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  • We are starting our kitchen renovation!

    It has been a long time coming. We moved into our house two years ago and the first thing we did was put in new floors in the master bedroom and the main floor. We also painted and moved the cabinets. We were however stuck with the early 90’s blue laminate counter tops and the nasty old cast iron sink.

    Our main goal for this year for our home renovation is to get new quartz counter tops and an apron front sink. I am starting to make purchases because the work is going to start in a few weeks. I have spent countless hours online looking for what I want at good prices. Today I made my first purchases for some items in our kitchen and the renovation is starting to get real.

    I want to share the sinks and faucets I looked at purchasing because they were products with good reviews at amazing prices.

    I am not affiliated at this time with any of these products or the websites that they link too. I just spent hours looking for quality items for the best price and I want to help you to find good deals on classic elements so you don’t have to put the same amount of time into the research.

    When I am reviewing a product for my own purchase I have to consider the price, the material, and I always read the reviews. I take purchases very, very serious. As you might know my family tries to live simply and I don’t want to spend more then I need to. But at the same time I want to make sure my purchases are quality so that I only have to buy them once.  I am a minimalist and even though my motto is “buy once, cry once” I still want to be wise about how I spend my money. 

    My intent with this post is to share these good deals with you. I am in no way responsible for the actual quality of these products. I have done my best to read reviews but there can always be variations from the norm. 

    Lets start with sinks

    For years I have planned on using the IKEA DOMSJO sink. I loved the look of the drain board on the back and the apron front. Many of my friends and family have installed the DOMSJO sink and I loved the price. To my luck and dismay IKEA discontinued it a couple of years ago and replaced it with HAVSEN. I even made a special trip to an IKEA to check out the new sink (the closest one is 6 hours away). I do not like the new style of sink and it’s squat look. HAVSEN doesn’t get great reviews. I was bummed, and soon realized I would have to start to find an alternative sink option that was comparable in cost. This was no easy feat. 

    We ended up purchasing this Saralai 30 inch single basin sink. It was $419.00 with free shipping from Amazon. I like it because it is the size I need and it comes with the metal rack in the bottom and a rubber tablet for the bottom of the sink. 

    I almost purchased this sink. It’s price is $399.00. Which is an amazing price. I only decided against it when I put it in my cart and saw that it was extra shipping. I can purchase a sink locally for the price of this sink after shipping. Regardless this is still an amazing value. 

    This sink is actually at Home Depot. Initially I was planning on walking into my local store and purchasing it off the shelf. It is $499.00 which puts it right in the ballpark of the best prices I can find on Amazon. 

    This sink is also on Amazon. Its listed at $477.00 with free shipping. I like it because it has the thicker walls which in my opinion makes it look more high end. 

    I didn’t find a lot of double basin sinks that were great prices. There are some out there, I am sure. However I personally prefer the single basin farm sink. Our current sink has two basins (one side is actually designed to be shallow) and I have really started to despise the double basin style. I like a nice big sink that you can stack a lot of dishes in. If you are looking for a double basin sink then you might still like the IKEA HAVSEN sink but I am not going to link up to it because it doesn’t get great reviews. 

    Lets move on to faucets

    Shopping for faucets felt like falling into a rabbit hole. There are thousands of choices. I have an extremely tight budget. My father, who does construction for a living gave me some advice.  He strongly suggested that I buy a high end faucet. His logic made a lot of sense to me because getting behind an apron front farm sink to change out a faucet that has broken or is under preforming is going to be a lot of work. That said, I couldn’t spend much more then 100 dollars on our faucet so it was a challenge to find high rated budget faucets in the style that I want for my kitchen.  I am going to link up all the styles of faucets that I found that I considered since many of them are popular right now.

    This is the faucet I ended up buying for $94.00 with free shipping. It has pretty stellar reviews and the style is pretty close to the look that I want. It also comes in oil rubbed bronze, but the only negative reviews it has are in regards to the dark finish of the oil rubbed bronze chipping off. That is a very common issue with “painted” faucet finishes. Many people in the review section with verified purchases mentioned the weight and feel of the faucet, that it was heavy and felt high end. 

