Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shredding and Freezing Your Excess Garden Produce

We garden year round and when those leftover "odds and ends" produce come in toward the end of the season, I must admit to being quite tired of them. This is just a little reminder to encourage you (and me) to "waste not" and therefore "want not" when you are feeling the garden harvest burn-out. Though tired of preserving food, this is our golden opportunity to bless the household for the future  Bring out the food processor and shred away those garden goods! There is money to be made by simply saving what you have! This would also apply to any vegetables you have sitting in your crisper (process them up before they go bad!).

When the easy work of shredding is done, I like to place them in small baggies (approx 2 cups worth per bag) and line them up in the freezer. No need to blanch most vegetables (when you are shredding small like this) if your purpose is to use them for foods such as quiches, pasta sauces, soups, stews, casseroles, etc. The reason you usually flash freeze foods on trays is so the vegetables don't clump up together. However, if you store them in smaller bags and for these kinds of recipes, it isn't an issue since you will use the whole bag.

I also like to keep them in a separate section in the freezer. A plastic basket full of your pre-shredded veggies makes for effortless finding of food and you will love grocery shopping in your freezer! If I need to make a lasagna sauce, for example, I take a stroll into the freezer and shop through my shredded produce. All that needs to be done is to sauté some onions and garlic and add the veggies into the pot, bag by bag, with no mess to clean up. Once I am satisfied with the amount, I simply add my tomato sauce and seasonings for a homemade, homegrown sauce!

Because of this, I rarely have to purchase produce! There is such a stockpile of comfort food ingredients tucked away in these little pouches and the convenience of these prepared foods is priceless! Some of my favorite foods to shred and freeze are broccoli (don't forget those stumps!), carrots, rutabaga, and squash (the white shredded vegetable in the photos are rutabaga and not to be confused with potatoes which would require special treatment prior to freezing).

"It is wise, therefore, for all persons to devise a general plan, which they will at least keep in view, and aim to accomplish, and by which, a proper proportion of time shall be secured, for all the duties of life... In forming such a plan, every woman must accommodate herself to the peculiarities of her situation. If she has a large family, and a small income, she must devote far more time to the simple duty of providing food and raiment..."
~ Catherine Beecher (1800-1878), A Treatise on Domestic Economy

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How to Make Rose Hip Medicine ~ Home Apothecary Series

"Rose hips contain more vitamin C than almost any other herb, many times the amount found in citrus fruit when measured gram by gram. Vitamin C is a noted antioxidant with disease-fighting abilities."
~ Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

When I think of the cold and flu seasons in autumn and winter, I immediately think of rose hips. These wild fruits of the rose are high in vitamin C, tasty, child-friendly and therefore very versatile for using in home remedies! This old fashioned herb is fun to use in your household and quite helpful too! You may also want to try utilizing these rose hips recipes during allergy season to help relieve those frustrating symptoms!

"Rose hips develop on wild roses as the flowers drop off. The rose hip, also called the rose haw, is actually the fruit of the rose. These fruits are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C available... "

Before we begin with the recipes, here is some basic information on foraging, harvesting and preserving your own rose hips. You may also be interested in learning about the potential "itching powder" contained in rose hips for a bit of a study on herb "safety".

How to Make a Rose Hip Tincture ~ 3 Ways

One very easy way to preserve the medicinal benefits of rose hips (with a long shelf life) is to prepare a tincture. This is the first thing I think of to use when we need a quick vitamin C boost (when those sick symptoms present themselves). This tincture can be added to hot teas and/or raw honey or simply dropped under the tongue for instant gratification. To learn how to make a tincture and the proper dosage, visit here.


Make an immune boosting, cold/flu fighting, and allergy alleviating tincture blend. Using the how to make a tincture instructions, prepare this herbal medicine by using equal parts of elderberry and rose hips for excellent results.

DIY Vitamin-C Rich Tea Blends Featuring Rose Hips

To prepare a pantry full of vitamin-C rich tea blends featuring rose hips, visit our article here.

