My Urban Homestead

Where are we going? Down a new path! The system would have us all believe that we should choose a single skill to practice and excel at for our entire life. We are all expected to participate in the rat race of life. Consuming and competing with each other in hopes of coming out on top and being happy. The thought of maintaining the same boring job for the remainder if my life is incomprehensible. Why should I accept that fate? I see so many people struggling through life. Over medicated with antidepressants and stimulants. I am choosing to not be a slave to the money! I choose to be happy everyday. Why wait for the golden years of retirement? From what I have seen, the golden years aren’t so golden after all. I am looking down the path that leads back to a simpler way of life. My eyes have recently been introduced to homesteading. There is an alternative way of living, where it isn’t necessary to slave away your life at some meaningless job. To be mortgage free, debt free, and self sufficient sounds like a dream. It is attainable through sacrifice and hard work. What is the point if senselessly struggling to pay of debt and regain a decent credit score in hopes of qualify for a mortgage in order spend the next thirty years paying for that enormous debt? Is a large house full of extravagant finishes necessary? I can see myself and my family having a happier life by choosing a simpler lifestyle. Quality of life is important to me. Material possessions won’t make me happier. Of course I can appreciate the beauty and quality craftsmanship of material things. But they are trivial and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. As I begin this new journey down the path to homesteading I will need to acquire some new skills. Skills of my ancestors such as growing, preparing, and preserving my own food. Living off my own land and being at one with nature. I am also looking forward to learning how to make natural cosmetics and pottery. I have always admired people who lived self sufficient lives. For now I will be choosing to practice my urban homesteading skills. I am experimenting with new crops for my deck garden. My husband and I planted everything from seed this year. This is the first growing season that I didn’t visit a local greenhouse to purchase transplants. We didn’t leave room for the pretty annuals that I usually surround the deck with. We have a modest size deck with a modest amount of containers for gardening in. New to me crops include leeks, onions, garlic, strawberries, lettuce and peas. We have had a very wet spring and my little seedlings have taken a beating. Oh well, survival of the fittest, right?






Detrimental reinforcement of shallow values



I am beginning to come to the realization that I suffer from fear and anxiety. My fear and anxiety cause me to be controlling, and when I can’t control something I tend to feel frustrated and angry. I need to learn how to let go of the things that I are out of my control. I need to be cognizant of what I can and cannot control.

One of society’s conquests should be to eradicate the trivial existence of phoney, superficial, shallow, materialistic people. I find these people to be incredibly irritating. Unfortunately, i cannot control them therefore; I must find a way to deal with them. How do I accept these object seeking people who adorn themselves in the latest and greatest? Their constant need to portray themselves falsely, living above their means, sinking farther into debt. To what avail? Their newly acquired material possessions aren’t making them happy, are they? The joyful feelings that they experience while purchasing these items is fleeting at best. Perhaps they desire to be envied by their peers. Or maybe they just want to fit in and be accepted by others. Are they simply weak minded, unable to withstand the constant media pressure to consume. Did childhood play a role in their materialistic values? Feelings of inadequacy from growing up poor and wanting to be accepted my a wealthier socioeconomic class. What about parents who value image, and possessions above intelligence. Detrimental reinforcement of these shallow values by parents, instead of nurturing a child’s intellect is often the cause. For instance, a child with a mild learning disability may have been encouraged to value their appearance over their intelligence simply because they required extra help with their studies. Were these parents unwilling or unable to support their child’s cognitive development? They themselves were probably victim to their own parents’ poor value system. The cycle needs to be broken. So, what can I do to change these people?

