Warning: Having Chickens May Change Your Life

Chickena May Change Your Life
I have wanted chickens for quite awhile. I was amazed to find out that you could have them in urban areas, and once I found out that they were much easier to care for than I would have thought, I knew that I would have them myself. I finally convinced my husband that we were ready for them and he agreed to let me go get ‘a couple’. I brought home three hens and the story was that the extra one jumped in the box!

Having our hens has changed a lot in my life. It has changed our living style, outlook and goals. They keep me a little bit more active and help me stay focused on our home life.

We started spending more time outside. Even in the heat of the summer we spend time outside to care for the chickens, or just to enjoy watching them do weird chicken-y things. We also love to go outside to check for eggs.

DIY Hen House
My DIY Hen House, made from scraps!

I started being handy and resourceful.I’m not sure how long this one will last, but I needed to build them a coop and I used our scrap wood to make them a little henhouse. My husband had to teach me to use powertools and he had to help me with some of the planning and stepped in to help with putting a couple peices together, but mostly I built the coop myself. I am so proud and it gives me the encouragement that I need to know that I can do other projects and fix things myself if needed.

I want my yard to look nice. Going out in the yard more makes me want to keep it looking good so that we can enjoy being out there more. I have plans for actual landscapers to come and do when we save up for it, and I have been taking time to slowly work on it myself.

I pick up the dog poop more often. I have always been pretty lazy about picking up the dog poop. Being outside more and seeing it (and smelling it!) more often has helped encourage me to pick it up in a more timely manner. That makes for a much nicer yard and a more enjoyable space.

I want to garden. The landscaping I have been attempting and planning has made me want to garden. Although I have yet to start I have been reading up on anything and everything and watching gardening youtube videos.

We have been eating better. We feed the chickens mostly table scraps. They mostly eat veggie scraps, so now everytime I buy veggies I’m not worried about them going bad, because they will be eaten one way or another so it’s not wasteful. When we have more healthy food like veggies around we tend to eat quite a bit healthier. Not to mention that we have fresh, healthy eggs to eat too.

I now have a compost pile. The chickens don’t always eat all of the kitchen scraps, so it started a compost pile. I then did research and started adding more to the pile and now we have a great compost pile going. It’s a perfect way to clean up the chicken poop and wood shavings from the henhouse. The compost will be great for the garden I’m starting soon!

We waste less. With what we feed to the chickens and put in the compost pile our trash cans take much longer to fill up. It’s great because I hate taking out the trash.

I’m getting into shape, and sitting on the couch less. The landscaping I have been doing, and caring for the compost and everything else gets me up and going almost everyday. I have needed it. Even though it is still super hot outside I finally get a little bit of exercise, and I sure have needed it.

I keep the housework up, a little bit. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about me taking on more responsibility when before I was having a hard time keeping up with housework and caring for the kids and everything else I want to do in my life. I was pretty lazy and acted helpless while I was pregnant but after I showed him that I could do everything he was ok with us getting a couple chicks. I don’t always have all the housework done (ok, it’s never all done or even mostly done) but I actually do some of it and quite a bit more than I used to do. Really I just loathe laundry, dishes and cleaning but now that I have something to work towards (keeping the chickens) I tend to do quite a bit more. Also, being active with stuff outside helps me be more active with stuff inside. I guess it is true that an object in motion stays in motion.
the kids and our baby chicksWe had to get cute baby chicks. The hens we found on craigslist seem to be much older than we were told. Only one is a good layer, and one hasn’t laid for us ever. It was a great start for me to get to know and care for chickens but I won’t ever get hens again, we will just start with chicks. We just bought a few chicks so that we will have eggs in a few months. Until then they are so cute and fluffy and just a joy to have and to play with. I mean look at the kid’s happy faces. I’m just as happy looking at them and holding their cuteness! I can’t beleive how the grow so quickly.

