Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday Link Up

A garden review.  Things that I did different this year:
1.  No till
2.  No crazy, exotic things
3.  Extra green bean and beets
4.  Added fruit
Why?  I am getting older and the things that I think about are different than when I was you know, younger.  My boys are getting older and working outside of the home which was a sudden reality. 
That meant that I either had to change my garden plans or shut up, do it by myself and enjoy it.  While I do enjoy it, it is a lot of work.  So this year I kept my row of flowers that is low maintenance.  I also added grapes, raspberry, rhubarb, blueberry and asparagus which after the initial planting are pretty much minimal maintenance. 
How are things going?
1.  Love the no till.  I think the soil is richer because of all the mulching and the weeds are less though not gone.
2.  I did not waste any space with exotic things because of adding the fruit and asparagus I also did away with space.
3.  Last year we ran out of green beans before Christmas.  This year I plan on not doing that again!
4.  All the fruit is growing well and I wait with anticipation for next spring since most of it will not produce much this year. 
My flower row of zinnia, cosmos, baby's breath, and calendula.

Red and gold potato patch.

French green beans, beets, cucumber and basil.

Tomatoes!  Beets!

I have 2 strawberry beds out of the garden.  We are transferring them in the fall to be inside the garden fence.  Onions and cilantro.

Red and white onions.

Pepper plants.

1 of 3 concord grape vines.

Baby grapes!

Tomato growing out of it's cage.

Swiss chard.

1 of 3 raspberry brambles.


1 of 2 blueberry bushes.

Baby cucumber!

The storm literally rolling in.

My hosta bed with cardinal vine on the trellis.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday Link~up

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday link~up party!
Today I will be discussing the wisdom in growing and storing your own food.  I am not a prepper by nature.  Though I am not against it by any means!  If you know anything about me you probably know I am not a keeper.  I just can't do it.  Maybe it was all those years moving every few years because of my dad being in the Army.  I do have a slight storage of food but I can not keep things stocked.  I use what I have stocked and then I delight in planning and buying to stock it up again.  I can't help but savor making jam for the upcoming winter and delighting in every single jar down to the last one.  If I never got to the last one because I had a storage for the next 5 years I think I would go mad!  If that sounds crazy welcome to my brain.
I do enjoy gardening.  I also enjoy harvesting and storing for the winter. I love soups and stews in the winter and there is no better way to add the healthy benefits of greens then to freeze them in the summer and add them straight to the pot.
Swiss chard is FULL of antioxidants.  However to help your body absorb antioxidants and minerals you should blanch them. Leafy greens contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid interferes with the absorption of minerals so by blanching swiss chard you are reducing the effect.  Which is what you need to do to freezer swiss chard anyways!  You can also treat spinach and beet greens this way. 

I like to let mine grow big leaves.  The stalks get longer and I think I get two different ways to use them this way.  Then when I harvest I just make it a day by pulling up the whole plant cutting the leaves from the stalk and keeping them separate. 

Bring a big pot of water to a boil.

Run a sink full of cold water and wash the greens after the stalks have been cut off.

Keep the stalks for recipe below.

 Add greens to pot of boiling water.  Boil the greens for 3 minutes.  While you are waiting fill the sink back up again with clean cold water.  After the 3 minutes place the greens in the sink of water.  I like to keep the greens whole so that this part is easier to fish out of the boiling water.  If they were cut before hand you would have tiny pieces to drain and then wait to fill the sink.
After they are cooled off drain them and cut them.

Place them in a freezer bag according to whatever portions your family will use.

Leave a little bit open on the side and squeeze out excess water.  I suggest not taking a picture because as you look away you will continue to squeeze leaving a water mess all over the counter. 

Mark your bag with contents and the date.  That way if you decide to do a fall planting you will know what bags to use first.  And who can tell the difference between spinach and swiss chard in the freezer?

Now what to do with all of those stalks?  Compost?  Maybe but first try this and see if you like it.  Heat the oven to 400 and cut the bigger stalks in half.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  We stuffed our tacos with them along with some beef and peppers. 

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mint Leaves

It is the destiny of mint to be crushed.

Waverly Root ~ food writer

So fitting as it relates to mint.  If you have used mint at all you know that crushing it releases the desired essential oils.  Those lovely essential oils we are all so familiar with to flavor candy and tea.  When I first wrote about the herbs I was going to grow this year I gave you a recipe for mint syrup to add to tea, top ice cream with, add to coffee, the possibilities are endless. 
Today  I am writing to tell you an even easier way to use mint in your ice tea.  Ice Cubes! 
It is so simple and fun because as you are cutting and crushing the mint leaves the aroma will help lighten your mood and even energize you.  Mint is also full of magnesium of which is essential for over 300 bodily functions.  Including muscle and nerve function, maintaining a regular heart beat, strengthening your immune system as well as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure levels.  Maybe we could all use a daily dose of mint!
Once your mint has taken off and become full cut it all back at least half way.  It will grow back again in a few weeks for another cutting.  Take about 30-40 leaves and crush/cut/tear them.  Throw them into a saucepan with 2c of water.  Bring to a quick boil, take away from heat and let it all cool down until room temperature.  Strain the water and pour into ice cube trays.  You can add 1 mint leave to each cube making sure it is all submerged and freeze.  They will stay green since the water is at room temperature now and you will only have 1 full mint leave floating around in your glass as opposed to many little pieces.  You can also leave the mint leaf out all together, the ice cube is already minty enough. When that batch is done repeat collecting all the ice cubes in a freezer bag. 
The next time you pour yourself a tall glass of tea or fresh lemonade add your mint ice cubes. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday

Good Morning! 
In an effort to be held accountable to writing with/for a purpose I have signed up to co-host a link party with Simply Helping Him and Life is Good. I actually met Misty through a link party.  What is a link party?  Do I have to buy anything?  Will I be led to websites that might have suggestive material?  Will I ever be the same? 
When I first started learning to blog I would visit them and I began to notice that people said they were "linking up" to this or that blog link party. When I clicked on the little icon below the notice, I arrived at a site that led me to lots of other blogs. It is sorta like sitting down to relax or unwind with a favorite magazine or book.
Blog parties are like girls, they serve more than one purpose.  For the writer that hosts the link up party it helps increase traffic to their own personal blog by partnering with other bloggers.  It also helps other bloggers by letting them submit a web link so others can find them and visit.  For the reader or browser it allows them to have a smorgasbord of topics to read and learn from.  Because in the end it is all about learning and sharing and meeting new friends.
If you have a blog you can add a link to a specific blog post and you can find that at the bottom of this post.  All links are checked and read by all 3 ladies who host.  If there is any inappropriate links they will be deleted without any explanation.  If you are a reader just click on any of the links and enjoy!  If you read something interesting please leave a comment, they are a highlight to blogging. May I also warn you that you must be the one who governs your own time.  Even as a blogger I must do that!
Which is a great transition into my content for Wisdom Wednesday.  The dictionary defines wisdom as good sense, wise decisions, accumulated learning.  Proverbs 9:10 declares, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Many people think they are wise but until you know who God is and follow Him we truly do not know what truth and right is.  He defines those words.  Even as christians we can make unwise choices but that is the point.  Until you let God define what is unwise we are defining it and that is bad folks. We either let God define everything or we define everything.  One way leads to wisdom and life the other leads to folly and death.  Get Wisdom! 

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Motivation Monday
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Frugally Sustainable

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hen & Chicks Soap

June Special
$3 Mayan Gold
$3 Blueberry

All others $4 and bars average 5oz.  Priority shipping is $6 for up to 7 bars and $11 for more.

Black Amber & Lavender
Deep and sophisticated this fragrance blends rustic Amber with bold Parisian Lavender. Combined with these main scents is a mysterious Black Myrrh, dulcet vanilla Tonka bean, and a splash of Egyptian Musk.
Saponified oils of palm, sunflower and coconut. Fragrance oil.

Almond & Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter has been called the ultimate moisturizer, and has been used to keep skin soft and supple for centuries. Cocoa butter is often recommended for treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.
Saponified oils of palm, sunflower, coconut and cocoa butter. Fragrance oil.

Mayan Gold
This luxurious fragrance is a mix of rare woods, spices and amber. It is considered an oriental fragrance with a very unique note: chocolate!
Saponified oils of palm, sunflower and coconut. Fragrance and essential oil.

Turkish Mocha
Turkish Mocha has a creamy top notes of milk, cardamom, cocoa and a touch of nutmeg. The alluring, complex blend winds down to heady scents of vanilla and honey run, and of course, Turkish Coffee.
Saponified oils of palm, sunflower and coconut. Fragrance oil.

This is a single note scent. Just good old ripe, plump blueberry!
Saponified oils of palm, sunflower and coconut. Fragrance oil.

Blackberry Sage
Absolutely fantastic! The perfect blend of juicy blackberries tempered with sage.
Saponified oil of palm, sunflower and coconut. Fragrance oil.

Honey N Oats
Oatmeal has a long history of use as a softening agent that helps to soothe sensitive or irritated skin. Ground-up oats found their way into cleansing and beauty bars centuries ago, imparting an appealing texture, colour and scent.
Oatmeal is used in soap primarily as an exfoliantive glow.
Among all the cereals, oats are said to have the best amino acid balance and are a soothing, anti-inflammatory agent. Those who have used soaps with oatmeal content say that it relieves minor skin irritations and the itching from mild eczema.

I also add raw honey, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, and beeswax. It is the only thing I use to wash my face.
Any questions?  Please leave a comment or email me at
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fashionable & Functional

operational: in good working order, serving a purpose

currently popular, trendy

Sometimes those two words don't go together.  For instance...

The Shirt Clip

Breakaway Pants
Platform Shoes
These things don't say fashionable or functional but at one time in history they did.  Thank goodness we can learn from our past...ahhmmm.

As the lady of the house and a artist at heart I love to decorate my home.  Since I also have a husband and 3 boys I want fashion with function so I am not stuck cleaning all day on a nice summer day or cold winter day for that matter.  One thing I do is to use rugs.  Throw rugs.  It has been documented that when a person comes to a mat at a door they will wipe their feet most times.  If you will put a rug outside the door and inside the door most people will even wipe twice!  It works, I have seen it, I have done it.

Back door.

Inside and outside my front door.

Try it and see if it works!
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