Hot chocolate in my coffee

work for mike

a trip to the hardware store

a pretty new paint colour with a rather disappointing  name

rock cookies

chicken pot pie from one of our very own chickens

more rain

more of the same

hunkering down

Our thoughts have been occupied with our newly implemented budget.  We sway back and forth between feeling empowered and hopeful to tired and a little sad.  The good news is that the money is there for us if we use it wisely.   We are so glad that me staying home is even a viable option; I know so many people would love to be home, but simply cannot make ends meet.

I found this blog while searching for ways to stretch our dollars and for about 15 minutes we thought maybe we could really hunker down and get ourselves out of debt.  Then we realized we are already bare bones with the only place to cut the fat being in our groceries, fuel, and “entertainment” ($100 – so far our entertainment includes paint and a fire detector).  It would be years and years before we saw the light of day and it would be a miserable existence.  All that to say we will be taking all our monthly disposable income and laying it down on our line of credit for the next several months.  After that is cleared, it will be going into our savings and paying off our freezer full of organic grass fed meat.  We also have a truck load of wood and a chainsaw to buy as well as our income tax coming due from my adventure into home childcare.

The budget means cutting the tiny bits of fat most people wouldn’t think twice about.  Reducing grocery trips to the larger town a little over an hour away to 2 times rather than 3 or 4 times per month.  It quickly becomes clear why going into the grocery store less is just better.  Mike is capable of going in with blinders and only getting the milk or onions whereas I get creative and think of the possibilities.  It means making our food from scratch.  It means using electricity less.  Ultimately, it translates into me staying home more and spending even more time in the kitchen.

Anyone who knows how much time I spend in the house as it is may think that is ludicrous to spend more time at home, but it is a reality and I am preparing myself for it.  I need to switch my perspective a bit.  I think I have a higher than normal tolerance for being home and being alone so it shouldn’t be too hard.

I really like being home, but Ido need a few things for it to be more sane:

1) I need a project to do; big or small, just something that makes me feel productive.

  • painting nearly every surface in the house within an inch of its life
  • reorganizing the cupboards
  • baking/meal prep
  • planning and implementing a functional pantry space
  • meal planning
  • sewing
  • repairing, patching, and slipcover-ing our furniture
  • painting or drawing
  • reading
  • knitting and crocheting
  • blogging
  • art
  • jewelry making
  • etc

2) I need a shower – it makes me feel more productive, more pulled together, and less grumpy/disgusting

3) I need my house to be pretty and cozy (which goes hand in hand with number 1).

4) I need something other than kid’s movies to watch especially in the winter.  This one is hard to admit, but I miss watching things like Martha Stewart and would also love to watch things that we can all learn from like BBC programs, documentaries etc {this isn’t to say we don’t watch things like Shameless, Californication, and The Dragon’s Den when we can}.  We are looking into ways of doing this without cable (we have not had cable for nearly 5 years!) and may be able to do something with some Christmas money and dip into our entertainment budget.

5) Adult interaction.  Lots of options here between friends and homeschool meet ups, I just have to plan things out, and firm up plans more often rather than just saying, with good intentions, “We should totally get together!”.  This also means embracing social media like Instagram and Facebook.  I often wonder why I post pictures of random things for no real reason, but I do it to connect to the good people who may live far away or that I simply don’t get to see a lot.  It staves off the crazies more times than not and can pull me back from the edge when Silas gets an early start on his throw-downs.

To some of you this may sound perfectly normal and realistic while others may think we are insane for not just doing things normal-like.  send the kids to daycare and then school while we both work.  Not only is it not how we wish to do things for a number of personal reasons, but there are high costs to that as well.  The truth is that some days are hard and even boring, but then I think about going back to a job that I hated and spending much less time with my kids, and my perspective is regained.  I would rather do tedious and sometimes mundane tasks for these two little bosses than for a stranger, besides they pay me well in cuddles and say way funnier things.

go gently + be wonderful


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  1. Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm by Johanna | Permalink

    Oh I love your posts Erin. And I love your perspective- realistic and idealistic at the same time.
    I too am worried (as a one income family) how we will get by. Taxes, cost of living, bills ect.. it all adds up.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm by erin | Permalink

      I am glad you are enjoying my posts and finding comfort in them…sometimes it is just nice to know that we aren’t walking this way alone :)

  2. Posted January 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm by Beth | Permalink

    My first comment! This post speaks to me, Erin! I stay at home with my two small girls and have found myself really struggling lately. Mentally. It isn’t a budget that keeps me tied to home but a husband who works long, unpredictable hours and the lack of a second vehicle, I really rarely get any amount of time to myself or time out of the house alone and I am finding it weighing heavily on me. I love staying home with them, it truly isn’t a question of doing anything else…but I find the unending nature of the work of a home and two very small children to be…well, you know exactly how it is. Wearying when you don’t have a chance to recharge. The endless mess and needs. Which is fine, until it becomes all you do….your words here were like a lightbulb…I really need projects!!! I feel like I wander around this house cleaning and tending all day and even when I have a free moment I still do those things because I have nothing else on the go! I need to brainstorm a list like yours…things I have been putting off because it feels like there’s never time…and see if there is any way I can manage them in small bites. Anyhow…thank you for sharing what you do here, Erin. I enjoy reading. The post you shared awhile back about the chaos that happens with small children made me laugh out loud, truly.

