A life full of free goodies!

I’m enjoying my semi sabbatical already. I’ve downloaded and scheduled out over a month worth of past Coffee with Kate videos and disabled the comments so I have no need to get on line at all. I’m free! Besides a little bit of email and some paying of bills online with my bank…I am offline.

And I already feel rested. I also am already feeling somewhat inspired but I’m going to force this rest this time and make it long. I have no guilt as I’ve set everyone up with a library of some rustic but charming old vlogs and I have been going through all of them one by one to weed out the boring and post the ones with something to teach or inspire. In so doing, I have inspired myself! I have also realized how far we’ve come and how much my family and I have changed in the last three years. It’s been an interesting experience.

Not being online is something I have talked about for the last few years. Now doing it I am remembering the peace, the quiet (except the kitchen radio, of course) and what it’s like to be present in my life with my family. I feel like I have so much time stretch out for me each day and I feel my mind wanting to continue to work, but I remind it to stay silent…we are on vacation to rest mind, body and soul.

Every vacation or retirement I attempted to take in the past couple years was really time I took off to work through buying a house and go through all that drama or to tend to a foster child. I never took time off to truly rest. I took vacations and filmed them, I visited family and filmed it and so on.

If we don’t take seasons to rest in quiet, almost isolated contemplation, we do not renew the spirit, fill the soul with new and fresh life. As artist our wells go dry and if we keep going it is akin to continuing to haul up empty buckets and not giving the well time and to refill itself.

I’m a little addicted to working. It is hard for me to lay about reading novels and staring out the window to ponder the theory of nothingness. But I need time to do just that. I need to shut it off, the hum of the working mind, the flashes of thought, the mill working 24/7 on useless and boring thoughts and memories that should have been packed up and donated to the thrift store long ago.

So, I walk all three dogs and two boys each day. I search Craigslist for any household necessities in the Free section. I clean shelves and purge boxes and bags of unnecessary things to put on the street for others to now enjoy. I chat on the phone, drink too much coffee and then clean some more. I’m playing with recipes and we are eating well.

I’m playing with my house and doing it all for free. What ever I order is from a gift card I earned. What ever I bring home was free off Craigslist. Such as that stove in the first photo. And this microwave and all these wonderful toys Sam is have a great time playing with.

I purchased this cheap cover with my gift card to make our free (off Craigslist again) chair look new.

Used an old oil can for the plant start, a jam jar for my pepper container. And for free I created new spaces for Arjan and I to do our much needed work. His school work and art and my home secretarial jobs and later my writing and filming.

I spent last night arranging this in my mind and with a hot cup of Bustelo I got to work this morning. I used everything in the house and on the porch. I’m so happy to finally have a desk. This was inspired from my old videos where I always had a desk. Arjan loves his space, he chose all these pieces and then decorated.

Sammy doesn’t have a desk but the man that gave us the stove and overhead microwave gave him a huge storage tupperware box filled with all those Playmobil toys. There is the ship and people, parts and gadgets, police station, zoo and so on. Christmas came early for that kid.

Other free delights are all the good music channels on YouTube I’m enjoying during the day when I don’t want a lot of news and racket. And a channel one of you suggested that I’m loving!! Green Renaissance channel on YouTube. They are little documentaries on peoples deep thoughts, simple life, loving yourself, the Earth, finding your purpose and so on.

This is the coffee music channel I was listening to today.

This was the beautiful, free forest art the boys and I found while walking the dogs in the forest. Sometimes we find some trash, sometimes we bring a bag and clean it up. Not often do we have to deal with garbage. But this was a surprise treasure.

There are so many things we can enjoy that are free. So many things we can find that we need, also free. But you have to search patiently. I find that being home and not wasting time online gives me time to hunt and peck and find goodies on the street, at thrift stores, garage sales…and then online with Craigslist, yes. I have time to feather our nest and play around with it so everyone has a room or some corner and the whole house is pleasing for us all. I have time to enjoy nature and take my human and furry children out for walks to play and explore.

I continue to blog now and then when I have something to share. In time I will return to my channel and do a fun, charming, rustic style vlogging to inspire and teach others to take up a simpler way, dump the “stuff” holding them hostage, and create a life that serves them instead of being slaves to a mortgage, a commute, a dreary job. It can be done. I’m living proof.

We’ve worked long and hard to get to this Utopia. But we had to be willing to sacrifice the mainstream life for a life of happiness and easy living. It wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a gift we never would have experienced had we not been open and willing to live a small life, to have one car for years, to live debt free and paying in cash, to learn to make our own bread, milks, yogurts, and scratch cooking to save big bucks on groceries, to walk to town and become well known at the local library.

But what joy I get from cooking from scratch (not all the time, but most days), to knead bread in a warm kitchen and ponder life, to hang laundry out in the sun and take some time to be alone, or working in the earth to grow free, organic vegetables and fruit. I don’t know why the smell of the Earth soothes me. I feel all’s right with the world when I go out to water my garden and the first shoots have sprouted.

There is also something so deeply satisfying about fixing up an ugly and forgotten house. You can’t help but fall in love with it after you have spent seasons scrubbing, painting, tearing away ugly carpets to reveal the old beauty beneath.

Living cheap and sometimes free takes some work, some planning and navigating. I educated myself on frugality and kept trimming out all the unimportant things to save money and time for what truly mattered; raising my children, being at home permanently, having shelter we can afford, eating healthy, clean food, paying utilities with ease.

I have learned to plant a kitchen garden, can and preserve food, to halt online shopping or earn gift cards, and throw any pridefulness out the window when accepting hand me downs or searching through a box on the street with a free sign. But hey, I also put out a lot of boxes of free stuff and post on Craigslist often in the free section myself. What goes around comes around. I give something that doesn’t work for us anymore and then I receive something perfectly suited.

