Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reboot: 2016. Are You Ready?

I love family traditions and I love hearing about how other families mark their time and make the ordinary special. Do you have fun New Year's Eve traditions for your family? We have friends who give their children all a fresh diary today, so tomorrow they can start writing in it. Many people are prepping for big-time festivities tonight. (With nearly 9 children, including a nursing baby and toddlers, it is a big-time achievement if I can make it till midnight!)

Here in our home, we have two traditions. First, since we are still celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas, the daily gift for every child today is their own calendar. Even though I maintain the family calendar (on paper, and on my phone, and my new favorite organization tool: Bullet Journaling, we encourage our kiddos to write on their own calendars and learn to manage their own time well.)

The other tradition we have for this day is DEEP CLEANING. I know, I know, that doesn't sound so fun. (Actually, cleaning and organizing is one of my favorite things to do, but I'm weird like that. ;) But seriously, there is something deeply satisfying about starting a new year with a clean house. I know in reality it's just another day on the calendar, or as Barry Manilow puts it, "Just a night like all the rest" -- But for me, mentally, it's a day to shift back into "make my home a better place for my family to thrive" mode.

 There's no way I can do a deep clean and thorough organizing session in every room in one day, but I love to pick out the trouble spots that have been grating on me and chuck unneeded stuff, tidy up what's there, and deep clean all over. Seeing those freshly tidied spaces gives me the inspiration to keep going in the weeks and months to come!

Do you feel like you need help rebooting your home in 2016? Perhaps you lack motivation, or maybe you are seriously overwhelmed and have NO IDEA where to start? Good news! Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers is on sale from January 2 - 8,  for just $1.99!

My hope and prayer is that many of you amazing, but overwhelmed homekeepers out there will be able to pick up a copy for yourselves and start the journey from being "messed to blessed."

Please write me or leave a comment if you need more help and guidance. I LOVE reading your mail!!

I sincerely wish you all a New Year full of blessings, overcoming challenges, and becoming the homekeeper you wish you could be.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Heidi's Golden Steel Cut Oat Granola

Hey, y’all!

I don’t know where you are today, but here is Southwest Ohio, it has been MUGGY. The rain's hit us at least a little every day, and it’s just enough to make you sweat buckets, but it never seems to clear the air. I almost long for a good hot August day. Almost. Ask me again in late July. ;)

For my family, especially the teenage boys, who’ve been working outside really, really hard getting our homestead rolling this spring, a hearty breakfast is essential. Our winter breakfast staple was a huge crock pot of steel cut oats (with eggs and fruit on the side) but it’s really just too hot to think about warm oats right about now. But as we buy hundreds of pounds of oats every fall for breakfasts all year, I still have plenty to cook. What’s a homesteading gal to do? Make granola, of course!
We’ve eaten plenty of rolled oats granola (the kind you think about when you hear “granola”) around here. Still, I love cooking steel cut oats. We love them for their higher fiber, fewer calories, and lower glycemic index than rolled oats, in addition to their amazing chewy, nutty flavor. But homemade steel cut oat granola was new to me. So I set out to create the perfect recipe. Considerations: It had to be whole, healthy, and delicious — because what’s the point of using up your store of oats if no one will eat it?
Using a few recipes online, I mixed and matched and played around until I finally came up with something so good that they are clamoring for it every morning. Flavor it how you like: You could add a little cinnamon and nutmeg for fall flavor, make it summery with whatever dried fruit you process from your garden or orchard, or by adding shredded coconut and chocolate chips, you could imitate that most delectable (but very expensive) grocery store delight: Love Crunch Dark Chocolate Macaroon (Oh. Yum.)
Here's how to make it:

Here on our homestead, I decuple the recipe on Kitchen Day each week (Pssst! Decuple means multiply by 10 -- Use that one at dinner and impress your children!)  I dare you to snag a bowl before your family finishes it off. It's just that good!

