Sourdough Starter

Y’all! I’m tickled pink that my attempt at making my own sourdough starter is working! It’s hard to tell, but there are bubbles already forming in day two’s mixture!

I already had a few bubbles forming by the end of day one! See??? I’m ridiculously excited!

I used a scale to measure 4oz equal parts of all purpose flour and filtered water. I have it in a half gallon mason jar. The mixture will be super sticky, so don’t do what I did on day one and use a wisk. 😂

Each day I feed it with equal parts 4oz flour and water. I leave it on the kitchen counter covered with a coffee filter.

I cannot wait until after all 5 days are completed and I try it in some bread!!

Have you had a sourdough starter?

Blessings and JOY ~



Kombucha Brewing

Well, as life would have it, a few days passed before I got the tea I wanted to make my first batch of kombucha. I’m a newbie here, so I’m learning as I go.

But I was excited to see the scoby already growing in the jar that held the starter! Hoping for a second scoby before too long!

Last night I made a batch of tea and let it sit covered to cool all night long. I left the tea bags in the water to full steep as well. This time used hibiscus tea, ginger tea, and green tea.

I combined the starter (approximately 1 cup), scoby, tea, and 1 cup of sugar into a half gallon mason jar. I added some freshly grated ginger as well.

One cup of sugar may seem like alot, but remember that the scoby feeds on sugar. So when it’s done brewing, it won’t have as high of a sugar content when you enjoy your kombucha!

I covered the mason jar with a coffee filter and the lid ring. I used a coffee filter because I happen to have a stack left over from years ago. Once they are gone I’ll probably use an old tea towel I’ll cut up or a piece of cotton fabric.

Now the jar full of pretty pink liquid will sit on my counter for a week or so. Fingers crossed it’ll taste amazing!

Blessings & JOY ~



I’ve read blog posts, watched YouTube videos, and scanned Pinterest for kombucha but always was a little (more than a little?) scared to try my hand at making my own. Plus, since I didn’t personally know anyone with a scoby to start my own kombucha. I wasn’t sure how I felt buying a scoby online. Today a friend gave me a cup of her yummy kombucha with a scoby to start my own! I’m excited to try new flavors with each batch!

I’m excited to see how it helps my family’s gut health. Do you drink kombucha?

Have you tried making your own kombucha? Any tips to share with this newbie?

Blessings & JOY ~


Tennessee Twister

Two weeks ago we had 4 tornados spin through our area and one was right in out back yard! It was pretty intense! Thankfully the only damage we had was about a dozen large trees.

Not all of our neighbors were that lucky. I’ve never heard our windows whistle like that before. Nor have I seen windows pulse… and we discovered the whole “it sounds like a train” to be true! We discovered dust being blown into our house under our baseboards.

Ironically, we just moved from our house that had a basement. Do you need to be told that we’re now shopping for a storm shelter? 😉

For size reference, my hubby is 4 inches shy of 7 ft.

We will have enough wood for bonfires for the next decade! These piles aren’t even half of what we cut and there’s a ton more!

Its alot of work lugging huge trunks up the hill for seats, so hubby improvised and used our mower!

That storm was the closest I ever want to come to a tornado, ever again!

Blessings & JOY ~



I grew up in the city.  And while my hubby grew up in the same city, he grew up with backyard chickens!  He and his grandma had a lil urban farm going on in their yard.

Fast forward 15 years and many homes and we have backyard chickens!  Its been about 2 years now, and we have two different batches of chickens.  Both are Rhode Island Reds; the second batch we got are heritage!

I love our girls!  They are so sweet and fun!  Plus, they give me breakfast!  I don’t know why I was surprised that they had their own unique personalities, but I was – and they do!  We have one girl who LOVES getting pets and love from us.  Another is super dramatic and its quite funny.  Another girl is super vocal and lets everyone know when she’s annoyed.

We have our little “farm” on the side of the house behind the garage.  It it separated from the yard by a cute picket fence that hubby made.  When I go through the gate, I will say “hi girls” and they all come running because they know I have treats for them!

Have you ever watched any of the Jurassic Park movies?  They totally got the traits of the velociraptors from chickens!  From the way they run, look at you, and the noises they make (like when they are talking to each other, or warning others of possible dangers – not the clucking or crowing).  I always laugh!

My girls are my favorite pets!


Chickens are fun, and quite easy to care for.  Every 2 days we have a dozen eggs.  Fresh, non-GMO, free range eggs.  I love being able to grow our own food and raise our own chickens.  If I could, I’d have a goat!

I love being able to keep chickens and let our girls live how God intended them to, instead of shoved into an overcrowded and dirty “barn”.  I recently read an article about “organic” eggs and it made me so sad!  In case you missed my quotes – they don’t follow the rules for organic!!

I think everyone should have backyard chickens at least once in their life.  I never really thought I’d like having them as pets… the few I had come in contact with I was terrified of because they had chased me as a child.  So, I was a bit nervous to own them myself.  We raised them from chicks and I love our sweet, silly girls!  ♥

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥


Basement Project

My hubby is amazing! With my completion of school, we my hubby has been busy getting the shop side ready!

Since we had to put in a bathroom for the home business requirements, our project has expanded into the family room side of the basement!


I still have many steps to take with my shop, but I’m ready with a shampoo bowl!


I’m anxiously awaiting June 1st, which is when I will find out if our city will honor my request to open shop in our home.


To help make the basement family room not feel so excluded, we have “windows” to view the downstairs. We also decided to utilize the space under the stairs for a dog house!


