Saturday, June 30, 2018

Last Saturday of June

The Orchid in bloom.  I think it's SO gorgeous.  : )

Well, I have quite a bit to share with you today.  : )  Can you believe this year is officially half over?  On the weather last night, they reminded us that now the days will start getting shorter.  Seriously?  I am not looking forward to dark mornings and dark evenings again.  The long days definitely give me more energy.  Oh well.  I guess I can't do anything about it, can I?  

It was awful hot yesterday and I'm not sure that today is going to be a whole lot better so time is spent in the house.  I did sneak out of the house early yesterday morning to pull a few front yard weeds that I just couldn't stand looking at anymore, but between the early morning heat and humidity and the swarm of mosquito's, I had to make quick work of it.

I didn't make a new ice cream on Wednesday because we already had ice cream in the freezer and I don't like to have a lot of the same thing around as with just the two of us, we can't possibly eat it all in an appropriate amount of time.  I did, however, make a cherry pie (to go with the ice cream - LOL), for our son's birthday on Thursday.  Sad to say, though, that the pie didn't turn out.  It just didn't thicken up so when I cut into it, it was juicy instead.  It tasted good so what I did was scooped the vanilla ice cream into dishes first and then scooped out the juice, cherries, and broken up pie crust on top and used all of it AS a topping instead of it being the main thing.  Everyone really liked it so it wasn't a complete disaster.  I don't know what I did wrong but it turned out okay after all - I guess that's the main thing.  : )

The other thing I did this week was this:

I made homemade soap.  Of course, this is just a melt and pour type soap, but it was still fun to make.  I made an infusion of lavender buds with home-grown rosemary and used that to add to the melted soap base.  Poured it all into a lined bread pan, let it harden and then cut it into bars.  It smells wonderful and I love the way it turned out.  Since I'm crocheting dish/wash cloths, I kind of wanted something to go with them.  Fun!  : )

As I've said in past posts, I can use my days for work but there does come a time when I need to stop working and take the time to think.  Yesterday was that day.  I took my different notebooks off the shelf and went through them, updated them, threw some things out that no longer seemed appealing to me, and re-wrote some notes.  One of the notebooks was my homemaking notebook.  Whenever I found a good idea or wrote something down quickly on a piece of paper, I would just put it in the pockets of the notebook and forget about it and then it took forever to find them when I wanted them.  So, I got all those things in order.

The other notebook was the charitable giving notebook.  This is one area that I don't want to get lazy on.  There are SO many needs out there that I would like to be of some help with.  So, again, I went through everything and tried to make some kind of order from it, and re-wrote some ideas that I can begin to work on.  I think we tend to think that we have to do something huge in order to make a difference in someone's life but that's not necessarily the case.  Something as simple as making blankets and/ or pillowcases for children, or buying a few extra groceries for the food shelves, or making table decorations for a nursing home, or making lap quilts for the elderly.......all of these things can make an impact on someone's life.  I encourage you in this area as well.  With all of us doing something it could be just what someone needs!  Again, my favorite saying - doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing!  : )

And then, I wanted to share our July To-Do's:

*Wax your cars and clean the inside thoroughly - the Lord provided our cars for us, we can at least keep them clean!
*Sealcoat the driveway - a hot and smelly thing to do, but it does help.
*Dispose of old paint cans and flammables.
*Rotate the tires on your cars.
*Spot check around the house for mold/mildew and take care of it - dangerous to your health!
*If you have any painting in your house, summer is the best time to do it.  : )

That's it.  Pretty short list.  And some may not apply to you at all.  I think I would put one more thing on this list:

*Keep going through drawers, cabinets, cupboards, and closets to keep them organized and clean and get rid of the extras that you know you won't need.

Also,  it's time to think ahead to the 4th of July.  Seriously, I really can't get my head to think that it's that time of year already.  But it is here and we need to begin to think:

*What do you have planned?
*Where are you going to go?
*What are you going to serve?
*Are you doing anything special?  Picnic? Backyard fun? Parade? Fireworks?
*Who are you inviting?  Have you asked them yet?

Make your plans now and begin to build more memories.  : )

I came across a fun idea (yesterday while cleaning out those notebooks!) that can take place at any time during the month of July.  If you are blessed with wonderful neighborhood ladies or women from church or just some close friends  - have a tea party and make the theme of it Americana!

*Decorate the tree limbs with red, white, and blue stars all hanging around (I thought that making the stars from the beautiful glittered paper would be fun).
*Cover the tables with quilts.
*Put wildflowers into a watering can.
*Serve cold drinks from a lined wheelbarrow.
*Serve blueberry muffins, thumprint cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and a coconut cake.
*Play Sousa music and Americana music

Doesn't that sound fun?!  I LOVE things like that.  : )

And then lastly, just some photos to share that I took throughout the week:

While browsing Hobby Lobby a couple of weeks ago, we got this idea of how to organize the stamps that I use for card-making.  So my husband used up a little of his wood and built a shelving unit.  Perfect.  No more digging through the stamps to find what I need!!!

