Category Archives: Uncategorized

Growing Mushrooms for Beginners (The Simple Introduction You Need)

Have you ever been interested in growing mushrooms?

I’ll be totally honest. I’ve thought about learning to identify and forage for mushrooms for quite a while- but I’ve never even considered growing my own. In fact, I found the idea somewhat intimidating.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to keep the blog running!

I was offered a copy of Growing Mushrooms for Beginners: A Simple Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms at Home by Sarah Dalziel-Kirchhevel in exchange for my honest review on Amazon. When given the opportunity, I decided to say yes. After all, I might learn a new skill- and, as the author says, “Once you have a skill, no one can take it from you, it’s yours.”

I was so glad I said yes. Really, I was the perfect test subject to read this book, since I have never before attempted to cultivate fungi of any sort. After reading through Sarah’s book, I felt much more confident that I would be able to grow mushrooms at home.

I was not asked or required to write this blog post, but I really enjoyed the book and felt that some of you might benefit from it.

What is covered in Growing Mushrooms for Beginners?

This book is a beautiful, inspiring guide that covers everything you need to know to begin growing mushrooms in almost any imaginable space.

Sarah begins with a step-by-step cultivation guide, explaining everything about the process of growing mushrooms, from choosing the right variety for your circumstances, to harvesting and cooking with your fungal bounty. If you’ve never heard the words “substrate,” “spawn,” “plugs,” or “inoculation,” never fear. Sarah tells you everything you need to know without overwhelming you.

There’s a special section of the book called, “Meet the Mushrooms,” where you can read profiles on several common varieties for growing at home. There, you will learn the characteristics of each mushroom, its beginner friendliness level, the time commitment required for growing, and other details.

From there, the book dives into different growing mediums and fun projects that suit any type of space. Whether you’re growing on a log, in a bag of compost, in a mason jar, or even on a clean roll of toilet paper, Sarah covers what types of mushrooms do well in each environment and walks you through the cultivation and harvesting process.

Finally, the book wraps up with information on processing, cooking, and creating medicinal recipes with the delightful fruit of your labor.

What I loved about the book

I loved that this book was beginner friendly. A few reviews on Amazon from more experienced growers mentioned that the book was not the most extensive out there; however, the book was universally praised as a guide for beginners. That’s exactly what the book claims to be, and exactly what I needed.

I personally found the book inviting, disarming, informative, and very helpful. It introduced me to a new skill without intimidating me- and I call that a win.

I also adored the illustrations throughout the book. Liam O’Farrell’s quaint but accurate representations of mushrooms and growing mediums were just lovely. I kept paging through just to look at the pictures again and again.

What I’m trying based on what I learned in the book

I have decided to try growing oyster mushrooms as a first timer. This is because oysters are known for being beginner-friendly. They’re relatively fast colonizers, typically outgrow other competing fungi, and are easy to find from spore suppliers.

They may be considered the standard newbie choice, but I am okay with that! One success will lead me to trying another growing project, and eventually I might learn to work with different mediums and varieties.

Where to find the author

Sarah Dalziel-Kirchhevel is the founder of Wearing Woad, and is a partner at Joybilee Farms. She is a fiber artist and gardener from rural Canada who loves to help others grow and cook their own food.

You can purchase Growing Mushrooms for Beginners here.


BushelBox Review

Imagine what healthy, sustainable food looks like to you.

Delicious breakfast granola with nutritious ingredients. Healthy snacks on the go when you’re running from place to place.  A delectable cup of organic afternoon tea.  Food that you know is helping community members across the world instead of farming them out for profit. Food that you feel good about.

Expensive food. Am I right?

BushelBox Review

But what if you could get your favorite healthy products at a discount?  Let me introduce you to Kimmy from BushelBox.

BushelBox is a new site that allows friends to go in together to order high quality products at bulk pricing. Shipping costs are divided between the friends’ orders, and the box is shipped to one central location for distribution. Here are some questions I asked Kimmy about her company.

Abi: How did BushelBox get started?

