Sensory benefits and struggles of gardening

I decided to get some new plants for my yard today. Usually planting gives me a peaceful feeling. The kids love it and I think it teaches them some important pieces to life. Not to mention the sensory input it provides.

Nevada’s high winds and hellish soil can make it quite the experience. My own sensory quirks made it a tad bit annoying today when things weren’t going as perfectly as I’d like.

My youngest loves to plant. Each plant she calls a “bible”. I have started my biblical garden adding plants and herbs found in the Bible. It will take some time but it’s something I love and can’t wait to one day finish.

Hyssop has an earthy mint smell that I just love.

We found some anemone but need to find a partially shady space for it before I add it.

HB calls it the Jesus flower. Referred to as the wild lilies in the Bible.

Love my sensory seeker. She loves getting her hands and feet all up in the dirt.

I love that it’s a family affair. Teaching them about gardening. Sharing the importance of flowers and herbs with them.

My sensory avoider doesn’t do messy. He’s a tad like me.

But even he couldn’t resist getting his toes all in.

Gardening gives kids with sensory challenges such great input.

It provides grounding. (Yes we garden barefoot)

I will say I was a tad bit agitated the wind was driving me insane. My things were blowing away faster than I could plant them. But welcome to Nevada.

I plant mums every year. They were the flowers at my wedding. So I just love them a little extra. And they scream fall.

I found this beautiful hibiscus tree to add to the walkway that will be stunning year round once I can dig through the soil from hell.

Todays planting extravaganza did not go as I had planned. Simple as that. But I do love all the new beauty around us and I’m guessing the kids sensory needs were met so they should sleep soundly with a little copaiba after an afternoon of fresh air and a lot of dirt.

Danielle

The ugly reality to living a sustainable lifestyle

When we started our homestead and decided to try and live a more sustainable life I had no idea the work it required. With my husbands job he is gone more hours than home a lot of days. Leaving me to handle the homestead alone.

The idea of chickens was enticing. Goats seemed an easy way to control the landscape on our little farm. Gardening seemed so magical. And mini cows seemed like a dream come true for my animal loving self.

With the state of our country it seemed unwise not to add a little sustainability to our lives. I don’t think an apocalyptic ending to earth is on its way. But I do think there are a lot of benefits to sustainability.

But there is an ugly side to running a small little farm. And a reality that it isn’t as easy as it may seem.

Living a more sustainable life is a lot of work. On Pinterest you see screenshots and images of how to homestead. How to live a sustainable life. But I’ve yet to come across and article that depicts truly how much work it can be.

Some days it seems easier to just forego all this homesteading business and shop at our local grocery store for items we want or need.

Making most things from scratch is time consuming.

Farm animals love early mornings. I personally despise them. I’ve never been a morning person. No matter what voodoo potion or positive self talk I give myself.

I don’t like them. And never have. I’m not a morning person.

Farm animals poop a lot and they are dirty. It’s a lot of work keeping their stalls clean.

Farm animals don’t only need cared for in fair weather. With bad weather comes the same responsibilities.

Their food bags weigh a ton. It’s not for the weak to carry animal feed across the property.

Goats are incredibly stubborn. Sweet. But stubborn. They will demolish your beloved plants in seconds if you aren’t careful.

They are little Houdini’s. At least once a month discovering a way to break free and unleash the rest of your farm animals.

Chickens can and will eat their own eggs if you aren’t careful.

You have predators to worry about (depending on where you live.)

Chickens need their wings clipped unless you want them flying out of their pen and pooping all over your property.

Making most items from scratch is a LOT of work. Some days I find myself in the kitchen cooking my days away.

Call me little house on the prairie.

Gardening can be a fun experience but is also a lot of work. There are bugs to battle that want to enjoy your hard earned garden goods. Wildlife will take a few bites from your garden as well. Where we live in the high desert gardening is a lot of work with the harsh seasons and crappy soil.

So if you are thinking of starting a more sustainable life. But want to know some real ups and downs about homesteading maybe you will find some answers to questions you may have.

Maybe you too love the idea of self sufficiency but struggle with the work that it entails.

What do you despise most about homesteading?

And of course what do you love about it?

I love a lot about homesteading as well but thought someone else could benefit from reading the negative side as well.

It’s nice to know full well what you are getting into.

Danielle

Benefits of gardening with young children with sensory challenges

Gardening is a great way for children to get the sensory input their bodies crave.

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You can’t deny all of the input you receive from being outside, digging in the dirt, (barefoot if you are related to me and my children.)

I made sure to really understand and learn from the occupational therapists about the children’s different sensory needs.

Before Miss H and EBEs diagnosis’s I didn’t understand the term; sensory seeker, undersensitive, hypersensitive, avoider, just to name a few.

But I’ve made it a priority to learn, to take notes, to ask when something isn’t working.

Anyways I am a firm believer that we do need to go back to our roots sometimes.  No you don’t need to throw out your WiFi router, or toss your computer.  But, we’ve become a society obsessed with labels, obsessed with quick fixes, overly medicated, instead of making maybe a few life changes.

