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Loved Ones

DIY: Chalkboard Boxes

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Here’s a quick and easy craft project, just in time for Mother’s Day. With only a few simple steps, you can spruce up a plain kraft box, into something a little more special for gifting.

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Step 1. Paint the lid of your box with 2 coats of Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint. Let the first coat dry before applying the second. Step 2. Prime the lid by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface. Wipe off with a dry paper towel, and repeat.

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Step 3. Using chalk, or a Chalk Ink Pen, write the recipients name or initial. Step 4. Tie a ribbon (or twine) around the box, and adorn with a sprig of greenery or flowers.

All that’s left is making sure you tucked in the perfect gift!

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May Day Basket Ideas

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Although May Day isn’t celebrated here as widely as it is in Europe, I still think it’s one of the sweetest holidays. The tradition of leaving a basket of flowers and treats on your neighbors door reminds me of simpler times, when neighbors actually knew one another. And did you know, historians say, if they catch you in the act, they must give you a kiss!

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I think it’s best to keep things easy and create a basket with items you have on hand. For me, that’s always fresh organic eggs. And from my garden, a handful of English roses and a few sprigs of greenery. For the treats, I tucked in coffee beans and my Ultimate Nut Lovers Granola.

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Nothing was expensive or over-the-top, it’s really just in the presentation and thought. Here are some other items you might have at-the-ready to make your own baskets.

A batch of homemade cookies or muffins.
A small posy of whatever might be growing in your garden.
Or a single bloom from a tree or plant would be lovely.
Freshly picked roadside wildflowers.
A small canister of tea or coffee.
An assortment of candies or chocolates.
Homemade jams, jellies or lemon curd.
A loaf of homemade bread or scones.

May Day is celebrated next week on Wednesday, May 1st. Just enough time for us to plan ahead and make someones day special.

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Building Grove House: The Beginning

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So…we bought property in a beautiful citrus grove. After searching for about two years to find another house, we've decided to build our own custom home. It's just now starting to sink in that this adventure is really happening and we're looking forward to all the hard (but rewarding) work ahead. And in sharing our journey with you.

Since we're going to have to clear some of the trees for the house and additional building, we invited our friends and family over for an Orange Picking Day. We wanted to try and harvest as much as we could from the trees that are slotted for removal. 

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Let me just say….there are a LOT of oranges! And we barely, barely scratched the surface. We're going to donate hundreds of pounds to local food banks and shelters because we hate to waste such perfectly ripe, delicious fruit.

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I knew everyone would need a break and some lunch since we planned to be there for the whole day. So I set up an old Boy Scout folding table with wrapped sandwiches and finger foods. Things that would be easy to grab and go.

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We made fast friends with the dogs that live on the remaining grove property and Cashew was everyone's favorite. He's still in that puppy stage and is very playful and curious.

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After lunch, it was back to picking….

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My sister had picked up a bunch of potato sacks at a yard sale just a week earlier and they sure came in handy. We ended up picking over 1,100 lbs!

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There's so much ahead of us and our day set us off on a memorable start. Spending it harvesting with family and friends is the perfect beginning to building Grove House.

I'm looking forward to sharing the design process with you as we finalize those plans. We're meeting again with our architect this week. I've been waking up at night writing notes on my phone of things I forgot to mention or new details I want to add. There's just so many details.

In the meantime, we'll continue to harvest the trees and I'll be juicing, freezing, canning and making anything and everything with oranges! Have any great recipes?

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