Bob the Builder- the Hen versionMy son loves the ‘chicky-chicks’. The pictures and memories of him playing with all of the chicky-chicks is completely worth having the chickens and all of the work. He named some of them himself and just loves them. That’s why we have a hen named ‘Bob the Builder’. It’s also a great lesson to him on being gentle!

Do you have chickens? How have they changed your life?

For some great reading check out these books! (Affiliate Links)
Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces
Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard

Why I Love Not Being Pregnant

Things have been a little quiet on the blog because just over a month ago I had my second little one. Unlike last time I am very, very sleep deprived. I didn’t have to wake up to take care of an older child last time and I could actually follow the advice of ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. This is another reason why I am glad I have chosen to permanently stop having kids. I know someday that will make me sad for short amounts of time here and there when I see other cute babies so I decided to take my own advice and write a list of good things about this change. (See Also: Journal Writing Ideas and Bookmark Printables)

Why I Love Not Being Pregnant

  • Hot Showers. End of story.
  • No more heartburn and eating tums like candy, even though some flavors are delicious.
  • I can see (and shave!) “downstairs” again.
  • Gums don’t bleed every time I brush.
  • Bending over is possible! So is seeing my toes.
  • Less Constipation (TMI I know, sorry)
  • I don’t need Life Alert in case I fall and can’t get up.
  • I could control my own weight, if Oreo cookies weren’t so delicious.
  • My feet and ankles aren’t swollen anymore, not that I could really see them when they were.
  • Bathroom breaks aren’t every 5 minutes and wearing depends is no longer necessary.
  • I can drink (and eat) whatever I would like! Coffee and Straw-ber-rita’s have been teasing me for months!
  • Hugs are no longer awkward. Or are no longer awkward because of me.

I may add more to this list as I think of more reasons I am happy to not be pregnant, or if you leave a comment reminding me of more reasons. If I update this post (or any others I will be sure post about it on Facebook or Twitter!

Random Ways I Love to Save Money

4 Different Ways to Save Money

I have been wanting to write about some of my random ways to save money, and this week’s Ask the Readers question over at Wisebread inspired me to finally get to writing about some of my favorite ways to save. I hope that these ideas help inspire others to save money in new ways!

As you are reading this remember that everyone’s level of thriftiness is different- where I don’t mind doing certain things to save money they may be way out of your comfort zone, just like many things are out of my comfort zone. (Have you seen that show on tv about cheapskates? I couldn’t do most of the things that they do to save money!)

Make What You Would Otherwise Buy-

This can be food, crafts or anything really. I do a little of both. It helps that I usually enjoy cooking and DIY crafts but many times you will realize how easy it is to do something that you could pay to be done instead. When you see something you want just ask yourself “Can I make that?” and see if it is a feasible way to save some money. I was totally thinking this after driving by the tamale stand last week, so I will probably be making tamales soon.

I joined the 15 Minute Suppers group where we post new dinner ideas on Fridays that take 15 Minutes or Less- the idea is to make something at home in the amount of time it would take to order delivery. Cooking these easy meals saves us money because instead we would be eating out way too often. I try to do the same with packing my husband lunches, but lately I have had way too hard of a time getting up in time to make him something. When I do make him lunches I will sometimes make him Homemade Lunchables or Homemade Chicken Snack Wraps– both things I can easily make at home for way less than what you would buy them for.

I also try to make all sorts of DIY projects at home. Check out some of my Best Tutorials to see what kinds of things you could make instead of buying. My latest DIY projects have been Jeep-related, but I need to get to making new carseat strap covers and fixing up a playmat for the new baby before he comes in a couple of weeks. For me the time and materials to make most of these things is way less than buying them new, plus they are personalized so many times I am more happy with them and less likely to buy replacements.

Water Bottles-

Reuse Water Bottles to Save MoneyReusable water bottles are nice, but they can also be expensive and a pain in the butt. Our compromise is to use bottled water and refill them a bunch of times before tossing them. I love the convenience of just being able to grab a cold water bottle whenever I want and being able to throw it away if I need to.  I don’t worry about losing it  or breaking it but at the same time we aren’t just thowing away money. I probably buy a case of water bottles once a month or less.

