Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Greetings From the Web(s)!

We hope your Halloween is filled with sweet treats
and that the ghosts and goblins stay away.
Have a "boo-tiful" weekend!

Great costume, dude!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 104

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

This weekend we headed back to the Pioneer Days event
in nearby Lake Wales.
This festival celebrates the founding of the city
and the uniqueness of this quaint lil' town.

There is an array of rural curiosities,
including the local tractor club's display.
This is one of Lil' Guy's favorite parts of the event.
Several times a day the tractors participate in a parade.

We marvel at the craftsmanship of local artists.
This woodworker displayed his vast range of beautifully carved household items
such as wooden spoons, measuring cups, and even backscratchers.

Something unusual we noticed were these cobweb brooms.
How cute is that?!

Another artist fashioned these wooden brushes.
It was so fascinating to sit and watch him create their bristles on a metal grate 
and listen to him talk about his creations.

Aren't these hand-crafted flutes just stunning?
It makes me want to take lessons!

One of the highlights of the day
was the wagon ride through town.
Many of the historical landmarks are showcased
in a 20-minute narrated tour.

Lake Wales features a handful of gorgeous hand-painted murals
located throughout the downtown area.

Another favorite of Lil' Guy's, 
is the True Value hardware store,
which has been in the same location for almost 40 years.
You won't find a big box store in downtown.
See the inside here.

The old arcade now houses several stores,
as well as office spaces.

A glorious day it was,
and we feel so blessed to be able to spend it together
in such a magnificent and charming little town.

What have you been up to in the great outdoors?
HOP on!




Friday, October 23, 2015

Eight Ways to Earn Money Without Leaving Your Neighborhood

Being a full-time household manager and homeschooling mom,
there is plenty to keep me busy.
We have been able to live on one income since we've been here,
and I have also worked outside the home in the evenings as a tutor.
It hasn't always been easy,
but it's what we've chosen as a family.
It just got me to thinking how blessed I am to be able to do what I love,
even though it's a volunteer position.
Big K and I have managed to find a couple of other ways to supplement our income,
and we haven't had to leave our neighborhood to do it.

We've sold items on Craig's List or Ebay for several years now.
It's as easy as logging onto your account,
listing the item, uploading pictures and waiting for the feedback.
Now I'm selling my daisy totes on CL. 

Big K is also great at finding bargains
and then reselling them for more money, 
or bartering the items for things he wants.
He's a master because he does his research
and understands what things usually sell for.
Since he's super handy, he's also fixed things 
for neighbors who don't have that particular talent.
He doesn't charge them, 
but they always give him something for his trouble.

Here are some other ideas to generate income 
without even leaving  your neck of the woods.

1.  Offer to provide childcare for neighbors.
It's not easy finding someone who is reliable and trustworthy.
Most parents would be thrilled to have their kids stay right in their neighborhood.

2.  Provide a pick-up service for kids after school.
For families with a single parent or two working parents,
having someone dependable to shuttle the kids home or to activities can be a real life-saver.
You can also factor in the cost of gas when determining fees.

3.  Pet sitting can give owners peace of mind while they are at work or out of town.
Whether serving as a companion,
or furnishing feeding, walking and exercise duties,
folks are willing to pay animal lovers for tender loving care while they are away.

4.  House sitting for vacationing neighbors is an easy way to earn some income
for very little effort.  Residents want to ensure that their home is safe and secure
while they are gone.  Bringing in the paper, mail or packages, and watering houseplants
are some of the duties that may be asked of you.
Knowing that someone is checking on things daily allows vacationers to enjoy their trip.

5.  Cutting grass, snow removal and leaf raking are activities that some homeowners
would rather not tackle themselves.  This is the type of service that can be very helpful,
especially to older residents or folks who have a busy workweek.
Once word of mouth gets out in the neighborhood,
you may have more business than you can handle!

6.  Installing a garden or landscaping would be the perfect job for someone
with that covetable green thumb.
Some homeowners may not have the time or inclination to get started on such a project,
but can maintain it once it is set up.
If you are good at growing things, or landscape design,
this would be a way to really dress up the neighborhood!

7.  Many full-time employees become burned out because on top of their working hours,
they have to shop, drop books off at the library, pick up dry cleaning,
or other energy-zapping errands.
Think of the time they would have for more pleasurable ventures
if they had someone to do this running around for them.
The best part is that you can get your own errands done at the same time.

8.  My mom (Mimi) used to take in sewing and ironing
for folks who didn't have the time or talent to do these things for themselves.
She always had plenty of clients because they were unable to accomplish these tasks
with everything else they had on their plates.

 These are just a few ideas that can get you started.
The part I like best is that it doesn't detract from my day job and my family doesn't sacrifice a thing.
Your schedule is your own much of the time,
and it feels good to provide a service that people really need.
Depending on your specific circumstances,
any number of opportunities are just waiting for you.
Think of the possibilities!

