Category Archives: 31 Days Series 2012

Five Favorites from Homemade Living

I thought that it would be fun to share the top five posts from the past 31 Days series:  Homemade Living.  It was interesting to look back and see which posts my readers enjoyed the most.

1.  Homemade Crockpot Potato Soup

2.  Homemade Jewelry Cleaner

3.  Homemade Furniture Polish

4.  Homemade Hairspray

5.  Homemade Pine Cone Garland

What were your favorites?  Were these your top five?  Share.

Have a great weekend.

 

Five Things I Learned from Homemade Living

 

During October, I learned much about blogging and myself as well as homemade living.  It was a wild and crazy ride, but I enjoyed it immensely (and I hope that you did too).  Yes, there were days that I simply wanted to throw in the towel.  I was tired. I was busy.  But you know what kept me going?

You.

And we made it.  Whew!  31 Days of Homemade Living is over.  Here’s the top five things that I learned this past month.

1) Commitment

We all love this word, don’t we?  I had committed to the task and I was determined to see it through.  I knew I had a faithful following that would be looking for that new post each day and I didn’t want to let you down.  My commitment to you that I would write every day was important.  I want my word to mean something.  I enjoyed virtually reaching out to you, and in return, you to me. Connecting with you was a highlight of my days.  Reading all of the comments and seeing the stats grow a little each day pressed me forward in each and every post.  As my commitment to Thrifty Stories continues, I look forward to the friendships that have been and willl continue to develop here.  I appreciate you all.

2) Consistency

The pressure to blog every single day was extremely good for me.  I needed the daily nudge to get that blog post up, to be consistent in my writing.  I hope to use this 31 Days of blogging as a springboard to a steadier blog schedule, something that both of us will enjoy in the days ahead.

3) Creativity

Another thing that I learned was the deeper we got into the month, the more the wheels started turning in my mind.  The possibilities for creating homemade products and recipes are literally endless.  Did that hit you at any point during this series?  Even though the month/series is officially over, you will still find recipes and projects similar to those being shared here at Thrifty Stories.  Creativity is one of the many passions of this blog.  It felt good to get the creative juices flowing once again.

4) Comprehensive

The old adage Variety is the spice of life certainly rings true.  I enjoy writing an assortment of different posts for my readers.  This past month helped me to realize that I desired for my blog to have an even greater scope in its content.  It is my dream that this site be one that from which many can benefit.  In the coming months, I hope to be adding new links and pages to this blog, and starting new series to encourage us all in frugal endeavors, baby steps towards health and yes, homemade living.

So what were the five things I learned?

Consistency.  Commitment.   Creativity.   Comprehensive.  And Chocolate.

Wait…that last one’s not really on the list.  Just on my mind.  (Although truth be told, chocolate kept me going during some of those late night postings.  So perhaps it should be there.  😉  )

No, the last one is really quite important to me.  It is simple yet challenging at the same time.

5) Counteract.

I learned that blogging requires balance.  A well-written post with gorgeous photos means nothing if my husband and kids have been neglected, eating fast food and sitting in between piles of unfolded, yet clean, laundry.  It’s a juggling act that I’m still attempting to master.  It requires some serious scheduling, something that I’m not consistent with and need to work at in other areas of my life as well.  Scheduling and organization need to become my new BFFs, I think.  As I grow myself in these areas, I will be sure to share my tips and hints as I apply them in my own home and life.

So how about you?  Anything special that you learned this past month?  Please share.

As always, thanks for reading.

Day 31: Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Follow along the 31 days of Homemade Living everyday by enjoying them sent straight to your inbox or follow along on facebook and/or twitter. If you are new to the series, you can follow along from the beginning here. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Excitement was running high in our home today.  Our kids participated in our church’s Trunk or Treat after AWANA this evening.  As if my kids had not already been running wide open and like regular little hoodlums, I made my usual treats: dozens of cookies to hand out.  Somehow they seemed healthier than candy, don’t you think?!

And to counter all the sugar in the cookies,  I made chocolate chip OATMEAL cookies this year.  Doesn’t that just scream healthy?!  I also used organic butter and fresh farm eggs.  The kids sooo appreciated the extra mile that I went this year to safeguard their health.  {rolls eyes}

And if no one had liked them, I would have gladly brought them home.  Our entire family loves them, absolutely loves them.  I found the original recipe here.

