6 Major Benefits of Family Homesteading

benefits of family homesteading

There are many aspects of homesteading, and the challenges are great, but the rewards are even greater! These are only a few of the major benefits of family homesteading:

Homesteading shows you what matters most

Homesteading brings you back to basics. It changes the way you look at things, the difference between wants and needs become much more clear when in most other modern day life, the lines are much more blurred.

It is a Journey towards self-sufficiency

Homesteading is a lifestyle, a way of thinking, getting back to nature, back to the land, a journey towards becoming self-sufficient. There are many different levels of homesteading, and even for those who live in the city, changes can be made which will set you on that journey and enable you to incorporate various aspects of the homestead life into daily activities.

Homesteading is a Rewarding endeavor 

Homesteading moves away from the “instant gratification” that comes along so often in today’s culture. There is a lot of hard work that goes in to the entire process of becoming a homesteading family.  There are plants to be tended, animals to care for, and always plenty of work to be done. It is also one of the most rewarding endeavors one can ever undertake!

Satisfying and Healthy 

When you sprout seeds, nurture and harvest them and place them on the table – there is not much that is as satisfying as this back to basics, provision for the family and honestly, well, the food just tastes better!  Although it takes a lot of hard work – it also creates joy and provides a deep feeling of satisfaction in knowing you are making healthy choices for the family. Growing your own food is one of the healthiest life choices you can make these days.

family homesteading

Homesteading Teaches Respect 

Most people rush off to the grocery store each week and fill the cart full of various meats without ever fully appreciating what it means. There is a loss of life, a sacrifice which has taken place to put that meat on the table. Sadly, most people never have a full appreciation or develop respect for what it means to be a meat eater. It is easy to forget where the food we so often take for granted, comes from.

There are sometimes hard choices and difficult tasks that must be done to maintain a sustainable lifestyle – but in the process, there is a respect for the animals God created. There is a connection between the animals and the sustenance, an appreciation.

Deep Sense of Gratitude and Belonging 

There is an attitude of gratitude which comes from investing time, work, and effort into homesteading projects. The end result is something to be proud of. For children, participating in the work to feed the family, can produce a strong sense of belonging. They understand early on that each member of the family plays an important role. It builds self-esteem, and deeper character.

Although it takes a lot of hard work – it also creates joy and provides a deep feeling of satisfaction which can be hard to find otherwise in today’s society and fast paced lifestyle.


These are but a few of the many benefits of family homesteading. Most often, it does not happen overnight, the change of mindset to that of a homesteader. Even taking small steps towards a more back to basics lifestyle can make a positive difference in your life. One step at a time – works for me!

Do you have some simple tips for those who want to begin a journey towards a more back to basics lifestyle?

Linking with Works For Me Wed

Learn more about family homesteading, homemaking, and all things home industry with the all new Molly Green Magazine and enjoy the many benefits of  a MG Membership – find out more HERE! 


Frugal living: ways to save money this year

frugal living

You may have heard the news – the all new Molly Green magazine has turned over a new leaf. We are spreading our wings to include homesteading, self-sufficient living, back yard farming, and all things home industry.

But, we are nothing if not a frugal bunch! And, in that spirit, I wanted to start our New Year off with a super frugal post to help you find ways to save money in 2014.

10 Ways to Save Money in the New Year:

  1. Fix it yourself – use the internet to watch video’s and read tutorials on how to fix various household items. Learn to stitch up clothing and make repairs to the things you use regularly.

2. Cut the Entertainment budget by finding frugal ways to play together.

3. Cook at Home & Take Advantage of Specials.

4.  Ask for a Discount! 

bowling for free

5.  Get a Discount on Children’s Activities

  • Volunteer your services to the organization for a discount on children’s sports when possible – certainly, you want to give of your time for free to help out, but you may be able to offer other services such as – photography, computer work, accounting, or other skilled work to save on sports and more for your family. Look for services they might normally have to pay for & fill in the gap where you are qualified. 
  • Set up a co-op or trade with other parents for sports and extracurricular clothing items. 
  • Take advantage of free programs like Kids Bowl Free

6.  Barter for Services. 

  • As with the above info on getting a discount on children’s extra-curricular activities – consider trading for other services as well. Think outside the box and look for needs that you can meet and then offer up your solutions to the problem in exchange for a repair or other service you cannot do yourself. Small businesses are great for this, but don’t count out the larger companies either. Big companies need endorsements, or reviews from consumers and are sometimes willing to trade for free products. Bloggers do this regularly. 

