Dish Drainer Maintance

I don’t know about you, but winter is rough on my skin. Especially my hands! I have to have some nourishment for my skin. Our wooden kitchen items are no different. Except they need love all year round. It’s not just from lack of humidity but water causes a lot damage too.

I have wooden cutting boards, spoons, and a bamboo dish drainer. My dish drainer was definitely in the worse shape of all of them. It’s kind of an overlooked item really. It is a bit of unsung hero of the kitchen. I have tried to go without one and it didn’t work too well. By just using a drying mat, my cups, glasses, and bowls wouldn’t dry because the air couldn’t circulate all around them. I’ve had plastic dish drainers before and was never happy with how they looked in the kitchen and they seemed to mold more easily. I haven’t had a mold issue with my bamboo drainer.

A bamboo dish drainer isn’t really an investment item for your kitchen but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of it and make it last as long as possible. That just means that money can be spent on something more fun than a dish drainer!

This time, I used mineral oil to condition the bamboo. Mine is from IKEA and I found it with the wooden cutting boards. You have to make sure that you use food grade mineral oil. Home Depot carries Howard Cutting Board Oil. I haven’t used it, but I have had really good experience with other Howard products.


I used paper towels to apply my mineral oil. I am going to use an old t-shirt next time. The paper towels just disintegrated and left some fuzzies behind. We use cloth napkins but I keep paper towels in the house for messes that wouldn’t wash out of a towel very well, or that I wouldn’t even want going into the washing machine. I think I’ll just use a small piece of cotton shirt next time and then throw it away. I also used a few cotton swabs to get into the small tight spaces. They didn’t last long either!

My poor, neglected, dried out dish drainer soaked up that mineral oil like a drop of rain water on the desert sands. The mineral oil will penetrate the wood grain and help to keep it from splitting, thus prolonging it’s life. It also looks so much better sitting out on the counter! After applying the oil, I left it out to dry for several hours. I did a quick wipe on it to get rid of any mineral oil that didn’t soak in completely.

This maintenance will need to be repeated but there are several factors that determine how often it has to be done. If you live in a dry climate or just use the drainer a lot, you’ll need to treat the wood more often.

Next up, I need to take care of my wooden cutting boards and my wooden cooking utensils. I am wanting a more natural alternative to the mineral oil though. I have plans to make wood butter! It’s kind of like a homemade lotion for our wooden kitchen items. I can’t wait! But that’s for another post for another day. Keep an eye out for that soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Can’t wait to see you next time!

Basket of Fire Pepper Sauce

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission to help support my blog but the views and opinions are strictly mine.

I vividly remember the pepper sauce that lived in my Nana’s refrigerator. I think my Papa may have been the only person I remember using it, but it was always there. It was a store bought bottle of pepper sauce that my Nana kept adding vinegar to when it would run low.

I have done the same thing on occasion with my own peppers or with store bought fresh peppers. It’s always been a fairly mild sauce, except that one batch we put a single habanero pepper in. That one had some bite! In a good way.

Well, look out world! Today, I made Basket of Fire Pepper Sauce! I bought this cute little ornamental pepper plant at a local nursery this summer. I love ornamental pepper plants because they look as good as they are functional. For a long time, I thought you couldn’t eat the peppers since they were called “ornamental”. I was wrong. The peppers I chose to grow are the variety Basket of Fire. They measure 80,000shu (Scoville heat units). Just a bit less than habaneros. They pack a punch for such a small pepper! I have used them in my Sweet Heat Jam with great success. I’m pretty sure they have a permement place in my gardens! I’ll gush over my pepper plants another time, right now, let’s get to the pepper sauce!I vividly remember the pepper sauce that lived in my Nana’s refrigerator. I think my Papa may have been the only person I remember using it, but it was always there. It was a store bought bottle of pepper sauce that my Nana kept adding vinegar to when it would run low.

