Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Country Morning Coffee Cake-Easy and Healthy

This is one of our families favorite foods for breakfast. The kids love it as does DH.  It is also a quick and easy breakfast and rounded out with milk and fruit is less expensive than store bought cereal.  Now I have to make a batch every week to keep up with the demand from my kids and husband.  We have it for snacks and for breakfast. It's probably much healthier than store bought cereals or snacks and uses up things I have tons of.

It makes a gigantic pan and lasts about  a week for us with 6 people. It is moist and fluffy and doesn't go stale as long as you wrap it up.  My children love it so much that at snack time they plead to have some.  This is a great recipe for feeding a crowd and goes well with coffee, tea, or big frosty glasses of milk.

Housewife  Tweaking:

OK you will notice that I tweak allot of recipes to suit my tastes or needs.   This recipe was originally not as healthy but I have changed it by cutting back the sugar, using applesauce as a sweetener instead, using yogurt, and using olive oil or coconut oil, putting in some whole wheat flour and wheat germ for added nutrition.   It turns out even lighter and moister in my opinion.  Also I like not just Cinnamon in the topping but nutmeg because I'm a nutmeg addict.  I do not add the nuts because all the kids hate them.

Country Morning Coffee Cake


1 c. light olive oil or coconut oil (adds essential fatty acids)
1 c. sugar
1 cup no sugar added applesauce or home canned applesauce (makes a moister cake, cuts on sugar, adds fiber and fruit)
4 eggs, beaten
2 c.  plain yogurt
3 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour (adds fiber and is good for you)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs. wheat germ  (adds vitamin E and folic acid)

Cinnamon-nut Topping:

2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped pecans or almonds if you like

Use a fork to mix all ingredients together.

Combine fats, apple-sauce, sugar, eggs, and yogurt  in a large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients: mix thoroughly.  Pour into a greased  10 x 14 pan baking pan and sprinkle with the Cinnamon-nut topping.  Bake at 350 for  45 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. Cut into squares.  Serves 18 to 20

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Uses for the Wild Violets in Your Yard

I love wild violets.  They are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring and have a sweet floral fragrance. Something about them minds me of my girlhood and the innocent happiness I felt back then, even though where we lived I never saw them growing.  My children love to pick them and give me little bouquets. Little did I know till a few years ago that violets have many medicinal uses as well.

Violets bloom in spring in your yard and if you have shady places they can bloom all summer.  Both the leaves and the blossoms are edible and useful medicinally.  So the other morning we went out and picked wild violets growing in our yard.  NOTE!  Only pick from areas you know were not sprayed or treated with chemicals!

 Here are a few links to pages on the uses of violets and different ways to process them.  I dried the leaves for tea and then used the flowers for making violet soap. You can also eat the flowers in salads and use them on cakes if you Candy them.

L'Aromatheque Violette Perfume Extract 8.5 ml perfume

I also love the scent of Violet Perfume.  It is perfect as a first perfume for a young girl who is old enough for a perfume but still young.  Here is a Violette Perfume from Amazon that has great review.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Morel Hunting Success!

Morel mushrooms are in my humble opinion one of the most delicious mushrooms around.  However it is also only found in the woods and is difficult to find at times.  But on the upside it is one of the most easily identifiable mushrooms around due to its very distinct form and lack of poisonous look alike's.  This year has been a great year for morels up in northern California.  Every-time I go out I get a bunch and have been drying them for the winter as you can see.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dandelions - A Natural and Gentle Treatment for Warts!

Three of my children had lots of warts on their hands as toddlers from playing in the dirt all the time.  Normal country kids stuff right?  Did you know that warts are caused by viruses in the soil? And my kids had them bad, as in all over their hands.  I took my first two (Princess in Waiting and Captain Submarine) to the doctor several times to have them frozen off since the over the counter stuff wasn't working.  Each time I had to hold my screaming toddler down as the doctor treated them.  The treatments left open wounds that stung and hurt for weeks.  Later the warts not only didn't fall off, but a "halo" wart formed around the old wart making them look even worse!  This is a common problem with freezing warts off I found out.  The doctor said the next step was cutting them off requiring lots of anesthesia and stitches!