7. Grow Your Own. 

8.  Up-cycle 

9. Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners.

  • Simple ingredients can go a long way and can be used safely and inexpensively –  Baking Soda, Borax, Vinegar, Alcohol, Mild Dish Detergent, & Washing Soda are a few simple ingredients that can be used to clean almost anything. 
  • Get recipes from The Family Homestead here

10. Educate Yourself. 

Link up your own Frugal  ideas  and we will share them!

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Frugal family fun – for the birds: Frugal Friday Linky


There are many different ways to enjoy living a frugal lifestyle . . . this is a great place to learn new things, find what works and encourage one another. Below you can share the link to a post on your own blog, share a little about your frugal life and encourage others, or share a frugal Pin from Pinterest.

This linky party will now be open for the entire month of November (expiring December 1). Come and link-up to this great community of frugal followers! I’ll be Pinning away and sharing your posts ~

Link your frugal posts

Our frugal tips for the week: 

Family fun does not have to break the bank this fall!  With only a few simple ingredients and a family walk in the outdoors, you can make these easy bird treats and enjoy educational fun . . . that’s for the birds!

for the birds

It’s a great idea to hang these handmade bird feeders nearby so that you can be sure to see the feathered friends who come visit for a special treat. All that’s needed to make these is a few pine cones slathered in peanut butter and rolled in wild bird seed.

nature project

Add a little more excitement by donning binoculars and a field guide to identify the birds who flock to your yard. These treats are so affordable, you can help feed your new friends all through the winter. Be sure to get the kids involved. Other ideas to turn it into a fabulous learning experience include photographing the birds or sketching them in an art journal.

Don’t have an art journal? You can make one with inexpensive Composition notebooks and personalize them with your favorite scrapbook papers.  These simple journals make a terrific gift for a friend as well. They also make a cool new “smash book”  - crafty and frugal!

nature journals

Take notes and collect data to chart the number and types of birds in your area. Try different kinds of bird seed to see if one attracts more birds or attracts different types of birds than another.

Bird watching is a fun family activity that is not only educational and fun, but also super frugal! Cornell Lab has a wonderful FREE resource to learn more about our fine feathered friends here.

Whether you are looking for a new frugal activity or wanting to add an outdoor element to the family homeschool, all ages can benefit from the fresh air and activities that are For the Birds! 


To share a link to your post about frugal living, use the Linky below. But first . . .

1. We’d love for you to share your links that include anything related to DIY projectssaving money, frugal living, made-from-scratch cooking, cleaning products, sustainable livinggardening, organic and anything else related to homemaking. You can also include your struggles while trying to live a frugal lifestyle (like Midge)! Show us how you are thriving while surviving on a smaller budget.

2. Link directly to your frugal post, not to your home page.

3. Please grab our linky button (from the sidebar) and put it on your blog or on your linky post, or use a text link back to our site.

4. If you link-up, please click on others’ links as well. Our frugal followers have a lot to share!

5. By linking up you agree to allow others to share and Pin your post (linking to you of course).


Living frugally means living, learning and growing from each other. We can’t wait to see what you are going to share! (Tto see other blogs that have linked up, click the link below.) Ready, set, link!

After you link up your post, go back to this same link below in order to visit other blogs and support and learn from the other participants. I will be pinning away! Do you follow Molly on Pinterest? 


If you have not yet subscribed to the Molly Green Magazine . . . This month you can join for $1 for the first month and for $3.85 each month thereafter. The brand NEW Molly is coming out in January so now is the time to get the best rate!

Go HERE to join today! 


CLICK HERE TO LINK-UP (come back to the same spot and click again to visit the other blogs)


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Apples, Apples and more Apples!

Midge copyGuest blog by: Midge

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” — Jane Austen

This excerpt was taken from the SEPTEMBER 2012 ISSUE OF MOLLY MAGAZINE which helps you to organize your pantry, save money and more!  ALSO, be sure not to miss out on all of the fun links to recipes and learning activities I have shared at the end of the blog! 

