A Visit to Cold Antler Farm

I have been following the blog  Cold Antler Farm daily, for some time now and feel like a personal friend of author/farmer Jenna Woginrich. Jenna lives in Jackson New York and purchased her own farm a year ago. You can read about her daily life with her dogs, sheep, chickens, fiber & meat rabbits, geese, ducks, pigs and turkeys. She will share information about her hive, garden, mountain music, the civil war, local food and much more. She is a young single girl learning to farm one day at a time. This down to earth author not only takes care of her own farm but works a full time job (to pay the bills), writes, has workshops at her farm and takes the time to share it all on her blog. I I am proud to own all of her books. Take a few moments to check out her blog and books, she is an amazing young woman!

Simple Pleasures


Natural Crafting and Decorating

I love to decorate with natural elements, it not only saves money but brings a bit of the outdoors in. I fill rustic bowls with naturals like pine cones, orange peel potpourri, acorns, nuts and tree pods. There is nothing more cozy to me than fluffing your nest for autumn and winter with naturals!

Orange peel potpourri recipe:
Peel from 2 oranges (peel & dry on counter)
cinnamon sticks
spices: nutmeg, cinnamon & cloves
mix & keep in bowls.

Simple Pleasures


Homemade Liquid Soap

1 bar Castile soap,(I use Dr Bronners.) You should be able to find castile soap in a health food store, Trader Joes)
8 cups of water
3 T glycerin (found in drug store)
Fragrance or essential oils of your choice, 12 drops or as much scent as you like.

Begin by grating your bar of castile soap. You can do this by hand with a cheese grater or if you have a food processor that will grate you can use this and it will go much quicker. Put your grated soap into a sauce pan and cover with water. Simmer until the soap has melted. Add glycerin and essential oils, (I use lavendar & a few drops of tea tree oil for antibacterial). Let this mixture sit for about 8 hours. Then pour into hand soap containers.

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Cast Iron Cookware

I have always wanted cast iron cookware, lately I have been researching a purchase and thought I would share this information with you. 

Cast iron cookware was especially popular among homemakers and housekeepers during the first half of the 20th century. Most American households had at least one cast iron cooking pan, and such brands as Griswold and Wagner Ware were especially popular. The Lodge Manufacturing company is currently the only major manufacturer of cast iron cookware in the United States, as most other cookware suppliers use pots and pans made in Asia or Europe. Emeril Lagasse and Rachel Ray also have lines of pre-seasoned cast iron.
The 20th century also saw the introduction and popularization of enamel-coated cast iron cookware.
Cast iron fell out of favor in the 1960s and 1970s, as teflon-coated non-stick cookware was introduced to the public and quickly became the item of choice in many kitchens. Today, a large selection of cookware can be purchased from kitchen suppliers, of which cast iron comprises only a small fraction. However, the durability and reliability of cast iron as a cooking tool has ensured its survival, and cast iron cookware is still recommended by most cooks and chefs as an essential part of any kitchen.
Cast iron's ability to withstand and maintain very high cooking temperatures makes it a common choice for searing or frying, and its excellent heat diffusion and retention makes it a good option for long-cooking stews or braised dishes. Because cast iron skillets can develop a "non-stick" surface, they are also a good choice for egg dishes, particularly scrambled eggs. Other uses of cast iron pans include making cornbread and pineapple upside-down cake.
Most bare cast iron pots and pans are cast from a single piece of metal in order to provide even distribution of heat. This quality allows most bare cast iron pans to serve as dual-purpose stove top fryers and oven baking dishes. Many recipes call for the use of a cast iron skillet or pot, especially so that the dish can be initially seared or fried on the stove top; the dish is then transferred into the oven, pan and all, to finish baking. Likewise, cast iron skillets can double as baking dishes. Cornbread in particular is seen as a food item that is best prepared in a cast iron skillet: the iron pan is heated beforehand in the oven, the ingredients are combined in the heated pan, and the dish is then placed directly into the oven for fast baking. This differs from many other cooking pots, which have varying components that may be damaged by the excessive temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
The heat distribution quality of an iron pan also includes its handle or handles. For most cast iron pans, the handles become hot during cooking and can burn the hands of anyone attempting to handle them without protection, such as wearing heavy gloves or using a potholder. 
Cast iron cookware leaches small amounts of iron into the food. Anemics, and those with iron deficiencies, may benefit from this effect, though those with excess iron issues (for example, people with hemochromatosis) may suffer negative effects.
A seasoned pan has a stick-resistant coating created by polymerized oils and fats. Seasoning is a process by which a layer of animal fat or vegetable oil is applied and cooked onto cast iron or carbon steel cookware. The seasoning layer protects the cookware from rusting, provides a non-stick surface for cooking, and prevents food from interacting with the iron of the pan. Enamel-coated cast iron pans do not need seasoning, as the enamel coating prevents rust in most instances.
Because ordinary cookware cleaning techniques like scouring or washing in a dishwasher can remove or damage the seasoning on a bare cast iron pan, these pans should not be cleaned like most other cookware. Some cast iron aficionados advocate never cleaning cast iron pans at all, simply wiping them out after use, or washing them with hot water and a stiff brush. Others advocate washing with mild soap and water, and then re-applying a thin layer of fat or oil. A third approach, advocated by television chef Alton Brown, is to scrub with coarse salt and a paper towel or clean rag.

