Earth Day on the Homestead

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I love earth day. I love it. I love green plants, flowers and trees and trying to protect it all. I love honey bees and very sad about us loosing a lot of them due to the modern world we live in. I love homesteading and am very sad with the way life has become that we have to fight so hard to be self-sufficient, not just with earth but with bureaucratic as well. I love reusing what we have and being careful not to be wasteful. I love seeing how resourceful we can be. I love the idea of recycling and reusing as much as possible in order to tame down the landfill. I love the idea of going back to “simple” times.

I always remember Almanzo’s mother using every single scrap so that there was no waste (apple cores, peelings the whole apple had a purpose!). I remember books where they would use soup bones to make delicious broth for a cold winter’s eve. I remember flour sacks being reused to make little girl dresses. Scraps turned into gorgeous quilts.
This is how I view Earth Day. It’s not about buying the eco-friendly products but having less waste.

I’ve always been inspired by the Willow Series. Her entire lifestyle is all about the past time. Everything was centered around being self-reliant. These two women lived decades before being immersed into our culture and they could see our wasteful society. (Granted, the book is not all about that but since it is relevant and since it works with this post, I’m using it.) Our planet would change so very much if people concentrated not so much on being “eco-friendly” and carbon footprint but more focused on being less wasteful. Just talk to the grandparents of this generation. Just look around next time you are in public at the over flowing trash cans.

Simple ideas for being earth minded;
– Compost. Kitchen scraps can easily be used for putting nutrients back into our earth. If you do not want a decomposing pile of kitchen scraps growing in your back yard, dig a whole, once a week pour your scraps in and fill it in. I must tell you though, it makes the richest soil. our best harden beds have come from our compost pile.
Keep a simple bucket on the counter to collect the kitchen scraps. You can cut a lemon and place it at the bottom to keep the smell down should it get there. I haven’t really found us keeping it inside longer than a day to really need it. I have used a Mountain High Yogurt container for mine.

-Keep three trash cans. Don’t cringe! I actually have 4 containers. I have one for recycles that I can get return cash on. I have a recycle bag for plastic, tin, etc. I have a trash can (diapers, yes, I am wasteful in that dept.) and I have a burn trash where I place anything that can be burned, tissues, paper, junk mail, paper towel spills, anything that won’t melt when its being burned. We do not have a trash service. Once a month we go to teh dump with our trash, we go to th recycling center and we have a metal trash can that we burn the rest of the trash in. You can use the ashes on your composting.

– Shop thrift stores first. Not only is this helpful on the wallet, but it is better. So many clothes are taken to the dump. I know, my neighbor use to work out there and he would tell of the truck loads thrift stores would bring full of clothes and other stuff. It’s sickening.

– Pick up trash. Do you walk? DO you take your kids to the park? Pick up the trash. For us it only takes 5-10 minutes. We all wipes our hands afterwards and a little germX. It’s not the most pleasant thing but it looks so much better afterwards.

– Think before you act. Is it useful? Will it help in your life? Will you throw it away soon? Do you need it? There is obvious so many factors. We all know how much I love my planner and it seems hypocritical to be writing the post when I use a lot of paper and stickers but yes, in the long run this is useful to me. I use it and I am not forgetful because of the accessories I use. However, I do think before making a sticker purchase.

-Reusable bags! Keep a container in the car with them. Get into the habit of placing your purse with it so that you will not forget to use it. Such a simple thing. It won’t be 100% at first but over time it definitely gets better.

-Set the example. Our children are watching. Children are the most nature people I know. They collect rocks in their pockets. Tree Bark as food in the play house. Leaves for salad. Mud pies. Let them be children just teach them to keep order when they are done.

What are some ways you celebrate Earth Day?

Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: Introduction

Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: When You Need Encouragement

The alarm buzzes. I wake with a start and jump over the sleeping child to the alarm. I’ll hit the snooze just once. 9 more minutes of sleep would be wonderful right now.

Find this and more in our collaboration of Encouraging posts for Stay At Home Mom’s over at “The Stay-At-Home-Mom’s Survival Guide”.

Many bloggers have come together to share posts so that you have a complete resource at your finger tips.

