Home Maid Simple

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 Back to School Wants

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own*

School is coming up just way too fast, don't you think? I've already seen a number of my friends posting "First day of school" photos. Turns out they have year round school, but it was still just another reminder that in less than a month, we will be doing the same.

It got me thinking, we see back to school supply lists everywhere. Teachers give them out, websites list them - but what you don't see is a list of the extras! The things you might not need all year long, but find yourself running around town trying to find last minute. 

So I decided it's time we put one together! Last year was my first year as a mom with school aged children. Luckily for me we live fairly close to an amazing school supply store - Utah Idaho School Supply. Even though it says Utah Idaho, they have an online store, so you can still get everything you need from them! 


1. Tri-fold Poster Board. This was the #1 item I found myself scrambling for. I'm so glad I did though, when both our daughters came home with 3rd Place for their grade in the Science Fair. 

2. A Globe, or large wall map. Seriously, this might just be me, but I think maps are cool. I truly think that kids will get more interested in geography if they've got a globe to spin and look at. Utah Idaho has a myriad of different globes from inflatables to a Celestial Wonder. 

3. Bookmarks. Especially if you've got older kids reading chapter books, you'll want to stock up on these. I personally love these blank bookmarks that the kids can personalize for themselves. It would make an awesome after school activity. 

4. Whiteboard. This is totally and completely just a want. We had one growing up and it was the coolest ever. My mom would leave quotes on it for us to memorize, and we'd use it for everything from math homework to drawing practice. 

5. Storage Bags. I just, like just now while browsing saw these bags and I love them! I don't even want to start thinking about all the papers that are going to be coming home with the kids this year. With a couple of these I can keep them organized by subject matter, homework, and special awards.

What's on your back to school WANT list? 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Foodie Friday Featuring Little House Living

This weeks featured blogger is 

I am so excited for this weeks feature. Her blog name reminds me of my mom reading the Little House on the Prairie books. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls as a child and now I'd like to be Ma. To live on a farmstead, be mostly self sufficient, and just live simply off the land.

Reading Merissa's "about me" reminded me a lot about our own situation. It's not been the same, but the constant struggle just to have the basics. I'm very excited to continue following along Merissa's adventure in simple living and using the many resources she has made available on Little House Living. I hope you will too!

Connect with Little House Living

Check out these recipes shared from last weeks party
Post image for Homemade Sausage Patties

Frugal and Healthy Popsicle Recipes - Little House Living

Staying Sane During Canning Season - Little House Living


I would love it if you took a moment to visit my co-host Diane at Simple Living and Eating

If you're new to Foodie Friday, here's the run down
1. Link up your recipe or any food related post below
2. Browse the linky, visit some new blogs, and share if you feel so inclined. 
3. Please only link up 3 posts. This lets us visit as many of you as possible.
4. By linking up you give me permission to feature your photos on Home Maid Simple (always linking back to you of course!)
5. Each month I send out a newsletter with the most popular links from that month - you may be featured!!  This is a once a month newsletter, every first Friday of the month, no spamming involved. Sign up over there ------>
If you missed July's newsletter, or want to see what you could be missing out on - check it out Here

Last weeks top clicked on recipes - 
Fettina Pizzaiola from This Silly Girls Life
Chocolate Banana Strawberry Icebox Cake from Love Bakes Good Cakes


Cherry Jelly

#canning #selfreliance

In honor of Utah's Pioneer Day, I wanted to share this extremely SIMPLE recipe for Cherry Jelly with you today. If you've never heard of Pioneer Day, it's a good bet you don't live in Utah and you're not a Mormon. I happen to be both, but have only ever celebrated since moving back to Utah. We have parades, races, and fireworks. It's like a second 4th of July here.

Why? Because we're celebrating our ancestry. A large part of Mormon history, and the history of Utah, are the pioneers who crossed the plains in covered wagons and handcarts. It was a hard and arduous journey, but one they did in pursuit of religious freedom (which is a whole other topic I won't get into today!).

The majority of my ancestors came across the plains, many lost their lives before they ever got to Utah, but many made it as well. They were hard workers and self reliant. So in honor of them, this past month I've spent a lot of time at my mom's picking, pitting, juicing and canning tart cherries. It's hard work! But so very rewarding in the end.
#canning #selfreliance

Cherry Jelly
from Home Maid Simple

Ingredients
4 cups Cherry Juice
3 cups Sugar

Directions
Bring the cherry juice to a rolling boil. Add Sugar. Bring back to a rolling boil, and time 5 minutes. Turn down to medium/low heat and simmer. When the jam drips off the spoon in one drip, it's ready to can. This can take 25-30 minutes, but don't let it burn! Ladle the jam into pint sized canning jars that have been sanitized. Spoon off the foam, wipe down the rims, and can.

To can:
Boil a small pan of water, and dip the canning lids and rings in for a few seconds. Use tongs and place on jars filled with jam. Tighten rings and let sit. Leave on your counter until you hear popping noises. This is the jars sealing themselves. No need to water bath your jam!!

Guess what?! It's so easy to make Jam, but if you want a little more in depth help, you can take the Jam ad Marmalade class at Craftsy!
affiliate link
Online Food Craft Class

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beating the Summer Blues

#depression

The days are filled with sunshine, everyone is outside playing and mingling, scents of watermelon and funnel cake linger in the air—and yet you’re sad. Summer is a happy time for most people, but it can be a difficult time as well. Sadness and challenges can be with you no matter what season, and summer has its particular set of difficulties. But, you can beat the summertime sadness with the help of these suggestions.

