Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking

Hey, overworked momma. Are you feeling stressed-out in your homemaking? Need a little hope and help?  Check out this free eCourse: 4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking!

Check out all the information about this FREE mini eCourse below, or you can go ahead and grab immediate access here!

But hurry, because this free eCourse is available this week only! The deal expires Monday, April 20 at 8:00 a.m. EST!

Can't quite climb to the top of Mt. St. Laundry? (Or even find a clean pair of socks?) We've all had those weeks. (Months. Years.)

 It's time to make dinner but you can't find the counters or get to the sink? I feel ya, overwhelmed mom. I've been there, too.

Are you exhausted or frazzled when the day ends...and again before the next one even begins?

  I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be this way! You do not want to miss this FREE 4-part mini eCourse that is available for a limited time: 4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking!

 Control My Spin’s Holly Dvorak, a popular speaker and home management coach, and her long-time homemaking mentee, Erin Odom, of The Humbled Homemaker, have put together this eCourse to help curb homemaking overwhelm and give you the tools you need to run your home like a well-oiled machine.   


*How to never get behind on laundry again
*How to wake up each day to a sparkling clean kitchen 
*How to avoid the 5 ‘o’clock scramble with a super simple meal planning method 
*How to set yourself up for success with a quick nighttime routine. 

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking will not take you long to complete, but what you learn through it can totally revolutionize your home. 

*Four videos: These videos are all less than 10 minutes long, so it won’t take up a lot of time to watch them. But they each pack a punch! 

*Four printable worksheets: We don’t want to just leave you with the teaching; we want you to brainstorm ways to implement it in your life! 
FREE REWARDS by sharing this FREE eCourse with your friends as well!


    *Share this FREE eCourse with 1 friend to get $5 off the 2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle! This year’s sale starts next Monday, April 20! 
    *Share this FREE eCourse with 5 friends to get a FREE 1-year magazine subscription! 
    *Share this FREE eCourse with 10 friends to get the 2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for absolutely FREE!
So what are you waiting for? Go grab a cuppa and watch the first segment right now (or when the kiddos go to bed ;) Today could be the first of better homemaking days ahead!

(P.S. Stay tuned for more info on the 2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle... It's an amazing sale this year!)

Just so you know: Some of my links are affiliate links. That means I get a little bit back if you choose to purchase a linked item. It doesn't cost you anything, but it might help me buy another chicken...Win-Win! Thanks!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

March-Off-Grid: A Year in Review

"From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.”
Sonnet XCVIII - William Shakespeare

It used to be that March was only on my radar because I was (am?) kind of crazy-into college basketball. Madness. Guilty as charged. But these latter days, March has taken on a much deeper meaning in our house. 
You see, we're moving our family's life in an off-off grid direction.  (No, that second "off" wasn't a typo. Keep reading.) Our family has been inching toward more provident living (that's self-sufficiency with less emphasis on "self" and more on "God") for about 12 years now, in teensy-tiny baby steps. 

Last March, we felt called to really, finally, and completely take the plunge into homesteading. Stop talking. Start doing. A lot of this was due to our reading (and discussing again and again and again) Michael Bunker's book Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind. Get yourself a copy, friend. Soak up the off-griddy goodness. It seemed apt that March - the name itself imbued with the sense of getting off one's bum and moving toward something better, toward greener pastures- was the perfect time to take steps, even if they were teensy-tiny baby steps, toward the life we are desperate to lead: a life that is simple and intentional and separate from "the system" and self-reliant (inasmuch as we can be, acknowledging that all our self-reliance is really God-reliance.) 

So for that month, we decided to dedicate every day to do something to move us toward our goal - even if that something was just an intellectual exercise. And we shared it with a friend who shared with with the world: You can read about last year's March Off Grid at the Beyond Off Grid Blog, or on the March Off Grid Facebook page.

A lot of folks have asked us about it (and it always reminds me a bit of John Lennon's Happy Xmas song): It's been a year and what have you done? 
Without further ado, I bring you the monthly play-by-play for our March Off-Grid -- Our homesteading year in review.

APRIL, 2014:
We were really excited to keep the momentum going and we were bound and determined that, Lord willing, we would get the house ready for a late spring sale and be moving to our homestead -- some homestead -- in the summer. So our April was filled with fixer-upper projects on the home and property, like cleaning out the barn, scrubbing the outside of the house (our tiny piece of Ohio attracts green house-moss like an Oregon rain forest),  clearing trails in the woods around our house and laying straw on those trails. We also stepped up our minimalism, working on getting rid of unneeded things we had collected in the four years in that property. 