Lately, I have been eating, sleeping, and dreaming about . . . APPLES!

apples graphicFall is my favorite time of year. The weather cools down and chilly breezes can be felt as I walk to the mailbox each morning. In the afternoon, our local park is abuzz with soccer coaches’ whistles and the quiet hum of laughter filled children playing and running. An occasional fall rain shower brings the smell of the wet street and dying grass to your senses. It is also the season of Thanksgiving and apples!

My mother and father-in-law came for a visit recently. They brought three buckets full of small apples from their apple trees at the ranch. I have never had that many apples in my home before and had no idea what to do with them!

One look at those apples and I knew that I was not going to let any of them go to waste. I opened a cookbook and picked out a recipe that called for the largest amount of apples with the least amount of other ingredients and got set to go to work. I used an apple peeler/corer we received as one of our wedding gifts (and yes, this was the first time I used it!). I peeled, cut, sliced, and then repeated the process until I was tired of turning the crank on my new kitchen gadget. Finally, I piled all of them in the slow cooker with a few other sparse ingredients; and then let it cook for about 8-10 hours.

The reason you don’t see the recipe included in this letter is because it did not quite turn out the way I intended! It was supposed to make apple butter but instead it was more like apple sauce. The good news was our little one year old Sarah ate it like a champ (unlike the CARROT BABY FOOD DISASTER)! And my husband, a big fan of apple butter, had four helpings at one setting. Compared to my one small spoonful, I started to feel like I was wimping out on enjoying those apples!

After all was said and done I still had 2 ½ buckets full of apples left over and had met at least three little worms in the buckets in addition to the worm which managed to get stuck in my dishwasher (don’t even ask). I remember drawing book worms as a kid on my reading reports. I guess I never thought that this idea had to originate from somewhere!!! It came from my apple buckets!



Help! I want to make or create something special with all of these apples. Fall is the time for apples and apple pies but if I have to eat them all in the next month or two, I fear I will never want to look at another apple again!  How do you store your apples? What are a few of your favorite apple recipes? My husband keeps saying that he has a hankering for an apple crisp dessert. Do you have a great recipe to make this?

Love ya,

Midge, the real live book worm

You can find Molly’s response here: SEPTEMBER 2012 ISSUE OF MOLLY MAGAZINE



Caramel Apple Salad from Life with Moore Babies

Tree to Table Applesauce with no added sugar! From Training Happy Hearts

3 apple recipes plus tips for kids in the kitchen from Kids with Food Allergies

Crafts and Fun:

Torn Paper Apple Tree from 3 Dinosaurs

Apple Pie Scented Play Dough from To the Moon and Back

Melted Crayon Leaves and Apples by Life with Moore Babies


Nature Study ~ Apple Trees from Mom’s Heart

FREE apple calendar cards from 3 Dinosaurs

A Week with Apples from Mercy is New



Carrots in my Hair

Babies can be a test of frugality as Midge well knows!  Here is her latest adventure…

Guest Blog Featuring: Midge

I know; I am a bit behind the times.  While others were cooking side by side with their moms, I was learning the fine art of microwave-ing a Hot Pocket.  No real fault lies with my parents or for that matter, with me.   My parents were busy running their own 24 hour business and I was busy with school and after school activities.  So, I just sort of skipped the part in life where “learning kitchen skills” was a necessity.

Off I went to college, where my pizza ordering skills were honed to perfection.  My few forays into the cooking realm usually involved a roommate or two with a late night quesadilla.  Making things from scratch?  No problem, right?  I just scratched the box open and VOILA, a ready made meal!

Now, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.  My daughter Sarah is now eating solid foods.  I really desire for her to eat healthy, organic baby food.  I’ll bet a few of the readers of the econobusters’s blog have mastered the art of making baby food!  But, me, well, I still struggle with cracking eggs to remove the yolk.

Glass container for baby food

My baby food jar… still empty. Image via Wikipedia

I saw the Magic Baby Bullet (Say that five times fast!) at the store and thought I could do this project for cheaper!  In the sale section that day was a baby generic Cuisinart food processor.  Bingo!  I walked out of the store $10 lighter and was on my way to a “make your own” baby food adventure.

Anytime I have ever tried to go cheaper without fully visualizing the whole plan, I have fallen on my rump!  In this case, the mini food processor would not chop my veggies down to small enough pieces.  I had started with organic baby carrots and cooked them in a microwave-able bowl.

