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Why Tiny Houses Can Save the Earth- or at least make it a little bit better!

I'm sure if you have seen my posts, Pinterest page or FB page, you know that my dream is to live in a tiny house. :)

I still don't have a plan to get there as my DH is NOT on board with it.  He is a tech junkie and my "simpler life" plan doesn't appeal to him. Which is fine with me. Eventually we will find a way to compromise on this issue.  

Enjoy this infographic from Tiny House Build!!  
Why tiny houses can save the earth

Vintage 4H Recipe Card!!

There's a lot going on with me lately, and I'm not able to post a lot.  (There's a slight family emergency going on that I'm having to deal with, both by physically helping and emotionally accepting it.  I think the emotional part is harder.)

But I am in the process of converting all of my paperwork to digital files.  I've never realized just how much paper is contained in a 2 person household!!  I can't imagine what those of you with children endure!!

But I found a few of these and I thought I would share them.  They have to be from 1982 or 1983.  I know I was younger than 8 when I started 4-H!!  LOL


Storing Groceries: Infographic

I found this awesome infographic and wanted to share.  I have another post coming later today, but this was just too good not to share!

To see the entire image, right click and "open image in new tab".  

The Case of the Accidental Sweet Potato

The Case of the Accidental Sweet Potato,
Or The Hidden Sweet Potato

Sometimes the decisions we make early on prove to just be a "learning experience" later in Fall... especially when it comes to planting and growing.  No matter how many times I plant in my lifetime, I live for not just the bounty of my garden, but for the little surprises, whether good or bad, that befall our Little Lyon Farm.

I have a large terra cotta pot in the front of my house, and this year, because I was planting tomatoes out there also, I decided to plant marigolds.  (In case you don't know, marigolds are awesome companion plants for tomatoes; distracting bugs and helping stave off various diseases.)  Marigolds are gorgeous all on their own, but I like the trailing "filler" plants flowing out of the pot also, so I chose to add in some sweet potato vine.

It was gorgeous!  All summer!

But Fall is upon us, and it was time to start cleaning out my planters of the dead stuff before I had to do it in the snow.  Trust me... living in northwest Ohio, this is the time of year when it can be 65 one day and dump snow on you the next.  I swear our TV weathermen all just have a set of dice to throw in the air before they go on the news.  It's really that unpredictable!!

But I digress....

As I'm pulling the roots of the vines and marigolds out of the pot, low and behold, I came across this MONSTER of a sweet potato hidden away.  Now, I know... you are thinking, "But didn't you expect that to grow?"

Not really.  It's a small pot.  Usually the tubers acclimate to the size of the pot, essentially stunting growth and yielding only potatoes the size of my ring finger.  (Honestly, don't believe me?  Comment below and I promise I will post pictures of the other 8-10 tiny sweet potatoes that were hidden in there!!)

Here is my monster sweet potato... with a tube of Chapstick for size comparison.  :)

Ok, I've seen bigger, but my point is for the size of the pot, this thing is a GIANT!!

I have yet to actually harvest the sweet potato crop in my backyard, but it's coming soon.

No one in my house really even likes these but me, but I figure I cook, they eat.  If they cook, they get an opinion. LOL  So, I usually see how many pounds I get, can 4-10 quarts to have on hand for casserole or sweet potato pie.  The rest I chop up, par boil for 3 min, dunk into ice water, dry them off real well.  I then get out a big cookie sheet and spread them out to freeze individually.  I usually leave them in the freezer this way overnight.  There's nothing worse than going through all that work and then forgetting to cover them!!

I sometimes throw some salt, pepper and onion powder on them before the first freeze, but it's ok to not season until you cook them.  I typically bake these at 400 degrees for 15 min (or until done), flipping about halfway through.  If you haven't already seasoned them, when you are flipping is the time to do it.

You can deep fry them also, and then mix some chili sauce with mayonnaise for a really tasty dipping sauce.

