How to Homestead with Kids


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How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.First off, let me preface this by saying that this is not a philosophical article about how to raise children on a homestead or how to teach them to be self-reliant little homesteaders themselves. While these are important topics, I’ve seen them addressed before.

What I haven’t found a ton of information on is how to actually run a successful house and homestead while simultaneously raising and caring for tiny humans and (hopefully) maintain some level of sanity at the same time. 

While older children can help out with the daily to-do list and seasonal chores, little ones demand constant attention. Some days you’re lucky to get a shower in or the laundry done, let alone preserve a run of green beans or even cook a homemade meal.

So how does a momma raise her babes, run a household, grow a garden, raise livestock, cook from scratch, preserve food and work a job at the same time? Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out.

Let me just say right now that I am nooo expert on this. I only have one child under a year old at the moment, I grow a small veggie garden and I have a few house pets. I am nowhere NEAR the level of supermom that some women seem to be, homesteader or not. But I am in the trenches with every other momma out there. 

I know first-hand how difficult it can be to feel like a failure at the end of a long, hard day when none of your best laid plans came to fruition. I know what it’s like to wake up with a sunny outlook and a can-do attitude, only to feel defeated by the time bedtime rolls around and last night’s dinner dishes are still on the counter. I also know what it’s like to wake up exhausted and wonder how you will ever accomplish any of your bigger goals when you’re mustering all your energy just to get your kiddos fed and clothed. 

I’ve had my share of difficult days, and I have no doubt there will be many more to come. But I know that if I’m going to live this lifestyle that I’m so passionate about, I need to find ways to cope on the bad days and thrive on the good. Luckily I have a few go-to strategies I’ve developed for dealing with the overwhelm. 

While I still have mini mental breakdowns more often than I like to admit, these tools have helped me accomplish my goals and see the bigger picture on more than one occasion. Whether you’re a homesteader, a homemaker, a working mom or all of the above, I’m sure you will find at least some of the following useful as well. Of course, if you already have a system that works for you, I highly encourage you to share it with the rest of us in the comments section below! Lord knows we can all use any help we can get;)

 

1. Remember, your kids are your most important crop

How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.This is the mantra I repeat to myself whenever I’m feeling as if my kid is taking up 100% of my time and everything else around me is crumbling. When the dishes are piled high; When there’s not a clean pair of underwear to be found in the house; When the weeds are out of control and the fruit is rotting off the vine…

I tend to get pretty frazzled and even depressed when I feel like I’m not checking off all the things on my to-do list. I get especially upset if I don’t get around to something that’s time sensitive, like sowing a crop or preserving a portion of the harvest. I have been in tears a couple times, stuck on the couch nursing my baby girl and secretly resenting her a little bit for robbing me of the time and energy I need to do all the other important work that needs to get done. But then I remind myself that she is the main reason I do all of this to begin with. 

I want to raise my child (and eventually children), on healthy, organic food grown at home. I want her to know where her food comes from and appreciate the effort that goes into growing, harvesting and preserving it. I want to create a safe, warm and comforting home environment for her. But most of all, I want her to feel loved -always and unconditionally- so that she grows into a well-rounded, confident, self-assured, compassionate human being.

So when all else seems to be falling by the wayside and when I want to break down because the bugs are feasting on the tomatoes that we should be feasting on if only I could make it out to the greenhouse… I remind myself that tomatoes will come again next year. I’ll have a chance to do them right again someday. But I only get one chance with my child. She is always the most important thing I am growing. So even if all of my effort is going into raising her and nothing else, that’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

2. Learn to prioritize

Prioritizing. It sounds so simple -and it is really- but so many people struggle to “crack the code.” After all, how do you decide what’s most important when everything seems important? 

I’ve struggled with prioritization my whole life, but I’m getting better. Like I said, if nothing else gets done and all I do is tend to my child some days, it helps me feel better when I remind myself that she is my biggest priority. Putting her at the very top of my list means that even if nothing else gets done, I sleep more soundly knowing that the most important thing in my life is taken care of. 

