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Baby Proof your Dogs

Dogs before children, chronologically speaking. It’s a common arrangement. Dogs are easier, cheaper, and less commitment than your own progeny. People are prone to have bliss-full, canine centric lives, before Junior shows up. People like me, who give dogs a 13 year head start on procreation. Over a decade of their lives, kid-free, let alone infant, baby, toddler free, which is a whole special subset if you ask the dog. Squirmy, loud, with poor impulse control, and developing motor skills. Sort of like dogs, but they grow out of it. Eventually.

Yet we expect our dogs to accept these new beings without question. Not just the new noises and smells from something they recognize as only vaguely humanoid, but a major shift in the pack and their lifestyle. Changed priorities. Newly unnaceptable behaviors, parts of the house off limits. Maybe they don’t get to sleep in the bed anymore. Maybe a bleary eyed new Mom or Dad pushes off or forgets the standard meal time. Maybe their spot on the couch is shifted slightly, if not gone altogether. We completely change the game. And if they don’t comply, we send them packing. Read more

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Adjust. Now.

The last few weeks have been…”eventful”. Not in the traditional definition of that word. It’s not as if much is happening. Here I sit, 31-ish weeks, increasingly uncomfortable. I’ve begun referring to this as the doldrums of pregnancy. Still afloat, but not able to go much of anywhere in a hurry. By eventful I’m referring to the quiet death of Hope and Fake Budgets. Long ago mentioned, never followed up on, for precisely this reason. Yet, it stuck around for a long time. Long enough to look promising, really, really promising even. Bright and shiny and looming on horizons. Before snuffing out rather unceremoniously. But, that wasn’t even the event. The event was everything that came after. Read more

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Buying into Baby

There’s so much Stuff to buy for your kid!! Welcome to the pressure I’ve felt for the last 7 months. And I’m not talking on my bladder. No. Some people call it ‘nesting’. I call it a prime opportunity for our consumer culture to hoist a bunch of unnecessary crap your way. Short term crap, most of it. With an expiration date of a few years, if not months or even weeks in the the case of those newborn clothes. This is stuff you gotta have. At least some of it, but we ain’t talking life and death and heirlooms here. Oh, I’m sure I’ll tuck away a couple outfits and blankets for posterity. When it comes to breast pumps, nursing pillows, and pack-n-plays though, what do I much care?

The problem is people get a little nutty about baby stuff. Read more

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Grocery Spending: Redemption

That title makes this sound like the sequel to a bad action movie. And maybe it is. The first installment being the act of spending way too damn much, consistently on groceries. (Reference $750.) After some time away, we return to our storyline only to find our heroine (that’s me) singing a new, improved, slightly different tune. One that sounds a lot more like $500 a month.

That’s right. Grocery spending is down $250/month for the 3rd month running. That’s a big frickin’ deal, folks. Huge! $750 reprioritized dollars, SO FAR. Yet, I have not become an extreme coupon-er. I am not shopping at Safeway. Our changes have actually been quite small, cumulative in nature, and went surprisingly according to plan. Slow, time consuming, and somewhat bumpy plan, but one that’s coming together nonetheless. Read more

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The Pet Gene

Some people do not have pets. For many of us, this may be a difficult concept to grasp. Let me explain.

There are people who do not have dogs or cats. Or horses. Or chickens. Or even that whole foreign land of guinea pigs, rabbits, lizards, and fish. They do exist. These pet-less individuals are amazing. Baffling, and amazing. No animal husbandry, of any kind. What must that be like? I bet their lives involve a lot less poop than mine does. Poop and responsibility. With an increase in money. And more room on the couch. That doesn’t sound so bad.

Of course, there’s also less warm dog. Warm dog with wet nose and contented sigh. Maybe a stray snore here or there. Ever-ready companions, whether it be for adventure or just to hang out in the yard. Non-human creatures that know me, communicate with me, rely on me, and are a distinct part of my life.

How do you quantify their value to people without ‘The Pet Gene’? Read more

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The Target Demographic

I recently found myself in the rather awkward situation (for me) of having to define Dogs or Dollars. Repeatedly. To people who’d never read it. And didn’t know me. Huh. There’s a task that shouldn’t be hard. And sorta was.

Mumble, bumble, leaving corporate servitude, uhhhh saving money, erm growing shit, and how ’bout those dogs? Personal journey? Anyone? I conveniently managed to put myself at the intersection of two of my favorite bloggers: Northwest Edible Life and Mr. Money Mustache. Both of whom, I had the distinct pleasure of being in the same room with at that particular moment in time. Read more

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Free Compost. Just Add Pallets.

Pallets, the humble wooden shipping platform. They are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Somebody, somewhere in the last few years realized their potential as an excellent source of (usually) free wood, suitable to any number of projects. Maybe a lot of somebodies, because a quick Pinterest search reveals a cornucopia of DIY inspiration: headboards to bookshelves, play houses to coffee tables. Possibilities, endless.

One could create a veritable rustic decor oasis from a bunch of bunged up free wood! But no where is the pallet more at home than the Urban Homestead. In all things garden, think free, repurposed, versatile, and sturdy as ideal. Pallets fit the bill. So last year, when I was building out the Ugly Garden infrastructure, I knew I wanted a kick-ass compost system. What would I construct it out of? Pallets, naturally. Read more

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How to Save $1000

One THOU-sand dollars. Note the dramatic emphasis. The holy grail. Or the start at least. To emergency funds. Emergency funds to free you from vicious credit card debt. Breaking the shackles of that debt being the first nano-step down the yellow brick road of financial independence.

A cool grand. Dave Ramsey recommends it. Is further endorsement required?
(Well, yes. Have you seen that dude’s house? Conservative Fiscal Fail.) Read more

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Knowing When Its Time

The most difficult part of owning a dog isn’t potty training. It isn’t having your couch eaten. It isn’t making food decisions. Or big vet bills. It isn’t the first year. But, the last. And knowing when your time has come to an end. They don’t live forever, these creatures. Not even close. Really only long enough for us to take them for granted. To completely incorporate them into our lives. To make them firmly and officially family. How long is that? It varies, and I dont think it really matters. Years or months. Its never easy.

Which brings us to a certain little dog. I’ll say up front he’s still with us. We just don’t know for how long. Read more

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Winning & Losing & Paying Attention

So much of what we do in this lifestyle – day to day attempts to manage our dollars and our lives responsibly – so much of it is just our best attempts. Sometimes those work out. Sometimes they crash and burn. If you’re lucky, you break even somewhere between the two.

Exhibit A: $50 and a flyer from Whole Foods, with which I am demonstrating two of the three principles found in the above title. Read more

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