Friday, February 28, 2020

Quite a Bit to Share Today

After re-potting, my Christmas Cactus is FINALLY getting lots of blooms on it.  : )


Well, here we are at the end of another week AND the end of another month!!!!!  I know I said this last year around this time but I think this year will be another year that will fly by.  But I am, however, looking forward to saying that it's Spring instead of Winter despite what it looks like outside.  This weekend we are to be in the 40's - bring out the shorts!!!!  : )

Once again, throughout the week, I kept writing things down that I thought about and wanted to share with you.  Some will probably be obvious, others being reminders, and hopefully something new will pop up.  : )  So, here we go:

*I had mentioned a while back that it's good to buy organic produce if you can and I buy organic produce only if we eat the whole thing.  What I failed to mention (and this is probably one of the obvious ones) is that even if you buy produce that you have to peel and won't be eating the whole, remember to still wash the outside of it!!! (avocados, grapefruit, oranges, etc.) Think of all those hands that handled that piece of fruit or vegetable before you got your hands on it and once the knife slices through it, those germs get inside.

*When getting ready the other morning I was reminded of how we should look at ourselves from all angles before calling it good.  That goes for makeup, hair, and clothes.  We should have a hand-held mirror that we can check the back and sides of ourselves to see if everything is okay.  This doesn't mean that we have to be a Narcissus but there have been times when I've been rushed and caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror at a store and said "whoops" - not good.  LOL

*A couple of health tips (again, I'm NOT a health care provider, I'm just saying what works for me - you would need to do your own research or do what you feel is best for you).  I have mentioned coconut oil - I have learned that this oil is a fat burner and since putting a Tbsp. in our oatmeal every morning, I have noticed that even though I may not be losing weight, I am losing body fat.  I actually have a figure again with a noticeable waistline!!!  : )

Next, throw the scale away!  As women we KNOW when we have gained weight and our clothes are what tells us.  The numbers on the scale fluctuate so much simply by gaining water weight through eating too much sodium or any number of ways of gaining.  Numbers can depress us.  I suggest to opt for a healthy lifestyle of exercise, eating foods that will help you and not harm you, and adapting healthy behaviors like good sleep, being careful what you watch and read, building relationships that build you up not tear you down.........I know that you know.  : )

Lastly, before you do or eat ANYTHING ask yourself if it's something you should be doing or eating or will you feel awful the next day if you comply to your craving.  For example, I used to have my favorite potato chips in the pantry (sour cream and onion) and whenever I needed something to chase the blues away or just got bored with other food, or I just............really wanted to eat them!  I KNEW what I was going to feel like after eating them (stomach problems, bad taste in my mouth afterwards, etc.) yet I GAVE IN.  I didn't stop to think.  So, I never have those in our house again to tempt me.  This goes with eating all junk food, or getting high fat/high calorie/high sodium take-out and eating it all, or drinking.  Whatever it is for you that gets you into trouble and makes you feel sad and depressed afterwards because you know it wasn't a wise choice, just stop and think first.

Once you begin eating healthy, your body really does get used to it and you will eventually find that the junk food you loved and craved will no longer taste good anymore - it will seem sweeter, saltier, and not as flavorful as it once did.  So, my encouragement for you is to begin by not bringing in those foods that you know are not good for you and will only make you feel awful.  And then begin the process of bringing into your home healthy foods that will take care of your mind and body.  It really DOES work.  : )

*I have been buying a product at Walmart for quite a while now and the product, more often than not, has been faulty.  I usually just toss it away but the other day I noticed the Walmart address on the product so I though that I would just send them examples of what is faulty and write a letter letting them know.  This is my thought and I don't know if many people do this very often and I think we should if we're spending our money on it.  The letter you send should be very polite however - it's not meant to vent your anger and be unkind, but I'm thinking that most of the time companies don't know if their product doesn't work or not and unless we tell them how are they to know?  So, instead of tossing it aside, speak up (nicely) and let them know.

