Friday, November 30, 2012

Food Waste Friday


I just love The Frugal Girl blog. Really - just love!

Each week (well - most weeks) she blogs about her food waste, a kind of public declaration, aimed to reduce her own food waste.

Which is totally frugal, and Simple. Waste less, buy less!

So, I kept track of my own food waste over the course of the last week or so ... not awful, but not great either.

Fresh green beans and basil were the first to go. The green beans in particular made me sad ... they were the last of the produce from our amazing CSA, and they just got forgotten at the back of the fridge.

Homemade pumpkin pie filling which just spent an extra day in the fridge, and was looking a little slimy - uck.

Apple slices ... that were just a little too dry from their extra time in the fridge.


And lastly, the last pieces of a loaf of homemade bread. This loaf was mysteriously not good; it didn't rise properly, and didn't bake very well ... so it wasn't a huge loss. I think we were all silently hoping it would go bad, so we wouldn't have to subject ourselves to it any longer :-)

And how about you? How was your food waste this week? Feel free to share here, or over at The Frugal Girl Blog!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leaf Bunting

I posted a little sneak peak to this bunting here last week; it was my oh-so last minute decorating project for our Thanksgiving celebration.

 And thank goodness it was oh-so easy as well!

A couple of scraps of felt leftover from another project (Autumn Gnomes, I think), some ribbon left over from making bath towel loops, a little embroidery thread ... and that was it! And not too tricky either.

I feel like a got this project finished just in time too; Jack Frost and Winter suddenly seem to have made their first appearances here in the Mid-Atlantic area, and leaf bunting is feeling very autumnal!

What are you crafting on this week? Feel free to share in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Nature Shelf! {week 4, November 2012}

The last week in November!

We added some sweet autumnal Gnomes to this week's Shelf, keeping our Fairy Turkey company.

What are you doing to bring nature or the seasons into your home? I'd love to hear from you; feel free to share!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Comes Again!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Slow Down Kind of Day

Life has been particularly busy over this past couple of weeks, too much for this Simple loving mama.

We are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving later this week, and I am taking this opportunity to slow down.

A simple meal with family, a long walk in the blustery cold, playing silly games with my silly Little Ones and catching up on some down time are on my schedule for the next couple of days.

My only rush is to finish a craft project that I have been thinking about for a while, and now I would like to have it completed for Thanksgiving. So tea and crafting are on the books for this morning!

Hoping you , too, have the chance to slow down a little this week.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Nature Shelf! {week 3, November 2012}

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, and this being the third week of the month (the week that you add something representing the animal kingdom), it just had to be a turkey!

I had grand plans to knit a little turkey, and found a pattern that seemed easy enough (I used this pattern from Valley Yarns) but my knitted turkey was not turning out to be as easy as I had hoped. (I should add that this pattern called for work on double pins, a first for me, and one that I obviously need to practice when I have more time and less pressure!)

So yesterday evening I sat down with my trusty bag of wool roving and my felting needles, and made this little guy; I think he looks like a Turkey Fairy, with his lovely wispy tail feathers!

I used this tutorial for the needle felted turkey, and it was so easy to make. I'm looking forward to The Little Guy's reaction and hearing what he names him :-)

What are you adding to your Nature Table this week? Are you planning to decorate your dining table (Thanksgiving or otherwise!) with something representing nature? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Upcycling Sunday, or A Nose Book?

Upcycling, def. the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

A Nose Book? Read on!

I've seen these little cloth handkerchief books for the past couple of years, and been intrigued to make some for my family. But, I got all caught up in finding the perfect fabric, the perfect pattern. And then, thank goodness, the humor of the situation struck me ...  that they were to be used for mopping up noses! They didn't have to be perfect. It occurred to me that receiving blankets (those super soft, flannel blankets with a thousand different uses when you have a baby) would make the perfect Upcycled fabric for my handkerchief books.

So, with that in mind, I sorted through my stash of receiving blankets, found two whose pattern and color complemented each other, and cut them into rectangles. 

I was very rough with my cutting, but each rectangle measured approximately 7 by 4 inches.

Then taking a piece from each fabric I pinned them together, and stitched around the edges. (I used a rounded zig zag stitch). 

