Thursday, August 31, 2017

September To-Do's


I'm not going to say a word about how I can't believe August is over and September is starting.  Not one word.  ; )

Here are your September to-do's though:

*clean out the gutters
*remove dead tree/shrub limbs
*lubricate any squeaky doors/windows
*plant your fall mums
*plant shrubs/trees
*aerate the grass
*flip your mattress/wash ALL the bedding
*clean the windows
*if you are thinking Christmas gifts at all, begin making/buying

Not too bad this month!  Pretty do-able.  : )  Again, if you have children/grandchildren, let them help with age-appropriate things.

It's been a pretty good day.  Any day where I can look back and see SOME progress is a pretty good day:

*three loads of laundry - my husband did the ironing
*spent the whole morning in the kitchen - cleaning off open shelves, going through stuff in the cupboards (giving a few things away).  I also lined the outer edge of each shelf with washi tape:

picked this up at Hobby Lobby - kind of a vintage feel to it.  : )

*cleaned off appliances that are out
*washed the rugs
*re-writing recipes into a notebook that lies flat:

I like notebooks so much better than cards - I want to stain this up as I use each recipe like our grandmas and moms did.  Then it can also be passed along to whoever might like it.  : )

*I then washed my makeup and hair brushes:

something I don't do often enough!

*then, lastly, I started a fleece blanket to give away.

That leads me up to now.  Supper will be leftovers from last night which means no cooking just heating everything up and tossing a salad to go with it.  Yea!

I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying taking care of your homes.  Thank you for dropping by and hope to see you soon.  God bless.




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It Was A Fair Day


A State Fair, that is.  : )  Yesterday I didn't feel like going at all.  This morning I was still unsure.  But my husband REALLY wanted to go, so go we did.  We didn't stay long - about 4 hours.  My husband had his footlong hotdog and I had my Pronto Pup and we both shared a huge lemonade.  That was it. We looked at tractors, cars, animals, fine art, creative arts, and horticulture.  Then we went home.  : )

Here was our Fair day:

one of the largest ferris wheels around

just cute at a cookie stand


love old tractors

again, cute

beautiful floral displays

what is a fair without polka music?

a pretty wildlife display

That's the end of the tour.  Now to rest my tired feet.  : )











Sunday, August 27, 2017

Spectators and Participants


I haven't been thinking about the past week so much as I've been thinking about the past year.  I can't remember a season of life that has been so difficult.  My husband's retirement last August because it was a difficult job to stay with. A father-in-law with dementia, watching his personality change, his confusion, his anger, and then his death last September.  Being with a sister who buried a husband who was the love of her life which was also last September. Distancing ourselves from people who we once trusted and found out differently right before Christmas last year.  Finding out about another difficult situation within the family in January.  The too-early death of a friend with horrible brain cancer this past April.  Our own health challenges.

The lesson learned from all of this is that whether we were spectators (watching the pain of others) or participants (dealing with our own issues), it was equally tough.  Each difficult situation brought either fear, deep sadness, anger, shock, stress, or disappointment.  I really can't think of a time where I have felt all of these negative emotions within the span of one year (actually a bit longer than that).

We have experienced difficult times in the past, of course, but never one on top of the other like this. It's a time such as this that I'm so grateful for Jesus.  I'm always grateful for Jesus, but when I'm hurting there is no better place to be than at the feet of Jesus.  I have sobbed my way through prayer where it wouldn't make sense to any one else, but it does to Him.  I don't have to weigh my words carefully because He already knows them and it's okay.  I can voice my anger and frustration without fear of being reprimanded for the honesty.  I can't imagine life without Him. 

