At first backyard fruit trees seemed daunting to me. Take a few quick searches and youtube videos plus a few years time & we've perfected (or so I think) our backyard orchard. Knowing what zone you dwell is the best place to start since certain trees require certain climates. As much as I'd love an orange tree, Pennsylvania is not the most forgiving climate. We're zone 7, so peaches and apples work well. We also have a fig tree we're maturing to eventually move outside too!
This year we have 2 peach trees (an elberta & haven variety) and a 5-in-1 apple tree (YES it grows 5 different varieties of apples!) but we've learned, in our environment, we have to be diligent about a few steps in late winter to ensure a bountiful crop.
1. Pruning: in late winter (I usually use the last week of February as my marker) each tree needs to be pruned. Different trees have different pruning requirements but in our case, we prune back around 25-40% of the tree to allow for bright sun exposure & ensure each main branch has adequate ventilation. For an active demonstration, I searched youtube!
2. Fertilization: We use a 10-10-10 fertilizer on our trees. To keep us in check, we prune and fertilize the same time & intentionally line it up with a good rain if we can.
Total it takes about 20 minutes to prune and fertilize !
THAT time of year is here.... we all know it. cookie season!
This tried & true dup will take you 10 minutes & cost all of $10 for dozens of cookies!
3 ingredients, it's that simple to get the crispy, crunchy, minty satisfaction of a mint cookie :)
mint cookie dup
What you will need...
+ 1 c white sugar (to make it sugar free, sub maple syrup)
+ 1 c water
+ 1 TBSP vanilla extract & 1 TBSP almond extract (some almond extracts are made from apricots, so if you have a nut allergy, be sure to check your label or leave almond extract out)
+ salted butter OR butter extract (sub plant butter for allergen-friendly enjoyment)
+ espresso/coffee of choice
+ almond milk (sub oat milk for allergen-friendly enjoyment)
Homemade Simple Syrup
Bring the water, sugar, vanilla and almond extract to a slow boil stirring until sugar dissolves then add a dollop of salted butter (or 1 TBSP butter extract) and whisk until mixed.
To Make It Hot...
Add a few tablespoons to the bottom of your mug & pour coffee/espresso over syrup. Next, froth or steam your milk of choice & pour over top.
To Make It Iced...
Take a large glass or mason jar filled with ice. Add a few tablespoons of syrup to bottom of your glass. Add cold brew coffee or espresso and top with cold frothed milk of choice. *Optional, add milk of choice not frothed.
Store the Syrup...
Store in fridge 7-10 days, but let's be honest, you'll enjoy it so much it won't last that long!
What do you think?!
It’s everywhere; BACK TO SCHOOL everything. And while kiddos everywhere are itching to get back (or moms, but who’s keeping track anyway?), the new school year brings new routines. No more rushing or feeling at a loss for what to pack. Conquer packing lunches with these super simple & eco-friendly suggestions!
Most kids are picky eaters to begin with, so by portioning out their favorites, you can ensure they’re getting a good balance. Check out these bento lunch boxes, which make portion control a breeze! I usually stick silicone muffin liners in the 3 compartments. That way, my guy can set it all out without having to eat straight from the bento! Want to seem like mom of the year ? Change up the colors of the liners for holidays to make it fun for the kids! Red and green for Christmas, orange and yellow around Halloween, red & pink in February, etc. You get the picture!
Place 2 of the exact same sandwiches in front of a toddler, only cut one into a fun shape. Guess which one will obviously taste better. These cookie cutters are great for jazzing up any boring sammy! It’s a fun way to spice up their lunches, especially if they get to decide what shape to use for their sandwich. Heart shapes are adorable for the little ladies, stars for the little men. The smaller cutters are fun for watermelon ( & obviously cookies too)!
Raise your hand if you live to be a toddlers snack lady? *Raises hand* In an effort to reduce waste, especially plastic, we phased out all plastic snack bags for these adorable snack packs. I had each of the boys pick their own pattern, too, so I could fill with their individual favorites. They come in a 3 pack and are machine washable.
And let’s not forget about hydration. Reusable water bottles, to me, are the very best option (& greener for Mother Earth!) I can honestly say we have tried almost every style out there and by far have found hydroflask water bottles work best for us. There is even a size for everyone! The little silicone boot keeps the condensation at bay, which is a plus for those little hands. I strive to make my hydration goals each day (hello supple skin!) and feel like I always drink more water when I have a straw. This one is perfect giving the little ones access for a quick sip!
I hope you found this short list of our lunch necessities helpful! What are some of your school lunch must haves?!
If you're anything like me, you set out on the weekends with a mile long to do list with a little bit of everything on there.
We had some family time at the orchard followed by a Lowe's trip (because who doesn't go to Lowe's on the weekend?), outdoor work, intense cleaning, never ending laundry, and continuing to purge one room at a time. As I look around, I am realizing we apparently have alot that "sparks joy," still. We even had some time to spare for an impromptu cook out with some neighbors. While we certainly chipped away at the list, one of the exciting moments was seeing our fall garden start to bloom!
So as I sit here on a Monday, I can't help but feel like we're set up for a good week. Monday always feels like a good fresh start, don't you think? There is something renewing in returning to weeklong habits after 2 days of rest.
It's also hard to even believe we're talking about fall already. However, as I sit on the patio writing this, hot cup of coffee in hand, there is a crisp morning breeze, which is exciting me for fall. It's encouraging me to pop a transitional summer/fall blend in the diffuser even of Thieves, Eucalyptus and lemon! Last weekend we laid out and planted our fall garden seeds. This weekend they popped through! We're officially on our way to homegrown fall veggies, which will be a first for us.
This year, we are trying out this Survival Garden set of seeds we found on amazon. You can check them out for yourself here! They come in an awesome variety pack and are giving us a little bit of everything to try out. So far, we're super impressed with the quality and everything has sprouted on time.
- Buttercrunch lettuce: Germinates in 5-10 days; ready to pick 60-70 days.
- Kale: Germinates 6-8 days; ready to pick 55-70 days.
- Beets: ready to pick in 45-60 days.
- Turnips: ready to pick 30-60 days.
- Peas: Germinates in 7-14 days; ready to pick 21-30 days.
- Beans: Germinates in 7-10 days; ready to pick 50-55 days.
- Butternut squash: Germinates in 7-10 days; ready to pick in 90-110 days.
Like I said, this is a fall gardening is a first for us, so any pointers are greatly appreciated!
What are your favorite fall veggies?
the most basic suburban .....
For starters..... Basic. The term can be perceived to mean many different things. To me, it's; Simple. At the core, I am the same as many of you tuning in (major thank you for being here)!
I've become a natural living & wellness advocate working to do better everyday for my family & would love to help you do the same!
I take advantage of the perfect imperfections each day brings, while trying to raise good, kind babies.
So, if you ever catch yourself wondering what a simple suburban life is like, you can find me, The Basic Suburban, chasing my tiny humans, talking to my houseplants, dreaming of the next DIY & trying to smile & laugh my way through the day.
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