Monday, June 29, 2015


Hi Y’all! I’m taking a moment in the middle of our barn-raising week (which has been not-so-delightfully extended by torrential rains here is southwest Ohio) to share something I’m excited about. If the following doesn’t apply to you at all, feel free to skip to another post. But if you are a woman who wants to be in charge of her own health, I encourage you to read on for a great deal on a great product!

I’m talking about the free Kindara Fertility Tracking app and their —well, not free, but seriously awesome — new, bluetooth-enabled, basal body thermometer.

Fertility what? Heidi, are you some kind of hippy? (I've been accused of worse. :) Let me ask YOU a question! Are you a woman who is just done — DONE! — putting up with the nasty and often times dangerous side-effects of chemical birth control pills and other contraceptives? Are you interested in a natural option that guides you toward your goal of getting pregnant — or avoiding pregnancy — equally easily? Natural Family Planning has been around for ages, and Fertility Awareness Method has been taught for years, but it’s amazing how many women have never heard of either method, or have been led to believe that they aren’t accurate, effective, or "safe" at all.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Heidi, you have eight children. EIGHT! So obviously, this method isn't working for you." It's true, our proverbial cup runneth over and our shoe is blessedly full. But you don't have to be actively PREVENTING pregnancies or TRYING TO CONCEIVE to track your fertility. For me, it's really tracking. Just tracking! I love knowing why I'm cranky, why I'm hungry, why I'm tired, or that I am, indeed, pregnant, oftentimes a full week before a urine test would tell me -- this knowledge helps me better formulate a personal health plan to get nourishment, rest, and quiet when I need it, which is pretty awesome.

 If you are a woman, or know one (I think that covers pretty much all of you!) you might want to check this out.

Now Kindara brings you an app — and a smart thermometer — to make it pretty, easy, accessible, and maybe even fun? to track fertility. (Here’s a hint: You don’t even have to be Catholic to do it - I’m not!)

With the Kindara app, you can learn all about the Fertility Awareness Method, which is basically any form of Natural Family Planning where you cross-check your basal body temperature (the lowest (waking) temperature of the day) with your cervical fluid, and, optionally, with your internal cervical position. These three pieces of your fertility puzzle, when entered into the app, paint an amazing picture of what your body is doing TODAY, and gives you a great prediction of the weeks to come. (The more consistently you use it, the more accurate it predicts the details of your cycle.)

If you’ve never considered completely chemical-free birth control before, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a good book to pick up. It explains everything in detail.

The App is intuitive and fun to use, but very versatile!

  • You can track your fertility to avoid, time, or achieve pregnancy or pinpoint health issues related to hormones.
  • You can predict ovulation, period, and fertile days.
  • You will have access to a large knowledge base with detailed information on how to use the app and how to track your fertility, even if you’ve never done it before.
  • You will be able to see a chart gallery and optionally share your own and look at other Kindara users’ charts to gain insight into your cycles.
  • You can use a completely customizable journal section to keep track of other activities that might (or might not) be related to your cycle, like moods, headaches, caffeine, exercise, foods, and anything else you can think of.

Hmmm… Interesting. What Would I Need to Start Tracking my Fertility?

A basal body thermometer is a must-have. It measures the resting temperature you take at a consistent time every morning, before you do anything else – no moving around or nursing the baby or getting up to use the bathroom before you take your temperature. You can get a basal body thermometer from any pharmacy or drug store for $10-$15. Most of the ones I've used are super basic. They take a long to read your temp. They beep while taking your temp. They beep when you’re done, or they beep 10 times when you’re done. (This is really annoying to husbands and co-sleeping babies!) They don’t remember your temp for long -- if your delightful three-year old turns it on, and you don’t catch it within 3 seconds, you’ve lost your temp for the day. Frustrating.

This is how I found Kindara’s Wink Basal Body Thermometer. My drug store version died (again) and when I mentioned it to my husband, his first words were: “PLEASE find one that doesn’t beep!” I searched the depths of the basal body temperature interwebs and was delighted to learn about Kindara’s Wink thermometer. It gently vibrates when you’re done taking your temp and sends that temp via low-energy blue-tooth to the Kindara app on your phone or iPod. You can take your temp when you’re half-asleep, and no one will be the wiser! If you’re not near your phone (or it’s dead) Wink will store up to 6 months of temperatures for you to download when you’re re-connected. No more lost temps!
What’s even better is that you get $10 off the pre-order special of $79 for this awesome blue-tooth-enabled thermometer, when you use my affiliate link:
And y'all. It even comes in PINK. I'm sold.

