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Homemade by Jade

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  • Tracey Boyer
  • January 17, 2015 02:23:21 AM
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A Little About Us

A blog about homesteading and getting back to a simpler lifestyle. Posts include subjects such as cooking from scratch, backyard gardening, canning, cooking, crafts, sewing and household DIY.

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No Bake Gingerbread Ornaments

​I really love Gingerbread Ornaments on my tree.  Not only are they cute, but they smell great!  If you want to make some for your tree, here is the simple, 4 ingredient recipe.  You don't even have to bake them, just roll them out, cut and let dry!  It's a fun family activity that is inexpensive and kids love doing it!​Gingerbread Ornament RecipeIngredients:1 cup ground cinnamon3/4 cup applesauce2 tablespoons white glue (not school...

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​I really love Gingerbread Ornaments on my tree.  Not only are they cute, but they smell great!  If you want to make some for your tree, here is the simple, 4 ingredient recipe.  You don't even have to bake them, just roll them out, cut and let dry!  It's a fun family activity that is inexpensive and kids love doing it!


​Gingerbread Ornament Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons white glue (not school glue)
  • tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon glitter if want to add sparkle to your ornaments!

Directions:

  • Lay out a two foot piece of parchment paper on your counter and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and hand stir well until the dough is smooth.
  • Knead dough, folding several times
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place on your counter.
  • Press down on the ball flattening it.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick. 
  • Cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter and place on the parchment paper
  • Knead the scraps together and roll out until all your dough is used
  • Make a hole in the top of each ornament with a cocktail straw or wooden skewer
  • Let dry at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, turning them two or three times during the drying process.
  • Makes about 12 ornaments per batch
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If you don't want to wait for them to air dry, you can bake them in your oven at 200 degrees for one hour, turn them over and bake for an additional hour.


​If you want to decorate your ornaments, you can paint them, but i would recommend only using paint for colorful accents, like faces or gingerbread men or ornaments on a tree shape.  I would not paint the entire ornament because it may seal it and make it soft without air to keep it completely dry.  You can also glue buttons or bow on them for decoration.  As long as most of the ornament is open to the air, it should be good for many years, you just have to treat it gently, like you would any other ornament that is breakable.

This is my favorite paint to use for this project.  It comes in regular and also in glitter for a very reasonable price.  It also is washable, which is great if you have kids, or are just clumsy, like me!
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There are many different kinds of cookie cutters you can use to make these ornaments.  I prefer metal cookie cutters, but plastic ones also work well.  Recently I bought some 3D cookies cutters and they are really fun!
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If you want to make 3D ornaments, Amazon has some really cute ones that you can buy inexpensively, just glue them together before decorating.   I loved this set because it also has pieces for a gingerbread house!  Some day I will make one!
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If you prefer regular cookie cutters, Amazon has a bunch of different styles just
click here to see them.
I hope your holiday season is going well so far and you are enjoying it!
Have a great week!

​Jade    :)
Photo Credits:
https://morguefile.com/photos/morguefile/1/gingerbread%20ornament/pop
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmiehomeschoolmom/6444426013/sizes/w/



Black Cat Pet Toy

​I have a cat that is really feisty.  He is an 18 month old ginger cat and he is as devilish as he is lovable!  He loves to play, but having all his claws (four wheen drive, as my husband calls it) he is very hard on his toys.  He can rip a catnip mouse to bits in record time.  He also has shredded his little cat house, along with several scratching posts.  After a while it started to get a little expensive, replacing toys and playthings for the little...

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​I have a cat that is really feisty.  He is an 18 month old ginger cat and he is as devilish as he is lovable!  He loves to play, but having all his claws (four wheen drive, as my husband calls it) he is very hard on his toys.  He can rip a catnip mouse to bits in record time.  He also has shredded his little cat house, along with several scratching posts.  After a while it started to get a little expensive, replacing toys and playthings for the little furball!

After replacing my 100th cat toy, I decided to try making some myself, heaven knows I have enough old clothes, socks and towels to provide materials.  I decided to start out with something easy, so I went with a sock toy.  I found a pair of black socks that had an epic blowout on the left, but the right was still in good shape.  It was perfect to make a little Halloween present for the orange terror!  
I was able to make this in an afternoon, the thing that took the most time was waiting for the glue to dry.  If you want to speed things up, you can use a hot glue gun.  

