9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose

9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose

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When things start warming up and signs of spring abound, the last of your “cabin fever” can be resolved with a few spring projects in preparation for longer days ahead. Get a head start on spring cleaning, gardening, and organized summer fun with these spring projects that also serve a practical purpose!

9 spring projects with a purpose - Tipsaholic.com

1. Car Kit

Get your car ready for the busy traveling season ahead with this easy car kit from iHeartOrganizing! Build your kit to suit your family’s individual needs with first-aid items, traveling games, and snacks.

2. Planter Boxes

There’s no better way to dress up your porch this spring than with a set of these fabulous planter boxes. Paint them your favorite color and fill them with your choice of flowers, ferns, and mosses.

3. Natural Cleaners

Whether you’re dreading spring cleaning or totally excited for it, you’ll love this set of printables from Clean Mama that will help you make your own natural cleaners and decide where to use them. Ditch your hazardous chemicals for household naturals like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon and deep clean like you never have before.

4. Produce Bag

It won’t be long before your local farmer’s markets open up again, and you can be ready to bring fresh fruits and vegetables home to your table with this useful produce bag that makes a great up-cycle of an old t-shirt!

5. Cleaning Toolbox

Spring cleaning is made more efficient with this great cleaning toolbox! Avoid all the scrambling under kitchen sinks and running around each time you clean a new room by keeping all your tools in one great DIY kit

6. Cushion Covers

You’re going to want to be ready for all the great backyard get-togethers this season, and a patio furniture update is perfect for giving yourself a classy new garden-party look. Fashion a few of these cushion covers with your favorite outdoor fabrics.

7.One-Board Birdhouse

The birds are back! Take some time to do a little bird watching this spring and try your hand at this super-simple (and cheap!) one-board birdhouse from Birds and Blooms.

8. Hanging Garden Lights

The days are getting longer and those quiet evenings spent relaxing in the yard are becoming more of a reality. Make those nights even more magical with these hanging garden lights to add a bit of sparkle!

9. Foot-Washing Station

Spring can be a messy time of year when the earth is still damp and muddy or you’re spending time in the garden. Keep your indoor floors a little cleaner by creating one of these clever foot-washing stations outside your back door.

9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose - Tipsaholic.com

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

How To Grow Vegetables From Scraps

How To Regrow Vegetables From Scraps via Tipsaholic.com


Wait! Don’t throw away that stalk of celery or the white bulbs of that bunch of scallions. Did you know that you can re-grow vegetables, right in your kitchen so you’ll always have some of the most popular veggies we use in our daily cooking? Best of all, you don’t need a green thumb, a garden or even warm, sunny weather to do it! (featured image via Remodelaholic)
 

6 Vegetables That Can Grow From Scraps via Tipsaholic

Green Onions

Since most recipes call for only the green part of green onion (also called scallions or spring onions), we often wind up wasting the white bulbs. But those bulbs are the heart and soul of the onion plant! When you’ve finished with the green tops, put the bunch of white bulbs into a glass of water and leave it on your windowsill. In just a few days, you’ll be begin to see new green onions springing up! Harvest them as you need them, but be sure to change the water every few days.

 

Leeks

You know how leeks look a lot like great big green onions? They can be regrown the same way as green onions, too! Follow the same bulbs-in-a-glass-of-water routine the next time you have a leek or two leftover and you’ll wind up with your own supply for months to come.

 

Celery and Fennel

These two veggies are also candidates for the water trick. When you buy a bunch of celery or fennel, simply cut off the base and put it, stalk tips facing up, into a bowl of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the bunch, not the whole thing). For these two, however, go ahead and keep them out of direct sunlight.

 

Garlic

Have you ever opened your pantry and found a forgotten bunch of garlic with green sprouts on the ends? Next time, don’t throw it away: regrow it! Plant the garlic in a small pot just as you would flower bulbs in the fall: sprouted tip facing up. You’ll end up with a great houseplant and some fresh garlic for the kitchen.

 

Ginger

Cut off a small piece of the ginger root you bought at the grocery store, plant it in a pot and wait for it to sprout. When you need ginger, you can dig up the whole plant, cut off whatever you need from the root and then repot the plant.

 

Romaine Lettuce

You can regrow many types of lettuce, but stem-based romaine is the easiest. Just as you did with the celery, cut the base of the lettuce head off and put it in a bowl of water to regrow. You’ll be amazed how quickly a new head sprouts up!

