Summer Vacation!

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Hey There! We’re taking a couple of days off to fully indulge in the Fourth with our family and friends. You can be sure that we’ll be spending plenty of time swimming, drinking lemonade, hiking, and eating some good food. If you’re lucky, we’ll pop in with something fun, but if not, we’re still posting on Instagram, and we’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

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Pineapple Flowers

Today we want to show you how to make pineapple flowers, which are a beautiful and edible garnish that looks fantastic on desserts and happen to be the perfect touch when celebrating your fourth anniversary!

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Can you believe that those are made from pineapples? Neither could I the first time I saw them! Someone called them pineapple flowers, and I just assumed that they were the actual flowers that grew on pineapple plants. Nope. But back to why these are perfect for your fourth anniversary ~ the traditional fourth anniversary gift is fruit or flowers! You could order an edible arrangement, but why not make a flower from a fruit? Read on to find out how.

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DIY Mineral-based Sunscreen

Now that we’ve moved to a higher altitude, I think about sunscreen year-round, but particularly in the summer when we are spending more time outside and wearing shorts and t-shirts. Additionally, I’ve started to have an internal debate about my use of sunscreen, because while I use it every day to protect my skin from aging, I’m starting to think that a little bit of tanning is Ok and even good for my health by naturally increasing my Vitamin D levels. Do you know about the negative health concerns associated with Vitamin D deficiency?

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The other concern I have while using sunscreen are the chemicals found in many over-the-counter products, especially since I’m still nursing little Luc. The problem is that a number of the chemicals in certain sunscreens can enter your bloodstream and some act as or disrupt the natural hormones in our body. The Environmental Working Group provides a detailed overview of both the chemicals and minerals used in sunscreens and the toxicity concerns associated with each. So, what’s a person to do? Read on to find out a little bit more about sunscreens and my current solution…

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

Katie here :

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I feel like we hit summer out of the park this week. There was nothing spectacular, just a bunch of perfect summer days filled with all of the things you/we say we want to do during these long days, and we actually did them. It started on Sunday when Calder called from his bike ride and suggested we meet him at a lake up in the mountains for a picnic dinner. How could we say no? So we hopped in the car with a loaf of bread and the PB & jelly jars, and met him at the lake! Inspired by that perfect evening, we recreated it at the Boulder Reservoir. The boys and I arrived at the reservoir around 4:30 and Calder met us after work. It was just the right amount of time for Alex to play on the beach and in the water, then join us for dinner, and arrive home tired out and ready for bed. The rest of the days were spent on the deck and in the garden. Spending many moments just following the ladybugs around the mint patch. Today we’re off to CA! We’re spending the week there visiting with Calder’s family with plans to continue this trend of perfect summer days.

And if you haven’t heard ~ Sarah’s off on the Appalachian Trail! She’s spending the week volunteering to keep a West Virginia section of the trail in tiptop shape.

 

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Wedding Projects : The Book!

Four years ago today, Calder and I got married! This June I’ve been sharing some of the crafts that made their way into our wedding. A couple of weeks ago I showed you the bunting that decorated our reception tents and ceremony. Last week I shared the homemade purses that I embroidered for each of the bridesmaids (you also got a sneak peak at the sash that my mom made and hand-beaded to go with my wedding dress!). Just yesterday you saw the tags that labeled our homemade favors and were used as place cards. Today I’m sharing the book that we made to remember our big day. It also serves as a cookbook and highlights the huge role Calder had to play in our wedding. He planned our dinner and did most of the cooking, including the grilling during our reception!

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Interspersed throughout this post, you’ll see photographs from our wedding as well as snapshots of the book. We never got around to hiring a professional photographer for the day, but of course, with Sarah being a professional, that is what we would recommend to capture your important memories. Fortunately for us, between Sarah and a few of our friends with professional cameras, we had a great impromptu crew on hand, and they captured the day beautifully. All of the photos throughout this post come from their keen eyes, and we can’t thank them enough!

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Wedding Crafts : Tags

This June I’m sharing some of the crafts that made their way into my wedding, which was four years ago this month! A couple of weeks ago I showed you the bunting that decorated our reception tents and ceremony. Last week I shared the homemade purses that I embroidered for each of the bridesmaids (you also got a sneak peak at the sash that my mom made and hand-beaded to go with my wedding dress!). Today, I want to show you the tags that we made for both our place cards and as the labels on our favors. As you’ll see below, in each case, the cards were the icing on the cake of even bigger DIY projects!