    I was really tempted by this faucet. It has pretty good reviews and this style is really popular right now. My sister actually has one like this installed in her kitchen and I looked at it very seriously. Ultimately I decided that this was a bit too industrial of a look for my style. I still like this faucet though. Its listed at $89.99 with free shipping. 

    VESLA HOME Single Handle Pull Down Sprayer Lead-Free Oil Rubbed Bronze

    I threw this one oil rubbed bronze faucet in the line up here. I was soooooooo tempted to purchase one. I love the look of the dark finish. This one is listed at $69.99 with free shipping. This finish is so popular right now but buyer beware, it does not age well. For that reason I decided against this faucet. It does get decent reviews. Its a little less expensive then the other faucets I have included here and I think the reviews reflect that. 

    I love this bridge faucet from Home Depot. I love the old school look. The only problem I have with this style and why I didn’t purchase it for myself is that I need a pull down sprayer. I have an oddly placed window behind my sink that the pull out sprayer nozzles just have too much pressure for. This super classic faucet is listed at $128.00 but at the time of my post, the chrome is on sale for $89.99.  It comes in brushed nickel, chrome, or oil rubbed bronze. 

    Hopefully this post will be helpful to you. I can’t wait to share our progress! Have you found any budget items that are good quality for your renovations? Let me know what your favorite farmhouse sinks and faucets are I would love to check them out. 

    Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

    I have been making this super simple bread recipe for almost 10 years now.

    When I first started out with sourdough it was very hard to find instructions on how to use it to bake bread.

    I had to learn how to make a good loaf on my own through trial and error. We are all so lucky now that there is so much information about it online these days.

    I love that sourdough is made with simple whole ingredients.

    It takes less then ten minutes to mix up, and since I use a starter that I bought from Cultures for Health, it rises fairly fast.

    All you need is your starter, flour, water and salt but I like to add in a little bit of fat.

    Fats such as olive oil or butter add a nice texture to the finished bread. You can use any other fat like coconut oil, or a lard. We prefer to stick to simple healthy fats and avoid fats like Canola oil. Healthy fats are a topic for another day.

    It is worth noting that you will likely have to tinker with it just a little depending on your elevation, humidity, and starter strain.

    1/2 cup starter

    3 cups flour- we like organic unbleached white flour

    1 cup filtered water

    1 tsp salt

    2 tbsp oil or butter

    I mix my bread dough in a stand mixer.

    I am not patient enough to mix it by hand. However you can knead it by hand if you don’t have an electric mixer with a dough hook. I know a lot of people who use a Bosch mixer and I have a Kitchen Aid.

    Put all the ingredients in the mixer with the dough hook and mix until it becomes a smooth ball of dough.

    Sourdough is a living breathing food and it responds to the temperature, and moisture in the air. Sometimes you will mix up this bread dough and it will be wet and sticky and you will have to add up to 1 cup more flour. Other times you will mix it up and it will be very firm and dry and you will have to add a tad more water.

    You have to work with your starter to discover its subtle changes and learn how it works.

    I prefer a stiff dough that holds its shape on the baking sheet. You achieve that with more flour then water when you are mixing it up. If you do feel like you need to add either flour or water, add them in slowly, just a little bit at a time. Keep in mind that most Kitchen Aid stand mixers have limits on how much flour you can use in a recipe to keep the motor from burning out.

    Once your dough is mixed to a consistency you like, finish kneading it on the counter for 30 seconds and smooth it out into a ball.

    Slash the dough across the top several times (score it) with a knife about 1/4 inch deep. place your dough on a cookie sheet. We use stoneware but any kind will work. Grease a large piece of Saran Wrap to cover it and let is raise for several hours. I normally spray my Saran Wrap with coconut oil.

    Some people let their sourdough raise overnight.

