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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

John's Spring 2014 Traveling Adventure!

My man is on the road again! Well, he's technically been all set up at his new job site and campground for a few weeks, but that's neither here nor there. Point is, after finishing nearly four months of work near Birmingham, Alabama, he is now moving on. A few weeks ago he got a call from a friend and colleague in the Little Rock area to return to a nuclear facility as an electrical supervisor. Of course, he took the call, as he's worked there twice before, enjoys the job and his coworkers, likes the area, and the pay and benefits are great.

There is a downside: He had just one week between jobs, instead of his usual month or two off. So, John drive six hours from the Birmingham area to his new campsite near Little Rock, and set up camp. A few hours later, after a quick nap and a bite to eat, he hopped back in the truck and headed for home: Eastern Iowa. John spent exactly seven days at home, which was absolutely wonderful. He is now back in Arkansas and on the job.

While he was home we spent time with family and friends and enjoyed a few nights out:


We also worked on our chicken house:



And, finally, we relaxed, even if it was only a little bit.

As usual, I have made extended travel plans to visit him in Arkansas, but you won't notice a difference in the content of this blog, because I have some great things planned. {And I have wi-fi at the campground…} My stay with John this spring will be very much like the month I spent with him in Alabama this winter, and I can't wait!

John will be home from Arkansas on June 8th, and will stay home through September. That's another bonus for this job - he'll get a whole summer off. You'll recall he missed all of last summer due to a job.

So, what will I be doing to prepare for more traveling adventures this spring? 

1. I will move my seedlings to our garage before I leave so they can get natural sunlight and be easily accessible for our house sitter.

2. I will substitute teach like crazy to save money for being off for 20+ days.

3. I'll finish our coop and run, which is basically putting in a roosting bar and attempting to landscape around it (weather permitting). I will basically have my chicken coop and run all set up and ready for my return home. I anticipate getting my pullets and moving them outdoors in May, depending on the weather. I know this is a bit later than most people, but by now you've figured out that I don't operate like most people :)

4. Spend time with family and friends. I'm so incredibly fortunate to have a husband who works hard for our family .While I think my sacrifices are hard, his are more. I'll be spending my spring being grateful, and living for the moment.

What about you? Anything exciting on your agenda this spring?

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 77

Hi friends! Before we get onto the link up, I want to announce the winners of the Purex giveaway AND the American Family Now giveaway.

First up, the three readers who are getting a voucher for a FREE bottle of Purex Crystals are:
Lindsay E.
Julie G.
Julie C.

Next, the winner of American Family Now's book, "A Year in a Camper" is:
Leigh L. (from Living the Life Aquatic)

Remember, friends, respond to my FB message or email within 48 hours to claim your prize! If you don't have a message from me, perhaps it's in your junk folder.

CONGRATULATIONS, and thanks for being loyal readers :) I love hosting smaller giveaways, because it almost always means that someone I know (either in real life, or from being an awesome reader of this blog) is going to win. If you haven't entered some of the giveaways we host, I really encourage you to do so. One of the best parts of following a smaller blog, like ours, is that we get to know each other a bit better, and our giveaways are smaller. This means your chances of winning are pretty stellar.

Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:

Jess from Scratch Mommy
Joyce from The Skinny Pear

Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Simple Life Mom for linking up a recipe to Homemade Samosas to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Friday, April 18, 2014

MASSIVE SPRING GIVEAWAY!

In honor of some much needed Spring weather, several bloggers and Etsy shops have teamed up to bring you a wonderfully massive Spring Giveaway. I think we are all a little tired of the long, cold, snowy weather! So, I hope this giveaway gets everyone geared up for Spring-time!


{Bloggers}
Emma from It's Emma Elise
Rachel from Makeshift Munch
Albion from Albion Gould
Karen from The Missing Niche
Together, the bloggers are donating a $50 Sephora gift card, a $25 Amazon gift card, two gardening books to get you ready for Spring, and a chicken recipe cookbook.
{Etsy Shops}
Pair of monogrammed rain boots from Puddles N Rain Bows
Gold sequin hanger from Mrs Marcie Handmade
Short sleeved monogrammed tee from iHeartMonogramming
Personalized necklace from Yvonne Boutique
Scarf from Amy Anne Apparel
Monogrammed sweatshirt from Savvy Monograms
Acrylic state necklace from Kelly and Pavel Design
Butterbeer soy candle from Bubble and Geek
Monogrammed rain jacket from The Initialed Life
Southern shirt from Rebel Rags Boutique
Assorted bath accessories from Bubblecakes Boutique
Gold Sequin Letter from Miss Poppy Design
Cheetah print headband from Blakelysbows
Monogrammed pullover from The Preppy Seahorse
Owl shirt from Free Bird Cloth
Handmade soap from Pink Parchment Soap
(3) 5x5 carnival prints from Sherman Photography
Tablet Case from Day of the Thread
Bangle set from Heart2Heart Shop
Monogrammed baseball cap from The Eager Elephant
1 sweet tea and 1 oatmeal soap from Sweet Scarlett Soap Co.
Aztec camera strap from Phat Straps
Assorted headbands from Angelika Gale
Custom license plate from Your Style Studio
Signature Necklace from Mackenzie Treasury
(8) eye shadows from To Me With Love
Handmade Disney inspired candle from Walter and Rosie
Handmade bag from Salato
Bracelet set from Frosted Willow
Bullet jewelry item from Altogetherlvly
Mermaid sweatshirt from Soul Clothes
Monogrammed button-up shirt from Two Broads Apparel
Bullet stud earrings from Ricochet Rounds

This massive giveaway will be open from Friday, April 18 until Friday, April 25 at midnight eastern standard time. All entries will be verified. Winner will be notified via email (consider adding frostingatmidnight@yahoo.com to your safe list). The winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim the prize or another winner will be selected.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

An Eastern Iowa Chicken Coop Tour


You know what I love most about blogging? Networking with people in Eastern Iowa, who share in similar passions. I've met so many amazing folks from all walks of life, who are doing awesome things right in their own backyards. Without this blog, those encounters might not be possible. 

