Baking Brownies

Hey Everyone!

I have wanted brownies for the past couple of days, so I finally made some today. I had today off so it was a perfect time to bake brownies.

While I love baking all year round, I love it even more when the weather is cooler, and now that Autumn is here and today has been in the low 60’s, it was a perfect day to do some baking.

I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie mix and a stick of earth balance vegan butter alternative. I did use eggs this time because I wanted the brownies to turn out right.

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Stash Tea Haul

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This past weekend I had gone out to the stash tea store in Tigard.

Beings that Fall arrived quickly and working a new job where I work at night, having a variety of tea, but caffeinated and decaffeinated / uncaffeinated was critical. I picked up two more boxes of English Breakfast Tea as well as a variety of other teas, including Acai Berry herbal tea, cranberry pomegranate herbal tea, raspberry and white decaf tea, Christmas Eve herbal tea and Christmas Morning black and green tea blend.

Besides the fact that the Stash English Breakfast Tea is my favorite English Breakfast Tea, Stash is also a local company. It is based in Tigard, Oregon which is one of the suburbs of Portland.

I am all for supporting local companies. I like keeping my money in where I live. By buying local I am supporting my community and those who live and work here.

While at the Stash store, I also purchased a hydro flask travel mug, for my tea. While I have several travel mugs, none of them are really insulated. So they would burn my hand while allowing my tea to cool off really fast. I have found in the few days I have had my hydro flask, that I can make myself tea at 10:45 at night (before I go to work) and it is still hot at 6:00 am the next morning. I like having hot tea throughout my shift.

Haven’t used Scentsy much lately

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I got thinking recently of how little I have used my Scentsy warmers and wax in recent weeks and months.

This summer was so hot, it was often too hot to have my window open to help with air flow, and it was super smoky this summer to boot.

Since the weather has changed, I have been sleeping during the day, and for the few hours I am home and awake before I leave for work, it has been late, so I haven’t used any Scentsy in weeks.

Beings that I have been up this afternoon and don’t have to think about going to be again to be back up at 10:30 pm to go to work since I have the next couple days off as well as the weekend, I am enjoying my Scentsy warmer and warming some Apple S’mores. Apple S’mores is one of my favorite scents, especially for fall. It’s sad that Scentsy only sells it during the spring and summer, because it is more of an autumn scent to me.

Autumn Decorations Haul

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Today I stopped at Joann’s, and picked some more fall decorations.

Over the past several years I have been working on my stash of fall decorations.

My goal is to keep my fall and Christmas decorations to two plastic tubs a piece, including seasonal Scentsy warmers. Once I am able to get a place of my own again, I really want to organize my fall and Christmas decorations and Scentsy warmers, and try to condense as much as possible. Once I am able to move again, I also want to go through my stuff, especially from college and see about donating some of the stuff that I haven’t used in 7.5 years that I don’t want or need again for a place of my own (like cookware, dishes and furniture). I know there are boxes full of clothes that no longer fit or are my style.

I am really trying to find the balance of living simply, without too much in the way of material things while balancing making wherever I live feel like a home. I have totally been inspired by those who live in off grid cabins or build their own off grid home on a homestead.

I went back and watched one of the first Pure Living for Life videos where Alyssa was talking about why she was selling her relatively new Subaru and that she and Jesse were in the process of moving to their 5 acre property, and were working on doing it debt free. The point she made was pretty much that for many people we go to jobs that we may not necessarily like, to pay in the debts so we can have the things that on the social level we are expected to have and congratulated on. She had also stated that when she and Jesse told people about them going and living off grid and building their own house, and doing what they are doing now, everyone they knew told them that they were in essence crazy.

While I don’t know that I want to totally go off grid, the idea of building my own house (with help of course), and living on some property, and live debt free is the kind of life I want to live. Being able to live in a house I helped build from the ground up, and be able to entertain, and enjoy the house and property, and share that with others is something I am working toward.

What is Simple Homemaking?

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The past couple years I have been feeling like the direction my blog is going to go will be changing.

I have known that living in the city is not who I am, or where I am the most authentic as well as where this blog kind of stalls out. There is only so much I feel like I can do in the city with a smaller backyard.

To me, simple homemaking, is living debt free, growing and raising my own food, doing a lot more DIY stuff, and not having a lot of frivolous material knick-knacks. There is a fine line between making a house feel homey, and going overboard.

I am wanting to go even “Simpler” in terms of how I live, and not buy more material things unless I need them, as well as make as much of my own stuff as I can, as well as grow and raise a lot of my own. That is my 5 – 10 year goal, to be a homesteader.

Fall Has to Be Coming

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Saturday, I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and picked up some more flours to make up the brown rice flour mix I use for gluten free baking. I also got a package of the gluten free Shortbread Cookie mix.

Yesterday I had baked my Shortbread cookies, for being gluten free & vegan they turned out amazing. I had used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp on them prior to baking them.

I had also cooked up some chicken yesterday, but I needed that for dinner. Cooking for dinner isn’t always the most interesting.

This summer, the wildfire smoke has been so bad. It hasn’t been just one wildfire that has been causing our air to be at an unhealthy level quite a bit, and our skies to look like the photo above. It has also been a very hot summer, the hottest since at least 2009.

While I was out and about for my job interviews today, I noticed that quite a few trees were turning already. I have been over this heat all summer, and I am so ready for cooler weather. The stores and nature (despite the heat and wildfire smoke), is leading me to believe that autumn is coming, and soon.

Peaches Galore

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I had mentioned in a previous post that over the weekend, while at one of the farm stands, we picked up 60 pounds of fresh, local peaches. 

Today we canned most of them. We got a total of 3 batches (21 quarts) of peaches. We also got two batches of muffins, a batch of peach freezer jam and some left over to eat out of the 60 pounds. 


My mom and I had gotten on the subject about how in the olden days women used to can in houses without AC over a wood burning stove, in dresses with longer sleeves and long skirts. I had been thinking about that earlier in the day, and in the days and weeks prior to today, about how much women did in the summer in addition to their regular routines. Fixing meals, doing laundry, cleaning house all didn’t stop just because canning season arrived. They would be out in the garden and picking the fruit and putting it up in addition to taking care of a family and a home.

My mom and I do why we do because we enjoy doing it. In the current day and age it is easy enough to get fruit to put up. I can only imagine how hard it can be in years when the weather is uncooperative and / or crops fail, and you then don’t have food to put up for winter. 

I had gone out earlier in the evening and picked raspberries and to check on my little lettuce plants. My lettuce starts seem to be taking. As much as I don’t like the hot weather, the plants do go better when it is warm / hot and sunny. I am totally hoping that I can get some lettuce off my little plants before the weather gets too cool. 

Today was extremely productive, and I am tired for all the right reasons. I love days when I work hard and get a lot done.