Friday, May 31, 2019

June To-Do's, June Tea Party Theme, and a Lot More

The June picture on our kitchen calendar.  Don't you wish our children had a simple life of just going down to the creek and look for tadpoles?  That used to be enjoyable and fun!  : )  The house looks like it should be on Prince Edward Island - I've always been fond of white houses with green shutters.  

It's a hot one today but I'm loving it.  All I have to do is think back to our April snowstorms and this looks might good right now.  : )  The windows are open and the breeze is coming through.  We turn our air conditioner on in the evening so that we can sleep.  The other night (before the heat) we had our windows open and were awakened by an awful sound right outside the bedroom.  The windows were shut right away as I didn't want to know what that was all about.  We checked the next morning but no signs of anything dead but I'm sure it was carried away whatever it was.  Ick.  We have coyotes and foxes (even in the suburbs) so I'm thinking that's who the predator was.  I don't like the bunnies eating our plantings but I don't them to go that way either!!!!

Well, I have a lot for today, so had better get to it.  It is June.  My goodness - the year almost half over?  But anyway....................


*Weatherstrip doors/windows.
*Patch concrete sidewalks.
*Regrade foundation.
*Refinish/paint furniture.
*Restock first aid kits for the car/home.
*Clean the gutters.
*Let that fresh air in!
*Change the furnace filter.
*Check any caulking outside.
*Weed regularly - a little every day usually does it.
*Plan ahead for Father's Day and the 4th of July as it kind of creeps up on us.
*Flip the mattress and wash the bedding (if needed).
*Keep going through all drawers/closets/cabinets/shelves/garage area/sheds and purge!  There will always be something that you can get rid of.

Not bad at all!  And, again, not everything applies and those that do just take your time and enjoy the process of the doing.  It doesn't have to ALL be done but remember that doing something is better than doing nothing.  When you do something it really does spur you on to do more and then before you know it, a lot gets accomplished and you get very happy with yourself.  : )


Again, if you are blessed to have a friend or two (or a whole lot more!) that loves to get together with a cup of tea in their hands and have a good conversation with you, here is a beautiful way of doing that.  : )

Be outdoors!!!!  Either set up a canopy or sit under a tree.
*Decorate with lots of colorful pillows
*Lots of votive candles - I love the idea of hanging votive containers from tree branches
*Serve lemon muffins, rhubarb muffins, strawberries dipped halfway into melted chocolate, biscotti that you dunk in the tea, and coconut macaroons - set a pretty table for this (tablecloth, different heights in serving plates and platters, fresh flowers)
*Play Mendelssonhn's  music in the background

I call that lovely.  : )  Hope you can try it!!!!!

Next, I think I just want to share what the week has looked like from here:

1.  There was a lot of working outside again after the Memorial Day hurricane!  Wow it was rainy and windy.  But this is where I spent a good part of Memorial Day (because of the rain, I just HAD to catch up on some reading):

the tea cup was always full and my book was always open - except for those moments when I nodded off.  ; )

2.  I love when I see pictures of women ironing in the kitchen.  In the Walton's they have a little area in the kitchen that they do all the ironing and I love the look.  However, our kitchen is tiny but I was determined to make it work because I love being upstairs and I like the smell of freshly ironed clothes and I actually am liking it:

it's nice and bright and airy - I have my little Nook on and watch baking shows.  : )

3.  The other evening I wanted to use up some leftover raw vegetables so I made a chopped salad:

I had carrots, cucumber, cabbage, celery, and a little green onions - just look in your vegetable bin and see what you have - seriously, almost anything goes.  Put it into a serving bowl and set out your favorite salad dressings and let them serve themselves.  It was very tasty and SO good for us.  Then on the next day (since there were leftovers of THIS) I had an entree that would taste good with a pasta salad so I turned the above chopped salad into a pasta salad just by adding, of course, cooked pasta rings and made a dressing of mayo, sugar, and white vinegar - gave it a toss and it made a whole new side dish.  : )

 This goes with all kinds of things - salmon, burgers, hot dogs, chicken - very versatile and very yummy.  : )

4.  The next thing was to remind you of how good it is for your health to work with plants and to garden if you can.  I guess the word nowadays is "grounding".  From what I'm reading, even if you can take your shoes off and walk around in the grass, it affects your health in a positive way.  Even just tending to a few pots on your deck or patio helps - the planting, the watering, the touching the plants, the pruning - all of it is good for us so if you can, get out and pull those weeds, dead-head the flowers, pick the mint!

