Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Plant Therapy 7 and 7 Essential Oil Kit Giveaway

Welcome to the Plant Therapy

Essential Oils Giveaway!

This is part of our Back To School Gift Guide, so please check it out!
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide.

Michigan Saving and More

Deliciously Savvy

Tales From A Southern Mom

Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains

Here We Go Again ready

My Silly Little Gang

Everyday Gizmos Sweeps & Views

Bargnhtress

Easter Babe’s Theory

Peyton’s Momma

Things That Make People Go Aww

Cook With 5 Kids

Java John Z's

Miles With Christ

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s get to the sponsor!

7 and 7 Kit

See the review HERE.
The winner will receive

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GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 8/22/17. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to at julie.talesfromasouthernmom (at) gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email julie.talesfromasouthernmom(at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Reading Your Teen Will Actually Enjoy! (The Smallest Thing Review & Giveaway)


             Hey folks! Do you know a teen/young adult who loves to read? I have the perfect book to add to his/her summer reading!
             The Smallest Thing, written by Lisa Manterfield, follows the rebellious Emmott Syddall, a 17 year old girl dying to escape the boring little village she lives in. Synopsis snippets are always better at describing books than I am, so here is the one from Goodreads!


The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.

But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?

Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.

             Sounds good, right? It is! Though this is a young adult novel, I still found it very engaging and entertaining, even as a 30 year old married woman with 2 kids. ;) Even though my rebellious teenage days are long over, I can definitely relate to Emmott. I was never really purposely rebellious, I don't think, but I can definitely identify with wanting to get as far away from a small town as possible and never looking back!
             Really, there are lots of themes in this book that many teenage girls can identify with. Lust, getting jilted by a boyfriend, falling in love for real for the first time, dealing with family that never seem to see eye-to-eye with you...You get the picture. All thrown in with a mysterious illness that is killing people you've known your whole life left and right and it makes for a very interesting story! It probably doesn't sound like all of these things would go together well, but the author did a great job of blending everything into a story that made sense, wasn't cheesy, and was entertaining.
             Manterfield did a great job of fleshing out the characters too, in my opinion. She describes everyone just well enough that you get your own mental image of them, but not over-detailing them, if that makes any sense. Kind of like when you read a book and get an idea of what a character looks like, then they make it into a movie and whoever they cast looks nothing like you had in mind! Speaking of characters, despite her rebellious, somewhat self-centered attitude at the beginning (what teenage girl isn't, right?), I found Emmott to be really likeable too. I have found there's not much worse than reading a story and you can't identify or like the main character!
             I really think teenagers and adults alike will enjoy this novel. Please see below for more detailed information on where you can purchase this title for yourself or a friend, the author, and more!

Where to Purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Smallest-Thing-Lisa-Manterfield-ebook/dp/B07144H7PJ/
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-smallest-thing/id1234756426?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-smallest-thing
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-smallest-thing-lisa-manterfield/1126725031ean=2940158614415

About the Author


Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of A Strange Companion and Im Taking My Eggs and
Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England,
she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat.

www.LisaManterfield.com
Facebook: AuthorLisaManterfield
Instagram: @lmanterfield
Twitter: @lisamanterfield
Goodreads: LisaManterfield

             Before you go, be sure to visit Lisa Manterfield's own blog for her tour kick-off post AND enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed copy of The Smallest Thing and more related goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated monetarily for this post. I received a review copy of this book in return for my honest opinion and review. All opinions are my own. This giveaway is not affiliated with any social media platform. Mixed Bag Mama is not responsible for prize shipment.

Teach My "Learning On The Go" Giveaway

Teach My Learning On The Go Giveaway

Welcome to the Teach My Learning On The Go Giveaway!

There are 4 winners for this giveaway, 1 winner drawn each of the last 4 weeks.
This is part of our Back To School Gift Guide, so please check it out!
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide.

Michigan Saving and More

Deliciously Savvy

Tales From A Southern Mom

Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains

Here We Go Again ready

My Silly Little Gang

Everyday Gizmos Sweeps & Views

Bargnhtress

Easter Babe’s Theory

Peyton’s Momma

Things That Make People Go Aww

Cook With 5 Kids

Java John Z's

Miles With Christ

Teach My Learning On The Go Giveaway

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s get to the sponsor!