Be Lazy-

How to Stop ShoppingBe lazy at going shopping and wait to buy stuff. Don’t go straight to the store when you need something, wait a few days or so. You might realize you don’t need whatever it was in the first place. I have written about Ways to Stop Shopping but I’ve taken it to a whole new level- I am just lazy and haven’t wanted to take the time to go shopping for things we need, let alone things we don’t need. It has saved me money because by the time I actually do go to the store I realize that I have lived a few days or a few weeks without whatever was on my list and I probably don’t need it at all.

Hide the Paper Goods-

Paper Goods=Money Wasters They are easy to hide for special occasions though!
A basket is an easy way to store paper goods/fine china until they are pulled out for special occasions or a special lazy day!

We do have paper towels, paper plates and even *real* tissues but we don’t have them out where they are easy to access. I hide them from myself and my family mainly. Visitors are usually confused, some of my family even gets a little upset that I hide the paper towels. Hiding the paper towels, and paper plates and things makes you stop to think about how easy it is to grab a dish cloth instead of a paper towel or to wipe your nose on TP instead of more expensive tissues.

I love using our “fine china” aka paper plates because it saves me from doing dishes, but having them set out of the way keeps me from being lazy and grabbing them for every meal. Saving the paper goods are all little things but the savings really do add up. What are a couple more dirty dish rags or dirty dishes when you are already doing a load of wash anyway?

On the other side of things, when we get a bad cold I will bring out the nice tissues (I buy the expensive ones with lotion) for when your nose gets too raw. Otherwise my TP Tissue Box is out and works great. When my father or guests come over and ask for paper towels I don’t mind grabbing them from their hiding place and letting them use them. If anyone wants to use my “fine china” I am happy to bring it out. I just try to save everything for special occasions so that we aren’t constantly wasting money on paper goods every week.

These are just a few of the ways that I try to save money around the house. I figure that being a stay at home mom means that saving money is my job, and most of the time I am good at it. So tell me, am I going overboard with saving money or do you do any of these things too?

More Money Saving Ideas:

How to Stop Shopping (Curb Your Spending!)
Our Family Dinner Idea List
Motivational Credit Card Sleeves

Journaling Tips and Entry Ideas Printable Bookmarks

Staying Happier by Keeping a Journal Bookmark Printables

Lately my Journal Writing Tips and Entry Ideas List has been getting buckets of love on Pinterest. Thanks for the love everyone! I really do hope that my ideas help keep some positivity and happiness in your life. To try to help give you (and myself) reminders of the tips and ideas of what to write in your journal I created these printable bookmarks.

Journaling Tips and Ideas Bookmark Printable

These bookmarks would be great to put in your Journal for those times that you want to write but feel negative, or stumped. Putting this bookmark in a journal would be a great gift idea to cheer someone up as well.


I have to brag- the pictures used in the backgrounds were all taken by me! I know that with my little point and shoot camera photography is mostly luck but I am so proud of the beauty I was able to capture! My last camping post and my Arizona Valentine’s are proof of that too 🙂

Free Journaling Ideas Printable

Of course, the best inspiration that these stemmed from is on the Original Article- Journaling Tips and Journal Entry Ideas. I do go back and update it every time I think of another topic or idea that would add some inspiration for someone, just as I did when I linked up the Journal Writing Ideas After the Loss of a Loved One. I always post my updates via Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin’ or Pinterest if you are interested in knowing when I have added something to the list.

Tips and Entry Ideas for Journaling

Feel free to print and share these bookmarks as much as you want! Thank you for doing so- I feel proud to have put together something people like! They turn out best being printed on cardstock or thicker paper, but you could be creative with them too!

13 Reasons to Love Your Dog

The Safety Collar Giveaway is going on Now! Click here to go see the story of The Safety Collar and to Enter!

I love dogs, but I especially love my puppy! She is a great companion to me, my son and my husband! She can be a pain in the rear, but I can’t imagine life without her now that we have her. Here’s a few reasons to remind you why we love our dogs!