Planting Cantaloupe on the Sodbuster’s Homestead

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I’ve been wanting to plant cantaloupe in my lil garden bed. I love cantaloupe but I keep forgetting to buy seeds. Yesterday when we cut up one of these delicious melons I decided to “save” the seeds and plant them right now. Of course my kids looked at me like I grew a third head. “You can plant seeds like that?” Of course children! Where do you think they come from? Their lil eyes looked into the small shoe box that I keep all my seeds in. So, naturally, I used this time to teach them where seed origins really are from. Not a little paper package from the store, but in the food we eat.
It was funny to me how something I considered to be known as second nature, in their little minds they hadn’t quite made the connection yet. Have you ever had something similar happen at your home?
Actually, what is really interesting is that I felt a little bit like Willow’s mom here using life to teach!

If you would like to know more about Willow’s life and amazing journey, author Chautona Havig is having a summer read program for free! So be sure to hop on over to the link and pin it for further updates!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/55239532905730117/

It isn’t always what it seems

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Grief, or coping, or what other word they can come up with for the whole healing process when you have dealt with some kind of loss, varies from person to person.

One way I handled it was by getting very busy.  Well, let’s face it, I’m busy as it is but I’ll find a lot of the “to do” lists that I have long written and start focusing on them.  I’ll try to regain some sense of control in my out of control situation by focusing on what I can control.  I’ve even been known to go into declutter frenzy mode and just get rid of and get rid of more and more.

There is an article about not believing everything you see posted on Facebook. (I spent the last half hour trying to find the article but not having any success but when I do I will update.) I would say that the woman was spot-on.  We share our daily life, our children’s hearts and smiles, we share the accomplishments of our day but we will neglect to share our shattered hearts that we have begun to piece back together.  People assume you are doing well.  They will believe that you have moved on or manage to be one of those that just lets everything roll of your own shoulders.  Why shouldn’t they assume that? We have given that impression so we feel safe. They can’t win either it seems like. They will possibly push wanting to know “if we really are ok” and for some they may be but for other hurting people they will ask and accept the any answer given so that they will not nag.

Probably one of the most innocent responses that cut me to the core when dealing with my own piecing back together again after my son Stephen suffered major 3rd degree electrical burns was “You guys just don’t let anything phase you do you?”

Oh, how very very very wrong she was.  It comes back to me every time similar responses are made on my Facebook photos after trying to cope with a very trying day, or dealing with the pain of loosing a brother-in-love to cancer, the loss of my two babies, and other events in life.  No one is left unscarred by tragic events. We may not need a constant daily reminder of what we have lost, but we don’t need to be forgotten either.

The power of “I’m thinking of you today” leaves so much said in so few words. We will open up when we’re ready… like a rose waiting to bloom.

For those of you trying to piece life back together. Don’t be afraid to take that first step towards seeking others. Have you ever seen a really packed bottle of soda? It’s packed and in extreme temperatures (heat or ice) it expands and explodes.  We need to make sure to take our cap off so we don’t do that.  If we pour more and more into ourselves and not out pour we will not be able to heal.  It may not be today that you can take that first step. It may not even be next week or next month but it is like walking on glass, you take your first cautious step to an area where you feel safe and once it has been tested then you begin to walk around the glass gathering it all up carefully so you can piece it back together again.   It does you more harm to keep it all to yourself.  If you are like me, you don’t want to be considered someone who is always negative in life but life isn’t always roses either.  It truly is ok not to be ok. And it is ok to reach out for a trusted someone to talk too.

Now, to take my own piece of advice…

The Heart of a Sodbuster

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This was suppose to be posted yesterday, Wednesday April 8, but unfortunately my allergies left me in bed most of my “free” time.

Sodbuster Confession
1. I love being a sodbuster. I do! I garden. I toil. I plant. I uproot what has been planted. I love gardening my small homestead.
Confession

#2- As much as I love gardening I tend to execute more than build up… literally. I kill my plants. My dear heart has banned me from the main garden bed. (Do you know how hard that was to admit?)

#3- While I have been banned from the main garden beds, my own little bed has been nurtured and is thriving in my hands! I have pepper plants that I planted from seed coming up folks!!!!!!!!!! I am hoping that with my TLC I’ll be harvesting peppers this summer.

4. While contemplating all of this, I realized how very much this is like raising our children. They start from seed, we are overjoyed at seeing them come through the soil. Soil conditioning needs to be met first before we see the seed bloom, it needs water, some kind of shelter, and healthy soil. As the seed comes through we make sure that it is carefully watered. Not too much so it doesn’t drown. Not too little so it can’t grow but just enough for its current conditions. As it continues to grow we can’t just leave it alone with a little water here and there but we have to keep it healthy and in good conditions. We pull any weeds that would choke it.

