Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just an average day

Our days have been quite chilly, downright "freezing" and the wind just keeps on blowing strong,  but that doesn't seem to stop the daffodils from blooming.  Signs of spring sneaking a peak at the world!  It is deceiving looking out the window each morning.  The sun streaming in our bedroom windows gives the impression that it is warm, until that is,  I walk outside.  Brisk, but bearable, I got out this morning, camera in hand, to capture all of our blooming daffodils.  It made me especially thankful for the beautiful creation that God has given us.  More especially that there is a time and a season for everything. . .

Chocolate muffins are on the menu for breakfast - a favorite of several in the clan.  Piano lessons and ballet are our agenda for today.  I think that an art drawing  of the flowers in the front beds should also accompany our learning for the day.  Home learning allows for just such a relaxed environment.  Hannah is reading "Ralph the Mouse," even though she thinks it is a "boy's book."

What turned out to be an evening dinner at my Dad's house, turned into receiving a surprise birthday present - he made me this absolutely gorgeous drying rack after I enviously (I almost hate to admit that I jealously coveted a drying rack) admired my step-mother's the last time we were over visiting.   It holds one full load of towels or clothing.  It is a goal of mine to wean ourselves off of our dependency upon electricity. Just one more step on my ladder of accomplishments to making my life more simplified.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend Inspiration

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One of the best parts of my weekend is spent reading my Saturday morning "weekend inspirations" from many of my favorite blogs.  They list great links to recipes, family, faith, crafting and lots more.


Frugal Granola

Raising Olives

Recently, I have been feeling very burdened with feeding my family better food; whole foods, natural the way God intended us to feed our bodies with nourishment.  This burden was spurred on by an accidental placement of Joel Salatin's book, "Folks This Ain't Normal," into my Amazon cart by my dear hubby.  What was suppose to be a "wish list" book until I read some of his other books that our library holds, has turned into a diving board, so to say, into very deep, deep waters. 

Food is daunting to me.  My overwhelming feeling of ineptness, encompasses everything from what to grow, how to grow it, how to harvest it, how to store it, how to cook and process it and what it does to my body.  All I know is that I can't keep feeding my body corn, in the form of sugars, syrups, meat, and processed foods, nor can I sit idly by and feed my husband and children this junk.  The only way to make an impact is through my pocketbook - I determine what I buy and from where. I have a long uphill learning curve when it comes to food, from garden to table, but the results will be worth it. 

So with all this said, I came across a wonderful blog last night after reading (of all magazines) Martha Stewart Living.  I'm loving the look of the parsley root fries and cannot wait to try some of her other recipes. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why didn't I think of this years ago

homemade laundry detergent

Photo credit

For years now I've been making our laundry detergent and have used various recipes from not only the Duggars, but online sources as well.  It usually sits in a large 50 gallon bucket in the laundry room, or hallway nearby.  This usually causes accidents of tripping over the bucket, or sometimes the bucket just happens to be in the way of opening and closing machine doors.  I do not have a large and spacious laundry room such as this one. . . .  but I can dream . . . .  . 

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Photo source

So, imagine my surprise when I was flipping through my March Country Sampler magazine and I found a new way to make a large batch of laundry soap, but not have to store it in a 50 gallon bucket!

1.  Coarsely grate two bars of Fels-Naptha laundry soap into a 12-quart plastic dishpan and then add 4 quarts of boiling water.  Stir until the soap is dissolved.

2.  Add 5 quarts of hot water to the dishpan and stir in 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.

3.  Once dissolved, add hot water to the dishpan up to a few inches from the top, stir and let sit overnight - letting it sit for 48 hours is even better.

4.  After the mixture has gelled, chop it in to pieces with a metal spoon or spatula, fill a mixing bowl with pieces of it, and mix with a hand mixer until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Repeat with remaining gel.

5.  Disperse the blended mixture evenly among 12 one-quart canning jars.  Top off the jars with a little water, cover, shake and store.  This is the concentrated form of the soap.

6.  To use the laundry soap, pour one jar into an empty liquid detergent bottle, add 2 quarts of water and shake well.  Use the bottle's cap to measure the laundry soap just as you would for the store-bought detergent; for high-efficiency washers, just use a little less.  It's thin, but it works!

Hannah had the most fun helping with making "mashed potatoes" with them before we filled them into the canning jars.  Now, I have 8 jars of concentrate which equals 8 bottles of laundry detergent for less than $3.00 - I cannot even coupon that amazing price!  Have you tried making laundry detergent?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It Sold!

Remember this table runner. . .

Well, it sold yesterday . . .  my very first sale from my Etsy store.  Needless to say I was thrilled!  I think I bounced off the wall for most of the morning.

Paisley Ruffled Burlap Table Runner
Not wanting my store to be bare I rustled up the last of the burlap and created another table runner.  Don't you especially like the soft and delicate, paisley cotton flannel ruffle?  That's my favorite part.  So while the kids were busy early this evening putting together their valentine cards for our homeschool Valentine's Day party this week, the whir of my sewing machine could be heard from the back room as this new runner was put together.

I just might have to purchase some more burlap and make another one for my table. A big "thanks" to Emily for the paisley printed fabric! Be sure to check out the link to my store on the side bar!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm not perfect

When I Say I am a Christian
by Carol Wimmer

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I am saved"
I'm whispering "I was lost"
That is why I chose this way.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need someone to be my guide.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And pray for strength to carry on.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And cannot ever pay the debt.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are all too visible,
But God believes I'm worth it.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
Which is why I speak His name.
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority.
I only know I'm loved.

Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two WomenThis beautiful poem came out of a book I read recently and I wanted to share it.  It is a heartwarming celebration of God through two women from vastly different lives, but through the grace of God, had their lives and hearts interwoven together.  I find myself intrigued by the Amish way of life - simply put - they live the simple life.  Their's is a way of life with no distractions, no information overload, no technological advances. . .  just simplicity.  They live off the land, cherish their family, work together in harmony and constantly give thanks to God for all of His provisions.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the humorous tales told by the two women.  What I found was that through their stories and life experiences they share a kindred spirit to the way they live life.   What interesting books do you have on your shelf?