Have S’more Trail Mix {Recipe}

I almost forgot about this fabulous trail mix that I made for my kids last summer. They loved it and upon having our first s’more of the summer last week I was reminded to make it again. Now, I can not say that this is the healthiest snack I’ve ever made for them, but it is a frugal snack mix that doesn’t cost much to make and goes a long way. The best part about the recipe? It tastes just like a s’more. It just cant get any better than that! 

I like to make this in a huge batch and store it for easy access. It is a great snack to bag up and take along on car rides, vacations or to the park. Yes, the chocolate does melt in the heat, but that just makes it all the better tasting! lol. 
S’more Trail Mix
1 Box Golden Grahams Cereal or Organic Graham Cereal
1 Bag Chocolate Chips
1 Bag Mini Marshmallows

Ok, here’s the hard part. . . Mix them all together in a bag. DONE! Wow.  
Its fabulous, really. 
Happy Summer!
<3 Dick and Jane

The Power of Words

This wordless Wednesday I thought I would do something a little different and talk about words. 
One of the easiest things for most human beings to do is speak. For some, words flow from their mouths like water from a spigot. Have you ever stopped to think about how powerful the words you speak really are? Our words can cause fear, pain, anger and spite or our words can cause happiness, peace, love and kindness. Something that many find so easy to do should really be protected, pondered and carefully let go of. 
The other day, on our morning drive to school, I could hear my five year old daughter talking to my two year old in the back seat. I could tell from his growing screams and upset that what she was saying was causing him pain. As I listened in closer I heard her say. . 
“Your all done with school. Only I get to go to school now. You may never go back to school again.”
These words angered and upset my son who loved his Mommy and Me classes we attended together on a weekly basis. His “school” was a happy and exciting part of the day for him. I had already discussed with my son that his school had ended for the summer but my daughter decided to really drive the subject matter home with him. Her words were useless. They didn’t teach him anything, encourage him or show him love. She was trying to cause a negative reaction and she received one. 
I see this behavior far too many times with the news, other kids and even adults. Do you remember the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”. What ever happened to that? This is a difficult lesson to teach our kids, but I believe it is a very important one. You must be careful to honor others and yourself with your words. Words are a very powerful weapon. Something so easily spilled from your lips may have a long lasting effect on the ears on which they land. 
I was raised as a child to be kind to everyone. Many of my best friends have come from people I may not have initially liked or people I did not really have a lot in common with. There is so much more to learn from life when you branch outside your “circle”. This is a lesson I am working hard to instill within my children as well. Everyday I tell my daughter before school, “Friendly people have friends, Be nice to everyone”. 
I hope that this post can be a good reminder that we need to teach our kids to be friendly because the world will work hard to teach them not to be. The school years are the worst when cliques start and kids are rewarded by their peers for putting others down. If we don’t stop this behavior when they are young, I am afraid to say it will continue even into adulthood. Unfortunately I have felt first hand during my adult life how bad words can hurt. So lets work together as mothers and fathers to raise our children to be the good we want to see in the world. 
We are working hard with my daughter to speak only the words that are useful, to think before she speaks and to lastly consider how her words will make other feel before she says them. I too am doing the same thing. Even as adults, we sometimes forget to use our manners.
<3 Dick and Jane

Come Meet My Friends Over at Five Little Homesteaders Blog

I love to read other writers blogs! There is so much to be learned from them. It is true that everyone has a talent, and our talents are not all the same. Take my friend Colleen over at Five Little Homesteaders blog. Colleen consistently has great ideas for the gardens and taking care of a home that I would have never thought of on my own. I love to soak up her advice and follow along with her sweet little families happenings at the same time. Her little kiddos are beyond adorable! 
Today I wanted to introduce you to Colleen, writer for the blog Five Little Homesteaders, so you too may benefit from all her blog has to offer.


Me: Colleen, How would you describe your blog?
Colleen: My blog is an urban homesteading blog that focuses on our approach to gardening and chicken raising through the lens of family life.  We are attempting to turn our .15 acre lot in Phoenix, Arizona into a productive urban homestead that will reduce our reliance on grocery stores for food.  Our blog chronicles this adventure.  As our tag line says,“We garden, raise chickens, and chase three kids.  Follow us.”

Me: What made you want to start blogging?

