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

Welcome to our life

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

fire in the hole

Any of our neighbors can confirm the alert of “fire in the hole!” coming from our back yard.  It started with Cameron years ago and it has now continued with Henry.  It can be sounded off at any number of occasions such as the boys playing in the backyard, Mr. Miller using is torch to burn off brush or my favorite when I am lighting a fire in the fire pit. 

We had our first fire of Fall on Saturday night.  It had been a wonderful day of football and projects.  We decided that with the nip in the air we needed a fire.  None of my 3 boys complained a bit.


What is it about fire that is so fascinating?



We had a lovely evening.  Cameron fell asleep in his chair and Junior Mint cuddled on my lap.  Mr. Miller put the boys to bed and we shared a bottle of Cabernet under the stars.  Oh how I love Fall!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

canning novice

When I started this blog it was with the intent to journal our journey toward a simpler life.  As we have gone down that path we have added a few detours but it definitely has journeyed our crazy little life. 

One aspect I wanted to do in order to make it simpler was to become more self sustaining.  We started by planting a garden, hence the name Green Acres, with the pie in the sky dream of being able to preserve and feed my family for the coming winter.  Well we know that didn’t happen.  Each year we have learned a little more.  I was hoping for a boomer tomato crop this year, started great but the “drought” conditions didn’t help.  I have lots of green still out there.  What do I do with all of them?

This year I actually was able to preserve food.  Not a lot but at least it was a start especially for my boys who love strawberry jam.  I was able to use some of Cameron’s berries and had to supplement from the Market also.  Being a “Canning Novice” I enlisted the best teachers I know, Mimi and Ball  I was able to make jam on a Sunday afternoon.  I loved it. I mean I felt like Ma Ingalls out on the prairie.  The sweet smell of the berries and the “pop” of the jars was so therapeutic.  I am hooked and will continue enjoying this pleasure. 


Later in the week I made Zesty Bread and Butter pickles, those are almost gone.  Mr. Miller likes him some pickles.  I need to make more.  This week I am going to make Cowboy Candy or Candied Jalapenos.  I am still harvesting jalapenos, which is a good thing since Mr. Miller and I can eat them all the time.

Next ambition is to have a root cellar like Olivia Walton.  Are you listening Mr. Miller?  Yes I think I am defiantly and old soul in a present day body.  I would love some day to be on the farm in Newton with a big garden, goats and chickens.  Of course that root cellar full with the bounty of our Harvest.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 ingredient muffins


Yes, you read it right I did say 2 ingredient muffins.  They are so good and super simple.  This is an old favorite 2pt. weight watcher recipe that can be made several different ways, even gluten free.

Are you ready?

1 small can pumpkin

1 cake mix

Mix ingredients together.  Pre heat oven to 350.  Spray muffin tin, fill and bake 18-22 min. Makes 12.


That’s it!  I have used yellow, spice and chocolate cake mix.  Now sometimes I will admit I do add a few things to change it up, I know that defeats the 2 ingredient part, but it makes them extra good.  This week I added 2 shredded carrots and raisins to a yellow cake mix and some pumpkin pie spice. 

Go on make some you know you want to.

Monday, September 26, 2011

call it what you will revisit


Last spring you remember this post, well he lost interest once Summer started.  Surprised? I am not.  Well we brought them back out again last week because we were having issues with Cameron and focus.  Focus issues with an Aspie/ADHD kid? Say it isn’t so.  Forgive my humor this morning I have not had enough coffee.

Any who…back to the charts.  I fell that along with the focus and getting him in gear in the morning with less arguments we could work on his money skills.  Cameron is very into change lately, especially pennies.  He thinks they are gold in his treasure chest, only if that were true.  I asked Cameron what would encourage him to follow his charts and he said a penny for every check mark.  Cool, we can do that plus I was also doing the math and figured a penny a check works better on our wallet then a quarter.  So there you have it.

We had a good week and he did well.  He made .62 last week.  I had him count the checks and then break it down into coins in Mr. Millers brass pot.  He took his treasures to his treasure chest and was very happy.

On the flip side we still struggle with the usual sassy mouth occasionally so he has learned that when he is sassy he loses a check on the board.  So far all is good!

