I've thought about this several times, and have even taken active steps to get closer to a simple life, but I am still so far away. I've often wondered what life would be like lived completely simple. To wake up when the sun comes up instead of the alternative. A blaring alarm clock that makes me cringe. To not feel rushed. To sit and relax with a cup of tea or coffee. To read a book or the paper in the morning. To sit in wonder and ponder about life. To relax. To make dinner from scratch. To take my dog for a long walk. To go out and take pictures. To turn off my phone and just be alone. To be in a place where no one can contact me unless they come and knock on my door. There is so much in life that I want to enjoy, but I feel that so much of my life is being lived in a crazy way. My alone time is not always relaxing, and my life is far from simple.

This longing for a simple life has been growing inside of me for a long time now, and I finally feel that I am ready to do something about it.

Oreo Truffles

What do you get when you mix oreos, cream cheese, and chocolate chips? This guy
This is one of the easiest and best tasting desserts I've ever made. So I wanted to share it with everyone!

Items you will need
1. 16 oz of oreos (3 sleeves)
2. 8 oz of cream cheese
3. 8 oz chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but you can use milk chocolate)
4. Pot (to melt chocolate chips)
5. Food processor (This is preferred but not necessary, if you don't have a food processor, you can smash and mix the ingredients by hand or with a mixer.)

 Once on the cookie sheet, place in the refrigerator and let cool for 45 minutes.
 When they are cool, you will heat up the chocolate chips. It is probably best to use a double boiler, but I don't like the hassle. If you heat them directly in the pot, make sure to stir constantly and use a low heat. Once chocolate is melted, grab your truffles and dip into chocolate. Make sure you hold the bottom side and dip the top as the bottom is flat and sits better when you place it back on the tray.
 Once they have all been dipped, place back on tray and into the refrigerator. When they are done, they will look like this. Yum!
These things are absolutely heavenly!!


Dog meets ducks

On our walk Sunday, we stopped over at my parents house. My parents have chickens and ducks, and this is a story of how Izzie met the ducks.

Canning with Kenny

I love to learn new things and this fall I learned to can. I have been going to my grandma's house to can, but thought, let's try it on our own. For those of you that haven't canned before, it's a bit of a process. We canned applesauce and pickled jalapenos. The apples came from my grandma's tree and the jalapenos came from Kenny's parents garden. Kenny did the jalapenos, so I'm not sure on the recipe, but it was very easy and fast. The applesauce was also easy, but took more time. Below is my basic and generic recipe. It is really that simple, but if you need more thorough instructions you can go here.

 Steps for making applesauce:
1. Peel, core, and dice apples 
2. Add enough water to cover the bottom of your pot 
3. Place on stove top and cook on medium heat for 1 hour 
4. Remove from heat and add sugar and spices to taste 

I also wanted to point out how cute Kenny was canning with me. He was very excited about the jalapenos and didn't really care about all of my applesauce. Once we took the jars out after processing them, you have to let them sit for 24 hours. Within the first 30 minutes you usually hear a popping sound from each of the jars, which means the lids have sealed. Kenny was so anxious because my applesauce jars popped first. But don't worry my friends, the jalapenos finally popped and Kenny finally vacated his seat at the table :)

Only a hundred pounds of apples left! : )

What I love about Sundays...

Last Sunday Kenny went hunting and Izzie and I went hiking on my Grandma's farm. It was the most beautiful day! Fall...80 degrees...clear skies. It was heavenly. I love the restfulness of Sundays. My heart and body were at peace.

Apple Chips

Kenny and I recently acquired mass amounts of apples. Probably a couple hundred pounds. That is unfortunately not an exaggeration. The good new: they were free. The bad news: we have a ton of apples. When life gives you apples, you get to make a lot of yummy treats. One of the treats we made was apple chips. They are delicious and a little bit time consuming, but totally worth every bite. So here is what we did.

