The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Tennessee Party Bike December 9, 2012


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If you are out and about then you may have seen the Tennessee Party Bike pedaling its way down the roads in East Tennessee. The party bike holds up to 15 passengers with 10 peddle seats and 5 stationary seats plus 1 seat for the sober driver. The bike has a few different tours you choose from in 3 different cities. Once a deal for it  popped up on Living Social, we got a group together and purchased tickets to try it out. On Saturday, a group of 9 of us cashed in our vouchers for the Pigeon Forge winery/brewery tour. This tour starts at the Mt. Valley Winery and stops at Salsarita’s, Smoky Mountain Brewery, and Mellow Mushroom. It has very few hills and only about 4-5 miles round trip.  You do however have to be 21 to ride the party bike and sign a waiver that you do not need to wear a helmet. The cost is about $10/per person and will need at least 8 people to peddle.

Here is an image from their Facebook page of the bike. Please note, the seats above the wheels do not have peddles and if you are not at least 5 ft 6” this is where you will be sitting. If you are short, like me, you will not be able to reach peddles and the seats do not adjust.

The tours last about 2 hours with 4-5 stops along the way. You book what time you want to start (9:00 am – 12:00 am) and they will have the bike waiting on you at your first stop. We met around 4:00 pm at winery and started to peddle when the sun was starting to set. The weather was prefect not too hot and not too cold and no rain but traffic was bad.  Next time, I would prefer to do the whole route at night, it was funner in the dark. You start peddling down the main strip in Pigeon Forge for a few blocks to your second destination. Once parked, everyone runs in and grabs a drink and then jumps back on the bike and peddle a few more blocks to your next stop.  TN law does not allow public drinking; therefore, alcohol is not allowed to be consumed on the bike but that wasn’t a problem.

Here we are having fun

It was super fun event. I could not tell you how many people were laughing, taking pictures and hooking their horns to cheer us on as we made our way around. I hope they weren’t hooking because they were mad because the bike has a top speed around 5 mile per hour but if traffic was getting backed up, we would pull to the side to let it pass.

Here we are sitting letting traffic pass still having a good time

If you want to book a tour or for anymore information you can check out their website. http://www.tennesseepartybike.com

This is a great healthy and  eco-friendly event to book. I would recommend it to everyone who is 18 and up to try.

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Project 365: Week 48 December 3, 2012

Filed under: Project 365 — Sheena @ 9:54 pm
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Putting up the Christmas tree. I know you can’t see it very well but it has became an owl tree.

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Putting up the holiday decor

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I had to take a picture of this sweet little guy.

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Dear Santa I have been good this year 😉

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Downtown Knoxville’s Christmas tree

phil's deer

Mr Z’s kill of the week

 

Project 365: Week 47


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Checking out the beautiful moon

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Homemade laundry detergent

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My beautiful flowers from Maria’s dad on Thanksgiving

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Mr Mal is all nice and clean along with a little hair trimmings

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Saw this online and all I could think of what prank could I pull with this stuff 😉

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Cinnamon swirl beard! Yummy!

 

I couldn’t imagine the feeling November 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sheena @ 7:49 am
Tags:

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How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent (HE Washer Safe)


I am frugal by choice. I like to save money by making things we use everyday. This way, we can use the money we save to splurge on things that we enjoy in life.  One of the things I make is our laundry detergent. I honestly do not have any idea why we have so much laundry to do in the first place. It is just the husband and I living here and we have no human children, just our fur babies. I would say I do at least 2-3 loads/day. When I started writing this blog it was about noon and I had already done 2 loads of laundry. I know that will not be it for the day, because when my husband gets home from hunting I will have plenty more.

Maybe the problem is me. I will admit that I tend to wash anything and everything that will fit into my washer. That means rugs, shower curtains, floor mats,comforters, pillows, dog beds, etc.  If it fits, it ships gets washed. I am sure this stems from my fear of my house stinking. You know when you walk into someones house and it has its own odor? For example, if a home has pets living inside, people smoke inside, or they cook a lot it can have its own smell. Our house is older home and I fear it may develop its own scent. I know, it is an odd fear to have but still there is nothing wrong with having cleanly washed things, right?

I have had many people ask me for the recipe and I could have sworn I blogged it previously but I could not find the post. So, here it is with easy to follow directions and pictures. It is so simple, just 3 ingredients, and easy to do you will wish you have tried it sooner.

To start off, we need a bar of soap. The soap I use is called Fels Naptha.  It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle.

You may use Ivory soap. It will work just fine but I have tried both and I feel that Fels Naptha is better at stain removal than Ivory. I purchased mine at Kroger for $1/bar.

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Next, you will need to grate the soap where it can be easily melted in boiling water. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe and it doesn’t take too long.

Tip: You can use a food processor to do the job but the soap will not be as fine.

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Add 12 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the soap and stir contiguously until all the soap is dissolved.

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Once the soap is dissolved, stir in 1 cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda.

