I’m Moving!!!!


Photo credit to Ball-Spencer Photography

Good morning everyone!  This is the last post I’m going to make here on The Farm on the Hill.  It’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye to this blog, but I can’t wait to show you the new one.

It’s been almost a year since I started blogging here at The Farm on the Hill.  I had just officially decided to become a stay-at-home mom and I was dealing with a lot of emotions.  I decided to start the blog as a way to keep something “professional” and “adult” in my life.  I had no idea what I was doing or if I would even enjoy it, but I took the leap when a blogging friend of mine told me that, “You just have to start.”  There is no perfect time and I would never learn it all (I still haven’t even come close to learning it all!), so I started The Farm on the Hill. Continue reading

Hand-Picked Peach: Week 37

You're a Peach

I have been catching up with ABC’s The Catch over on Hulu, and I love it so far.  It is intriguing and, at the risk of sounding shallow, has a beautifully dressed cast and set.  Sue me, but I also love how Nancy Meyers does a beautiful set and cast as well.  Last night was the fourth episode (but I haven’t watched it yet, so no spoilers!).

The series is about Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos), a co-owner of a prestigious PI and security firm and Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause) a con artist.  Jones and Vaughan were engaged to be married until Jones takes all of Vaughan’s money and skips out.  Now, Vaughan is out to catch him.

The only thing that scares me about this show is that I wonder how long it can actually take her to catch him, meaning, how long can they drag the story out?  I like the show and want more, but I don’t want it to turn into ABC’s Revenge, which I loved, but had run its course a least a season before it actually ended.maxresdefault

I loved Enos in AMC and Netflix’s The Killing, but you can barely recognize her in this show based on that.  As Detective Linden, she barely wore make-up, but now she is always impeccably dressed and made up.  I do think that seeing her in two very different roles has given me a better appreciation for her talent.  And many of you will know Krause from Parenthood, which I didn’t really get into.  (Please don’t send hate mail!)  I watched about one season, and had a hard time letting Lauren Graham not be Lorelai.

If you are looking for a half-day binge watch this weekday, hop over to Hulu and check out The Catch.  Then let me know what you thought!

New Blog Update

Good morning!  I thought I would give you all an update on things that are going on with the new site.  But first a few pictures of the new additions to the farm…..



We got baby chicks finally!  We are still trying to decide on a coop plan, but they are here so now there is no turning back.  We got ten Barred Rocks and four rainbow layers (lay blue or green eggs) that we aren’t sure of the breed yet since they were in the assorted pen.  I think they may be Buff Ameracuanas?  Anyone have a suggestion?


This is one of the rainbow layers.

Continue reading

The Bee-Friendly Garden

The Bee-Friendly Garden large

Since we started keeping bees last spring, I have been wanting to add more flowers and plants for the honey bees to eat on, so I was very excited when I found The Bee-Friendly Garden.

The one thing that surprised me, was that it was not focused on honey bees.  I assumed (You know what happens when we assume….) that it would be because we raise honey bees and that is my focus and because honey bees are a big focus in today’s world with colony collapse disorder being widely talked about.  However, this book reminded me that there are over 20,000 different species of bees in the world and we really need them all.  And here’s why, honey bees do not and cannot pollinate everything that needs pollinating.  They are not big enough to vibrate the pollen loose on tomato plants.  I don’t know about you, but I love tomatoes, so I’m thankful that the big bumblebee is around to take care of pollinating tomatoes for me.  This books gives suggestions on how to plant for native bees as well as honey bees. Continue reading

Hand-Picked Peach: Week 36

You're a Peach

Have you heard of Jamberry?  Jamberry nails are a new and innovative way to avoid nail polish drying time, chipping, and pricey visits to the salon. They are a DIY DREAM. They come in over 300+ designs (plus a nail art studio where you can design your own!), lasts up to 2 weeks on fingernails and 6 weeks on toenails, and WILL NOT CHIP. They are a vinyl adhesive wrap that is heat activated and pressure sealed to the nail. They will NOT damage your nail when removed properly.

Jamberry Nail Wraps (1)

I will admit that I wasn’t sold on the idea of Jamberry at first.  I tried the wraps once using my hairdryer.  It seemed to take a while and then they didn’t last as long as I had hoped.  So when my cousin asked me to try them again, I was hesitant, but I promised to give them a fair shot.  Let me tell you that the right tools make all of the difference!!!