Kimmy: Three years ago a group of mamas and I wanted to keep feeding our families healthy organic foods but for less money so we started a buying club. We bought food in bulk form local producers at a discount and distributed amongst ourselves. I have passion now to help other families be able to do the same thing. That is why we built BushelBox. Anyone can buy delicious products at awesome discounts by sharing the savings with their neighbors.

A: How does BushelBox work?

K: The way it will work is simple- anyone can start a buy for whatever product they want. They can place their order and invite their friends. Payment will take place on the site and even deal with complicated stuff like dividing up shipping costs! The goods will get shipped to one house and distributed from there.

A: What kind of products can you buy from BushelBox?

K: Currently, Bushel Box offers a variety of foods, including various snacks, teas, nut butters, beef jerky, granola, dried fruits, nuts, and more.

BushelBox values supporting small companies with quality organic, non-GMO products. Currently, you can place orders from one company at a time. The folks at BushelBox are always working towards finding other quality foods to make available on their site.

Bushel Box goodies

Kimmy generously provided me with a sample box of delightful goodies to review for you. Here’s what came in my box. (You can click the links to find out more about each individual company.)

  • Labrang tea. Fair Trade and organic Black Jasmine tea. This tea was a delicate blend of traditional black tea and floral notes from the Jasmine. It made a perfect cup for afternoon quiet time. (This is available 20% off retail price from BushelBox.).
  • Young Mountain Tea– Fabulous, fair trade teas made in the Himalayan mountains. I love my teas, and these loose-leaf delights were a true treat. (20% off retail.)
  • Bliss Nut Butter– Peanut butter with chia seeds from a woman-owned nut butter company. The only problem with this peanut butter is that I am no longer satisfied with my regular stuff. I want to eat it ALL THE TIME. It’s seriously addicting, and will most likely be what I place my first bulk order of from Bushel Box! (30% off retail.)
  • Masala Pop– Amazingly complex, non-GMO, Indian-inspired flavored popcorn made by a woman-owned company. This was also one of my favorite snacks. Our bag of Masala Pop was the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. My kids (surprisingly!) gobbled it too. Needless to say, I had to hide it.  (20% off retail.)
  • Nick Sticks– Grass fed spicy beef sticks with no fillers. These little sticks packed a quick protein-punch, perfect for any on-the-go parent. They are also available as turkey sticks. (35% off retail.)
  • Cafe Mam– Shade grown, fair trade, organic coffee. This was delicious! I’m no coffee snob, but you could tell this was great stuff. Also, more importantly, they are committed to ethical work practices and creating a quality product. (15% off retail)

Advantages to Bushel Box

  • Some areas have wholesale buying co-ops readily available, but they are often dependent on a specific location and pick-up date. If it’s not convenient for you, then you’re less likely to take advantage of the savings.
  • You have the opportunity to purchase unique foods at wholesale pricing.
  • You can order from anywhere.
  • Shipping costs are split with friends who order with you.
  • There’s no membership fee to join BushelBox.
  • Kimmy is personally supportive, and answers any questions you might have promptly.

I was thrilled with my box of samples from BushelBox catalogs. While my budget wouldn’t allow me to purchase these foods at retail price, I could occasionally indulge in some of my favorites by taking advantage of the savings that BushelBox offers. The foods were delicious and I knew that they were being made with sustainable practices. Even better, by purchasing from BushelBox, I know I’m supporting various small business owners.

Ready to try some quality sustainable products at a discount? Check out BushelBox today!




Things I Love About the Healthy Living Bundle

Do you ever feel like you’re lost in a jungle instead of growing a garden?


Do you feel frustrated that you have to keep trying to feed your kids good choices?

IMG_0200Tired of deciding which essential oil you should use?


Feel like all your chickens are plotting against you?


Puzzled by wild foods?


Okay, okay, so I’m being a little silly. But if you’ve ever tried to live a healthy lifestyle and felt frustration along the way, I get it. I’m right there with you.This is one of the only times I am super, over the moon excited about an online product. One of the only times I will go on and on about why I’m buying something (and why you should too). One of the only times I will unapologetically spend $30 on something “just for me”– even though it’s quite clearly for my family too. It’s Healthy Living Bundle Time! (This post contains affiliate links.) 

What is the Healthy Living Bundle?