Please note: Washing soda should not confused with baking soda.  They are not the same thing.  Washing soda is sodium carbonate and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

The brand I use is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.  I have no trouble finding it and the Borax in the laundry section at my local Kroger.

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Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Tip: Place a wooden spoon over the pot to help it from boiling over.

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Many people use a 5 gallon bucket to store it in, not me. I think it looks a bit trashy sitting in the laundry room floor. I use a Tupperware like clear container. Since it about 1/2 the size of the 5 gallon bucket, I use only 1/2 cup vs the 1 cup that the original recipe called for. Fill it 1/2 full with warm water and pour your hot mixture in. Stir and add more water until the mixture reaches the top.

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You may add your own “smelly good” oils to the mix. I use 1 oz of Tea Tree oil because I have sensitive skin and love the smell.

This is an optional step and can be left out. Your soap will still smell great.

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Let it sit overnight.

It will become a slimy gloppy substance, like a watery gel once it has settled. Mix the gel until it becomes a thick liquid. I have read different methods of doing this. Some people using a drill with a mixer attachment or a hand held kitchen mixer. Me, I use my hands. I feel childish, but it is fun breaking up the slim as it slides in-between your fingers.

As you can see, I even have laundry going in the background 🙂

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Transfer the soap into empty laundry bottles. A large kitchen spoon works well. My soap mixture is never perfectly smooth, it always has lumps.Once it is in the bottles, I go to shaking as hard as I can. It is like DIY “shake weights.”  That helps break the lumps up even better but still there are going to be some.

I shake the bottle every time before I use it. This makes sure it is mixed well because the liquid can settle and separate while sitting on the shelf.

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The soap is a low sudsing soap; if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  The suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap thus this is prefect for HE washers.

How much am I saving?

This recipe cost me about $1.21 to make and will wash about 128 loads.That is less than a penny/load!

I normally only have to make this twice a year. When I run out all I have to buy is another bar of soap. There is still plenty Washing Soda and Broax left for about 4 more batches. Super cheap to make and can save loads of cash. I have been making this for over 2 years now and it washes just as well, if not better, as Tide does. I have even compared the 2 side by side like they do on TV. This is a good way to be green and save some green. Enjoy your soap making.

 

You + Me = Us Through The Years November 21, 2012


This Thanksgiving will be #9 for the hubby and I. It is strange how time flies by and gets away from you in a blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday we were going on our first date and being all bubbly eyed at each other. I was organizing my photos and thought it would be nice to put together a time-line of the “us.” A lot of has happened and changed since it all began in 2004. Hairstyles and colors gone bad along with different clothing styles. I giggles a bit at some of them. Well, here is a walk down memory lane.

2004

Our first date after talking for 2 months 🙂 This was taken in the parking garage in West Town Mall. We went to see a movie but I couldn’t tell you what it was.

2005

We both love the outdoors and here we are camping in the Smoky Mountains

2006

After 2 years of dating we decided to get our own place together. This is us in downtown Knoxville watching Boomsday.

2007

We were cruising to Mexico and the Cayman Island this year. This was my first time out of the country and my first cruise.

2008

We had so much fun, we were off to Mexico, again! This was the year we purchased our first home together.

2009

Here is my brother-in-law and us enjoying our “new” boat

2010

Never skied before or been on a plane. I had a mild nervous break down on the plane and found out that I am not that coordinated to ski but we still had a great time.

2011

7 years down the road we finally say “I do!”

2012

Still happily together as we were in 2004

 

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie – No Can Involved November 17, 2012


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I thought that I was making a pumpkin pie from starch was when I didn’t purchase one in a box. Canned pumpkin is easy to buy and to make pies from but why not use a fresh pumpkin. I had 5 small to large pumpkins I purchased from my friends grandmother. Her brothers grows them and she sells them for cheap and I mean cheap. I think I paid between 50 cents to $1.50 per pumpkin. I didn’t crave them on Halloween and since pumpkins can last up to 6 months once picked from the vine, I decided to make good use of them and eat them.

For the pie you will need some of the following. I got this recipe from pickyourown.com and added some of my special touch.

Tools:

  • Large knife
  • Spoon
  • Large bowl
  • 1 large (10 inch) deep-dish pie plate
  • 2 large baking pans at least 2″ deep

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin (Small to Medium)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 cans of evaporated milk – make your own from nonfat dried milk and make it twice as concentrated as the directions on the box call for.

Alright, let get to cooking!

-Wash the pumpkins outside

-Cut in half

-Scoop out the seeds

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-Preheat oven at 375 F degrees

-Place in baking dish meat side down. Add 1 cup of water dish to help steam and cook the pumpkin.

-Bake for 1.5 hours

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I also tried some in the crockpot and it worked out just as well

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– You can test to see if it is done by sticking it with a fork. It should be soft.

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– Let cool then use the spoon to gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin

– You can blend it in a blender for a smooth texture

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Mix all ingredients and place into a pie crust. Cook at 425 F degrees for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let cool, then eat. Yummy!