I love it when women call their craft area "the studio" - It just sounds so professional.  : )  So this is my "studio" where I come down and work on my crafting/sewing.  Not much to look at (compared to the gorgeous ones I see on-line or in magazines, but it's mine and it works for me).  : )

This is another little project that my husband worked on.  He glued saucers to these poles and they're used to put Citronella candles on while you're sitting in the backyard.  Just push them into the ground wherever you want them and take them out when you're finished for the evening.  As it gets darker in the evening, it's really very pretty - it doesn't look like much in the photo.  He made 5 of them.  : )

Lastly, just more flower photos.  Even though we don't like the heat and humidity, the flowers are going wild!  So lush and vibrant and pretty.  : )

Well, I THINK that's it for today.  I hope and pray that you can do something meaningful and enjoyable today.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I truly appreciate it when you do!

God bless your homemaking efforts!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How to Take Care of YOU This Summer

Along with the Orchid in bloom (in which there is another one blooming!), we also have these lovely Violets.  Doubly blessed.  We look outside and see the flowers and we have them inside as well.  : )

It's been a good couple of days.  Yesterday was spent in starting (once again) to go through all the drawers, cabinets, cupboards, etc. and begin to get rid of a few things.  I actually came up with two sacks full and a couple of bigger items.  : )  Along with doing that, I got a chance to really dust and reorganize what I did keep.  That in itself was a full day.  In the evening I was able to get outdoors and do some weeding.  Two hours worth in fact.  It was kind of nice weeding in the evening hours.  The neighborhood was quiet.  The sun was getting lower in the sky.  Just nice.  : )

Today, like every Tuesday, was the business side of homemaking.  Pay bills, going through the budget, then making a menu and grocery list for tomorrow's marketing.  I made my breakfast granola for the upcoming week (my husband doesn't like granola - more for me - LOL).  Three loads of laundry are done.  Went downstairs to work on this:

sewing yo-yo's together.  It looks pretty scrambled in this photo, but by the time I finished, it actually looks pretty good.  : )  This is definitely one of those projects that is quite fussy and time consuming so I pick it up when I feel like something fussy and time consuming.  : )  It's one of those projects where I have an episode of "The Waltons" on in the background because I think I've seen each episode a hundred times and I don't need to actually sit and "watch" it.  I know the lines by heart.  : )

Anyway........while pulling weeds last night I thought about this post for today.  It was all about women taking care of themselves and how summer can be very conducive for that.  Summertime gives us all kinds of opportunities but I think most of them is doing for others (which is a very good thing) but we all know that when we are spread thin and we don't take care of ourselves in the way we should, we begin to not feel as well as we want or we get a little cranky and tired out.  So, I'm encouraging you in a few ways that maybe you would like to try and see if they will help:

*In the summer, we need to be careful of body odor so I think evening showers and/or baths are important especially after doing anything where you work up a sweat.  Buy a really nice bubble bath for luxury or Epsom salts are great for your muscles.  It also provides magnesium to our bodies.  One really good idea is to buy a supply of one-use facial masks (I get mine at Walmart for $1.50 - $2.00 each) and apply the masks to your clean face before getting into the tub.  While your soaking, the mask is working.  I feel like I'm in a spa (even though I've never been to a spa so I have no idea what that feels like - but I know you know what I mean).  : )

*On the evenings where you don't do this, make sure that you always wash your face before bed.  In the summer our skin gets pretty dirty from being outdoors more often.  Put on a really emollient night cream especially around the eyes, around the mouth, and on your neck.

*Give your hair a good brushing before bed.  Again, when we're outdoors, our hair gets dirty and it needs to be brushed.

*Our hands and feet need to be tended to - especially the feet.  With bare feet or sandle feet, they should look as good as they can.  I have very ugly feet so it's hard for me to make them look great, but I at least like to put polish on my toenails and make sure to put lotion on my feet since they tend to look dry and cracked.  Pick a fun color!  I don't do the nails on my hands very often, but I do like to do my toenails.  : )

*The summer is a great time to lose those extra winter pounds.  I don't know about you, but I don't eat as much in the summer as in the winter (a good thing indeed!).  But getting older means that those pounds don't shed as quickly as they did when I was younger.  So getting our bodies to move more helps with that.  If you can go for walks or bending and stretching in the garden - whatever you enjoy doing can help you to feel better about yourself.

*Let summer be the time to form good and healthy eating habits.  I love the summer foods.  SO much fresh fruits and vegetables.  Remember to eat fiber-rich foods as well.  Also remember to hydrate!  Drink lots of water because it's good for you inside and out.  Dehydration can cause a myriad of problems.

*Get your sun but not too much.  I've never been one to lay in the sun so I'm very fair all year long.  I do, however, sit in the sun for about 15 minutes at a time, when I feel I do have the time, to soak up the Vitamin D.

*Take care of your hair.  Deep moisturize once a week.  Something as simple as olive oil or coconut oil and letting it sit for about 15 minutes or so can do the trick.  

Those are some of the physical ways to take care of yourself this summer.  It really does help us to feel better about ourselves so that we can be better with others.  I encourage you in this.  I don't do any of these things perfectly because I'm tired sometimes or too busy, but I do try to keep up.  I admit that it doesn't come easy because I can always think of other things I'd rather do, but if I don't I feel it.

Have fun with this!  Thanks for dropping by for a quick visit - I do appreciate it!!!  God bless.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

A beautiful summer sky.  : )  It doesn't look like this today - it's overcast with a chance of rain but I love the color of this blue with the amazing clouds.

