Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pumpkin Biscotti And Pumpkin Spice Love

I blame it all on a candle. My daughter and I were shopping and I picked up a candle that smelled like the perfect pumpkin spice scent. I love pumpkin everything.


Well, before I even got home I was telling my daughter that I want to make pumpkin biscotti. Once home I lit the candle and then I knew I had to make the biscotti. So to the laptop I went and found a recipe I liked and started to bake. The link to the recipe is here. They are mild with just a touch of pumpkin and I added toasted pecans to the recipe as well. My daughters took it a step further and drizzled melted chocolate on theirs. I have been enjoying them with my coffee for a couple of days now and I think I will freeze some for later.

photo via simplyrecipes.com
How cute is this sign I found on Amazon? I am itching to decorate for fall. I know I know, I need to wait and savor summer but fall and pumpkin spice is my favorite!!




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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Uses For Grass Clippings In The Garden And Chicken Coop

If you have a lawn and it gets mowed than you have grass clippings. These clippings are a valuable garden resource and should be kept to use in your garden and not sent to the local landfill. If you use lots of weed killer on your lawn you may want to wait a couple of months to use them. Here are some ways we use grass clippings around the garden.



1. Spread the clipping around your garden beds as mulch. Make sure to spread fresh clippings thinly so they dry out properly. Grass that is wet and decaying will give off ammonia and you don't want that. Mulching with glass clippings adds needed nitrogen to soil, helps add a layer of mulch that retains moisture in the soil and also is good for the microbes and worms who feed off of the clippings as they break down.

2. Compost them. If you keep a compost pile than grass clippings can be tossed in to break down and composted. If your pile is not cooking well, the hot nitrogen can kick it up a notch. Just be careful not to dump in loads of wet grass as it can get slimy in there so if you have lots of wet grass try letting it dry out a bit before adding it to the compost pile.

If you do not have a compost bin you can find my easy diy compost holder instructions.




3. Add to the chicken coop run. First, the chickens will love you. Grass is an important feed crop for your chickens and provide nutrients that are good for them and make eggs more nutritious and yolks richer in color. By mowing often, the clippings stay nice and short. Long grass could lead to crop impaction. I have never had a problem with this but we mow weekly.

 Also, once they spread the grass clippings they make a great mulch layer that improves the chicken runs soil quality and helps keep dust down in dry months. Keep that grass pesticide free if giving it to your chickens.


backyard chickens


I have met some that have taken the time to use grass clippings in the actual hen house and in the nesting box. You would have to treat it like hay or straw and make sure it is really dried out well. If you are worried about crawling pests sprinkle some DE in there with it.

4. Leave the clippings right on the lawn as you mow. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for green lawn and as the clippings break down and release the nitrogen, it will help feed the lawn. This is a great tip in fall and spring to organically feed your lawn.

So use those grass clippings for good and keep them out of the landfill.
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Decorating Cozy Corners

Tucked in a corner off of our kitchen is my favorite corner of the house. Here are hubby's tips on decorating cozy corners. Now don't tell him that is what I am calling his decor. Shoot, he won't mind even if you did.


Over the weekend we bought a new punched tin lamp and some prim stacked nesting boxes. I have always loved stacked boxes. But enough that, now onto the hubby's tips:

1. Pick a couple unifying colors. Here we use mustard and black. Though we have a green couch in here and touches of red, it all works because of the base colors sprinkled throughout. (sprinkled is my word, not his)


2. Mix up textures. Wood, metal, soft, rough, etc. But grouping like collections is always better and make a nice statement.

3. Mix sizes, and decorate in threes. Odd numbers look better in decorating.


4. Leave some blank spaces for the eyes to rest. You can fill a space but leave the table below less cluttered. You don't want to have to spend forever dusting nick knacks. Don't be afraid to tuck things away in a closet. We do this all the time. We rotate stuff given what look we are going for at the time.



5. Lastly, adhere to the advice on the sign at my favorite shop,
Your husband called and said, buy whatever you want.


All decorating by Mr. SunnySimpleLife

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Tips and Tricks To Beat The Heat And Save Money

We are in the dog days of summer. Here are few summer tips and tricks to help deal with the summer heat.









And from the web some of my favorite tips and tricks for summer:

What is cuter than this? How to keep bugs out of your drink while enjoying the great outdoors from mom4.real.com


And from Pinterest I spied this tip cause what is summer without watermelon EVERYDAY!








