The FANCIEST Switch Plates! – Fancy Girls Bedroom Update

The Devil’s In The Details

The devil’s in the details, I truly believe that! When it was time to tackle my second born’s room, and transform it from “a boy room” into a girly, almost five year old’s, little girl room, I knew I was going to have to go BIG! This child, in particular, does nothing small, and neither do I for that matter…so I knew the level of detail that would be involved, which is why I waited until Summer was behind us to get started.

This particular portion of her room make-over seems like a small thing, but let me tell you! There are ELEVEN switch plates in this kids room! That’s a lot of little girl charm to miss by leaving them the plain, boring ol’ brownish/yellow! We decided to not miss the opportunity to “girly up” every possible aspect of this room ūüôā

Here are the supplies you will need to make these CUUUTE switchplate covers;

  1. Switchplates – we used the ones we already have, but you could also buy them if necessary
  2. Cute scrapbook paper (it has to be the thick paper, like scrapbooking, otherwise the paper will tear and it won’t work)
  3. Modge Podge
  4. Foam brush
  5. Exacto knife or, in a pinch, a box cutter. I won’t say which I used.
  6. Cutting Board
  7. Time and patience (and preferably a baby that is sleeeeping and not climbing up your leg)

Let’s get started!

Step 1:

Put switch plate in the middle of your scrapbook paper and measure, leaving a few¬†centimeters around the whole edge. I cut out a pattern for each size switch plate(I had three different sizes….I know. What?) I started with about 1/2 an inch on each side and then trimmed down from there.

Step 2:

Once you have all of your paper cut out for each switch plate, use your foam brush and modge podge to secure the paper to the switch plate. Glue each paper on, making sure the switch plate is centered on the paper. Once you finish your last plate (remember, I had ELEVEN), your first one should be dry. Now you can grab your exacto knife or box cutter and carefully cut, on top of your cutting board, out the large holes for the switches and outlets on your switch plates.

Step 3:

Once the main holes are cut, it’s time to cut the edges down to the exact size for the finished product. Roll the switch plate up onto it’s side so the paper is covering the edge. Using your exacto knife, start at one end and slice right along the edge, getting rid of all the paper hanging over in order to cut to size. Once you have the correct size, use your scissors to cut the paper, at each corner, at an angle (this is to insure the paper lays flat when we glue the edges.

Apply a healthy amount of modge podge to one edge at a time and roll the switch plate up, hold until glue dries enough to hold the paper in place, or add additional glue to the top and bottom of the paper.

Step 4:

The final step is simply going back over the tops and sides with a layer of modge podge to seal and protect your fancy new switch plates ūüôā You’re done!!

I did not bother trying to cut the holes out for the little screws to re-attach to the wall, just poke the screw through once you are actually putting the switch place back onto the wall. The screw easily pushes through the paper and the screw head covers the hole.

Now go make your switch plates awesome!!

AND DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS IN THE “FANCY GIRLS BEDROOM UPDATE”

Here – Let Them Be White!

Here – Flower Mirror

Here – Geometry Wall

Here – Glitter Wall

Here – Completed Bedroom Tour

Nutrient Dense Food/Meal Prep

The Rub

Ahh…meal prep. The holy grail of all moms. I just can’t figure out how to do it and still eat “fresh” food. There are so many reasons why it doesn’t¬†work (and I think I’ve tried them all!);¬†fruits and veggies nutrients after they have been cut (no cut and stored veggies for the week for me) or trying to find safe containers that are reusable for storing prepped meals in (call me picky but my food sitting around in plastic just defeats the whole point of wholesome, from scratch, homemade meals), or finding meals that¬†actually¬†taste good once they are thawed and re-heated (am I the only one that has dealt with soggy thawed meals?). Yea…it just hasn’t worked out, obviously.

What is Working!

