Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Ideas, Summer Living

I stumbled upon a Facebook page - Homesteader and Survivalist.  I know, I know, it sounds like it involves hillbillies or mountain men, definitely guns, and bunkers -  and in some ways it IS a little hardcore, telling you how to build a chicken coop with a garden on top, and many other green suggestions that are just a little too green for this girl in the city.  However, they also feature a lot of creative suggestions that are brilliant ideas, and I've been trying them out.  Here are some of my favorites:

Make Your Own Vitamin Water

I think what they're showing here is a large Mason jar.  I'm a little shy of Mason jars at my house (it's all that canning I do *wink*) so I just put it in the biggest glass I have.  I tried making it in a pitcher the first time, but for one thing you'll need a whole lot of fruit in there, and at least where I live, things like raspberries are expensive.  So, I slice up/pop fruit in a large glass (has to be glass to truly enjoy the esthetic beauty of the whole thing), put ice cubes on top, and just keep filling it up all day.  The other bonus to doing it this way is that it gets me out of my chair to run up and down the stairs getting new water in my glass.  (Also, as the day wears on you run to and from the bathroom a lot too.)  But if you're on the go, this would work just as well in a large drink container.  Plastic won't taste as good, and you also need ice as it tastes much better nice and cold, but whatever works for you.  So far, I've tried the blackberry sage (delicious) and today I'm sipping raspberry lime - my favorite so far.

Salad On The Go

Now this was an idea I could have used when I worked in an office and took my lunch to work.  I rarely took salads, as it was too hard to transport everything.  But look at this! - dressing on the bottom, next your veggies/fruit/meat/what-have-you, and finally the lettuce on the top.  Genius!  Of course you need the ever-popular Mason jar to add interest and allow you to see those beautiful salad layers, but really, I think Tupperware would do as long as it couldn't move around too much.

Green Idea - Love the Earth!

This is one of the most clever ideas I've ever seen, as far as re-using something that is nasty for landfills in a good way.  Keep your chocolate chips fresh in the bag, or rice, or just about anything that comes in a bag!  Normally I would just be boring and recycle the old Diet Coke bottle, but THIS I actually would do.  It's a very clever way to repurpose those old soda bottles.  I notice that it does say "wide mouth plastic bottle" but especially if its something like rice or something small I don't see why a soda bottle wouldn't work too.  Whatever.  You can always recycle if it doesn't work.

Patio Dining Table Complete With A Salad Bar

I'm still trying to figure out how to do this one.  But isn't that the coolest idea ever?  A table with 3 places on each side with a garden of salad greens growing down the middle and on the sides.  Beautiful AND practical!  I showed it to L, and even he was intrigued but we couldn't figure out how to water it nicely, how does it drain, are the garden sections lined with plastic, etc.  Perhaps a nursery could shed some light on the logistics if we ever get to the point that our patio is worth sitting on.

The other really nice thing that L and I have done the last few nights is a twilight/evening bike ride.  Now, these are not to be confused with the kinds of bike rides where you sweat profusely and you might actually tone muscles.  No, no.  These are the kind where it's too late to hit the bike trail, but you need to move a little bit to work off that nachos plate you just polished off.  On our hard-hitting rides we never pedal side by side.  We rarely talk except briefly at beginning, midpoint, and at the end.  
But these evening rides with our lights blinking on and off like crazy little strobe lights are the equivalent of an evening stroll.  It's leisurely, and we notice that the moon is now more than a sliver of a crescent - it's almost a half moon.  Sometimes you can see some stars (we are city folk), but most of all, the air is balmy and we ride along and discuss the events of the day, or ones coming up.  We mostly just ride the same streets round and round, but we aren't paying much attention to that.  We're enjoying moving our muscles while we also enjoy each others' company.  Cats skitter across the street here and there, and sometimes people are out walking their dogs.  It's been a nice end to a busy day, and happily, I've learned to avoid trash cans.

I can't believe that next week brings July 4th.  It's one of my favorite holidays, although I haven't planned one thing yet.  There's just something about laying back on a blanket on the grass, and watching fireworks exploding overhead.  Preceded, of course, by a good BBQ or an abundant picnic shared with family and friends.  Our little community puts on a pretty good show, although it's a bear to find parking anywhere close.  But maybe this year we'll bite the bullet and go and enjoy a night out with everyone else.  Patriotic music, kids running amuck, and a sky full of loud fireworks.  Waving sparklers in the shape of your name, careful not to step on a hot one in bare feet.  Dessert after the show.  Celebrate this wonderful country we're so lucky to live in.

