Make Your Own Vanilla Extract – 2 Ways!

After I learned how easy it is to make vanilla extract, I have never regret taking the little bit of time to make it to keep on hand. Vanilla extract is one of those pantry staples that is just always in our kitchen. When I started making an effort to eliminate processed foods by cooking from scratch, I gained an appreciation for the quality of ingredients used in cooking. The quality of individual ingredients in a simple meal could be the difference between delicious and blah. I don’t know about you but I want to strive for delicious every time! Homemade vanilla extract is delicious.

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Planning For A Future Farm

Farm Business Plan - E. Jean Homestead

Took a break from planning for a future farm and writing our business plan to write about writing a business plan…


I have previously mentioned our family’s desire to live a sustainable lifestyle, where we live on our land and grow as much of our own food as possible. Recently, Husband and I have decided that we do not want good clean food for just our family. We also want to help other families in our community to have good clean food for themselves. As a result, the homestead business plan has officially been started. We are officially planning for a future farm. In fact, much of the business plan is already finished.

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Herbal Baths for Self-Care

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my disclosure page.

Having time and a space to calm your mind and relax your body is arguably one of the fundamental practices in self-care. Herb-infused water has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In fact, herbal tea is among the first medicines used by humans. Herbs are rich in nutrients and beneficial compounds. Herbal baths are an effective way to utilize the medicinal benefits within herbs. After all, the skin is the largest organ of absorption.

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Practical Ways to be More Sustainable

Striving for self sufficiency naturally leads us toward a more sustainable lifestyle. In my previous post, Sustainability is Self Sufficiency, I discussed why living a more sustainable lifestyle is important. Through research, I have learned a number of useful suggestions that work for our family. While there is more to be learned, there is way more to be done. Let’s learn and do together, friends! Keep reading for a little more in depth look at the ideas of where we can begin.

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Sustainability is Self-Sufficiency

Sustainability is a word that has been thrown around in the recent years. I hear it quite often nowadays. What exactly does sustainability mean? Why is it important? Most importantly, what exactly can we do to be more sustainable?

We cannot strive for sustainability without taking responsibility for a greater level of self-sufficiency. As my family strives to become more self sufficient, my definition of what that means developed largely from me learning about sustainability. The more self-sufficient we can be – the more we are able to meet our own needs, the easier it will be to live in a sustainable way.

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The Science Behind Cleaning with Vinegar



I have heard about and read about how cleaning with vinegar is a natural option but never have I seen where someone cited actual research. My curiosity led me to do some research on the scientific proof of how effective cleaning with vinegar really is.

The internet is great because there are plenty of people out there willing to share their tips and tricks for every topic that you could think of. The internet is also great because you can educate yourself on subjects that have been researched and written about in scholarly journals.

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Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaner

Orange Cleaner - E. Jean Homestead


Fresh orange juice is amazing! Since we bought our juicer, oranges are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to juice. When we make a bunch of orange juice, we have a bunch of orange peels. I hated throwing them away so I have found a great way to use up those orange peels. Orange vinegar cleaner is an easy, effective and natural option for the home. Citrus peels contain a compound called limonene or d-limonene. Oranges contain the most limonene of any citrus fruit. Limonene is added to cleaning products for fragrance and its ability to dissolve oil.

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10 Places You Are Forgetting to Disinfect!

Disinfect - E. Jean Homestead

Every year going into the winter season we start to see a rise in the Flu virus. The combination of colder weather and less than perfect execution of hand washing best practices, inevitably increases people’s generosity of germ sharing. The need to disinfect commonly touched areas comes in second on my list of ways to stay healthy during the flu season. The first is, of course, hand washing. Proper handwashing can avoid a number of illnesses.

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Alternative to Chemical Cleaners Thieves Household Cleaner

Clean up - E. Jean Homestead

This month we are going all in with a natural all-purpose cleaner. We tried some samples of Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner before and really like it. So far, we have only used it in the kitchen. Now that we have more on hand, we can start to see how we like it in other areas of the house.

Switching to Thieves Household Cleaner aligns with the goals that we’ve set for our family. If you missed my post on our Four Goals to Simplify Life, be sure to check it out!


Thieves Household Cleaner is a naturally derived, plant-based multipurpose cleaning solution offered by Young Living. That is what I like about it. It fits what we are trying to accomplish. We want to replace the chemicals with more natural options.


Thieves Household Cleaner is a concentrate. The 14.4 fl oz bottle of cleaner requires dilution before using. There are various dilution ratios to fit the surface or cleaning need. Dilution ratios:

  • Most cleaning applications – 30 parts water to 1 part cleaner
  • Heavy degreasing – 15 parts water to 1 part cleaner
  • Light degreasing – 50 parts water to 1 part cleaner
  • Glass – 50 or 100 parts water to 1 part cleaner

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With the strong appeal to save some extra money, I decided to become a member by purchasing the Thieves Premium Starter Kit. By becoming a member, I can take advantage of exclusive member pricing on all Young Living products. The starter kit included:

  • Thieves® 15-ml
  • Thieves® AromaBright™ Toothpaste
  • Thieves® Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
  • 2 Thieves® Household Cleaner
  • 2 Thieves® Foaming Hand Soap
  • 2 Thieves® Spray
  • 3 Thieves® Waterless Hand Purifier
  • Stress Away™ 5-ml
  • AromaGlide™ Roller Fitment
  • Thieves® Mints
  • 2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
  • Essential Oil Magazine

I am already obsessed with the toothpaste. My mouth feels so clean after using it and I love it! However, I will avoid going off on a tangent; just expect more specific reviews on the other products that were included in the kit.


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Since the cleaner is a concentrate, I purchased some bottles to make it easier to use. This variety pack from Amazon offers different size glass containers including four roller balls. The largest (16 oz) bottles are perfect for the Thieves Household Cleaner. We keep a bottle under the kitchen sink for quick and easy access.

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My purpose for becoming an Young Living Independent Member was knowing that I will be buying many more products as time goes on. As a result, I can get the best price and continue to try new products that progress up toward our goal of natural living.

Container Garden Planning for a Small Space

Seed Shopping - E. Jean Homestead

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my disclosure page.

These are my plans for a small space container garden. I am adding the links to the products that I am referencing. However, to be clear, I am not recommending any product or service at this time. I am simply sharing what my plans are. I will give an honest review of each product or service that I use. I am not being compensated for my reviews.

Our little “garden”

Since we live in an apartment, we have very little space to utilize for growing a garden. We have a nice size screened in porch area but much of the direct sun is blocked by the short surrounding walls. Last summer, I grew two tomato plants on the walkway in front of our door. Sorry, I don’t have pictures. We only got 4 small tomatoes off of the two plants. I don’t see it as a failure though. It was a good learning experience. It also was a great motivator to want to try more.

This year we will be going vertical! We are buying a stackable planting system that will allow us to grow more in that same small space. I will be starting mostly everything inside in my office under a light a couple months before they will be put outside in this growing tower.

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