Zero waste?!??

We have already decided what our goals are going to be for this year! (And I will be posting them later this week.) So, spoiler alert, one goal is going to be to reduce the amount of trash that we produce.

So, next question, what is zero waste? It’s just as it sounds! Creating no garbage! It doesn’t mean recycling tons. It’s actually purposefully not creating trash. Some can put their whole years garbage in a mason jar. We are not there yet, but looking to improve! So, the goal this year is to continue on to creating even less trash! (Yes, this is exciting to me!)

I figured that I should share what we already do!

1. We grow our own food! Which means no packaging and no traveling long distance for our food!

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Growing our own food!

2. I have hobbies that don’t create excess waste! (And create food!)

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Beekeeping (and raising chickens too!)

3. We can, a lot! Between jams, jellies, sauces, fruits and veggies, summer and fall are quite busy for us! But reusing jars every year is a great feeling!

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We ❤canning!

4. Buy second hand! No excess packaging, plus no extra waste being created!

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My goodwill finds!

5. We use beeswax wraps to cover bowls and food, instead of plastic wrap! They can be reused or composted at the end of their life!

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Beeswax wraps

6. I already said we grow our own food, but we also reuse containers to start our seeds in.

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Reuse containers for seedlings

7. I upcycle garbage into crafts. The juice pouches below were donated by student lunches. We also avoid items that are single use.

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Upcycled crafts

8. We eat in almost every day of the week. It allows us to avoid styrofoam containers and single use plastic. (Yes, we both work full time and have a child!)

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Our yummy orange chicken (homemade)

9. We compost everything that we don’t eat and the chickens don’t eat. Some things go in the compost pile and others go to our composting worms .

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Our red wrigglers make great compost!

10. I crochet our washcloths and dishcloths and avoid those plastic loofahs and sponges. Since they are cotton, they can be thrown in the compost at the end of their life.

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Crochet dishcloths

11. I kind of mentioned this already, but we give the chickens some leftovers and in return, we get eggs and great compost for the garden!

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Our compost machines!

12. We use cloth napkins and towels in our home. We don’t use paper towels at all here!

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Unpaper towels and napkins

13. We make our own soap. It allows for no packaging or weird dyes and fragrances.

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Homemade soap!

Now that you know what we already do here, we are going to try to do even more here in the year to come!

Did anyone else set some goals to green up this Earth? Please share if you did, or do something that I might want to try!

2016 goal recap! 

This year has been amazing, at least when it comes to our goals! We have made so much progress around here for sure! So, here’s the progress we made here: 
1. Begin beekeeping: Our bees are doing their winter thing. We don’t see them often. (Unless it gets above 50 degrees!) But, since it warmed up we actually saw them out and about! ✔

Bees!

2. Make a pollinator garden: I can say that we have definitely completed this challenge! We grew black eyed Susan’s, crocus flowers, echinacea, lavender, roses and cosmos flowers. The 🐝s were happy! ✔


3. Vacation somewhere different:(Now that the boy is getting older!) We have managed to do a good bit of traveling, and plan to do even more in 2017! We have been to Tennessee, Hershey Park, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Pa, local attractions and lots of camping! ✔

Canal biking
Hershey Park!
Gettysburg
D.C.!

4. No new fashion in 2016: I know most females would freak out over this one! Well, this turned out to be way too easy. I didn’t buy any new clothes this year! Heck, I even had my momma help me find a second hand bathing suit! All in all, it was nice not wasting money on clothes! But, in 2017, I’m going to focus on more quality made items! ✔

5. Reduce garbage: (Did you know the average American produces 4.4 lbs of garbage per day?!?!) Only 1 bag of trash made during this over consumer kind of month! We burned a lot of paper and checked all plastic packaging for ♻️ symbols! And we are going to continue reducing in years to come! 

6. Complete the 2016 in 2016 challenge: That means getting rid of 2016 things in our home this year! So, guess what?!?! We straightened up around here and got rid of all 2,016 things! So, a big ✔️


7. Finish the kitchen remodel: only the baseboard left! Yes, that freaking baseboard is still left! #damnitmrllewellyn! 😉 But we have accomplished so much in there! And we have our adorable sign above the sink. So, we will give it a ✔


8. Build an arbor and plant some grapes:Still at a stand still! But the grapes won’t be growing anymore this year and the posts are set. This is kind of a completed!✔️


9. Expand the garden: We have definitely completed this for the year! We added on several raised beds and a three sisters garden! We even planted around the chicken run! So we can give this a ✔️

Luffa gourds
The big garden
Birdhouse gourds

10. Preserve more food: I think I can definitely check this off! ✔️We canned so many green beans, tomato sauces, jams/jellies, salsa and chili sauce! I hope that our families enjoy the jelly and jam we gifted to them! 

