Keeper of the Home http://www.keeperofthehome.org Naturally inspired living for homemakers Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:26:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 17 Tips That Make it Easier to Eat Grain Free http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/___-tips-making-grain-free-eating-easier.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/___-tips-making-grain-free-eating-easier.html#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=30242 Although grain free isn’t a long term lifestyle choice for us at this point, in different seasons and circumstances, we go back to it as a way of resetting our bodies, aiding digestion, and coping with specific health challenges. I know that we’re certainly not the only ones trying to eat grain-free, less grains, gluten-free or some variation thereof. So many of you are right there, making these kinds of dietary changes, just like we are. When you’re used to living in the land of […]

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17 tips easier on chocolate pie

Although grain free isn’t a long term lifestyle choice for us at this point, in different seasons and circumstances, we go back to it as a way of resetting our bodies, aiding digestion, and coping with specific health challenges.

I know that we’re certainly not the only ones trying to eat grain-free, less grains, gluten-free or some variation thereof. So many of you are right there, making these kinds of dietary changes, just like we are.

When you’re used to living in the land of bread, tortillas, pasta and muffins, grain free eating and cooking can be a shock to the system. For one thing, it’s common to get hungry more often, especially in the beginning.

To make it even more challenging, one of the most common reactions is to panic and feel like you’re staring at this fridge full of food, but there’s nothing to eat.

Ever felt that way? I know I have, so many times.Whether we’re on GAPS, the Maker’s Diet, eating Paleo/Primal, Whole 30, wheat and dairy free, or something in between, it can be a struggle to shift your usual eating habits and find new, satisfying and simple ways to get full.

Particularly with four growing children who ask for more food before the breakfast dishes are even washed, I’ve learned that I have to have a plan that includes foods that can be:

  1. grabbed on the go
  2. made in a hurry
  3. cooked without much fuss or extra energy

How great we feel when we take a break from grains (even though I’m actually not opposed to eating properly prepared grains as part of our everyday diet) is a huge motivation for us. But to keep going, especially in the beginning, I still need a few tricks up my sleeve.

tons of eggs in fridge

So here are my 17 tips for making it easier to eat grain free:

1. Keep boiled eggs on hand.

Whether for breakfast, a quick protein-rich snack, adding to a salad, whipping up deviled eggs on the fly, or taking out the door,  boiled eggs are convenient.

For that matter, always keep a TON eggs on hand. I’m not even kidding. See those eggs? That’s a portion of what’s in my fridge right now. But when you’re grain free, you use them for breakfast, more than usual in baking, on salads, in mayo, in quiche, for quick emergency dinners, and well, pretty much everything it seems. We hardly ever seem to have enough.

2. Cooked meat

Three things I love to keep in my freezer:

  • cooked, diced or shredded chicken
  • ground beef, already browned
  • pre-made and cooked sausages

With pre-cooked meat, it’s SO much easier to come up with a last minute meal.

bunny banana nut pancakes

3. Always, always make extra of everything.

Like these pancakes, for example. Doubling up on banana nut pancakes on a Saturday morning means a quick weekday breakfast later on. Double batches of soup mean lunch for the next day or two. Doubling a recipe for nutty granola means you’ve got yogurt topping for weeks.

4. Keep some sort of bread, or “wraps” on hand at all times.

Be it homemade grain free bread or egg-based crepes, or simply large lettuce or cabbage leaves, anything that can turn into a “sandwich” or wrap makes for simple meals in a hurry.

grain free bread on counter

5. When you bake, bake for an army.

Bread isn’t the fastest thing to make, even when you’re using grains, but I find grain free bread particularly tedious to make. I’m enjoying the taste and texture of the bread we make from the book Against All Grain, but it’s not worth it for me unless I make at least 3 loaves at a time.

With regular bread, I freeze it to keep it fresh, but this bread doesn’t do as well once it’s been frozen. Keeping it in the fridge seems to keep it fresh enough for us to make use of it all.

6. Fill your freezer with meals.

Even if you don’t do a full day of freezer cooking, it’s worth it to do mini sessions (just a few recipes at a time) or even make up a recipe to freezer here or there as you have time. Sometimes I do this just with baking or snacks, and other times I try to put actual meals away.

I’m currently testing out a membership to Once a Month Meals, which has a fantastic Paleo option. It provides you with all of the recipes with cards, grocery lists, prep instructions, cooking day directions, AND all sorts of other recipe options so that you can swap out meals that don’t suit you for ones that do. It’s a really useful system and so time saving!

*Interested in trying Once a Month Meals for FREE? Keep reading to the bottom!**

fridge overflowing wiht produce

7. Keep well stocked on fruits and veggies.

These fly out of the fridge when we’re not eating grains, because we just need a whole lot of food to fill us up, so making sure I really stock up each time I shop makes life much easier (hence, the crammed fridge- but hey, at least we’re not hungry).

Being able to quickly throw together a salad, chop up a plate of veggies, or serve up a dish of fruit really helps me to complete meals when they still need a little something extra. They’re also easy grab-and-go snacks for me and the kids.

8. If you’re going to cook potatoes, always make extras.

Every time I cook potatoes, I make extra, whether they’re baked or boiled or fried.  I’ll use them as the base for a breakfast casserole, or fry them up with a simple meal of scrambled eggs and hashbrowns, or they also come in handy for a sausage, veg and potato fry in the evening.

If white potatoes are off your radar, use sweet potatoes or yams instead. They work just as well.

nibble plate

9. Consider the Nibble Plate.

This is a term I coined and will eventually write a post on, although the idea is so simple that is feels a bit silly. Essentially I put together simple, finger foods to make up a quick & easy lunch on busy days.

I use foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried fruits, olives, cheese, sliced sausage or cooked meat, grain free crackers, hard boiled eggs or anything else I can think of. It’s filling, very fast, and can often be a good way to use up odds and ends in the fridge.

10. Come up with a list of super quick, easy meals.

These are the meals that you can whip up in 15 minutes flat.

For us, it might be

What are your fast, go-to options?

frozen broth in freezer

11. Weekly make broth in the crockpot and then freeze it.

Most weeks I roast or slow cook a whole chicken, partly for the convenient cooked meat and also so that I can make nourishing broth from the bones.

