Category Archives: This and That

Urban Farms!

For a while now, I’ve been fascinated by urban farms, and what people can do with just a small suburban or city plot of land. My hope is to one day have an acre or two…or three to do with what I please and for my kids to run around on. But, since I don’t have that right now (Its a saving season. Thanks Dave Ramsey…) I have been researching what you can actually do with a smaller plot and its AMAZING! Its kind of what kick started my want for chickens; seeing other people with them in their little suburban yards!

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2010/11/madison_heights_reconsidering.html

http://www.chicagobooth.edu/magazine/33/3/backstory.aspx.

This guy lives in a suburban Chicago neighborhood and raises chickens, heats their home with wood collected from the area, and has planted fruit and walnut trees on his property.

Some people go above and beyond…

http://www.examiner.com/biology-in-san-francisco/urban-farming-changes-run-down-lots-to-blooming-gardens.

https://sunhomedesign.wordpress.com/tag/suburban-farm/.

See all that greenery? Yep, that’s edible food right there. Granted, living in an HOA may have more restrictions, but still! Isn’t it awesome what you can do right where you are?

So, as I was drooling over these sites and things, I stumbled upon a new magazine called Urban Farm. After checking it out,  I signed up and got my first magazine yesterday. In love. Yep. I love it! Here’s their site in case you’re interested in reading some articles or subscribing for the mag ;o)

http://www.hobbyfarms.com/urban-farm/urban-farm.aspx

Some of the highlights ~

  • Conservation Districts. Yeah, I’d seen that title before in those little city newspapers that come in the mail and never paid any attention. But did you know that in some cities, they will help finance some urban projects? The article, called “Modern-Day Deserts” told about a NC woman who wanted to install a rain garden and not only did she get consultation on how to do it from her city Conservation district, but she was also reimbursed for over half her costs! Definitely worth looking into.
  • Books! They have a whole page dedicated to what books having to do with gardening and urban farms they recommend, with highlights.
  • Vertical Apple Trees. Never in my life have I seen it, but you can grow thin, vertical apple trees in a planter on your patio! Since we live in a rental, I’ve put off the desire for planting fruit trees and the like because I know we won’t be here forever, but I can definitely start in a planter! Check out http://www.gardendebut.com/fruit-trees.php for more info on it.
  • a whole 8 page article on Seed Starting!
  • Edible Flowers. I had no idea you could eat roses. I still don’t know if I will, but I’m glad I know now! There’s even a recipe: 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 10 rose petals. Lightly coat the rose petals with egg yolk. Dip petals into the sugar and lightly coat both sides. Dry in room temp overnight. Serve as a beautiful garnish on a dessert.
  • How to start grapes in a planter. …!!!…
  • Different breeds of chickens
  • And an awesome story about a company in Chicago called Growing Home (www.growinghomeinc.org) that is taking in homeless people, teaching them how to garden and harvest, and also giving them classes on finances, resumes, etc. They are also allotted a share of the crops, and its right in the heart of Chicago!

I hear the urban farm movement is picking up and I’m so glad to hear it. Its about time Americans realize that we can produce our own food, and live sustainably on our own, no matter where we are! I’m a novice, for sure, but so glad I have resources to help me learn.

In other news, tomorrow we are going to get our hens! I will be posting pics for sure!

 

 

 

Stuff ‘n More Stuff

Weeeeell, its been so long since I posted that I think I’ll just share a little bit of everything! Okay, maybe just the top runners that are swimming in my head. 🙂

Chickens!! I’m pretty sure that building the chicken coop has been the longest project ever. I and definitely not handy, and while my husband is, it just kept having to take a back seat. BUT, its almost finished! We just need to secure some hardware cloth around the run and the gate to keep dogs and such out, and then I am making the appointment to go pick up 2 hens from a chicken farm in Terrell! Did someone say homeschool field trip? Yup. You better believe it. I plan to ask this wonderful woman lots of questions and have her show the boys some things, also. Here are the updated pics of the coop!

I’m currently toying with names for the hens that we’ll get. They’re not going to be for meat, so naming should be safe. Maybe Lucy and Ethel? Henny and Penny? ….