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We used rubber stamps that were custom ordered  for these projects, yet while we were planning, we knew that these stamps would have a use well beyond the wedding. It was important to me that we didn’t purchase too many items that would only have a one-time use for the wedding, and four years out, I’m happy to see how often we’ve reused some items (and how well-loved others are). On another note ~ I know that the thought of using rubber stamps can drive people nuts when you think about having to line things up and make your stamping straight. As you’ll see, we tried to eliminate that problem. We didn’t worry about making our words perfectly straight, and we let some stamps, like the honeycombs, have a design that would fall off the edge of the tags. This strategy helped to minimize the stress and time that would go into projects like these.

Favors

Seeing that so much of our wedding was crafted by us (tomorrow I’ll tell you more about Calder’s HUGE part in an already big day), I wanted to give our family and friends a little something homemade. But – I didn’t want the favors to be something that would sit around and collect dust, rather I wanted to give something consumable. With that in mind, we decided to give a variety of canned goods for the favors. My mom and I already liked canning and between the two of us, we had a nice variety of recipes that we liked to can, so our hope was that everyone would leave with something they loved or something they were excited to try.

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My mom made chili sauce and tomato salsa. I made marmalade and vanilla sugar. I’m sure the last three are common, but if you’ve never had it, chili sauce is a great condiment for sandwiches, subs, sausages, etc. It’s a common canned good in our area, so we knew that a lot of the guests from my side of the family would recognize it. I made the vanilla sugar because it was a nice treat for guests who didn’t like the other options and/or for those people that were flying and needed something they could take home in the carry-on luggage. There’s no actual canning required for the sugar, just pre-planning to give the vanilla beans enough time to enrich the sugar with their aroma (plus we left a vanilla bean in each jar). What I loved about this project was that each of these recipes are things we make fairly regularly, so the stamps will get used again and again to stamp jar labels.

As you can see from the photos, we stamped a little note telling the guests that we were so happy they came to the wedding. Sarah and I worked on these tags, and honestly, we had such a hard time coming up with a “thanks for coming” phrase that would fit nicely on the tags and sound sincere. We settled on “we’re so happy you came”, but even now it makes me laugh because I think it sounds a bit awkward. In addition to the note of thanks, we used a stamp to say what was in each jar, and then we decorated the tag with the honey comb and bee stamps.

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Finally, to complete the favor packaging and tie (ha! pun intended) them into the wedding colors and design, we used baker’s twine to attach the tags to each jar. I tied on some tags so that the “thank you” phrase was showing and others so that the name of the jar’s contents was visible. Rather than using standard baker’s twine, I some special ordered thick vintage baker’s twine. Unfortunately, the shop I ordered it from is no longer in business, and a quick search didn’t turn up an equivalent product. Hopefully it’s still available somewhere because I love it!

Finally, rather that setting all of the jars out on a table, we used an old hutch that we already had in the house. We filled the hutch with the jars, mixing the different options together rather than trying to keep things sorted (we wanted to make it like a comfy old kitchen cupboard). Next to the hutch we set up an old school desk with a few favors on it and a sign that reiterated our note of thanks to the guests and invited them to take a favor.

We had enough extras that we were happy to let people take a few different jars if they wanted, and it made me especially happy when they did! There was nothing like seeing our guests leave with a little bit of homemade goodness filled with love. 

Place Cards

At such a casual affair, it may seem silly for us to have assigned seats, but while planning the wedding, I came to see the value in the seating chart. I realized that I didn’t want guests to end up in awkward seating positions, where our college friends fill up half a table only to have a great aunt and uncle sit down with them. It’s not that my great relatives aren’t awesome, but they may not have the same taste in music as our friends, you know? I also didn’t want a situation where we had half full tables because people didn’t know who to sit with, meanwhile, there’s a perfectly good strangers that would hit it off, if only they had a chance to meet. So, we eliminated those awkward tables and made the awesome ones happen by pulling out the place cards.

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Just as with the favors, we used manila tags for this project. On one side we wrote down each guest’s name, and on the other side we stamped their table assignment using this customizable rubber stamp. Again, that was a great stamp purchase because I still use it all the time, especially around the holidays – it’s perfect for stamping names or notes on packages.

The real fun of this project came when thinking about where to display the tags until they were picked up by each guest. Just like the bridesmaids’ purses, this was an idea that evolved for the better. I had this random old wooden screen door that I trash-picked while living in Boston. Can you believe someone was throwing it away? I couldn’t, obviously, so I took it home, and then drove it all the way to PA when I moved.