13 Reasons to Love Your Dog

1. Your dog is a forever companion to you- even if it gets uncomfortable when your 40lb or more puppy wants to be a lap dog!

2. Your puppy is a great companion and playmate for your children! The human children can never complain about not having anyone to play with.

3. A dog doesn’t talk back- quite the opposite from some of your other housemates!

4. A puppy is way easier to potty train than a human child! You may have dirty carpets for a little while, but not dirty carpets and dirty underwear.

5. Dogs are more than happy to clean up any dropped food for you, and sometimes other gross messes as well!

6. You will never have to let meat go to waste with a good pup around, meat as well as many other foods and food scraps.

7. A dog can help you stay more active and get outside more, even when you don’t want to. They are way more motivating than a personal trainer!

8. Dogs and their hair can encourage you to clean your floors more often- that’s better motivation than your mother-in-law coming to town.

9. You always have someone excited to see you, especially after a long day when you just want to sit down and put your feet up.

10. Your dog can keep you warm at night and any other time you want to cuddle!

11. Dogs help protect your home and your family, even if their bark is worse than their bite!

12. With a dog you always have some form of free entertainment- whether it is playing with them or watching them be goofy.

13. Dogs can help improve your immune system and your children’s immune system- getting sick less is one of my favorite reasons to have a dog!

For more reasons to love your dog, check out this infographic I found via Pinterest!

Other Dog Related Posts:
Safety Collar Story and Review
DIY Beware of Dog Sign
Roxie’s Blanket
DIY Dog Bed 2.0
Dog Stuff Holder

The cute clip art used is drawn by Eva Bethel- and she has an entire site full of her awesome drawings! Go check out her work at Primlicious Graphics!

The Resolve for No New Year's Resolutions

It’s a new year. I know many people are setting new year’s resolutions because I have seen a billion posts about other people’s resolutions. It starts me thinking about making my own New Year’s Resolutions, but every year my real resolution is to not have any New Year’s Resolutions. Or any resolutions at all.

res·o·lu·tion
n. a firm decision to do or not to do something.

I don’t need any firm decisions in my life right now, I need a chance to give myself a break and to not feel guilty about things. I always want to do better but resolving to do something is just going to add stress and guilt to my life and that won’t help me do better. As much as I want to resolve to have a clean house, or be a better wife by making dinner more often I just need to do those things when I can and be happy about doing them when I can.

They may be always changing but I always have goals. I hope that you can try to reach your goals without adding any stress or guilt to your life as well. Make your goal to be happy and healthy and applaud yourself for any little step you take in that direction.

No New Year's Resolutions

I have spent some time this week re-reading some of my own posts about how to be happier. My post with journal writing ideas goes right along with resolutions. As a child (and even later) I would get a new journal or diary and decide I was going to write in it every day. Some times I lasted a day, sometimes two weeks. Once I wrote about each day for almost a year. That took a ton of time writing things like “Nothing interesting happened today” three weeks after the date I was writing about.

With my tips for writing in a journal I said to just move on and not worry about how often you write or about going back and writing about the past. It makes for a nice read when I go back in my diary and see the good things I wrote about. The gap in the timeline never is a worry I am just happy to read the things I did write and I know that when I was writing them it helped that day or week be a happier one. It’s something I can do to improve my happiness but it won’t ever subtract from my happiness because I forgot a day or lost momentum.

The same can go for any resolution you might come up with. If you resolution was to start eating better be happy about making a healthier food choice today. Try again tomorrow. Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up, every day is a new day to try to start again, and everyday can be a step in the right direction if you make it happen.

My current goals are lofty but every step I make toward them is a good one. I want to be healthier, happier, a better wife, a better mom, a better blogger and have a cleaner house and keep to my saving plan as well as spend more time with my dog. Doing a little to improve in each of those areas when I can will help me get to where I want to be, and I don’t need a resolution to get there.