After my daughter comes all the other important things in my life. My animals rank second because they depend on me, so making sure they are fed and taken care of is a daily priority that needs to be tended to. Then, depending on the day, I may prioritize my work as a teacher, growing my blog, being especially available to support my husband, other family or social commitments, getting housework done, getting seeds planted or canning food that’s in season. 

My priorities change depending on the day and the season, and so will yours. The important thing is that you narrow down your list to a manageable and realistic number of “must-do” tasks. Usually I find that 3 to 5 must-do tasks are the most I can schedule for any one day, especially because I’m never quite sure how demanding my role as mother will be on any given day. Once I accomplish my must-do list, anything else I get done is a bonus. 

Before I prioritized my to-do list this way, I pretty much always felt like a failure because I would never get through my entire list of 25 things I somehow figured I could get done in the day. But prioritizing has helped me feel like I am actually getting extra things done whenever I get through my must-dos and tackle any of my want-to-dos. And getting extra done is always a confidence boost!

 

3. Manage your time wisely

Ah, time management: another one of life’s Rubik’s Cubes. It also goes hand-in-hand with prioritization. After all, you can write out a great list with focused priorities, but if you don’t schedule the time to do them, how and when will they get done?

How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.

I have read about time-blocking on several occasions, and I actually used this method to manage my daily to-do list well before I ever heard of anyone else using it. It is highly effective if used correctly, and is really straightforward. All you need to do is assign the tasks on your to-do list to particular times of the day. For example, my list might look something like this:

  • Spend quality time with Evelyn
  • Prepare for art lesson (I’m a teacher)
  • Water garden
  • Do laundry
  • Dishes
  • Write article for blog
  • Cook dinner

Now this is that same list written out using the time-blocking method:

7:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

– Morning routine (water garden, feed animals, feed Evelyn breakfast)

– Spend quality time with Evelyn / Go for a hike / Play outside / etc.

12:00 – 2:30 p.m. 

– Nap time

– Write / Work on Blog

2:30 – 5:00 p.m.   

– Laundry

– Tidy House

– Dinner Prep

5:00 – 8:00 p.m.   

– Ryan home / Daddy-daughter time

– Cook dinner

– Evelyn: dinner and bath (Ryan)

8:00 – 8:30 p.m.   

– Bedtime routine (story, nurse, bed)

8:30 – 11:00 p.m. 

– Prepare for art lesson

– Do dinner dishes 

– Fold laundry

– Write out plan for following day

11:00 – 7:00 a.m.  

– Zzzzzzz 

By blocking out sections of time to accomplish each task, I’m more likely to actually get everything done and less likely to feel guilty about the things I’m not doing when it’s not the time to do them. I also find that I am more specific and really think about each action step I need to take, which helps me know exactly what I need to do.

I have found that having a child means I need to be flexible with this schedule. Sometimes Evelyn is up crying at 4 a.m., which means our day might start much earlier. Sometimes she sleeps in which means I may get a jumpstart on daily tasks. Sometimes nap time just doesn’t happen on schedule (or at all on really bad days). Some days, though, I get an extra hour of nap time!

Because I need to work around my daughter, I now use the time-blocking method to schedule my “ideal day.” If nap time doesn’t happen I do my best to accomplish whatever was on the list for that time slot with Evelyn awake. If it’s just not possible, I decide if I can let it slide until the next day or if I can rearrange the rest of my day to accommodate it. 

Parenting is a constant juggling act, and it’s no different when it comes to time-management. But having a plan in place helps save a lot of time that might otherwise be spent on unfocused multi-tasking. It also helps take the guesswork out of trying to decide what to do or how to make the most of a given time slot.

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4. Create a routine that works

When I first became a mother, I didn’t really believe in having a set routine. I fed on demand (I’ll feed her when she’s hungry), I never scheduled a nap (I’ll put her down when she’s sleepy), and bedtime was anywhere from about 7:00 to 9:00 depending on how tired she seemed and how our evening was going.

On the contrary, a good friend of mine had a completely different parenting philosophy. She believed in creating strict routines for her child and swore by a book by Tizzie Hall called Save Our Sleep.