What new ideas have you been obsessing over?  What new fun has summer thrown your way, what activities do you have planned?  Paint me a picture of what summertime is where you live.  

*Excuse me. I'm just going to run down the hall.  All that water, you know.*


  1. Wow, there are some really great ideas there. I love that garden table too but have the same questions as you.
    I think that fruity water would be perfect for a sunny day at the beach. I'll try it!

  2. Wow! Those drinks look so yummy and I can't wait to try them especially since I have blackberries and black and red raspberries growing in my yard..as well as fresh sage. Thanks for these ideas and I'm going to put some together for Donna. Mason jars are fairly cheap and you can get them in most grocery stores or Wal-Mart. (you don't have to live near me in the sticks!) This weekend we will have family visiting from Mich. and Ill. and our town has the Balloon festival with tons of things to do. I'll post pics of course! I'm trying to get my menu together for feeding the hoards! Thanks for sharing all those cool ideas and good job on the bike riding. You don't have to go fast and sweat to burn calories. Remember, no matter how slow you go you're still faster than the guy or gal on the couch!

  3. Hey karen! The only picture I can paint for you at the moment is a WATERcolor because we're still dealing with trop. storm Debby over here. We received more than 10 inches of rain in our central part of the state and some coastal areas got close to 20 inches. There were 7 confirmed tornadoes spawned by the storm resulting in two deaths including a young mother picked up by a twister with her baby in her arms. The pair were carried the length of two football fields and dropped in the woods. Rescuers found them by following the baby's cries. They were buried under debris, the mother dead but still clinging to her child. The baby is expected to survive. Amazing story that makes you think, right?

    The storm should be completely out of our hair just in time to celebrate the 4th. I love the green ideas you passed along in this post. The drinks look tasty, refreshing and healthful and so do the jarred salads. That patio table with salad greens in the center would make an excellent conversation starter when entertaining guests. Thank you for another enjoyable post, dear friend, and stay safe out there as you enjoy those invigorating bike rides with your husband.

  4. I think I LOVE that salad in the jar idea. Very classy and cool looking.

  5. I am so inspired! I'm totally doing the fruit water AND the salad jars as I take a salad to school every day. So excited! And, if you get that table figured out, please let us know~

  6. You are brimming with great ideas! Love that!
    I am totally uncreative in the summer, tho it is my favorite time of the year. Can you say "lazy and just hangin' out"?

  7. I want to make vitamin water! sounds so good right now!

  8. I love the hillbilly, mountainwoman stuff, so I'm totally going to check that out. And I pinned the salad table to my pinterest! I'm totally feeling inspired to go bike-riding often when Tom and I get to Utah (where, by the way, we are moving next). Finally, summertime where I live is basically winter where you live :( . But, we have Friday off this week and we're going to go do something fun, like kayaking or swimming. I love summer!

  9. So far I can't think past Dave's retirement this Friday. Three more days of work for that guy, can you believe it?

    We had his retirement dinner Monday night, and it was really touching. Lots of good things said about him...


  10. You making' fun of my kin missy? You come down here and we'll feed you to our hogs :)

    Just kidding. That looks like a great site.

    and for Sue who commented about Dave retiring, I'm so happy for him. Tell him if he comes to Alabama, we'll go fishing.

  11. pretty interesting ideas...the salad sounds like a great idea!!!
    My son and I have been taking late bike rides too...relaxing and beautiful in the evening..except he is in way better shape than me and cruises up those hills when I feel like I can't even breathe!

  12. I have to try the bottle top bag closure! Great ideas Karen! I still want to get a bike too. I want a pale yellow one... Though it's too hot to ride now here in TX, for me anyway... sounds like you're having fun... :-)

  13. I get so motivated when I see all these ideas. In my head it's all like "Hey, I could do that, that's totally cool and easy" and then in reality, it's all like
    "nope. too lazy"

    It just seems to be how I roll.

    But these are all so good!


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