Inexpensive Internet Options Out in the Country

*Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you choose to get service through any company I mention. I am not guaranteeing that any of these will work where you live and options can change at any time with or without notice. You follow my suggestions at your own risk. Also, I am not being paid by any of these companies.*

If you live in the middle of nowhere you have likely run into issues with internet connectivity. For some, like my husband, this isn’t an issue. I’m not talking to you so you can go fry something on your wood stove.

If you enjoy connecting to others on Facebook or blogging then you’re going to want internet. We used to have satellite internet, but we were always going over our data allowance and they were charging us a fortune. I got fed up and got a bigger cell phone which gets decent service out here. That worked well until I wanted a tablet. So I got a hotspot from Straight Talk. It worked great, but I was paying $75 for 7GB of data! We’re on a fixed income so that had to stop.

We have cell phone service through Cricket Wireless and only had two lines out of four that we’re allowed. Two lines is only $80 on their Unlimited plan and hotspotting is $10 more for 10GB. I added a second line for $10 plus another $10 for an extra hotspot. So I pay $110 for three phones with unlimited data and 20GB I can use for my tablet and desktop computer. That’s more than enough to do what I need, but it also allows me to sync my cloud services and iTunes.

Cricket Wireless is AT&T based so make sure you have towers where you live prior to signing up. Their customer service is awesome so you can call and ask if that’s easier for you. Also, only certain phones are capable of hotspotting, so be sure to check their list first. I got an iPhone SE ($169) and a ZTE Overture 3 ($19.99), so it’s not just their expensive phones.

Check them out, they could be a viable option for you, too!

Why I became a Jamberry Consultant

I was introduced to Jamberry a couple of years ago by a Facebook friend. I was intimidated at first because I can’t even paint my fingernails without them looking like a hot mess. She insisted that it was easy so I gave it a chance and order the $60 starter set that came with the manicure set, heater, and four sets of nail wraps.

It takes longer to put on the nail wraps verses painting them, but they last two or three weeks. So to me they’re worth the extra time. At this time there are 481 different styles of nail wraps, including the minis for little ones.

I chose these because they remind me of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

They are a lot prettier in person, I promise.

Jamberry also has nail lacquer, manicure/pedicure sets, lip lacquer, hair cleanser, and more! Just check out my website at sunshinejams.jamberry.com to see everything we have to offer! If you have any questions you can ask me in comments, via email, or call me.

Thank you so much for checking out my blog!

Why We Moved From Virginia to Alabama

My husband and I moved from Virginia to Mississippi in April 2007, when I was about seven months pregnant. We were close to the state line so after our son was born we began looking for a home in Alabama because taxes are lower. We were able to buy half an acre of land, an older manufactured home, move said home, and set up utilities for under $15k.


We came here because I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I don’t trust many people with my children so the thought of strangers watching them made me sick. My husband made decent money in Northern Virginia, but in order to survive we were having to live with family. That puts a strain on any relationship.

We have stayed down here because there is little regulation on everything. At times that has caused trouble, but most of the time its great. My husband built our 12×12 tiny house without requiring permits, we moved both of our manufactured homes here without requiring permits, and we can add on to our homes at any time without permits.

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Another great thing is our taxes. We pay $12 per year for our home and land. That’s it. Guess what, we still have schools, roads, and everything. The local government wants you to spend money in town, so they let you keep more of it. Its a great system!

We also love how everyone helps everyone else. If you need something all you have to do is ask and be prepared to return the favor some day. It’s basically like credit, because if you don’t repay the favor they’re going to be busy next time.

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Also, there are mountains and beautiful, clean ocean. My husband and I were not beach people until we visited Orange Beach. It’s amazing! It’s also affordable and unlike some places you don’t have to stay at an ocean front hotel to gain beach access. The whole beach is public property. We still love visiting Huntsville to get our mountain fix because it’s still warmer there than Virginia most of the time. The German culture (food) is worth the visit alone.

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I could keep going, but I think you see where I’m going here. Is Alabama perfect? No. I really wish there wasn’t a monopoly on health insurance, but I’m not going to move over it. This is home and I’ll be here forever, God willing.

Android to iOS

On Monday I made the switch from my LG Stylo 3 to the iPhone SE. I wasn’t in love with some of my pictures, service was horrible, and I couldn’t hotspot it. Hotspotting was my biggest complaint. It actually made me mad enough that I considered switching from Cricket, but I would be going to Straight Talk who doesn’t offer hotspotting at all.


Anyway, limited internet/cellular options in the country will be it’s own post. It could almost be it’s own blog. Lol

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So, why is iOS better than Android? Well, for one thing, I bought my LG Stylo 3 in December 2017 and it became obsolete on March 30, 2018 when Oreo was released. Why can’t a six month old $150 phone be upgraded? So I paid $159 for an iPhone SE that was released in 2016 and immediately upgraded it to iOS 11.3.

The next reason I like it better is the quality of the apps. I use the Ancestry app daily and I really liked it on my 5.5″ screen. I love it on my 4″ screen because it works more like the website, but it’s optimized for my phone.

