Container gardening is growing in popularity and it is easy to see why. There are many benefits to container gardening. One benefit is for people with limited spaces. You do not need a large patch of land to take advantage of gardening. Containers can hold herb gardens, vegetables or flowers and be placed on patios or other paved surface. You can mix and match flowers to add colors that add dimension to your garden. [Read more...]
Worms. Slimy little things that are pros at making the most organic compost for your garden ever. You would not think these unassuming little creatures could make something that packs such a punch for your garden but they do. Worm juice is also called liquid gold and is one of the most potent fertilizers out there. You cannot buy anything this good for your garden. And you, my friend, can have this amazing compost and liquid gold worm juice (aka worm pee). All you need are a few simple supplies to build your very own worm farm. No, it does not include a miniature farm complete with miniature animals. Read on for instructions on how to make a worm farm. [Read more...]
When roasts go on sale at my grocery store. I know I can spend a day freezer cooking and have meals ready if I do not feel like cooking, which is often. These are my favorite freezer roast recipes. It is best to under-cook the roast the day of freezer cooking. That way when you take the roast out of the freezer and reheat the roast is not overdone and dry.
- 1 1/4 tablespoons paprika
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (3 pound) sirloin tip roast
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, except the roast.
- Place the roast on the baking sheet, and cover all sides with the herb mixture.
- Roast 1 hour in the preheated oven. Cool completely.
- Wrap and label roast for freezer.
- On day of cooking, take roast out in the morning. Reheat in oven or cut into strips and cook in a pan. You can make stir fry, steak sandwiches or enchiladas.
- 3 lbs rump roast
- 6 slivers of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 Teaspoons pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Make 6 small incisions in the roast with a sharp knife. Insert sliver of garlic in each hole.
- Rub olive oil, salt and pepper on roast.
- Roast in oven with fatty side up for 30 minutes
- Lower heat to 225 degrees. Cook for an additional 2-3 hours. Check with a meat thermometer to make sure the roast is done.
- Let cool completely. Wrap and label roast for freezer.
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Teaspoon oregano
- 2 Teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 4 lb Roast such as a London broil
- Mix ingredients together.
- Rub mixture over roast.
- Wrap and label for freezer.
- On day of cooking, take out in morning and let defrost. Preheat grill and cook 7 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
I love the look of native plants. I am not one to go for perfectly manicured lawns and gardens and spend all my time and money keeping it looking trim and green. The look of meadows and wildflowers, and the natural slope and rise of the land is a sight that’s hard to beat. Colors explode all summer long in native plants and add diversity and interest to the eye. I have been researching native plants for a couple years now and am impressed with the many benefits they hold. For me, I will be replacing and planning out my garden to include all native plants. It is a natural progression which coincides with my living green and becoming more and more aware of my ecological footprint and what I can do to help Mother Earth.
The one benefit that speaks to everyone on all levels is money. Planting native plants can save you big over the years. How? Native plants are adapted to your specific region. That means native plants will thrive in conditions that other plants could not. You do not need to water native plants as much, saving you money on your water bill. Native plants do not require the use of fertilizer or pesticides since native plants are resistant to local bugs. Not only does this save you money but native plants save you time. Native plants are low maintenance and require little care, thus freeing up your time for more important things, such as your family and friends.
Did you ever notice that wildlife seems to be disappearing? Native plants attract songbirds, butterflies, hummingbirds and wildlife by providing shelter and food, depending on which species you plant. Many local nurseries can help you pick out native plants that suit your area and interest. A local Ohio company is Ohio Prairie Nursery. They offer seed packets and flowers based on many factors. Their website is: http://www.ohioprairienursery.com/. If you are from Ohio and are interested, I would suggest checking out their website.
All of these benefits contribute to the overall health of Mother Earth. In addition, native plants help with storm water runoff, keeping our rivers and lakes cleaner. They also promote biodiversity and are aesthetically pleasing.
I know it will take planning to replace my non-native plants but I know the benefits will be worth it. On a side note, I do not plan on throwing out my plants, but listing them for free on Craig’s list or attending a plant exchange.
This article is a continuation of Summertime Fun, Part 1. I hope you enjoy and leave me a comment if you and your family have made a movie or play and want to share what your experience has been like.
Now that you have the idea and characters you can flesh out the story. Have another family night and have everyone give ideas on how the story should progress. You can start it just like at camp where one person starts the idea and the next person adds more and the next person adds even more. The story does not have to be a complex story.