As soon as the chicken is done cooking, I cook it and remove all the chicken (which I freeze in small bags). Then, I toss the chicken bones straight back into the crockpot for a 12-24 hours to make broth. This also gets frozen, and it ensures that I have broth ready for any meals I want to make that week.

12. Have baking ingredients stocked up in pantry.

Grain free baking ingredients, like almond flour or coconut flour, nuts or dried fruit, are cheapest when you buy them in bulk. So you kill two birds with one stone by stocking up your pantry with bulk-sized packages.

So many recipes can be mixed up quickly in just a blender or food processor, especially things like bars, muffins or healthy cookies. Between these pantry items and a stockpile of eggs, I can usually get something in the oven in 15-20 minutes or less (a double or triple batch, of course!).

13. Sausages & bacon. Have lots of them.

If you can find a source for preservative and gluten-free sausages and bacon (I buy mine in 5 lb boxes from a small, local meatshop), these can help to make last minute meals.

Thawing and cooking these meats is a much faster process than thawing packages of the cheaper cuts of beef or chicken I buy. When I leave dinner too late, I know I can make something with one of these if I have to. Besides, bacon. Mmmm. Enough said.

meal plan on wall board

14. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan.

Since my husband and I rotate in our work and home duties, the hour I take each weekend to plan out a meal plan (and then shop according to that plan) pays off wildly.

It allows my 9 year old to see what’s for breakfast, as she’s being trained to do a lot of that meal mostly by herself. My husband can start a simple lunch with a glance at our bulletin board in the kitchen. And I can set things out the night before to thaw in preparation for easier dinners the next day, or start the crockpot before I head down to the office each morning.

Plus, it really simplifies my shopping process, and guarantees that unless the kids go through a zany growth spurt and eat us out of house and home before the week is up (it’s been known to happen), we’ll have everything we need to make meals and avoid last minute ingredient runs.

One tip for simplifying your planning – Use your weekly breakfast plans over and over. Don’t most of us eat the same things for breakfast anyways?

15. Use your leftovers.

As a general rule, we eat leftovers any chance we can get. If there isn’t enough to serve as a full meal, we improvise and turn them into other dishes, or make a “leftover buffet”, or add things like a salad or fruit platter to supplement what we have.

Leftovers are pretty much the best thing ever. Cook once, eat twice, less dishes, save money by not wasting food. Really? Okay!

If you dislike leftovers, you really need to figure out some ways to get over it and make them taste better. Frying things up in some butter or oil, or using a toaster oven to keep food from getting soggy helps (and for the record, using a microwave makes things disgusting and as nutritious as cardboard, so I advise against that). And I always say that adding cheese covers a multitude of sins.

vertical 17 tips easier grain free

16. Smoothies. The perfect food.

Smoothies are the perfect, filling, nutritious, 5 minute snack. Always keep your fridge and freezer stocked with the ingredients you love to dump in the blender. For us, that’s all sorts of frozen berries and fruit, raw milk/yogurt/kefir, stevia/honey/maple syrup, vanilla, chia and flax seeds, fresh greens, orange juice concentrate, fresh fruit, cocoa powder, nut butter, etc.

If you’re extra keen, you can even use small serving ziploc bags to make pre-measured individual frozen smoothie “mixes” that can be dumped straight into the blender with your choice of liquids.

17. Use that crockpot.

There is nothing nicer than measuring out ingredients and even still-frozen meat first thing in the morning or as you clean up lunch, and opening up a steaming crock of cooked dinner later that night. I am always on the lookout for crockpot meals we enjoy.

Dishes we make most often in the crockpot: chili, beef or chicken stew, roast beef or roast whole chicken (usually with vegetables and maybe potatoes added in), soups, Asian-style chicken or beef to go over veggies (like Broccoli and Beef, or Orange Sesame Chicken). Pinterest is FULL of crockpot recipes. Use them!

What are your tricks that making grain free eating easier for YOU?

And have you seen this yet??

bundle collage for grain free post

P. S. Did you know that there is a FREE one-month Pro Once a Month Meals membership that comes with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

This is an incredible collection of homemaking ebooks, on topics like cooking, marriage, mothering, health & wellness, working-from-home, pregnancy & babies, and so much more. It includes 84 (yes, really!) digital resources worth almost $700, PLUS you get 10 bonus freebie offers worth $200 (this is where the Once a Month Meals comes in).

FoodShelf

In fact, the bundle includes a number of books that would really serve those on a grain free, dairy free, sugar free or gluten free diet. These are the books in just the Food category (one of twelve categories– I’m telling you, this bundle is HUGE!).

It’s for sale for a very limited time, only four more days, so hurry and check it before it’s gone! The price tag on the entire bundle is just $29.97 (or spend $10 more to get perfectly-formatted Kindle editions as well). I’m one of the organizers of this sale, and our goal was to make it as valuable of a package as possible, something that would really serve you and your needs as a homemaker!

You can read all about the full contents of the bundle, including all the eBooks and the bonus offers HERE. Or jump on over to the website to get your own bundle now. Remember, the sale ends Monday, April 28th at midnight and there will be no late sales!

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. As an author, I make a portion of sales through my site, so thank you for supporting Keeper of the Home! Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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Everything you need, one HUGE, awesome package (The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is BACK!) http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/post-draft-wednesday.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/post-draft-wednesday.html#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29883 By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle! Our team has spent months pouring over the details of this, our 4th eBook bundle, to make sure that it was our best ever. I really believe it is. Not only is this a completely fresh collection of ebooks and other resources (unique from any other bundle we’ve offered before), BUT it also includes our biggest and most exciting line up of bonus freebies. Woohoo! Now is your chance to grab the […]

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  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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WhyBundle

By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

Our team has spent months pouring over the details of this, our 4th eBook bundle, to make sure that it was our best ever.

I really believe it is.

Not only is this a completely fresh collection of ebooks and other resources (unique from any other bundle we’ve offered before), BUT it also includes our biggest and most exciting line up of bonus freebies. Woohoo!

Now is your chance to grab the ultimate ebook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

As an organizer of this sale (together with Erin of The Humbled Homemaker and our husbands), I’m sold on its value.