It's been a different kind of weekend.  Good different.  On Friday I met with a couple of friends for lunch and had good conversation with a little good food as well.  : )  Saturday we thought we would go out of town for an overnight just to get out but chose not to.  We did, however, have a little stay-cation here at home.  After breakfast we went out to look at a nature photography exhibit and walked through a farmer's market that was just right outdoors from where the photography exhibit was.  We did a little looking around at a thrift store (am I the only one who thinks thrift stores aren't as thrifty as they used to be?).  We then treated ourselves to a light lunch at Red Lobster (the husband's favorite place).  Came home and rested for a little while and went out again to browse Hobby Lobby where I bought a couple of soap making supplies.  : )  Came home again and got ready to go and do a little service project in the evening.  

So, that was our Saturday stay-cation.  It was actually quite nice and relaxing and it did have a little vacation feel to it (and much cheaper).  

Now it's Sunday.   Starting the day with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer and then going to church.  We had our Sunday meal and now the day is stretched out before us.  No specific plans, just kind of playing it by ear.

It has been an uneventful week (which is always a good thing in my opinion).  And in my homemaker's thoughts I've been wondering what I could bring to you today to focus your attention on God.  To give Him the glory and honor that is due Him.  The thoughts came from a few sermons I heard on the radio through the week and then, again, in this morning's Bible reading.

We all know that our world seems to be in this down-ward spiral.  Everything seems to be upside down and inside out.  In our city, alone, this weekend was promoting things that is blatantly against what God has in mind for us.  So, still being in the book of Jeremiah in the Bible, I came across these verses and it really needs to make us sit up and take notice:

The Lord is speaking:

"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.  And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it."  Jeremiah 18: 7-10

In our Bible study with friends last Thursday, we were talking about how God has always been heavy on the mercy since the beginning of time.  Time and time again He has waited for individuals and nations to repent of the sins they are so bent on committing.  He doesn't want to see anyone perish - "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their wicked ways and live.  Turn!  Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?"  Ezekial 33:11  

When God talks about death, He is talking about the eternal death.  Of course we will all die a physical death but what He is talking about is where you will be going after the physical death.  Heaven or Hell.  In Ezekial you can hear His passion, His care, His love for ALL of us.  And the steps to a life in Heaven after this life is over is dependent upon turning from our wicked ways and have a repentant heart, and run from evil.

Getting back to Jeremiah.  Like last Sunday, there is a very sad part that comes right after the above passage.  It is this (again the Lord is speaking):

"Look!  I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you.  So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.  But they will reply, 'It's no use.  We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.' "  Jeremiah 18: 11 & 12

Wow.  But we shouldn't be surprised should we?  Don't we see people reacting the very same way?  They are bent on sinning, on doing their own thing.  No. Matter. What.  This should make us cry.  It does me.  Because I was one, a long time ago.  I was bent on doing what I wanted to do and no one was going to tell me any differently - and believe me.......people tried.

But, God IN HIS MERCY, grabbed a hold of my heart and convicted me and changed me to the point of repentance and helped me to "reform my ways and my actions" and I'm SO very grateful.  Now - the question is - how about you?  How about members of your own family?  How about your neighbors?  How about your friends?  Please don't let it get too late.  Eternity can come at any time.  God is waiting.  He doesn't want any one person to perish.  He created us.  He loves us.  He wants to spend forever with us.  Please make that commitment to Him today.  Right now.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday Morning

I'm SO excited about this!  My first Orchid!  And there are many buds to open.  : )

Well, again, it's Saturday morning.  The windows are open, the sky is blue, the birds are chirping and a cup of hot coffee is sitting off to the side.  So glad you stopped by for a visit.  : )

It's another day of possibilities.  It's a day of doing things a little differently than what we've done during the past week.  The house is clean, the lawn has been mowed, the plantings (indoor and out) watered, so it's pretty much up to us as to how we want to spend the day.  

I always feel like it's so much easier when there are children around - I remember that we never lacked ideas in what to do with our Saturdays.  When our son was young, we would get up and go for a neighborhood bike ride.  He would always be way in front of us and we'd go up and down the quiet streets, enjoying the morning and getting our exercise.  We'd come back home and make breakfast and eat it outdoors and then we would plan the day.  Oh, I miss those days!!!!  

I would encourage those of you with children around (whether your children or grandchildren) to take the time to do things together.  Often.  : )  Here are a few things you can begin to do:

*teach your child water safety this summer - sign them up for swimming lessons.
*keep track of the weather this summer - have a notebook and write down the daily stats (rain gauge amounts, the temperature, whether it's cloudy or sunny (of course you need to write the date down), the wind direction, etc.  
*sign your child up for music lessons -  at least give them a chance to try it.
*collect something this summer - rocks, stamps, seashells, etc. 
*memorize scripture - see how many verses you can memorize before school begins in the Fall.
*do some science experiments - you can find SO many experiments that are age appropriate on-line.
*we are a huge supporter of buying children Lego's!  - children learn SO much from dumping a whole bunch of Lego's on the floor and just start building things - it builds a lot of learning skills.
*buy a sketch book and have them draw every day - encourage them even when you know that this will probably not be one of their strengths - LOL  : )
*make sure they read books - or if they're too young to read, read to them.  Often.  Make a summer reading chart and buy stickers for each book read and then serve a favorite dessert for every 5 books read.
*let them help in taking care of all the plants and plantings around you.
*make a big deal about holidays - I know I've touched on this before, but make holidays fun and something to look forward to.  The 4th of July is right around the corner (can you believe it?!) so begin now to plan WITH them what to do, what to serve, where to go, etc.
*play games!  Invest in yard games and bring the board games outside - serve snacks.
*do something unusual sometimes - get up early and drive to go watch the sunrise, take an afternoon off and go fishing, go on a field trip to the science museum or local history center or zoo, etc., 
*cook together - make sure everyone has a job to do
*you can add to this list...............................................................