Up until this point I had never cooked “non-frozen” carrots in the microwave.  I assumed there must have been something wrong with my microwave because half of the carrots ended up undercooked and the other half overcooked.  Maybe I just cooked them the wrong way?  I cut up the carrots with a knife after a bit of adjusting and cutting off the bad pieces.  Then, I placed them into the food processor.

The end result was not pretty.  It was shredded carrots with lumps and chunks of larger carrots mixed in.  I tasted the carrots and they were awful.   I even tried adding a bit of formula to soften it up, make it juicier and more baby food like… but, to no avail.  I imagined my little girl spitting them back up on my shirt, my face and all over my hair.  Ugh, where did I go wrong?

Going cheaper is not always better… should I have invested in the Magic Baby Bullet, get a really good baby food cookbook, or just stockpile organic baby food coupons?

Oh and one more thing…the mini food processor now resides in a special spot deep within the dark recesses of the back of the cupboard.


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Guest Post — DIY Ribbon Windsock

I love color, and I love the flow of things in the wind, and I love cute ribbon, so I combined all of them into a Ribbon Windsock! You can use any color you like and any size hoop you like to get your desired effect. I personally just dug out leftover ribbons from the hair bows I made the girls.
To start with you need whatever ribbon you selected (it takes quite a bit) and an embroidery hoopYou really only need the inside of the hoop or something else that is round and stiff enough to hold a good amount of ribbon.
The actual process to making these is very simple. Cut your ribbon in pieces that are double the length you want your finished product. I wanted mine to be varied, so I just randomly cut my pieces. Then take a piece and fold in half. Slip the fold under your hoop and then pull the ends through the folded area. Tighten. Some ribbons don’t tighten as well as others, so if you are wanting this to hold up you might want to use a little hot glue on the inside of the fold. Continue around the hoop. You can make stripes or a single color or an eclectic combination like I did.

Once your hoop is covered you can securely tie a piece of ribbon to either side of the hoop to use to hang it. Then hang your ribbon windsock wherever you need some extra color!


So a more appropriate name for this project might be a ribbon mobile or a ribbon chandelier, but it does blow in the wind like a windsock! The problem I found with it is that it is made of ribbon which doesn’t hold up particularly well to various weather conditions. You could use ribbon intended to be left out or you could just hang it inside. In fact it is so simple that you could easily make one to match party decor and then take it apart to re-use the components!

A classic strong-willed child, Ashley, fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian in 2005; only to realize a new dream had formed, having a family with her husband (another strong-willed child). After much heartache, they were blessed with two daughters and a son, who are all proving to be just as spirited as their parents! Though she is still working part-time, she fills her days off with fun activities and lots of learning with her three kids. And this is where the blog comes in. Life with Moore Babies is where she documents the activities they do and the places they go in hopes that someone might be inspired to do some “fun learning” with their kids.You can find Ashley on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +.

Works for Me~ Summer Emergency Supplies

The sun definitely deserves respect! Having fun this summer is a priority but protecting your family from sun danger is a must! In times like these it’s important to turn to the right source. Please see the information below on what Priscilla Slagle, M.D. has to say about staying safe in the sun.