Our goal is to make our bundles such top-notch, incredibly useful, smokin’ good deals that you’ll rub your eyes in disbelief that $30 will get you all of the goodness it includes!

Buy PDF
Buy Kindle

Personally, I am a huge ebook fan. I’ve owned a Kindle for a couple of years now, and whenever I go to buy a new book, I look for the Kindle option first (and spoiler alert… we’re offering KINDLE versions this year– more below!).

Ebooks are the best thing since sliced bread. You can own a truckload of them, and keep them all on this teeny tiny device. Be still, my heart.

What I love about having such a massive collection of ebooks for such a small price (seriously– the total ebook value is about $700, but the bundle cost is less than $30), is that even if you won’t read every single book, and realistically most of you won’t, it’s still worth it.

Bundles aren’t for everyone, but I do tend to think there’s something for anyone in our bundles. We make them that way on purpose.

BigBookBundle
(I mean, seriously, how could there not be something you’d love in here? LOL! When our designer, Joy, first sent me this image I had to laugh at the sheer scale of it. It’s awesome, right? All it needs it a little whipped cream and a cherry on top.)

For example, some of my personal favorites this time around are:

  • Sewing School 101
  • Taming the Laundry Monster
  • Bliss Balls for Beginners
  • No-Cook Freezer Meals
  • Discipleship & Discipline eCourse (from Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae)
  • How to Manage Your Mouth: A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge
  • Healing with God’s Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies
  • 101 Independent Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers
  • The Charlotte Mason Way Explained
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: A Tutorial to Using PicMonkey with Professional Results.

(By the way, if you bought just these 10 resources out of the 84 included, but the whole bundle is only $29.97! See what I mean about the value?)

For that matter… my own book Real Food on a Real Budget: How to Eat Healthy for Less is in the package. It goes for $18.97 alone (but I guarantee, it will save you oodles more than that in grocery costs).

DozensOfBooks

I’ve posted the entire list of all 84 ebooks and digital resources here for you to peruse. I’ve bolded all of the ones I like best.

A few more really great things you should know:

We’re now offering Kindle editions for super-easy reading. That’s been a popular request and we’re thrilled to be able to make it available to you. For just $10 extra dollars, you get the bonus Kindle editions PLUS all the usual PDFs, so it’s really the best of both worlds.

The popular 2-for1 deal is also back! When you buy one bundle, you get the option of adding TWO more bundles to your cart for the price of ONE.

This means you can give two bundles away to friends or family for a mere $15 each. Or, you can get together with two savvy friends and pick up 3 bundles for the price of 2 and share the savings.
BonusProducts

We’ve also included $200 of freebies from our 10 awesome partners!

I have never been so excited about redeeming bonus offers as I am this bundle!

I’m putting my $15 credit towards a custom apron made with gorgeous fabric for my oldest daughter from Marie-Madeline Studio, I’ve already picked out my 3 free mineral eyeshadows, I just redeemed my free month’s membership at Once a Month Meals to help make our current grain-and-sugar free diet a little easier, and will totally use my free eco-friendly laundry detergent from Dizolve.

And that’s just 4 out of the 10!

These are the BEST bonus freebies we have ever had. Check it out:

These deals are worth $200, over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!

And if you like these bonuses, you have my hubby Ryan to thank for it. He’s pretty much a rock star in my books. I can’t believe what a great selection we have this time!

Learn more details about the bonus offers here.

facebook party 2014 homemaking

This Thursday, let’s party on Facebook

Tomorrow night, Thursday April 24th, I’ll be hosting a special Facebook party on our page.

“Like” our page here to attend.

We’ve got well over $500 in goodies to give away (awesome stuff, for real), including a KINDLE for one lucky attendee, that we’ll give away towards the end of the evening.

The festivities begin at 8pm EST (5pm PST) and will last for 2 hours. Even if you just pop in and out or arrive late, it’ll still be fantastic and we’d love to see you there! The one we had last fall was so. much. fun and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to talk with so many of you.

We’ll be chatting about topics like balance, taking care of ourselves, and finding joy in imperfect homemaking. Some very real subjects, which certainly apply to my own life, and I hope you’ll join the conversation!

Days

Just remember, the bundle will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it’s gone!

Here’s are the details you need to know:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle here.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

I know how busy your weeks can be, and 6 days flies by pretty quickly, so I’ll remind you a few times before the end of the sale, just to make sure you don’t miss it. I always have a few readers email me after each bundle sale ends, upset that they’ve missed it, and I would hate for that to be you!

It has been such a joy to pull together another homemaking bundle to share with you all! I hope you love it! :)

Want to learn more? Read more about what this amazing bundle offers—or just buy it now!

Buy PDF
Buy Kindle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. As an author, I make a portion of sales through my site, so thank you for supporting Keeper of the Home! Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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Two podcasts for your listening pleasure (and a glimpse into this blog’s future) http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/two-podcasts-listening-pleasure-glimpse-blogs-future.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/two-podcasts-listening-pleasure-glimpse-blogs-future.html#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=30079 Get out your laundry baskets and let the folding begin… This week I have not one, but TWO fun podcasts to share with you! Listen to me gab about blogging The first is on a topic I don’t usually get to share about as much as I would like to, and that is on business and blogging. I had a great time talking with my brilliant friend Kat from How They Blog (whom I first met when I traveled to the Philippines with Compassion International), […]

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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HTB Stephanie Langford.jpg

Get out your laundry baskets and let the folding begin…

This week I have not one, but TWO fun podcasts to share with you!

Listen to me gab about blogging

The first is on a topic I don’t usually get to share about as much as I would like to, and that is on business and blogging.

I had a great time talking with my brilliant friend Kat from How They Blog (whom I first met when I traveled to the Philippines with Compassion International), about how my husband and I managed to run our businesses while traveling around the world with our four kids this past year.

She kindly calls it Finding Blogging Balance in the Midst of Chaos (click this link to listen). I’ll vote for the fact that there was more chaos than balance. But I’ll let you be the judge. :)

inspiredtoaction

And then about traveling…

After we finished up our business talk, we switched gears to chat about our family’s nomadic experience, and some inside thoughts on the realities of extensive travel with kids.