The point is to make the short summer months something that will be remembered.  Building memories is so important.  And to get outdoors.  Get the kids away from video games and make the older ones give up the phones and get back to the "old-fashioned" fun.  Help them to learn and develop the thinking skills and get their bodies moving.  It's good for us too!  To pass on what you know and then possibly learn something as well going through the process.

Give your family the gift of time and attention.  Watching them and listening to them and encouraging them.  Nothing has to be expensive unless you want to splurge on something.  It's actually better that they see that you can have fun without spending money.   Actually it's totally okay to confide to them that the budget is tight and that everyone will have to be challenged to see what can be done without investing a lot of money.  THAT is a valuable lesson in itself!  : )

And then, lastly, have patience and flexibility this summer.  Not everything is going to go as planned.  Stuff happens and you will need to resort to Plan B.  Or sometimes there can't be a Plan B - sometimes you will find that it just isn't going to happen at all.  Again, that's a valuable life lesson for children - to know that sometimes we don't always get what we want or plan for.  That's life!

So, I encourage you today to just go for it.  This all goes hand-in-hand with the summer of learning.  Time is precious.  We're not always guaranteed that.  

God bless your efforts!!!!!!!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Instead Of A Donut - Ice Cream!

Mmmmmmmm.................................  : )

It's Wednesday.  And our usual Wednesday afternoon treat is a homemade donut.  Well.........I thought that since it's summer, our Wednesday afternoon treat should change to homemade no-churn ice cream.  I found a whole bunch of ideas for this freezer treat and want to try them all (except the peach one - I'm not fond of peach).  So the donuts will be put on hold for a little while, but let the experiments in the ice cream begin!  : )

This first one (Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel) was a hit.  Creamy and full of flavor.  I will change it a bit and when I share the recipe with you, I'll tell you where.  So, here is the recipe if you'd like to give it a try!!!!


2 cups whipping cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped pretzels (this is what I'm going to change - I found that they added nothing to the flavor of this - all they did was get soft and didn't taste like anything so next time I'm just going to leave it out)
1/4 cup fudge sauce

Using an electric mixer (either free-standing or hand-held) whip the cream, condensed milk, and peanut butter until they are light and fluffy.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the pretzels (if using), dark chocolate chunks, and fudge sauce.  Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe dish.  Freeze for 3-4 hours or until completely frozen.  Enjoy!!!!  : )

I almost forgot to take photos of the process.  So the one ingredient that you don't see in this photo is the whipping cream - I already poured it into the mixer bowl.  Whoops.

I lined a 9 x 5-inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper and it worked just fine.

I froze this for the 3-hour time and since I like my ice cream on the soft side it was perfect.  The husband, however, would have liked it more firm.  

I really hope you enjoy it - I know I'M going to enjoy trying all the flavors and will definitely share them with you as well.

It was another fine day.  Grocery shopping done for another week and everything put away.  I had a different meal planned for tonight, but in putting the groceries away, I noticed that in the bread box I had half a loaf of homemade bread left so I knew that I needed to change my menu for tonight and make an oven-baked French toast with the bread.  I smell it in the oven right now.  Mmmmm....  : )  So, that's another food that I had to save from spoiling but will make a tasty supper.

The afternoon was spent in photographing and listing more Etsy shop items.  The process does take a long time, but now it's done and just praying someone will want to purchase something!  : )

Now, the evening is coming on and a time of rest and relaxation is needed.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit.  God bless.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Home Management

Look at that blue!   : )

This morning as I was going about my work, I was thinking of home management.  Every home needs a manager and the wife is usually it.  We have many hats to wear and many distinct areas that need tending.  Quite the responsibility!  I beg to differ when some women say that they would be bored if they had to stay at home all day.  

Today I had to look at our budget and pay bills which requires planning ahead and making sure that we're on track.  That doesn't just happen.  It requires me to sit down and think things through and then actually pay the bills and file everything away.  It doesn't seem like much when you say it, but just miss paying a bill once or miscalculate and find out the hard way that you don't have as much as you thought you did!  : (

The other thing today was writing out the menu again along with the grocery list.  Again, that doesn't just happen.  Some forethought needs to go into it.  Taking a look at the calendar shows me what is happening on certain days and how I would need to work around that for cooking our meals.  I have to see whether or not something special is coming up.  Does it require special ingredients?  Or am I going to make it festive?  What will I need?  Throughout the week, it means that I see what needs to be replenished and write it down so we don't forget.  Doing the weekly menu means that I need to be vigilant about checking the fridge and all the drawers in it, along with the freezer, and pantry to see if something needs to be used up and make sure those menus are coming up soon.

