Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Month: February 2016

Communication in our Marriage

So I know this is a little off topic from farming and homesteading but……. a good farm only runs well if the marriage behind it is running even better. Here on our homestead I do most of the work because the Hubby is finishing his degree and well…that was the agreement when we got all these animals haha

He loves all the animals but they were definitely not his idea and I knew he couldn’t be adding more responsibilities onto his plate at this time. The only reason why we have these animals and a good marriage is because of good communication! Now granted, the tiny details of some of the animals like the fact that the chick brooder was going to live in the house was somehow not communicated :/ but was quickly resolved once he saw the ducks 🙂

this lived next to the dining room table

Anyways long story short, we have learned that great communication and staying a couple (not my life doing this and his life doing that but everything still comes together as one) is what will keep our marriage strong. During my years of babysitting as a teenager I was blessed to know and become friends with the people who have the number one marriage podcast today!!!! Back then they were my neighbors but now they are amazing marriage counselors! Therefore after I was done baby sitting and they got home from their date I got to talk with Alisa and discuss relationships and the beginnings of what has become One Extraordinary Marriage. I learned so much from her and now feel bad for all the times I probably killed the mood for them on date night by staying until midnight discussing everything under the sun.

Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo

Now they have asked me to be a part of their goal to reach 1,000,000 marriages the week of Valentines Day!!! So I am writing a review on one of their books called….Connect Like You Did When You First Met: 101 Proven Questions for Couples this e-book goes for $12 and is worth every penny. For those couples that have been married forever and know every little detail about each other, there are still questions in here that will have your conversations getting back to the days of dating. For those couples that hardly talk at all and answer with short and simple responses but one of you want a deeper connection…this book is definitely for you.

In the beginning there is a how to section…at first I thought this was weird because why do I need a how to on having conversations with my husband but as we followed directions and got to the tough questions I was very grateful that I remembered the section on body language and using I statements and especially the directions for only doing one question at a time 🙂 Now there were a few times where we just sat and answered a ton of fun questions because they were fun and we were enjoying it. The book covers your marriage, sex, money, religion, dating, kids, friends and family, dreams and desires, and a fun section. It seriously covers it all 🙂

An example of a tough question for our relationship was….Is there anything you need from me that you’re not getting?…..now this might not seem tough but I remember my grandma once saying, If you aren’t willing to change don’t make them change either. How was I supposed to ask what can I do better if I didn’t really want to do anything different. Now we did go through this question and I am very happy because it showed me which areas I wasn’t meeting for the Hubby and I do of course want him to be as happy as he can be in our marriage.

Horseback Riding (I know, everything revolves around country living but it was penny pinching since it was with a coupon)

The fun questions for us were about dating and gave us a chance to revamp our dating ideas! We have gotten into the rut of dinner out, or the movies and popcorn. Pretty much those only two things counted as a date but now we have a much bigger list and I can’t wait to share some of those adventures with you guys. My big problems are finding a babysitter that will take care of the animals or we have to be on a date between the hours of feeding and caring for the livestock. If you have any tips on dating with livestock I would love to hear them 😀

So please…….share this review, share the book, go to the website, help us reach 1,000,000 marriages. Your marriage lasts a lifetime and is well worth the $12 bucks for this book that will give you a better, deeper, more understanding relationship with your spouse.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Cutting Back on TV

OK, so I might not know this exact science of how much to cut back or if you should. This is all a personal decision, but I do know that practically every child research center has made the statement of no TV for kids under 2. Now I have not been one to follow that advice. I know, shame on me, but I LOVE TV! One of my favorite things to do is lay on the couch and binge a show with some ice cream and chocolate and….you get the picture. Not a very productive, healthy thing to do is it?

This is seriously how I felt almost every time a series ends and I would try to scrounge around for another series to fill my time…..Not that great but totally legit feelings.

Well I have a friend that does no TV, uses the Waldorf methods of play and education, eats super all natural and was part of my inspiration for moving to our town because I could see how it was going to be living up here. Almost six months ago she told me about putting a blanket on my TV in order to deter me from wanting to watch it, especially with the kids. This is how she stored her TV until she got rid of it and there were also chairs NOT pointed directly at it. I thought that was super strange but it made sense since she never used it. So up went a scarf/wrap that I never wore and it sat on the TV for about….a couple days, maybe a week. It started to get annoying having to take it off the TV every time I wanted to watch something once the Littles went to bed, so eventually it got folded and placed next to the TV. That still counts right?

Six months later that wrap is still next to the TV, but that is more because the wind keeps blowing it down 😀 The last three weeks we decided that enough was enough we were going to start cutting out TV. Now I cannot go cold turkey, it’s just not in my DNA to give up something I love so much. So instead we came up with a goal with an awesome reward. Some might say it was counter-intuitive reward but this seriously worked.

We were going to do no TV from Sunday at 5 pm-Friday at 5 pm. Therefore weekends they could watch Saturday morning cartoons and we could still do a family movie night on Fridays so that is why we had the weird hours. At first the Littles were not very happy about this but then something changed… We told them what the reward would be if we could go THREE weeks with no TV during the week.

KUNG FU PANDA 3!!!!!!!!! in the theater!!!!!! opening night!!!!

We did it!!!!

We did it!!!! This was the only sign and my camera and the light did not work well together.

 

I am not a super Kung Fu Panda fan, I like the movies every now and again but Po (main character) will always have a special place in my heart, Po and I go way back. The Hubby and I first hung out together (in a group) after my high school graduation party where we saw the first Kung Fu Panda movie. Remember we were in a group but even so just him and I shared a popcorn and drink (sharing a straw is like kissing right? haha), and our friendship just continued to grow.  OK, I know, I know, enough about our relationship. I just wanted to give you the back story.

So any time a Little would ask about watching TV during the week we would remind them of going to the movie theater if we could just stay away from the TV. Were there times that I just wanted to let them watch something because then I could get more stuff done??? Of course, but instead we thankfully had great weather and I made it a priority. They would wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and run outside to play!

The first week I still watched TV at night-time because this was just a goal for the kids. But then something happened…as I couldn’t watch TV during the day with the kids I was on social media less, I was becoming more productive, our house was a little bit cleaner…and I was losing my desire to watch TV. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a good movie and I catch up on the few shows I watch while I am cleaning. Also a lot of date nights around here involve cuddling on the couch with snacks and a movie. But now I use my TV time wisely and I only watch during certain chores (dishes and laundry) because they are not my favorites.

This goal started because I felt like I was relying on the TV too much as a babysitter. Now I will not condemn ANYBODY who does this because I have done it for five years now and we are finally taking the actions that align with our family priorities. How are we supposed to get back to the basics of life if we are relying on a TV to entertain our children? Laura Ingalls and other children in the pioneer days did not have a television when they were growing up. They had sticks and rocks and maybe a doll or a couple of things their dad carved. They had good childhoods filled with many adventures. We want that simplicity for our kids. Being content in what they have, an imagination with no limits, a healthy body, a love for the outdoors, coloring and reading more, a love for animals, an understanding of how and where our food is made/comes from, playing from sun up until sun down, doing chores as a family, and sitting at the table for our meals. As old fashion as those sound, that is exactly what we are striving for. A life that has gone back to the basics.