Archive for self improvement – Page 2

One Thing To Know Before Getting Goats

If I could tell everyone one thing before getting any goats (minimum two due to them being herd animals), is the same as in so many other things–buyer beware.

Research what goats need to live healthy and happy and decide if you can provide those things. They should not just be stuck out in a field.

Unlike cattle, goats need their hooves trimmed regularly. They are designed for living on rockier areas that grind down their hooves; pastures just can’t keep up with their growth.

Goats need extra copper. I struggle so much around making sure they all get enough that I honestly can’t figure out where they would get enough copper from in their natural environment. The amount of copper in goat feed and goat minerals is enough to kill a sheep.

Goats are herd animals and need a buddy–preferably a goat buddy. They will cry, loudly, if kept alone. They will also get into trouble trying desperately to escape their solitude to find a friend.

But the number one thing to know before getting into goats–research the breeder you’re buying from! News flash! Breeders may not tell you the entire history of an animal or its parents. I forgot this most important rule when I first got goats.

I made the wise decision of buying does that had already given birth so at least one of us would know what to expect when the time came. Unfortunately, I listened to the wrong advise of a breeder regarding breeding horned goats to polled (naturally hornless goats). She said you can’t breed polled to polled because you would get hermaphrodites. She made it sound like you would get hermaphrodites with every breeding; in actuality, the number is closer to 7%.

Another breeder I bought from sold me an 8-year-old doe because I was looking for a polled doe. I did not know enough to ask about her breeding history–how often she had kidded, how easily she became pregnant, and how long ago she had last kidded. I’ve learned since that she likely has a cyst on her ovary because she has only become pregnant 1 time after 5 months of being with the buck (not the buck’s problem), lost that kid, and never became pregnant again. Her heat symptoms are obvious and regular so the vet said it was likely a cyst. It’s probably treatable, but she’s getting old so I’m kind of leaning toward not trying with her.

Okay, that’s more than one thing to know, but the bottom line is: do your research on your chosen breeders as well as your chosen pet/livestock.

P.S. If you’re interested in some free self-help resources, head over to the Self Help Giveaway 11 for a ton of free stuff!

#blogboost Day 5

FlyLady and Marie Kondo, My Inspirations

Before I began my decluttering journey, I read about others’ journeys. Two that stood out to me were Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady, and Marie Kondo of KonMarie fame. Both of them seem to me to sincerely want to help people get their lives back under control.

I like that FlyLady breaks her decluttering method down into small steps. She begins everyone’s decluttering journey the same–shining your kitchen sink and keeping it that way. No matter what the rest of your house looks like, you have something shiny smiling back at you when you get up in the morning.

Another thing I love about her system is that she adds routines for daily living. Too often, it’s not just our clutter that’s out of control, it’s everything. We don’t have set bedtimes, we don’t have set wake up times, or meal times, or days for doing laundry, or days for cleaning. It’s all linked; it’s all unfinished. FlyLady handles that by giving us a morning routine, a daily routine, and an evening routine.

FlyLady’s has an easy-to-follow getting started page, but be prepared to spend some time reading. It’s pretty thorough!

Marie Kondo is my other decluttering inspiration. Many people have read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” She came to her decluttering technique after years of experimenting with different methods of tidying up her room and her family’s house. She also breaks decluttering down, but in a very different way than FlyLady.

FlyLady breaks the house into zones (e.g. master bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc.), but Marie Kondo declutters by category. She has everyone begin decluttering by going through their clothing first, getting rid of everything that you don’t love. Everything gets touched and your feelings gauged. Check in with yourself about every single item. It takes a while (she says most people can get done in 6 months), but you will know yourself better after getting in touch with yourself about all of your possessions.

Another thing I really enjoy about Marie Kondo is how she approaches each house she enters to assist with decluttering. Upon entering, she greets the homeowner and then greets the house. I think it’s really cool that she approaches the house with respect and advises her clients to do the same. How many times I’ve looked around and thought “I hate my house!” Does that feeling build up? Does it echo off the walls? Does my frustration at my surroundings, my creation, beam back at me from the walls? Marie Kondo encourages us to respect and thank our homes, and says that this actually makes it easier to become inspired regarding efficient storage and tidying.