30 Day Shred. Yep. Jillian Michaels’ workout, and it kicks butt. I finally have some accountability to follow through with it, and I’m on day 11 out of 30!! Its a 20 minute circuit training routine, and after 10 days you bump it up to the next level. I just started level 2 today and I was all over the place! I haven’t noticed weight loss, but I have noticed some toning going on. I’d love to see a little weight loss, though, as I’ve kept about 10 pounds after each of the 3 kiddos. So that’s 30 pounds that I’d love to see gone. I’m trying to watch my caloric intake, as well, but since I’m nursing I need to be careful not to affect the milk supply. The Lord knows this almost 6 monther loves to nurse! I love that the workout is only 20 minutes because its just enough time for me to do it without the boys hurting each other. Or burning the house down.

Which brings me to food! Since I’m watching calories, I’m trying to be more diligent with my meals being wholesome. I was doing that slowly before, but the workout gives me even more incentive. One of my new faves…

Quinoa and Black Beans! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quinoa-and-black-beans/detail.aspx

Its a very quick meal with lots of flavor and nutrients, and makes great leftovers! You should make it! Costco sells the big bags of quinoa.

On the menu for this week is chicken tacos (I wonder if this will get hard to eat once I get my hens…), Veggie black bean gumbo (minus the okra as hubby is a Yankee and thinks its “mushy”), carrot BBQ chicken sammies, and  breakfast burritos (eggs and lunchmeat in a tortilla) which are super easy and the kids love!

I’ve also started my veggie seeds this week. Hoping to tackle some square gardening this spring and have enough to practice canning later on!

Lastly, school. Ethan just finished the 1st grade Handwriting Without Tears workbook so it was finally time for me to ‘Charlotte Mason-ize’ his copywork. We are starting with Psalm 23 and he’s doing great. He does a page or so of copying (depending on the sloppiness) and then we read it together from the beginning. It such a great way to help him with scripture memory!

Math has been an ongoing adventure. We were using Miquon math, but it got way advanced to Ethan very quickly, so I moseyed over to Mardel’s and looked through their books until I decided on a BJU (Bob Jones) workbook that I liked. This is our third time switching it up but we gotta do whatever works! Its fairly easy for him right now, but I want to still keep it fun for him, so I’m cool with that.

Now that spring is approaching (and Jovie is not a newborn), I plan to hit the nature notebook a little more often. This covers our science stuff for now except for the occasional experiment that he wants to do.

That’s pretty much it for the academics. As for other things we’re doing, we are doing Bible study in the mornings, reading through “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, some Arnold Lobel library books, some poems from “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, and when time permits, some poems and short stories from “Everyday Graces” which is great for learning manners.

Life is good here in the Reindl household. 🙂

 

 

The Field

One of the reasons I love my neighborhood is the jewel tucked away behind the street up from mine. If you go behind their alley, you run into the backside of the Rowlett Creek Preserve Bike Trails! There’s a wonderful field there that is great for nature walks (our science curriculum) and for other things like shooting off rockets with Dad!

Sure wish I could build a house right in the middle of this place! God certainly had me in mind when He placed us here.  🙂

There’s even a couple of pecan trees and some edible berries growing through there! And, when there’s not a lot of fast mountain bikers shooting through, we can even venture down to the trails by the creek!

I’m definitely a land lover, and dream of a big yard, but this right here makes up for it! Its a boy’s paradise!

Gardening Time Already!

So, after Christmas I decided to check out my gardening chart (best thing ever!) and apparently its time to start getting the garden ready for veggies! Ah! So, we headed outside today to do some tillin’. Nothing better than hands on learning to count for science! We saw earthworms and these funny looking beige millipede worms with pinchers on their butts. Not sure if they were millipedes or not…

It’s nice to have boys who don’t mind getting in the dirt! Ethan said, “I can till it Mom! I like working in the garden. I wanna be a gardener one day.” Caleb was just happy I let him get dirty.

And we had a supervisor~

Until she found the prickly stuff nearby.

The plan is to add a few more bags of organic soil from the nearby feed store, and then I want to put some twine out to mark some squares so I can try my hand at square gardening. I hear you can produce a lot more!

Since I want to also to focus on canning this year, I only plan to plant:

carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and maybe one fruit for my large planter on the patio

Update on the coop: It still looks the same as last time. I still want to get the chickens in the spring, but there are some decisions up in the air about timing on looking for a new house and such, and since this is a rental property, I’d hate to get the chickens and make a mess of part of the yard, only to start looking for a new place at the end of the year. BUT, we aren’t sure about anything yet, so I’ll keep you posted!