I have done the same thing on occasion with my own peppers or with store bought fresh peppers. It’s always been a fairly mild sauce, except that one batch we put a single habanero pepper in. That one had some bite! In a good way.

Well, look out world! Today, I made Basket of Fire Pepper Sauce! I bought this cute little ornamental pepper plant at a local nursery this summer. I love ornamental pepper plants because they look as good as they are functional. For a long time, I thought you couldn’t eat the peppers since they were called “ornamental”. I was wrong. The peppers I chose to grow are the variety Basket of Fire. They measure 80,000shu (Scoville heat units). Just a bit less than habaneros. They pack a punch for such a small pepper! I have used them in my Sweet Heat Jam with great success. I’m pretty sure they have a permement place in my gardens! I’ll gush over my pepper plants another time, right now, let’s get to the pepper sauce!

To make my pepper sauce, I picked over what’s left on my plant. It’s currently in the greenhouse living out it’s last days. These plants are annuals but I’ve been able to prolong it’s life. The remaining peppers are starting to shrivel up and the leaves are starting to drop. I harvested as many non-shriveled peppers as I could and carried them into the kitchen. I gave them a bath and stuffed them into a 5 oz glass bottle. These bottles are great! I found them on Amazon. They came with a dripper insert, cap and shrink sleeve to seal them up. I have also used them to bottle up homemade vanilla.


Then I set some vinegar to boil on the stove. Once it came to a boil, I used a small funnel (this one is for a flask) and poured the vinegar into the bottle. Then the dripper insert goes on and then the cap.

Next up comes the label. After it had cooled down, I created one and cut it out with my Silhouette in vinyl.

Even though this bottle is for our own home and I’m not giving it away, I went ahead and sealed the shrink sleeve. I used some washi tape to put the date I made it. I want it to sit for a bit to develop it’s flavor. I’m not sure how long is enough, but it will keep us out of it for at least a little while. It’s hard to be patient!

I made my pepper sauce with Basket of Fire but you may use any peppers you like. Feel free to use a mixture of them too! This is a great way to use up some end of the season peppers before a frost gets them.

We use our pepper sauces on pinto beans, salmon patties, and even pizza! What do you like pepper sauce on?

Is Farmhouse Style Just a Fad?

I have never had a home that was decorated in such a way that you might find it on a magazine cover. I haven’t figured out how to have that and live in it too. I know people do it, but I haven’t figured it out. So, I’ve never really followed decorating fads and nor do I want to. I like what I like and am not too terribly conserved if it suits the world. I do, however, really like farmhouse style. I think it strikes a cord with me because it looks so livable. I have built several pieces of furniture for our home and I always add a bit of distressing so no one in my family feels bad about putting the first dent or scratch on it. So it already has a bit of a lived in look!

I love to find vintage things that are useful! The phrase “they don’t make them like they used to!” is so true! I cook in vintage cast iron in my kitchen, I sew on vintage sewing machines, and I use vintage items for storage. I love finding something at an estate sale or a thrift shop that still has plenty of use left and I get a bargain! I don’t pay a lot of money for my finds because I don’t want to feel too bad when they get worn out or break, which is ironically not very often. But…I like authentic items. I prefer to buy something old vs something new in most cases. But sometimes new is better. There are so many options today with new items that look like they have seen a lot of trips around the sun. Target and Hobby Lobby both come to mind with having very authentic looking pieces. I have never really looked as decorating my home as being an investment, so I don’t put a lot of our family’s finances towards decor.  Buying new items, on sale and with coupons, can be a time saver for busy families.

So I think that’s why I like farmhouse style. And I think that’s why it works for so many families.  It feels comfortable and livable.  That’s what home means to me!

I like things in my home to not just have a home but also have a job. A purpose. They have to give me a reason to dust them. Don’t get me wrong, a some pieces are just for looks but, the older I get, the more I value the real-estate in my home. Things have to earn a place around here. I think that philosophy goes hand-in-hand with farmhouse. Farmhouses were very utilitarian places. The lady of the farmhouse could make things beautiful but the things still had purpose. That’s what it’s all about for me.

