Friday, July 29, 2016

Home Management Binder: Planning Section

Today's adventure was a home management binder..

You would think that would be easy right? Just look up some free printables and bam! You have your whole life planned out for the next year.. Wrong! It seemed like every website I went to, you had to subscribe to get your free printables.. to me something isn't free if you have to do something for it.. I mean, let's be real here.  So I decided to research as much as possible on the many varieties of binders that I came across (my poor browser had SO many tabs open) and create my own little binder AND upload legitimately free printables. No subscription required (although if you wanted to, that would rock).

These printables are very time consuming, but I will post them once I finish each section.  Let's start with the "Planning" section.  This includes:
The section cover

Yearly calendar sheets
(unnumbered so the template can be used year after year)
A weekly calendar

A daily schedule

Goal setting sheets for: weekly, monthly, yearly, in 2 years, in 5 years, and in 10 years

And last but not least, a project planning sheet.

To download this binder section, click here!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Progress at Last

Hurray! This weekend was a success. We not only finished mudding and sanding the bathroom and dining room, BUT we also patched up the walls in the master bedroom. AND we picked out our final selection on paint colors, flooring, and bathroom accessories from Lowe's.

For the dining room, kitchen, and laundry room, we decided to go with Olympic's "Zen" (OL749.1) on the walls. We also instantly fell in love with SoftStep Plus's "Huntington - Coffee" for the floors in these rooms. For us, vinyl flooring is a must right now. The sheets are easily installed (which means easily replaceable when they wear out or we decide we need a new design), easily cleaned, and affordable. Let me tell ya though.. I'm excited for this product. It's textured like a wood floor would be, and it's cushioned (hence the SoftStep). AND the color of the "wood" matches beautifully with the blue hue of the walls.

Valspar's "Inhale" (CI 6) is perfect for our bathroom walls, and Pickwick Landing's Candlerush Slate in Ivory (again with the vinyl) will do nicely for the floors. A lot of the vinyl had yellow undertones, especially in the faux grout, and it clashed horribly with our paint choice.. but this sheet was completely on point with the cool palette. We also made the decision to get Delta's Windemere 4" centerset in brushed nickel for our sink faucet, which will go nicely with Allen & Roth's Merington 3-Light Vanity Bar and our Style Selections Latimer Gray Resin bathroom accessories (wastebasket, soap dish, etc).

Next, we chose Olympic's Prussian Blue (OL708.5) for the living room and master bedroom. These rooms have the original wood floors from when the house was built in 1930, so our desire is to restore these beauties. If, however, we are unsuccessful, we plan on continuing the SoftStep Plus's "Huntington - Coffee" throughout these rooms. For the light fixture in our living room, we are installing Allen & Roth's Earling Semi-Flushmount Ceiling Fixture (and yes, today I discovered I'm in love with Allen & Roth's products).

And finally, for our daughters' bedrooms, we chose Sherman Williams' Flannel Grey (HGSW1464) for the walls and the colors of Valspar's Sweet Pink (1004-2B) and Olympic's Spring Lilac (OL676.3) for accents around the room (picture frames, glass decor, etc). Their rooms will both have Allen & Roth's Eberline Crystal Flushmount Fixture as well as the Table Lamps.

There's still a long ways to go (obviously) before the house is complete, but this weekend has made me hopeful that this house will be move in ready before we know it!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Choosing Fruits and Veggies

Today I have been compiling a list of what veggies/fruits we eat and researching the best place to put them in the garden.  Here is my list:

  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Bell Peppers (Red, Green, and Yellow)
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Chickpeas
  • Green Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Pinto Beans
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Cranberries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupes
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
I did TONS of research on all of these plants.. And then began picking spots out for them on my blueprint (I started up a diagram of our potential homestead on photoshop last night so I can properly scale everything.. it helps my imagination to not get too far ahead of reality). Apparently, taller plants need to be on the north side of the garden (tomatoes, peas, beans.. anything on vertical supports).  I followed this chart to properly place the majority of my plants in my blueprint.

I also read that if you plant marigolds around your garden, it will help keep bugs at bay, so I added those in as well.  Next, I placed my vines (grapes and cranberries) and decided since pineapples are a weird looking bush, they could be placed in the same area as well!  After reading up on fruit bushes and their spacing, I learned that raspberries need to be planted 4 ft apart, blackberries - 3 ft, strawberries - 1 ft, and blueberries - 4 ft.  So I placed those accordingly on my blueprint...

And now onward to planning the orchard and goat pen!

To see my handy blueprint, click here!

Friday, July 8, 2016

And So It Begins

It's hard to say what sparked the homestead idea within me.  Maybe it was my veganism, or wanting to be self sufficient, or maybe even wanting my kids to experience the beauty of life..  Needless to say: there's no way to pinpoint it, but regardless of the reason, homesteading is my destination.

My grandmother has given us her small, old 1930's home that sits on a couple acres.  The poor house was never maintained so it's currently in renovation.  Everything is being replaced, from the plumbing, to the wiring, and even the drywall and floors.  Progress seems like it has taken it's sweet time (a year and a half actually), but the plan is to be able to move by October - when the lease for our apartment is up.

Today I've been researching and planning for the chickens that we plan on adding to our humble abode.  After going through the best egg layers and factoring in temperament and hardiness, we've decided to go with 6 to 8 Buff Orpingtons.  We will make a chicken coop that's 32 square feet, and have a run around it that's 64 square feet.  I have tons of ideas on my pinterest (BlueEyes13016), but we will see which ones we actually do!  I would love to landscape the run with butterfly bushes, juniper, hawthorn, and maybe rose bushes..along with grazing boxes and dust baths.  On the outside of the run, I would like to plant lavender, oregano, sage, and mint (all very healthy for chickens).  I also would like to get a couple of pekin ducks and a couple of cayuga ducks.  But I'll have to continue to consider whether or not I will house the chickens and ducks together..

My game plan (thus far) for next spring is to get the chickens/ducks established and well maintained.  I also plan on starting an herb garden and maybe a small vegetable garden.  Additionally, I will start the process of making an orchard.

The second year, I will make a larger vegetable garden (maybe build a greenhouse) and get a couple goats.  And continue to make sure everything is working efficiently.

The third year, I plan on properly landscaping the entire property as well as plant berries.  I may also get a cow (that's still up in the air.. it depends on how the goats do), but I definitely want to get some bees.

It's definitely in my interest to not only be able to provide food/natural products for my family, but also to sell homemade goods.  There's a big shop that also sits on the property that I could make into a market and storage, but that's something that still needs to be thought through.

Will this be a lot of work? Yes.  Will it be worth it? Absolutely.  I know these are big plans, but they are definitely doable.  I'm excited to see what our path has in store for us, and I'm also very excited to document our adventures through this blog.