For this project you will need:
  • a sock
  • washable glue
  • twine or yarn
  • thread the same color as the sock
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​Start by laying your sock as shown.  Take thread and tie off the ears.  Make sure you wind the thread around the ears many times and tie off tightly.  Smear some glue over the thread to help strengthen the bond.




​With your thread, tie the tail to the side in the direction of the bend in the sock.  Again, wind the thread around multiple times and strengthen with glue.
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Wind your thread around the tail, up and down the length.  Tie several knots as you go, and put a drop of glue on each knot.  Leave a poof at the end.

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Take your twine or yarn and tie in a knot around the base of the tail, and start wrapping the tail with your twine, pulling it as tight as possible..  Knot at the end and leave the end of the sock in a ruffled poof.  Rub glue along the underside of the tail in a thick line to hold in place.  Let dry completely before moving on to the next step.

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This is what the tail should look like.
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Wrap twine around the neck of your cat three times and pull fairly tight and tie a knot.  Put a drop of glue on the knot.   Tie a bow, knotting the ends.  Glue the loops and ends to the body
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Drip a line of glue around the thread that is wrapped around the ears and tie twine on top of it.  Tie a tight knot and strengthen with glue, cutting the ends off very short, as shown above.
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It's done!  

My cat loves this toy!  He drags it around the house and tosses it up in the air.  He thinks it is big fun!  It has lasted over a week, so far and it still in one piece! 
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Happy Halloween and have a great weekend!
Jade  :)


Cute Candy Corn Cans

If you are like me, you have a lot of left over tin cans.  They have a lot of uses, pencil holders, craft organizers, I have even cut out the top and bottom and screwed it to the barn wall to hold brooms and rakes!  However, today I am going to share a much more fun use for tin cans.  Check out these cute cans!To make this project, you will need:Materials:tin cans in various sizeswhite primerwhite and orange paintstring or yarna pair of yellow socksamzn_assoc_placement =...

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If you are like me, you have a lot of left over tin cans.  They have a lot of uses, pencil holders, craft organizers, I have even cut out the top and bottom and screwed it to the barn wall to hold brooms and rakes!  However, today I am going to share a much more fun use for tin cans.  Check out these cute cans!

To make this project, you will need:

Materials:

tin cans in various sizes
white primer
white and orange paint
string or yarn
a pair of yellow socks

Tools:

paint brush
glue
scissors
​fine grit sandpaper
Instructions:

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1.  Sand the cans, all over, with fine grit sandpaper.  This will help the paint to adhere.

2.  Paint the cans with primer.





​3.  Take your sock and cut off the top, between 3 and 4 inches long.  Bigger cans will need longer pieces.
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​4.  Paint your can with white and orange paint.  It may take several coats to achieve opacity.




​5.  After your final coat of paint is completely dry, I covered mine with Mod Podge to protect the finish.
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​6.  Take your sock and place it over the top of the can, gather it up and tie it with your string or yarn.  I used orange twine.
7.  Take white cardboard (I used a paper plate) and trace some circles to use as eyes.  Cut them out and color the appropriate pieces with markers or paint.
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8.  Glue the faces on your cans and let dry, then paint over with Mod Podge, and you are done!
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With the hats so easy to take off and put back on, you can use these little guys for holding candy or treats.  Perfect for a Halloween party or hostess gift!  They are not only cute, but useful and they can be used year after year!

Have a great week!

Jade    :)



Homemade Weed Killer That Really Works!

​I have been making my own weed killer for years.  Ever since I heard that Round up has a big link to cancer, I decided I would use only weed killers with commonly known ingredients.  My homemade formula does not work as well as chemicals, but the trade off is more than worth it.  However, recently I have changed one ingredients in my homemade weed killer that I have been using for the last few years.  That change makes a big difference!​​If you replace the Epsom salt...

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​I have been making my own weed killer for years.  Ever since I heard that Round up has a big link to cancer, I decided I would use only weed killers with commonly known ingredients.  My homemade formula does not work as well as chemicals, but the trade off is more than worth it.  However, recently I have changed one ingredients in my homemade weed killer that I have been using for the last few years.  That change makes a big difference!

