2016 Year in Review

2016! You are almost over! And while the year has certainly had its negatives, let me take a moment to highlight the positives from our personal life.

  • Last year, spring, we took a big risk and transitioned largely to teaching and making music for our income. We built a home music studio in our garage. I took on an extra night teaching voice lessons. We started teaching local music classes at a community center and started playing more gigs out. And somehow, we’ve still been able to make our budget every month.
  • We have completed almost half of our first real year of homeschool and we haven’t died yet.
  • The homestead was largely a disaster this year. And you know what? I. don’t. care. I spent a while feeling guilty about it, but I’ve decided that there should be no more comparison to some mysterious standard I think I have to live up to. We made a lot of mistakes and failures this year, but we will get back to it. And everything will be okay!
  • We have been so blessed this year by several huge money-saving boons… A van bought at a public auction at half price. A large portion of venison given to us by hunting friends. Gifts of meals brought over here and there by family. Free babysitting. You know who you all are. Thank you a gazillion times over.
  • We’ve been learning to say no to extraneous commitments that are hard on our family without feeling too guilty. I can’t say enough about how good this has been for us.

Of course, there have also been many struggles. Over the past year we’ve dealt with a lot of uncertainty and worry– not to mention I always feel like I’m on the verge of survival mode. Pop over my house sometime and find me knee deep in chicken poop and toddler toys and dishes piled up high.

But that’s life, isn’t it? The new year makes me want to move on and forward.


Now, in the spirit of annual tradition, I shall proceed to give you the blog’s top ten most popular posts for 2016. Without further ado:

10. How to Make Catnip Tea– An herbal cold/flu remedy that’s easy to grow and prepare:

How to Make Catnip Tea

9. Distinguishing Elderberry from Dogwood– A guide to telling the difference between common look-alikes.

Elderberry-or-Dogwood

8. Easy Overnight Soaked Grain Bread – This really is an easy recipe that I’ve made over and over again for our house. Perfect for the night you realize you’re out of bread and you know your kids will be missing it in the morning.

Easy Overnight Soaked Grain Bread

7. How Can I Tell if My Rabbit is Pregnant? – Spoiler alert: It’s actually pretty difficult to tell. However, there are a few signs to watch for.

How to tell whether your doe has been bred successfully

6. How to Ferment Rhubarb (+ Probiotic Rhubab Lemonade Recipe)– Delicious, nutritious, and intriguing.

Fermented rhubarb is easy, healthy, and tasty too. Not convinced? Try this easy fermented rhubarb lemonade recipe!

5. Tick Bite Prevention (Naturally!) – How to prevent tick bites without using dangerous chemicals.

Tick Bite Prevention (Naturally!)

4. Getting Started with Meat Rabbits– What do you need to start your own meat rabbit production? You’ll be pleased to know it’s fairly easy to begin!

Getting Started with Meat Rabbits

3.Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat– A silly post done in response to meat-eaters who are appalled by the perceived cruelty in processing an animal.

MEATPALM1

2. Apple-Honey Jelly (Made with Peels and Cores)– The first year this hasn’t been number one! How to make apple jelly using only peels, cores, water and, optionally, honey– no pectin required!

applehoneyjelly-682x1024

  1. How I Afford Being a Stay-at-Home Mom– My number one post this year was how I afford being a stay at home parent. Since writing it, my husband and I now split the load about 60/40, respectively– we both work part time to make up our (low) full time income. This is also a good arrangement for us. Our kids don’t need daycare and we are still able to homeschool. Hopefully the principles in this post will apply to a variety of family situations.

How to Afford Being a Stay at Home Parent

That’s it for today. 2017 is coming! Here’s to a fresh new year and a fresh start. Happy New Year!

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