New Year and Lifestyle Design

Being that its just after the first of the year. We always hear about resolutions and how different things are going to be in the new year. In one way or another. We will dive into that topic and cover some of my opinions and thoughts on that as well as share a recipe that Ashley tried in her new Instant Pot and hopefully get you motivated to push in a new direction or just give you a little nudge toward something you have always wanted to do.  

Homestead updates….

January in Illinois. Snow on the ground and the temps falling into the teens next week at some point. We did get about 7 inches of snow over the weekend. It’s always crazy the drifts that you can encounter when driving. Sometimes you may think “ I can make that” but then the next one may get you to turn around and head back. It’s almost a guessing game depending on how hard the wind is blowing. The next day is always fun too after the drifts settle in for the night and the plows are off the road.

I did get the snowblower out. That old thing keeps going. Nothing fancy but it clears a path.  My goal for next year is to have a snow blade of some sort either on my pick-up or on the garden tractor.

AND the struggles of getting the Christmas decorations down. Yeah I know it should already be done but the tree was so nice to have up. It is now taking over our living room with its shedding needles and droopiness. Need to get it outside as soon as today.


the workshop is slowly getting some work done to it. With Ashley working full time and me working two jobs and also being new parents it gets hard to find the time but, you have to work for what you want, hence today’s episode right?  I do have a few wood working projects in the schedule.

Food and Family

Ashley got a new Instant Pot for Christmas and she has been loving it!  It seems to take the time and cut it into a third on some recipes. I think this thing was done in under 45 mins from frozen chicken! The Chicken was frozen in our deep freeze, we had bought a couple whole chickens a few weeks back and learned how to butcher them. As a side note, we saved the bones to make broth with for a later time. We are going to to try and make some and can it in pint jars so she can use it in smaller amounts since it’s only the two of us.

 She made a Chicken Pot Pie recipe that she found online, and I have to tell you it was amazing!! She changed it up a little bit. Ill have a link in the show notes to the edited recipe that Ashley customized and also one to the original.

Emma came up on 5 months old on the 13th of January. She’s going so fast. It’s hard to believe that she’s out of her newborn clothes and moving up sizes so fast. It really seems like Ashley was just going to be pregnant forever, but now I can’t really remember what it was like before having her. It is an amazing thing to be a parent.  Thankfully she still likes her naps so it gives me time to get this podcast out to you. I’m sure soon enough you will hear her little voice on here. I can’t wait to be able to talk to her and see her have her own ideas. But for now, we will have to take everyday for as special as it is.

Main Topic:

New beginnings or starting over is never easy. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you have time on your hands to do something that it will come easy. I have been caught in this trap many times. And as new parents, we never have the time that we think we do.

Everything starts out with good intentions. That’s where all the best Ideas come from, right? Then need to change. invention truly is the child of necessity, not to sure where that quote came from but it’s as relevant as ever.

Happy new year! Maybe I should have started with that. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a great and safe new year’s eve! I spent new years eve ringing in the new year with my family in my recliner, studying the back side of my eyelids. I mean I was reading those puppies hard when Ashley woke me up to tell me she wasn’t about to miss her kiss at midnight. All in all, we had a great Christmas and Holiday season. Great food with family and friends. It was Emma’s first Year for the holidays so it was exciting, though next year she will be a little more aware of what this time of year means.

What does this time of year mean to you? Does it remind you that winter is about to set in and the cabin fever is about to take its toll on your vitamin D lacking brain? OR, do you get excited and start planning out what the new year will bring?

I’m kind on both sides of that fence. I think about all the plans I have to get things done and how things may just shape up for me in the new year, but I also think about all the plans I have that involve the outdoors like, getting to work on the chicken coop and getting the garden going, you know, the things that still have to wait until after old man winter has let up a little.