Then afterwards, it's also good to take a good soaking bath - water is very calming and relaxing and restorative.  Make it special if you can.  Run a hot bath and pour Epsom salts in (really good for Magnesium intake and good for those sore muscles - be cautious though - read the directions because I do believe if you are diabetic or pregnant, you can't use Epsom salts), light some candles and put on some nice music.  Soak for about 15-20 minutes.  You can't beat it - especially right before bed.  

5.  Lastly, I went around the house and took a few pictures - no wow factor here but just what we've done so far:

the planters are full again

found this cute little couple at a thrift store

the Azalea in full bloom

our herb "garden" - rosemary, lavender, and mint (the mint is contained this year because we all know that mint will take control of the whole planter if I don't contain it)

corner of the garage - the geranium loves the full sun

Lily-of-the-Valley - again, this takes over everything - but sure is pretty

a little mushroom I made out of a dollar store plate, vase, and bowl to set in a shady area - I really want to make more of these

a planter by the front door - there is another one on the other side - just a nice thing to have at the entrance

under a birch tree in the front yard - we made the birdbath out of two thrift store vases and a bowl - I loved the colors so I wanted to use those same colors for the flowers in the barrel

this is an area that we really need to work on - at the beginning of winter we had a lot of ice and it killed almost all the grasses we had planted - so we need to fill it in again.  I kind of want to use prairie plantings such as black-eyed Susan's and prairie grasses since I'm from South Dakota.  : )  Again, the birdbath is what we made from thrift stores finds - an urn, a vase, and a bowl - so fun to make.

There you have it!  LOL  I think that's about it for today.  : )  I usually have this post on Saturday mornings but I have a lot to do tomorrow so I'm one day early (like you were all waiting!).  Anyway.......thank you SO much for the time you took to visit with me.  I enjoy it when you do!!!!!  Have a wonderful upcoming weekend.  God bless.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend

This gentleman does this every year  for Memorial Day at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.  He stands at attention for hours.  When you see him in makes you cry.

We just got back from Ft. Snelling National Cemetery where every year I buy flowers for my Uncle Pete who fought bravely in World War II and got a Purple Heart for his service as did thousands of other men.   I also brought more flowers to put on a grave site that you just know wouldn't receive flowers for their service to our country because they probably don't have any living relatives anymore.  We found a grave of a World War II nurse (Ida) who undoubtedly saw horrific things yet was willing to go and be a nurse to our men in their time of need.  Thank you for your service, Ida.

I believe the slogan "Make America Great Again" is having an impact on some of the American people.  We haven't seen so many people at the cemetery.  We haven't seen so many flowers.  And this year Every. Single. Grave. had an American flag.  There were families huddled together.  There were busloads of people.  There were police officers directing traffic.  It was all so emotional and wonderful that it gave me a glimpse of hope for our future.

Every city and town has a cemetery.  I encourage each person today or tomorrow to please show some respect and honor to someone who has served our country.  We STILL have our freedom because of them.  Please don't shrug this off and say it doesn't matter.  It does.  A little money for flowers and/or an American flag is a small sacrifice.  Can you imagine what they went through?  We can imagine and even at that, we wouldn't be able to come close.  Some didn't come back.  My mom's first husband is buried over in France.  My own dad fought in northern Africa.  The very least we can do is remember.  If you see a veteran please thank them for serving.  If you see a veteran in a restaurant please pay for their meal.  We HAVE to keep this going and what I saw today it looks like I'm not alone in my feeling this way.  Teach your children to honor and respect as well.  

Here are a couple more photos I took today:

My Uncle Pete's grave.

This brought tears - SO MANY graves of unknown soldiers - aisles and aisles of them.  "Known only to God".  I wish now that I had brought even more flowers........... they deserved flowers.

Let this Memorial Day weekend be the one that brings us to our knees to keep praying for our country.  Praying for our President.  Praying for ALL the men and women who have served and who are still serving this country.   I was working out in the yard yesterday and found myself singing "God Bless America".  And then the Pledge of Allegiance came into my head - all those wonderful things that we're losing to this crazy mixed up time that we're in.  Prayer changes things!  Pray that we will, once again, be restored.  Then all those men and women who lie beneath the ground will not have served in vain. 