You’ll find the second podcast on her awesome blog (truly, one of my favorites) Inspired to Action.

Take a listen to the podcast HERE.

Starting a podcast of my own

The past 6 months, for reasons unknown to me, I have found myself speaking a lot in webinars, on podcasts, in interviews, and at conferences. I’m not normally someone that enjoys speaking. At all.

And yet… it’s sparked something in me, and I’ve grown to not only consider the idea of launching my own podcast, but actually reached the point where I am truly excited about it!

(The moral of this story might be that if there’s something you think you’re terrible at, and you swear you’ll never, ever do, well, just don’t do that. Because you might one day. I’m just sayin’.)

On that note, I would love to hear from all of YOU as I plan out my podcast and begin to line up interviews.

I confess, some of the topis I choose might be outside of the norm and truly, this will be more of a Stephanie podcast than a Keeper of the Home podcast. Because while I love this blog, and the topics we share here, I have many interests that span beyond this part of my life and it makes me sort of giddy to think about sharing more of those parts of myself.

That said, would you kindly complete this ONE MINUTE survey?

Seriously, that’s all it takes. It’s super easy.

Make Stephanie really happy by completing her survey.  (Yep, right here– Thanks so much!)

Boots

Tomorrow is the BIG day

Lastly, did you know that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle goes on sale TOMORROW?

Super exciting. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Check out the website to get a little taste. Tomorrow morning at 8am EST we do the big reveal, with this bundle’s 84 eBooks and resources, plus it’s $200 worth of bonus freebies.

It’s sweet, I can tell you that much.

And that’s about all I have to say. I enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend with plenty of family around, and checking out a church in the town we just moved to. It was a full but special weekend.

How was your Easter? What did you do with your family?

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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An All-Natural, Homemade Oven Cleaner http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/natural-homemade-oven-cleaner.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/natural-homemade-oven-cleaner.html#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29506   By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer I love to clean. Since I have two young children, my ideal of a clean house has greatly changed over the past seven years, but I still enjoy cleaning – especially spring cleaning. Each March, April and May I gladly welcome the warmer temperatures, sunnier skies and longer days by thoroughly cleaning each room in my home. I love the dusting, polishing, vacuuming, purging and reorganization that my chores bring. But I dread one chore in particular. I just […]

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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An All Natural Homemade Oven Cleaner1

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

I love to clean. Since I have two young children, my ideal of a clean house has greatly changed over the past seven years, but I still enjoy cleaning – especially spring cleaning.

Each March, April and May I gladly welcome the warmer temperatures, sunnier skies and longer days by thoroughly cleaning each room in my home. I love the dusting, polishing, vacuuming, purging and reorganization that my chores bring.

But I dread one chore in particular. I just cannot get excited about cleaning my oven.

My family has always lived in homes with older appliances, so I’ve never experienced the ease of a self-cleaning oven. Before I ever was aware of toxins in cleaning products – and even after I knew, when I was enduring stress-filled, hectic times of my life – I used oven cleaners in aerosol cans.

The cleaning process wasn’t as simple as I’d anticipated. It involved a lot of spraying, coughing, waiting and scrubbing.

I was eager to attempt a safe, homemade oven cleaner made with only baking soda and white vinegar. Could these two green cleaning staples possibly clean my filthy oven?

Surprisingly, yes.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Oven Cleaner1

The inside of my oven is a daunting place for an experiment in natural cleaning because it’s covered with the crusted-on, burnt-on remains of our meals.

While I love to try real food recipes, I often forget about cleaning up after myself – especially if I’ve spilled something in a hot oven. Once the oven door closes and dinner’s on the table, I forget about cleaning up my messes after the oven cools.

When it comes time to spring clean my home, cleaning my oven is one of my most labor-intensive chores. But I’m glad my new method is safe. I’ve used this baking soda and vinegar approach to oven cleaning several times over the past few years and finally have perfected my technique.

While I don’t use baking soda or vinegar for all of my green cleaning chores, they definitely work well in this situation. Before you shop for another can of oven cleaner, try this first:

Homemade Oven Cleaner

Ingredients

Baking Soda

White Vinegar

Method

1. When your oven is cool, remove all the burnt food remains.

2. Remove the baking racks and sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your oven. I’ve found it’s easy to sprinkle it with a repurposed Parmesan cheese container. Pour a small amount of white vinegar on top of the baking soda. (In my kitchen, I used ¼ cup baking soda and 1/8 cup white vinegar.)

3. Put a baking rack back in the oven. Fill a baking dish with hot water and put on the baking rack. Close the oven door and turn on the oven to 250 degrees for 5 minutes. Let the oven cool for about 15 minutes.

4. Remove the pan of water and baking rack. Scrub your oven. I prefer starting with previously used pieces of aluminum foil as homemade scrubbers. To scrub the oven walls, use a paste made of 1/8 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon white vinegar.

5. Keep scrubbing – and scrubbing – and wipe clean with warm water and old cleaning rags. Continue to scrub and wipe until your oven is clean.

What all-natural, homemade oven cleaner recipes have you tried? Which methods are effective?

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Weekend Links {and Spring Giveaway Winners} http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/weekend-links-spring-giveaway-winners.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/weekend-links-spring-giveaway-winners.html#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29923 This is both an exciting and a very busy week ahead for me, as it is the launch of our 2nd annual Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale! What’s an ultimate bundle? In a nutshell, it’s a package of extreme awesomeness, with an incredible number of eBooks and other resources like printable packs, audio files and eCourses, PLUS all sorts of freebies from companies offering products you’ll use and love, valued at almost $900!! The price? Less than $30. So you’re probably wondering what the catch is? […]

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  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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UHomB 728x90coming soon

This is both an exciting and a very busy week ahead for me, as it is the launch of our 2nd annual Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale!

What’s an ultimate bundle? In a nutshell, it’s a package of extreme awesomeness, with an incredible number of eBooks and other resources like printable packs, audio files and eCourses, PLUS all sorts of freebies from companies offering products you’ll use and love, valued at almost $900!!

The price? Less than $30.

So you’re probably wondering what the catch is? Well, we offer it for 6 days only, make it as sweet of a deal as can, sell lots and lots of them, and then when it’s gone, well, it’s gone.

