DIY: Solar Battery (+Weekly Roundup)

DIY: Solar Battery (+Weekly Roundup)

Isn't solar power fascinating? There's just something about charging electronics with sunlight that gets me excited. I've amassed quite the collection of solar flashlights, solar lanterns and solar cell phone chargers and I dream of the day when our house is powered by the sun. I even picked up a book on how to build your own solar panels the last time I was in Lowe's Home Improvement store. Unfortunately, though, the book was a little too technical for me. I wouldn't call myself handy by any stretch (yet!) but luckily for you, Jennifer of Are We Crazy or [Read More...]

15+ School Supplies to Stock For Emergencies (+Weekly Roundup)

15+ School Supplies to Stock for Emergencies (+Weekly Roundup)

My girls went back to school on Thursday. Earlier in the week, we took a trip to Target to get the items on their school supply lists.  Because of back to school sale prices,  I've gotten into the habit of purchasing more than the listed items.  I fill a cabinet in the laundry room with extra supplies. Not only is this great for the "Mom, I need another notebook" emergencies, these supplies may come in handy if we ever face a larger crisis.   If you are thinking "What? How?",  Jane at Mom with a Prep will show you. She's created a list [Read More...]

5 Items You Should Be Growing In Your Garden

5 Items You Should Be Growing in Your Garden (Home Ready Home)

There is a lot of advice on how to grow various fruits and vegetables in your garden, but not a lot of what you should be actually growing.  I did a recent radio interview and that question came up by the host.  “Mike, what would you recommend someone grow in their garden?” the host asked.   As always, my recommendation is to first, grow what you like to eat.  You will do a lot better in your garden if you are growing items that you will eventually enjoy consuming.  The host then asked, "Which vegetables would make great additions to someone’s garden if they [Read More...]

Win an Excalibur Dehydrator!

Win an Excalibur Dehydrator! (giveaway ends 8//18/14)

  The giveaway has ended. Thank you to everyone who entered. More giveaways to come! Fall is just around the corner and my kiddos are heading back to school this week. That means back to packing school lunches for me. Truth be told, I hate packing lunches. Mostly because I struggle with what to pack. I want quick and healthy and the girls want exciting so it's always a challenge.  However, this fall, I'm trying something different. Inspired by Jane at Mom with a Prep's Watermelon Candy: How to Dehydrate Watermelon, I'm breaking out the Excalibur and [Read More...]

How to Use Lemon Balm (+Weekly Roundup)

How to Use Lemon Balm (+Weekly Roundup)

Early this spring, I picked up a teeny, tiny plant at the local garden center. Mmmmm. This smells nice.   As I placed it in my cart, I had no idea what I was in for. That little plant—lemon balm—is attempting to take over the backyard.  While fighting to keep it contained, I've been on a quest to find a use for it. This week I came across not one, but twelve uses for lemon balm, thanks to Jan of The Nerdy Farm Wife.  If you've been wondering what to do with your lemon balm, Jan has some great suggestions. 12 Things to Do with Lemon Balm Lemon [Read More...]

DIY: Home Canned Peach Salsa

DIY: Home Canned Peach Salsa (Home Ready Home)

Tomato salsa is great and all but when you need to change things up a little, peach salsa is where it's at. When I posted a photo on Facebook of the peach salsa I had canned, a few of you mentioned that you never had it before. Peach salsa has a fresh fruity flavor. It's sweet with a spicy kick. You can serve it with tortilla chips or use it to dress up grilled chicken or fish. The recipe I use is from Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving. With 400 recipes, it has become one of my favorite books. The only change I made to the recipe was the [Read More...]

Water Storage Giveaway: Win WaterBricks!

Water Storage Giveaway: Win WaterBricks! (giveaway ends 8/10/14)

The giveaway has ended. Thanks to all who entered! More giveaways to come! As I write this post, 500,000 residents of the Toledo,Ohio area are without potable water. According to the  Los Angeles Times, the water tested positive for a toxin on Saturday, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency in three counties. This is one of those times when water storage would come in handy.  And in my opinion, there's no cooler way to store your water supply than WaterBrick.  WaterBrick is a stackable water and food storage container. One brick can hold 3.5 [Read More...]