How to Make a Vitamin C-Rich Rose Hip Syrup

Syrups are a wonderful way to help the medicine go down! You will find this simple recipe here that children will love.

How to Make an Herbal Liquid Multi-Vitamin

Immune boosting rose hips make an excellent addition to your daily vitamin intake. To learn how to make your own liquid herbal vitamin, visit our tutorial here.

All-Natural Allergy Tonic

Visit here for our instructions to make this all-natural and effective allergy tonic. 

DIY Cold and Flu Elixir and/or Oxymel

One of our favorite recipes for the cold/flu season is this elixir/oxymel and rose hips is one of the main ingredients. Visit here for the complete tutorial.

DIY Immune Building Herbal Honey

For a fun herbal food to add to your pantry, infuse your honey and use like you would any "normal" honey. To prepare this vitamin-c rich recipe, simply use rose hips in place of the herb found in this recipe (or better yet, mix the two for stronger herbal properties).

Rose Hip Link Up

Do you have any recipes or information on rose hip usage? We would love for you to share with us! Please join our all about rose hips link up! It will be open until the end of March, 2016 in order to give you the opportunity to share all you have on this magnificent fruit!

Printable Information Sheets for Your Herbal {Printable Herbal Here}:

Further Reading and Recipes:

Elderberry and Rose Hip Syrup by Grow Pray Build
Rose Hip Jam by Mother Earth Living
Strawberry Rose Hip Jam by Delicious Obsessions
Rose Hip Infused Kombucha by Mountain Rose Herbs

This post is a part of our Create Your Own Home Pharmacy Series.

Don't know where to find rose hips, etc? I purchase my supplies here (these are affiliate links):


Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog).

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.

Friday, March 18, 2016

DIY "Pretty-as-a-Pinny" Clothespins ~ A Tiggy-winkle Tutorial

"Lucie ran on, and on... THE path ended under a big rock. The grass was short and green, and there were clothes-props cut from bracken stems, with lines of plaited rushes, and a heap of tiny clothes pins..."

If you please'm! Dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle has one more tutorial to share with you all on this "Fun Friday" spring series. She says this is a very versatile project that everyone can get involved in! They are her "Pretty-as-a-Pinny" clothespins. These darlings could also be used as "bag clips" in the kitchen. If you glue a magnet to the back, they can hold photos and papers on the refrigerator. If you string them on a line in the house, they can display your children's artwork. They would also make sweet party favors. But as for this author, she simply likes to use them the old fashioned way, on the clothesline!

There are many ways to decorate your clothespins but the first thing you will need to do is paint them (if you choose). The easiest way to achieve this is on a clothesline or temporary string hung outdoors. Attach your clothespins (give them some distance apart so that you can get in the nooks and crannies and sides) and spray paint them the desired color. We weren't concerned about them being perfectly painted as it adds to the charm. Children may enjoy hand painting them themselves but it is more tedious. 

Once dried, they are now ready to embellish! You can use scrapbook paper (or magazine clippings, old maps, old book pages, music sheets, etc.) and cut pieces down to size (I measured out the dimensions and cut straight lines using a paper cutter). You could also use fancy scissors on the ends to give the paper a different pattern. Finally, affix your pretty paper with a glue stick (or craft glue) and once dried, apply a layer of decoupage glue or some clear spray paint to finish them off. 

Another way (and much simpler!) to decorate the painted clothespins is with stamps. My daughter has a large "Faded Text Background" stamp that I applied directly to the painted pin. With a final coat of decoupage glue or clear spray paint, the project was quickly done with no need for measuring, etc! The stamp even looked nice on the plain un-painted clothespins (shown in photo next to pink ones) and I am now eager to make a few sets of these for instant gratification and for gifts. 