The bundle is a collection of e-books, e-courses, printables, and product bonuses from some of the best bloggers and companies across the web. Each resource focuses on a different aspect of healthy living to help address a wide variety of reader concerns, questions, and goals. The bundle is a super deal (less than $30) offered for a very short amount of time (cough, cough- the deal ends Monday at 11:59).

Here’s some of what I love about the Healthy Living Bundle.

1) It’s got a gazillion resources that you’ll actually use. 

A gazillion actually means 80+, but hey, that’s something like a gazillion when you’re only one person. The bundle covers topics from healthy eating to fitness to alternative health and essential oils. It’s got sections on gardening, homesteading, and healthy kids. For the ladies, the bundle includes a section on pregnancy and women’s health. No matter what your natural health interests, it’s got something for you.

2) It’s cheap. 

If you bought all the e-books, courses, and bonus products that come free with the healthy living bundle, do you know what it would cost you? $2,669.53. Do you know what the cost of the bundle is? $29.97. I don’t know about your math skills, but to me, that seems like some pretty serious subtraction. If you were eyeing up only one or two of these resources, chances are the bundle will pay for itself VERY quickly.

3) It’s inspiring. 

I’ve always wanted to be skeptical of gimmicks, courses, challenges, and life-fix-it courses. While I’ve kept a healthy dose of realism (no product is going to change my life in 3 easy steps), I have come to accept that resources like the Healthy Living Bundle truly help inspire me to reach my goals. I can’t help it- When I have a list to check off, I tend to be more productive. When I have a great new cookbook, I’m going to try a new healthy recipe. When I have a garden planner, I want to make next year’s growing season the best it can be. The bundle gives me the kick in the pants I need to get back on track. Whatever works, man.

4) The bonuses! 

The bundle comes with over $250 in free products– just pay the shipping to get it to your house. Examples of some of the bonuses included in your bundle cost are:

  • Free Meyer’s detergent & fabric softener ($32.66)
  • Free Trilight herbal formula ($15.00)
  • Free organic maca powder ($15.44)
  • Free “Dirty Mouth” tooth powder from Primal Life Organics ($15.97)
  • Gift certificate to Perfect Supplements ($15.00)
  • Free eyeshadow trio from Orglamix ($18.00)
  • Free 6 month membership to Meal Garden, a meal planning service ($35.70)
  • And several MORE, including a kombucha tea blend, liquid probiotics, skin care products, and a health magazine.

5) It’s risk free. 

If for some reason you buy the Healthy Living Bundle and you really don’t think it’s for you, you’ve got a whole YEAR to return it and get your money back. That is a serious guarantee, and one you will rarely find in any online product.

6.) It’s supporting small business owners everywhere. 

Bloggers everywhere are supporting the Healthy Living Bundle, first and foremost because it’s a great product. But you should also know that when you buy the bundle through my site, or any other blogger’s site, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

I try to keep my sales posts rare and worth your time, and only promote products I really believe in. The products I promote are ones that I think my readers will find useful and affordable. The Healthy Living Bundle meets this criteria spot on.

When you buy through my site, you are helping to put dinner on our table and keep our lights on. Literally. Thank you in advance for supporting us in this way!

In short, this bundle rocks. 

Even before I blogged, I would drool a little over these bundles and wonder if they were really worth it. Once I finally bought one, I never looked back. The Healthy Living Bundle is worth every penny.

By the way,in my usual procrastinator style, I have waited until the last possible day to write a post about this. The Bundle is only available until 11:59 EST on Monday, September 26th. Check it out before it’s gone for another year!


Healthier Hot Dogs with Fermented Sauerkraut

Hot dogs are one of those junk foods that almost always appeal to me. Gross, I know. The conventional hot dog can hardly be called a health food by any stretch of the imagination. But there’s just something about cookouts and ketchup and the tang of a kraut dog….

Healthier hot dogs with fermented sauerkraut

But let’s back up. I used to hate sauerkraut. I mean, really hated it- I wouldn’t touch that stringy, nasty, smelly stuff. My mom would make pork and sauerkraut, and I would kindly turn my nose at the topping each and every time.

