“Life From Scratch” was created in November 2013 as a place to share our family’s journey toward a more happy, fulfilling, and sustainable lifestyle, including our pursuits of parenting, cooking, homesteading, resiliency, self-sufficiency and personal effectiveness. We created this venture with the hopes of sharing our experiences, learning from others, building community (both local and virtual), and inspiring others to try as much or as little of this as makes sense for them. We bring this to you from the perspectives of a stay-at-home Mom and a working Dad, with a focus on practicality, making small changes in the midst of a busy life, and working with what you have to make things better a little bit at a time.
We (Maria and Joe) both grew up in typical American households of the 1980 and1990’s, and followed the standard life path of our generation (grade school – high school – college). We both graduated from college with degrees in chemical engineering and began seemingly successful careers. After a short time of working “in the real world” (during which we met, fell in love and got married), we both got the nagging feeling that there “had to be more to life than this”. These feelings led to exploration, which led to experimentation, which led to us seeking what feels like an entirely different lifestyle from that which we had originally embarked upon…we decided to recreate our “Life From Scratch”.
We now live on a small homestead in the woods of Eastern Pennsylvania, where we decided to plant our roots when we became pregnant with our first child. We now have three young boys who amaze, frustrate, amuse, and teach us every day. We also have 12 chickens, 4 rabbits, and a golden retriever – Lucy. Almost everything that we are doing on our homestead is new to us…these are mostly not skills that we grew up with; they are things that we are learning, failing at, and sometimes mastering along the way.
Maria is passionate about food and cooking (at one point having run a business as a certified personal chef) and focuses on providing our family with the freshest ingredients possible from local, organic sources, including our own back yard whenever possible. As much as time allows, we try to prepare food and meals from scratch because we believe this is the healthiest option and the best way to eliminate the unwanted ingredients in so many of the prepared food available to us today. She specializes in homemade yogurt, bread, cheese, granola and hummus (as well as a range of homemade cleaning products!). We have also branched into food preservation with freezing, canning, dehydration, and fermentation (sauerkraut, pickles, and really mean hot sauces).
Joe is passionate about establishing a self-sufficient and sustainable homestead where we can live and work. So far, he has designed and built a chicken coop using reclaimed deck material, a 200 ft2 (and growing!) garden consisting of 14 raised beds built with logs from our surrounding woods, a four-compartment rabbit hutch using reclaimed barn wood, and a play area for the kids to entertain themselves when they are not helping out by collecting eggs, feeding the rabbits, or picking and eating snow peas from the garden. Joe also has a background in organizational leadership, and has a passion for personal effectiveness and resiliency. These are our family values. We strive to live by them each and every day to create the Life From Scratch that we are proud and excited to share with you today.
*we believe in being and eating healthy*
*we prioritize our family and enjoy spending as much time together as possible, preferably outdoors*
*we seek out ways to increase our independence, resiliency, and sustainability*
*we respect our environment and strive to learn as much as possible about our surroundings*
*we value hard work, responsibility, and productivity*
*we focus on practicality, doing as much as we can with as little as possible*
*we help others by the giving of our “time, talent, and treasure”*
*we desire to build a strong sense of community with our neighbors and with others who have similar values and beliefs*
*above all else, we treat everyone and everything with KINDNESS and RESPECT*
We hope that you enjoy hearing about our journey, our successes, and our failures. We hope that you will be inspired by our stories and motivated to try some of these things in your own life. We hope that you will share with us your own struggles and triumphs so that we might learn from each other. Most of all, we hope that you will join us in this journey, so that we can all move forward together towards a better “Life From Scratch”.
Sincerely – Maria and Joe