Escape Monthly {Giveaway}

We are getting ready to gear up for our first See Dick and Jane Tour Michigan post series in a few weeks with a trip to Mackinac Island. We definitely have some amazing things planned and we cannot wait to share them with you! 
But before we go we have one more vacation themed giveaway for all of you! After all, isn’t that what summer is all about? Escaping the work to have some fun!? This week we have teamed up with a brand new company to help them get their feet off the ground. 
Meet Escape Monthy. . a monthly box filled with luxurious goodies to help you relax and enjoy some “me” time this summer.  Escape Monthly is a brown bag style subscription that searches out high end, quality items and ships them to your doorstep each month for you to try. Their first box is scheduled to ship out in August and we are excited to see what will be included. Sound like fun? YES! Guess what? Were giving one reader a box for FREE! Yay. . . 🙂
Now lets get you entered to win. Its easy. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to keep following along this summer to see all of our vacationing around Michigan tips!

<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: This giveaway was sponsored by Escape Monthly. By helping to promote their business I was given a 50% coupon code to use for myself. All opinions are my own.  

Afternoon Tea is For the Birds {DIY} #TBCcrafters

I am so excited to share this post with you today. This week I made a craft that combines two of my favorite things. . . tea and birds (nature). Ok. . really this craft includes a wide range of emotions for me because it also reminds me of The Mad Hatters Tea Party too.  lol. Either way, I really love how it turned out and I wanted to share it with you.

Our project this week is super easy to complete. All you need is a tea cup and saucer, a post (I used an old curtain rod that I cut and painted) and glue. First I cut my rod and painted it a bright yellow color. Next I added glue to the rod and affixed it to the bottom of the saucer plate. Once that was dry, I glued on the teacup and voila! This sweet little craft makes a fun and attractive bird feeder that can be placed directly in the ground or in a garden pot with flowers. You can even make up a few of them in different heights and create a striking garden effect. 
Once your done pour some birdseed directly into the tea cup and enjoy watching the birds sip their afternoon tea. 
Be sure to follow along on our Instagram page because as soon as I can snap a picture of one of our little birds perched up on the feeder I will share it with you. 

What Did I use?
– Tea Cup and Saucer
– Dowel Rod
– Paint
– Super Glue
How did I do it?
1. Paint rod and cut to size. 
2. Glue saucer plate to rod. 
3. Glue tea cup to saucer
4. Fill tea cup with birdseed and enjoy.

<3 Dick and Jane

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Its Strawberry Pickin’ Time! {Now What to Do with Them?}

The end of June is one of my favorite times of year. For one, the temperature is now warm enough to put all my winter clothes away and secondly the first produce of the year is ready to be harvested. In our garden the strawberries are the first plants to produce a yield and we wait patiently in anticipation for the little berries to ripen enough to a delicious red color for picking. Well our chance to pick has finally arrived! Just the other day we were able to pick a whopping 7 lbs. of strawberries in about a half hours time. {Its a good thing we did too, because later that night the deer came and ate the rest. . plus all the plants}. . . 
So now that you have strawberries ready to be harvested. . what do you do with them? I know that strawberries are great to eat right out of the garden, but what if you cant eat them all? I know my family can’t eat the whole 7 lbs of strawberries we picked raw this week, so what else can I do with them? Here’s some ideas. 
Flash Freeze the Berries {Use them in smoothies}
To do this wash your berries and allow them to air dry. You may also want to hull them before freezing. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, remove them from the tray and store them in a freezer bag. 
Strawberry Recipes

Make Strawberry Pie
Strawberry Recipes
Ingredients:
Strawberries
Prepared Pie Crust
2 TBS Corn Starch
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Boiling Water
3 oz. Strawberry Gelatin
Directions: 
Whisk together corn starch and sugar in a medium pot. Stir in boiling water and cook on medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, wash and hull strawberries. Place prepared strawberries in the pie crust and cover with cooled gelatin mixture. Refrigerate until set and serve with whipped cream. 

Make Strawberry Lemonade 

Ingredients: 
Water
Sugar
Lemons
 Puree’d Strawberries
Directions: 
Mix well to taste. 


Add Strawberries to Your Salad
Do you have any other fabulous recipes using strawberries you’d like to share? Please post a link below in the comments!
<3 Dick and Jane

Oh Crap. . Where am I?