We gathered up the essentials
Then we peeled and cored the apples. Once that was done, we put them on the mandoline and sliced them pretty thin. There were no precise measurements. Some were thicker than others.
Once they were all sliced and diced we put them on the dehydrator and poured cinnamon sugar on each and every apple slice. After that we let them dry. They were suppose to dry for 24-48 hours, but we couldn't wait and they seemed ready to eat after 18 hours. And eating we did. They did not last more than 8 hours. We had apple chips for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, after afternoon snack, and dinner. Sadly we had none left for our after dinner snack and desert :(

Youtube Wonders for Animal Lovers

I laughed then I thought, then I felt terrible

If you didn't like cats before, maybe you'll have a new appreciation for them now:)

Saving Money: House Payments

I have always been a saver. Not sure why, but I was not the kid that spent my money on candy or toys. I saved everything. I would find pennies on the ground and pick them up. To some, it isn't worth their time, but to me every penny counts. I even pick-up pop cans if I see them lying around. 10 cents is 10 cents. It may not seem big, but small things add up. A few pennies here, a few haircuts there, and bamb, I've saved hundreds of dollars. But today is not about saving pennies. No my friends, today is about saving thousands. We are talking about house payments. Exciting right? Maybe not for you, but there is something that fires me up about saving money. So here it goes.

We bought our house for $65,000. It is in town and is nothing spectacular. It is small, but perfect size for us. Our interest rate is 6%.

We have a land contract because we were not able to get a loan from the bank, which is another story for another day. Stupid Banks It's their loss, not ours.

Our land contract was set up as a 15 year mortgage with monthly payments of $549. So here are the hard facts about the different mortgages.

                   Monthly Pmts         Interest         Total 
 30 year              $390                  $75,296       $140,296
 20 year              $466                   $46,763       $111,763
 15 year              $549                   $33,732        $98,732
 10 year              $722                   $21,596        $86,596
 5 year                $1,257                $10,398        $75,398
 3 year                $1,977                  $6,187         $71,187

If you have a 30 year mortgage on a home that cost $65,000 at 6%, you can plan to pay $140,296 for that house. Now your payments are only $390 a month, which does look appealing, but if you can manage to pay $549 (not even double), you will save over $40,000 in interest and 15 years of house payments. And the track we are on is the 3 year track. We are paying as much as possible, almost $2000 a month. I know this isn't feasible for everyone, but if you can it is worth it.

In order to make this happen, Kenny and I have had to make some sacrifices.

Things we don't have or do without:
1. Internet
2. Cable TV (rock on antenna)
3. Netflix (you can get all the free movies you want from the library)
4. Food (we cut coupons and eat fresh grown items from gardens along with canning extra food)
5. Nice cars (we have never had a car payment; we have never had a nice car)
6. New clothes (90% of our stuff comes from Christmas presents or stuff that's given to us)

By sacrificing these things, we are able to pay as much as we can on our house. By doing it in 3 years instead of 15, we will save $27,545 in interest. I can think of some amazing things to do with $27,545!

This is not to say we don't have fun. We have date nights and put money back into the house, but we try to cut down on how we spend money on things we don't need.

Would love to hear any cost saving tips you have!


Saving Money: Hair Cuts

Kenny and I are pretty cheap. There are somethings that it is pointless for us to spend money on when we could do it ourselves and save a lot of money. One of those being haircuts. For now it is just Kenny's haircuts, maybe someday it will be mine too:) We have made a vow to never pay for haircuts again. This did not come easy. Kenny kept refusing to let me cut his hair, but I was persistent and refused to take no for an answer. It made no sense to pay for something I felt capable of doing for free. After we were married I convinced him to let me try it once, and if he didn't like it, never again. I'd seen it done so many times. My old roommate use to cut his hair, so I had the general idea down. First time was a charm. He loved it and we haven't looked back since.

Money Breakdown

$15 including tip/month
$0 for me to use scissors and cut it myself
$180 savings per year
Whoot Whoot

**Please note the before picture below, Kenny was annoyed and just wanted a fast haircut without me taking a billion photos. I only took four photos and that is why he is less annoyed looking in the after photo :)

Not too shabby:)

Have a great day!