Here are more of my Life Tips (Most of these posts are just to help me though!)
Journal Writing and Journal Entry Ideas
How to Stop Shopping
Making Better Food Choices

Journal Writing and Journal Entry Ideas

I have been trying to be happier. It takes work, but everyone needs to be happier. The happier I am, the happier everyone around me is. Or maybe that’s just because I’m the Mom. Writing in a journal helps me stay positive sometimes and helps me look back at how I was positive before and it reminds me that I can stay positive again.

I have a few rules for myself when journaling. The first rule for myself is to keep everything positive. There is enough negativity as it is, and I don’t need to hold onto it for the future. Sometimes I need to rant about negativity and doing it on paper helps. I just make sure to do it in a cheap notebook and throw it out immediately after it is written.

Another rule I try to follow is to date my entries. It makes it so much better for if you ever want to look back at them.

I also keep most journal entries very short. I usually don’t have time for much and I won’t write at all if it takes too long so a short list or small quip about something is usually perfect. The one main exception to that is when I wrote down my son’s birth story. I realized I was already forgetting some of the small details a few weeks after he was born so as I nursed I wrote every detail I could remember. It was pages and pages and it took me days but it is worth it to me and it might be to him later on.

One last thing I try not to do while writing in my journal is to back track. Unless it is a big event (like my son’s birth) I won’t let myself feel guilty that I haven’t written in a few days, months, years, etc. And I won’t try to remember what happened for yesterday or for the last three years that I didn’t write a thing. I just put down today’s date and move on.

Here are a few ideas to get you started writing in your journal:

Things Accomplished Today List

Top 5 Good Things About the Day

My Favorite Things (in my house, kitchen, from my vacation, foods, clothes, anything)

Reasons I am Happy with My Life (or My Children, or My House, or my Neighborhood or anything else you can think of)

Reasons I Love My Spouse (or Child, Friend, Co-worker, Pet, whoever!) {See My  Reasons I Love My Husband Post Here} {And My Reasons to Love My Dog Here}

Reasons I Love Myself (what personality traits or quirks do you love about yourself?)

Reasons I’m Happy to Be Home (or on vacation, or any change you are experiencing. Think of why you are happy to be there. Another I have done is Reasons I’m Happy to  Not Be Pregnant)

My Bucket List (Keep a few blank pages after it and you can add to it at any time) {See Mine Here}

A Quick Story From My Day (Or week, month, vacation, etc!)

I’m Feeling: (positive emotions! and why)

What I Did For Exercise This Week

Child Updates (Check out this post at I Can Grow People for a great layout of it!)

Memories of a Lost Loved One (See my latest post here for more ideas)

I recently made some beautiful printable bookmarks with a shortened version of this list- to make it easier to remember and have these tips in your journal or near it whenever you need them. The bookmarks can be downloaded for free, please click here to view them and then scroll to the bottom to download them. Thank you!

Other Ways to Work on Happiness:
Resolve for No New Year’s Resolutions
How to Stop Shopping
Happy Wive’s Club: 21 Days to a Happier You
This vs That
My New Workout Plan

Pregnancy Announcements for Facebook

With our first pregnancy I couldn’t wait to tell everyone, so as soon as we got the news we wanted to post it to facebook, so that we could avoid calling everyone individually to tell them (and having hurt feelings because we called one person before another and so on). We called the new grandparents and then took this picture and posted it with the clues to facebook.

It was a cute way to announce it until I got a few people telling me I really did look pregnant. I was 5 weeks along and shouldn’t have looked any more pregnant than before! So we decided to find another way to tell everyone for the second pregnancy.

I searched all of my pins and decided to do something a little bit more unique. With a second child our Jeep will be full, so we went out to our closest wash (aka dry creek) and took this picture. Click on the picture to see it bigger!

The idea was a little more confusing but still super cute! Once I explained it in the comments everyone got it. At least no one’s calling me fat this time!

