Brown paper packages tied up with strings- these are a few of my favorite things! For real. I love frugal gift wrap that is both unpretentious and pretty.
I hate that wrapping a present can often cost just as much as (or sometimes more than!) the gift itself. I cringe every time I actually have to buy something to wrap up a gift. Beyond the cost, the amount of waste that gift wrap creates is incredible- anybody else have 2 or 3 kitchen garbage bags of wrapping paper to throw out after its short-lived purpose was fulfilled?
For the past few years, we started looking for other ways to wrap our gifts. We stared finding free gift wrap all over the place by using recycled and/or reusable material. Here are some ideas for you to try!
Hot chocolate is one of my favorite winter treats after chilly morning chores or an afternoon of snow-day play. However, the sugar-ridden packets of hot cocoa mix probably aren’t an ideal way to enjoy the drink. Hence, the need for a healthier hot chocolate!
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You’ll find a gamut of hot chocolate mix recipes on the internet, usually full of sugar and powdered milk. It’s nice to have something pre-made on occasion, but to me, it’s not all that much more convenient than making it fresh. (Besides, fresh just tastes better!)
Here’s the guilt-free recipe that I make for our family.
Anti-Overwhelm Strategy #1: Quit Raising Meat Rabbits.
There are SO many great reasons to raise meat rabbits. They are one of the least expensive sources of lean protein because they grow out to processing weight so quickly. They are prolific, producing litters of 6-10 or more kits with each breeding. They’re tasty, healthy, and don’t require a lot of space or pricey equipment.
However, we found that meat rabbits are just not a good fit for our family. Some of the very same things that are such great benefits to raising rabbits are also a detriment for families like ours. Let me explain what I mean.
Jewelweed and plantain are common weeds, both easily located, identified, and prized for their soothing, healing properties. They are a perfectly intuitive combination for calming homemade bath products. Today, I am so excited to share a jewelweed plantain soap recipe from Jan Berry of The Nerdy Farm Wife!
Homestead overwhelm: it’s a real thing. In fact, being overwhelmed is such a common theme in my life that it hardly seems necessary to mention it anymore. I am a lady with too much going on.
Apparently, I like to revisit this problem repeatedly. I think I can take on the world, then I realize can’t keep up. So, I melt down and give up certain things. Then I am happy for a while– until I decide to try it all over again.
It’s officially fall, and apple season is in full swing here in Pennsylvania. Our trees have apples. We bought apples from an orchard. Our neighbors have brought us apples. My mom brought us apples. My friend offered apple picking from her tree. I think I’ve been dreaming apples.
For many of us, there’s not much more nostalgic or comforting than a delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup. Condensed soups, and even higher-quality commercial canned soups, can hardly compare to the taste of the homemade chicken or turkey stock. And if you didn’t know it already, there are many health benefits to homemade stock as well. It’s so much better than bullion!
The good news is that making your own stock is simple, delicious, and almost free (once you’ve bought the bird, of course). It takes a few minutes to get it started, and maybe another 15 minutes to strain it and store it at the end- but that’s a small price to pay compared to purchasing stock at the store.
There are a gazillion and one “how to make homemade yogurt” posts out there, so I don’t offer any new knowledge here when I write this. However, I may bring the knowledge to a new audience, and that is what I care about!
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Homemade yogurt is really simple to make, at least half the cost of store-bought yogurt, and healthier because you can control what goes in it. In only has 2 ingredients, and takes only a couple minutes at each step. It’s also a perfect way to help me get in some inexpensive, healthy protein and gut functionality when I’m on my $25 grocery challenge to myself.
Meal-planning is hailed as the number one tip for saving money in the kitchen and avoiding food waste. And it really does do both of those things! But I find that when everything is coming in the garden, it becomes rather difficult to plan far ahead.
Why? Well, it’s hard to know sometimes whether the zucchini will be ripe by Tuesday or Thursday. You can’t predict whether or not an insect will come along and wipe out those kale leaves you had in mind for tomorrow’s meal. And beyond that, food preservation calls regularly during garden season. More time on preservation means less time on meal planning or cooking. You just can’t do it all in one day.
Strawberries are one of the few fruits we reserve for an annual U-pick farm trip. Why we haven’t grown them ourselves yet, I’m not sure! However, the trip to our local farms makes for a fun tradition. What’s more, the kids are getting better at actually getting some in the bucket each year.