Come round 20 years later, and I’m learning to enjoy fermented foods- and it seems like sauerkraut is one of those mandatory probiotic storehouses you simply must try. My husband made up a batch shortly after baby I was born, and guess what? It’s growing on me.

Now, why does fermented sauerkraut make a hot dog any healthier, you ask? Lacto-fermented sauerkraut (not the kind you buy in a can at the store) is full of good bacteria that help your gut health- which in turn, helps your immune system and other functions. 🙂 It’s also full of fiber, vitamins C & K, and iron (source). According to this article, sauerkraut can even help to fight cancer and ulcers. So, even though the hot dog itself isn’t great, at least its topped with a super food.

If you want to make your own Sauerkraut, there are several good tutorials out there (we used this one), but all you really need is cabbage, filtered water, and sea salt. (The recipe we used recommended a brine of 1.5 Tbsp salt to 4 cups of water.)

First, make your salt and water brine. Slice your cabbage thinly, massage it to release some of the moisture, pack it tightly into wide-mouth mason jars, and cover it with the salt brine. At this point, weigh the cabbage down under the brine, and install airlocks on the lids if you have them. Otherwise, use a regular mason jar lid and be sure to “burp” the lids daily to release the gasses that build up during fermentation.

2015-10-18 22.21.20

You can definitely make sauerkraut (or any other fermented food) without an airlock, but having one makes the process a lot more foolproof. We love using our glass weights and airlock from Fermentools– and they’ve saved me from a lot of mold. (You can read my full review of Fermentools products here.)

Want other ways to make your hot dog healthier? Try to look for nitrate-free hot dogs without gross fillers. I used to be able to get these at a small butcher’s shop, but you can often find name brand “natural” hot dogs (such as Applegate) in the health food section of your grocery store.

You can also transform the rest of your dog’s companions- try to get condiments with better ingredients (i.e., organic, no corn syrup, etc.), or try fermenting your store-bought condiments. Also, consider making your own buns at home (I use this recipe– make a double batch and freeze half of them to save time), or get adventurous by buying or making sprouted grain buns. You have to be a bit more intentional about it, but you really can have a guilt-free hot dog.

Mmm, mmm. Nothing like making a tasty hot dog tastier- and WAY better for you. Enjoy your kraut!



Tips for Avoiding Food Waste

I’m super stoked to have a guest post featured on Money Saving Mom this week for the first time! If you haven’t visited Crystal and her extraordinarily resourceful blog yet, please do! She is a source of inspiration for spending less, frugal and healthy home management, and good stewardship of the gifts we have. Following is an excerpt from my post.

April 2015 062

I thought I was pretty good at avoiding food waste, until I cleaned out my fridge a couple weeks ago.

Ugh. Do I really have a science experiment growing on the back of the bottom shelf?, I thought to myself. Why yes, yes I did. I found myself disgusted with the amount of food I had let slide past my attention.

While it was a disheartening cleaning session, I finished with renewed vigor to cut back my waste — and hey, maybe save a few bucks at the same time!

Is food waste a problem in your house too? Here’s how you and I can put less food in the garbage and more in our bellies.

Click here to read the full post.


$25 Grocery Challenge: Week One Plan

It’s week one. I’m suffering with slight anxiety spasms over restricting myself from running to the store for any slight craving this week. But that’s what blogging is for, right? VERY public accountability.

If you missed it, I am issuing a challenge to myself (and anyone who would care to join me) to only spend $25/week on groceries for the entire month of March to feed our family of four. Instead of buying whatever I want, I will shop my pantry first, opt to make certain items at home instead of buying them, and make do without that which won’t fit within my guidelines.

I went grocery shopping for the week. I bought:

  • Half gallon of whole milk to make yogurt- $2.59
  • 16-oz sour cream- $2.69

That’s it. Total spent this week: $5.28

Now, I may use my leftover $19.72 to buy some sprouting seeds like these. (I love eating sprouts!) I keep buying packs of 3 oz organic sprouts for $2.19- but when a pound of organic seeds (which gives you 7x that in sprouts) only costs between $12-17… It pays itself off pretty quickly and lasts much longer! I think that may be worth the investment.