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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Simple Saturdays Blog Link Party July 18

Join us for ideas on living a Simple Lifestyle and being Self Sufficient!

simple saturdays piggy

Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop!

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!
Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

  What Can I Post?

Anything and everything related to a more Simple way of life OR Self Reliance....
Homesteading, Prepping, Gardening, Cooking/recipes/food, Livestock of all varieties, Off-grid, Natural Living, Wellness/wholeness and Healthcare, Herbal, DIY & MYO!
*PLEASE-PLEASE-PLEASE*
Include:
1. Text link Or ADD the blog hop button below & link back to the Blog Hop.
Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

 How Can I Be a Featured Blogger?

By linking up AND HAVING A LINK OR BUTTON LINKING BACK TO THE BLOG HOP!
Our featured blogger is chosen each week by YOU our readers...and we hope to have YOU as our next featured blogger!
If you are selected as "Featured", make sure and grab your button!:
simple saturdays featured button
**Please note: By linking to this Blog Hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include 1 photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way. **

Congratulations to our Featured Bloggers this week:

Homesteady
homesteady

Ready to get to the hop? Add your link below:

 
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Best No Sand In The Pants Sandbox Idea

Year after year we roll out our best no sand in the pants sandbox idea.
When my other kids were small we had the traditional sand box and you know what that would always lead to; sand in the pants, on your couch, on your carpet, floors EVERYWHERE.
I just didn't want to go that route with our youngest this time so I came up with what I think is my best mom idea to date and there aren't many. Took the weathered old wheel barrow at perfect toddler height and poured on bag of play sand in. It is perfect. She plays and no sand in the clothes so no sand to grind into my wood floors.


I have put an umbrella over the sandbox to shade my little one and to keep it cool.
You can move it around into the shade or under cover if it rains. She has had the best time with it for two years now.


The wheel barrow is super steady too so it won't tip over. I just throw a cover on it at night if I remember so the kitties don't use it. Thankfully they have never discovered it.



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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mom's Best Easy Roll Out Sugar Cookies

I have tested many sugar cookie roll out recipes and always come back to this one. The perfect thick chewy sugar cookie recipe. Plus the recipe is written in my mother's beautiful cursive writing and I love just looking at it.

Mom's Best Easy Roll Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

One batch of my mom's sugar cookie recipe baked and ready to be decorated. I thought I would share the recipe. It makes a nice thick not too sweet cookie. With the frosted icing adding so much sweetness this is the perfect cut out recipe.

Audrey's Easy Roll Sugar Cookies
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. milk

Measure flour in large bowl and add baking powder and salt stirring to mix and set aside. Cream with mixer butter and add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla beating until well blended. Add dry ingredients and milk. Continue beating until well blended. Chill dough wrapped in plastic wrap for at least an hour or overnight.
Roll 1/2 inch thick cut outs and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for eight to 10 minutes or until they just start to brown on bottom edges.
After they cool, decorate with icing.



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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How To Wash Cast Iron Cookware

If you cook with cast iron you know it is a great kitchen tool. Here is how I wash my cast iron pans.

My mom prepared almost all of our meals in a large cast iron pan. She never ever used soap. She was from the school of thought that iron absorbs flavors, hence the reason for seasoning cast iron cookware.


I have two cast iron pieces that are seasoned and I follow my momma's rule. Here is how our family cleans cast iron cookware. First off, I would never wash cast iron in the dishwasher. Cast iron needs to be hand washed.

Here is what I do. When I am done cooking in a cast iron pan, I immediately put enough hot water to cover the stuck on food left from cooking. I then set it back on the stove burner and bring to a simmer and turn off the flame. I do this right after I plate up what we are having and let the pan soak while we are eating dinner.

When I go to do dishes, the cast iron skillet is ready for washing. To wash, all I do is take my plastic dish washing brush and brush off the food under hot running water. When the pan looks clean, I dry with a paper towel or lint free dish cloth. The pan may have a slight amount of oil on it still. This is normal. The seasoning builds up in the oil and that oil coating keeps your cast iron from rusting.

The slight amount of oil on the cast iron skillet or cookware will not become rancid and you heat cast iron up to a high temp before cooking in the next time anyway. Now if you really have something stuck on the pan you can use some salt to clean cast iron. Just sprinkle and scrub with your kitchen brush. This will not ruin the seasoning of your cast iron cookware.

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