Preserving and Cooking with Blueberries

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Blueberries are in season!

I love the sweet flavor that bursts into your mouth when you bite into them. If you are blessed to live near a blueberry patch, now is the time to harvest and preserve them. I went blueberry picking a few weeks ago and brought home 12 pounds! My only regret is that I didn’t have time to pick more.

The taste isn’t the only thing blueberries have going for them; they are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants like Vitamins C, A, E, K, B12, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. That’s just naming a few!

Because of blueberries’ antioxidant power, they may help prevent cancer-causing cell damages of the body. It is thought that the pterostilbene (another antioxidant) found in blueberries helps to lower cholesterol. These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other amazing health benefits found in blueberries.

Join me at Frugal Granola to learn the basics to preserving and cooking with blueberries! 

Do you find it hard to get nourishing real meals on the table? Let Tradishen help take the guess work out of menu planning for you! Find recipes like this one and more at Tradishen.

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10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Fields of grass tickling your bare feet as you walk to your large garden plot with the breeze running through your hair. A toddler is beside you and a baby on your back. That’s how my dream went anyway…

From the time I was little I knew that I was made to be a homesteader, only then I just called it “living in the country with all the fun extras”. My first two years were spent playing outside in a little garden plot near our double wide then life took a turn and my family packed up and moved to a city 2000 miles away.

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Aren’t we cuties? 🙂

We’d love back to the country they said, but God had other plans and in the city we stayed. When I was 19 I skipped the country (not the country side 😉 ) and moved to Mexico. I had a garden there but still my heart longer for a big, green patch of land to call it my own. I wanted to be a homesteader, not the Charle’s Ingalls kind, though, there needed to be some limits. At least I had chickens because well chickens are the gateway to homesteading, don’t you know?

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

As God would have it I am sitting writing  this back in the States in the city… Nothing like where I saw myself but somewhere along the way I realized that I was already a homesteader, a small space one.

You don’t need acres of land or even a yard to be a homesteader (though a yard is a nice perk). If you long for a “bit of earth” to call your own or even if you don’t you can be a homesteader. These 10 tips for small space homesteading are what I have done or currently do.

1. Grow your own food

Did you know you can grow herbs in a window seal? Or tomatoes on your tiny patio? I grow tomatoes, basil, echinacea, and cucumbers in a flower bed. I also have a few pots for my mint, parsley, calendula, and stevia.

Do I grow enough food to last us through the year? No, but I do find joy in the fact that there are some things I don’t have to buy at the store frequently. I recently made a batch of pesto with my home grown basil. It’s the little things.

2. Start a compost bin

I recently started a worm compost bin and put it in the backyard. You can also keep it on your patio or garage. I made my own, but you can also buy a kit online.

3. Line Dry Your Cloths (or Use a Wooden Drying Wrack)

There is something beautiful about clean cloths drying in the fresh air. I remember helping my paternal grandma hang cloths on the line, dashing back and forth through lines of cloths while the grass tickled my feet. Then I moved to Mexico where you dried your cloths over concert slab with hot, dry, dusty winds… Not every day was like that. Some days there was no breeze and clothes came off the line nice and dry with not dirt. 😉

If you don’t have lines or prefer not to use them you can hang your clothes in the shower like I do sometimes or you can buying a wooden drying rack.

4. Raise Chickens

Many cities allow you to raise 5 or less chickens in your backyard. Fresh eggs daily are wonderful. Plus most kids LOVE having chickens around. I miss it so much since the city I currently live in doesn’t allow for chickens.

5. Recycle and Repurpose

I grew up in the an area of California where recycling has been a big deal for almost 30 years. I don’t remember a time when at least some of our recycling wasn’t picked up.

Recycling is great but not an option for everyone. I am a huge fan of repurposing. I add shredded paper, cardboard, and newspaper to my compost bin. The occasional glass jar is often used for storage.

