Making the Most With What We Have: Missy Rakes’ Family Story

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Making the Most With What We Have

Welcome to our brand new series here on Little House Living, “Making the Most With What We Have”! This series will showcase individuals and families all over the US (and even outside the US!) that are making the most of what they have. We know that you can be a modern homesteader without 160 acres of land and a mule so this series will share the stories of these families so we can get a peek into their lives and learn from each other.

Are you ready? Today we are learning about Missy’s story…

Where Do You Live?

We are a family of four from Arkansas who lives in an 1120 square foot three bedroom home that sits on a one acre lot in town. A creek runs around our property along with several trees including an old Arkansas Black apple tree that still produces. We also have a large garden and a few chickens. 

What Are Your Dreams and Goals for Your Homesteading Journey?

My husband grew up on a large cattle farm so he feels a little uneasy living in the city. 🙂 We would one day like to find a slightly larger home out of town with at least 5 acres, but preferably more. For now, we plan on expanding our garden and chicken flock in the coming year. I would also love to have more fruit and nut trees when we are settled in our next home. In fact, I would love to one day have a u-pick farm or at least be big enough to have a produce stand. And I’m sure we will be getting more livestock once we have a place to put them.


What Are Some Things You Have Learned So Far?

Each day is a learning experience. Since my parents aren’t into simple living and my grandparents are hard pressed to get around and show me what they know, I’ve had to basically pick myself up by my bootstraps and teach myself. Since getting married I’ve learned how to garden, can, dehydrate, cook from scratch, sew, knit, crochet, care for livestock, make my own cleaning products, etc. all while staying within a budget and raising a family. 

My advice to someone who is just starting out would be to have patience and focus on learning one new skill at a time because trying to do it all at once is overwhelming. Also, learn all that you can from online communities like this one or check out books from your local library.


How Are You Making the Most With What You Have?

I feel like we’re producing and preserving a decent amount of food with the resources that we have with plans to expand in the future. We also try to eat simply (basic meals, little meat, etc.) and shop thrift stores for most items. I try to give homemade items such as apple butter or jam with baked treats around the holidays instead of traditional gifts. Also, I sew and crochet a lot of things for my children. We keep screen time to a minimum and encourage playing outdoors and with open ended toys such as blocks, books, musical instruments, etc. I clean with baking soda and vinegar and I use essential oils where possible. We would much rather spend time as a family in the garden or going on a hike than shopping or going to the movies (not that those things are wrong!). We want to be intentional about instilling strong moral character into our children and we believe the best way to do that is to live life alongside them while teaching basic life skills.

Share Your Favorite Recipe!


Easy Egg Muffins (Toddler Approved!)


7 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup bacon bits or diced ham
1/4 cup shredded veggie (carrot, zucchini, etc)


Mix all ingredients
Pour into greased muffin tin

Bake for 18-20 min at 350 degrees


Share With Us One Unique Tip That Has Helped You

Our family has learned so much from The Homestead Blessings DVDs which is a series of instructional videos on topics such as canning, soap making, sewing, bread making, etc. I love to watch them over and over again! They star the West Ladies which are a simple living family (no electricity!!) who live in Tennessee. There are 11 DVDs total and I know your family will enjoy them as much as mine has!

What is Your Favorite Useful Homesteading Item?

My slow cooker!

You can visit Missy’s blog, Graceful Little Honeybee here.


Want to be a part of the Making the Most With What We Have Series? You can read about it and fill out the interview questions here.

Thank you Missy for sharing your story with us!

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  1. Thank you for featuring me and I look forward to reading other people’s stories and tips throughout this series. 🙂

  2. Thank you Missy for sharing. I am new to this blog as my New Year’s resolution is to take on homesteading skills. I plan to look into that DVD series!

    1. I highly recommend the DVDS. Your local library might have them if you don’t want to invest the money right away.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story, Missy. I especially appreciate the “focus on learning one new skill at a time” advice. I am an urban-dweller that still strives to apply the principals of simple living, frugality, health and resourcefulness for my family…but there is so much to learn! It’s a good reminder for me that I don’t have to learn the skills of gardening, canning, sewing, cooking from scratch, etc all overnight (even though I wish I could)! It is inspiring to read yours (and Merissa’s) stories on this site.

    1. I’m so glad that you have been encouraged by my story! We all have to start somewhere and if you can just learn to do one thing well then the rest will follow in time. Blogs like this one are a great way to learn and be inspired.

  4. Hello,
    Missy your story is inspiring and this come from someone who was in your very shoes, living a simple, natural life in a city 15 yrs. ago. We found our homestead 15 years ago this past Dec. and have never regretted a day, that’s not to say we’ve not had our share of troubles, losses and frustration but by and far the good out weighs the bad. Please feel free to look at the blog I kept for several years, I just don’t have the time nor the energy now to keep it up. I will share that the best thing we did was to prepay on our loan and pay off our 15 yr. mortgage in less than 6 yrs. time. My favorite homestead tools are ( in order) our wood cook stove, our root cellar and our 67 yr. old Maytag wringer washer. We currently have a CSA garden, raise 100% of our meat and 90% of what we consume, as well as provide 75% of our animal feed( hay, garden goods and some grain) I agree tackle it one skill at a time, same goes for jobs on and around the homestead, otherwise you’ll get frustrated and burned out. We’ve been living a homestead/ simple lifestyle for 25+ yrs( 10+ in the midst of a city) and I can say that we’re STILL learning and growing in our accomplishments. Keep going Missy and thanks for being an inspiration. 🙂
    Kelle from The Never Done Farm in MT

    1. Thank you so much for the wisdom and encouragement! It sounds like you have come a long way in your journey and I hope I can say the same in a few years.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I live in Perth, Western Australia. Although I’m currently unable to live completely self- sufficient, your tip of learning one skill well at a time really hit home!

  6. I would like to know how you (and anyone one else who would like to comment) prevent the wild animals from enjoying your garden before you do.

  7. While I’m too old to begin a homestead, we began a serious recycling program a few years ago. Our trash company recycles just about everything! Last year we began composting. This past summer all my fertilizing and otherwise soil amending was from the compost bin. Best year ever for plant growth. I have never seen marigolds the size I had. Great fun. I truly admire you young folks for going the simple route. I enjoy reading your experiences. I look forward to the series.

  8. This new series of interviews is a wonderful idea, so thank you for sharing. I enjoyed Missy’s interviews and look forward to checking out her blog as well. Cheers to you both, Ardith

  9. Wow, what an amazing story! Thank you for sharing your journey & advice! Saying hello from the handmade hangout link party!