Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Two Blogger awards!

Some of my favorite bloggers nominated me for blogger to blogger awards!
Just thought I'd share and pass them on!

Anna at Blissful Whimsy nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award and I'm totally surprised + delighted!
Thank you, Anna!

Amanda Kay over at Organic Homemaking (amazing and inspiring blog!) nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award!
Thank you, Amanda Kay!

Here are the official Rules:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  • Tell your readers ten (10) things about you.
  • Give this award to fifteen (15) recently discovered bloggers.
  • Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news

As a result, you guys will be made to suffer ten facts about me:

1. If I had a superpower, it would be to remove wallpaper in the blink of an eye. I'd be a real hero!
2. I am secretly pleased, not insulted, when people call me crunchy, even when they mean it as an insult. Disdain only affects you negatively if you let it!
3. I adore antique furniture, even though I am secretly terrified that I'll ruin it!
4. I would eat parsnips, zucchini, and asparagus every day of my life, if I could.
5. I prefer to be with my husband and kids over anyone else. They're amazing and social events are nothing compared to an evening at home with them!
6. You couldn't pay me to have an epidural! We're planning to have Finn at home with our midwife!
7. People that let their loud, obnoxious ringtones go on for long periods of time in public make me stabby! I don't want to hear Mariah Carey for a minute and a half in the grocery line while you sing along, thank you very much!
8. I think that petroleum based, artificial dyes (like Red #40 that bth of my kids get sick from) should be banned. How hard would it be for our government to ban stuff from food that wasn't food?! Seriously.
9. I love blue jeans! I was forced to wear dresses in private school for way too long, I think! I only wear them to weddings and funerals... and maybe once a year, otherwise! I do love looking and shopping for dresses. It's just the wearing part I take issue with!
10. My husband has cut me off from buying fuzzy throws :) haha

My Versatile or Kreativ Blogger nominees:

(K) Beatrice at Sew Bea
(K) Matt and Kara at Matt and Kara adopt
(V) Daisy at Livin' the Dream
(V) Dianna at raising them green
(K) Nicole at Frontier Dreams
(V) Miranda at An Austin Homestead

My homemade deodorant!!

1/4 cup of baking soda
1/4 cup of arrowroot starch
6 tablespoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil
5 drops of essential oils (optional, for scent)

It is super easy!
Just remember that it is not an antiperspirant-
sweating is good for you and most products that keep you from sweating are downright unhealthy!

My supplies!

Measuring out the ingredients!

I keep it jarred in a cool place since coconut oil has a low melting point.

I chose sweet orange essential oils to use in this batch!
The scent makes me feel hapy and energized!

All mixed up! It looks like a sweet dessert!

I just put a bit on my fingers and rub it in!
No white marks, no dripping- as long as things are mixed in well and you don't use too much

My bathroom window!

On the left- homemade bubble bath
Second from the left- homemade laundry soap
Second from the right- homemade deodorant
On the right- homemade dishwashing soap

It's nice to not have to worry about what is in the products kept close to my family!

My homemade laundry detergent!

I finally needed to make more laundry soap, so here is my recipe!

1 cup of  castile soap
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda or baking soda

shake well!

1 tbsp for a light load
2 tbsp for a heavy load
1/2 tbsp for HE washers

I love the peppermint Dr. Bronner's castile soap!
Some people use Fels Naptha soap for this part, but I think that is a little harsh for my kids!

Grate it finely!!
Pieces too large will be hard for your machine to use effectively.

To get what you need, it will take about 2/3 of a bar of the soap.
I save the last bit to wash myself with!

Cheap as dirt, can be used for many things!

Washing soda!

Shake well!
I keep it in an old pasta sauce jar that I can't use for canning.

Since I use an HE front loader, I use 1/2 tbsp per load.
Yep, on my jar is says tsp, but I meant tbsp.
Blame my mommy brain!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Making strawberry jam!

My first experience making strawberry jam!

The gorgeousness we started out with!

Capped and hulled!

What up, compost?!


6 cups of smurshed strawberries for my recipe!

A little treat while I worked!

Heating up my lids!

Sterilizing my jars!

Rockin' out!