Colleen: Originally I started this blog as a hobby.  It was a fun outlet for my creative side and it allowed me to chronicle some of our adventures.  Lately I’ve been seeing our blog as more than that.  I’m hoping that people will find inspiration to start their own gardening/farming/chicken raising enterprises.  I also hope to build community and friendship with people who I might otherwise have not been able to get to know had I not started this blog.

My Favorite Blog Posts from Five Little Homesteaders Blog: 
Be Social With Five Little Homesteaders!
A big THANK YOU to Five Little Homesteaders Blog for helping to support Raising Dick and Jane by joining our list of blog button sponsors. All of our sponsors are listed on the right hand side of our blog. To join our list of sponsors please visit the “Sponsor” tab at the top of the page. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Summer Nights in Michigan #ad

Disclosure: I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the album to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

I don’t know what it is about the warmth of summer that makes me want to relax and listen to music, but it does. It must be that when I listen to music in the sunshine I am taken back to a place in my mind where I am sitting by a bonfire, listening to my favorite songs and enjoying summer nights (and drinks) with my friends. You know the song “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock? That pretty much sums up the memories of my youth. 🙂

Now that I am getting a bit older I have found that I am starting to relate to different types of music. One of my favorite artists right now is Michael Buble. Ahh, the sweet melody he sings makes me sink into my chair, close my eyes and picture myself drinking a glass of wine on the beach. Tell me, what mother doesn’t need to “get away” once in awhile (if even to her own backyard) to relax? – Provided someone else is caring for the children. . . I don’t recommend taking an imaginary trip in your mind while your kids are under your care. That could be disastrous.

So I must get something off my chest right now. Michael Buble is coming to do a concert in my area and I couldn’t get tickets, but guess who is going? My mom, that’s who! So I must admit to you that I am super jealous and a tad bit upset that she didn’t ask me to go along. (Love Ya Mom! You all know she does read my blog right? I will be expecting a phone call any time now) I think it is wonderful that  my mom is going to be only a few rows back from one of my favorite artist in a few weeks and since I can’t go Ill have to settle for his new CD. Yes, I have a media copy! Let me tell you. . its lovely. I have it downloaded to my laptop and every time I sit down to write a blog post I play through the list.
Whats on the playlist?
To Be Loved Track Listing:
1. “You Make Me Feel So Young”   
2. “It’s a Beautiful Day” 
3. “To Love Somebody”
4. “Who’s Lovin You”
5. “Something Stupid” (featuring Reese Witherspoon) 
6. “Come Dance with Me”
7. “Close Your Eyes”
8. “After All” (featuring Bryan Adams)
9. “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” (with Naturally 7)
10. “To Be Loved”
11. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”  
12. “Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You)” (featuring The Puppini Sisters)
13. “I Got It Easy”    
14. “Young at Heart”
Get it now on itunes or Amazon

My favorite song is “Close Your Eyes” and I’ve heard that this song was written about the powerful women in his life: his wife and mother. Isn’t it funny how my mother and I are now listening to the same music? I can remember days past when she would throw open my bedroom door and say “Turn that racket off! I cant stand it anymore!”. lol. Now here we are. . fighting over who can get tickets to his concert. How times have changed. 
Speaking of times changing. . 
Recently my mom started talking about the new Rod Stewart CD. Since we agree on other music I decided to give Rod Stewart another chance too. Growing up he was not my preferred choice in music. I must say though that his new CD is good. It has a summertime vibe to it mixing a country twang with a feel good, pick me up sound. I am really quite enjoying it. So whats on the playlist?

Time Track Listing:
1. She Makes Me Happy
2. Can’t Stop Me Now
3. It’s Over
4. Brighton Beach
5. Beautiful Morning
6. Live The Life
7. Finest Woman
8. Time
9. Picture In A Frame
10. Sexual Religion
11. Make Love To Me Tonight
12. Pure Love


Buy it on iTunes or Amazon Now

So now I am ready for summer nights. I’ve got two great CD’s to put in my boombox as I sit by the campfire (sorry, I just couldn’t help it. . all these flashback memories have brought back my teenage vocabulary too). 
Have a great summer everyone!
<3 Dick and Jane 

Disclosure: I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the album to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