HOWEVER, I am not one to dwell on negatives…let’s talk about what¬†has worked out, shall we?¬†Sourdough.¬†I have been baking, freezing, and thawing sourdough bread and rolls for some time, and they always come out from the freezer and thaw perfectly. Just as fresh and delicious as if they had just come from the oven. With my husband packing a lunch every day and my kids eating toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, the occasional french toast breakfast, we go through at least 2 loaves of bread a week! When I was buying sourdough bread, I paid roughly $4-$5 a loaf, we figured out that making it at home cost about $1 a loaf. That’s a $24-$32 a month savings, or $288-$384 a year, just in bread! Not to mention how much better homemade bread tastes and the fact that I have total control over ingredients. I am able to use unbleached, non enriched, organic flour, high quality organic olive oil, mineral rich Real Salt, raw unprocessed honey, and my own purified water with targeted minerals added back in. The result is an extremely nutrient dense, good for the gut, fermented bread product for my family. Nothing in the stores come close in comparison, the fact that it cost 1/4 the price is just an added bonus.

KISS –¬†Keep It Simple Stupid

In an effort to keep every meal homemade and as close to “from scratch” as possible, in a world of boxed and canned foods, I have been purposing at working our weekly menu plan around homemade, homegrown, nutrient dense, delicious foods. Sourdough products have made this much more attainable as they hold up so well to freezing and thawing. The homegrown portion will increase over time, as my greenhouse garden, Summer pasture, and winter pasture garden grow and develop.

Keeping some spice and variety is another important part of being my families personal chef. It means I have to work a little harder at being creative and unfortunately “meat and potatoes” every. single. night. isn’t going to cut it. Not with my oldest child around anyways…you know the one…the scenario goes something like this;

Oldest child at dinner: “Oh my gosh this is my¬†favorite food ever!!!”¬†

Me, fist pumping and thinking to myself: YES! I will make enough for left overs for lunch tomorrow, because…favorite food ever! How can I lose?!

Oldest child, next day at lunch: “Oh man….this¬†again?? Is there¬†any other choice?

Me: Silent screaming with my face in a pillow and rocking in the corner.

Sound familiar? Yea. So anyways, bringing variety on strong over here. There are a million and one ideas about how to menu plan out there. A million and one ways that have yet to work for me and my fam bam. And isn’t that just the way it goes? Since I have given up the idea of “huge, weekly, make every single thing you will eat that week on Saturday and freeze it” idea. And the “prepare and eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day this week” idea. And can’t afford the “just eat out when you have no plan” idea. I have come up with a few things that are actually working. And these are a great guide and reminder for what is actually practical when I am homeschooling all day, and running kids around for activities every afternoon, and exhausted with a fussy, whinny, clingy 18 month old by dinner time. Here they are:

Rules That Make The Dream Work

*Dinner has less than 5 ingredients and is ready¬†on the table in 30-40 minutes. Prep time has to be so super duper short and reasonable. Like 5-10 minutes, at the most, people,¬†come on!¬†How much time can one person spend in the kitchen without losing her ever lovin’ mind?

*I write my meal plan ON THE FRIDGE. Did you get that?¬†On the fridge. Like¬†directly on the fridge.¬†Not on paper that can get lost, or a whiteboard that can get erased, or a pad of paper or messy chalkboard, etc. I just use an expo pen and it goes right on the fridge door. Not in any kind of order either!¬†Oh no!!¬†Simple “Sunday through Saturday” labels would be far too “rigid” and “structured” for me. I decide day to day which meal I feel up to making that night and whip it up…then cross that one off the list. Totally works. And keeps the “free spirit” in me alive. Barely.

*I only meal plan dinners. That’s. Right. If you are meal planning breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks….ugh. Just stop it. Unless you are sick and twisted and enjoy that sort of thing. Then, carry on. I prefer to apply the philosophy of KISS (keep it simple stupid) to my weekly Breakfasts and Lunches. Here’ s how it goes;

Weekday Breakfast is literally a choice between 3 things; eggs, bacon, and toast, fermented oatmeal, or pancakes. Of course, always granola Friday’s which I don’t count in my 3 choices because 4 choices is just too many choices and pushes me over the edge.

Lunch? Left overs or sandwiches has been what works for lunch. And everyone gets a grass fed yogurt for snack before our afternoon activities. Another option we have done (especially in the busy Summer months) is something my friend has dubbed “snack lunch”. Basically your kids eat an array of “snacks” for lunch. Examples we have done would be: sliced meats, pre-cut up melon, fruit, soaked nuts and seeds, yogurts, left overs, toast, etc.

