Turned trashed into a pumpkin roll

I have been collecting any pumpkins that are unwanted. We have collected right around 150 so far! We have also rounded up a few mums, bales of hay and ears of dried corn.

Pumpkin drop off!

I posted on Instagram this picture of pumpkin number 100!

Isn’t it beautiful!

Well a sweet soul informed me that I was holding a fantastic variety called Galeux D’Eysines.

A close up view! (And on my school books, since I was showing it to my students!)

This is a nice heirloom variety from France that has been grown there since the 1800’s. It wasn’t brought here until around 1996! Galeux is French for mangy or scabby, so not a delicious sounding name! 😆 But, it’s a delicious variety. So, I pulled this beauty out of the chicken food bin and roasted/puréed it!

It was the brightest orange inside!
Beautiful pumpkin purée!

Then I followed this easy recipe: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pumpkin-roll-recipe/ and the pumpkin was transformed into a delicious and enjoyed pumpkin roll!

My first pumpkin roll ever made!
Look at that slice!

And you know that I saved the seeds! I have already shared some with a few friends!

Big, healthy seeds!

So, sorry chickens! This one wasn’t for you! I’m planning on making a couple more pumpkin rolls and a few pies! Happy baking, and I enjoyed telling the Mr. that he was eating a trash pumpkin roll! 😆

Propagating plants! Indoor plant living!

It’s still too cold to do much outside, plant-wise. However, I’m working on propagating tons of plants around here!

First up, the African Violet! I have to start with a backstory! My mom loved growing them when I was a kid. However, she was raising 3 kids who played way too rough in the house. Therefore, they rarely survived after falling off of the shelf daily! So, here I am as an adult cutting off leaves, and watching them grow into beautiful little plants. The universe is strange! And I’m sorry Mom!😆

African violet a couple months after putting the leaf in soil
Those little baby leaves!! ❤️

I also still have my little succulent gourd planter growing from propagated pieces of my plants! You just shove the little “leaves” into the soil and let them root!

They all seem happy. So far!

My mom gave me a basket of all kinds of indoor plants. So, I clipped off the end of the pothos and made lots of little baby plants!

Pothos growing roots in water! Grow babies grow!
Little roots!!!

I also clipped off the top of the dragon plant and hopefully it will reroot! And, I divided the beautiful rattlesnake plant! (It took me a while to identify what those plants are!)

Dragon plant cutting in water!
I love the leaves on this beautiful rattlesnake plant!

I officially was put on break from school due to the Coronavirus. So, I guess I will be chilling here with my plants and family. I’m hoping to get some seeds started and get into the garden. Anyone else off work for who knows how long?!

February Goals Update 2020!

Goodbye February and hello March! We are continuing to chip away at our goals and here’s how they are going:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– We cleared out so much last month! The teen cleaned out his closet and dresser. (Turns out he has grown even more!) And I cleared out pointless decor, cleaned cabinets and even started on the garage. Busy!!

I got rid of over 500 things!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– The mail in seed swap went pretty well! We had about a dozen people participate. And, I’m in the process of helping to create a free seed library here in town and an Earth Day clean up!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have winter sowed a bunch of native seeds so far and only have one more to add to that mix! I also just started my peppers! The tomatoes and luffa will be starting in March!

These are all happily enjoying the cold temps outside!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I finished the second row in February! My favorite is the one that looks larger. So many bees!

Pollinator quilt!
I also made a delicious apple pie! (Just thought I’d show that off!)

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. Last month there weren’t any teacher of the year trips. We did take mom to a few doctor appointments in Baltimore, and we made the best of it! We also enjoyed going on a nice hike. We saw a little beaver, so that was awesome!

A little local like!

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Hopefully in March we can get more plants growing and really start working on the garden!

Keep blooming! 🌸🌱💚❤️

Continue reading

We’re Debt Free!

Our secret goal that we’ve been working towards!

I have to start with our backstory! This wasn’t a quick journey or one that was just started without much thought.