I have concluded after much rumination that, simply put, I can encourage them to use their brains. Praise them when they have a good idea, or make a good decision. I worry about these damaged divas influencing my darling daughter but, maybe I can influence them too. Their parents may have failed them but, that doesn’t mean that I have to fail them too. Sure, its much easier to judge and dismiss them but, what if I praised and encouraged them, helped them to discover their ability to think outside of the box, to perceive themselves as smart and beautiful. Teach them to be proud of their ability to think for themselves, instead of following the masses. Knowledge is power, embrace it and be free! Money and possessions will not bring you happiness when all of your shallow soulless friends abandon you and your marriage is failing and your children are turning into spoiled, disrespectful brats. Life is about creating yourself and embracing your imperfections, not copycatting every other blonde bimbo on the planet. I am ever thankful that my parents encouraged me to have both beauty and brains. I too will encourage my daughter to develop her inner and outer beauty. She is already demonstrating high levels of both 😉

Is ignorance bliss?

I feel like my life is falling apart. We have no money and we are behind in all of our bills. I’m afraid that we are going to loose our home and our car. Power and Internet are about to be disconnected. Groceries are low and we are out of milk for our baby. There is nowhere to turn. No friends, or family to bail us out. How did we get here again? I blame my husband, but I too have poor money management skills. He points his finger at me, and says “ignorance is bliss!” Only one year ago we contacted a credit counsellor for help. They consolidated out debt into one easy payment but, what about helping us with strategies to stick to a budget. There wasn’t much in the lines of managing our money. So, here we are again. During the past year I gave birth to a wonderful baby girl. Being on maternity leave was hard on our budget. My husband and I both suffer from fear and anxiety. We both see the same psychologist, separately. On the doctors advice I returned to work one night a week when my daughter was 8 months old. It
Didn’t help financially but, it was good for me to get out of the house. We planned on my return to work full time, and made childcare arrangements with an overpriced daycare. After signing a contract with the daycare, we decided it wasn’t a good fit for us. Unfortunately we would still have to pay for a month of childcare that we didn’t use. Without childcare, we decided it would be best for me to work evenings and weekends so that my husband could take care of our daughter. It’s hard for me to find a balance between being a full time mom, wife, and part time employee. Then trying not to feel guilty about taking time for me. How to other women do it? Especially the moms with multiple children, full time jobs, and unsupportive husbands.
I felt that things were looking up for our family when I was offered a new job with a significant pay increase. New job also means new childcare arrangements. We found a nearby day home for our daughter, still overpriced in my opinion but, what price can you put on quality care for your child? I’m hoping for my daughter to actually have the feeling of being cared for my this lady.

Today my husband walked out the door and said he doesn’t know where he is going and won’t be home tonight. We are several thousand dollars behind in our bills. We are both feeling hopeless. His plan was to get a personal loan. That didn’t work out. Plan B was to ask his father for help. His father currently isn’t in a position to help. His father’s advice was to meet with our credit counsellor. Having already failed us, my husband lacks faith in the credit counsellor’s ability to help us. Plan C is to sell our car. Our beloved little car. We waited so long to buy our first car. Ten years of daily public transit. I watched all of those mothers on the bus struggling with their babies, strollers and parcels. Often feeling sorry for them, especially during inclement weather. Wasting so much of their time waiting for the bus and taking sometimes over an hour to get somewhere that only takes 15 mins by car.
Now here I am faced with being one of those women. I feel that I have failed my daughter. How will I get her to her day home and make it to my new job for 7am. Public transit doesn’t even begin until after 5am, not to mention preparing and feeding myself and my daughter.
I come from a low socioeconomic family. We were barely above the poverty line. I wanted to be able to give my daughter more, and to give myself more. I have failed her already.
Plan D? Move in with family ? We all no how that works. Living with my overbearing mother in law, constantly offering unsolicited advice, and my basement dwelling,uneducated brother in law with alcohol and gambling issues. My commute to work would double from their house.
Then there is my little brother. I have felt like his second mother. I promised him that he would be okay and would never be as poor as our parents. I have supported and encouraged him to the best of my ability. He is doing well for himself. He recently purchased his first home with the help of his girlfriends parents. I worry that he lives pay cheque to pay cheque and is house broke. Living with him and his girlfriend might be an option. They have the room and we all get along reasonably well. The issue is location. They live well outside of the city. It would take at least an hour by car to get to my new job. *sigh*

The only person in our lives with enough credit to cosign a loan for us, lives on the other side of the country.
I guess we could ask my paternal grandmother. We aren’t close. She is religious, and cranky, and a smoker. She lives on the opposite side of town and we don’t visit or call her often. I can’t ask for her help.

