Showing posts with label sustainable living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainable living. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Duck Dynasty: What the Robertson’s Know about Green Living and Sustainability

Duck Dynasty and Green Living
What the Robertson's Know
Do you watch it??? Do you watch Duck Dynasty? …if you don’t you really don’t know what you are missing. And after all the laughter has died, the real lessons learned are about life, love and family sustainability. The Robertson family are the real life characters of A&E’s reality show Duck Dynasty, for those of you who don’t know. The Robertson’s know more about sustainability than the whole of American culture. I could sit here and think of more, but for now here are 8 things the Robertson’s know about frugal living and sustainability…

1 Harness the Power of the Mason Jar
If you watch the show, you see a lot of mason jars…the funny thing is, I caught myself drinking from one just the other day. Mason jars are not only great for canning your own produce, which I believe Miss Kay does often, mason jars double as both tableware and Tupperware providing see through storage to keep your refrigerator organized.
2 Harness the Power of the Casserole
I can only remember one episode of Duck Dynasty where the Roberson’s ate out…they picked up a slushy and ate a few hundred donuts (it was a contest, Uncle Si won a motor that’s sustainable living). Anyway, make a casserole, fry some catfish…eat at home.
3 Harness the Power of Natural Resources
The Robertson Family lives off the land. In fact, their whole business is built around living off the land. If it's in season they eat it. Duck, crayfish, berries and honey…The Robertson Family knows how to hunt and grow their own food…do you?
4 Harness the Power of Living below Your Means
I was actually quite appalled by the realtor in the episode where Phil and Kay were talked into shopping for a new house. Although they could afford any mansion they could dream of, they are happy happy happy in a small home where they have fond family memories without a mortgage payment or credit card debt.
5 Harness the Power of Using the Resources You Have
If it isn’t broke, don’t replace it. Use whatever it is until it falls apart and when you replace it, buy it used and avoid a loan payment. If your boat sinks to the bottom of a swamp, make your kids fish it out and use it some more.
6 Harness the Power of a College Degree
The Robertson’s might not sound educated but in reality, most have college degrees and several members have graduate degrees. That is what it takes to run a successful family empire and that is what they have done. Phil and Kay Robertson have successfully encouraged their children to read the Bible and go to college a college degree is often at the core of sustainable living.
7 Harness the Power of Donation
The Robertson Family clearly has enough money to donate to whatever cause they want, but they don’t get lazy and stop there…They still donate of their time to charity. They cook food, build festival booths, play Santa and adopt babies…again living, growing and sustaining a family and a community.
8 Harness the Power of Family
The Robertson’s know how to build a sustainable family. They eat together, work together, pray together and play together. No matter how crazy they appear to be on TV, the reality is, they have built a successful family business and they still love each other enough to want to be in business together and still spend the rest of the day together. That is family sustainability.

Monday, July 8, 2013

365 Days

365 Days
365 Days, 12 Months, 4 Seasons
Recently I prayed for God to bless my blog business. This isn’t something new, it’s a prayer I find myself saying on average about twice a year. It isn't that we have unpaid credit card debt, although we do have student loans. I just want to take some of the pressure off my hubby and I like knowing that I can put a little extra money in the bank. I pray for God to show me how to increase my traffic and I feel Him impress on my heart the importance of writing on the web to encourage others. None of this is new to my life…what was different this time was His response to me. I felt conviction as I began to read the topics of SEO and good blog layout etc. and so forth, because it wasn’t new information at all, it was the same thing that I have started to do so many times before.

AND THAT is exactly the point…I am almost completely finished with a post graduate degree because I have made a 365 day commitment to school. I have a good relationship with Jesus, because I have made a 365 day commitment to read and pray. I have smart kids because I have made a 365 day commitment to homeschooling. Every year I pray for God to bless my blog, He shows me what to do and I give up after about a week. I'm not talking about missing a day because your sick or on vaca...I just completely give up. And in essence isn't that giving up on God? I might not quit blogging, I might not shut it all down, but I quit trying my hardest, I stop giving my best.
What has God asked you to do that you aren’t completely committed to 365 days a year? Four seasons...12 months. If you worked on stocking your cabinets for 365 days you would probably be prepared for hard times. How many meals could you have in the freezer to share with a family? How much debt could you knock out in 365 days? Whether He has asked you for something big or small, He asks us to give Him our best. I don’t know what God is going to do with my blogs, but I have been so very encouraged and changed by other mom bloggers who haven't been afraid to give God their best all 365 days a year and I don’t want to give Him any less. Isn't that the definition of sustainability...commitment. In order to have a sustainable, business, family or home, we must first have commitment.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Can and Freeze/Preserving Basil from the Garden

freeze basil
My Homegrown Basil
So last week I started my own little challenge to can and preserve every week this summer in an effort to become sustainable by the end of the year.