A lot of people set new years resolutions. I used to be one of those. I mean it honestly seems like a good time to get things in order and break bad habits, lose weight, pay off bills and do all the things you said you would do last year right? Well If that works for you,  great!! Let me start off by saying I am not poo-pooing anyone that wants to change, quite the opposite, I am here to support you 100 %. For me, it just never seems to work out that way. Most people set resolutions to just fail in the long run and get disappointed that it didn’t work out in one way or another and then they wait a whole year to try again.

This is where having a plan comes in. goal setting and even a small amount of research can make a big difference in the outcome of your “resolutions” or as I like to call them, goals, mainly because its easier to say.

If you are starting out new with something the obvious place to start is looking back at where you came from. Not for long. Just enough to learn what it is that you want to change.  Look at what you learned from that experience and make the next chapter in your story that much better. Honestly, being forced to start over or having to change something can be a great learning experience if you take what you learned and apply it moving forward.

 Did you lose a job and need to start over?  That can be a disaster! Believe me, I know how that works first hand. I was recently forced to change my path and it can be tough.

Or maybe you want to finally quit smoking or take that first steps to start eating better. You can do anything you want, but you need to start.  And starting is the hardest part. Martin Luther King once said “ Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

This is so true in all facets of our lives. Never had a garden before and want to grow your own food. Start small… plant a couple of tomato plants or something that you know you will eat or use and let it be. Then maybe next year you can move on to a bigger area or grow more food to can. You don’t have to do everything all at once, as a matter of fact, it’s probably not a good idea to jump into raising 30 chickens if you have never done it before. Get 5 or 6 and see if you like it. See if its something that speaks to you. If not then you can dispatch the chickens and butcher them and you will have some fresh meat for the fall and you never have to raise chickens again. But you tried.

This is where I believe, lifestyle design comes into play. At least for me. Knowing that I can try something with a plan that I spent a little time on and move toward a goal in small steps. 

I have a couple podcasts that I  listen too on a regular basis. The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko and also Living Free in Tennessee with Nicole Sauce. Both of these podcasters touch on lifestyle design. (I Have a link in the show notes to their websites I suggest you check them out).  Jack Spirko talks about being prepared for life, in general, it’s simply just being a responsible adult and to be responsible, a person has to have a plan of action.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to sit down and analyze everything you do or are going to do and get stuck in ( as Nicole Sauce puts it) Analysis paralysis. Because a plan without the action only gets you part of the way there right?  Just simply taking a small amount of time to plan out, or think about what you need to accomplish and then put that plan into action.

That being said, lifestyle design comes in all shapes and sizes just as people do. Which is a good thing. You need to find what works for you. I can tell you what works for me. Small bites. Seeing the larger picture or project and breaking it down into small bites. For example. The workshop I am working on. The pole building isn’t very comfortable in the winter, so it needs to be insulated, so I’m starting with one wall section at a time first filling any and all air gaps and holes with some expanding foam then framing up the wall (only in that section) to add insulation and plywood. What is the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So as I will still be working in my workshop doing car repairs and small woodworking projects that I have planned, a little at a time the building will become more and more inviting to work in and warmer in the winter with it eventually becoming climate controlled.

This is all leading to my master plan. One of the many things and probably the most important thing I have learned from listening to and reading about lifestyle design is. Deiced what your main scope or focus is and aim everything you do in that direction.

If you want to start eating healthier and preserving your own food. Do it. But start small. Take the first step even though it may be hard to see the end of the road now, every step you make is getting you closer to that goal. So sit down with your family and make that Excel sheet and start that budget, but make sure you get started.

Well, I hope some of this has spurred a little bit of action inside of you. Let me know what you thought of today’s episode or let me know if you’d like more on this topic. You can leave a comment over at or you can shoot me an E-mail at Either way, your feedback is greatly appreciated. Or, if you want to Just say Hi, we would love to hear from you! You can also Check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Until next time keep your head in the clouds and your hands in the dirt.


The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko

Living Free in Tennessee with Nicole Sauce

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