My husband travels for is work from time to time. They give him travel advances well in advance of his trip in order to book his flights and hotel rooms. These extra funds in our bank account are too tempting for my husbands impulsive personality. So the travel advance dissipates. He says he will figure things out and make his trip happen. I assume he has asked for more of a travel advance from work. I ask , and he says he took care of it. He has a great trip, took in a NHL game, brings home presents. Then the shit hits the fan. He has promised money that we don’t have to bill collectors. We can’t get a loan. We are screwed. It’s his payday today. I feel slightly optimistic until he mentions that most of his paycheque is owed to a payday loans company. ” how did you think I paid for my trip? ” Gee, Hun, I thought you got an advance from work!!!
His solution to our problems is avoidance and apparently mine is ignorance. I love my husband but I want to wring his neck! I told him to find a new wife if he has to sell our car. I spoke out of anger and frustration. I blame him for frivolously squandering all of our money away. Doesn’t he realize that all of the little purchases add up? I’m not a frivolous woman. I rarely get my hair done, no manis or pedis, my wardrobe is warn and out of date. I get my brows waxed from time to time but I tweeze in between waxes.
We don’t go out for dinner or go on dates. We don’t take vacations. So where does our money go? I want to save for a down payment on a house. I want to start my own RRSP and I want to provide my daughter with opportunities and privileges that I didn’t have.

What does tomorrow have in store for me? I am strong and I am a survivor yet, I feel weak and alone. Will my marriage endure?Where do I go from here? How do I help myself and my family? Life is a struggle. If anyone else feels the way I do please leave me a comment. Or check out the American version of the show Shameless. Fiona Gallagher is strong and she is a survivor! If she can do it, so can I .
Kanye West comes to mind, that that doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger! My theme song for when times are tough. Be strong my friends!


Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Today I shared one of my favorite indulgences for the first time with my precious daughter, Reese peanut butter cups. This scintillating melt in your mouth tasty treat is a long time favorite of mine, dating back to my early childhood. My childhood was a time when peanut butter was a lunchtime staple. Modern day has eliminated the traditional PB&J and has introduced “wow-butter”! Say what? Wow-butter. Give me a break. Is it really necessary to eliminate peanut butter from public schools. Are peanut allergies that prevalent that we need to deprive all children of that satisfying protein rich, sticky, crunchy, creamy goodness. I grew up on the traditional Kraft peanut butter. I had it for lunch and sometimes as an after school snack, along with my 2% cows milk. As an adult, I made the switch to the all natural PB. No added sugar or the dreadful hydrogenated oils. I have also made the switch from white bread to whole wheat. Sure, there was the rare friend of a friend with a peanut allergy back in my day. But it wasn’t common enough to warrant a ban on all peanut products at my school. I can’t imagine my childhood without peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and Reese peanut butter cups at recess. Why are so many children developing this allergy? Is it fear, perhaps? If I’m afraid that my child could potentially be allergic, then I might raise her in a peanut free bubble in order to prevent an allergic reaction. What if I told you that keeping your child away from the potential allergen would increase the odds of her immune system as seeing the potential allergen as a hostile intruder and launching into anaphylactic shock. Any child with a sever PB allergy should carry an epi-pen at all times. If the child with the allergy is equipped with an epi-pen, then why all the fuss. Chances are that the teacher and classmates are also aware of the severety of the reaction and would take measures to avoid exposure to the afflicted child. The entire school needn’t be affected. A friend of mine is convinced that he has a peanut allergy. He has never shown any signs of an allergic reaction when exposed to peanuts and products containing peanuts. He has never been tested for allergies. However; his mother told him that he is allergic. His sister is deathly allergic and carries an epi-pen on her at all times. So, I can see where fear may have played a role in my friends “peanut allergy” but, wouldn’t it have been better to have educated him on his sister’s allergy. Shouldn’t he, in his adult years, have consulted a doctor and taken an allergy test. Tried as I may to describe to him the sheer delight that I feel when sinking my teeth into a Reese peanut butter cup. The only thing better than the PB cup is a Reese PB egg, available at Easter. The PB filling of the egg is extra fluffy and the ratio of PB to chocolate is slightly greater.
I’ll admit that as a first time mama I too was hesitant to give my precious daughter a potential allergen. Hesitant yes but, encapsulating her in a peanut free bubble? No. As I said I am an avid peanut butter lover. The nuts on their own, not so much. I consumed peanut products on a regular basis throughout my entire pregnancy, as well as while I was breast feeding. Did I outright feed peanuts to my daughter? I certainly did not. However; I did rub peanut butter on her back, neck, and arm in order to expose her to it. There was no reaction. So, when my sister in law asked if she could feed my daughter some of her hot fudge sundae with nuts, I said sure. My internal dialogue thinking that if my darling daughter did have a reaction I could blame it on my SIL and not myself and at the same time telling myself that the likelihood of my offspring having a nut allergy was slim to none. Now, I am delighted to be able to share my sinfully delicious treat of choice with my little one. I find that sharing it with her is equally as satisfying as taking the first bite out of a Reese PB cup. My second favorite chocolate bar, you might ask? Hershey skor bar! I love me some chocolate !
So, before you go ahead and act out of fear, do a little research before you decide whether or not, and when to give your child peanut products.