You could also embellish with pretty beads and jewels if you want to make a designer clothespin (these are my daughter's creation). You can use tiny stickers or clip art. You can use permanent markers and draw designs. You could also custom paint each clothespin to make your own masterpieces if you are artistic (think chevron strips, polka dots, pinstripes and flowers). Just make sure to seal your finished product with the decoupage glue or clear spray paint.

While mama prepares her "pretty pinny's", the children can decorate theirs with all their craft supplies (fearless mothers can even give finger paints to toddlers to decorate the pins with). I must admit that Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was right, my daughter and I really enjoyed making these together and fussing over them and exclaiming to one another how cute the other person's pins were! We had a delightful time!

Summary of Steps:

1. Paint clothespin (if desired) and let dry.
2. Decorate clothespin.
3. Apply a layer of decoupage glue or clear spray paint to "seal" them.
4. Enjoy your finished "pretty-as-a-pinny" clothespin!

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle suggests that these shouldn't be left on the clothesline overnight with the dew or during a storm as it will diminish the quality. 
"And she hung up all sorts and sizes of clothes—small brown coats of mice; and one velvety black moleskin waist-coat; and a red tailcoat with no tail belonging to Squirrel Nutkin; and a very much shrunk blue jacket belonging to Peter Rabbit; and a petticoat, not marked, that had gone lost in the washing—and at last the basket was empty!"

"Pretty-as-a-Pinny" clothespins would also make a nice gift! You can prepare a laundry basket with some handmade detergent, stain remover, fabric softener and a clothespin apron. You might also want to include this "Wash Day Prayer"Visit here for more wash day inspiration or you may even want to view the complete Collection of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle Tutorials, if you please'm!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

{DIY} Housecleaning ~ Spring Collection of 10-Step Inspiration

"Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housekeeping actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when it is completed. These routines echo the rhythm of life, and the housekeeping rhythm is the rhythm of the body. You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy those benefits."

Gentle spring has come bringing symphonies of rain, glorious greens and the freshness of a new growing season. The air is pure and promising, just the kind of weather to enjoy a homemaking renewal. We hope these "steps" of tutorials and ideas will stir your desire to enjoy the rhythm of housecleaning in any season!

"The homeliest tasks get beautiful if loving hands do them."

 1. Before you commence cleaning, I invite you to visit here for a bit of a "warm up".

2. Save yourself loads of money and chemical overload in your home by making your own cleaning products. It could be fun to stock your "cleaning closet" with a few months worth of cleaning provisions! I love to prepare jars and jars of cleaners (pretend like you are making an aisle's worth for a grocery store). In as little as twenty minutes and for less than a few dollars, you can have a nice supply of homemade goods. Here are some basic printable cleaning product recipes.

We also include how to make your own cleaning cleanser-in-a-jarcarpet deodorizer, dusting spray and old fashioned furniture polish.

In addition, we share our lavender cleaning collection (which are my personal spring and summer choices) along with our citrus cleaning collection (which are my favorite autumn and winter choices). Seasonal homemaking is quite an enjoyable pastime (do give it a try)!

3. Like all elements of homemaking, adding a bit of creativity can make the mundane into something marvelous. To make it even more fun (yes ladies, this is fun to me!), we share some basic printable cleaning product labels. Recycle some pretty jars, containers and spray bottles, and you have a nice assortment of boutique-like cleaning products! My daughter likes to color in her labels for extra beauty.

4. Sew up some pretty cleaning cloths! The tutorial for ours was found at this lovely blog here. It only requires the knowledge of sewing a straight line. I was able to make up this little stack in as little as 15 minutes! We cut around an old bath towel (that recently developed holes) for one side of the cleaning cloths while the alternating fabric was from a vintage sheet found at a Salvation Army Store for $1. This pretty pattern will surely keep me smiling as I go about my household tasks.

5. (Homemaking Hint:) When doing your routine cleaning (or even dishwashing), cut your sponges in half to stretch them. The smaller size also makes it easier to get into any nooks and crannies.

