Green Acres in the City ~ Join us a begin the journey in search for a simpler life...

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer in the City

Growing up in the city of Seattle one of my fondest memories was going down to the Pike Place Market on Saturday mornings as a family. My Dad was finishing his degree at the "U", that would be the University of Washington (go Huskies go!), and Mom was home with us girls so we always tried to do the free stuff. I sometimes compare our new lifestyle to that of my childhood. I have some great memories and will always cherish them!
Two weeks ago we went to the City Market in downtown Kansas City. Amazing! I told Mr. Miller that it would be the closet that I could get to Pike Place being land locked in Missouri!
Here are some of the pictures of the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of what we took in that Saturday afternoon. For those of you in the area please take the time to visit, for the rest of you when you come visit, make the trip it is worth it!

We did not try any of the restaurants but we will!

Henry had to have his snack!

Cameron enjoyed his strawberries!

I love the colors of Summer!

These jalapenos made great salsa! I paid .15 cents for one!

I thought these looked good!

Fond memories of my childhood. We had cherry trees in the back yard, I used to climb them and pick the "soft" ones and pelt my sister with them while she played Barbies. Good Times, Good Times!

Have a great Sunday with your family!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I shall call it Chicken Florentine

I love to cook! I love new recipes! I love it when I can read someones recipe and do variations of theirs to personalize it for my family, and that is just what I did Wednesday evening.

My morning routine is as follows, I get up and make sure the coffee did it's thing (very, very important!), make Patrick and Cameron's breakfast, pack their lunches, down a mug of coffee and then sit down with Henry for his morning meal. I do a lot before 7 am here on the farm. I then water the garden, get Cameron and myself dressed, try to catch up on my favorite blogs and then take Cameron to school. Sometimes the blogs have to wait, and Wednesday was just one of those mornings. It is a good thing they did and Mr. Miller's tummy would agree.

One of my favorite blogs is, there is a link from my site to hers. She has wonderful recipes and stories for those of us that suffer with gluten intolerance. My body does not process gluten well at all and we are trying to cut it out of Cameron's diet to see if it helps in his behavior with the ADHD. So far so good. She talked about one of her favorite dishes on Wednesday called wilted spinach and chick peas. I prefer "Chicken Florentine" , sounds divine!

Here is your cast of characters:

I had already started browning the chicken breast when I decided to get the camera out. Here is your grocery list:

1 lb chicken, I prefer breast or thigh meat

2 cans chick peas or garbanzo beans

1 lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Fresh Garlic cloves, sliced

9 oz fresh spinach

salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash Original

First start by browning chicken, I use the cast iron skillet. My favorite team player! I season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt and add Mrs. Dash original. She is a guest in my kitchen anytime!

Next, get out a large skillet and heat Olive Oil and sliced garlic. GF girl said slicing instead of chopping cuts down on scorched garlic. It works.

Once that is browned add drained garbanzo beans till heated through and then add your spinach. Trust me it cooks down, a lot!

Once the spinach has "wilted", squeeze juice from half of lemon over top.

Put spinach and bean mixture on plate and top with chicken. This will serve 4 easily, this meal was under $10 to cook and done in under 30 minutes. Great comfort food, light but filling! Enjoy, we did.

We finished the meal with GF chocolate chip cookies made by Cameron. I did use a mix. I am still experimenting with GF recipes for cookies. I found this one at Whole Foods, their 365 label for $3.99 and it made 2 dozen large cookies. Very good!

Who said eating Gluten Free wouldn't be good? Looks like we eat pretty good here at Green Acres.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Fun with my Boys!

Mr. Miller and I recently decided to keep Cameron home with me on Wednesdays. (Now mind you he only goes to school from 9:30a to 1p on the other days.) The reasons were simple, first off those of you that know my son understand his extreme fascination for Garbage and Recycling Trucks. Yes, thanks to his father's recycling obsession that got us all going a few years back. Well Wednesdays are trash day and he plants himself in the living room watching for that truck starting at 7:30am. The second reason was selfish on my part I wanted a day during the week to have special time with him.

