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Our family has used the Apologia Exploring Creation Science series for years now and I haven't found one yet that my kids and I didn't like! This, however, is my first published review of this particular series but feel free to check out my review of Apologia's Writers in Residence program and Readers in Residence Program as well.

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Guest Writer: Maggie Baker

Some people believe that eco-friendly decorating is unaffordable, but fortunately, that’s not the case. There are countless ways to go green while decorating your home without breaking the bank. Get inspired by these budget-friendly and eco-friendly decorating ideas: 
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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 2M ago

Contributing Writer, Hilary Smith


For many people, growing herbs can be intimidating. Thankfully, growing your own herb garden is relatively simple and is a great way to add pops of flavor and nutrition to your food without purchasing expensive fresh herbs from the grocery store. With a little planning and knowledge, anyone can grow an organic herb garden with relative ease.


To help you on this journey, we have created the following guide on how to grow your own herb garden:


Start with the basics.


Any garden needs adequate sunlight, access to water, and good soil. Choose a well lit area that gets plenty of sun for herbs. Most herbs love sunlight and need 6 to 8 hours of sun everyday. Next, ensure the soil is rich and has proper drainage by adding compost and other organic matter, like peat moss, to increase yields. If using containers, be extra vigilant about drainage and adequate watering.


Plan enough space.


Many herbs branch out.  If you want to use the space year after year, plan accordingly. One mistake many people make when planting herbs is to cram too many plants into a small section of garden, so plan about 1 to 4 feet in diameter for each plant. Listed below are some general guidelines:

  • 3 to 4 feet- rosemary, sage, mint, oregano, marjoram
  • 2 feet- basil, thyme, tarragon, savory
  • 1 foot- cilantro, chives, dill, parsley


Keep it nearby.


One of the perks to growing your own herb garden is access to fresh cuttings and they can be very beautiful, so don’t hide your efforts. Try to keep herb gardens relatively close to the house to prevent traipsing across the yard to snip a few leaves.


Choose easy to grow herbs.


Like any garden, some herbs are easier to grow than others. Sure, it depends on your growing zone, soil type, and location. However, some herbs thrive better than others with little attention. For a beginner herb garden, we recommend basil, cilantro, sage, chamomile, dill, and mint. These plants can be started with relative ease from seed or you can purchase potted plants from your favorite greenhouse. If you have the time and desire, you can broaden your herb garden offerings with lavender, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. These herbs require a little more TLC, but do well for most beginners. Just a reminder, though, if you want organic produce, you will need to buy organic certified seed or starters.


Carefully add plants to the soil.


Many herbs come from bedding plants or roots, so we need to treat them gently. Space the plants so they have enough room to spread and dig the initial hole about two times the size of the root system so they can grow. Also, consider placing your taller herbs, like sage or dill, toward the back of your garden to keep them from shading the smaller herbs like thyme.






Label your plants.


It’s important for freshly planted herbs to be labeled so you can easily identify them later and keep track of what plants are thriving. This will save you from some unfortunate cooking mishaps down the road. You can purchase plant markers or make some from old spoons to add a little whimsy to the space.


Just a word about mint.


While there is nothing better than fresh mint in your lemonade or the smell of dried mint on an autumn breeze, mint is notorious for spreading and taking over small spaces. If you plant this herb, make sure to leave plenty of room for it to grow or consider planting it in a separate location or a container.


Make sure you water regularly.


Just like any new garden, you will want to give your new plants a good drink of water immediately after planting. They will require frequent waterings until well established and then, depending on the weather, they will need about an inch of water every week during your growing season.


Harvesting.


Knowing when to harvest your herbs is vital so you get the best flavor. A good rule of thumb is to harvest the leaves before the plant seeds. Simply cut about ⅓ of the branches near a leaf intersection when a plant reaches about 6 to 8 inches tall. This will ensure your herbs keep producing until a hard freeze. As your plants mature, you will gain a better idea of when and how to harvest.


Preparing for winter.


Many herbs will go dormant or drop seeds so they will come back next year. At the end of the season, allow your herbs to seed and then you can trim back the dried foliage. For sensitive plants like lavender, consider covering the garden with straw or leaves for an extra layer of insulation against freezing winter weather.


What tips can you share for growing your own herb garden?