  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday - Again


Seriously, the weeks fly by so quickly.  With a husband who is retired now, we often forget what day of the week it is!  But weekends always feel like weekends.  : )

It is another cozy, rainy day.  And we've been keeping cozy - doing things that aren't normally done during the week.  My husband spent a good part of the day downstairs working a puzzle and I spent a good part of the day watching cooking shows, perusing my own cookbooks for inspiration, and working on this:


embroidering a shabby chic tablecloth for Christmas to put in the shop.  I have finished the wall hanging, wreath, and apron, so I'm on a roll.  : )  This will be done in redwork - my favorite way to embroider.  It's surprising that as I've gotten older, I love the color red in the home.  I can't wear it, so I like to decorate with it.  One of the fun things about Pinterest is that when you "Pin" something and go back to see your boards, a definite theme or color scheme or design idea shows up with every picture.  I looked at my decorating board and I'm definitely drawn to red.  So fun and interesting.

It hasn't been too exciting of a week so there is not much to talk to you about.  I'm just trying to get to my dailies in the morning hours and then work on items for my shop in the afternoon hours.  It's been working out rather well.  Work when I'm feeling stronger and more rested and then sewing/crafting when I need to use my creative head instead.  : ) 

So, I will bid you farewell for now.  Thank you for dropping by!  




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Fine Art of Puttering


I woke up yesterday knowing that I had the Monday chores ahead of me - laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom.  But I also wanted to go a bit slower than I normally do.  That's where the "puttering" part of homemaking can come in.  Puttering is different than cleaning (although I do tend to carry a dust rag with me while puttering).  Puttering (for me) consists of taking a room and "playing with it."  I move a couple of pictures around.  Then I move a couple of side tables around.  Then I completely redo a side table:

all ready for a tea party.  : )

Puttering is very therapeutic.  It gives you a chance to think.  It makes you slow down.  It brings out a bit of creativity in doing things in a different way.  The changes I made in our living/dining area are changes that no one else will ever notice, but I do.  : )

It's amazing, too, that even though I puttered, I got all my morning work done.  Just in time for this:

we live too far north and was experiencing a cloudy day for the total eclipse yesterday, but it was still kind of fun to see the change in how it looked.  And, no, I didn't look directly at the sun in this picture, I just approximated where the sun was and held my camera up to get a shot of it.

The clouds then thickened up more and we got an afternoon rain.  A cozy rain.  The kind of rain that motivated me to do this:

cut out a Christmas apron to work on for the Etsy shop.  : )

worked on some of it today - lots to do yet.

That is it for today.  Once again looking forward to relaxing a bit this evening before bed.  The days go by so quickly.  There are always a couple of items on my dailies that don't seem to get done.  And that's okay!  : )  I hope you are enjoying your homes and working on some enjoyable projects.  Thank you for dropping by - I DO appreciate your visit.  God bless.





Sunday, August 20, 2017

This Past Week


Looking back on the week, what comes to mind is a typical morning prayer time.  During the prayer time I was thinking about the awful things that are happening in the world, and I had to have a time of tears.  I seriously can't imagine someone hearing about all the madness and not be moved.  And it's not just from the past week, it's.......stuff going on for a long time now!

*Drive-by shootings that leave innocent children dead in their own homes.
*A mom driving while checking her phone and crossing the center line being hit by another vehicle, killing her own daughter and friend.
*Teenagers bullying peers to the point of them committing suicide.
*Road rage that ends up with someone pulling a gun out and killing the other driver.
*Men using vehicles to run down people while just taking a walk.
*Police officers being lured into something and then gunned down.
*And, unfortunately, this list could go on and on.

What brought me to tears is the fact that all of the victims were innocent people.  People like you and me who got up every day just wanting a good day.  A day with a little work, a little laughter, a friend to talk to, and family members to love, and hope for the future.  But at the hand of another, they are no longer here.  And it wasn't just that they were innocent and taken because of someone else's actions, I cried for their souls.  The words of Jesus came instantly to my mind from Luke Chapter 12 verse 20.  "This very night your life will be demanded from you."