Teach My

Teach My Learning On The Go Giveaway

Learning On The Go

See the review HERE.
Each winner will receive 1 Learning On The Go.

~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 9/10/17. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 23, 2017

SoftBums Mystery Diaper Giveaway

 
If you're looking for one cloth diaper system that will fit your baby from newborn to potty-training, look no further! SoftBums Cloth Diapers are reusable diapers that come in 2 parts, otherwise known as an All-In-Two.  Thanks to the patented Slide2Size toggle system all SoftBums diapers have, they provide a unique fit for every baby of every size, between 6-35 pounds.
SoftBums diapers are remarkably soft and comfortable for baby, have the cutest gender neutral prints and are a fan favorite for functionality!  You can find out more about the company and all about the two different styles available from SoftBums, the Echo and Omni, by reading the full review by Latched On Mom.
SoftBums is giving away a MYSTERY diaper, in winner's choice of Echo or Omni!
Enter using the form below.  Giveaway is open to US and Canada and ends 8/4/17 at 11:59 PM CST. . Good luck!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Latched On Mom and other participating bloggers did not receive compensation to promote this giveaway. Prize fulfillment is sponsor's responsibility. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. Open to legal residents 18+ of USA and Canada. Winner's entries will be confirmed and then contacted by email. You will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.If you have any questions, or have a product you'd like for me to review, please email latchedonmom@gmail.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

WowWee Digiloom Giveaway

WowWee Digiloom Giveaway

Welcome to the WowWee Digiloom Giveaway!

This is part of our Back To School Gift Guide, so please check it out!
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide.

Michigan Saving and More

Deliciously Savvy

Tales From A Southern Mom

Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains

Here We Go Again ready

My Silly Little Gang

Everyday Gizmos Sweeps & Views

Bargnhtress

Easter Babe’s Theory

Peyton’s Momma

Things That Make People Go Aww

Cook With 5 Kids

Java John Z's

Miles With Christ

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s get to the sponsor!

WowWee

Digiloom

See the review HERE.
The winner will receive 1 Digiloom.

~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 8/21/17. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our Afternoon at Deming Park (Terre Haute, IN)

            Hey guys! I totally dropped the ball this week. I haven't been feeling so great lately, so I'm not gonna lie: I didn't get a proper post ready in time this week. Hell, even as I try to type this my 18 month old is literally fighting with me over the keyboard. Fun stuff. However, I did document our fun day exploring a new park via video the other day, so I will leave you with that today. Enjoy!


This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

Keep Baby Clean with Happy Little Camper Wipes! (Review)

happy little camper wipes

            Hey folks! It can be overwhelming choosing what products to use for your baby with all of the options out there, amiright? With my first daughter, I actually kind of had the opposite problem. Regular wipes made her butt red and quite frankly, I wasn't crazy about all of the chemicals and fragrances in them. At the time, all of the “green” baby products just started making their debut...Or, I just didn't know where to look, being a first-time mom and all!
            Fortunately, green baby products are much easier to find nowadays. (Or I just know where to look! ;) ) Even though my second baby isn't much of a “baby” any more, she still wears diapers and makes plenty of messes, so I'm always happy to try new green products. Needless to say, I was happy to recently try out some wipes from Happy Little Camper.
            Happy Little Camper currently specializes in baby wipes, with natural diapers to come soon! As far as wipes, they offer 100% cotton ones and flushable ones! You can also purchase multi-packs, which come in handy, especially for the travel sized packs! We had the opportunity to try out the 100% cotton ones. Here are my thoughts on them, in a nutshell:

baby with wipe

*I really like that there are no added fragrances or scents of any kind! It might seem silly, but that is one of my least favorite things about disposable diapers AND wipes. I don't like those artificial smells and furthermore, they seem to contribute to breaking my kids out!

*Not full of unnecessary chemicals. For funsies, I looked these wipes up on the EWG Skin Deep Database. While the wipes themselves are not listed on there yet, I looked up the ingredients I wasn't familiar with since there are so few ingredients in the wipes. Products and ingredients are rated from 0-10, with 0 being really good (health and safety-wise) and 10 being really bad, basically. I'm happy to report that only two ingredients were in the “fair” category at 3 and 5. One of them is an “aromatic preservative”, whatever that means, so perhaps they can find something a little nicer in the future. Still, as I said, it ranked in the “fair” category, so not that big of a deal.

