Thursday, September 5, 2013

Awesome Free Printables to Keep You Organized

I have to say that the free printables, are in fact, not made by me. I lack the necessary skills to create something like that so I rely on all the other bloggers to help me out.

I happened to stumble upon DIY Home Sweet Home and Jamie the creator, through Pintrest. I had been wanting to make a Home management binder for some time now and her printables popped up while I was searching around.

They are just amazing. Bright and colorful and enough to get you organized and ready to rock. You can find all of them HERE.

Anyway, yesterday I needed to make a few notes on some organizing projects that I wanted to tackle. Since our oldest has started kindergarten I needed to jot some things down about updating my commander centers. I have 3 total and they were just getting over run by paper piles, boxes stacking up and overflowing arts and crafts.
 I printed out the Jot It worksheet and starting noting (above). While on the phone this afternoon, my oldest thought she would add her ideas too! (below)
 She told me she was making me happy pictures and that I still had three more spaces to write. She was totally right, but I am anal about keeping my notes a certain way. Then I told her it was not nice to mess up mommy's work and to ask next time. (I really couldn't get angry with cute drawings like these)
 She told me she was sorry and ran off into the new homework/school station. She emerged 5 minutes later with a new jot it page for me, her own creation!

I will definitely be using hers, just as soon as the other is all filled in!
Just a quick note about the jot it page. I keep several blank ones in my folder and purse and planner. I use them for blog post scheduling, project planning, and party planning.
They keep me organized and all my notes and plans are together on one page (one page per subject/project).
Check out Jamie's website DIY Home Sweet Home for your own copy!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Roadside Basil Stand - One Dollar a Bunch

I have always wanted to have a roadside farm stand. I love growing and preserving the fruits and veggies from the garden and when I have a abundance it would be fun to set up a cute stand in the shaded yard and chit chat with fellow neighbors and passer byes. 

In the afternoon, last week that is what we did...sort of.

 I had a over abundance of basil. My freezer in stuffed with pesto, plain basil cubes, and basil in olive oil. My only thought was to have a basil stand instead of a lemonade stand. Allison thought it was brilliant.
 We set up shop at the end of the driveway. I grabbed my shabby stools from the garage and a few dollar store finds to display the basil.
 we probably had about 25 large bunches of basil for sale. Not a single person stopped by to chit chat or share gardening tips.

 But this little one was super happy. She sold 2 bunches of basil to our neighbor and got to keep the money all for herself (well only one of the dollars, brother got the other one).
Next summer we will definitely do it again. It was fun and something totally different from the norm. 
Maybe next time I will sell peppers since I am really good at growing those too. Maybe I will advertise. Maybe I will sell some folk art stuff and my canned jam and plants and seedlings and swap recipes and sell flower bunches...
a girl can dream! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick Pizza Margarita

One of my favorite pizzas is the simple, yet satisfying, pizza margarita. I love the fresh flavors that blend together creating a deliciousness that you begin to crave and then become obsessed with and have to make that one food everyday to tame the beast within.

Maybe that's just me. 

Anyway, with it being summer and all, I thought I would whip up some pizza margarita with the fresh goodies from our garden.
Here is my quick version with a premade crust

I started with a Crossfire Naan bread that I purchased from Costco. I love this naan, it's thick and chewy and makes a great base for many pizzas and delicious dipped in hummus.
I also gathered some tomatoes, basil, marinated mozzarella, and some Hirten Cheese to grate on top.

 Please never mind the wall, we were in the middle of phase one of our kitchen remodel.

look at all those yummy ingredients...mmm...
 I really don't like to dirty to many dishes so I cook a lot with my hands (that might explain why I have a horrible habit of washing my hands every time I touch anything at all). I tore the mozzarella into bite sized pieces and tossed them on the naan that I brushed with the marinade in the cheese balls.

I had my helper grate some of the Hirten on top of that.

 She did an awesome job and I found if she cooks with me and gets to have some hands on time with the food, she is more likely to eat and enjoy the food.

