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Affording to stay home. 

Recently a comment was made to my husband that really raised the hair on his hide. Someone said, “I don’t understand how you can afford the life you have with your wife not working.” To my husband it was an insult, to me I just think the person who said this truly doesn’t understand how we do it. 
There was a time in my life that a comment would have really chapped my hide. I would have felt offended. But at this point in my life I realize people really don’t get it and these comments are made out of ignorance and true genuine curiosity! So here’s a peek into how we run things on a tight budget at the HK! 

  1. We Save energy and resources where we can. We hang our clothes on the line when it’s nice instead of using the dryer. We take short showers and the little girls sometimes share a bath to reduce water use. We do not keep our house especially cool in the summer generally 80 degrees f. Same thing in the winter, the house we generally Keep about 60 degrees f. We use less gas and electricity this way. We also have invested in buying high efficiency units such as washer/dryer/furnace/ac unit. 


2.  We eat at home (usually). We do eat out as a family about once a week as a treat. But if the money is just not there in the budget at the time….then we don’t! I make a meal plan and stick to it. It’s not formal, just a quick jot on a post it to keep me on track. We are also blessed that we can raise much of our own food right here on the HK. We usually butcher one cow a year, sometimes a hog or two, usually a couple dozen chickens. So we have our meat right here in the freezer. We don’t have the extra store cost of the meat. We just pay to raise them and process the animal, which is a resource we HAVE and we USE! Also when I’m shopping I go with a set amount of money. Generally about $60/week. I buy the very basics and make what I can at home. As a stay at home parent I have the time to bake bread and actually prepare meals. I shop the sale ads and frequently at Aldis. We rarely buy pop, chips, snack cakes, ice cream etc. it’s just too expensive usually! 

3. We curb our entertainment costs. We are very heavy users of our public library and it’s resources! Our children attend many of the programs which are generally free, and of course check out loads of books and videos. 

We also spend a ton of time outside in our own backyard! We go on nature walks, have picnics, and grand adventures. It’s free since we already have it! And it makes my children entertain themselves! I see thier imaginations grow while they are pretending ! 


Along with playing outside and enjoying our own space, we spend a great amount of time enjoying our animals. We all enjoy riding horses, walking our dogs, and just helping with thier general care.​ 


We don’t buy all the new movies we want to, we don’t have internet to pay for….we don’t even have a computer…. But hey we do have satellite! 

4. Wardrobes are bought second hand, passed down, or bought on sale. There really isn’t much more to tell other than that. I also dont buy massive amounts of clothes. We all have probably two weeks worth of outfits each. Cuts down on the need for storage space as well as I have to keep up with our laundry. Plus we all really get our wear out of our clothes, nothing is left in the back of the closet forgotten because there are just too many clothes to wear. 

5. My husband works two jobs. I am very blessed that my husband is willing to work such long hours to financially provide for our family. This is a huge sacrifice on his part as he is often tired, misses out on having his own time, and being home to see all of the girls activities. I also work prn as a nurse when my husband is available to watch our girls (no daycare costs this way). 

6. If we don’t have the money to pay outright…..it usually doesn’t happen. We both drive  older vehicles that are payed for. The one vehicle we do have a loan on we made sure was the only payment we had (i.e. We have no credit card bills, no other loans other than our farm loan) committed to. Any improvements to our house or big purchases we make are planned and saved for. Period. Basically we know what our expenses will be each month and we anticipate for them. If we don’t have the money to spend then we just don’t. There have been several times I’ve wanted something new and had to just say to myself, it’s just not in the budget right now, let’s plan, save and wait. It’s very difficult at times. 

These are a few of the top ways we cut costs. It is very difficult to stick to it at times. Of course it would be easier to throw those clothes in the dryer or order a pizza because I just don’t feel like cooking….but it’s also more expensive! Of course there are times I wish I had top of the line wardrobe with tons of pretty clothes, but it just doesn’t make financial sense with our budget. Of course there are times we fail miserably! We aren’t perfect! But at the end of the day we don’t rely on anyone else to pay or even help us with our expenses, and we have earned everything we have by working hard and saving. 