I am learning more about companion gardening, certain plants love and thrive with different plants and herbs.Isn’t that interesting? The best gardening conditions aren’t necessarily when all like plants are growing together but that there is a little variety planted with it for optimal growth. And not only that, we are learning more and more how wonderful it is to rotate crops. If you plant the same thing in the same bed year after year, it depletes certain nutrients in the soil. It needs a good rotation and different crops that will build up the soil again.

We love to mulch our plants, it helps keep moisture in for the hot summer days when they get so thirsty that they will dry up and wilt away. But if you mulch it too much or too close then the water can’t even get to the plants to quench their thirst.

Do you see where all of this is going? Can you find the connection between what we do in our gardens and what we do in our children’s lives? When I deliberately thought on it, I felt convicted over the fact that I will tend more carefully to my garden then I do to the care of my children. Nurturing, caring, rearing, and raising up children is more than just seeing to physical needs like food, clothes and shelter. We instinctively know this. We know we need to be more investing in their lives. That seems to be the number one thing you hear parents talk about.

I can’t help but think that if I took the gardening books I read with all their sound wisdom and instruction and start implementing it diligently, down to the very last water measurement into my own garden, my garden will not survive. Do you know why? Our current conditions are so vastly different. I am in the middle of the Mojave Desert! Not in the New England area. But, if I tune into my conditions and surroundings and get a feel for what my own particular plants need by observing closely and watching diligently, then I am going to have a bountiful garden. Same with my children, I can take a principle and begin to apply it but I need to keep a close eye on WHO my children are. They are not this author’s children. They are mine. They have my genetics in them. They think in their own way. They act in their own way. They are triggered differently. As a whole, we all have weaknesses and similar issues we work through, as individuals, we are all different. I can read until doomsday all the parenting books I want too and try hardest to mold everyone into all these different ideals that I read about.

I can see my daughter lash out at her brother in frustration over not getting her way and I can pounce on it with firmness to my mouth, narrowing of my eyes and correction spilling from my tongue. Or, I can see my daughter, who watches closely at what *I* do and see where I need to work on as well and turn to her and say “How would you have liked me to handle this you were your brother?” I can see her for the woman she could become and encourage and help her in that way by whatever tools I have and watch her blossom and grow. Or I can keep watering and just making sure the plant is alive but not necessarily flourishing.

What gardener will just settle, when with a little extra work and care, could have so much more?

Guest Post with Raising Self-Reliant Youth

Jessica over at Conveying Awareness is doing a Raising Self-Reliant Youth series and I was asked to be a part of it!

Besides, what we do today, will have lasting effects into the future. Our children will always be our children but they will not always be young (or little). The shocker: They will grow up and move on / out but if you ask my six year old, he will live with me and his dad forever. And, how I know this reply could change when he’s a teenager so I will remember these moments and cherish them. What we say and do today will echo for a long time. Let’s work together in raising self reliant youth.

Want to read more? Click Here to see the full content of the blog post and read mine as well as other contributions to this post! Share, Like, and Comment! We love to hear from readers! :D

He gathers our tears in a bottle

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  Grief never ends… but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.
~Author Unknown

This is not an easy post to write.  I am more of a quiet person when it comes to feelings. It is hard for me to share what I am truly thinking or feeling and so I keep it all bottled up inside. But, when others are hurting I tend to try and reach out and be of some use and help.  It’s how I show I love and care.

Back in July and August I experienced something outside my little safety bubble I had created. I had back to back miscarriages.  I could deal with one well enough but two was just very very hard emotionally.  As you may have guessed, when I was going through it all it was more hush hush, keep it inside and not let anyone know I was actually heart broken by this.  I had tried hard not to get pregnant in the first place and then to be pregnant and going through the loss was difficult. I felt guilty, I was frustrated, I mean if I was going to get pregnant why rip it from me and make this harder? My emotions were all over the place.  I felt like even though I had put so much work into becoming more healthy and more in shape physically, my body was rebelling.  And then, when I found comfort in my dear one I had to go through it all over again.

