Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paperback Swap

Is reading one of your passions? 
Do you love to get cozy with a novel on a rainy day? 
How 'bout learning all you can about one of your hobbies? 
Books are amazing
They transport us to other worlds,
help us understand the past, keep us grounded,
hold us firm to our ideals and teach us things we never thought we could learn.
We read a ton around here. 
The local library knows our family quite well. 


In simplifying my life this past year, I've given away
many of the books I had been holding onto for years. 
I just don't find the need to hang on to things that are available through my library.  That being said,
I wanted to share a wonderful resource
that we've been using for a couple of years now. 
 It's called Paperback Bookswap
Here's how it works.

~Go to the website and register your name. 
~List 10 books that you'd be willing to swap.  (This means that you'll be sending them to someone, and not getting them back.) 
~When someone requests a book from you, you are notified where to send it. 
~You pay for postage (media mail price) and off it goes to make someone else very happy.
~When you desire a book, browse the books available  by name, author or subject. 
~Choose books to be sent to you.
~You will be notified when the book is on its way.

It couldn't be easier.  We've gotten so many choice books this way, some that would have cost up to $50 or more.
Most of them have been in pristine condition.
All kinds of books are available, not just paperbacks. 
There are audio books, textbooks, and hardcovers.
It's a great resource for collectors, or for folks
like myself who want to hang on to only
the bare necessities.  You can even swap books,
read them, and then relist them.

*It's like a smile in your mailbox!*

Friday, February 25, 2011


I started out in my 20's cooking
once a week and freezing my meals.
I didn't really care for cooking, and
was working full-time, sometimes two jobs,
so this fit the bill.

I continued to do once-a-week cooking 
after I got married and started a family. 
I would spend most of a Saturday 
working in the kitchen preparing meals
to be eaten later in the week.
It became such a grind.

Somewhere along the way, it just
didn't feel right anymore. 
Now, I'm not knocking it for those with big families,
or those who work a lot of hours
outside the home, but for me, in the
lifestyle I have created for myself,
I needed to be connected to my food.

I also found that, being a planner, 
 trying to figure out what to make at the last minute,
or what to buy in the grocery store each week
really threw me. 

So, I developed a system (what else is new?) that takes the guesswork out and adds hours to my week for other things because I already have my meals planned.
Not only does this save time when it comes to the preparation, but it helps in trips to the grocery store and knowing that I have what I need to make any basic recipe.

The bonus is that I am preparing fresh food for my family (almost) every day and really being present in this endeavor.
Intention is a powerful thing.

I took 30 or so of my family's favorite meals,
and divided them up by the four weeks in the month.
I add to them occasionally, but we mostly eat
the same things due to dietary restrictions
and personal preference.
Each week when I'm making out my grocery list,
I refer to my MBTM plan and write down those items
that I need to purchase to make those meals.

I also look through the online sale flyer
for our grocery store and pick up whatever
is on sale that we use regularly.  In this
way, we get those things we need to keep
our pantry filled at a discounted price,
even if they're not needed on the present week's menu.
I always look for coupons online too,
especially for the sales items. 
Our grocery store offers lots of "buy one, get one free" items,
so we hardly ever pay full price for anything.

This system has been in place for many years,
and I can't tell you how much easier it is
preparing meals this way.  For folks like us
who don't eat out much, enjoy "clean eating",
 and like home-cooked meals,
it works like a charm.
It warms my heart knowing that every bite my family eats
is filled with healthy ingredients, and lots of love.
Hope you'll give it a go!



   Week One:                                                   Week Two:
Roasted chicken                                      Turkey w/stuffing
    Chili                                                                 Sloppy Joes
 Baked Ziti                                              Spaghetti & meatballs
  Bean burgers                                               Chicken nuggets
    Breakfast                                                     Soup & sammies
Turkey meatloaf                                                 Pizza

Week Three:                                                      Week Four:
  Shrimp & rice                                                Baked spaghetti
   Turkey burgers                                                 Fish cakes
 Tuna/chicken casserole                              Rice & Beans
Guido’s pasta                                       Penne w/white bean sauce
     Tacos                                                                Enchilada Pie
  Mac-n-cheese                                                  BBQ chicken


Catfish            Turkeyroni          Tostadas

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random Pix

Lovin' the new camera!

Our good neighbor's doggie-Josie
She's as sweet as she looks.

I've Been Awarded!

Moi?  Surely there must be some mistake!
Nope, I checked with Lisa at
and she meant me.
I would hardly describe myself as stylish.
I mean, my "look" is whatever is clean and comfortable!
Nonetheless, I accept with great humility.
Thanks, Lisa and continued blessings to you.

The rules of this award are to list 7 facts about yourself:

~I know for sure that with God, anything is possible.