Rewind way back to 2005. We started our year off by having a beautiful baby boy. I had just graduated college (with some debt) and didn’t have a job. The Mr. was working and bringing in a decent income. However, we were barely making ends meet and babies are expensive.

Fast forward to the end of 2005, my beautiful and healthy 25 year old sister passed away very I expectedly. She was so close to really getting to the good part of life. She had just landed a better job. She had a great boyfriend and was starting to make some money. But, life just ended.

Still in 2005, my mom was battling 2 types of cancer, bills are crazy with those treatments and money was tight. (Hang in there, I’m getting to where our debt free journey begins, but these experiences definitely have altered my thinking.)

Moving on up 10 years. I finally heard of Dave Ramsey, money envelopes and a debt snowball. We had lots of bills and not a lot of savings. We brought our nest egg up a bit, and achieved our first big financial goal. We paid off my car!

Now we are up to March of 2015. We still have quite a mortgage and a truck payment, but the debt snowball was rolling. We tracked our money and budgeted like we should have been for a long time. And finally started writing everything down.

Our repurposed financial notebook

We started paying down the truck by making double payments (since we were used to paying the car payment, we just continued putting that amount towards the truck) and finally got that beast paid off in February of 2018. Yay! All that was left was the mortgage and the solar panels. So, we started making extra payments on the panels (we put what we used to pay for the truck and car towards the panels) and by May 2019, those were paid for!

And last, but not least is the house. We had been putting any extra money that we had towards the mortgage. It had been getting paid down a little at a time. From May until now, we have been paying every extra bit towards the house. And here we are in February of 2019, and we just paid off the house.

Here we are in 2019 debt free. I’m not even 40 yet, so now I question how much longer I will continue to work. I enjoy teaching, but I also enjoy spending lots of time with family, sewing, growing food and spreading my love for the environment.

I’ll end by saying that I didn’t share our story to be braggers. We live in a much different way than most. We don’t drive new cars, have the newest of anything, eat out often, live in a high end neighborhood or go on amazing vacations. I’m proud that we decided to achieve this before we were old.

The take away is that anyone can do this with time and dedication. Your journey might be longer or shorter. I acknowledge that we are blessed with good jobs (teacher and trooper), but we did not come from money. We are very proud of our accomplishment!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸❤️

Potato stamp wrapping paper

I catch myself getting a little bummed by how much waste is created by the holidays. So, I do my best to cut way back on gifts, give experiences and avoid all of the holiday excess.

When it comes to wrapping paper, so much if it is not recyclable. Then, there’s the plastic tape and ribbons. So. Much. Trash!!

This year I decided to make my own paper using things that I have around here. My momma taught me how to make potato stamps when I was young.

I used a couple of my homegrown potatoes. (Yes, that one is a purple potato!) I cut them in half and then just drew on some easy shapes. Then I cut them out:

And nope, I don’t get the newspaper either! But, my husband rescued these from work! And yes, that oui yogurt cup was rescued too!

So, after the potatoes dry off for a bit, I painted on some craft paint that I had here. Then, I stamped it on the newspaper. (By the way, make sure that you read the pages a little first. I avoid the obituaries and not so great articles!)

Don’t these stamps look beautiful all painted and ready to be used?!

I can’t wait to see our paper put to use!

Then, it will either be burned or composted!

How are you all bring a little more green this holiday season?!

Becoming debt free!

Oh goodness, I’m blogging about money. So taboo for some reason! But, here goes!

Remember how last year we focused on not spending? We did a good job of keeping our debt snowball rolling. Well, rewind back to March of 2015, I would have laughed if you told me that I could be anywhere near debt free (including our mortgage!) by 2020. But we did the best first step of sitting down and writing out our bills and where our money went back then. So basically before this time, we paid our bills in a timely manner. But, we didn’t have a whole lot extra and made minimal payments.

We found out how much those quick trips to dollar general or a “run” into the grocery store were really costing us. We saw how much money we spent on eating out and buying soda. It was crazy! So, we starting slowly working on our debt. We paid off our car. Then, we worked on both of our orthodontics. Next up was paying off the truck.