For example, I noticed in the vegetable drawer of the fridge that I had two bell peppers and a half an onion that were getting to the point that if I didn't use them soon I'd have to throw them (and I hate doing that).  I also noticed that I had just a few flour tortillas that needed to be used as well, so right away for lunch today we had chicken (using canned) quesadillas.  In doing that, we also used up the little bit of sour cream to go on top.  : )

Tonight we're having scrambled eggs (which will use up what's left in the carton), and a side salad (which will use up the lettuce that we bought last week), and fruit (the last of the cantaloupe!).  What I'm trying to get at is that a woman, in her home, has the task of making sure there is little waste, of providing good meals with what's leftover, think of the week to come and what she will need to make ahead of time, and consider the budget for the upcoming week all in a couple of hours of managing this area of her home.

As I think through menu ideas, I also have a notebook close by that I can write questions to look for the answers on-line.  For instance, I was thinking about buying some dried cherries, but I have a couple of cans of cherries downstairs.  My question for the notebook was "can I use my dehydrator and dry my own cherries"?  When I look that up and find out whether I can or can't, then I know if I want to buy them or not.  : )  Another thing that I have written down is to make plain scones for a homemade ice cream I'm going to try next week.  If I don't write it down, I'll forget and that will ruin my plan to make that particular ice cream.

Also, home management involves our interests.  Our hobbies and interests need to be thought through so we know when we'll have time to do them.  I'm constantly hearing about things that I want to try to make, so I want to make sure that I write them down.  After such a nice weekend with family on Sunday, yesterday I noticed that other than the laundry, the house was still clean (enough) from the weekend, so since it was rainy and cozy inside, I decided to make yesterday a craft day so that I could get some things finished in time to put into my Etsy shop.  But, again, it doesn't just happen. This required that during the past weekend, I got caught up on everything so that I COULD take a "day off" and craft.  It requires thoughtful planning in order to make it happen because I know myself.  If I would have seen that the house needed tending to in other areas, that would have come first.

Laundry is another one for me.  Since we've been without a dryer for so long, I have learned what clothes and other things need to be washed when so I have enough room to hang everything.  It's been so humid and rainy lately that I can't hang them outdoors.  But that takes planning and management.

Those are just a few of the areas that a woman has to think about on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  Of course there are other areas as well.  I would very much like women to start to thinking of their homes and the role they play in their homes as important work to do.  I know some women who are at home don't think of their role as a "job" but I do.  I always have.  I take it seriously because our home works better that way.  I have never slept in (except for sick days) and I always make sure that I put full makeup on and dress as best as I can so that I don't feel frumpy.  That is such a motivator.  The fact that I truly enjoy my work helps too!  : )   

I encourage you to love your homes this week and take the time it requires to make it a wonderful place to be whether if it's for yourself or for others.  I've mentioned this in past posts - I never talk about perfection - none of us can achieve that.  I'm just talking about diligence and care and love for your home.  Keep learning!!!  A summer of learning!!!  

Thank you for dropping by.  God bless your homemaking efforts.  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Morning

Pretty pink Hydrangea.  : )

I didn't think I would be posting today, but everything is done for our get-together (except for the burgers) and we're just waiting for the fun to get here (aka: our son and his bride).  😁  It was so nice to get things done yesterday working in the kitchen for quite a few hours to prepare for this day.  But the work did, indeed, pay off.  We're having a very relaxing morning and had a wonderful church service.  You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts.

It is SO very hot and it's suppose to be stormy later today.  Everything we do will be indoors (and that's just fine by me!).  😎 I hope your day goes well and that you can enjoy this day that the Lord has made.  If you will be with family, I pray that you enjoy them.  If you will be with friends, I hope you will tell them how much they mean to you by the time the day is over.

With the occasional rains and storms we've been having lately, this verse from Jeremiah comes to mind:

"But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.  When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.  He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses."  Jeremiah 10: 12-13

Such a God of power and might!  I'm uncomfortable with storms, but I am in awe of what God can do.  How He controls it all is amazing (and you won't hear that on the weather channel - LOL!).

I hope that today you become aware of the awesomeness of God.  He who commands the winds can also calm them down.  He can be that strength in our lives.  He can be that anchor to hold on to when the winds shake our very being.  Sometimes we can see the storm clouds in the distance and prepare for the oncoming storm, but also the storm clouds come quickly and take us by surprise.  Where do you go with that?  What do you cling to until the storm passes?  Because a storm does pass.  It may leave a mess to clean up afterwards, but it does end at some point.  What do you do with that?

Let's encourage each other today and for the upcoming week in this.  God is our all in all.  In everything.  Through everything.  If the storm comes, let's hold on to Him and be in awe at His power and strength to get us through.  When the storm is over, let us praise Him for getting us through.  Let the storms help us to strengthen our faith, not hinder it.  

God bless.  😊

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Getting Things Done

Pastel Geraniums.  : )

Procrastination.  We've all done it.  We all do it.  There are things to do around the house that we keep putting off because we feel we don't have the energy, or we feel we don't have the time, or we feel ill-equipped to take it on.  But as we all know, the more we put things off, the bigger the job becomes.  So let's encourage each other today to get things done!  : )

I wrote about this a few years ago, and feel I should bring it up again.  So much time is wasted in our days, weeks, and months because of procrastination.  Procrastination mostly comes from the looking at the big picture with everything rather than breaking it up into smaller, more do-able sections.