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    My third reason is the camera. My LG had a 13MP camera and my iPhone has a 12MP camera, but the iPhone’s camera uses better quality pixels. There are articles that go in depth on why if you want to do more reading. You can see the difference in these two pictures of my youngest son. The outdoor picture is with my iPhone.

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    My only complaint is the size is a little difficult to get used to, but everything else more than makes up for it. I bought a wallet case to add bulk and that’s helped some. I do love that I can put it in my bra and you can’t tell it’s there. Lol I couldn’t do that with my old phone.

     

How to make money homesteading

These are not get rich quick schemes, but genuine work from home jobs. You will likely have to put in 40+ hours a week to see an income. That’s still no guarantee, these are simply ideas that I have seen work for others.

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  1. Blogging. Yes, some people earn a living doing what I’m doing. It takes a lot of time and commitment. In order to earn money blogging you must have affiliates or a product that you’re selling. Ebooks do well.
  2. Crafts. Can you sew, knit, crochet, or something else? Then you can probably make things and either sell them online or at fairs and festivals. You probably won’t become a millionaire, but one weekend a month just might pay the light bill.
  3. Handyman or cleaning service. Are you good with your hands? Try starting a handyman service. Like cleaning? A lot of people are too busy to make repairs, do yard work, etc. Or they can’t or simply don’t want to do it. I hate cleaning and would gladly pay someone else if I was able. Lol
  4. Selling wares from your homestead. Check your local laws on this one. You may be able to sell eggs, cheese, produce, and soap that you have made on your homestead. A lot of people where I live love to support local farmers!
  5. Direct sales. Do your research and find one that hasn’t been done to death. There are unique ones out there and if you market it right you can earn an income. I have a friend on Facebook who not only is able to stay home, BUT her husband is able to stay home, too.
  6. Freelance. There are tons of ideas on Fiverr. You can check it out at the link below. If you make a purchase I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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This is a short list compared to what’s out there. There are websites and ebooks out there that only deal with this subject. Who knows, maybe you will be able to quit your day job and work from your homestead.

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Let me know what you do from home! I love hearing new and creative ideas!

Why every homestead needs a good dog

So maybe you don’t have to have a dog on your homestead, but they can certainly be an asset. I personally have six dogs and five puppies (three are going to be looking for homes soon). They are a variety of breeds and sizes and each of them has a job.

Buddy, our English Lab, is our greeter and he’s in charge of letting us know if visitors are trustworthy. Every person he has ever disapproved of, and animal for that matter, has caused a significant amount of trouble. He also is amazing at guarding our children outside and making sure they stay out of the woods, keeps strangers away from them (so far he’s been really nice, but firm), and ensuring that we know where they are if he thinks we’re not paying attention with a friendly bark.

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Lucy is our Bugg (Boston Terrier x Pug). Her job on the homestead is to provide amusement playing with our other dogs, the cats, and our three kids. She also works well at keeping us warm by burrowing her hot butt under the blankets in the winter.

Polar Bear “PB” is my companion. He warms my heart with his toothy grin, guards me 24/7, and hoards my stuff in his bed. He absolutely adores Lucy and goes where she goes and does whatever she does. He’s our only special needs dog. The poor guy is inbred so his legs are backwards, his back is hunched, and his bottom teeth face outwards instead of up. I still think he’s the cutest dog ever and I’m thankful for every minute I get with him.

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Zoe is a mutt, I don’t remember what she’s mixed with. She is our watchdog. She can hear a squirrel bark at the back of our neighbor’s property and will alert us until someone verifies that they see it. That’s usually Lucy. Then all of our dogs turn into watchdogs.

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Dory is our Australian Shepherd. She watches over the other dogs, I plan to train her to guard the chickens, and she’s currently tending the puppies she had with Buddy. She’s incredibly smart and will do anything we ask once she understands what we’re asking.

The last dog I’ll mention isn’t really ours. She’s like a step-dog. She belongs to our neighbor, but she visits daily for pettings, treats, and to play with her kids. Her name is Pepper and she’s a Pit Bull. I adore this dog! She helps me dig my garden, has chased unwanted people up trees, and cleans up any food our kids have left in our van. She is overly affectionate to people who are allowed at our home, so technically she’s a greeter as well.

Whether it be companionship, a watchdog, or a darn good judge of character, a dog is a great critter to have around. Evety one has their own personality and capabilities, but most truly love their people and want to see them happy.

What is homesteading?

You may be wondering what exactly is homesteading. Well, homesteading is a broad term and is defined differently by different people. So I will give you my family’s definition since I’m writing this blog.

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Homesteading means that we do things old school as much as possible. My husband hunts and fishes when he’s able to provide us with food. I enjoy knitting and sewing which allows me to decorate our home nicely without costing us a fortune.

My husband would love to be offgrid, but that’s not feasible for us at this time.

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I do want to start cloth diapering again and eventually raise chickens for eggs. My family of five goes through five dozen eggs in about two weeks! I don’t bake so that’s fried, scrambled, and omelettes! My youngest is one and eats two eggs by himself multiple times a day! Okay, you get my point. We need chickens. Lol

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So in summary, homesteading is living self-sustainably and making due with what you’ve got. It can be a lot of work, but it can be a lot of fun, too.