Loving this space! Cannot wait until it’s done; so looking forward to being self employed, working from home!! 💗

Blessings & JOY!

P.S. this is the first time posting from my phone using the WP app!

Shabby Chic Frames

A few weeks ago I found these beautiful framed pieces of artwork at the Goodwill.  I use the term ‘beautiful’ loosely.  Granted, the artwork is definite talent – just completely not my decor style!  But the frames were sturdy, solid wood, and only $1!


In July, I found some chairs (also at the Goodwill) and painted them with chalk paint for my dream salon in my walk-out basement.

Anyhow, so I had some of that paint left over.


I had a few different ideas running through my head for these frames.  I even started to paint the glass with black chalk board paint (like I did here) but it wasn’t behaving at all for me this time, so I decided to just hang empty frames for some texture on my bare walls.


I painted 3 coats of the white chalk paint to give it good coverage over the dark wood frames.  Since I was painting, I grabbed another small oak frame that houses my parents photo in it.  It is now super cute and updated on my sofa table. 🙂

After the 3 coats, I used my sandpaper block to distress the paint.  I love the look of shabby chic, like the items have been around with a story to tell.


Then it was simply a coat of clear wax (opted for stark white over the antique wax for this project).

I love chalk paint!  Minimal, if any, sanding is required and it sticks so well!  I hate painting, but love the end result.  I am quite happy with this frugal decor hack!

Now I have to find something else cute to hang in the other bare corner of this wall!  Just more reasons to frequent our Goodwill! 🙂


I would love to chat with you on FacebookTwitter  ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥

Our Response to the Bird Flu


Have you bought eggs recently?  I usually have quite a stash in our fridge, so when I went to buy eggs today I about died!  And we have a location to buy eggs (typically) at a great price!

Eggs more than doubled, all in response to the recent bird flu epidemic.

I only bought one dozen because we were clean out of eggs.  Yes, I want to buy farm fresh, free range eggs…but I am also quite budget conscience…and while I fully agree that we will pay for health in either our grocery bill or doctor bill…we have to eat and we have cut out 99% of processed foods.

We know someone who sells free range brown eggs and now they are totally a bargain, thanks to the bird flu!  So that is what we will be buying, until….we get our own fresh eggs!!


We recently bought a gorgeous house, and just brought home baby chicks!  We are going to have back yard chickens!!!  I am so excited!  Hubby grew up with chickens; I am so grateful that he will be able to teach me all I need to know about our egg laying pets.  😉


So, that is our response to the rising cost of eggs!  Albeit, indirectly…as we got the chicks before we knew about the bird flu.  Who else has backyard chickens?

Blessings & JOY ~


Baking Battles

Our family has been gluten free for nearly a year now.  I felt like I had to learn (and am STILL learning!) to cook and bake all over again!  Gluten-free is so different from gluten-full!  😉


I am still fully switching our pantry over to all the crazy gluten-free items…like brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch…and the list goes on!  I have a few recipes that I love and are easy to make.  I have even more that scare the living daylights out of me when I read them!  They sound so complicated, albeit delicious.  Hopefully one day they won’t seem so daunting and we can delight in their heavenly gluten-free-ness!

Until then, I stick to what I know.

Except that hubby’s doctor wants to run some tests on him and has ordered him to eat gluten!  *gasp* So here I am tickled pink that I get to bake all my favorite tried-and-true recipes for this month!

It was short lived.

Can you unlearn what you knew?  I love baking and am known for my chocolate chip cookies, cake balls, etc.  Yet, this month of gluten-full freedom has made me sad as baked item after baked item has been lacking.

All I know is that I once could bake awesome gluten-full goodies, and now I cannot bake them nor gluten free.  Okay, so it’s not that bad…but it still hurts the heart to feel so lost in the kitchen! 😉

Blessings & JOY ~



Brownies for the Win!

We decided to purchase each brownie mix option at the grocery store a few weeks back.  I made each box and put them on different plates.  We were going to have a taste test!  The kids were super excited, and I always love anything chocolate.  😉


We bought the brand we had been buying for the past year: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Brownie Mix.  I love how it is healthy AND gluten-free.  This package requires you to add the most ingredients.  Butter, egg, vanilla extract, water (with chocolate chips or nuts given as optional).  It has a pretty normal brownie mix consistency, maybe a tad thicker.

The second brand we bought was King Arthur’s Flour Gluten-Free Brownie Mix.  Another GF mama told me she tried them and they were a win in her house!  This box had the usual items to add: butter (or oil, we did oil), water, and eggs.  This batch was considerably thicker than what I am used to when I make brownies.  This brand also required a longer bake time at 45 minutes.

The last and third box we tried is Betty Crocker chocolate Gluten-Free brownies.  This brand asked for the least amount of items, just a half stick of butter and 2 eggs!  It’s consistency was typical of brownies.

After they were all baked, and I tried to keep the others warm we dove in and gave our vote!  All are delicious, of course and it was a tad hard to choose.  Out of the 5 of us, three liked Betty Crocker and the other two (myself being one of them) preferred King Arthur.  I laughed when the brand we had been buying for the past 11 months was not anyone’s first choice!

Changing one’s diet can be stressful and exhausting…I often feel like I am having to learn how to bake and cook all over again.  Some things (especially breads!) do not taste the same when gluten free.  I enjoy having easy mixes and pre-mades that our family can enjoy!  🙂

Blessings & JOY ~