6. Keep Records

Keeping records in important thing for any homesteader. You keep track of expenses, what you feed your animals, what you grew- what worked and what didn’t.

7. Preserve Your Food

I love pulling a jar of home canned peaches off my pantry shelf. There is something so satisfactory about preserving your own food. I can, dehydrate, and freeze.

8. Borrow Someone’s Land

Ask a friend or family that has a bit of land if you can borrow or lease land to grow a few raised beds.

9. Cook from Scratch

Fresh home cooked meals alway make me think of my Grandma Stanley or Ma Ingalls. I have a bit of “healthy” convenience food on hand like pasta and some canned goods, but overall I try to make simple nourishing meals from scratch.

10. Cook with “garbage”

Of course I don’t suggest cooking with actual garbage but instead I am referring to bones, a vegetable trimmings like radish tops and cilantro stems. Simple things like that often end up in the garbage or compost yet are part of creating flavorful, nutrient-dense foods.

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Small space homesteading is a journey. You can’t do it all right away, that leads to burnout and disappointment. Take baby steps. Bit by bit you will find that you are able to take more things on. Will you be able to do and raise all the things that a homesteader with multiple acres is able to? No, but that’s okay. Embrace the small homestead you have give yourself grace, and if you have a dream for a spacious homestead of your own someday don’t stop dreaming.

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Peppermint, it is invigorating and refreshing while soothing at the same time. What’s not to love? It was my favourite herb as a child so it’s no wonder that it was one of the first essential oils I purchased.

Essential oils popping up in homes across the country. It seems that everywhere I look someone is buying essential oils. This is a good and negative thing in my option since essential oils are a much higher concentration than their herbal counterparts. That being said I love essential oils!

I always keep a bottle or two of peppermint on hand. I’m currently waving a bottle of it under my nose to keep me going as I write this.

(Note: Peppermint essential should be completely avoided under the age of two. Some are okay with cautious use until the age of 6. Do not use while breastfeeding as it is not safe for infants even through breast milk, it also can dry you up. For more essential oil safety tips check out these resources.)

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

1. Defuse to Improve Energy and Mood

When I am tired or stressed I find that defusing a few drops of peppermint essential oil to be just what I need.

2. Add to an Epsom Salt Foot Bath

Sore, achy feet feel so much better after you give them a soak in a foot bath of cool water, Epsom salt, and essential oil. I used to soak my feet every week and somehow forgot about it. I’m thinking it needs to become a weekly tradition agian.

3. Defuse with Lemon and Lavender for Allergies

Many have found that when a couple drops of peppermint are defused with lemon and lavender essential oil that it can help ease seasonal allergies. (Find out how to get all three for free.)

4. Use in Homemade Lip Balm

I am such a sucker for chocolate, add peppermint to it and I am on Cloud 9. Homemade lip balms is easy to make and is a great gift (think Christmas approaching). One of my favourite lip balms  to make and use cocoa butter and peppermint essential oil. Chocolate peppermint lovers will be delighted with this!

5. Use in Homemade Lotion

If you thought that chocolate peppermint lip balm was amazing how about a peppermint patty inspired hand lotion? It soothe tired and achy hands while leaving your hand temporarily smelling like my favourite treat!

6. Use in Cookie Recipes

I tend to be cautious when it comes to using essential oils internally. If I am making my favourite soaked and sprouted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I am out of extract I add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. It is extremely diluted and mixes right in.

7. Keep Ants and Spiders Out of Your Home

You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a cotton ball and place in corners of the house or window frame where ants and spiders tend to get it to deter them.

8. To Ease a Headache

Mix peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil to make a headache rub. Gently massage the temples, forehead, and back of the neck with the oil blend for a bit of releaf. You could add lavender to an additional boost.

9. Use in a Vapor Rub

I have been making vapor rub for years. The base is coconut or olive oil with congestion soothing herbs. For an extra boost, essential oils like peppermint can be added.