*I also really like that the first two ingredients are identifiable: water and aloe vera. Plus, the aloe vera is nice for soothing baby butts and not irritating them!

*I didn't have to use nearly as many Happy Little Camper wipes as I do other store bought ones that I use. Since we use wet washcloths for butt wiping at home, we only use disposable wipes when we're out and about. Personally, it's extra annoying having to use a billion wipes compared to the number of wash rags we use at home, ON TOP of it just not being fun changing a poopy diaper out in public. These will make life infinitely easier in that sense.

baby with wipe
*Since anyone with kids knows wipes don't just come in handy for butts, we tried them out on a jelly toast mess too. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they worked! I didn't have to use many and this kid can make a mess! Plus, they didn't tear or anything.


            Definitely be sure to check out Happy Little Camper's wipes and learn more about them on their website. You can keep up-to-date with them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated monetarily for this post. I received product in return for my honest opinion.
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn.com

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Problem with Visiting All the Doctors (Within the Same Office)

exam table

             Hey folks! I've made it no secret in the past that I am not a huge fan of doctors. And, while I had a great VBAC experience with the office I went with here in Indiana, you know what was really annoying? Having to see every doctor in the practice. I'm not sure whether this is becoming more of “a thing” in the medical world in general, but I have a feeling it is and wanted to get some things off my chest in regards to it pertaining to OBGYNs.
             First of all, at least at my office, I got the impression that I would still have a main OBGYN (and perhaps I was supposed to) of my choosing, but I would need to at least meet with the other two because of their policy. “Ok. That's fine,” I thought. After it was all said and done, though, I think I ended up seeing the doctor I originally wanted less than the other two! I felt like I was being passed around! But, I'll get to that more in a minute.
             Don't get me wrong: I don't know if this is their reasoning or not, but I can totally understand them wanting patients to meet with all of the doctors because you just never know who is going to be on-call when you go into labor. However, I personally found a lot of faults with this system. (Btw, does anyone know if there is a specific term for doctor offices like this? I would love to know that!)

*First of all, you don't get to know one doctor very well. I don't like that. I loved my OBGYN in Arkansas that I had when I was pregnant with Myka. She almost felt more like a friend than a doctor...And I only had to see another doctor in her practice once, I think, when she was on vacation. Like I said above, I ended up having to see each of the three doctors at the practice here about equally. And I wasn't really crazy about any of them.

*Again, these practices can make you feel like you are being shuffled around. Who wants to feel like they are being passed around, especially when you're hormonal and pregnant?

*You may/will end up having to either see a specific doctor you don't like or a gender of doctor you don't prefer. I realize how trivial this sounds, but having a baby is a big deal. You should want (and deserve) to be seen by someone you are comfortable with and trust! We are paying them, after all, not the other way around.

*With all of the above being said, in these types of offices, you don't seem to have much choice in who provides your care. Yes, I realize you could choose a different doctor's office, BUT...What if it's the only one your insurance will cover? What if, you're like me, and it's the number one or ONLY place you're allowed to VBAC at in the area? What if you live in a rural area and it's your only/closest choice? So, shouldn't we be allowed some freedom in choosing which doctor we would like for our care and to form a decent relationship with?

*I feel like all of these things, whether combined or even one single item, can cause even more anxiety in some patients. Although I am picky about OBGYNs, I also feel like I'm fairly laid back, especially after having two kids. Some people, however, are already high-strung, whether it be due to pregnancy-related concerns or a pre-existing anxiety disorder. Why cause even more, unnecessary stress for these patients?

             What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think you should have to see all the doctors in a practice or just the one you choose? Have you ever been to an office like this? I'd love to hear your thoughts below!
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Prevent Summer Slide With Education.com!

            Hey folks! Are you familiar with Education.com? It's a great resource for parents and teachers alike. You can find worksheets, activity ideas, lesson plans, and even games! It's not just for preschool and elementary-aged children either. You can find resources for students all the way up to high school!

This post is on behalf of Education.com. No compensation was received.