God bless you and God Bless America!!!! 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday Morning

Flowers of summer.  : )

It truly is a wonderful feeling to be putting flowers in that will last all summer.  Things of beauty to look at.  Having a yard and gardens are a pleasure to work in - even a few potted plants lift our spirits.  : )  

Other summertime pleasures include just sitting outside in the evenings and talking with a friend or two.  Having a fire night watching it get darker and darker and then out come the stars up above.  Sipping a lemonade outdoors after working all day.  I think the older I get the more special these times are.  : )

Summertime is also a time that we miss our son being little.  We used to do so much and go so many places with him.  We have our memories and a lot of photos of those times but it's not the same.  If you are blessed with children around you, take every advantage of that!!!!  Summertime is the perfect way of connecting with your children and getting out doing some fun (and educational) things with them.  A few ideas might include:

*Get the most out of your own yard!  Set up a tent.  Fire up the grill.  Pretend you're camping if it's something that you can't do somewhere else.  Invite friends over.  Play games.  Take LOTS of pictures!  Make a scrapbook at the end of the summer (don't just keep those photos on a card or in your phone, actually have photos printed!).
*Get a family fishing license.  Get a box that everyone can use, buy a couple of poles, some lures, and go!!  Our son and his friends to this day still love to fish and it all started when he was 3 years old!  He even made his own flies for fly-fishing.  
*Get out and hike.  You don't need any special gear (except for maybe some good walking shoes) for this and getting out in some beautiful places and walk is not only good for you but it teaches your children to become explorers.  We used to take guide books along with us for trees, flowers, birds, etc. and watch for particular things along the way.  Again take photos!
*Find craft projects that the whole family can participate in.  Teach your children to be creative - paint, garden, sew, woodworking, etc.  You can find all kinds of things on-line - just pick something and do it!  There really is more to life than video games.
*Buy your kids a small notebook and have them record everything they do, find, make, in this notebook.  Let them observe the weather and write it down, let them sketch.
*Visit museums and historical sites together.
*On rainy days, read, bake/cook together, play indoor games

For the homemaker, keep your house casual, cozy, and fun:

*Always have fresh fruit around for healthy snacks.
*Always have something good and cold to drink - sun tea, lemonade, etc.
*Make the environment pretty and organized for ease of hospitality.
*Press the flowers that you've planted and dry them to make pretty crafts with.
*Have a 3:00 p.m. tea time - either by yourself, with your children, with friends.
*Bake in the cool of the morning - always have a few sweet treats around.
*Eat breakfast outside on the patio, deck, the grass - just set up a table and make it pretty.
*Light LOTS of candles in the evening hours - nothing is so pretty than the sun going down and the candles are lit.
*Play soft music at meals.
*Make foods that are different than what you normally eat - we can get so easily stuck in making the same things over and over again - let everyone help.  Kabobs are a fun meal served with rice and fresh fruit.  Fondue is really fun outdoors where you can linger and everyone cooks their own served with a fresh salad and good homemade bread.  Have a fire and cook hot dogs on a stick followed by good old S'mores.  : )

These are just a few ideas that I hope you can try.  This is the end of May already and the Summer months will just fly by.  Don't let them pass without making memories.  For yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your friends.  Some kids were interviewed on television the other day and they were saying how left out they felt because their mom's were always on their phones - they would try to get their attention but the mom said she was busy - don't let that me the case with you.  I saw a Pinterest sign the other day that said "When our phones had a wire connected to the wall, people were free".   Be free.  : )

Thanks for stopping by for this short visit - I appreciate you and love it when you're here.  God bless.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Mid-Week Hello blossoms.  : )

Hello to all of you and I'm hoping that your week is going well so far.  I just wanted to poke my head in to give you a couple (or more) homemaking tips.  I'm sure all of you have heard of these already, but just in case.............   : )

We broke down and bought a dryer after being without one for over a year.  You know, when they say that it only takes 30 days to make a habit, I think that's true.  Because it's hard to break the habit of hanging clothes up.  I still do hang them up, but I will admit to using the dryer for the real bulky things or if I seem to have an unusually large laundry day.  But I don't want to use dryer sheets.  Ick.  They leave a residue on your clothes.  I did, however, want to use something for a nice scent (since I can't hang the laundry outdoors due to seasonal allergies).  So, I did some research and of course all of the DIY dryer sheets begin with white vinegar!  My advice - stock up on vinegar!  It's priceless for around the house and how inexpensive rather than all the chemical-laden cleaners in the stores.  Anyway, here is what I'm doing:

