Spring is Taking Over My House

spring takeover

The spring equinox was Sunday, March 20th.  Though I love snow and winter, I am so excited that Spring is here! There are blatant, in-your-face signs of it all through our home.  I am in my element but my poor husband is getting slightly overwhelmed because Spring is taking over every room.  I guess I can’t blame him, too much because we’re a family of 5 living in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom 970 square foot mobile home. 

I’ll take you on a virtual tour and show you what I mean. Spring is taking over my house.

The Kitchen

window garden

This is the gardening headquarters of our home.  I do my planting in the kitchen because the window gets the best sunlight.  I installed shelving across the window to take advantage of the sun’s direct rays and create a mini-greenhouse. This year, I am growing pepperoncini peppers, sweet cherry peppers, Kahzak melons, cucumber, 4 varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, and yellow squash. Once they get transferred outside, I will begin lettuces and herbs that I will grow indoors, only.

The Living Room

We have so many new family members that call our Living Room home. 

Here’s 34 of them:

quail incubator

Here are 34 quail eggs six days into their incubation. Stay tuned for more details and video of their hatch.

The rest are 8 bantam chicks:

chicks

These beautiful birds have been very entertaining to watch and interact with.  We have never had bantams before and the kids are very excited about their mini-chickens.  We are crossing our fingers that most of them are hens. 

Our Bedroom

Besides being the place we sleep, I have set it up as our spring cleaning headquarters.  I am going through every closet, every bookshelf, and every set of drawers.  I have dropped off 3 loads of clothing and books to our local Blue Ridge Hospice thrift store.  I have also set aside torn-up jeans and old shirts to repurpose.  I am purging, purging, purging.  But purging takes time.  I don’t want to just throw everything out.  So being surrounded by stuff is just how I am going to live my life for a couple of months.

bedroom sorting

The Porch

You know how I mentioned that I plant outdoors? I do all my transplanting and seed sewing from my front porch.  That way I have a good view of the kiddos no matter where they’re playing or what they’re getting into.  Right now, I have a giant bucket and a stack of soil cluttering it up. And…. a bunch of planting containers that are in process of being used and reused, again.

porch

I guess I can see why my husband is a bit frustrated.  All I can do is suggest you guys say a prayer for him because I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.  After all, I love participating in Nature’s Spring party. 

spring party

 

What are your plans for spring? Do you like to sit back and enjoy the warming weather, getting a garden started, getting some much needed cleaning done?

 

Unsolicited Review: Pioneer Gluten-Free Gravy

**Disclaimer** I was NOT provided any compensation or products to try by the company reviewed. All opinions are my own.  This blog contains affiliate links.  That means if you choose to click on a link to a product and purchase it, I earn a commission on the sale.  Thank you for supporting The Creative Recycler!

 Much love, Dorothy.

 

When we discovered my oldest son was allergic to wheat, he had to go without some of his favorite foods.  I love, love, love finding one without the wheat that he enjoys just as much as its wheat-filled counterparts.  This year, I found Pioneer gluten-free gravy mix and decided to give it a try.  (Because who doesn’t love gravy?! Am I right?) 

gluten free gravy

We used it on my recipe for Gluten Free Salisbury Steak (Expect that next week because it’s too good not to share!), homemade mashed potatoes, and roasted zucchini and corn. 

I followed the recipe on the back of the packet for Rich Mushroom Sauce but omitted the mushrooms and wine and added another teaspoon of onion powder.  It was AHHH-Mazing!  It’s the only gravy mix I use, now. And everyone in the family loves when I add it to a meal. 

Pioneer makes a Gluten-Free Country Gravy mix, too.  We haven’t tried it yet, but I have a feeling gluten-free chip beef and gravy will be a welcomed addition to our menu.

Have you found some great gluten-free goodies? I’d love to know about them. Please tell me about some of your favorites in the comments below. I am always on the lookout for more gluten-free goodies! 