Do you know that feeling where you are just happily driving along, keeping with the traffic and enjoying the scenery, when you suddenly realize you have no idea where you are? This is the realization I have suddenly come to. Somewhere along the way of my beautiful life I have lost who I am. I am not sure when or how, but when I look at where I am now I don’t recognize the landscaping or street signs. Aside from that really great analogy, which I am quite proud of by the way, I am finding that I am really struggling with where I am in my life right now. Maybe its a mid life crisis thing, or maybe its just that my kids are starting to care for themselves a little more giving me a moment to look at myself and I don’t recognize the woman in the mirror. Either way, I feel a deep conviction to get back to “me”. To who I am inside and who I want to be. 
I am sharing this with you today only because I feel that I can’t be alone in this. I am wondering if this feeling is something other mothers feel at some point in their lives too? When you have kids your life becomes not your own anymore. Every moment of “your life” now belongs to them and I think that it is common to loose sight of who you are and what you want. I can not say that it hasn’t been a beautiful drive, because it has. . but where do I go from here?
I used to paint. That is just one of the things I lost sight of while I was on my journey. I miss it. I also used to be outgoing and the life of the party. . now I can’t even find the party. Ok, hold the bus! I am going to stop right there. I am not going to get in a pitty party for myself! Maybe this realization is just what I needed. I cant go back, since I don’t know where I turned off my path, but what I can do is keep on going forward and start to pay more attention to the road ahead. I know what I want to be, just not how to get there and unfortunately I don’t have GPS for this one. What I am going to do is to start following my heart and hope that it leads me in the right direction. 
To start, I am going to paint. I used to feel so peaceful when I had a brush in my hand. Maybe I am not the best artist or even know what I am doing, but I enjoyed it. Isn’t that what we teach our children? To follow their passions? How can I expect them to feel proud of themselves if I don’t set the example. I am starting to feel that I would be a much better role model for my kids if I am true to myself rather than trying to be the perfect mother or who others think I should be. Trying for perfection only sets you up for failure. No body is perfect, but everybody is great in their own way. So what is my way to be great? Not sure, but what I can tell you is that sometimes we listen too much to the direction of others and we end up somewhere other than our intended destination. So starting today I am going to stop asking for directions and start following my own path. Yes, it may be a rockier road and it may dead end, but what type of life would this be if I always stayed in the right lane? I want my kids to grow up following their own paths, so starting today I am going to show them how to trail blaze! Here we go!
Have you ever felt this way? What did you do to get back on your path? Share with us in the comments below.

<3 Dick and Jane

Container Gardening: Build a Homestead Anywhere

I know many of you have expressed that you do not have room for a traditional homestead garden but still wish you could grow your own fruits and veggies at home.  Well I am here to tell you that you can do it. Last year before we put in our raised bed gardens I grew all of our fruits and veggies in containers on my front porch. This type of gardening can be done anywhere and can be quite beneficial for many reasons. In fact, I still have a container garden on my front porch as well as my traditional bed gardens out back. I continue to container garden because: 
  • I have better control over animals eating my plants closer to the house. 
  • The soil remains softer in pots allowing some plants like carrots better conditions to grow. 
  • Easy access to plants such as lettuce and herbs right out my door. 
  • Shade and sun control. 
  • Edible Decor 🙂
Starting a container garden homestead is an easy process, especially if you choose the right ingredients.  To begin you will want to find a few containers that you enjoy. I found these turquoise containers at Walmart and loved how they matched my home decor colors. I also make sure my containers have a drainage system in place. You will need something to collect access water below the container so you don’t create mold and rot on your porch beneath your garden containers. 
Second, start with some good soil. I have the best luck when I mix manure and organic potting soil together. The potting soil is lighter while the manure is denser and contains the key nutrients the plants need to thrive. 
Next, use a good seed. I prefer to start my gardens with seeds at the beginning of the season. The plants started by seed have shown to be hardier and more bountiful in my gardens than the plants transplanted from my local nursery. To make things even easier, Ferry Morse has a product called Seed Disks. I was able to try out the lettuce and hot pepper seed disks this year and I am blown away by how easy they were to use and how great of a return I received. All you do is lay the seed disk on the top of your soil in your container (they are cut in a circle to fit) and cover with a little soil. Within just a few weeks, your plants will be sprouting and completely fill in your pot.
Finally, enjoy your bounty. 
If you can’t start a traditional garden due to lack of space, or even if you do. . you may find that container gardening is a great addition to your homestead. It will offer you different benefits that will compliment your already growing garden. 
Check out my article on how to create a vertical herb garden (like the one shown to the left) here: Vertical Herb Garden DIY
Happy Gardening!
<3 Dick and Jane
Disclosure: Ferry Morse provided me with the seeds for free to use for this post. 

Meet Cristy with Close To My Heart {Saturday Sponsor}

Saturday Sponsor Series: 
Each Saturday we introduce you to a new blog or business that is helping to support our efforts with continuing Raising Dick and Jane blog. These sponsors have either purchased side bar ads or participated in some other form of promotion with our blog. We appreciate all of our sponsors and would love for you to show them some love by liking, following or visiting their pages. Be sure to let them know that Raising Dick and Jane sent you! 