I usually do my grocery planning starting on Mondays (because that’s when I usually go shopping). The following list is only to give you ideas and inspiration for inexpensive, healthy meals that are pantry/freezer cleaners. Here’s this week’s menu plan:

  • Monday: Home pressure-canned potato-leek soup with sourdough.
  • TuesdayBean & cheese burritos from Money Saving Mom, using her homemade refried bean recipe. I have a big bag of dried pinto beans in my cupboard and some tortillas too.
  • Wednesday– Tuna sandwiches on sourdough, with salad on the side.
  • Thursday– Roast chicken parts + roasted veggies + rice. The chicken bones are going to make stock afterwards.
  • Friday– Homemade pizza on sourdough crust. (I have cheese, homemade canned tomato sauce, and frozen peppers for my pizza.)
  • Saturday– Pasta + Veggies. Maybe a little frozen sausage.
  • Sunday– Leftover night.

Breakfasts: Yogurt & soaked muffins, or eggs (from our chickens) & sourdough.

Lunches: Leftovers. Almost always.

Snacks: Apples & peanut butter, veggies & homemade cream-cheese spread, yogurt, maybe a homemade granola or cracker if I have time to whip it up.

My prep for these meals: On Saturday, I made homemade yogurt and two loaves of sourdough. Hopefully this will last for the week!

Are you with me? We can do this! 😀

25 Grocery Challenge




Good Pickins’ #18

Sub-zero temperatures have racked our area the past two weeks. I can’t wait to get into March and maple-sugaring season, so I can be out trekking down the hill in the sunshine and mild temperatures to haul up sap to pour over the fire… There is something wonderfully invigorating about it!

February 2015 004This girl is hysterical. She wants sunglasses, shoes, necklaces, and dancing. And I’m not a girly girl mama. But apparently, this little one wants to be the star of the party whenever she can- even when she’s practicing on the potty. 😀

This week’s pickins’ are child-centered- hopefully some of these are as helpful to you as they were to me.

How I Stopped Yelling at My Kids– From Money Saving Mom. I am totally with Crystal on this one. It’s so easy to get into the cycle of frustration, snapping, yelling, and creating an all-in-all unpleasant home. Her story has inspired me to try a similar move to try to create a more peaceful, calm, and loving home.

How to Talk to Kids About Their Art– I really struggle with not dictating J’s artwork- or pointing out my observations first without letting him tell me what he was thinking. Check out this short but helpful post from the Artful Parent on constructive ways to talk to children about their artwork.

Just One– It’s so easy to forget how much we have in this country. Even the poorest of us have far more than those in poverty-stricken third world countries. I write about frugality and resourcefulness- but for these families, their lives are about just getting by. Ruth Soakup has been in the Dominican Republic this week, working to get more children sponsored through Compassion International. A friend and I split the sponsorship for a child through this program for years and years, and Ruth’s writing has been reminding me that there are children out there, just like my own children, who need the help- the help that is really not so hard for me to give. I can’t speak to when we will definitely begin sponsoring another child, but the issue has been heavy on my heart and mind recently. It is something we can all consider.

Have a blessed Saturday! 🙂



A Plain Truth

This post is a submission to the Living Well Spending Less Secret 13 essay contest. You can find out more about the contest here, read about Ruth’s new book here, and visit the blog itself here to read finalist’s essays every Tuesday morning. Thank you, Ruth, for the opportunity to participate!


I study the grimy, peeling linoleum on my kitchen floor. The textured yellow-brown pattern glares back at me silently. The refrigerator hums. Tim creaks the piano bench in the next room as he listens to a recording of his new song through headphones that are up too loud.

We’ve been talking (again) about how we can make a go of making music. Maybe I could audition for a better choir or the opera company up the highway. Tim wants to get his lip back up to snuff on his horn. Sometimes, when the kids are in bed early and we’re not too tired, we still love to play and sing together. We should try to record an album someday, we say. (We’ve been saying that for years.)

That was part of what brought us together—making music. We used to sing together everywhere. Favorite songs, folk songs, Tim’s songs. He lived and breathed through his stereo, his euphonium, his guitar…always practicing, always playing. Always wishing he could do it better, even though he was already good.


