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40 Bags in 40 Days- Week 4


April 3, 2014 by Katie

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you may have noticed I’m a week off. Last week our furnace died (R.I.P) and it happened to have gotten down to 17 degrees in these parts, so the temperature inside our house got down to 46 degrees. We ended up being out of our house for 5 days, so I wasn’t able to get my stuff together. I’m back at it now!


Day 1

Went through the kiddos clothes and collected a bag of outgrown clothing.


Day 2

We have many boxes filling our garage from the Frontier co-op, and someone happened to post in our homeschool forum that they needed boxes for a move, so I gladly offered them!


Day 3 

We collected two bags of shoes we either are not wearing or are too small for the kids for Soles for Jesus.


Day 4 and 5

Cleaned out the homeschool closet. Gave away some books, threw away a trashcan full of junk, and got organized!


Day 6

My hubby got in on the action and cleared out some of his old clothing from our closet.

Day 7

Sorted through the miscellaneous CDs floating around our house and put them all in our CD binder, threw away obsolete ones, and gave away about 20 CDs. I also added a bunch of CDs to our iTunes library to have them all in one digital location.


For more information on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, visit White House Black Shutters.

Shared with : Friendship Friday, Moms the Word, Growing Home Blog, A Mamas Story, Modest Mom Blog, UNITE, Road to 31, Wholehearted Home, Walking Redeemed, Raising homemakers, Welcome Home Wednesday, Lamberts Lately, Life as We Know It,

40 Bags in 40 Days- Week 3


March 24, 2014 by Katie

I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having with the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering project. I thought it would be hard, but so far, it has been really easy, and I’m doing spring cleaning I probably wouldn’t otherwise have done. Here is what was purged this week.

Day 1

I cleaned out our bathroom closet, and threw away a lot of old stuff that was expired, worn, or just needed to go.

Day 2

Next, I cleaned out our closet. This was my favorite part of the week, as now I enjoy walking in my closet and seeing that it is actually organized! One bag was shoes that I donated, the fancy ones to Cinderella’s Closet, the others to Goodwill.

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Days 3 and 4

The closet was a multi-day event, and I ended up with two large bags of clothes to donate.

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Day 5

The closet undertaking resulted in many, many extra hangers. They were put on Craigslist for free. Gone in moments. I’m telling you, people will take anything if you list it for free!


Day 6

My husband went on two week long work trips last month, and used one bottle of the shampoo they give at the hotel for the whole week, and brought home the rest. A shelter in our community loves these individual sized shampoos and we donated them along with some sample toothpaste from the dentist and a few other sample sizes I found during the Day 1 bathroom closet cleaning.


Day 7

I get my eggs from a local farmer, and the cartons have been piling up. I returned them to him so he could reuse them.

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Shared with: Mom’s the Word, Unite, Road to 31, Walking Redeemed, Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers, Wholehearted Home, Thriving Thursday,

4 Ingredient Carrot Ginger Soup


March 20, 2014 by Katie

 4 Ingredient Carrot Ginger Soup

I love recipes that have five or less ingredients. That means fast prep, which is key for me! This one packs a lot of flavor in just four (or an optional fifth) ingredients. I found this one in the cookbook Robin Takes 5, which has 500 recipes with 5 ingredients each.

 Carrot Ginger Soup

  • 1 lb chopped carrots
  • 3 cups bone broth
  • 1.5 inches ginger, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional-1/4 cup cream or canned coconut milk

Peel and chop carrots. Boil in the bone broth with ginger and garlic. Once carrots are soft, use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree until smooth. You may add cream or coconut milk before pureeing. I forgot to add it, and it was still delicious, but am looking forward to trying it again with the coconut.

I also had more than a pound of carrots, so decided to add them all. This is why the soup in the picture looks thick. I enjoyed this texture, but if you make the recipe as directed it will be thinner in consistency.

Serves four as a side dish. This recipe is easily doubled for left-overs or feeding more people.

Shared with: Essential Fridays, Gluten Free Friday, Anything Goes

40 Bags in 40 Days- Week 2


March 16, 2014 by Katie

I had a very productive week of purging items! Here was what my week looked like.

Day 1

My first task was a pantry cleaning, and here was the winner for the item I found that was “most expired.” My 4 1/2 year old was an infant when this expired, and we moved when he was four days old which means I moved this from my last home… Yikes! My pantry looks great now. :)


Day 2

I went through my clothes and found a bunch to donate. There was actually a second bag to this collection.


Day 3

My bag of bags… It was eye opening to me that our family has collected this many plastic bags in just a few months, and none of them are grocery store or produce bags, as we bring our own. Most of them are the bags from cereal, bread, and bulk produce. I took them to our grocery store that has a recycling bin for all types of plastic bags.

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Day 4

Peanuts! Get your peanuts! I run a Frontier co-op and each month I am left with a ginormous box of packing peanuts when our order arrives. Usually I take them to the FedEx store and they reuse them. Then I thought, why not just list them for free on Craigslist? And sure enough, I had four responses in the hour and they were gone by the end of the day without having to drive them anywhere. I will definitely be doing this monthly.


