Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bathroom Makeover Pt2 - Bathroom Floor, Stenciled Linoleum

Bathroom Makeover Pt2 - Bathroom Floor

(For before pictures take a look at Bathroom Makeover Part1)

After taking on the challenge of redecorating the bathroom and sink, I tackled the floor. 

No, I didn't trip. It did involve some magic though.

For this week's edition of "Why Yes! You can paint that!" we will feature my bathroom floor.

After looking into flooring options and figuring out what the heck we actually had (one of the mysteries of buying a house) I determined that, once again, painting would be the best option. 

Inspired by floor painting projects of my mother in numerous houses throughout my childhood, I got to work.

After much research, I decided to try my hand at stenciling, thus preserving some of the blue from the floor - a most beloved color to our dear C. As our bathroom floor has a lot of area and few features to work the work around, I chose a large stencil. 

Add in pewter porch floor paint (for durability), and surprisingly little time, our floor is marvelous!

Monday, July 25, 2016

(Closer to) Zero Waste - Five things you can do right now


(Closer to) Zero Waste - Five things you can do right now to cut your expenses, increase your self-sufficiency, and make the world a better place for all of us.

What is  "Zero Waste"?

From the wiki page:

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.

Instead of just throwing stuff in the trash, what do we do?

Bea Johnson, author of bestselling Zero Waste Home, whose family generates just one small jar of trash per year, talks about the five Rs:

and Rot (compost) 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Holding the Balance - Hooray he's home!


The girls' Daddy, my beloved husband is home.

One of the things I couldn't tell you is that Daddy was away for a month. 

One of the primary tenets of OpSec (Operations Security) is to not broadcast/publish/post/announce/etc travel dates, plans, absences etc. As a somewhat somewhat small female with two little ones in tow, we don't announce to the world that we're on our own for a month.

A month is a long time. I even read my own article on solo parenting in a few times of desperation.  Waitaminit. I know how to do this. I wrote about it. Didn't think I was writing it to help future-me, but hey. Oh right! That's what we do.

While it wasn't a deployment and his stateside training made regular contact possible, he was gone long enough that we had to form new patterns, routines, and lots of extra snuggling wherever they could get it. 

With extra treats, lots of toddler meals, and so much love and support from friends and family, we are back together. And little worse for the wear.

Now if we could just get through this heat we will get back to making this space home! 

I'm looking forward to showing you all the marvelous things we created, built, planted, spread, stenciled, painted, and spruced while Daddy was gone.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The best $5 I've ever spent - buying not so perfect produce.


Recently I've been seeing lots of articles about "ugly" vegetables - ones that don't meet the perfection standards held by many grocery stores.

They aren't any less nutritious, they aren't even necessarily damaged in any way. 

For anyone looking to eat well for less, try looking in the "day old" bin or reduced price cart at your local grocery store.

There's a local market that's a little farther from our house (but closer to Joe's work) that has a wonderful discount shelf. Often it's just "ripe bananas" 3lbs for 99c but occasionally there are lots of other goodies. 

They may have a soft spot. They may be the last of the batch, or they may just need to be peeled. 

2lbs of asparagus blanched and individually quick frozen (IQF)
Tomatoes eaten raw and in fresh pasta sauce
Broccoli to a friend and yellow flowered ones to the chooks
Cucumber salad
Bananas for snacks and the freezer.

For $5.

Our favorite local bakery almost always has goodies in a day old bin. The only difference in taste and texture is the same as you get from buying food and not eating it all the day you buy it. If I buy a couple of scones I'm not going to finish them completely within a couple hours. I'd much rather get a couple goodies at half the price and enjoy them just as much.

See what you can find! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Silence and Surprises


We've been very busy, but I can't tell you about it.

A certain someone hasn't seen our work yet. But I can't tell you about that either. Not yet at least.

What I can tell you is that there have been lots of plants, dirt, painting (rolled, sprayed, brushed, and stenciled), designing and building, wiring, lugging about, adventures, pretty skirts dresses and fantastic hats,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Preserving Our Farmshare


Before learning that my husband would be gone for more than a month over the course of this summer, we signed up for a CSA farmshare. 

Most CSAs have "small" or half shares which would be plenty for our family of two adults and two quite littles.

We decided to go with a full sized share to challenge ourselves to eat more vegetables and to put more food by for the winter.

While I haven't found a way to preserve lettuce other than use it as social capital and spread the wealth, I've been busy chopping, freezing, canning, and prepping.

So far we have: 

2gal bags of frozen kale
1gal bag of frozen mixed greens - beet tops, kohlrabi greens, chard, etc.
1qt bag of frozen scallions
1qt bag of frozen green onions
qt jar of frozen small white onions
1gal of frozen hulled strawberries
4 x .25qt jars of strawberry jam
2 x .25qt jars of black raspberry jam (berries picked from a friend's patch)
2 x .5 pint jars of pickled radishes (we ate the third to see how they were. Yum!)

We have beets collecting for pickled beets and have been pretty well keeping up with everything else. 

Photo Courtesy of New Dawn Farm in Westmoreland, NH

"We eat local all year 'round because we can."

What are you preserving, canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, putting up or putting by?