MAY, 2014:
We stepped up our homestead search in earnest. This isn't the easiest thing in the world to do with seven children in tow (and one more that I was towing in utero), so sometimes Jason would go look at a property alone or with the realtor and then we would go to a second viewing. Gone were the days of urban house-hunting where we could check out 6 homes in an afternoon. We covered lots of miles in every direction to check out potential properties. My heavy-with-child help often came in the form of hours and hours of internet searches. I can now manipulate (with ease!) the county auditor's property web databases for most of Southern Ohio. This is a skill I will use... probably never again. :) 

JUNE, 2014:
We found our homestead! Lots and lots of work ahead. Now to quickly finish up our homeschool year. (Up to this point in our educational journey we had schooled year-round, but we decided that to dedicate ourselves to homesteading meant we would simply need more hours and hands in the summer, so we rounded out the year and had our first. ever. summer. vacation!) 

We continued to get rid of unneeded possessions, mostly so we would have room to buy homesteading tools. The simple life -- well, it kind of takes a lot of STUFF, and that STUFF isn't STUFF we had need of before. Henceforth, I shall call the stuff TOOLS, which makes their purchase seem more intentional and less cluttery. Jason bought a chainsaw, which is like Christmas every day for him. He's happiest when he's out there cutting wood. It's sort of Zen, I think, if he was the type to believe in Zen (which he's not.)

JULY, 2014:
Closing and move-in day, at long last. We had tons of fun playing musical chairs with all the large pieces of furniture. This is the dining room. (Move the table and chairs.) No, this is.  (Move the table and chairs.) No, THIS is. (Move the table and chairs.) It would be so helpful if there was a special font for sarcasm. 
General unpacking and clearing out areas near the house ensued. The property was very well-loved by the previous owners, who treated all creatures, great and small, with loving kindness. In other words, we had to "convince" the huge raccoon family to move on, and we had to overcome large colonies of spiders and flying ants in the house. Good times. 

AUGUST, 2014:
The men-folk picked up our winter's worth of cord wood and began stacking, stacking, stacking. They also cleared a lot of dense growth from the woods nearest the house. Inside, we got an off-grid grain mill. Got rid of lots of on-grid things, so we could buy more off-grid things. Consumerism. Sigh.
The men-folk ripped up the living room carpet, because that is what we use for a dining room, and well, white carpet and toddler are archenemies. This is a well-known fact. Beautiful wood flooring was installed, and a rocking chair in the corner next to the wood stove. (In a few months, this "hot seat" becomes the most coveted spot in the house.)  

We also got a beautiful baby girl and I got really exhausted. 

This month brought a lot of excitement to the homestead as quite a few HUGE trees very close (or overhanging) the house had to come down. It was too big (read:unsafe) for us to do ourselves with little experience, so we hired a crew for the cutting. That was fun and excitement for a few days, to be sure, safe behind the glass.


My men-folk began making trips back and forth to the horse farm that aligns our property, as the owner generously offered us all the composted manure a girl could wish for. We also geared back up for a new homeschool year, although in the pioneer tradition of the past, when Pa announces it's a work day we drop school and line up to receive our detail. (This was hard for me to swallow at first, having been a dictatorial  schedule-oriented homeschool mom for so many years, but I'm actually really loving it. There is always a rainy day around the corner to get caught up on history reading. Always. This is Ohio, after all.
We also picked up 895 pounds worth of bulk organic basics for our pantry. Teenage boys, y'all. This involved creating an inventory and learning how to properly store bulk goods, and I became a food-grade bucket finding ninja. Hy-yah!

OCTOBER, 2014:

My brilliant husband sold off some of the walnut trees that were cut last month, which paid for the tree crew. So more big trucks on the homestead. Presently, the men-folk spend every available moment cutting, splitting, and stacking wood, as this will be our first winter heating with wood. Jason learned to clean the chimney and use the indoor wood stove (which had been converted from a coal-burning stove, had a lot of moving parts, yet had no instruction manual). The soundtrack to October would be something with a fast-moving fiddle and a lot of chainsaw in the background. Speaking of chainsaws, Jason got another one. Merry Christmas, Babe. 

Personally, I joined the Traditional Cooking School at GNOWFGLINS, and began an Essential Oils course from Vintage Remedies.

"How much Wood would a Wood Schaap cut if a Wood Schaap could cut Wood?" Cue the chainsaw buzz and the thump of axes. Even the seven-year old is handy with a half-size axe, and the older boys are now requesting things like mauls and wedges for Christmas. It brings joy to this homesteading momma's heart! 
We began burning the wood this month, which meant hauling it in from the Holz Hausen "beehive" stacks they built earlier in the fall. The prior owners added a lovely screened in porch "for company" on the back, and we turned it into a lovely facility "for wood storage".
Jason, our eldest son and I all mastered the art of using the wood stove.  When I say "art", I mean it. I had no idea it took so much thinking and timing to get a good burn going, not wasting wood, nor hot air, nor burning down the house. 