            Since we are in the midst of preschool with my 4 year old, I wanted to share with you this cute and educational game. Kids practice categorization with this sweet Education.com game. Help little ones build the skills they need for school with dozens more preschool games. You can try it out below!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Zucchini Parmesan

zucchini parmesan

             Hey folks! I love this time of year for one reason: zucchini! I've already made zucchini bread and muffins and, to be honest, I'm not crazy about my mom's zucchini casserole recipe (it's a weird consistency), so I'm already looking for new-to-me ways to use it.
             John is the one who actually suggested trying something like eggplant parmesan, so I gave it a go. I've actually never had eggplant parmesan and have only tried chicken parmesan once and didn't care that much for it, to be honest. With that being said, I just made this similar to how I imagine a different “parm” dish would be made. Regardless of whether it's true “parmesan” or not, I hope you enjoy it!

seasonings
What You'll Need:

-2 zucchini
-2 jars of spaghetti sauce
-1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
-garlic powder
-salt
-pepper
-minced onion or onion powder
-taco seasoning
-gallon baggie
-parmesan cheese
-mozzarella cheese
-cooking oil of choice for frying zucchini (we used peanut)

*Preheat your oil on the stove at a little above medium heat. I used a bit too much oil and they were all floating, so don't use quite that much. ;)

sliced zucchini
*Cut your zucchini into slices similar to those pictures. (Some of them got a little crazy because my 4 year old was helping me. Lol)

*Mix together Jiffy mix and desired amounts of garlic powder, salt, pepper, minced onion, and a tiny bit of taco seasoning, for good measure, in the gallon baggie. Stick about 5 or 6 slices of zucchini in at a time and coat. (Note: If a little dry, you may wet slices with water or eggwash to get dry mix to stick better. You want to make sure they're well-coated!)
seasoned zucchini slices

fried zucchini
*Once your oil is up to temp, turn it back down to about medium and start frying your zucchini slices. You want them to be a nice golden brown. (As you can see from my pictures, I got some a little darker than I intended.) Set on a cooling wrack with paper towel or just a regular plate with paper towel to drain when finished frying.

*While you are frying all of your zucchini, pour your spaghetti sauce into a separate pan or large skillet. Simmer on low heat.

*Once everything is ready, add half of your desired amount of parmesan and mozzarella cheese to the sauce. Add desired amount of zucchini. (You may have extra. I found that one zucchini was not enough and two was a little much, but that's ok! They're good by themselves too!) Combine rest of cheese and serve hot.
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn.com

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Let's Play Mermaid Island! (Review)

girl with board game

             Hey folks! I hope you aren't sick of hearing about all of the cool stuff Peaceable Kingdom has to offer yet. I have another kids board game to share with you today that especially little girls will love!
             Mermaid Island is recommended for ages 5+. You can play with as little as 2 people or as many as 6, making it great for sleepovers or a rainy afternoon at home. It's a fun little game that, like all PK (Peaceable Kingdom) games, helps children work on certain skills. In the case of Mermaid Island, that is learning strategy, shared decision making (it is a cooperative game), social and emotional development, and following directions. 

mermaid island board game
             What is a cooperative game? Before we go on, I thought I would talk about this a little if you are not familiar with them! Many of PK's games are cooperative games, which means that instead of the end goal of the game be to beat the other person and win, everyone works together as a team against an “outside force” to win together. I just love this idea, especially for the games for younger children who may not handle “losing” well or not understand.

mermaid island board game
             In Mermaid Island, you work as a team to get your three mermaids back to Mermaid Island before the Sea Witch. The Sea Witch gets to start ahead of you on the game board, but luckily there are some helpful tools along the way. You can use the two bridges if you land directly on the starting spot, which gets you much farther ahead on the board. There are also magic wands you can pick up along the way which can be used at any time to move the Sea Witch back a spot. She is also not allowed to use the bridges and must always go the long way, so that is helpful. Unfortunately, she CAN steal your wands if she lands on one, making you incapable of using it for the rest of the game!
             Sounds simple enough, right? This game is for kids slightly older than Myka. I am used to age appropriate ones from Peaceable Kingdom that we have reviewed in the past, which she did fine with. This one was a lot trickier than I expected it to be! But, I think we may have just had really bad luck the first time we played. You can watch the video below to get a better idea of the game and see just how bad of luck we had! Ha ha!


