~Cleaning out the chemicals~

So the last time I went on a little health kick, I wanted to get rid of all the chemicals in the house. My Audrey had somehow opened the baby lock on the cabinet and reached in to find my all purpose Clorox disinfectant, she then proceeded to spray it in her mouth, why I have no idea! After calling poison control, I spent a whole day on pinterest trying to get recipes for homemade cleaning products and I actually found some really good cleaning products that I think work better than what I had been using!

I did try a few products from Mellalueca and I actually really like them! They were a little expensive but they worked wonderfully, the only thing that bothered me was that even though they claim to have wonderful all natural products they don’t put their ingredients on the bottles! You have to call their 800 number and talk to a representative about the ingredients. I think if your going to flaunt how natural your products are, you should want to flaunt your ingredient list as well. However if your not jumping on the chemical free bandwagon and just want a product that works really well and is much safer if a child got a hold of it than if they grabbed the Drano, they are great! I used the laundry detergent and liquid fabric softener, the clothing stain remover, the tub and tile cleaner, all purpose kitchen disinfectant, and the kids shampoo. All work much better than anything I have used from Walmart!

When I ran out of their disinfectant and laundry items I decided to try and make my own. I have been very pleased with my homemade laundry detergent which is:

2 cups of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 bar of kirks castile soap (grated)
Mix together in a jar and scoop about 1 tbs per load.
Use white vinegar as fabric softener.
Your close don’t smell like vinegar once they come out of the dryer but you could put a little essential oils in the vinegar if you miss that laundry softener scent ūüėÄ
My husband works for a stone masonry company so his clothes are always dusty and gross and they actually used to come out of the dryer “crispy”… ick. But since we got rid of the Extra brand and Tide detergent and started using homemade they come out feeling great!

I also make my own disinfectant spray for the counters and table etc.
1/4 cup of vinegar
1/2 tbsp. of borax
4 cups of hot water
funnel into a spray bottle and shake! This is one of my favorites, won’t buy this in stores again!

I LOVE Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap! I use it for washing my dishes, as a body/face wash, and put a little in the bottom of a foam hand soap dispenser and fill 98% of the bottle with water and it works great! Any stuck on food on my dishes just wipes off and my skin is soft and really feels clean without all the chemicals.

I also use coconut oil as a moisturizer after showers (while your still wet!) I even bought a separate bottle of coconut oil just to keep in my bathroom!

It’s really nice being able to just mix up some more product when you need it! It takes maybe 2 minutes and it lasts a long time! And you can clean just about anything with vinegar, borax, washing soda and castile soap!
One step closer to being domestic!

Our attempt at “clean eating”

So I decided our families diet needed some cleaning up. That is an understatement (although my husband would beg to differ). I looked online at few different eating “styles”, I don’t want a diet, I just want to eat healthier and really get rid of processed foods. So I started searching for “Clean eating” meals, there is ridiculous amounts of websites with recipes and it was really nice to see a lot of the ladies just threw things together to make meals! It doesn’t have to be some big fancy meal, just basic meat, fruit, nuts and lots of veggies. So I decided to dive in, now it’s ok for those of you who know me personally to giggle for a second and make bets on how long this will last, I completely understand. =D

I went to 3 grocery stores yesterday during my first attempt at “clean shopping”. A lot of the blogs I read about clean eating families said that they eat clean about 80% of the time, so it leaves a little wiggle room for enjoying a meal out or the occasional indulgence (Chinese buffet I WILL see you again!). Although it took me until 3 AM to do all my shopping, get home and get it in the fridge, I think it was worth it. Now I’m not sure I quite hit the 80% mark but most of the items I got had less than 5 ingredients, or at least all ingredients that I can easily pronounce and I stocked my cart over half full of fresh fruits and veggies!! It was difficult, since we live in the sticks, to find things that would even fall in the semi-healthy category! So I just did my best, at least it’s a huge leap from what we were eating last week! Hopefully someday in the future it will be feasible to buy organic meats and produce but for now we will just work with what we’ve got.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get me off of soda, and honestly I don’t want to give up my dr. pepper! But I’m hoping by force feeding myself lots of water and eating all these veggies I will start to not even like the sweetness of soda. I even got really mom-like this morning and got up and steamed veggies for my lunch…. I have never steamed anything, seriously I just bought the little metal steaming deal yesterday! I also made homemade oatmeal and cranberry bars, I have yet to eat them but the little bit I tasted before it went in the freezer was amazing!

