Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

MOVED! Part Two

It only took me a week, but I finally learned how to install a subscribe box over at In the process, I’ve learned more than I thought existed about child themes, search engine optimization, and plugins.

I’ve only just begun to realize how much more I have to learn!

As I continue to learn more about blogging and get ready to unveil one of the three big projects I’ve been working on, I haven’t been posting too regularly. I’ve decided to post on Tuesday and Thursday at for the next few weeks so that there’s a predictable posting schedule. And I can always post more if I’m so inclined!

I hope to see you over at soon!


Choose Your Joneses Carefully

Second Hand Clothes

Second Hand Clothes: Our preferred method for dressing our children.

I read somewhere yesterday that you should choose your Joneses carefully and it resonated with me. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the line anywhere. I thought it was in A Good Enough House for a Great Life at Frugal Babe, but it might have been in this article by Joshua Becker over at Becoming Minimalist.

Regardless, it has stuck with me. I like the idea that, instead of looking around and blindly coveting the more stylish clothes, fancy electronic devices, and nicer car of a coworker, parent, or even friend, you can choose whose life you’d like yours to emulate. I thought about this for a while last night and realized that my Joneses are bits of my real-life friends, and large chunks of my online friends.

For several years I’ve wanted the one-car lifestyle of several of my friends (all it takes is an opportunistic car thief and a dropped set of keys!).

I’ve wanted the discipline of one of my friends who exercises consistently, and probably isn’t even letting her first trimester pregnancy get in the way of her workout schedule.

I’ve wanted that same friend’s wide open indoor spaces and clear counters–as far as I can tell, she’s a minimalist without even really trying.

I’ve wanted another friend’s commitment to healthy eating.

I’ve also wanted the fancy, internet-enabled electronics, but I could temper that by reminding myself that I didn’t want the bill, and nor did I want to become one of those parents who is glued to their phone.

Online, Frugal Babe is one of my favorite Joneses. She tries to make all of her family’s food from scratch, eats 95% vegan, buys everything used whenever possible, and works to repurpose what she has rather than buying something new. I love how she counters the Never Stop Improving mentality of a new generation of homeowners. I can’t wait to stop improving!

Some others in the online realm are J.Money at Budgets Are Sexy (I want his career!), Mr. Money Mustache, whose Muscle Over Motor principle Jason and I embrace heartily AND whose early retirement we both are jealous of, and Rachel at Minimalist Mom, whose minimalist lifestyle I’d enjoy.


Those are my Joneses. Who are yours?

The Value of Co-Ops

at the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library

J playing at the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library

I belong to two co-operative organizations. One is a grocery store and credit union, and the other is a toy lending library and play space. My sister-in-law once belonged to a preschool co-op, and my favorite Mexican restaurant ever, Casa Nueva in Athens, Ohio, is a worker’s co-op. Per Wikipedia, a co-operative is “an association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit.”

The grocery co-op I belong to is a consumer’s co-op, giving customers better buying power for healthier foods. I can find so many of the healthy foods we’ve become accustomed to there, as well as supporting local farmers and businesses since they try to source as much local food as possible. Not to mention their bulk section helps us use less packaging! They also offer financial services through their credit union co-op, but I’ve not tried it out.

The toy library co-op is actually pretty unique in this country; for children birth through kindergarten it offers a great play space and a library of over 300 toys that parents can check out. It happens to be an all-volunteer co-op, meaning that it is entirely staffed and run by volunteers like me (full disclosure: I’m on the board of directors).

Both of these co-ops have membership costs. The grocery co-op is $100 for a lifetime membership, and I pay $35 yearly for the toy co-op, which is a discounted rate in exchange for volunteering two times each month.

Both of these co-ops offer a tangible benefit–lower prices on local, healthy groceries and toy lending and play privileges.

But their biggest benefit is probably the community  they create and sustain. They offer their members the opportunity to get as involved as they like in the organization, ranging from using only the tangible benefits up to serving on a board of directors. It’s an opportunity to influence local policy, widen your circle of friends and network, beef up a resume, learn new skills, or gain experience owning a business, all while doing something that benefits the other members, too.

Whenever I can, I always try to support a co-op. The “owners,” whoever they are, are generally always working toward offering something better or different for the community.


What’s your experience with co-ops?