Here’s what this particular bundle has in store for you:
77Ebooks

Not to mention, I believe we have the BEST bonus freebies we have ever had. Over $200 worth of products and memberships, and I have to keep my mouth sealed for just a few more days… but they’re sweet, I’ll tell you that much. :)

Plus, this is the first time ever that we’re able to offer the bundle in either PDF or Kindle format! Hooray!

Nest

Now that I’ve got you chomping at the bit to get your bundle… here’s what you need to know:

  • Bundles go on sale 8am EST on Wednesday, April 23 (just a few days from now)
  • Price: $29.97 (PDF) or just an extra $10 for the bonus Kindle editions (you still get the full PDF package as well)
  • How long will it be available? 6 days only. Sale ends on Monday, April 28th at midnight.
  • Where can I get it? Right here on the blog, I’ll have links where you can buy it. If you sign up for my free email list, I’ll send out a few reminders throughout the week, to make sure that you don’t miss out.

Links for this week:

When a fresh start means selling your stash @ The Art of Simple

Spring Green: on depression, being an “older” mom, and going gray (or what I’m doing instead of getting a tattoo). @ K. Elizabeth Fleck

Three Recipes using abundant spring asparagus @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

I’m A Single Mom – Please Withhold Judgement @ Modern Alternative Mama

Forget Everything I’ve Ever Said About My Low Grocery Budget @ Heavenly Homemakers

Fresh Caprese with Zoodles {Recipe Makeover} @ The Nourishing Home

A Tale Of Two Zip Codes @ Shaun Groves

Sharing Food When You’re a Real Foodie @ Kitchen Stewardship

Winners from the Spring Giveaway Week

Plan to Eat

The winners of the free one-year subscription are Cora (bailey.cora@), Kim (ispy11461@), and Holly (englischer@)!

Homestead Drying Racks

The winner of the Homesteader Drying Rack and full set of Homesteading for Beginners DVDs is Stella (stellabystarlite@)!

Herbal Academy of New England

The winner of the free enrollment for the Online Intermediate Herbal Course is Mary (starroller1@)!

Urban Tickle

The winner of the $100 gift card is Alissa (benandalissaallen@)!

Sweetbottoms

The winner of the $100 gift card is Jessica (snowpumpkin@)!

ListPlanIt

The winners of the free one-year subscription are Pamela (phoward336@) and Geneva (jennylou70510@)!

MightyNest

The winner of the glass cookware package is Andrea (deidre777@)!

How does your family celebrate Easter?

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The Vinegar Myth: Why Vinegar is Not a Great Natural Cleaner http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/vinegar-myth-vinegar-great-natural-cleaner.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/vinegar-myth-vinegar-great-natural-cleaner.html#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:00:25 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29488 Are you looking for ways to improve your homemaking skills? How about some new recipes? Or maybe you really need some inspiration for your faith, your mothering, your marriage… What if you could get all these things and more, in one HUGE awesome package of digital resources (plus $200 of bonus freebies) for less than $30? The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is 95% off of retail value and worth almost $900! Interested? Read more here! By Emily McClements, Contributing Writer Vinegar is a great green and natural […]

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  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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UHomB 600x345

Are you looking for ways to improve your homemaking skills? How about some new recipes?

Or maybe you really need some inspiration for your faith, your mothering, your marriage

What if you could get all these things and more, in one HUGE awesome package of digital resources (plus $200 of bonus freebies) for less than $30?

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is 95% off of retail value and worth almost $900! Interested?

Read more here!

The Vinegar Myth Why Vinegar is Not a Great Natural Cleaner

By Emily McClements, Contributing Writer

Vinegar is a great green and natural cleaner, right?

Using vinegar as a multipurpose all-natural cleaner may very well have been one of the first things you read or learned when beginning your journey toward green and natural living. I know it was for me.

As soon as I could after learning about vinegar as a natural cleaner, I ran to the store and picked up a 2 gallon jug of white vinegar and an empty spray bottle and came home to start using this insanely cheap and miraculous non-toxic cleaner all around my home.

After all, it can clean pretty much anything around your house. There are like, 101 uses for vinegar, right?

I have to admit, after a few weeks of using vinegar for cleaning around my home I was underwhelmed, and my husband was annoyed. He really detests the smell of vinegar and would be perfectly happy if I never used it at home again.

I found that the vinegar did work really well for certain things, like degreasing the range hood in the kitchen, cleaning mold and mildew in the bathroom, cleaning and descaling the coffee maker, replacing Jet-Dry as a rinse aid in my dishwasher, and making a homemade daily shower spray to keep soap scum and mildew at bay.

But for actual cleaning, I felt like it really didn’t work very well. I would spray it on the sink in the bathroom, on the kitchen counters, or onto the floor and feel like I had to use a lot of elbow grease to actually get them clean.

Because of that, and the fact that my husband didn’t want me to use vinegar around the house, I switched to using my homemade Multipurpose Cleaning Spray to clean all around the house instead.

Then last year as I was doing some last minute research for my ebook, Green Your Life, I came across some interesting information regarding using vinegar as a natural cleaning agent.

Myth 1 Vinegar is an effective cleaner for removing dirt and grime around your home

Myth #1: Vinegar is an effective cleaner for removing dirt and grime around your home.

Despite all of the touted benefits of vinegar from just about every green and natural living blog, book, website, or expert (including myself until recently), a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that vinegar was the worst at soil (dirt) removal in kitchens and bathrooms out of all of the conventional and alternative cleaning products tested.

This study confirmed my experience stating,

“Vinegar was more effective in reducing microbial contamination than the other alternative cleaners but was least effective in removing soil. All of the cleaners, including water, could conceivably have removed the soil from the tiles with enough cleaning strokes. Therefore, consumers who wish to use alternative cleaners may find them effective in removing soil if they are willing to work harder.”

Well, let’s be honest, I’m not really willing to work harder. I spend enough time cleaning as it is. And I would like to know that the products I’m using are actually cleaning the surfaces and not just wiping the dirt around.

