Myth: Clean-Living (aka Young Living) Is Too-Expensive
“Living clean, ditching my store-bought products and switching to Young Living products is just too expensive…”
I hear it All. The. Time.
There is just no better argument than some solid math. So let’s get to myth-busting, shall we?!
In 2005, my husband and I got married fresh out of college and quickly began our homemaking journey with the intentions of checking off our remaining boxes: becoming home owners, having perfect children, and fulfilling successful, lifelong careers. We rented our small apartment, started our first jobs (his was home-building, and mine was home-selling), and blew every penny we made. I mean, why not?! This was the first of many years of hard work; certainly we deserved to celebrate, right?! After 16 years of education, we had finally made it. We shared a lot of celebratory drinks, laughter, and college/wedding debt together. We filled our apartment with adorable pillows, monogrammed coffee mugs, and everything cover-photo worthy for a "We Made It" magazine. We went on expensive vacations, dined out, and dressed to kill. Then, in 2006, we both got laid off.
Three perfectly imperfect children, several jobs, moves, broken down vehicles, lines of credit and hard knocks later, we arrived at the doorstep of our very first home, in January of 2015. We moved into our reasonable single-family home and my old instinct to obsess over the fantasy pages in a Pottery Barn catalog, filling our home with monogrammed "We Made It" decor, came flooding back. But, this isn't the world according to Kelly 1.0 anymore. This is the repurposed and renewed version. Kelly 2.0 got skills.
Most days, I feel like I am the cat-herder in a circus full of monkeys. Life has become legitimately chaotic and this house feels the full brunt of a hustling and bustling family of five. Our office space has become an organizational hub and without it, I'm pretty certain my children wouldn't get bathed and Freddy-the-Fish would be swimming in Fish Heaven by now. Purposeful wall decor is more of a necessity, than desire.
Tips to the Repurposing Trade:
How To Teach an Old Door New Tricks:
Ok, so I broke my "don't buy anything with lead-based paint" rule. To be honest, I'm not sure what this paint's base was, but I took precaution and wearing a mask during scraping and thoroughly washing my hands when I was finished.
Use a paint scraper to remove large chunks of pealing paint. Then use sand paper to smooth over the entire surface and even out any rough patches.
The Hanging Challenge
Decide where you want to hang this beast of a masterpiece.
Find studs (typically the studs will be "16 on center", meaning that the center of a 2x4 is 16 inches apart from the next one). The stud is the anchor you need for heavy duty wall art.
Season Your Chalkboard
Read the directions on the can of chalkboard paint before you begin writing on it. It will require "seasoning" in order to work like a real chalkboard and wipe clean with ease. The seasoning process will require an entire piece of chalk, flipped horizontally and then shaded across the entire board. Then use your eraser (or a paper towel in my case) to dry erase the board. You should wait to clean it with water for at least a week.
Finally, stare at it for a minimum of 20 minutes. Marvel at your creative and resourceful piece of art and fully own your obvious skill set. You are seriously awesome for doing this yourself. Post a picture of your masterpiece in my comments section so we can inspire each other!!
For the longest time I rambled on and on about how awesome it would be to have enough land and time to grow our own food. I thought about my grandparents' gardens and crops and thought, "wow, those were the days, huh?" As I reflected on the size of their vegetable gardens, it dawned on me that space wasn't actually the problem. We have an averaged sized yard in suburbia with adequate sun light and a long growing season. Honestly the problem was that we just had no clue where to start. I glanced around at our landscaping and thought, "Well hell, we have been keeping that completely useless shrub alive for quite some time now. It can't be that hard, right?!"
My phenomenal in-laws with their farming and gardening expertise, assembled my first two containers for gardening as a gift on my 34th birthday and in the fall of 2014, I ate a fresh picked spinach and kale salad everyday for lunch. For mother's day, I asked my husband to use the random supply of brick in our garage to build a wrap-around herb garden, lining the back patio with herbs that deter mosquitoes and taste delicious. My 35th birthday, we built two more containers and are now growing a variety of 20 different vegetables. Listen when I tell you that if I can do this, you most certainly can too. I have brutally murdered every house plant I have ever owned. I labeled myself a black thumb several years ago, but somehow growing something useful retains your focus. In my backyard, if you can't eat it, we won't plant it.
Let's Do This:
Step 1: Find the sunny parts of your yard. Most plants need full to mostly full sun on the daily. Although there are some that do not. Research the vegetables you eat most often and find out what is required to grow them successfully, especially temperature (season) and sun light.