 

Here are some other posts you may love:

 best gluten-free pancakes ever   simple gf breakfast   youneedtoforage

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How to Plan Your Own Seed Exchange

Earlier this week I showed you How to Find a Seed Exchange in your area.  Seed exchanges are a fun, easy, and free way to diversify your seed collection and ensure the older seeds you have get planted.  But what if you cannot find a seed exchange in your area? Chances are, other people would be interested in participating in a seed exchange, too. 

plan your own seed exchange

Here are some steps you can take to organize your own, successful seed exchange:

  1. Make sure you plan your seed exchange at least one month out.
  2. Find a venue: Your local library is a great place to hold a seed exchange. It’s free, central location.
  3. Advertise!
    • Hang flyers in the local library, at the post office, and on community boards in grocery stores and coffee shops.
    • See if the local paper will list your event for free in the weekly events listing.
    • Contact the local cooperative extension office and let them know about the exchange.
    • Create an event on Facebook. Invite family and friends who might want to come.
  4. Plan on people coming without containers for their seeds. Bring a box of Ziploc bags or small envelopes.
  5. On the day of the exchange arrange a couple of tables with signs. You can either organize the seeds by type (cukes, tomatoes, herbs, melons, etc.) or alphabetically.
  6. As people arrive, encourage them to leave their seeds on the tables.
  7. Don’t let people start grabbing seeds, yet. To give everyone a fair chance to see all the seeds available, have everyone start at the same time after the seeds are arranged.

seed tables

Don’t be discouraged if only a couple of people show.  I did this for a couple of years and only had a handful of participants but we all still benefited.  It was fun, we got to talk gardening and exchange tips. 

Happy growing!!!

 

You might like these posts as well:

 Seed Storage 3     How to find a seed exchange

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How to Find a Seed Exchange

How to find a seed exchange

Most of the Eastern US is still covered with snow, but I can’t stop thinking about spring.  It’s the middle of February, and that means one thing. It’s time to start planning my garden. I like to get started planting my peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash by the end of the month so now is the best time to get planning done and seeds ordered if I’m not using a variety from last year.

Normally I order seeds from one of my favorite places for heirloom seeds: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (make sure you request their free catalog – it is gorgeous). But this year is different.  I was privileged to participate in a seed exchange organized by The Lovettsville Community Garden at the local library. I’ve participated in seed exchanges before but never one with this many people (usually only 5-10). 

Tables were set up so we could lay out seeds in alphabetical order.  Then we were able to go around and choose new seeds to add to our collection. 

seed tablesOn top of that, Julia with Feed Loudoun Plant a Row set up a table of seeds to encourage seed exchangers to plant a row in their garden to donate to local food banks.  

feed loudoun plant a row

I got some new and different seeds to grow this year – including some I may not have chosen had I just been browsing a catalog.  I got new seeds and (if my garden is successful) our local food pantry will get fresh veg to distribute to people who need it.  

Do you want to know how to find your own seed exchange? Here are some places to check:

  • Call your local cooperative extension office
  • Google your local Master Gardeners group
  • Check with local library listings (that’s how I found mine)
  • Check your local newspaper’s events listings
  • Reach out to local food banks or Plant a Row for the hungry organizations
  • Organize your own

Come back on Thursday Feb. 18th and I will give you tips so you can start a seed exchange of your own.

You might be interested in how I organize my seeds, too… check it out here:  

Seed Storage 3

 

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Unsolicited Review: Coco Stainless Steel Drinking Straws


Have you seen the video about the young woman, Lauren Singer, who is living a life without generating trash? If you haven’t you can check it out here.

I don’t feel like that level of low waste is an ability for me both being a parent, and in the area where I live. But it’s certainly possible to adopt a lot of what she is doing.  Sometime the smallest change can make a big difference.

At our house, my children use these plastic cups with lids and straws to drink. Clumsiness is something that runs in our family and it saves surfaces from lots of spills. But we were using plastic straws. I hated using them because most localities don’t recycle plastic straws.

But I noticed that Lauren uses a stainless steel straw! How cool is that?!

I decided our family needed to make the switch. I browsed Amazon.com for a while and finally decided on these (mainly because of the price).

 

Coco Stainless Steel Drink Straws

 A1uFkUx0WrL._SL1500_

 

Even my husband jumped on this bandwagon.  We don’t have to buy straws anymore. Stainless Steel Drinking Straws are more affordable, and more importantly, more sustainable. 

Do you want to know the best part? You can win a set of your own straws along with $20 to spend on Amazon.com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Earth Day Giveaway

**Disclosure** This post contains affiliate links which means if you decide to purchase something from one of my links I make a comission. Thank you for supporting The Creative Recycler!

Earth Day Giveaway & Ultimate Bundle Announcement

Happy Earth Day!

