How We’re Moving Forward After A Year Of Setbacks: Our Goals for 2019


2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I’m going to come right out and say it: 2018 was pretty much the worst year of our lives.

I’m not complaining, and I’m still very grateful for all of the good things I have in my life: A sweet, kind, smart, beautiful daughter; A hard-working, devoted husband; A beautiful new home that provides us with warmth and a roof over our heads; Family and friends who we love and who love us in return; The ability to pursue passions like homesteading and creating and building a career as a writer, and of course so much more.

But if I’m being brutally honest, 2018 was a rollercoaster with some of the lowest lows we have ever experienced (and we’ve been through some shit, pardon my French).

Topping the list for us this year was when we lost our son at 24 weeks gestation. Then we lost another baby at 8 weeks (just days after our first son was due). And finally, my husband lost his job 10 days before Christmas which really put the cherry on top.

The year started well enough, with all the hope that new years naturally bring.

At the turn of 2018, I was dedicated to focusing on making my own health and wellbeing a priority, and I made a resolution to cultivate peace in all that I did throughout the year.

While I can honestly say that getting into a mindset of peace and calm really did help me get through the many challenges we’ve faced this year, I found it almost impossible to really take care of myself and my family the way I had intended to last January. Life just seemed to take every opportunity to knock us down this year, and so my strategy by the end of the year has turned to one of survival; To do whatever we need to do to push forward and live to see another day.

But that’s just the thing: We’re still here. We still have air in our lungs and every day, every minute, every second we are given the gift of a fresh start and another chance to get things right. So that’s what we’re going to do this year. But first, let me tell you my story.

 

It All Started Last January

Just a few weeks into the new year we found out I was pregnant. We were elated! We’d been trying to get pregnant again ever since our daughter was born and were so excited to be adding to our family and giving her a sibling. But something seemed wrong from the very beginning.

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

To start, I had horrible morning sickness with our son, which I didn’t experience with our daughter. I was overly emotional and I was worried from day one that something would go wrong. I also got really sick about 5 different times with everything imaginable between January and April, thanks in part to working full time as a teacher during that period.

In the end, I had a chest cough that was so relentless and so awful in April that I ended separating some of my ribs from my spine from coughing so hard. It was the worst physical pain I have ever experienced, hands down. Worse than childbirth.

So my midwife ordered me onto sick leave from work so that I could recover and keep myself and our baby healthy, and I had to go for multiple sessions with a chiropractor to realign my back. I was almost 5 months pregnant at this time.

Meanwhile we were also in the process of buying and renovating our first home, and money was flying out of our pockets left, right and centre, so when I had to pay back half of my paycheque that I had already earned and been paid out from the last month I worked because I had to leave before the end of the school year, well let’s just say that’s where our money troubles started to snowball.

But money wasn’t our focus at that moment in time, because while all of this was happening, I was on my way for my 19-week ultrasound and was just focused on the baby growing in my belly and excited to find out the gender. We were really hoping for a boy!

But things took a turn for the worse very quickly after that ultrasound in May.

I got a call from my midwife letting me know that our baby’s legs were crossed so we were unable to determine the gender. Worse than that, she said the ultrasound technician couldn’t get a clear view of all four limbs, and while it could be nothing, it could also be something quite serious.

I went in for blood tests to test for genetic abnormalities the same day and then I sat home biting my nails while I waited for the results.

Finally I got a phone call from my midwife letting me know that all my blood tests came back normal. I was relieved to say the least, but I asked for another ultrasound anyway because I still wanted to know the gender.

Luckily I did get another ultrasound done, because we quickly learned that our baby was missing a large chunk of his lower spine and back and this had affected all of his development in the lower half all of his body, resulting in clubbed feet and complete paralyzation below the waist.

The perinatal specialist we saw couldn’t even diagnose our little one because he said that he had never seen a case quite like ours in his 30+ years working in the field. He did, however, make sure we knew very clearly what we were up against. There was no good outcome from this point forward, and after many, many tears and phone calls to family and friends, we decided the best, most compassionate thing to do was to terminate the pregnancy and spare our child a lifetime of physical and emotional pain and suffering.

I gave birth to our stillborn son on June 15. We named him Phoenix Rain: Phoenix to rise from the ashes and rain for the sadness that washed over us when we lost him.