    If you have made your own starter from scratch you might need to have longer rising times since the starter may not be as vigorous. My stater will take 4-6 hours to rise depending on the season. I bought it here. If the dough is cracking it is falling and you need to bake it right away.

    Once the dough has doubled in size put it in the cold oven and set it to 350 degrees.

    Let the oven heat up with the bread inside so it evenly heats the dough and the baking sheet. When you put the bread in the oven uncover it and set the timer for 50 minutes.

    Bake the bread until it is evenly browned.

    This takes between 40 and 45 minutes (plus another 5 to heat the oven). The bread will rise a little more in the oven as it bakes.

    You might be wondering why we use the unbleached white flour.

    In our family the white flour is so much easier on our digestion. Wheat breads are so much more dense and coarse in the intestines. If you have read Nourishing Traditions or follow the Weston A Price Foundation you would have also learned about Phytic Acid.

    Phytic Acid makes it hard for our bodies to digest the nutrients found in most grains.

    The fermentation process helps immensely with this. However, when I pair the white flour with the fermentation of sourdough I feel pretty good about the nutrition content of our breads. It is mostly just my kids that eat the bread in our family and they are pretty picky eaters. They are not fans of the dense texture of whole wheat breads.

    If you are new to sourdough be sure to check out my post about getting started with sourdough. I also have a great tutorial here on how to make your own starter. Don’t forget to check out my easy pancake recipe too!

    I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. This was super fun and I am excited to participate. I want to thank Shelia over at midlifemomblog. Make sure to check out her page.

    If you want to read all about the Versatile Blogging Award click here. So, now that I have been nominated, I have to share 7 random facts about myself. Then I get to nominate 15 other bloggers that I think are great. So here you go:

    1. I live in the Inland Northwest.
    2. I am currently remodeling my home!
    3. I homeschool my three kids.
    4. I am trying to grow as much food as I can on our property even though its shaded by almost 20 Ponderosa pine trees.
    5. I am trying to live sugar free.
    6. I prefer productivity over screen time.
    7. We have a Belgian Mallinois.

    So let’s nominate some more people for this award.

    Its My Sustainable Life

    A Meal In Mind

    Sewing From Scratch

    Consciously Cozy

    Simple State Of Mine

    Circle Square Oval

    Journey of Resilience

    The Jeana Journal

    Secrets Of A Cleaning Lady

    Simple Wife Happy Life

    Figs and Fontes

    Our Gabled Home

    Hearts Content Farmhouse

    Cookie + Kate

    Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling fine but then within a few minutes start to feel like you are a little run down?

    As the hours go by you realize you are getting sick. Then you desperately start to think of ways to overcome the impending doom…

    When I have days like that I start to feel sorry for myself and want to just eat comfort foods. Today I woke up with a cold and before lunch I caught myself thinking of foods I could eat to help me feel better. Then I remembered Ginger Tea.

    Recently I discovered super tasty Ginger Tea. It is a simple nourishing tea that is easy to make and tastes great.

    I love that it can help me overcome my illness due to its ability to boost and support immunity.

    Ginger Tea:

    1 tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger

    1 lemon freshly squeezed

    1 tsp Baobab powder

    Raw honey to taste- I like mine sweet

    6-8 oz hot water

    Put all the ingredients in a mug and let stand for a few minutes to steep.

    Why make Ginger tea?

    Ginger is a food powerhouse with well known health benefits.

    Ginger is known to help with arthritis, migraines, colds and flu, nausea, ear infections, inflammation, stomach bugs and more. I make tea out of it when I feel like I am getting sick because it can boost immunity.

    Lemon can bring a lot of health benefits too. It can soothe respiratory disorders, it is cleansing, and can boost overall health.

    Baobab is one of my favorite supplements. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants and it it packed with vitamins and minerals. I add it to my tea because I enjoy the extra immune boosting benefits as well as the kick of flavor it gives to my tea.

    This is the brand I use because I can find it local.

