Growing Grass from Seed: Day 1

It’s been a LONG winter. For a story to long and sad to share on such a sweet blog, I’ll just say we have to plant grass in our backyard. Again.

When the ground thawed this year, we got out the shovels and heavy metal rakes, a beautiful rental bobcat, and went to town leveling out the yard, and by my husband insistence, sculpted a pretty interesting bmx bike track along the fence line.

So, I figured, I’ll post the progress on our little turf adventure, and anyone can either learn what not to do, or actual find some helpful tips for their project.

DIY GRASS GROWING TIPS

#1) make your yard level and if possible sloped to where you want water to shed (for example, away from your house)

#2) modify your soil if necessary. (we added peat moss because our soil was very compacted, and stony

#3) water down the soil to help breakup big clumps of dirt

#4) get some super cute assistants to help spread the topsoilIMG_2585

assistants No.2 & 3 are a bit distracted

assistants No.2 & 3 are a bit distracted

assistants  No. 2&3 are really becoming one with the earth

assistants No. 2&3 are really becoming one with the earth

assistants getting a good hose down before their bath...and yes, that is my kitchen sink sprayer.

assistants getting a good hose down before their bath…and yes, that is my kitchen sink sprayer.

#5) Ignore tip number 4. Cute assistants end up making more work than necessary

#6) Make sure your hoses are connected and sprinklers can reach every area. (rotate where your hoses lay or you may get a line of no growth on your new grass)

#7) spread seeds with a seed spreader, using the correct seed for your needs and sun exposure. We planted shade mix under the tree and a sun mix in the open yard.

#8) water thoroughly and Keep All Pets and Kids OFF!

Day 1 complete.

he's pretty sad that he lost is backyard for a month, but he's really milking the situation...more trips to the park now!

he’s pretty sad that he lost is backyard for a month, but he’s really milking the situation…more trips to the park now!

I may be completely insane by the time this yard is safe to walk on. I’ll keep you posted.

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Baking Milestone: Homemade Yeast Donuts

I’ve made donuts at home before. You know, open up the Pillsbury tube, punch a hole through the center of each preformed circle of white “dough” , toss it in oil, roll it in cinnamon sugar. Homemade donuts. But yesterday, I wanted HOMEMADE DONUTS.

I don’t know why I make life so much harder for myself. In the crazy shuffle of loading 3 small children into the car before breakfast on a Saturday morning, to run to the grocery store to get almond milk and strawberries for these homemade strawberry glazed donuts, my wise son of 5 years old says, “Mom, we can just go to dunkin donuts.” Yes. Yes we could. But nonetheless, on we pressed on.

I’m not gonna lie, making homemade donuts is pretty messy and takes way more time than my more than patient children (and I) expected. But the end result was delicious, not so picture perfect, donuts for lunch. (Real mom win there.)

Here’s what I did…

the ingredients

the ingredients

add yeast to warm water with some sugar wake it up

add yeast to warm water with some sugar wake it up

heat milk on the stove on medium

heat milk on the stove on medium

add shortening to the milk and heat until melted

add shortening to the milk and heat until melted

milk and shortening combined and bubbling

milk and shortening combined and bubbling

put sugar and salt in a bowl

put sugar and salt in a bowl

then pour hot milk into on top, stirring until cooled a bit

then pour hot milk on top, stirring until cooled a bit

add sifted flour

add 1 cup sifted flour

add eggs

add eggs

in 5-10 minutes the yeast has started to foam up considerably

in 5-10 minutes the yeast has started to foam up considerably

add yeast to the bowl and stir

add yeast to the bowl and stir

add more flour and mix

add 1 more cup of flour and mix

switched to  my dough hook and added more flour

switched to my dough hook and added 2 more cups of flour

prepped my kneading board with flour

prepped my kneading board with flour

stopped mixing when it looked like this

stopped mixing when it looked like this

turned out the sticky dough  and kneaded in flour until it just was't sticky anymore...maybe 5 minutes

turned out the sticky dough and kneaded in flour until it just was’t sticky anymore…maybe 5 minutes

placed ball of dough in a greased bowl to rise in warm area

placed ball of dough in a greased bowl to rise in warm area

dough doubled in size which took about 1 hour

dough doubled in size which took about 1 hour

turn out dough onto floured surface and just press into a flat piece, 1/2" thick.

turn out dough onto floured surface and just press into a flat piece, 1/2″ thick.

i used a donut cutter to twist donuts out, but a cup and a piping tip would suffice

i used a donut cutter to twist donuts out, but a cup and a piping tip would suffice

