Monday, July 14, 2014

8 Changes/Skills for a Healthier and More Self Sufficient Life

Before I had children, I didn't really think about how what I was eating and how I was living was affecting my health. Something about wanting the best for your children really changes the way you look at your own way of living. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I really took a step back, and saw that what I was doing was not what I wanted for her. So... I made some changes. Being a stay at home mom has also helped me make better (more cost effective) choices. With only one income, we have enough, but I like to save money everywhere I can. What mom doesn't? In trying to make healthier choices and save money, I have also started making changes that lead my family to be more self sufficient, and less reliant on others for our well being. Although, there is a whole lot more I would like to do, here are a few things I have done...

1. Breastfeeding

This was the first thing I did that paved the way for the other changes I made. I haven't spent a penny on formula for either of my children. It is completely free! Everything you may want to buy for breastfeeding is optional. You don't NEED a pump, you don't NEED nursing bras or shirts. If you are like me, though, you may want to get yourself a lot of nursing pads! (Buy reusable pads and save money!)
It's also incredibly healthy for your baby! (And you!) Check out this article on!

2. Eat Whole Foods & Baby Led Weaning

When my daughter was ready to start solids, I wanted her to eat healthy foods and enjoy them! With so many GMO's, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors, in today's food, and so many of those thought to be linked to diseases, of course I didn't want to feed those to my daughter! Or myself for that matter! I think before I had her, I had an ignorance is bliss attitude about healthy eating. But I can tell you, I feel so much better when I eat real whole foods and not pre-packaged, artificial junk. At first I thought, hey, I will make my own baby food using organic fruits and veggies! I did that a couple times and then I read the book Baby Led Weaning. Instead of puree's you let your baby feed themselves, real whole foods. I could go on about this for hours so just check out the website and definitely look into buying the book! Basically I didn't need to buy or make any baby food! I will say on occasion Melody would have a squeeze pouch of food as a snack if we were out, but for the most part, I saved a ton of money not buying baby food!

3. Cloth Diapering

Like this diaper cover? Check out my Brother'sBinky page for diaper covers and more!

I didn't start cloth diapering until my daughter was about a year old. I'm still kicking myself in the butt for not starting sooner! I wasted so much money on disposable diapers! I have bought maybe 2 packs of disposable diapers for my son who is now 8 months old. I only used them for the first week or two (when he had the newborn poo). There are all sorts of fancy cloth diapers available these days, but I am quite fond of my flats and prefolds. They are one of the cheapest ways to cloth diaper your baby. You can even make your own out of receiving blankets, old flannel shirts, or flour sack towels! It's not as difficult as you think. Then you just put a diaper cover over that and you are set!

4. Clothes Line

I have been wanting one of these since I started cloth diapering and my husband finally put one up for me a few months ago! Call me crazy, but something about hanging my clothes on the line just makes me feel so good! Maybe it's the vitamin D from being outside, or maybe knowing that I'm bleaching and killing germs naturally. I'm not sure, but I do know this lover of rainy days is now not so happy when I want to hang my clothes out on the line and it's raining. I haven't converted to a wash bucket yet and nor do I plan on it any time soon, but knowing I don't need to use my dryer for every load of laundry is nice!

5. Bread Baking

Because my son was allergic to dairy, soy and egg, I started making my own bread. It really is incredibly easy! I made both wheat and white bread. The smell of fresh baked bread is so wonderful! I was making 2-4 loafs a week but I haven't been making as much lately. I also have been making homemade tortillas, which are even easier than the loafs of bread! Here's the recipe I used for the bread. I recommend making your own bread at least once in your life! It's so yummy!

6. Sewing

I have a confession to make... three years ago, I had no idea how to sew! Well, I couldn't use a sewing machine for the life of me. My mother tried and tried to teach me, but it didn't happen right away. I might attribute it to the fact my sewing machine was seriously in need of a tune up! I'm not sure how or when it happened, but one day it just clicked. Now I have my own business making custom items for moms and babies. Whether you can make your own clothes or mend stuffed animals, sewing is a great self sufficient skill to have!

7. Canning

This is my new favorite thing to do! I love being able to preserve my own food to use at a later time. Plus, I know there aren't any preservatives in my canned items! So far, I have only done water bath canning, but I hope to get a pressure canner soon, so I can can vegetables and meat. Speaking of meat...

8. Hunting

Okay, so my husband is the one who does the hunting. Eventually he would like me to come along with him. Last year we were lucky and he was able to get a mule deer. He hunted and killed it, then brought it home where we butchered it in our garage. It was my first time helping out. I know there are mixed emotions about this for a lot of people, but the way I see it, we know our meat isn't chock full of GMO's or hormones. We know it wasn't slaughtered inhumanely. We kill the animal for food, not just for fun. We have had venison once a week since last October and we just ran out a week or so ago. If SHTF, would you have the skills needed to feed your family?

I'm hoping by next spring to have my own organic garden to grow most of our vegetables and fruits as well. The next step after that would be to raise our own chickens. Unfortunately my husband said I have to wait on that for now. (Boo!) Overall I am pretty proud of the changes I have made to better the lives of my family.

What things or skills have you learned/done that have made your life healthier or more self sufficient? 


  1. Girl, I did, and do, all of those! I never really understand why people say that babies cost so much (other than costing you sleep), because we used cloth diapers for all 3 of ours, I breastfed all 3, and I made their own food when they started solids! I make my own gluten free bread (the loaves of that stuff are ridiculously expensive!), dry my clothes on the line as much as possible and sew a lot of my own clothes! I LOVE finding other women like me! That's awesome! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks hun! Yes at least the whole first year of life they don't cost a thing! I was also lucky and had all of my sons clothes birth to 18 months gifted to me from a friend!

  2. You have some great ideas here! I have started canning, dehydrating, learning about medicinal herbs, foraging and how to use what you find. We grew a bigger garden this year. It is completely organic! We added chickens, a feeder pig and rabbits to our new mini homestead. Chickens are amazing! Mine get some feed in the mornings and then they free range all day. I can't wait to see you spring garden!

    1. I can't wait until I can have chickens! Kamay, since your garden is all organic, how do you combat squash bugs? I have been able to get rid of the caterpillars but now the squash bugs are taking over! Any tips?