Spring Homestead & Garden Blog Series & Giveaway!

Are you all ready to get your garden and homestead prepped for Spring time!? Follow us during our first blog series to get your garden in tip top shape and ready for those tasty veggies and/or fruits!

Also, enter our giveaway to win a copy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ‘Whole Seed Catalog-2015’ along with a great seed collection (8-10 packets)! The catalog is jam packed full with every seed you could imagine! I can guarantee you will have trouble choosing which seeds to plant this year :)

The series will begin on Monday, February 2, 2015 and run through Monday, February 23, 2015 (new series posts each Monday)- you won’t want to miss it!

Enter our giveaway below!

Giveaway begins at 12:00am Friday, January 23, 2015 and ends 11:59pm Saturday, February 14, 2015 (*Note- giveaway end date has been moved up to 2/14 instead of 2/28!)

*Disclaimer & Rules: One winner will be chosen within 24 hours of the contest ending to win (1) Copy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ‘Whole Seed Catalog- 2015’ and (1) Seed Collection of about 8-10 packets of various seeds. Winner will be chosen at random (Random.org through Rafflecopter) and notified using the email address or Facebook page provided. If the chosen winner does not respond with their mailing address within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. You may only enter the contest once. You are able to get a maximum number of 18 entries by completing required and optional tasks. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Healthy Eating & Homesteading

The premise of this post is to not only open your eyes to the current obesity and food epidemic in our country, but to also show you how healthy eating can be so much easier when you are homesteading, growing your own foods, participating in a local co-op, etc!

 “More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese” (CDC 2014).

Diet. That word is so restraining, and honestly, it kills any kind of good mood you’re in. When you pursue the thought of going on a diet, doesn’t it just ruin your motivation from the get-go?

Excuses for not starting are countless and inevitable.

“I still have all this junk in the house! I’ll wait for it to be gone and THEN I’ll start.”

“Ugh! But it’s Friday. I’ll start on Monday- AFTER the weekend.”

“So-and-so’s birthday is in 2 weeks! I don’t want to be on a diet for that!”

“I can’t eat ice cream (or nachos, or cake, or cookies, or soda) if I’m on diet!”

Do these sound familiar?

I know I was always guilty of pushing the start date of my diet farther and farther for whatever reason I could come up with. But, in the back of my mind, I felt SO guilty and just fell into a deeper hole of bad eating, bad relationships with food, and bad self-esteem. I KNEW what I was supposed to do- eat healthier, cleaner foods, exercise on a regular basis, and drink more water. I KNEW I would feel so much better by doing the above things, however, the thought of being on a diet just killed my motivation before I even got started, yet, I was so upset with myself and how I felt and looked.

So, let’s get rid of the word DIET and replace it with EATING.

photo (23)

Now, does the word eating sound so bad? Nope! Why? Because, we HAVE to eat to sustain and nourish ourselves. Next, let’s throw in the word HEALTHY to that equation which will now become HEALTHY EATING. Okay, so it’s a little more daunting because it requires some effort on your part, but, bear with me and keep reading- you’ll thank me, promise.

When you make a lifestyle change in how you view and consume food, your entire attitude will change for the better.

My view and my husband’s view on food COMPLETELY changed after watching ‘Hungry for Change’ (you can find it through Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, etc.). A lot of the movie had information we already knew, but, the way it was presented was so different. The reality of our food habits hit us like a ton of bricks. To be honest, we aren’t a household that stocks the cabinets with chips, cookies, candy, and other junk. We try to eat healthy, but, we weren’t trying hard enough. We were still going out to eat, eating fast food, and buying more sugar-laden snacks than I’d like to admit.

Now, back to eating- healthy eating. What if I told you that you could eat plenty of healthy, nutritionally dense foods and be completely satisfied and not be hungry 20 minutes later!? What if I told you that if you don’t consume sugar, you won’t crave sugar? What if I told you that eating healthy, natural food doesn’t have to break the bank?