For example, if you have an out-of-control room in your house, don't just open the door and look at everything that needs to be done.  That is just too overwhelming.  Instead open the door, and begin at the door.  I do this all the time with my homemaking and cleaning.  When I begin at the beginning, everything else falls into place and the first thing I notice is that it's all done.  

Remember the rules of cleaning - work around the room (left to right or right to left, whichever you choose - and from the top down).  When you open that door and you see to the right that you have a desk.  That desk looks like a mess.  Begin there.  Don't look at the rest of the room at this point.  Begin with the desk only.  Pick up all the papers and file them away.  Sort, organize, dust.  You're done.  Go to whatever is beside the desk.  A bookcase perhaps?  What needs to be done with that?  More organizing?  More dusting?  Do what needs to be done with the bookcase only until you're done.  Move on to the whatever is beside the bookcase.  A table?  A chair?  What needs to be done there?  You methodically move around your room until everything is put in it's place and clean and tidy.  This may take an hour, it may take several  hours, it may take a couple of days, but the point is is that you're doing something about it.  You're not closing the door and pretending it doesn't exist and now you have peace of mind.  

You can treat everything in this manner.  When cooking or baking, read the recipe thoroughly so you know what needs to be done and then prep everything and bring all the ingredients out along with the measuring cups and spoons and bowls and whatever else you need.  There is a reason why recipes are written as they are.  They break the whole into parts and you need to do one part at a time in order for it to come together as a finished product.

You can also apply this to your crafting and sewing projects.  Or your gardening.  Whatever project you have on your list to do today, the same principles of doing the first thing first and then go on to the second thing next, and so on until it's done will make this day so much better for you.  

When you begin to work this way, the feeling of not getting anything done will soon lessen.  You will begin by not looking at the whole mess, but the little mess off to the side.  Because a little mess off to the side can be worked on in a very short amount of time.  Your confidence level will begin to rise and you'll feel better about getting to things rather than constantly putting if off.  Because what you put off today, only makes tomorrow's list that much longer.  

I have a lot to do today to get ready for tomorrow (Father's Day) and I will be putting this into practice for myself.  I can sit here relaxed and not worry because I took the time yesterday to write everything down that needs to be done.  Everything!   I have taught myself to not look at this LONG list and say that there is no way I can do it all.  Rather I look at the very first thing on the list, do it until it's done and then go on to the second thing.  Again, not looking at the big picture, but at the individual items.  And I know from experience that it will all get done and we'll be able to just relax and enjoy the day tomorrow.  

I hope you will give this a try if you haven't been doing this already.  It really does help in those big projects around the house where you feel you won't be able to do it.  You can!

While I write this morning, I hear thunder and rain on the roof.  : )  We have been blessed by frequent rainfall and the lawn and flowers are thriving.  The only downside is that when it stops it will be very hot and humid, so all my indoor work with the air conditioning on will be just fine with me.  : )

Because of our gathering tomorrow, I won't be posting.  I hope that you have a fine weekend full of work and play and rest.  Remember to put God first every morning before you begin.  It's okay to pray for strength and stamina and motivation - He will provide.  God bless you in your homemaking efforts.  It's a very important job.  See you soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cookin' up Something Different in the Kitchen

Sitting outside last evening, we had such pretty clouds above.  : )

No new Wednesday donut today (and I had one all picked out).  I had some lemons that I needed to use up and yesterday I baked another batch of our favorite lemon cookies so I didn't think we needed donuts on top of that.  : o

However, as far as the lemon cookies are concerned, I took a little advice from a friend who said that I might want to try to make ice cream sandwiches out of them.  What a brilliant idea.  

Yum.  We have a favorite brownie cookie and a favorite chocolate chip cookie that I have a feeling will be made into a summer treat such as this.  Thank you for the idea!!

What I did do in the kitchen this afternoon was a little different.  I don't like spraying or rubbing chemical-laden bug spray on my skin.  So from one of my favorite magazines (Capper's Farmer) I ran across a couple of "recipes" for homemade bug repellent.  That is what I made this afternoon.  And it couldn't be easier if you plan ahead and have everything you need.  I love making homemade products so the only thing I needed to buy today while out and about were two essential oils that I didn't already have in my stash.

We've been surprised that with all the rain and humidity (and this week the heat too) that when we've sat outside in the evenings we haven't been bitten by a lot of pests and bugs.  But I made this so that we can be ready because I can't believe there won't be any bugs!  Anyway, after all that (I do go on don't I?) I will give you the two I made just in case you would like to try them as well.


1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup shea butter
1 Tbsp. grated beeswax
2 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Place the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a heat resistant container and warm gently till all is melted.  Remove from the heat and stir.  Add essential oils.  Pour into a clean container and let cool completely until solid.  To use, just massage a small amount onto your skin.


2 cups witch hazel
1 1/2 tsp. lemongrass or citronella essential oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients and pour them into a large spray bottle or several small bottles.  To use, shake slightly, and then spray onto your skin.  This one came with such a good idea - if you're having an outdoor get-together, fill small bottles and place them in a large basket near your seating area for guests to use individually!  I like that.  : )

Waiting for the one on the left to solidify and the spray is obviously on the right.  Going to try these out this week and weekend ahead.