Every day is a gift from God to us.  And every day - from the moment we wake up - our life could be demanded from us.  Whether it's through natural causes, natural disasters, diseases and illness, or at the hands of someone else, there isn't one of us who is guaranteed that we will last through the day.   What then?  Where will we go?  There are now so many people who think that when we die that's it. That's. Not. It!  Each of us was created by God and He gave us a personality unlike any other.  We are special and unique and gifted by Him.  Anything outside of that is because of man's/woman's sinfulness.  There is evil in the world, but very rarely does anyone want to talk about that aspect of what's going on today.

Seriously ask yourself - if I die today, where will I go?  If you have put your trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior and have asked Him to come into your life and you have repented of your sins and walk another way, you will live with Him forever.  How do I know?  The Bible.  It explains it all.  Please - pick it up and read it for yourself.  With access to technology now, there is no reason for not reading the Bible.  It's on-line.   No more excuses.  

The rapidity in which everything is happening in our world is a huge red flag to all of us.  Take heed. Don't wait.  This could be the very night that your life will be demanded from you.  Don't be caught unaware and unsaved.  

  



Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Good Morning Begins The Night Before

Badlands of South Dakota.

We all experience it, don't we?  The mad dash to get out the door in the morning and we can't find anything?  It absolutely drove me crazy when I was younger.  It never dawned on me to get things ready the night before in order to have a peaceful morning.  It truly does make a difference and it doesn't have to take very long.  I know that the evenings are meant for relaxation and just calming down a bit after a long day, but just a few preparations can give you time and less stress the next day. Some ideas might include:

*After supper in the evening, wash AND dry your dishes.  Don't leave them to air dry in the sink so that you have to put them away in the morning.  Clean your kitchen, organize it, and put things away.
*I'm a believer in eating breakfast every morning so plan what you're going to have the night before.  For us, it's usually just cereal, granola, or oatmeal, so I put those things out whether it's the boxes the cereal comes in, or the pan, spoon, measuring cups, etc. I'll need for the oatmeal.  To keep it looking less cluttered, I pull out a tray and arrange everything on a tray - it just looks nicer.
*Set the breakfast table (which in our case is also the dining room table).  I used to make the mistake in the early days of setting the table for breakfast right after everything was cleared from supper, but then that meant that no one could use the table for writing or homework or working on projects and I didn't like that so I've learned to set the breakfast table as late in the evening as possible - when you know that everything is done for the night.  But set out the bowls (or plates if you are serving something besides cereal), silverware, sugar bowl, fruit, juice glasses, vitamins, etc.  Everything you need so you won't spend your morning doing this.
*Get your coffee pot ready - put the grounds and water in.  All you have to do is push the "on" button and it can brew while you do something else.
*If you send lunches along with someone, get everything ready (even make the sandwiches or salads and put them in the fridge).  Get the lunch container ready with utensils, napkins, etc.  SO much easier to put everything together the next day.
*Are there papers or books that need to go with certain people?  Get them together in one place so they can grab and go.
*Keys.  How many of us hunt for keys?  Put them in one place every day so there will be no more hunting.
*The car.  Did you notice that the car was almost on empty when you came home.  Getting out in the evening to put gas in your car (even when you think you don't want to go out anymore) will save you the headache of having to leave earlier in the morning to do it.  Better yet, if you're driving home and notice the car is almost empty of gas, stop somewhere BEFORE you get home.  Then you don't have to worry about it at all!
*Get the clothes ready.  Are they ironed?  Know what you are wearing and everything that will go with what your wearing.
*Take off makeup and wash your face - I used to not do this and it truly is a time saver in the morning.  It's also better for your skin.
*Now you can relax.  This all may seem like a lot to do in the evening, but it all goes very quickly especially if it becomes routine.  It really will make the next day go so much better.  I hope you can give it a try!!!!  (A note here - if you have children at home, let them help with all of this.  They can help with dishes, they can set the table, they can get their own things ready.  It's a good idea to raise children that are organized too!)

