Cultivating Peace (& other New Year’s resolutions)


* This article contains an affiliate link. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.I have a love-hate relationship with the month of January. On one hand I love that life slows down and settles back into a predictable routine. On the other hand I don’t always love how work speeds up and how there is a long stretch of winter doldrums before there are any other holidays to look forward to. 

I love how the new year brings with it a clean slate and a fresh opportunity to start over, do better, reach our goals and be the best versions of ourselves! Then again, I hate that the hangover from Christmas can make the everyday obligations of real life seem more like drudgery than at any other time of year.

I do love the calm, peacefulness of winter in January, and although I equally love the festive nature of the holiday season, by the new year I am ready to be still, quiet, reflective. I’m ready to focus on cultivating nourishing, nurturing habits that will help me be a better version of myself with each passing year.

Last year was a big year for my husband Ryan and I in terms of resolutions. First off, both he and I resolved once and for all to quit smoking. Yes, I, Mrs. natural health and wholesome foods advocate and frugal homesteader… I used to spend between $5 and $10 a day on killing myself slowly with toxic chemicals. I smoked for 15 years (Ryan for 20) and finally, after many attempts at quitting, we had enough. 

 

All you need to get motivated is the right motivation…

Our daughter was our biggest motivation, but aside from the other obvious health and money reasons, it just didn’t jive with our lifestyle or our homestead dreams and goals. When we think of who we want to be, “smokers” doesn’t make the list. So we quit! Once and for all. And we’ve never looked back. 

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.

Our daughter Evelyn has been our biggest motivation to quit smoking and stay quit. She has given me the strength to do things I never thought I could do.

It’s been almost a year now since I put out my last cigarette, and when that one-year mark hits next week, it will be one of the proudest moments of my life. 

For anyone reading this who is also a smoker wanting to quit, I can’t recommend the book Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Quit Smoking highly enough. It really helped me in my journey and was pretty much the driving force behind Ryan actually quitting for good. To this day he maintains that the book changed his life and he has never wanted to smoke again since reading it.

I also love the Smoke Free app for my smart phone (not an affiliate… I just genuinely love this app). It keeps track of the time since my last cigarette, how much money I’ve saved, how my health has improved and even how much money I will save each year I don’t smoke (the savings are jaw-dropping). Plus, it’s free!

Anyway, I won’t go on about this anymore, but I truly am living proof that quitting isn’t as hard as we make it out to be in our minds. I literally woke up one morning last January and decided I was done and I never picked up a cigarette again. Miracles do happen. Just sayin’ 😉

 

Cultivating the seeds of peace

This year I also have a different type of resolution. This resolution isn’t about pushing harder, doing more, losing weight, running a successful business, quitting bad habits or getting out of debt. While those are all noble goals (and are all also on my list of resolutions in one capacity or another), my overarching resolution this year is to cultivate peace in all that I do.

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.

I tend to be a bit of an anxious mess from time to time. In fact, this could be the understatement of the year so far. I’m much better now than I used to be because I’ve worked really hard on learning to manage my anxiety and emotions, but it’s still something that’s ever-present in my life that I continue to learn to work past. 

This year, the big “theme” is to make myself a priority and do what’s in the best interests of my personal health and well-being. Like many mothers, I devoted my life to my child the day she was born. But I also know that it’s in her, and my, and our family’s best interest if I take care of myself too and follow my heart and my passions along the way. 

Part of this is to really start practicing self care, and for me (a natural introvert who prefers peaceful silence over raucous festivities any day) self care entails finding peace and calm in the every day, and cultivating it among the chaos.

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.

I want to take time to focus on my breath; meditate and connect to the higher vibrations of the universe; be mindful as I’m cooking or doing dishes or gardening; go inward and find a quiet place even when the world outside of me is loud and overwhelming; make exercising my body a priority, not for aesthetics, but to feel good and to keep the vessel in good condition; let go of things that do not serve me; take time to just be without doing, producing and accomplishing all the time.

 

Slowing down for self-care (and to savour the moment)

We, as a culture, place such little value on self-care; on slowing down; on doing less. Every day is about how much you can get done in a 24-hour period. Can you speed up productivity? Knock off your entire to-do list every day? Time-block every last minute of the day to accomplish more? Multitask? Skip breakfast? Stop sleeping?

If we want to be healthy, happy, strong and self-sufficient individuals, the answer to all of the above is a resounding “No!”

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.

I think it’s a sign, don’t you?

Not to say there isn’t a time to speed up. Especially as a homesteader in the making, there is always work to be done. In fact, the work is pretty much never-ending. But the lifestyle allows us to escape the rat race a bit. That’s a huge reason why we’ve followed (and are continuing to follow) our homestead dreams.