Friday, September 23, 2011

::this moment::

~ a brief moment from our life that makes my heart happy…



My Cameron playing quarterback for the STM Chiefs.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

woollie time

As the morning get a more crisp feeling and the evening are shorter and cooler (I am not complaining here) I find it time for WOOLLIES!  OK for those of you out of the Diaper phase in your life these are know as woollies.


I love wool and so does Junior Mint.  They are 2 valuable pieces of his wardrobe in one.  A cloth diaper cover and pants.  This works well for us because Junior Mint hates wearing pants.  Thank goodness he wears very cute cloth diapers and covers.  I found these shorties online but I do make my own too. Be looking soon for my etsy to be back up running and fully loaded with up cycled woollies.

Wool is a great fabric.  People ask me on a regular basis, especially when I am on my Urban Treasure Hunts aka Thirfting ~ Why Wool?

Wool is an amazing natural fiber. It is naturally anti-bacterial and super absorbent. (Up to 30% of its weight) It makes a great waterproof diaper cover once it is lanolized.

Wool is breathable and extremely easy to care for.   Wool only has to be washed once every 2 or 3 weeks unless of course it gets heavily soiled, it has a self cleaning property in it called lanolin.  If your wool feels damp or wet after wearing it simply lay it out flat to air dry and let the wool do its job of self cleaning.

Here is a no fail system to care for your wool:

1. Run your hot water until its good and HOT in the bathroom sink, allowing it to drain, once its hot turn it off for a few seconds to do step 2.
2. Put the plug in your bathroom sink and put your lanolin in the bottom of the sink, I use about a 1/2-1 inch glob of the lanolin.
3. Run a little hot water in the sink and add baby shampoo or baby wash to the sink. Only run enough hot water in the sink to break up the lanolin.
4. Run room temp water to fill the rest of the sink up.
5. Turn the woollie wrong side out and submerge into the mixture in the sink and let soak 30 minutes (longer if you feel it needs more lanolizing).
6. After you're done soaking, lay a towel folded in half for you to lay your wool on; remove soaker out of the water and gently squeeze the excess water out, do not ring.
7. Just lay your soaker on the towel and roll the towel up, gently squeeze as your rolling.
8. Lay flat to dry, I like laying them on one of those sweater racks. They take 24 hours sometimes to dry.

Lanolizing only needs to be done about every 2 months or as needed.

I pair Junior Mints with a fitted and we like the Mother Ease One Size or MEOS.  If you haven’t looked into wool for your cloth you should. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

our gathering place

I have found that in order to keep rhythm here we have to have a gathering place. Our gathering place is the dining room table. It has taken on many jobs over the last 11+ years for Mr. Miller and I.

It has changed shape, color and direction. I love sitting around our table with friends and family. The laughter shared over a cup of coffee, glass of wine or a meal shared. The tears that have flown from my eyes and others. The hours of homework with Cameron and life lessons are amazing. My favorite role is that of sharing a meal in the evening with my family. Cameron and Henry have taken to setting the table. We gather, fold our hands and bow our heads and give thanks to the Lord for our blessings and then share our meal. We talk and separate from the world outside by no TV, no phones or computer. We might turn on some music but that is it. It has taken on the role of my blogging place lately since I moved my desk into Cameron's room so he can concentrate on his homework. If this table could talk.

This week in my quest for fall I changed out the dining room chairs once again. We found these chairs about 5 years ago at a "going out of business" store. I love these chairs!

The “Daddy Chair” so proud and tall. Ready to listen and give guidance.


The “Mama Chair” that is in her favorite shade of yellow. Sits closest to the kitchen, between her boys and across from her beloved.


“Brother’s Chair” in Cameron’s favorite color red. I was also thinking that the darker shade would hide more. Obviously it didn’t hide the snags on the side from Delani’s days with front claws. I must really get those scissors out soon and take care of that. I’ll add it to that never ending list.


Lastly, “Junior Mint’s Chair”. He does have a red one just like Cameron. However I need to get a leg fixed on it. Yep, just penciled that down on the list too.


What does your gathering place look like?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

healthy living

The general interpretation of Healthy Living is what we put in our bodies.  Healthy Living goes much deeper than that.  We have to look at what not only we take from the earth but what we put back into the earth.