I’m so excited to announce The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale and my first-ever giveaway on The Creative Recycler!

Earth Day Giveaway

 

Dear Mama,

Are the inmates running the asylum?

I hear you. Sometimes I look around my house and wonder how things got so out of hand.

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed about getting married, becoming a mommy, and having my own home.

But now that I am a mom and wife I want to make my home someplace special… a mash-up of:

  • a school,
  • a playground,
  • a refuge,
  • a boo-boo “fix it” station,
  • a “you can do it” pep rally, and
  • a safe place for personal expression, sharing and growth.

But real life happens…

…laundry, diapers, stretch marks, and never-ending meal prep… money worries, gritty floors, soap scum, and the stain that won’t come out of my daughter’s favorite shirt… holiday stress, and teaching my daughter to read (and master long division)… a husband who works long hours, a kid with the sniffles, stomach aches and a fever… and a secret dream to run my own little business from home.

And that’s why Erin and Stephanie created the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… because as rewarding as it is, homemaking is hard work and it doesn’t come easily.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

To help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker – help, inspiration, tips, encouragement, resources at your fingertips…

… the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is just for you.

It is a complete library of carefully selected eBooks, eCourses, audios, online conferences, and printable packs designed to help you turn your house into a home… without all the overwhelm.

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The first step in putting together this collection was to find the critical homemaking skills that you need to transform your house into a home.

Here they are:

  • Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home
  • DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style
  • Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself
  • Finances… build a budget that works
  • Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time
  • Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new
  • Homeschooling… homeschool with grace and ease
  • Marriage… heat up your marriage
  • Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering
  • Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life
  • Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby
  • Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies
  • Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family

 

… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Are there too many books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever taken your family out for a buffet dinner… and then been disappointed when you couldn’t eat every single morsel on display?

Of course not!

Sure. There’s that first, breath-taking moment when you see and hear and smell the amazing meal spread before you… and you think, “Where will I even start?”

But that’s the thing… because you do start… with something.

Maybe it’s a tender flaky biscuit, or a piece of delicious roast beef, or maybe you’re like me and start with a piece of pie (mmm, blueberry or apple with whipped cream)?

So relax, enjoy, and start anywhere you like. Come back to the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle “buffet” as many times as you like. It’s all here for you.

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

In a word… yes!

To be absolutely certain, Erin and Stephanie asked questions, tried techniques and just about drove themselves crazy making sure that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle was the very best homemaking resource anywhere.

They dug through hundreds of websites and connected with dozens of authors and teachers.

And then we all worked together to make these resources the most affordable possible.

And They Were Delighted to Help…

The result? This collection is a fraction of the price of what someone would pay for each resource individually!

For a short time, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… a complete library of:

  • 76 eBooks
  • 6 eCourses
  • 1 audio download
  • 2 online conferences, and
  • 14 printable packs

…99 carefully selected resources designed to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships… is only $29.97. (A total value of $984.74.)

That breaks down to 30 cents per book.

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to customerservice@Ultimate-Bundles.com and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

Don’t Forget the Bonuses…

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.

  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day “Good Deal” Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 Value)
  • Choose 1 FREE Stylish Spring Scarf from Deborah & Co. ($20 Value)
  • FREE $80 Healthy Moving Class Credit ($80 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt ($30 Value)
  • FREE 65 Tyndale Rewards Points to Be Used for a FREE Book or Towards Any Book of Your Choice ($15 Value)

Now It’s Your Turn

I think Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best…

“Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization.”

The proven, simple, and effective skills you need to transform your house into a home are all waiting for you in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This is your chance to get all the love, support, guidance and inspiration you need to nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.

But time is running out! The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

After that, the shopping cart closes and the deeply discounted price is gone.

Act now!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Best wishes and happy homemaking!

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

And now the giveaway…

Make your home a little greener with stainless steel drinking straws and a $20 gift card to Amazon.com to use on green cleaning products, natural beauty care, or anything else your heart desires.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclocure** I recieve a direct comission off of every Ultimate Homemaking Bundle you buy from my link.  The Giveaway is fully funded by The Creative Recycler.  Thank you for supporting the blog!

Leftover Salad

I love recipes that begin as leftovers. The average person wastes 244 pounds of food each year—roughly the same weight as a refrigerator!  Let that sink in… 244As a person who hates to waste, I use most of my leftovers in new recipes.