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

Read More: On Losing A Child – A Birth Story About Love, Loss & A Heartbreaking Choice

I was sure at this time that we had endured the worst that 2018 had to throw at us, but the challenges only continued from there.

As we worked to convert our garage at our new home into a laneway house to rent out to help out with the mortgage (a condition of our mortgage, which was now eating up the better part of our single income), we were met with red tape and thousands of dollars of extra expenses at every turn.

The building was literally one centimetre too close to the edge of the property which cost us extra to sort out and have it resurveyed. And we were literally one minute too far from the fire department, which is now going to cost us a few thousand dollars extra to re-side the building in fireproof siding.

These are just two of many examples, but let’s just say that we still haven’t finished that laneway house and we are way over budget because of doing it the legal way and getting all the right permits (which we’ve quickly learned is why most people around here build illegally if they’re not planing on selling). But we’re still determined to do it the right way, so here we are.

 

Related: Home & Garden Tour 2018: Our 1/4-Acre Rancher

 

Then, back in early September, we got the happy news that we were pregnant again! I felt in my heart that it was meant to be, and I even convinced myself that Phoenix was truly an angel who had been holding space for this new baby until it was ready to be conceived.

All somehow felt right with the world again, and we pushed forward with a positive attitude despite the trying year we had had up until then. Until…

In early October, four days after Phoenix was due, I miscarried and lost that baby too.

I took the miscarriage pretty hard after having already lost a baby just months before. So my husband encouraged me to go for counselling. After all, his work insurance plan covered it.

I found a counselling service that sounded great. They incorporated yoga and meditation into their counselling, and this seemed like just what I needed. And while it was great while it lasted, I was shocked when, after making it very clear multiple times that I needed a receipt to submit to insurance (which was guaranteed on their website), my counsellor turned out to not be registered and I was now on the hook for $400 worth of counselling fees that I couldn’t afford.

After a week of fighting and getting all of my legal documents in a row, the owner admitted their fault and refunded our money. It was a struggle, but I was happy to finally get a win after experiencing so much loss and financial headaches throughout this year.

And then, the next day, my husband went off to work in the morning as he usually did and returned home just 45 minutes later with news that he had been let go.

A new manager had started at the hardware store where he worked in October and had already let a number of people go. Still, we were shocked and dismayed that he was being let go just 10 days before Christmas with no other reason from the manager other than that he is “going in a different direction.”

Ryan managed three departments at the store and brought in over a million dollars for the company in the last year alone. He had started in one department and was promoted to managing all three (flooring, kitchens and appliances) about a year ago. He also received a good raise when that happened which is what allowed me to stay home with my daughter after our son died and work on building my blog and -hopefully someday soon- my business. So being let go for seemingly no reason right before what was already a difficult Christmas was definitely a shock, and being given only two weeks of severance pay means that as of yesterday (Dec. 28) we have no more steady income coming in.

Luckily, thanks to his vacation pay, we have a few thousand dollars to help us get by until the end of February if we are extremely careful and don’t stray from our very strict budget at all, but needless to say we are ending 2018 on a stressful note and we are definitely ready for this year to be over.

 

All Dark Clouds Have A Silver Lining

As hard as this past year has been though, and as terrifyingly uncertain as our future seems right now, we are hopeful and excited and, most importantly, more determined than ever to make 2019 the year that we rise above the hardships and achieve all of our goals.

Because if this year has taught me anything, it’s that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I actually have a quote written on my whiteboard in my office. I can’t remember who said it, but it says that “storms make trees take deeper roots.” I have it written in big, bold writing to remind myself to stand tall and grounded, well-rooted but also flexible like a tree in a storm. And if we can just make it through, the storm will eventually pass.

 

Related: Thoughts On the Seasons Of Life

 

I’ve also been visualizing wave after wave headed straight for me, and then I dive under the water as the waves barrel over top of me, the way surfers do when they’re trying to get past the surf. This, some focused breathing and remembering my original resolution to cultivate peace in 2018 has really been helping me to keep going even when all seems hopeless. I know that if I just keep pushing forward, even when I’m exhausted and want to give up, eventually I’ll be able to relax in calmer waters. Things will start to get easier, eventually. They just have to if we work hard enough, right? Isn’t that the American dream we all believe in?