She sent me a copy and I read a couple chapters, but I still didn’t believe in it. After all, this friend is very different than I am. She is a career woman who makes management seem like an art form. Not me though. I’m more laid back. I go with the flow. My family is different.

Well, after about 7 months of exhaustion and never being able to plan anything because I couldn’t predict our daily schedule, I decided to adopt a stricter routine. In the book, Hall talks about the magic hour of 7:00 for bedtime.

I had always thought that 7:00 was way too early and that there was no way that Evelyn would sleep until morning if she went to bed that early. But when our friends came for a visit and I saw first-hand how they implemented the 7:00 bedtime routine (and how their daughter slept through the night), I decided to adopt the practice.

Evelyn began sleeping through the night most immediately, and even better, so did we! Now that we’re rolling into summer and the days are getting longer (and staying lighter later), we tend to put her down a little later. While we don’t always get her to bed at the same time, we do follow through with a bedtime routine that is the same every night: mom or dad gets her changed, I read her a story and nurse her and then put her down. Now that she is accustomed to sleeping through the night, this bedtime routine is enough to get her down and ensure a full night’s sleep for everyone.

When it comes to a routine, how strict you are and how you schedule your daily routine will vary depending on what works best for you and your family. But I do highly recommend having some sort of routine in place. Not only is it good for momma, it’s good for baby too as routines make children feel more secure.

You can order a copy of Save Our Sleep here. It might just save your time and your sanity too!

 

5. Wake up early

Speaking of sleep, while it is important for both mama and the kiddos to get enough sleep and face each day well-rested and ready for anything, I can’t tell you how much more I get done when I get up even an hour before my kid.

I am actually pretty lucky. Right now it’s 7:30 a.m. as I write this and Evelyn is still asleep. She tends to sleep until about 8 or 8:30 most days, so that allows me the opportunity to get up and have some time to myself before life starts revolving around her. I have time to get a jumpstart on the day and start knocking off things on my to-do list at breakneck speed before she stirs. Well, maybe not breakneck speed, but that’s pretty much what it feels like compared to the stop-and-start nature of getting through my list while she’s awake!

Waking up early also means that I have quiet time to focus on tasks that require more of my attention, like working on my blog. And it allows me the chance to get out in the garden without worrying about little hands getting in the way or about keeping one eye on her at all times. I can just focus on the task at hand, and maybe even get to enjoy some of those daily chores.

 

6. Jump on the baby-wearing bandwagon

If you’re a mom in this day and age, you probably know about the many baby-wearing options available to you and your little bub. There’s the front carrier, back carrier or front, side and back carrier. There are also various styles of wraps and slings that you can bundle your little one in and wear. And of course there are many different brands and price ranges available to everyone. 

Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.

Personally I use the Ergobaby brand carrier with a front, side and back carry option. I really like the front facing-out option best and so does my little one. It’s good for going on hikes and for simple homestead tasks like collecting eggs or pruning tomatoes. But it’s not great for anything that involves bending or tasks like cooking where little hands can reach out and touch hot or sharp things. 

The back carry is much better for things like cooking, gardening and other more involved tasks. The downside is that your baby has to be a certain size to use the back carry option. It can also be a bit fussy to get on, although it gets easier with practice. Last, it does get a bit taxing to do a lot of bending or squatting (think planting and pulling weeds) with a baby on your back. But it’s much easier than doing everything with one hand because the other one is carrying baby!

I know many moms who are die-hard baby wearers and swear by it to get anything done. Personally I prefer not to have the extra weight when doing chores that are already pretty physical, but if need be it is a great option and has freed my hands up more than once. I have tried a few different styles and brands and the Ergobaby is my favourite as I find it the most comfortable and easiest to use. But if you’re not sure I’d recommend popping into a shop and trying a few on first to see what you like best.

 

7. Get a set of wheels

Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.Baby-wearing is great and all, but it does get hard on you after a while, especially when you’re doing labour-intensive outdoor chores like weeding. We recently got a little red wagon that has been a game-changer in the garden. 