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PRIORITIES MAMA, PRIORITIES


As I’m getting ready to get the girls’ breakfast around Boo rushes over with a mug of water to put in the microwave. She says, “Your coffee has to come before our breakfast.” I say, “That’s really sweet, but you guys should get your breakfast before I get my coffee.” Boo gives me a half hearted grin and says, “No Mom you are so wrong!” I say, “Why shouldn’t I fix your breakfast first?” Boo chuckles and says, “Because you microwaved my corn flakes last week…. you need coffee before you do the things…priorities Mama, priorities…”

#keepinitreal #ionlydidthatonce! #reallifeatthestaleyhouse

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Hail to Pay 

So the HK Bar had a major hail storm hit about 1 pm today. Golf ball size hail, high winds, and a torrential downpour. 


I posted a video I took during the very beginning of it all. The hail was only about quarter sized at this point but coming down fast. 



My brand new Yukon, my Dodge, and my husbands Dodge truck are all battered….. 


The siding on our house has holes all over in it……


The three photos above are pictures taken four hours after the hail…still piles of it everywhere…

I immediately phoned all of our insurance companies on the house and vehicles. I asked husband to call in our crops damage (alfalfa total worth about 10k)…..for him to look stricken and tell me he had not yet insured for the year. *sigh* 

Such the life of a rancher.. BUT here on the HK we try to keep our eyes on the 🌈 rainbow…. so we are praying God provides us deductible 💰 money…. And saying thank you that all our livestock is accounted for, safe and sound. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for strength, pray for recovery, pray for patience and goodwill. 

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Handling His Meat With Precision; Operation Romance Phase 2

I finally decided on my next phase of operation romance! I made my husband a suprise steak lunch. What did you expect from the title? Gezzz you sicko, I literally meant I handled his meat,  you know the kind you EAT….errr….well, that could be misconstrued as well. Okay starting over, I made my husband a kick ass suprise lunch in an attempt to bring back some romance to our marriage. I seriously have been tuned out for awhile. 

Anyhow. I made marinated beef ribeye steaks (raised and butchered right here on the HK Bar), corn, and seasoned mashed potatoes. He was a happy man! I sat across the table staring at him as he took his first bite. He wore a worried look as he took his first bite. I said, “What’s wrong honey?” He said, “I don’t know I keep waiting for you to tell me. You have been so attentive these past few days I keep waiting for the punch line. I have to admit it has me a bit worried.” 

Im sure he saw my eager, happy face fall with his comment. Gezzz I know I’m not huge on romance, but I didn’t realize I have been the ultimate romance Scrooge. I told him, “I realized I have not been very attentive to you, or very romantic for a long time. I truly have had a great time first writing your note, and planning your suprise lunch. I guess I would worry a bit too if I were in your shoes. Not that you have to worry, I just wanted to do something nice for you.”  A genuine smile lit up his face and he took my hand from across the table. He even put his fork down to do this, and that is HUGE for my husband, although thin, he loves his food. And he said, “I really liked your note. It made me smile, and it was really sweet of you. Thank you, it is nice to be thought of.” And then he commenced to devouring my suprise lunch with impressive speed. 

So I guess after the initial shock of Operation Romance wears off my husband might not always look so Leary when I do something nice for him. We had some good moments during his lunch. And I truly did enjoy preparing the meal and coming up with the menu. Usually I’m not a huge fan of cooking. It’s not that I’m bad at it, because I’m not, it’s more the fact that everyone has to eat and it just becomes one more chore on my list to check off three times a day. This time was different. I really did feel like I was pouring my love into this meal. And I’m happy that it was received so well. 

So cheers to handling my husbands meat so well, and on to the next planning phase for Operation Romance. HMMMMM what will I do? What will it be? Stay tuned! 

1

Someday Baby 

Sometimes putting forth the effort with a partner is just plain exhausting. But honestly after almost nine years of marriage and almost thirteen years into our relationship I am finally realizing it is so worth it. Slow learner , eh? Well, I guess we are all on the learning curve somewhere. 🙂 

What is spurring me to write this piece? Well, honestly it is because I have really noticed a difference in not only my own attitude, but my husbands, after I have put in the maintenance time. It is actually so simple that it is painful. He’s happier, and I am happier. What have I done you ask? 

I’ve made a valiant effort to make myself happy first, my children happy second, and my husband happy last. Most people would probably argue that I should put my husband up higher on the list. Nope, not this Mama. I always told my husband my kids come before anyone, even him. See the way I worded that? I guess I should really say OUR kids and not MY kids. I mean after all I guess they are after all a little his too. Anyhow back to topic……

I think putting myself first takes the stress off my back for so many reasons. First of all my needs are met first, so I am not so strung out tired from having met everyone else’s needs and sucked dry, while waiting for someone to come to my rescue. I am already “taken care of” so anything my husband says or does is just extra. Anything my kids say or do is just extra. This makes complete sense in my head, are you following my squirrel trail? 

