Thursday, July 30, 2015


Nature is such a balm for the soul. I definitely notice a change in my countenance if I don't have a good dose every now and then. Lately I find a deeper peace out in my garden or sitting in the grass watching the babies and critters playing... thinking and meditating. I sound a little nutty with that out there, but hey I am ok with that. I am happy. I am going to take that thought a step further. Here comes the granola nuttiness... I really believe God put nature out there as not just a balm for the soul but as a place were true health and sustenance can be found. Certainly not an original thought, but definitely a personal revelation. I get tired of all the influences saying "just pop a pill" for this or that.
So I take small steps. I plant a garden. I eat what I plant. I try to make as much myself as possible while still being relevant to modernity. I try to waste less, reuse more. I am not a stagnant person, I always have a project going.
This week's project is tea. Not just yummy beverage tea, but tea with purpose and sustenance.
It all started with an abandoned pineapple sage plant I found at the plant nursery. It was all but dead and on the half off rack so I threw it in the garden with the rest of my herbs. It thrived. It is just approaching its prime. With a little quick research I discovered this plant holds some amazing properties for many ailments (a few I have been experiencing lately). So I made a quick and easy herbal infusion.

Yum. Beautiful. Satisfaction.

I have an abundance, so I am dehydrating as much as I can to make an herbal tea blend for winter. I threw some chocolate mint in with the pineapple sage today and it feels like something my body has been missing. You do not need a dehydrator to make your own dried herbs, I won't get into all the how to's of drying herbs there is an abundance of that info already out there. But I am just saying not having a dehydrator should not hold you back from making a satisfying healthy cup of tea.

Listen to this. In one cup of my pineapple sage and chocolate mint tea I am receiving sustenance to help with:
Anxiety, Depression, Hypertension, Constipation, Body Heat (it is cooling and can make you sweat less), Heartburn, Mental Fatigue, Digestion, Nausea, Headache, Respiratory Illness, Breastfeeding Stimulation, Oral Care, Allergies, Weight Loss, Memory Loss, Skin Care and is packed with Cancer fighting enzymes and Anti-Inflammatory agents. Yes please!
 For the fresh herbal tea infusion I use about a quart of boiling water to handful of fresh greens steeped covered for about half hour or until to your strength tolerance. Go ahead and linger over the steam, it is great for your complexion! Some add sweetener such as honey at this point but I am off sweets at the moment and find this is great on its own anyway. I leave my greens in the water and refrigerate and strain off the liquid as needed poured over ice.

For dried loose tea by the cup I pack the crushed tea leaves into this gadget. Pour boiling water to fill cup and steep to strength tolerance.

To read more specifics relevant to making pineapple sage tea visit this Source.
To read more specifics relevant to making mint tea visit this Source.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Homemade Gel Dishwasher Detergent

I love life-hacks.
And to me a life-hack that saves money and time? No brainer!
I really have zero time to share this with you, but it helped me out in a pinch and maybe you are in the same spot I am...rushing to get a yard-sale set up with 2 young ones... in between meal planning, morning chores,  various sewing commissions and bam I ran out of dish detergent for the dishwasher. I am NOT unloading the thing and doing them by hand and I certainly refuse to make a special run to Walmart for TORTURE!
A quick google search yielded all kinds of quick temporary remedies, but this one my friends is even better then the real stuff (from the store? how did I get in such a consumer place!) And the best part, if you already make my pennies per load laundry detergent, you are half way there!
First, run out to your recycle bin and grab your empty store bought detergent container. Mine was a 75 oz version which this recipe filled perfectly.
Gather your materials. You will need:
2 dry cups of Super Washing Soda
6 cups of warm tap water
10 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Peppermint Soap
That is all!
Pour the warm water in to your blender. Dump in the soda and stir until your liquid starts to get slightly gel like. Add the Dr. Bronners soap. Blend for just a bit until the mix starts to look more whipped and goopy. Hold onto the lid, having it in a tighter space makes it compress a bit and become gel like.
Pour into your old container. I found I can use about half as much of this solution in my machine as store bought. Not to mention I know what is in it, that it is safe for my family and the environment.
Just a little brag... I have saved hundreds this year just by replacing 3 things in my household for homemade solutions. Laundry detergent, Dishwashing detergent and shampoo. Look for that shampoo post friends... not sure I am quite ready to show pics of my scalp yet, but yes I haven't used shampoo in about 4 months!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Homemade Superfood Powder