 I gave up, it wasn't worth the terror of my children to do something that really was just a cosmetic annoyance. 

But then I read in a old all natural book that the milky sap from the dandelion plant applied for several weeks will remove warts.  Crazy Right?  Well it works!  That spring and summer when I took the children out for daily play we picked dandelions as always to feed to the rabbits and I would rub the milk onto their warts.  Two weeks later the warts disappeared on their own!  Not only did they disappear, the treatment didn't irritate their skin and left no scars.  It was as if the warts had never been their.

I told my doctor about it today and he that dandelion sap can work.  Dandelions contain silicon that irritates the wart causing the immune system to "wake up" and notice that the wart is there.  Then, due to this irritation, the body kills the wart from the inside out.  It appears from the outside that the wart just shrinks and eventually disappears.

Consider the difference in using this on children!  Instead of pain, screaming, toxic chemicals, open wounds, and fear, you have a gentle and even fun remedy that will never cause your child to show a marked amount of distrust when you tell them "This wont really hurt honey".  Also it is something even small children can do on their own.

Friday, April 22, 2016

12 Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are back in my life with spring and I am on a mission to get rid of them!  However I dont have the money or inclination to spray or have someone else spray toxic chemicals all over my yard.  The more beautiful, useful, and natural way is to have plants that naturally repel them in your yard.  Plus all of these mentioned plants are pretty to boot!  Most of them are perennials so you only have to plant them once and they come back year after year.

  1. Citronella
  2. Lemon Balm
  3. Catnip
  4. Tansy
  5. Lavender
  6. Geraniums
  7. Marigolds
  8. Basil 
  9. Peppermint
  10. Pennyroyal
  11. Rosemary
  12. Garlic

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Healthgiving and Delicious Dandelion Tea Recipies

The best time to harvest Dandelions is right now when they are young and tender.  When harvesting wait until the afternoon when the dew is dried off and always pick from un-sprayed/chemical treated areas!  Enjoy!

 photo dandelion_teas_zpsnhjiflbg.png

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Easy DIY Dandelion Oil For Sore Joints and Muscles

Infuse dandelion flowers in oil to help sore muscles and more.

I found this great DIY dandelion Oil recipe over at Homespun Seasonal Living and had to pass it on to my readers. Dandelion oil can be used for sore muscles and joints when rubbed on externally.  My husband suffers from and badly injured knee and a displaced shoulder so I am making this and using it on him as a massage oil.  Let me know how yours turns out too!  Click HERE for the step by step instructions which are super easy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vintage Pillowcase Dresses For Girls

Ok I'm kind of a weird blanket and bedding hoarder.  Whenever I find a great down comforter or adorable sheets at a yard sale or thrift store for our beds I can't resist buying them.  After all they are usually only $1.00 to $3.00 so the investment is minimal.  It is also eminently practical because I have 5 beds to keep in sheets.  

But what I really love, and I mean really!  Is vintage bed linens.  Not only are the prints beautiful, but they are better made and last longer.  But now my girls have graduated from twin beds to fulls or queens so I have all these sets of pillows and sheets with lovely prints and nothing to do with them.  UNTIL NOW!

Pillowcase nightgown.:

  Here are pictures of very simple to make pillowcase dresses for little girls, and they are adorable!  I now have two little gran daughters ages 1 1/2 and almost 3 so I get to sew again!  I used to sew dresses for my daughters when they were small but they've gotten older and now I just find really cute stuff at thrift stores and tailor them to suit.

If you have never sewn before this is a perfect starter project as it is super simple.  I am still a beginner in many ways but this kind of sewing is right up my alley!  Also I can tell it you it will take you less than an hour to do. Here is a nice step by step guide from i Candy Handmade. I especially like the idea of using stretch lace as it is not irritating to children in general.