~Inner gifts are to be shared.

~My favorite color is periwinkle blue.

~I have a collection of otters.

~I will never give up in aiding my son to a full recovery
from vaccine damage.

~Daffodils and sunflowers make me smile.

~If I had to choose between bread and chocolate,
I don't know if I could do it.

Every good turn deserves another,
so I'm passing this award on to:

A gardening blog sent from above.  Meems always has beautiful pictures and wonderful information
that enriches my gardening experience.
This woman has style for miles...

Tami has the same tongue-in-cheek humor that I do.
Easy reading comes only from a talented writer.
I love hearing about her adventures in North Carolina.
Heck, we may be neighbors someday!


Heather is inspiration in motion as she writes about
homesteading, homeschooling
and enjoying what we've been given.
She is grace personified.
I always learn something new on her blog.

It's hard to pick just three. 
I've learned so much in these past few months
since I started this blogging adventure.  I hope you'll visit these three very deserving ladies. 
You'll be better for it.

Here are the steps to this award, should you be chosen:

1. Acknowledge the person who awarded you by linking them back in your post.

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

3. Pass the award on to other new found bloggers.

4. Contact each blogger to let them know they’ve received the award; and let the ‘giver’ know you accepted the award.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Product Details

The Self Suficient-ish Bible by Andy & Dave Hamilton

"The green twins, Andy and Dave Hamilton, founders of the hugely popular website, will give you advice on how to live in a more frugal way, whilst still enjoying life to the full.  They offer a positive and fun approach, accepting that adjusting every aspect of our lives is too overwhelming for most of us-hence self-sufficientish."

This guidebook is organized into four categories:  home, outdoors, food, and lifestyle.  The information is straight-forward and practical, which is usually right up my alley.  For some reason, though, I couldn't bring myself to really dive into this book.  Perhaps it's a bit too wordy, or maybe the subjects could have been broken down in a different way.  It just didn't appeal to me.  I do like the notion promoted within that, "greening" your life can be done in stages, so as not to become overwhelming and ending up changing nothing. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heirloom Seeds

I came across this company while perusing
one of the homesteading groups I belong to. 
This description is from their website.
Another choice for those of us who prefer to use heirlooms.  Seems like they are trying to do the right thing. 
I just love it when people follow their dreams...

Sasha Loves Melons

About Us

Jere Gettle always had a passion for growing things, and at age 3, he planted his first garden. Ever since that day, he wanted to be involved in the seed industry. So at the age of 17, he printed the first small Baker Creek Heir­loom Seed catalog in 1998. The company has grown to offer 1,400 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs—the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the U.S.A.

Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heri­tage. Our company and seeds have been featured in The New York Times, The Associated Press, Oprah Maga­zine, Martha Stewart, and many others. Gardeners can request a free 128-page color catalog that now mails to over 250,000 gardeners nationally.

Baker Creek started hosting festivals in 2000 as an idea to bring gardeners, homesteaders and natural food enthusiasts together to exchange thoughts and seeds, listen to speakers, and enjoy vendors, old-time music and much more. These festivals gave birth to the idea for our pio­neer village, Bakersville. Other projects include our trial gardens, seed collecting expeditions, our popular online forums at and educational produce exhibits.

Over the last several years, Jere Gettle and his wife Emilee have branched out into other related projects as well, including The Heirloom Gardener magazine, which is now in its seventh year of publication. They have also expanded to a location in Sonoma County, California, in the beautiful town of Petaluma. Their most recent project is the restoration and preservation of the Wethersfield, Connecticut landmark, Comstock, Ferre & Company, the oldest continuously operating seed company in New England. We are now writing several books with Hype­rion, a division of ABC/Disney. These works will feature heirloom vegetables and our work with seeds and food.

We also work extensively to supply free seeds to many of the world’s poorest countries, as well as to school gardens and other educational projects here at home. It is our goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and to fight gene-altered Frankenfood and the companies that support it.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company
2278 Baker Creek Road
Mansfield, MO 65704 Phone 417-924-8917

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Needs Another Gadget?

As someone who believes less is more,
I couldn't justify going out and buying
something to aide in preparing one of my favorite things-salad.
In steps practicality...

 This is the amazing, all-purpose, easy-to-use
(with a 10-year guarantee no less)
salad spinner.

 Freshly washed salad leaves go in, dirt comes off.
Simply rinse your favorite salad greens,
place them in the salad bag,
go outside and spin, spin, spin!

We not only guarantee that you'll get the
freshest, cleanest salad of your life,
you'll be improving your overall health
by exercising those rotator cuffs.

Now, go out and pick up some lovely greens
and get yourself a salad spinner.
You'll be glad you did.

Also shared here

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Break in the Weather

With temps in the 70's today, I thought it a good time to
transplant some of the lovelies I've had in pots.
I think they'll be happy to have room to spread out.

