the simple life

Frugal Fun With Kids And Felt

December 21, 2012

I came across this winter felt board idea a couple days ago, and this afternoon I spent a few minutes cutting out felt for our son.  I have a bag full of felt scraps left over from my felt food project (I used some of it for the ornaments I made last month, but I […]

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Easing Back Into Travel As A Family Of Four

December 13, 2012

Before we had children, my husband and I used to travel somewhere relatively far-flung at least once a year.  Then our son was born in 2008, and suddenly it seemed much easier to stay home.  And really, that’s what we wanted to do anyway.  A year later, we bought our current house, which has been […]

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A Frugal Curtain

November 17, 2012

Last night I made a curtain to go between our downstairs bathroom and the under-stairs storage area behind it.  The whole thing cost about three dollars, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. This is an old sheet (leftover from when I bought fabric to make diapers for our first son five years […]

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Felt Birdhouse Tree Ornaments

November 8, 2012

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve started making Christmas ornaments for our nieces.  I’ve been doing this for 12 years now, and our nieces and I all enjoy the tradition.  Our oldest niece is 15, and she has quite a collection of handmade ornaments now.  I always have fun figuring out what to […]

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Curbing Impulse Spending

October 26, 2012

Happy Friday!  I have another post inspired by Kate, and I’d love to hear from the rest of you on this topic as well.  It’s one that is the downfall of many a budget:  impulse spending.  Here’s what Kate writes: I need to leave my debit card at home. I go out for one thing […]

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Made My First Cough Syrup

September 19, 2012

Have you all discovered Frugally Sustainable yet?  I had browsed around over there off and on in the past, but I’ve started reading more posts lately and loving it.  If you subscribe to the blog, you get a free copy of Andrea’s e-book “Herbal Rescue:  Your Guide To Creating A Homemade Herbal First Aid Kit” […]

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My DIY Wall-Mounted Jewelry Box

July 8, 2012

A couple weeks ago, I saw this post on Organizing Made Fun, and I really liked the wall mounted jewelry box.  My jewelry was in a regular box on a shelf in the back of our closet.  It was hard to get to, hard to see what was in it, and I realized that I […]

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Progress On Our Projects And Some Good Links

May 14, 2012

I hope you all had a great weekend!  Our was spent working on the rough wiring in our basement, with a lot of help from my parents.  I have a circuit map that I’ve been drawing onto a blank floor plan, adding x’s and o’s for all the outlets and lights.  The whole basement map […]

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A DIY Bike Cargo Area

March 29, 2012

My husband recently spruced up his bike to make it easier to carry stuff, and I thought I’d share his cool DIY design.  In the past, he always used a backpack to haul stuff on his bike, or he put stuff in next to our son if he was hauling the kid-trailer.  But now he […]

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More Improvised Exercise Equipment

January 22, 2012

Remember when I told you about the walker I started using as a dip station for my Bodyrock workouts?  Well, I have another inexpensive, DIY piece of workout equipment to share with you. They use sandbags as weights on Bodyrock all the time.  The one they use sells for about $100.  Of course there was […]

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Vinegar As An Herbicide

June 30, 2010

In addition to our awesome backyard, we also have a really big front yard.  We started getting rid of some of the grass last summer, putting down weed blocking fabric and using a wheelbarrow to spread out existing areas of gravel (happily, the former owners had ordered more than they needed when they put in […]

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Reducing Our Impact In Whatever Way We Can

June 29, 2010

My post about all of us being responsible for the oil spill generated quite a bit of discussion over the last few days.  Any time this issue comes up (on my site and every other one I’ve visited), there are always people who are quick to point out why their particular situation makes it impossible […]

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We’re All Responsible For The Oil Spill

June 26, 2010

I subscribe by email to my favorite blogs, and this morning, right beside each other in my inbox, were articles from two of my favorite bloggers, Everett Bogue and Tammy Strobel, both writing about essentially the same thing: we all have a moral obligation to drive less.  Both articles are excellent, and well worth reading. […]