​If you replace the Epsom salt with regular salt, it works much better and faster.  The only difference is that you have to make sure that you don't over use the mixture or use it a lot in your garden because too much salt in the ground will adversely affect how well plants grow in the soil.  I use this for overgrowth around my pole barns, and for big weeds in the grass.  It does a really good job!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup blue dawn dish soap
  • 1 gal vinegar
Directions:

  1. Pour the white vinegar in your spaying container
  2. Add salt while stirring
  3. Pour in dishwashing liquid slowly
  4. Stir slowly and gently until salt dissolves.  If you stir too fast it will foam.
Hope this helps you all out.  I know by this time of the summer, I am thoroughly sick of weeds!  Have a great week!

Jade     :)



6 Tips to Dehydrate Vegetables Successfully

If you are anything like me, food storage is always a problem.  It either takes up a lot of shelf space or room in your freezer.  There is one method that takes up very little room on the shelf and no room in your freezer.  Dehydrating!  It is easy to do and takes up so little space, you will not believe how much food you can store in a cabinet or closet shelf.  Grow your own vegetables or buy them in season and you will be eating them all winter long.​ ...

If you are anything like me, food storage is always a problem.  It either takes up a lot of shelf space or room in your freezer.  There is one method that takes up very little room on the shelf and no room in your freezer.  Dehydrating!  It is easy to do and takes up so little space, you will not believe how much food you can store in a cabinet or closet shelf.  Grow your own vegetables or buy them in season and you will be eating them all winter long.


Whenever dehydrating vegetables, the first step is to make sure to wash them thoroughly and slice them fairly thin.  Always place them in a single layer on the dehydrator trays or cookie sheets.  You don't have to have a dehydrating machine to dehydrate food.  You can use your oven.  Here's how:
How to Dehydrate in Your Oven

  1. Turn on your oven to the lowest setting
  2. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. Slice your veggies or fruits to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch
  4. Line them up in a single layer on your cookie sheet
  5. Bake until crisp, usually 7 to 8 hours

​I find it a bit quicker to use a dehydrator, plus it does not tie up your oven for hours at a 
time.  You can get dehydrators for as little as $35, but they can go up to over $500 for the fancier models.
This is my dehydrator, I love it!  But it is a bit pricey.  I started out with a round one, but I wanted something bigger, so I saved up and got this one!

Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator
This dehydrator is similar to the first one that I had that was given to me by my sister.  It worked well, and I used it for a few years before getting my Excalibur.

Nesco Food Dehydrator


6 Tips for Dehydrating Vegetables Successfully

  1. ​Cooking vegetables is not necessary before dehydrating if the vegetable is one that you eat raw when fresh, such as tomatoes, onions, peppers.  If the vegetable is one that you usually cook before eating, then boiling or steaming them for 8 to 10 minutes before dehydrating will make them plump up better when you rehydrate them.  This is not totally necessary, but I have found that it make rehydration more successful.
  2. I prefer not to mix vegetables when drying, as I find sometimes one vegetable will contaminate to taste of others.  I do know that many people do mix items, so this is a decision you will have to make for yourself.  However, never put fresh food in the dehydrator or stove along with food that has already been dehydrating.  It throws off the time and will result in some items being over dried and ruined.
  3. When dehydrating potatoes, you MUST blanch them first.  You simply slice them 1/8 of an inch thick, or you can grate them, and then boil them in salted water till they are fork tender, about 8 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK, or they will fall apart when you are trying to put them on the trays.  This step is very very important.  If you do not blanch, your potatoes will turn a gross shade of gray brown, and no one will want to eat them, even though they are safe to eat.
  4. When dehydrating bananas and apples, they will turn brown while drying and look very unappealing unless you spray them with lemon juice.  This will not affect the taste, but it will stop them from turning dark.  Make sure you spray both sides.
  5. Method of storage of dehydrated foods is very important.  It is very important to store them in a clean, air tight container so they stay dry and free of moisture.  The only two ways I recommend storing dehydrated vegetables is in a mason jar with a oxygen absorber, or use a Food Saver to remove the oxygen and seal the bag.  I am comfortable with these methods of storage because I know they are safe, as long as the veggies are dried properly.
  6. To rehydrate vegetables you can either boil them for 15 minutes, one cup of veggies to two cups of water, or you can just soak them in room temperature water for 2 to 3 hours.  