There is no exact recipe - just take a container and pour about a cup of vinegar in and then add however many drops of essential oil that you like (I use lavender and mint) - this might be a trial and error kind of thing for you depending upon how much scent you want and/or the type of scent you want.  Put in some folded rags (I used soft cotton flannel) and allow them to soak.  Cover and put this by your dryer.  When using, just pull one of the rags out, give it a squeeze, and add to the dryer!  : )  Also, I use a plastic glove when I squeeze the rags out - it may not cause a reaction, but I just feel better using the glove.  When your load is dry, just fold the rag up and put it back into the vinegar/essential oil solution and use over and over again until the solution is all used up and then you just make more.  : )  I love this.  One thing however - this will not reduce static cling which I think that's why people use dryer sheets.  If you want to reduce the static, don't dry your clothes on High heat.  

Another thing about laundry.  Don't forget the power behind soaking your clothes!  Especially whites.  In my tub beside the washer I have a huge bucket that I use just for soaking.  I put the clothes (or whatever) into the bucket with my homemade laundry detergent which already has soap flakes, borax, and washing soda in it and then I pour a little hydrogen peroxide in too and fill it up with hot water (if you're doing whites) and let it sit all day (over night is even better) giving it a good stir once in a while.  Then throw them into the regular wash and out will come the whitest, brightest clothes you've ever seen.  LOL  It would be even better if you could hang them out in the sun to dry!!!!   But seriously, I think we've gotten away from soaking - hope you can begin to do this and see what you think.  : )

The next thing I'm beginning to do since the weather is nice and we have plantings to water (not right now though with all this rain) is to wash the dishes in a little tub in the kitchen sink:

this allows me to, when I'm finished, walk the tub with all that water outside to pour out under a tree or bush or anything else that might need some moisture.  Suds are totally okay for plants!  Even if I have a lot of dishes, I pour out one tub full and then pour out a second somewhere else.  : )

Also, I would encourage you to purchase a rain barrel.  We love ours.  It's amazing how quickly it fills up (we could actually have another one).  This helps during those times of no rain.  Just keep a watering can next to it and you'll be ready to fill it up and go.  : )

The next little tidbit is that if you seem to have part of a cucumber leftover and you have a pickle jar in the fridge:

just slice the cucumber up and put into the pickle juice.  Let it sit in the fridge for a few days and enjoy!  I like to buy the English cucumber because they tend to be seedless.  Thrifty!  : )

And then the last thing:

remember to eat more fish (seafood)!  There is a reason the Mediterranean diet is so much better for us with the seafood, good grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Having said that though - I love tartar sauce on my fish fillets.  : )  I know I've posted this before, but if you have run out of tartar sauce at home just combine a little mayo with a little sweet pickle relish to taste.  That's it.  We actually like it better.  And remember that mayo is rich in Omega-3's which we all need.  I've read where we eat way too much Omega 6 foods.  So there you have it from Dr. Mary.  : )

I think that's about it for my tips of the week.  I hope you give one or two a try!!!  Thank you for stopping by and visiting - I appreciate you, my readers.  : )  God bless.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

The Azalea last year at this time - no where near that this year!  : o

The one thing that crossed my mind this past week was the fact that God is working in me (or I should say He is restoring me).  He reminded me of a Bible verse that I claimed over 25 years ago while in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and how I needed to apply that verse to my life again if I wanted to move forward.  That verse is from Joel 2:25:

"I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten........".   As you know, locusts eat everything - they leave nothing behind.  They leave the land desolate.  When I first claimed this verse, a few years before that I was unsaved and running wild.  I drank, I partied, I was immodest, I didn't care what I watched or read - all I wanted to do was what the song said - "girls just want to have fun" and that's pretty much it.  I was a hypocrite.  When getting together with my family I would have my party manners on and then when they weren't looking, I'd go wild again.  

