Monday, July 26, 2010

MMMM…Fresh Fruit

This is the first summer that I can remember finding so much fresh fruit and finding it so reasonably priced!

I have harvested my own strawberries, raspberries and a very small crop of blackberries. I’ve used them in jam, smoothies and even frozen some. Walmart has had strawberries and and blueberries CHEAP!! I’ve picking some up every few days and using some fresh and freezing the rest!

My non-blogging friend Cindy shared a fresh fruit idea with me. Since I can’t point you to her blog, I’ll just share her idea with you! She takes several fresh fruits that are in season and cuts them up and puts them in plastic containers, puts them in the fridge and tells her kids to just “help themselves!”

I have several kids that would almost rather have fresh fruit than candy (really, and since candy is cheaper, they usually get that more often! ) So I thought I would give it a try, because I usually limit the fruit to make it go around. I washed strawberries, blueberries and cherries and put them in a flat container. Next time I think I will try to find a divided container.


Here is my fruit monster holding the fruit. He didn’t know what to think when I said he could help himself anytime. Well, I should have known better! When I got home later that day, it was ALL gone!!! Every last piece! The other kids had some, but guess who ate most of it? My Fruit Monster! What can I say, I told them they could!! So, in the future, I will put some limits on it. ;-)

I’m freezing some grapes and watermelon balls for a cool summer treat. 117_7707 

After I made the melon balls, my fruit monster noticed that the empty half of the watermelon looked like a bowl. So we decided to put together a “fruit salad” in the “bowl” for tomorrow’s fruit. We just washed and tossed in grapes, blueberries and cut up some cherries.  Then we added in some of the scrappy watermelon pieces and the juice. There wasn’t quite enough juice so I added a little fruit punch that I had on hand and voila’ !117_7711 Not all that pretty to look at but it sure tastes good! Having the fresh fruit so readily available and ready to eat makes it easier to encourage the kids to eat fruit!

I’m also freezing some of fruits for smoothies throughout the year. Cherries and blueberries are easy to freeze. Just wash, dry and flash freeze (lay on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put in freezer for a couple of hours til frozen) then put into freezer bags. They won’t be frozen together and you can just take the amount you need out of the bag! I’m trying this with strawberries too. I’m just hulling them first.

117_7713 I hope to be able to enjoy fruit long after the warm weather is gone!  What ideas do you have for serving fresh fruit??

It’s been encouraging to receive several awards all in a short period of time…the same period of time that I haven’t been able to blog much and haven’t felt like a very good blogger! Amy from A Latte’ with Ott, A. awarded me this:

Thank you Amy for this award! I’m encouraged that you think my blog has substance! This came at just the right time…I need the boost! :-)

The Rules:
*Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
*Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
*Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

Five Words, huh? Okay how about Thrifty, Creative, Sharing,Learning,Growing

Passing it on:

1.Nikki’s Nifty Knacks One of my first favorites! Nikki and I have a lot in common…mainly a LOVE of Dollar Tree!

2.Delicious Ambiguity I enjoy this blog for all the mommy tips.

3. Blessed With Grace  Definitely a blog with substance! Lisa’s testimony is amazing! I love her Tempt My Tummy link party too!

4. An Oregon Cottage is a blog full of substance! We enjoy many of the same things, gardening, being frugal and diy decorating.

5. SueAnn’s Journey Sue Ann’s blog is full of creative substance!! She is also a faithful blog friend!

6. The Thrifty BA is full of frugal fun substance!

7.Tracy’s Trinkets and Treasures is sooo creative! I am inspired every time I visit!

8. Tootsie Time has the most beautiful gardens!! Go take a tour. She does a great link party “Fertilizer/Flaunt your flowers Friday!

9.Silver Strands has done something very substantial for her Mom! Go read her story!

10. Veronica’s Korner is full of fun ideas, crafts, recipes and she does a “My Top Pics” each week of the things she has seen while visiting aound in blogland!

Go visit these inspiring blogs with substance!

There are always great food ideas and recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday! Let's go check them out!

Catching Up

Good Monday Morning!! It’s hard to start a week when I am so far behind in everything….from house work and laundry to my blog posting and emails…and everything in between!

The summer is almost over and I feel like it has just started! The schools here start back on August 13th, only a couple of weeks away! We don’t start back with our co-op until August 31st, but I will be starting some “school” with my kids next week. One more thing to add to the to do list!