    Beth (in Halifax)

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm by erin | Permalink

      Oh my. We are one and the same! I do a lot of aimless wandering and tending and then wonder what the hell I did with my day. I enjoy productive days and I think it is important for kids to watch me doing something that makes me happy aside from loving them…it may teach us all a little patience as well.
      Thank you so much for letting me know I am not alone :)

  3. Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:29 am by april | Permalink

    I can commiserate with your budget frustrations. We recently reevaluated our budget as well, trying to find more creative ways to stretch one income to support a family of 6. It’s nice to know another cable-free family! With Hulu and Netflix, the kids don’t miss it (much).

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thanks so much for writing! We do have netflix, but we are quite limited in what we can get in Canada at times…working on a solution 😉

  4. Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:05 am by tameka | Permalink

    good morning,
    for watching movies without cable, have you considered netflix for streaming tv and movies? it costs $8/month. there are others out there too (amazon, hulu, & more). netflix has a larger movies library and no ads.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm by erin | Permalink

      We have netflix, but we are quite limited to what we can get being in Canada…there are other solutions, but not ideal ones, to get around the copyright laws…bummer!

  5. Posted January 14, 2013 at 11:46 am by Joan | Permalink

    Oh, those two bosses! HAAAAA! I always say that about Abby! She is a way better boss than the one I had before she was born (to put it mildly).

    Your situation is so similar to mine in terms of emotional conflict and wanting what is best for everyone. Sometimes I think going back to work would be a snap. It would solve so many “problems”: financial, my non-existent adult interaction, and the intermittent boredom. But then I think about being gone all day from the house and how it will look exactly like we left it in the morning. No running, bike-riding, baking, sewing, chasing, drawing, reading or napping to have taken place. And that makes me feel sad and a little neglectful of our home. It’s meant to be LIVED in! So I push through the bad days and try not to get too down on my self and everything.

    Also: I love The Fire Starter Sessions, I checked it out of the library after I saw it on your blog. Love. It. How about this:

    You are what you think about all day.
    -Allen Ginsberg

    Have a wonderful day!

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm by erin | Permalink

      So glad I am not alone in the boredom and the great love of it! Also glad you’re enjoying Fire Starter Sessions! I must sit and spend some time with it this week!

  6. Posted January 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm by Danielle | Permalink

    Have you thought of “hiring” a mother’s helper? When I was at home with two littles, I hired the 10 year old girl nextdoor that loves kids to come and play with my girls — for $2/hour a couple of days a week (I was always there too – just in another room). It gave me time to focus on the tasks at hand without all of the frustration and exhaustion that comes with having to do it with kids underfoot all the time. Some young girls even like to do this for free as a way to gain babysitting experience, though I liked to pay just a bit. Gotta find the right sitter, but it can be really nice. My girls LOVED playing with a big kid too.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm by erin | Permalink

      Sounds lovely, but not in the budget and we don’t really know too many children of that age.
      Thanks for writing

  7. Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm by cindy baldwin | Permalink

    Do you meal plan? I do two weeks of meal planning at a time and do my grocery shopping once a month. If I make my shopping lists directly from my meal plans, I’m MUCH more able to go to the grocery store and just stick to the list, rather than making impulse purchases. Plus, shopping for two weeks at a time is a rather long grocery list, so I usually feel hassled and overwhelmed enough by the need to get everything on the list that it helps me zoom through the store with tunnel vision! Assigning meals to various days doesn’t work with my family for many reasons, so instead I draw up a flexible two-week meal plan with a variety of options and pick a meal from it every day. I rarely ever have to shop between my regular grocery trips, and if I do it’s typically due to an extraneous circumstance (i.e. health problems or emergencies).

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm by erin | Permalink

      I am getting on the meal plan train and doing just as you say in order to reduce the number of trips to the store because it is far away or expensive if shopping locally.
      Thanks for the tips!

      • Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:36 am by cindy baldwin | Permalink

        No problem! I resisted meal planning for a long time (it just seemed so… intimidating!) but, like you, at the time I was living far from the only less-expensive grocery option and had to really learn to make my 2 trips a month do!

  8. Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:21 am by amy | Permalink

    this is exactly where I am right now. exactly. comforting to know I am not alone, but my motivation to make a plan for real change day to day can be fleeting. hugs to you and thank you for sharing your realism.

  9. Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:36 am by mel | Permalink

    1,2,3,4…. switch! Ok, totally there with you.. a hearty YES to all the above. We’re all nutters …and we’re all in it together! xx
    needle and nest

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