One way to become sustainable is to grow your own produce.

I grow my own basil in the backyard. It is incredibly easy to grow...literally grows like a weed. You know those expensive herb pastes that you can buy in the fresh herb section? I made my own by blending fresh basil and olive oil. I froze the paste flat in a plastic freezer bag and it is still soft so I can just chip off what I need for a recipe. It is still green too. I also preserve guacamole this way for quick defrosting and sometimes grass fed ground beef if I buy it in bulk. Whoo hoo! It isn't a stock pile but it is preservation. I'm also planning on preserving strawberry jam and a few crock pot freezer meals later today.

I found a fantastic new blog called Homestead Revival! She has great advice and opinions about sustainability and storing food. You may want to check it out.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Prepared and frugal/Summer canning plans

Home Canned Peaches
Canning Summer Peaches
Keeping your cabinets stocked saves money and provides sustainability. We take different routes to storing up canned goods, sometimes we stock up the freezer with organic meats we buy on sale using our Food Saver, other times we garden and sometimes we buy wholesale produce and spend a week canning and freezing. This summer I'm planning to do things the old fashioned way, by canning a few pints a week. This week I canned 6 pints of diced peaches purchased on sale at Sprouts for $.69 per pound.

Last week I canned 6 pints of pickles and the week before I canned 9 pints of tomatoes. It might not sound like much but with approximately 12 weeks of summer we will have about 72 pints of produce stocked up by winter.

Canned Tomatoes
Home Canned Tomatoes and Pickles Yum!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaching Kids Sustainability

Teaching Kids Sustainability
Teaching Sustainability
After viewing the movie Food Inc., I wanted to include my kids in changing our lifestyle and teach them a little more about sustainability. This wasn't a huge task as we already practice sustainability and healthy eating, we already include our children in the education process. I just wanted to take it to the next level. 

A Search for Organic Produce

We started with a trip to the local supermarkets looking for organic meat and produce. I gave my daughter a clipboard with a list of foods we normally stock; I divided the list up by supermarket and instructed her to keep track of what we find and how much it cost. I will be posting a supermarket review later in the week. This led to a day long discussion about what Certified Organic really means.

A Discussion About Sustainability

A discussion in the car about sustainability brought up several movie titles you may want to make sure your kids watch. The movie Wall-E, "The Bee Movie" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." All three of these movies address the topic of sustainability from a child's perspective.

 A Few Movies Later

After mentioning "The Bee Movie" my five year old gave me a great working definition. He said, "Oh yeah, stay-ability, if we mess with the bees then we won't have any flowers." I realize this is a very simple breakdown of a complicated topic but it is a great start.

So, my advice on teaching your kids "stay-ability" is to let them have fun with it. Let them watch these movies, involve them in your lifestyle changes and then let them plant a garden and do some recycled crafting. They catch on faster than we do sometimes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Houseplants Purify Air and Provide Sustainability

Purify Air with Plants
Purify Air with Houseplants

Nothing is more sustainable than clean air and houseplants are a great way to beautify your home while purifying the air.  Houseplants are also a money saving way to create a mood.  Both green and flowering plants can add a great splash of color to any area of your house or apartment.  If you have an empty corner that needs filled you may consider placing a dwarf palm tree in the corner.

It is estimated that placing a houseplant plant in every ten feet of your home can have the same effect as an electric air purifier.  House plants that make great air purifiers include English Ivy, the Peace Lily, the Dwarf Palm and the Boston Fern.  Some flowering plants such as the Chrysanthemum are on the list as well.  The aloe vera plant is another great choice because it cleans the air so well and also has useful homeopathic nutrients inside.  Try growing an indoor kitchen garden and you will have a sustainable food source as well. Many people have successfully grown cooking and naturopathic herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, dill and lavender in thier kitchen or sun room.

Buying Local Honey is Considering frugal

Local Honey
Buying Local Honey is Considering frugal
The one product that we cannot live without in our home is.....Local Honey!  We buy our honey in bulk from a local farmer and time stands still when we run out.  Although honey is non perishable, we never seem to be able to store up enough because it is useful in so many ways.  Oh let me count the ways! 