More cheese being grated, most of it ended up on the baking sheet but I scooped it up and we sprinkled.

I then sliced some romas and put them on top of the cheese and grated more cheese on top of that. I baked it at 400 degrees (I bake everything at this temp. so if you have any questions on oven temp, I will reply 400 sounds about right). I think I timed it at about 12-15 minutes. just check to make sure the cheese is bubbly and it's heated through.
 After it cooled for about a second I tore some basil and scattered it about, then sliced and served.

A most delicious, quick, and fresh lunch enjoyed be my and my daughter on our girly day!

I hope you enjoy, and leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Best Invention - A Busy Box for Tinkers

We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen for the second time - expanding into the garage to make it larger and more family friendly. While sorting through drawers and such I just tossed things into a storage box for later, mostly things from the junk drawer.

Leaving it on the floor for further adding too, I never thought it would bring such joy to my little boy.

 He can sit in the kitchen for hours just tinkering away making inventions and building robots. He created a "sink" the other night from a valve, some washers and a small plastic light bulb then took it apart to create something else.

He was really overjoyed when dad let him use a real screw driver to make his "inventions". It has been the best and cheapest busy box we have found that can keep him occupied for so long. And every time I need to throw something into the junk drawer, I toss it into the invention box instead. I know he will create something fantastic and imaginative with it.

Here is a list of some of the things inside the busy box for tinkers:
          pipe cleaners
          clothes pins
          foam popsicle sticks
          screws leftover from IKEA furniture
          hinges from the cabinet we removed
          some tape
          empty medicine bottles (also great for sorting screws and making instruments)
          lids from a couple of Pringles cans
          a few springs, washers, fabric scraps, allen wrenches

I will be adding to the box very soon since I had not one, but two junk drawers in the kitchen. In that one I think I have some extra cords, extra flashlight, bottle caps, cabinet bumpers and some odds and ends that he will enjoy much more than me. And I will have space for more cooking utensils or spices.

Monday, April 8, 2013

DIY Family Command Center - Update

If you had read my previous post about my family command center we created out of a highly unorganized closet in our front room. The closet is narrow and was really poorly planned.

Since the project was finished I have added a few elements that help to keep my kids stuff organized as well as some of there activities and school things together.

I purchased 4 file boxes, 2 for each. One contains files for each year. I keep important papers, artwork, school work, stuff like that, in the bottom boxes. On top of those I keep a box full of busy bags for each of them along with a box of puzzles and a an open box for each containing Innotabs, current art in progress, pencils, etc.

It stays pretty organized most of the time. 

Until a bored 2 year old decides to get something out of the closet. You realize something is wrong when it's been quiet for 30 seconds and decide to check if he needs help with his busy bags.

Then you get this.

 He decided he needed to empty his busy box and the puzzlebox and sissy's busy box so he could climb into the puzzle box and toss remaining puzzle pieces onto the floor.

Do you often wonder what goes on in the mind of a 2 year old boy?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Showers

It was quite an uneventful day in the garden today. The April showers have started and it's going to be off and on all weekend - total bummer.

I did put on a coat and hat and made my way outside a few times today to check on my greenhouse full of peppers, tomatoes, marigolds, eggplants, herbs, and cucumbers. Amazing everything seems to do better when the weather is rainy and warm.

8 sunflowers have sprouted in the cucumber patch. I realized I need more if I plan to use them as a trellis for the cucumbers. I think this idea is going to look really pretty when everything is in full bloom and the bees will love the flowers.

The kids played a lot of play dough and crafts. This keeps them busy for hours. Give them a rolling pen, some cookie cutters and a clear working space and they are immersed in there work. While they played it gave me a few minutes to sketch out some more ideas for the greenhouse/office. If you follow me on Pinterest you are probably seeing a few ideas I have pinned. I am just combining all the elements I like and drawing up some plans.

I do have a quick tip to share today. I really don't know why this idea has never popped in my head before.

