Monday, August 29, 2016

{summer} kitchen thoughts

oh dear friends, i had some fill-me-up time in the kitchen the past few days...

canning and chopping and putting by. nothing smells better than a crock pot full of tomatoes simmering down for easy tomato sauce.

with all the hustle and bustle - getting ready for school, getting ready for the baby and spending my summer moments still settling into our house + routines - i almost didn't give myself the permission to can.

what was i thinking?! i decided a few days into august that it wouldn't do to not save something that we needed to fill up our pantry. part of what i love about summer and why i don't teach year round is that i use the summer days to shop local farmer's markets and orchard and then render all the special things we love to eat {click to read about my canning favorites!}. we would really miss those gems in the winter months if i skipped making at least something that we were low on.

so with my minimal time allowance i selected a few things to can... we were down to one jar of ketchup and one small jar of salsa. i knew what i needed to do {click on link to go to direct site for recipe i used}:

Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup
Chunky Homemade Salsa
Corn Salsa

and then i took all the extra tomatoes and made a little batch of easy tomato sauce.

time well spent. now i need to get back to lesson plans and organizing the diaper bag!

how about you? any perfect canning recipes that you just loved this year?

Monday, August 22, 2016

{celebrations} our baby shower

earlier this month we had our family baby shower! it was good fun to celebrate our soon to arrive little one with our dear family members and friends.

we had a lovely little banquet room, tasty buffet style lunch + snacks, such sweet gifts, and a couple of activities that were friendly for all in attendance.

when my mom, sister and mother-in-law asked about having a shower for the baby i really thought about it and decided that i wanted to see everyone and my husband wanted to get to see all our favorite people too! so we had a family-friendly, co-ed bash... open house style incase the younger party-people didn't want to hang for the entire event. several of my friends who have been mommas for a few years said they really enjoyed that it was for the whole family and it made it easy to just pop over but still make nap time. it wasn't exactly the typical ladies luncheon, but no one seemed to mind.  {even my dad had a great time, because he got to visit with his sister and some of our long time family friends and, of course, he always like to harass my good pals from high school}

i felt very spoiled by the end of the day - and tired! celebrating is no joke for me now with this baby bump!

::the details::


we highly recommend Local Roots if you are planning a little party near Powell, Ohio - great food, perfect service and so easy to just show up and enjoy the event


we kept it super simple, and not too babyish since it was for guys + gals... we had flowers + succulents for centerpieces on the tables, we also put up baby photos of me and my husband, a bib that i made and a little tshirt we got from a music festival earlier this summer to add a little something for the serving buffet.


we did a "wee hours" diaper writing activity {some people have called it "late night diapers"}...
so easy! buy disposable diapers (we did one pack of newborn and one pack of size 1) and sharpie markers and invite your guests to write a little note on the booty for the new parents to read while doing those late night diaper changes. hilarious! we peeked at a few and they are just too funny. we just kept this activity in one area since we had younger children involved {what with sharpies and all}, but we had 3 year olds to 65 year olds having a grand time writing on a diaper or two. {i think our 9 year old niece had the best time... she is an ace at the potty - humor!}

we also made a special "ABC Book for the Baby"... my mom assembled cardstock pages with a letter on each page prior to the shower and then we requested that family and friends draw something for the letter on their page... so sweet and funny. my brother-in-law snagged the "T" page right away... so he could make a hand turkey! our guests actually responded really well to this activity, taking more than one page or collaborating with someone else, lots of inside jokes or silly items to represent letters. our baby is going to love this handmade book! and it gave the nieces and nephews a job to put all the pages in order in the book as more and more pages were finished.


we had Harvest Moon Bakery {located in Xenia, Ohio} make their "local, organic, vegan" twinkys for our baby shower favor! they were delicious and fun. everyone got a real kick out of them, especially since we had fun flavors like chocolate raspberry and lemon lavender! a sweet little treat for the road for our very loved guests.

all in all we had a super baby shower. i really enjoyed myself and my husband did too. our tribe is so supportive of this baby - we can't wait for everyone to meet the new family member!

have a great start to the week!