OK, now you have the story and characters. What’s next? Figuring out what props you need, where to shoot the move or have the play, and what costumes to wear. Remember to keep it simple. Use items around the house and clothes you have in the closet. If you really need to, hit up the thrift stores for additional items.
Have a rehearsal if you are making a play. Run through the play once in costume with the kids so they can get a feel for what it will be like. Invite friends and family and have someone there that can film your play. Expect mistakes and teach your kids to keep going even if they make a mistake. This is all for fun. You can get really involved and use a sheet decorated by the kids for a calling curtain. Serve drinks and little munchies during intermission or for an after party. Prints up a program guide that the kids’ can help decorate to hand out to your audience.
If you are making a movie there is no need for a rehearsal. Just make sure you have someone to shoot the movie. You also need to double check the equipment to make sure it is working properly. You do not want to shoot a great scene and realize that the film lens was on, the batteries were out or that the camera was not working. When you are ready to edit the film there are editing software you can use.
Share your creation on youtube. Upload your movie onto youtube for family and friends to see. This is a great way for Grandma inFloridato see what a great play you put on. Or Uncle Steven inUtahto see what an awesome movie you shot. You can change the settings so that only invitees can view the movie or play instead of having it open to the public if you are worried about security.
Have fun with it! This is not a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. This is a home movie or play that is meant for the family to work together and have fun. It will not be perfect but the memories it creates WILL last a lifetime.
People may find that the older your kids get the harder it is to find things for them to do in summer. One idea is to make your own family movie or play. This is such a fun learning experience for the kids if you have the patience for it. My children and I are working on our first movie and having a ball with it. Why not make this a summer project for you and your kids? This project can be elaborate and take months to produce or it could be simple and done in a day. It is your choice and depends on how involved your children get.
So, what is the first step to make a movie or play? Come up with an idea. Make a night of it over popcorn. Get a big chalkboard, white board or poster board. Let the kids take turns with ideas. Do not throw any idea away, write them all down. The idea is to get the creative juices flowing and if you tell your kids it was a bad idea they will shut down. Only rein them in if they are getting too gross, such as movies involving body sounds that fascinate little boys, and big boys. After all the ideas are written down, you need to go through and make piles. The first pile should be definite no’s, the second maybe and the third definite consideration. Next go through the third pile and vote as a family for the one that everyone likes and can easily turned into a movie or play. You can always combine ideas if there is too much arguing.
The next part is to come up with characters. Keep this part simple and realistic. If it is just going to be a family of four, only come up with characters that the family can play. Mom and Dad can play more than one character, but the more characters, the more complex it is to shoot the movie or put on the play.
Part two will discuss what to do now that you have your idea and characters.
I love using money saving mixes. Not only are they cheaper but they taste better than store bought mixes. These recipes are easy to make and so delicious. Try one today!
Pancake Mix – This is such an easy recipe. I keep this in a freezer bag in my fridge. Anytime the kids want pancakes I just grab this and whip up some yummy pancakes. This is such as easy, cheap mix that you will never buy pancake mix again. If you do not have buttermilk just add a Tablespoon of lemon juice to milk and let sit for 5 minutes. You will not taste the lemon and it creates instant buttermilk.
- 3 Cups flour
- 4 Teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Directions: Mix ingredients together and keep in an airtight container.When you are ready to make pancakes:
- 1cup of pancake mix
- 1 Cup buttermilk
- 1 Egg
- 3 Tablespoons of butter, melted
Directions: Mix until smooth. Do not over mix. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes.
Waffle Mix – There is nothing like fresh hot waffles off of your waffle iron. I try to make a big batch and freeze the extras. Eggo has nothing on this recipe.
- 4 Cups Flour
- 2 Tablespoon baking powder
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Teaspoon salt
Directions: Mix together and keep in an airtight container.When you are ready to make waffles:
- 1 cup of mix
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Directions: Mix until smooth. Ladle into waffle iron and cook according to the waffle iron directions.
Home Made Bisquick Recipe – Use this recipe in place of anything calling for Bisquick. This is a great money saving mix. Make sure to use shortening as the mix does not taste the same with butter or margarine.
- 8 Cups Flour
- 1/3 Cup baking powder
- 2 Teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1½ Teaspoons salt
Directions: Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Store mixture in an airtight container for up to 1.5 months in the fridge.
In the second part of this article we will go over some more information that you need to turn your passion into a home-based business.