When it comes to actual cleaning, just like with washing our hands, basic soap and water are most effective for truly cleaning surfaces of dirt and grime, so a homemade cleaner made with castile soap or dish soap makes the perfect cleaning solution.

And while the study did determine that vinegar was not effective at removing dirt, it did find that it was effective in removing microbial contamination, and this is why vinegar is touted as a natural disinfectant.

So vinegar definitely still has an important role in a green and natural home. It’s best to use vinegar as a rinse to help to disinfect a surface after you have cleaned it with a soap-based cleaner. 

Now that we know that vinegar is not such a great cleaner to use around the house, I want to dispel a few other myths about cleaning with vinegar.

Myth 2 Vinegar and castile soap are better together

Myth #2: Vinegar and castile soap are better together.

I see a lot of homemade cleaning recipes that call for using castile soap and vinegar together. In fact, for a long time my most popular post for my homemade disinfecting wipes included both castile soap and vinegar in the recipe.

If vinegar is a great natural cleaner (it’s not) and castile soap is a great natural cleaner (yes, it still is) we can mix them together for even greater cleaning power, right? 

Then I read this post, and did a little experiment of my own, and found that vinegar and castile soap really don’t mix together at all. In fact, it turns into a kinda gross, curdled mess; not something you want to be cleaning your house with!  Be sure to steer clear of homemade cleaning recipes that call for a combination of both castile soap and vinegar. 

Myth #3: Baking Soda and Vinegar are a dynamic duo of green cleaning power!

This myth is a relatively new one to me as well! I mean come on, looking at that amazing fizzing action – that has to be an equally amazing natural cleaner, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The reaction of the vinegar and baking soda does create a fun fizzy reaction, but that reaction actually breaks the solution down into basically water with a little bit of sodium acetate, a.k.a. salt. So it’s really just a light salt water solution. Again, not so great for deep cleaning around the house, huh? (Note: Baking Soda is still a great natural abrasive cleaner.)

Homemade Deep Cleaning Soft Scrub

So, if vinegar isn’t a great cleaner, what should you use instead? Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite deep cleaners. It’s a homemade soft scrub that has natural bleaching and whitening qualities, so it’s great to use in the bathroom or kitchen! 

Homemade Deep Cleaning Soft Scrub

Ingredients

1 part castile soap (I usually use 1 or 2 tablespoons, depending on how large of a surface I’m cleaning)
1 part cream of tartar
Spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide

Method

Mix together castile soap and cream of tartar in a small bowl until a paste forms. Scoop out the paste with a sponge, rag or your hand and rub over the surface your cleaning.

Spray the surface down with hydrogen peroxide and then let sit for a few minutes. Scrub to clean and rinse surface off with water.

There are many more homemade cleaning solutions you can use to clean all around your home. Check out my 31 Days to Green Clean series for even more homemade and natural cleaning tips, tricks and recipes! 

What’s your favorite homemade natural cleaning solution to use around your home?

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6 Steps To a Naturally Clean Home {Plus 48 recipes} http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/6-steps-to-a-naturally-clean-home.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/6-steps-to-a-naturally-clean-home.html#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:20 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29463 By Jami Leigh, Contributing Writer When I first began my natural living journey, it all started with food. I was concerned with eating healthy and what I  put into my body. But it wasn’t long before I realized that the chemicals, lotions, and cleaners that I used everyday can actually seep into our skin and affect us as much or more than the food we eat. I began doing research and it didn’t take long for me to land on The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to […]

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6 Steps to a Naturally Clean Home

By Jami Leigh, Contributing Writer

When I first began my natural living journey, it all started with food. I was concerned with eating healthy and what I  put into my body. But it wasn’t long before I realized that the chemicals, lotions, and cleaners that I used everyday can actually seep into our skin and affect us as much or more than the food we eat.

I began doing research and it didn’t take long for me to land on The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. I knew I had to change my cleaning lifestyle and I wanted to jump in with both feet and throw away all my commercial cleaners and toxins – but I knew I had to take it slow.

For the past several years, I’ve been taking baby steps toward making my home toxic-free by using natural cleaners. I want to share with you some easy steps you can take to naturally clean your home.

6 Steps to a Naturally Clean Home

Commercial cleaners are packed full of allergens, toxins, and irritants. According to the EWG, asthma, cancer, reproductive and developmental problems can be direct results from using and inhaling these commercial cleaners.

1) Start Small

When you first start out on this natural living journey, it can be easy to feel like you want to chuck out everything you own in favor of natural alternatives. But this can be an overwhelming task and can potentially cost a lot of money!

You may not know where to start. Instead of turning over your entire life, start small. Pick one area in your home, or just one cleaner to replace. Get in the groove of using or making that one natural cleaner and once you have that down, move on to the next thing. After a while you will notice that your home is transforming into a natural environment.

2) Don’t Buy Expensive “Natural” Cleaners

If you head into a health store or search the “natural” section at your local grocery store, you will probably start to cry at the price of all the natural cleaners. When you first look at those prices, it seems daunting to switch over.

But the good news is most homemade natural cleaners are far less expensive than conventional store bought products. 

3) Make “All-Purpose” Cleaners

With conventional store bought cleaners, marketers make sure you know that you need a different cleaner for each area and item in your house. You have to get counter cleaners, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, bath tub cleaner, window cleaner, oven cleaner, table cleaner, etc., etc., etc.

But with just a couple good natural cleaners, you will discover that you can clean virtually every surface in your home. No more need for 30 bottles of poison under your kitchen sink.

4) Experiment

The natural cleaners that work perfect for my house and family may not work for you. Experiment with different cleaners and give yourself permission to not like a certain recipe. Experiment and find what is right for you and your family.

5) Give It Time

If you are completely new to natural cleaners, it can take some time adjusting to using them. But slowly, over time, you will get the hang of it. It will become second nature to reach for certain essential oils to add to your cleaner or mix up a batch of homemade laundry detergent.

It can seem like a lot all at once, but do your research, try once recipe at a time and before you know it, it will all become second nature.

6) It’s OK to Buy Store-Bought

Wait. Didn’t I just say above not to go out and buy a bunch of expensive natural cleaners? Yes. Don’t feel like you have to rush out and spend a couple hundred bucks just to get some natural cleaners. There are frugal and easy homemade cleaning recipes out there that really work.