Wondering if it's worth it? Watch the video below to see Wink in action!

Wink will ship sometime this summer, so what until then? Do you need to buy a cheap version to tide you over? No! Kindara will send you a free basal thermometer in the mean time. Later on, the Wink Thermometer price will jump up to $129. Get it while it’s only $69 with my affiliate link.

Get Your Free Kindara App:



**Don’t order the Wink Thermometer through your newly-downloaded app – you won’t get $10 off. You have to use this link to get the free $10:

Don’t wait too long, because they will stop offering the pre-order price once shipping begins.

Feel free to share this link with your friends!

Here's to your good health!

Friday, May 15, 2015

DIY Computer Desktop Organizer

 I don’t know about y'all, but for me, my day begins and ends on the computer. I know I could live without it, but at this point in my life, most of my projects-- homestead planning, homeschooling, meal planning, and organizing-- are digitally-based. But just like the real desktop in my life, my computer desktop can easily become an unmanageable dumping ground of folders and files and sticky notes, and I’ll spend more time looking for files than checking to-do’s off my list.

If your desktop needs a little love, too, then you’ll love this simple desktop organizer tutorial. It’s easy, and actually kind of fun, and at the end, you’ll be a bit more organized. (And if you’re like me, you may walk by your computer a few more times today, just to admire your handiwork! ;)

Here’s How to Create Your Own: 

  Go to It’s an online photo editing site that, although not as comprehensive as  software like Photoshop, is FREE and EASY TO USE!

 On the home screen of PicMonkey, click Custom. A drop down menu will appear, asking what size you want to make your design. To see what size you should create, find your computer’s display size.

On a Mac, you click the Apple, click About This Mac, click Displays, and write down this size (or take a screen shot.)

 Enter this size in the custom size boxes in PicMonkey. A very simple way (and the way I started) is to click “Canvas Color” under basic edits. Pick your color, and it will fill your custom canvas. But I think an even more fun option is to use a cheerful (or thematic) digital scrapbook paper. To find a free one, type “free digital scrapbook paper” in Pinterest or Google. There are tons of great ones out there. (I have some pinned here!)

 If you choose the digital paper option, click the “Open” at the top of the screen in PicMonkey. Tell it where to find your paper, and it will bring it in. Then you’ll need to crop it to your display size. (The crop button is under Basic Edits on the lefthand menu bar.)

 Now, click on Overlays. (The symbol is a butterfly.) The first option is Geometric. You’re going to pick a rectangle or rounded rectangle. The overlay will appear on your canvas in black.

 You can adjust the size rotation, and position by dragging the rectangle around the canvas. You can change the color and the transparency in the tool box that will appear on the screen.

  Now that I have it the color and transparency I want, I will right click the overlay, and click on “Duplicate Overlay”. It will make an identical box.

  I’ll repeat this for as many boxes as I want, and adjust the size and rotation of each one.

 How many boxes do you need? That’s up to you! Think about your ideal desktop. What kinds of folders usually clutter your desktop? Probably the ones you access the most. (Tip: If you’re using a Mac, be sure to leave room for the app dock at the bottom.) 

 Now that I have the boxes just how I want them, I’ll click the button on the top that looks like pages with a down arrow. That flattens all the layers I just created into one canvas. If I skip this step, I will probably accidentally move the boxes every time I try to add a type box! (It’s annoying, so trust me! Don’t skip it!)

 Now to add text! Click on the Text tool in the lefthand menu - it looks like Tt. Choose a fun font and click “Add Text”. Name your box, adjust the color and font size with the pop-up tool box. I prefer to click the text center button (just like in a word processor) and stretch my text box across the full width of the box so it’s truly centered. You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to fine tune its placement. Repeat for all your boxes.

