Archive for the ‘How To:’ Category

First let me start off by saying YES, it was good. It really was! Some of the few (only) emails that don’t find themselves immediately obliterated to the “delete” folder belong to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Each week they deliver old-school homemaking tips in a new-school fashion and between star-gazing tidbits and ways to make WEEDS delicious, I have to say I am pretty impressed. The full recipe for Dandelion Pesto can be found on the Old Farmer’s Almanac site.

Why dandelions when basil is the time-tested choice for pesto? Dandelions are chock full of nutrients and contain more beta-carotene than carrots. Sun-Warrior’s blog has nearly a dozen reasons why dandelions are good for you. Personally, I don’t always make the smartest choices when it comes to eating healthy so combining dandelions with a dish that I love seemed like a no brainer!

What You Need: 

  • Two cups of dandelion (We purchased organic but any unsprayed versions will do)
  • 10-12 Basil Leaves
  • 1 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (Why are pine nuts so expensive?)
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • Shaved Parm cheese (we used just over 1/2 cup)


  • Pulse together the green leaves until a paste is formed
  • Add pine nuts, EVOO, and cheese and while motor is spinning
  • Spoon warm goodness over your pasta of choice–I recommend a cheese-filled ravioli as the soft cheese cuts the bitterness of the dandelion

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April Fool’s Day in Chicago is no joke–today it’s a sprightly 55 degrees and sunny…perfect day to visit the local garden center! We hit up the Sale table and found adorable fairy houses ($1.50!), a solar-powered fairy herself ($4.00!) and assorted fairy knick-knacks to outfit her Under the Tree Abode. I’m not sure who is more excited to build this imaginary playscape–the girls or the mother!

With our bright sunshine, today is the perfect day to start our micro green project! Our seedlings are planted and covered tightly with a towel to germinate. Let’s see what three weeks’ of germination brings!

Spicy and Mild Seedlings

What you Need: 

  1. Packages of organic micro green seedlings. Ours were from Johnny’s.
  2. Small bag of organic seed starting soil. Purchased from our local gardening center.
  3. Small plastic take-out containers, washed. We used strawberry containers!
  4. Spray bottle.
  5. Something to place your containers in for drainage. We sets ours on top of rocks purchased at the garden center. Parchment paper was used to prevent our holding dish from being scratched by the rocks.


  1. Thoroughly wash and dry your plastic planting containers.
  2. Drill drainage holes in the bottom of your containers. If the plastic starts to strip, painter’s tape will help hold it together and give you some texture to drill into.
  3. Add your organic soil about halfway up the container. Water it thoroughly.
  4. Liberally sprinkle your seeds across the top of the soil. Don’t push the seeds down, just sprinkle them out to cover the dirt.
  5. Gently spray the sown seeds to ensure the seeds make contact with the soil.
  6. Cover. We used a towel.
  7. Set in a warm, sunny location…and cross your fingers!


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I love fragrant body lotions–give me a “$3 Off Ulta Coupon” and twenty minutes of free time and I’ll come back 40 minutes later and 40 dollars broker purchasing my next “Perfect Body Lotion.” Typically the lotion smells really great in its bottle but the chemicals and subsequent skin irritation leave me with buyer’s remorse.

Coconut oil (the regular solid oil typically used for cooking) is forging a trend in homeopathic remedies with uses ranging from eye-make up remover to body lotion. Its greasy, solid texture out of the jar can be a bit much  and I never knew how to incorporate its goodness into lotion. The Blissful Bee, a great blog of homemade lifestyle and beauty tips,  led me to create a non-irritating, lightly fragrant, and seriously softening body lotion. Bliss!

In addition to leaving my skin unbelievably soft, this lotion is customizable depending on your mood using essential oils. Lavender helps me relax while geranium is comforting and flowery. With spring on the way and persistent grey weather, today I chose Aura Cacia’s Geranium and Doterra’s Balance Grounding Blend oils.

Using essential oils lightly fragrances the lotion and since I am using all natural ingredients the lotion doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin! Beautiful!


Photo Courtesy of our budding 9 year old photographer!

What you Need: 

  • 2 cups of Unscented body lotion as your base (Target’s Up & Up lotion works great!)
  • 1 cup of melted organic coconut oil (Any generic brand at the grocery store)
  • 1 tsp of each essential oil (I used 1 tsp of Geranium and 1/2 tsp of Balance)
  • Hand Mixer
  • Unique vessel for your lotion (former candle holder jars work great too!)


  • Melt your 1/2 cup of coconut oil for 30 seconds
  • While it’s melted, add it to your 2 cups of lotion in a large glass bowl
  • Whip using a hand-mixer until smooth
  • Add your essential oils and whip again with your hand mixer
  • Add to your pretty vessel and enjoy!

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