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Chewy and soft oatmeal cookies that are only made even more delicious with chocolate chips. Mmmm, good.
Ingredients
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • ½ c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¼ c. all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 c. walnuts (optional)
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Add and mix in the vanilla.
  4. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  5. Slowly add dry the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined.
  6. Add quick oats, walnuts, chocolate chips and stir.
  7. Drop heaping spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cookies to cool on pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
  9. Makes 3-4 dozen

 

These are seriously the best oatmeal cookies that I’ve ever had.  I made them last week with the walnuts and they were delicious.  Today’s batch did not contain the walnuts (possible nut allergies with the lil’ treaters tonight) and they were still great.

You just can’t go wrong with chocolate.  It never fails me.

Do you like oatmeal in your chocolate ship cookies?  Doesn’t it make cookies seem really healthy?  What do you think?  Share.

For those of you that have been following along since day one of the 31 Days of Homemade Living, thanks for your constant encouragement and faithful readership for this past month.  For others of you that have joined us in the recent days, thanks for dropping by and joining us midstream during this month-long journey.  And as always, a special thanks to my most faithful cheerleader, my sweet Hubs.  He put up with a lot of late evening posts and helped with some of the proofreading.  He’s the best.

It has been a good month.  I’ve learned a lot about blogging and Thrifty Stories has grown quite a bit during the process.  However, I can honestly say that I’m glad to start some new topics and series.  I already have some ideas that I’m really excited about sharing with you.  So stay tuned.  🙂

Have you enjoyed the series?  What was your favorite homemade ideas?  Any thoughts?  Please also share in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by. I am beyond excited about joining Nester’s31 Days Series. I hope that Homemade Living blesses your home as much as it will mine. I am honored to be linking with some fellow bloggers for this series. Please click the boxes below to check out their series (and their sweet blogs!).

 

            

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Day 30: Homemade Pine Cone Garland

Follow along the 31 days of Homemade Living everyday by enjoying them sent straight to your inbox or follow along on facebook and/or twitter. If you are new to the series, you can follow along from the beginning here. Thanks for stopping by.

 

I created the easiest garland ever.  It’s simple.  It’s a snap to store.  It’s interchangeable for seasons and color schemes.

I love it.  I found the idea on Pinterest here.

All that I needed to pick up were some of the cup hooks.  I found mine at Target.  The shiny chrome finish of the hooks adds an interesting element to the otherwise rustic/country decor of this craft.  I love the balance that each of the textures of the items provide.

I’ve had the pine cones for years now.  I usually display them in a willow basket or this year, in chrome containers ($1.50 each…Pottery Barn was switching out their storage display container to baskets and just wanted them gone).

I simply screwed my hooks into the base of the pine cones.  Some of them went in easily and others regardless of where I started the screw, I could not get in.  It does work, just be patient and keep trying different pine cones.

The ribbon was left over from my pumpkin wreath craft from earlier this month.  I would have loved to use actual burlap ribbon for this craft (well, both of them for that matter), but I could not find any at my craft store.  The brown ribbon has a similar texture to burlap, so it worked.

The original source had a fancy 1/8 inch hole punch which I did not have, nor did I purchase.  The open weave of the ribbon allowed me to pierce the ribbon to make the “weave hole” a tad larger for my hook.  I grabbed something handy to do the hole-poking.  A pencil.  As a homeschooling mama, pencils are constantly scattered throughout our home.  The ol’ No. 2 got the job done.  No fancy hole punch necessary.

In keeping with the “using what’s handy” theme, check out my measuring instrument.

Pretty snazzy, huh?

I slowly worked my way down the ribbon, pencil-poking and pencil-measuring as I went.  My pine cones were spaced 6 inches apart (since my pine cones were large).  I ended up with an adorable garland made with ten pine cones.

I used another handy item, a clear push pin, to hang my garland from the underside of our mantle.  So simple.

There are so many variations possible with this craft that my mind is spinning.  You could spray paint, dust with glitter, or spray snow on the pine cones.  Or alternate the ribbon for seasons, use leaves, ornaments, snowflakes, etc. to change out the look.

Entire craft time was less than ten minutes from in the bag to on the mantle.  I love it.

So what do you think?  How do you think I should change it for Christmas?  Help me decide.  Share.

Thanks for stopping by. I am beyond excited about joining Nester’s31 Days Series. I hope that Homemade Living blesses your home as much as it will mine. I am honored to be linking with some fellow bloggers for this series. Please click the boxes below to check out their series (and their sweet blogs!).

 

            

 

 

Thanks for reading.