My girls have enjoyed the morning oatmeal, strawberry, banana smoothies and I’m going to try to sneak a little kale in there next time… we shall see how that goes! We still need to eat up some of the junk in our cupboards and really need to work on cooking and putting more forethought into prepping for meals. Hopefully this will be another step in the direction of making me a super domestic momma!

So we are only a few days into our new year, and since I started a little behind, tonight I am catching up on my reading! I’m catching up on my Bible reading and finishing my overview of the Bible book also.

Tonight will be day 3 of Insanity! It has once again proven it’s ability to find muscles I didn’t think existed and I have spent my nights crawling my way to the bathroom to lay in the tub with the shower on until I can stand without loosing my lunch.

With having my work shift end at 11:30pm I start my workouts around 12:30am! But I sleep like a rock and actually wake up feeling better on less sleep, other than the severe soreness! This morning I woke up to find the bottoms of my feet so sore I couldn’t move my toes, now that’s a new one! I am also not doing as well as I thought I would be. I have noticed a significant change in my… flabbiness lately so I knew it wouldn’t be pretty but the past athlete in me can’t believe how slow and tired I am! I’m trying to remind myself that at least I am doing it, even if it’s not to level I think I should be at, I will get there soon. Goodbye chubble on the backs of my thighs.

I have a very small pile of papers to sort… I’m thinking Mondays will now be sort and file day!

And I was able to keep my patience today when I normally would not have. Audrey has had an exceptionally bad attitude the last few days, mostly with sharing and yelling at Hazel to go away. She has been barricading herself in the hall and is hoarding a shopping cart and some random plastic food to make “krabby patties” and not letting Hazel even come down the hall. We are going to implement a timeout corner tomorrow, AKA a baby gate in front of the laundry room door, along with her current disciple, and the plastic food was moved up on the shelf for them to look at but not play with until they can behave. Pray for me people!

It’s only the begining.

I posted a longer explanation of my resolutions on my first post on the blog. Here is the run down again.

1. Pay off as much debt as possible.
2. Get in the holiday spirit, make new traditions and decorate.
3. keep mail sorted and filed/keeping the house clean.
4. finish the entire 60 days of insanity
5. Get Dachessa in shape and barrel race this summer.
6. Start my photography business.
7. Finish school in December.
8. Volunteering at the pregnancy crisis, 4-H, or church.
9. Finish our house and barn projects.
10. Read my Bible cover to cover.
11. Patients.
12. Not let myself go!

Here I’m going to post updates on how my resolutions are going and if I complete one I will check it off!. I’m so excited for these big life changes.

Ready to roll!

I have had the dream of being a photographer for a couple years now but never really voiced it because I thought I would probably stink at it (that’s the spirit, right!) After tax returns last year I was finally able to buy¬†a DSLR camera like all the big kids have! Later that summer I took my kiddos to the park for a walk and brought the camera, hoping to practice a little and was able to get some shots I am really proud of! Since that park visit I have decided maybe with a little teaching on how to take advantage of all the intricacies of a DSLR and some help with lighting I may really be able to do this! So¬†this spring I signed up for a digital photography and lighting class at a community college about 100 miles away! I¬†only have to make 8 trip there of the semester and the rest is online, but I’m¬†hoping this class with¬†give me the boost I need in understanding the basics of my camera and lighting techniques to be able to start possibly taking some seniors, newborn/maternity and¬†family¬†portraits this summer! Next I will post some of my pictures from our little¬†park shoot and a couple seniors I took for my sister in law!¬†I’m just going to declare my success now! Fearless Photography will start up this year!

My First Post!

I’m Micah. A 22 year-old, northern Minnesota mother of two beautiful girls, a wife, an employee, a student, a black belt, an animal lover, a tattoo enthusiast, an athlete (at least in the past), an aspiring photographer,¬†a people person, coffee addict, a dreamer, and most importantly a Christian.

Wow, that makes me sound more exciting than I think I really am. The truth is I am also messy, impatient with my children, over demanding of my husband, a procrastinator, anti-reading, the Grinch of all holidays, out of shape, an iffy house wife, awful cook, sensitive to criticism and confrontation, not always on top of our finances (this is an understatement), and a little bit of a lost puppy now that my dad is gone.