Aside from being an easy way to transport your little one(s) without the strain on your back, even my squirrelly baby girl tends to stay put in the wagon with a few toys (or mom’s gardening supplies) instead of getting into mischief. 

While I do like to involve her in gardening and other tasks as much as possible, I can only handle little hands ripping plants out of the ground so much before I want to snap. If I put her on a blanket with toys she’s gone in an instant. But there’s something about the wagon that keeps her content. Maybe it’s the sides and the height of it off the ground: she knows she can’t just crawl away. Whatever it is, it’s been working so far. Not to mention it’s a ton of fun for both of us. She absolutely adores when I pull her around in it (especially when I pick up speed!) And I love watching her have fun (and I get a bit of cardio in too:)

We got our wagon from a local artisan market, but you can find similar ones like this on Amazon. 

 

8. Be a prepper in all that you do

When you think of prepping, you might think more of prepping for some major disaster or doomsday scenario. But prepping can be done on a much smaller scale that can benefit us in our daily lives as well. Life is always easier when we’re prepared for what comes our way, whether it be the apocalypse or a fussy baby (which can feel like the apocalypse).

I don’t know about you, but nothing stresses me out more than when I am running late, trying to shove everything I need in the diaper bag and struggling to get out the door. Or when I miss an appointment or forget something important at the store because I couldn’t keep it all straight in my head. Or when it’s almost 7 p.m. and I haven’t eaten since breakfast and still don’t know what to make for dinner. I am much more at ease -and life seems to go more smoothly- when everything I need for the day is ready to go.

Meal prep has been one of the biggest game changers when I have been able to successfully pull it off. I’m learning to cook large enough batches of food that there is enough for dinner, leftovers for lunch the next day and enough leftover to freeze.

Prepping extends beyond the kitchen though. Having things like the diaper bag packed up and ready to go is a real time saver when we’re trying to get out the door. Not to mention, if there is an emergency or a disaster, having the diaper bag packed with everything we need is akin to having a baby bug-out bag ready to go at all times. 

Writing things down is also a huge help and can help clear my head when I’m trying to keep track of everything I need to do. Marking all our appointments down on a calendar, as well as important dates for tasks (like when certain seeds need to be sown) helps me make sure I don’t miss anything important.

 

9. Know it’s okay not to cook from scratch (or at all) some days 

One of the pillars of homesteading is cooking from scratch and using healthy, natural ingredients, preferably ones that you grew yourself from seeds that you saved. Ya, well that’s just not reality all the time, especially if you’re a mom. 

I have suffered from homesteader/mom guilt more than once when I’ve caved and ordered a pizza because I’m starving and haven’t had a chance to cook. Or even worse, when I’ve driven through McDonald’s because I have a sleeping child while running errands and can’t get out of my car. (It makes me cringe just typing that).

How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.

While I try my best to cook from scratch at home most of the time and prep meals ahead of time, some days that’s just not possible. It’s on these days that I truly wonder how the pioneer women did it: 9 kids and no modern conveniences or even freezers to help with meal prepping? The simple life definitely wasn’t so simple back then!

But today we do have these modern conveniences, and even though a huge reason why I am pursuing this lifestyle is to eat healthy, homemade food and stay away from processed fast food, some days it’s just better to eat something than not eat at all.

I’m getting better at accepting that this is just a fact of life right now, and that it doesn’t make me a fraud. I can only do so much in a day, and as much as I try to stay true to the “make it from scratch” and “make do or do without” philosophies inherent with homesteading, I’ve accepted that I’m only human. Not cooking every meal from scratch (or growing all your own food or making all your own home-cleaning products or sewing all your clothes) does not make you any less of a homesteader. It makes you human too, and most likely a very busy mom!

 

10. Involve your kids as much as possible (even if it takes 10x as long)

So you’re already pressed for time; Maybe you’re trying to get your livestock fed, collect the eggs, weed and water the garden, cook dinner and do a load of laundry all at once. The last thing you might want to deal with is taking the time to involve your little one in each of these chores, right? On the contrary, the more time you take up front to normalize and teach your child how to do all those household chores, the more help you will have down the road. 