It’s summer and the heat is on.  You’ll likely be outside more than usual, hopefully having a good time.
Although getting outdoors and exercising is great for your health, it can also be dangerous, if too hot, and  you are not prepared. Make sure warm weather enjoyment doesn’t turn into dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion or worse.
Before you begin any sustained outdoor activities it is important to know the heat index. The heat index is a combination of the temperature and humidity to reflect the actual heat effect on us. It is more telling than just the temperature. It is helpful to use this linkto determine the heat index for the day before you start any outdoor activities. Just type in the zip code in the upper left corner to find the heat index for any area you wish.
Here are a few summer health tips as a timely reminder to keep you safe and healthy while working, playing or vacationing in a hot climate.
Next to air, water is the most essential element for our existence. Water is much of what we are, as the average human body is 60-70% water.   If you wait to drink until you are thirsty, you are already 1-3% dehydrated.   So drink before you get thirsty, especially in warmer climates. Thirst mechanisms are not totally reliable and are particularly impaired in the elderly.  Research suggests that at best 70-80% of us walk around in a  state of mild dehydration.  Imagine how much more at risk we are when out in the hot weather. Under ordinary circumstances, the average adult loses 10 cups of water daily by breathing, sweating, and eliminating.  This is magnified when there is excess heat, sweating, and activity.
Even when swimming you need to drink plenty of fluids. Just because you are in water does not mean your body isn’t losing fluids that need to be replenished.
I am amazed to hear from my patients how many people do not like  water!  These people need to be especially careful to drink enough. Since they tend to avoid water, it works best for them to put a 24 hour supply in a glass container, then take water from that supply and make sure all of it is gone in each 24 hours.  Counting glasses can be tedious and inaccurate.   If you are minimally active, the ideal number of ounces to drink in a 24 hour period is your weight divided by 2.
If you are active, your water needs increase.  You can calculate your daily water needs, cross referenced with your activity level at this link.  You will see that the more exercise you do, the greater is the need for water. The difference can be dramatic.  A 158 pound person’s daily need for water would increase from 79 oz when sedentary to 125 oz with daily aerobics. Many do not adjust water intake to activity level.  The best way to make sure you keep hydrated is to always have a glass or bottle of water with you to remind you to keep drinking.  Be sure you do not leave your bottled water in hot cars or other warm places as the chemicals in the plastic are more apt to leach in to the water when heated.
WHEN DO YOU NEED ELECTROLYTE REPLENISHING FLUIDS?With high intensity exercise or work for more than 3-5 hours , or with prolonged excessive sweating you may also need to add the electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium such as in a electrolyte drink or electrolyte powders added to a drink.  Smart water, Powerade Zero, Ultima Replenisher have electrolytes, but no sugar or calories.  If you drink an electrolyte drink too fast it could be nauseating.  Vegetable juices also contain electrolytes. Emergen C powder contains electrolytes and can be added to any drink. There are numerous electrolyte sports drinks on the market. Unless you are an endurance athlete or are doing hard sustained physical labor in the heat, you will usually not need anything beyond water, fruit, vegetables, and vegetable juice.  Researchers also found that skim milk worked as well as an electrolyte drink in tests they performed on exercising subjects.
Because decreased water impairs the optimal functioning of the body at the cellular level, dehydration worsens almost any  pre-existing health condition, such as allergies, asthma, heart disease, strokes, infections, kidney stones. Dehydration also impairs  mental and physical functioning.  For every 1% of water weight we lose, our capacity to do work or exercise decreases 10%. Pretty dramatic!
Trying to get quench thirst with the wrong liquids can make matters worse. Alcohol, and caffeinated or carbonated drinks act as diuretics and can easily dehydrate,  leaving you feeling tired and worn out. If it is hard to quit drinking these types of beverages all together, try to limit the amount you usually drink, switching from a large container every morning to a small container every other day.  Also drink more water to try to compensate.
 Carbohydrates help extend duration of activity, especially when combined with protein. Small amounts of caffeine limits the deterioration of performance associated with fatigue.
Those who have higher risk of heat related illness include:
  • Infants and children up to four years of age.
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who are ill
  • Endurance athletes and hard physical laborers
  • Those exercising at high altitude
 Also at higher risk are those taking the following medications:
  • Psychotropics, such as major tranquilizers or antidepressant medications.
  • Medications for Parkinson’s disease, because they can inhibit perspiration
  • Diuretic medications or “water pills” that affect fluid balance in the body.
 The Symptoms of mild dehydration can be  thirst, headaches,  general fatigue, nausea, dark colored urine, constipation and bloating, dry skin and mucous membranes, and a flushed face.  If you ever get a dull headache immediately start drinking water and you will usually find that the headache disappears.
The symptoms of moderate dehydration can be fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, light headedness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, impatience and irritability, headache, cold hands and feet,  muscle cramping, fainting, and reduced urine output.
All outdoor activities in high heat are physically stressful and can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. The difference between the two may mean life or death.
Heat exhaustion sets in when we become so dehydrated that our body cannot sweat enough to cool down causing the temperature to rise. The person’s temperature may be elevated up to 104 F.
Heat exhaustion symptoms can cause pale cool, moist skin, profuse sweating, muscle cramps or pains, feeling faintness or dizziness, headache, weakness, thirst, and nausea. There may be a rapid pulse, and decrease in blood pressure.