We always said we never wanted or needed much money. We just wanted enough so we could get by and still make music together. We wanted to be able to live a good life—a real life, a meaningful life—outside of working a nine-to-five job. We never wanted to be so tied to the system that we lost our sense of freedom.

The desire to live well has weathered the passing of the last ten years. Yet, time, age, and responsibilities have worn us down a bit.

We have an affordable mortgage, but of course a house comes with costs besides monthly payments. We have to repair our chimney and put on a new roof this spring. And perhaps rebuild our sagging front porch.

Sept 2012 & Newhome 122

Plus, we’re expecting our third child—which necessitates expenses like a bigger car than our rusty ’97 Civic. So we bought a ’98 Odyssey with its own share of little maintenance problems. And, of course, birth and babies aren’t free.

We’re doing it all as savers who pride themselves on buying everything in cash—but that can be pretty tricky when you’re living just above the poverty level. And in the midst of all those bills, sometimes you forget about just living well and not worrying about making money.

But let’s not pretend that money is the only distraction from leading a meaningful life.

I am tired. There are too many messes to clean. Preserving our garden and cooking from scratch is draining. I’m working to make supplemental income through voice lessons and writing while primarily staying home with the kids—and struggling to find the balance. I want to sing more, but young children make it so hard to practice efficiently. I want to homeschool, but I often question my ability to do so cheerfully and thoroughly.

As for my husband? He is often discouraged. I have no marketable skills, he says. I have three degrees that I am not using. I will never make much money. My musical inadequacy is lamentable, especially considering how much time I’ve put into it. I have no remarkable store of knowledge. I have done absolutely nothing notable. I have wasted years of my life working towards things that don’t matter.

But they matter to me, I tell him, over and over again. I think we’ve had this conversation probably a hundred times since I’ve known him. He has a work ethic like nobody else I know. He is self-disciplined, kind, faithful, thoughtful, and upright. He is the best husband and father anyone could ask for.


Who cares whether or not you are ever acknowledged for what you have done? You are a good man, I reply. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else.

But discontent grows when you see people you know and love make great achievements before you you’ve even found your footing. Like when your classmates are making a living making music. Or when your peers are getting operatic roles that you will never get a chance at because you are home, changing diapers, not practicing. Or when your family is full of distinguished professionals in their respective fields, making good money and a good name for themselves.

Failure can eat away at you, breeding bitterness, despondency, and envy. You focus on things like your terribly ugly kitchen floor that you can’t afford to replace. Or the songs you’ve practiced that no one will ever hear. You harden your pride and gloat about your frugality because it helps you to save face and cover your own deficiencies.

One night my husband sat down with a storm in his mind, to write a song. I went to bed early; he stayed up late recording. The next day, I listened:

A plain truth found me on a Wednesday night.
Fate or fortune, strength or weakness, we may both regret
Our own submission to this solemn anonymity;
But, I love you, and I love him.

My boy, he knows no greater joy
Than you or me—
No love greater than ours.

Contentment is his to teach, and it’s ours to learn.
It’s his to teach, and it’s ours to learn.

Love me still, my wife.

A plain truth. Hot tears came to my eyes.

Contentment is his to teach… Our boy is happy to feel the grass between his toes, to play blocks, to cut papers, to snuggle and read at the end of the night. He is curious, carefree, bursting with energy and life. He sees beauty in everything he touches. He is satisfied with the world around him.


Dare we take that from him? Dare we trade his joy for resentment? Dare we teach him that he needs wealth, recognition, or a life of ease to be fulfilled?

We may never make music that anyone will care to hear. Our names may never be remembered. Our entire lives may be spent with our noses to the grindstone in boring daily duties. We will most likely remain largely unknown, living in quiet obscurity.

But we can take a lesson from our boy. We can learn to find the good life in the everyday blessings that God has already given to us.

October 2014 pm

If I would only open my eyes and look around me, I might see more good in the life I have presently. The steadfast love of my husband. My children’s sweet words and charming habits. Satisfaction in working at the routine tasks I normally so despise. Beauty in the commonplace.