This year, we are going to be attempting to pay off the rest of the loan for our solar panels and we will be doing extra patents to hopefully pay off the house.

So now on with the how. We did the smart thing of when we pay off one debt, we put that amount onto the next debt to pay it off sooner. And then on to the next. And last will be the mortgage. We will also:

Keep crafting and putting the money that we make towards our debts

Continue to pack our lunches and have no problem with eating leftovers.

Make our own snacks and avoid visiting the grocery store to pick up extras. (And make our own meals too!)

We will keep gardening and saving money by saving our own seeds.

We will keep growing our own food to save a few bucks in the summer. Plus preserve the rest for decent food in the winter.

We will keep composting and feeding extras to our chickens to give us extra food for the garden and yummy eggs for us!

We will also try to buy second hand when possible. Plus, fixing, mending and upcycling when possible.

So, do you have goals when it comes to your finances? If not, pull out those bills, take a deep breath and find out where your money is going!

And if you do have some goals, or other ways of saving, please share!

The strange statement that I always get: Your poor husband!

You read that title correctly! I get told the same very strange statement all of the time! “Your Poor Husband!!” This is usually in response to me telling people what we do a little differently at home! Here are a few examples:

  • You don’t go out to eat?!?! Your poor family! But when we do go out, it’s like a nice surprise! When things are rare, they are that much more special! Plus, we put all that extra money saved towards being able to go on trips and spend more time together! So, definitely not poor Mr!
  • You can’t just throw everything away?! Your wife gets upset when she finds recycling in the garbage?! Well, I’d rather things like plastic bottles not come in the house, but if they do, just recycle them. And yes, I am usually the one that takes the recycling to our center! So, not poor Mr! I take care of it!
  • You help your wife till the garden and put in the fencing?! It’s true! He does and it is a lot if work! But, I do an equal amount of work, and I share all of those delicious fruits and veggies with him! So, not poor Mr!

  • You have to help your wife pick up pumpkins and other compostables?! He does help me pick up about half of them! And I’m very thankful for his help! All of those will become plant food which equals more produce for our bellies! So, not poor Mr!

  • You really have to compost all that food stuff at your house?! Yes, same as above! Our food scraps equal soil amendments, which equal more food for our family! Not poor Mr!

  • You really have to help out when it comes to canning?! He is the best at helping me use the pressure canner! And everyone knows he eats too, right?! So, delicious food in the winter! Nope, not poor Mr!

  • You just don’t go out and buy new things all of the time?! Oh this one!! I do not tell him what he can and can’t buy. We are a team and together we are trying to become debt free! He has helped to fix lots around here and is ridiculously handy!! So, not poor either of us!

  • You are the beekeeper?! I figured your husband did all of the beekeeping?! But you do help your wife? Poor you! It’s the strangest look that I get when I say that I’m the one who keeps bees. Weird. But yes, he helps me spin honey and carry super heavy honey filled boxes. He also eats the honey and eats baked goods made from that honey! If you tasted our honey, you wouldn’t think poor Mr!

We are a dynamic duo! While I know that I am very driven to make the world a greener place, I would never make someone do anything that is out of their comfort zone. He is totally on board with our journey and often chuckles when I start a sentence with “hey, I have an idea…”

You don’t stay married these days for 15 years when you are not moving along life in the same path! Thank you Mr. for helping my dreams come true and for always embracing my crazy ideas! You are the best of the best!

No Spend Year November Update

It turns out that not spending money blows people’s minds. They have no idea how staying home, making meals here and avoiding purchases would be possible. But, here we are, chilling out the house, shopping thrift stores and very rarely eating out. Recently I had to go to Kohl’s to buy my long legged 13 year old dress pants and we both did not enjoy shopping. It was foreign to us, but I had a gift card to use on those pants! And, they cost us $0 using that gift card!

So, we have been spending some money on our crafting. I’ve been using what I already have, but also creating new things like our honey suckers. It allows us to give lots of Christmas presents that are homemade and make money on the extras! I can use some of that earned money on the few gifts that we are purchasing!