Indeed there is always work to be done, but we must make time to do nothing as well. Time to be quiet and still and gaze out the window on a snowy morning while mindfully sipping on a cup of coffee (do you know I haven’t finished a cup of hot coffee since I became a mother? It’s insanity!).

With the New Year comes a fresh start and a renewed chance to create the life you want. For me, 2018 is all about slowing down, self-care and cultivating peace in all areas of life.

And so I am scheduling in time to unschedule this year. I am setting my intention to cultivate peace and calm in all that I do, because just like cultivating a garden, the seeds of peace must also be sewn and nurtured until they grow big and strong.  And I’m starting now, because while there is always a busy season in life, winter is the perfect time to slow down. Now I must rest.

A very happy new year to all of my dear readers. I wish you peace, love and joy in 2018 and beyond.

 

Until next time,

The House & Homestead

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6 Comments

  1. Mahesha

    You’re so right Anna! Work is never ending! I love the idea to schedule in time to unschedule. Its the best thing we can do for our mental health and peace of mind. ? xo? Mahesha, from Life So Blissful

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond! I absolutely love listening to your hypnosis’ and guided meditations. I’d love to share some links to your blog and Youtube channel in some upcoming posts! Blessings Xx

      Reply
  2. Ruthie

    Living the homestead life has definitely helped me appreciate and slow down as the season dictates!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes Ruthie! Living closer to the land has helped me get into a rhythm of knowing when to step my game up and knowing when to rest. I still have a ways to go though so I’m trying to be really mindful and pay attention to the cues nature and my body are giving me this year.

      Reply
  3. Lynda Lu Gibb

    Sounds like more time in “our” back yard.(s)!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Lol. Yes, “our backyard.” It’s funny how we live across the yard from one another but the winter has us holed up indoors and we see so much less of each other. Can’t wait until spring to see you guys out in the garden! How are your chickens doing? Producing any eggs? We’ve been getting ours from other local farms but if you have any extras we will gladly start buying from you again!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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I don't know about where you're from, but around here the Christmas decorations have been on store shelves since August and the first carton of eggnog I saw at the grocery store was in September! ⁣

I'm all for celebrating the season, but I think it loses something when it becomes Christmas all year long (or at least when it spans 2 or even 3 seasons!)⁣

I like waiting until December to decorate and put on Christmas tunes, and I definitely won't take my first sip of eggnog until the advent calendar comes out!⁣

That being said, when it is time for Christmas, I enjoy savouring every bit of the holiday season, and that means that when it comes to eggnog, store-bought just won't do. Instead, I whip up my own homemade eggnog, which is way tastier in my opinion, and has less added and unnecessary ingredients, thickeners, etc. It's just eggs, sugar, milk and cream, some liquor if you choose, and a little nutmeg and a cinnamon stick to garnish!⁣

It's also super quick and easy to make yourself.⁣

Grab the full recipe via the ink in my bio @anna.sakawsky or visit https://thehouseandhomestead.com/old-fashioned-homemade-eggnog-recipe/ ⁣

Do you like to start celebrating Christmas as early as possible or do you prefer to wait until December like me?⁣

Let me know in the comments 👇
...

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What’s in your bug out bag??

Yesterday I was in my Stories sharing a bit about emergency preparedness and what I’m doing to get prepared for whatever the future holds.

I also asked YOU what emergency skills or supplies you recommend having in your back pocket “just in case,” and one of the responses I got was to have a bug out bag packed and ready to go.

This got me thinking it was high time to pull out my bug out bag and go through it because it’s been a couple years since I last did so. I decided to share it with you here and show you what I keep packed and ready to go and go through what needs updating and what I’m missing.

If the concept of a bug out bag is new to you, have a watch through this video and check out this article on 15 Emergency Preparedness Items You Need to Have Packed and Ready to Go: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/15-emergency-preparedness-items-you-need-packed-ready-to-go/

Also, if getting more prepared for anything and everything from a power outage to a natural disaster to a medical emergency to a man made disaster like a war or a cyber attack is a goal of yours, be sure to check out the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, which is packed with great advice on emergency preparedness for any situation. (Link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com)

I’d also love to hear from you!

Do you keep a bug out bag packed?

What do you keep in it?

What types of emergency situations are you preparing for in your area?

Let me know in the comments 👇

#emergencypreparedness #preparedness #prepping #bugoutbag
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Do you have what you need on hand to take care of yourself and your family in the event of a worst case scenario?

With everything going on in the world these days, we’re getting more and more serious about equipping ourselves with the tools, supplies and skills needed to handle emergency situations if the need arises.

Between growing nuclear tensions, the ongoing threat of pandemics, cyber attacks and a looming energy crisis, medical staff and supply shortages, and general “everyday” medical, financial and other miscellaneous emergencies, we’d all be wise to be prepared BEFORE the next emergency happens.