How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.

If your child isn’t old enough to help out (like mine), at least let them be a part of it so they develop an understanding and appreciation for the lifestyle you are living. Let them play in the dirt and take time out to show them the critters in the garden, feed them a fresh strawberry off the vine or let them see your pot of soup bubbling away on the stovetop. Explain to them what you are doing and let them watch, listen, touch, feel and taste as much as possible.

If your children are old enough to help, let them! Although teaching young children to do anything methodical can be a slow and painful process, but it is well worth the time and effort it takes up front. Think of it as an investment in their (and your) future.

The more time you invest involving them in all the daily tasks that need being done and then teaching them how to do them, the more time you will gain in the future as they grow into helpful, capable, contributing members of the family. Not to mention, you are teaching them valuable self-sufficiency skills, instilling a great work ethic and creating all sorts of unique, teachable moments that will benefit them in many ways throughout their lives.

If you can, take the time to involve your child(ren) in your daily tasks right from the start. Although they’re not capable of learning to help when they’re just babies, simply exposing them to the chores that need being done -and the skills needed to do them- lays the foundation for learning later on.

 

11. Seek out a support system

We have all heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but in today’s world, moms are on their own more often than not. Many women don’t even have family or close friends nearby. And how many people even know their neighbours anymore?

By and large, we have lost the tight-knit sense of community that we used to have when you could borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbour, or when you could rely on family and close friends to help with your kids on a regular basis.

Nowadays it seems that the more we connect online, the less we connect in person. And while having an online community for support is a great idea, it doesn’t compare to having real live support from friends, family, neighbours and others in your community.

Perhaps you’re dealing with a colicky baby or a tantrum-throwing toddler and you need some advice, some time away from the screaming to tackle other tasks, or maybe just a well-deserved break. Having someone close by who you can call on to help out can relieve a lot of the stress and pressure and free up some time that might otherwise be spent wanting to rip your hair out.

Seek out a support system and come up with a list of at least 3 people you can call on if you need them to help out with your little one (or maybe even help with your housework). Of course you should start with your immediate family and close friends, but establishing good relationships with neighbours is another great step toward broadening your support system. 

You can also seek out community support as many towns and cities have free resources and support groups for moms. I have met many of my “mom friends” through free public mom and baby groups and I know I can rely on them -and visa versa- if I need a helping hand.

 

12. Breathe 

How to Homestead with Kids | Homesteading ain't easy. Homesteading with kids is harder. Here are 10 tips to help you get it all done.Running a household is a ton of work. There is always cleaning to be done, meals to be made and appointments to attend. Running a homestead easily doubles or triples the work that needs to be done at home.

Depending on the size and scale of your homestead, you may have seeds to sow, plants to grow, soil to amend, weeds to pull, fruit to pick, veggies to harvest, livestock to raise, eggs to collect, animals to butcher, firewood to chop, clothing to sew, food to preserve, bread to bake, cows to milk, cleaning products to make and on and on and on… If you work outside the home too, you may literally not have enough hours in the day to do it all.

If you let it, your to-do list can consume you. But remember that no matter how hard you work, there will always be something more to do.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done, but sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and take a deep breath. Take 5 minutes (or more) to just enjoy where you’re at.

Revel in your accomplishments and in this life you are creating for yourself and your family. And take time just to watch your little ones and spend time interacting with them. They won’t stay this age for long, and you won’t be here forever. And you’ll never regret any time you put off work to spend with your family. That is, after all, what makes life worth living.

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3 Comments

  1. Diana

    Hey Anna! I love this post! I’ve got two kids under two 10 acres, chickens cows a massive garden and this years new orchard. Life is great, but oh so busy and full. I’m also a teacher on Vancouver island and blogging about homesteading 🙂 so happy I found your blog! Happy homesteading !

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Loved reading about your homestead life sounded very busy but a relaxing read for me . A British pensioner wishing she could begin all over again, thinking about some of your winter actives to do this winter.