Recently St. Thomas More partnered up with an “e-store” for a fundraiser for the school.  The store offers eco friendly cleaning products and if I ordered through the school they give back 20% to Cameron’s school.  I thought no brainer.  I am always looking for a bargain and to have it be earth friendly even better.  I went to the site and found these products.


I ordered the sample kit at $38.  They come in a concentrate form that you add water, shake and go.  I found this to be a great way to try out the products and find what I liked best.  I LOVE IT ALL!  They have light fragrances and work beautifully.  I can order larger containers of the concentrate and replace as needed.  Check them out here or if you care to help out St. Thomas More you can find the here.

Another bonus for us in Missouri is that this is a local company from Lee’s Summit that has been in business since 1987.  How wonderful is that?  They are super friendly, helpful and accommodating.  I love their Mission Statement ~ “to enhance the lives of those we touch”.  Isn’t that what we all should be striving to do?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

as summer turns into fall



The days are getting shorter, the leaves and sumac is changing it colors, crisp mornings, football, pumpkins and honey crisp apples are available so we begin my favorite time of year.  I love Fall! I just can’t help myself.

We had amazing weather in the last week here in Missouri.  Lows of the 40’s and highs in the 60’s.  I almost thought for a brief moment I was back in my home state of Washington.  Wouldn’t that be blissful, hey a girl can dream right? 

With the change in weather I always get the urge to clean, purge and re decorate my house.  I was wondering why that is.  So you know me and my love for the University of Google I did a little research on Autumn Equinox. I found some interesting facts:

1.   Clean your home thoroughly.  You may do this naturally when you are in sync with nature.  Have you been sifting through the closets?  Clean out you medicine cabinet throwing out outdated herbs and medication. In addition, an organized home leaves time to contemplate your life.  Magically the energies begin to flow.

2.   Decorate your home with some signs of fall. Even though in the desert, the kitchen counter is lined with fall leaves and pumpkins, which are later used to bake bread.
3.   Celebrate with family and friends. Share the magic of community around the table.

4.   Make an offering to the earth. Pull weeds.  Put some food in the bird feeder. Let Mother Nature know you are thankful for her magic.

5.   Spend at least five minutes at your altar in silence.  Your altar can be as simple as a table you visit often with a candle.  Some altars are more elaborate.  Magic does not need a showy example of faith.

6.    Teach your children about nature.  Take them to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Show them the simple magic that supports their life.

As I read through the list I chuckled. 

1.  On Thursday I cleaned house and sorted out Henry’s closet and under his bed, man a 2 year old can hoard.

2.  I have been telling Mr. Miller all week it was time for my Pumpkins and Mums.  {Hint!}

3.  We enjoyed a wonderful evening with our friends the Mauer’s, Damico’s and new friends the Steele’s.  Thank you Cathlin and Mitch for hosting.

4.  I pulled a few weeds and plants out of the garden.

5.  Enjoyed coffee on the patio looking at our garden and thanking Mother Earth and our Lord for the bounty shared.

6.  Talked in length with Cameron about where our food comes from.

I didn’t even realize this list existed and found it amazing how I had participated somewhat in all of it.  Happy Fall Y’all!  I am looking forward to 5:05am on Friday when it arrives.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

latest acquisitions

We went up to the cottage this last weekend for Labor Day.  A wonderful time was had by all.  I got a special treat from the Deacon and Pops, OK well two special lovelies.

Isn’t she a beauty?


Look at her sister that came too!



I absolutely love Cast Iron Cookware.  The Deacon and Pops frequent an Auction House down in Georgia and they found just what I have been looking for.  I love this Dutch Oven and Skillet.  The Dutch even has a handle that if Mr. Miller installed a hook for me I could use out back in the fire pit. (hint, hint…are you listening honey?)

Truth be know cast iron has been around for hundreds of years as cooking vessels.  My love is only about 5 years in the making.  When Mr. Miller and I were married almost 12 years ago he wanted this for cookware but no I had to have the fancy no stick.  Boy was I mistaken.  The no stick is gone.  I have a stainless set and my cast iron.  Only if I would have listened then.  Yes, dear I am saying that you were right about at least one thing.

What is your favorite cook ware?  I would love to hear.

Thank You! Thank You to the Deacon and Pops I LOVE THEM!