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The journey of a Christian wife, stay-at-home mom, quasi-tree-hugger, and cheapskate to find ways to "CHanGE" her life to be Cheaper, Healthier, Greener, and Easier. Constructive feedback always welcome!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What This Blog Is...and Isn't

First of all, let me clarify what this blog isn't:

- Condemning. I don't want to come across on this blog as having an "I'm better than you are" attitude. Just because I've made these decisions and changes in my life does not mean that I look down on those who have a different lifestyle or opinion of such decisions. I'm simply sharing what has worked and what hasn't in hopes that it will help those out there who might be contemplating such changes themselves. By the same token, I would appreciate people not being condemning towards me because I've either made a certain change, or perhaps because I haven't changed enough. For example, despite evidence of it being cheaper, healthier, and greener, I'm probably not going to become a vegetarian. If you want to be one, wonderful, I won't berate you for not eating meat or animal by-products. But I don't want to hear about how horrible my carnivorous ways are, either. I do accept constructive feedback, however.

- Know-it-all. Let's face it, I don't know it all. Nor will I ever know it all. That's one reason why I started this blog. I might occasionally want feedback from others on how I can (better) make a certain change, or why something hasn't worked for me. I'm going to try to post links to reputable sources as much as possible to explain why I've made a certain change, especially if it explains my mindset better than I can.

- All-or-nothing. I'm not going to pretend that all of my changes are complete or permanent. For example, just because I try to buy organic granola bars doesn't mean that I didn't just stuff 2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in my mouth! Not together, of course (like that makes it so much better). And while I did primarily use cloth diapers on my daughter when she was a baby, she did occasionally wear disposables during a period of diarrhea or travel.

So, now what this blog is...best way to do that is to tap my high-school roots in journalism and answer the 5 Ws:

Who: As in, who am I? Just call me "Kam." I'm a thirty-something wife who's been married to my husband, "Huz," since 2003 and stay-at-home mom to my daughter, "Dot," since her birth in the spring of 2008. I will use these terms throughout my blog to refer to them and would prefer to keep their identities private. So if you know us in real life, just play along. :)

What: Well, um, this blog. I'm going to explain various ways in which I've adjusted or tried to adjust my life for the Cheaper, Healthier, Greener, and Easier.

When: As in, how often? Hmm, good question. I already maintain a blog that details Dot's life, and my posting there is touch-and-go. I don't see why this blog would be any different. I might go through a period where I post multiple times a week, then I might be quiet for several weeks. As I do have a life away from the computer, I can't give a set timetable for when and how often I'll post. I'm going to aim for at least once a week, but don't hold me to that.

Where: As in, where do I live? The South.

Why: This is really a 2-part question. First of all, why the changes? I'd say the key turning point for me was having Dot 3.5 years ago. I was kind of a cheapskate and somewhat aware of environmental impacts before she was born. I'd use coupons, recycle my white paper at work, try to work out and not overdo the junk food, etc. After she was born, though, I started to become a bit paranoid about a few things.

- On the Cheaper front: since I quit my job to raise Dot, I knew we'd have to cut corners quite a bit more because we were essentially losing a third of our monthly income. Having me continue to work and put her in day care just didn't make financial sense, so I looked for ways to live on what we have. Our only debts are our mortgage and a car hauler (part of Huz's hobby), which are both slated to be paid off within the next couple of months.

- On the Healthier front: this isn't just about trying to eat right and stay active. It's about the chemicals all around us--in our food, in the storage of our food, in cleaning supplies, in personal hygiene supplies, etc. Part of this mentality is why I breastfed Dot and put her primarily in cloth diapers (more on these later), because I didn't want her exposed to any more chemicals than what she had to be. My concern has expanded past her bottom and insides to the rest of our household.

- On the Greener front: reading as much as I have about cloth vs. disposable made me realize how many diapers we were saving from the landfill. Then I realized that we were still putting quite a bit of garbage in them. What other habits could we change to reduce this impact? Some of this ties into the Healthier component, as I search for less chemical-laden and wasteful ways to maintain our household--using a vinegar-water mixture in a reused spray bottle and old rags instead of commercial cleaners and paper towels to clean, for example. I will put a disclaimer here--sometimes it's hard to reconcile being Cheap and Green at the same time, as many "green" products can be quite expensive. That's where my next component comes in.

- On the Easier front: what could I use for multiple tasks? What could I make myself? I've found lots of uses for vinegar, for instance. I seek to streamline a lot of what I have, cleaning products in particular. Maybe this should be "Simpler" instead of "Easier," but I needed an E for my acronym. :)

So the second part of the "Why?" question--why blog about it? Mainly because I love to write and always need to have some sort of creative outlet. I've maintained various blogs for about 10 years, most of which have since been retired. Plus I remember things better if I write them down or type them out. Therefore, this blog is as much for my own personal reference as it is to help others out there.

There you have it. I hope to actually start showing some of my findings soon.

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