Not too much we could do outside in December, apart from lots of romps in the snow and sledding down Caesar Creek Dam. And shoveling. So much shoveling. It's a strange time - I've always loved winter, but this year I was very anxious for warmer weather to come, as it meant getting back outside and PROJECTS. Always lots of projects.
I researched various methods for doing off-grid laundry, and Jason gifted me with a laundry plunger, which I use for small batches. I am still coveting a James Washer for outside use in warmer weather. We'll see. We installed a laundry line in front of the wood stove and can move two laundry loads a day through it when it's really cold outside. 
Meanwhile, I'm still working through my personal courses, and I'm learning how to Knook - a cross between knitting and crocheting - because my fingers need to keep busy while they're not digging in the dirt.
We also pushed through homeschool double-time, and enjoyed three feast days. December is always such a wonderful month.

JANUARY, 2015:
Oh! Seed catalogs! What a wonderful glimpse of spring, even in the dark, cold days of winter. We begin planning the actual garden. Mouths watering, imaginations soaring! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year and a Flash Sale!

Happy New Year, Bootcampers! My family of ten has had a bit of a rough start, recovering from influenza just before Christmas, and then being hit with another fever-laden virus just after New Year's Day. We are on the mend, though, and finally getting busy with deep cleaning the house and preparing for a new homeschool year.

 Do you feel renewed by the replacing of the calendar? Or do you feel overwhelmed? Maybe one of your New Year's resolutions was to organize your schedule, or simplify your household, or make this the year you finally get on top of the stuff of life - whether the literal "stuff": maybe counter clutter or an overflowing closet - or perhaps the stuff of daily life: finally getting on top of menu planning, conquering Mt. St. Laundry, and tackling crunchy carpets galore.

If you haven't picked up a copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers yet, today's a great day to do it! The book is still on sale through January 10. Kindle copies are available at Amazon for $3.99, or you can get a real hands-on copy at Lulu for 25% off today only- January 8. Just use promo code FLASHY15.

 Even if you've already picked up a copy for yourself, would you do me a favor and share these links with your friends? I don't put the book on sale too often, but I want everyone who might be interested to know when I do!

 Get your Kindle copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICMYRES 
 Get your coil-bound copy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/heidi-schaap/bootcamp-for-lousy-housekeepers-coil-bound-edition/paperback/product-18163806.html

I hope your 2015 brings you lots of joy and satisfaction. I pray that Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers brings you a little peace and order -- let me know if I can help you in any way!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Grab Your Bundle Before It's Too Late!

Hello, Bootcampers! I hope and pray that you are having a GLORIOUS Sunday!

First, I wanted to say THANK YOU to those who have already purchased their Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. I am SURE you are as thrilled with it as I am!

To my friends who are still hemming and hawing a bit, I'm acting as your alarm clock. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Time is almost up! This sale is only good through Monday, April 28. (That's TOMORROW!) There will be no reprisals. Once it's done, it's done!

 I know y'all are on a budget, just like me. That's why I love this bundle. My readers can buy a package of 80+ eBooks and Resources (plus over $200 worth of free bonuses!) for under $30 (or under $40 if you'd rather have all your books for Kindle, like I would.)

 I know that many of y'all are just like me, and can't bear to spend money on yourself. So I wanted to let you know a few ways to make the deal even sweeter.

 1. Did you know you can buy 3 bundles for the price of 2? This is a wonderful way to stretch your dollar EVEN FURTHER and share the savings with a friend or gift them! (Mother's Day is coming up and I know my Mom would love these books!) Going in on the deal with a friends and buying 3 for the price of 2 means you and 2 friends would each spend around $10 for 80+ books. Can you imagine??

 2. Another way to lower the cost is to split the cost with a friend and divvy up the books between the two of you.

Are you ready to purchase your bundle? Click on one of the links below!

But maybe you'd like to take another look at what you'll be getting first! Look at all these AMAZING books and resources!

Did that convince you? I thought it might! This is the deal of the year in the Homemaking community, and it only happens once a year! After tomorrow, it will be a loooong wait till next year's bundle!

Oh, one more (kinda) important detail:

I am an affiliate for The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle which means that for each sale I will earn a small commission. My earnings - 100% of them - will go toward my family's upcoming purchase of an off-grid homestead - our life's dream and my heart's desire! (Want to read more about our off-grid journey? You can do so HERE!) So thank you in advance for purchasing this bundle through me via the links on this site! You're making this plain girl's dream come true!!

E-mail me with any questions you might have! And enjoy your new books!