If you use the Jamberry Mini-Heater then the process is MUCH faster and more effective.  My hairdryer just did not get the wraps hot enough, I don’t think.  My cousin also showed me an even better way of applying the wraps using the TruShine Gel Enamel System.  The Gel Enamel System allows you to get the salon gel polish done right at home!  But paired with the wraps, you have a ton of possibilities.

Jamberry Nail Wraps (2)

Aren’t these popsicles so cute for summer…even though it’s freezing here in Indiana?

You simply apply the gel base coat.  Then apply the wrap of your choice (or your TruShine color).  Finish with the gel top coat.  I loved this way of applying the wraps because I like that after the top coat, my nails still feel “painted.”

My stylist is Sarah Riggins.  Shop here and let her know you heard about Jamberry from The Farm on the Hill to help me out on my online party.

Disclosure:  The link above is an online party link, so if you order through the link I do get hostess credit.  However, the opinions in this post are my own.

Jamberry Nail Wraps (3)

How to Organize Papers

Full & Simple How to Organize Papers

My goals in March for Simple 2016 were to not drink any pop, start seeds for the garden and to finish up the paper section of the KonMari method.  I got several seeds started and I have kale, eggplant and cauliflower already sprouting up.  I didn’t drink pop at all until the 31st when I had these party slushes with ginger ale at book club.  AND I finished the paper section of the KonMari Method.  It took a little over a week of working on it whenever I could spare a minute, but I’m so relieved to have gotten it finished.

The first thing I did was go through EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE OF PAPER.  I pulled out all of the files that we currently had and looked at every single thing.  This took the longest.  I had bank statements from 2006!!!!  When I finished my shred pile was about seven inches high and my trash pile was about three inches high.



My shred pile after sorting through all of my files


My shred pile is toward the bottom and my trash pile is toward the top

After I cleared out all of the junk, I started to decide what files needed to be separated (We originally kept all of our tax information in a singe file, but now each year has its own file. and what files could be merged.  And I came up with this color system:

Black Folders

  • Bills
  • Banking
  • Income

Purple Folders

  • Taxes
  • Retirement Information

Red Folders

  • Medical
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance

Yellow Folders

  • Home information
  • Home insurance
  • Auto information
  • Auto Insurance

Blue Folders

  • Memberships
  • Licenses
  • Miscellaneous

Now everything is easy to locate and we don’t have to sift through irrelevant papers to get the item we need.  I kept way more than Kondo suggests in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I was leery of keeping less.  It is my plan to go through the files every January to keep them tidy.  I did, however, take Kondo’s advice and put all manuals in plastic sleeves in a binder instead of just having them lying around or in a file.

The next thing I did was decide on a system to organize papers that don’t get filed or that I don’t have time right away to get to.

I bought these magazine holders from Target.com and I love the vintage vibe they give to the office.  As you will notice from my pictures, the office has not been painted since we’ve moved in and our office furniture is secondhand, but it is my vision to turn this room into a vintage manly(ish) study/library.  I think these magazine holders will fit in nicely even after I make the changes I want to make.

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I also bought this wall-mounted magazine holder for magazines and any mail that I haven’t had time to sort through.

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It is my goal to try to sort the mail everyday and get it in the right place to be dealt with, but I have designated Tuesdays as “Paper Day.”  This way, one day a week, I take time to deal with all of the unsorted mail, take care of any actionable items and file away anything that needs to be filed.  I thought this was an appropriate day since I already do a lot of other paper related tasks on Tuesdays like meal plan, coupon, and write out the grocery list.

Here are a few links that I found especially useful in setting up my paper organization system:

I hope that this helps you set up your own paper organization system!  I think that having a way to take care of our important documents takes away a lot of stress which is one of the key components to living a simple life.



Hand-Picked Peach: Week 35

You're a Peach

A few weeks ago I decided to try out The Grove Collaborative based on the recommendations of a few trusted bloggers.  They had a special going on, so that didn’t hurt either.  The Grove Collaborative is a delivery service that provides members with eco-friendly cleaning and personal hygiene products.