Toddler Shabby Chic Blue Floral vintage pillowcase dress. $15.00, via Etsy.:

Finding pillowcases is pretty simple.  Go to your local thrift-stores and begin the search.  Also yard sales and estate sales are a great place to pick them up for cheap.

How-To: Vintage Pillowcase Nightgowns For Toddlers by Gingercakes on Prudent Baby:

These dresses are so perfect for spring and summer because they are light and cool, easy for movement and play, and inexpensive so that you don't feel bad if they get stained.  All the while your little girl feels like a princess.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Old Fashioned Ice Box Desserts for Spring - Fast, Easy, and Impressive

1940s Vintage mother and child cooking illustration from a Dick and Jane Reader, 1947
I have lived most of my life in areas where summers reach the 100's on a regular basis. I HATE IT!  I do not like the heat and the last thing I want to do is cook over a hot stove or oven.  So a few years ago I came across old fashioned ice box cakes and desserts.  They are mainly no bake or bake for very little time and are so easy!  Here are some of my faves that you must try out.  Once you make these you will wonder why you go through the hassle of regular desserts at all!  The only thing I change is to use real homemade whipped cream instead of cool whip.  They are basically inexpensive so enjoy being thrifty!
Lemon Icebox Delight
 Eclair Icebox Cake

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Using Chickens to Clear Land

Now that we have moved into a new home I  wanted to plant a garden.  I knew in our last house was only temporary until we found something more suited for our family so even though I was itching to plant I didn't do more than some tomato plants.   I never really knew how much I loved gardening and canning until I was suddenly unable to do so.  Last year I was so ill all summer that I was happy just to be breathing and couldn't even think of gardening.  But this year I so wanted to get my hands into some dirt again!

The problem was that although we could garden as much as we wanted the entire yard is in grass which is such a pain to clear.  Both husband and I revolted at the thought of the back breaking labor of breaking sod after all the work we have been doing for a solid two months so we took the lazy mans approach that is slower but just as effective.  We used our chickens as land clearing machines!

I'm sure you all know that if you leave chickens in a run long enough they will turn it to bare dirt.  The smaller the run the faster it goes to dirt.  They eradicate every blade of grass, every weed and weed seed, and every bug in the area.  Chickens are quite wonderful in this way.  So husband and I set their run over the area we wanted cleared and BAM! Two weeks later weed and grass free land well fertilized and ready for planting.  Husband turned over the dirt a few times and I watered it a every day for several days to mellow it out and now I just planted some seed perfect for a fall crop.

I planted

broccoli rab

Here are some picks.  We have 10 chickens in the run




Oh chickens how I love thee!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Make A Pansy Living Wreath For Spring! Easy!

Ok ok!  Lets face it, I only do easy things!  Sad to say, but with four children I am now totally uninterested in any projects that takes several hours of undivided attention.  I just don't have that luxury anymore.   So pretty much all my projects fall into the fast, easy, and cheap category.  If your looking for tedious, complex, and expensive you'll have to go to another blog!

This idea is so cute, so easy, and so cheap!  I am in love.  First off it only requires four items, second off its pansies.  I love pansies, they are one of my favorite flowers!  Now that spring is coming I want to get into gardening.  The nice thing is that pansies are extremely cold hardy so even with temps still below 50 they will grow and thrive.  Wouldn't this look amazing?