I’m happy to say thought that I’m looking forward to catching up because I finally feel better! :-) I think I am finally on the right amount of heart/blood pressure medicine and my body is adjusted to being on it. It sure feels good to feel good again! I’m sad to say that one of my favorite things in life is contributing to my problems….coffee!! :( So I am having to cut back. I hope I don’t have to give it up completely. I’ve always said that I’d rather die than give up my coffee, but when it comes down to it…I think I will let the coffee go…;-)

On to the catching up! I have decided that the only way for me to make some real  progress is to do a small amount in each of the areas I’m behind while doing the daily things like mountains of laundry that three kids brought home from camp!

  I have received some wonderful comments, questions and emails that I want to respond to and I even have some awards to accept! It’s an honor to receive them but I feel guilty for having been such a slack blogger lately! I even have a few things to wrap up from my Garden party….yeah you read that right…told you I was behind! So please bear with me as I catch up a little each day with things!

To start off, I have received the Sunshine  Award from Barb at Barb’s Heartstrokes.

Thank you Barb for the honor!!! The rules are to pass this on to 12 other blogs whose positively and creatively inspire others in the blog world. Well it’s hard to pick only twelve that fit that description! Also, I may be giving the award to someone that has already received it! Here goes:

1. The thrifty BA

2. A latte with Ott A

3. Cute as A fox Creations

4. Along for the Ride


6.Nikki’s Nifty Knacks

7. Buckets of Gardening Ideas

8. Make the Best of Things

9. Mad In Crafts

10. Scene of the Grime

11. Home is Where My Story Begins

12. Life as Lori

Please check out these awesome and inspiring blogs!Enjoy your new week and thanks so much for being patient with me while I catch my life up!

Friday, July 23, 2010

How my garden grows…

…first very slowly….and then it takes off and I can’t keep up!! There has been a lot going on at the Keen Homestead…hence not much blogging going on, or gardening either! It’s a good thing the garden can exist on auto pilot for a while! Yesterday morning  picked these. The first of the cucumbers and close to the last of the squash! I have a second planting of squash that I hope will produce before it gets too cool.


These are my cucumber vines


The front section is “volunteers” and I thought they were cucs, but turned out they are these gourds! I’ll have a nice little display for fall!



These “volunteered” too and I’m not sure what they are, but they’ll look good in a basket this fall too!


Bell and Banana Peppers

106_7668 106_7667

My Veggie Skewer Markers


106_7676  Eggplant is looking good!   106_7675  106_7677 





My tomatoes are sloooow growing this year. Roma are one of my favorites for sauce and salsa!


My second planting of blue lake beans!


The first planting yielded 21 quarts plus 5 meals of fresh beans.

The only fertilizer that I have used is composted manure and manure tea.

Next week I’ll be weeding and covering the “walkways” with cardboard and hay in my efforts to have a mostly weedless garden! :-)

I’ll be sharing my garden at  BT_Button OutdoorWednesdaylogo5544Copy_of_001

Come with me and  see what’s growing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Shameless Plug for a Special Friend!

My longtime (like almost 20 years?!?!?) IRL buddy, Bretta of Creativity Unleashed has an awesome opportunity going on! She is a finalist in the photo category for Wendy’s Frosty Project!! Her photo is the one titled “Cool Mint”.

She would appreciate  your vote…but she won’t plug for them the way I will… so please go HERE and check out her picture of the way her family enjoys their Frosties. The photos are in the middle section of the three categories.

Bretta is awesome with a camera!! She and her son did the photography for my daughter’s wedding…these are some of my favorites!

  shaychocolate shannontears2chocolate



Me and my Buddy!


Go Vote Cool Mint!!! 