Today is January 2, 2014. This is the first year that I have been excited to do a new years resolution and I have jumped right in to the deep end with 12 of them! I’m ready to be one of the few that keeps their resolutions alive all year!

New Years Resolutions:

1. Pay off as much debt as possible.

Now, I know this one is a little hard to measure but I have written down all of our current account balances, savings, debts, monthly expenses and credit scores (which aren’t pretty) and put it in a sealed envelope. Next year on new years eve my husband (Adam) and I will open this together and compare with our current standings to see how far we have come.

2. Holiday spirit. Making family traditions for all holidays and decorating!

I am the super Grinch! I have never been into the holiday spirit and this year with my father’s passing the week before thanksgiving, who wants to be in the holiday spirit. I have decided for my children’s sake that I want them to have wonderful traditions and memories of holidays!

3. Keeping mail sorted and filed.

Now, I have extended on this to “keeping my house clean”. I am one who waits until the house is borderline uninhabitable, and then spends 6 days cleaning, only to start the cycle over again. This shall end!

4. Finish the entire 60 days of Insanity!

If you don’t know, insanity is the most intense workout program out there. I have started it several times but always seem to taper out of it after about a week. I enjoy working out until I’m on the verge of losing my lunch so it’s the perfect workout for me! I am ridiculously competitive so I would prefer to have someone to workout with but Adam was getting sick of me trying to trip or push him so I could get 5 more reps than him ūüėÄ So instead I will workout late after everyone is asleep and I will be 100 times sexier than him!

5. Get Dachessa (my horse) in shape and barrel race this summer!

This one is going to take a lot of time and practice for both of us! I was in 4-H from kindergarten through my freshman year of college so barrel racing is close to my heart, but I haven’t found the time to ride since I got pregnant with my first Daughter (Audrey) who is now 2 1/2!

6. Start my photography business.

This is my DREAM JOB! I’m taking¬†a couple classes this semester while also going for other “back up” careers. I want to start doing seniors and portraits this summer until someday I’m confident enough to do weddings!

7. Finish school in December.

Medical receptionist diploma¬†and phlebotomy tech certification. Quitting isn’t an option so I know¬†I will at least fulfill one of my resolutions!

8. Volunteering.

With all this spare time I have(sarcasm), I would like to start volunteering this summer, either at the pregnancy resource center because I really have a place in my heart for pregnancy/mothering especially with young moms. Or for 4-H, specifically in the dog training program. Another of the random arrows in my quiver of knowledge, I did the dog training program for 7 years and have several state titles. I was also a professional dog groomer for 2 years after college.

9. Finish our barn and house projects.

We have 15 acres in the country and a 15 year old trailer house that we “flipped'(not literally). We have several inside projects left on the house (trim, new doors etc.) and also a barn that we (and by we, I mean my husband and father-in-law) disassembled, moved and are now in the process of putting back together! My animals WILL be spoiled with in-floor heating next year!

10. Read my Bible cover to cover.

This is one I’m not proud of. I have never read my entire Bible. But I’m ending that this year! Time to arm myself with knowledge, encouragement and wonderful promises from God! I also started off by reading “A quick overview of the Bible” by Douglas A. Jacoby.

11. Patients.

I have non. I want some. I am going to be more patient with my children, my husband, and my horse(she needs it most!) I will raise my voice less, and encourage my children more! I will be less whiney with my husband and more understanding. And I will go to tae kwon do class and kick the heck out of some targets when I’m fed up with being so darn patient!

12. I will not let myself go.

I have notice in the last few months, especially since getting¬†new job that requires a Paul Blart mall cop outfit, that I have really let myself go. I haven’t worn makeup in who knows how long, I chopped off all my hair and stopped styling it, and wearing my ugly glasses instead of ordering contacts. My poor husband, right!? Well it’s time to wake up a little earlier, straighten the few short hairs on my head, slap on a powder face, suck in my tummy (or maybe buy some spanks to hold it in), break out the push up bras and wear something that isn’t sweats… even if it is -30 outside!

So I’m sure I seem crazy by this point. My first new years resolutions and I’m doing 12. Get some popcorn, and get comfy, this is gunna get good!

 

 

Taking charge of our finances!