A few weeks ago I made my way over to a city homestead just a few miles from our house. Ray and his family are gardeners, and also keep a small flock of backyard chickens. He graciously invited John and I over to tour his set up, and we were really impressed. 

Today, I'd like to share several photos of Ray's Eastern Iowa chicken coop, in hopes that it his set-up inspires you on a quest towards urban agriculture, or gives you  a few new ideas for your existing structure. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Urban Chicken Quest: TOUR OUR CHICKEN COOP (Part 2)

After keeping your on the edge of your seat this week, I figured it was about time for the big reveal of our nearly 100% reclaimed material chicken coop and run! You already saw some of the before pictures and how we constructed our coop out of an old Hamm radio equipment storage shed last week.

We did have to spend a bit of money on the construction. We spent just $69 on the coop and run materials, as well as some basic chicken keeping supplies, like:
  • hinges and latches for the nest box and window
  • locks and clasps for the nest box and window
  • corner trim
  • waterer
  • feeder
  • cement blocks for the coop base
  • a piece of plexiglass for a windowwindow
  • wood for the run
  • random nails and screws that we ran out of mid-way through building
Are you ready for the big reveal? Here it is: 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 76

Good morning! I had an awesome weekend. Of course, I spent a considerable amount of time tending to my seedlings. You might recall that this is my first year starting my own seeds for my garden. So far, I am having some decent success, but I'm not remaining too optimistic.

Also, I spent some time in the farm store grabbing organic feed, bedding, grit and oyster shell for my chickens. They'll be making their debut in our backyard in a few weeks. If you haven't checked out our coop, read PART 1 of the reveal.

On the blog this week I'll share the final reveal of our 100% repurposed-materials chicken coop, as well as a bunch of photos of another Eastern Iowa chicken coop and run. I also have a book review and giveaway, as well as a product review and giveaway coming later in the week.

With so much happening at The Sustainable Couple, this week is one that you'll want to be tuning in!

Anyway, on to the party:




Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:

Jess from Scratch Mommy
Joyce from The Skinny Pear

Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Glass Slipper Restorations for linking up her rainwater catch system to Mostly Homemade Mondays! We have a fleet of rain barrels here on our city homestead, and know the value of collecting rain water. Especially when you pay for water in town!

Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Family of Six Chronicles "A Year in a Camper", Reinvents the American Dream.

A short while ago, a copy of a text I'd been interested in arrived at my doorstep. The sender? Mama of American Family Now.

That blog probably sounds familiar to you, right? It should, because I've done two guest posts in the last year on American Family Now - one was an introductory post about living in a camper part-time, and the other a post about sustainable, easy urban homesteading practices. For this reason, and many others, I was delighted to receive a copy to review, and give away to one of you!

I can be candid and say that I devoured this book. I have been a follower of American Family Now for quite some time. I was aware of their {"Mama and Papa's"}circumstances and how they came to live in a camper, thanks to being an email subscriber to their blog. Of all the topics they blog about, I especially enjoy getting an inside glimpse of their very normal life in a small space.


John lives in our camper 6+ months out of the year, and I quit my full-time teaching gig so I could travel with him. So far in 2014, I have spent a full month traveling with him, and anticipate another month on the road before May. The posts that "Mama" writes about her family's everyday lives are what resonate with me, because I'm living it, too!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Freshen Your Husband's Nasty Laundry {with Purex Crystals}

Today's post comes at me from an odd angle, and no doubt you're probably wondering why I'm writing about laundry, let alone Purex Crystals. I don't want you to think I am a poser, but I know you realize we're on an all-natural, eco-friendly journey and might find it odd that I am writing a Purex sponsored post. 

I want to share with you how I came upon Purex Crystals, and give you my honest opinion on this "conventional" laundry product. Hopefully you can appreciate the 'happy medium' I'm trying to strike here :)

Several weeks ago - so long, in fact, that I don't recall the month - I applied to test out some all-natural Purex cleaning and laundry supplies. I did so because I figured not all of my readers have the means, the care, or desire to make their own laundry soap or cleaning supplies. I thought recommending a few all-natural Purex products would be helpful to those of you. 

Fast forward to the present, and you'll find me tearing open a box from Purex, but dismayed to see it's not the all-natural products I hoped for. Far from it, in fact. And, not something I would ordinarily buy for myself. I opened a box of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh, an in-wash fragrance booster. 

Non-toxic cleaners are my top priority, so you might imagine the conundrum I found myself in. After him-hawing over reviewing this product or donating it to someone, I actually decided to take this random product for a "test-drive" of sorts, and share my feelings with you. 

Not all of you sweet, dear readers care to make your own laundry soap, and choose to purchase fabric softener, dryer sheets, and in-wash fragrance boosters. For those of you that are looking for a unique laundry product that leaves clothes smelling fresh for a considerable length of time, but aren't wholly concerned with laundry additives, this post is for you! Some of you are very opposed to such products, in which case, I will not be offended if you tune out for the remainder of this post. 

Here's how I used Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh: 

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