Pantry. Home. Movies. Books. Budget.

Bali took some lovely photos this morning with my phone. If you look closely you can see the bees in the flower. The bees are thick these days. You will find a new reality in your home if you focus on that. Grow organically and you will have the bees, the birds, the dragonfly’s and other critters. If you don’t want the critters bothering your garden make sure and put water and food out for them but in specific places away from the gardens. A neighbor across the street has platers of nuts, big bowls of water, and rows of bird feeders. The squirrels are very content and spend their days chasing and playing with each other since they have this buffet at all times. They don’t bother my garden at all. We also have food out for them. I keep three water bathes full, and I believe we are up to eight bird feeders placed all over the yard. You want birds in the garden to eat the unsavory bugs. Squirrels are great for keeping my dogs busy, giving them purpose and exercise as they chase them up and down the fence. You want certain bugs to eat the aphids and moths. Everyone has a job.

Our first artichoke. We will let it go to seed.

We had popcorn and movie night on Friday. I’ve decided this is my absolute favorite movie for the year and have watched it three times thus far. It will make you look at friendships in a whole new way. And kindness, loyalty, and determination. The cast is also my favorite. Check it out, rent it if you have to, you won’t be disappointed. It is one of those movies that will change you.

Another thing that will change you is a full pantry. We traveled to a nearby WinCo and spent $484 on restocking the depleted storage. I was exhausted yesterday after our trip. I think the heat, my cycle, waking up at 4 am, who knows. I had to lay down on the couch after I put away the fresh and frozen items. My husband gets concerned when I’m sprawled on the couch. I am often in the middle of a project, true, but even the Queen has her off days. We were having a barbeque with a friend and I rested until the last minute when I came to life and cleaned up the kitchen and prepared a bagged salad and husk some corn. The great thing about barbequing is that someone always wants to be in charge of the grill and I am happy to turn over those tongs. It is easy and quick. We sat on the porch and ate a wonderful meal with some zucchini from the garden. Bali kindly organized my pantry before the gathering.

Top photo is the before and here is the after of Bali’s work. He is so good at getting that pantry whipped into shape. I like to have easy cooking items on hand such as mac and cheese, stuffing, canned veggies, corn bread. There are days I am not up to cooking, but there are children and a hungry husband to feed, so the luxury of not cooking is nonexistent. The solution is easy boxed foods, even frozen foods. The even smarter thing to to is bulk cook or cook extra of everything all the time and store in the freezer. We have a tiny freezer filled frozen fruits and vegetables so that is not possible. I am looking into a chest freezer right now. We have a better generator for the power shut offs so I feel safer having an extra freezer to stock up extra lasagnas, enchiladas, casseroles, and deals on frozen plant based goods.

Most of the stock up is in flour; both wheat and white, rice, beans, lentils, oats; rolled and steel cut, soy beans, and bird feed, lol. There is even potato flakes, powdered milk, and lots of dried herbs and spices.

Stock your pantry with everything your family eats and likes. Stock it to suit your needs. Not how it is supposed to be done or every other homemaker is doing it. Stock it for your family. It is your grocery store and, just like a grocery store, it should be stocked with what the family community eats.

This is the big bag of bulk foods I’ll be putting away in jars today and all the ripe bananas I’ll peel and freeze for smoothies and banana ice cream.

I gave away this bed recently. It was too big for the room, I couldn’t clean under it and when I took it apart I found months worth of toys, socks, and popcorn. I’m purging less these days as I’ve pretty much downsized to what feels good. It is a monthly taking of inventory and seeing what works and what doesn’t, what needs to go, and what needs to be added or improved with simple adjustments.

I want to play with this room a bit. Maybe a new color for the walls, not crazy about the blue. I was thinking a light milk chocolate or something warm. I have a nice quilt bed set I can pull out and make up the bed so it is more charming. But there is more room and I love the space in the house now. Cleaning is a dream. Tidying a breeze. I’m no minimalist but I do love the simplicity of less things.