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        Hi Diana! So glad you’re enjoying the blog! We’re in the middle of all of our summer activities right now, but if I’m being honest, the winter activities are some of my favourites:)

        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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Winter often gets a bad rap for being the coldest, darkest, dreariest season of the year, when life as we knew it in the summer ceases to exist.

But winter offers us a much-needed reprieve from the busy-ness of the rest of the year;

A time to slow down, rest, reflect and dream;

A time to give ourselves over to the projects, hobbies, crafts and activities that we just don’t seem to have time for the rest of the year;

A time to devour books, soak up knowledge, learn new skills and sharpen old ones.

The winter issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine showcases just a few of the many unique activities, projects and opportunities that this season affords us the time to immerse ourselves in.

Here’s what you’ll find in this issue:

✨ Inspiration and ideas to help you make the most of winter on the homestead
🌱 The many ways to put a greenhouse to use all year long
🥂Homemaking tips for the holidays (and beyond!) with Homemaker Chic podcast hosts Shaye Elliott & Angela Reed
🍴Holiday recipes & comfort foods, featuring Honey Taffy, Mulled Wine and Winter Squash
🪵 Winter woodworking tutorials with The Humble Handyman and Anne of All Trades
❄️ And more!!!

To read the full issue AND get instant access to our entire library of past issues (26 value-packed issues and counting!), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

P.S. When you subscribe during the month of December, you’ll also get a coupon code for a free one-year subscription that you can gift to someone you love!

Give the gift of self-sufficiency this Christmas —> https://modernhomesteadingmagazine.com
...

We’re all familiar with eggnog, but have you ever wondered what “nog” is anyway, or how this decadent holiday drink came to be?

The general consensus is that eggnog originated in England in the 17th Century and was made with eggs, milk and some sort of alcohol (aka. “nog”).

It may have even been enjoyed earlier than this, as a similar beverage called posset (a hot, milky, ale-based drink) has origins dating back to the 13th century.

As I was researching this topic, I found at least one source that claims eggnog was created by mixing alcohol with eggs and milk earlier in the season when egg and milk production was at a high. The alcohol was used to preserve the dairy products so that they could be consumed during the winter months when egg and milk production was low.

It was originally made with sherry or brandy, but when eggnog reached America it was typically spiked with rum because rum was easier to come by. Eventually some people started substituting American whiskey.

Nowadays we can drink eggnog with or without alcohol, but traditionally eggnog was always an alcoholic drink that wealthy folks (who could afford milk and eggs and alcohol) would use to toast to their prosperity.

Eggnog has remained a favourite beverage around Christmas time; One that most of us are accustomed to buying in a carton from the grocery store. But like most processed foods, store-bought eggnog is often loaded with additives like high fructose corn syrup and thickeners.

This holiday season, why not make your own eggnog instead?

All you need are fresh eggs, milk, cream, sugar and a little nutmeg (and an optional cinnamon stick) to garnish.

If eggnog is on your list of holiday must-haves but you’d rather avoid the processed grocery store stuff and make your own with fresh ingredients, you can grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or by visiting https://thehouseandhomestead.com/old-fashioned-homemade-eggnog-recipe/

What’s your position on eggnog? Do you love it or hate it? And if you spike it with alcohol, what alcohol do you prefer?
...

One of the things I love MOST about homesteading is that it empowers us to become producers of goods rather than merely consumers.

It allows us to become less dependent on outside sources to provide for us because we can provide for ourselves.

But that doesn't mean we don't need any outside help or resources ever when we're striving to become more self-sufficient. In fact, it's even more important that we have the right tools, equipment and resources on hand so that we can be more self-sufficient and consume less overall.

Every year around this time, I compile a list of my favourite things: Things that I love and use on a regular basis, and things that I know other modern homesteaders will love too!

This year I've narrowed it down to my top 10 favourite things; Things I've been using for long enough now that I know they're a great investment and I can feel confident recommending them to others.

For the most part, these are things you're going to buy once and never have to replace.