Grove Collaborative Mrs. Meyers Candle (1)

You can find your favorite brands like Mrs. Meyer, Method, Toms, and many more at discounted prices for members.  I’m a doTERRA essential oil user, and I am becoming more and more leery of all of the chemicals that we allow into our homes and bodies.  I love that I can get natural products delivered right to my door with the Grove Collaborative.  Plus, they carbon offset 100% of their shipments and save 25 square feet of rainforest per shipment through their partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation

One of my favorite items so far is the Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle.  It is beautiful as well as practical, so I don’t mind it sitting out where it is easy to use.  I actually bought two of these spray bottles.  I use a spray bottle on all of my seed starts because other watering methods can displace the seeds or be too rough on new sprouts.  The other bottle is to hold my doTERRA On Guard Cleaner.

Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle Close

The Grove Collaborative offers a free 60 day trial in their VIP program.  After that you pay $39.99/year to have the discounts and free shipping.  Plus you can earn shopping credits by referring friends!

If you are like me and you want to keep as many chemicals as you can away from the tiny hands in your home, take a look at The Grove Collaborative…and doTERRA.  Both are great natural ways to take care of our homes and bodies.

Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle

Disclaimer: The above post does contain referral links which means that at no cost to you, I will receive compensation from the company if you use my link.  I only use referrals and affiliate links for things I believe in and all opinions are my own.  Thank you for helping to support the blog!

Turning 30 Goal Check-In: Month 5


I was a little disappointed when I started to think of what I had to report on this month.  I’ve pushed many of these goals aside to work on the new site, so there won’t be a ton of progress, but I also think that’s good.  In a post I wrote a while back I talked about how, as a blogger, I don’t have anything to write about if I’m not living life.  And life is what is happening right now.  I’m so excited to launch the new site.  This month we’ve made a lot of progress.  Besides the progress on the site itself, I had the opportunity to work with Ball-Spencer Photography for a few head-shots and other photos for the blog.  I’m also finishing up a freebie item that I will be offering to all who subscribe once we switch over.  If you are a current subscriber, you will have to re-subscribe when the new site is launched, but I will give you more details on that when we are closer to finishing.  Okay, so here is my check-in: Continue reading

Hand-Picked Peach: Week 34

You're a Peach

One thing that I’m so thankful for is my library.  I didn’t use the local library much while I was teaching and I only occasionally used the school’s library.  But I have really started to take advantage of the benefits of FREE (okay, not really free since I pay taxes, but….) movies and books.  Our library is great and I can get just about any movie or book, even if my library doesn’t have it, via inter-library loans.

This past week, I got to watch the movie The Intern starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro and it was fantastic.  I had heard about this movie a little while before, but since we rarely go to movies or rent, if it isn’t on Netflix or at the library, I don’t see it.  Luckily, my library was able to get it from another library so that I could watch it.

The movie is about an older man (De Niro) who is tired of retirement.  He has taken classes and traveled, but with his wife being deceased, he needs something to fill his days.  He stumbles upon a flyer for a fashion company seeking senior [citizen] interns.  Hathaway’s character is the CEO of this start-up company.  She is closed off and overwhelmed by the stresses of running a hugely successful fashion start-up.  After a reluctant start, Hathaway’s character finds friendship and wisdom from her senior intern.

The story line is so sweet and the set and wardrobe of the movie is fantastic!  This is a Nancy Meyers film.  You may know some of her other works like It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give.

If you are looking for a film that leaves you with a smile on your face this weekend, I highly recommend watching The Intern.


Better Than Before

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is one of the books I choose as part of my Essential Reading List for a Simple 2016.  What really drew me to this book was the subtitle, “What I learned about making and breaking habits–to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life.”  I have been struggling with habits and routines since I started staying home.  It’s so easy to put things off until later in the day or tomorrow, and never actually getting around to doing the things that you want to do.

In the introduction to the book, Rubin describes how “habits eliminate the need for self-control.”  Having good habits (whatever that means to you) allows you to not have to make decisions.  I go to yoga on Mondays.  I don’t have to make a decision about what I’m doing on Monday nights, because I’ve gotten into the habit of going to yoga.  I don’t plan for other things during that time.  If you get into the habit of drinking a green smoothie every morning, you don’t have to stand in front of the fridge trying to resist the cold pizza.  Healthy habits help us resist temptations because we don’t have to make the decision between something tempting, that may only create pleasure in the moment, and what will make us happy in the long run.

However, Rubin acknowledges that habits can allow for us to become numb to certain aspects of our existence  and that time can sort of blur together.  I believe though that by creating habits and routines that take care of some of my “daily grind” activities, I will better be able to be present in other moments because I won’t be worrying or feeling guilty.  I agree with Rubin that, “When we change our habits, we change our lives,” because most of our life is the ordinary and “normal” so creating good habits* for the everyday will allow me to make the most of my life.

