Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Making Your Own Soap

This post includes affliliate links.

My husband has been wanting to make soap for a long time, so we finally tried it out.  We began by ordering a kit from ChelseasSoapGarden. You can get the Basil, Sage, Mint kit or the Lavender Hibiscus kit. 

Each kit includes soap base (in either shea butter or goat's milk), coloring, soap fragrance, essential oil, vitamin E, and dried leaves or flowers.

Begin by cutting up the soap and slowly melting in either a double boiler or in the microwave.

Be sure not to heat too quickly or it will ruin the soap.

Gently whisk in coloring, trying not to create bubbles.

Add fragrance and/or essential oils.

Pour into molds. A mold comes in the kit, but the mold shown here is not it. We also added a slice of luffa sponge to each bar to create an exfoliating soap.

Top with dried leaves or flowers.  Alternatively, you could put the dried flowers or leaves on the bottom of the mold before pouring in the soap.

Let harden overnight and pop out of the molds. The soaps in this photo that are not square are the ones that used the mold in the kit.

It's really as simple as that!  Give it a try.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fruit-Infused Water Display

***Post contains an affiliate link.

We all know that drinking water is good for us, so making fruit-infused water is a great way to inspire that while adding a nice bit of flavor.  But how can you make a fruit-infused water display that keeps the fruit from floating on top?  It's pretty simple.

Start with a glass jug.  I got mine on Amazon. 
Fill it partially with ice. Then take a few slices of fruit and slide them between the ice and the glass.  (Be sure your fruit is washed and stickers removed.)

Add more ice and more fruit.  Continue in this manner until the jug is full.  Then add water.  Isn't it pretty.  Such a great way to inspire us to drink water and adds to your home decor.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Plant-Based Diet Update (June)

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It's been five months on this plant-based diet and I'm down 18 pounds!  I have learned to be okay with a life (mostly) without cheese.  Most of all, I feel really good.  The nutrition study ends in a month and I plan to keep with this way of eating.  For more information, check out the video below.

Here are the two cookbooks I mentioned in the video:


Here are the recipes I mentioned:

Summertime Cherry-Basil Bruschetta

Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole

Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps

Mushroom-Walnut Pesto Tart

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce

Portobello "Steak" Fajitas  

So that's it for this month, I'll be back next month with a final update on my weight loss and blood work results.  Be sure to sign up to follow me through email and you'll be notified when I upload new blog posts.  Also, be sure to check out my YouTube channel—Little Green Farmhouse—a channel about everything home-related!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Growing Potatoes in Buckets

Growing potatoes is super easy, so if you've never tried, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't have garden space, you can get a great yield by planting in buckets or bags.  And I have a secret to share, you can get an even better yield by using this method of growing potatoes. 

Potato plants do have seeds, but the plants are not grown from seed. Examine your potatoes and check for where the eyes are. When you cut your potatoes into pieces, you'll want to be sure that each piece has at least one eye. 

Place your cut potatoes on a few sheets of paper towel and be sure that the juicy sides are facing up.  Now, let them sit out for at least 24 hours (or longer).  These potatoes, by the way, are called Magic Molly. They are purple, as you can see.  They taste just like regular potatoes, but have a beautiful color (even after cooking) and they are loaded with antioxidants... just like blueberries.

I let these sit out for a day and half. The cut sides have now formed a leathery skin. You'll want yours to sit out long enough for this leathery skin to form in order to protect them from rotting and pests. Now, they're ready to plant!

One way to plant your potatoes is in plastic buckets. Some of mine are plastic laundry baskets I got from Wal-Mart. I just drilled holes for drainage.

I also got these cool things I got from Amazon. These are bags, specifically made for growing potatoes. This particular bag comes in a set of two.

Near the bottom of the bag is a little door. Since the potatoes at the bottom will be ready sooner, you can simply reach inside to harvest them before the others are ready.

Put a couple of inches of soil in each bag or bucket.  Then place a couple of potato pieces in the soil.  Be sure an eye is facing up.  Cover the pieces with another inch or so of soil and give them a good drink of water.

And that's it!  Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. When the plants grow, keep an eye on them.  When plants are about two inches high, cover them (not completely) with more soil.  When they grow a few inches more, cover them with more soil, each time leaving just a little bit of the plant showing.