I found this cool idea over at Kinsman Company

Living Wreath Planting Instructions

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Favorite Things - Pie Safe Love

Pie safes were a eminently practical item that every country housewife owned at the turn of the century.  Most women had a baking day where they baked all the bread, pies, muffins, and treats for their family in one fell swoop.  They then needed a safe place too keep their baked goods that kept mice and bugs out, but still provided ventilation.  The punched tin not only was decorative, but functional.  I have been wanting a pie safe of my own for years.  Sigh... someday!
Green Pie Safe ...~♥~...I would love to get a hold of one of these beauties:
Homestead Revival: Pie Safe Love! Farmhouse kitchen decor.:
Antique 1860's Primitive Farm Built Punch Tin Pie Safe Jelly Cupboard:
Pie Safe. Gorgeous  AND I don't know why I find them so irresistible :):
Grandma's Window Screen Pie Safe... Very interesting Website for Old Type Farm - Survival homestead:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Camping Themed Boys Room For Under $100.00

Being thrifty doesn't mean that I live like a monk with no decorations in my house.  In fact I make an effort to create a warm inviting atmosphere in my home.  For my children I want their bedrooms to not only reflect their interests, but also be fun and a place where they can let their imaginations go.

This can be easy if you are wealthy, but for those of us who don't have money for extras creating that special place can be challenging.

When we moved into our new house the boys room was painted blue in the main part.  The "sitting room" that is off to the side was walled with ugly 70's paneling which I have never been a fan of.  Plus it did not go with the rest of the room at all.  It was kind of a shock because the lovely blue walls and amazing windows of the main room clashed so greatly with the dark old paneling.  As our landlord didn't want us painting the paneling I asked if I could cover it up with my idea of a tent.  She said yes and so I started thinking about how I could turn their room into a Camping Themed room.  First I went to pinterest and got some great ideas and picked out what I wanted the tent part to look like.

My first job was to find enough flat white cotton sheets at the thrift store.  I spent about $6.00 to get enough.  Then I dyed the sheets (this is why cotton is important) with coffee to make them look more canvas like.  I was going for those canvas hunting tents that are huge and roomy.

Next me and my trusty staple gun got to work.  The finished product looked like this.

This sign I got from  They are very inexpensive and I could personalize it with my boys names.  It's their fort!

The interior is decorated with antique leather and fur army mittens from their great uncle.  An antique tapestry showing bears from grandma. And an old metal canteen I got at a yard sale for $1.00

A view of the other side with their toy shelves and a coffee table.  I painted the coffee table and small chest of drawers in there with dark blue satin paint so their two dressers, and book shelves match.  I painted the top of the coffee table with chalkboard paint so they can draw on it.  The table is where they assemble all their Lego creations.

This is the reading nook I made.  It's a dog bed wrapped in a flannel sheet.  Then a neat afghan in outdoorsy colors I got for free and two pillows from the thrift store for less than a dollar each. The red plaid arm pillow I got at a yard sale for $1.00.  The kids like to relax here and read.

I hung this lantern from the ceiling and got it at the thrift store for $2.00.  The candle is a flicker candle that turns on automatically in the evenings and turns off after 6 hours.  I got that new for $2.50 and it runs on batteries.

The tent when the kids close it for a more authentic camping feel.

The other side of the tent interior with all the Legos.  Yes those are ALL Legos!

My younger sons bed with a watercolor print of a fox from  Very Cute!  And a old fashioned leather canteen from a yard sale for a buck.

My older sons bed is an antique folding military steel bedframe.  I got it at the thrift store for 5 bucks and found out to buy them anywhere else they are about $400.00.  I was wanting a matching one for my other son but not at that price!  I want to get them matching plaid bedspreads and pillow cases.

The boys book shelves repainted by me to match. 

A wonderful custom Bus Roll that I got for review (more to come on that)  from Great Big Canvas.
I got the idea off of pinterest for the brothers and you can find so many other ideas there

I love this little flickering candle.  It has two wolves to represent my two boys and doubles as a night light.  I got it at the thrift store for $1.99.

So that is my custom room.  All told it really cost me about $20.00 bucks since I got some of the decorations for free.  Shopping at thrift stores and garage sales is something that takes patients.  I don't get what I am looking for every time, but I have a list of things I need and every time I go I check the isles.  This is how I afford to stay home and yet decorate our house really nice.