Chili sauce
Strawberry jam
Green beans

11. Organize the least organized place in the house, the garage: I don’t know if the garage will ever be perfect, but it looks the best that it ever has! The recycle area is usable and I have bigger plans for this area in 2017!


12. Treat my crafting more like a business: I did so well this month! I made some money, and also made some amazing gifts! Definitely a ✔!!

Personalized towels!
Some of my craftiness!

13. Work on budgeting and paying down the house: We had a certain number that we were shooting for being at for the end of the year, and we are there already! So this goal is already a big ✔️! 💰 

I have loved writing about these goals every month! And don’t you worry, we have 13 more goals selected for 2017! I will definitely be sharing them very soon! Even if you don’t blog, write down a few goals and put them in a place that you see often! And if course, if you want to share some of your goals with me, please do! 

DIY-ing this holiday!

Now that the holidays are behind us, I can reveal all of the gifts that we made instead of buying! We tried to give thoughtful homemade and useful gifts this year. I think they were all loved! If not, I still loved making them! (With help with the Mr of course!)

First up is a growth chart for an adorable little baby! The Mr cut the board to length and stained it. Then, I used a cricut to cut out the vinyl for the numbers and name. Then I cut out the slashes for the markings.

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Growth chart
Next up are the bandana bibs and leg warmers I made that little miss. The bandana bibs were made from fabric and Velcro that I already had here.

The leggings were actually made from knee high socks! You just cut off the foot part, make cuffs from the part you cut off. And voila… cute leggings that you can still change diapers without taking off and for crawling around!

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Leg warmers and bibs
Remember those birdhouse gourds that we grew all around the chicken run? Well, a few dried out just in time to make into some adorable birdhouses! I will definitely be writing all about growing these amazing plants!

He drilled them, cleaned them out and stained. Here is the almost dried final product:

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Birdhouse gourds 
Lots of friends received jam and jelly! Some were grape and others were strawberry!

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🍇 and 🍓 jams!
I hand stitched this cute flour sack towel for my favorite couple that reside in the hardest state to sew! Seriously, it was tough!

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Towel for my favorite mountain momma!
My bff work friend requested vanilla extract! Already blogged about how to make it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/vanilla-extract-diy/

I am hoping that she will get lots of yummy baking out of it! 


I received some great sustainable gifts! My husband’s family were so sweet and didn’t wrap some gifts and bought homestead kind of gifts! I got a butter churner, some bamboo toothbrushes and even a trail cam to keep an eye on some critters that sneak up around here! 

And spoiler alert, I have some super amazing goals for 2017! I am beyond excited to share them! One is going to be adding lots more content on here! So excited!!

Christmas Eve eve!

It’s so close to the holidays and I’m pretty excited to say that I just got finished dropping off the last few orders! Yay!!

These are a few of the messy bun/ponytail toboggans that I whipped out to be future Christmas presents!

I’m thrilled to say that I have managed to make beyond my goal for November and December! I plan on taking those extra bucks and put it towards homestead needs!(future seeds, posts and fence for the garden and even chicken food!)

And we are the proud owners of our new solar panels! They are all set to go, but we have to wait for the electric company to turn them on! Yes, we are kind of impatient!

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Solar energy!! 

At work, a few coworkers and myself had a homemade gift exchange! It was great! I gifted lots of reusable goods and got lots of yummy treats, a personalized painting and even homemade cleaner!

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Ready for homemade gifts! 

I’m planning on finishing up family presents today and my pup plans on sleeping the day away!

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What a lazy boy! 

Only a couple more days to work on finishing all those 2016 goals! I think that I have narrowed down the list of what I want to focus on for 2017! Anybody else have any ideas of goals for next year?!?!

Vanilla extract DIY!

I have this work friend that I made vanilla extract for a few years ago, or maybe it was last year? I don’t know, life’s a blur! But, I made some more the other evening to give as gifts!

Here’s what you’ll need:

vodka (cheaper stuff, like 80%) I got high test!! *it all bakes off anyway!