So I don’t want to necessarily air out all my dirty laundry to the world, but I’m going to be completely honest. I sucked at budgeting. I remember for several years not really knowing what was in our bank account. Being afraid to go to the bank or answer the phone. Unable to pay bills, constantly over drafted, and living on ramen. I take a large portion of the responsibility for this because as¬†I have said before, I want to stay home with my homeschooled farming babies! I have never been a career driven person, I didn’t have dreams of being a doctor or lawyer (well maybe a vet, but that was short lived!). I have just always wanted to be a stay at home mother so I fought this as long as I could! I finally caved in August of 2013 and got my first job in almost 2 years!

It’s not glamorous by any means, I look like a dude in the¬†uniform, I¬†work late and every weekend and most major holidays. But God brought¬†me this perfect job, only working 4 days a week and I¬†work evenings so most of the time I’m away my kids are in bed anyway! I make more than most entry level jobs in our area and it’s giving¬†me the opportunity to actually be a student¬†and work! The freedom it has brought¬†me to be able to have the extra money to get things like new car seats and clothes and actually¬†SAVE money is amazing. I gripe about going to work everyday but I’m usually pretty happy¬†every other¬†Thursday when I get my check!

When I read the total money makeover by¬†Dave Ramsey I got very excited. Just thought of having more money than month seemed unreachable but really we needed to realize that we were spending money on eating out and buying things on a whim, with a debit card… not knowing how much money was really in the bank…. I know, stupid.¬†So when we started¬†our makeover and I got over my selfishness and¬†got a¬†job so my babies could have¬†what they needed, our lives started to turn around.

We were 2 months behind on ALL of our bills. Within 2 paychecks we caught up completely! We are now working on getting our $1000 emergency fund in place and should be able to in the next month! We also decided to work on an extra $500 fund for emergency car deductible incase of an accident and a $500 for an emergency vet fund if an animal gets hurt (my dog just went in unexpectedly and cost almost $200…ouch).

Credit scores. Am I the only one that cringes at these words? Now Dave Ramsey has a little different view on this topic than we do. He thinks credit scores are an unreliable source of deciding if someone is able to pay back a loan. But he also believes in saving for things and paying in cash. Now I love paying with cash, this is why we envelope budget¬†but we live in a trailer house and I want more kids, so obviously I’m not going to wait and save for a bigger house because by then I will be a grandma! So of course I am going to get a loan and then work hard on paying it off as fast as possible! So even if credit scores aren’t accurate I bet your bank thinks they are! You can’t even rent an apartment without a credit check! (Not that I ever will, we are going for farm kids remember!)

This brings us to our next issue, credit cards. Now we always said we would never get one. Obviously, we aren’t too good at keeping track of things and this could be dangerous territory! But being delinquent on some payments…. important payments… crushes your score pretty hard so I qualified for a $900 card and we are going to use it only for paying our bills (that we already have the cash in hand to pay for) and turn around and pay it off in full a few days later. This is strictly for the sake of building good credit. My husbands is much worse than mine and we will most likely have to get a prepaid credit card to start him out.¬†Discipline is key and I know we can do it!

Through this embarrassing process we have learned a lot! don’t be afraid of contacting people! This was a huge problem that only made the whole situation worse. Being afraid to call people and talk about our financial hardships, being afraid of getting yelled at or in trouble for not paying our bills actually ended up costing us more money in the long run! We were blessed that my husbands student loans were eligible for a rehab program so in 10 consecutive months of on-time payments it will be¬†taken off of his credit report and his loan is again considered current¬†so he can apply for financial aid again! This is a huge blessing that he will have the chance to go to school again!

Moral of the story, take charge of your finances! Own up to your mistakes and start making forward progress!

My sleeve in progress.

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I am going to take this opportunity to show off some of my ink. This is my most recent piece of body improvements ūüėÄ Three black and¬†grey roses, one for my husband and one for each of my girls. This was 4.5 hours of not so fun silence with an awkward tattoo artist that looked shady at best, but it was a clean reputable, professional shop and I was more than pleased with the work and he will do all my future tattoos! I’m excited to add on as our family continues to grow ( I want 4 more kids…. at least). Once it’s complete he will fill in with shading to make it more of a full sleeve. I’m so proud of this piece. Oh and I almost forgot! Inside my bicep it says “Ohana” which is a Hawaiian word for family ūüėÄ and yes I know my biceps are amazing and I’m not even flexing. =D

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