Heat Stroke is a life-threatening condition which occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. High environmental temperatures can bring it on, especially when combined with  strenuous physical activity or  other conditions that raise your body temperature. Whatever the cause, you’ll need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death.
Heat Stroke Symptoms include unconsciousness, markedly abnormal mental status including dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, flushed, hot, and dry skin (although it may be moist initially from previous sweating or from attempts to cool the person with water), slightly elevated blood pressure at first that falls later, and/ or hyperventilating. If you or someone around you have heatstroke, you need to go immediately to the emergency room to receive intravenous fluids.
Even if you don’t plan to spend too much time outdoors, apply the right sunscreen to exposed areas of your body, but cover as many areas as possible. Sunscreen can prevent painful sunburn, skin damage, development of moles, wrinkles, as well as skin cancer. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB harmful rays is the best choice.
Not all sunscreens are equal and some are even harmful.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) developed a rating  scale based upon safety and effectiveness for all sunscreen products. To achieve a top rating the sunscreen had to contain the minerals zinc or titanium, which help reduce UVA exposures.  The sunscreen  should not contain oxybenzone or Vitamin A. Studies have suggested a possible link between using suntan lotions with oxybenzone and a subsequent higher risk of  skin cancer.  The EWG also recommends  you avoid powder or spray sunscreens.  Some people are allergic to most sunscreens, such as myself.  I have found our Aloe Non-Chemical Sun blocker to be very useful.
Here is the EWG top ranked list of sunscreens, all rated 1:
Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented,
Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented,
Sunscreen for the face & Body, SPF 30, Unscented
Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
Loving Naturals
Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Purple Prairie Botanicals
Sun Stick, SPF 30 SunStuff, SPF 30
Soleo Organics
 All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Atlantis Resort
 All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Wyland Organics
 All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30
 Avoid sun exposure during the most intense periods of the day. Avoid prolonged sun exposure between noon and three, or eleven and four if you’re very sensitive to the sun to keep your skin covered.
When you are out and about cover up. A hat that shades your face and neck is a must-have. Wear clothing that covers you. White clothing, especially flowing cloth, will help to keep you cool; the tighter the knit, the more protection from the sun’s rays will be provided.
 If you spend time gardening, a long-sleeved shirt and gloves to protect your hands will keep you safe. Sitting in the shade is a great way to stay outside without having to worry about your skin, so don’t feel like you can’t enjoy the great outdoors, just be conscientious while doing so.
Don’t forget to include sunglasses in your summer wardrobe. Select sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays and have a wraparound style that prevents sunlight from shining into your eyes.  Adequate eye protection from the sun can help prevent the formation of cataracts.
We all know that sunshine & warm weather provide us with a wide range of activity choices. But we must be aware of our physical limitations to avoid letting overexertion sap our energy and impair our judgment.
 If you  need to be working in very hot temperatures, you should try to acclimate your body by only spending a few minutes a day in extreme heat for the first couple of weeks.
It is very important to schedule time to rest, relax and even take a nap if necessary.
With vacations & summer picnics comes the temptation to pig out. Try not to. Excessive  junk food, heavy fatty foods, spicy and starchy foods, & sweets fail to provide your body with the nutrients and water found in healthy food. Junk food eating can deplete your body of essential energy.
Summer brings with it a wide variety of fresh fruits & vegetables, so enjoy them freely.
Foods high in beta- carotene including carrots, spinach, apricots, peaches, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangoes, papayas, oatmeal, and lots more can protect your skin against sun damage.
 So make healthy eating a priority this summer by focusing on simple snacks that don’t take much  work such as:
  • Fresh berries kept in the refrigerator to add to salads, yogurt and ice creams
  • You can also freeze all sort of berries or grapes for a delicious cooling snack.
  • Healthy extras, like lettuce and tomatoes, kept in your produce bin.
  • Try homemade Popsicles by freezing 100 percent juice.
  • Cut up raw vegetables to serve with low-fat dips or yogurt.
  • Blended fruit smoothies with protein powder and ice are easy to make and only limited by your imagination.
  • Nutritionally dense and delicious, almonds make a fabulous snack.  A top source for vitamin E and magnesium, and a tasty way to get your daily fiber, they also protect against digestive cancers, and contain phosphorous, an essential building block for healthy bones and teeth, that is also helpful in the absorption of other vitamins, like B-complex vitamins. Almonds are also rich in healthy fat, protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. 
  • Walnuts and pecans, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds are also healthy snacks.  You can snack on nuts alone or by mixing with dried fruit, such as cranberries, or blueberries. You can also chop or sliver  nuts add to many dishes, breads, cereals, and desserts.
  • Green tea is a healthy refreshing drink which is mostly water.  You sip on iced weak green tea all day, preferably sweetened with Stevia Powder or non sweetened.
Safe summer fun works for me! What summertime precautions do you take when having fun-in-the-sun?
Dr. Slagle has incorporated vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, natural hormones & other natural substances into her practice since 1975, being one of the pioneers in the Alternative Medicine Field.The Way Up From Downpresents her natural “precursor” methods for lifting low moods & relieving the negative effects of stress.