 If you want to add a little more cheer, go back to the Overlays tool (the butterfly) and search through the fun overlays. (My four-year old was helping me, and she wanted “Critters”). You just drag and drop, resize and rotate, like the other overlays.

 When you love what you’ve created, click Save (at the top). You will name your new canvas and tell the computer where to save it. Choose the “Sean” quality, because you want it to retain its dimensions. Now go to your newly saved photo, and right click. Click on Set Desktop Picture (on a Mac).

 Now you just move your folders into the right boxes, and voilá!

Your work surface is instantly more organized!

 Can’t get your folders to move where you want them? Right click on the desktop, click Sort By, and make sure NONE is selected. Most likely, your folders are snapping to the grid.

 Another tip: It can really slow down your computer to have very data-heavy folders on your desktop. Help it run faster in two simple ways. One, create aliases on large folders. Put the actual folder “in” the computer somewhere, right click on it, and click “Make Alias”. Drag the alias to the desktop and when you click on it, the real folder will open.
Alternately, you can create a simple folder on your desktop and store all your related aliases folders inside.

 Bonus DIY! 

 I think the basic blue folders on a Mac are boooo-riiiiing. But they’re very easy to change! First, go online and search for Mac folder icons. There are a bajillion to choose from, but I prefer to keep them simple colors, like this one.  Download the file, and unzip it. I store all mine in a folder called Folder Colors. (I have a lot! I love to keep it colorful!) Now, when you want to change a folder’s color, right click on the folder and click on Get Info. The information box will pop up, including a tiny picture of the folder at the very top left of the folder’s name. Drag the colored folder icon from your unzipped file to that tiny folder until you see the green + sign. Your folder should be the new color. Hope this tip brightens your desktop…and your day!

 Just so you know: Some of my links are affiliate links. That means I get a little bit back if you choose to purchase a linked item. It doesn't cost you anything, but it might help me buy another chicken...Win-Win! Thanks!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Last Chance for Your Bundle!

Hey, Bootcampers!

I know you've been hearing about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle in every little corner of the internet this week. And I won't bug you anymore about it after this brief reminder.

But tomorrow about this time, I'm going to start getting desperate e-mails. A few of you will comment on the blog. I'm going to hear from wonderful people who got busy or distracted or thought, "I'll get to it tomorrow!" and didn't buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle I've been promoting all week long. And they will ask me, "Isn't there ANY WAY I can still get a bundle?" Unfortunately, the answer is always no. And these people are always so disappointed. (And I am so disappointed for them!) Don't let it happen to you!

Many of you have read these posts from me to remind you about this great deal. Some of you have seen my updates over on Facebook, my pins, my tweets. Maybe you wanted to buy one, but you've been putting it off until later. Friend, you won't get any more reminders! This deal is over tonight at midnight. If you've been waiting until the right moment, that moment is now! Get it today before it goes away forever.

Brief Overview of what's included: 
✔ 76 eBooks 

✔ 6 eCourses 

✔ 1 audio download 

✔ 2 online conferences, & 

✔ 14 printable packs 

 That's over $1200-worth of stuff for only $29.97. Do the math.

That's about a 97% savings.  

Still not sure about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy it now and have a whole month to check out the products. You've got nothing to lose!

And don't forget that I am throwing in my own bonus if you buy the bundle using my links. I'll send you a free copy of my book, Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers. Just email me once you've purchased the bundle, and I'll send along your bonus! 


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Just so you know: Some of my links are affiliate links. That means I get a little bit back if you choose to purchase a linked item. It doesn't cost you anything, but it might help me buy another chicken...Win-Win! Thanks!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Need Some Organizing Inspiration? Here's the Deal!

Happy Friday, Bootcampers!

How are y'all doing?  I know I’m having a busy day here. My husband was out of town working in another state for almost two weeks, and now that he’s home again, it’s full-bore homesteading today!

My menfolk (and some of the little ladies) are out moving split wood and shoveling compost, getting the property ready for fencing and chickens (I’m so excited about the chickens, I can’t sleep at night. Yes, I’m that that lady.)