By now, you’re thinking “Okay, lady. You are crazy if you think I can do that and not fork over hundreds of extra dollars a month, year, what have you!”

Well, guess what!? It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat healthy and in the long run, you will be glad you did. You are INVESTING in your current body by providing it with healthy foods that it needs to function with!

Did you know that “there are over 300 chemicals used in processed foods today and statistics show that the average American household spends about 90 percent of their food budget on such foods?” (Hungry for Change, 2012)

We’re over-fed and starving to death” (Hungry for Change, 2012).

Imagine what you could buy with that 90% of your food budget that is going towards processed foods and beverages? You could be buying nutritious foods that will keep you full (and fuller longer), give your body the nutrients it needs, and help your body perform at its optimal level!

Once we changed our eating habits at the start of January, the following things happened in a matter of a couple days:
– My daily bouts with heartburn completely vanished
– I started sleeping better and stayed asleep, feeling rested in the morning
– My chronic back pain decreased immensely
– My body started purging the toxins it had ingested for so many months prior
-I didn’t crave sugar
-My milk supply for breastfeeding increased
– I lost 4 lbs and 8.5 inches from changing my diet alone
– I ate adequate nutritionally dense foods and was satisfied and never felt ‘starved’

With how I felt after those first couple days, I felt like an idiot for making myself suffer for so long before committing to better eating.

growing-your-own-food

So, what does this all have to do with homesteading you ask?

Growing your own produce is a huge part of homesteading, along with raising your own chickens for eggs, goats or cows for milk, and other animals of choice for meat. When you grow and produce your own food, you are guaranteeing that it will be free from preservatives and other additives. It will not be genetically modified or created in a lab. It will not trick your brain into craving it like processed sugar does (research done on sugar has shown that it is as addictive, if not more so, than cocaine (PubMed, 2012). It will also not have an absurd shelf-life!

Even if you are not a homesteader or able to grow your own food, you can follow the tips below to ensure your body is getting the right foods!

  • When grocery shopping:
    • Choose organic/grass-fed/free range as MUCH as possible- this applies to produce, meats, and eggs
    • Shop the perimeter of the store- only venture into the center aisles when necessary for things like rice, oatmeal, healthy grains, etc.
    • READ labels- if you can’t pronounce the ingredients list and it is chock full of preservatives and weird additives, don’t buy it
    • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry- you will be tempted to buy things you don’t really need and you will most likely end up buying junk and ready-to-go meals
    • Plan ahead for your meals- by doing this, you will waste less food and it also helps to avoid those dreaded nights of “What’s for dinner?” “I don’t know! I don’t feel like cooking!
  • At home:
    • Buy a water bottle that you can refill during the day- stay hydrated! You will be surprised by how much better you will feel when you are properly hydrated (for reference, it is recommended that you drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water A DAY- at least! Ex. If you weigh 200 lbs, you should be drinking no less than 100 oz. of water a day)
    • Prep your meals and snacks at the start of the week- portion your snacks into baggies or containers so you can easily grab them and not over-snack! Prepping your food ahead of time also makes cooking a breeze (i.e. cutting up veggies, cooking multiple pieces of meat to last a few days, etc.)
    • Avoid sugary snacks, processed foods, and prepackaged foods/meals- these foods are a trap, seriously. They are made with chemicals and additives that purposely trick your brain into thinking it is full while also triggering your brain to crave even more. Rid your house of these and don’t buy them at the store. If someone in your household absolutely “needs” (and I say “needs” with an insane amount of sarcasm), put them in a separate cabinet or drawer where you will not see them and be tempted to consume them.
    • Get CREATIVE- cooking and eating is supposed to be enjoyable and it is crazy how much flavor you can get with nutritious foods and seasonings (and if you must use salt, use Himalayan Pink Salt- just limit your intake since it’s still salt)
  • Join a local co-op!
    • Our family participates in Bountiful Baskets which offers produce and other add-ons (breads, granola, herbs, oils, etc.) You contribute every other week typically and you go pick up your goods!
    • Finding a totally local co-op would be even better because you’d most likely be getting produce and other goods from farmers and merchants in your area
  • Find a local butcher/meat shop
    • Not only will the quality usually be much higher, you will have someone who is knowledgeable about certain cuts and types of meat. You will probably be paying more BUT the quality is much better than any store bought meat you will find

The tips above are just several ways to help you succeed in leading a healthier lifestyle. Besides, when you’re healthy, it will make your daily activities much easier (especially if you are homesteading and have lots of tasks around the property!)

