My sweet cousin Maria wrote a book report about Homemade Mothering!  Her English professor asked the class to prepare a paper about someone who is making a change in the world.  I am so honored that she chose me.  I started Homemade Mothering because I’m a bit of an eco-freak and I wanted to document some of the things I do to protect our planet.  Blogging has been a wonderful hobby for me, and I feel so grateful when I connect with other like-minded mamas and papas. I hope my words encourage families to make some positive changes for their health and the beauty of our world – we’re all in this together, right?!

I think Maria’s report is so sweet and fun – I just have to share it 🙂  If I was her teacher, I’d give her an A++++++!


Screaming babies, toys flying through the air, dirty diapers and baby food smeared on the floor. No, this isn’t a scene from a horror movie. This is a typical day for an at-home mom. Many people might be turned off from having kids when picturing a scenario like this. But the truth is, every mom has days like this and raising kids is a full-time job! The “act of mothering” is defined as, “the nurturing and raising of a child”. Nowhere in this definition does it warn people about the many challenges involved with raising children. Issues like, “What should I feed my baby”, “What is childbirth like”, and “Dealing with sibling rivalry”, are just a few examples. Aside from scheduling appointments, driving kids here and there, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, moms have to still manage to keep everyone happy; including themselves. The goal of most mothers is to raise, healthy, happy and respectful kids. Some responsibilities that come along with this goal include; learning what foods are healthiest to feed their kids, teaching their kids how to share and be kind to others and to enjoy the simple things in life. My cousin, Maureen Smithe, has had first-hand experience raising kids and started a blog to share her experiences as a mother and give advice to those in need. As she states, “Homemade Mothering is a movement that aims to simplify life and foster self-reliance while being kinder to our families and the planet. It’s about encouraging people to get back to the basics when it comes to mothering and home keeping”. By opening up and sharing her stories, Maureen has gained support from thousands who seek for advice and guidance. Through the use of her blog, Maureen has been able to positively change the view of motherhood by offering healthy, proven advice taken from personal experience.

Maureen is the oldest of five children. She has three sisters and one brother. The Smithes’ grew up in a rural town about an hour outside of Chicago. Living in a rural area gave their family the opportunity to have a small farm and a garden. Maureen expresses her gratitude explaining, “At the time, I didn’t realize this was exceptional – our little family farm was just normal for us. But, looking back now I realize just how lucky we were to grow up eating fresh foods grown by my dad and prepared by my mom”. Eating healthy has always been apart of Maureen’s life and now that she has her own family, she strives to instill this lifestyle in her kids. Maureen and all of her sisters share this passion for cooking and doing so in the healthiest way possible. Incorporating everything she had learned about cooking, included with some favorite recipes, Maureen began a recipe portion of her blog. Along with delicious, wholesome recipes, there are tips on how to can and preserve food. The recipes cover everything from breakfast to desserts, and everything in between. Maureen offers easy-to-make, natural alternatives for moms who want to provide their kids with a nutritious diet. “Healthy kids are happy kids, and happy kids make for happy moms”, explains Maureen. By offering these recipes, visitors of her site can feel confident they are feeding their kids the most nutritious food possible. Consequently, the process of grocery shopping, preparing food and cooking becomes a little less stressful, and a little more fun!

Another category of the blog is “Homemade Living”, which includes “Green Cleaning”, organization tips, health and wellness advice, “Green Body Care”, and “Green Planet”. This part of the blog focuses on being “green” inside and out, in and around your house and throughout your community. Maureen offers everything from directions on how to make all natural cleaners, to tips on utilizing local farmers markets. Having always had this desire to keep the earth “green”, Maureen states, “I wouldn’t say the blog has changed me much – I have always been an eco-freak. If anything, the blog has given me new motivation to branch out and start my own business”. Though, the blog hasn’t changed the way Maureen feels, she has been able to expand her knowledge of living “green” and she shares, “I am working on my own line of cloth diapers too”. The goal of this segment is to show others how easy it can be to live eco-friendly. Most people who encourage healthy eating, also support the “green” lifestyle. Using advice and recommendations, Maureen gives moms the opportunity to make their homes and communities, a clean and healthy environment.