When prepping a jar of homemade chicken broth for the freezer I cut some notebook paper to fit under the ring of my mason jar then labeled with the contents and date.
Totally easy and I can see at a glance what I have and the date I threw it in the freezer. It also saves time when washing, no more scrubbing permanent marker off lids or jars.

How do you label jars? What kind of system do you have when organizing your freezer? Leave a comment, I love to hear from you!

Hope you all had a wonderful Spring day where you are!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ranch Flavored Snack Mix - Oyster Cracker and Mixed Nut Combination

If I would say so myself, I am queen of snack mix mixing. I love making snack mix. It combines all the delicious tidbits I like and is easily munchable.

I usually just take ingredients I have on hand and stir them together to create a tasty snack.
One snack mix I recently made was a ranch flavored mixture of mixed nuts and oyster crackers (a lot of mixing in this sentence).

 I combined the entire 16oz package of oyster crackers with about a half cup of the mixed nuts. I drizzled it with a bit of olive oil, just enough to coat it, then I added the ranch dressing mix about 3 tablespoons. You can always adjust the flavorings to your liking: more ranch or olive oil wouldn't hurt the recipe, it would just make it either a little more oily or a little more salty.

After mixing well to coat all the morsels, spread it on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 200 degree oven for about an hour mixing every 15-20 minutes.
 Let the snack mix cool completely. Store in an airtight container (like my reused almond jar) and enjoy.

It really is quite tasty and the kids love it. I sometimes add craisins or raisins to it before putting it in their lunches for a sweet and salty snack.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

DIY - Building a Greenhouse/Office

How was everyone's Easter?
Ours was fantastic. We did our traditional egg hunt, had our family over, and delicious food was served, which we ate too much of. We played tag with the kids and worked in the garden making a new compost area.

While in the process of making the yards more permaculture friendly we have decided to build a greenhouse. It has actually morphed into an office, potting shed, greenhouse.
We have been getting a few ideas from "Your Homemade Greenhouse and How to Build it" by Jack Kramer. You can see our rough sketches of the elements we would like.
 Some of the ideas we have are a seed drying area (I am a hoarder of heirloom seeds), office area, potting bench, a 5x6 greenhouse attached with running water, storage area for garden tools and chicken feed. We are also running power out there since most of the time we will use the green house in the middle of winter when it gets darker earlier.

You can see the more detailed sketch of our idea.
We are still in the early planning stages. We do hope to have the shell and greenhouse up and running by December. In the meantime I will work on the planning and save the seeds from this years crop for a bigger crop of heirlooms next year.

Any of you have a greenhouse/potting shed? What elements are you favorite about it?

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Ready for Easter

In light of the beautiful weather I have been spending most of my days outside with the kids. We have been planting, pruning, trimming and digging.

It has been so fun to be out in the sunshine and blue skies. Today was a bit cloudy, it has been threatening rain all week, nothing yet.

I thought since Easter was just a few days away I would share some gift ideas and pictures of pretty flowers and blooms from around the yard to celebrate Spring and rebirth.

For gifts this year I am doing the traditional egg hunt but with almost no candy. I bought some really cute egg stuffers at the Dollar Tree and I think I have some dollar bills or quarters laying around somewhere (money really could just be pennies, neither kid really gets the value of money anyway hahaha!).
Here is a list of the things I purchased:

  • grow capsules - stick them in water, watch them grow
  • Easter erasers
  • Easter themed stickers
  • peanut M&M's - I just couldn't resist
  • dollar bills
I have to keep it gender neutral since I have a boy & girl.  Shopping for their baskets was a little tougher this year since I hate all that junky stuff. I decided to get them a few things they really enjoy; puzzles, books and crafts stuff. I also got some crazy straws because they love them with smoothies in the morning.

For the grandparent baskets I am giving I have included homemade laundry soap, snacks and artwork from the kids. Basic and useful. Package them beautifully and they will be well received.

Now for the flowers. I am not sure of all the types but I will try to identify what I can.
 A beautiful daffodil. The yard is filled with them just before spring.