It was my second miscarriage that I had to really work through spiritually, emotionally and physically. I truly didn’t know what to do or say anymore.  I began to question my purpose.  Was this to strengthen me spiritually? Did it really take 2 deaths in my womb to teach me that? I flipped-flopped between being upset at myself for not even wanting to be pregnant in the first place to being upset that I would never get to see my baby’s face to flipping once again knowing that all things work together for the good of those who serve Him to wondering my God, why have you forsaken me?

They say, “Time heals all wounds.” This was certainly the case for me, life moved on, I still had four precious children that needed my love, affection, and attention that I could pour myself out into.  I had a husband that was going through a rough time and my attention was on that.   I know some are thinking “What about you? When did you get some time? How did you take care of yourself?”  I did what I do best, focus on something else. I spent many evenings taking a hot shower and crying.  I wrote ramblings in my journal that will only ever make sense to me and I prayed.  I did talk to someone. I talked to the Giver of life.  I talked to the One that could heal me.  I probably had more Starbucks coffee than was good for my budget.  I had a prayer group of ladies praying for me.

I had never known how to reach out to someone experiencing a loss. Even experiencing it myself, I still don’t know how.  Every one is different.  When I wanted a hug one day, I would have cringed the next- wanting to move on with my life.  A card in the mail would have brought thankful tears to my eyes one day and sorrow the next.  The best thing was knowing that I was being lifted in prayer. No one had to find the right words and you knew that. I have healed.  It’s been almost a year… I would have been giving birth sometime this month to the first baby. Maybe that is why it is on my heart.

One thing I did for healing was to buy 2 pansy plants. I planted them in pots.  Pansies are for remembrance.  When the summer time comes, they will die but for the months I have had them, I have been given a reminder that one day we will be reunited once more.

For Mamas that are still healing and still trying to find peace, I am praying for each one of you.  I am praying that the Lord, who is the Prince of Peace, will fill your heart with joy once more. I am praying that you are not alone during this time and that you will have someone to turned too.

The grass withers, the flower fades away, but the Word of the Lord shall stand forever.  Isaiah 40:8

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

The “No Spend Month” Challenge and what my Grandma had to do with it

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I know this is not a new thing.  In fact, I have seen it around several times and have always timidly stepped my foot in to test the water, then I fail and run back far away from the water’s edge so as not to set myself up as a failure.  I hate failure.  I shouldn’t. I will always fail at something but doesn’t mean I have to like it!

What am I talking about here? The “No Spend Month” challenge.  This month happens to be April so I am participating in the “No Spend in April”.  Now, before you scratch your head and try to understand this, lemme explain what it is.

It’s not mean that you won’t be spending money at all in April.  You still need to pay your bills, eat, and and have transportation. What this does mean is that you don’t purchase things you don’t NEED.  Starbucks is not a need (as much as I would like to say it is…) Organizing items are not a need (my sanity might disagree! UGH! SEE I can find an excuse for everything!) I do not need anymore clothes.

Erin Condren Life Planner View.

Keeping a monthly accountability using my Erin Condren Life Planner and stickers to mark good days and days I miss. Notice I only have 5…

 

People that know me will tell you I am a frugal person.  That doesn’t mean I am stingy and never buy anything, don’t get me wrong.  But I work hard to be very careful with my money.  But the old saying “easy come easy go” is so true.  In fact, I think its harder for our culture to really grasp that.  We live in such a throw-away society.  Nothing is made to last anymore. For me, this becomes a mindset in how I spend.

I think often of my visit with my Grandma last summer.  She is such an inspiration and I rarely use that term.  But for the four days I spent with her and my grandpa, one conversation stuck close to home for me.  She lives in a small home, minimalist but still a gorgeous home! She has no car. She lives in a small town in the state of Missouri. She keeps a garden. She is still wearing polyester pants that make me cringe (I can’t stand polyester) and she’ll spend her “free” time knitting blankets for the senior center. If I am half the woman she is one day, I’ll feel so lucky.  But our conversation was centered around today’s economic world.  Grandma summed everything up in a single sentence.  “I have no needs.”

Now, this may seem simple. Maybe too simple.  But stop and think a minute.  Are you content with where you are right now? I complain (wish I could think of a nicer word for that) all the time about our home and its clutter.  All 770 sq feet of it.  Anything I bring in the house will have to have a home.  Is that something I really want to contribute too? I have a home full of books, do I really need this author’s newest book? I have pieces of jewelry never worn, do I really need another one that may look the best with that shirt? I have lots of stickers and pens already, do I really need something else when I could use what I have in my planner already? I LOVE fresh cut flowers! LOVE em. They make me smile and just make me want to freshen up the rest of the house! I didn’t buy any yesterday… In the summer months, our sunflowers will be up and blooming but in the meantime, I’ve been looking for alternative ways.