But right now we’re in the storm, and there seem to be rogue waves heading straight for us every time we pop up long enough to catch our breath. And so we have a choice to make: Keep fighting or give up and drown.

On the bright side, all of the challenges we’ve faced together have actually brought Ryan and I closer together, and they’ve forced us to become stronger and more resourceful and self-reliant because we’ve had to be.

I’m also more grateful than ever for our daughter and for our close family and friends who have been there to support us (because we all need love and community, especially during hard times).

2018 was a hard year. We struggled and faced so many setbacks and hardships. But we're moving forward with big goals in 2019, because that's how winning is done. #newyearsresolutions #2019resolutions #howtosurvivehardtimes #goalsetting #2019goalsetting

And finally, I’m grateful for for all of the good things in our life, including all of the food and provisions we put up earlier in the year that are helping to carry us through hard times. In fact, in some ways I feel like I’ve been preparing for this exact situation we’ve found ourselves in, and I’m so thankful now more than ever that we do things like grow and put up food to last us into the winter, or to sit on our shelves for emergencies just like this. It certainly helps to ease the financial burden when you’ve got a well-stocked pantry!

And, at the end of the day, I know that despite everything else, sticking together as a family is the most important thing.

That being said, I am determined to keep a roof -this roof- over our heads this year if it’s the last thing we do. We’ve worked too hard to get this home and to turn it into a beautiful space. It’s been our sanctuary through all of the turmoil and quite honestly, I’ll be damned if we don’t hold onto it with everything we’ve got.

 

Where We Go From Here

The misfortunes of 2018 have lit a fire under our butts that is going to make us unstoppable in 2019, because now our backs are against a wall and we have no choice but to rise above it all. Well, I guess we could lay down and give up…

I could quit writing and blogging about homesteading (something that has yet to pay a full-time income, but that motivates me to get up and work hard every single day because I LOVE what I’m doing). I could go back to my underpaid, under-appreciated teacher job or back to waitressing at a local bar to make ends meet.

Ryan could find a mediocre job in our little town that helps us pay the bills (nothing that compares to what he was doing is even available at the moment).

I could go forward fearing future pregnancies and continuing to put my own health and wellbeing on the back burner as I continue to go through my days anxious, exhausted, gaining weight and feeling more and more uncomfortable as the stress and overwhelm continues to mount.

And then we could lose our jobs again and any sense of security we had left would be gone once more.

But no. Not this time. We are more determined than ever to hit the ground running in 2019, and to push forward no matter what life throws at us. We want more than ever to become as self-sufficient as possible, and that means we want to earn our own way through life through doing work that truly inspires us and that we can’t get fired, laid off or put on sick leave from, because we’ve both decided to go into business for ourselves.

Isn’t that the strange truth? Back in the day, you got a job working for someone else because there was more security in that than there was working for yourself. Today it seems the opposite is true in many cases.

So one of our big, HUGE goals for 2019 is to forge ahead with our own businesses. I’ve always loved writing and have dreamed of writing books since I was a little girl, so I’ve decided there’s no better time than now to grab that dream and go for it. I’ve already got a plan for my first ebook and will be going hard to get it together over the next month or so. I’ve scheduled time every single day to work on it, because I owe it to myself to see that goal through.

And I want to build this little blog into a full-time income-earning business. I did the numbers yesterday, and I lost about $1,500 building and running this blog last year. But I’m going into my third year now and I feel momentum picking up. Yes, this year will be different. This is the year I make this little blog of mine help to pay our bills, because I simply won’t accept the alternative. Not when this is what I feel called so deeply to do.

I know in my heart that I was called to write. Why? I’m not completely sure of that yet. But I know I was gifted with this ability so that I could use it for good, and I’m going to do that any way that I can. Even if it’s just sharing recipes and helping others to learn new skills and hoping that maybe someday someone else will benefit from the wisdom I’m able to share about the big life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

As for Ryan, he’s felt under-appreciated working for other people for a long time, and this is finally the push he needed to go out on his own. He’s already got a business plan to start a handyman service (something he’s wanted to do for years), and with the skill set and natural talent he has in his hands, the tools in his work shed and the business know-how from years working as a manager in the building industry, he has all the right stuff to make it work.

