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The Pleasures of Homemaking by A Cultivated Nest Team - 9h ago

If you are trying to decide which herbs to grow this summer, you should definitely put parsley on your list. Not only is parsley excellent for using as garnish, but it can be added for flavor to numerous recipes, and can even be used as pest prevention! Look below at my 7 Tips for Growing Parsley, and see why parsley is such a fantastic herb to grow and have on hand!

I love Italian food, so parsley is a staple in my pantry. While I prefer to use it fresh, it’s impossible for me to use all the parsley I grow before it would naturally go bad, so I tend to dry a lot of it. I like to use the oven drying technique, which I cover in tip 7.

7 Tips for Growing Parsley

You can grow parsley outside in your garden beds, in a container garden, or near a window inside. I like to grow mine in a container with other herbs that I also like to cook with.

1. Opt for Seedlings

Parsley is a slow starter, so while you can grow it from seeds, growing from seedlings is ideal. Should you grow from seed you will need to start the parsley indoors about 10 weeks before planting season begins. However if you opt for seedlings you can plant them as soon as the threat of frost has passed.

2. Choose Soil Wisely

When growing parsley, you’ll want to be careful with what soil you use. Parsley is a tad particular when it comes to soil. It does like soil to be warmer, so you should not plant before the soil is at least 70 degrees. You also want to use soil that is nutrient rich, lose and not compacted, and that drains well.

3. Be Mindful of Spacing

When planting your parsley seedlings, you want to be sure you give them room to spread out. Otherwise, you could stunt their growth. Plant seedlings at least 6 inches apart. If your seedlings are especially full and mature, you can opt for 8 inches.

4. Water Evenly

You need to be sure you apply water directly to the base of the plant. Otherwise, the plant may not absorb water evenly and could suffer. Always apply water (about 2 inches per week) at the base of the plant so it can go directly to the roots. From my own experience, 2 inches of water seems to be approximately 10 ounces of water (around 300 mL). If you wanted to be very exact with your watering you could use a plastic squeeze watering can with measurements.

5. Feel Free to Feed

If you really want your parsley to flourish, use a liquid plant food every 4 weeks. A liquid plant food is advised as it will help feed the plant evenly. Do not overfeed as you could cause the plant to turn yellow and burn.

6. Know When to Harvest

One of the most important things to know about growing parsley is knowing when to stop letting it grow and to start harvesting! Once the ends of the plant’s foliage break into three segments, your parsley is ready to be harvested. Simply snip the segments off to harvest. Do not snip from the bottom of the plant or snip foliage before the 3 way split occurs. Otherwise you may stunt the growth and the plant will not taste its best.

7. Store Appropriately

If you want to only use your parsley while it’s fresh, you’ll want to try to use it within a day or two of picking. But storing the excess is much easier than trying to use it all up right away. There are a few ways to store the parsley once you harvest it. You can either wrap it in a bundle and hang it to air dry, dry it in the oven after blanching, place it in an airtight baggie and freeze it, or just place it in a vase of water to keep it fresh until you are ready to enjoy it. I personally like to dry my parsley in the oven, then keep it in a big glass jar. I scoop some dried parsley out of that jar and put it in a old spice jar I kept so I can shake it out when I’m cooking (like you can do with crushed dried parsley you buy at the grocery store).

How to dry parsley in the oven- Wash your parsley in cold water. Remove any discolored parts or stiff, woody stem/stalk pieces (you really just want the parsley leaves). Using scissors or a knife, chop up your parsley until it’s in approximately 1/4 inch pieces. Then blanch it by putting it in boiling water for about half a minute. Carefully remove it from the boiling water and dry it, either by spinning it in a salad spinner or by patting dry with towels. Then preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible (usually 170-200 °F is the lowest an oven will let you set it). Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay your parsley on top of it, spaced out with no crowding. Leave it in the oven for around 2-4 hours, checking on it occasionally so it doesn’t go from dried to burned. It’ll be ready to take out of the oven when it crumbles pretty easily when touched. Once the parsley is out of the oven, crush it further, either by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Pick out any more stem pieces you might come across. Then just put your parsley in an airtight container and keep it it in a cool, dark, dry place (I keep my jar in my pantry). You could also freeze your dried parsley. Try to use it within 6 months, as by around 4-6 months after drying it’ll be losing flavor.

Parsley can be used in soups, stews, homemade marinades, dressings, and can even be used as garnish. Parsley can also help with digestive issues and upset stomachs, so it is an excellent herb to add to your diet.

Consider these tips for growing parsley, and see what an easy and practical plant this is to grow!

Do you use a lot of parsley?

You might also be interested in: Tips For Planting A One Pot Container Herb Garden

The post 7 Tips for Growing Parsley appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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The Pleasures of Homemaking by A Cultivated Nest Team - 2d ago

A great inexpensive way to make furniture for your home is to use plywood. Plywood is a versatile and easy to use material that allows even woodworking beginners to make beautiful (and useful) furniture for their homes. So if you need to stretch your decorating budget or if you just want to try your hand at some DIY furniture design ideas, be sure to check out these 20 DIY Plywood Furniture Ideas!

