Try this simple Life Hack for Clif Bars

This simple life hack for Clif Bars was shared with me by my youngest daughter, Joey. It’s so remarkably simple I can’t believe I never thought of it myself. I know you’re going to love it, too.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on my link and choose to make a purchase there will be no additional charge to you. I make a small commission from your purchase that helps keep my blog going.

My favorite Clif Bars

My very favorite Clif Bars are the Chocolate Chip. Another great one for this life hack with Clif Bars is the Chocolate Brownie one. I also enjoy some of the seasonal flavors like Iced Oatmeal and Mint Chocolate Chip. Keep your eye out for these.

Today I tried this life hack with a Nutella Filled one. I was hoping the filling would be like a lava cake. It was not, but it still tasted good.

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Posted in Instagram, Recipes

How to make French Press Coffee

I’d like to share how to make french press coffee with you. Making French press coffee is easy and inexpensive. It’s also delicious!

Supplies

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on my link to make a purchase there will be no additional charge to you. I make a small commission from your purchase that helps keep my blog going.

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Posted in Chickens, Homesteading, Other Crafts

Egg-tastic- How I Present My Eggs For Selling

How I Present My Eggs For Selling

Egg-tastic – How I present my eggs for selling is all about the packaging. Earlier I told you about my love for good packaging. The last couple of weeks I’ve been working to come up with great packaging for the eggs I sell. I think I nailed it and it’s egg-tastic!

chickens with fresh eggs

Previously sister-in-law, Ruth, and her husband gathered an entire box full of recycled egg cartons. And they brought them to me when they visited last November. Ruth was also very excited to gather the eggs every day. She defintly had a serious case of chicken fever.

Egg Cartons

The most important supply is the previously mentioned recycled egg cartons. I have many. Which is a good thing. I did sort through them and chose the ones I like the best. There are two styles I prefer.

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Posted in Holidays, Nature, Other Crafts, Reading

Packaging – It’s in the details

I’m a sucker for good packaging.

When it comes to packaging, for me, it’s in the details. The quality of any item is instantly elevated when you have good graphics and a pretty package. It is my opinion that anticipation is the best part, gift wrapping adds a special part to that.

For the style of packaging I prefer repurposed, hand wrapping, and a touch whimsy with a historical feel. And if I am being honest, even if it’s just the illusion of those things, it’s good.

If I personally purchased an item and it arrives prettily packaged it feels special. Like I received a gift from the seller, not just a product. Good packaging also encourages me to purchase from the seller again. Susannah’s Kitchen on Etsy is really good at packaging. I love her aprons and wear one most days, I’ve ordered no less than 5 aprons from her, the product is good on its own. The aprons arrive perfectly pressed, are handmade to order, and each package comes in a uniquely sized box and that is wrapped like a gift. But truly, I’m telling you, every detail is pure perfection. I wish I had photographed one when I opened it to share the magic with you.

It’s better to give than recieve

Not only do I like to receive good packaging, but I like to create good packaging. Recently I shared my Halloween goodies that were handed out at Trunk-or-Treat. These are a great example my joy in creating good packaging. And, I theme never hurts.

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Learn Something ​Every Day

Many moons ago my younger kids would have a clown visit their elementary school. The clown had some great taglines. Mainly “The more you read, the more you know.” Also, “If you learn something every day, then every day will be worthwhile.” I don’t remember the clown’s name, I definitely remember his taglines. Consequently, I’ve repeated both them over the years. And I do try to learn something new every day.

Just today I learned a few things. So, I guess it was a good day for me. But not for a particular bird.

The First Thing I learned

Chuck went out this afternoon to dig a hole and install the first part of a Purple Martin House pole system. He called my attention to a couple of yellow feathers he found. He asked what bird it was from. At this point I didn’t know.. I decided to look around and see if I could find any other feathers. This leads me to the first thing I learned. It’s cold out!

Although that’s not truly something I learned. As I did actually know it. I shouldn’t be walking around without a coat and wearing my house shoes in the mud! In fact, I would scold a kid for doing the exact same thing. I decided to go in and get a coat and change into my boots. Dressed warmly, I went back out to look for more feathers.

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Posted in Gardening, knitting, Ravelry knit projects, Shopping, Williamsburg, VA, yarn

Wool Sweaters

I haven’t knit myself a sweater since 2017. I felt this needed to be remedied. So I joined the Olive Knits January Gansey Sweater knit along.