Today we went to the Library. This was Henry's first visit and Cameron has been going with school on Fridays about once a month. We tried to get him his own library card but no such luck since he still cannot write his last name. First name, no problem! We will be working on this. I found this a little strange since: a)you don't sign anything when you check out, it is all scanned and b) how many kids under 13 go to the library by themselves anyways. Yes, I did share these thoughts with the poor library aide. Someone has too! None the less we got some great books.

He took his own book bag and picked out Dr. Seuss, Max and Ruby and Skippyjon Jones. Skippyjon Jones is an amazing series about a very precocious Siamese cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua. He retreats to his closet and fights evil the the Chimichango gang. Fabulous reading!
Judy Schachner is the author and illustrator. Please check out these books, the whole family will enjoy. Cameron even picked a book out for Henry that Daddy gets to read tonight.

Spend time reading this summer, if not by yourself with your kids and grand kids. Turn that TV off and the computer off! They will love it. Reading and going to the Library, it's free and it uses yours and their imagination!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Update

I figured it was time to share the progress of the garden. I went out to water this morning before it got way too hot, yeah right I was still sweating when I came in. OK, I am sorry Mom the correct ladylike term would be "glowing". We are coming along great. I hope to be able to take some tomatoes with us to Pana Lake in Illinois over the 4Th to share with Mr. Miller's parents, the Deacon and Pops. (I decided to give them their own titles since they found humor in the fact that I call their son Mr. Miller. Mom is an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church so that is how that name became hers. Cameron also refers to her as Nana Banana!)

OK, he was just so precious this morning I had to take the pic!
Grape tomatoes

Watermelon, cannot wait for that. It is supposed to be seedless.

Corn, I have about 5 plants left after the tree rats aka squirrels had their way!


Cucumber plants

Mild Banana Peppers

My Green Tomato

Carrots, I will have enough to ensure great eyesight for the children in the neighborhood!

Zucchini, these blooms were amazing this morning around 6am.
Friends and neighbors I think we will definately be sharing soon!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Daddy's Day

Happy Daddy's Day to all of the great Daddy's in my life.

Friday when I picked Cameron up from school we had a conversation about Father's Day:

Cameron: "Mama why do we call it Father's Day?"

Me: "That's a good question Cam, maybe we should call Grampie (my dad) and ask him. He has answers to a lot of things." Sorry Dad, didn't mean to throw you under the bus.

Cameron: "We don't have a Father in our house, our Dad is a Daddy, and Daddy's are SUPER COOL!"

Me: "Yes, they are Cam!"

Cameron: " So, you know what Mama, I think we should call it Daddy's Day!"

Me: "You are so right, let's do it!"

So from here on out it is Daddy's Day because Daddy's are SUPER COOL!

So remember to thank the Daddy's in your life today and tell them you love them. It is the little things that mean so much, not the new necktie or "great dad" t shirt. Cameron decided to bring breakfast to Daddy in bed this morning, unsolicited. It may have only been a cereal bar but it was from his heart and that's what this day is about.
Thanks Grampie and Pops, for being there for me! I love you and Happy Daddy's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Cloth? - Part 1

Well you knew I had to write about this at some point and today is as good a day as any. I get the question alot, "why are you using cloth diapers?", why not? Those that know me understand my bluntness. Mr. Miller and I decided a long time ago that if we were ever blessed again with a baby we would use cloth. I wish we would have with Cameron. Today's cloth diaper is not the diaper that our Mom's and Grandmother's used, it is a huge industry that is growing more popular every day. You can go with a diaper service such as we are or you can buy your own and do your own laundry. Either way it truly is very easy and so much more Eco-friendly, and besides that how cute is that bum wrapped in nice soft cotton?

Most people do not realize that a disposable diaper will stay in tact in a landfill for over 200 years. Kind of disgusting isn't it? The materials used in making them don't just break down, doesn't that make you wonder about what you are putting next to your child's skin. It sure made us think. People ask "don't you fight diaper rash?' no, in fact we have not had one. Cameron had them all the time because of the chemicals in disposables that are meant to draw wetness away. We personally don't want them next to Henry's soft skin. Yes, you do change more often but it is worth it. The cost breakdown is such: .18 cents per change with cloth vs .36 cents with disposable. The average family will spend almost $3000 on diapers by the time their child is out of them. Wow, I can think of many other things that money could be used for, especially in these times. The other bonus with cloth is that your child with potty train sooner. I am all for that!