Well, yesterday was a very nice, rainy, day again.  Usually around this time of year, everything should look brown and dry, but we have had periodic rains all summer long and it looks beautifully green and lush.  So I, once again, took advantage of the rain and did something creative.  We were running out of greeting cards so I sat and made four of them:


You wouldn't think it would take very long, but I love the process of choosing the paper and then cutting everything out and then laying it down and lastly gluing it all down.  I hope you can try to make your own cards.  It's a very artistic thing to do and very frugal.  It's fun to not have go to the store at the last minute.  Just choose from what you've made, grab a "Happy Birthday", "Congratulations", "Get Well", or whatever stamp you need and send it off!  : )

And, because of working on this project, I didn't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, so I thawed out a pound of organic hamburger (I have several in the freezer at all times for quick meals) and grabbed one of our homemade "hamburger helper" mixes from the pantry shelf:


This one is the Italian Style Hamburger Helper:

Put together in a zip-lock bag, 8 oz. of whatever noodles you want, 1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes, 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. basil, 1/2 t. salt.  When ready to use:  brown 1 lb. of ground beef (drain), add 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Add your noodle/spice mix and an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the noodles are cooked through.  So easy and quick!  (I do find that I need to thicken it a bit with a little cornstarch mixed with water)

I served it with fresh corn-on-the-cob and watermelon slices.  : )  Mixes really are a good idea to have on hand when you want to pull a good meal together in less time.

That's it for today.  I hope you have a good weekend.  Please remember to pray for everything that's going on in our country and world.  God bless.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Face and Neck Cream


I'm sorry about the lack of photos of things that I make lately, but it's difficult to have the camera around at all times.  But I did want to share a "recipe" for a face and neck evening cream that I made a couple of weeks ago and that I'm liking very much.

It's says it's a cream, but only when the house is cool enough to solidify the oils.  I keep mine in the bathroom, so it's pretty much in a liquid state more often than not.  With that said, here it is:

DIY NIGHT CREAM FOR FACE AND NECK

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated cocoa butter
1 tsp. vitamin E oil (I just bought vitamin E capsules and broke them to get the oil out)

Mix all of the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently on the stovetop until mixture warms and begins to melt.  Remove from heat and stir until completely melted and mixed.  Pour into a clean jar with a lid.  Simply massage a small amount into your neck and face at night before going to bed.

*Just a note - this IS greasy so you won't want to use your best pillowcases at night.  : )  But when you wake up in the morning you will find that your skin is so very soft and supple and with the natural good-for-you ingredients, I feel SO much better in using it.  Now I'm on the hunt for a good DIY day cream!   Do you know of anything?   If so, please feel free to share it!!!!

Wednesday's happenings:
*grocery shopping
*couple loads of laundry
*worked on my Christmas wall hanging for the shop - finished it!!
*made chicken fajitas for supper
*now chatting with you  : )

Looking forward to just chillin' and resting this evening.

But, before I go, I would just like to encourage all of you to pray.  I don't pay a lot of attention to the news because it hurts me to the very core as to what is happening here in the United States, and also around the world.  I can't help but hear what's going on in some form or another even if I don't make a point of sitting down and actually watching the television.  With that said, however, I was convicted the other day that I need to know SOMETHING of what's going on in order to know what to pray for and how to pray and who to pray for.   Every generation has lived through some really difficult times, but this feels different.  We definitely need prayer warriors!!!!!!!  Men, women, and children who are willing to be on their knees for God's mercy and help in times of trouble.  Will you?

I have posted this in the past but is timely once again:

"One minute each night during WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people, and peace.  This had an amazing effect as bombing stopped."  -  What do you think?  Maybe it's time for us to be doing this?  I'm kinda thinking, yeah, it's time.  It's DEFINITELY time.  


Monday, August 14, 2017

Back From a Visit

A South Dakota sunflower.

We're back!  Back from my home State of South Dakota.  Now living in a big city area, it was SO nice to be on the road in wide open spaces again.  I love the farms, the crops, the small towns.  My family was nice to have a couples' shower for my son and our future daughter-in-law.  We only have 8 weeks left until the "I-do's."  😨  To think that it will be October in only 8 weeks is hard to believe. The year is going fast.