1. Local honey helps many people with allergies including my family.  When you purchase local honey it means that the bees are pollinated in the state where you live and therefore you will be getting some of that bee pollen in your system by eating this local honey.  We started purchasing local honey for this reason alone about a year ago.  The whole family used to take allergy tablets twice daily, now there is no need.  As long as we have our local honey we are immune to most allergies.

2.  Speaking of immunity, honey is high in B vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes so we have found that our immunity has improved greatly as well.

3.  Oh but there is more!  When you buy raw local honey the quality of nutrition and digestive enzymes is even greater not to mention the taste!  Oh the taste is so yummy.  If you like a spicy flavor go for Clover, if you like your honey more mild, wildflower and Orange Blossom is great for teas.

4.  We bake with honey.  You can substitute half the amount of sugar with honey and then add 1/4 cup liquid.  Honey is especially good in sweet tea and banana bread.

5.  Honey makes an excellent facial mask; clears those blackheads right out and aids as a natural astringent.

Precautions with honey:

There are some precautions that you should take with honey, the most important being NEVER GIVE HONEY to a child under a year old.  I personally never give my babies honey until they are 2 years old just to be safe.  Remember those natural enzymes I talked about earlier, well those can produce a type of bacteria that can multiply too quickly in infants.  Giving honey to an infant can cause death.  Don't give your baby honey!

6.  Buying local honey supports your local farmer, your local economy and your local eco system!  Buying honey in bulk saves waste.  We buy our local honey by the gallon and not only do we save a great deal of cash but we also have left over jars to use as storage canisters.

7.  Finally, honey is non perishable which means that it is a great food to have in storage.  John the baptist survived the desert on nothing but honey and locust, you could do it too if you had to!  Anyway, if you carefully examine honey at the grocery you will see that it does have an expiration date, however that date is simply there to comply with Food and Drug regulations.  Honey does not expire.  It does crystallize and when it does you simply need to heat it up until it becomes liquid again.

Buy Local Produce at Farmer’s Markets

Buy Local Produce
Buying Local Saves
Farmers markets, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall festivals can be cheap fall fun for the whole family as well as a great way to purchase local produce. Buying local promotes sustainable living for the whole community.

Vertuccio Farms in Mesa offers a great group rate of $5 per person if you schedule a group of at least 20 ahead of time. They have a corn maze just for kids, a pumpkin patch and a train ride too. Mother Nature’s Farm at 16th Street and Baseline Road offers a pumpkin patch, farmers market, hayrides and child size corn maze all under $7.

Talmachoff Farms offers great pumpkin patch fun including a petting zoo, farmers market, pumpkin patch, corn maze and train ride all at Bethany Home and 75th Avenue. This farm is a little more expensive at $15 but if you are close you will probably make it up in the gas savings.

Apple Annie’s Orchard offers a huge ‘one of a kind’ corn maze, farmers market, pumpkin patch and hayrides for a very reasonable price of $7 for adults and $5 for children; children 2 and under are free and they offer a combo hayride/corn maze ticket for just $9.

If you enjoy picking your own fruits and vegetables then you can check out a website that lists U Pick Farms. Bountiful Baskets is a local food coop and for a contribution of roughly $15 -25 dollars they will bring a laundry basket full of locally grown fruits and vegetables to a location near you.

Raising Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens
Getting Started with Backyard Chickens
Raising backyard chickens is a new trend that is quickly sweeping the nation and for good reason.  Backyard chickens are economical to raise, they make great pets, make for natural weed and pest control and provide a free and yummy source of farm fresh eggs.  Farm fresh eggs are high in nutrition and they have proven to be an excellent source of extra income for some families.  Should you wish to start a backyard farm of your own then here are a few tips to get you started.

***Raising chickens from un-cooled eggs is possible but spend a little more and purchase already hatched chicks from a local farm supply store for better results.

***Check your city ordinances before you purchase your chickens to make sure they are legal; if not then you may consider visiting a town meeting and putting in a request.  Most cities allow one to three backyard chickens as pets.

***Choose a space, build a coop and learn how to take care of your chicks properly.  Should you wish to hatch your chicks from un-cooled eggs then you will also need an incubator.  You may also want to view the recent Today special about backyard chickens.

*** Make sure you keep your other pets, especially dogs, away from your chickens and eggs.  Even small friendly dogs will sometimes attack chickens and eat the eggs.  It is better to avoid this situation all together and simply keep the dogs and chickens apart.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8