Other than spending lots of time crafting, I have also been composting pumpkins like it’s my job! Why?! Because this will become garden food for the gardens and will help us produce lots of food! So, that’s well worth our time!

I unfortunately ripped a huge hole in my favorite jeans when picking up pumpkins. I’m going to do my best to find a pair second hand, but at least I have a second backup pair. And, I’m going to try to fix my original pair!

And checkout this awesome vest that was on the free table at school! I love finds like this:

Although the picture below looks like I eat alone, that never happens. I just took the picture before anyone joined me! But anyway, packing a lunch saves a ton of money! Plus, I swear leftovers taste better the next day!

This year for Christmas we are focusing on spending time with people instead of overspending. I love that my parents and brother don’t have to stress about buying gifts for each other. We get the kids something practical and spend more time together!

And, we decided to not buy wrapping paper and have been using my parent’s newspaper instead! And it can even be recycled afterwards!

We are slowly paying off our solar panel loan and our mortgage might just be paid off in less than 2 years! I can’t even imagine being debt free by 40, but it might just happen!

Do you have some financial goals? We started with paying off small debts and working that debt snowball towards our larger debts. Don’t let a setback make you give up! Keep pushing forward!

No Spend Year October Update

October was another month of working on our finances and we are also focusing on paying off those solar panels!

A few things that we sprung for were eating out once during a day off together. That was nice!! Turns out you really enjoy those experiences when they are more rare! And I found a nice pair of work pants at a thrift store for $1! Such a great deal!

We try to save where we can. As a gardener, learning how to save seeds is a way to save a ton of money for the next growing season. I have been saving everything that I can and I’m going to only have to buy a minimal amount of seeds for the next growing season!

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Some of the flower seeds that I saved

We also save about $15 a month by not having a trash service. We have only produced 4 bags this year, so that means I would have been paying almost $40 for each bag to be thrown away. Instead I have the option to drop them off myself for next to nothing.

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Less trash, more money

We also have been working on our crafting/Blacksmithing and making a few bucks on our creations. It’s nice to have hobbies that pay you back!

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Our craft display 

Another great way to save some money is to be a fixer! I know people throw out a lot, instead of just fixing it! The arm on our couch just needed a needle and thread!

Right now we are also shopping around for new insurance and comparing prices. When we are both driving paid off vehicles and have luckily not been in accidents in a while, it seems like we are paying a crazy premium!

Next up is trying to take it easy on our finances while the holiday season is upon us! We already have some ideas for family members, but I still wish that we could just enjoy spending time together! I just can’t stand buying literally junk. Ugh! (Not for my kid, other family members!)

Does anyone have some insight on how to avoid buying so much ridiculousness during the holidays? Thanks for any ideas!

 

No Spend September Update

This no spend year has been much harder on the Mr., instead of myself. He’s is the spender and I am the saver. I was so proud of him for not buying me expensive stuff for my birthday! He even reused a gift bag that I had saved! ❤️

As a gift, I got a grab bag of seeds, compost thermometer and a new pair of sanuks, since mine were getting holes. (Btw, MIgardener has these grab bags for only $10!) Phenomenal deal!

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30 seed packs picked at random! 💚

I also decorated the house for Fall with what I grew. Everything is from the garden and I spent a whopping nothing!

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Our beautiful glass gem corn!

I have also been saving lots of seeds, so that I don’t have to buy more next year! So far I have put up several types of beans, dill, cosmos, ground cherries and I’m working on fermenting cucamelon seeds.

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Cosmos seeds

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We saved the Paw Paw seeds from our hike

Speaking of hike, we enjoyed going out to a local trail. We stopped at a comic book store that my boy loves along the way. So, it was a great family day!

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Beautiful hike

I also enjoyed raising some monarchs that were on the milkweed! It was free to do and so much fun! The whole family enjoyed searching for the tiny caterpillars on our plants!

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One of our handraised beauties

We were able to start paying more on the house since I am back to work and are planning on becoming debt free in less than 5 years, pending health and staying accident free! Keep pushing on and thinking twice before buying those wants!

Does anyone else have some tips for saving more? Please share in the commmebts! 😊