Then I got married, had my first miscarriage, got pregnant again and our son was born a year and half later.  When I looked at that tiny little person, I knew - I have to change.  I needed to grow up and be the parent this little guy deserves.  When our son was two, I gave my life to Christ and was saved and began going to Bible study.  This is where I found the above verse and cried.  I knew what the Lord was telling me.  That even though I went for years destroying the life He gave me, He was now going to restore those years and give me new years of forgiveness, faith, love.  He was going to teach me, direct me, walk with me, change me.  It was an amazing feeling.

The reason God reminded me of that verse this week was because the last three to four years our family had been going through a difficult family relationship time and it was a time of being angry, depressed, sad, confused, upset, emotional, distrusting.  It was literally wearing me out and I don't mean to be dramatic.  I totally understand that there have been people that I know who had been going through far more devastating things than this, but this particular thing hit me hard.  It was disappointment, it was eye-opening, it was just plain hard.  And I could feel myself just not caring anymore - about much of anything.  Holidays were different, I didn't want to do anything, I didn't want to go anywhere.  From what I hear and read about grief, I guess I was going through it yet never called it that.  

The past couple of weeks I've felt a change.  I feel like God is indeed restoring to me the years the locusts have eaten again.  Years have been destroyed through the actions of others and now it's time to let that go and begin to move ahead again.  Through these years I have been praying for peace in and through it all.  I have been asking what my role in all of this was.  I have been praying for restoration.  But it was still so difficult.  And now I feel a turn-around.  I feel like I have my life back - I want to do things again.  I want to bring back some of the things we used to do.  I want to really enjoy this life again and not be continually sad all the time.

I know we go through seasons.  It's just that this particular season hit me hard and I truly felt that nothing was ever going to be good again.  But that's not true.  God really does restore.  He really does bring times of good.  Yes, He does let us walk through the dark moments but in the dark He holds our hands, He carries us, He listens to our every prayer and cry for help until one day you realize the burden is lifted and out of the desolate land you just walked through you will see new life springing up all around you.  Maybe that's why Spring this year means so much to me - God's excellent timing. 

Always remember that God is watching over you.  You may feel alone at times, but you are not.  Continue to hang in there through reading God's Word, praying, praising, worshiping.  Don't EVER give up.  He loves you.  He wants to restore - just be patient and let Him in His timing because it is always perfect.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday Morning

I'll have to make another "quilt" for outside!  I love the look.  : )

We are waking up to cool temperatures and lots of rain and will continue to rain all weekend.  Hopefully no severe weather like a huge portion of the Midwest will experience today.  If Spring has a down side it's the severe weather.  We consider it a blessing to make it through Spring without damaging storms.  Earlier this week we got a new roof, yesterday we got new gutters, and I just put new plantings in, so the idea of a severe storm coming along and destroying it all and having to do it all over again is not a good thought!  : (

Well, this week has been a beautifully splendid homemaking week.  I've said before that I pray for strength, energy, and motivation to get my work done and the Lord provided.  Lots of indoor work and Thursday and yesterday was spent outdoors.  When outdoors, I'm the kind of person that can only do one section at a time so that I can spend the time it takes to make things right and organized and clean.  I don't like hurrying through it.  It was wonderful to take pen to paper and plan what I wanted and then go to the garden center and pick things out (and at the garden center it's SO hard to have the strength not to buy one of each kind of plant! - it's ALL so beautiful).  I'm so glad God created annuals - those colorful beauties for instant gratification.  I love perennials for ease of care, but I need that instant color this time of year.  : )  I thought I would get much more done yesterday than I did, but since the gutter guys were here (and in the way - LOL) I couldn't get to anything until they were finished.  So, a couple of planters are in the garage and even in the rain I can go out and at least finish those!

One of the "indoor" things I did this week, is to make Crockpot Beef Stock.  This is such a good way to make it and I want to share it with you:

*Roast beef bones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or till they are browned.
*While they are browning, cut up onions, carrots, and celery and add to the Crockpot.
*Transfer the bones to the Crockpot along with all those good drippings.
*Add enough water to cover everything and then add about a tsp. of white vinegar along with a tsp. of salt.
*You can simmer this anywhere from 6 to 24 hours!!!  I did mine for about 15 hours (overnight).
*When finished, take the bone and vegetables out, strain the broth, and then chill it in the fridge until solidified.  This will cause the fat on top to become solid and you can just take that off and discard.
*Ladle the finished product into freezer jars and there you have it!!!  Ready to be enjoyed - bone broth is VERY healthy.  : )  This also makes the house smell really good.  Double smile.