So, no, I don’t think that farmhouse style is a fad. At least not in my home. But I honestly believe that is because I am not trying to decorate my home solely based on a “style”. Instead, I am building a functioning, sensible, and inviting home that is easy to live in. That’s what us Farmgirls (real and displaced) are all about.

Saving Pumpkin Seeds

Well, here is a testament to my great housekeeping. I found 2 tiny, white pumpkins hiding on my kitchen counter the other day! So I decided to go ahead and save the seeds. Now, a word on saving seeds from anything. You will only get a baby that is a copy of the parent if you save the seeds from a fruit that is not a hybrid. If you save seeds from a hybrid, you never really know what you’ll get. If you have a Forrest Gump attitude about life, this won’t bother you. If you like to know what you are getting yourself into, only save seeds from heirloom varieties. I have no idea if these little white ornamental pumpkins are hybrids or not, and I am okay with that. It’s a bit of an experiment! If you want to learn how to save your own pumpkin (or any gourd) seeds, then keep reading!

First thing you need to do is gain access to the seeds. Gourds can be difficult to cut into because of their thick skins. Use a sharp knife and keep your fingers out of the way!

Now, you’ll need to scoop the seeds out. I like to use a melon baller because it kind of cuts through the slimy, stringy bits. Just don’t dig into the sides of the gourd. You won’t need all of the seeds, especially if you are gathering seeds from a larger gourd with a lot of seeds. If you are carving pumpkins, scoop the seeds out and save a few and roast the rest to eat!

You’ll need to free the seeds from the slimy stuff. I like to place mine in a screen colander and give them a wash.
This colander is from Ikea and it has adjustable arms on it to fit a variety of size sinks. I use my sprayer and clean the seeds as well as I can. I don’t think it’s vital to get them spotless.

I spread my seeds out on a paper towel to dry out. Newspaper works too. I leave them for a few days. You want them dry so they don’t mold in storage. On the second day, I’ll move them around to break up any clumps. This helps insure they are able to completely dry out.

You’ll want to store them safely for next year. I like paper envelopes because they can breathe. Just in case I didn’t get all of the moisture out of the seeds. Make sure you label the envelope. If you don’t know the exact variety of plant, just include some identifying characteristics along with the date you collected your seeds. Be sure you put the correct year. I put these up on one of the first days of 2018 and sure enough, I labeled them 2017. In keeping things real, this won’t be the only time I put the wrong year. Anyone else do that?

Now I just have to wait for planting time! I’ll come back and update you on if the new pumpkins look just like the parents. Seed saving is a great homesteading skill to have in your toolbox. Have you saved any seeds lately?

2018 Ready to Wear Fast

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission to help support my blog but the views and opinions are strictly mine.

It’s always good to step out of your comfort zone with the hopes to come out on the other side better or with knowledge you didn’t have before, right? Well, I am doing just that this year with Sarah Gunn of GoodbyeValentino.com and coauthor of The Tunic Bible: One Pattern, Interchangeable Pieces, Ready-to-Wear Results!

What is a Ready to Wear fast? Well, it means to abstain from buying any clothes for the whole year. The only things allowed for purchase are underwear, purses, jewelry, socks, and belts. Everything else must be made by me!

I have been sewing for years, but it’s been mostly purses, bags, and things for my home. I have recently made a few clothing times for myself and honestly, I surprised myself! Since I have began studying about how to make alterations to patterns to make clothing fit me, I can no longer bring myself to find clothing in the store that I am willing to settle for.

I don’t have a specific plan for what I am going to make yet, but I have a few ideas. I am looking forward to sharing my journey with you and hopefully inspire you to take a look at the possibility of creating your own wardrobe.

If you’d like to participate in the 2018 Ready to Wear Fast, go to GoodbyeValentino.com and send Sarah an email with your information. Edited to add: Sign up has already closed for this year. I am sorry if you missed it, but please follow along on Facebook and Instagram with #2018rtwfast for a lot of inspiration! There are 1029 participants!