Be sure to check out my "Bee Kind" nature based character development unit and my ebooks as well: A Wife's Guide to Studying ProverbsTopical Devotions for Pregnancy and Early Potty Teaching. Or, if you're looking for a way to get 30 raw fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, contact me here


Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. Stay connected so you don't miss a thing:



This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.
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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 3M ago

Guest Writer, Hilary Smith

Gardening and homemaking go hand-in-hand so if you’re considering starting an organic garden you’re not alone. Yet, you may still be wondering if it is possible to have a garden that is 100% organic. For instance, will your yield be low because you did not use sprays to keep out pests and weeds? Or will your plants be smaller because they did not have plant food? While these are all legitimate questions, the truth is that you do not need any store-bought items to have a lush, thriving garden. Here are a few helpful tips on how to grow your garden organically. 






Start with the Basics

Organic gardening starts with simple and practical tips that are all aligned with nature. For future organic gardeners one of the first things to do is to find a sunny spot in your yard for your garden. Your garden will need maximum access to sunlight, at least 6 hours per day to ensure your plants can grow. Furthermore, when it comes to watering gardens in the yard, make sure your garden is in a location that is either in reach of a hose or that you can carry water to easily for the best results.

Another basic premise is to start with organic seeds. Hybrid seeds are those that have been manipulated during the growing process. This could include plants that were grown with pesticides or have been genetically altered. On the other hand, organic seeds are certified by the USDA and have been grown without the extra manipulation. This will ensure your family has the healthiest produce possible.


An Organic Gardening Method

Furthermore, make sure your gardening method of choice is also organic. While purchasing expensive parts or equipment to build your garden may be alluring, there is really no need for any of this when it comes to growing organically. Two convenient options for growing an organic garden are a raised bed made of wood or simply ground beds that use nothing but soil. For either approach, you can simply dig up the existing soil you already have and let nature do the work for you.

One way to ensure you continue to have rich soil is to remember to compost. Composting allows you to feed your garden organically, creating the perfect, natural balance for your plants. Keep food scraps and then layer them in your garden to create a nutrient-rich ground that will continue to yield healthy plants for many seasons to come.



Companion Plants

Lastly, consider companioning your plants. This will include having a great mix and variety of fruits, veggies, herbs and even flowers all mixed together! A companion gardening layout will include placing different plants beside each other. This also helps the side-by-side plants benefit one another. For instance, one plant may not need as much of a nutrient as the one beside it. In this manner, you ensure each plant’s health and potential.

Also, do not count out the power of flowers. Flowers pay an important part in your organic garden as well. This is because they will attract bees, butterflies, birds and other animals that will help with germination. They can also help to control and attract pests away from your growing edibles which provides a relief in knowing all of your hard work and efforts will not go to waste because of hungry critters!





All in all, growing a fully organic garden has never been easier. You can have delicious dinners at home, provide your family with healthy snacks and even preserve foods for later use such as making delicious homemade jams. Get back to the basics and consider any of these helpful tips for a successful organic garden today.


Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. Stay connected so you don't miss a thing:


I have a few eBooks that you may be interested in as well: A Wife's Guide to Studying ProverbsTopical Devotions for Pregnancy and Early Potty Teaching. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss a post.

This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links, including those from Amazon.com, for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.

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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 3M ago
Nature Anatomy (Used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
Farm Anatomy (Used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
How To Be a Wildflower (Used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
Bee Life Cycle Set (Can be used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
Bee Puppet (Can be used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
Melissa and Doug Washable Poster Paint
Beeswax Crayons (Can be used in Character Development Unit Study-Coming Soon!)
Bee Napkins
Hide 'Em in Your Heart Vol 1 and 2

Life Cycle of a Honey Bee

Mason Bee House
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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 4M ago


The kids love decorating Easter eggs every year but this year I saw an idea in the Family Fun Magazine for plant based dyes and knew I had to try it.

It was pretty easy to do and I was able to use some of the leftovers for one of our family's favorite recipes, Cabbage "Un"rolls from Keep Crockin’: A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook.


Here's what you do...

Step 1: Hard boil your eggs

Place eggs in a pan of cold water. Bring to a boil and then let them simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the hot water and run cold water over the eggs for 2 minutes.

Step 2: Make Your Dyes (see below)

Here are your options: Blue from purple cabbage, yellow from turmeric, orange from yellow onion skins, pink from beets and green when you do an egg in yellow and then blue.

Step 3: Soak the eggs until you reach the desired color

Step 4: Remove eggs from dye and place on a wire rack to dry


How to Make the Dyes:

Yellow:

Add 6 T of turmeric and 1 T white vinegar to 4 cups of hot water and stir until dissolved.