Unsolicited Advice

People seem to have an uncontrollable urge to offer unsolicited advice, partenting advice in particular. They are probably trying to be helpful. Unfortunately, unsolicited patenting advice usually upsets me. If I’m asking for advice, I’m grateful to receive it. Tell me what I should and shouldn’t do with my child and we’ve got a problem. I am my child’s primary care giver. I think that makes me an expert in what works best for my child. These people need to consider that their helpful advice might be unwanted, unnecessary, unwarranted, shall I go on. What worked for little Jimmy 30 years ago, might not work for little Jenny now in present day. Times have changed people. Why are people so resistant to change? We need to adapt and evolve if we want to survive. We need to be open to new ideas and better ways of doing things. Especially when there is scientific proof to back up new ways of doing things.
On another note, why must my daughter be compared to all of her relatives? She likes color X so, she is just like so and so. Or, she dances to music just like Great Aunt Martha; therefore she is just like Martha. Heaven forbid that she take after her mother, or herself for that matter. I don’t want her to develop some kind of complex that makes her think that she is like all of her crazy relatives. I hope that she will be true to herself, a beautiful, and intelligent individual, who will thrive on being different from the rest of the selfish, shallow, and materialistic plastic mean girls of the world. I want to teach her to question everything. Don’t take anything at face value. Question all of those beauty marketing schemes directed at the masses. You can be intelligent and beautiful and respect your body. Sex sells, it works well. Giant corporations have proven this with zillions of dollars that they are earning. But why do that to yourself? What image do you want to portray? Who’s respect do you value? We need to teach our daughters to respect their body, no matter the shape or size. Teach them to have good character and to be kind and considerate. We can’t control our girls or tell them not to be a certain way. This only causes rebellion. We can teach them to make informed and educated decisions. We can set good examples for them and make our own wise decisions. I have dreams and aspirations for my daughter. One day I hope that she will share some of these hopes and aspirations with me. My daughter shows great promise. She is wise beyond her time. She is advanced for her age. I feel that if I continue to love, teach and support her she will grow up to be a truly lovely person. Not some skanky bimbo with over tanned skin, over processed hair, caked on make up, covered in piercings and tattoos, crying out for attention in all the wrong ways. No education, poor body image and depression. Are these signs of parenting gone wrong? In my opinion, absolutely ! I’m not saying that I will be the perfect mother and raise the perfect daughter. I am saying that when you bring a child into this world it is your responsibility and should be a priority, to do your damnedest to make sure that you are doing your best to raise your child to be a decent person.