This avocado plant was grown from seed. 
It managed to survive our absence last summer
and the freeze this winter.

 Here's another that I started in a plastic measuring cup,
but never got into the soil.  I guess that's why it's leaning.
As it reaches for the sun, it should straighten out.

 I'm looking forward to hosting caterpillars this spring.
I'm thinking it might be a good idea to plant some parsley next to the two milkweed plants.

This salvia is another native. 
Haven't done a thing to it and it looks mighty fine.

 It was quite a surprise to see these beauties coming up already!  I hadn't planted seeds,
but I guess some of them were left over from last fall. 
Or the birds helped me out.

One luscious strawberry awaits pickin'. 
I transferred one plant to a bigger pot
and the other is in the ground. 
I enjoy experimenting with things like that.

Hoping that spring comes early.
I can't imagine not being able to garden
for months at a time!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Natural Hair Remover

I have a confession to make. 
(Insert Dragnet music here...)

I have been using disposable razors for years. 
I had found a brand that I liked long ago,
and stuck with it.  I didn't feel good about it.
I've been trying to figure out how to
rid myself of this bad habit.
Thanks to Kendra over at New Life on a Homestead, I can!
The bonus is that I used up the white sugar 
 that I've given up
for my New Year's Resolution!

I made myself some of this sugar wax and
I am happy to say that it is working just fine, thank you.
I know what you may be thinking.  "Won't it hurt?"
It feels like ripping off a band-aid.  
And the satisfaction
I get from no longer looking like a Yeti is priceless.

You'll need:
1.  2 cups sugar
         2.  1/4 c. lemon juice
3.  1/4 c. water

Pour ingredients into a medium saucepan, 
bring to the boil
and simmer  
until the mixture gets to
250 degrees (10-18 minutes).
(Use a candy or bread thermometer.)

The solution should become a dark amber color. 

The first time I made it, 
I didn't cook it long enough 
and it was very sticky.  
I ended up putting it back on the stove 
and cooking it for another 10 minutes or so.
Stir it occasionally, because you don't want it to burn.

Once it's cooked, pour it into a glass container and let it cool.
The final product looks like this.

This recipe made enough for about 10-12 applications.
I apply the wax and put thin cloth strips over the area.
(Hubby had brought home some never-used
handi-wipe-type rags
that were destined for the garbage.)

It's important to put the wax on
with the direction the hair is growing.
When you pull the strip off, go the opposite way. 
You'll see all those little suckers on the strip
and feel smooth as a baby's bottom.

After finishing the treatment, just shower,
(the wax comes off with just water),
 and remember to moisturize!
I have coarse hair, so if it could work for me,  
I'm sure it would be great
for someone with fine hair.  
Because the hair does not grow
back as fast or as much, 
eventually I may not need to do it anymore.
What a gift to myself! 
More time for gardening, reading, hiking...

*Update-I absolutely love using this stuff! 
I just reheat it for about 30 seconds before using.  
I even decided to reuse the cloth strips
after washing them each time,
so this makes it even thriftier! 
No more razors for me!*

SchneiderPeeps - Simple Lives Thursdays Link Up

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Book's in the Mail...

One of the best discoveries I've made in the last few years is the service that our county library offers called
Books by Mail

This service allows us to order books online and have them delivered to our door within a few days, absolutely free of charge!  It's like Christmas here at least once a week.  My lil' guy's face lights up when he sees that bright yellow envelope in our mailbox.  He'll sit down and read for hours when he gets a new allotment.  Not only can you order books, but music C/D's, movies, and books on tape as well.  The bonus is that you get to keep the materials an extra week.  I hope you'll look into this possibility in your area. The folks at the library told us they encourage people to  use the service so that the grant used to pay for it will be renewed.   
Another way to simplify. 
Love it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gorgeous Day for Workin' Outside

 Welcome back to Lake Kissimmee. 
I returned to volunteer and the day was picture-perfect.
I got to try out my new camera to boot!
Enjoy the view!

 The differences in terrain are quite something!


 This sweet thing kept me company
while I worked on the dock.

This tree is sited on the area where rangers did a
"prescribed burn".
Notice how black the trunk is. 
It looks like something from a Dr. Seuss book.

According to the state parks website,
"Prescribed burning is one of the most successful tools used by land managers to improve ecosystems and reduce wildfire danger. Prescribed burning mimics natural fire cycles by restoring natural communities, reducing undergrowth that accumulates over time and decreasing the potential for wildfire. Burned lands experience an increase in native wildflowers, birds and other wildlife."

Even after such a devastating event,
nature knows how to heal
and continues to thrive.
Just amazing.

Hope you enjoyed our tour today. 
See you next time!