Welcome to the weekend! One of my favorite past times on the weekends is scrapbooking.  I have been playing with this fun craft for a few years now and am always looking for new ways to improve my skills. I love to use Close to My Heart products because they always invent new and practical items to help take my work to the next level. This is why I am super excited to introduce today Saturday Sponsor with you…..
Today’s Saturday Sponsor is Cristy an independent consultant with Close to My Heart. 

I am a stay at home mom to two beautiful adopted children, and I have been a Close To My Heart Independent Consultant (CTMH), we sell scrapbooking, stamping, papercrafting supplies. I started scrapbooking many many years ago, just for something fun to do. After awhile I was getting bored with my I pages and wanted to learn some new techniques so I joined CTMH. Close To My Heart has offered me the opportunity to teach others to turn their memories into beautiful scrapbook pages, I also can show people how to make cards and home decor.  I teach workshops in my home or yours, contact me today to find out how you can earn FREE scrapbooking products and learn new techniques. You can visit my website at cristydavis.ctmh.com. I just started blogging about my creations at www.cristyscreationsfromtheheart.com. Thanks for taking the time to check me out!  
– Cristy

Get Social with Cristy

Shop her Website
Find Amazing Ideas on her Blog
Like her on Facebook

Thank you Cristy from Close to My Heart for helping to promote and sponsor Raising Dick and Jane. We applaud you!

<3 Dick and Jane

Are you a business or blog interested in helping to sponsor Raising Dick and Jane? Click on our “sponsor” tab at the top of the page, buy a sidebar ad and get a free shout out post in our Saturday Sponsor series. 

How to Build a Garden Dragonfly using Repurposed Fan Blades

How to Make a Dragonfly using Old Fan Blades
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I cannot. This idea was actually given to me by my good friend Sara. She is a wiz at taking old items are re purposing them into something new. So last week when we were on our weekly garage sale date she pointed out an old hanging light and fan to me and said “hey, you know what you can do with that, don’t you?”. I glanced over at an old hanging light, completely in shambles, and said “no, not really”.  “Remove the blades and turn them into dragonfly wings” she said.

Brilliant! That right there is why we go garage sale shopping together. Two heads are better than one.  So I grabbed up the old light for $3 and we headed off to do more shopping. 

So what ever became of the old hanging light you ask? That destined for the dump treasure has been transformed into a beautiful dragonfly. All it needed was a little cleaning, spray paint and some finishing touches. Now this beauty is ready to be added to the fence in my backyard so I can enjoy her everyday.

Behind the scenes know how: 

What do I use to complete this project?
– four old fan blades
– a piece of wood or spindle for the body
– screws
– paint
My method used: 
1.Remove the fan blades from the light fixture, wash and paint. 
2.Paint a piece of wood or spindle for the body of the dragonfly. 
3.Attach the fan blades to the body to create wings using screws. 
4.Hang on your fence, house or on a post in your yard and enjoy. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Zucchini Bread “Cupcakes” {Recipe}

Zucchini, Bread, Cupcakes, Muffins, Recipe, Frosted, Homemade
By now many of you may be enjoying the fruits of your labor in your gardens. Unfortunately, our gardens are not yet to the production stage, but we are patiently waiting for our loving care to pay off. It seems that each year I find I can count on my zucchini and squash plants to out produce all the others and I usually end up with more produce than I can use. As usual, these plants are growing like weeds in my garden again this year so I am planning ahead recipes to make sure nothing goes to waste. 
One of my families favorite treats are zucchini bread muffins. They look like cupcakes and taste like heaven! Best of all. . the kids see a cupcake and not a vegetable, so they are super excited to eat their “dessert” and I am happy to give it to them. 
These may look a bit “overwhelming” to make because of the longer list of ingredients, but don’t be shy. They are actually very easy to make. Trust me. . they will be well worth the effort. 
Zucchini Bread “Cupcakes” with Homemade Frosting
cupcakes-
Ingredients: 
3 cups flour
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup oil
5 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
Directions: 
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine your eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. 
3. Slowly add in your dry ingredients and stir until combined. 
4. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill 3/4 of the way full with mixture. 
5. Bake approx. 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are browned and a toothpick comes out clean. 
Frosting- 
Ingredients: 
1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
add milk to desired consistency

 Directions: 
1. Beat softened butter, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix
2. Add 1 tsp of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. 
3. Once your muffins have cooled completely, frost and serve. 

