Posted by & filed under The Homestead.

I don’t know whether to feel like a genius for thinking of this or an idiot for never having thought of it before!

I hate bibs with velcro closures. I much prefer the snaps because the velcro NEVER stays closed in the wash and then it snags on all of the other laundry.

Bibs Collage

 

This especially drives me crazy when they attach themselves to our pretty Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets. Once those get snagged it just keeps pulling and jacks them all up. That’s when I want to go on a hobo-punching spree. Last time one of the bibs tried to destroy the rest of the laundry I didn’t see any hobos close by. Luckily, I experienced a life-changing epiphany instead.

Lingerie bag for washing bibs

 

I felt like the smarted person on the planet when this occurred to me. Put the evil little things in a lingerie bag! That way, it doesn’t matter if they come apart. The velcro hooks can’t attack anything outside the bag! Now I put anything with velcro into a lingerie bag to wash and dry and I feel like little birds should land on my shoulders and sing to me when I do laundry because life is so good. I am patiently awaiting my invitation to Mensa.

You’re welcome.

Posted by & filed under Gardening, The Homestead.

This is not a big garden year for us.

Strangely, I didn’t want to be prepping and planting two huge vegetable beds early this spring when I was a zillion months pregnant and wanting to scratch all the skin off my hands and feet. Even if Daniel had done all of the prep-work, I didn’t feel confident that I’d be able to keep it alive while I learned to keep a tiny human alive. So we decided to mostly rest the beds for the year. Lots of people use clover as a cover crop to put nutrients back in the soil. You just till it up into the soil when you’re ready to plant again. Fun fact. Did you know that clover is a legume? Clover is practically a bean. How crazy is that? So we (and by we, I mean my lovely husband) planted the smaller bed full of bush beans and pole beans as a way to refresh the garden soil and maybe have a small crop to harvest after all.

We figured maybe we’d get some beans from them and if it got too hot and burnt them to a crisp, oh well. It looked like that was the direction we were going until we had a week straight of rain.

The rain cleared, the sun shone, and I picked nearly half a bag of green beans.

Bag of Beans

 

It took me quite a while to snap them all but we ended up with four and a half pounds to put up.

Bowl of Beans

 

At that point I was so tired of dealing with this giant stack of green beans and I was pretty intimidated by the thought of blanching and freezing all of those beans. I didn’t think Samuel would stay settled long enough for me to get through them all. I searched and searched and found a lot of people saying they don’t blanch, they just stick their beans right in the freezer. I’m all for going the easy way. Especially if it’s a vegetable I’m not going to eat anyway.

Did I forget to mention that? I don’t eat green beans. I just love my husband enough to make sure he has nice home-grown frozen veggies all winter. Yes. I’m awesome. Where’s my cookie?

I was out of vacuum bags so I had to improvise. Here is how you freeze green beans in freezer bags with no vacuum.

Straw

 

Use a regular freezer bag and a drinking straw. I squeezed most of the air out and zipped the bag closed except for a hole for the straw. Then I sucked as much air out of the bag as I could and pinched the straw closed. At that point I pulled the straw out and pinched the bag the rest of the way closed. Easy peasy. Four and a half pounds made four and a half quarts of tasty (I assume) veggie goodness for the freezer.

I just picked some more beans this morning and there are even more that will be ready later in the week. If I can carve out the time I might blanch this set before I freeze just for a quality comparison.

Not bad for the year we skipped a garden!

Posted by & filed under Family Life, Parenthood.

Samuel is 4 months (and 2 weeks) old!

IMG_6814

He did lots of growing and learning this month. How chubby does he look in this one?

IMG_6833His Granny (my mom) and Nanny (my mom’s cousin) came to visit for a few days and had wonderful time cuddling and spoiling him. They also got to hear his first big belly laugh. He hasn’t done it again since but it sure was cute!

IMG_6795Samuel also perfected his raspberry skills for Granny. The moment you put him on his changing table he sticks out his tongue and blows as hard as he can. Sometimes he just vibrates his little lips but he’s pretty proud of his technique.

IMG_6827He’s also very proud of his “standing up on Mama or Dada’s lap holding their hands” skills.

IMG_6849He is so close to rolling over from his back to his stomach that I always expect to find him on his tummy when I come back into the room where he’s playing on his back in his little gym.

IMG_6788Samuel had a big growth spurt this month. He planted himself on my boobs and camped there for a week or two. He would eat every hour all day long and then crash hard and sleep 8 or 9 hours at night. The extra sleep was good but, let me tell ya, this Mama was in a lot of pain after 9 hours of no nursing following the day’s marathon feedings. Don’t be deluded into thinking I got the same 8 or 9 hours of sleep he did either. Since I sat on the couch with him most of the day I had a ton of stuff to try to get done the minute he went to sleep. I did watch a whole lot of Dr. Who, so I can’t complain. The fruits of his efforts showed at his 4 month check-up where he weighed in at 14lbs and measured 25.5 inches long!

He is growing so fast!

Samuel 1-4 Months

 

Posted by & filed under The Homestead.

Before

My current Frugal Friday (posted on Saturday-Whoops) project is a deck makeover. I will be doing what I can to fix up our back deck with $32.25 in change from my spare change piggy bank. Because I’m a big, fat tightwad. And it just sounds like a fun challenge.

Our back porch is a 6’x6′ wood deck off the back door. It was new and pretty when I bought our house 6 years ago, but I never got around to staining or water treating it. Just another project that got Dogeared for later. I really wish the guy who was flipping the house had gone ahead and built the deck across the back of the house or even just used 12′ boards to build a 12’x12′ deck instead of 6’x6′.  I haven’t found a good way to use the deck very much because of its small size. It’s really too small for even a bistro table and chairs. I’m afraid we’d fall off the edge! I’m thinking about finding a single chair to put in front of the window so that Samuel and I can sit on the deck in the mornings when the porch is shady.

Chairs will come later, though. Before I tackle furniture or decorations, the deck has to be cleaned and treated. We don’t have a power washer so off to The Facebook I went! Anytime I start a project like this or I’m just looking to make a purchase, I ask on Facebook first. Specifically if it’s a project that requires a special tool that we’re not likely to need very often or maybe never againl. This time, I updated my status asking if anyone had a power washer that we could borrow for a day. Luckily, my Uncle offered up his in exchange for us taking Samuel to see him for some Great Uncle/Nephew bonding time..

I also asked if anyone had any leftover stain from a deck project. Since our deck is only 6’x6′, it’s not going to take very much to get the job done. The cheapest and smallest option for deck stain I found at Lowe’s was almost $20 and would cover at least 100 square feet. That’s more than twice as much as I need and it takes up more than half of my budget so I’m hoping someone will have some leftovers we can use.

 

Deck Makeover Status

Planned Step 1: Wash Deck

Planned Step 2: Stain/Weather Treat Deck

Spent: $0.00

Budget Remaining: $32.25