10. Use in Homemade Toothpaste or Tooth Powder

Who doesn’t love to have refreshing breath after brushing their teeth? I use peppermint essential oil in my coconut oil toothpaste, my squeezable bentonite clay toothpaste, and in my toothpowder.

 What are your favourite ways to use peppermint essential oil?

How to Grow Mint from Cuttings {2 Methods}

How to Grow Mint from Cuttings {2 Methods} -www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Mint is easy to grow and hard to kill — which makes it one of the best plants for a beginning gardener! You can buy a plant at the store or grow your own from cuttings.

Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint… there are so many types of mint in the world! As a refreshing glass of cold tea, as a condiment in Middle Eastern and Thai dishes, in ice cream, mint is a worldwide favorite. It’s especially known for its soothing effect on the stomach.

Learn to grow your own mint at Traditional Cooking School

Do you want to learn to regrow more food you have around your kitchen? The Shoestring gardener is a great resource that I have been pouring over. I can’t wait to start regrowing ginger and lemongrass. Both are in my fridge right now! You can pick up this book along with many other healthy living resources for an amazing price!

13 Tips for Hiking with Kids

13 Tips for Hiking with Kids

I love hiking! It must be in my blood since my dad spent a summer backpacking before he met my mom. I am nowhere near that hard-core but I do enjoying camping or a good day hike. Growing up we went camping and hiking a lot. While I was living in Mexico my girls and I took many short hikes into the hills behind our home.

Hiking is always an adventure with kids. It’s good to be prepared for whatever you might face on your hike. Today we have 13 Tips for Hiking with Kids that are sure to give you a place to start from next time you plan a hike with your kids!

1. Wear good shoes

Good shoes are vital for hiking. Little flats with no traction on the soles are going to send your kiddos sliding if they hit loose soil, gravel or a slick rock. They also give you no arch support leaving feet tired and sore way before you are done. If it’s going to be a long hike through lots of brush then they need a good pair closed toe boots. If you are going on more of a gentle hike sandals like these Keens or Chacos work great! I have a pair of each and have used them for light hikes for about 8 years now. My Chacos traveled all over Israel with me for two weeks a few summers ago. On that same trip one of my friends had on Keens and we both felt fine after hiking many miles each day.

2. See things from their perspective

Some my greatest memories hiking with my girls comes from stopping with the littlest ones and seeing the things they see and letting them express their joy over the view or whatever they may have found. New found pleasures and joy are just waiting to be discovered! I get a kick out of the stories some of them tell about the little mouse they saw it how they imagined it’s life.

3. Bring water

I don’t care how short of a hike it is, bring water. This is not a suggestion, it’s a must. You never know when someone might twist an ankle or break a bone leaving you stranded for a few hours until help can be found. A water bottle with a quality filter is the best way to bring water on a hike especially if you know you will be near fresh water. One of the only water filters I trust is the Bereky water filter. Bereky makes great water bottles that each person can carry.

13 Tips for Hiking with Kids

4. Bring snacks

Snacks keep your energy up and are a fun thing to look forward to when you plan on taking a break. Thing like beef jerky or beef/turkey sticks (I like Nick’s sticks, they are made from grass feed meat and Reals Salt) give you a protein boost and aren’t messy. A few fun/special snacks are great too, like a homemade granola bar. Even though chocolate is the perfect treat most days, I don’t pack very often unless I know it’s going to be a cool day. No one likes melted chocolate making a mess all over  everything. Soaked and dehydrated nuts and dried fruit are also great stable snacks to bring.

5. Bring a first aid kit

You never know who will trip and skin a knee, get into poison ivy, stung by a wasp or twist an ankle. It is good to be prepared for whatever might happen. Serafina shared about her herbal medicine chest, that is a good place to start for deciding what to put in your kit.

