Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our New Favorite Uses for Glass Jars

Not too long ago I scored on glass jars at the thrift store!  I happened to be there at just the right time when they were putting out a large amount of jars and I was able to buy a bunch, as opposed to the one or two they typically have.  Glass jars are one of my favorite things, so I was pretty happy!

I love having a cupboard full of jars, since I use them constantly.  I use them for all of the usual things:  pantry storage, leftover storage, vases, for freezing jam and broth, etc.  Recently, though, I've started using them in a few new (to us) ways:


 I've been slowly trying to get rid of the plastic from my kitchen, and one of my last few holdouts were the plastic snack bowls the kids use.  I really wanted to get some glass bowls with lids, since I often used them for food storage also, or to send something with Seth in his lunch.  I wanted to get small Pyrex bowls, but the cost for the six or so I wanted was a bit much.  Instead, I purchased a box of the wide mouth half-pint canning jars, and they've been the perfect solution!  They were much less expensive; they have lids, so they work great for storage or on the go; and the wide mouth makes them perfect for small bowls.  We use them every day!

Sippy Cups!

Along with the plastic bowls, we had plastic sippy cups that I really wanted to get rid of, not so much because they were plastic, since we really only used them for water, but more because I was tired of my 4 1/2 year-old always wanting to use them.  So I finally just got rid of them all.  All of the kids drink out of regular cups just fine, so that's what they typically use.  Sometimes, though, it is nice to be able to give them some water in a sippy cup, so they can have it with their snack while watching a movie.  So, I occasionally let them use my Cuppow (I use it for taking tea or cocoa in the car) on a small jar.  It's not spill-proof, but it does help minimize them.

Pour-Over Iced Coffee

Seth typically makes coffee using a French Press, but he wasn't impressed with using it to make iced coffee.  When a friend told him about using the pour-over method to make iced coffee, he wanted to try it.  You can buy contraptions to do this, but I came up with our improvised "jar method".  We put ice in the jar (we use a wide mouth quart size), lay a piece of muslin or tightly woven cheesecloth over the top, indenting it to make room for the coffee grounds, then hold it in place with the jar ring.  The ground coffee then goes in the fabric "filter", and you pour hot water over the top of the grounds.  The ice makes it cold, so it's instant iced coffee.  I don't drink coffee, so I haven't tried it, but Seth loves it.  He does say it tastes much better when the water drips through the coffee more slowly, so a fabric with a tighter weave seems to work best.

These are our new favorite things to do with jars - they truly are one of the most useful things in my kitchen!  =)

Friday, July 5, 2013

July Garden

We have (mostly) enjoyed lots of hot sunshine this week and while I might not like all aspects of that, I love what it's doing in my garden!  Everyday the plants are visibly bigger, and we have started to reap some of the rewards!

Last Week

This Morning 

We will never be able to grow all of our own produce or anything like that, but I did get to skip buying veggies at the store this week, in favor of the abundance of lettuce, spinach and peas we do have available right now.   I'm grateful for this bit of food we are able to grow, and I love the feeling of accomplishment and self-sufficiency it gives me!

I am ever so thankful for this little plot of earth that we get to call ours.  It is so fun to get to change things and make our yard and home reflect our family and our values.  I have so many plans and things that I want to do, and frankly, progress seems painfully slow sometimes.  But little by little we are accomplishing things, and that feels so good!

We finally got three more blueberry plants in the ground, so my blueberry patch is finished.  It definitely adds a lot to our little "urban homestead"!  I picked our first few berries this morning, and the kids were thrilled with this little bonus at breakfast!