That's all I have today.  Thank you for dropping by.  God bless!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Looking Ahead to Father's Day and the 1st Day of Summer

Petunias in the evening sun.  : )

This morning was my time to spend in the kitchen doing my menu for the next two weeks and then the grocery list to go with it.  In the next two weeks there are two things on the calendar that I like to do something special with.  Father's Day and the 1st day of Summer.

Again, I realize that for some, Father's Day can be a sad day for many and for many reasons.  Both of our dads are gone and we miss them.   I realize that I am blessed to still have my husband to do something for.  So do something, I will.  : )  It's going to be pretty much a classic all-American menu:

Grilled hamburgers on toasted buns w/pickles, onion slices, lettuce, cheese, ketchup, and mustard
Mom's (that would be me - LOL) potato salad
Oven roasted corn-on-the-cob
Watermelon slices

Pineapple Upside Down Cake w/fresh whipped cream for dessert
Coffee and Lemonade to drink

It's supposed to be very hot and very steamy here this weekend, so I'm not sure we'll spend much time out of doors. But because I don't like to just sit around afterwards, we'll bring out a couple of games (my husband's two favorites are Sequence and Phase 10).  After that, it will probably be time for my son and his wife to go and be with her dad.  The time together always goes by so quickly, but I'm learning to share.  : )

The next day I've always tried to something out of the ordinary for is the 1st day of Summer.  It kind of goes back to homeschooling days where it seems like we made a big deal out of everything!  But, oh, it was fun.  : )  The long-range forecast sounds much better for this day, so what I'm hoping is that I can bring the candles outside, turn the outdoor lights on, set a pretty outdoor table, make a fire in the backyard fire pit and serve:

Grilled sweet n' sour Kielbasa kabobs, served over rice pilaf
Fresh homemade bread with lots of butter and jam
Steamed green beans

Key lime pie for dessert because nothing screams summer like key lime pie!  : )

We usually eat early so that we can have a longer evening to enjoy, but this is the kind of meal that you want to serve later, so that you can linger outside and let the sun go down so that the pretty candles and outdoor lights and fire can create beauty.

Well, that is it for today.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I really love it when you do.  : )  God bless your homemaking efforts!!!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday's Thoughts

Teacup in the garden.  : )

My Sunday thoughts began yesterday morning in my Bible reading.  I am in the Book of Jeremiah now and a verse jumped out at me that is so relevant for today:

"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?  No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush."  Jeremiah 6:15  

This is the Lord speaking and doesn't it sound like what we're living in today?  I marvel at people who say that the Bible is not relevant to today - I have to ask - are you even reading the Bible then?  When was the last time you saw someone blush over "loathsome" conduct?  We're so used to shameful things in our society that we're starting not to notice.  We kind of shrug our shoulders and say that that's just the way it is.  That's scary.  How far will it go until we say "enough!"  Because right now I hear and see things and wonder how much worse can it get.  And then it gets worse.

And then further down in the same chapter of Jeremiah - Chapter 6:16 - it says this:

"This is what the Lord says:  Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."  God is telling us what to do.  He is offering another way.  He is saying that if you do this, it will be so much better.

But then here comes the really sad part of this verse - "But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'

Now if that doesn't sound like our society, I don't know what it would be then.  We are stubborn, we are selfish, we are self-centered, we want our own way, we want to do things the way we want to do them.  Okay.  How's that working?  We have been bent on leaving the old ways behind us and making up a new set of rules.  Rules that go so far against what God intended for us.

In the beginning of each book of the Bible there is a little narrative as to what this book was actually written for (and remember, the Bible is God-breathed - He wrote it) and Jeremiah was written so that everyone would remember that sin has its consequences.  We go our own way instead of the way God wants us to go?  We're going to pay for the consequences of that disobedience.  I think that since sometimes when we don't see or feel the consequence right away, we think we're getting away with something, but that is definitely not the case.  There will come a time of reckoning.

Jeremiah was also written so that we would know that through Jesus, God's last word is forgiveness and eternal life.  If we put away the pride, the stubbornness of heart, the selfishness and self-centeredness, repent of our sinfulness, ask Jesus into our lives, and walk another way (the good way) - God so loves us and wants to take the humble heart and transform us to the point where we will be renewed.  I am living testimony to that fact.

So, I pray that if you are making your own rules about how to live and rejecting The One who created you and loves you and knows everything about you, I pray that you will have a desire in your heart to change that today.  Please don't wait.  Ask Jesus to take over.  Ask Him to open your ears to hear the truth about what the Bible has to say and eyes to see Him and only Him.  Experience what it is like to feel forgiven, to be given grace, and to be shown mercy.  He can do that for you - do you want it?  Then "ask where the good way is, walk in it, and find rest for your souls."

God bless your day and upcoming week!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Morning

One of the new Hydrangeas we bought this year.  I have tried to grow them in the past and they didn't make it, so I wanted to try again.  We have a pink one and this lovely blue.  I hope they hang in there!