I put a lot of thought into this year's list, made some ruthless cuts to last year's list and added a couple new things I've come to love over the past 12 months.

If you're looking to invest your money rather than waste it this holiday season –whether you're taking advantage of sales for yourself or looking to buy for others on your list– you have my personal guarantee that the items on this year's favourite things list are well worth the money.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/favourite-things/ to check out the full list if you’re looking for the perfect gift for yourself or for another homesteader on your list, or if you’re just curious to see what we use around our place:)

What are some of your favourite homestead-y things??
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🥧 Wanna know the secret to a perfect, flaky pie crust EVERY TIME??

It all comes down to 3 simple rules…

Rule # 1 - Keep your butter (or lard) as cold as possible.

Freeze it even!

The colder the better when it comes to the fat source in a pie crust because you want the fat to stay solid until it melts in the oven. Then when it does melt, little air pockets will remain in the crust which is what makes it flaky and light (instead of everybody’s least favourite alternative: chewy and dense).

Rule # 2 - Keep the fat content as high as possible.

Fat equals flavour, and also helps keep the crust light and flaky.

Consider using whole fat milk instead of water, along with your butter or lard.

Rule # 3 - Don’t overwork your dough.

Unlike bread, pie crust should not be kneaded and should actually be handled as little as possible.

The more you work your dough, the more gluten strands will form, and which is what makes bread (and sadly some pie crusts) chewy.

Work your dough only as much as necessary to form a dough ball before you put it in the fridge to chill. The less you touch it, the lighter, flakier and more delicious your pie crust will be!

At the end of the day, homemade pie crust is almost always better than store-bought, but you’ve gotta follow a few simple rules to knock it outta the park.

I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my own flaky pie crust recipe, which I use for sweet and savoury pies alike.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead for more tips and to get the full printable recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/flaky-pie-crust/

What’s your favourite kind of pie? Answer with an emoji below!

(Mine’s 🍒;)

#pie #homemadepie #thanksgivingrecipes #homesteadkitchen #piefromscratch #fromscratch
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The worst part about every holiday dinner is being stuck in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is just enjoying each other’s company.

The second worst part is store-bought cranberry sauce —You know, the kind that makes that oh-so appetizing slurping noise as it slides out of the tin and into the bowl, still shaped like the can it came out of.

Homemade cranberry sauce is stupidly easy to make and tastes SO much better than store-bought. Plus you can add spices to put your own delicious spin on this holiday classic.

While it takes just a few minutes to whip together homemade cranberry sauce on the big day, you can make it ahead of time and either refrigerate it (up to 3 days), freeze it or even can it to enjoy later!

Canning is my favourite method of preservation when it comes to homemade cranberry sauce because I can make it well in advance and I don’t have to worry about remembering to defrost it ahead of time.

Canning it means you’ve always got a jar of made-from-scratch cranberry sauce ready to go in your pantry long before you’re ready to set the table (and trust me, it’s a lot prettier coming out of a Mason jar!)

Plus you can make enough for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas, all in one go, and even keep enough on hand to enjoy mixed into yogurt, oatmeal or over ice cream whenever you like!

Now is the time to start your holiday dinner preparations to ensure you don’t spend all day in the kitchen and get to soak up as much valuable family time as possible.

Yesterday I shared my family recipe for homemade Perogies, which you can make ahead snd freeze. Here’s just one more recipe you can make ahead of time and preserve to make your life easier this holiday season.

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/spiced-homemade-cranberry-sauce/

Have you ever made your own cranberry sauce from scratch, or will this be your first time??

#cranberrysauce #fromscratch #homesteading #homesteadkitchen #canning #preserving #thanksgivingdinner #christmasdinner
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Did you know that the fragrance industry has a stockpile of over 3,100 synthetic chemicals that they use to concoct their signature fragrances?😬

And get this: Because of trade secrets, they’re not even legally required to disclose the list of chemical ingredients in their products! 😱

Luckily, there’s an easy, affordable synthetic-chemical-free alternative…. Make your own DIY home and body sprays with essential oils and all-natural ingredients!