There you go, you are forever free from the horrid complication and time sucking activity of planning every single meal. You’re welcome (said in your best Moana voice).

PREP

Unfortunately, some¬†meal prep is in order for weeks to run smoothly using the above criteria. Because I don’t buy ready made breads, tortillas, rolls, pizza doughs, hamburger buns, etc. and we only eat sourdough breads, those all have to be made ahead of time if they are on the menu. Here’s an outline of what I have found vital to have on hand to make meals quick, nutritious, and simple during the week:

*Bread РI currently can only make 12 loaves of bread at a time, due to glass loaf pan constraints (let me know if you have any lying around to donate to my cause) which lasts us anywhere from 5-6 weeks. This makes sandwiches for lunch super quick, and also do-able for my kids to make themselves (which basically makes it magic). I freeze 2 loaves of my sourdough bread in extra large, two gallon, ziplock bags . That way I just grab one bag, with two loaves inside, which typically lasts the week. Easy. Peasy.

*Pizza Dough – We eat pizza once a week and I make enough for 8 weeks worth at a time. That’s ONE dinner a week down…no planning necessary other than purchasing the toppings during my weekly grocery shopping trip.

*Rolls – When we have soups and stews, we have rolls. I make about 50 at a time and freeze them in bags of 10. These last roughly the same amount of time as our bread 5-6 weeks (the recipe I use for my rolls is the same recipe I use for my sourdough bread. It’s just easier that way, and easy is worth it’s weight in gold) I make one soup/stew a week…TWO dinners down.

*Hamburger buns – this is something I am just starting to make (we have just been using rolls up to this point). The recipes I’ve tried so far are just not share-worthy. We have burgers once a week so, once I find a worthy recipe, I plan to make 36 at a time to last 5-6 weeks, like our bread. THREE dinners a week done – boom.

*Tortilla’s – Tortillas are so darn versatile and useful to have around! This is on of those things that can literally be used for any meal; breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and the hubs won’t complain about a “breakfast” food being eaten past breakfast or a “lunch” food being eaten at dinner, etc. I would like to have a continuous supply of them on hand. I am starting with 32 and will see how long those last us. Typically a burrito night once a week (FOUR dinners done! Without even trying!) and breakfast burritos for breakfast Saturday morning makes these totally worth having in the freezer!

I freeze these in large zip lock bags with parchment paper between each one. That makes is super easy to just grab the number of tortillas I need without the hassle of having to thaw out an entire bag and risk them going bad.

*Pancakes – Some people make huge batches of pancakes and freeze them. Not me. I prefer to mix up a lot of batter and freeze the batter in batches…because the making of the pancake is not the time sucker…it’s the mixing of the batter and cleaning of the dishes that takes time and makes a mess. Right? This also allows¬† more flexibility in our daily pancakes; want blueberry pancakes? No problem! Raspberry? Sounds delicious! Chocolate chip? Can I get an amen!? Instead of being confined by the preferred pancake of last week, we get to make new choices every time we whip up a new batch! Heavenly.

I freeze the batter in these super duper handy meat freezer bags. We are also planning on using these to scramble and freeze the abundant excess of eggs we are planning on getting in the Spring, when all 30 of my chickens and 2 of my turkeys are laying eggs! You can get them on amazon pretty darn cheap and they are not as prone to frost bite as things frozen in zip lock baggies.

*Beans – I have been keeping a big bowl of soaked and slow cooked beans in the fridge and they have been a wonderful addition to our meals; on salads, in burritos, with rice and stir-fried veggies, with eggs in the mornings, etc. Versatile and nutritious when properly prepared.

*Homemade Broth – this is another staple. I slow cook a half chicken with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and chicken feet (for added gelatin), in the crock pot, every weekend, for 24 hours This provides an entire gallon of broth for daily drinking and enough for a large soup or stew. I do a stew or soup toward the end of the week, when I am tired of being in the kitchen. Added bonus is having left overs for lunch on the weekends.

*Shredded Chicken – the half a chicken from the crock pot is shredded and the white and dark meat separated (I prefer dark meat for my soups and stews, white meat for salads and burritos). The meat goes into separate glass containers and into the fridge.