I also know that some times in our lives (when we have a new baby, are working full time, etc.) when we simply don’t have the time to make homemade cleaners. When we moved into our first house earlier this year, I was so overwhelmed with all that I had to do, that I purchased some natural cleaners to help clean our old apartment and our new house. They worked great and I didn’t spend too much money. Do what you need to for your family!

48 All Natural Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Transforming your house into a naturally clean environment doesn’t take a lot of time or money but it does take commitment and a lot of baby steps. To make it easier for you, I’ve complied this list of 48 natural, easy to make homemade cleaners for you! Pick one and try it out!

A Naturally Clean Home/All Purpose Recipes

Build a Natural Spring Cleaning Arsenal by Richly Rooted

Free Spring Cleaning Checklist by Richly Rooted

Time Saving Tips for Natural Cleaning by Keeper of the Home

Using Essential Oils to Clean Everything in Your House by Purposeful Homemking

Homemade Natural, All Purpose Cleaner by GNOWFLINGS

Homemade Citrus Vinegar Cleaner by Domestic Serenity

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes by Live Renewed

Homemade Non-Toxic Disinfectant by Imperfect Homemaker

Cleaning with Essential Oils by Beauty in the Mess

Two Safe, Homemade Stain Removers by Accidentally Green

Cleaning Without Chemicals – Room by Room Guide by Accidentally Green

How to Safely Wash Your Windows by Accidentally Green

How to Safely Clean Hard Surfaces by Accidentally Green

How to Safely Dust Your Home by Accidentally Green

A Natural Approach to Relief from Allergies and Asthma by Domestic Serenity

Bathrooms

The Safest Way to Clean Kitchens and Bathrooms by Accidentally Green

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner by Simply Rebekah

How to Safely Clean Bathrooms by Accidentally Green

Homemade Bathtub Scrub by Nourishing Joy

A Naturally Clean and Fresh Bathroom by Smithspirations

Cleaning the Toilet Without Harsh Chemicals by Live Renewed

Kitchen

How to Safely Clean Your Refrigerator by Accidentally Green

Crock Pot Cleaner by Stacy Makes Cents

How to Naturally Clean and Deodorize a Stainless Steel Sink by Domestic Serenity

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap by The Humbled Homemaker

Deep Clean Your Oven Without Harsh Chemicals by Creative Green Living

Homemade Produce Cleaner by Live Renewed

Dishwasher

The Best Homemade Dish Washer Detergent by Authentic Simplicity

Homemade Borax Free Dishwasher Detergent Recipe by Ecokaren

Laundry Room

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent by Simply Foody

Homemade Dryer Sheets by Live Renewed

Soap Nuts – A Natural, Frugal Laundry Detergent by Stacy Makes Cents

Homemade Castile Liquid Laundry Soap by Stacy Makes Cents

How to Clean your Washing Machine by Keeper of the Home

Homemade Laundry Detergent by Purposeful Homemaking

Using Wool Dryer Balls by The Humbled Homemaker

Why I Don’t Make My Own Laundry Detergent by Whole New Mom

5 Ways to Detox Your Laundry Room by Keeper of the Home

How to Do Laundry from Start to Finish Without Any Nasty Chemicals by Red and Honey

7 Fresh, Natural Laundry Room Recipes by Little House on the Valley

Carpets

All Natural, Simple Carpet Freshener by Smithspirations

All Natural Carpet Stain Remover by The Humbled Homemaker

Homemade, Non-Toxic Carpet Cleaner by Modern Alternative Mama

Natural Homemade Carpet Freshener by Keeper of the Home

Making the House Smell Nice

DIY Natural Air Freshener: Lemon and Rosemary Simmering Pot by Domestic Serenity

DIY Natural Room Scents by The Yummy Life

5 Natural Aroma Simmering Pot Recipes by Little House on the Valley

4 Natural Fresh Scent Bathroom Solutions by Little House on the Valley

Resources for learning more

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Hope Runs: The Power of Letting Our Stories Shine http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/hope-runs-giveaway.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/hope-runs-giveaway.html#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29802 Guest post by Claire Diaz-Ortiz I never meant to share this story. Of course, I never meant to live this story at all. It started on a trip unlike the others. A trip around a small-big-tiny world with a twenty-something best friend in tow. A year-long trip through nineteen countries, and hundreds of books and one pair of running shoes that took me to the finish line of a Spanish marathon and to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest. A trip that ended in a country where […]

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140415hope  compressed

Guest post by Claire Diaz-Ortiz

I never meant to share this story. Of course, I never meant to live this story at all.

It started on a trip unlike the others. A trip around a small-big-tiny world with a twenty-something best friend in tow. A year-long trip through nineteen countries, and hundreds of books and one pair of running shoes that took me to the finish line of a Spanish marathon and to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest.

A trip that ended in a country where I had long wanted to be, at the base of a mountain I had long wanted to climb.

But when the base of the mountain towered above, and God spoke, it wasn’t the mountain that needed to be climbed at all.

Because in this story, in my story, God told me the mountain wasn’t where I was supposed to be. It was at the base, He said, with my two feet on the ground, in the orphanage with the cheap guest house that happened to house us for the night before the climb, where we were meant to stay.

And stay we did. For a year, living alongside 170 children, panting throughout our practices in our makeshift running program, and eventually starting a nonprofit called Hope Runs, aimed to help orphaned and vulnerable children through extracurricular programming and education.

sammy and claire low quality 1024x666

Image by J. Carrier

There are different ways to tell the story of what happened next. What brought one of those runners into my heart in a way I couldn’t shake, and what force pulled him with me to the United States when so many of the odds were against us all the time.

What happened when a Kenyan boy who had never tasted pizza made it his American life’s work to eat it every day, and what happened when a boy who thought he was an orphan heard from his mother again.

And then, of course, there is the story of what happens now. What happens when a Kenyan teen with four languages on his tongue and a mother-sister-aunt of a white woman just a dozen years his senior perched on his shoulder tries to navigate this big-tiny-small world.

Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption is the beginning of this story.

There are stories that are meant to be told, and this is mine.

