Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lifestyle Changes--Becoming Producers Instead of Consumers

We need to take new pictures.  This is over a year ago!

My family already lives a life that is much different from the typical American family.  How are we different?

1.  We have seven children with a 24 year age span.  (Just in case you are a new reader and think I miscounted:  There are 6 of my children in the above picture, but we have one married daughter with three children of her own!)
2.  We homeschool. (23 years now)
3.  We don't watch tv.  We do watch movies, though.  Much too often I am afraid....another change that needs to be made.
4.  The kids don't have electronic gizmos and games to entertain them.  They play.  They read.  They       work.  They write.  They draw.  They practice their instruments.  They build things.

Even with all these things that make us different we are continuing to learn new things daily that encourage us to be even more radical in our lifestyle.  We are trying to become producers instead of consumers.  We are trying to become more self-suffcient.   Some changes that we have incorporated over the years include the following:

1.  Using cloth napkins instead of paper.  I buy napkins on clearance for about 50 cents each, but would love to make some using the boxes of fabric that are stored in the attic.
2.  Rarely purchase baking mixes or boxed cereal.
3.  Made jars and jars of homemade fruit preserves so we are  not buying any from the store.
4.  Make a maple flavored sugar syrup for pancakes, etc instead of buying syrup.
5.  Making our own soap.
6.  Making laundry detergent using our homemade soap.
7.  Grinding grains to make homemade bread products.
8.  Line drying some of our clothes.

9.  Making homemade cleaners instead of using toxic cleaners.
10.  Learned to make yogurt and applesauce in the crockpot.
11.  Learned to purchase and cook using bulk foods.
12.  Making body scrubs and ointments.
13.  Make tons of granola to replace boxed cereal.
14.  Raise as many vegetables and herbs as we can.
Ready for planting with more boxes to build.
15.  Preserve as many of those vegetables and herbs as we can.

There are several other changes that we are trying to incorporate:  larger garden, bigger food storage, learning how to dehydrate and use a pressure canner for more food storage, learn about and make herbal remedies, and raising our own meat and eggs--chickens, cow and pigs.

Love this picture of chickens on a family farm in Iowa that Jordan took 2 years ago.
So are you making lifestyle changes these days?  Is the current economic situation forcing you to make changes?



Loretta & Amanda said...

It sounds like we're on the same wavelength. Most of the things that you have listed we do as well. My chickens have started laying and it's wonderful to take one more thing off of my grocery list each week. As much as I would love to have a Jersey cow, I'm thinking we'll probably be sticking with goats. We can get by with less hay, etc. that way.

Christa said...

I thought I would stop by and say hello and thank you for stopping by my blog. I think we have a lot in common and I'm looking forward to visiting your blog often.


Mrs. Trixi said...

We live a similiar lifestyle to yours and are also working hard on being producers and not consumers. I love that wording, by the way. We have incorporated many of the things on your list but still have a ways to go. I am so glad to see that there are so many on this same journey, it's very encouraging.
I would love your recipe for granola.

Anita said...

Mrs. Trixi,

Thanks for visiting again! You can find the granola recipe here

or you can see the link in the sidebar of my blog.

Mary Joy said...

We are working on becoming more of a producing family instead of consuming too!!! Not at the level you are but in our own way. We will begin homeschooling both our boys this summer and I have stopped buying baking mixes and make our own granola instead of buying boxed cereal too. Our kids rarely play electronic games and love playing board games, reading, making things, learning new things, going to parks, playing together, using their imaginations!

Thanks for the encouragement today!

Building Home with Him,

Mary Joy

Lori said...

Enjoyed your blog. There are always changes to be made and new things to try.
We have 9 children 18 and under and I completely understand the "missing kids" from the photo. I've been getting all the kids scrapbooks caught up and am seriously lamenting the fact that out youngest will not have as "all" family photos as the first eight (we had the first eight in 12 years:)
Thank you for sharing what you've learned.
Keep up the God work.