My office has become more crowded though. The guest bed is back in here so the boys have lots of room as they seem to enjoy their space more now. I don’t mind. All the dog children nap while I write and drink my ice coffees. I just adore this room.

Speaking of minimalism. We now have only one house and one solar system. I feel the burden now lifted. The money from the sale went toward our mortgage in this home. Mortgage before: $230,000. Mortgage now: $150,000. We had grand dreams of renovating the back half of the house and yard, but instead we put that money away for Capital Gains tax, if we have to pay it. If not, we add that to the mortgage as well, or save it. Our renovations fund went from $20K to $3,000. We will redo the floors in the kitchen, bathroom and pantry/laundry. Add a couple windows. I can do wall paper on accent walls in some of the rooms or change the paint. We can do this ourselves with some help. As for the yard, we will build more garden beds in front and fill them with herbs, lavender, and wild flowers since they grow well in shady areas. We can spread some decomposed sand around the yard to clean it up. Right now the front yard is dirt and clumps of weeds. I will do before and after’s of it all as we go along. We will be using the small funds and a Home Depot card we have. Everything will be priced out and clearances shall be hunted down with purpose.

In the past, I had inherited a sum of money. I spent the next two years living above my means and it was gone with nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it. This lesson prepares us for the future. When we beheld that large check in our hands, I imprinted the amount on my mind for manifesting more abundance and then we invested it into the most important thing we own. Our home. For those of you that have read Evicted by Matthew Desmond, you get how important a home is for anyone. For those who haven’t read this book, it is an exploration of poverty and injustice with slum lords. It is also, whether intended or not, an exploration of poor choices. I have been homeless for brief periods in my youth. I was fortunate to have a couch offered, but I have lived that life of poor choices, sleeping on other peoples couches, jobless, dependent on luck and kindness. Now that I have children, I don’t fool around with the fates. A home is our investment.

So, the money is into the house and I feel like some intense budgeting lately. We have been receiving stimulus checks, and tax returns. I’m trying to cancel the child credit tax coming now, it’s ridiculous. You do have the option to cancel it and wait for after you file taxes. We may owe so I don’t need that extra amount on our bill. As for the many stimulus checks and tax returns, it’s gone into savings, repairs, tools, seeds, fruit and nut trees, dental visits for us adults (boys have free medical and dental insurance, we do not), dental and medical vet visits for all the dogs, stocking pantries, medicines, clothes and shoes for the boys for the next three years (if we are lucky, they are growing very fast), and car maintenance. Some went for fun items as I’ve discussed before; TV, large and new area rug that I still am loving, new cooking set from Pioneer Woman that I’m also loving and whatever else I’m forgetting.

I give away most things, however, lately I’ve been selling items worth something such as the GoPro, a generator, things of value. I use that money to stock the pantry. The money shower is slowing to a trickle and now I rewrite a new budget, sell this to buy that, and think long and hard before spending a dime.

It is healthy to spend some money, share the wealth. But there has to be a time to have fun and play and a time to save invest and work hard. We have worked hard for years. We need to now have a steady pace that doesn’t wear on us. You don’t thrive when you are over worked. I’m reading Effortless by Greg McKeown. I loved Essentialism by this author and it changed my life. This book helps me go to the next level in how I run the house and my creative works. It is about pacing oneself, in work, rest and finances.

Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most by [Greg  Mckeown]

And there you have it! I hope you all are sipping ice tea and enjoying this summer!


  1. hi Kate! im glad I got to read this post on the 4th of July. while everyone else is out celebrating, my husband made the wise decision to work up on the fires in nor cal and make some big holiday pay money this weekend. although the kids and I are home alone we are enjoying our time snacking and staying cool inside (we may watch the movie you suggested!). we are like you, i’m a stay at home mom and we are building our second house-renting out the one we live in now and smart financial decisions are a must. I feel so proud of our sacrifice this holiday. instead of spending money with food and friends we are sacrificing for bigger and better dreams ahead! thank you for all the knowledge you have bestowed upon me, you have been an inspiration. take care!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bali is the quite the photographer! Those pics are beautiful! I’m glad you were able to pay down your mortgage and have some peace of mind.It will feel so good when it is all paid for!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely post. There is truth to having a stocked pantry that can easily feed your family healthy meals. Squeezed why our families cannot afford America by Alissa Quart was a good read as well. We enjoy our Friday night movie nights as well. Nightly, the family enjoys when I read different books.