I know some of you may be rolling yours eyes and saying ummm yeah how selfish you mean! Haha. Maybe I would have thought that too once upon a time. But not now. I see that if I take care of myself first I am more effective for everyone else. I go about my daily mundane tasks with more enthusiasm because I am truly happy, I am truly more energized. And maybe a small part of it is because I often feel like I have so little control in my life. Three kids and a husband that works three jobs tends to rule a person at times. Or maybe the fact is really that I am utterly left to rule to kingdom when my husband is working and away all the time. That’s probably more accurate. I feel the pressure sometimes and it is overwhelming. 

So that’s basically the gist of my whole piece. I’ve learned to put myself first and everything else tends to fall into place. With only minor snags here and there. But I guess I should explain the title. “Someday Baby” these are the words my husband says when I talk about one of my dreams coming true, or when I speak of a big project I want to happen.god bless my husbands heart he always listens patiently and says “Someday Baby”. Some times I think he truly believes it, sometimes I think he just says it to humor me. I have always had some lofty dreams/goals/ideas. His words are sweet, but the next time he says “someday baby” I am going to say, “Now Baby” because I am the one truly in control of those dreams and goals that I have. 

Putting yourself first isn’t always the selfish route. I think it is almost truly the most unselfish act you can achieve, because everyone gets the purest, highest charged version of yourself. So that’s my little piece of thought from the HK Bar this Sunday morning. Today I’m not listening to “Someday Baby”, I am SAYING “NOW BABY!”

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Up and Coming; Blitz Manny: Rescue dog

It has been awhile since I wrote a piece on Blitz Manny our almost two year old border collie that rescued me almost a year ago.when he came to the HK Bar he was a herding nightmare. He chased and killed chickens, he took cheap shots at the horses dashing in and out of their legs biting and barking all the while. He bellowed at the cows and played chicken with the Bulls. He wouldn’t walk on a leash- he would just fling himself about in blind fury. To say the least, he was a train wreck. But yet he is the sweetest soul I’ve met in awhile. He’s not in your face kind of guy. He has bouncy, contagious energy, and not a real mean bone in his body. Protective maybe, but not just outright blind rage. 

Cue to ten months of intensive work later and he now walks on a leash, respects the livestock, and has proudly been off live chickens as food for the past six months. He rides in the truck beautifully. He stays on the front porch and protects his farm. He barks and puffs up impressively when someone pulls in the drive. I love all these things about him! Like any good farm dog he owns his people and his job as overseer and protector. 

With Tucker and Bo having passed so recently and in such quick succession of one another, I feel blessed to be finding both dogs strengths in Blitz Manny. He truly will be one for the books. Hell, he already is at the tender age of almost two years old. I feel like a proud mom really having made this journey with him so far. 

HIs favorite things to do are ride in the truck with me, and chasing his basketball/football/soccer/baseballs/soft balls till he is lay down tired. He also really loves his girls. He is a gentle ball of energy if that makes any sense at all. He has an obvious distate for my husband. But I think that is the difference of heelers and border collies. A heeler will forgive rough handling and love their person blindly. A border collie on the other hand will remember harsh handling. They are no fools for sure. My husband is from the old school theory of raising ranch dogs. He is firm to a fault and any small act of disobedience is dealt with swiftly and harshly. (Never to the point it causes any physical injury, just a very stern approach). I on the other hand am of the school of thought that repetition and good reinforcement is the key. I don’t believe punish harshly when they do wrong, but praise excessively when they do right. I think this builds a stronger bond with me and my dogs. They want to work for me, they want to protect me, they want to please me. Not because I demand it, but because they come to see they want my approval. 

Anyhow, I am just so pleased with where Blitz Manny is in his journey as an HK Bar dog. Now we just need to work on not chasing the tractor when I am feeding hay, and then on to house breaking! He recently was invited in for a brief hour and he promptly lifted his leg and pissed all over our house cat Eli. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I won’t have a pee pot in my clean house!

What a little wonder dog our Blitz Manny is. I wish more people would take the time and energy to invest in a rescue dog. They really do deserve every opportunity in life. I’m so thankful my little guy has come to live with us. He makes me smile, he makes me proud, and he makes me realize I to can make huge strides and changes in my life toward the positive, no matter what. 

Cheers to Blitz Manny for transforming, and for transforming me.