Belinda Letchford said...

How do you preserve the herbs?

Marie said...

HI there, thank you so much for linking up to Simplicity Saturday!!! I love reading your blog and am super interested in how you make the Crockpot yogurt!!! My kiddos love yogurt and if I could make it that would be even greater!!!

Danielle said...

I enjoyed this post a lot - my family is trying to move in the same direction as yours, too. It seems like the economy has really jump started people thinking about what they can do for themselves (and cheaper).

Mountain Home Quilts said...

It sounds like you all are doing a great job at working towards a self sufficent life! Way to go! :)

Briana said...

We do many of the things on your list but I would like to do more. I'm focusing on making our chickens and garden produce more. I'm also learning how to shop at second hand stores for the things we need.

Carmen said...

Found you through the Barn Hop! We are on the same page as well. With a large family simplicity is a necessity!

Old House Kitchen

Kim said...

Hi! I found your blog through the Barn Hop~love it! We have 9 kids and do almost the same things you do, but still haven't tossed the television. Looking forward to reading some of your previous posts!

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

Sounds like you guys are well on your way!!! Great job continuing the search for more ways to become self reliant. I am finding that there is ALWAYS ALWAYS something else to learn... and I'm enjoying every moment of being able to teach my children what I am learning as well. It's nice to meet you :) Thanks for linking up to the Homestead Barn Hop!!

Laura of Harvest Lane said...

I enjoyed this very much. I can identify with many things you wrote.

Holly said...

I enjoyed your post! Much of what your family does is similar here. What a beautiful family you have! Holly

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

We are very much like you ... except a bit larger family. :)

We have been in "moving mode" the past 2 years, so are very excited to be able to have a garden again this year. My hubby is the gardener and has his raised beds all planned out. Yippee!

We put away a LOT of canned jams. I didn't count last year, but the year before we made 156 quarts of jam (fresh picked strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry ... we pick our own berries at local farms ... and peach jam with peaches purchase from nearby area).

We do LOTS of applesauce, too, from apples we pick at a local farm. We are BLESSED to live in a large farming community.

We love our 20 year old dehydrator (for fruit leather, dried bananas, etc...) and our 10 year old mill that we mill our own wheat in daily (for bread, pancakes, biscuits, pizza, etc...)

We, too, LOVE our homemade granola. But, I would like to get your recipe for homemade yogurt. Yummm.

We started making our own laundry soap a year ago. What a HUGE cost savings. Wow!

We would like to get chickens, but for now are living on a small city lot. But ... hoping to move soon.

Hope your week is BLESSED!

Laurel :)

Caseybumpinalong said...

Great post! We are going to try the square foot gardening idea this year, instead of one big garden, which has been overwhelming in the last few years.

debbie said...

I've just come across your blog and wanted to stop by and say "Hi!" We seem to have so much in common! I am the mom of 6, and soon to be grandmom ("honey") to 5. Our last four children were homeschooled. The oldest graduated from USC 3 years ago, our other son graduated and joined the Marines, our daughter graduated last year and plans to attend college beginning the winter quarter, and our youngest is still being homeschooled. We decided 3 years ago to turn our 8 acres into a self-sustaining homestead. It's been a lot of work and we still have a long way to go, but we do have chickens, gardens, fruit trees and peace of mind! I'm looking forward to visiting often :)

Cinnamon said...

Hello Anita~ I have only been visiting you for a little while but after reading this post I now know we would make great friends :-)

All that you listed....oh my...I was reading and nodding my head and smiling. You outlined OUR family:-)

Care to share you crock pot yogurt recipe? And your maple syrup recipe?

I love that you grow herbs. We grow mints each year then save them for teas in the winter. We also grow Lemon Balm which is my favorite!! Love that smell!

It's been a pleasure getting to know you~


The Adams Family said...

Wow! I had no idea we had so much in common! I use baking soda and vinegar the most for works great on a clogged drain too...
God bless, keep up the good work!
Dana Adams (THC)

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