Glass bottle (I got this beauty at the dollar tree for, you guessed it, $1!)

small funnel, or something to pour the liquid with

vanilla beans (I ordered mine from Amazon, but you might be able to buy them locally)**3 whole beans per cup of vodka!**

kitchen scissors or knife to cut the beans with!

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Gather materials

First cut the beans lengthwise, or in half. (Doesn’t really matter!) and put them in your container. Then, use that funnel to fill up the container with the vodka.

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How it looks after making! 

I have seen some really adorable labels for the vanilla, but I just went with chalkboard vinyl. At least the bottle could be reused afterwards!

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My easy label

After a week, it’s already looking darker and smelling wonderful!

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Several days later!

Shake it at least once a week, or a couple times per week!

So, the bad part is that it’s not fully ready for 8 weeks! But, it tastes so much better than the commercial stuff! (Especially if you use that imitation stuff!!)

As the vanilla gets used, you can top it off with a little vodka! Basically, it lasts a really long time!

So, get started on making your own vanilla extract! I’ve read where you can use bourbon,so experiment away!

Enjoy Tiffany!! I’ll bring it in next week! 😉

Handmade Christmas 2016!

This year is shaping up to be a super relaxed holiday season. We downsized our Christmas tree and sold off loads of holiday decor that we didn’t use anymore. Minimal decor, but way more cozy!

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Our little tree!

We then skipped out on sending Christmas cards and instead posted a “Merry Christmas!” Picture and message on Facebook.

We convinced family to just be present, instead of presents. Which is awesome! Way less buying! (And accumulation of unneeded items)

I’ve been crafting like a maniac making loads of handmade gifts for others to give, as well as gifts for my own family!

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Hand embroidered dish towels
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Homemade vanilla extract 

(I’ll be doing a whole post closer to Christmas on how to make this deliciousness!)

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Personalized towels

I’ve filled so many orders, and have appreciated every single sale! Making some $ to help with some big 2017 plans! (Can’t wait to tell about them in a few weeks!!)

I hope that you all try to stay relaxed and enjoy family!

November goals update!

Only 1 month left this year?!?! How is that possible? I am so proud that I have followed through on these goals!

1. Begin beekeeping: Our bees are doing great! I can still see them coming out for a nice cleansing flight every once and a while. But, they are just doing their own thing! So a big ✔️ to beekeeping!

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2. Make a pollinator garden: I can say that we have definitely completed this challenge! So many different flowers!✔️

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The bees 🐝 enjoyed these! 

3. Vacation somewhere different:(Now that the boy is getting older!) The boy went camping again! And, we made it to Washington D.C.  The boy has been wanting to go there again forever!

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Washington D.C.!!

4. No new fashion in 2016: I know most females would freak out over this one! I picked up a few shirts for the boy, and a few for me. Plus a pair of jeans. All from the goodwill! So, this is pretty much a ✔️
5. Reduce garbage: (Did you know the average American produces 4.4 lbs of garbage per day?!?!) Only 1.5 bags this month! Did I mention that I never have to buy garbage bags? It’s kind of awesome!
6. Complete the 2016 in 2016 challenge: That means getting rid of 2016 things in our home this year! So, guess what?!?! We straightened up around here and got rid of all 2,016 things! So, a big ✔️

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2,016 + things outta here! 

7. Finish the kitchen remodel: only the baseboard left! We will finish in December! (Are you reading this Mr. Llewellyn?)
8. Build an arbor and plant some grapes:Still at a stand still! But the grapes won’t be growing anymore this year and the posts are set. This is kind of a completed!✔️

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Grape arbor! 

9. Expand the garden: We have definitely completed this for the year! We added on several raised beds and a three sisters garden! So we can give this a ✔️


10. Preserve more food: I think I can definitely check this off! ✔️We canned so many green beans, tomato sauces, jams/jellies, salsa and chili sauce! I hope people are ready to receive some as a gift!


11. Organize the least organized place in the house, the garage: I don’t know if the garage will ever be perfect, but it looks the best that it ever has!
12. Treat my crafting more like a business: So many sales this month! People are going to be getting lots of homemade gifts this year!

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Some of my craftiness! 

13. Work on budgeting and paying down the house: We had a certain number that we were shooting for being at for the end of the year, and we are there already! So this goal is already a big ✔️!

I am so glad to be finishing these goals this year! But, I’m planning on just as many goals next year!! Does anyone have a goal they’d like to share?!?!