Blue:

Place one head of purple cabbage in 4 cups of boiling water. Stir in 1 T of white vinegar and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the cabbage with a slotted spoon.



Orange:

Add the skins of 6 yellow onions to 3 c. boiling water. Stir in 1 T of white vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the peels. For this color I saved my onions skins over a few days prior to dyeing the eggs.

Pink:

Place 4-6 beets in 4 cups of boiling water and add 1 T of white vinegar. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the beets with a slotted spoon.

Green:

The old mix some yellow with blue trick! Just place an egg that's been dyed yellow into the blue dye for a bit and you'll get green. :)



I've seen lots of other ideas out there too for natural dyes. What are some that you have tried?

Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. Stay connected so you don't miss a thing:


I have a few eBooks that you may be interested in as well: A Wife's Guide to Studying ProverbsTopical Devotions for Pregnancy and Early Potty Teaching. Don't forget to sign up for emails on my right sidebar so you don't miss a post.

This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.
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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 4M ago


Ever wonder what the secret is to capturing clear, beautiful photos?
It’s not really a secret, even though it can feel that way when you scroll through Instagram and compare your lackluster shots to a friend’s work of art. 
Even though you’re really proud of the people in front of your lens, what shows up after you click the shutter isn’t always what you had in mind. 
Here’s the thing… anybody can learn to take photos they’re proud of (yes, that includes YOU!).
But when you understand simple photography guidelines, easy-to-understand techniques, and formulas used by the pros, your images will be transformed. 
What if you could find experts who’ve mastered the settings on their cameras, have loads of composition tricks, and can teach you to harness light to get photos you love?  
Well, you can. Because great photography is a SKILL that you can learn. 
And that’s why we carefully curated something we call the Ultimate Photography Bundle. It pulls together best-in-class resources like: 
  • 21 full-length eCourses
  • 26 eBooks and tutorials
  • 1 membership site
  • and 10 practical tools (like editing presets and templates)
… all from experienced experts who learned by trial and error – and are eager to help you take photos you’ll love.
These top-quality resources cover all the topics that matter to the person who wants to preserve memories and capture the beauty around them… camera essentials, editing, family photography, inspiration and style, landscape, wedding photography, niche photography, and even earning money.
With these 58 world-class products you’ll learn how to:
  • find perfect lighting every time
  • consistently pose and shoot pro-quality portraits
  • capture stunning landscapes
  • edit and organize like the experts
  • build a thriving photography business
  • and finally start taking the photos you’ve always dreamed of.


What will this investment in a meaningful skill cost you? To take better photos that preserve those special moments, to organize (and edit!) the photos you do have, and even to earn an income from your photography (if that’s your desire), you can pick up this bundle worth over $5,000 for just $97. 
There’s just one catch… a deal this good can’t last forever. The creators behind the eBooks and eCourses all agreed the bundle would be available for just five days (and that’s why how they can offer it for such a low price).
Which is why you should absolutely learn more and check out everything that’s included, but there’s just one thing you really can’t do and that’s wait. I’d hate for you to miss out on this!



If you’re ready to get your own Ultimate Photography Bundle, go here right now and grab it! 
If you’d like to learn more about the specific resources it includes (I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!) then by all means, go here and check it out in detail.
Don’t forget — the bundle goes off sale on Friday, March 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST.

And if you’re still on the fence, there’s really no risk in getting it because they’ve got a full 30-day happiness guarantee.
Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. Stay connected so you don't miss a thing:




This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.
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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 6M ago


I stopped buying jelly and jam years ago because of the ingredients that I didn't care for. I didn't want to home can it either because of the sugar content but this easy refrigerator jam is only sweetened with honey or maple syrup. My kids love this on their toast in the mornings or slather it on when I make homemade muffins. 

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Purposeful Homemaking by Becky@purposefulhomemaking.com - 7M ago
For the past several years, I've made a printable for our kids to do as part of our New Year's Eve celebration. It's something that they look forward to and since I'm making it for them I always like to share it with my readers. Click here if you'd like a copy of this printable for your own family. 



Have a blessed 2018!

Thanks so much for visiting Purposeful Homemaking. Stay connected so you don't miss a thing:

This post may involve product that was received in exchange for a review or contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation should you choose to make a purchase. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Thank you for your support of Purposeful Homemaking.
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