Monday, December 29, 2014

One Small thing- Ditch the Disposables

I challenge you to make a commitment this year to not purchase as many disposable products.

For one it really helps with your grocery budget. If on one shopping trip you didn't purchase the following items, how much would you save?
- pack of plastic cups
-plastic spoons and forks for lunches and such
- paper towels
-paper napkins
- paper plates
- facial tissues
-aluminum foil
-plastic wrap
-zip lock bags
-brown lunch bags
-water bottles
-Lysol type cleaning clothes or windex wipes
Other items some may buy :
-Feminine hygiene products

Just those few items and you probably are spending what $30 a week( more with the diapers)? That's $120 a month. $1440 a year!!!!And depending on what other items you purchase it could be much more for things you are just going to throw away.

Then think of the trash.... not only will you throw away each plastic spoon, but normally they come in a box with plastic wrap, more trash... You will really start to see a difference in your trash if you opt to use reusable products.

For plastic spoons for school and work lunches and picnics I simply send metal ones. My kids have yet to lose one. They also each have a reusable lunch bag they take daily, so that cuts down on the old school brown paper bags. My husband and I each have a lunch bag we take daily as well. We also have several water bottles that we refill and keep in the fridge so no more throwing away water bottles!
Here is a nice lunch set from please note I don't sale Tupperware, and if you know someone that does I'm sure they would appreciate your business. This also eliminates needs for ziplock type baggies daily.
For facial tissues we simply use hankies. Yes I know, so uncivilized. But I find them softer, and then I won't have the trash of used Kleenex and the boxes they come in. I simply wrote our initial on the bottom corner of the hankie so we would know whose was whose after the wash.
For ziplock baggies, plastic wrap and foil, just use reusable glass or plastic Tupperware like containers. My kids have little reusable snack bags as well, they use to take snacks in while hiking or to school.
For those of you that have children or may be thinking about more children, cloth diapering and wipes may be a good option for you. They have adorable prints and styles now and make it easy for moms. My youngest is finally out of diapers now, so I gifted all I had left to a friend that was very grateful.
For those of you that have a menstrual cycle you may want to look into these reusable pads. The picture is just a random one I found on etsy similar to the ones I have. With a house of three girls I'm sure these will come in handy. I would think if you have multiple daughters you would just have each one their own pattern or something if they were concerned about wearing someone else's. You wash them and wear them over and over. I've had a set of about 6 I've used for over 18 months now. That's a big saving monetarily and our bathroom trash is way down. It's not for everyone, but I would encourage you to try it. They have patterns to make your own, you can search for them on etsy, or other sites sell them.
For paper towels we just use kitchen towels or rags, and of course use them to clean my counters and windows replacing the need for Lysol and windex type wipes.
We use cloth napkins for paper napkins and I have several sets. I send them in our lunches, and use them at home for each meal as well as for picnicking and camping. I do have a nicer set that matches I use for company.
I realize many of you probably do this and more! What other ways are you finding to cut down your disposable costs and well as your trash?
Happy Homesteading!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Prepping for your 2015 Garden Part 2- What to plant

You can read my Part 1 about doing a good inventory of your pantry here.


Step 2- What to plant

Now that you know what your family likes and doesn't like you can figure out what to plant.

Think about this past year.
What did your family adore fresh that you just did not have enough of?
Were there items that just seemed to be too much work and your family isn't super fond of them?
Do you want to ramp up your production this year?
Scale it down?
Are there things you have been wanting to try?

It's important to realize that just because something grows well in your area, and may even be easy, if your family won't eat it, then don't waste your energy with you. Take an inventory of the time you spent tending, harvesting, and putting up your produce last year and decide if you can/want to devote more or less time this year?

For me, I have a new job at a university where I'm out for the summer beginning April 28th and won't be back until August 18th, so I have much more time I can devote to our home and garden than I did previously so that will make a difference in how much we plant this year. The possibilities are certainly exciting to me!

So as you start getting your seed catalogs in the mail, start making wishlists, start sketching out your land and what will be planted where. It's so much easier when you have a plan and a direction.

Until next time-
Happy Homesteading

Friday, December 26, 2014

Prepping for your Spring 2015 garden.... already???? Step 1

So it's winter and I'm already prepping for Spring? That's right. Here a few little helpful hints for getting ready for the season ahead of you.

 Step 1- See what you've got in your pantry

1. Take inventory or your pantry and freezer
Today I went through and counted all the items in my freezer and pantry to see what all I had used up this last year, what I had preserved way too much of and also tossed out a few things that were questionable. Items that we have run out of already or things that are getting close to being out, I'll need to try to put up more of next year. Those things that we are either already out of or getting close to being out of include:
-pasta sauce ( I had canned probably 20 pints of this, down to a few)
- pickled okra ( my kids tastes are changes and the little one especially has decided he likes pickled okra, so we are completely out)
-bread and butter pickles ( down to one jar and what's left in the fridge)
-frozen blueberries  ( I only had 4 quarts of these, but we ran out about a month ago, love these)
- pecans ( we really can't control this unless we buy them somewhere, we picked up all our trees produced, we have probably a 5 gallon bucket left to shell)

Things that we probably have way too much of:
-corn on the cob ( it's not that we really have too much, I just need to make sure to start using corn in our meals, as we do have a lot)
- jelly, ( between fig, peach, muscadine, grape, apple mint, strawberry and pepper, we are running over, really need to try to start eating more)

Things that I think are just right this year ( we'll be running out just about the time I do more)
- deer meat ( including summer sausage, sausage, ground and steaks)
- frozen fish ( although there isn't really a season, we normally just try to stock up as we begin to get low, our favorites are crappie and catfish)
- frozen strawberries ( great for smoothies and ice cream, as well as my strawberry cake)
- dill pickles
- pepper relish ( recipe here)
- salsa
- stewed tomatoes

So this gives me an idea of things I need to try to focus on really planting and/or putting up more of and the things that I might can be a little less zealous about this year. This is a great time of year to really take inventory of what you've got and organize things up a bit.