And for the grandparents that read this, Jovie’s new favorite thing is to grab her right foot. lol

Also, I have found it easier not to plan all my kitchen time on Tuesdays, so I’ll keep posting what I do in the kitchen, but it won’t just be on Tuesdays.  Ha! I may just change that link to Kitchen Happenings.

Some Days…

Some days, you just need to know that everyone has a messy home sometimes. So, here’s a pic of how my home looks quite often with littles to take care of…

This shouldn’t be an excuse for not taking care of your home because as good stewards we absolutely should, but sometimes we feel like everyone else’s home must look like Pottery Barn and we start to compare ourselves with unreal thoughts, when in fact, most people’s homes that are lived in all day long, at some point probably look more like an animal barn. lol I know mine does! So be encouraged today if you’re struggling with expectations or unhealthy comparisons. We could all use to be a little more vulnerable with each other, that’s for sure!

Where no (wo)man has gone before!

Ok, so we only go there when we need something and try to squint to avoid the mess that’s in there. If we squint its not as bad, right?

It’s the linen closet.

Did I just hear you groan? lol Yep, that was me about a month ago. I had blankets and sheets falling everywhere, baskets of who knows what shoved in there, and clutter and more clutter.  I made myself tackle it one day, and I must say I’m glad that I did. It has not been hard to maintain as long as I give the boys boundaries about digging in their for fort materials, and as long as I fold things up and stack them nicely instead of shoving them in a crevice because something else was needing to be done or handled.

I wish I had a before pic, but  I don’t. I always love looking at before and afters. But here is my after…

The duffel bag on top contains another bag and some items that I don’t need access to very often. Next to that is a very large mattress cover. Down a shelf in the left basket are baby wash cloths, and the right one along with the clear plastic container has some random medicinal items, a back support brace, etc. Below that are obviously my sheets and towels. (Some of which I think I need to refold looking at this pic, lol!)

And the bottom…

Its hard to make out, but to the left are blankets folded up that the boys access a lot, and then a container for their shoes to the right. They’re still young enough that there’s no smell to deter me from keeping it in there. Ha! I see that changing in the future.

And you know, it didn’t take but about 30 minutes to tackle it. Its amazing what we can do if we just set aside a little time. I have many other areas that I know I could address. 🙂

And to inspire us, here are some fancy shmancy linen closets!

Yep, that definitely makes me wanna refold.

From the author of the blog, Simplified Bee. Love the tags on the baskets!

Mine may never look like these, but I’m glad I have put some order to it!

Organization after the Christmas chaos!

Well, the grandparents love their grandkids. And they expressed it with gifts for Christmas. The boys are thrilled, but what it means to me is time to organize and toss or store toys that are older! So, while the boys opened all of the boxes of stuff (wreaking havoc in our living room), I grabbed a garbage bag and headed to their bedroom. I dumped one bin of toys from their toy shelf into it and grabbed some larger items out of their toy bucket that I don’t think they’ll miss, and I put it in the garage. I haven’t decided if I’ll rotate them back in or donate them to one of the grandparents’ houses. And because they each have toys that are their own, I made one bin specific to Caleb’s toys, and one bin for Ethan’s. It looks like this….

Caleb’s is top left, Ethan’s is top right, then we’ve got blocks, cars and trucks, animals and people, and some random ‘invention’ items that Ethan has procured.

And what you can’t see is a toy bucket to the left for bigger items, and a 3 drawer container on the right that has K’Nex, dominoes, and train pieces in it. It’s a start. I still need to find better places for things but it was good to move some things out. Honestly, kids don’t need that much stuff. My boys definitely don’t even need all that they have. I am constantly scaling back to try and keep them using their imagination and to keep them from being overwhelmed with so much that they don’t even know what to do with it all!

The living room is also under reno-organization. We moved out our old bookcases and are putting a new white combo storage bookcase system from IKEA against the wall for all of our books and things! Until its all put together, though, we’ve got stacks of books and trinkets all over the room. But when its done we will have this system…

with this bookcase right in the middle of the smaller ones…

I can’t wait until its finished! If you’re looking for something affordable, this definitely was! Its from their Billy collection.

And here are some other pics of the boys enjoying their Christmas gifts!