The Menu

Here is a typical week of eating around here. Items with a * next to them were prepped ahead of time in one way or another and the prepped portion is in italics for each day;

  Mon Tue Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Breakfast Bacon, Eggs & *Toast

Sourdough Bread

*Pancakes

Pre-made pancake mix

Fermented Oatmeal Bacon Eggs & *Toast

Sourdough Bread

Granola Day! *Breakfast Burritos

Sourdough Tortillas, Black Beans

Sourdough Waffles
Lunch *Sandwich  or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

*Sandwich or left overs

Sourdough bread

Dinner *Burgers with Homemade French Fries

Sourdough Bun or roll

*Chicken or Ground Beef Burritos

Sourdough Tortillas

Taco Salad (minus the taco. Lol!) *Soup or Stew with rolls

Sourdough Rolls

Steak and Potatoes *Pizza Night with fresh salad

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Roast Beef and Veggies (potatoes and carrots work well here)

 

The menu stays pretty simple around here and, though we do staple dinners every week (Burgers, Burritos, Salad, Stew, Pizza) it’s easy to mix it up by changing the type, flavors, or side dishes that accompany these main meals. It’s definitely helpful to have the kids involved! Each kid gets to take turns picking the pizza toppings for that week, or the soup/stew/chili for the week, etc.

The Snacks

My kids typically get a snack in the afternoon. Lately it has been a grass fed yogurt, but here are some other nutrient dense snack ideas we have used personally:

  • grass fed yogurt
  • thinly sliced meat rolled up with raw cheese
  • soaked and dried nuts
  • smoothies with coconut oil, berries, raw milk, and raw honey
  • sliced veggies with avocado dip
  • carrots sauted in butter (actually one of my oldest daughters fav’s)

I hope you were able to garnish one or two new nutritious ideas to incorporate into your weekly meal plan! Bon Appetit!

 

 

Sourdough Pizza

Homemade pizza. NOT as easy as it sounds. At least it hasn’t been for this lady over Pizzahere…I have been trying to get a pizza dough to work for me, literally, for the past 6¬†years! I’ve given up more times than I’d like to admit, but¬†finally found a sourdough recipe that works! The entire crust cooks up nice and crispy, no more soggy bottoms letting all the yummy toppings fall all over the place. Don’t settle for that nonsense. Try this recipe out and see if it rocks your pizza world like it has rocked ours!

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

1 tsp REAL or Celtic salt

1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups white wheat flour

5 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Mix starter, 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, salt and 1 1/4 cups of the flour in your counter top mixer. Add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a dough like consistency is created.
  2. Let dough sit 8-12 hours (I mix in the morning for that night’s dinner) covered
  3. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees
  4. Roll out dough, using lightly floured board, until it is roughly 1/4 inch thick
  5. I like to wrap the crust around a nice thick layer of cheese along the edges so the finished crust has cheese in the middle
  6. Bake the crust in preheated oven for 7 minutes
  7. Remove crust from the oven and brush with a thin coat of olive oil (this helps prevent the crust from getting soggy)
  8. Add your favorite toppings and bake until crust is browned and cheese is melted (I usually bake mine for 18-20 minutes)
  9. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting (It’s hard to wait, but it’s much better to allow the cheese to “set” for a few minutes so it doesn’t ooze everywhere)

I freeze this and pull out the morning of the night I want to have Pizza. That allows it to warm up and ferment on the counter all day and be ready for baking that night!

Enjoy!

Sourdough Tortillas

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Who doesn’t love burritos? Quesadillas? Or a simple rolled up warmed tortilla with butter slathered in the middle? These tortillas are so delicious, you will wonder how you ever survived without them.

Here is the recipe I have adapted from several different online sources, and I think gives the best flavor, holds together very well, and freezes/thaws perfectly.

Sourdough Tortillas

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sourdough starter

2 to 2 1/2 cups white wheat flour

3 rounded Tbsp bacon grease (you can use coconut oil but bacon grease tastes SO much better!)