  4. You all will have many celebrations in the future. It’s hard to make those choices. I’m trying to figure out where the heck the fire works are right now.


  5. Bali’s photographs are fabulous. They would look so good on canvas as artwork for your lovely home. Yay for a stocked pantry! That always helps my level of security.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post Kate as usual. I love to purge and give things away. I go threw my closet and dresser and give 2 bags full and it’s such a freeing feeling. Then next thing I know my closet and drawers are full again🤔 So I donate more. I just don’t seem to know how I get so much clothes?? Lol
    I’m pretty frugal. Always have been. I guess it’s because I grew up with nothing . So every thing I buy is used. Spend less save the difference. And I make things last.
    Take Care,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Kate, Bali’s photos are beautiful. I like your office with the bed in it. I does look cozy and inviting. AND so great that you reduced your mortgage down to 150,000!! I love all your changes and that you enjoy changing things up. I’m the same way. Happy 4th of July! Sis xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so happy for you that you were able to put a big chunk down on your mortgage. 150k is a manageable amount to pay off early. Put any refunds or windfalls, keep plugging away, little by little, and it will get paid off. You will feel great peace and financial security when it is paid off. I am thankful we paid our mortgage off early about 13 yrs ago. My husband is in his 50s and the oil and gas industry is terrible now. If he looses his job we will be more than fine since we own our home.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your bedroom seems more open and bright. Its fun to rearrange and tweek things. I love to move stuff around in the house. Its keeps things clean ( dust bunnies are exposed) and seems to freshen the energy. Thanks for your writing on your blog – you are a kindred spirit in this wild world! Donna

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Like you my first experience with ‘big’ money didn’t go off well. It was more than I could have made in a year and a half and was gone inside of nine months. Every damned penny. BUT….I learned. I paid all my bills on time and never went with one of them unpaid and made better choices in my future. When I had big windfalls that dwarfed my first ‘big money’ every penny went into paying down debt. Eventually we were down to just our house and my grandmother left me property. I paid off my mortgage. Our financial officer at the bank said to us very quietly “I’m supposed to tell you how much better it will be for you to put this into an investment account…….but I personally think you’re doing the absolute right thing!” So she cut a check to our mortgage company and we mailed it right there from the bank. BEST day of my life ever! I can’t tell you how it felt to know that my home was mine and no one could ever take it from me. Talk about freedom! We’ve never regretted it. Never.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You did really well selling the other house before the bubble bursts, and it was so smart to put the money into your mortgage. I’m glad that thing are going well and hope you are enjoying your mainly offline life.

    I watched Troop Zero last night based on your recommendation. Not gonna lie, it made me cry at the end. What a good movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We were landlords briefly until we could sell our former home and I rejoiced when it sold. It sounds like you have been wise with your recent investments. These hot and humid days are making me not want to cook and just hibernate.
    Valerie in SC

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the movie suggestion. I’ll add it to my watch list for our family movie night. Have you seen “Blue Miracle” on Netflix? Another good family movie night pick. I really enjoyed that one too.


  14. It never occurred to me that you could change that bed out. What did you replace it with? If the guest bed doesn’t get used much, then I’d get rid of it. A guest can always sleep on an air mattress.
    Pretty flower photos. It took about ten years or more for me to get the flower beds, etc.. that I wanted. It’s still a work in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lovely post and beautiful photos of the flowers. We have one of the metal shelf units like yours, and I didn’t know that the bottom shelf could be moved up until I saw it on She’s Drinking Coffee. I want to do that, too, because it will make better use of the space (there’s a limit on how many cans will stack on each other without falling over) and get the big plastic tubs put away. I don’t think I said all that very well, but I hope you understand what I meant. Homestead Tessie told me that you’re maintaining your blog and I’m so glad! I like the way you write.


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