Focus for the New Year

I know that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it far into January. I know that they are made with the best of intentions but sadly most don’t have staying power. Driving by the gym is all the proof you need. The parking lot is crammed full the first of January, but as the month progresses the parking spots become more plentiful. I wonder if it’s because we make these resolutions half-heartedly. When we have a defined reason behind our choice to fuel this change, I think the change lasts longer. Some people are able to make life-long changes. That’s what I want. I think that’s the first step. Deciding that I want this to work and putting forth that effort. Doing what ever it takes to meet that goal. This year, I am focusing on only a couple of resolutions. I don’t think that January is some sort of magical time to start new things, but I think it’s just easier with the holidays in the rear view mirror. This year has seemed so hectic and going by at warp speed. In Janaury, I am slowing it down. Sharpening my focus on what matters. Focusing on my people and our home. So what are these profound changes I am going to make? I am glad you asked.

#1 Health

I know that’s quite broad but I want to focus on a few specific areas of my health and the health of my family members. I am going to be going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. We all could use more sleep. We are going to be eating at home almost exclusively. We eat out too much and that’s taking a toll on our health. I need to loose some weight and this should help that. I am wanting to rely much more on my essential oils and clean my home more naturally.

#2 Financial Health

I have to keep a sense of privacy, so I am not going to be sharing specifics of my family’s financial standing, but I think the things I am wanting to change are pretty universal with most families I know. We want to get out of debt. We want a fat emergency fund socked away. We want to go on an amazing vacation this year or early next year. One weapon I am going to use is my grocery budget. By eating at home like I mentioned earlier, we should also save some money. I am wanting to follow Jordan Page, of FunCheaporFree.com, and use an envelope for grocery money and use her budget of $100 per person per month. For our family of 4, we should be only spending $100 a week for anything consumable in our home. That’s food, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. I have done couponing before and I don’t want to go down that road again. Instead of coupons, I am going to shop seasonally and shop the sales ad. We have an Aldi close by that has already helped our grocery budget, but I am going to be utilizing it even more. I will also have a garden this summer. I have a backyard greenhouse and I keep some herbs and such growing year round. The biggest tool will be the meal plan. I am going to have to make a plan and stick to it. I am hoping by sharing some of this with you, I can help someone else, stay motivated, and get some ideas from you too.

So that’s it. Just 2 resolutions. I am wanting to think of them more as focuses. There are a lot of things that I want to happen this year, but ultimately they can be put in these 2 categories. I may have to change my approach and adapt my plan of attack to make my big goals happen, but that’s alright as long as I don’t loose sight of the goal. I want 2018 to be the year of awakening and focus. I feel like I am just reacting to life instead of living my life. I have had enough of that. I am missing out on way too much. I have things to accomplish. Will you join me?

Merry Christmas

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

A Place to Start

It has been on my heart to start a blog for far too long. I have written many a post in my head and finally decided to share with the world. I have learned so much from people online. Many lifetimes worth of information is right at our finger tips! I felt like I owed the internets to share my experiences and such so that maybe they’ll help someone else. It’s really all give and take!

But what stopped me from starting that blog? Well, it’s simple really. The first step is always the hardest. No matter what we are wanting to start; losing weight, saving money, a new career, anything really! It’s always so hard to find our footing for that first step. What if I fall? What if I make a mistake? What if it turns out to be something different than I expected? None of that matters! The Good Lord asks us to have childlike faith and that applies here too. Think of a child at the supper table being asked to try that weird looking food on his plate. What if it’s nasty? What if I choke on it? What if…..I like it? They can fight us as if that food on their plate will kill them but we encourage them to try it anyway. Because how will you know if you like it or not unless you try it. Same goes for us grown folks too. So here I go. Trying something completely new and scary. I may fail. I may hate it. I may just love it to pieces.