My Homemade Manifesto

homemade manifesto

When that big ol sparkly ball dropped, we rung in 2014 with our small family cuddled up on the couch. My boyfriend and I laughed at how different our New Years celebrations are than years past. Before, we spent it at a huge party or out at the bar. We waited an hour or more for a cab, and we were desperately searching for that New Years kiss. This year, we hugged our daughter tight and I had a glass of champagne and some champagne cupcakes, then pooped out at 12:01 am.

This got me thinking about how much my life has changed. When I used to eat take-out every single night, when I burned a pot of noodles attempting to make pasta and all those times I would hit up the all-hours Mexican food stand or when I went on that liquid diet. My friends are still amazed when I talk about cooking and baking, and I think everyone was in complete shock when I handed them homemade canned apple butter.

But to be honest, I’ve never been happier. Sure, there are days when I think about how easy it was to just focus and care about myself, but that’s just simply not my life anymore. It feels right that I put our little family before anyone and anything, and it feels nice to have a dinner at the dinner table every night. It’s boring, and that feels so good.

Last year, I focused a lot on living a homemade kind of life. Either making the stuff myself, or shopping locally or through indie businesses online. And this year is no different. I’m still working on living a self-sustainable life, and supporting small businesses when I can. I just want to take it a couple steps further. I want to really embrace it, and become more proactive. I want to make more connections with people who are doing the same thing, and find more creative outlets.

For me, I love making all of my food from scratch. First, I know how blessed I am to be a stay-at-home mom and I want to show my appreciation by making really good, whole food. It’s something I want to keep going when my daughter is old enough to eat with us. And I love it. I love the creative process, I love knowing that I know every single ingredient that went into our food and I love the joy I feel when my family truly enjoys their food. Not every dish is a hit, but they give me pointers and tell me what to add next time to make it perfect. Because this is all a learning process.

But, I want to take it one step further. I want to find food exchanges in my town, or heck – even create one. I want to continue finding new recipes to try, until I get to the point where I’m developing mine. I want to find friends who make their own beer and wine to have with our food (because mama still likes to unwind a little) and I want to find canning buddies.

I want to get my garden going again, and I want to go to the Farmers Markets and fruit stands when I need some produce. I’m not saying I won’t ever step into a grocery store again, but I want to minimize what I get. I want to share all of my DIY projects on here, and I want to decorate my house with other peoples labors of love, too. I want to buy all of my clothes from small businesses and secondhand stores. I want to take thrift store clothes and give them a little makeover. I want to learn how to sew.

In the end, I want to expand my homemade community. I want to share all of the things I make, and I want to know where to get everything else. I want to have a list of shops to visit for gifts, and I want people to visit my shop when they need a gift, whether it’s for them or someone else.

I want this blog to be centered around my explorations of local food and shops. Centered around the stuff I make at home and the people I meet who also make awesome stuff. Centered around my at-home yoga practice and health journey. Centered around how I am slowly learning to become domesticated and a good mama without losing myself in the process.

So, will you join me? Will you post photos and recipes of all your homemade food? Will you share your DIY projects and the sites (if any) that you got your inspiration from? Will you find a food swap and share your photos and experience? If you haven’t already started doing this, and you’re interested, then start slow. Start by making one homemade meal on a day that you are less busy, and start working on one craft per week. Follow blogs who are doing the same thing to get inspiration. I know I have a lot of posts on my blog about this very topic and I will be sharing more, so feel free to poke around.

Help build the homemade community more by using the hashtag #makestuff on all of your social media channels. Hate hashtags? Simply tag me, or link to this blog so I can see it. You can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

Thrifty Thursdays: Holiday edition

thrifty thursdays

With Christmas a little less than three weeks away, I thought I would share some thrifty ways to gift for the holidays. There are a few gifts I’m making at home (some of which I can’t share in case the recipient is reading), and I wanted to help you also maintain your budget while creating thoughtful gifts this year.

For one, I will be utilizing my brand spankin new pressure canner this year, and already have requests for some apple butter. I was thinking of also adding pumpkin butter to the mix (because, why not) and some hot sauce. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Photo from My Baking Addiction

Photo from My Baking Addiction

Homemade Apple Butter from My Baking Addiction – I made this recipe a little over a month ago, and it was a huge hit. So huge, that everyone is asking for some for Christmas. I also used it to make apple oatmeal cookies and you can read my recipe on Today’s Mama here. Need some labels? I found cute, free holiday printables at Over the Big Moon and the From Scratch Club.

Photo from See Kate Sew

Photo from See Kate Sew

Pumpkin Butter Recipe with Free Printable from See Kate Sew – Now, I haven’t tried this one, so I can’t vouch for how wonderful it is – but I’m sure it will knock my socks off. Not everyone in my family loves pumpkin like I do; some just downright despise it (you know who you are), but for the ones that do – this will be the perfect gift!

I would highly recommend using a pressure canner if you are going to give out any canned goods, just to be on the safe side. If you don’t have a canner, make sure to write that their goods should only last about a week or so in the fridge, so they will want to eat them quickly (which I’m sure they will have no problem doing).

Now maybe you have some mason jars lying around (or you know you can get them for cheap at The Dollar Store, secondhand stores and even Michael’s), but you don’t feel like canning anything. You can also create cute cookie mix jars by just adding the dry ingredients and writing the full recipe on a cute piece of paper. You can also step up your game and write the recipe on a ceramic cookie jar in permanent marker, then bake it.

Photo from Domestikated Life

Photo from Domestikated Life

Handmade Holidays: Cookie Mix from Domestikated Life – Kate grabbed a recipe off a bag of Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, added the dry ingredients to a jar, wrote out the recipe and prettied it up with some Martha Stewart labels she got. You can use also use any of the labels I linked to above, as well. You can also choose any cookie recipe you want, just make sure you don’t add any liquid ingredients, as that would sort of be a disaster.

What are your favorite homemade holiday gifts that you can make in your kitchen? Share them in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also share them on any social media channel with the hashtags #thriftythursday, #homemadefortheholidays #whatimgifting. Find more homemade holiday inspiration on my Pinterest! Have an idea you want to see here? Let me know!