Yes, it can be done!
The health food store can be a stressful place for me. Mostly because of the cost of the products followed by the complexity of the ingredient lists on the back of the products . But I am slowly learning that being healthy doesn't have to mean "expensive".
I know my family does not meet the daily quota for green intake. My five year old currently eats zero fruits or veggies. Not because I don't encourage or offer, there is a fruit or green at every meal and believe me I have tried all the tricks in the book. I decided I would have to hide the greens in his favorite foods. But that green magma superfood powder at the store is outrageous in price. And I was unsure about half the things on the ingredient list. Enter my jungle garden....
Not bad for it's first year. My little $60 garden is currently yielding mass amounts of romaine, kale and beet greens. The main ingredients in those superfood powders! So I did some research and after a little bit of trial and error I have a healthy store of my own superfood powder. And I am 100% certain of the content. I have also successfully hid it in at least one food my little guy eats a day. Score! Including.... muffins, spaghetti sauce, smoothies, banana bread, scrambled eggs and meatballs.
Start with the freshest, youngest produce available. I thinned out my kale, romaine and beet leaves for my first batch. Remove any larger ribbing in the leaves and wash in a sink of cold water and a bit of vinegar. Let dry on a dish towel. Pat as much moisture off of the leaves as possible. You can coat cookie sheets with a light olive oil or pam, but I tried sans since I am picky about what is in my powder and the leaves actually didn't stick to the sheets that bad. Arrange the leaves in a single layer on the pans. I used my convection oven on bake with as many racks in as possible. The lowest my oven goes is 170 degrees and while my research said that wouldn't work, it actually did. I have since gotten a food dehydrator and plan on doing a batch at the recommended 135 degrees and comparing.
Leave the trays in the oven until the leaves easily crackle apart when rubbed between your fingers. This took about 45 minutes for me. Let the pans cool to room temp. I will add that picking a low humidity day is key especially for this next step. Throw all the leaves into a blender, or if you have a coffee bean grinder attachment for your mini blender like I do that works even better. Blend until the leaves become a fine powder. Store in an air tight container.
I keep this little container near my stove and put a dash in whatever I am cooking up. This is four pans worth of kale! I could easily hide all of this in a batch of muffins. Don't tell Sportsman-in-training!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stitch Fix {#3}

Let me start by saying it only takes one item from my stitch fix box to make it so worth it.
{Don't know what stitch fix is? It is a easy going subscription stylist service that lets you choose when you want a box. Each box contains five items that a stylist derives from your personal profile. It is risk free, the $20 styling fee goes right towards whatever you keep. People join for many reasons, I joined because I am a stay at home mama that finds no joy in taking the kids shopping for mommy stuff at the mall. I also love presents, and the element of surprise is a bonus! There got that out of the way... also I was not paid to say that or share this with you, just passing on what I think is a cool service and to join the stitch fix community. If you want more info CLICK HERE or message me.}
Now on to the goodies! My stylist note this time really showed they looked at my profile, pinterest board and my notes from past fix's.

 My first impression was "whoa, huge box!" Then discovered they put this enormous handbag inside. Which is growing on me. I spotted one item I had requested and was super excited about that, but I always try everything on before I really pass judgment. Especially since post baby bod is just... well we won't get into that. Hey, I was brave and took pics to show you of myself, that doesn't happen often!
So we will start with the best first. The Brixon Ivy Jarred Lace Blouse. I saw this on the stitch fix blog but wasn't sure if it looked to maternity blousey. I tried it styled as they suggested and love it. Doubt I will ever wear it with the pencil skirt, but it was fun to try, the jeans look, just my style! Right on. Probably keeping.

I had a few issues with the rest. The fit was off on the Indianan Blouse, to short for my bod and made me feel really wide. Beautiful back though. I know lots of girls that would rock this.

And the Kensie Navy Blazer... well the idea was nice but I am resigned to the fact that blazers just make me look to straight and frumpy. Oh well, it is summer here and I probably wouldn't wear it until October if I kept it. Shown with a dress from a previous fix.