Wondering what’s the difference between plywood and regular wood? The answer is hidden in the name. Plywood is made of “plies” (AKA layers) of wood that’s glued together. It’s sold as sheets of wood, and the more plies it has, the thicker the sheet. Because of how it’s constructed it’s pretty easy to work with in DIY projects. It’s also easy to cut/sand it into curves, making it a versatile and easy to work with choice for people who are new to doing wood-based DIY projects.

20 DIY Plywood Furniture Ideas

Some of these DIYs projects use boards of wood in addition to plywood. But don’t be afraid of non-plywood lumber. I used to think working with wood was downright scary, but after my first few messy tries, I realized it’s just like any other craft project material. You just have to learn how to work with it (and how to be safe with your tools), and soon enough you’ll be able to make pretty much anything you want from wood!

If you’ve never made anything from wood before, I’d recommend your first tries be in the presence of someone who knows what they’re doing, especially if you have to use a power tool like a table saw. While you can learn about power tools from tutorials on YouTube, there are so many safety concerns with things like saws and nail guns that’d it’d be best to start off learning in the presence of someone skilled. If you don’t know someone who’s power tool handy, home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s often have classes that can be great introductions to the tools you’d be using in your own DIY plywood furniture projects.

And remember, plywood furniture is best made from furniture grade plywood. That just means grade A plywood, which has very few knots and has a smooth veneer. But technically, other grades of plywood would work, too. The Home Depot website has a handy article that discusses the details of the different grades of plywood. Now let’s take a look at some awesome DIY plywood furniture ideas!

  1. Plywood Chair Plans (Using One Sheet of Plywood) from rogueengineer.com
  2. Plywood Mid-Century Modern Daybed from deeplysouthernhome.com
  3. DIY Modern Seating And Storage from papernstitchblog.com
  4. DIY Plywood Side Table from themerrythought.com

  1. DIY Plywood Poster Frame from averageinspired.com
  2. Walnut DIY Plywood Bed Frame from danslelakehouse.com
  3. DIY Underbed Storage Bins From Plywood from jaimecostiglio.com
  4. DIY Plywood Plant Stand On Wheels from biggerthanthethreeofus.com

  1. DIY Plywood Magazine Files from danslelakehouse.com
  2. Plywood Hair Pin Leg Dining Table from deliacreates.com
  3. DIY Modern Birch Table From One Sheet Of Plywood from boxycolonial.com
  4. Kids Table Build Using Wood Crates And Plywood from petticoatjunktion.com

  1. DIY Color Blocked Velvet Bench from abeautifulmess.com
  2. How To Build An X-Leg Accent Table from anikasdiylife.com
  3. How To Make A Super Simple Bar Stool from prettyhandygirl.com
  4. DIY Faux Planked Desk from maisondepax.com

  1. DIY Industrial Folding Table from homemadebycarmona.com
  2. The Cheapest & Easiest Way To Shiplap from lizmarieblog.com
  3. DIY Custom Craft Desk from occasionallycrafty.com
  4. DIY Craftsman 3-Drawer Nightstand from hertoolbelt.com

Isn’t it great how many different types of furniture you can make from plywood? With a bit of paint, your DIY plywood furniture will look like the professionally designed furniture you can get at the store!

Have you ever made furniture from wood before?

You might also be interested in: 20 Restoration Hardware Inspired DIY Projects

The post 20 DIY Plywood Furniture Ideas appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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People used to think that ramen was just for college students. It was labeled “cheap” and “unhealthy,” so home chefs ignored it, thinking it couldn’t be used to make a truly nutritious meal. Well, ramen is still one of the most inexpensive noodles out there, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy, and it can be plenty filling! All you have to do is ditch the seasoning packet, add some mix-ins and a good sauce, and you have a delicious ramen dinner ready to go! Check out these 8 Ridiculously Delicious Ramen Recipes!

What I really love most about ramen is how quick it is! Of course, some of the following recipes will only be super quick if you have some already cooked chicken or beef on hand. I like to cook extra proteins when I have extra time, and I also freeze leftover meat. That way I always have some chicken and beef ready to throw into a recipe on a busy day.

I have a big bag of gluten free, organic ramen that I keep for busy nights when I want to make one of these quick ramen recipes. You could also stock up on the individual ramen packets when you catch them on sale!

8 Ridiculously Delicious Ramen Recipes 1. Sriracha Ramen Noodle Soup

This sriracha ramen soup from Baker by Nature is a quick and tasty ramen dish!

2. Chicken Ramen Soup

Caribbean Scent’s chicken ramen soup is like chicken noodle soup, but so much heartier!

3. Spicy Korean Beef Ramen

Are you a fan of spicy food? You have to try Creme de La Cumb’s spicy Korean beef ramen recipe!

4. Ramen Vegetable Stir Fry

My vegetable ramen stir fry is an easy vegetarian lunch or dinner!

5. Cheesy Ramen Noodle Bowls

This one is sure to be loved by the kids (or by anyone who loves mac and cheese)! Check out how Chocolate Covered Katie makes this delicious cheesy ramen noodle bowl!

6. Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

Fun fact: you don’t have to boil your ramen noodles before you eat them. Ramen can also be used uncooked and crunchy! For a great cruchy ramen recipe, try Foodie Crush’s Asian ramen noodle salad!

7. Spicy Shrimp Ramen Bowls

This recipe combines two of my favorite quick ingredients- shrimp and ramen! Take a look at how Butter Your Biscuit makes these yummy (and spicy!) shrimp ramen bowls!

8. Garlic Beef and Veggie Ramen

Who needs takeout when you have this garlic beef and veggie ramen recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron!

As you can see, you can do a lot with a few packages of ramen noodles. And none of these recipes are “bare bones” or excessively unhealthy. They’re actually quite filling, and some look very nutritious! So if you haven’t had ramen since college, now’s the time to change your feelings about ramen and give these delicious ramen recipes a try!

How often do you cook with ramen?

You might also be interested in: 8 Easy Meals You Can Make With Rotisserie Chicken

The post 8 Ridiculously Delicious Ramen Recipes appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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My goal this summer is to add to my DIY cleaning products collection. I decided to start with a DIY laundry detergent. We do lots of laundry in my house, so I knew it could save us a lot of money. But rather than make a liquid detergent, I decided to make something even more convenient- DIY detergent tabs! Here is how to make your own Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs!

It’s super easy to make your own homemade laundry detergent tabs, and they’re so convenient to use! They also make it easier for your kids to do their own laundry, as they don’t have to bother with measuring detergent. They can just through their clothes in the machine, toss in a tab, and turn it on. That’s as easy as it gets!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs Materials

1 bar of gentle soap (I used Mrs. Meyers Daily Bar Soap. You can also use Dr. Bronner’s or Ivory)
1 cup washing soda (this can sometimes be found in the laundry aisle of the grocery store)
1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup Epsom salts
1/2 cup laundry scent booster granules (any brand/scent you prefer)
1/2 cup white vinegar

Ice cube tray or square silicone mold

Directions

1. Using a cheese grater, grate one bar of soap into a large bowl. Add washing powder and baking soda to bowl.

2. Add Epsom salts and laundry booster granules. Mix everything together thoroughly.

3. Add vinegar. It will fizz a bit, but that is just the vinegar reacting with the baking soda. Mix the ingredients until you can form a small ball when you squeeze it in your hand. If the mixture is too dry after adding the 1/2 cup of vinegar, add more, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, add the mixture to a mold or ice cube tray. Press firmly. Allow to dry completely. I usually let it sit overnight to make sure it’s completely dry. Then pop out and store your homemade laundry pods in an airtight container.

To Use

When you’re ready to do laundry, drop one tab in with the clothes. These are safe to use in HE washers and you can use these in both front and top load washing machines.

Have you ever used homemade laundry detergent before, as tabs, powder or liquid?

You might also be interested in: 10 Frugal DIY Laundry Products

The post Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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If you want to be a minimalist, you have to declutter! Mainly you’ll need to declutter your home, but minimalism also includes decluttering your life and relationships as well. But how exactly do you declutter your home, life, and relationships with minimalism in mind? Because you’ll need to approach it in a different way from how you would approach traditional decluttering. If you want to start practicing minimalism, but are stuck on How to Declutter for a Minimalist Life, then read these tips below!

Not sure minimalism is worth the bother of decluttering? You won’t feel that way after reading about the benefits of minimalism!

How to Declutter for a Minimalist Life Minimalism and the Home

If you want to declutter for a minimalist life, then you’ll need to successfully declutter your home first. Because while minimalism is about much more than just what stuff you have, having minimal possessions is a big part of minimalism!

That’s because it’s hard to have a simple, focused life if you’re surrounded by stuff. You actually don’t know how distracting everything you have is until you get rid of it. Something as simple as an unwrapped DVD case in your family room can complicate your life in its own little way. Maybe you only got the DVD because of a fear of being left out and not seeing the hot new thing. Or maybe you feel guilt every time you walk by it, thinking of the money you wasted on this thing you never truly intend to see.

But what if that DVD wasn’t in your home? What if you’d decluttered and kept only the things you truly liked and needed? What if you walked into your family room and only saw a small row of DVDs on your media console, and they were all your absolute favorites? You’d be able to walk into the room without any extraneous feelings and focus on what you really wanted to focus on.

Because if we’re all honest with ourselves, the problem isn’t usually that we don’t have enough time for what we want to do. It’s just that we put our time toward other things. Even productive things, like reorganizing the linen closet, take time away from our goals. If you were a minimalist and only had the few linens that you really needed, you wouldn’t have to constantly reorganize, and could instead put that time toward something that brought more value and richness to your life.

So if you want to be a minimalist, declutter! Keep only what you truly need and what you truly want. Donate/sell all those books and movies you plan to read/watch “one day.” Throw out the half finished DIY projects you started months ago. My list of 100 things to throw away today would be a good starting point. And get rid of the big stuff, too. Does your family have 3 cars, but you really only drive 2? Sell/donate the third one! Sell excess cell phones and laptops. Get rid of video game consoles you and the kids don’t use. Get rid of everything you’re holding on to because of fear of possibly needing it one day (if it’s not a first aid kit, it’s unlikely that not having it would cause any major problems). Simplify your life down to the minimal amount of stuff you need to live happily (which is probably a lot less stuff than you think).