We spend $20 a week for our service, which I stated earlier in the week I barter out that fee with sewing for her. The service includes a pickup and drop off once a week. She gives me 2 wet bags (the new diaper pail) and does all of the "dirty" work. She also gives a small wet bag for the diaper bag when I am away from home. I was leery at first but soon discovered they are just as easy to use while out and about. We have even traveled to the farm with cloth and will be going to the cottage over the 4Th of July. When he gets older I just have to shake solids into stool and put in bag for her to launder. If you choose to buy your own you can start with an investment of around $200. There are many starter kits that give a 2 day rotation of diapers and covers. Covers, you ask what are those? They are the new plastic pants. They are made from PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) this is basically any fabric that has been laminated in order to keep their clothes dry. Look how cute they are. Henry is modeling a Swaddlebees. I know when he graduates from High School he will hate me for this.
There are many types and brands of covers. I prefer the Swaddlebees, Thirsties or Bummis Super Whisper Wraps. You can also use wool, wool is what our Grandmother's used. It is an all natural fiber that breaths better than any other. I am making them out of recycled sweaters and will be sharing on that adventure as I start my new business. I made this one this morning while he was napping. It is made from a 1o0% Lambs Wool sweater. Many people look at me weird when I shop at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales. I have heard them ask, "you are just going to cut that up?" and "it is going over a diaper", yes it is!

There are also many offered by WAHM's (work at home mom's) that you can order online at sites like or

The style diaper I have shown you is known as a prefold. They generally are not fastened with pins anymore we use what is called a Snappi. There are fitteds, pockets and AIO's (all in ones). I will talk about each type in their own post as we go along. I don't want to overload you right now. I know we were at first. If you are in the Kansas City area there is a wonderful Brick and Mortar store in Lee's Summit called Happybottomus. Brookie Lee is full of information and more than willing to answer any questions and help with getting you started. Check her out at It has become one of my favorite stores.

I hope I have answered some of your questions. This is another way to a simpler life. It has also given me something to fill my time with, not that I have a lot with my 3 boys. Yes, Mr. Miller is included in my boy count.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

To do lists...where do I begin?

This week has been a week of projects. It started Sunday when Mr. Miller decided he was going to add not only 1 but 2 more garden beds to the "Inaugural Garden". (Yes, he won that discussion!) We have had our 1st harvest of cilantro for my salsa. The Hen's will get the first tasting tonight at Bunco. Did I forget to mention I am entertaining this week also? Well since he and Cameron were going to garden I decided I needed something to do also. I laid Henry down for his afternoon siesta and decided I was going to paint. I had some blue paint left from the last house and decided there was just enough for the main bath. It is one of my favorite shades, it so reminds me of the little blue boxes from Tiffany's, yes I know I am on a budget these days but a girl can dream. So why not paint your bathroom that color? Mr. Miller and I bought a new shower curtain and rug for the combined Mother's and Father's day gifts, I know romantic but practical and that is what we are these days.

The picture does not do the color justice. It is called "under the sea blue", I just love it.

I next decided on Monday I would take on painting the kitchen. We have only had the paint since May of 2008. We bought it at the Sherwin Williams Memorial Day paint sale. Great deals on Harmony paint, a no VOC paint, which I strongly suggest I was able to paint in the house with the kids and not "fume" us out. It seems to roll a little thinner but covers nicely. This project was a little more detailed and so I had to enlist some help from Mr. Miller.

He was daring enough to climb on top of fridge and counter tops to reach above the cabinets. He hates heights so I was proud of him. This color just warmed my kitchen up. It is so cozy in there now.
Yesterday I made a table runner for the dining room and made table cloths for the card tables tonight. I found this great fabric at Joann's called "zest". I love the color, it so reminds me of Summer.

