It Snowed, It Rained (hard), It’s 90… and other reasons I haven’t planted those potatoes

For all of you NOT living in NH, let me tell you that this has been an INSANE week for weather. Memorial Day saw snow in many areas around us. Wednesday (when I promised to plant my potatoes) was very cold and rainy, and therefore I did not go out and make my potato tower.  And today? ya, it’s over 90 degrees out! Only in NH, I tell you.

The weather this past weekend allowed me to feel quite vindicated in the fact that I had not yet planted my garden. See? You can get a frost in (almost) June!

This week I have had many things rolling around in my brain, and of course I feel the need to share them with you all! So, welcome to my randomness:

On Homesteading and pretty nails:

I have always enjoyed being “prettied up” – getting my hair done, getting my nails done, etc. Last year when money got tight, we had to have a hard conversation with ourselves and decide what was truly important. Many things went, but I held out on my nails. I tried giving it up, but that seemed to be the thing that made me feel like everything else was ok. But, for Shelac nails it cost $35 every 2 weeks to have them done in the salon. So, I poked around and found that you could purchase everything needed to do them at home for about $70! We bought the supplies and I have been doing them at home myself:

At Home Shelac

At Home Shelac


And they come out JUST like they did for $35 at the salon

Salon style nails at home

Salon style nails at home

Geesh, maybe I should be a hand model?!?! Have I missed my calling? lol… These supplies have lasted me since September. 10 months, twice a month, $35 a pop (plus tip), that’s $700 saved! For a $70 investment and a few bad manicures while I figured it out.

Another place we looked at to save money was my husbands haircuts – he has a high and tight type of haircut, and in the Sales industry he like to keep it cut close and neat at all times. He was going to the Barber shop every other weekend, spending $20 a cut. We tried going longer between cuts to save money, but he felt sloppy and unkempt, so again, we looked at doing it at home. We splurged, and bought a pricey set of clippers and then all of the things you need (cape, comb, clippers, guards, those little paper thingys that go around the neck, etc). All together we probably spend just shy of $150. Doing the math, that’s 10 months, and around $450 saved!  (and only 2 or 3 sub-par haircuts to get it right)

I guess what I am getting at here is that you can be working towards living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, but in doing so you don’t have to give up the things that make you feel good. You just need to evaluate, re-evaluate and get creative.


On couponing and splurging:

Many of my friends think I may be a bit compulsive with my couponing, some may think I am a hoarder. I admit, I have 30 cases of soda, and I just bought over 20 deodorants, and I have enough cereal to last us the next 7 months. We are all set for pasta and sauce til after Christmas. The list goes on. But I think this is what they are missing – I buy these things while on the cheap (sometimes FREE) not so I can have a full shelf, but so I can save money and NOT have to buy them when they are full price. When I save money (BIG money) on my everyday staples, that gives me more flexible spending money for things like:

Yummy Splurges

Yummy Splurges


A $4.99 jar of Nathan’s pickles and German Mustard! When you save all the time, you have money to buy that mustard that was an impulse. And can I tell you how goooooood this mustard is? Had it for lunch yesterday and again today – ham and cheese with mayo and this stuff! To die for! With a pickle on the side.

In the end, it’s all good. Life balances out. I don’t think you can live super extreme to one side or the other. The trick for us is finding a balance we can live with by doing  what we feel is right (by becoming more self-sufficient) while not giving up things we absolutely love. Everyone has their own list of things that are must-haves or must-dos. When those are kept in tact, I find the other peripheral things can go. Balance.


On Potato Towers:

Fear not, I will be making the tower this weekend. Meantime, I have cut my seed potatoes and they are drying on my counter so they won’t mold when I plant them. Maddy assures me this is the grossest thing she has had to endure on the counter. I take that as a challenge!

Cut and Drying Seed Potatoes

Cut and Drying Seed Potatoes


Happy Homesteading all! Talk to you soon!





Knit Marathon Update: Making soup is not knitting?

I have been a completely ADD knitter so far. But, I have accomplished quite a bit. As you saw earlier, I finished my 4 scarves which will be mailed out tomorrow to my sister for her family.

Sunday is church day for us, but one of my kids was sick, so she was brought to the clinic, and I stayed here with the other 2. While I knitted and attended church via the internet, the kids measured the snow for me and made a very cool fort

Total snow fall from NEMO

Total snow fall from NEMO

OK… Here we go again with that little “click here to see more” thingy… I feel like a real blogger!