Name your business. This may seem simple but you need to make sure your name conveys the right message. I have a reflexology business that was called Relaxing Feet Reflexology. Most people could surmise what I did from the name. You should also look into registering your name with the state. You should open a checking account with your business name. This helps to keep it separate from your personal account and you can keep better track of income and expenses
Be organized. Keeping an area just for your business will help keep you organized. It will not help if you have to keep your inventory with the laundry and your files in the kids’ room. The area does not have to be big, just a place where you can keep everything together.
Manage your clients. Keep a list of clients, have a facebook page, open a twitter account, get a free website or blog, and send out birthday cards. You need to make your clients feel special. There is fierce competition in today’s economy and the difference between you and your competition is you. Make sure you use that to your advantage.
Have fun with it. This is your passion. This is what you love to do. Do not get so wrapped up with the little things that you forget that. Some great ideas for businesses would be making jewelry, crafts, baking, interior design, and childcare, eldercare, painting murals for children’s rooms, art, and tutoring. If you are not sure what to do just make a list of things you absolutely love to do. Ask friends and family for help. They may have a more objective view. Thinking outside the box is essential in today’s market. For instance in my area there are many pop up shops. The economy has driven this new way of doing business. Artists lease a shop for a few weeks to a month. They sell their wares and then close up when they are done. This gives the artists the ability to have a store without the commitment of a yearly lease. The artists can also focus on making their art, which is their passion, instead of running a store. The store owners are grateful for the added income on an empty space.
There are many advantages to having a home-based business, especially being a mom. You are able to make your own schedule, making being with your kids a top priority, while bringing in an income. It can be a win-win situation. However, there are things you need to consider before running out and spending a fortune on business supplies.
Get an accountant. If you do not already have one you will need one for your business. There are deductibles that you may miss and accountants are up to date on all the tax laws that change yearly. Having an accountant can save you money in the long run and I would highly recommend hiring one. You should also talk to your accountant about the pros and cons of incorporating your business or becoming a DBA.
Do your research. It may seem like no big deal to take your hobby and turn it into a home-based business but you need to do your homework. If you want to start an interior design business you need to make sure your market area is not overly saturated. Research your competitors, trends, and average income for your area of specialty.
Develop a business plan. This is crucial. I have seen so many businesses fail because they do not have a good business plan. You can get inexpensive software to help you build one. Your business plan does not have to be elaborate but you do need one.
Do not treat your business as a hobby. You need to change your mindset and realize that this is now a business, not a hobby. If you treat it like a hobby so will your customers and everyone else. Be professional in your attitude and appearance.
Look into insurance. Talk to your agent and ask questions. It would be awful if something happened and you were not covered because it was part of your home-based business which your insurance does not cover. I had additional insurance for my reflexology business which may seem ridiculous since when has anyone ever gotten hurt doing reflexology. But I had the insurance in case someone tripped and fell on my driveway. I knew my homeowner’s insurance would not cover anything incurred from my business. It did not cost that much extra and I and my customers had peace of mind knowing we were all protected.
Summer is a great time for messy kids’ crafts. Children can be hosed off outside when you are done and clean up is a snap. Use an outdoor table that can be easily cleaned off. You can also do these children’s’ crafts inside if you prefer.
Finger paints Version #1
Finger-painting with food is fun and easy. Most ingredients for the finger paints can be found in your kitchen.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 packs unsweetened Kool-Aid
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 cups boiling water
- 3T. oil
- Poster board or paper
Directions: Mix all ingredients together. You can have your child finger paint on the table or use poster board to save your child’s masterpiece.
Finger paints Version #2 - Food coloring will stain your child’s finger for a couple days so make sure you are not taking family pictures after this children’s craft.
- Corn syrup
- Food coloring
- Poster board
Directions: Spread corn syrup over the poster board. Drop a few drops of food color into the paper. Let your child use the brush or their fingers to mix colors. When the picture dries it will be shiny.
Play dough – What kid does not love playing with play dough? Kids’ get to use their imagination and whipping up a batch of play dough is easier than driving to the store. The benefit is you will not care if your kids mix all the colors because it is so easy and cheap to make new colors! If you do not have cream of tartar you do not have to use it. It just adds a elasticity to your play dough.
- 1 Cup Salt
- 2 Cups warm water
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Tablespoons oil
- 2 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar
- Food coloring
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until stiff and play dough comes away from the sides of the pan. Let cool then knead. Store play dough in an airtight container. Another option is to make your shape and let air dry. When dry you can decorate with paint, markers or glitter. Finish with a clear sealer spray.