Most of our Words for this year is “Intentional” I’ve heard that one used SO much.  So let’s be intentional about being good stewards with the money we have worked hard to earn.

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend~ Book Review (and giveaway)

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From the book description:

From the author of The Kid Who Changed the World, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who often feel left out or are in need of a good friend.

At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don’t fit in or are left out—just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.

Kids will want to read this whimsical and imaginative story again and again!

I was trying to branch out of my book selection this month and requested this child’s book and was really excited to be able to share these with my children for our story hour. I am hesitant to even write this review but I know I would want to be able to trust reviews I read so here goes;
I was actually very unimpressed with this book. I honestly did not expect to find another Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or even something like, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt“. Truly, I was not looking for something to replace those because they are classics. But, I did want to be able to feel comfortable keeping this on my shelf to be able to read to the children and I feel that way at all. I felt like this was a silly book and not even a Dr. Suess style (and he writes pretty silly stuff) but just something that had nothing to grow on. It was just there. I couldn’t figure out the purpose of this book other than the boy is all alone and found another one all alone too and now they can enjoy lonesomeness together.

What I DID like about the book, were the illustrations. It had beautiful colors and Henry is pretty cute! But I didn’t find that to be enough to keep on the shelf.

Because I know I am more conservative in my selection, I offered to have some of my friends read the book and tell me what they think. I tried to be careful to word it so they didn’t know my feelings on it. I didn’t get any takers but someone else saw the book on my table, a teacher actually, and she glanced over it, read it quickly, and I asked what she thought of it. She shrugged and said she wasn’t that impressed with it. It kinda made me glad to feel like I wasn’t just trying to judge something harshly.

Despite my thoughts on this, Amazon reports to have 13, 5 Star reviews.

I would like to host the giveaway for this book.  See what you think.  If you are interested in Henry Hodges Needs a Friend, please comment below and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you! :)  I will pick 1 winner on Monday via random.org for this book and you can have a chance to read and see what you think.  For an extra entry, share this post and reply that you have done so.

 

I give this book 2.5 stars. Recommended for ages 4-8 All opinions are my own. I am not being paid to review these other than receiving my own copy to read and review. Thank you BookLookBloggers.com for feeding my love for books.

Opinion Outpost Survey Review

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I am a stay-at-home-mommy. Shocker I know. ;) But for us it also means one income but that has never stopped me from looking for outside the home opportunities for side income.

Disclaimer, I NEVER EVER rely on what I earn. It’s like a farmer’s harvest; you plant the seeds and you do the work and you expect an outcome but there could be a famine, there could be pest, the crop could fail. Same in the area of finding side jobs and not relying on that as your main source of income. So while I expect to be able to help my family out, I don’t rely on it at all. If I make $2 that month or $2,000 (uhhh yeah right!) either way, I count my blessings and figure out how to budget that, treat myself to a Starbucks if the funds are there and praise God.

There are many opportunities now for sahm to make a little extra income; babysitting, selling second hand items, house cleaning, online jobs, etc. I happen to be a firm believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket. Each season has its own rewards. Don’t plant corn in December and expect high yield. ;)

One of the many things I do is online surveys. You’ve heard a lot about them I am sure and I have done a few but there has only been one company that I have consistently been with for about seven years and that is Opinion Outpost (affiliate link)
They have the “easiest” way to do surveys, I qualify for more of them than any other and remember we’re pretty minimalist here so I don’t have a lot of electronic gadgets or go to movie theatres often or buy a lot of new things so the fact that I qualify for some of these is pretty great and if you do have more in that field than you qualify for more.

They have a minimum of $10 payout. The survey’s range from .50 a survey to $2 a survey. For every survey you don’t qualify for, you do have the option of trying to play the lottery for trying. I have won that once or twice.

I have tried Toluna, Pinecone Research and Inbox Dollars. I have read successful reviews but that has not been my personal experience.

So, this is my personal experience that I am sharing out there for other women/men looking around for extra ways to earn income and need an honest review on all the different income earning opportunities.

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