Enjoy!
<3 Dick and Jane

Our New Children’s Garden and Worm Sanctuary


Dick: “Momma, petty. . petty” (as he lovingly pointed at my lavender plant)
Me: “Yes sweetie, they are pretty”
Dick: “Me? Me?”
Me: “Yes, you may pick one. . but just one.  Don’t they smell nice?”
The next thing that happened is the motive behind today’s post. As my adorable two year old boy attempted to “pick” a single lavender flower from the cluster of purple he mistakenly grabbed the entire bush and ripped the whole thing out of the ground. I would love to say that this was a single offense, but unfortunately I can’t. We just lost a fruit bearing strawberry plant to his mighty grip not 10 days ago. Sooo. . Instead of banning my sweet little boy from enjoying my garden that he loves so dearly I decided to build him his very own garden to tend to (and to pick the petty fowers from). 
While this decision may not have come from the best motives, I am glad that I went with it. Building a children’s garden has been a blessing for both me and my kids. My daughter Jane has been excited about this project since the suggestion first came up. She right away begged me to take her to the store to gather supplies. She enthusiastically picked out each flower and vegetable plant that she wanted to go in their garden and was quite exact with where she wanted them to be planted. With doing so she unintentionally taught herself each plant and veggie name by plant recognition. (wow) My son was just happy to have flowers of his own and even helped dig many of the holes. I was pleasantly surprised that this garden has given my kids a sense of accomplishment and pride. It has also given them a sense of responsibility and a material of bonding. When they are working on the garden, watering the garden or looking for worms to feed the garden they aren’t fighting. . they are working together and as a mother I couldn’t ask for more! 
Now speaking of worms. . . While we were tilling up the land to start the garden we were amazed at how many worms we found. At first my husband was using the worms as a weapon and playfully chasing the kids around with them, but after a while the kids started picking up the worms and naming them. Oh no. . here we go, another pet. My daughter has one of those little bug catcher houses that she fills with “pets” of all kinds each day. She lovingly names them and puts them on the porch each night to keep when she goes to bed (mean mommy wont let her take them inside). Each night, after she has headed in, I carefully release her pets back into the yard so they can live out the rest of their buggy lives, and the cycle continues. . . So where am I going with this? I have a point, I promise. . . 
So while we were catching all the worms a light bulb went off in my head. We decided that we would build a worm tower to feed the worms and keep them all happily living in her new garden so she could visit them whenever she wanted. Wow. . win/win right? Jane gets to care for her “pets” and the garden gets naturally fertilized. Were happy. 
Building a worm tower is actually quite easy. All you need is a piece of pvc pipe, a drill and something to cover to top (like a rock or pot). First cut the pvc pipe to about 8″ long and drill several 5mm holes all over the tube. Next, dig a hole in your garden and place the pipe within the hole, fill the dirt back around the tower being careful to leave about 1″ above the surface of the soil. Finally, fill the tube with some worms, a little dirt and some kitchen scraps and place a rock or covering over the top of the pvc pipe to keep the rain and animals out.  The worms will crawl into the tube to feed and then crawl back out to naturally fertilize your garden! wow, right?
Now. .building this is fine but what do worms eat? That’s easy. . almost anything. Worms like kitchen scraps like lettuce, peppers, egg shells, coffee grounds and a couple handfuls of grass clippings. There are a few things NOT to put in your worm tower however. Do NOT feed them dairy, meat or acidic fruits. These will spoil, stink and they will not eat them. 
We hope you have fun raising little worms in your garden along with us! Jane has been diligently feeding and caring for her little ones and gets giddy whenever she sees a worm pop its head up through the dirt. While I may have saved the worms from the fate of the “bug catcher” I can not yet say the same thing for the rolly pollies. One species at a time I guess. . .  .
Have a happy week!
<3 Dick and Jane

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The Chicken Chick

Meet Fancy Nonsense : Our Sponsor

We are feeling so blessed that so many companies and blogs have stepped forward to help support and promote our little blogging project. You are all amazing! Today we would like to introduce you to one of these sponsors, the blog Fancy Nonsense.
Fancy Nonsense blog is the dream-child of writer Lauren-Marie. Lauren describes her blog as being a haphazard homemaking blog that acknowledges that life is messy.  


“I strive to put the fancy back into the nonsense of life.  I’m a do-er, a make-er, and a rule-break-er.  I don’t fuss over details (or recipes) and 9.5 times out of 10, the results are amazing.  I’m quick to share my failures and struggles and I love to celebrate successes.  I have 3 kids, 3 and under, and am trying to stay sane in this “stage” of life.””

A few of Fancy Nonsense’s best blog posts:
Ways to connect with Fancy Nonsense:
Thank You!
<3 Dick and Jane