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Even with apple picking and back-to-school on your mind this fall, don’t forget to put your summer garden to bed for the winter! If you put forth just a little extra effort in winterizing this fall, you’ll be rewarded with great time savings and a garden that’s ready to go in the spring when it’s time to tackle planning and planting the garden again. (featured image via Remodelaholic)

4 Tips for Winterizing Your Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Pull Out Dead Plants

I know what you’re thinking: “But they’re dead! I can just let them rot over the winter!” Yes, you can, but that also means that any spores left from diseases or blights or eggs of obstinate bugs will be allowed to live in your garden over the winter. They are pretty hearty little buggers and might just rear their ugly heads again next summer. Pull out and dispose of all the dead plants in your garden to start with a clean, healthy slate in the spring.

 

Keep Weeding

Nearly the same principle applies to weeds as it did above to disease spores. If you pull out the weeds now, you’ll have fewer of them re-growing in the spring, which you’ll have to pull out anyway. Bonus: pulling older weeds now is much easier than pulling newer, stronger ones next year!

 

Rake Out the Old Mulch

Unless you mulch only with compost or newspaper, which can be tilled back into the soil in the spring, rake out all your hay or bark mulch. If it is allowed to become incorporated into the garden, it can significantly change the pH of your soil; that can affect how well your plants will grow – if at all. If you’re feeling very ambitious, go ahead and add a layer of compost or mulched leaves for the winter, too, which will add some extra nutrients next spring when you till them into the soil.

 

Tidy Up Your Tools

Just as you wash your pots and pans when you’re finished cooking, so too should you clean up your gardening implements to ready them for next year. If you have any outdoor pots or containers, empty them, hose them out and store them out of the weather so they won’t crack or break. Also, give all your hand tools a quick scrub in some soapy water, hose them off and let them dry; you can even coat metal tools with a think layer of vegetable oil to prevent them from rusting over the winter.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Top Ten Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that always seems to be in rich supply. Either your garden is overflowing or a gracious neighbor brings you a zucchini the size of a small baby. You can only bake so many loaves of zucchini bread before your family begs you to stop. So what else can you make with all that zucchini? To help you out in the kitchen, here are our top 10 zucchini recipes that’ll make you see this summer squash in a whole new way.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad | Proud Italian Chef

While we love zucchini bread, baked goods aren’t the only kind of recipes available. If you have a vegetable peeler, making this salad is as easy as 1-2-3.

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Still have zucchini? Try 5 more easy zucchini recipes.

Ten Zucchini Recipes Your Family Will Love via Tipsaholic.com

About the Author: Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  If you’d like to read more by Clarissa, check out her blog West Hawthorne Place.

Five Tips for Eating with the Seasons

 

Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to eat healthy while also maintaining a reasonable budget and cooking meals our families enjoy. An important first step in changing the way we eat is to eat with the seasons. Eating with the seasons means buying fruits and vegetables during the months in which they’re typically harvested. Not only is choosing to eat mostly in-season produce less expensive for you as a consumer, it’s also more environmentally friendly.

 

seasonal_food_chart

Five Tips for Eating with the Seasons

Ready to reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest? Here are five useful tips to help you start eating with the seasons.

 

1. Know the Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The first step in eating seasonably is finding out which fruits and vegetables are available per season. Not only is in-season produce fresher, it’s also less expensive. Erika at Style Me Green has compiled a great, comprehensive list of produce to buy based on each of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Want to look up a specific fruit or vegetable? Check out this Guide to Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables from About.com.

2. Buy Produce at the Local Farmers Market

Eating seasonally is more fun, cost effective, and environmentally friendly when you buy from your local farmers market. Choose a new recipe that incorporates a family-favorite seasonal fruit or vegetable and be sure to pick up the ingredients while you’re out. Not sure where to go in your area? Visit www.localharvest.org for a list of local farmers markets across the nation.

3. Learn How to Can

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the sweet taste of peaches or twang of dill pickles during the barren winter months. Canning is the answer! Never canned before? No problem. Follow this step-by-step guide from Better Homes and Gardens. Already a canning artisan? Browse these creative canning recipes for some fresh inspiration.

4. Plant an Herb Garden

No matter your living situation—tiny apartment or spacious bungalow—planting an herb garden is a great way to live green and make sure you always have the necessary ingredients on hand to spice up your seasonal dishes. Andy and Kerry at Burritos & Bubbly created a cute, simple kitchen herb garden in less than a day. They chose to plant basil, cilantro, peppermint, rosemary, thyme and chives. View their finished project here.

5. Share the Bounty

Making a conscious effort to eat seasonally provides wonderful opportunities to practice the farm-to-table approach. Invite your family and friends over for a dinner party where you share your favorite seasonal recipes. Set the table outside if the weather permits and give canned jellies or preserves to your guests as gifts when they leave. Jump start your planning with this lovely post: How to Host a Farm to Table Dinner from Abby Larson at Style Me Pretty.