JanGan2_sm_medium2
Photo credit to OliveKnits, Marie Greene from Ravelry

The January Gansey Sweater is a pattern written by Olive Knits. There is a KAL group on Facebook and on Ravelry where people are sharing and asking questions. There also are weekly videos discussing the technical aspects of this sweater hosted by Marie Greene of OliveKnits. as luck would have it there happen to be a few other people besides myself making this sweater at the LYS, Flying Needles. I’ve chosen to knit mine with Berroco Ultra Wool DK in a pretty moss green color. I’m using the color #83118 in the dye lot of 7C4778. I’m modifying where I start the cables to what I feel will suit my charming Apple Shape a bit better, but otherwise will be following the pattern.

I chose this specific knit along because it included a technique I always wanted to try, underarm gussets. I would not be surprised if you just read that last sentence and it didn’t even sound like a real thing. Underarm Gusset, indeed. I assure you, all the non-knitters and knitters alike, that it is indeed real and it’s a very old and useful technique.

A Gansey or Guernsey Sweater is a traditional woolen knit sweater often worn my fisherman. Now, I’m not a fisherman, but I will be wearing this sweater. And, I do enjoy learning about historical clothing, especially when it also incorporates knitting.

IMG_8952

As I was working along on my sweater it occurred to me it might be a good time to also go ahead and strip off the lavender flowers from the bouquet I bought at the Williamsburg Farmers Market this fall and make new sachets. While doing this I took this opportunity to add a couple drops of Lavender essential oil to some of the older lavender sachets I had made in the past. I now have freshly protected drawers in which I can store my sweater once I finish it.

I have six or so sweaters I’ve knit and a dresser full of other things knit. Mostly I knit with wool so protection against moths is really important.

So for the next week, I expect I’ll be plugging along on the stockinette body of my January Gansey Sweater. This will have the added bonus of making the fussy cabled section to be minimal. Allowing me to focus on my two oldest sons, Charlie and Ricky,  while they are here for a visit. They will be here this coming weekend. I am very much looking forward to seeing them.

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I will be starting the cables a few inches before the underarm gusset. I expect both these things will require my undivided attention. And in truth, I really want to give my boys my undivided attention, too. So I may have to set the sweater aside when I get to this point. Good thing I have several other projects I can knit as a back-up. You can never be too prepared.

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Wool Sweaters #protectwool #woolprotection #lavender #lavendersachets "lavenderesstionaloil

Happy knitting.

Posted in Home, Shopping

Some ways I save Money

I have broken down some of the ways I save money into sections. I take advantage of apps, store programs, and loyalty cards to name a few.

The biggest way I save has to do with Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter and Kroger are the same company so it’s possible Kroger has similar deals, but we don’t have a Kroger, so you have to check if that’s the store local to you. When you make a purchase using your loyalty card at Harris Teeter they give you fuel points, as well as their VIC loyalty card sales. One point for every dollar you spend, but if you buy gift certificates you get TWO points for every dollar.

We do grocery shop there but I definitely take advantage of that GC deal. I buy GC for restaurants, all sorts of stores, including Harris Teeter and even Amazon. We almost always have enough points to get the maximum of $1 off of our gas purchases. That’s for both my car, Chuck’s car, and even the lawnmower for $1 off per gallon of gas all the time.

Allow me to point out that many of the GCs, especially with Amazon, I then use Ebates for the actual shopping, getting the cash pack for that. I then upload my receipts for Points on Receipt Pal. Then I use the Ibotta App for individual items I purchase to get the coupon refund. Remember, many of my purchases were made with the GCs I bought at Harris Teeter earning those fuel points.

One the ways to save money is with Ebates. Anytime I do online shopping I try to do so through Ebates. You simply log into Ebates and then either search for the store you want in the search bar or look through all the store icons. There’s even a way you can save by shopping in physical stores by linking your credit card. I’ve done this at Plow and Hearth just this past month, I got 12% cash back on that purchase. If you sign up via my link you get $10 and so do I! This is my most used app for how I save money.

Ebates Link

Another great way I save money is with the Receipt Pal app. You take pictures of all your receipts, upload them and you collect points. Then you can convert points into gift cards. I usually convert them into Amazon gift cards. Then I go to Amazon through Ebates and earn cash back!

Receipt Pal App

I use the Ibotta app as a way to save money with their electronic coupons. Choose your store, go through the list of items with “coupons” and check the things you will buy, make your purchases, and take a picture of your receipt. That’s it. You can even link loyalty cards for a quicker process from some stores. They often run specials for people giving and using referral codes so use my link below, please.

Ibotta App. Referral link.

