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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We’re officially halfway through the pantry challenge and we’re into the “messy middle.” This is the point in the challenge when it can start to feel like a bit of a slog, and even if you’re not doing the pantry challenge, you may still be feeling the slog as we hit the mid-January mark, so to spice things up, I’m offering a pretty massive giveaway...

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Well, it was no small task, but I FINALLY got everything in my pantry inventoried, organized and put away.

I wanted to share my process with you too, so if you’re interested in getting a full tour of our pantry and seeing how I organize things, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and check it out on YouTube!

P.S. I know you’re not supposed to stack canning jars as having multiple heavy rows stacked on top of each other can compromise the seal of the jars on the bottom. I avoid stacking when possible, but due to the style of our pantry I have made the conscious choice to stack one row (max) on top of the bottom and always make sure to stack jars of equal or lesser weight on top. And yes, we do have plans to add more shelves soon. Just a disclaimer since I’m sure I’ll get more comments about it;)

Also, be sure to leave a comment and let me know about any pantry organization hacks you use! I’m always looking to improve our system:)
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#homesteadpantrychallenge #homesteadpantry #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity #pantrychallenge #pantrygoals
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Finally got around to taking EVERYTHING out of the pantry today and now getting ready to take inventory.

When everything is buried in the pantry, it can be so easy to forget what you have. That’s why I always recommend taking everything out when starting a pantry challenge so you know exactly what you’ve got. I was feeling like we hadn’t preserved enough food this year to get us through the month, but now that I see everything, I’ve got all sorts of creative ideas for how to use up the abundance of food that we have.

I’m also finding things I didn’t know I had, seeing what I have more than enough of and finding gaps in my food storage. This is one of my favourite reasons for doing a pantry challenge: it’s an excuse to pull everything out and actually see what we’ve got so we know what we’re working with.

In order to keep everything organized, I also created printable pantry, fridge and freezer inventory sheets where I can record everything I’ve got (so it doesn’t get lost at the back of our very deep pantry again). If you wanna grab these printables, along with my weekly meal planning sheet, homestead pantry checklist, pantry substitutions chart and 31 Days of Dinner Ideas cheat sheet, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and sign up for the Homestead Pantry Challenge and I’ll send everything to your inbox:)

Alright, back at it. Wish me luck!

Have you started organizing your pantry yet??
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#homesteadpantrychallenge #pantrygoals #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity
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🌱 One of the things I get asked the most during the #homesteadpantrychallenge is what we do for fresh veggies. Now, I much prefer to eat seasonally, which means eating the veggies that we preserved over the summer and fall during the winter. But I do start to miss my fresh greens by the time January rolls around.

Sure, I could grow some salad greens over the winter months, but that would require a level of organization that I frankly haven’t reached yet. And quite honestly, I don’t love going out to the garden in the middle of winter due to the torrential rain, swampy mud and frigid temps we get here in the PNW. No no, I’m a little too lazy and disorganized for all that! I’d much rather plant seeds a few days before I want to harvest them and do it all from the comfort of my kitchen during the nasty weather season.

And so, I turn to microgreens to provide me and my fam with fresh greens this time of year. They’re not only packed with nutrients (said to be higher in nutrients than their full grown counterparts!), they can be grown on your countertop and are ready to harvest in just a few days!

Not to mention, they taste delicious and look beautiful! I made this cheesy pasta dish topped with broccoli microgreens for dinner and the microgreens (which are just the seedling version of the full grown plant) tasted just like broccoli. Plus, the purple and green colours take an otherwise kinda boring dish and make it pop💥

I get all of my microgreens from @trueleafmarket, one of the sponsors of this month’s pantry challenge, as well as the current issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

To enter to win your own self-watering microgreens growing kit from True Leaf Market, be sure to join in the Homestead Pantry Challenge on Instagram, and to learn more about microgreens AND score yourself a sweet 10% discount off all True Leaf products, make sure you’re subscribed to Modern Homesteading Magazine (discount code is in the magazine and in the delivery email).

