Friday, July 1, 2016

Making New Choices: Do You FarmShare?

The dude and I have been working to make some serious lifestyle changes around our house. We want to first start with our bodies and the physical. We want to live more naturally and organically, but still be frugal about it. One of the great ways we can do that in our community is by participating in a CSA Farm Share. For $410.00/year (June-October-ish) we get fresh, organic, locally grown produce! When your dude is vegan, that's amazing!

We started by first doing some research and had some basic questions:

1. What is a Farm Share?
    Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. (According to Local Harvest)

2. How will it benefit our health?
   Eating organically helps protect us from overexposure to GMOs (genetically modified organisms), helps with our allergies, and supports a clean eating lifestyle. It also encourages us to be social and puts some of that back into our experience with food. For centuries of the human experience, food was a community-based social event with sharing and trade taking place. In America especially, that is something we tend to lack. 

3. What benefits will it have for our community?
   Knowing the exact location where your lettuce grew is pretty cool, I won't lie. It feels pretty awesome to be able to drive past the farm each day on my way to work and see what they're up to. Also, shopping local is statistically proven to strengthen the economy in your area. As a local public school teacher. I'm down with that. This great infographic really breaks it down:

4. Is it worth the price?
  For us, it definitely is. On average we would make 3-4 trips a week to the store for produce. My guy being vegan means that produce and veggies are our main source of nutrients because our diet is plant based. So, it averages to about $15-20 dollars a week. We were spending triple that. It really helps us keep our budget under control. 
5. How does it work?
  Each CSA works differently but ours is pretty straightforward. Our CSA, Field to Fork, has several different sized options for families to choose from. The price varies by that size also, which is great. It really works within our budget and amounts we're comfortable with.  You do get a lot of food too! So far we have really enjoyed our experience and highly recommend joining a CSA! 

Here's some images we snapped during last weeks pick up!

I'm not going to lie... we ate almost all the cherries in the car on the way back to the house. They were so delicious!

Need more information on Farm Shares? Here are some great sources!

Happy eating, my friends!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Budget-Friendly DIY Bridal Shower

When my best friend from college asked me to be her Maid of Honor, I was totally thrilled! I would be able to stand up beside her at her wedding and watch her pledge to be unified with the man of her dreams. We went through a lot in college together- like the teaching program, the long hours of first year teaching, and the struggles of dating and post-grad life.

I wanted to make sure that the Bridal Shower we threw for her was going to do her justice. Here were some of the goals and themes we had for the day:
  • Be creative! Our friend is amazingly creative so we wanted to honor that.
  • Use the wedding colors (teal, burlap, chalkboard, etc.)
  • Have games that don't totally suck.
  • Prizes that people want to win
  • Easy set up and tear down.

Our invite asked people to bring a recipe for two, a bottle of wine for the couple, and a bible verse/quote to share!

Our total budget for the wedding was roughly $200.00 (not including the food). That included:
  • Invites (made mine online for free here and just inserted it into the body of an email to her friends and family. I also shared it via our event on Facebook.
    • Total cost for invitations: $0.00
  • Decorations. We used a bunch of stuff that another bridesmaid is using at her wedding, and other things that we had on hand between all of us. 
    • Total cost for decor: $45.00
    • Bride-to-Be Sash: $21.00  I got a really cool customizable one on Etsy here
  • Venue. Originally we considered going to a church or something like that- but instead we did it at her mama's house. It worked great and was free.
    • Total cost for venue: $0.00
  • Games & Prizes. I found some great games online at and we printed them ourselves. I then bought a package of Blue Ball jars from Target and filled those with fun prizes with different themes to each. We had one prize per game.
    • Total cost of 6 games (got em here): $10.40
    • Total cost of prizes: $45.00 (though I did go to Sephora and Ulta and ask for free samples of perfume and make up to put inside the prizes.)
  • Food & Drink: The bride's mama organized all of the food and she did a remarkable job! We did the shower in the afternoon and wanted to go with finger foods and mama had that on lock! 
    • She made a variety of things (mini BLTs, spinach balls, chocolate covered Oreos (MY FAVE!), mini caramel apples, rice krispies, and little sandwich wheels.) It was delicious. 
    • Drinks were pretty straight forward. I brought two fancy dispensers with the little spigots that make it easy. We had Sangria and sorbet punch. 
  • "Stations." We set up some fun stations around the shower for people to cycle in and out of to make sure everyone has something to do and make meaningful gifts for the Bride. More about that later!
    • Total cost: $70.00
Now I'll take you on a tour! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves for the most part. 