Monday, August 15, 2016

{our little summer garden 2016}

hi there! i decided it was time for a little garden + growing update of sorts!

as you know there’s much going on around here… so my husband and i decided that one place we could slow things down (to make it more manageable) was the garden. i’m not standing the heat super well with being a human incubator and all, so a little lighter load outdoors has been pleasant for me this summer.

here’s what is going + growing these days…

+ we decided with the history of our mini farm (car maintenance as well as a dairy cow farm) that we would change our initial “in ground garden” plans to raised bed garden plans. this allows us to know that the dirt doesn’t have any harsh chemicals as one can never really be sure when you’re talking about farmed and well used land.

+ we have built three brand-new raised garden beds in a sunny place in our yard! one is filled with growing tomatoes, peppers and lettuce. a second is getting filled with quality dirt as we find it for cheap. and the third is our composting bed this year. 

+we have begun to use a compost tumbler to mostly compost veggie/produce/plant scraps so that we can add them to one open raised bed each year. this will allow us to compost and not attract various animals (with extremely fresh food scraps) so near to our growing produce and laying flock of chickens. we will be able to have one open raised bed each year to rotate our soil and keep things vibrant and replenished as needed.

we hope to add a bit more to the overall structure this summer and upcoming fall. but we are going to take it easy with just doing what we can. however, we figured if most of the structure is in place for next spring planting that will be much easier for us as we won’t be starting from scratch like we did this past spring. 

how about you? any good planting?

*i added this post to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop #66 - go check out all the fun posts sharing about homesteading and simple living!

Monday, August 8, 2016

An Exceptional Fifth Wedded Anniversary

Oh my dear friends, time flies! My husband and I have celebrated five years of being an old married couple. And I just love it!

This getting - bigger - by - the - day momma decided simple was where it was at! No gifts was the plan, just get cleaned up {after a day of working on the nursery!!} and enjoy ourselves on an adult night out!

 We had an exquisite meal at one of our favorite restaurants {you know, the ones we'd love to go to weekly, but just can't afford to eat like that all the time - both for our waist lines and our wallets} and then went to the movies.

The movies. We realized that movies will probably be our date of choice in the upcoming young parenthood season. Because, we really like to splurge and go to the movies once in awhile and taking a little one won't be part of that plan.

We just can't get over how lucky we are to have the life we are living and are about to share it with one more special person! Happy anniversary to my love! I can't wait for all the nights in and our first days/months as a family of three. Until then, we should try and go out for "mock-tails" and the movies at least one more time.

Hope you all are starting a most fantastic week!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mama Hood Mondays {Local Love Edition - Mama & Bean}

Good morning!

Over the weekend I was given a sweet little surprise of an early baby shower gift from some dear ones who are not able to make our upcoming celebration. And you know what... the gesture and the quality of the gift just blew me away! 

I'm talking about Mama & Bean Handcrafted Skin Care products! Yes! So far I'm loving the Gentle Body Butter {safe for pregnant and/or nursing mamas and those teeny babies!}! It left my skin so soft and smooth after only one application. I think I'll start basking in it basically daily... so heavenly!

And I can't wait to try out the diaper cream on our little one... well, I can wait, because diapers + rashes... but the reviews are awesome so I think it will be a perfect go-to product when needed;)

So go ahead and check out this personal care amazingness from Granville, Ohio. Kate seems to update their Facebook and/or Instagram feeds when she is going to sales + pop up markets, or restocking local suppliers. I know I'll be watching when it comes time for some holiday shopping!

Have a great start to the week!

::Please note that this post is entirely of my thoughts. I did not receive any gifts or any prompting to promote this specific product or brand from the maker. This blog series is to celebrate the great products that are made in my home state of Ohio. The photos on this post are mine. ::