This is my first big garden.  Most of it was started from seed.  It was back breaking labor, but I love seeing our progress.  I love being able to teach the kids about the importance of diet (because in our home it truly does make a difference with behaviors).

I love knowing how things were raised, no pesticides, truly organic food.

I don’t have enough this year so of course I still buy from the grocery store.

It not only teaches the importance of working hard for what we eat.  Being grateful, and not being wasteful as well.

The kids absolutely love it.

Usually they are barefoot, which I wholeheartedly support.  If you haven’t researched grounding and barefoot walking you should.  It’s pretty interesting.

I have a sensory seeker, and a sensory avoider, one loves to be barefoot and one doesn’t.

EBE is the sensory avoider.  Somehow after we had spent 30 minutes digging for potatoes he barely had dirt on his fingers and asked for it to be immediately washed off.

Miss H and I had dirt in our hair, up to our elbows and were barefoot.

EBE is the avoider, and Miss H is a sensory seeker.

Both were so excited to be picking their own food and were tasting it along the way.

EBE has a lot of food aversions, but even he was so thrilled at our garden finds that he happily ate some freshly pulled carrots.

There is so much value in teaching your kids about healthy diet choices, teaching them to grow their own food.

I know for our house food really affects the behaviors we see.  I can always tell if we’ve been a bit to relaxed on diet and snacks.

Have you noticed a change in your child with autism or sensory processing disorder depending on their diet?

I find that whole foods and non processed foods are the best way to go for us.  I tried gluten free, but it didn’t make a difference for us I didn’t see a noticeable change in behaviors like I do with whole, natural foods, and lots of water.

Thank you for reading!

Danielle

 

How to naturally increase Iron absorption with skillet cooking

Symptoms of low Iron

  1. Unusual Tiredness
  2. Paleness
  3. Shortness of Breath
  4. Headache and Dizziness
  5. Heart Palpatations
  6. Dry & Damaged hair& skin
  7. Restless Legs (which can result in poor sleep)
  8. Brittle or spoon shaped fingernails
  9. More frequent infections
  10. Feeling anxious

These are just a few symptoms associated with low iron levels.

When EBE was about 2 years old we started consistently talking to the doctors about his inability to sleep.  He was always tired yet never slept.  We referred to a psychiatrist who talked about a lot of nonsense and pushed prescription medication.  Needless to say I got up and left in the middle of his prescription medication rant.

I did what mama’s do best and started researching and demanding blood work.

He did in fact have low iron levels which made sense considering I could barely get him to eat anything but a milk and graham cracker diet.

Fast forward to today.  I cook almost everything I can in a cast iron skillet.

Did you know a cast iron skillet has the ability to naturally increase your iron?

Scrambling eggs in a new iron skillet increased the iron content from 1.5 mg to almost 5mg

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I will warn you that children under the age of three can in fact get to much iron, resulting in iron toxicity so I’d encourage you to speak with your Doctor or do you research beforehand.

Plus I think everything tastes better in the cast iron skillet.

 

Let’s talk anxiety, depression, and tummy issues

Today I wanted to introduce myself.  Talk tummy issues.  Anxiety, depression, so let’s just dive in.

I have always been what I considered healthy.  I’ve lifted weights for years.  Practice yoga more days than not.  But I’ve always suffered from intermittent anxiety and depression. I also suffer from an autoimmune disorder that can wreak havoc on my body at any give moment.   Recently I’ve noticed my stomach always feels in some sort of knot.  My kids are not the best sleepers.  They have some different sensory challenges, and I feel like more mornings than not I wake up with just an overall feeling of exhaustion.  It’s hard to be motivated throughout the day when you’re struggling with inner health.

I felt like I needed a change.  I didn’t want to stumble through life always making excuses for the issues my body feels daily.

So I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Really give Young Living Essential Oils a chance.  See what their about.  I’ve always been skeptical of people selling things online.  But having recently just read