If you wanna learn how, you can check out my DIY Home & Body sprays Masterclass for FREE today only by joining me and a whole bunch of other simple living bloggers for the last day of A Cozy Gathering.

Learn how to create your own all-natural sprays, craft handmade rope coil baskets, cook delicious and nourishing winter soups, make herbal honey infusions and more!

If you’ve already signed up, be sure to check your email for the links to all of today’s presentations!

And if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s not much time left, so click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://bit.ly/307P0cT to sign up and watch for free before it ends tonight!

You also have the option of purchasing lifetime access if you miss it:)

I’ll be making more of these for Christmas gifts this year, along with candles and baskets of goodies from our pantry 😊

Let me know if you’ll be making some too!
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I woke up this morning and it was still dark as night.

The rain was pelting down on our roof and the wind was howling.

Outside it was cold and dreary, but inside I lit my morning candle, turned on the soft white fairy lights we have strung in our kitchen, put a few drops of oil in the diffuser and snuggled back under the blankets with a hot cup of coffee before it was time to “officially” start the day.

I just love this time of year!

I talk a lot about seasonal living, mostly because as a homesteader, you have no choice but to live with the seasons.

You’re either starting seeds and planting in the spring, tending your garden in the summer, preserving in the fall or sitting by the fire in the winter as you eat from the larder full of food you worked so hard to put up the rest of the year, and dreaming about starting all over again in the spring.

Our success as homesteaders really does depend on us changing up our routines and making the most of each season, though this can sometimes feel easier said than done when the weather outside is dark and miserable.

But there’s something magical and deeply nourishing about this time of year, should we choose to embrace it for all it has to offer.

If you’re looking for a little help or inspiration to help you approach the winter months with intention and make this season as cozy, joyous and restful as it can be, I’m so excited to invite you to A Cozy Gathering: a 3-day virtual summit featuring 16 expert speakers, giveaways, and a lifetime’s access to a wealth of information and actionable ideas for simple-living during all four seasons (but especially fall and winter!)

The summit starts on Monday, November 8th and is completely FREE to attend.
OR you can upgrade and get instant, lifetime access to the entire summit, including all of the presentations and exclusive bonuses for just $47 (until Sunday only).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to register for free and save your seat, or purchase instant, lifetime access to A Cozy Gathering!

Tell me, what’s your favourite thing about this time of year??
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We woke up to a killing frost the other day. If you’re a farmer, gardener or homesteader, you know what that means…

It means our days to get everything done outdoors are numbered.

It means we need to make sure the chickens and rabbits have fresh, warm bedding.

It means we need to finish putting the garden to bed, which includes adding a layer of compost and mulch to feed and protect the soil until we’re ready to plant again next spring.

It means tidying up our tools, putting away our hoses and making sure the water’s turned off so it doesn’t freeze.

So much of life as a homesteader is dictated by the weather and the seasons, and while that can often mean a mad scramble to get everything planted, harvested and/or put to bed, there’s something invigorating about every seasonal transition and shift. It gets my adrenaline going!

But it’s still work. Nobody said that the “simple” life would be easy!

But it’s precisely that hard work that makes falling into bed each night so gratifying. It’s the feeling of a day well spent and a job well done.

If you’re looking for some tips on what to do now before the ground freezes solid to make sure you’re ready for winter AND ready to start all over again in the garden next spring, be sure to check out the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, which is full of tips and advice to help you wrap up the growing season and get a head start on the coming months.

As always, a little bit (more) hard work right now will definitely make life easier down the line.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to subscribe and read the latest issue if you haven’t yet, or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #simplelife #selfsufficiency #winteriscoming
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Fact: You can use a cast iron skillet to cook your food, get extra iron in your diet and even to ward off criminals!

These are just a few of the benefits of cooking with cast iron. Wanna know more??

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/7-benefits-of-cooking-with-cast-iron

Do you cook with cast iron? If so, what do you like most about it? Let me know down below!👇

#castiron #castironcooking #homesteadkitchen
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