DIY: Home Canned Salsa (+Weekly Roundup)

DIY: Home Canned Salsa (+Weekly Roundup)

  This week I met up with a friend to can tomato sauce. I’ve made strawberry and blueberry jam but this was my first time canning tomato sauce. My friend is an experienced tomato canner so I was thrilled when she invited me over to help out.  While the tomatoes were processing, we thumbed through the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving in search of new recipes to try. I decided I would make “Jalapeno Salsa” this weekend.  Well, my plans changed once I saw Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading’s recipe for homemade canned salsa. Looks good! Want to try it with me?  Home [Read More...]

How to Make Bread in a Crock-Pot

How to Make Bread in a Crock Pot

If you’ve ever had homemade bread, you know how amazing it tastes! Soft, warm, and fluffy! You’ll wonder what that stuff in the bread isle really is :) Baking your own bread seems intimidating to some people, but once you get the hang of it (and really, its not that hard at all!) you’ll never want to buy bread again! You can make sandwich bread, cut big, thick slices for toast, have dinner rolls, tortillas, French bread loaves, sourdough, hot dog buns, hamburger buns…. I could go on. Just remember to factor in the aroma tease. You know, the one where you have to sacrifice your first loaf of [Read More...]

How to Fight Rising Food Prices (+Weekly Roundup)

How to Fight Rising Food Prices (+Weekly Roundup)

Food prices.  They've been on my mind a lot lately. Over the last nine months, I've noticed the number at the check out register creeping up. This week, during my shopping trip to Harris Teeter, I saw a sign in front of the store brand butter that said this: Sale $3.37   Say what?? $3.37 for a pound of butter? On sale?? If you've been noticing your grocery bill increasing and wonder what you can do, Charley over at Cooke's Frontier has figured out 10 ways to fight rising food prices and I want to share them with you.    Prices are [Read More...]

Fall Gardening: Get Ready for a Second Radish Harvest

Fall Gardening: Get Ready for a Second Radish Harvest (Home Ready Home)

It may be July, but the planning of your fall/winter garden should already be under way. If you live in a cooler climate like I do, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to growing fresh veggies when those temperatures drop. A great choice is the radish. Radish is from the Brassicaceae family, a family that also includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips, all great choices for an autumn garden. For many, in the springtime, radish are usually the first crop of veggies that gets planted and because of how quick they grow, more than likely their first vegetable [Read More...]

DIY: Homemade Vanilla Extract (+Weekly Roundup)

DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract (+Weekly Roundup)

My girls home for the summer means only one thing: We go through a lot of chocolate chip cookies! If you've been hanging out with me here at Home Ready Home for any length of time you know that cooking is not my strong suit. Baking on the other hand?  I got that down. Here, take a look... Lately, I've been thinking about the ingredients I use in baking. More than once, I found myself wondering, "Hmmm. Can I make this myself?"   Then, this week, I came across a post from Janet at Timber Creek Farm on how to make vanilla extract. Turns out, yes! I can [Read More...]

How to Stick to a Budget (+ Weekly Roundup)

How to Stick to a Budget (+ The Weekly Roundup!)

  Create a budget. You see this advice in every article you read about how to take control of your finances. For me, it's kinda like dieting advice. The problem isn't knowing what to do (eat right), it's knowing how to keep doing to it.  When my husband and I got married, we were in the hole with $50,000 in consumer debt and student loans. (I know, yikes!!) The first year of marriage is supposed to be a happy one but all I really remember is a whole lot of stress and non-stop thoughts like how will we ever pay off this off?   Three years later, we [Read More...]

Will Your Dog Protect Your Home?

Will Your Dog Protect Your Home? (Home Ready Home)

My neighbor rang the bell the other day. All three of my dogs threw themselves at the door, barking like mad. It took a minute or two but I eventually got them under control.  "Geez, Julie. If I didn't know those dogs, I'd be scared out of my mind." Yes, Henry and Lola are pretty scary. Iggy? Not so much. She'd use that big ol' bulldog tongue to lick you to death. :) The conversation got me thinking though. How scary are my pups and could I rely on them to protect my home? I did a little research and check out the video I found: Okay, so maybe we can’t [Read More...]

FREE Gardening Webinars + Weekly Roundup 7.5.14

Grow Your Own Food Summit

You don't need to hang out with me for long before you figure out that gardening is a big part of my journey towards a more self-reliant life.   That's why I was beyond excited to learn of the Grow Your Own Food Summit!  And, I can't believe I didn't hear about this sooner!!?!   In case you haven't heard about either, I wanted to make sure to share it with you in this week's roundup.  The Grow Your Own Food Summit is a series of FREE webinars taking place Monday, July 7 through the following Monday, July 14. Each day, 4-5 presentations will be [Read More...]