Ethan checking out his color changing Spiderman shirt from Mam’ma and Pap’pa!

A rousing game of air hockey.

And both boys using their Computer Cool Schools from Mima and Grandpa. Its such a neat system. Its got science facts, math and reading games, and art and music fun. Ethan’s a pro already since he got his a couple years ago, but this was Caleb’s first time to play his!

I was also given a canning water bath with canning tools and cookbooks, and a care package from my mom full of things that we never enjoy buying, like paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc.

We were truly blessed this Christmas and I loved watching Ethan express that he knew it wasn’t about the gifts but about celebrating God’s gift to us. May we never take lightly what we have, the people around us, and what God has done for us! For He truly is the reason for our being.

Life Goes On

Remember that show?

I used to love that theme song…

I haven’t blogged in a while because, well, life goes on, lol.  Especially with the holidays here! I’ve been busy planning gifts, changing diapers, playing with my kids, homeschooling, drinking coffee, breaking up 5 and 3 year old arguments over who’s toy belongs to whom, *cough*browsing pinterest*cough*, more drinking coffee, cooking, you get the picture.

But, its important to me to keep the blog going, and I enjoy it. So here I type! Here’s the lowdown on the Reindl household….

I found a lovely quiche recipe that I had forgotten I had, that was given to me by the owner of a cute little bed and breakfast place near Glen Rose, TX. I cooked it and it was wonderful. So, here’s the recipe!!:

Broccoli Quiche

1 to 1 ½ cup broccoli (if frozen, cooked, drained and chopped coarsely), 2 eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, 1 c whole milk, 1 c heavy cream, ½ t salt, ½ t ground white pepper, pinch freshly grated nutmeg, 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

 Pie Crust

4 c flour, 1 ¾ c shortening ( I used butter), 1 T sugar, 2 t salt, ½ c water,                1 T vinegar, 1 egg

Mix first 4 ingredients in food processor. In small bowl mix water, vinegar and egg.  Pour over flour and pulse just to combine. Mold into balls. Chill at least 15 minutes before using. Use large amounts of flour when rolling. Makes 4 crusts.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Partially bake the pie shell until light golden brown. Remove the pie shell from the oven but do not turn off the oven. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients except the cheese in medium bowl.

Spread the cheese and broccoli evenly over the bottom of the warm pie shell and set the shell on the oven rack. Pour the custard mixture into the pie shell (it should come to about ½ inch below the rim of the crust). Bake until light golden brown, a knife blade inserted about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, and the center feels set but soft like gelatin, 32 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

I am not an egg person, folks, but this is super yummy, so TRY IT!                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     We are still plugging along with homeschooling, of course. Ethan is learning subtraction and doing quite well with it. I really like how Miquon teaches the concepts in many different ways to make sure they’re getting it. His pages look something like this…

5+___ =8

8-___ =5

3=8- ___

They’ll throw in different shapes around the missing answer to make it a little more challenging, and then ask for the student to think of his own problems, too. And he gets to use his Cuisenaire rods to help him figure it out.

We’re reading “On the Banks of Plum Creek” from the Little House series and are loving it. Who doesn’t love those books?!                                                                            We just finished a “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Graham that briefly tells the stories of the Bible all the way to the first Christmas. It’s a great read but I’m not sure why they make the angel that guards the way back to the Garden of Eden look like a Native American woman. (Please know that I have nothing against Native Americans. It was just strange in the story to see her there guarding the garden complete with feathers hanging from her hair and such.) In fact women angels in general throw me off…I’ve never seen one referenced in the Bible at all. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Ethan’s a little over halfway through with the 1st grade Handwriting Without Tears book, also. He’s been promised an ice cream trip when he’s done.