A few staples that I like to bring are:

6. Go over rules

Set rules for your kids before you even leave the house. You might want to even review them again before you start your hike. Your kids need to know what is okay and what is not. Take into consideration their age and responsibility level. I have always felt blessed by my girls not going too far off and paying attention.

7. Don’t plans something too intense

Unless your kids are used to hiking it’s important to remember that they might not be up for too intense of a hike. Kids (or adults for that matter) who aren’t used to hiking or just have little legs need more breaks. It’s normal for them to feel the hike in their muscles or to have the need for more water and rest breaks when they are not in shape, used to the altitude or so much activity.

8. Pack toilet paper and resealable bags

Without fail it’s hard to take a hike and not have at least one person needing to go to the bathroom. Toilet paper and a resealable bag to pack the soiled paper out with are a must. A small trowel to cover the #2 is a good idea as well.

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9.  Dress appropriately

Be aware of the weather where you are going to be hiking and how long you will be gone. When I was hiking in Baja we were in a very hot and dry area most of the year so layers weren’t quite as important, often tank tops helped us cool off. Rattle snakes LOVED our hills so we wore jeans most of the time. If we were up in the mountains any time of year we would dress in layers that can be peeled off or added as the day went on.

10. Leave no trace

Please don’t let your kids litter while on your hike. It spoils God’s beautiful creation and makes it unlovely for the next person that comes along. It might also harm the wild life. We try to be carefull not to mess up too much brush or flowers as well. Though a few flowers usually find their way home with us. (Check rules for the area you are hiking in if it’s okay to collect things or not.)

11. Identify plant life

If you have been around Nourishing Simplicity for very long you will know that we are all about herbs. It is so much fun and a great teaching lesson to learn to identify plant life with your kids. Learning what plants are for cooking and healing is just as important as learning which plants to avoid. Poison Ivy for example is nasty to come in contact with but Jewel Weed which grows near by helps sooth the itch.

12. Be encouraging

Sometimes kids need a bit of encouragement and motivation to keep going. When one of my new girls moved in she was not accustom to hiking so we had to take things a bit slower at first and encourage her. She ended up having fun and running around with the best of them.

13. Bring a camera

There are sure to be special memories just waiting to be captured. Plus it’s great to take photos of the scenery and plants when you are learning how to identify them.

* Bonus- See everyone’s ability

Often people assume those who have limitations just can’t do something. While at times that can be true it’s not the absolute rule at all times. My hikes while living in Mexico normally consisted of 12-16 kids. The last year or so I had kids ages 4-19 with me. They are all deaf and for those of you that might want to know, it wasn’t an issue. My girls know the rules for when we hike and if I needed someone in the front’s attention I simply tapped the girl in front of me who got the attention of someone else who called the person I needed to talk to or just passed on the message.

I also had two girls that have no peripheral vision. They know that they have to be more aware of their surroundings and look around more. Another was my girls has a semi low functioning type of autism Even though it was a new experience for her she was happy because she was with the people that she knows, loves and trusts. Almost all of my girls loved hiking or at least started to half way through our time. They never let anything get in the way of just enjoying a good hike like any other kid.

Exciting News!!!

Hiking is a great way to get exercise, soak up Vitamin D and teach your kids healthy habits. Next week The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is going be on sale. It is packed with resources to that will help you take even more control of your health!

The book list is AMAZING! I’m just saying… It’s always an amazing source of information, videos, resources and deals. This year is no exception. You are not going to want to miss it! I can’t wait to get my hands on this deal as well!

What makes this year so special is that you can get a copy for free! When you share my link you get your own code that allows you to share the Healthy Living Bundle with your family and friends. If you refer one friend you receive $5 off your bundle! If you refer 5 friends you receive a 12-session audio conference. If you refer 10 people you get the Healthy Living Bundle for FREE!

Sounds like a good deal right? You can sign up now to get an email as soon as the sale starts!

This is where you click to sign up—————>

http://healthylivingbundle.com?ref=69170aaeac

 

 What are your tips for hiking with kids?