What I like about the KonMari approach is that she starts with items that are easier to declutter and moves to items that are more difficult to declutter, saving sentimental items for last. Decluttering room by room, you may run across items that you are not emotionally ready to deal with and then end up stuck looking for a place to put them, or simply boxing them up to look at some time in the future. Of course, then you have to find somewhere to store that extra box, and who knows how many you’ll end up with.

Marie also has a second book called “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” that shows you how to fold different items of clothing (I have so much trouble getting ankle socks to stay right!). Definitely helpful for those of us who just learned how to fold clothes to stack them vertically!

For now, though, I did start with working on a room. Part of the reason for doing that is that I need a functional kitchen now. Another reason is that I have so few clothes, none of which I love, and can’t afford to replace them right now. It’s just too depressing to look at what I have that fits and then realize that I’m stuck with those items until I can scrape up enough money to start to replace them. Yes, that includes Goodwill. If it’s not in the budget, it’s not in the budget, and I need to fix my heat pump before I need new shirts. 😉

I love that both systems offer clear road maps to their followers. I love that both offer baby steps that are easier to follow instead of just jumping into a pile and going for it (as they seem to do on Hoarders, but maybe I’m wrong). Best of all, I love knowing that I can use either or both, and will eventually get to where I want to go–clarity of thought and peace in my spirit.

Decluttering for the New Year? Join me at the Finally Free Decluttering Support Facebook group. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry (maybe), we’ll post embarrassing photos. It’ll be a blast!

Decluttering Myself Begins In The Kitchen

Day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I’m feeling good. *snort* (Ask me again in 3 weeks when I may be woefully behind and frantic. But I must think positive!)

We plan to move sometime this coming summer and I have to get ready. I have to get rid of so much stuff, pack so much stuff, fix so much stuff, pay for so much stuff–all without panicking. And I panic easy!

So I created a Facebook group for decluttering support called Finally Free Decluttering Support. I invite everyone reading this to join me! We’ll share embarrassing photos around the campfire, push each other (a little) to keep going, and applaud when someone does well.

My first day with it was yesterday. I didn’t touch anything; I just looked. I looked at what I have around me. I looked at why I have the things I do around me. I looked at how I felt about all the things around me. And I found out that having unfinished projects and random stuff laying about is a way to mask my feelings. If I have too many projects to keep up with, how can anyone blame me for failing at one (or all)? If I can’t find a letter or a bill, I get to feel like a victim and let go of my power and any sense of personal responsibility.

I hide my power in my stuff. Somewhere in the piles and the unfinished filing is a competent woman who really can take care of her life, but who’s learned to be afraid. Learned that trying and failing is painful, especially in front of others who are a little quick to criticize, so why try at all?

What to do when you become aware that you are powerful, but have given your power away your whole life? Decisions, decisions. I could go back to sleep, ignore the piles, ignore my growing sense of loss, and let the clutter hold my pain. Or I can stand. I can decide that I AM and that no one, not even me, has the right to take away my power any more. And that’s what I decided.

So my first day of decluttering began with procrastination, trepidation about what kind of failure I would find in my chaos. But it wasn’t too bad.

I loaded a lot of recycling in the minivan (the back trunk space is full now), started a bag of trash, found a donation, and packed away my not-yet-used growing pots. I left the seedling heating pads and towel on the shelf because my daughter’s new cat, Jingle, likes to sit up there. 

I am taking back my space, and my power, one spot at a time. If you’d like some support on finding your power in your piles, join me in the Finally Free Decluttering Support Facebook group. You can also sign up to my email list for updates on my journey (as well as homestead, homemaking, and self-help encouragement), as well as receiving a free Homegrown Green Smoothies report!

Self Improvement + The Ultimate Blog Challenge!

The Ultimate Blog Challenge just started up for January. What is that? Glad you asked!