Still, it’s terrifying to be without an income while we push forward with our dreams with no guarantee we’ll make enough to cover our mortgage payments by the time our savings run out. But the upside to weathering the storms that we have is that we know we are strong and have what it takes to make our dreams come true if we just dig in and stay laser focused. And to trust our journey, because I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason, and that this is but a chapter in the story of our lives.

That being said, I decided to make some other HUGE goals for 2019, because this is the year we go big or go home!

 

Other Goals for 2019

Aside from writing a book, turning my humble little blog into a full time business, getting through the hard times and keeping up with our mortgage payments AND paying off all of our non-mortgage debt by December 2019, aside from all those lofty, perhaps even overambitious goals, I have also made a goal of losing 50 pounds and getting back down to my pre-baby weight.

I’ve struggled with my weight ever since our first daughter was born, but the pregnancies, losses and stress of 2018 really did a number on how I feel in my own skin. I’m tired, overweight and some days, quite honestly, I feel like I’m 100 years old. I can definitely see and feel the toll that the last few years (2018 in particular) have taken on my physical body, and since I’m determined not to allow life’s misfortunes to rob me of my spirit, I’ve decided I’m not going to let them rob me of my health either.

 

Related: Cultivating Peace & Other New Year’s Resolutions

 

As you probably know, I’m a huge advocate of eating real, whole, healthy, from-scratch organic foods, so I can’t exactly cut out many processed foods (although I’m not perfect and I do grab a burger or a processed freezer meal here and there). But I do have a weak spot for dairy, sugar and carbs that I need to get in check this coming year.

My focus when it comes to food is to choose more fruits and veggies and less breads, sweets and creamy sauces. Of course, with our financial situation, I also need to keep our grocery bill to a minimum, so I’ll be focusing on frugal but healthy meals heading into the new year (with a few little indulgences here and there;)

Fitness is where the real changes need to be made. I haven’t committed to a regular fitness routine since I was seeing a personal trainer and was in the best shape ever before we got married over 4 years ago. Life got busy immediately after we tied the knot and blocking out time every week to exercise ceased to be a priority.

But I know that it’s important now more than ever to get back into shape and work hard to shed fat, gain muscle and strengthen my mind and body through the discipline of scheduled workouts and sticking to a healthy eating plan. Not only is this the year that we’ve decided we are going to crush our goals no matter what, but with so little security in our lives and no extended health insurance through an employer anymore, the last thing we need is to get sick or injure. That could be the nail in our coffin! So it’s important to stay on top of our health right now.

As we forge ahead, determined to make our own way and to continue down the path of self-sufficiency, I recognize that taking full responsibility for my own health and fitness is perhaps the most important thing I can do to become more self-reliant and better able to care for my family. That and creating a source of income out of a business I’ve had the privilege to build with my own hands from the ground up; One that I can never get let go from because I am my own boss. Ha!

And that’s what I say to life. Ha! You thought you had us. You knocked us to our knees more than once this year alone, and you may very well knock us down again. But every time we get knocked down, we will get back up again and work even harder.

That famous quote from Rocky keeps playing over and over again in my head:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

This is the year we will win. This is the year we redefine what it means to be self-sufficient in today’s world. This is the year we create a life we love on our own terms. This is the year that we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! 

Yes, we have lofty, terrifyingly huge goals for 2019. But as one blogger I follow often says, “if your goals don’t scare you, they’re probably not big enough.”

I hope that this is the year that you set big scary goals for yourself too. I hope that, if nothing else, my words have inspired you to get up and commit to keep moving forward, no matter how hard you get hit, no matter how many times you get knocked down.

This is the year we get up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward no matter what. Because that’s how winning is done.

Will you join me?

What are your goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. Maybe we even have similar goals! Drop me a note in the comments to let me know what you’re working towards in 2019.

Wishing you health, wealth and new beginnings,

I'm a modern homesteader on a mission to transform our house into a safe, sustainable, self-reliant sanctuary and to help you create, grow and live a good life by transforming your house into a thriving homestead too!

 

 

 

 


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8 Comments

  1. Danni

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve just found your site (via EBA) and am really loving it.

