"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Living Within Your Means VS. Beyond Them

I'll say it now; my husband and I are known to be frugal. We went without and made due with what we had to be able to put a sizable chunk of money away to buy a place once he got out of the military. We have always lived within our budget, sometimes on even half our budget. Now that we are seriously looking at homes and have put in our loan application it seems to have paid off! Still, we don't drive the shiniest and newest cars nor do we do much outside of spending time together playing board games and sometimes catching a movie, but we are happy. Sometimes, though, I watch others buy new vehicles and have two car payments, go out for dinner 3 times a week and be okay with not saving and I get a little jealous. Were these sacrifices worth it? Those kind of people will probably still be able to get a mortgage and "get by" with their new toys. But is "getting by" worth it to us?

Call me doom and gloom, but there is a new tide rising in America. With the cost of fuel (and everything else) on the rise "getting by" is going to become harder and harder for people. So what can we do? We can learn to live within our means instead of buying things to make us happy and needing sparkly new things all the time. The media has trained us from an early age to WANT, WANT, WANT but those things never fill that part of us and make us truly content. The old adage "a penny saved is a penny earned" is more true now than ever. That saved penny (and many more like it) may save you from a financial hardship or even help you pay cash for something most others may have had to take a loan out for. That determination to save and the outcome of being able to buy something after waiting and working for it is what should be making us so happy instead of the instant gratification of a credit card swipe (and then the debt that it creates). How empty does it feel to get something without truly earning it? These are the things we need to be asking ourselves if we are to survive in these changing times. 

So take a moment next time you're out shopping and ask yourself, "Do I really NEED this item?", could you do without or have ingenuity and find something you already own to fill that need? Couldn't you look at a second hand shop instead of buying new, thus saving you money? Could you borrow from a friend or family member? Once upon a time we relied on each other to borrow and trade to get by on our farms and homesteads. Not only do you save money by borrowing, you are nurturing that familial or communal bond which is more important than any dollar in the world. 

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kimchi LOVE

Last night I went to an amazing Kimchi workshop at Urban Farm Fermentory. I've never been before and when I walked in and the smell of fermenting food hit me I knew I'd have a great time. They make Kombucha and a few different blends of hard cider in house, as well as hosting a multitude of workshops. My dad just went about a month ago to a mushroom growing class and he had a blast! We had an "Intro to Kimchi" power point lecture by the teacher, Andy Lindberg, and then dove right in to cutting up and smashing our veggies. Kimchi is really simple and easy to make but totally fun and great tasting.

Dad and I chopping veggies! (Photo credit UFF)

All in all it was a great time and we learned a lot and tasted some awesome ferments. Plus, we got to sample UFF's prototype ginger Kombucha which was totally awesome. We left with a big canning jar full of our Kimchi and instructions to let it ferment for 10-12 days unscrewing the lid once every 24 hours to let the gases escape. I'll let you know when we dig in how they turned out!

Now our jars are hanging out working on turning into something wonderful! Have you ever tried fermented foods? We are big fans of them around here both for the taste and the health benefits. If you don't know much about ferments I highly suggest you pick up the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz at your local library. It'll give you a history on ferments as well as the process that creates them and ideas on what to try out at home. I hope you'll check it out!

Until next time, 
xoxo Stacie