Other Jeep Related Articles:
4 Jeep Sewing Projects
Camping on the Mogollon Rim
5 Reasons I Love My Husband

5 Reasons I Love My Husband

This isn’t a post to make anyone jealous, I’m just trying to show off my husband a little bit and show that I am thankful for everything that he does for me and for who he is. I recently started reading The Happy Wives Club blog and it’s been helping me remember to think positively about my marriage and try to show it. I usually have a hard time showing it, so hopefully this will help!

1. He works hard for our family. He works a job where he has to get up super early and he is not a morning person, so it really means alot to me that he works for us. He also went through a 9 month deployment for us recently. I know it was hard for him, I’m so glad that he did it for us though.

2. He takes the time to listen to me. He also lets me get my way, alot. He always tells me that if I’m happy, he’s happy.
He even let my son help him with fixing the Jeep

3. He tries to be cheap like I am, and DIY stuff. Like fixing the Jeep. He saved us thousands of dollars by staying up super late to finish fixing the truck so that I could use it the next day. (See number one where he is not a morning person and had to get up early.

Look how young he was in 2008!

4. He loves kids. My little brother and sister were young when we started dating and he was great with them. It made me love him more right away! The picture of him and my brother has always been one of my favorite pictures. I love to see him play and interact with our son, as well as see how excited he is about bringing another son into the world soon. He is an amazing dad.

5. He does things that he doesn’t want to do, for me. Like wearing this bright blue tie so that it matched my awesome dress when we went on our cruise this summer. He didn’t want to dress up either.

He also tries to eat new things. That’s a hard one for him, he likes staying in his comfort zone of food and hates trying new things. It may take some nagging but he does try new food for me. It really amazes me what he drags his feet on eating though. Who doesn’t want to try delicious frosting? Or candy? Or pie? I’m glad he does try new things though, because we have found some great new recipes and some of his favorite places to eat.

Throwback Thursday: Moving Out

The Life of Bon is having a summer of Throwback Thursdays and I wanted to tell my moving out story too. Thanks to The Life of Bon for the ideas and the link party!

I graduated 5 months before I turned 18 and I was ready to move out as soon as I graduated. I didn’t like having anyone tell me what to do and I couldn’t stand being home.

At the same time I couldn’t afford to live on my own- at all! I planned to move in with my boyfriend. On my 18th birthday my best friend and my boyfriend took me out to the movies and to the mall to celebrate, because how else would you celebrate being 18? It was also the first time I had a midnight curfew.

That’s where we went to go visit my boyfriend’s mom at work, a jewelry store in the mall.

My boyfriend asked her, “Hey is it alright if Monica moves in with us tomorrow?” And she answered “Absolutely not.”

I was livid. I had been bugging him to make sure it was ok with her for months and he had just planned on it being ok with her but not asking her until the night before. This is the man I married.

I was all packed up and ready to go, ready to live in my car if necessary because I didn’t want to be at home any longer. Luckily for me, my best friend swooped in and saved the day.

Her mom lived alone when she was at her dad’s, which was most of the time, so her mom let me move into their cat’s bedroom. It was their spare bedroom but the cat was the one that spent the most time in it.

With just a couple trips in my car I was able to get all of my stuff over to their house, with the help of my boyfriend who was still in the dog house.

I came to find out that my new roommate, Amy, wasn’t there very often, and being alone freaked me out at first. The first night I stayed there alone I heard some weird noises outside and realized that this was the first time I had been anywhere that I couldn’t go run and grab a gun if an intruder came in. To make myself feel better I grabbed a handful of firecrackers and a lighter and put those by my bed instead. If I needed to I would try to scare someone off with a small firecracker and pure willpower.

Now that I am a first apartment, a marriage and a first house further down the road I see how easy everything was and how everything I went through then wasn’t a big deal but I sure am grateful to those people that made it easier for me. Thanks Amy and Kourtney! I guess I should finally let my now husband, Ben, out of the doghouse because he was young and stupid just like I was.

More Stories:
The Greatest Trip I Hardly Remember
He Doesn’t Know It
The Rock Climbing One Year Old