More great tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

 Featured Image Source

 

Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  If you’d like to read more by Clarissa, check out her blog West Hawthorne Place.

 

Non-Toxic Bug Spray for Your Family, Pets and Garden

Spending time outside during the summer is great – except for the bugs!   Bug spray seems like a good idea, but many contain harsh chemicals and toxins that we don’t really want to put on our skin, on our pets or around our gardens. Using simple household products and some natural essential oils, you can make your own insect repellent that is both safe and effective.

 Homemade Natural Bug Spray

How to Make Non-Toxic Bug Spray for Your Family, Pets and Garden

 

1) For your family:

Fill a small glass spray bottle (about 8 ounces) halfway with witch hazel and then fill nearly to the top with distilled water. Add 10 drops each of the following essential oils: tea tree, eucalyptus, mint and citronella. Then add 10 more drops of another fragrant essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary, geranium or lemongrass (whatever smells best to you). Just shake well and spray to keep those nasty bugs away!

 

2) For your dog:

Peel several lemons, limes and/or oranges and add the peels to a pot on the stove. Add enough water to cover the peels and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely. Discard the peels and put the remaining citrusy water into a spray bottle. Add 25 drops of essential oil for every 8 ounces of citrusy water – I like to use a combination of mint, lavender and eucalyptus. To repel mosquitos, shake the mixture well and spray on your dogs’ backs (where they can’t lick it off) before you take them outside – just be sure not to get it in their eyes!

 

3) For your garden:

In a small spray bottle, mix 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons mild oil (such as vegetable), 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper. Shake well and apply to plants and small bushes to control aphids.

 

Have a great, bug-free summer!

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

5 Easy Zucchini Recipes

Saffron Spaghetti with zucchini

Zucchini, a delicious and healthy summer squash, is everywhere this summer. Try these five easy zucchini recipes to add some extra vitamin A to your summer diet!

5 Easy Zucchini Recipes

 

It’s summer… which probably means that you have zucchini in your refrigerator or your garden. If you don’t, just hop over to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and you’ll find plenty of zucchini waiting for you. This delicious summer squash is easy to grow and even easier to eat. Its mild flavor, high vitamin A content, and low calorie count make it a great addition to your dinner table. Make zucchini a staple in your diet this summer by trying these three simple zucchini recipes.

 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats-

Grab four zucchini and cut them in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the middle and toss half of it in a medium pot. Add frozen corn, canned chopped green chiles, Romano cheese, monterey jack cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the mixture and then scoop it back into the zucchini halves. If you like lots of cheese, go ahead and add some more monterey jack cheese on top. Set the oven to 350 degrees and let the stuffed zucchini boats cook for 10-15 minutes or when the zucchini softens slightly. Serve immediately.

 

Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups-

If you tend to fire up the grill during the summer, this recipe is perfect for you. Slice your zucchini thinly, lengthwise, with a mandoline slicer. Toss them lightly in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and then throw them on the grill. Let cook for a few minutes on each side until they get nice brown grill marks and then take them out. Put a scoop of pesto or herbed goat cheese on the bottom of a grilled zucchini slice and roll it up. Secure it with a toothpick. You can experiment with different fillings to find your favorite roll-up.

 

(Not) Fried Zucchini Chips-

Fried zucchini chips, the kind you get at Italian restaurants, are so good and so bad for you. Try a healthier version at home by baking your zucchini chips instead. Start by thinly slicing your zucchini into rounds with a mandoline slicer. A thickness of around 1/4 to 1/8 inch is ideal. Toss the zucchini rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the zucchini on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it into the oven at 275 degrees. Bake for around 30 minutes and then turn over the zucchini rounds. Bake for another 30 minutes or when the zucchini chips are browned and crisp.

 

Zucchini Kabobs-

This is another easy zucchini recipe for you to try out on your grill. Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 15 minutes to reduce their flammability. Meanwhile, slice your zucchini into ½-inch rounds and toss them with your favorite marinade or a simple olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper mixture. Thread the zucchini slices on the bamboo skewers (through the skin, so the cut sides will be on the grill) and cook them on your grill for a few minutes until they’re golden and cooked through.

 

Zucchini and Shrimp Quesadillas-

Start with a large whole-wheat flour tortilla and heat it up in a cast iron pan. Spread chopped zucchini over half of the tortilla and add cooked shrimp, Monterrey jack cheese, and your favorite quesadilla ingredients. Try including avocado, green onions, black beans, cilantro, and/or corn in your zucchini and shrimp quesadillas. Yum!

Check out these other great Zucchini recipes:  Zucchini lasagna, zucchini pancakes, coconut zucchini yogurt bread and much more…. For more easy cooking tips, check out 5 Tips for Cooking Great Eggs.

About the Author:

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!