Day 5

I realized that I have a lot of collections (batteries, plastic bags, egg cartons..) Next is my burned out light bulb collection. There are several easy places to recycle these, such as Home Depot and Ikea, so I finally made the effort to actually take them to the store when I needed to go.


Day 6

Gave away two hanging closet storage units I wasn’t using anymore.

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Day 7

I’m in the process of trying to find a home for this large scanner…


For more information on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, visit White House Black Shutters.

Shared with: Nourishing Joy, Moms the Word, A Mama’s Story, Growing Home Blog, Unite, Road to 31, Raising Arrows, Things I Can’t Say, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Whole Hearted Home, Essential Fridays, Anything Goes

Grain-Free Chocolate Coconut Zucchini Muffins


March 13, 2014 by Katie

We have established Muffin Mondays at my house, and these chocolate coconut zucchini muffins have been the hit so far. In fact, they now ARE Muffin Mondays because the kiddos don’t want any other kind. They are really delicious, I must say.. I adapted this recipe from an Elana’s Pantry bread recipe.

Chocolate Coconut Zucchini Muffins

 Chocolate Muffins


  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ cup shredded zucchini
  1. In a food processor, pulse almond flour and cocoa powder
  2. Pulse in salt and baking soda
  3. Pulse in eggs, coconut oil and honey, and zucchini
  4. Transfer to muffin tins (we use the non-stick silicone ones)
  5. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes
  6. Cool (um… we typically skip this and go directly to….)
  7. Enjoy!

Shared with: Gluten Free Fridays, Friendship Friday, Saturday Show and Tell, Nourishing Joy, Moms the Word, Natural Living MondayFat Tuesday, Road to 31, Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Whole Hearted Home

40 Bags in 40 Days Week 1


March 10, 2014 by Katie

Last week I wrote about why I am doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge during Lent. For more information, visit White House Black Shutters. Here are the items I have purged these first five days of Lent.

Day 1

Two bags of Maternity Clothes- Gave to a friend



Day 2

Baskets I found around the house- Gave to my mom (who I think gave them to me in the first place… ;)

Day 3

Clothes my kids outgrew- Gave to friends and donated the rest to Hope’s Closet


Day 4

Found a print I wasn’t going to use and framed it for my niece’s birthday (Shhh… Her birthday isn’t until St. Patty’s day…)


Day 5

The bag of spent batteries I’ve been collecting for over a year finally made it to the recycling center


Have you joined the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge? Please share how it is going!

Shared with: Nourishing Joy, Mom’s the Word, Essential Fridays, Modest Mom, Growing Home Blog, Unite, Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Wholehearted Home, Thriving Thursday, Friendship Fridays, Essential Fridays.

Lenten Journey- 40 Bags in 40 Days


March 5, 2014 by Katie

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. This year I saw a unique challenge for the 40 days of Lent that struck a chord with me. The blog White House Black Shutters posted a 40 day challenge to get rid of 40 bags of stuff around your house. She has done this challenge for the last several years and inspired others to try it along side her. There are opportunities to follow along on Twitter, Instagram, etc. if you are so inclined.


Why does this challenge appeal to me? I am not a hoarder. I get rid of things just about the second I know we are done with them. In fact, sometimes I get rid of things and realize we could have used them again. But that is okay with me. So why go further?

I have felt a nudge over the past several months from God to simplify. From many people’s perspective I already have, but I feel a tugging in me to keep going and really simplify. Not just around my house, but in other areas as well. I’m not sure why I am being asked to simplify, but I know that there is a reason and it would be silly of me not to obey.

This challenge has already gotten off to a fun start on day 1. The challenge suggests listing on a paper areas like closets or drawers, basements and bedrooms so that you have a focus each day on where you are decluttering. I’m not that systematic in my approach, and I just see something and say, “We don’t need this. Who can I give it to?”

For me it isn’t as much about decluttering as much as it is finding someone who would gladly take what I have. I am learning more deeply the joy that comes from giving, and this 40 day challenge will help me to be a cheerful giver for 40 days straight. That is what excites me about this journey, along with being obedient to simplify life.

I will also be working these 40 days on simplifying a few other areas of my life that have given me trouble in the past, and they involve being better organized. I want to spend less time on the computer, and less time figuring out what we are going to eat every meal. Ironically, I’m a horrible meal planner and am very last minute which drives me nuts, but I seem to have a mental block with meal planning. I’ve tried using websites and planners and such, but they never seem to work for me. Also, I am not very systematic about my time spent on the computer, so I’m looking to find a better way to get done what I need without wasting time. Banning Facebook might be a good start. ;)

I would like to share a weekly update with how things are going in the decluttering/giving arena this week, and I invite you to chime in if you are participating as well. Hopefully these posts will be an encouragement to be cheerful givers and not so selfish with our things.

Here is how I’m kicking off the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. Today I am having lunch with a friend who just found out she is pregnant. For day one I am going to be giving two large bags of maternity clothes that reappeared in my home to her. I’m happy to get rid of them, and she is happy to take them! Win, Win. :)


Shared with: Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, WholeHearted Home, Thriving Thursday, Create with Joy.