Anatomy of a Blizzard – 2013 Edition

It’s 4:30 pm, and the snow has only just changed over from the fine powder to a heavier snow. This morning we all slept in – except for Kev, who was working from home – taking advantage of an unplanned day off. OK, nix that, I had to go in and work at the gym for 4 hours today, but still…

This morning we were pretty lazy. Mads made a breakfast sandwich. This was a feat considering her right hand is in a cast from a basketball injury:

Maddie's morning creation

Maddie’s morning creation


We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post…

For me to brag on my baby!

My son has been playing basketball for a while now, this year he made the middle school team. It is a pretty big thing. And tonight? HE was a starter. Not only a starter, but at Center~


That’s my boy – the big tall one in the green and white – at the tip-off (or whatever it is called. My kids did NOT get their athletic ability from me!) At 6’2″ and being only 13 years old, I think I have a lot of basketball in my future.


My boy ROCKS!

That’s all. Thank you for listening.

I will be back tomorrow with a double post – some helpful money saving tips, and a little about my over abundance of ongoing projects!

My baby’s back!

Well, my laptop had more things wrong with it than just not reading my memory card. We had to send her away to the HP people, who took her apart, ripped everything down and rebuilt her. Can you say “withdrawal”???? Ya. Anyways, now I have her back.


Who, aside from me, is excited for school to start? I love fall! I love making plans for all of my projects (most of which never get done, but hey… ). While finishing Maddy’s pink pom pom socks, I decided this school year would kick off the year of the sock! My goal is to knit a pair each month… that’s right… 12 pairs this year! I have picked out several patterns (FREE) on Ravelry.


Maddy’s Pink Pom Pom Peds

Am I only knitting socks this year??? Heck no! I still have 872 other knitting projects to work on, and I want to start another quilt. I have already started My September Socks in a fabulous Malibrigio Sock yarn. I am also working on a sweater for Kevin right now.

September Socks and Kev’s Sweater


Other quick updates from the Ort-stead… Aidan is running cross country, Maddy is playing Middle School Field Hockey, and Katie is on the JV Volleyball team… And you know what that means? LOTS of knitting time! lol…

We are also looking at some change in the near future – I am looking for a job… *gasp*… I know, right?

OOooooooh – and just because I love to brag on my kids…. we went to a wedding this summer, and I was able to get the BEST family photo (albeit without Katie)…

The Ort’s all Cleaned Up!


That’s all for now, but next time I will fill you in on all the fabulous sock patterns, and other Work-In-Progress I have here at the house!

Enjoy the last couple weeks of summer… I know I will – while dreaming of FALL!




How’s Your Summer – Mine? CRA-ZY!

It is no secret that I have been silent on the blog this summer. Man, it just crept up and swept me away! Not only the blogging, but I haven’t been taking many pictures either. I really don’t know where to begin, except to say that we have been BUSY! WE have already had a week at Basketball Camp, 2 kids had a week at Church Camp, another is finishing her second week of band camp, next week we will be in Rockport, and then one kid off to a second week at basketball camp and the other will be at a pretty elite band camp (I love to brag about my tallented kids, and she has got SOME talent!). Then we’ve got field hockey camp/practice for middle school field hockey team and volleyball camp… Did we ever do this much stuff? I think the worst part is that most of these things are “camps” that we drive to each day – some are half day things, some full day.

The rest of the time we have been doing this…

Kids at Sunappe

I have been ordered by my Dr NOT TO KNIT for 6-8 weeks… I mean REALLY???? Does he even know me????? lol… So, what am I doing in the mean time? I am working on quilting! I went over and my mom helped me to baste the whole thing together. I am so lucky that her friend, Sue, also came over and helped.

Quilt all basted

OK, Oreo may have helped, too…

Then we went up to the sewing room, and unearthed the coolest quilt frames ever – my Dad made them for my mom long ago. They are adjustable and really cool… and somehow my pictures no longer want to load to my blog….. *sigh* so I will leave you now and try and figure out my computer!


What are you and your family doing this summer????



The Reason I Knit… Marathon update #3

Right here?????

This is the reason I knit… She was so excited to get home and have a sock!

I finished it just as the bus was stopping at the driveway. Literally. As in, I cut the yarn as she opened the door. Ends are woven in. Sock done!

Giggling ensued. Much happiness from my 11-year-old.


Now, I have to run to my moms to get a pair of size 6 needles so I can cast on the sleeve of the Kaftan. I got a few more hours of knitting left in me.

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