I want to look and feel my best.
My goal is to get 30 minutes of walking or indoor cycling 6 days a week. That is attainable for me. If you are just starting out shoot for 10 min a day, make it a challenge but don't set yourself up to fail. The weather is unpredictable in March so if you cannot get out for your exercise, do it inside. For the entire winter in 2015 I walked inside, in place as I watched a 30 min show. I jogged or picked up my pace during commercials and I kept a steady, reasonable pace the rest of the time. The strength exercises below are free. Just you and your body weight as resistance. I am by no means a professional and you should always consult your Dr. before trying new things if you are unsure of your body's capabilities. I will be pushing myself to see if I can complete all of the days below.

                  we-challenge-you4.jpg (8141008) I love these. I just got done with the plank challenge http://www.naturalenhancementblog.com:

My reward? NEW SNEAKERS in April and I will use my gift certificates I have for a massage, manicure and pedicure. Set a goal and think of a reward. Maybe a new sunshiney outfit or a new hair cut just in time for Spring?

Okay....this is a lot to take in. I will blog each week and update the facebook page a few times a week! I am so excited! Are you ready for a little March Madness? This is my favorite kind! ♥

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weeding in the winter!

With 3' of snow on the ground I still think about spring cleaning. I am anxiously awaiting those sunny days and open windows. I knew I wanted to de-clutter the house before I started on the deep cleaning and so I am offering up a few tips to simplify and down size while I weed out.
Before I started my recent spending freeze, I worked on the pantry, cupboards, fridge and freezer. I won't repost those pictures but when you go thru those areas you are looking to throw away all expired items, grouping like items together and taking an inventory of what you have on hand.
I then moved on to clothing. In a recent post on the Facebook page you will see the amount of clothes that I was able to purge...and there will be more to come. If you are like most people you have a hard time deciding what should go and what should stay. Here is a great flow chart to help with that. I think in our region we just need to remember that we sometimes can keep things we might not wear next week, but maybe next month as the weather changes so quickly and casual and work clothes don't necessarily get worn every week, but a great guideline non the less.

 I ended up with a VERY full trash bag that went in the trash, a large bag to donate and a few items that I will sell or pass on to friends.
When selling items, I use the Facebook group route and meet up with people here and there. I make sure things are clean and free of most wrinkles. I take a picture in the best light I can find and post the for a reasonable price. I like my items to move, if they don't sell within 3-4 weeks they get donated. After all the whole point of this is to get things OUT of the house and not hanging around.
I did a yard sale last summer and was very successful with getting rid of so many unused household items and outgrown clothes, but time does not allow me to do that often. If you are planning to do this, I suggest you get a few empty totes and as you de-clutter you place items in the totes, grouped by like items. I will post a few tips for yard sales later this Spring.

On the list today was my master bathroom and the 2nd bathroom upstairs. I was so happy to get rid of an ENTIRE trash bag full of unused or expired products. I consolidated cleaning supplies and did a quick clean up too. I organized all of the surplus of soaps, shampoos, beauty products and found a few to donate to a worthy cause. I sorted thru every item and found it's proper place. Again, I like like items together so the top shelf of the closet is all extra products that we use. The middle shelf is all current daily items. Third shelf is bath towels/washcloths. The 4th shelf has a basket of all first aid...and on the floor are the cleaning products for the upstairs in a basket.
In the vanity I sorted all travel items and they are in the cosmetic bags for easy packing. Extra small bags are there for short/overnight trips. I used to subscribe to Ipsy and I collected a lot of small bags over time. They are great for organizing.
I took a cute little divided basket from TJ Maxx and sorted all of my makeup. Eye, lips, face. One small basket for brushes and then a few extra moisturizers and cleaners. I have a small basket on the sink of things I use more often. Ah....it feels so good!

How many trash bags can you fill? Next on my list is our downstairs closets. Games and outerwear galore. Happy weeding!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The calm...

This morning at my house was calm and quiet. The littlest one helped her Dad work on the tractor and prep for the snowstorm and the oldest traveled home from Southern Maine. With a blizzard on the way I am happily all stocked and set to be safe and warm at home. My heart goes out to all of those who have to go out and work despite the weather.Thank you for all you do!