As she walked in we wanted it to be a surprise! That's the big part that she was excited about, she didn't want to have much to do with the planning. So, as she walked in, she was greeted by this veil on the door!

She did supply us with some awesome photos of her and the groom together. We used twine, little clothespins in her wedding colors, and dollies from Hobby Lobby and strung it up. Everyone loved it!

The games that we got off Etsy were a big hit! They included:
  • What's on your phone?
  • He Said/She Said
  • Scattegories
  • Word Scramble
  • Scratch-Off Game
Plus they were super cute! We got to order them in gold and blue so they matched her theme. 

We had the party set up in stations. One of them was to buy this beautiful leather bound bible from our local Barnes & Nobles and have it set up for people to highlight their verse. Some people aren't as comfortable with that, so we also added a couple moleskins in the wedding colors to give people a space to put their quotes. It was a big hit! We set it up in the backyard looking across the grass with a chalkboard for instructions.

My personal favorite was our photo booth station! I used a foam board I may or may not have found in the supply closet at school to cut out a frame for the Polaroid! Use an exacto blade. I tried to cut mine with scissors. It was not a good idea.

We brought some props (that will actually reappear at the wedding...) for people to have a good time! We added a chalkboard for people to write on for how they met the bride. It was fun! Plus, if you cropped it to put on Insta, it worked perfectly and looked awesome!

 Another station that we had set up was a letter writing station. The bride and I had gone to the store previously and picked out a scrapbook that she loved. We invited everyone to spend some time writing a letter to the bride for her to read on her wedding day. She can't see it until then! It was really special to see people sitting around the table sharing their love and thoughts for the bride and her soon-to-be hubby.

In the living room we had the gift opening station set up. We had a cool vintage box that was originally a box for shoes but we stole it for bottles of wine for the bride and groom! We're hoping it helps them get through that first year together! One of the bridesmaids made those great tissue paper balls and we used a a DIY chalkboard to tell people where everything should go. 

She seemed to totally love it and I couldn't be more grateful! It was a challenge to organize a bridal shower from 250 miles away, but I'm glad we put it together! The other bridesmaids and the Mother of the Bride were instrumental in making it a day that she would cherish.

And Poochie, he was loving it too.

Together we made an awesome thing happen and I am so excited! The wedding is only three weeks away and it should be a night to remember. :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer 2016: Goals, Bro

Now that I've got the blog back up and running with some changes. I think some goal setting is definitely in order! Since it's the last week of school for me (I'm teaching summer school) that means these are going to be specific summer goals. Let's see what we can make happen!

House Goals:
  • Keep the place clean. Sorry, reality is, that's a thing. 
  • Repair chain link fence
  • Install privacy fence along the back of the lot
  • Repaint deck awning roof
  • Successfully combine boyfriend things and my things
  • Set up a "Dude" space for Brennan
  • Set up a blogging and computer space for me
  • Optimize storage
  • Clean out storage shed (sell unneeded items!)
  • Increase efficiency in the house. 

Personal Goals:

  • Read at least 4 novels! I have an entire box that I want to read, but to at least get a few knocked out would be magical!
  • Join a club or group, even if it's a digital blogging group! (Any suggestions? Comment them below!)
  • Make fitness more of a habit. Not just FitnessWholePizzaInMyMouth, but being active at the gym and outdoors.
  • Take the dogs on more walks and focus on their training more intentionally. They're barky little assholes sometimes.
  • Enjoy the great state of Colorado that I live in more often and more thoroughly!

Finance Goals:

  • Use energy and such in the house more efficiently to cut down on expenses.
  • Pay of Sebastian's Vet bills! ($2100.00. ugh. PETS!)
  • Use cash ONLY.
  • Build a couples budget that works!
  • Consistently use the budget program to keep track of expenses and bills. I've used it for about a year and so far LOVE it. For not-so-mathy people like me, it really helps to visualize and see where my money is going and what it is doing. 
Blog Goals:
  • Post once a week.
  • Revamp social media presence
  • Maybe get 5 new followers?
  • Make 1 new blog friend!
  • Get some great new pictures of the casa for the Home Tour tab!