6. Make vacuuming pleasant! We invite you to visit this post for some inspiration. A bit of aromatherapy and/or herbs, and you will be invigorated as you clean!

7. Instead of chemical-laden Lysol, make your own disinfectant and room deodorizer. We call it our "Get Well Soon" spray but it is very versatile. You will find our reasons and recipe here. When the cleaning day is done, I love to do a final spritz around the home!

8. Mother shouldn't be housecleaning alone as many hands make light work! In fact, housework can even be incorporated into your homeschool. Visit Spring Cleaning with Children ~ Lessons in Home Education for how we accomplish this in our home.

9. Store all your cleaning know-how (recipes, schedules and lists) in one convenient place such as a home management binder or a household herbal. This will give you that organized feeling that a keeper at home often craves!

10. Consider participating in a Victorian Era "Monthly Home Maintenance"! Visit here for the complete series. This is more of an organizational upkeep and maintenance of your inventory of household goods to make your home run smoothly (though it could be easily used as a spring cleaning routine).

For further motivation, you may want to read Elisabeth Elliot's practical thoughts on "The Way You Keep Your House", Edith Schaeffer's sound advice in "Your Interior Decoration... Today"this author's sentiments on being the "Mistress of the House" or consider "Cleaning on Friday ~ For a Little House Cleaning Day". If you find yourself looking for more areas to tackle, Let's Clean and Organize Under the Kitchen Sink!

I hope this leaves you encouraged to do some old fashioned housecleaning with some handmade products. Turn on some inspirational music, put on your brightest and cheeriest apron, roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and transform your house into a clean and orderly home! Oh the beauty of living in a scrubbed, shining and tidy dwelling -- It is most luxurious!

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..."
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10a

And when the work is completed for the day, I do hope you brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Gently pour it into a dainty tea cup. Take a step outside into the fresh air. Pull up a chair, lift up your weary feet and rejoice in the fruit of your labors.

All the fine print. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's Tutorials ~ Beatrix Potter Series

"Lucie opened the door: and what do you think there was inside the hill?—a nice clean kitchen with a flagged floor and wooden beams—just like any other farm kitchen. Only the ceiling was so low that Lucie's head nearly touched it; and the pots and pans were small, and so was everything there."

Spring is on the way and so another season of our "Fun Friday" posts will commence. As some of you know, I still have childhood loves. The world of Beatrix Potter is one of them and I must confess that Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is my favorite character. She is a wonderful homemaker! How could I not admire her nice clean cottage kitchen with the flagged floors and wooden beams? Her washing skills are amazing, her ironing superb and she is an excellent hostess. Tea anyone?

We have shared some projects inspired by this sweet little creature (things that are useful but with a bit of whimsy stirred in for fun) last spring. As I had written in my introduction of Beatrix Potter Posts, perhaps I do this series each season "because there is so much disturbing things going on today and it can be therapeutic to ponder and dwell on the "good things" (Philippians 4:8).

"There was a nice hot singey smell; and at the table, with an iron in her hand stood a very stout short person staring anxiously at Lucie."
The projects we share can also be done together with the children to encourage reading! Bring out the Beatrix Potter books and then prepare some of these useful items for a fun household-crafting day. These would also make nice gifts tucked away in baskets for spring!

"Her print gown was tucked up, and she was wearing a large apron over her striped petticoat. Her little black nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and underneath her cap—where Lucie had yellow curls—that little person had PRICKLES!"
"Why! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was nothing but a HEDGEHOG."
~ The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle by Beatrix Potter

Now some skeptics may say that our dear washer-woman doesn't exist! However, to quote the words of Ms. Potter, "I have seen that door into the back of the hill called Cat Bells— I am very well acquainted with dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!" Are you? If you are still harboring doubts, I invite you to visit her tutorials below for further proof! :)

We hope you enjoyed this series on our dear friend, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle! We look forward to sharing more good-old-fashioned homemaking from her neighbor (Mrs. Tittlemouse) this spring, if you please'm!

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.