You might have to do this in passes, because getting rid of so much stuff in one go is usually too big of a step for some people. So if you need to, every 2 weeks do another decluttering pass until you’re finally down to the minimal amount of items you think you need/want.

Minimalism and Your Life

When you set out to declutter for a minimalist life, don’t just stop with your home. You also need to declutter your life. This is made up of two parts: your activities and your digital life.

It’s important to declutter your life’s activities if you want to truly have the free, peaceful, and focused life that minimalism can provide. That’s because it doesn’t matter if your home hardly has anything in it, if you’re still stressed with all the stuff have plan to do each day! So you need to cut things out. If you’re the type of person who hates saying no to events, clubs, and activities, then putting “no” back in your vocabulary can help a lot very quickly. If you already feel like you’re pretty good at turning down invitations to do things,  then you just need to take a second look at all the things in your schedule. If you’ve joined some groups, think about if they’re really critical to your happiness. Also take a second look at all the activities and classes you do voluntarily. Some people complicate their lives with too many hobbies or by trying to achieve too many goals at once

If you want to declutter for a minimalist life, you also need to include your digital life! That means taking a good long look at all the forums and social media sites you belong to. It may be hard to cut those out of your life, but think of how much time you’ll get back! You should especially make a point of leaving any site that doesn’t make you feel good (there are a lot of toxic communities out there). And don’t forget to delete some social media apps from your phone. All the time you spend checking your phone when it chimes is time you could be putting toward better things (plus, it ruins your focus on whatever you’re working on).

Minimalism and Your Relationships

To fully declutter for a minimalist life, you may also need to declutter your relationships. This sounds harsher than it is. Really all this means is cutting out the toxic people in your life (those that just cause trouble and upset), and reducing how obligated you feel to distant relatives and acquaintances. Some people won’t have to do anything regarding this aspect of their life. But for very social extroverts, this may be tricky. Just remember, you don’t have to make a big deal out of it. You don’t need to make some sort of formal statement, or even unfriend the people on Facebook. Just start slowly becoming more distant. Don’t start as many conversations, and be busy more often when asked to meet up. The whole point of this is to simplify your relationships so you can put more energy toward the relationships that really matter- your relationships with close friends and family.

This all may seem like a lot of work, but it’s only for a short while. If you plan to declutter for a minimalist life, you just need to be ready to spend this time and effort up front for a little bit, and in return you’ll have a simpler, freer life full of only the things that really matter!

Have you ever tried to declutter the non-home-based aspects of your life? Was it difficult or easy?

You might also be interested in: What are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle?

The post How to Declutter for a Minimalist Life appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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Make an easy “homemade” dinner for your family by using one of these recipes that uses a rotisserie chicken for its base. Rotisserie chickens are such a good deal at the grocery store (the Costco & Sams Club chickens are huge). I don’t know why, but they are often less expensive than the uncooked chicken in the meat department! A store-bought rotisserie chicken will also save you time! Since these recipes use already cooked chicken, you’ll be able to easily whip up dinner in no time! So stop at the store and grab a rotisserie chicken. Then choose any of these Easy Meals You Can Make With Rotisserie Chicken to make a quick dinner!

Rotisserie chicken is definitely a busy mom’s secret weapon. You can make so many different types of meals with pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store!

8 Easy Meals You Can Make With Rotisserie Chicken

You might luck into a marked down rotisserie chicken if you time your grocery shopping just right. For example, Walmart has a policy where if the cooked chicken (rotisserie and fried) is not sold within 4 hours of being cooked, it has to be thrown away (I imagine for food safety reasons). But obviously stores don’t want to throw away food they spent money and time to prepare, so at about 3 hours after being cooked, the chicken goes on sale (usually 50% off). So if you can learn your store’s cooking schedule (when each batch is cooked) and get there when the chickens are 3 hours old, you can get them on sale! If you don’t see the chicken marked down, but you’re there 3 hours after the cook time on the chicken’s container, just take it to the deli counter and ask for it to be marked down since it’s 3 hours old.

If you do manage to find rotisserie chickens on sale, buy at least 2 and stock your freezer. You can eat one for dinner with an easy side like bagged salad right away. Then take the meat off the second one and freeze in 2 cup portions for trying one of these easy meals later on. Don’t forget to keep the bones to make chicken stock! There are so many frugal recipes you can make with rotisserie chicken!

And of course, all of the chicken recipes below can be made with chicken other than rotisserie chicken. Have leftover wings or chicken tenders? These easy dinner recipes are a great way to use up leftover chicken of any type!

1. 20-Minute Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta from Gal on a Mission

2. BBQ Chicken Tacos from Lovely Little Kitchen

3. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas from Kevin is Cooking

4. Creamy Tomato Tortellini with Chicken and Bacon from Taste and Tell

5. Rotisserie Chicken Nachos from Amanda’s Cookin’

6. Grilled Avocado Barbecue Chicken Naan Pizza from Noble Pig

7. Tortilla Chicken Pie from Reluctant Entertainer

8. Creamy Chicken Potato Soup from A Cultivated Nest

It’s great how many different meals you can make with a rotisserie chicken! Having one in the freezer can be such a lifesaver on busy days!

