About Me

Shelling beans in my backyard

A number of my friends have been encouraging me to start a blog for awhile now, and I finally decided to give it a shot.  I actually have an existing blog here but I only add to it sporadically, and it has an entirely different focus than the one I’ve been encouraged to write.  While my existing blog is personal, about my innermost thoughts and musings as well as my travels, this new blog is intended to serve as an outlet to share all of the nifty tips and tricks I’ve picked up since becoming a stay-at-home mom in 2013, an opportunity that has given me the luxury of focusing more of my time on gardening, cooking, baking, and (obviously) parenting.

I never thought I’d be a homemaker.  I always assumed I’d work full time and maintain a career outside of the home if I had children; but as often happens, life had different plans.  Rather than teaching full time, I stay at home with my two little girls and keep my inquisitive mind busy by experimenting with all of the wonderful ideas I find on the Internet about cooking from scratch, caring for my children’s health, and maintaining a garden, yard, and horse pasture with materials provided by nature (aside from a few man-made materials to construct our hoop house and chicken coop).

This is a blog about the best ideas I’ve picked up from other moms and gardeners, other bloggers, and good old-fashioned research a la physical books along with a few of my own strokes of genius.  But even my own strokes of genius ultimately found their inspiration in the practices of others; one idea leads to another leads to another, and I come across a new way of doing something that is part mine, part someone else’s.  That’s the neat thing about the blogosphere:  we all feed off of each other in an ever-expanding–and hopefully ever-improving–dialogue about living life.  In addition to sharing what I’ve learned, I hope to learn a thing or two from my readers as they comment on my posts and respond with some of their own ideas and experiences.

As a reader, you should know that I value time and convenience over perfection.  That means the tip and recipes I share won’t necessarily look and taste exactly like the version you’d find at the store and on other DIY blogs, but they’ll be easy enough to do on your own even if you have a busy schedule.  And they’ll definitely be healthier than the pre-made versions you’d otherwise purchase.

Oh, and the name of my blog?  Mangy munchkin is what I affectionately call my oldest daughter, who is just over two-and-a-half at the time of this writing.  I once had a beloved dog whom I referred to as my mangy mutt (she really was a mutt that I had adopted off the streets), and somehow when our daughter was born, munchkin quickly morphed into mangy munchkin, especially during the long, sleepless nights I experienced after she was born, when her days and nights were backwards.  It was when I became pregnant with her that my interest in doing everything from scratch piqued, as I was concerned that all of the Generally Recognized as Safe ingredients in modern foods and products might have a negative impact on her delicate and developing body (how can ingredients whose testing is up to the private companies selling them be trusted?).

Libby was my motivation to dive into the world of DIY foods and projects, and the friends who’ve read about them on Facebook were my motivation to start this blog.  I hope you find it interesting and useful and not too overwhelming; I know when I first started reading mommy blogs, I thought I’d NEVER do half of the amazing things they write about!  But over time, I’ve added one new recipe or technique at a time until I’ve arrived at the point where I’m making for myself much of what I used to purchase at the store.  What used to look daunting now feels pretty simple, and hopefully it will for you, too!