If you’re not yet subscribed, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and subscribe for free!

What’s your go-to source for fresh greens in the winter??
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Well, we made it. It’s hard to believe that 2020 is finally behind us, but here we are, at the dawn of a new year; A fresh page and a new chapter.

This past year has been one for the history books for sure, and it most definitely has not all been good. But it hasn’t been all bad either. Us humans have a tendency to focus on the bad. It’s a survival tool that’s hard-wired into our brains to be on the lookout for danger. So we have to make a conscious choice to see the good in bad situations; To find what we can control and cling to it in a sea of things that we cannot control and, therefore, must let go of.

But with a new year comes a symbolic chance to let those things go and to move forward with hope and determination. No matter what’s scrolled on the pages of the past, the future has yet to be written.

As we enter 2021, I encourage you to remember that those things that were out of our control last year are still out of our control this year. They always have been, and always will be. But what is in our control are our thoughts and actions; How we choose to see and react to the world and to each other.

My hope is that we can begin to leave the past behind us and choose to see the world in a new light. In the Universe there is no good and bad. Everything just is. We assign the value.

I also hope that we begin to see each other as fellow travellers on the same journey, and to treat each other with equal respect, no matter our skin colour, gender, political or religious beliefs.
 
Finally I hope that the trend of people taking an interest in modern homesteading and taking action toward living a more sustainable, self-sufficient life continues long after COVID is behind us. As a whole, I think this was one of the best things to come out of this past year; A bright silver lining on a dark cloud.
 
There’s no way to know for sure what 2021 has in store for us, but I know that if we enter into this next chapter with open minds and hearts, along with a willingness to step up and take charge of the things in life that we can control while committing to let go of the rest, well then 2021 will be a good year no matter what.
 
To a new year and a fresh start 🥂
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

Time for the 2021 Homestead Pantry Challenge to begin!!!

Every year in January, I like to challenge myself to eat only what I've managed to store away throughout the year and avoid the grocery store at all costs. And after the year we’ve just had, many of us are doing our best to avoid the grocery store already. Plus, with the financial impacts of lockdowns and the fragility of our global supply chain, saving a few bucks and taking steps to become more self-sufficient are top of mind for a lot of people right now.

Needless to say, a pantry challenge might be just what you need right about now to reign in your spending, put your resourcefulness, kitchen skills and creativity to the test, increase your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependence on the grocery store and on people and systems that are outside of your control.

Kicking things off with a fun pantry challenge can help you to start the new year off on the right foot and gain momentum and motivation that will help get you moving in the right direction and take control over your food supply right off the bat so that you set yourself up for success in 2021, regardless of what unexpected surprises it may bring.

This year's Homestead Pantry Challenge is even bigger and better than before too, with some exciting prizes up for grabs, including a @lodgecastiron skillet, a self-watering micro greens growing kit from @trueleafmarket and an 8-quart Duo Nova Instant Pot!!!

🥫To join in and enter to win, post photos or videos of your pantry, your meal planning, your meals, etc. during the pantry challenge and use the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge in the caption. Every post equals one entry:)

🎞 You can also post in your stories using the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge and tagging me @thehouseandhomestead for additional entries!

I'm SO pumped about this year's challenge and I really REALLY hope you'll join me!

The challenge officially begins on January 1st and runs until January 31st, but you can sign up via my link in bio @thehouseandhomestead and get all the details before we begin!
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Merry Christmas friends!

While this year, and subsequently this Christmas has been anything but normal, and while we weren’t able to be with our extended families this year , I hope you’ve been able to find peace and joy this season, and to enjoy slower, more intimate moments at home with your immediate family.