For the week of Earth Day Green is Universal is sponsoring a #NoFoodWasted campaign to educate people how they can reduce food waste in their own homes.

avg_food_waste2

 

This is an issue near and dear to my heart. Below is a blog post originally published September 23, 2013.

Last week one of my Facebook followers posted this:

Sarah M. – Oh I need ideas for leftovers. Sometimes Blake & I are stuck with fridge full of food but tired of [eating] it the same way we fixed it.

Ok Sarah, here is one of my leftover favorites!  I hope you and your family enjoy it.

Leftover Salad

Leftover salad is great for lunch or a light dinner late in the day.  It’s a simple recipe:

  • salad greens
  • your favorite fruits and/or veggies
  • leftovers
  • dressing (optional)

The possibilities for Leftover Salad are endless.  Today at work I enjoyed a Steak Taco Leftover Salad made with leftover steak, leftover bean dip, tortilla chips and salad greens.  Look how yummy it is! Don’t you want a taste?

 Leftover Salad

Some of my other favorite Leftover Salads are:

  • Chinese – salad greens, stir fry w/ stir fry sauce, crispy noodles
  • Hamburger – crumbled up hamburger, salad greens, diced tomatoes, canned corn or fresh cooked corn (we eat corn with our burgers), potato chips, and thousand island dressing
  • Baked Chicken Dinner – shredded chicken, diced baked potatoes, salad greens, cold cooked veggies (Any of the following: peas, corn, green beans, asparagus), ranch dressing

The best ingredient in Leftover Salad is creativity.  Just open your cabinets and your refrigerator and enjoy.

Now it’s your turn!  If you have a great idea for a Leftover Salad or you have a leftover you’re struggling to reinvent simply leave a comment and I just might feature it in an upcoming post!

DN5542_Facebook_ProfilePhoto_MECH1

Make sure you share #NoFoodWasted this week with your own ideas to reduce food waste.

Here’s a list of more ideas to reduce food waste:

  • Freeze food that is almost expired in order to preserve it.
  • Minimize food waste by eating leftovers. You could save up to $175 per month!
  • Compost your food waste. Many cities and towns have community drop off points or municipal pickups.
  • Cooked too much food? Share extras with friends, family or co-workers. They’ll thank you and your food won’t go to waste.
  • Eat before you shop. Food shopping on a full stomach can help you avoid impulse purchases, which often wind up as food waste.
  • Create a menu for the week and purchase only what it requires.
  • Can’t finish your meal? Save it for later! You could save up to $175 per month!
  • Did you know? Some 14 percent of all the trash produced in America consists of food scraps! Why not try composting?
  • Keep cilantro and parsley stems, onion peels, celery leaves, mushroom stems and other veggie scraps in a bag in your freezer. When you have enough, simmer them into a stock for soup.
  • Use stale bread for French toast, bread pudding, croutons, fondue, meatballs or French onion soup.
  • Combine small mixed scraps of cheese to make fondue, macaroni and cheese, salad or sliced fruit toppers.

justeatit

25 Savory Asparagus Recipes

Savory Asparagus Recipes

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed an abundance of Asparagus in grocery stores this week. Asparagus is one of the first Springtime veggies to come out of the ground. They are fresh, in season, and you can find them easily from local markets and growers. That makes Asparagus is the perfect Locavore food for the beginning of April. My go-to Asparagus recipe is grilled with olive oil, garlic, and lemon. But I can’t eat one variety of Asparagus forever. Here are 25 amazing Asparagus recipes to make your mouth water.

 

The Spiced Life: Indian Inspired Gluten-Free Cooking: Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Asparagus with Ginger

 

There’s a Cook in My Kitchen: Asparagus And Leek Detox Soup

 

Untrained Housewife: Asparagus Salad

 

Sidewalk Shoes: Winey Briny Quick Pickled Asparagus

 

Confessions of an Overworked Mom: Asparagus Tomato Parmesean Squares

 

Family, Food, and Travel: Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

 

The Spiced Life: Fettuccine in Bianco with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Asiago Cream (Eat Write Reatreat 2011)

 

Confessions of an Overworked Mom: Asparagus & Potato Frittata

 

Feeding Big: Cream of Asparagus Soup

 

Family, Food, and Travel: Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan Ranch Dressing

 

Carolyn’s Home Work: Good Taste – A Zesty Grilled Asparagus Sandwich

 