I received a couple of books that I ordered from Amazon this week.  I needed some Summer reading and my blog friend, Janine, recommended some from the author L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables).  I think my goal is to try and read all of her books!!!!!  I absolutely love the way she writes.  I've started one (The Golden Road) and am already enjoying it.  I, again, encourage you to always have a book in your hands - keep reading, keep learning!!!!!!!  : )

Lastly, in regards to reading and learning, I've always thought it a good idea to use books and magazines as curriculum.  I don't homeschool anymore, but I sure need to keep learning, so what I'm doing is taking my favorite magazines:

these are just a couple

and go through them (and tab some articles) and begin to learn from them.  As with all things, not everything applies to us, so obviously I won't do those.  It really is a lot of fun.  There is everything from crocheting a rug, to container gardening, to herbal concoctions, to building birdhouses, to small batch canning - you name it, they teach it.  I encourage you in this too!  Not all magazines are created equal though (and honestly I would guide you away from a lot of them).  But magazines like the ones above or MaryJanes Farm, or Grit, or anything that has to do with homesteading and housekeeping will keep you more than busy!  It will keep your body moving and your mind occupied with good stuff.  : )  Hope you can try it.

Lastly, I just want to share a couple photos of the Mother's Day tea last week.  We had such a nice time and it was such a blessing to all.

Our table all pink and white.

The individual place setting.  : )

I think that's about it for this day.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I do appreciate you!!!!  God bless.  : )

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Blue skies and sunshine for you today.  : )

I just wanted to drop in to wish you a "Happy Mother's Day" today.   For all of us, it comes with a wide range of emotions.  Not every Mother's Day is happy depending on what is going on in your life right now.

I miss having someone to call "Mom".  So does my husband.  Things have truly changed within the family without them.   Being without our moms gives me more of a sense as to how important my role within our little family is.   Mood, temperament, helpfulness, attitude - all of that and more are things to keep in check on a daily basis.  Sometimes I do okay, sometimes, well..............not so great.  There is no family that is perfect - no mom that is perfect.  

For some moms today it is not a happy day.  The loss of a child, the illness of a child, the waywardness of a child can give us a feeling of "let's just get this day over with".  

For some moms today it truly is a happy day.  New babies born within the family, adoption of new children, celebrating with adult children who have their own families, multiple generations getting together and enjoying each other.

Whatever this day looks like to you, just know that you have a Heavenly Father who is always looking out for you and who loves you with an Everlasting Love.  Just because we're the mom of the family doesn't mean that we, ourselves, don't need that special love and care - and our Lord is just The One to come to in all our circumstances.  None of us can do it alone.  Contrary to what our society says, we are NOT superwomen.  We need the Lord to be our Help.  If you feel like crying today, every tear you cry is noted by our Father and he holds those tears in His hands.  If you feel happy, allow it!!!  A joyful spirit is a good thing!  But let's be gentle and full of grace for both.  The Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn and be happy with those who are happy.   Maybe today there will be a little of both.  And that's okay.

God bless.  

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday Morning

The May picture on our calendar.  Nothing like the countryside!!!  : )

Made it through another week!!  We've been getting some much needed rains and, with the sunshine, everything is really greening up.  Everything we, here in the north country, wait for every year.  : )

I'm excited that today is our church ladies' tea.  This is a first for me so I'm really looking forward to it.  My daughter-in-law will be coming as well which makes it even more special (and my husband will be amongst the men in serving).  The ladies that decorate the tables are especially talented so I will try to take some pictures of it all and share them with you later.  : )

It has been a busy week around the house.  I was especially thinking about food and how I find myself in the kitchen more and more.  Usually my mornings are spent in getting my daily housework done and then afternoons are in the kitchen and now that the weather is better I'm trying to go outside and work after the kitchen work is done.

I have really changed in regards to food throughout the years.  I care more about what I'm buying and what I'm serving than I used to be.  And a lot of what I serve means cooking from scratch which requires the time it takes in doing that.  If we're having company and I'm serving ice cream, I don't want to buy a jar of hot fudge sauce - I want to make it.  We like something simple for a dessert so a cookie (or two) fills the bill but I don't want to buy the cookies, I want to bake them.  I try to have canned soups on the pantry shelves, but I'd rather spend the time cutting up the vegetables and using homemade broth to make the soup myself.  I buy whole-grain sandwich bread for our lunches, but for the bread we eat with soup or salads I would much rather make it myself.  I think you get the point.