Ear Infections and Homeopathy


March 3, 2014 by Katie

Tired of antibiotics for your children’s ear infections? With homeopathy, ear infections can be treated naturally and effectively, often faster than with antibiotic treatment. Whether the infection is viral, bacterial, or fungal in nature, homeopathy uses the symptom picture as a guide to the healing remedy.

ear infection

photo courtesy wikipedia commons

Chamomilla is a wonderful remedy for individuals who are sensitive to pain, and may scream in agony. A child may want to be carried, but at the same time, they may arch the back or even take a swing at the parent. They are impossible to console, and can weary a parent trying to care for them. If a child is teething as well, this may be the remedy, as it is a key remedy for irritable, teething children.

Silica is often indicated following a cold where an ear infection develops. This child is worn out, and may quietly moan. They have uncomfortable pain, but not as intense as a child needing Chamomilla. The child may find the ear itchy and poke their fingers inside. There may be mucus present in the ear, and possible thick discharge.

Hepar sulph can be used for an infection that has progressed to a bulging eardrum. There may be smelly discharges and pus formation in the ear canal. They are extremely sensitive to everything from pain to emotional stimulus. They may react in an extreme fashion in proportion to the stimulus.

There are many other remedies for ear infections, but these are a few of the main ones. A good book to have on hand for any acute is Miranda Castro’s The Complete Homeopathy Handbook.

In my studies I have learned a Banerji protocol to resolve ear infections, acute or chronic. The protocol is to take Hepar sulph 200c twice daily until symptoms improve. For an acute, starting with this remedy every three hours and then decreasing to twice a day once symptoms decrease for a few days is a general protocol I have been told by a homeopath that this could take a month or more of use for someone with chronic ear issues, but this is how ear infections are treated in India by the Banerji’s and they find it extremely effective.

An otoscope may be a good investment for a family with frequent ear issues. This saves a time and money on a doctor visit, and gives you information for your toolkit as to what your child’s ears look like normally and during infection to help you find the proper remedy for ear pain.


All posts are for informational purposes only and are not medical advice. Please seek your medical professional for medical guidance, and use your best judgement for treating your family. 

Shared with: Mama Moments Monday, Natural Living Monday, Nourishing Joy, Modest Mom, Unite Link party, Tending Home Tuesday, Road to 31, Growing Home Blog, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, WholeHearted Home, Thriving Thursday, Mom’s the Word.


Golden Beets and Bacon


February 17, 2014 by Katie

I really used to not enjoy red beets at all, and decided to try golden beets instead. They are fantastic! If you aren’t a red beet fan, I recommend giving golden beets a chance. Here is a delicious simple recipe for an awesome side dish.

Golden Beets and Bacon

adapted from Everyday Paleo 

Golden Beets and Bacon

  • 3 golden beets with stems
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • half red onion, sliced
  • pinch sea salt
  • pepper

Peel and dice the beets into cubes, saving stems. Steam the beets for about 10 minutes, or until starting to soften. While beets are steaming, wash beet leaves and remove hard stem. Cut leaves into small pieces. Dice bacon into small pieces.

In a pan (I use a coated cast iron dutch oven) start cooking the bacon. Once bacon is cooked, add steamed beets, leaves, and red onion. Sprinkle a generous pinch of sea salt and some fresh cracked pepper over top and stir frequently until leaves have wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Enjoy as a side dish, or as your main course!

Homemade Deodorant Recipe


January 27, 2014 by Katie

There have been some stories published about parabens being found in almost all samples of breast tissue of people with breast cancer. While they did not include results of tissue samples of cancer-free people, the fact that parabens were found at all is another reason to avoid commercial deodorants.

I tried several different types of natural deodorants from Tom’s of Maine, to crystal deodorant sticks, but I still felt sticky and stinky. I then tried a product made by a woman out of her home, and I LOVED it. It was the first thing that worked. While I loved it, I didn’t like the high price, and decided to make my own.

Here is my current recipe for deodorant. I buy either deodorant tubes or glass containers to keep the deodorant, and make batches as needed. I am still perfecting the recipe. My first had to much baking soda and was scratchy. The second was a great texture, but a little too hard, so I need to cut back on the beeswax next time. There are many great recipes out there on the web, so you just have to play around and until you find a recipe that works for you.


Makes 2 large deodorant sticks or several small ounce containers.

Directions: Melt beeswax in a double boiler. I use 1 tbsp if I am making containers that you will have to apply with your fingers, and 2 tbsp for a deodorant stick. If your climate is cold, use less beeswax, warm, more beeswax. I am in Ohio, so the temperature in my home fluctuates by season, and I adjust the beeswax content accordingly.

Once beeswax is nearly melted, add shea butter and coconut oil and melt. Once melted, remove from heat and quickly whisk in arrowroot powder and baking soda. When smooth, mix in Vitamin E and essential oils.

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Immediately pour in containers and allow to cool before putting the tops on.


Shared with: Lamberts Lately, Thriving Thursday, Friendship Friday, Heart Filled Friday.