I worked on my menu for the next 12 days. I decided to get a head start on my little freeze and started yesterday and after looking at my calendar decided to stop mine on the 24th as I forgot we have plans on the 25th. I have every day planned out the best I can. Certainly there may need to be some rearranging and I did not list my veggies as I will buy those fresh to replenish and adapt for me...but I am pleased with the options. I have arranged some batch items to use for busier nights and some rollover recipes to stretch the ingredients.

During these 12 days I will start de-cluttering and gathering items to sell, donate and throw...but that is another post and I am getting ready to make the family breakfast for dinner, a favorite in our house.

Stay safe everyone! Winter in Maine has arrived....all in one week!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Preparing to freeze!

Happy Saturday Morning to you all!
It is a beautiful snowy morning here and before I get the littlest one ready for some Winter Carnival fun, I wanted to show you how I get prepare to freeze...the spending freeze that is.
I like to make lists, always have....I like paper and pen and a cute notebook but if you are techy and prefer to use your device then do that. When life is chaotic (and that is most weeks) I tend to forget what I have on hand. I like to have a list so when I am meal planning I can look back and say, "oh yes, I have this or that"....I don't get too picky on how much of each ingredient I have because I will double check that before I grocery shop. This also allows me to use up what I have when on a freeze.
For instance, I discovered I had some homemade spaghetti sauce in the freezer, I also had ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs and pasta in my stock. Meatballs are just finishing baking. So all I need for dinner tonight is a spaghetti squash for my "pasta"and I will add in peppers and onions for me and my family dinner will be complete. I am doing the Shred right now thru Juice Plus so my options are different but easy to adapt.
Going thru my household inventory (I still need to get the fridge list done, but you get the idea) I could see that we will need trash bags (we have to have those) and we will need some basics, but I can now choose a small budget for a trip to the store for fresh ingredients while using up what we have.
We are fortunate to have a 1/4 of a cow and some pork in our freezer. I will need to purchase a whole chicken and grab some ground turkey that I will stretch because I personally do not eat a lot of red meat.

I will now make some meal plans tonight and do a little grocery shopping on Tuesday while Quinn is at preschool and then we will be ready for 10 days of freezing. I plan to do this 2/15-2/25. I will post my meal plans and grocery list, budget and receipt so you can see how I did.
There will be no eating out. Unless it is all covered under coupons and gift cards. That is toughest on me because I am the one who prepares all meals. But I can do this! You can too. Okay off to bundle up so we don't actually freeze out there today! ♥

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back in the saddle!

I just logged in here for the first time in a year. WOW. It brought tears to my eyes because I know why I have been absent from blogging. A busy summer in 2015 with racing, toddler growing pains and a father with failing health. 2016 was the toughest of my life with the passing of my father, getting a grip on senior year for my son and terrible threes with my girl.
My brain had too many tabs open. So....here I am. Back in the saddle.

I have been steadily getting life back in order. If you read back through my years of posts you will see many things in common. Organization makes me giddy, living frugally sets my soul at peace and doing all of these things with my family and friends by my side fills my heart. My life has evolved over the years to a more "homesteady" (I make up words. It's my blog) and holistic way of life. I keep steady on that path and learn more and more every day. All of which I am happy to pass on to anyone who has the desire to do the same.

So it's February 2017 now...and in Maine that means...Brrrrr. Well mostly brrrr. Some..."Spring? is that you?" but it is winter and it is a great time to take advantage of a few more days spent inside.
I have decided that because 2016 was a little more reckless, carefree, wasteful (don't get me wrong I understand the whole healing your heart thing but....) than makes me comfortable that I will do a small spending freeze this month and prepare for a month long freeze for March. I am hoping my spending freeze is going to parallel a SPRING THAW!

Who is with me?

So the first step to a freeze is of course my favorite ...organize! You don't have to go overboard, yet. BUT if you want to partake in this months freeze, do yourself a favor and make a couple of lists with what you have on hand in your freezer and pantry, cupboards. You will be making a minimized budget for the grocery store.
Fail to plan and you will plan to fail. So the other thing you need to do is fill in your calendar the best you can for the remainder of the month.

Okay that's your homework....I will be doing the same! I will be moving on to step 2 on Saturday the 11th.
My saddle awaits!