My most favorite part of the book is that fact that throughout the entire book, Rubin acknowledges that there is no one-size fits all way of changing habits.  Changing habits requires self-knowledge, which Rubin also helps you learn throughout the book.  The first thing that you will need to learn about yourself is which of the Four Tendencies are you: an Upholder, an Obliger, a Questioner, or a Rebel.  There is a quiz in the back of the book or you can take the online version here.  After taking the quiz I learned that I am an Obliger, but I believe I have Rebel tendencies.  I need outside accountability to stick to goals I have for myself (like announcing goals here on the blog), but if someone else expects or tells me to do something, and I didn’t agree to it or ask for their opinion, I will often avoid it simply out of spite.  Rubin observed that, “our Tendencies are hardwired, and while they can be offset to some degree, they can’t be changed.”

Rubin mentions several times that we are not that different from each other, but that our differences are very important.  This leads to more questions about our personality.

  • Are you a lark (early bird) or an owl?
  • Are you a marathoner, sprinter, or procrastinator?
  • Are you an underbuyer or overbuyer?
  • Are you a simplicity lover or an abundance lover?
  • Are you a finisher or an opener?
  • Are you a familiarity lover or a novelty lover?
  • Are you promotion-focused or prevention-focused?
  • Do you like small steps or big steps?
  • How do you like to spend your time?
  • What do you value?
  • What are your current habits.

All of these need to be determined before we can try to change our habits.  “We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.”

The rest of the book (most of the book) is focused on how to start a new habit and how to maintain it based on what Tendency you are and what distinctions you have.  The four strategies that Rubin believes tower above all others are what she calls the Pillars of Habit and include, Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability.

Monitoring is simply keeping track of what you want to change.  “Self-measurement brings self-awareness, and self-awareness strengthens our self-control.”  This brings to mind when I first started Weight Watchers and I had to measure my food in order to keep track of my points.  I was amazed at how little a half of a cup is!  We often try to just “eyeball it,” but we are usually way off.  “If we want something to count in our lives, we should figure out a way to count it.”

The Pillar of Foundation simply says that we need to tackle habits that will lead us to having the energy to tackle other habits.  These areas include: sleep, movement, healthy eating and uncluttering.  By tackling habits in these areas, for most people, leads to other healthy habits forming more naturally and easier.  Don’t waste precious habit-formation energy on a habit that won’t lead to a big payoff before you tackle a habit that will lead to a bigger payoff.

By scheduling our days and our new habits into our life, we make it easier to maintain them.  Scheduling also allows us to make realistic habit goals because we can see how much time we actually have to work with.  “The more consistently [we] perform an action, the more automatic it becomes, and the fewer decisions it requires.”  Again, remember that not having to make a decision about doing something allows you to have more mental energy and willpower for other aspects of your life.  It is also important to note that, “What I do everyday matters more than what I do once in a while,” so make sure that you put habits in place that will help you lead the fullest life for you everyday.

And the final Pillar is Accountability.  Upholders are good about being accountable to themselves whereas Obligers, like myself, need some sort of external accountability.  You can gain accountability by joining groups, publicly declaring a new goal or habit, or by purchasing an accountability mechanism like a FitBit or a Weight Watchers membership.

I won’t take the time to dive into the other strategies for habit formation.  Just know that if you have habits that you want to work on, then you should absolutely get this book.  Read it. Underline it.  And put it into practice.

A few habits I’m currently working on are to “get ready” in the mornings.  I’m more productive if I brush my teeth, wash my face, brush my hair and put on different clothes than if I just stay in the same clothes I slept in (which can be a struggle some days).  I’m also working on washing my face at night right after I put the kids to bed.  If I wait until I go to bed, I often use a make-up remover wipe or simply skip it altogether.  I need to work on finding a way to make daily Bible study a habit, but I haven’t worked on that yet.  I’m still doing my study sporadically.

For more information about the book go here.

For more information about Gretchen Rubin go here.

You can also find a Day-by-Day Journal to accompany the book here.

Full & Simple Book Review Better Than Before

*It should be noted that a good habit is one that you want to cultivate because you think it will add value to your life and bad habits are those that will detract from the life you want to lead.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  The above post does contain some referral and affiliate links which means if you use the link and decide to purchase an item, I receive a little money from the company, at no extra cost to you, to help keep the blog going.  Thank you for supporting the blog!