1 tsp REAL salt

1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Combine all ingredients using your kitchen aid mixer (or hand-held mixer, but why?) for 3 minutes

Set in a mixing bowl with a towel or plastic wrap covering the top. Let sit 8-12 hours or overnight (make sure the bowl is large enough for the mixture to expand, otherwise it will overflow)

Dust clean counter and hands with flour and divide into 8-10 balls, depending on how large you like your tortillas

Roll out your dough balls until they are fairly thin but will not break when you pick them up

Transfer rolled tortillas into a pre-heated skillet, set on medium heat. DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN THE PAN! You will not need any non stick or oil in the pan, just use it dry

Let the tortillas cook for 30-45 seconds and then flip with a spatula to cook on the other side until lightly browned, 20-30 seconds

Transfer cooked tortilla to a plate and proceed with the next one

If you want to freeze extra tortillas, simply place a sheet of parchment paper in between each one and freeze in large, freezer, zip lock bags.

Enjoy!

 

 

Your Friend just gave you a Sourdough starter….now what?

Since beginning my sourdough journey I have given baby starters out to more people than I can remember (and I remember a lot. I’m like an elephant. Is that even a true thing? okay anyways…) and the questions are always the same. I get it, I had the same questions and ran into the same problems! Here’s a¬†very quick intro to how to grow your sweet little starter baby into a bread making beast and the most popular questions I get about starting out with an¬†already active starter¬†(If you are starting from a dehydrated starter, go here for how to activate a new starter).DSCN0053 - Copy

How much do I have to feed it? 

The “proper” ratio for feeding a sourdough starter is an easy 1:1:1 ratio. One part starter, one part water, one part flour. I can attest that it is not necessary to be exact, just eyeball it and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, sometimes I just have a little bit of flour left after epic baking days….so I feed what I have until the next day when I can get out to buy flour and give it a full feeding. I do try to have a basic 1:1:1 feeding before baking.

When do I feed it?

This is up to you! I like to feed mine every night before bed, so it’s ready for the morning, just in case I want to do fresh pancakes¬†¬†for breakfast! But really, it’s up to you when you feed it. Just make sure you feed it roughly 8-12 hours before you plan on using it for a recipe!

What do I feed it?

This depends on the type of starter you have. Make sure you get that info from the friend you get your starter from! I use a white flour starter because the flour I use is whole white wheat. If you want to use brown wheat, or any other kind of flour, it’s best to have the correct corresponding starter.

I think I killed it, how can I tell?

It’s actually pretty difficult to kill sourdough starter! I have left mine on the counter for a week without feeding it (we were moving, okay? Please don’t judge…my children barely ate that week) and it perked right back up once I started feeding it again!

I fed it the wrong flour (did I kill it?)!

That’s okay! Just dump out half of the starter, re-feed with the proper flour, and move forward.

I did not put it in the fridge (did I kill it)?

Starter only needs to be put in the fridge if you are not planning on feeding and using it in the near future. At ease soldier.

I left it in the fridge for months (did I kill it?)!

Starter will last MONTHS in the fridge, in a dormant state, without being fed. I repeat; it is actually¬†very difficult to kill a sourdough starter. This stuff walked with the dinosaurs, it’s not going out that easy.

Once I take it out of the fridge, how do I prepare it for baking?

Your starter will likely need 2-4 feedings before it is ready to use, depending on how long it was in the fridge for. Once it is doubling in size in roughly 4 hours, you’re good to go!

What is this weird black stuff on the top (did I kill it)?

Hooch. That’s what it’s called…it’s basically just the alcohol from the ferment collecting on the top. I take that as the starter telling me¬†I am hungry! Feed me!¬†I just stir it back in with the next feeding, though some people prefer to dump it out. I hate dumping.

What is this weird crust that formed on the top (did I kill it)?

Seriously people. Why are we such a paranoid society? That starter is¬†not¬†dead. When in doubt, 99% of the time it’s not dead. Unless there is green fuzzy mold growing, it’s almost certainly fine! That hard crust formed because the top layer of your starter was exposed to¬†air.¬†Peel it off, feed your starter, and cover it with a towel if you don’t like the hard crust ūüėČ

Did I miss anything? Post any further questions in the comment box and I’ll add them to the list!

Now go make yourself some awesome, healthy, gut lovin’ sourdough bread!