All of these from-scratch foods are worth the time, effort, and energy it takes to prepare them.  The taste factor alone is worth it!  I remember when the book "Once a Month Cooking" came out.  I never really got into that - where you spend one whole day cooking 30 meals and then freezing them.  I'm all for doubling a recipe and freezing it once in a while, but there is something about getting into the kitchen regularly and using that time to relax and enjoy the whole process.  I know of people who work full time and actually look forward to getting home and into the kitchen and let the time of preparing good food be their down-time.  A time to de-stress and accomplish something that will nurture you and your family and/or friends.

I know life is busy especially if you still have children in the home.  Not only do you have your schedule of things but theirs as well so I understand if this concept of getting into the kitchen regularly and cooking from scratch seems to be out of the question.  But even making a few changes in how you do things can really help.

*A calendar - a MUST have for any family.  There is no way to keep track of everything unless you have it written down somewhere.  Whether that be on an "old-fashioned" wall calendar or on your "smart" phone.  On those nights where there isn't anything going on, is a night for you to get into the kitchen (with the rest of the family if you like) and cook something good and nutritious.

*A good recipe book - food is only as good as the recipe and with time and experience you will be able to read a recipe and just know whether it's going to be good or not.  Only you know what your family likes to eat so I would encourage you to "read" and try recipes on a regular basis.  Again, with technology, some people prefer to just go on-line and find recipes - whatever it takes for you to cook from scratch!

*Determination - you have to WANT to do this.  It's WAY too easy to order a pizza.  It's just easier to stop somewhere after work and get take-out and bring it home.  But since we've been doing this our health is worse and our weight is up.  So, ask yourself - do I want convenience or do I want better health for me and my family?  For us, we set aside Saturdays as our "take-out" night.  On Saturdays we usually want to change things up a bit from the weekly schedule so "take-out" is our treat.  But that's about it.  Try to not let it be the norm - just an exception.

*A plan and a budget - food prices are going up and up and it can be a challenge to come up with good, healthy meals.  But it can be done.  You just have to do a little homework.  Without a plan, you will end up spending WAY too much and you might be throwing out WAY too much.  Write down all the foods your family likes and then try to incorporate those into menus.  Have a Kitchen notebook for this that you can go to whenever drawing up your grocery list.  NEVER go to the grocery store without a plan and a list!!!  You will be tempted at every turn!!!  The only exception is when you see a really good deal on something you know you will eat or for building up your pantry.  Be mindful when you sit down and eat - did everyone like the food?  did they eat everything?  what didn't work? This takes time so don't get discouraged.  I really enjoy reading about nutrition - I will grab every article I see and cut it out for reference.  I encourage you to do the same.  There are some foods our bodies can do without but there are others that will give us what we need to keep us well.  Learn what those are.

*Menus - this is SO very important!  Even if it's just jotting down a little something and as you get more comfortable with it, make it more informative.  Mine looks something like this:

Monday:  Taco salads, chips and salsa, fresh fruit
Tuesday:  Hamburger/barley soup, homemade bread, fresh fruit
Wednesday:  Baked chicken breasts with olive oil, garlic, and onion, baked potato, salad, fresh fruit
and so on........................

This is really important.  That way you have a plan.  That way you know that the night before you need to take the hamburger our for the taco salads, or the chicken breasts for your baked chicken.  This way, when you make your grocery plan you know that you will need the items for a salad (don't buy pre-made salad mixes!).  This way, you can start your bread ahead of time.

I really hope you will begin this part of homemaking if you haven't already.  Attitude is huge part of this.  Getting into the kitchen will benefit you and those you love.  I know of some people who have HUGE kitchens but they rarely get used except for holidays.  Love your kitchen!  Be grateful for your kitchen!  Start slowly if you have to - don't get burned out by trying to do it all at once.  Learn, grow, and try.  

Thanks for dropping by!  God bless your day.  : )

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sunday Afternoon in May

 A photo from years ago.

In thinking back on the past week, what comes to mind is getting to my homemaking work, answered prayers, being grateful for many things, beautiful weather and getting out in it, getting together with a friend, helping out, and getting a joyful e-mail when needed.