Simple Pleasures

Tiny Houses

I am fascinated by alternative living, whether its a cabin, yurt, tiny home, or caboose. I've been reading a book about the new trend in frugal living. The Small House Book by Jay Shafer. I wanted to share it with you and show you some awesome homes, that may be small, but are big on organization and charm and with a yearly utility bills of $65 is very affordable. Click here to go to a cool blog, Tiny house.

Here's what the book is all about:

• How to build a small home for just 20 grand!
•Full color book that's loaded with pictures and you'll see that the houses are divided into two sizes. First you'll see the tiny houses, which are homes that range from 65 square feet to 140 square feet. And small houses that range from 250 square feet to 840 square feet.
• 22 beautiful home plans .
• The types of building materials you'll need.
• 7 critical organizing principles and 42 design elements to create a very efficient little home.
• 14 tools (many of which you probably already own) that Jay used to build his very own home.
• How to efficiently heat your home so you stay warm even in areas that are prone to snow storms.
• How to efficiently cool your home so you'll feel fine even in the dog days of summer in Southern states.
• How to set up plumbing that really works.
• How to set up a sanitary and convenient compost toilet that's odorless.
• How to get water running into your home.
• How to set up comfortable sleeping arrangements.
• How to set up a terrific little kitchen where you can cook great meals, just as well as anybody in an over sized kitchen.
• Step-by-step instructions for attaching a house to a trailer - pictures included.
• What you need to know about setting up appliances.
• What you need to know about solar power.
• How to properly power your home.
• How you can fit a family into a small home.

Simple Pleasures


Welcome !

Hi, I'm Michelle, aka: Nanny Shell, Welcome to my blog Simple Pleasures! This is my second blog, the first I had for over 2 years but decided I wanted a fresh start with a focus on Simple living. I am a country girl at heart living in the Illinois suburbs. For those of you who don't already know me, here's the 411. I am an old fashioned type of gal with a wonderful grown son who lives nearby, he is my best friend I can't say enough good things about him! I am also mother to a rescued 2 year old long hair Chihuahua, Nico, who is the love of my life! I am blessed to still have my mother around, at 88 years old she is your typical "Italian Mother" and still treats me like I'm 8 years old. After 20 years working for Physicians as an office manager, I decided to follow my heart and become a professional nanny. For the last 6 years, I have been fortunate to have been part of some wonderful children's lives and currently am spending my days with an adorable little girl named "Evie" who fills my life with joy and love. I can't imagine my life without her.I love: Crafting, Decorating, Whole food cooking, Animals, Children, Farms, Cleaning and Organizing and reading. I try to read a book a week. I will be sharing my frugal tips with you as I am a bargain hunter and love to find ways to save money. I am also enamored by the Amish and their lifestyle, so you will see lots about them as well. Come along for the ride as I share my happy, simple life with you!