What are your favorite ways to use a rotisserie chicken?

You might also be interested in: I’m Just A Dump Cook – Freezer Meals

The post 8 Easy Meals You Can Make With Rotisserie Chicken appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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It should come as no surprise that minimalism is such a hot topic these days. After all, our lives, while filled with more conveniences then ever, are also more hectic than ever. Despite all that humanity has accomplished thus far, we still find ourselves more stressed and with less free time than ever before. Luckily, there’s an easy fix that can fit into any one’s life. And that’s practicing minimalism! But what exactly can you gain from minimalism? Here are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle!

If you’re not 100% sure you know what exactly minimalism is and what the lifestyle entails, I wrote a whole post answering the question What is Minimalism?

What are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle?

Before I cover the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle, I just wanted to give a quick refresher on what a minimalist lifestyle entails. It does not require throwing everything out and living in an empty space. And it does not mean you have to quit your job and move to a farm. Minimalism is just about reducing the elements of your life down to what’s important. So yes, it does mean doing a lot of decluttering. It also includes cutting out activities that don’t really add to your life. And it includes changing your mindset regarding needs and wants. Overall, it’s about creating simplicity, and by creating simplicity, gaining the benefits below!

1. Less Stress

Stress is the number one cause of discontent in most people, so less stress is one of the best benefits of a minimalist lifestyle, in my opinion. A traditional consumerist lifestyle is stressful, what with all the things you’re constantly thinking you need to buy and do. But a minimalist lifestyle only focuses on the most important things. If your current cell phone is still working fine, you don’t have to care that another version just came out. And being in your home is a stress-free experience, as you’re not constantly trying to reorganize excess items, or see items that remind you of things you’re supposed to be wanting/doing.

2. More Money

Being a minimalist saves you money, simply because you realize you don’t actually need to buy that much. Minimalists don’t worry about keeping up with the trends in fashion or home decor. Minimalists also tend to have more energy because their days are less taxing, so you’ll see them spending less money eating out. And it’s rare for them to make stress related impulse purchases.

3. Less Attachments

The more things you have, the more attachments you have, the more stress you have. It’s as simple as that. If you have a boat in your driveway, you may worry that someone is going to steal your boat. If you’re bringing your brand new expensive tablet to the coffee shop with you, you may worry about losing it. And of course, a person with a traditional lifestyle has way more to be concerned about losing if they get an alert that their security system has been set off! While you’ll always worry a bit about the things you have, one of the benefits of minimalism is that you can worry a lot less because you have a lot less stuff!

4. More Rest

Another one of the many benefits of a minimalist lifestyle is more rest. That’s because minimalism includes getting rid of activities and tasks that aren’t really adding anything to your life. It’s rare to find a minimalist spending an hour sorting mail that’s been piling up, and you won’t see a minimalist sitting down for a movie marathon that they’ve decided had to happen because their stack of “to watch” DVDs was piling up. Minimalists fill their lives with only the things they need to do and want to do, but not that they feel they have to do (but really don’t have to). When you cut out the “have to dos” you’ll find you have more time than before, opening up the opportunity for reading, napping, or just going to bed on time.

5. Improved Relationships

When you’re not spending all your time trying to keep up with the Joneses or interacting with all your things, you have more time for family and friends. You can be one of those families that has board game night! And you’ll finally have time to call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. So one of the major benefits of minimalism is having a more active and fulfilling social life!

6. Improved Health

Less stress, stronger relationships, more rest, etc. all equals a healthier life! The free time you gain from minimalism alone could be a major factor in improving your health. It can allow you to make more healthy home cooked meals, spend time exercising, spend time outside getting vitamin D, and more. It’s not rare to find people who say they’re feeling better and more energetic after just a month of minimalist living.

7. More Happiness

Not surprisingly, one of the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle is feeling happier. And how couldn’t you be happier with a richer, freer, healthier life? On top of that, minimalists may experience less fear and more confidence. The lack of fear comes from having less to lose if things go south (you could invest more time in a start-up idea if you don’t have tons of expenses), and the increase in confidence comes from learning to be fine with who you are and how your life is (and not constantly comparing yourself to others).

So overall, a minimalist lifestyle gives you a freer, happier life where you can focus more on what you really, truly want to do with your time. It may be a little difficult to get started changing your lifestyle to a minimalist one, but with all these benefits, it’s worth the trouble!

More to Read and Watch About Minimalism

Simplify by Joshua Becker

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki

Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things

The Minimalist Mindset by Danny Dover

Have you ever considered a minimalist lifestyle before? What kept you from trying it?

You might also be interested in: What is Minimalism?

The post What are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle? appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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We will be moving into a kitchen that’s  smaller than the one we currently have if we go with the house I showed you (which I’m 99% sure about). I’m not quite sure how I’m going to set things up and where I’ll put everything but I thought I’d share some great ideas for organizing a small kitchen that I found!