How to Welcome Butterflies to Your Garden {DIY Butterfly Feeder}

I love feeding nature so I can enjoy its beauty in my own backyard. I have many bird feeders, and a butterfly house, but no food for the butterflies. While I was out browsing flea markets each week I was keeping an eye out for a nice bowl and a stick that I could use a base for my project. After a few weeks of searching I found the perfect pieces I needed to make the butterfly feeder I had imagined. 
I came across this old wall sconce that was made of wood and had excellent curves. I couldn’t resist, plus it was only ten cents!!! I decided to leave the paint as is. I loved the old chippy paint look it had. 
I began by removing the candle holder from the wall plaque. There were just a few little screws holding it together. 
Next, I used a bowl that I had found in a “free box” at a garage sale and glued it to the top of the candle holder. I flipped it upside down to rest on the bowl side and left it to dry for a few days. 
Finally, I took the new butterfly feeder out to my garden and found the perfect place to push it into the ground right beside my butterfly house and a set of sunflowers that are starting to peak through the ground. 
TIP: Whatever you choose to use as your butterfly feeder base, make sure it will be strong enough to hold your bowl upright when pushed into the dirt. 
What do butterflies eat?
Butterflies love to snack on fruits such as watermelon, apples and bananas. Simply cut up a few pieces and place them in the bowl every couple of days. Don’t change the fruit out too often though, butterflies like it when the fruit begins to rot a little bit. Using a fruit bowl you will most likely attract butterflies such as Swallowtails, painted ladies and fritillaries. 
What else can you use the butterfly feeder for?
If you don’t want to feed the butterflies, but like the look of this craft you can also fill it with a few rocks and shallow water. Butterflies like to perch and wade in shallow water. This is another great way to help attract these beautiful little creatures to your property.  
We will be sharing photos of our butterfly friends on our Instagram page if we can catch them perching on our feeder. Be sure to follow along so you don’t miss the photos! You can always tag us (@raisingdickjane) in your photos too so we can check them out. 
<3 Dick and Jane

When Life Hands You Lemons, Drink Lemonade

Yesterday I received the call I have been purposely avoiding for the last week. . . the call from my doctor regarding my last set of tests. Well, I can say it is both bad news and good news. The good news is only because I always set myself up for the worst. I tell myself that I have the worst possible disease so when I get the results and they suck, I can say “Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as I thought”. 
The bad news is that I have a large kidney stone in my right kidney. My doctor believes that since it is so big, it will be difficult or impossible to pass so I have been asked to come back in to decide on treatment options. . . ugghh. Those words are never fun and mean that the doctors are going to put me through hell to cure one problem while probably creating ten others. I’ve been through it before. 
So while I await my fate with the doctors I have decided to take matters into my own hands and see what I can do to help relieve the situation using natural remedies. So for the last day and a half I have been scouring the internet looking for natural ways to dissolve kidney stones. I am not sure if any of these actually work, but I am really hoping and praying that they do. . . at least do something. 
Here are a few options I found that I am going to give a try. They are simple and cant hurt anything if they don’t work. But really I am saying ” PLEASE, please, please work”. . . 
Five Natural Ways to Help with Kidney Stone
1. Drink a glass of a lemon drink daily. – can do! (WikiHow)
2. Consume 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar daily. – a little more difficult, but can do.  (WikiHow
3. Drink Cranberry juice (WikiHow)
4. Take a Vitamin C pill – Already doing it! (E-How)
5. Eat Watermelon! – Love this one! (Natural Remedies)
These are the couple simple steps I am taking at home to see if I can dissolve the stone, even a little. I have put the links to where I found these remedies behind each option so you can see the details yourself. I sure hope these work! Do you know of any other remedies I should try? Let me know in the comments. 
Thanks for all your support!
<3 Dick and Jane

