Monday, February 20, 2012

Big News!

If you caught my post last year sharing some money-making ideas (you can follow this link if you missed it)  I have a new one to add to the list which we are doing ourselves.

This April we will be opening the Derrick Family Farm-certified SC grown! We will be selling our own organic local honey, fruits, vegetables, vanilla extract, heirloom seeds and potted herbs. We'll be open one afternoon each week as a market stand, right here at our house. Since the closest farmer's market is a good 30 minutes away, we think this will be a great way to bring a market to our area.

It's a big investment and commitment that we have spent a lot of time considering, and while we're still a bit nervous about taking the leap, we are also very excited about the possibilities!

Talk about keeping to our New Year's Resolution of responsible spending, now we are one of those small local businesses...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cutting Out the Cable Bill

Many of you probably already know this, but I'll pass it along anyway for the few tech-challenged ones like myself who have been a little behind.

We decided when our two year contract ran out with our cable company that we'd cancel it since we couldn't justify the $70/mo bill, money better spent elsewhere. I'd already made peace with the fact that we'd only have three channels of low quality, but at least we'd be able to watch our favorites.

Since we have a newer model flat screen tv, we didn't need a converter box-that was a nice surprise. We just ordered an indoor antenna (it's flat and light and fits behind the tv, nothing like antennas from 20 years ago) for $40. That gave us over a dozen channels and the quality is actually better than it was with cable, not something I would have noticed but my husband certainly did. We also bought a VGA audio video cable for $19 that will connect our laptop to the tv, so now we can watch movies or shows that are online on our big screen.

That's it! A $59 investment, less than one month of our cable bill, and we're still getting to watch all of our favorites. The best part is most of the junky channels are gone now, and if it isn't there then we won't get sucked into a waste-your-time-on-a-brainless-show marathon. Like junk food, if it isn't in the house you won't eat it. I'm feeling smarter already ;-)

PS-If you've never seen Parenthood, rent the first season and let the addiction begin. Best show on tv, you'll thank me later...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Husband Is A Travelin' Man, and Why You Don't Get It

One of the reasons I decided to be a stay at home mom is that in my husband's industry (marketing) he spends a good amount of time flying elsewhere for events, meetings and vacations (he can tell me a hundred times that he really was working on that week-long fishing trip in the Bahamas but that one sure sounds like a vacation to me!). If I were also working full time (as a teacher), plus bringing home grading and lesson planning I'm just not sure our kids would ever see their parents! Thus, one stay at home parent was our solution.

All this to say we have definitely taken the preferred path but it hasn't by any means been easy. While it's added more financial stress to my husband (though I've been able to alleviate that by saving us money) it's added parental stress to me, spending 25% of the year essentially as a single parent. When I meet new people and they ask where my husband is, I might say "Oh he's in ______ for work and he'll be back in a week. He travels a lot." What I didn't realize in the beginning is that a lot of these people didn't actually GET IT that my husband is hasta la vista, in another state, not coming home to eat dinner and help with bath time and we'll be lucky if we get to say hi to him today.

Suddenly some of the husband's of these women were traveling or otherwise out-of-state for a few days and they were in a panic, falling apart saying "Joey no you don't get it, he's going to be GONE for 3 days!!!" This moment takes some serious restraint on my part, and I would respond "Yes I know, Chris leaves for a week at a time pretty often. It's hard." Here's the inevitable/kicker response: "REALLY?" Didn't I already tell you this??

Let me give you an idea of what this actually looks like in real life: I am the full-time care for my children and not too long ago that meant a newborn and 18 month old. They do not attend a preschool (now we are doing one 2 hr. church class a week) or have a regular sitter who comes to relieve me. I am going non-stop from the moment they wake up until several hours after their bedtime just to get everything done. After five or six days when I'm burned out and exhausted I cannot hand my child over to hubby and say "Give me an hour or I'm going to lose it". There is no burly man to come by and take out the garbage (out of the kitchen or out to the curb) and no super hero sleeping next to me when I'm sure I've heard a serial killer downstairs in the middle of the night and I want him to check it out. In emergencies, medical (involving a trip to the ER) or otherwise (accidentally locking my children in the car in the driveway) I am on my own.

I also find myself feeling a little jealous of women whose husbands get to go into work later in the morning, come home earlier or don't bring their work with them. Whatever happened to 9-5? Holding my kids off for a 6:30 or later dinner each night is not impossible but it also isn't a whole bunch of fun either. When I find myself feeling resentful that "everyone else" gets to see their husband twice as much as I do, I just remind myself that I got the best one anyway and quality beats quantity any day ;-)

If your husband is not a regular traveler, you cannot possibly understand parenthood from this perspective, just as I cannot fathom how on earth a military mother or father can handle 6-12 months without his/her spouse. Just as none of us can imagine what it is like to actually be a single mom for years on your own.
So if you're lucky enough to have your man-meat around consistently make sure to be thankful for it, and maybe even see if you have a single mother and/or military friend that could use a hand (or an afternoon off).