The Ultimate Blog Challenge is a group that sends out daily reminders to blog, along with suggested topics for each day. You can use their topics or not. You post your blog post on your blog (um, yeah), then post the link on their Facebook group, sharing your goodness!

You might get some new readers, you might not. For me, I’m really using this to try to get in the habit of posting more. I’m sure I won’t make it every day, but I’m going to try to get as close as possible!


I’m doing a couple more things to stretch myself and put myself out in the “public eye” a little more.

One thing I’ve done is joined the Self Improvement Gifts Giveaway. I have three reports that I’m giving away through the program. It has a ton of free gifts from a ton of people! It opens on January 5. Join my email list to be notified!

Another thing that I’m doing is hosting a Facebook group called Finally Free Decluttering Support. In the group, we’re going to support each other and push each other to get our crap together and get it gone! Life is too short to spend it pushing piles around. I plan on posting frequent pictures of my progress (or needing-a-push pictures) as well as discussing methods for decluttering. I’ll have several posts this month specific to decluttering. Join us and be Finally Free!

While you’re reading, join our email list! We have a lot more going on and I’d love for you to be a part of it!


Weight Loss Beginnings – Bet On Yourself With DietBet

So I posted in January that I was joining three Diet Bets. They have now finished and I am happy to announce that I met my goal for two of them! The third one started when I had a little less water weight and I wasn’t quite able to lose enough (though I was less than 1 lb away). Overall, a good start.

Diet Bet - Not Me!Diet Bet photo – not me!

I have decided to join more Diet Bets in an effort to keep up the motivation and momentum. I have even adjusted our daily schedule (which we are still working on trying to stick with) so that Kaida and I can have 45 minutes every weekday to exercise together. I hope that will help her grow up with the habit of exercise as well as eating fairly healthy.

My current Diet Bets are:

  1. The Transformer – Feb 23, pot as of 2/21/2016 = $21,775. February 23 – August 22 to lose 10% of your body weight. I saw a Transformer that started in early February has a pot over $100,000 so I expect this to go up substantially.
  2. Love Yourself with Amanda and Stephanie, pot as of 2/21/2016 = $25,305. February 22 – March 20 to lose 4% of your body weight.
  3. Shred Pounds with Weight Loss with Annamarie, pot as of 2/21/2016 = $4,340. February 22 – March 20 to lose 4% of your body weight.

In an effort to get better results, I’m making the following changes:

  1. Eating a cleaner vegan diet with more frequent large salads. I have not been very good about having a salad a day and tend to let the last half of the greens get old enough to go to the ducks. I use a mix of greens from Sam’s Club: salad mix, kale mix, and spinach.
  2. Doing weights three times a week. I’m using the Stronglift 5 X 5 app. You can see and track the exercises for free. There are extras that you have to buy the upgrade for, such as warm-up videos and weight calculators, but I haven’t sprung for the upgrade yet.
  3. Walking or following dance fitness videos three times a week. Two of those days are weekdays scheduled with Kaida, but the third I have to do before she wakes up on Saturday due to our schedule. Sorry, babe!
  4. Jogging on a rebounder/mini trampoline for 10 minutes six days a week. This is more for lymph flow than hoping it will count toward exercise. I have one with an attached handlebar like this one.
  5. I already eat only oatmeal, brown rice, or whole wheat bread as my grains (usually). I may need to plan better, cook my own rice from scratch with no oil instead of using the wonderful precooked rice and quinoa from Costco/Sam’s Club, and maybe try making my own bread. I found a mix and dump recipe for whole wheat bread that I may try. I’ll write about it as soon as I try it.
  6. Making sure I drink 8-10 cups of water a day. I want to make some of this be herbal teas on a regular basis. I’m trying to get consistent about drinking 2 cups of decaf green tea and 2 cups of roasted dandelion root tea each day.

The above will be in addition to regular activity such as walking to feed the animals, lifting feed bags (only biweekly anyway), walking/moving in the gym at work, and working on outside projects here. Here’s to better health in the long run! Hopefully I will soon have my own transformation photos to add.

Again, not me!Again – not me!

What have you found to help you lose weight? Tell me below!