    I drank my tea today because I knew I needed extra immune support. It won’t cure a cold in an instant but I plan to keep drinking it to give my body all the help I can while I fight this bug. I love how good it tastes, and that it is a simple comforting warm drink.

    Like always, talk to your doctor before taking any new health supplements. Don’t just take my word for it, do you own due diligence.

    If you want to do more reading on powerful simple herbs you likely have in your kitchen check out this book by Rosalee De La Foret. Its one of my favorite books.

    I had big plans for this month.

    February was going to be my month to start working in my greenhouse. I was going to get ready to plant my cold season starts.

    There are shelves to build, and I want to put a garden box on the floor. It also needs some plastic and gravel on the ground for weed control.

    December and January were mild in temperature. I was actually feeling concerned because if it doesn’t get cold for a prolonged period of time we tend to have more insects, and plant diseases. But just as February began, it started to snow and it hasn’t stopped. Consequently I had to change my plans.

    I spent a lot of time outside shoveling snow this month. First I got to shovel off about two feet of snow from the greenhouse roof so it wouldn’t collapse. I also cleaned the gutters so that the snow could slide off on its own better.

    Mostly this month has just been a lot of shoveling and taking care of our chickens.

    Due to the snow our chickens have needed a little extra attention. We are in gardening zone 6 but the Master Gardeners and old timers in this area all say its more like a zone 4.

    I was raised in the middle of the high country of Wyoming, a true zone 4. Now that we live in Northern Idaho I often compare the climate to the climate of my youth.

    I find that frost comes much later in the fall and the snow is often gone by early March here in the Inland Northwest. Most of the after it snows the temperatures warm up and it melts within a few days. This year however, spring seems so far away.

    Chicken water in the winter takes extra work.

    We don’t have access to water outside the house in the winter. Even in the summer the spigot is about a quarter of an acre away from the chicken coop. Normally we just run a hose across the property, but in the winter it becomes a little more difficult.

    Lucky for me I found a simple little water jug with vertical nipples from the farm store for the birds to use in the winter. It plugs into a power source to keep it just slightly warmer then freezing.

    I had to bring the oyster shells into the house and defrost and wash them. The chickens need oyster shells for calcium to build strong eggshells. The container had been exposed to the elements and the chickens no longer had access due to it being frozen. I also washed all the dummy eggs.

    Shoveling the enclosed chicken run was a top priority. It doesn’t have a cover on it yet so there was quite a lot of snow in there. The girls have been free ranging since last September but now the snow is so deep they don’t venture out much. They need to be able to come out of the coop so they can get some exercise.

    We also have to keep the coop cleaner in the winter because it is so wet. The chicken coop is water tight but since the birds stay inside so much they just make it wet when they poop.

    It helps to keep the moisture level down and the eggs clean if I clean out the pine shavings about once a month. I also give the birds fresh bedding. A sprinkling of Zeolite powder on the fresh bedding helps adsorb some of the moisture and odor.

    There is folklore that “In years when the Mountain Ash bears heavy fruit the winter will be hard”.

    There is a large number of Mountain Ash trees in our area. Last summer I watched them grow heavy with berries. One of our trees actually broke a large branch due to the weight of the berries and it landed on our scarecrow and busted him in half. I have been watching the trees and taking note of the “wives tale” for a few years now. When I told my friends about my plan to see if the folklore was true they all told me that we had a forecast for a very mild winter.

    Due to how the winter started it seems we were on track to have a mild winter. Now things have changed and the snow is deep and the temperatures are cold.

    In January hundreds of birds ate all the berries from the trees in a single day. l feel sad for them since most of the food reserves are gone now and the snow is going to take a long time to thaw.

    I know spring will come but its going to be weeks before we see the ground again out there. For a fun project the kids and I hung suet up in the trees for the birds.

    Since there is not much to do outside we will continue to plan and dream of our garden plans for the spring. Hopefully next month I can show you my updated greenhouse!

    Can you garden where you live this time of year? I would love to hear about your garden plans in the comments below.

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