I'm starting to get giddy at this point

I’m starting to get giddy at this point

need to rise for another 40 minutes

need to rise for another 40 minutes…p.s. as a helpful tip, let plenty of flour coat the bottom of these babies so they don’t stick and come off easliy

risen but are super fragile! don't handle to much or they'll deflate...very sad

risen but are super fragile! don’t handle to much or they’ll deflate…very sad

fry for 2 minutes per side at 350º. Notice the back one deflated from handling to much

fry for 2 minutes per side at 350º. Notice the back one deflated from handling to much

drain on paper or towels to remove excess oil

drain on paper or towels to remove excess oil.(not the prettiest donut pic I chose to use…oh well)

make a simple glaze with milk, butter and confectioners sugar, and cook unto glossy and smooth

make a simple glaze with milk, butter and confectioners sugar, and cook unto glossy and smooth

coat on all sides

coat on all sides

let excess glaze drip back into the pan

let excess glaze drip back into the pan

fluffy interior and crisp exterior

fluffy interior and crisp exterior

kids got involved with decorating, strawberry glazed is their favorite

kids got involved with decorating, strawberry glazed is their favorite

Here’s what you’ll need…

Yeast Donuts

1/2 c water, warm
2 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 c almond milk or regular milk would work too
1/3 c sugar
1+ tsp salt
4 – 4.5 c all-purpose flour, sifted and added in stages (may not need it all)
1/3 c shortening
2 eggs

GLAZE
1/4 c almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1-1.5 c sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbspn butter is optional

*optional strawberry glaze…chop up 1/2 cup strawberries and add to glaze and cook down to make a puree…add slowly to a bowl of powdered sugar to make a thicker frosting glaze

Rummage Sale

It’s that time of year again. Grass is starting to turn green, flowers are sprouting up while trees are start blooming, and the good citizens of NJ pull out their dusty stashes of hoarded goods, with hopes of selling it to a starry eyed treasure seekers, DIYers, and the like. It’s Yard Sale Season!!!!

We officially kicked off the season with a humongous church rummage sale (hosted by my home church- whoop whoop) and its really getting me in the zone. Ever since I was a youngin’ I have enjoyed looking through other peoples junk and can always find something cool. But I tell you what, running a rummage sale is a whole different beast!

I have to wrap my mind around “the shopper” and play this crazy back and forth negotiating game in my head to land on the perfect price, one that can withstand a good haggling but is low enough to deter anyone from really thinking hard about buying it. Eventually I got into a groove and was like a pricing Jedi. Workers would just call out a item and boom, I had a price. “Hey, I got a bowling ball in a bag.” And I be like “8 dollars.” Bam. Or “What about this 1970’s standing projector?” “Does it look clean” I’d say…and to a nod of their head I’d reply “4 dollars”…Like a boss.

All in all, I had a long day looking through other peoples stuff and I got some nifty little finds for under 10 bucks. Score. Plus, all the proceeds are funding missions trip to guatemala and the women’s retreat so…double score!

my little Lu testing out the vhs player and the rocking chair

my little Lu testing out the vhs player and the rocking chair

my kid was selling himself for $2...I told him he could get way more

my kid was selling himself for $2…I told him he could get way more

the chaos of sorting

the chaos of sorting

books, books and more books!

books, books and more books!

the wooden tool caddy I didn't get but still desperately want

the wooden tool caddy I didn’t get but still desperately want

Here’s a few tips for running a successful rummage sale

  1. Get stickers, masking tape, and tie on tags to put prices on things (you never know what items will hold what kind of tag.
  2. Use tables, racks, boxes or shelves to display items so they are at eye level or easy height to pick up
  3. Group items by category…Clothing, housewares, books and movies, electronics, large items, kids/baby, boutique (for pricy stuff), etc
  4. LOTS of signage, use bright signs to communicate to shoppers
  5. Bulk pricing to save on stickering everything. i.e.. all shirts $1, or all small toys $.25
  6. Have water bottles and cocoa covered almonds on hand…yum
  7. Ask for help. It’s more fun when you can chat with others and you can bounce price ideas off each other.
  8. Have lots of change and small bills ready for the cashier.
  9. Advertise well
  10. Don’t bring your kids like I did…what was i thinking!

my loot...two cool hanging baskets, 1 pitcher, 1 homemade tablecloth, and killer boots all for $4!!

my loot…two cool hanging baskets, 1 pitcher, 1 homemade tablecloth, and killer boots all for $4!!