Please stayed tuned for
Part 2- What to plant and
Part 3- What to buy

Happy Homesteading Ya'll!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Recommended Reading for 2015 Part 2 - Don't forget the Classics

Please see here for Part 1- Non Fiction Recommended Reading

And now on to part 2. Don't forget the good stuff. I think sometimes we have so many wonderful options in newer stuff that we forget some classic masterpieces from yesterday. Maybe we read them in high school, or college, or maybe we've never read them. I have just a few that I  resurrected this past year that I really enjoyed and thought I would share with you.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. Little Women by Mary Loiuse Alcott

4. Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

5. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

6. Edgar Allen Poe, my two favorite poems are The Raven and Me and My Annabelle Lee

7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

8. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

9. On Walden Pond by Henry Thoreau

10. Pride and Prejudice  by Jane Austen

Please note these aren't linked to sites to buy things where I get commission, this is my honest opinion and hopefully will encourage some new reading materials for my readers this year. I'm sure your local library has most of these, or you can get them super cheap on Amazon. Happy Reading guys!

Until Next Time
-Happy Homesteading

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Books I recommend to be on your reading list for 2015 Part 1- Non Fiction

I love to read. I do. I find that it does take a little bit of effort to actually set aside the time ( you know 3 young kids, a hobby farm, a full time job, all that stuff) but it really helps me to stay calm and to grow when I read. I had a good year reading I would say and wanted to pass along some of the books I would recommend for my readers in the upcoming year. Some I have done a full review on here on my site, others I haven't. But here ya go for what it's worth:

1. The Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
I did a full review on this book here, but it really got me thinking about how I keep my home. The things I spend my money on, the things I spend my space in my home on and my time on. I've found myself reading it over and over again.
2.  Folks this Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin
I know the picture is a bit fuzzy, but I think you get the hint. Just an easy read about our food system and the issues surrounding it. If you don't know much about Joel Salatin, he's a pretty cool guy and I would recommend any of his books.
3. The Tomato Festival Cookbook by Lawrence Davis Hollander
This is a cookbook that just has every possible way imaginable to use tomatoes in your cooking. There are super fancy ones to really common ones like Tomato Pie. We always have an abundance of tomatoes around here in the summer, and this helps me to use them up in creative ways.

4. The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick
This isn't a super intense read, it's a very fun, light read that has a few projects that every good Prairie Girl should know how to do. Simple projects, some you probably already do. I just found it a fun read and have tried many of the projects she talks about.

5. Wild by Cheryl Stayed
This was a good one. It's written by a lady that took a hike by herself on the Pacific Coast Trail. She was at a critically low point in her life, and needed to get away and do some thinking. It's pretty good and apparently is now a motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon . Of course the book is always better than the movie.

6.  Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
I love the books about hiking, walking, seeing America. This one, written by Peter Jenkins, even has a few old photographs in it, making it extra cool. Again, just a young guy, needing some direction and wants to see America. He goes through small towns, gets to know a little of the culture. Pretty awesome book.
7. Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book is written by Elizabeth Gilbert who also wrote Eat, Pray, Love, but is about Eustace Conway, a modern day mountain man living in the mountains in North Carolina. He also is the subject of the TV Show Mountain Men. It's a neat story. It talks about him growing up, as he gets older and wants to see America, why he wants to live in the mountains etc. She does a good job telling his story.

Please notice that none of the books have links to purchase. I am not trying to get you to buy these books so I make a commission or anything like that. I just recommend them from my own experience and think you might enjoy them as well. Check your local library to save some cash of course. I love going to the library weekly to get new material to read, listen to, etc.

I hope to do another few lists of must reads for 2015 including Not to be forgotten "classics" and then of course Fiction books I have enjoyed.

Until then,
Happy Homesteading


Monday, December 1, 2014

Perfectly Posh, Natural Based Skin Care- No Parafins, uses essential oils, SALE RIGHT NOW

First of all, I love Posh!
I have been selling it for a while now and it brings in extra income which is a plus of course, plus I love the products. I find that they fulfill a need that many customers have, naturally based products, made in America, that are luxurious and pampering.

I wanted to share with you today because we are having an amazing Cyber Monday Sale.
FREE SHIPPING!!! You get free shipping on each order no matter how big or small.
We also have some great sales.

This is a great healing hand crème, perfect for dry hands, chapped, cracked etc. A very light fragrance so could be for men or women! Just $11 right now at Posh!

We also have Skin Sticks such as The Healer, The Caffeinator and Wakey Wakey which are filled with shea butter and essential oils that you simply rub on yourself for great healing properties. They are on sale for only $10 right now and remember free shipping.

Please take a look at my website and if you would like to join I would love to have you , this company treats you right. We get generous commissions ( paid weekly!!!!) and also great incentives. I find that these products are great within my circle of friends. More naturally based, quality ingredients and products we use.