Not all weeks are positive as we all know so I guess having one stands out and becomes very precious when looking back at it.  : )  Yes, there were a couple of things that reminded me that the world is indeed crazy and keeps me wondering when Jesus is coming back but it's so wonderful when the Lord gives us those moments when we have something to smile about, something to laugh about, and something that gives us purpose.

I was also thinking of how many of us rely on others to provide our joy for us and it's true that we need each other in this life, but there are times when we just have to pray that God will help us to make the most of our days when there seems to be no one else around:

*making time for the Lord and experiencing His peace.
*just getting to those things that you need to get to and feeling good about the progress.
*thinking of how you can be a blessing to others, write a list, and then start doing them.
*trying new things so that your confidence in what you CAN do increases.
*remembering the words of the Apostle Paul - "think of what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise" so we don't get bombarded with only the ugly.  You may have to look hard, but there ARE still some things that are good.

Of course none of us knows what kind of week is ahead of us and try as we may it might not be that great, but we can have attitude adjustments, we can work hard, we can be nice, we can go ahead and plan, and we can definitely remember Who gives it all to us.  : )

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Saturday Morning

Pretty.  : )

It's been such nice weather around here lately.  A little cool yet, but I guess today is going to change all of that with it being almost 70 degrees.  Downright balmy!!!!!!

It's been a good homemaking week for me.  It's been a while since I've taken my Homemaking Notebook off the shelf and now I'm back at it.  This notebook really makes a difference for me.  For quite a while in the winter I've felt that I haven't been getting as much done as I usually do and I don't like that feeling.  I really haven't been keeping on top of things as I should.  But this past week has given me a new sense of motivation.  Years ago, I worked hard on that notebook.  Experimenting with it and writing and re-writing as the days, weeks, and months went by.  I got it down to where it really worked for our home.  So bringing it back and following it has given me what I needed in that I feel like I'm getting back to parts of my home that I have neglected for some time now.  And I feel that it has given me my time back!  

I encourage you in this.  If you are a homemaker (which we all are), keep track of what you do all day (at home) and write it down.  Write down the time-wasters.  Write down all the areas in your home that you want/need to get to.  Keep track of everything for about a month.  Read it and then think.  What isn't getting done?  What things do you procrastinate on?  What things do you enjoy?  Then devise a plan.  That's what a Household Notebook is - a plan.  It's your second brain in helping you to remember.  Whether we like it or not, there ARE definite things that just need to be done.  It helps me to do things that I don't like to do first - just to get them done and out of the way!

A notebook also helps to keep you organized.  Because when you follow your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule, there really is no such thing as Spring cleaning or Fall cleaning or cleaning for the holidays.  It's pretty much done all the time - what a time saver!!!  It really does free you up to do things that you enjoy doing.  This notebook will, indeed, need to be tweaked (sometimes several times) before you get it to the point of it working for you and that's okay.  Like everything else, enjoy this process, don't get stressed about it, but just give it a try.

In this same notebook, you can keep areas for other things such as household hints and tips that you have read on-line or in books and magazines.  Keep a section for homemade cleaners.  And anything else that would be of help to you in managing, and caring for, your home.  

I have mentioned this idea to someone and her reaction was that a notebook with "have-to's" would stress her out and that she hates lists, but at the same time I hear her complaining that she can't get anything done and she feels her house is always a mess.   To me, wouldn't it make more sense to come up with a plan that helps with that?  I think the problem is that some people don't like to be told what to do (pride) and they will resist anything that MAKES them do something they don't want to do.

With me, I know I need the help.  I need to be told what to do.  Yes, some things come naturally to me and I know what needs to be done and when, but there are areas of homemaking where I need some gentle reminders.  Sometimes it's just that I forget.

If all of this seems overwhelming, just take baby steps.  Do the one-room-at-a-time thing and begin with one room today.  Don't keep the idea of perfection - none of our homes will ever be done and none of our homes will be one hundred percent the way we would want them to be.  Work with what you have.  I truly believe that when we work in our homes for the betterment of our homes we will begin to love our homes.  It's when we let everything go that we start to resent it and resentment is no motivator.  It just keeps us from doing anything.

I hope you will begin a Household Notebook today!!!!!   Thanks for dropping by!  God bless.