Sunday, January 19, 2014

Calm Before The Storm...

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This week was the calm before the storm. 

We did our chores. (In a pink fuzzy bear suit. Totally normal.)

It was homeschool as usual all week and Darran finished up a tractor he was working on. When work time was over there was lots of hiking, sledding, and playing in the sunshine.

We discovered Baby O's jogging stroller goes pretty danged good in the snow.
Red is totally over winter.
I tried to get back in the groove of a regular workout routine. I'm adding yoga twice a week. I think I'm going to need a little flexibility in my life.
My mother in law stopped by and brought Baby O a present.
Shock soaked up some rays.
Everything was basically business as usual around here and I made sure to enjoy every second. Because I knew what was coming...

Today is Sunday. Hello crazy-busy storm.

Darran is off getting equipment ready for a job he starts tomorrow hauling scrap iron. (I allowed myself to stress a bit this week about how we were going to buy some of the things we need to get started with the houseSawmill blades, concrete... Silly me, it always works out.) Though we'll still need to keep our budget tight, this job should help pay for most of what we need to get started building, but it will also keep Darran gone more days and longer hours than we're used to.

And me? I am trying to wash diapers, clean the house for the week, write something for my fitness blog (and this blog of course), plan our homeschool week, do a bit of meal prep, and just overall get a jump on a week (or two or three) that I know Darran will not be around to help out as much as usual. All while wearing Baby O. in our Moby wrap because she is a bit fussy/cranky (teething maybe?) and trying to keep two rowdy boys in check.

Before I sat down to write this post I was beginning to feel majorly stressed. I took this time to give myself a little talking to. To remind myself to focus on being grateful for the amazingness happening in our lives right now and that it will all work out fine. Worrying and stressing will do nothing but make the journey less fun. I'm prioritizing what I need to get done and what I can let go of (this was supposed to be a Paleo recipe post. Sigh.). Most of all I'm reminding myself that this is merely a season in our lives and it shall pass. Meanwhile the light at the end of the tunnel is a beautiful sight.

So, bring it on crazy-busy storm. I'm ready.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Yesterday Darran, the kids, and I went out to hike around and check out possible sites for the house. Darran had 4 spots in mind for me to look at. He chose them for sensible things like proximity to existing water and best spots for solar/wind energy. I however was scrutinizing them for important things like how good was the view and the cell service. Priorities.

If we're friends on Facebook or Instagram you have already seen sites 1 and 2. Sites 3 and 4 had no view of Pikes Peak. Total deal-breaker for me.

View from site 1
View from site 2

I've fallen passionately in love with site 1. It's perfect. It's at the edge of the trees so there's a little shelter from the weather, but towards the east opens up to pasture. The view is beyond and, well, it had the best cell service. You know, in case I need to instagram a funny goat video, er, I mean, you have to be safe in case of an emergency!

Darran agrees it's a sensible spot. I will happily cook on my wood-burning cook stove and wash my dishes by hand while gazing out the window here.

More views from site 1:

This is looking East from where the house will be. I can just see a new goatopia here for Ellie and Fiona. Also, a new home for the chickens and maybe even the garden spot. Oh, and did I mention I want a milk cow?
All. The. Critters.
Where I want the house. Nothing is set in stone, but I'm in love with this spot!

Video standing where the house would go. No sound but wind, and a little shaky. Working on getting better with video!

Most of all: it feels like home already.

After that little excursion I'm so happy-excited-eager that Darran is lucky it's winter. Seriously, I'd be out there in a tent... hoping my laptop battery held up?

And now: the work begins...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Debt-Free, It's The New Black

After last week's post I have had a ton of questions about one thing: how we paid off so much debt in so short a time. I decided to just dedicate a post to this.

Please note, I am simply sharing my experience. I'm no financial expert. 

Darran and I did pay off about $80,000 in debt in just over 2 years. This included all of our debt except our mortgage. Credit cards, car loans, everything. How? How? How? Everyone wants to know. 

Well, this is what we did...

Get ON-FIRE passionate about it. I cannot stress this one enough. This process was not easy. Not. At. All. Had we not been so passionate about it we would have caved long before we paid it all off. I was so on-fire passionate; I was going to KILL ALL THE DEBT and nothing was going to stop me. Debt was the enemy, it was the one thing keeping me from freedom and everything I wanted in life. Sound a bit intense? Maybe, but I believe it's necessary.

Draw a line in the sand. The first task we performed was to cut up our credit cards and agree to no more debt. None. Ever. From that point forward we were committed to never again use a credit card, take out a loan for a car, or incur any type of debt ever again. I realize this may sound extreme, but again I believe it a necessary part of how we got this done. (We then scrounged and put $1000 in a savings account before paying any debt to have a buffer from the little things that just tend to happen in life. It may seem controversial, but we put no other money in savings or retirement during the time we were paying debt.)

The Debt-Snowball. I didn't believe it in the beginning, but the debt-snowball is essential. Basically the debt-snowball is writing down all of your debts from smallest amount to largest, then pay every penny you can to KILL the smallest debt while only paying minimums on the others. Once you've killed that smallest debt take all the money you were putting toward that (and every spare penny) and pay that towards the next smallest debt. On and on until you pay them all off. It works.

Sell all the things. Ebay, Craig's List, garage sales, wherever. We sold everything we didn't absolutely need or absolutely love. Every penny went towards debt. 

Become the Queen of Cheap. I became a master couponer and bargain shopper. If I bought anything (which I deemed absolutely necessary or I didn't buy it) I made sure to get the best deal I could. Shop around, use coupons, wait for sales, wait for a coupon AND a sale... Also, always pay cash. It keeps you mindful.

Be willing to forego luxuries now for freedom later. There was a lot of sacrifice involved in getting this done in 2 years. A lot. We cut our cable, we shut off our land-line phone, we didn't go out to eat, we saved electricity where we could, I made our laundry soap (which I enjoyed and still do), I was uber careful with gas in my car and didn't waste trips, we didn't buy anything we felt we could get along without.... We lived so, so, so lean. On what we were making we had to in order to free up enough money to get the debt paid. It may seem tough, but it's worth it more than I can tell you!

And that, in a nutshell, is what we did! Any more questions that I didn't answer? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. Again, I'm no expert and can only answer from our experience.