South Dakota prairie dog.  Cute.  😊

Elk.  What a rack! 

And I can't remember what the name of these cutie-pies were.  They aren't your average deer.

Just a sampling of a few wildlife we saw in a preserve area.

So, now back home and back at it again.  It was a typical Monday with quite a bit of laundry and ironing to do.  I cleaned the house before we left, so it was a no cleaning day!  I enjoyed the cloudy day by working on:

This is an older picture of when I first started, but now I'm almost finished to put into the Etsy shop.  Hand sewing is such a relaxing thing to do.

The only organizational project I worked on today (sorry, no pictures) was the bathroom cabinet.  It sorely needed it.  Lots of almost-empty items, lots of old items, and it needed to be redone.  Again, it always feels good when completed.  : )

I'm having a one-pan stovetop meal for supper tonight (I've already posted the recipe a while back so I won't bore you with it again).  I'll serve it with a side salad of mixed greens and fresh tomatoes.

I'm almost finished with "Anne of Green Gables" (book 1).

And, lastly, for my morning Bible reading, I've been in the Book of Psalms for about a month now.  I like to take notes while reading the Bible, but in Psalms I'm doing a "Pray and Praising."  For example:

Take Psalm 28 - this is what I wrote down:

*Praise God for being my Rock
*Pray for God to listen
*Pray for mercy and help
*Praise God for His Strength and being a Shield
*Pray for trust
*Pray for joy
*Praise God for being a Fortress
*Pray for blessing
*Pray for God to be my Shepherd and to carry me

It's an excellent way to pray for your needs, yet praising God for who He is.  I'm going through every Psalm this way (it will take quite a while, but SO worth it).

That's it for today.  Thank you for stopping by for a visit - I always look forward to it.  : )  God bless.











Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When You Need Ideas to Replace Negative Thoughts


It happens to all of us, doesn't it?  There is a term "stinkin' thinkin'" that pretty much says it all.  Our thoughts have such power over us.  We can work ourselves into quite a state.  I'm not for stuffing our feelings either.  There are things we need to feel and work through.  But I'm talking about those issues that should be over and they keep creeping into our heads and stir it all up again.

Here are a few things we ladies can do to get us into a different state of mind and off the negative:

*write favorite scripture on note cards - carry them with you throughout the day to look at when the negative thoughts come up
*go through photos or cards that you've saved through the years and begin framing them - they can be changed out with the different seasons of the year
*begin a gratitude journal - instead of everything that's "wrong" in your life, write down everything that is right
*have a cup of coffee or tea, turn off the television or radio, turn off the phone, and grab that book that you've been wanting to read
*think of someone else - what can you do to bring a little joy into someone else's life today or tomorrow?
*take a long, soaking bath - buy some bubble bath, put on some soft music, light candles and soak away your troubles
*organize something - a closet, a drawer, a cabinet, your clothes
*bake something - take it to school tomorrow or work or your neighbors
*make a freezer meal so that you will have one night off from cooking
*sew/craft something - think back to when you were young(er) - what did you love to do?
*take a walk at a pretty place and bring your camera - be intentional about looking for something unique and see how many photos you can take
*send cards to friends and family - let them know how much they mean to you 

You can add to this list.  Just replacing the negative feelings towards a circumstance or person will help so much in how the day progresses.  Hope you can give it a try!!!  : )

God bless.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Baptism!


In the Christian life, there comes a time when your faith has to become your own.  Between you and the Lord.  It doesn't matter if you're a nice person, a good person, or whether you grew up in a good Christian home with Christian parents, or whether you attend church every week.  Those things are all good but those things will not save you.  Only by inviting Christ into your life, being repentant of sins and turning from them, and having that personal relationship will guarantee life eternal.