    This post especially really hit home for me. I’ve lost 2 of my own and know the pain that brings and 2019 for us was just as painful as that, albeit in different ways. The big takeout for me was knowing that although it’s hard, keeping optimistic and looking after ourselves (especially as women and mothers) is vitally important to our own well-being, as well as that of the families we support. I actually just summed that up when talking about our last (and not very fabulous 2019 year).

    If you are interested it would be great if you had a chance to check it out here: http://www.thedailyauthentic.com/why-you-need-to-be-the-most-important-person-in-your-life/

    I truly hope your 2020 year brings you and your family every success (and also for me!).

    Looking forward to learning more from you!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Danni,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your babies:( I agree though: attitude is everything. We can’t control everything or choose everything that happens to us, but we can choose how to react and how to move forward.

      All the best for 2020. I’ll definitely check out your blog:)

      Anna

      Reply
  2. Angharad

    Awe girl, I’m so sorry for your families loss. Sending you love & best of luck for this years goals from New Zealand. Angharad xx

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks Angharad,,

      We’re just going through a rough patch. I know things will get better soon (I hope!) It can be difficult and disheartening when you work really hard and still it seems that everything falls apart. But I believe with all my being that everything happens for a reason and I have faith that things will all work out and then we’ll look back at this time in our lives and actually be thankful for what came out of it.

      All the best,
      Anna

      Reply
  3. Jane Allan

    Anna you and Ryan really had a horrid 2018. I am praying that 2019 is so much better for you.
    I understand how the miscarriage can bring you down. You were carrying a little life and then you’re not. You weren’t showing that you were pregnant and many people just dont understand your grief. You didn’t have anything to hold to grieve over. I have never had to make the decision you made for little Pheonix but I have had miscarriages. I was able to get pregnant very easily but I found it hard to keep the baby. I know the trepidation that you feel when you first get pregnant again. I wish you a wonderful pregnancy in 2019, with a precious child waiting to be welcomed by a Mummy, Daddy and big sister, who will love it completely.

    May 2019 bring you joy and happiness. May it bring you success in your business goal and endeavours. Much love to you all.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I’m some ways, the miscarriage was even harder than losing our son before. At least when we lost him we had lots of support and family and nurses and doctors around. When I miscarried I was all alone aside from my husband, who came home from work just as it was happening. It has been a trying year to say the least, but I know that this too shall pass.

      To a better 2019 for all of us. It’s time.

      Anna

      Reply
  4. Jess

    As usual, your post hits close to home.
    My heart breaks for you, Ana, but it also sings your praises. You are strong and resilient.
    Our goals this year are to save save save. My husband, too, wants to go into business for himself, however, we have the luxury of planning for it. We are also working to grow our food production in our yard. Pending we don’t have any bonkers medical issues this year (last years was breaking up a feral cat fight with my dogs which sent me to the hospital for rabies treatment, resulting in close to 3k in medical bills.) We will be putting in shade beds, fruit trees, and a Pizza Garden for my little guy. I’ll also be getting a rhubarb plant from a friend so I can drown myself in rhubarb-a-que sauce 😉 and just in general being more self sufficient and budget conscious.
    My personal goals are to focus more on myself. I’ve struggled with anxiety since Jack was born(right around the time your little girl was born) and I struggle to love myself. I’ve gained so much weight and it just keeps going. Makes it hard.
    I’d also like to re-learn to sew! And maybe crochet…but I’ve been saying that for the last 2 years so….
    Happy new year ana! Good riddance to 2018!
    Xox
    Jess

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Awe, thanks Jess. You know, I actually feel that the crappy things that happen to us in life are actually blessings. They’re the things that force us to learn and grow and show ourselves what we’re made of. I’m actually really truly grateful for everything we’ve been through because I believe with all of my being that it’s part of a bigger story that’s just not finished yet. We still get to decide how it ends.
      That is so awesome that you’ve got such ambitious goals for the new year! I always say that if you shoot for the moon, even if you kiss you’ll land among the stars.
      Set the bar high. It’s definitely not easy (especially with young children and debt and extra weight… I know all about all of those things). But it is possible. And that’s all that matters.
      All the best for 2019.
      Anna

      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?

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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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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/

#pumpkinspice #psl #homemadetastesbetter #falldrinks
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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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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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