You don't need to have a garden to take advantage of dehydrating vegetables.  You can buy vegetables at the grocery store, especially at the end of the season when the stores are inundated with local harvests and the prices are cheap.  Also try picking up very ripe fruits and veggies at the store.  They are usually inexpensive because the store wants to sell them before they are overripe and have to be thrown out.  You can also try local farmers markets.  Many times you can make a deal with the farmer if you buy in bulk and he has an abundance of certain produce.  And don't forget your gardening neighbors!  Trade them some dehydrated produce in exchange for fresh vegetables from their garden.

Dehydrating is a great way to store food.  It takes up 1/5 the space of canning and it does not require the electricity that freezing does.  It is perfect for small houses and apartments.  When I started doing it, I was shocked at how easy it was and how little room you need to store a lot of food!  Try it and you will be sold, I guarantee it!

Jade    :)



10 Beach Bag Essentials

​Everyone loves going to the beach, from children to adults.  What could be more fun.....wading, swimming, building sand castles, playing volleyball, or just relaxing and reading.  However there are some dangers at the beach, but it is easy to prepare for these dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.  All you have to do is pack a few essentials and you are good to go! ​These important items don't take up a lot of room but they...


​Everyone loves going to the beach, from children to adults.  What could be more fun.....wading, swimming, building sand castles, playing volleyball, or just relaxing and reading.  However there are some dangers at the beach, but it is easy to prepare for these dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.  All you have to do is pack a few essentials and you are good to go!

These important items don't take up a lot of room but they are very necessary if you want to protect yourself and your family while having fun in the sun, so don't forget them!

1.  Sun Screen - a good SPF15 with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA should be good for all but the most fair skinned.   SPF30 is only 4% more effective that SPF15, so I stick with the latter.  Make sure you put it on correctly, for tips on application and some other good sun screen info see the video below:
2.  Lip Protector - it is very important to protect your lips from the sun.  Repeated exposure to the sun and getting sunburned has been linked to lip cancer, so using lip balm like Chapstick Ultra with SPF25, when at the beach is very important.

3.  Flip Flops or Water Shoes - Wearing flip flops or water shoes at the beach and while swimming is imperative.  Not only will it save your feet from being burned on the hot sand, but it will also protect you from stepping on things that can cut your feet like glass or metal hidden in the sand.  Wearning them while swimming will protect your feet from stepping on any marine life that could bite or sting you and also from cutting your feet on rocks, shells 
or coral.
4.  Waterproof Mascara - It is very hard to wear makeup at the beach.  Foundation, blush and eyeshadow is sweated off, leaving you a streaked mess.  However there is one makeup that you can wear to the beach and it will stay beautifully, even while swimming, and that is waterproof mascara, like Maybelline Lash Stiletto Waterproof Mascara.

5. Sun Hat- A nice straw sun hat not only looks cute, but will shade your face from the sun and getting sunburned.  This does not mean that you do not need to wear sunscreen!

6.  Sunglasses - Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from bright sunlight and the glare of sunlight off water.
7.  Magazines - Magazines are a better choice than a book because the reading is compartmentalized.  You don't have to concentrate as hard because there is no overall storyline, just short articles you can read as you keep an eye on things around you.

8.  High Energy Snacks - The sun and swimming can drain your energy quickly, so it is always good to bring along some high protein snacks like nuts, trail mix or granola bars.  They will help keep your energy level up so you won't feel so exhausted when you get home from the beach.

9.  Clock or Watch - It is important to keep an eye on the time.  Too much time in the water or on the beach will lead to sunburn or worse.  It is better to stay out of the sun during the middle of the day when the rays are at their strongest. 

10. Cooler Full of Ice and Water Bottles - The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water.  It is especially important when you are sweating continually.  Water out, water in......remember this when you go to the beach!
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Pack your bag with the above items and be comfortable in the fact you are prepared and safe for a fun day at the beach or pool.  Actually, I just decided to buy items 1 through 9 and just keep them in my bag at all times, that way I don't ever forget them.  Just don't let anyone know you do this, or things will end up missing when items are "borrowed."  

Have a great week,

Jade    :)



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