We are on our second fixer upper. These houses were no beauties. The first house had been forgotten for 13 years before I saw it and said, “I suppose we should put a bid in?” with much hesitation. But after we turned it into a charming cottage with just fruit trees and paint, the next ugly house was a solid, “we’ll take it!”.

Be open, take some risk, think outside the box, downsize, simplify…times might be getting harder before a turn around. If you prepare you will sail through hardship with ease.

We’ll cover that soon.

65 thoughts on “A life full of free goodies!

  1. Oh my! I love your free stove and microwave. I bet that Sam is having fun. Those toys will allow his imagination to run free. This vacation is going well for you.


  2. Hello my friend, I am so happy that you are finally taking time to rest and enjoy your time away.

    I have learned through the years that everything that
    goes on in life could be overwhelming at times, but if your focus is on your family and making your home a peaceful and secured place to be, all the other stuff is not that important. Being present and thankful is the key to happiness.

    ❀ Carolyn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the new stove. Will you put the microwave above it? It’s great to take time off and clear the mind. Seems when we open our hearts and minds to the Universe it blesses us with abundance in many ways! Hugs, love and peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the new stove. Will you be putting the microwave above it. It’s great to take time off for the mind and spirit to renew. When we open our minds and hearts up to the Universe it seems to always bless us tenfold. Many hugs, much peace and an abundance of love.


  5. Some of the best pieces of furniture I have, have been curbside treasures! The stove and microwave look in wonderful condition. My boys loved the playmobils. You scored on everything. Hope your enjoying some peaceful moments around your beautiful forest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. I love the life you are giving the boys of enjoying life and of not being hustled from one event to the next..When thinking about your walks I wondered if you have ever done geocaching. There may be some in your area and the boys may enjoy it. If you’ve never done it, just do a search for it. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt where you put a trinket in the box and can take one out if you wish. My daughter does it with her son and he likes the hunt/surprise of it. Love how the new stove and microwave fit in your spaces so well like they’ve always been there. You have an eye for the free stuff. Enjoy your break.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. PS: If Bali has any leftover wood such as 4 x 4 posts, he could make either new legs for Arjan’s table or just add some pieces to the bottom of the existing legs to make it taller. That boy is growing up so fast. I also just watched your latest video and so happy that after 6 years you were able to have houses you can make into homes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Right now I’m on a sabbatical and not posting email and I’ve disabled comments on YouTube so I can choose when I post or respond. When I return I will post an email and open comments. Obviously, they are open here.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t know, I’ve watched almost all two years of their stuff and plan on more today with my coffee, lol. Thank you!! If you find more good stuff like this let me know. I can’t find anything easily on YT, they send and suggest junk all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Disabled YouTube comments is a great idea. In advance I’m telling you I love your creative approach to money handling. You like the Amish but really you are using the same skills. Use it up, wear it out, make do. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kate, that stove is the bomb! What a fantastic score! I would love, love, love to have a stainless steel stove. WOW. I’m super impressed!!! With the pandemic in full swing, you can’t even buy appliances now without at least a 6 to 10 month wait. I love it.
    Cook on it in good health!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wow Kate, I really like the stove and microwave. We have similar appliances and I love it. You really did well with finding nice things to spruce up your already lovely home. And those toys, I am so happy for Sam. He will have hours of fun. You are being rewarded with so many blessings. And you deserve every one of them. I truly believe in “Give and you shall receive.” Thank you for being so kind and generous and for never allowing negativity to get in the way. Enjoy. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh I meant to comment on that forest art. It is absolutely beautiful and what a nice surprise for people to find on their walks. You could have Arjan and Sam paint a rock with vibrant colors and leave it in the woods for someone to find. I so enjoyed this blog. Bye.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What great finds you have made to enhance your house! The new learning and working spaces will serve well. Glad you are enjoying your time of relaxation and are refreshing mind and spirit. I always enjoy all your blogs and videos with reflections on what you’ve read, experienced, tried or are learning about. The earlier vlogs you are posting now are great too – you did some amazing gardening and brought lots of charm to that home with all of your and Bali’s hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It ‘s great that you are finding so many things. I put the children’s desks outside for lessons today. It so warm and sunny. I have been reading the course in miracles. Finished up the canning and freezing of our produce. I gifted the neighbor with a large box of produce. We offered garden space to a young couple we love.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love the chair cover. The blackboard menu is a great idea. We have one with the week written our by resident Artist with her lovely script and the dates things need to be eaten. Saves a lot of food waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes, we were. We had some interesting meals out of the freezer. We were lucky we didn’t lose anything to wait. The old freezer is now a root cellar.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Love this vlog. May seem like the craziest question, but did you have trouble adjusting to washing dishes without a window over the sink, vs having one. We are dealing with house plans, they have no window over sink, I dont think I could.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I learn from groups such as the Amish. They are never in debt and sail through the recessions and depressions. the disabled comments…I wondered how others would take it but it’s just such a freedom to not have to read and respond to comments all day, it’s a huge waste of hours that are now being spent doing fun things outside with the boys.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sounds like you are reaching your own utopia, we are at the beginning of the less consumerism journey and glad to have such resources as yours avaliable.
    We enjoy Fairylandcottage on youtube an irish lady living low waste and vegan. Also a young woman in washington state called thefairycottage who lives small and with nature.
    We are loving the reruns of yours on youtube too, so thankyou very much x

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What amazing free finds!! I never think to look at Craigslist but maybe I will now! Do you save your garden seeds for next year?


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