If you’d like more info about getting healthier and leading a healthy lifestyle, please check out  one of my good friends, Kelley (I’ve known her since middle school!) at The Fit Wife + Navy Life. She is my go-to person for all things health and fitness related. She has had many of the same struggles I have had and she has kicked bad habits in the butt. She lost over 100 lbs. and has become so knowledgeable (and certified) in all things health! Check out her story at Fit Wife + Navy Life– you will be inspired.

 

What we’re all about.

What We're All About

Simplify. Simplify our day. Simplify our schedules. Simplify our lives.

Isn’t that what we all WANT to do but never ACTUALLY do?

It seems so easy to simplify our everyday lives- get rid of things we don’t use or need, cancel cable (because in reality, you probably only watch a handful of channels), get rid of those smartphones and downgrade to an old school flip phone (or, GASP, no cell phone at all), quit going out to eat and cook healthy meals at home, eat healthier by growing your own veggies and fruits. It SEEMS so easy, but, truthfully the majority of us have major trouble even considering one of the things mentioned above.

Simplifying our life and becoming more self-reliant is exactly what my family is hoping to do over the next few years. Granted, we’re still keeping our cable and smartphones for the time-being, we’re still WAY guilty of going out to eat more than we should, and we struggle enough with remembering to water our grass let alone trying to plant and keep veggies alive! Like I said, it SEEMS easy but then everyday life scoots on in and becomes the annoying house guest that doesn’t want to leave. EVER.

Now that my husband and I are parents, we’re truly seeing the value of becoming more self-reliant in many aspects.

My husband has been interested in homesteading and self-reliance for awhile now and I usually just smiled and nodded at him when he brought up the crazy idea of owning chickens, making our own stuff, and growing the majority of our food. I admit I was not fond of the chicken idea at ALL (they always seem so loud, dirty, and well…just annoying). Plus, I can barely find time to shower and brush my teeth most days with a teething baby who refuses to sit still and wants to be held CONSTANTLY, let alone take care of more living and breathing creatures. But, I have come around as I have seen how downhill our society and country has gone in the last couple years. I want to know how and be able to do as many things on our own as possible. Now, don’t get the crazy idea that we’re “preppers” in the reality TV sense. We’re far from that, however, we want to become more self-reliant in case we ever truly need to depend on ourselves and a small community for whatever reason. Plus, we’re excited to start making more of our own, HEALTHY, natural food!

We’re what I call “semi-crunchy” parents. I breastfeed and don’t plan on stopping until my little one chooses to wean on her own. We bed-share, baby-wear, and we stumble along with baby led feeding (or weaning if you please). I make 99% of our girl’s food. We believe in gentle attachment parenting, not letting our girl cry it out, and we’re seriously considering homeschooling when the time comes.

We want our girl (and possibly future kiddos) to grow up and know what she can achieve on her own in this crazy world. We want her to have a sense of responsibility and a choice for the life and things she can create. We don’t want her to become dependent on others for the bare life necessities like food, shelter, and everyday items. I know that my husband and I have become dependent on too many things created by others that we could easily make ourselves!

Over the next few months and years, we’re hoping to begin growing our own veggies and fruits again, get some chickens so we can have fresh, organic, PURE eggs, and learn how to make things we regularly use on our own!

It will definitely be an adventure and I hope you will enjoy following us as we embark on our (slow and steady) suburban homesteading journey!