Sneak Peek Monday~ HALF OFF SALE!

This back issue is FULL of handy tips to help you along. Learning for Life- Your Child’s Education is on sale NOW for only $2.50 (this price will be good until Sunday night 6/30). Have you ever seen inside one of my magazines? Take a SNEAK PEEK HERE to see some of the frugal goodness we packed into this issue!

Here’s a little more of what’s inside:

  • Small Changes = Big Savings: For those who have been following along each month in Keeping it All Together, here’s another challenge for you—take a close look at where your money is really going! Find less expensive substitutes for areas where you still spend too much money. You can start with these seven areas meant to encourage you.
  • Feather Your Nest Frugally: Aubrey shares the story of her experience with homeschooling four children in seminary housing—too much packed in a tiny space! Here are some decorating ideas—on a budget of course. Before and after photos included of her new “homeschool room.” You’ll glean a lot of ideas of your own, too!
  • Rebecca Shares Two Unique Projects: 1. A clever storage solution for housing wrapping paper rolls is as easy as it is ingenious. 2. A simple way to rein in pesky, accumulated ribbon rolls and get some order, to boot.
  • Goal Getter Spotlight: 1. Find out how Charlotte’s family achieved their goal of cutting back on expenses in order to live on one income. 2. Tracy shares an easy, fun, visual idea her family used to keep their financial goals on track.
  • Special Feature: Learning for Life: Your Child’s Education . . .
    • Preschool Pressure or Preschool Peace—Barbara Frank (author of The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling and others) noticed the trend of moms joining homeschool support groups even though their children were under five years old. You’ll gain insight into why so many of today’s young parents are under pressure to not only send their kids to preschool at age three but to start preparing them (“readiness”) even earlier. You’ll be delighted with Barbara’s “Recipe for Preschool Peace,” but it comes with a warning—take your time!
    • An Interview with Paula and Sherri, owners of Activity Bags, LLC—Two special moms built a thriving home-based business out of a simple desire to come up with fun learning activities for their preschoolers. Have you heard of Preschool Activities in a Bag yet? You’ve got to read their amazing story!
    • Homeschooling for Cs—It’s not what you might think! Creativity, Confidence, Curiosity, Character, and Conviction are what this homeschool is all about! This is a homeschool must-read!

Over 35 pages of information & support for an incredibly low price! A small price to pay compared to the great benefits you’ll receive and the money you’ll be saving once you dig into this E-Book! Buy this E-Magazine today for ONLY $2.50!

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Guest Post — Don’t Lose Your Head On Summer Vacation!


Yup, it’s that time of year again – school’s out and the kiddos are home 24/7! Are we having fun yet? Some of you may even be fortunate enough to be planning some time away. But did you know that you can go on vacation AND use the time to provide an educational boost as well? Here are some tips to make sure they don’t “lose their heads” – or at least their brains – while out of school.

  • Prepare ahead of time by doing research. Check the internet or write to the Chamber of Commerce and find interesting and educational places to visit at your destination.  See if any of them correlate to your children’s interests, and you’ll be getting off to a great start!
  • Use your vacation to study a specific them or topic. One year a friend of ours planned their summer travels around historic and notable places around the state. After their kids had already spent the year learning about these locals in books, they were super excited to get some hands-on and real-life experiences, as these historic sites became real to them!
  • Always include a journal or diary assignment of some sort. Even non-writers can dictate a few thoughts for you to write down, and anyone can illustrate or add pictures from flyers or postcards. Starting a collection along the way gives them opportunities to arrange them or prepare a display when they get home. This not only helps to strengthen vacation memories but reinforces the educational aspect of the time away.
  • If you need some ideas of how to get started, take a look at what I have used with my own family on more than one occasion –> http://bit.ly/L5lcdG