Again, it is Saturday.  This is going to be kind of an off again, on again, stormy day for us.  Fortunately I went outside yesterday and pulled more weeds - only in the front and side yards this time so I feel kind of caught-up with weed control.  We then took our last trip to the garden center - it's kind of like Christmas to me - you just know when you need to stop spending and buying.  That's how we felt yesterday.  Everything was still so beautiful and there was plenty to choose from but we came home with only a large container of Sun Coleus (a coleus that actually thrives in the sun), and a few succulents for a little green house we have in the backyard.  But that's it and we stayed under budget.  Now we sit back and enjoy (and keep up with the weeds!).  

With Summer finally here (well, not officially until June 21st) I wanted to encourage you to make it a Summer of learning.  For you and, if you have any children or grandchildren, for your family.  Summer always feels different and thankfully so.  The sun is up earlier and goes down later so I think we all feel like we have a bit more time to do things.  Here is a list of learning ideas:

*get into God's Word more - memorize verses, have a Summer Bible study, keep a study journal - this would be very memorable to get the kids involved in.
*read!!!!  - alone, together, out loud - keep a reading journal and as you're reading, write things down that jump off the page for you, and new words to look up.  See how many books you can devour between now and when school begins.
*cook and bake - keep trying new recipes, learn new concepts, keep a notebook of recipes that have worked.  Teach them the all important skill of cooking and baking from scratch!  Nothing from a box!
*garden - keep up with what you have (even if it's a pot of petunias on the deck), learn about new flowers or learn more about the ones you have - keep a journal of what worked this year and what didn't and why, sketch the beautiful flowers and birds that you see - don't worry about it being good, just sketch for the fun of sketching.
*teach life skills - for children or grandchildren - have them do the laundry and teach them how to make laundry detergent, show them how to hang clothes up instead of always being dependent upon the dryer.  Teach them about budgeting this summer and how to save money.  Teach them about making a menu and grocery list and let them go shopping with you to pick out food within a certain budget.  Teach them how to take care of what they have and use things up before buying more.  Teach them how to sew simple seams, or hemming something or sewing on a button.  Teach them how to iron their clothes.  Show them how to clean a house properly - dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom - and explain why it's so important to keep a clean and healthy home.
*have fun - if you're a camper, make some time to go camping.  Show them that life can be fun and interesting without the computer, the phone, and the television set.  Go for walks, rent a canoe, go for bike rides, learn how to fish, learn how to cook without a stove.  Bring a notebook along and write down everything you see.  If you're not a camper, still make some time to travel somewhere and stay at a hotel.  Teach them how to be polite and responsible in a hotel.  Everything from being quiet in your room, to being respectful at the pool and breakfast room.  Go out for the day and enjoy the sites - historic places, zoos, nature walks, science museums, art galleries, etc.  Or, if you're not a camper and you just know that you won't be able to take everyone to a hotel, have a "stay-cation" at home!  Take a couple days of not doing anything but going out everyday for as many days as you see fit and scour the area around you - find out what you have available and try to make it a challenge of finding everything you can do for free.  Take a picnic lunch and eat at different parks in your area.  When you come home, just keep up with the laundry so when the "vacation" is over, you won't be overwhelmed when it's over.

Summer goes by very quickly, so again I would encourage you to do something.  Making memories is very important.  There is only so much time and energy (and money), but if you plan ahead you can make it happen.  For some of us, there aren't any children (yet) to make memories with, so do things things for your own pleasure.  There are SO many things to learn and explore and summer is such a perfect time to do that.  You can try a little bit of everything above, or you can choose one or two things and really delve into what interests you.  Have fun with this - don't make it a marathon - but it's meant to keep your brain and body active.  Find the creative side of yourself and help to pull it out in others.

Life is pretty darn crazy and hectic and can get so serious with all the stuff going on in the world that we really need this time of just treating ourselves and those around us with some fun and relaxation and learning time.  I hope you will begin today (at least begin by writing down everything you can think of) and do one thing.  One thing that will bring you joy and keep you active.  What would be a great idea is to buy a 3-ring binder and and keep everything in there - from the notes you write down to sketches to photos to tickets that you might have purchased to brochures that you may have picked up - anything that will remind you of this Summer.  Something that you can look back on in the dead of Winter and make you smile and feel good about the way you spent your time.

God bless your day!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fresh Mint Tea and Lemon Cookies

I had my friend over for a crafting afternoon - that's where the fresh mint tea and the lemon cookies came in.  : )

I haven't made this tea for a long time and since I'm growing mint this recipe just came to me yesterday.  I even remembered which cookbook it came from and everything - it's like it was meant to be!  LOL  Anyway.......I wanted to share it with you because it's so good and so refreshing and VERY easy to make.


I made half of this recipe but the original (which I will give you) makes 1 gallon.

Bring to a boil:
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
4 cups water (I used 2 cups)
Pour this over:
2 cups mint leaves, packed (I used 1 cup)
2 sliced lemons (I used 1 lemon)
Let this stand overnight.  Strain and store the concentrate in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, pour the concentrate into a gallon container and fill with water.  To serve, put ice into glasses along with a slice of lemon and pour your lovely tea in and enjoy!!!!!

This really is very good.  I hope you can give it a try.  : )

The sugar syrup mixture with added mint and lemon on top of the stove.  I just put a cover on it before bed and let it sit.

In the morning I strained it into my pitcher and filled it with water - gave it a good stir and refrigerated it for the day.  Yum.  : )

That's all I have for you!  Thank you for stopping by.  God bless.