My big pot after I was finished!


And I tell you, I will NEVER buy store bought jelly/jam/preserves ever ever again!
This stuff is incredible!

And for those interested in trying it, DO!
It is so incredibly easy-
I'm not kitchen inclined and since then, I've made 20 more pints!
All successful.
It really isn't difficult!
I promise! :)

A little garden update!

These photos were taken last week!
I've been a bit out of the blogging loop thanks to our internet service provider being pretty close to useless!

Climbing green beans!

At last count, I found more than a dozen teeny, green tomatoes!

Come visit us, pollinators! Our little flowers need some lovin!

Sweet peppers!



Reach, little peas!




Sunday, May 29, 2011

26 weeks pregnant!

Well, it seems that we're barreling into the home stretch!
I cannot believe that my due date is in 97 days.
Pretty sure I found out I was pregnant yesterday!

I've gained 14lbs.
I feel absolutely amazing!
I've purchased a fantastic bikini to wear to the beach
(if and when my hubs can get any time off work!)
It looks like we'll be going at the end of June!
But knowing his travel schedule, anything can change.

I do love that I'm carrying him so high- compared to the first two, where I felt like I was carrying around a bowling ball in my pelvis the entire time! This is much more comfortable!
OH- and I love that I can wear my pre-baby shorts.
Hurray for low-rise waistbands, y'all!
If I carried Finn like Keelin or Jackson, that would be impossible to do!

It's the small things that make a preggo smile!

A gift for Keelin's teachers!

Here is one of the jars of strawberry jam that resulted from our three, yes three, trips to the berry farm!
Now, on my shelves, I have 20 pints of strawberry preserves, 4 gallons frozen in the freezer for smoothies and baking, plus another two gallons on the counter waiting to be dealt with. Not sure what we will make next! I'm thinking some mixed preserves- like peach/strawberry. We shall see!

Green Backpack giveaway winner is #19

Y'all, I am SO sorry it took me this long to post the winner! We switched internet service providers at our house and unfortunately, there was a delay in setting up their service- so I have been without home internet for a few days. I am in the Starbucks parking lot sipping on the most incredible coconutty, mocha-y frappucino-y concoction one can imagine, as I type! (Thanks for bearing with me!)

Random.org picked comment #19 as the winner!

Katy~The Country Blossom said...
I love all things that the store offers...but the ball point pens from recycled tires are just fantastic!!! :)

thecountryblossom at hotmail dot com

Congrats to Katy! I am sure you will love your colored pencils as much as we do- and that pencil sharpener is just too cool! Emailing you now for your address!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Berry picking!

I'd gotten in a good habit of blogging most days, but I've been enjoying the kids so much the past couple of days that I've been pooped by the time they were in bed! :) I tell you, if we could bottle their energy, there would be NO energy crisis!!

Yesterday, we went berry picking with my friend Sherron, who sadly was in town from Fort Lewis , Washington because her father in law passed away, and her family. She has a little girl that is a few months younger than Jackson- and I'm not sure who ate more strawberries! Keelin was as polite as ever, trying to balance filling up her bucket and stuffing her face! We ended up with just under 7 pounds of strawberries! I'd planned to pick more, but it was 93 degrees and I'm almost 26 weeks pregnant, so yeah, I was melting.

Keelin doing her thing!

Jackson and Maya cooling off in the hose!

My little green-eyed love!

Just one of our boxes of berries!
Big, red, shiny
Just begging to be turned into strawberry shortcake and jam!
(and I did both tonight- post to come)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our fine, feathered friends!

Some of our sweet chickens!
It was a beautiful day outside, so the girls were hanging around under the shrubbery near the pool pump.

Miss Big Bird- came running when she heard me saying I had treats!

Our lone Buff Orpington pullet- the only one that survived the black snake attack :(
But man, is she cute!!!
Keelin named her Cornmuffin.