And again, just doesn't work for me.
And the final plaid shirt was just hopeless. That is my fault though, the stylist knows I love plaid and tried to deliver a lighter summer version. Oh well. The handbag was cute, just something not right when I handled it... to jingly or noisy if that makes sense. Purely personal preference.
So ... keeping the first cobalt blue top and sending the rest back. Thanks for peeking at this months fix with me!
If your interested in giving stitch fix a try, click here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Farm Update

It has been a busy spring on our little farm. We have added some new faces, started some new ventures and even broke sod for my new garden.
I had great inner turmoil about where to put my new garden. The main concern being that our property is bordered by commercial farmland on two sides and I am pretty sure the farmer isn't concerned with keeping things organic or pesticide free. I wanted to avoid putting the garden right next to the farmland. That only left two other locations. On a hill or in a more shady spot. My old garden was on a hill and I decided I could deal with it again thinking to eventually add some terraced raised beds. And it isn't a steep hill, more of a gradual incline. So The Sportsman and I broke sod a couple weekends ago. We learned we should have maybe rented a sod cutter for something like that... But with a lot more raking and hoeing the garden is plantable. I have onions, pumpkins, a lettuce bed and my transplanted rhubarb in so far. The babies and I went on a little field trip to purchase our seeds. By far the most reasonable place for heirloom and organic seed around here has been Rohrer Seeds in Smoketown, PA. You can order online from them as well, I might go that route next year to avoid the drive.
We also bought some spring peeps. Broken record here... you know I am not crazy about birds. But I am very excited to have a fresh supply of eggs. We bought twelve Barred Plymouth Rock chicks and it looks like five are hens. I also love that one of our outbuildings is getting a facelift and being turned into a chicken palace. Complete with nesting boxes accessible from the outside so I can avoid contact with birds as much as possible.
The chicks are out of the cute fluffy stage and will be headed out to the coop next weekend. Be ye warned fox, raccoon and various vermin...

We also purchased a new friend for Bill. Long story short... our resident Pygmy goat couple Bill and Jill had birthing complications, Jill passed away, Bill was lonely so we bought him Lily. She is supposedly prego by another so we will see how that drama turns out.
I am actually not fond of Bill at the moment... he gets a little to playful lately and I am not crazy about having animals around that I have to be "careful" with. So shape up or ship out Bill.
And finally, after much preparation The Sportsman's bees arrived and seem to be doing great. I am excited about providing lots of colorful blooms for the new bees and am thinking of planting some apple trees and hoards of Lavender.

Hopefully after a year or two we can harvest some fresh gold from these hives.
Well that is all the new news from our little farm. If you hear of anyone with Dexter cows or feeder pigs for sale... give me a shout! We are going all out over here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Butcher Print Woes

There is just something about butcher prints. A little ironic, a little rustic, a little shabby chic... I knew I wanted to display some good old butcher prints somewhere in my house. I thought they might look silly anywhere but in the kitchen though. You know, kind of weird to have a picture of a chicken wing hanging in the guest bathroom, or not? So my woes started before Christmas when I pinned a random butcher print to my wishlist. The Sportsman has really been hitting it out of the park with granting me my Christmas wishes the last couple years (love you hunny!) and being the sweet kind of guy he is, he spent WAY to much on a butcher print from It was large and would have had to go in the family room. Again, odd for it not to be in the kitchen? Plus I felt guilty. So it went back.

Part two of this story. There has been this corner of my kitchen that has really the only blank space in the whole area. So my butcher print woes returned. I found cute etsy prints that were going to cost me over $80 just for 5 x 7 prints. Not really my frugal decorating style. Then I stumbled over this sweet little blog and lo and behold... free butcher printables!  I couldn't figure out how to print them horizontal but think they still look ok. My total project cost was under $20. The frames are from Dollar General and I bought the cheapest can of turquoise spray paint from HD. I just printed the butcher prints on copy paper to see how I like them and so far they are holding up fine. I noticed one of them is getting a little wavy in the frame from our recent humidity, so eventually I will buy some good cardstock and reprint them... but hey! Not to shabby!

Part three of this story. Happy kitchen corner, with butcher prints (if not slightly crooked... yay dollar general frames...) displayed!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

  And we have chicks! Lil'Adventuress and Sportsman-in-Training have been having fun watching these little critters grow the last few weeks. And laughing. Momma doesn't like birds, so having twelve birds in my garage has been... interesting. But great for the kids, and at the rate they consume eggs I am looking forward to being able to skip that section at the grocery store.

Ok, I'll admit they are kind of cute. Especially when Lil'Adventuress runs to the garage door screeching "chick, chick!".

Happy Easter from our flock to yours.
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