but it’s fixed now! :-)
I found this at the Thrift Store last week.
I’ve always wanted one, but haven’t been able to find one that is big enough to hold my family’s laundry! This one is big enough and the frame is metal…durability is an important feature around here too! The cloth “bag” needed replacing but I can sew, so I thought “how hard can this be?” I went the next day to the fabric store and found some cream and black striped canvas. There should be a nice picture here of the fabric, but my daughter took that camera card with her to camp….I also had pictures of how I cut the bag apart and made my own pattern. That part all went smoothly. I cut out all my pieces and began pinning and sewing everything together…right sides together, so that it can be turned inside out and have the seams together. I sewed and then zigzagged all the seams
so that they wouldn’t unravel. Once I had everything together, all nice and tight, I tried tried turning it right side out…FAIL!!! I could turn the outside pockets but not the middle one! :( I  haven’t sewn anything like this before, so I was very surprised…it looked right, but wouldn’t “turn”.
Talk about frustrated!!!! I started seam ripping ALL the nice tight stitches AND  zigzagged edges….ggrrrr….I only had to take apart two of the seams to get the middle pocket out. Then I had to sew that one wrong side to right side in order to get the right side where it needed to be! It made no sense, but it worked! Here is the finished bag “right side out”
and on it’s frame which I spray painted satin black.
It was a major pain to redo, but sooo worth it as it has inspired me to get my “laundry room” on order. That will be another post. :-)I am so excited that this finally worked that I had to share it right away!
I'll be sharing this fixed fail over at the parties in my sidebar. Come along with me there are lots of awesome and inspiring projects to be seen! Just click on any of the buttons in the sidebar and party!
Look for more laundry posts~

I’m entering this in the “Sewing and Fabric” Week at
and sharing over at
I'm also participating in Categorically Crafting at Some Day Crafts...Come check it out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheap and Easy Homemade Swiffer Pads

Before I started my own blog, I was an avid reader of many blogs. When someone would go more than a day or two without posting, I wondered “ Is something wrong? Have they given up blogging? has there been an emergency?” Since I have started my own blog, I have found that there are many reasons that someone might not blog for a while. So, If any of you are like me and might have wondered “Where’d she go?” Here’s a short version:
Spending time with family, working in the garden, canning and all the while I think I’ll post tonight which then becomes in in the morning. Then I’ve started having some heart rhythm and blood pressure issues which have kept me feeling kind of yucky. The medicine made it worse, so I’m starting over and may have the pleasure of wearing a heart monitor to help figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, life goes on…
…and things still need to be done around the house…like mopping. I have cheap inexpensive press and stick vinyl tile in most of our home (aka the basement while we build)and ceramic tile in our bathroom. Due to the high volume of “traffic” in our home,(small area and lots of people) the floors always need mopping and never look like they’ve been mopped. :( I’ve tried a large string mop and bucket with a ringer, a sponge mop, several versions of the swiffer and they have all had their positives and negatives for cost and ease of use. I really like the swiffer wet jet because it’s easy and convenient but can’t afford all the pads. We were already making our own refill solution. :-) So I set out in search of a way to make my own. There are several “how-to’s” out there, but none were exactly what I was envisioning. Then I came across these at Walmart:
Eighteen red, white and blue washcloths on clearance for $2.00!!…and they were about the perfect size for attaching to the swiffer. I bought a couple of packs and headed home!
Homemade Swiffer Pad Version One
The washcloths are a little wider than the swiffer, so I thought I would take them in to fit and to add a little more absorbency in the middle. So I pulled them together and stitched down both pleats and the edges with a zig zag stitich.
I didn’t take a picture of those stitches by themselves, but you can see them in the finished picture below. Next I cut up an old bath towel that is under the washcloths in the pic above. I rolled it over to get 3  sections of towel, the size of the swiffer mop head, before I cut.
I zigzagged the pleats and then pinned the “padding” to the middle of the washcloth and zigzagged all around the edges. Top view:
Underside view:
Attached to the swiffer:
These are are on a regular swiffer, not the wet jet. Those pads were going to be hard to attach without covering up the jets where the water comes out and I was getting tired of replacing batteries and yanking the bottle on and off to refill. So we are using the regular swiffer and a spray bottle!
Homemade Swiffer Pads Version Two
I wanted to make more, but wasn’t thrilled with my “pleat” to make the washcloth fit the swiffer, so I folded and unfolded ‘til I came up with this way:
Spread out the washcloth and put the layers of towel in the middle.
Fold one side in over the padding.
Then fold the second side over so that the padding is completely covered. Take the top fold and pull it back so that abut 1/2 an inch of the padding is covered.
Do the same to the other side so that it looks like this:
Pin it down and sew a zig zag stitch through all thicknesses turning and catching the sides of the padding as well
Close up:
And attached to the swiffer….they fit just fine!116_1818 We have mopped with these and washed and dried them and they are holding up well! It makes catching those little spots easier because I know that I won’t be “wasting” a pad for a spill!
Happy mopping and I’m glad to be back in blogland!! :-)
I’ll be taking my swiffers to the parties in my sidebar, so come along with us there are some great parties over there!I’m also entering these in the Fabric and Sewing week at
Come and check out the great sewing projects!