Moving is such a great opportunity to not only get rid of stuff but to start out more organized! I’m really looking forward to that! And kitchen organization usually isn’t too difficult, even when the kitchen already has food, plates, etc. in the cupboards. All you need are some clever organization solutions, like the ideas below!

10 Ideas for Organizing a Small Kitchen 1. Pull Out Rolling Rack

People get really creative when it comes to organizing a small kitchen! Make a narrow rolling rack for that wasted space next to the fridge, like this one by DIY Passion.

2. Inner Door Spice + Utensil Organizer

Organize your kitchen cabinet door insides so that you can use them to organize your spices and utensils, like this clever solution by Jenna Burger.

3. Burner Cover Working Surface

Find ways to give yourself more workable surfaces like this project. Here’s how to build burner covers that extend your counter top space like in this great example from The Kitchnn.

4. Backsplash Baskets

Using your backsplash area is a great way to keep your counters free, like in this organized kitchen from No. 29 Design (It looks like this post has since moved. If you know where the new link is, let us know and we’ll update the link).

5. Cabinet Pegboard Organizer

This is a great way to organize a small kitchen that doesn’t have many drawers. Check out the very organized cupboard from Food Network.

6. Sink Cutting Board

Organizing a small kitchen requires making use of all available space. Get a cutting board that goes over part of your sink for more counter space, like in this kitchen from Sweet Verbena.  I know Ikea sells one but I’ve seen some at TJMaxx as well.

7. Shower Caddy Produce Rack

Use the space at the end of  a cabinet like this idea from Domestic Diva. She hung a shower caddy up and used it to store some vegetables.

8. Pegboard Pot Rack

If you have the wall space, a pegboard pot rack like this one from Rice Designs is a great way to free up cabinet space.

9. Side of Fridge Spice Organizer

There are so many clever kitchen storage ideas out there! Utilize the side of your refrigerator with narrow plastic storage baskets like in this example from Instructables. I’ve seen these little baskets at dollar stores.

10. Under Shelf Racks

These look like great kitchen cabinet organizers! Double your cabinet space by using under the shelf racks like in this organized cabinet from HGTV.

I hope you got some ideas for making the most of your small kitchen!

What tips do you have that make the most of your kitchen?

You might also like: 11 Laundry Room Organization Ideas

The post 10 Ideas For Organizing a Small Kitchen appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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A delicious cup of herbal tea can be used to soothe all sorts of everyday ailments like sleeplessness, nausea and digestive issues. Herbal tea also makes a good alternative to regular tea and coffee, especially if you want to reduce your caffeine intake. While buying premade tea mixes or even dried herbs can be pricey, growing your own herbal tea garden is a more budget friendly (and natural) solution! Plus herbs are easy to grow and look beautiful in the garden! Take a look below at how to grow your own herbal tea garden, and see how simple it can be to grow the ingredients you need right in your own backyard!

It’s not hard to grow your own herbal tea garden! First, let’s look at tea garden plants that are ideal for tea making. Here is a list of herbs perfect for using in your homemade tea recipes, plus a little bit of information on how to grow the specific herbs. At the end are few herbal tea recipes for you to try!

How To Grow Your Own Herbal Tea Garden

Two important things I need to point out.

    1. Do not use chemical pesticides on your herbal tea plants! Whatever you spray them with will wind up in your tea.
    2. Before adding any herbal remedy to your diet, it’s best to speak with your doctor or do some research to find any possible interactions or risks. You’d be surprised, but some tea ingredients can really interact with some common medications. For example, there are over a dozen medications that can have interactions with black tea.
Herbs to Grow in your Herbal Tea Garden:

1. Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the easiest and most popular tea making herbs to grow in your herbal tea garden. You can use the blooms in your tea making, which gives it a sweet taste and can help with sleeplessness and anxiety.

To grow chamomile, buy a ready-to-go seedling from your local gardening center so you can start enjoying blooms sooner. Chamomile prefers well drained soil, moderate sun, and will do well if planted with other herbs such as rosemary.

2. Lavender
Used to help with headaches, anxiety, and sleeplessness, lavender is an easy to grow perennial that will come back in full force each year. It is also one of the more popular and widely used tea making herbs, making it one that I highly recommend you plant when you grow your own herbal tea garden.

To grow lavender, you can plant from seedlings or seeds but seedlings are preferred so you can enjoy a quick harvest. Plant in nutrient rich, well drained soil, spacing seedlings 6 inches apart. You can harvest once you see the small blooms start to open.

3. Mint
Who doesn’t love mint tea? If you have an upset stomach or digestive issues, mint can help. There are sooo many varieties of mint that you can grow! All which will give you similar benefits but have slightly different flavors. Mint is widely used in tea making, and the fact that it spreads so quickly makes it a budget friendly plant that gives you bloom for your buck.

To grow mint, plant from seeds or seedlings. It is advised you plant mint in containers since it can become invasive if planted in beds or gardens. It will do well in shade to moderate sun, and enjoys well drained soil and a good two inches of water per week. Check out this post on reasons you should grow mint . It’s a great herb to have in your garden for lots of reasons!