Now let’s talk about Amazon. We belong to Amazon as a Prime Member so we get free shipping and many other perks. [There is a yearly fee for Prime.] But the biggest advantage, if you ask me, is their Subscribe and Save. If you use this and have at least 5 things each month, regardless of how much or what the items are, you save an extra 5% off the already discounted subscriber price. I use this for all kinds of things and I change it around each month as my needs change. I usually use it for things like dishwasher detergent, dog and chicken food, coffee, and Frontline flea and tick for the dogs. You get reminders to edit your cart before it ships, you don’t payuntil it ships and I have it set up to use those GCs before a credit card. And it is delivered right to your door.

Amazon

Another way I save is with Grove Collaborative. This company is a subscription type shipment that I can change monthly as my needs change or even skip shipments as often as I like. They carry brands that have fewer toxic ingredients and more natural alternatives from cleaning to paper products or anywhere in between.

The products are sold at a discount from 7-40% off. And, Grove also offers price matching! SO check around for the best price and just let them know. They have free shipping with a VIP membership that has a $19.99 annual membership fee and VIP’s get free products throughout the year so it’s well worth it. You don’t actually have any minimum amount or obligation to purchase anything at any time. I use many of their cleaning and body products.

If you sign up with my link below you will get whatever the special is, right now it is a free 5 piece cleaning kit and I get $10! Plus you can shop them via Ebates for $2 cash back. Like Amazon, your orders are delivered right to your door. Plus, staying out of the store is another way I save money.

Grove Collaborative

How do I pay for all these things? With my Capital One Venture card. Including the purchase of the gift certificates. I earn points for all my purchases using this card. I can then use the points for things like airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and restaurant purchases. It is, however, imperative that you pay it off every month. If you don’t pay it off every month all the above things are useless.

This post contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

What other ways do you save? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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Happy saving.

Posted in Chickens, Family, traveling

Chicken Fever

Over the Holiday break, my mom drove down and brought my nephew, Anthony, with her. It was an extra treat for me to have both of them. Anthony is a sweet, creative, gentle boy with too much energy to be confined inside.

The first morning they were here I got up and went to let out the chickens as normal around 7am. Just as I was walking to the coop Anthony came barreling out the door with a long sleeve shirt in hand and one shoe still not on. He desperately wanted to go see the chickens with me! I said I would wait until he was properly clothed. Makes me laugh even now.

Dressed now, we headed up the hill. I let the chickens out of the coop and after they all ran out I teased him he would have to clean up the chicken poo. He, of course, was not interested in that. He only had eyes for the chickens, I’d say he had already caught the Chicken Fever after only one night here.

We had really nice weather, most of the day’s mom and Anthony were here it was in the upper 50’s and low 60’s. This was so nice because we spent a good amount of time outside. Which, of course, meant lots of time with chickens. He got up the nerve to pick up one of the chickens and he snagged Agnes! She is an Ameraucana and is very sweet and gentle.

I know the picture quality stinks but I snapped this from far away and had to zoom in

After just a few days he was very comfortable with the chickens. He gave them snacks every day. He even hunted the dirt for worms to give them. No doubt he would be a great Chicken Keeper. Katie? Andy? What do you think? Can he come to live here and take care of the chickens? I’m sure he wouldn’t even mind cleaning up the poo! He loved collecting all the eggs and was very excited about the blue ones. He asked if he could take home some eggs for mom and dad. He also ate eggs almost every day while here. He knew exactly which chicken gifted the egg he was eating. I’m sure that makes them taste better.

Anthony with Dottie, the White Leghorn.

As I’m writing this I’m watching the chickens via a closed circuit camera. I’m doing this because I’m trying to determine which one of my True Blues are laying. Currently, Louise, the chicken that was broody last fall and then molted, is in a nesting box. I really thought the blue egg layer was Kittie as she did not molt. Having said that subconsciously I must have thought really it was Louise because that is who I marked as laying in my chart as well as writing her name on the eggs.

A bit of egg-laying background. As the days get shorter chickens lay fewer eggs and some stop laying all together. The end of November we saw a definite decline in egg laying in our hen house. You know, just as Chuck starts doing extra baking of cookies, cakes, and bread. Hens do not lay eggs in the dark, so with the shorter days leading up to the Winter Solstice, this is normal for egg-laying. Now that we are on the other side of the solstice the days are beginning to get longer and therefore more eggs begin to be laid.

The nesting boxes have been like Grand Central Station today. So far I have an egg from Agnes, Ida, and Coco. Louise is still sitting in a box, she has been in and out for the last hour or so. She has been in four different boxes. I guess she is trying to get inspired. Perhaps Kittie has been the layer, and now with Lou, maybe I’ll get two True Blue eggs today. Yesterday I collected my first Cuckoo Maran egg from Gertrude since November!