 Tomorrow, however, is supposed to be heavy rain. Again. Because Southwest Ohio, y’all. So we have the whiteboard filled with a long list of inside projects for tomorrow, and they all have a common theme: ORGANIZE. A big part of ORGANIZE is DISCARD. I’m a little more than half-way through Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ”, and overall, it inspires me. (When I finish the book, and give it a chance in implementation, I’ll write a review.) I know the biggest task for tomorrow is to go through boxes and boxes and boxes of children’s clothes and give away a lot. We hope God blesses us with more children, so we’re not willing to give away all the clothes smaller than my youngest of each boy and girl, but we are willing to pare down significantly.

How many t-shirts could a kid possibly need?
When you’re the crazy family with eight (and hopefully more) kiddos, people looooove to give you their children’s outgrown clothes. While this is often a blessing, there are some outfits that I kept and hung up in the closet for 4 children in a row and they were never put on said children. Never. So away they go. There is just too much stuff and not enough space in here, and it’s a little suffocating.

So tell me, what organization projects do y’all have going, friends? If you’re looking for help or inspiration, let me tell you about this great deal: There are 4 organizing eBooks and Printables - worth $64.96 - in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale that’s going on right now.


And the bundle costs only $29.97. 

That right there would be an awesome deal, but of course, you won’t ONLY get those 4 eBooks and printables. You’ll also get 95 other amazing eBooks, eCourses, audio courses, and bonuses. For under 30 bucks! Altogether, the bundle is worth more than $1,200.

Personally, I’m really excited to try out Mystie Winckler’s Paperless Home Organization system. While I love the idea of binders, I’m generally a digital person in every other way. Sometimes I’ll print out all the pretty sheets and stick them in a binder and they’ll go completely unused, while I keep all my actual notes in the Wunderlist app on my iPod, or organized in the colorful folders on my computer desktop.

Hop on over to my blog post to check out all the resources in the deal, or head over to the Ultimate Bundle site to grab yours! But don’t miss out, because the doors are closing in just...

And don't forget: When you buy an Ultimate Homemaking Bundle through me, I'll send you an eBook version of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepersfor free! Just email me at bootcampforlousyhousekeepers (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll match your name with the ledger! Well, a big box full of homeschool papers to sort awaits me. I'd better get back to it! Have a great weekend, Bootcampers --  I hope wherever you are, you are warm, happy and productive!

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Just so you know: Some of my links are affiliate links. That means I get a little bit back if you choose to purchase a linked item.

It doesn't cost you anything, but it might help me buy another chicken... Win-Win! Thanks!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Ultimate Answer to Invitation Season (+Free Book Bonus!)

Dear Bootcampers,

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the ramp-up of mail now that it’s spring?

Of course, winter brought its delightful share of holiday greetings, and later, cheerful seed and hatchery catalogs. (I love those!) But spring brings a different kind of mail to the Schaap homestead.

It’s Invitation Season.

Darling babies are being born. Sweet young ladies are turning sixteen. Bright young men and women are graduating. Handsome couples are becoming One in marriage. It is a season of celebration. And all of this means I spend a fair amount of time thinking about gift-giving. And spend a fair amount of money, too, if I’m being honest.

Just last night I was discussing a few upcoming gift-giving events with my Mr., and reminiscing over one of the most fun and personal birthday gifts I’ve given.

For a dear friend’s Sweet Sixteen, I scoured all the free eBook resources I could gather and compiled a Homemaking Treasury on a USB stick. I included lots of vintage books with wonderful titles like The American Frugal Housewife and The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director in the Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm. I also included articles, printables and of course, my book, too. There were 74 books in all. A tiny treasure trove of knowlege.

Photo by Charlotte Boyer
Can you imagine if I had given her a box with 74 books? Though that would have been insanely fun for her to open, I can’t imagine giving someone that much actual, physical stuff. Unless I also build her a bookshelf?! Plus, the price. One reason I had to resort to mostly free digital books is because I simply can’t afford to buy 74 books on homemaking as a gift. Even with a Kindle sale, at, let’s say, $3 a book? That's $222. Not in my budget, Bootcampers. And probably not in yours.

