How do you declutter your home effectively?

How do you declutter your home effectively?
As a busy mom it can be super hard to find the time to declutter your home...much less to keep things tidy and organized.  So, what's a busy mom to do?  When your schedule is packed with errands, doing things for your family, cooking healthy meals...the list goes on and on, how are you supposed to find the time (and energy!) to declutter your home?

Here are a few simple steps you can take.  It may seem like too small of a step to make a difference, but trust me...every little step makes a big difference when done consistently.

1. Choose an area to get started in.  This doesn't have to be an entire room at a time.  It can be one corner, one shelf, one stash of "junk".
2. Set a timer.  Set a timer for 15 minutes (but even 5 minutes is a good start).  During that time, gather anything that isn't where it belongs and choose if it's toss, donate, or needs to be put away.
3. At the end of the 15 minutes, allow yourself to step away without beating yourself up for not getting it all done.  If you are on a roll and want to keep going, then by all means, keep at it!  But if you just don't have the time or energy to do more, that's perfectly ok!  The key is to do at least a little bit.  Some is better than none.
4. It doesn't have to be perfect.  There, I said it.  As a perfectionist I often find that if I don't have time to get it all done at once or exactly how I want it done, then I don't even get started.  This has been a hard one for me.  But I have learned that if I just do what I can, when I can, eventually it all gets done and I feel so much better than I did when I just allowed things to pile up simply because I didn't have the time to do it all at once.  Game Changer!
5. Have a designated area where you put items to be donated.  As often as you can (the sooner the better), take the items and donate them.  The longer you let them sit in your home, the more likely you are to want to go back through them again.
6. Make it fun!  If you have little kids (this may also work with teens and even husbands! lol) make it a game.  Set your timer and see who can find the most items to either trash or donate before the timer goes off.  This is a great way to get the whole family involved.

In the end, remember that we are looking for progress over perfection.  It's ok to have a house that is lived in.  Personally, I feel more at home in a place that isn't so clean you are afraid to touch anything or even sit on the couch.  My goal is to have a welcoming home that isn't cluttered.  That doesn't mean you won't find a speck of dirt on the floor or even a cozy blanket tossed onto the couch.  But I have learned that if I keep my clutter to a minimum, it's so much easier to keep things tidy and not feel embarrassed when someone unexpectedly comes to my door.

Try these tidy-up cards.  They are easy to use for the whole family. 

How do I choose the right seeds for my garden?

How do I choose the right seeds for my garden?
It's that time of year again...time to plan out your garden and get some seeds started.  But, how do you know what seeds to get?  Should you get any ole seed you come across?  Or should you be picky and choose organic, non-gmo, heirloom...the list goes on.

When it comes to starting your garden, selecting the right seeds is crucial for a successful harvest. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which seeds are best suited for your needs. In this post, we'll look at the differences between organic, non-GMO, and heirloom seeds to help you make informed choices for your garden.

Organic Seeds:Organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. They are produced through natural methods that promote soil health and biodiversity. Choosing organic seeds ensures that your garden remains free from harmful chemicals, supporting both your health and the environment.
Non-GMO Seeds:Non-GMO seeds are not genetically modified organisms. They are grown from plants that have not been genetically engineered in a laboratory. By selecting non-GMO seeds, you can avoid the potential risks associated with genetically modified crops and support traditional breeding methods that prioritize natural diversity.
Heirloom Seeds:Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated varieties that have been passed down through generations. These seeds often have a rich history and unique characteristics, making them prized by gardeners for their flavor, appearance, and adaptability. By choosing heirloom seeds, you can preserve genetic diversity and cultivate plants with a connection to the past.
Hybrid Seeds:Hybrid seeds are created by cross-pollinating two different plant varieties to produce offspring with specific traits, such as disease resistance or high yield. While hybrids can offer certain advantages, such as uniformity and vigor, they do not produce seeds that reliably reproduce the same traits in subsequent generations.

Now that you know the difference between the different types of seeds, here are a few tips you can use for choosing seeds:

  1. Research Your Climate: Select seeds that are well-suited to your local climate and growing conditions. Consider factors such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight exposure.
  2. Read Seed Descriptions: Pay attention to seed catalogs or packaging labels for information on plant characteristics, such as maturity date, size, flavor, and disease resistance.
  3. Support Seed Diversity: Choose a variety of seeds to promote biodiversity in your garden and help preserve rare or endangered plant species.
  4. Consider Your Goals: Determine your gardening goals, whether it's to grow your own food, attract pollinators, or beautify your landscape, and select seeds accordingly.
  5. If you are gardening as a food source, also consider how many people you are growing for and how much you need to grow in order to have a years' worth of food per person.
Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, choosing the right seeds is essential for a successful and sustainable garden. By opting for organic, non-GMO, and heirloom seeds, you can support healthy ecosystems, preserve genetic diversity, and enjoy the rewards of homegrown produce bursting with flavor and nutrients. Happy gardening!

Can you start a homestead with nothing?

Can you start a homestead with nothing?
Starting a homestead from scratch is not only possible, it's a journey that can begin with surprisingly humble beginnings. At its core, homesteading is about embracing a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, incorporating elements such as gardening, food preservation, and raising livestock. This lifestyle allows individuals to live in closer harmony with the land, regardless of whether they own it, highlighting the adaptability and resourcefulness that define the homesteading spirit.

The path to homesteading involves a thoughtful assessment of one's current resources and an alignment of priorities. Key considerations include the availability of land (owned or otherwise), space optimization, and identifying which aspects of self-sufficiency are most vital to start with, like food preservation or gardening. Future homesteaders are encouraged to cultivate a mindset of resourcefulness, leveraging community connections, repurposing materials, and remaining adaptable to overcome challenges and setbacks.