 At this stage they still looked pretty rough, but it's okay. Once all of the pieces had been paired up and stitched, I then went back and trimmed the excess fabric away. They instantly looked much better! Phew!

Then, taking two of your new double thickness and trimmed pieces, I lay one on top of the other, with like touching like fabric. Giving them a fold will allow you to gauge where the mid-line is, before you stitch straight down the middle of the pieces, forming a 'book' with four leaves.

And there you have it! So easy, so simple, and such a great way to Upcycle all those receiving blankets!

These have already been in constant rotation, and are the just-right size for tucking in pockets. And an added perk? - they gave The Little Guy an opportunity to join me in a sewing project!

As soon as The Little Guy saw these, he renamed them Nose Books ... which we just thought was hilarious! And the name stuck!

  And what about you? What are you Upcycling this week? Feel free to share in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sometimes you just have to chuckle ...

Okay ... so there is absolutely nothing 'simple', organic or holistic about today's post. At all.

But, sometimes a chuckle is worth a thousand words!

The Korean pop music 'Gangnam Style' video is pretty popular in our home. Our daily dance parties are quite often accompanied by this song, among others! (If you're not familiar, it's a funny, silly music video, with an even funnier and sillier dance to go along with it ... check out this link to YouTube if you 'need' to see it).

My Little Boy really started cutting some moves the other day ... and well, I just couldn't resist!

What is your favorite way to just have silly, fun with your Little Ones? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Homemade Deodorant

Somehow, despite knowing many (many!!)  people who make their own deodorant, I had decided that this was way too tricky to take on, too expensive and probably wouldn't work anyway.

But, when I recently ran out of deodorant (a deodorant that I wasn't that thrilled with anyway) I decided to re-explore the possibility of making my own.

And you know how I do love to try something new ;-)

I used the recipe from the blog, Green and Grateful, written by a lovely friend of mine, (thanks B!) - and here's the thing. It was really easy to make (I used my hand-held mixer), not too expensive at all (I had all of the ingredients in my pantry already) and ... it works great!

Honestly, the trickiest part of the whole process was getting the finished product out of the mixer, and into the jar that I had saved for the purpose.

I'm not sure if this homemade deodorant would reap a significant financial savings, but the ingredients are certainly 'clean', it was quick and easy, and I get the feel-good feeling of knowing that 'I made that!' each morning when I put it on.

Do you have a favorite personal care recipe? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Nature Shelf! {week 2, November 2012}

*Loyal readers may have noticed that there was no Upcycling Sunday post yesterday.
We have had a particularly un-Simple couple of weeks here at the SimplyBurbs home; two teething Little Ones, time-change effected kiddos, My Good Man and I have both been really hectic with work, and I think everyone has been feeling generally run down to boot!
So when it came time to writing up the post for yesterday morning ... I just realized that I could choose to make my life just a little bit simpler, and not do it.
But, I am a fair believer in looking for the gift in even the most challenging of times.  So, out of all of the busyness, stress and un-Simplicity of the last couple of weeks, we have been looking more at how to further Simplify things around here. But more about that another day ... and on to the Nature Shelf!

Fall is in full swing in our part of the country, which means leaves, leaves, leaves!

I had originally planned to knit some beautiful leaves for the Shelf, or press and dry some real ones and dip them in wax ... but as a result of our un-Simple week, time became the biggest deciding factor. So, I used these silk leaves (which I've had for at least a couple of years), taped them onto the Shelf, and there you go. Simple!

What are you doing to bring a little bit of Nature into your home? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 9, 2012

More Thrifty Shoes

I love a deal! Who doesn't?

After my pregnancy with the two Little Ones, my feet grew, and just haven't gone back to their original size. Which would have been fine if we were just talking about a half shoes size, but my feet have gone up a full one and a half shoes sizes.

So, all my lovely shoes don't fit.

Now, I can see what many people would think! "Great! Now you get to go shoe shopping!"

But it just wasn't in my budget (I've been spoiled over the years with good quality shoes, and I just couldn't face the thought of going back to inexpensive, uncomfortable shoes).