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Reducing Our Dependence On Cars

June 16, 2010

People are often amazed that my husband and I have cars that are 20 years old and still going strong. Yes we’ve been lucky to have reliable vehicles, and we’ve also stayed on top of basic maintenance. But the real key is that we don’t drive much. We bought my car from its original owner […]

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My Six Favorite Ways To Keep Expenses To A Minimum

May 10, 2010

I believe that for most people, cutting expenses is the most important key to reaching financial goals as quickly as possible.  Basically, the idea is to make the difference between what you earn and what you spend as large as possible in order to put the difference towards your goals (paying off debt, buying a […]

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Disposables Versus Cloth Diapers

March 8, 2010

Hi everyone!  Sorry about the lack of posts recently.  We’ve been on vacation, and I took a break from the computer while we were away.  We spent several days with my husband’s parents at their sunny winter home.  They live in an RV park in the southwest during the cold months, and it was great […]

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January 27, 2010

I’ve written before about how I’m trying to buy less plastic.  I just read a really inspiring interview with Beth Terry from Fake Plastic Fish, and I’m ashamed to admit that on the rare occasions when we eat out, I’ve never thought to ask the waiter to bring my water without a straw.  Around the […]

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Are You Spending To Impress Other People?

January 22, 2010

Lately my husband has been spending huge amounts of time researching investment strategies.  While we’ve both been committed to long-term savings goals for years, he’s really been getting into the nuances of it lately, and it’s made our retirement portfolios much more interesting to look at (of course they haven’t been much fun to look […]

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Happy Stress-Free Holidays!

December 28, 2009

The first year my husband and I were together, I remember going shopping for Christmas presents for just about everybody we knew.  Family, friends, coworkers… we did some serious shopping.  We did most of it at outlet stores and off-retail places, but we did a lot of shopping.  A few years later we hosted my […]

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Dumpster Dived Building Materials

December 21, 2009

I was walking home from the post office today when I spotted a huge dumpster out in front of a house, filled to the brim with what looked like a lot of wood and cardboard.  I had the dog on a leash and our son in the stroller, so I wasn’t in much of a […]

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Window Coverings On A Budget

December 15, 2009

When we bought our new house, all of the window coverings were cheap plastic venetian blinds.  There was no covering at all on the kitchen window, but our neighbors gave us a blind that fit that window perfectly.   In the bedrooms, the plastic blinds provided privacy, but did little to block light from coming […]

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21st Century Holiday Greetings

December 7, 2009

I just finished making our first holiday e-card, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  We always send out photo cards, but the cost of postage and the cards, combined with the time I always spend addressing envelopes, made me decide to try an electronic version this year.  Nearly everyone we know is online […]

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A Homemade Christmas Present

November 30, 2009

Last week, I decided to make a Christmas gift for a friend’s daughter.  The little girl is about the same age as our son, and we get the two of them together every month or so.  They’ve evolved from looking at each other, to poking each other in the eye, to running around the playground […]

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Cold Frames In Action

November 29, 2009

We have three homemade cold frames in our backyard now, where we are growing our greens.  We’ve already had about three feet of snow so far this season, but our greens are doing great.  Here’s a picture of one of the coldframes, and a close-up shot of the greens inside it. The glass is just […]

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No Impact Man

November 19, 2009

For a couple years now, I’ve had Colin Beavan’s blog – No Impact Man – on my blogroll.  His site is both interesting and inspiring, and I’ve always enjoyed it.  I  just finished reading his new book (also titled No Impact Man), and highly recommend it.  The focus of the book is on Colin and […]

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Entertaining Our Toddler

November 5, 2009

I got an email from a reader today, asking what sort of things our toddler does with his time, particularly since we don’t have a TV.  I thought I’d share some of what we do, in case other readers are looking for ways to occupy a small child without TV or expensive toys. I’m very […]

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Frugal, Simple, Clean. Three Of My Favorite Words.