Fearless Dining: Gluten Free Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

 

Untrained Housewife: Easy Roasted Asparagus

 

Spend with Pennies: Oven Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Aioli

 

Home Made Interest: Asparagus Two Ways – Quick Dinner Ideas

 

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Baked Eggs and Asparagus with Parmesan (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

 

Untrained Housewife: Sweet and Sour Spring Stir Fry

 

Health Starts in the Kitchen: Spring Pasta Saute

 

Home Made Interest: Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

 

There’s a Cook in My Kitchen: Lemon And Herb Vegetable Melange

 

Baking Outside the Box: Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce (low carb)

 

Spend with Pennies: Grilled Lemon Parmesan Asparagus

 

There’s a Cook in My Kitchen: Asparagus With Leeks And Pancetta

 

Untrained Housewife: Pickled Asparagus with Dill and Garlic

 

 

Spend with Pennies: Roasted Asparagus with Terragon Vinaigrette

 

Which recipe looks like something you would try? Tell me in the comments.

The DIY Ultimate Bundle is Back!

 

I’m a DIY addict (if you couldn’t tell). I’m obsessed with doing things myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s making an upcycled glass bottle coffee station or making a worksheet for my son to improve his writing skills. I love DIYing (If that’s even a word.). There’s a sense of pride I get from doing it or making it myself. 

That is why I am so excited to announce a 48-Hour flash sale of The DIY Ultimate Bundle. I have been kicking myself ever since I missed the sale the first time around. But I have a second chance! And you have a second chance, too!

What is so exciting about this bundle? Get ready, because I’m going to show you!

  • 11 Home Decorating eBooks
  • 8 Crafting eBooks
  • 5 Scrapbooking/Journaling eBooks and 2 eCourses
  • 2 Writing eBooks and 3 eCourses
  • 4 Photography eBooks and 2 eCourses
  • 11 Sewing eBooks
  • 8 Recipe eBooks
  • 5 Seasonal/Holiday eBooks

That’s 54 eBooks AND 7 eCourses all for $34.95!

Here comes the obligatory “Just wait! There’s more!” Because it’s true! With the 48 hour bundle sale you will also get:

I am most excited about sewing pattern and Premium Video Class from UpCraftClub.com and the Free online class from Craftsy.com. Y’all know I’ve had my sewing machine for well over a year and I haven’t used it yet! Classes in sewing are just what I need to get my tail in gear and learn to use my sewing machine!

Remember you only have from 9 am Monday March 30, 2015 to 9 am Wednesday April 1, 2015 to purchase your bundle and bonuses! If you’re reading this after 9 AM Eastern Time, I’ve already purchased my copy. 

Click here to get yours! 

What are you looking forward to most? Tell me all about it.

 

 **Disclosure** I am an affiliate for The DIY Ultimate Bundle sale. That means I make money on every bundle I sell. However, I would not sell something to you that I wouldn't use myself and all opinions (and excitement) about this bundle are my own. I did not receive a copy to review ahead of time and I am using my own money to purchase a bundle for myself. Because, let's face it, I'm addicted to DIY. 

What is a Locavore?

What is a locavore

A locavore is someone who eats locally.

Why should you eat locally more often?

  • Fruit and veg you buy (or pick) locally is more nutritious because it’s been picked closer to ripening. Produce picked closer to ripeness has more time to soak up and produce nutrients.
  • When you eat produce from a grocery store most of it has traveled at least a thousand miles to get there (that is not hyperbole). The average apple travels about 1500 miles to get to your table.
  • Less fuel and energy is used to make your food. If the average apple travels about 1500 miles to your table and you buy an apple grown at an orchard 30 miles from your home, you’ve saved 1470 miles worth of fuel and cooling energy.
  • You support local farmers and venders. The money goes directly back into your local economy. It supports your neighbors, not large agro-business.
  • If you grow your own food or forage you cut major costs and get produce at the peek of ripeness.
  • You don’t need to find a farmer’s market to eat locally. Many grocery stores have begun buying from local farms (within 200 miles of the store). Next time you go to the grocery store, really look at the signage for produce. Grocery stores love to advertise the produce that is sourced locally by labeling them and where they came from. If you don’t see any, ask the produce manager. They can point you in the direction of any local produce the store carries.

 

What are some of your favorite ways to eat locally?