Next, Maureen offers advice on “Child Care”. Included here are tips on breastfeeding, cloth diapering, crafts, family time, homemade baby food, pregnancy and childbirth. Aimed toward new and expecting mothers, “Child Care” provides proven advice taken from person experience. Turning everyday occurrences into life lessons, Maureen tackles tough topics like the struggles of breastfeeding and childbirth. Expecting moms have many concerns, for example, what they’ll experience during childbirth; so by offering her personal understanding, Maureen is able to ease their minds. By sharing these experiences, a close sense of relationship between Maureen and the reader is created. Everything on the blog is made to be relatable and practical, so everyone who visits the site, raisings kids or not, is inspired. Maureen’s two kids, Evie and Mack, are not only her full-time job, but also her inspiration. She explains, “My kids influence my blog on a daily basis. I am so concerned about the future of our planet, and I’m doing all I can to keep the earth a healthy and safe place for my kids and grandkids”. I’ve always been told family is most important, and watching my cousin grow up and start her own has given me hope for starting my own someday. Maureen emphasizes the importance of family in her blog and encourages moms to participate in “family time” with activities like crafts and cooking. By sharing her personal experiences of raising kids, Maureen is able to offer proven advice on childcare.

Now living downtown Chicago with her husband and two kids, Maureen is familiar with the financial struggles that come along with a growing family. As our nation recovers from an economic recession, families have desperately cutting back and finding alternatives to “luxuries”. Maureen explains, “Making things from scratch like homemade laundry detergent, homemade peanut-butter and homemade yogurt saves money and can be really fun. Giving up unnecessary modern-day luxuries like paper towels and fabric softener not only save money but also help out our planet”. Having experience with cutting back and saving money, Maureen offers “New Frugality” advice. The solution to being “frugal” is to get creative! As Maureen said, we should start making our own foods, detergents, soaps, etc. It’s not only healthier for our bodies but it’s healthier for the Earth. Moms can make these “homemade solutions” fun and instructional for the kids. Providing both entertainment and education, Maureen supports the frugal life and says, “Although we live in a big city, I strive to keep my life as simple and healthy as possible. Trust me, its fun making life homemade”. Moms can apply Maureen’s advice and start becoming financially secure while being “greener” in the process.

If you have explored enough recipes, become “green” inside and out, have healthy, happy kids, AND live frugally; maybe some “quick pick-me-ups” can offer some last minute inspiration. Last but not least, Maureen offers “Thoughts and Inspiration” to mothers in need. Every mother needs to have support, whether it’s from a husband, family or friends. Having people that encourage you is important and Maureen even shares why she started blogging when she says, “I started my Homemade Mothering when my sister, Meghan, encouraged me to do so. She said there might be an audience for my message”. All it took for Maureen to create her own blog were some words of encouragement from a sister and now she has a sponsored site with thousands of followers. A long way from where she started off. If that isn’t inspiration enough, visitors can explore other life experiences of Maureen throughout “Thoughts and Inspirations”. Being a Mom can have its ups and downs, so learning these words of advice can be crucial. Maureen’s everyday challenges reveal a normal mom who has the same struggles as everyone else; she just chooses to share her journey so others can learn from it.

The purpose of starting this blog was so Maureen could share her knowledge of motherhood and create an online community of mothers who share their thoughts and opinions. She has been able to change the way people view motherhood and simplify tasks that can seem overwhelming for a new mom. Raising kids is no walk in the park and through her blog, Maureen is able to relieve some of the stress of becoming a mother. Visitors to her site are offered reliable and proven tips, recipes, inspirational messages and more. Whether someone is looking for a recipe or advice on childbirth, they’re guaranteed to find what they’re looking for at Homemademothering.com. Since starting the blog, I’ve noticed Maureen has become more educated on living eco-friendly and now promotes “green” products. Also, starting her own line of cloth diapers! Even as I am living on my own and going to college, I still find everything on Maureen’s site useful. Her ability to inspire and influence others shines as she communicates with those around her. She is by far one of the most determined and influential people I know. Through her research and years of learning, she has been able to not only expand her blog but also expand as a person. With over 1,400 Facebook followers and countless other visitors, it’s clear Maureen’s blog has gained a lot of fans. Over the past few years, while her blog has evolved, Maureen’s family has continued to grow. As her family continues to grow, Maureen will continue to take to her blog to share her experiences and help encourage others to “simplify life and foster self-reliance while being kinder to our families and the planet”.

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