Embarking on a homesteading lifestyle is a step-by-step process that begins with an evaluation of personal goals and available resources, followed by a deliberate plan to develop the requisite skills and connections. Despite its challenges, homesteading offers a rewarding way to achieve a self-sufficient life. With patience and perseverance, anyone can make the transition towards becoming a successful homesteader, embodying resilience and a deeper connection to the environment.

How To Get Started Homesteading...even if you don't own any land

How To Get Started Homesteading...even if you don't own any land
I was recently talking to moms at our homeschool co-op.  A topic that kept coming up was homesteading.  The thing that kept coming up was "I keep wanting to get into homesteading, but I don't know where to start"...then when they realize that my family is homesteading without owning our own land, the questions really start to flood in.

So, just how do you get started homesteading?  Well, for my family it has been anything but "normal".  Just like everyone else, we imagined we would first own our own land. But instead, we started with 12 possibly pregnant meat goats and 2 great pyrenees dogs.  How?  Well, there are actually a few ways to make this work.  
1) if you know someone with a lot of unused land, they may let you use it to get started on.
2) look around your area and keep an eye out for large areas of land that need to be maintained.  Find out who owns the land and see if they would be willing to let you lease it for your livestock.  (you might be surprised at how well this can work!)
3) quickly purchase some land!
We are currently doing #1 but also looking into option #2 so that we can expand faster.  Yes, we still want our own land.  But with the economy like it is right now, it just isn't a good time to be buying land.  And we certainly don't want to keep waiting to see our dreams come true.

Even if you aren't ready to jump into livestock.  There are still some ways you can get started homesteading.  Here's a short list of things you can do to help work your way into being a homesteading family.  And you don't have to own your own land for these!
  • backyard chickens (I'm setting these aside from livestock b/c they can be done right in town with minimal space)
  • start a compost
  • grow your own food (indoor and outdoors!)
  • preserve your harvest (canning, dehydrating, freezing)
  • save your seeds!
  • bake bread 
  • have a sourdough starter
  • make your own bone broth
  • make granola for cereal or as a topping (I love this recipe!)
  • make/use reusable paper towels (aka unpaper towels)
  • make your own cleaners
  • get into herbalism (even better if you grow your own herbs!)
  • make your food from scratch
  • make your own spice mixes, sauces, etc
  • make your own fermented drinks (like Kombucha!)
  • make your own dairy products (like yogurt!)
  • buy meat, eggs, and milk from a local rancher
Learn from others (youtube, social media, books, etc).  There are So many great homesteaders who started from the ground up.  And chances are, they didn't all start out the same way.  You are bound to find one you can relate to who you can learn from and follow.  
Here are a few that I like to follow:

In addition to this I'd like to add that downsizing your home is a huge plus in homesteading.  Let's face it, homesteading is a full-time, 24/7 "job".  It will keep you super busy!  So the less you have to do around the home (cleaning, organizing, digging for things you can't find), the better!

If you'd like some help in downsizing, I can certainly help you in the kitchen!  Only keep what you need and organize it to best suit your needs...I can help you with that!
If you need help coming up with a plan on how you can get started homesteading now (regardless of your skills or amount of land), I can help with that too!!
Just contact me and we'll develop a plan for you that works!
But if you are looking to downsize your entire home, honestly, I'm still working on that. But I do have a great recommendation for someone who can help you!  

Why Is Homemade Chicken Soup So Good For You?

Why Is Homemade Chicken Soup So Good For You?
If you are anything like my family, fall weather and the sniffles often brings on some good homemade chicken noodle soup "just like Grandma's".  But, have you ever stopped to wonder why that is?  Is it because she had the BEST recipe and it just hits the spot?  Or is there more to it than that?

One thing's for sure, you can't beat a nice warm, homemade soup on a chilly day.  But I've learned over the years that there's actually a LOT more to it than that.  So, let's take a look at some of the main ingredients you'll find in "Grandma's Chicken Soup".

Onionhigh in flavonoids (including quercetin and kaempferol), polyphenols, and allicin. They are antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, immune-enhancing, and anti-inflammatory.  Onions can also enhance the action of vitamin C.

Garlichas allicin and alliin, 2 compounds that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties. 

Celery - (seed) is an antioxidant and anti inflammatory. It also contains magnesium (benefitial use for the nervous system and muscular system), vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber, and small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, and some B vitamins.

Carrots - has vitamins A, K, and C.  They are high in fiber, beta-carotene (an antioxidant),  alpha-carotene (anti-inflammatory), lutein (helps maintain healthy eyes), and zeaxanthin (protects eyes from harmful UV rays & blue light exposure)

Bone Broth - this one can very depending on where your broth comes from.  But a good bone broth will contain all of these: 
Magnesium, Phosphorus, Gelatin, Collagen, Glycine, Glutamine, Protein, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate, Calcium.  
It can help improve digestion, protect your joins, clear your skin, improve your sleep, and help support a healthy immune system.

LemonThe juice and flesh have many health benefits.  But did you know that the peel also has many health benefits? The white pith of the peel is considered a bitter and can help with digestion and liver function. Lemons are also high in vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, calcium, folate, magnesium, and potassium.

Ginger - (fresh) helps stimulate the immune system, allowing it to fight bacterial and viral infections.  It stimulates circulation of the blood (which helps to remove pathogens from the bloodstream).  It also thins mucous and supports expectoration, and warms the body.  
There's nothing like that extra cozy feeling when you are feeling a bit under the weather.

Herbs - You can find a list of herbs for the cold season here.

So, as you can see, there very well may have been a LOT more behind Grandma's chicken soup.  
Here's one of my favorite ways to make a good chicken noodle soup. 

Resources (with recipes!): 

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