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

Book by Sam Quinones
I decided all the little things I’ve been feeling may actually have some truth to it.
When my youngest was diagnosed with Autism I was going through so much.  I felt alone, I felt like the unknown of her future was just too much for me to handle at that current moment.  I felt depressed.  I was exhausted.  My kids never slept in this phase.  SO I found myself seeking out my doctor where I found how simple it was to get a antidepressant/anti anxiety medication.
I remember the first day I took that pill how awful I felt.  I mean really awful.  I was sick to my stomach.  Falling asleep on the couch.  Things that were just not like me.  I felt like it had cut the edge of all the emotions I’d been facing and when I felt that I was ready to get off of it a year later I realized I had easily become physically addicted.  The withdrawls were painful.  The headache was unbearable.  So a few days later I started taking it again.
I really prayed about it.  And was so angry at myself for falling into the prescription drug trap so easily prescribed by doctors.
A month after my first attempt I decided to wean off my prescription.  You see nothing in my life had really changed.  My daughter of course still had autism.  I was still not getting any sleep, but I realized how dangerous it was getting for me to continue taking my prescribed antidepressant.  I didn’t want to walk through life numb.  And the withdrawls I faced were really unnerving.  SO I weaned off my pills for about two weeks and have never looked back.
I find that I still struggle from time to time, but that’s life right.  Nothing is perfect.  Moments are overwhelming.  God didn’t intend for us to be medicated through life.
So long story short!  I found myself truly giving oils a chance.  I fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils.  As cheesy as I feel sharing them with people I want them to see that there’s an alternative way to feeling healthy.
I started adding a drop or two of Lemon oil to my water first thing in the morning.  I noticed within 15 minutes of drinking it that knot in my stomach was gone.  So one glass turned to 3 a day.
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I noticed mental clarity.  I noticed that it encouraged me to make healthier choices throughout the day.
I cut out caffeine.  And preworkout.
Preworkout was probably the most difficult for me.  I’ve used it for years and years to get through my workouts.
So I decided to step out of my comfort zone one more time and try out Young Living Ningxia Red.  Once in the morning before my workout and once in the evening.
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I noticed an increase in energy but not a sloppy full feeling like a cup of coffee would give me.  Or a jittery tweaker high preworkout tends to give.  I won’t lie I did enjoy that extreme surge of energy.  But to be honest I don’t know half of the ingredients in any given preworkout I’ve purchased.
But with Ningxia Red by Young Living I noticed an increase in clean energy.
These are two of my favorite items for myself by Young Living.
If you are tired of feeling off.  Maybe you too struggle with stomach issues send me an email.
I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned.
americanhomesteadco@gmail.com
Instagram: americanhomesteadco
Danielle

From our fields to your family

Let me share with you how I became a Young Living Essential Oils Distributor.

I’ve been a closet oiler for years.

Not sure if that’s even a term.

I’ve used oils since my first son was born.  My generous mother in law and mom have always both provided me with the oils I need for each stage of my life.  From both Doterra and Young Living.  I’ve used oils for serious baby constipation, I’ve used oils for anxiety and depression.  I make a special potion for the animals when they get injured.  The list of benefits we see daily by using Young Living Essential Oils is pretty significant.

My mama decided to gift me with signing me up as a distributor for Young Living.  You see I actually use both Young Living and Doterra oils.  I know the horror!

But I truly believe in oils and so as long as the oils are pure I won’t discriminate.

I however just adore so much about Young Living.  When I received my starter kit in the mail I was beyond thrilled.

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I’ll be completely transparent.  The idea of making a little side money is nice.  I love staying home with my kids but it’s nice to get a little extra money here and there selling something I truly believe in.  Not to mention by becoming a distributor you are able to use the Young Living Essential Oils and products at a much more affordable price.

Both my kids fall onto the Autism spectrum.  We face some sensory challenges on a day to day basis.  I will never claim to say that essential oils cure behaviors associated with the spectrum.  But I will say combined with diet and exercise I do notice a lot of positive changes.

Not to mention how clean and healthy my house feels.  I ditched the chemical cleaners once I had kids  and started making my own using essential oils and other household products.

I’m not really good at selling products though.  I never want to be that friend blowing up your feed with more obnoxious sales posts.  But I do hope as I embark on this journey with Young Living that I’m able to encourage others that there is healing in oils and hopefully they fall in love with Young Living like I did.

Stick around for different potions and ideas we cook up using Young Living Essential Oils on our homestead.

If you ever have any questions please send me an email or leave a comment.

americanhomesteadco@gmail.com

Danielle

 

Should I raise meat birds on my homestead?

If you happen to be a vegetarian you could skip out on this article.

If you spend a lot of money at the grocery store weekly and are sick of the prices of meat as well as the quality you might want to continue reading.

Part of our homesteading journey included possibly raising meat birds.  Me, being the biggest animal lover couldn’t really stomach the idea.

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That is until King Mabel went rogue and transformed into an aggressive Rooster.

Anyways.  As our trial meat bird.  King Mabel’s life came to an end and he was processed for dinner.

So let’s get into it.

Pros

  • You know what quality of meat you are getting.  In our case we have had King Mabel for 10 months and we fed him a high quality chicken feed. (He was handfed up until a few weeks ago when he got testy)

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  • Free Range
  • Quite tasty was the consensus from the family.
  • It gave us a perspective on how much we as American’s consume.  That was a huge eye opener.
  • Taught the children a valuable lesson regarding consumption, and being grateful for the food on the table.  (They were not present for King Mabel’s death)
  • Ease of plucking and preparing the chicken.
  • Gives the hen’s a break they were starting to look a little ragged.
  • No loud crowing at 3:30AM.

Cons

  • Death.  I have always had a love hate relationship with meat.  The animal lover in me can’t really stomach too much.  So I’ll be honest I cried.
  • Finding a quick way to kill the chicken.  Like I said this has been a learning experience.

So our consensus was that it was worth it as you can see the pros definitely outweigh the cons to raising meat birds on your homestead.  It really put the amount of food we consume into perspective.  I know I can speak for myself when I say that I will consume much less meat now knowing and seeing the process from start to finish.

I’d say if you are seeking a simpler way to living.  Consider the pros and cons before raising your own meat birds.

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