 Pretty pink flower cluster (actual scientific name). The green foliage grows year round but in early spring it produces the pretty flowers.
 The blueberry busy growing buds, only three this year, better then last.
 Strawberries. I have three plants that I finally moved into the sun. Hope to get a berry or two.
 Vinca minor. Flowers are really simple and pretty. We use it as a ground cover and it grows everywhere.
 Our lovely fig tree. This year I might make jam.
 A climbing rose that grows around our bedroom window. Gives it a cottage feel.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mud Pie Kitchen

While searching for some ideas on potting sheds and green houses, I came across a post about a mud pie kitchen.

Talk about cool. I am always in the garden and working in the yard so a place for my kids to play and create while I am busy puttering around was a great solution to "I'm bored, can we go inside?"

 I had an old cabinet that has been outside for about 4 years. When I picked it up the back fell off so I added a vent from an old washing machine. We added a spice rack and a small table. I also moved a lavender plant and a cutting of a large oregano plant so they have herbs to pick and "season" their mud pies.
 Here she is hard at work. This keeps both of them busy for hours. It is quite a mess when they are finished but it is SO worth it. If you noticed, I did replace the cheap plastic fence with a metal one. The cheap one kept falling over and looked cheap so when I was moving some flowers around in the yard I took the fence that surrounded them.
Some good mud there. The garden is on the other side of this fence. A great opportunity for them to make some great mud.
At least until the garden is planted!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

If you are looking for an all natural all purpose cleaner recipe, here it is. I found one similar on Pintrest a while back and decided to give it a try.
Not only does it disinfect and smell nice, it's cheap too. You can't beat that. It cost me a few minutes of my time mixing it together and that was it. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand.
 These are all the ingredients you will need and the finished product hanging out in the back. Most likely you already have them in your cupboards, so clean out a spray bottle and get to mixing.
You will have a cleaner, greener home in no time!
 Here is my recipe, I actually have 2 but I have found I prefer the first one. I don't know why, just do. One thing I did add was tea tree oil (a few drops) for scent and the antibacterial properties.

All my secret hippy recipes are hidden in this recipe binder. I inherited it from my sister when she passed a few years ago. I add all my homemade mixes, cleaners and food recipes to it. I do need to sit down and reorganize it and make it a bit fancier inside, but if the house caught fire I would grab this before the wedding pictures...hahaha!

So without further storytelling here is the recipe.


2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Blue Dawn dish soap
4 Tbs white vinegar
400 ml water
a few drops of essential oil for scent


Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kitchen Command Center

Last week I talked about the closet turned command center that is the main hub of most of the activity and paperwork.
I do, however, have a small, very basic command center in the kitchen. It consists of a bulletin board with a calendar.
The calendar is where I schedule what needs planting in the garden or green house, kids appointments, parties, activities. I tack coupons, reminders and other things I need to readily see on the cork board above. 

I have two frames that I painted hanging next to the cork board. The top one contains a housework schedule I printed off from Pintrest onto some scrapbook paper. The bottom one is just a framed piece of scrapbook paper, I write what's for dinner that night, a quote from a book,  a math problem or trivia question. It has been blank for a couple of weeks since I just seem to forget to find a pen to write something.

My trusty apron hangs there too. I never forget to put it on before cleaning the house or cooking a meal. That is another post altogether though.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. What projects have you been working on? Do you have a command center in the kitchen, if so leave a comment with your link. I would love to check it out!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Photography

Fridays are a day of catch up before the weekend starts. So, to keep you coming back I will give you a glimpse of my life in pictures. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend.

 A broken clock in the ivy. The ivy is growing around the clock creating a really interesting garden feature. I love it.
 The littles working in the garden collecting dirt to make some mud for there mud pie kitchen we built a few weeks ago.
We grow mutant clovers here at the Hippies Cancello micro farm. I found this 6 leaf clover a few days before St. Patrick's Day. Does is have extra luck because of the extra leaves?