There is goodness found in the most mundane of lives. Perhaps working contentedly at a quiet, normal life, is in fact more of a good life than discontentedly chasing vain ambition.

Later, Tim added this section to the song:

Though my feet may wander far from home,
May my heart here never leave.
May my soul be knit to yours alone,
All my fortune here to see.

All my fortune here to see.

There was no secret to finding the good life. The plain truth is that it was in front of us the whole time.

Wellsboro Trip Aug 2014 162


The Third Bean

There have been signs that are less obvious. The snacking. The peeing in the night. The early bedtimes.

There have been the signs that are equal parts amusing and unsettling. Like when I do very stupid things without thinking. As in, put the eggs on top of the plates in the cupboard. Or put the crackers in with the cups. Or try to brew coffee through my plastic coffee grinder lid instead of through a filter.

Yeah. My brain is getting less reliable.

There are, of course, the much more obvious signs. Like puking. And gagging. And thinking my grass-fed butter smells disgusting. (What?!?) And have you noticed I’ve stopped posting recipes? That’s because I’ve completely given up my cooking duties to my husband.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that my pants are starting to be hard to button.

January 2015 027

(Taken about two weeks ago… can you guess what’s in there?)

It is with joy and humility and gratitude that I share the news: God willing, we will become a family of five this August.

Wish us luck? 😉


2014 on the Blog

2014 review

Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve been writing here since August, and today, just for fun, I thought would check out which posts got the most traffic from my newbie blog. When I say traffic, I’m not talking tons here, so don’t worry- I’m not letting it go to my head.

I thought it was interesting to find that the most popular posts centered around my family. A couple of birth posts and homesteading posts made it higher on the list, but in general, family still remained central to my heart, my writing, and my reader response. I’ll be honest, it warmed my heart to know that the things closest to my very soul meant the most to you too.

So here they are: the top ten posts from 2014 on my humble little blog. Enjoy!


10) Advantages to Choosing a Homebirth– Despite its growing popularity, home birth isn’t really an option most folks would consider. In this post I outlined some of the advantages a home birth boasts over hospital birth for low-risk women.


9) How We Deal with Santa– We don’t encourage belief in a magical Santa Claus, but we do teach our kids about who the real Old Saint Nick was and enjoy the cultural tradition of Santa. Opinions, anyone?


8) What Does a Doula Do? -A lot of folks don’t know a doula from a hole in the ground. Even if you know she works with pregnant women, you may not know how she is different from a doctor or midwife and what exactly her role might be. I adapted one of my client handouts for your informational blog-reading pleasure. Read on.


7) Lessons From my 88 Year Old Grandmother (And Her 63 Year Old Toaster)– My grandmother has taught me many things, but she has particularly emphasized lessons in frugality, maintaining her possessions carefully, and contentment with what she has over whatever new contraptions are available. A stark contrast to the habits of expendability most of us practice today, my Mam has a lot of wisdom to offer.


6) Two of a Kind– This post was a story of how my son and I, who often butt heads, are really more alike than I often think. Anyone else experience a similar phenomenon?

Spring 2013 012

5) My About Page- The fifth most visited page on this blog was my about page. That’s probably because I have such a weird blog name. If you don’t know the lunacy behind why I bought, pop over and read it.


4) What Does a Preschooler Need to Know? – Sometimes what a preschooler needs to know isn’t so much his ABCs and 123s, as much as a little freedom to learn and grow and assurance of love and security.

iPhone pictures and videos 572

3) Making Our Cob Oven– Our old world earthen oven is a unique feature on the block, and provides us with some mean pizza and deliciously crusty breads. Besides that, it gives us an alternative cooking source that can be used in any weather, without electricity. This post, written by my hubby, explains how he made it.


2) Six Years and Counting– My second most viewed post was our love story and anniversary celebration from this last September!


1) Apple-Honey Jelly (Made From Peels and Cores)– And my most viewed post over this past year? Was how to make apple jelly using only peels and cores, with no added pectin or sugar. I was surprised that this one was the most popular, but I think Pinterest had something to do with that!

Thanks for sticking around for my first half-year on the blog and for all of your support. I look forward to sharing our journeys together in 2015!