Yesterday marked the 3-month anniversary of the launch of this blog and the formal start of my experiment. I think it's time to stop and take stock of how I'm doing so far.
As I suspected, this has been the easiest aspect to change. I cook from scratch 99% of the time when we are home these days. The fun of trying new things, as well as the need for a bit more planning, has eliminated those nights that we would get takeout or head to a restaurant simply because I didn't have a meal planned. When we do choose to go out to eat we choose a locally owned restaurant whenever one is available. It's also more fun to cook from scratch. Opening a bag of frozen stuff and throwing it in a pan is not fun. It's work. Crafting a meal from great ingredients is enjoyable. We have joined a CSA and are eagerly awaiting our first bundle of fresh, organic produce. Our garden is getting underway and I'm installing edible landscape all around our yard, including raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb. These plants are native to Michigan which makes them more sustainable and hardier.
Also as I suspected, this has been harder. I'm still on the computer a lot. So is my husband, and my four year-old is on more and more as he discovers how much is really out there. I can longer convince him that PBS Kids, Kids CBC and Starfall are the only websites that exist. At least it is still easy to monitor and limit his time on the computer. I know it will only get harder when he heads off to full-time, public school next fall. We have cut back on our TV watching and my husband and I have downgraded our cell phones to a prepaid plan. They are mainly for emergencies now. It's much cheaper and we were hardly using them before, anyway.
A constant battle, isn't it? I think we're on the right track with money. We've gotten some more things paid off and have enough saved up to take care of a few things that we need or want to do. Fun stuff, like new siding and insulation on our house. Whee...but, a wise investment in the long run. There are still three huge money things that we need to get going on.
1) Retirement and estate planning (This is obviously a must.)
2) College funds for both boys (We have a plan that will result in us paying for up to 100% of their post K-12 education.)
3) Retirement/vacation property (This is clearly third in importance, but it's first in my heart.)
I continue to make a few extra bucks a month teaching classes through community education and selling my craftiness online and at craft shows. I'm also in the process of starting up a home-based business. It's still in it's infancy, but, once it gets rolling, it will combine my science expertise, my love of planning events and my desire to make some money without depending on a "regular" job.
The past three months have not felt too much different than what we were doing before. I cooked from scratch often and we were always fairly diligent about finding local things to eat, see and do. Now, as spring and summer take hold, things may get a little more different. In the next 3-6 months I plan to learn canning, try my hand at cheese-making and step up the DIY projects in general. I hope you stay tuned!