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Friends, I have a secret. Well, it’s not really a secret, as I’ve been sharing with several friends and family members about the appeal of a slower pace of life and maybe one day even living on a farm, with goats and chickens and everything!
But before I get ahead of myself, let me make it very clear that I’m also perfectly content in our suburban home, halfway between the bustling city and true pastureland! You see, the gift of contentment is really important, especially in a day and age when seeing how everyone else (whether we know them or not) lives is at our fingertips! You just have to turn on the TV or log onto Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram to be “inspired by” (or jealous of…?) other people’s families and lifestyles.
In Philippians 4, verses 11-13, the apostle Paul tells the church, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
What joy contentment can bring us! We can relieve ourselves of a so much of worry and misplaced energy by simply deciding to find contentment in our present circumstances!
Back to raising goats. Ok, so I’m probably not going to be in the livestock business for quite some time, but that won’t stop me from kickstarting my (albeit suburban) homestead!
What in the world am I talking about? Let me explain…
- I enjoy saving money AND feeling a bit like a pioneer by cooking up my own high-quality laundry detergent! I started doing this years ago and I think the recipe turned out to make 5 gallons of liquid detergent for something like $1.92 TOTAL. And it works very well! The only supplies you’ll need are Borax, Super Washing Soda, and a bar of Fels Naphtha or Zote soap. You just can’t beat that!
- I cut my own hair! I do visit the salon every now and then (maybe once a year?), but with the handy combo of a fairly cooperative hair type and a few YouTube tutorials, I figured out I could handle trimming my own hair at home. Quick, easy, and free!
- My husband and I have done almost all of our home remodeling and maintenance projects over the years ourselves! It feels satisfying know that you’ve personally had a hand in painting (interior and exterior), ripping up carpet, tiling floors and backsplashes, removing wallpaper, building a deck, doing sheetrock, landscaping, sewing curtains and pillow covers, creating a shiplap wall, replacing light fixtures—-these kind of things! (Discloser: The tasks on this list that you think my husband probably did…he probably did! He is super handy and very industrious! We’re a good team and I contribute by putting in my share of elbow grease, too!)
- I’ll admit that I do love a professional mani/pedi, but I usually do my own nails! Yes, it is a bit less comfortable and it does take more patience, but I honestly feel like the end result is just about the same.
- I also shape my own eyebrows! You can have AWESOME brows without going to the salon! All you need is a pair of tweezers, a pair of nail scissors, and some brow filler makeup, you’ll end up with a very professional look.
- I bathe and groom our two dogs! To be fair, our dogs are not going to win any awards, but we love them and I don’t mind taking care of them. I bathe the little one in the kitchen sink and the big one with the hose in the back yard. We have pet hair clippers, so I just use that to cut their fur every so often. I wonder if goats shed as much as dogs…?
- I sew accessories for around the house (especially curtains!), as well as mend and alter our family’s clothing regularly! I also recently taught our daughter how to follow a sewing pattern and use the sewing machine to create an item of clothing that she actually wears.
- I use coconut oil as my eye makeup remover! I bought a jar of the organic variety at Aldi several months ago for two dollars and change, and I’ve still barely made a dent in it. It’s natural, inexpensive, not irritating to my eyes, and removes mascara like a dream!
- I cook real food almost every day! I do my very best to make a (loose) menu for the upcoming week, then source my ingredients at Aldi (it feels a little homestead-y in there to me!), so I have everything we’ll need on hand. I actually enjoy spending a day or two (or more!) in a row at home without leaving the house, and simply “living off the land” suburban-style, rather than having to drive to a store each and every day. The meals don’t have to be fancy, but I’ve found that my family appreciates my home cooking on a regular basis! Bonus: Our daughter has developed a keen sense for baking over the past year or two! She needs no supervision in the kitchen these days and her creations are delicious!
- Speaking of living off the land, we actually do have a raised-bed garden, and it produces tomatoes and cucumbers throughout the warmer months!
So there you have it! These are my top 10 ways to make myself feel like I’m homesteading, even though we are living very happily here in suburbia!
How do you inject a bit of “down home” in your “up town?” Let me know in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!
Gracia y paz,