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I always wanted to turn it into a piece of art and embroider something on the screen, but never got around to it. Then, as we were planning the wedding, I decided that the door would get used one way or another. And one day it dawned on me that if we combined the door with my button collect and these tags, then I would have a great place to display the place cards!

In two of the window areas on the top half of the door, I embroidered a little “take a seat” design and a heart with our initials. In the lower half of the door, I just sewed a bunch of buttons to the screen. The button placement was random, and I put on more than we needed for the tags. Additionally, the door’s screen had a single tear in the lower half, so rather than try to hide it, we had some fun and sewed it back together.

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On the day of the wedding, we propped the door up against the trunk of an old willow tree that was just steps from the reception tent. And that was it, we had the perfect vertical display for the place cards. I loved this project, because after all of the cards were picked up, we weren’t left with a random empty table, instead, we still had something fun to look at.

Oh, and you know those scenes in wedding movies where people are mulling over their seating chart for months as they try to figure out where to seat old Aunt Betty? Fortunately, our planning turned out to be pain-free. I’m not sure how that happened, but it made me love the whole seating chart and place card project even more!

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What do you think? Are you enjoying seeing these projects? If so, come back tomorrow and we’ll share just a few more things. If you’re not enjoying them, what’s wrong with you?! ;-)

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Blueberry Lemon Buckle

Lemons are our ingredient of the season. We’re exciting to fill our summer with all things lemony, and until then you can click through our archive of lemon posts, from body scrubs and shower cleaners to lemonade and vodka waters.

This past weekend we pulled together a last minute brunch at our place, and one of the things we served was this blueberry lemon buckle. Now that we’re fully settled in the new house, we want to do a lot of entertaining, especially during the summer months when we can have everyone out on the deck and the kids playing in the kiddie pool. To make entertaining actually happen, and to keep it stress-free, it’s nice to have a few reliable recipes, like this buckle, that you can make ahead. Don’t know what a buckle is? Read on to find out!

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In my vocabulary, buckles are fruit-filled coffee cakes. You’ll commonly see buckles that call for blueberries as the fruit, but I was introduced to the buckle in Rustic Fruit Desserts, where my mind was blown by the variety of buckle options (rhubarb, apple, blueberry, and cranberry!). You really can have a buckle for each season. So far I’ve made the apple, cranberry, and blueberry varieties, but we recently discovered a rhubarb plant growing in our yard (no joke), so that will be next!

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Summer Face Oil

We’re exploring the many uses for essential oils for both our home and body. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here.

Oh my skincare routine has changed throughout the years, and I only wish that I was as gentle on my skin in high school as I am now. Back then I thought my skin was too oily and would never have dreamed of actually applying oil to my face to moisturize and nourish it, instead, I would be drawn to any cleanser that promised to dry out my face. In reality, I’m guessing that all of those harsh, drying products likely irritated my skin, stripped it of its natural oils, and caused it to over produce oil in order to try to hydrate my face and reverse the damage I was doing. Jump ahead ten years, and I slowly came around to the amazingly beneficial characteristics of plant oils for the skin. Jump ahead another couple of years, and I’m now adding some essential oils to my basic routine.

I like to shy away from the camera when it comes to our posts, but if any post calls for a headshot, it’s this one! So I’m putting my face in focus for this post, and hopefully it will stand as a record that I can refer back to when looking at how my skin responds to a few years of essential oil use. I should also mention that I really believe that healthy skin starts from the inside. So while I’ve found these skin oil potions to be effective, I also make it a point to drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.

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Pollinator Power Salad

Continuing to celebrate Pollinator Week, today we have a recipe for a salad that is jam-packed with good ingredients, and every single one, from the mustard in the dressing to the pumpkin seeds, required pollination to help them grow and reproduce. As you’ll see, the salad looks absolutely beautiful and represents everything that is good about summer. But before you dig in, say thanks to every pollinator that played a role in bringing this food to your table.

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As we mentioned on Monday, about 75% of the food we eat required pollinators to grow and produce seeds. That seems like a lot, but when you look at this salad, it’s so easy to see how that’s possible. In making this salad, I used information from this USDA document to determine which foods required pollination. As you’ll see, I got a bit creative with this salad, but if you have a family of cautious eaters, you can look at Table 1 in that document and find ingredients that suit your household. For example, I didn’t even put tomatoes, which are such a common salad ingredient, in this dish, but they are on the list!

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