Need a break but can’t “get out of Dodge”? No worries! “Staycations” are becoming more and more popular in this economy. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of a memorable vacation in your own backyard:

  • Take a break from technology – turn off the cell-phones, ipods, computer…and just focus on enjoying each other and your time together
  • Be unavailable to others – remember, you’re on vacation, so act like it!
  • Resolve to stay out of the kitchen! Eat out (as much as your budget allows), grill out or cook over an open fire (just be aware of any applicable local ordinances)
  • Plan activities you wouldn’t normally do, whether they happen in your backyard, your own town, or a nearby city, park or museum.
  • Pull out a local map and come up with new places to visit that are within a “doable” distance (take into account spending time getting there and getting back home!)

If you’re like me and enjoy a good book, try out some of these for some more ideas:

Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking by Jim Arnosky 

The Great American Staycation by Matt Wixon

Backyard Vacations: Outdoor fun in your own neighborhood by Carolyn Haas, et al. 

To paraphrase an oft-used saying: “the family that learns together, stays together”! Whether you travel far and wide this summer or stay home-sweet-home, may you have fun times and many happy family moments…together!

Pat FennerPat Fenner has been homeschooling her 5 children for 17 years, and writes on education and family topics on her website, Help 4 Your Homeschool. She reviews books as part of the Christian Women Affiliate’s “Review Crew”, writes guest-posts on related blogs and periodically contributes to Econobusters. You can read her piece entitled “From Fear to Flight” in an anthology published by the Gulf Coast Writers’ Association, due out this summer. She can be reached via email at Pat@Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com




Guest Post — Finding Contentment in Living Simply

finding contentment photo for blogThanks to the “new economy”, more of us than ever are having to live simply. Many families are doing things they never thought they’d do – cutting coupons, getting rid of cable television, trading down cars or houses, and even living with relatives. Many of us are used to nicer lifestyles where we could afford a few indulgences or luxuries, so this step down might be a bit of a culture shock. The question is: How can we become content with a simple life?

We’re going through some of these same changes in our own family and we’ve had our own ups and downs with accepting our new economic reality, so I wanted to share some of the tips we’ve found to be helpful as we adjust to a simpler way of living.

Stay busy.

Personally, I do great at following our budget when I’m busy. When I’m bored, I tend to seek out activities that cost money such as shopping or eating out regularly. The more engaged I am with our family, though, the more content I am with a simple family dinner or an afternoon at the park.

Re-establish what’s important.

Refocusing on the things that are most important to us is a big help when we’re trying to cultivate contentment. For our family, these priorities are our worship, our time as a family, and our commitment to homeschooling. When we weigh up any leisure activities or luxuries against these three priorities, it’s pretty easy to know which to choose.

Save, don’t skimp.

This last tip may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but I think there’s a fine line to walk here. Our goal is to save money, not to skimp on necessities or occasional wants. For example, we have four children, so we have to spend a considerable amount of money on groceries. At first, I tried to pare our grocery budget down to the absolute minimum in an attempt to save as much money as possible. Guess what happened? We ended up eating out more than ever because everybody was hungry. Now I know that it’s more important to save money by buying less expensive items than to skimp on the amount of food we actually need to eat.

Choose your associates wisely.

Even if you’re sticking to the above three tips faithfully, they may not be enough to help you cope with another kind of temptation: the temptation to become jealous of the life others are living. If you’re spending time with friends and family members who regularly spend money on activities you can’t afford, it can be difficult not to feel envious of their supposed “freedom.” We try to seek out friends who are living simply as well so that we aren’t invited to do things that are outside of our budget. We also explain our financial goals to others if we know we can’t afford an activity – without feeling embarrassed or frustrated. Rather than dwelling on what others are doing, we try to search out things that we know we can do together, which counteracts any of the resentment we could feel.

selena robinson picSelena is a former tax accountant-turned-homeschooling mom of four. She and her husband, Jay, have committed themselves to homeschooling their children in an effort to give them the very best education possible and to strengthen their bond as a family. Selena shares her family’s homeschooling adventures every weekday at Look! We’re Learning! Readers can keep up with the family by subscribing via email or by following Look! We’re Learning! on PinterestFacebookTwitter, or Google+.