Five goals for living out the Simple Homemade lifestyle this spring and summer

As I read through Stephanie”s post last week where she shared some ways to live even more toxin-free this spring, I started thinking about my own personal goals for this time of year. We usually explore the idea of “green goals” at the beginning of the year when we”re all in goal-making-mode, but I think May is a great time to reevaluate our goals as we approach the halfway mark in 2012.

Now that we”ve transitioned from Simple Organic to Simple Homemade, my goals are not just strictly “green” but rather I”m thinking about how I want to make strides this season in natural living, creativity, embracing the seasons and anything that falls under the homemade umbrella.

I”ve been mulling over what I want to focus on during the rest of spring and the upcoming summer and I”ve narrowed it down to five goals.

Homemade deodorant

This has been talked about a lot in the blogopshere. Our former editor Katie first wrote about it a couple of years ago when she challenged readers to join her in trying natural deodorant. I”ve been using a natural deodorant that I”m happy with for a couple of years, but I think this will be the year when I finally try going to the homemade route, like Stephanie mentioned in her post.


Back in January, the one thing as a general goal was more gardening. It”s getting later and later and I still haven”t really started, but I do have some strawberry plants and some plans to hit the nursery for some tomato starts. We did uncover some trees as we”ve been clearing out weeds in our backyard– a peach tree and two mysterious citrus trees so I”m looking forward to seeing how these fare.

More picking  & preserving

I can”t wait to pick blueberries again this year– I”m dreaming of homemade blueberry ice cream, greek yogurt with blueberries and honey, and berries for just plain snacking.

This year I also want to make more strawberry jam, pickles and pesto to put up for the rest of the year. Strawberries, cucumbers and basil are usually all in abundance and my CSA often offers extra amounts of them in addition to what”s in our box at a good price when there”s a bumper crop.


I”ve been making honey whole wheat bread for a few years now– not regularly but when our fancy strikes– and as a big lover of sourdough bread, I think it”s time to try my hand at this nourishing food. I”ll keep you posted on this goal.

Spend more time outside

With being very pregnant and then recovering from childbirth and caring for a newborn, we didn”t get out as much last spring/summer as I would like. This year, I see more and more visits to the beach, park and pool in our future along with simple nature walks with the family as well. It blows my mind how much time outside affects my children– in a good way. Maybe I”ll reread Lost Child in the Woods or read Richard Louv”s new book The Nature Principle as inspiration.

Create something handmade every week

Just like being outside, getting creative refreshes me. Next week I have a great resource to share with you on this subject, but for me, I just need to make time to do little projects on a regular basis. Big projects can be daunting and a crafty turn-off for me. Last weekend I spent the course of two days off and on working on a dress for my daughter– it came out darling and I thoroughly enjoyed making and gifting it. (Follow me on Instagram– @simplehomemade– to see the reveal when she wears it!). I”ve several smallish projects in queue, and it”s time for me to start making time to create.

So that”s where I”m at this season. How are you hoping to grow this spring and summer in terms of natural, homemade living?


Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

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  1. I definitely think growing more of my own food and preserving it for the winter is high on my list. We are opting out of our CSA this year to try and grow more of our own. I also like your idea of creating something every week. I try to do that, of course I can’t say that I complete my projects in a week…some of them seem to linger…especially my knitting 🙂 I would also like to learn how to make soap…and probably start making lotion bars. I might need a little more time to get all of this stuff done though 🙂

    • I feel the same way about needing more time! It’s still good to have goals though. Someday…! 🙂

  2. I have been trying to avoid unnatural weed-killers and bug sprays. This is a huge one for me. I’m highly allergic to anything that bites or stings and especially poison ivy! In previous years I was a huge supporter and wearer of any kind of deet based bug spray, the more deet the better! Yikes. I also killed weeds such as poison ivy with toxic weed killer.

    Turns out toxic weed killer doesn’t even truly disarm the poison from poison ivy and it quickly kills natural bug eaters like garden toads and snakes. Even the dead poison ivy can cause that horrible, oozing rash if you touch it, or worse, rake it up months later and let your kids roll around in the leaf pile!

    This Spring, I handled the poison ivy problem with plastic, which isn’t entirely environmentally sound, but at least it spared my natural mosquito eaters, and the rest of my garden.

    The best way to get rid of poison ivy is pulling it up from the root. I avoided getting it by dressing from head to toe (complete with rubber bands around my wrists to avoid baring delicate wrist skin) and wrapping my gloved hands in plastic shopping bags (I know…we’re not supposed to have plastic shopping bags anymore but for this, it’s worth picking up a few from the supermarket as the oils in poison ivy can certainly go through garden gloves) I soaked the ground with excessive water, and pulled the vines up, root and all with my plastic covered hands. I put the offensive vines in a garden clippings bag and sent it out with the trash. From what I understand, it’s not even worth composting posion ivy because as I mentioned, the offensive oils are present long after the plant is dead. I figure the extra plastic is slightly better than poisoning the garden and my natural bug eaters.

  3. I like the idea of revisiting goals in May, just as everything is started to grow again. A couple of additional things on my list are paying attention to sunscreen choices, investing a biopesticide application for my flowering trees covered in green worms and find some easy grill recipes for summer dinners so we can spend even more time outside.

  4. Natural deodorants are a good idea. I tried to make the switch years ago, but didn’t care for it. But, I don’t like all the ingredients in the regular deodorants so it might be time to really make that change.

    Love your goals! Good Luck 🙂

  5. Love goals posts. Very inspiring!
    I just finished planting a bunch of lettuce in our containers, and I’m hoping to start tomatoes and herbs soon, now that the threat of frost is over.
    One simple goal I have for this summer is having a daily rythym that involves plenty of outdoor time and hands-on activities. Boys are incredibly hands-on learners, so I believe doing this will benefit my boys in a lot of ways (not to mention will hopefully where them out for good long naps in the afternoon, ha)

  6. Every year I say it, but maybe, just maybe this will be the year I actually garden enough to grow enough food to set some back for later seasons. My thumbs aren’t exactly green, but I like to think I can learn from my mistakes 😉

    I’ve got a stack of books I want to read (in some cases re-read) to get motivated, too.

    Love this list, Nicole. It is always neat to see what others are doing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I’m pregnant, so I’ll have push my self a little to take the kids outside, like you mentioned. I am also working on lots of projects inside that I want to get done before the baby comes. I have even started working on some Christmas presents way in advance because I know I’ll be busier come October when the baby arrives.

  8. What kind of yeast do you use for your bread recipe?

    I’m excited to read your take on sourdough in the future. I had a starter but it died when we moved and I’m hoping to start a new one soon. In the meantime, I’d love to find a good simple whole wheat bread recipe and haven’t been thrilled with the ones I’ve tried.

    • I just use the yeast from Costco. I don’t have the original package anymore so I don’t know the details, but it is just a basic yeast for baking.

  9. I just bought my first bottle of Dr. Bronners to try in the shower. I’m also in the process of swapping out my cleaning products for vinegar / water as the old stuff is running out. Something I need to get back to doing though is a “to do” list. I get a whole lot more accomplished when I have a list laid out in front of me!

    working on baby steps…

  10. my advice for sourdough: start out with simpler baked goods, like muffins, pancakes and biscuits before attempting bread.

    we love sourdough!

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