Why do this, you might ask?  Here's the science behind it. When a potato plant grows, it sends out little runners, called stolons, just below the surface of the soil. A potato is formed at the end of each stolon. Each time you add more soil, the plant sends out more stolons below the surface. By the time the soil reaches the top of the bucket or bag, there will be layers and layers of potatoes growing inside. That means you get a whole BUNCH of potatoes when the time comes to harvest.  

I'll be back later in the summer to show you how the plants are growing!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Upcycled Coca-Cola Can Flowers

My friend, Carole West from GardenUpGreen, invited me to participate in a DIY Coca-Cola Project challenge.  The idea was to create some kind of project for home or garden that has something to do with Coca-Cola.  I decided to upcycle the cans to make fun yard decorations. 

It starts with an empty can that is rinsed and dried.  Use a pair of sturdy scissors to cut the top off of the can.

 Cut the can into strips.

Trim the ends of the strips to round them off and then bend them into the desired shapes.  Then lay the flowers on newspaper and spray paint.  Create layers of color for different effects.

If you want, you can even cut the tops of the cans to make smaller flowers or glue the smaller flowers to the inside of larger ones.

I attached mine to my fence for a happy, little pop of color.

It's as easy as that.  Give it a try!

For more fun DIY Coca-Cola projects, check out the following blogs:

Grit Antiques

Garden Up Green

To Work With My Hands

Farmhouse 40

DIY Coca Cola Ideas for the Home or Garden

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Plant-Based Journey Weeks 7 and 8

***This post contains affiliate links.

I've finally broken my weight-loss stall and am now down 13 pounds!  Things are going really well.  Our group from the nutrition study has not met in several weeks, but I still have a few things to share with you.

First of all, I tried a few new products.  The first was a coffee creamer.  I'm looking for one that is dairy-free (of course), creamy, and not sweetened.  Here's the one I tried made of almond milk and coconut cream.

This creamer isn't as creamy as I would like it to be, but it does not taste sweet and so I like it much better.  If you know of an unsweetened non-dairy creamer that is more creamy, let me know!  (I've already tried Silk creamer and it's too sweet.)

Next, I tried vegan cheese, which is pricey, but tastes good.  Here's the kind I bought.

I made several really good recipes this week.  Click on the name of each one for a link to the recipe.  The first two came from the PlantPure Nation Cookbook.  Here's where you can get it:

Twice-Baked Broccoli Potatoes

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Vegan Ranch Dip

Easy Black Bean Soup

And finally, one dinner I had that falls into the category of "vegan junk food." It's vegan buffalo wings from Morning Star Farms.  Very spicy and very yummy!  I dipped them in the Vegan Ranch Dip from the Cauliflower Buffalo Wings recipe above.  How they make the taste and texture like chicken, I'll never know, but they are a great option for a night when you don't have time to cook and still want to stick to your plant-based diet.

So that's it for this week, I'll be back soon with another update on my progress and more great recipes and resources.  Be sure to sign up to follow me through email and you'll be notified when I upload new blog posts.  Also, be sure to check out my YouTube channel—Little Green Farmhouse—a channel about everything home-related!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Treating Wooden Garden Beds

***This post contains affiliate links.

If you did not see my last gardening post, click HERE to learn more about the raised beds I put in my garden.  I love how they look and am so excited to begin my garden.

After putting soil into a few of the beds, it occurred to me that I should treat the wood so it would look nicer for longer and last longer.  I wanted to use an effective treatment that would not add unhealthy chemicals to my garden beds.  After investigating, I tried two different ways.  The first is a DIY mixture of jojoba oil and beeswax.  Here's a LINK the recipe I used.  There are several methods described for treating wood, but I chose the one listed as #1.  This method worked well, but it was a bit pricey. 

For the majority of the boxes, I used a pre-made formula made from vegetable oil and citrus oils.  It was slightly more economical and still chemical-free.

Both worked well and were easy to "paint" on.  The wood just drank it up as if it were thirsty.  You can see here the difference between wood that was treated and wood that was not.

If I had it to do again, I would have treated all the wood before assembling the boxes, but... lesson learned.  If you're interested in the boxes I used, check out these links.


Now, it's time to get that garden growing!