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

If you follow along on my Instagram page you will notice that tonight I am making crock pot chili dogs for my families dinner. One of my guilty pleasures and not something I like to feed my kids everyday. Here is a recipe for another one of my guilty pleasures; alfredo pasta. We made this a couple of nights ago for dinner, but this recipe doesn’t make me feel quite as bad as the chili dogs were eating tonight. At least the alfredo, while quite fattening due to the sauce, does contain chicken and broccoli which make me feel like I have accomplished a healthy meal. 
This recipe is delicious and about a 5 on the difficulty scale. So lets get started cuz there are quite a few little steps. 
Ingredients: 
1 Package Chicken
1 Broccoli Floret 
1 Package of Button Mushrooms
1 Box Fettuccine Noodles
1 Jar Alfredo Sauce or Make Your Own
Directions: 
Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
1. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta to the water. 
2. Meanwhile on a cookie sheet or baking pan drizzle olive oil and top with chicken breasts. Place them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cooked through. 
3. Begin to wash and chop your mushrooms and broccoli. About 5-6 minutes before your pasta is al dente add your broccoli to the same pot as your boiling pasta. Remove from heat when pasta is cooked and broccoli is fork tender. 
4. When chicken has about 10-15 minutes left of cook time, add your mushrooms to the same dish as your chicken and continue to cook through. 
5. In a small stockpot heat your sauce. 
6. Once everything is cooked, combine all of the ingredients in a serving dish and enjoy. 
I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe! Please share your thoughts with us when you give it a try. We are also looking for new recipes to try. Have a good one? Send us your recipe and be featured on our blog!
<3 Dick and Jane

Garden Update #1

This summer I decided to embark on a large garden project on my homestead. I wanted my home to resemble a french garden (ish). Its been a lot of work, and I still have a lot of work to do. Many of the elements I am bringing into the garden are re purposed items and all of the plants have been started from seeds using a winter sowing project. I am excited to see what fun ideas I can come up with using garage sale finds and also excited to see how my seedlings harvest. I have heard that plants that are winter sown are hardier and produce more yield. So guess what, were going to find out! Follow along with us as things start to come to life in the gardens and see what new elements we add weekly. 
Since this is my first update I will show you where we started and where we are now. The gardens were put in this spring, just a few weeks ago. To get the gardens started we used a lasagna gardening method. This simple garden starting method uses cardboard or newspaper to create the bed space, which is covered by soil and edged in wood. I loved this method because I did not need to use a till. The cardboard kills off any grass growing below the garden and in turn creates less weeding for me. You can read more about lasagna gardening here
Since we had a late spring this year here in Michigan we just finished planting the baby sprouts into the gardens. All of the sprouts were started in mid winter using a winter sowing technique. This technique is done by planting seeds in re purposed milk containers which work as a mini greenhouse. The containers are then left outside in the cold and will sprout when the sun starts to warm. I was super excited to find that almost all of my seeds sprouted and were thick and hardy in their containers. Replanting them into the garden was easy too. 
At the beginning of this week the weather took a downward spiral and hit freezing temperatures. We even saw some snow! I had already planted many of my colder weather plants into the gardens like spinach, broccoli, cabbage and carrots. I was worried we were going to loose them all, so I cut the tops off my old mini greenhouse milk jugs and placed them over top of the seedlings to help keep them warm. It seemed to have worked pretty good. Some of the plants were showing signs of frost damage, but they are starting to pop back to life and I can see green leaves once again sprouting from their centers. 
cabbage plant showing signs of frost damage
After the weather warmed up to the 80’s this week (I know 30 one week, 80 the next. . that’s Michigan for ya). I started to find that many of my plants were turning yellow and starting to die off. I wasn’t sure if it was from the cold, the soil or just a lack of water. I started with the easiest fix and tried running a hose and sprinkler back into the gardens. I let it run for 10 minutes, three times a day.  That seemed to do the trick. It seemed that with the cardboard under my gardens, the soil was drying out much faster than normal. So until the cardboard has completely disintegrated  I will need to make sure the gardens are kept watered. 
Zucchini plant

We’ve also added a few fun elements to the gardens since the beginning. First, I found an old arbor behind my parents shed that they said I could take. The bottom was beat up pretty bad, so I cut it down and made it into a grape trellis. I love the way it looks in the garden. We also added a bench made out of an old bed frame which was painted turquoise and adds such a fun pop of color to the gardens plus it gives me a nice place to rest and enjoy all my hard work. 
Around the house we have been adding things here and there. I just finished this project using an old bird cage which I turned into a hanging planter. Super fun, don’t you think? 
Here are a few other re purposing garden projects I have done over the last few weeks. You can find a complete list of DIY projects here
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter so you can watch for our next fun gardening project to post! We are anxiously waiting for the sprouts to grow so we can start reaping the produce. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Can You Hear The Rain? {Sensory Kids Craft}