(All homes featured here are located in nearby Lake Wales, FL.)

motivation-monday-6 hosts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 103

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

I've been working at making my "daisy totes" for quite a while now.
With health issues still plaguing me,
my productivity has slowed down,
but I have been wanting to see if they would actually sell.
The fatigue I'm experiencing keeps me from being as ambitious as is in my nature, 
so up until now,
it hasn't been pursued with any gusto.
I do feel good knowing that I am producing something useful,
and that the materials are staying out of the landfill.
The totes are listed on Craig's List, 
but it was time to find other venues for promotion.

This past Saturday, I set up a table at a local downtown flea market/garage sale venue.
Some of the stores are open around 10 a.m.,
and anyone who wants to sell their items is welcome to join in the fun 
and set up right on the main drag.
For only $10 a spot, it seemed worth a shot. 
My table was set up around 8 a.m. on a crisp, clear morning.
It was a new opportunity for me to spread my wings a bit.

The event wasn't as busy as I'd hoped,
as there were quite a few other local events taking place on the same day,
but it was a good experience.
I met some nice folks and got my feet wet.
There were a lot of nice comments about the totes,
but this probably isn't exactly the right fit for my type of item.
Many of the craft fairs or local farmers' markets
cost more to set up.
Since I want to be able to sell the bags at a reasonable price,
I'm not sure how to best go about this.
Also to consider is how tiring it is for me at this time.
I have limited energy and need to be conscientious of how it is spent.
In any case, it's a new endeavor and I'm all about the learning.

What outdoor adventures have you had lately?
HOP on!


Friday, October 16, 2015

Mac-n-Cheese with a Kick!

I can honestly say that Rachael Ray changed my life.
In my twenties, I never really liked to cook.
All of my meals for the week would be made on Sunday,
and used as needed.  
Once I had a family,
it was important to me to cook fresh, homemade food.
 Spending all that time on the weekend cooking
wasn't as appealing either.
When Rachael Ray came along with her 30 Minute Meals,
it became a great solution.
Good, home-cooked food in thirty minutes or less?
I could do that!

This macaroni recipe turned out great.
The trace of cayenne really makes it stand out.
Although her recipe says it serves four,
we had enough for a few days' meals
and we have NO complaints!
We love leftovers, 
especially the chief cook!
This one's a keeper and will go into the Family Recipe binder.
It's quick, easy, has simple ingredients
and tastes like something Mom would have made.
Thanks Rachael!

Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese

1 T olive oil
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/2 C milk
(I used cow's milk this time, but rice or almond works too)
3 C cheddar, shredded
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 lb. macaroni, cooked
(elbow, farfalle, ziti or rotini work well)

Melt butter and oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
Add flour and stir to combine 3 minutes (I use a whisk).
Add milk while whisking and bring to a bubble.
When flour/milk mixture is thickened a bit, 
add 2 C of cheese.
Season with cayenne and salt (if needed).
Add cooked pasta to skillet and mix to coat.
Transfer to a baking dish (sprayed with olive oil spray),
and add remaining 1 C of cheese on top.
Place under broiler for just a few minutes.

Can't get enough mac-n-cheese?
Try these:
Real Simple Mac-n-Cheese
Classic Mac-n-Cheese
Mac with a Twist

Homestead Blog Hop will take place every Wednesday featuring real food recipes, natural health remedies, DIY, crafts, Gardening Tips, and more...

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 102

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

Fall ushers in a new season of gardening and inspiration.
It was time for the local Master Gardener's Plant Sale.
I got there around 9:30 on Saturday,
and had plenty of company.

There was a great selection of butterfly plants.
This milkweed seemed to be very popular.

Other aisles contained native varieties or
Florida-friendly selections.
We have used both of these type of plants exclusively in our garden beds.
It really makes the most sense.
Natives and Florida-friendly plants are less fussy
and more resilient because they are meant to be grown in our area.
They need less water, no fertilizers and need not be covered in winter.

There weren't many cleome plants left.
These beauties make a dramatic impact in the garden.

These are long-leaf pine saplings.
The texture is phenomenal.
These will grow to be up to 40 feet tall.
They just scream "Old Florida".

Here's another evergreen that looked like a miniature Christmas tree.
It was irresistible and one was brought home.
It will be placed in a pot and possibly taken with us when we move.
If it won't tolerate the new climate,
we'll just give to friends.
We can always come back to visit it!

With so many choices, it was difficult to limit my purchases to just two.
At this point, it doesn't make sense to continue to add to the garden.
It does give me lots of ideas though, about our future property.
Natives are the way to go.

We already host several types of caterpillars and butterflies,
and have many varieties of plants able to accomplish that goal.
This cigarette plant is a butterfly AND hummingbird attractor.
That's something we haven't yet ventured into,
but could easily be convinced to do so.
Something new and exciting is sure to come our way!

What have you been up to outdoors?
HOP on!