A little online research, and a little friendly chatting to friends, and I found The Clog Outlet, which sells lots of high quality shoes at cheaper prices.

In the end I got those super-lovely Sanita clogs for a steal (I paid under $30, but they were factory seconds). I'm hoping these will last me at least a couple of years, and all told I saved over a $100 - not bad for half an hour's armchair research!

Do you have a favorite online retailer for factory seconds or discount prices? Feel free to share in the comments below; I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Candlelight Night

Putting the clocks forward over the weekend, it was completely dark outside as we sat down to our evening meal.

Lighting some candles we talked about Daylight savings, how we see the sun less during the winter months.

Half way through our meal, The Little Guy commented that we should eat by candlelight more often. And so begins a new family tradition; Sunday evening has become a Candlelight Night!

p.s. We made Latkes for dinner, served with homemade apple sauce and cream cheese - they made the perfect  chilly Autumnal meal. I used this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Here We Are Together

Do you have a special ritual for your evening meals? Feel free to share in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Nature Shelf! {week 1, November 2012}

My goodness! Can it really be November already?!

I purposely started our Nature Shelf to be a little empty this month, because I am anticipating it will get very crowded by the end of the month.

Speaking of crowded, I just had to share something with you.  The Little Guy loves to play silly jokes and tricks, and just recently has discovered the delights of doing thing, and then blaming it on the gnomes. Well, apparently the "gnomes" decided to do a little extra decorating on the Nature shelf over this past week.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Upcycling Sunday!

Upcycling, def. the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
I think this week was 'a first' in a while ... I did not Freecycle or gift away a single thing. Nothing!

But - we did do some at home upcycling; re-purposing items we already, had for a new use.

First, The Little Guy's Halloween costume.

When he told me he wanted to make his costume this year, I thought that sounded like fun, so when the second request to be a bat came in, I took to the internet to find a pattern or a tutorial. I found one that looked simple enough, and which used a black umbrella. So off to Freecycle I went, and found an old broken one! Then I had a rummage through our hand me down bin of clothes and found a long sleeved black t-shirt that would fit The Little Guy - perfect! The black hat was one I had bought on sale at the end of last season (I think I spent $2 on it) and the black felt for the ears was $0.79 from my local craft store!! So, $2.79 on an entire costume ... and we had the fun experience of making it? Priceless! 

Here is the link to the tutorial I used, I just took at all of the umbrella spokes (for safety ... 4 year old boys and spokes are not a good combination).

And staying with our Halloween Upcycling theme, we made these adorable little ghosties from an old net curtain I had in my fabric box and some old batting that had seen better days.

The Little Guy decorating one of the pieces of netting

So simple, we put these together while we were waiting for all our Halloween Treating cookies to bake :-)

Then we hung them around our front porch, to make the house "a little bit more spooky" to quote The Little Guy.

 And what about you? What are you Upcycling this week? Feel free to share in comments; I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Treating

Finally, the Big Day was here!

We had been counting down to Halloween for a while; the Little Guy was so excited about the whole process. The costume, the candy, the Trick and Treating, the candy ...

Did I mention he was excited about getting candy?!

We really wanted to put a bit of a balance back in to the day, so we decided to do some Halloween Treating!

The Little Guy and I spent the morning of Halloween baking and packaging up cookies for our neighbors. (I don't think I've ever seen that many homemade cookies all at once ... ever; we churned out about 10 dozen cookies. There were cookies on every available surface of our little kitchen!)

Then we got dressed up in our Halloween finest, and went out delivering. We couldn't resist a little Halloween fun, so we would sneak up to our neighbor's doors, leave the package of cookies on their doorstep, then knock on the door, and run away! Of course, once they opened the door, we jumped out to say 'Happy Treating!'

We had a blast, and our neighbors loved the cookies. And as The Little Guy and I commented, it felt really good to do something unexpected and good for someone else.

Now, I know that my telling you all about this now that Halloween has come and gone isn't a huge help; but there's always next year to plan ahead for ;-)

And you may be curious about The Little Guy's costume ... I'll be reporting more about this weekend as part of Upcycling Sunday!

Do you have a special tradition for Halloween? what is your favorite way to do something special for your immediate community? Feel free to share in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!