The world famous Paula Deen!
"Put a sticka butter in it, y'all!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Things I have learned from living in the country:

Before I start my list, you guys may not know that we're buying the house I grew up in! My dad moved next door (1/5 mi. up the road!) and we're buying this house from him- very exciting! I'm a born and bred country girl, but in my teens and a bit into my twenties, I was confused as to how I wanted to live,  to raise the kids (in the country, barefoot in the grass, living on land OR in the city, fabulously bohemian, finding sustainability in an urban environment), but with time and thought, my heart changed and what I wanted for my children really became clear. And positively, it became obvious that I wanted them to grow up how and where I did- outside in the sunshine, jumping in creeks, riding horses, healthy as oxen from good food and exercise... and the decision was made to transplant ourselves from the sidewalks to the pasture- getting back to our roots, since Tim is a born and bred country boy himself, except that he is from Missouri and I was born here in North Carolina!

And here is my list! (LOL)
What I have learned from being an adult moving to the country after living in the city for a decade:

1. Thanks to the bugs and critters, it is louder at night here than it ever was when I lived in city apartments!

A few minutes ago, I actually contemplated going on the back porch to yell at the frogs to shut up before I called the cops! Hey, it worked when I had rude human neighbors! ;)

2. I learned the name of my mail carrier. She is delightful and I am planning to leave some fresh eggs in the mailbox for her sometime next week!

Shoot, she brings me my Backyard Chicken subscription... she knows what I've got going on!

3. In the last two weeks, I've moved 3 turtles from the side of the road in an effort to keep them becoming roadkill. In the city, I used to avoid running over roadkill. From avoiding to preventing...

In doing this, I learned that my son is terrified of turtles and my daughter thinks we need more pets. Jackson is in luck, because I'm not going to clean out an aquarium so that Keelin can have a turtle. Keelin is in luck, because I'm working on convincing Tim that we're ready for a milk goat! ;)

4. This week, I learned that even in my small community full of people still living a farming lifestyle, jerks will  truck in wholesale produce and try to sell it on the sides of the road marketed as local produce. Kiwi doesn't grow here, nincompoops. If it did, I would grow it.

'Nuff said!

5. Last, but not least- there is nowhere else on the planet I would rather be. Counting the tiny tomatoes on the plants, being chased around the yard by bitties, not worrying about the kids getting snatched from the yard while I feed the animals, hanging my skivvies on the clothesline, letting my kids play in the water naked as jaybirds... Of course, the isolation is sometimes palpable. Especially when Tim is traveling, like now, I do feel a bit like we might be the only people left on Earth. There is no HOA to tell me what color to paint the house's trim, my rooster can crow to his little heart's content... and I have no complaints!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Mason jar love!

As many of you have probably figured out, I hate Mason jars.
Okay, not really.
I absolutely adore them!

I've been given so many by amazing friends
(Thank you, Darlene and Carol, in particular!)
in hopes that I will be able to preserve tons of fruits and veggies this year!

Here is a top shelf photo of only two kitchen cabinets-
full of potential.

This is a lid that I won't be able to use to can,
so this one was chosen to receive a makeover!

Thanks to Carol for this particularly awesome honey jar!
I chose this one because of the measurements indicated on the side.

I read a tutorial on Easie Peasie for Mason jar soap dispensers.
You know I had to try to make one!

It will perfectly match the little Mason Jar Light that was just purchased, but hasn't arrived yet!
(Messing with electrical stuff is a little beyond my capacity at this moment in time!)

I cut a hole in the lid big enough to put a pump through.
I cut it a little small so that it would fit snugly.
Apparently, some people glue theirs down-
I didn't, since it wasn't budging once it was in there!

I filled the mason jar with my lemon Trader Joe's soap from Beatrice of Sew Bea!
(thank you, thank you!)
The pump top for the jar is from this bottle.
The original soap container was recycled!

I can refill it any time!
And this particular jar, since it was my trial run, will be put in the kid's bathroom.
I'll use a smaller Mason jar to make one that will fit easily behind my kitchen sink.

I thinned the soap out to make it easier for small hands to scrub up!
And here it is!

Please pardon the lighting on the photos- my husband was packing for a business trip, I was feeling crafty, and it was about midnight!

Thanks again to Tiffany of Easie Peasie for the great idea!
Thanks to Beatrice of Sew Bea for the fantastic giveaway that provided the soap!
Thanks to my sweet friends who pass on their canning jars!