Beating the Exhaustion
Your kids are on their summer break from school and you have to find ways to entertain them all day. As much as you love to watch them run and play, it may leave you feeling exhausted both physically and mentally. It’s important especially in this season, as in all seasons, to make time for you. Allow yourself opportunities to take part in your favorite activities that lend to a peaceful atmosphere such as yoga, walking with friends, or even taking a nice bubble bath. Rather than feeling guilty for setting aside this time for yourself, recognize that recharging your own batteries will allow you to give your best time and efforts to those tasks and people who are most important in your life.



Sleeping the Sad Away
One of the great things about the summer months is that daytime hours are longer, giving you more time each day to work and play. Unfortunately, these longer days also mean shorter nights, which oftentimes result in you getting less sleep during the summertime. Not getting enough sleep can cause the body to release increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Keep your cortisol in check by striving to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep each night, no matter how strongly the sun may be calling your name. If necessary, invest in some heavy curtains or an eye mask to create a nighttime atmosphere.

Overcoming Depression
There may come a point where you feel as though you are constantly living in a mental fog, so to speak. You can’t think clearly and your hobbies don’t interest you anymore. You withdraw from your friends and family and feel hopeless and even angry. Depression is a real issue and can affect you in any season. Depression can be due to a lot of different factors: stress, a traumatic event, your genetics, or even unbalanced hormone levels. More and more studies are showing that depression can be due to a hormone deficiency. Check out this article to learn more. A doctor can test you for hormone and chemical imbalances and get you on the right track with treatment. With the right blend of diet, lifestyle choices, and medical treatment, your depression will diminish and you will start feeling like yourself again. 

Making Fun Inexpensive
Summertime is vacation season for many people. Your friends might be going on exotic expeditions through the jungle, on fancy cruises to the Caribbean, or on a backpacking trip through Europe. You may feel left out if you can’t afford to go anywhere this year. But, you can still get a big bang for your buck doing simple things as a family. For example, you could go to the movies to escape the heat or have a family game night in your backyard. You could even take a day trip to a local place you’ve never been like hiking in the mountains. All you have to pay for on a day trip like this is gas and snacks. You can still have fun this summer without shelling out large amounts of money on expensive plane tickets.



Dealing with Body Image    
Summertime, also known as swimsuit season, can be hard for those who struggle with body image. You may feel uncomfortable and self-conscious at the beach and the pool and may want to avoid those places altogether. In order to build yourself up and create a positive body image, keep a list of the top 10 things you like about yourself and repeat them anytime a negative thought comes to mind. Also surround yourself with positive people like family and friends who love you unconditionally and make you feel like a million bucks. In your moments of weakness, find gratitude for the functions your body performs and appreciate all that your body does for you. Using these helpful tips, you should find yourself feeling confident in your own skin.



Some summertime difficulties may seem hard to overcome. You may be overwhelmed physically, emotionally, and mentally. You may have depression, even in the midst of a schedule full of pool parties and summer night barbecues. It is possible to beat these summer blues by making time yourself, getting enough sleep, understanding the physical causes, doing fun activities with your family and loving your body. No matter how difficult things may seem at times, you can triumph over summertime sadness. 

About the Author: Victoria Candland

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back to School Shopping

* This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Home Maid Simple*

I keep seeing my friends and other bloggers on facebook talking about Back to School. Hey, I even have a banner up there advertising Back to School! But truth be told I'm not really ready for it. So I've avoided looking at when our school goes back. Come on now, it's still July. Summer is just getting started. 

But then I caved, and I looked. My kids go back August 19th. That's 1 month away. Not bad, but 1 month usually flies by pretty quick. So of course that got me thinking about what they might need for school. We've already had to buy a new swimsuit for the summer, which means clothes are probably being outgrown as well. 
It feels like just yesterday we were taking First Day of 1st grade photos!

When I was a kid, one of our favorite things to do was back to school shopping with my mom. We always got 1 new outfit for the year. It's a tradition I really want to keep with my kids, not because of anything extremely special about it - but kids do grow and need new clothes that fit - and the beginning of the school is a perfect time to let them get one outfit that's not a hand-me-down, that expresses who they are, and for the very practical reason that they've outgrown the old clothes. 

Living on a budget however, means just one new outfit, and at the best deal we can find!  I've been browsing Zulilly a lot lately (even made my first purchase for Princess V's birthday coming up), and noticed they've got some great sales on back to school clothes - like Jelly The Pug! Seriously, these are some of the cutest outfits I've ever seen, and they've got something that would fit both personalities for my girls. 

Turquoise Kira Dress - Infant, Toddler & Girls
This right here the Turquoise Kira Dress - is totally and utterly Princess V! It's a dress, it's long enough, and it's simple just like she is. I just know she would love wearing this on the first day of school.

Princess C on the other hand, is a bit more of a wild child. She's got her own sense of fashion, and wouldn't go for something quite as plain. No no, this fits her much better. 
Petals Shawna Dress & Leggings - Infant, Toddler & Girls
The Petals Shauna Dress and Leggings are more like Princess C with big bold colors, and lots of them!  Plus with the way she plays, leggings are a must.

Do you shop Back to School clothes with your kids?

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