Part of our Christian walk, though, is being obedient to God and one decision in obedience is baptism.  And though baptism does not save you, it's a step of faith that will forever change you. Today, my husband "took the plunge" and has taken that step.  He has been through a lot in his life and like most of us a lot of it was self-inflicted.  But God, in His Mercy, reached down and convicted him that this is the time.

An awesome day.  Praise the Lord!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Homemade Lip Balm


I'm trying and testing a few homemade skin care products and last Saturday I whipped up a recipe for lip balm that I found in Mother Earth Living magazine.  It feels wonderful.  I put it on in the morning and the last thing at night and it's very emollient.  It would be especially nice in the winter months.  I hope you can give it a try.  : )

DIY OLIVE OIL LIP BALM

1 Tbsp. grated beeswax
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. shea butter
3 to 4 drops of essential oil (your choice - I had this orange-ginger oil so I used it - smells and "tastes" good)  : )

Heat beeswax with olive oil and shea butter in a double boiler or in a glass boil over a pot of simmering water until melted.  Stir to combine.  Remove from heat and add essential oil.  Stir again. Pour into a lip balm tube or tin, or a small glass jar.  Let cool.

I will definitely keep making this so I'm going to look around for some prettier jars.  Above I just taped a label to the lid of an old empty pimiento jar.  Okay for me around here, but I'm thinking this would be such a nice little gift for someone (perhaps a stocking stuffer?).  

That's it for me today.  Hope you enjoy this upcoming weekend.  It's beautiful where we are - sunny, cool and a little breezy after yesterday's delicious windy and rainy day.  It was a good day for more of this:


going through craft supplies and felt.  : )

God bless.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Back to Organizing


I'm slowly getting back to my list of organizational projects and the one thing that drives us all crazy is no organization when it come to office supplies.  I just threw a bunch of stuff into photo boxes, put them on a shelf and called it good for way too long.

So, off to Walmart I went and bought some three-drawer plastic organizers.  It went from this -


to this -


in a couple of hours this afternoon.  Everything sorted, put into appropriate drawers and labeled.  No more guesswork as to which photo box something might be in!  Yea!  : )

I don't have photos of my organizational project from yesterday afternoon, but I went through two under-the-bed storage containers that held my fabric stash.  I went through all the bits and pieces as well as the fabric I haven't even touched yet for sewing.  With the remnants and pieces, I sorted by what went with what as far as colors go for a future "quilting" project, and then for the full pieces I looked through my patterns and put the patterns with the fabric so that I know what I plan on doing with it in the future.  Again, SO much better.  Just pull out the appropriate box and get to work on a project without having to dig through it.

That's it for today!  Thank you for your time - I do appreciate your visit.  : )   God bless.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August To-Do's


I'm always torn at this time of year.  I don't like to see summer slip away, but I also love Fall.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  But I guess it is what it is and there's nothing more to be said!!  : )

So, here are the August to-do's (if you are so inclined):

*Check your water heater - old water heaters can be dangerous so make sure yours is in good shape.
*Clean your grill - chances are by now it's had a good workout with the summer foods.
*Clean your outdoor garbage pails - with this hot and humid weather, well.......pretty gross.
*Clean out your garage/sheds - go through everything and get rid of stuff that you don't need anymore.  One really good idea is to set up a table or tables next to the curb and put things out there so that when people drive by, they can see the "free stuff" sign and take it off your hands!  We have done this with many things around here and it really works well.  The things that don't go can be taken to your local thrift store (if they're in good condition).
*Maintain your car.  SO important.  Take care of things now so it won't be a big problem later.
*Maintain pantries.  Food, of course, but also gift pantries.  When you are out and about and see something that reminds you of someone, buy it now (if you can) and set it aside.  Go to the local dollar stores and stock up on cards and wrapping paper (or, make your own cards).  Doing things ahead just helps when that birthday or anniversary or "just because" gifts are needed.

That's it!  Short and sweet.  See you soon - thanks for dropping by.  : )