4. Ginger
Many people think of ginger as a root but it is classified as a spice or herb. Ginger has been relied on for hundreds of years for its medicinal benefits. If you wish to grow ginger, you will find that it can help with muscle aches, cold and flu symptoms, and can even be stored for the winter months (via drying) when these conditions run rampant.

You can grow ginger from an organic rhizome (root) from the grocery store or  purchase plants from garden centers. Ginger can be grown in containers or in the ground.  Space plants a good 6 inches from each other and make sure they enjoy moist soil that drains well. Ginger will do best in full sun, but can survive in moderate sun as well.

5. Stevia
You may have heard about stevia and how many people are using it in place of sugar. It is naturally sweet and so it can be used to naturally sweeten your tea mixtures. While stevia doesn’t have medicinal properties that we know of, it can help you eliminate sugar from your tea.

Stevia does well when planted as a seedling. It thrives in full sun but will survive in moderate sun as long as the soil drains well and it gets a good 3 inches of direct watering per week. Mulch can help keep its roots cool and encourage growth.

6. Rosemary
Rosemary is often thought of as a savory herb, but it does work well in your tea mixtures and should be added to your tea garden. It can help with adding antioxidants to your diet, keeping your immune system strong, and keeping your body feeling young!

Rosemary can be planted from seed or seedlings and can start to be harvested in small batches as soon as you have foliage. It prefers part and full sun, with plants spaced at least 6 inches apart. Plant in a flower bed so you can enjoy your rosemary for years to come.

7. Lemongrass
Lemongrass can be used to make tea as well as used in various other recipes (especially Asian cuisines). Instead of using leaves like for most herbal teas, you use the stalks of the lemongrass plant to make tea.

Plant lemongrass as a seedling in full sun. Lemongrass forms a tall, grassy clump 3 to 5 feet tall almost like a ornamental grass (so be sure to give it plenty of space). It also does well in containers.

8. Lemon Verbena
If you suffer from stiff joints and overall body aches and pains, lemon verbena can help. It can be a nice addition to your herbal tea garden, and will offer the area lots of sweet smells as well. Easy to grow, it pairs well with other herbs for the perfect tea mix.

To grow lemon verbena, you may have to plant from seed since the seedlings can be hard to find at most gardening centers. It does well when planted in containers or beds, likes well drained soil, and prefers moderate to full sun.

9. Echinacea.
Echinacea (purple coneflower) is a beautiful addition to your flower garden but it is also classified as a herb. The buds of echinacea can be used to help fight off colds and flu and can also be used to help boost the immune system. So it’s an attractive herb that doesn’t just add beauty to your tea garden, but Echincea tea can offer health support as well. Echinacea should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers, or young children.

You can find echinacea seedlings for sale in most areas, but if not, try planting from seed. You can harvest as soon as you see the blooms. It does prefer full sun, protected roots (mulch can help), as well as a boost of liquid plant food every 6 weeks.

10. Rose hips.
A rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant and can be used in tea making. They offer a nice addition of vitamin C to your mixtures which helps reduce inflammation in the body. You can choose from all sorts of roses, giving you lots of choices with colors and shapes in your tea garden.

You can harvest rose hips as soon as they are evident on the plant. Caring for roses can be a bit tricky, as they are particular about soil types and do enjoy full sun only. Each plant will differ in care, so it is always smart to consult the individual planting directions. Just be sure you’re using hips from a plant that has not been sprayed with pesticide. Here are some organic rose hips in case you don’t grow roses.

If you’d like to read more about growing your own herbal tea garden, you’ll love this book I found for you on Amazon. It explains “how to grow a large variety of plants in your own garden, on a balcony or even on a windowsill could become your tea cupboard. It shows you how to grow your tea from seeds, cuttings, or small plants, as well as which parts of the plant are used to make tea.” Plus it has lovely illustrations.

Now that you have an idea of what plants and herbs do well in an herbal tea garden, let’s talk about how to prepare a basic herbal tea mixture. Here is a simple recipe for chamomile tea, which is perfect for trying the next time you need help relaxing!

Herbal Tea Recipes Chamomile Tea Recipe:

Ingredients:
– 1 cup of water
– 2 tablespoons of chamomile flowers, dried (I love this dehydrator) and crushed
strainer or tea infuser set
– small saucer
– cup or mug

For most of your tea recipes, you will use your herbs in dried and crushed form. Learning how to properly store your crushed herbs is important to keeping them fresh. Be sure you use an airtight jar or container for best results.

Directions:
1. Heat your 1 cup of water to a boil. You can do this in the microwave if you wish.
2. Place the strainer over a cup or mug.
3. Place the crushed herbs in the strainer.
4. Pour the hot water over the strainer.
5. It is smart to place a saucer over the strainer to keep the steam.
6. Let the mixture steep for 20-30 minutes. The longer you let it steep, the stronger it will be.
7. Remove the saucer and strain as needed.

You can then sweeten the tea if you wish, adding natural honey or even some sugar and cream. Remember that stevia is also a natural way to sweeten your tea!

Now, just allow the tea to cool to a comfortable temperature and enjoy!

More Tea Recipes

Peppermint Tea Recipe @ Natural Green Mom

Lavender Mint Tea @ Taste of Home

Rosemary Lemon Tea @ Skinny Ms

Ginger Tea @ A Pretty Life In The Suburbs

Have you ever made tea from something you grew?