But what if you could gift an amazing library of digital titles to a sweet young lady for only $29.97? 

You can!

I’m talking about 76 eBooks, 6 eCourses, an audio conference, 2 online conferences, and 14 printable packs, plus, bonuses like a course from Craftsy (she’d get to choose!), a ListPlanIt membership, credits for beautiful art prints for the home, a dinner planning service subscription…even a beautiful scarf! I’m thinking this gift would be amazing for a young homemaker or homemaker in training.

Of course, with 99 hand-picked resources in the bundle, you could streeeeetch the gift — and your budget — even further. Going to a baby shower soon? Gift that sweet new mom the books on pregnancy and babies, motherhood, and faith-building in children. Heading to a wedding shower this summer? Give that beautiful bride her own little package on cleaning, DIY, cookbooks, and marriage. Does your Mom or Daughter need some encouragement? Give her the books on faith and self-care. Do you know a young homeschooling mom who’s struggling? Send her a little encouragement with homeschooling books and printables. And after all that? You’d still have books and the bonuses left over for yourself! *FAQ's at the bottom of the post!

 Gifting a bundle is easy. 

1. Buy a bundle and download the resources you want to gift.
2. Transfer them to a cute USB drive (you could even decorate it with stickers)
3.  Delete the files you gifted from your own computer. 
4. Give the gift, and watch her smile. :) 

 I know I’ve shared my story before — I went into marriage, homemaking, and motherhood largely unprepared. I remember fondly when my Momma, who helped me set up our newlywed apartment, took me to a Barnes & Noble to look for a book on how to outfit a home. (We didn’t even have a wedding shower, so we were seriously starting from scratch, y’all!) The young salesman led us to a section of books and knowingly held up a volume on Feng Shui. Almost seventeen years later, and we are still laughing over that one! What a difference a bundle like this one might have made.

Can I make this deal a little sweeter?

Buy a bundle and I’ll send you an eBook copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers to add to your bundle! 

Give it away, or maybe just keep it for yourself! (I won't tell!)  Just email me at bootcampforlousyhousekeepers (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me your name and whether you purchased a .pdf or Kindle version, so my eBook version will match yours. (When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle through me, I see your name so I'll be able to match you up!)

Don't wait too long, friends. Look at the countdown below to see how the time on this deal is flying by!

 Want more details about what's in this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? Check out my blog post about it, or click on over to the Ultimate Bundle site.

 I know I’m buying an extra bundle for gifting away this Invitation Season. I can’t wait to make some young homemakers smile! Who’s with me?


Just so you know: Some of my links are affiliate links. That means I get a little bit back if you choose to purchase a linked item. It doesn't cost you anything, but it might help me buy another chicken...Win-Win! Thanks!

*From the Utimate Bundle FAQ, here's the fine print on gifting books: “Though sharing [that is, you have your own digital copy and ALSO give the same purchased digital copy to someone else] is not allowed, you can give an ebook to someone else if you decide you don’t want to keep it or have read it already and won’t use it again. You can do this by sending the book to the receiving person and then deleting it from your computer and any other electronic devices you own so that they have the only copy.”

What if you just want to gift the whole bundle via email and skip the USB stick? “If you’d like to purchase and give an eBook bundle to someone, that is perfectly fine! When you order a bundle, please forward the download email to and let us know the full name (first and last names) and email address that you would like to give it to, and we’ll take care of the rest!”

Can I give someone a few of my bonuses and keep the rest for myself? "Unfortunately, no. You’re welcome to tell anyone about the bundle or these fantastic new companies you’ve discovered, but these offers are made available solely to those who have bought their OWN eBook bundle, and are not able to be used multiple times.
That said, you are welcome to redeem your bonus offers, and then give them away to someone else as a gift. The point is that you may not share the redemption codes or information with anyone." (If you'd like someone to have all the bonuses themselves, gift them an entire bundle directly, as in the point above!)