Little House Living
Merissa A. Alink
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Buy *Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life* by Merissa A. Alinko nline

Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life
Merissa A. Alink
Gallery Books
320 pages
October 2015
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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In this practical, informative, and visually aesthetic book, Merissa Alink shares how life circumstances and events led to her transition to a simpler, healthier lifestyle filled with natural foods as well as homemade household and beauty products.

Tired of struggling financially, Alink often dreamed of ‘‘the simple life’’. Financial hardship was not the only hardship for the young bride of nineteen; she began having health issues, developing allergies and intolerances to numerous things from the food she was eating to the cats in her house. Alink began to experiment with recipes for everything from hand soap to seasonings.

Little House Living provides a wealth of easy-to-follow advice and recipes that are broken up into six main sections: Getting Started, Body and Bath, Household, Children and Pets, Make Ahead Mixes and Meal Planning with Mixes. Alink makes a case for the DIY approach with products by breaking down the cost of buying the finished product versus buying the ingredients themselves and making a product that is better for one’s health. The ingredients are described and advice is given on where to purchase the items (although many of the ingredients chosen are chosen for their availability). For examples, witch hazel, coconut oil, castile soap, and various essential oils can often be purchased at regular stores. Recipes for everyday beauty products like lotion, lip balm, shampoo, hand soap, and sanitizer usually consist of only a few simple steps. The recipes for household products such as oven cleaner, dusting spray, carpet cleaner, and fabric freshener spray are equally inviting and inspiring--cleaning power without the chemicals. This is especially important with the products in the Children and Pets section, which gives instruction on how to make child-friendly play-dough and chalk, for example, but also gentle cleaning baby wipes. Pets can rest assured that they can also be pampered with gentle flea washes and various treats.

Even the simpler life involves work, and Alink gives suggestions on how to budget and organize and store ingredients and product. Alink also reassuringly reiterates how the right attitude towards constantly simplifying routines to accommodate life’s changing schedules is necessary to keep things running relatively stress-free. To help her, she has recipes on mixes that save on prep time AND help avoid impulse purchases when you don’t feel like cooking. Suggestions on meal planning, budgeting, and different uses for common ingredients like sugar, Epsom salts, oats, and cornstarch add to the frugality and functionality of this book.

While this book is chock-full of relatively easy-to-follow recipes, and the author’s tone while doling out the practical suggestions is encouraging and gently reaffirming, the aesthetically pleasing layout of the color, high-resolution photographs on the heavyweight paper makes this a book that is a delightful reading experience.

Little House Living inspires creativity to make homemade products and joy for a simpler life.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Maya Fleischmann, 2016

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