One of our neighbours passed away very suddenly last week (just 50 years old 😔) and it reminded me of just how quickly things can go sideways. As far as we know he suffered a heart attack, and while his wife did everything she could to save him, by the time the ambulance arrived it was too late. It was a wake up call for me, that not only do we need to be prepared with supplies on hand, but with knowledge and skills too. I’m definitely looking into booking a refresher First Aid course and highly recommend everyone reading this do the same if this is a skill you need to brush up on!

This is all part of being more self-reliant, and these skills are becoming more and more important in the world these days.

My hubby @ryan.sakawsky covered many emergency scenarios and how to prepare for them in detail in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you can subscribe and read the latest issue via the link in my bio, or by visiting https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com/subscribe/

I’d also love to hear from you! What are you doing to prepare and/or what skills and resources would you recommend that everyone acquire now before it’s too late?

Comment below 👇
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If you feel like your garden struggled more than usual this year, or that many of your homesteading efforts were in vain, you’re not alone.

In fact, I heard from more people than ever before this year who were struggling with their gardens; With extreme or unpredictable weather; With pest problems that seemed worse than usual; With all manner of things that seemed to be conspiring against them and their efforts to grow food.

The fact is, gardening and homesteading comes with an inevitable amount of failure every year, and some years are going to be worse than others.

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, Mike Fitzgerald of @omnivore.culture gets vulnerable and shares his own homesteading struggles, and the insights he gained from a rough year in the garden.

“I held in my heart an overwhelming level of optimism for the 2022 growing season… I couldn’t have been more wrong and could not have possibly prepared for what awaited me in the upcoming months that paved the way into summer,” he begins.

To read the full story, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or log in and read the latest issue 🍁

(Quote in the reel by Mike Fitzgerald, “Rolling With the Punches,” Modern Homesteading Magazine | Issue 29 | Fall 2022).

#homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #selfreliance #gardenersofinstagram #humanswhogrowfood #modernhomesteading
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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

To learn more or get on the waitlist, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #livefreeordie
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171 5

It’s October, and that means pumpkin spice season is officially here 🎃

This year, instead of spending $5 or more on a PSL loaded with questionable artificial ingredients, why not make your own pumpkin spice syrup at home with REAL PUMPKIN and all-natural ingredients!

All you need is some puréed pumpkin (I make mine with fresh pumpkins, but you can use canned), some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and ginger, a splash of vanilla extract and some water.

Bring everything to a boil and then simmer and reduce. Strain into a bottle or Mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of this syrup to your coffee or homemade latte for a better quality, better tasting PSL for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a coffee shop.

You can also add this syrup to homemade kombucha, or drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast or even ice cream!

Grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

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129 7

Do you dream of escaping the rat race and starting a homestead far from the chaos of the modern world?

It’s no surprise that in this day and age, more and more people are ready to leave it all behind and move to a property in the country where they can grow their own food, live a simpler life and become more self-sufficient and less dependent on “the system.” But as romantic as it sounds, it’s definitely easier said than done.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

Ann and her husband Justin recently moved from their two-acre homestead outside of Seattle, Washington to a 40-acre homestead in rural Tennessee. Ann and I sat down to talk about the realities of buying and selling a homestead, moving across the country to pursue your homesteading dream, what to look for when you’re searching for your next property, pitfalls to avoid (if you can!), and what you can do if you’re not ready or in a position to make your move just yet.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

#modernhomesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #escapethematrix #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #selfsufficientliving
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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

There’s a lot more to this story than I’m able to share in this video or this caption, so I’ll post some links below where you can hear directly from the mom what happened, and check out other IG accounts that have been in direct contact with her and the father. But the point is this was a GROSS misuse of our Amber Alert system, a GROSS abuse of power (turns out the boy wasn’t sick in the end anyway), and has now traumatized this family for life.

Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Check out my stories for the full video that the mom, Wiloh made explaining the details of what happened or check out the comments for links to learn more & support this family.
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I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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284 59

What would you do if the grid went down?

Imagine not just the lights going out, but all power, all digital communication and information. Would you be prepared?

A lot of us THINK we’re prepared for a grid down situation, but unless you’re already living off grid, you might not realize how dependent on technology we really are!

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, contributor Ashley Constance of @dirtypawshomestead and @alittleselfreliant shares her experience voluntarily going without power for the day, and what she and her husband, Shawn learned from their grid down experiment.

You might be surprised at the things they discovered and missed on their prep list, and it might prompt you to reevaluate whether you’re ready in case the grid goes down, or even just Google 😱

Check out the full story in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

Link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#modernhomesteadingmagazine #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #modernhomesteading #prepping #nationalpreparednessmonth
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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

Can you relate? How do you (politely) respond when someone questions your lifestyle choices or implies that you’ll eventually come to your senses and come back to “reality”?

Let me know below 👇
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The fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue you’ll find:

• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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