I used my 50% off coupon and was able to make 2 table cloths and 2 table runners for $18. It is just enough to brighten the house. Needless to say I was a busy girl this week but enjoyed every minute of it. Time to go so I can prepare food for tonight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Post-it Notes"

Do you ever wonder in life why things happen the way they do? I know I do. As I stated in my first post on this blog, I lost my job in January. I was a retail manager and thought that was my calling in life. This week I discovered and affirmed to myself how wrong I was.

I have been looking for jobs while at home and have had not much success with this endeavor. People say, retail manager oh there are tons of jobs out there. Not true today. First it needs to be the right fit, second is the pay and last, "will I be happy?". I thought I had found a couple of possibilities and with no luck they did not pan out. About the pay part, Mr. Miller and I realized that I need to make a certain amount to even cover daycare for Henry and then to even bring any home, is that even possible? Lastly, I am enjoying life so much at home with the boys, that's what makes me happy!

Mr. Miller made me realize this morning that I am where I should be. At home with the boys! I got my "post-it note" from God this morning when I realized that I was not picked for a job that I thought I really wanted. Truth is I didn't want it. I just needed that note from above to show me.

He gave me the push to pursue what I love doing right now. I am sewing again for the first time in years. I am making pocket diapers for my diaper lady, yes diaper lady. We are a cloth diaper family and loving it. We have a diapers service and I am sewing for her to barter out the cost of my service. It is another great way for me to save money. If I knew what I know now we would have done it with Cameron. I will touch more on the benefits of Cloth at a later date. I am also developing my own line of wool cloth diaper soakers made for recycled wool sweaters. They are so cute and fun. Henry is a great model.

Who would have thought putting 100% cashmere over a diaper. Very cute don't you think? I am planning on listing them on Etsy and Hyena Cart. I will also start going to the Farmer's Market in Topeka with my sister and Andrea, my BAClothdiapers gal (check them out at ), has generously offered me to piggyback off of her booth at the City Market here in KC. I will keep you posted when that happens.

So I guess all in all I am where I belong and I am doing what I need to be doing. So thank you God for your note this morning, I got it and finally read it loud and clear. Also, thank you Mr. Miller for your continued support and love. Thank you for making me your wife and a mama! I love you more than words can say!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Maeghan, come quick!"

We had a BBQ tonight with my sister, Erika and her family. It was such a treat to get the text last night that they were coming to town. They live in Topeka and have a very busy life these days. Erika is actually on vacation this week, my brother in law Randy was in town, Nichelle(18) didn't have to work, Nate (15) had no baseball and Makennah(11) is done with dance this week. They even brought Nichelle's boyfriend, Joe, who we have all adopted as one of our own.

Erika and Nichelle helping cut up the watermelon.We can't have a family get together without the watermelon. Thank God we are growing some in the garden.Nichelle and Randy working the grill. Mr. Miller had a late night at the office so Randy stepped up. Not the first time he has come to my rescue. I think I have the World's Greatest Brother-in-Law. A good time was being had by all. I was in the living room with the adults, Makennah was on the computer, Mr. Miller was rocking Henry and Nate and Cameron were playing with Cameron's rocket launcher out back. How harmless, right? Well, Erika went in the kitchen to make Root Beer Floats and Hot Fudge Sundaes for the kids and I hear this "Maeghan, come quick!". I am thinking "oh God, its happened he finally fell out of the play scape!" Be calm, be calm. I briskly go to the kitchen, OK so I ran to the kitchen. and here is what I saw...

You ask where is his other boot?

He got stuck in the "bog" as I refer to it at this point. My unfinished patio, yes we are still in the mud stage. I asked "what are you doing and why is your boot out there?" Simple answer Mom...

Nate had launched the rocket right into the middle and he was going after it. I have to give him credit, he at least took off his tennis shoes and put on his working boots. I have also just found out the we can find the 3rd missile in the top of the maple tree by the play scape. Have fun with that one Daddy.

How can you be mad at that face? I know it is hard.

I feel so blessed to have the family that God has given me. We may not always see eye to eye, but we love each other and that's what really counts. Remember to live each day to its fullest and tell those you love that you love them. After all they are your family and unconditional love is the best!