I believe we each have dozens of them inside of us, and only rarely do we realize in life the power of letting them shine.

To celebrate the launch of Hope Runs, a story I’ve been meaning to tell for years, I’m giving away a free ebook, Share Your Story, which I wrote to talk about the power of sharing our stories in our lives. Download it here.

Hope Runs Cover

And, win A Copy of Hope Runs:

To win one of five copies of Hope Runs, do one or more of the following things. Leave 1 comment on this post for every item you do.

  • Get one entry by leaving a comment on this post and if you want, answering the question “Do you have stories inside of you that you feel are meant to be told?”
  • Like this blog post on Facebook.
  • Tweet this blog post.
  • Pin this blog post on Pinterest.

Remember, for each thing you do, leave one comment. (So, if you post on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, that would be three comments.)

(Or, buy a copy of Hope Runs and get $150 in freebies.)

Giveaway ends Friday, April 25th. 2014.

About Hope Runs:

Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with seven other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.

When Claire Diaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mt. Kenya, then head back home. She entered an orphanage seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek. God had other plans.

Hope Runs is the emotional story of an American tourist, a Kenyan orphan, and the day that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It’s about what it means to live in the now when the world is falling down around you. It’s about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see. Most of all, it’s about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.

claire diaz ortize 1024x700

About Claire Diaz-Ortiz:

Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@claire) is an author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. Named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, she holds an MBA and other degrees from Stanford and Oxford and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. She writes a popular blog at ClaireDiazOrtiz.com and is the author of the new book, Hope Runs: An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption. (Stephanie’s note: And, a brand new mama! Her first baby born and the launch of her book, all in one wonderful, eventful week. Congratulations, Claire and Jose!)

Do you have stories inside of you that you feel are meant to be told?

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Spring Clean Your Garden Tools http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/spring-clean-garden-tools.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/spring-clean-garden-tools.html#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29496 By Andrea Green, Contributing Writer Now that the days are starting to get longer and the air is starting to get warmer, I’m itching to get outside and garden. Since I live in Colorado, I still have several weeks before I can plant anything outside. However, now is a great time to spring clean all my garden tools. Then, when the time for planting finally arrives, I’ll be ready for the fun task of planting. Keeping garden tools clean will help them last longer. Clean […]

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  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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Spring Clean Your Garden Tools1

By Andrea Green, Contributing Writer

Now that the days are starting to get longer and the air is starting to get warmer, I’m itching to get outside and garden.

Since I live in Colorado, I still have several weeks before I can plant anything outside. However, now is a great time to spring clean all my garden tools. Then, when the time for planting finally arrives, I’ll be ready for the fun task of planting.

Keeping garden tools clean will help them last longer. Clean tools also are better for the health of your garden.

Here’s how to get started spring cleaning your garden tools:

Terra Cotta Pots

Empty your pots of old and depleted soil. If your pots have a whitish build up, you need to remove it.

Start by using a cleaning brush or steel pad and gently dry brush any white deposits.

Next, find a bucket that is large enough to hold your pot. Fill the bucket with a vinegar and water solution. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to every 6 cups of water.

Allow your pot to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on its size, you may need to turn the pot to make sure you get all sides submerged.

Finally, wash your pot with soap and water. Castile soap is excellent for this.

Spring Clean Your Shovels
photo credit: Ano Lobb

Shovels

Inspect your shovel for any rusty spots.

Rub a thin layer of non-toxic linseed oil over the shovel. Use a wire brush or pad to scrub off any rust.

Next, inspect the handle. If it has any splinters or rough sections, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth them out.

You can rub a thin layer of linseed oil over the wooden handle to keep it from drying out and to prevent further splintering.

Spring Clean Your Pruners
photo credit: snowmentality

Pruners and Shears

Start by washing blades with castile soap and water.

Use a wire brush or steel pad to scrub off any rust.

Apply a thin layer of linseed oil to prevent rust from forming again.

Note: This is a great time of year to get your pruners sharpened. Sharp pruners protect your plants from getting crushed or bruised which makes them vulnerable to disease.

Now that your tools are ready to go, check out my Top Ten ways to save money on your garden.

Have you cleaned your garden tools yet?

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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Weekend Links http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/weekend-links-57.html http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/04/weekend-links-57.html#respond Sat, 12 Apr 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.keeperofthehome.org/?p=29814 Links for this week: Why I argue in front of my kids (sometimes) @ The Art of Simple The courage to rest @ Conversion Diary 10 Allergen-Free Treats for Easter @ The Humbled Homemaker Waiting Tables, Day Twenty-Nine: Why Confessing Our Sin to Our Children is So Important @ Megan Tietz You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing @ Simplicity Parenting Build Your Immune System the FUN Way: Simple Herb-Infused Popsicle Recipe @ Kitchen Stewardship Follow Your Heart, Mama @ Life Your Way 1 […]

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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Links for this week:

Why I argue in front of my kids (sometimes) @ The Art of Simple

The courage to rest @ Conversion Diary

10 Allergen-Free Treats for Easter @ The Humbled Homemaker

Waiting Tables, Day Twenty-Nine: Why Confessing Our Sin to Our Children is So Important @ Megan Tietz

You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing @ Simplicity Parenting

Build Your Immune System the FUN Way: Simple Herb-Infused Popsicle Recipe @ Kitchen Stewardship

Follow Your Heart, Mama @ Life Your Way

1 Corinthians 13 For Moms @ Money Saving Mom

April Sponsors

Are you looking for companies that share the same values you do? Here at Keeper of the Home we curate a fabulous selection of companies that fit well with our audience. 

Plan to Eat | Eating at Home is About to Get Easier

Paula’s Bread | An Oklahoma Business Since 1987

Etsy Kids | Your Handmade Gift Guide for all Things Baby, Toddler, and Kids

Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique | Where ‘Green’ Comes Naturally: Baby & Kids supplies, cloth diapers, and more. Free shipping on cloth diapers!

UrbanTickle | Nursery Art, Wall Decals and Art for Children

The Breakfast Revolution | Over 40 mouth-watering recipes to revolutionize your breakfast and help you think outside the cereal box.

What’s your favorite way of showing love at home?

We love our sponsors:

  • Plan to Eat: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.

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