Let me know if you preserve, use or have other ways to keep your sweet potatoes.  I love finding new ways to use them besides the old stand by's.

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Smells Like the Holidays!! Keeping Scents Natural This Holiday Season

Did you know? Long appreciate for its lovely scent, lavender has also been found to calm and soothe when inhaled.

During the holiday season, what could be more nostalgic than the wafting aroma of pine trees or apples and cinnamon?
Unfortunately, many types of household cleaning products, air sprays and plug-ins, candles and even potpourri rely upon synthetic fragrances derived from non-renewable petroleum. These chemicals
may, in turn, produce hazardous airborne substances called volatile organic compounds (VOC's), which contribute to poor air quality and sinus irritation.
So, when looking for a bit of ambience, go natural.

from real cedar chips (yes, the pet store kind), lavender buds, herbs and spices, or even a bar
of all-natural soap. If the mix is too fine for a basket, use a tin or tie it all up in a pretty scrap of cloth
and put it in a drawer (more cost effective than a store-bought sachet!).

IF YOU LOVE SCENTED CANDLES, look for those made with beeswax or soy (not
petroleum-based paraffin) and natural essential oils.

BREW A POT OF HERBAL TEA.Or, before a get together, put a few cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pan of water and simmer for the aroma.

 It doesn't have to be a turkey dinner - even a few potatoes or baked apples and
cinnamon smell delicious. (Bonus: They taste great and are good for you, too.)

10 TIPS FOR MONEY-WISE MEALS: Trying to save money and still make great meals for your family?

10 TIPS FOR MONEY-WISE MEALS:  Trying to save money and still make great meals for your family?
1. Shop your pantry
If you're like me, you load up on chicken breasts, boxed stock and other staples when they're on sale. It's fun, thrifty and a chal­lenge to see what you can cook up with what you already have.

2. Go frozen
Fruits and vegetables are flash frozen at the peak of freshness, so you can buy them out of season for less. They taste great, too!

3. Shop on-line
Each time you enter a grocery store, you're tempted by impulse buys—a bag of cookies here, a box of crackers there, a pack of gum at the checkout—and suddenly you've spent an extra $10. Try grocery shopping on-line. You pay a few dollars more in service charges but save big by sticking to a list.

4. Shop bulk sections of health-food stores for grains, nuts, dried fruit and cereal.
You can buy as much as you want, and prices tend to be more rea­sonable because you're not pay­ing for brand names and flashy packaging.  I stock up on these essentials and then vacuum seal into mason jars to keep it fresh and my trips to a minimum.

5. Make your own 100-calorie packs
I love the idea of calorie control, but not the idea of paying for it. Instead, make your own 100-calorie packs when you get home from the store by separating cookies, chips, etc. into re-sealable plastic bags to toss into lunches.

6. Eat Your Leftovers
Wednesday night (or any night that you have a lot of leftovers on hand) is smorgasbord night, or whatever you want to call it. Haul what you have out of the fridge, and let the family make their own plates. Or take a sta­ple—like that leftover rice—and turn it into a fried rice dinner.

7. Know when organic is worth it
Stick to the "dirty dozen": peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nec­tarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. These items tend to be the most contaminated, so it's worth splurging.

8. Coupon, coupon, coupon
With this recession, couponing has come back with a vengeance. Believe it or not, 80 percent of the coupons used in grocery stores are still found in Sunday circu­lars. If a week's paper is particu­larly good, it can pay off to buy two copies—or ask a non-couponing neighbor for hers.  But don't forget that you can print at home too!  There are tons of printable coupons available here!!

9. Be loyal
For years, I didn't give the loyalty program at my local supermarket my actual information.  I fudged on the ad­dress; skipped the e-mail. No more. That's because now I know my shopping patterns are used to send me offers and coupons I'll actually use.

10. Make a list
Planning your week's meals before you hit the store saves money because you know exactly what you need to get through the week—no more, no less. Writing it down is the key to saving money.