             Myka really seemed to enjoy this game. (She is 4 ½.) In fact, she made me play twice, even after losing the first round, so I think that says something. ;) I had to help her, of course, but I think the game in general is a fun introduction to learning simple strategy skills. She seems to be really into games like this lately as she has also been making me play checkers with her!
             I liked the game because there are not many pieces to lose, it's not mind-numbingly boring, and it plays relatively quickly. It did take a bit longer than our other, younger aged games from PK, but Myka stayed surprisingly focused and interested in it.
             If mermaids aren't your thing, there are PLENTY of other games for different age groups and interests! They are all priced about the same, if not cheaper, than most board games I see nowadays too. (Mermaid Island can be purchased for $15.99) Check all of Peaceable Kingdom's games out and keep up-to-date with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Mixed Bag Mama received free product in return for my honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
 
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
ethannevelyn.com

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Bunny In The Bush Giveaway

The Bunny in the Bush Book & Bunny Box Set Giveaway + Free Printable

 
Winner receives (1) The Bunny In The Bush Book & Bunny Box Set
This is part of our Swinging Into Summer Gift Guide. Stop by and see what else we have for you!
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s get to the sponsor!

The Bunny in the Bush
WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ INSTAGRAM
 

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive:

The Bunny in the Bush Book & Bunny Box Set
A Bunny Scout Was Spotted at the Circus!  
Check Out My Review
  The Bunny in the Bush - Scout Coloring Page  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And Now The Giveaway!

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the 48 Continguous States & DC Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 7/20/17. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to brandi at easterbabestheory dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Melissa Cushing at mcushing7 (at)hotmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.
 

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook!

 

If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

 
 

Monday, July 3, 2017

6 Drawbacks of Homesteading


             Hey folks! Our homesteading posts have been few and far between this year. We've just been busy with so many other things! To be honest, the “farm” aspect of my life has been on the back burner lately. I've just kind of been on auto pilot when it comes to that: feed and water the animals, mow the yard, occasionally weed eat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not that it's anything new, but we've been majorly slacking on weeding the garden again this year too.
             With that being said, homesteading has its obvious perks: you can grow whatever you want, wherever you want, fresh food that you know exactly what is in it, and, if you're lucky, you can even make some extra money off extra produce or even livestock. However, there are some downfalls to farming too that you should be aware of before diving in. (Or relate to if you are in the same boat!)

*Being a homesteader is kind of like being a mailman. You have to get out there and do what you gotta go no matter what the weather is doing. Your animals don't care if it's raining or snowing. They still need fed!

*You can't just up and leave if you feel like taking an impromptu trip somewhere. You have to make sure someone can come over and feed your animals, water your plants, etc. If you like being spontaneous, this aspect of homesteading is kind of a pain in the arse!

*Definitely keep in mind the time commitment! The more plants and animals you have, the more time you're going to have to put into upkeep and care in general. If you still plan to work a “9-5” job, this is a very important consideration. Are you willing/able to get up earlier in the morning to care for animals? Will you have the time and energy in the evening to work in the garden?

*While animal feed is relatively cheap, depending on how many animals you have, it can add up quickly! Don't let me scare you, though. There are plenty of ways to save on feed costs. Many times you can feed your animals meal scraps too! For example, chickens love squash guts and tomatoes. Our rabbits enjoy leftovers from the garden as well as grasses and weeds from the yard more than their store bought pellets! (Can you really blame them? ;) )

*Free range animals seem idyllic, but in all honesty, there are lots of predators out there waiting to gobble them up! We let our chickens free range at first, but we were just losing too many during the day while we would be gone somewhere. Our chickens and pigs have generous pasture areas, but you should keep in mind the cost for such things. If I remember correctly, it cost us about $125 for our main pig area. (We do some rotational grazing.) While we could definitely fit more pigs in it, we built it for two and they have already eaten all the greenery in a couple of short months! (One more thing: You can save on post costs by using your own with trees from your property!)

*If you are wanting to make some extra money (or even have your farm become your sole source of income), you should know that there is quite a bit of wait time before the “initial payout”. Chickens take several months before they start laying eggs. Crops also take several months to grow. Livestock usually takes several months before they are ready to be sold as well. Not to mention, if you are like us, you add more animals a little at a time when you are able, so it may take even longer for whatever payout you are looking for. For example, we got our first American Guinea Hog, Bruce, last July. We did not get our female, Gabby, until March of this year. She is about 8 months old now, so they haven't even made babies yet and likely won't for at least another couple of months.

             I hope I have given you guys some food for thought, but not completely scared you off from homesteading! It's easy to get caught up in the romanticism of the idea without giving much thought to just how much work might go into it. Just be realistic with yourself!
             If you have a farm or homestead, what is your least favorite part?