Efficient Enough

Our electric company has started issuing monthly energy reports and I am very pleased to announce we are in the top 10 energy efficient families(out of 100). Another one of our family principles is trying to leave as small a footprint as possible.

Well we have reached our goal of setting our trash and recycling out twice a month (more times than not once monthly). Being we get our year supply of meat directly from farmers we have also reached our goal of grocery shopping once a month thanks to our finished pantry (next week is stock up).

To briefly explain, our home is just over 1000 square feet. Papa busted out a wall from an utility closet off our bedroom to use as our pantry. We are firm believers in less is more and learn to use our space wisely.

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Being we get farm eggs, use soy milk for baking and with me being gluten free we rarely need to make a milk, bread or egg run. I keep a notebook in the kitchen with a running list adding an item when it is taken from the pantry and thanks to my small Ma and Pa grocery store training I showed the girls how to rotate. 🙂

I know our woodstove saved us tons of energy and money this winter ( we recycle wood from a tree service friend and our woodstove heats our entire home comfortably) and during summer I don’t use the oven or dryer making our air conditioner run more . I cook everything stovetop, crockpot, or grill.

Just like we can and freeze summer’s wonderful bounty, I take advantage of winter and the oven by stocking our freezers with homemade goodies like meatballs (which could be made in the crockpot too), mini quiches and tortilla pizzas (which can be cooked on the grill) to get us through the summer.

During winter we have soup nights and during summer we have salads. Being our family doesn’t care much for the white meat on chicken (we purchase 24 whole chickens a year from our poultry farmer), Papa cuts boneless breasts and I freeze them in a tamari, olive oil marinade to grill and add to the salads.

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I use the backs to make broth and either make soup or BBQ the shredded meat (which kicks butt on baked sweet potatoes I tell ya) .

With Papa’s hours and working 5 miles from home we manage with one vehicle. Living in a small town everything is in walking distance. It was our goal to be debt free this year. We managed to pay off our vehicle but still owe less than $3000 on a credit card (a pain in my side that thing is).

Papa and I decided 8 years ago to cut up our credit cards after racking up $25,000 in debt. The sad thing is most of it was due to not having health insurance. So we have tried to pinch pennies buying used and learning to do things ourselves, like haircuts, plumbing, drywall, changing the oil and other vehicle maintenance. We have learned to buy only what we need with most our expenses going toward food and homeschooling (We still do not own a cell phone or flat screen television). It has been a very humbling and eye opening journey.

So we our using some the money we are saving from paying off our vehicle early to double our credit card payment along with the interest. Besides paying ourselves we are putting the rest towards the principle of our mortgage. Our goal is to be completely debt free in 10 years. Anytime we save money like by not having 1 months electric bill, thanks to our woodstove, we put it in savings.

I want to mention it has not been easy. In this time we have dealt with a layoff, surgeries and many unexpected expenses (like after living here 13 years all of a sudden our home is in a flood zone and needs flood insurance). SO many times I have wanted to give up and throw in the towel. SO many times I have said “Why should I care about our footprint when no one else does.” Then I get notes like these

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reminding me who we are doing it all for.

“Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” – Native American traditional

After all if children learn from example I want to make sure Papa and I are setting good ones.

Peace for the journey.

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