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!