I’ll keep watching while I do my chores. I hope today is another 5 egg day. We have had three of those this week. For the last month, we’ve been averaging 2 eggs a day. I actually had to buy a couple dozen eggs. With the longer days it will make for busier chickens.

Come for a visit and see if you catch the Chicken Fever, too! We will see how contagious it is with my brother-in-law, Pete, and his family here this weekend. Then the following weekend my oldest two boys, Charlie and Ricky, arrive from Michigan. Also, Charlie’s girlfriend, Agatha, is coming with them. Charlie said she wants to learn to knit, I can definitely help with that, and I think she is the most likely to catch Chicken Fever. I’m looking forward to these visits!

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Chicken Fever #chickens #backyardchickens #fresheggs #eggs #chickendustbath #Chickens

Happy knitting and happy egg collecting.

Short and Sweet

I’m not really the type to set New Year’s resolutions. I always want to be working on bettering myself and our quality of life. I know I need to do things like exercise more, eat healthily and be more patient, always.

So rather than specifically have a resolution here are the things I want to focus on;

  • make the most of our acre and grow food, and actually eat it
  • shop local
  • focus on getting chemicals and toxins out of my life, that means you too, diet Pepsi
  • find my people, I’ve been a hermit this past year
  • blo more

In a nutshell, we are already planning what we want to grow, will refocus on shopping places like the local farmers market and the newly opened Earth Fare, clean up our eating with help from the previous two, and put myself out more in the knitting world and visit my family.

Short and sweet with the intent of accountability. Next time I’ll tell you a bit about my nephew’s visit with my mom. Anthony, too, is a huge fan of our chickens.

Until then I’m off to measure my gauge swatches on my January Gansey for the knit along I joined.

Happy Knitting, gardening, cooking or whatever brings you joy.

Posted in Christmas, Holidays, knitting, Ravelry knit projects, yarn

Bountiful Snowflakes

We had our first snow of the season last Sunday. It didn’t begin to stick until we had a few inches. So even though we had about four inches it was rather sparse on the ground. It was still beautiful.

The previous day Chuck had trimmed some holly bushes and I used the trimmings to add into the pots and window boxes to bring some Christmas cheer to the curb appeal of our house.  

I knew I wanted to add some pine branches in and I considered picking some up when we were at Sam’s Club but I really didn’t want to pay for them. We have many Pine trees in the neighborhood and I thought I might ask one of the neighbors if I could trim some branches from theirs. As luck would have it, with the weight of the snow there were several downed branches from pine trees laying around on the sides of the road. Tim and I stopped and pick up several of the smaller ones. I popped them in the pots with the Hollys and I love how they look.


Let’s talk about a different type of snowflakes. Crocheted snowflakes! I purchased some of these charming snowflakes in the past at craft fairs in New Mexico. I previously hung them, with my particularly tall daughter’s help, from the sky light over our kitchen island. In our new house I needed a new way to display them. I decided to hang them from the window valance in our main living room. it has a large picture window and looks over our backyard. I had the perfect amount for that window. I hung them with command hooks and fishing line. They are so enchanting here. I really wanted to hang them from all our windows! But I didn’t have a source to purchase them here in Virgina.

Now you must understand that I don’t really crochet.I’m really just a knitter. In fact I thought I was rather terrible at crochet. But I started researching for some patterns. I thought if I could fund some simple ones at least I’d give it ago. I came across this book on Ravelry, 100 Snowflakes. I was able to find it for purchase on Amazon and immediately ordered it.

Much to my surprise its very well written. It has written patterns as well as charted patterns for each snowflake. There pictured steps of each crochet stitch in the beginning of the book for quick reference. The snowflakes are grouped by Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. I began with Snowflake #1 and have currently worked through Snowflake #48. I’m proud to say my crochet skills have grown as I’ve moved through the book. I’m using Aunt Lydia’s #10 crochet thread and a size US 6 crochet hook.

This was an earlier one and I missed three of the loops in the final round.

In order for the snowflakes to really shine they need to be blocked with starch. Starch is surprisingly hard to find now a days. I looked at both Target and Walmart. There was spray starch but I needed the liquid kind so I could soak each snowflake and then pin it out. Amazon to the rescue. I ended up ordering Aleene’s Starch from Amazon. This is the exact starch suggested in the book. 

Today I started blocking the snowflakes. It’s going to take a few rounds as I don’t have enough T-pins. I used some push pins put that doesn’t work as well since I can’t see the finer details because the pins take up more the visual space.

It’s been fun and I want to make all 100! I’m not sure that will happen before this Christmas because I just purchased a Snowman pattern by Susan B. Anderson that I really would like to work on. 

Very exciting! 

Happy Knitting! Or Crocheting as the case may be.