October 29, 2009

I’ve mentioned before that we use one credit card for pretty much all of our spending.  We get 1% cash back on the card, and it’s an easy way to keep track of our spending, since it’s all listed in one place on the statement.  Our billing cycle starts and ends around the 10th of […]

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Ditching Some More Disposables

October 23, 2009

This is a bathroom-themed post, so if that’s tmi, here’s your fair warning to mosey along now. For some time, we’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of disposable stuff we use.  It’s cheaper and far more environmentally sound to go with reusable products, and we’ve found that it’s a lot easier than […]

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Kitchen Decluttering

October 11, 2009

I don’t particularly like cleaning.  I love to cook, do laundry, work in the garden… but cleaning is pretty far down on my list.  But I love living in a clean house, and having lots of wide open, clean space around me.  And therein lies the conundrum.  Lately I’ve been on a mission to purge […]

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Wrapping Up The Outdoor Chores, And A Few Good Links

October 3, 2009

I’ve been doing some good kitchen magic lately, and I recently made a batch of spinach burgers that turned out great.  I didn’t have any cheese (we’re mostly vegan these days) so I made cashew cheese by blending cashews, water, garlic salt, apple cider vinegar, and some spices.  It turned out creamy and wonderful, and […]

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Greenhouse Is Up And Running Again!

October 1, 2009

Remember last year, when we built a little greenhouse to go in our side yard?  When we moved, we had to cut it in half, and we just got it put back together this week.  Here it is in our new yard, protecting one of our garden beds: See why we had to move? That […]

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Our Orchard In Its Early Days

September 28, 2009

I promised a long time ago that I’d post a picture of the orchard we planted.  Here it is, under a rainbow: It’s hard to see all of the trees, because they are still pretty small.  Check back in a few years and it should be a more impressive sight!  In all, we have 14 […]

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Not Loving Things That Can’t Love Me Back

September 15, 2009

I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always purchased them second-hand (even as a child, since my family only shopped at yard sales and thrift stores), but it always gave me a thrill to get new clothes.  Not so long ago, I would relish a quiet afternoon in one of […]

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Keeping Track Of Our Spending

September 14, 2009

Recently I got an email from a long-time reader, asking me if we still keep track of our monthly expenses.  I guess the answer is both yes and no.  We do pay close attention to what we are spending, and I check our bank balances and credit card transactions on a daily basis.  But we […]

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The Frugal Way To Avoid Flame Retardants In Pajamas

September 8, 2009

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m not fond of toxic chemicals in our house or yard.  We grow all of our veggies using organic methods, clean the house with baking soda and vinegar, and avoid food additives like preservatives and food colorings.  So it should come as no […]

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August 17, 2009

At our old house, it was only $4/month to add basic cable TV to our internet service.  So we did.  We had a handful of channels – I have no idea how many, because the only thing I ever watched was “Ice Road Truckers” (my husband picked that one…) and “The Office” (that was my […]

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Another Do It Yourself Project

August 13, 2009

My husband finished a window well cover earlier this week, and is nearly finished with the second one.  I’m pretty darn impressed, especially given that this is his first real welding project (he considered the umbrella stand practice, since it just involved attaching a piece of pipe to a piece of I-beam).  Here’s a picture […]

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Removing Bread From The Shopping List

August 7, 2009

Our new patio is the perfect spot for our solar oven.  At our old house, we had to move the oven from the back yard to the front yard as the day went by (sometimes in the middle of cooking something) because the yard was so small and the house next door was so close […]

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Eating Our Dandelions

July 21, 2009

As I mentioned yesterday, our garden isn’t exactly anything to write home about yet.  We’ve been in our new house for three weeks, so our tallest seedlings are about three inches high.  We have lots of them, but they are quite small.  I find myself filled with chard envy when I visit Sheri’s blog.  And unfortunately […]

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Progress On Our Little Homestead

July 20, 2009

It has been a busy three weeks around here, but we’re making progress.  We finished building a gate in our fence that will allow us to move large things in an out of the backyard.  The previous owner had tried to construct a 15 foot gate.  He bought a bunch of expensive hardware that would […]

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