The weather man was wrong again. (I am starting to wonder when he may be right) Last I had checked we had a forecast showing an entire week of rain and there has been nothing. Not a drop of water, just warm heat and sunshine. However I am not going to complain about the warmth since just last week we had snow, but I was a little disappointed because I had planned a fun sensory craft for the kids to make to go along with the spring showers and my plan was washed out. (tee-hee. . sorry, I couldn’t help myself) 
We decided to make our craft anyways since it does go along with spring, which we are finally experiencing here in Michigan. Well, sort of. I think we went from winter to summer and skipped spring all together. Its been a weird year for weather, don’t ya think? Either way, the kids thought it was a pretty cool craft and even found a way to turn the rain makers into weapons to hit each other with after they were bored with listening to the rain sounds. 🙂 Aye, kids. . 
This craft is super easy and super inexpensive to make, but is really quite amazing. We loved using it as a rainmaker stick to simulate the sound of rain as it hits our roof. It is a learned skill for little ones to be able to listen. Hearing comes naturally, listening must be taught. 
To make this craft, you will need: 
– A recycled tube from a roll of paper towel
– 2 cupcake liners
– About 2 foot of aluminum foil
– 1/2 cup uncooked rice
– Tape
Directions: 
– Begin by scrunching up the aluminum foil to look like a snake. Not too tight though. This is what will be used to catch the rice and create the long rain effect sound. 
– Push the scrunched aluminum foil into the recycled paper towel tube so it fits completely inside. You should be able to see openings when looking through the tube. Do not completely block the tube.
– Place one cupcake liner at one end of the tube, cover the opening and tape into place. 
– Pour your rice into the open end of the tube. 
– Cover the open side of the tube with a cupcake liner and tape into place. 
That’s it. Now you can decorate the outside of the rainmaker and make it your own masterpiece. As you tip the tube back and forth in your hands the rice will fall and create a layered rain sound effect. What a great time we had tonight making this craft as a family. What do you like to do as a family in the evenings? Let us know by leaving a comment. Thanks for sharing!
Tomorrow is garage sale day! Be sure to sign up for our email list and follow us on instagram to see what were finding and picking up. Hopefully we can find some great re purposing projects within all of the goods to share with you. See ya soon!

<3 Dick and Jane
Sharing With:
Beyond The Picket Fence

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My Kids Are a Gift ~ How I Spent My Mothers Day

This post is hard to start. So ill just start with the details. Over the last weekend I underwent an IVP for kidney issues. Something about the way the tech acted made me feel completely insecure about the results, but she wouldn’t tell me anything. While I was worrying about the test I also became physically ill and got another infection in my foot. Yes, if you haven’t guessed it yet my health isn’t the best and hasn’t been since having my son two years ago. Over the last two years I have been on back to back medicines and antibiotics because something has continuously been wrong with me. The doctors just can not seem to figure out what is going on and why my immune system continues to be so weak. All of the not knowing sometimes makes me fear the worst. 
Being Mother’s Day weekend it was ironic that I spent a lot of time driving to appointments by myself crying at the thought of not being with my children should the worst happen. That’s a hard thought to handle. My kids are both still very young. How would my son, only two, ever remember how we spend our mornings snuggling and kissing each others noses? How would my princess handle not having her moms support during her wedding day and be there for her when she has her own children? I can’t leave them yet, I’m not ready. 
Being a mom is tough enough already, being a sick mom is even tougher. Every time I go in for tests, every time I can’t get off the couch, I can’t let my kids see my pain.  I don’t want them to carry my burden.  So what do I do? I hold all my worry and fear inside until I am alone, then I have a good cry and get back to being strong. I don’t have any really good advice for you about being a strong mom because I’m just barely getting by, but what I have learned from all if this is to be present in every moment. Make the most if the time you do have with your kids, try and make memories with them and be sure to get in the photos too!!! 
I am hoping to be just fine and live to be 101 years old but just in case I am cherishing my Mother’s Day and everyday with my beautiful children. They are the best gift I’ve ever received. 
Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of me and the kids together for this post. 
I guess I need to take my own advice and get in some more photos with them. 
I know this post is a little off topic for me and not something I normally like to share, but I am in need of a little therapy and writing out my fears sometimes helps. I would love a little advice, prayers, kind words. . whatever you are willing to give. 
Even a “You’ll be fine, you over paranoid freak” will work just fine. 🙂 Thanks.
<3 Dick and Jane


p.s. my children also brought me a donut in bed, gave me beautiful troll beads and my husband bought me red roses to plant in my garden for mothers day. It was lovely.