Step 2: Measure out some dimensions and start getting creative. Think about where you could find some empty pallets, and/or wooden crates. You can use just about anything that is the right size for your space, a minimum of 6 inches deep, and sturdy enough to hold up against inclement weather. Hit up your favorite flea market first!
Step 3: Purchase your list of must-haves: organic seeds, garden soil (you will need a lot), assembling equipment (try to borrow someone else's tools first), watering hose and attachment, organic vegetable plant feed.
Step 4: If it's early enough in the growing season (Fall or Spring depending on where you live) you should first start your seeds in small containers that can be moved to protection from inclement weather. Carefully, move them to the garden when they grow to 2-3 inches in height. We used plastic cups, and biodegradable growing containers. (I blame the environmentally unfriendly plastic cups on my husband, by the way)
Step 5: If you do not want to dig up all the grass under your garden (it's a pain in the butt), simply cut the bags from your soil and lay them out flat on the ground before you dump the soil on top. The plastic bag will act as a barrier against grass and weed growth. You can plant your garden on top of them and poke holes through the plastic with your shovel as you place each plant.
Step 6: Fill the soil to the very top of the container (the soil will settle and shrink a bit once you plant and water).
Step 7: Following the instructions on the seed packages, either sow the seeds into the soil or move your 2+ inch seedlings to their new home, leaving plenty of space between each plant.
Step 8: With a gentle stream (I like the rain shower setting on my gardening attachment for the hose), water the new plants generously. They should remain damp or wet these first couple weeks in their new place. You will likely need to water daily or every other day in dryer climates.
Step 9: Maintenance is all it takes to grow a garden once it's built. Simply trip back tomato plants that reach thigh-height, cut the leaves of lettuces and salad greens when they reach your preferred bite-size and watch as they produce re-growth through the season. Do NOT cut from the root, but rather the branches or extended leaves.
Step 10: Protect plants from pests without using harmful pesticides by using 100% Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils for Gardening.
Since I was able to sit still and listen, I have been fascinated by my Nanny's (grandma in the northern states) incredible adventures of survival during the Great Depression. Stories that weaved us through the reality of an age you and I couldn't even pretend to imagine in this modern day. Similar to Steinbeck's meticulous imagery, but far more entertaining, my Nanny could fill eyes wide with amazement, painting incredible pictures of loss, human resilience, community and faith. Holding sacred in time, a slice of history that has forever defined our nation. The Industrial Revolution has changed consumerism, agriculture, and the character of our world forever. In so many ways, our lives have drastically improved because of advances in technology and a more efficient system of trade and commerce. In other ways, every giant step we took forward, left a tiny piece of something uniquely special, behind.
The startling truth is, the tiny piece of special might have been our resourcefulness. I found myself in awe of my grandmother's stories, mostly because they seemed too unbelievable to be true! What do you mean you made your own stewed tomatoes?! Why couldn't you just go to aisle 5 in the super market and buy the can labeled "stewed tomatoes"? Honestly, as a child I thought she was messing with me most of the time. It wasn't until I was much older that I learned to appreciate the brilliance of an era left in the wake of mass production and revolution in industry. My true appreciation was revealed the day I became a desperate mother, looking for answers. I have since accepted that the price we pay for our quick trip to aisle 5, is quit simply, our control. We no longer have control over the ingredients in our products, the chemicals in our food chain, or the materials used to manufacture our goods. We have simply traded in our independence for convenience.
Well, I want restored balance. I want to keep those things that have been great about our progressive nature and regain those special things left behind. And I'm doing this one ailment, product and meal at a time.
Nanny's Stewed Tomatoes:
1/2 diced backyard bell pepper OR onion (or both)
1-2 diced backyard jalapenos (you can substitute celery if you're a wimp)
1 tsp Sea Salt
A dash of pepper
1 tbsp of raw cane sugar
2 cups of water or chicken broth
A year ago, I planted my first backyard garden. I made a list of the vegetables we eat most often. I used the phenomenal resource of the internet and researched fall gardening. It turns out, it's really not that complicated after all! Once you have the foundation built and the seeds planted, you can maintain a garden with less than 10 minutes of effort a day. I will be posting more specific information about my vegetables of choice, the dimensions of the containers and some helpful newbie tips (some I learned the hard way) very soon!!
**A special thanks to my in-laws and their super awesome country-livin' skills for my incredible new produce department :)
Life on a budget