I’ve been a slacker with nature walks since its getting a little more chilly outside but there’s a lovely little patch of land about 2 acres big that’s within walking distance from the house with wild berries growing, pecan trees, evergreens, etc. that I love taking the kids to explore. One day I’ll post a pic. If I could build a house there  I totally would! It’s that cool.                                                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated! Everything about it says “Little kiddos decorated me!”….and I’m ok with that. I love the little hands that helped make it. One day I know I’ll miss too many ornaments in one spot and multicolored lights.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And my latest project has been researching about small homes and creative ways to decorate them. Check out some of these lovely shots!…

http://www.epicturs.com/2011/05/08/interior-design-ideas-for-modern-small-living-room/

http://ourvintagehomelove.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-transitions-in-living-room.html

http://ourvintagehomelove.blogspot.com/p/our-home.html                                         *sigh* I pretty much love her whole house. Give me a cozy vintage house with charm and character any day…. :o)

http://lostandfoundbailee.tumblr.com/post/11386755393/the-colors-i-die

I’m too lazy to go and link all the pics. Sorry…                                                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jovie is now 3 1/2 months old and learning how to giggle. It melts me. And she is such a Daddy’s girl! She loves to listen to him talk! This melts me, too. Everything about that squishy little cookie face melts me.                                      (Cookie Face has become her new nickname from Daddy.)

Time to be Real

This has been one of those weeks! You know, those kind. The ones where you throw everything to the wind and just go forward one step at a time. We’ve hardly eaten any dinners I had planned on my menu for this week, my kids have watched too much TV, I’ve bought fast food one too many times, and I have laundry and unfinished projects scattered around me. Not exactly what I had planned. I would have rather said, “We ate from home for every meal, I stayed caught up on all my chores, we never turned the TV on, we’ve been homeschooling every day with extra Thanksgiving projects thrown in, and I rescued a stray dog!” Yeah, nope. But, that’s life and I’m ok with it.

I didn’t do anything for Kitchen Tuesday today either, but mainly because we ventured out for a playdate this morning. And the kids had fun so it was worth it 🙂 All I have done is pull out the homemade pizza dough from the freezer (yay for freezing food for later!) and mixed up a jar of iced fruit water. I cut up an apple, a pear, and some lemon and threw it together in hopes that my kids will be excited about a ‘new’ kind of water. They drink water really well already, but there are times when they start asking for juice so I’m hoping this will help! I found the idea on pinterest, of course.

Check this blog out for cool flavored iced water ideas, http://nancycreative.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/feast-your-eyes-on-flavored-water/.

And to stay updated, here is the progress on the chicken coop!

Hubby has been working so hard for me!! Hopefully it will only take another day of work before its finished, minus the painting. That will be MY part.

And here is the new project I acquired in the last week.

Its a TRUNK! And I scored it at my thrift shop for $10! I’m hoping to get it sanded before the end of the weekend and then get some paint and new hardware for the front.

So, even with things not going as planned, they’re still going. And I have faces like this to look at everyday. *sigh*

And now I’m off to tackle the laundry that’s staring me down.

 

My Other Love

I love my husband deeply. And my kids. But, I have to confess….

I really love thrift shopping. Really.

I can’t stand paying full price for stuff. I check craigslist, freecycle, and hit the local thrift stores and garage sales often. Its a wonderful way to save money, especially living on one income! And no, thrift shopping does not mean that we all have cruddy clothes and that our house looks like someone’s attic. You can still have nice looking things and save money!!

I took the babe with me tonight and headed out to my AMAZING thrift store. (Yes, I call it mine. It’s that good.) I was originally going to look for containers for my kitchen, dish towels, and white dishes but ended up with some other really cool things!

I’ve been thinking about switching over to cloth napkins. It would save me a little money since  I wouldn’t need the paper ones, and they look nicer. I’m thinking a couple sets for everyday use and a nicer set for company. Well, I scored a 6 pack tonight for $2!

They’re a pretty bright yellow, but I am also planning to switch over to white dishes since I can make anything – tablecloth, napkins, holiday stuff, match white,  so I think these would be great for spring or summer.

I also found a small Christmas wreath for my door for $2…

A couple of dresses for the itty bitty one, about $2 each….

That red one will be great for Christmas pics!

Some Christmas ribbon for present decorating for $.99…..

This cool wooden heart decoration for $3. I’m thinking of hanging it out by the front door and I may spray paint it and put some flowers on it….

And this chalkboard wall hanging for $5! I plan to use this for scripture verses and other school things.

And I already hung it by our dining table where we do our school.  I love it!

A lot of things in my home are second hand, at least.  Here are a couple other things I snagged a picture of while I had the camera out:

The picture on my mantle came from the thrift store and cost me $4…

And some of my bedroom decorations….

The white shelves were from a garage sale, the picture frames were clearance at Target, and the vases came from a thrift store.

So, what about you? Do you share my love for thrifting? 🙂