Now that the big day has come and (almost) gone, it’s time to slow down, to rest deeply and recharge for the year to come. Nobody knows what 2021 will bring, but after the year that was 2020, we’ve proven to ourselves just how resilient we can be. And that is one of the greatest gifts of all. (Well, that and this accidentally inappropriate ornament we got to commemorate a year that will forever live in infamy;)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night ❤️
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Cranberry sauce is a holiday tradition, but if you’ve ever had store-bought cranberry sauce out of a tin, then you probably know how unappetizing it can be.

From the “glurp” sound that it makes as it slides out of the tin and into the bowl, to the way the jelly stays formed in the shape of the tin even after it’s out, to the bland boringness of the flavour.

No offence to anyone who loves commercially canned cranberry sauce, but even if you love the store-bought stuff, then you’re definitely gonna love homemade cranberry sauce!

I know a lot of people put orange juice or orange zest in their cranberry sauce, and you can totally do that too! But I’m actually not a fan of the orange-cranberry mix, so my recipe calls for a little cinnamon and vanilla, as well as some sugar to give it a sweet spiciness that goes oh so well with Christmas dinner.

But perhaps the best part is that you’re able to can this cranberry sauce too, which means you can make a big batch this year and have enough homemade cranberry sauce on your shelves to last you multiple holiday seasons! Or you could even give some away to loved ones with whom you’re not able to spend Christmas with this year.

Whether you want to can it for later or eat it fresh or just refrigerate it until Christmas, this recipe is a must-try this holiday season.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get my full recipe plus canning instructions:)
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#homemade #fromscratch #christmasrecipes #cranberrysauce #delicious
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Look at that JIGGLE!!!

If you don’t make your own bone broth, this might look really weird (and kinda gross tbh), but this is actually EXACTLY what you wanna see in a homemade bone broth. This jiggly gel means this broth is super high in collagen, which comes from the bones, skin and ligaments of animals (in this case grass-fed beef cattle). It’s also the most abundant protein in the human body, and many studies have show that increasing our collagen intake can help up the collagen in our own bodies.

Collagen has so many health and beauty benefits, including healthy skin (and reduced wrinkles), shiny, healthy hair and strong bones, cartilage, joints and muscles.

I love making my own broth at home because I can pretty much guarantee a good gel and lots of collagen in each batch. Plus I make mine super frugally, with bones and veggie scraps that I save in the freezer.

I’ll be posting my recipe (and canning instructions) soon. Start saving those scraps!
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#bonebroth #collagen #nourish #wholefoodnutrition #homesteadkitchen
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After 9 long months of extreme hand washing and sanitizing, the last thing our skin needs right now is the harshness of winter. But winter is here my friends, and that means it’s time to give your skin a little extra TLC.

I make my own body butter every year around this time, and it’s become my favourite way to moisturize my skin during the winter months. Much like a deep conditioner works on your hair, body butter absorbs deeply into your skin to help moisturize, repair and protect it.

While lotions contain water (aqua), they also requires additional preservatives to keep them from going moldy due to the water content. But this homemade whipped body butter doesn’t have this problem because it’s made of nourishing oils and fats like shea butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil (plus beneficial essential oils for all-natural fragrance). These oils are not only all-natural and highly beneficial for your skin, they’re also easily absorbed, giving your skin a “deep conditioning” rather than just a surface moisturizing.

But the best part of all is how quick and easy this body butter is to make up in your kitchen, and what a nice gift it makes this time of year too! So you can make a jar for yourself and a few jars for the people you love:)

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-body-butter/ to get the full recipe and “whip up” a batch today;)
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#bodybutter #naturalbeauty #naturalliving #skindeep #homemade #handmade #naturalskincare
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The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for my FAVOURITE THINGS!!! 🎉🎁🎄(aka. The modern homesteader’s Christmas wish list;)

I’ve rounded up all of my fave kitchen tools, books and home and body products that I use all the time and could not live without (ok, I could live without them, but I wouldn’t want to!) and I’m sharing them all with you in this week’s YouTube video!

Grab a mug of something warm (or a glass of something chilled) and come on in for a tour of all the goods!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to YouTube.com/thehouseandhomestead for all the latest videos:)
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