You might also like: How To Plant A Container Herb Garden

The post How To Grow Your Own Herbal Tea Garden appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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The Pleasures of Homemaking by Savanna Williams - 3w ago

Minimalism is a term that’s been popping up all over the Internet in the last year or so, usually connected with articles about how it benefits you. But not as many articles actually explain what minimalism is! That’s probably because minimalism is a simple idea that can get complex fast if you think about it too much. But at its core, minimalism isn’t anything complicated. It’s just a certain way of thinking and living. To help you figure what minimalism is (and how to start living a minimalist lifestyle), here is my answer to What is Minimalism?

I love minimalism because I see it as the perfect blend of frugal living and organization!

What is Minimalism?

The shortest answer to “What is minimalism?” is this: minimalism is simplicity.

Now let’s expand on that, because that’s pretty vague.

Minimalism is intentional simplicity. It’s purposefully working against the ideas ingrained in you by a consumerist society so that you can live a simple, uncluttered life that allows you to focus on what’s most important to you (career goals, family, and/or hobbies, etc.). And minimalism doesn’t just refer to your home, though you’ll see a lot of references to minimalist decluttering. Minimalism also includes the things you do (only committing to activities you really care about), and even the people you spend time with (cutting “toxic” people out of your life is good regardless of whether you want to be a minimalist or not). Minimalism is about reducing your life down to the most essential aspects, and ignoring temptations toward anything else.

What minimalism is not is some anti-possessions, monk-style, extreme lifestyle. You don’t need to sell your home with everything in it and move to a farmhouse or shack in the woods (though many minimalists love the ideas in Thoreau’s Walden). You can keep living where you’re living, and you can still buy things. You just have to change the way you think about some things.

How Minimalists Think

Learning how minimalists think is critical to answering the “What is minimalism?” question. In general, all people think based around a common belief system. This belief system is core to how they see the world, and it’s a combo of what they’ve experienced and what they’ve been taught.

Minimalists also have a belief system that informs their every thought, and thus their actions. In general, their belief system is the following: that the world is too hectic because we’re all trying to do and buy too much. They also believe that happiness is found in simplicity, and that you can have both a modern life and a happy simple life, if you’re careful what you put in that life. Lastly, many minimalists believe that society has become too consumerist, that there’s too much focus on acquiring and not enough focus on experiencing.

Let’s take a real life example of how minimalists think vs. how consumerists think. Let’s say that in a store, there’s a display for the newest smartphone. A heavily consumerist person may rush to go buy it, since they know it’s the new hot thing and they don’t want to be left out.

A more moderate consumerist may look at the new phone, consider the price, then decide not to purchase it. But instead, they’ll spend a good chunk of time wishing they did have the money for the phone, and feeling bad that they don’t.

In contrast, a minimalist may glance at the phone, then glance at the perfectly fine phone they have, shrug, and keep on walking. They don’t need another phone, and getting another phone isn’t critical to any of their major goals at the moment.

And it’s not all about money, though obviously the minimalist is the most frugal person in the example above. It’s really about quality of life. Even if the minimalist had tons of money in the bank, they still wouldn’t buy the phone because they know that the phone would only add the complication of another possession to their life. It would only take away, not add to the richness of their life.

How to Start Thinking Like a Minimalist

So now that you’ve found the answer to “What is minimalism?” you may be wondering how to start becoming a minimalist. It can be difficult to change from a consumerist mindset to a minimalist mindset, because they’re essentially polar opposites of each other. In the United States, society starts kids on consumerist thinking early (think of all the ads on kids’ TV channels and all the tie-in merchandise related to kids’ favorite characters). So by the time you’re an adult with an income and credit cards, you’re tempted to buy 50% of everything that comes your way. Being frugal reduces these consumerist urges, but not as much as minimalism does. Because while frugality teaches you to save money to be able to buy things you really want, minimalism asks you to consider why you want the thing in the first place.

The best way to start changing your mindset toward a minimalist one is to take some time and really think. Think about what you truly want out of life, and why you want it. Do you want it because society tells you that you should want it, or makes that life seem perfect and easy? Or do you want it because of some more personal reason?

Also think about who you want to be in terms of how you want to act. Some people start acting a certain way so that they can succeed at their job (for example, a young lawyer acting hard-hearted), only to find out that faking that way of being turns into truly being that person. And they may not like the person they become, even if it helps them achieve their goals and get a lot of money.

And lastly, think about how you truly want to spend your time. Because when you ask people how they ideally would spend their time, very few say they want to spend ages working at the office so they can have a lot of money. They just want the freedom and relaxation that they believe a lot of money can bring. Here’s a secret- you can have that free, relaxing life a lot easier with minimalism!

Depending on how you’ve been living so far, becoming a minimalist may be a little tricky, or rather difficult. But it’s something anyone can do, and trust me, you’ll feel great once you start!

What do you think about minimalism? Do you think it’s a hard lifestyle to start?

You might also be interested in: How Simple Living Can Make Your Life Better

The post What is Minimalism? appeared first on A Cultivated Nest.

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