I Found a Little Free Library!!!

Posted by Angela Diaz on April 4, 2014 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

     For scoots and giggles I decided to take a different route home on my bicycle.  Right in my neighborhood just a few blocks from my home I found a Little Free Library! It was so neat! I've heard of this concept and seen examples online, but have never seen one in my own neighborhood. The neat things about these little libraries is you just open the little door and take whatever book you want. If you have a book you'd like to donate to the Little Free Library, you just put it in there.  After you read the book, you can return it...or not. No late fees, no due dates, no checking in and out. This is community at its best.  These Little Free Libraries run entirely on community. It's a wonderful way to keep book circulating in a community. 

     I made a point when I got home to put some used books in my bicycle bag. The next time I passed through there I placed some books in the library. Though there were no books in there at that time that I was interested in borrowing, it made me smile to browse through their little selection and it made me just as happy to be able to donate some books.

Radical Homemakers; This book Changed My Life

Posted by Angela Diaz on March 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

     If there's one book that I would recommend anyone read, it would be Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes.  This book has put into words everything I think and feel about my lifestyle choice and my desire to pursue homesteading.  This book makes one want to quit their job immediately and focus on the important things in life. It brings to light how we are being almost brainwashed by corporations to live a certain lifestyle, buy certain products, work certain jobs, etc. 

     Radical Homemakers is a book that covers everything from eating locally and/or home-grown fruits and veggies, to the subject of health insurance, living a better life by working less or for less money to pursue happiness, coming together as a community and supporting one another, etc.  Hayes gives us so much history on how homesteading was a way of life and everything changed when men started going off to work and then women began following suit.  Hayes did tons of research and even toured throughout the country interviewing 20 people who were pursuing this radical homemaking lifestyle to one degree or another.  One might be living in an apartment in the city, another might be living on their family farm, another might be a stay at home mother with a working husband, one might work part-time or not at all.  These folks come from all kinds of backgrounds, married, single, with kids, without kids, older, younger, etc.  There is someone anyone can relate to.  I borrowed this book from the library twice and read it front to back twice.  I have to return it back on Monday, but I went onto Amazon and purchased a used copy for me to keep.  Once I get it, I will read it yet again, but will highlight some of my favorite parts of the book that really spoke to me. 

     I know some think I'm crazy. I've been called a hippie, I've been called Amish, and I've been told I should have been born a century ago.  Reading this book helped me feel like I am not the only one out there that sees that our system is corrupt in all kinds of ways.  That living a meaningful, and happy life has nothing to do with having a lot of money.  People think I'm lucky that I have a job that pays well and has great benefits, but I can't help but feel like a trapped prisoner. I can't say I really enjoy or am passionate about what I do for a living. It's a job and it pays the bills, but there are so many other things I would rather be doing. Like working on my garden and putting up good, fresh, organic food for my family.  I am currently on a plan to pay off my mortgage in three years (or less if possible) and then pay off my student loans the following year. In my eyes, I have five more years of working full-time before I call it quits and pursue my true passions. A lifestyle that enables me to have more time with my family, work a part-time job year-round doing something that I love, or maybe just working full-time during winter months when not much else is going on.

     Radical Homemakers shows that it is possible to live your life the way you feel you should live it. That you can raise your children the way they should be raised and with your beliefs. That money is not everything and actually can hinder growth.  That we can be producers and not consumers. That we can be good stewards of our environment and resources and help others as well.

     Final words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

Book Review: The Self Sufficiency Specialist

Posted by Angela Diaz on December 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

     One of the recent books I checked out from the library was The Self Sufficiency Specialist. 


     This book was really enjoyable and a quick read.  This book was basically about how to live sustainably using natural energy sources and homesteading.  What I loved about this book is that it wasn't super in-depth with technical details.  This book was a way to prompt one's thinking about different possibilities.  I really liked that this book understands that not everyone has a few acres of land in the country available for homesteading, but you still have options even in an urban neighborhood.  Some of what I do is labeled "urban homesteading".  Basically, I do the best I can with my urban land to live as sustainably as possible by growing and preserving some of my own food, harvesting and using rain water, re-purposing old things, etc. 

     One of my dreams is to purchase a small patch of land of about 3 acres and establishing a homestead off-grid, but that dream is at least ten years away.  This book triggered some ideas about setting up a solar water heater outside of my current home, a small wind turbine for some electrical use that can attach to my home, and finding more ways I can "put up" or preserve more food from my harvests for use in the winter. 

     I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a little about sustainable living and/or homesteading without having to read a manual on setting up solar panels or how to slaughter and process a pig. This glossy-paged book is loaded with color pictures and drawings on each page which really helped me visualize what the author was describing. 

Using the Local Library

Posted by Angela Diaz on November 27, 2013 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

     Using the local library is a must if one wants to save money and still entertain oneself.  The libraries today have evolved so much to provide such a variety of services and entertainment outside of books.  Although, let's be honest, I absolutely love books and it remains my top reason for visiting the library.  I have access to thousands of books, magazines, movies, etc without having to buy anything at all!  I show my appreciation for the library by donating money every once in a while (in overdue fines, but still...). 

     This last Saturday I took the kids to the library to hang out for a few hours.  My son likes to go on the computers and  play games.  There is a play area that had Lego's out to play with for a few hours and that's what had my daughter busy the whole time.  This place had thousands of Lego's in big plastic bins and all the room you needed to build a large masterpiece.  This library also has movie night about twice a month.  They play family movies on a big screen and you can buy snacks there or bring your own.  We've watched Monsters, Inc,  Meet the Robinsons, The Lorax, Legend of the Guardians, etc.  It's always a good time and it's absolutely free.  Key word....FREE. 

      I go to the library outside of town.  I prefer this one because there are a lot more movies to choose from (doesn't have the inner city population to hog up all the movies) and it's less packed and more quiet.   The libraries in Lancaster County are all linked so I can go onto the website and if the book I'm looking for is not at my local library, I simply request it online from the library it's located, and they send it to my local library.  I then get an e-mail a day or two later saying that my item is there ready to be picked up!  I love this! When I come across a book title I'm interested in, I go to the library's website and do my little search thing and 99.99% of the time, I am able to get my hands on the book. Sorry Barnes and Nobles, I have a new love...

     Oh! Here's another service that's pretty neat.  If you have a Nook or other E-reader, you can borrow E-books from the library to load onto your device! Say what!? Yes indeedy.  That is so cool.  I had a Nook for a little while, and it's sooooo handy dandy, but I just love book pages and the smell of books.  Am I too geeky? It's okay. I'm cool with that.

     Seriously, I can't say enough about my local library system.  If you haven't visited your library in a while, go check it out. They have free wi-fi and all sorts of great stuff going on absolutely free.  If you have kids, you MUST go to the library.  Kids are expensive money eaters. This is one of the free things that we do that they love doing every single time. There's something for every one. Even those hard-to-please teens.  When my teens are bored out of their minds and join me and the young-uns at the library, they have a good time too.  One gets on the internet and the other finds recent fashion and teen magazines to browse through while sitting in front of an electric fireplace or in front of a ceiling-to wall window overlooking a beautiful scenic country.

     If you are not using your library's services, then shame on you.  I'll say it again SHAME ON YOU.  Our libraries need all the community support they can get to stay in operation.  How can one not support such a free and wonderful system?