*I just finished another George Eliot book (I'm always sad when I'm done but fortunately I have another one waiting).  : )  Before I read the other I'm going to change gears and go to another Grace Livingston Hill book that a friend recently gave me:


She is another favorite author of mine and have many of her books.  Here is a line from this particular book - "..............the house seemed less and less like a home, and more and more like a furniture display in a great department store.  There wasn't a thing in it that one could feel like loving and keeping."  You will find in GLH books that homemaking and homekeeping is important and she writes within her characters a sense of wanting that in their lives.  I'm looking forward to reading on!

Encouragement for you - get some really good books and begin reading!  Be careful and be wise in selecting and you will fill many hours of your life in a positive way.

*Another thing that I worked on this week is a garden notebook.  I went through the one that I have and pulled out all the articles that don't interest me anymore and organized what was left.  I wanted one that was more personalized and one that I could write in more often and keep decorating, so this is a very simple one that I started (nothing fancy!):





Very simple, very basic, but it feels more organized and there are so many more pages to fill with all kinds of things, articles, and information.  What I find is that I can get carried away in the Spring and plant things I know nothing about or too many of some, etc. - this really had me sitting down and thinking through what I really wanted to do.  Again, some of it is obvious to me but there were places that I had to make certain about and now it's on paper as a reminder (plus it was a good reason to use markers, and cut and paste).  : )

I think now comes the March to-do's and March tea party theme.  So amazing that it's March already.  March is such an in-between month especially for us in the northern climate where we still have snow and there really are no outdoor projects to work on as yet, so this to-do list is VERY small!!!!

MARCH TO-DO'S:

*If you live in areas where you CAN actually do outdoor things, this is the month to clean your garden equipment and make sure that everything is in good working condition.

*Make homemade products - body and home - experiment and find what works for you and your home.  Have fun with this!!!!!

*I know Easter is in April this year, but some pre-planning is good.  Write down all the who's, what's, when's, and where's now and jot things down as you think of them.  Start pulling out your Spring/Easter decorations and pretty up your home.  Is there anything you can make?  I'm in need of some pretty Spring dinner napkins so I'll be making a trip to the fabric store soon.

*Keep up with decluttering!!!!!!!!!  Again, once the weather is nice and you won't feel like, or have the time to be indoors, use this winter time we have left to keep organizing and getting rid of stuff you don't use or need.  We're working towards Simplicity!  Using everything we have and loving everything we have.

That's it!  VERY easy.  

MARCH TEA PARTY THEME:

*Decorate with pots of shamrocks and float votive candles in pretty glassware and/or pretty bowls.
*Serve mint ice cream, shamrock sugar cookies, and some gingerbread.
*Play Irish music in the background.

I don't know about where you live, but around here St. Patrick's Day is a big deal (especially in the bars).  I pray that you don't succumb to that and that if you do celebrate (because it IS fun to celebrate) you will set an example to others that we, as Christians, can have a really good and fun time without alcohol.  

One idea is to invite family/friends over for a game night.  Set out lots of appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks and just have a fun and silly time over games.  Or watch a funny (and appropriate) movie - still serving food and beverages and sit around afterwards talking.  Make it meaningful and memorable.  Again, finding ways to celebrate silly holidays like this is very helpful in keeping life uplifting and fun since there is SO much serious stuff going on.  It helps to balance this life out a little.  

And I have a little give-away for you -



It's an appliqued cookie cover that I made for the month of March.  It's made out of felt and decorated (as you can see) with Shamrocks and buttons.  What you do is when you take a plate of cookies somewhere (church, school, etc.), just put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the cookies and put this cookie cover on top.  It just adds a bit of color and fun to your goodies.  This measure 13" across and it would have to be spot-cleaned.  So...........if you are someone who would enjoy this, just let me know in the comment section and I will assign numbers to your names and then draw a name/number next week and send it out to you!   (I'm sorry - this will be just for the U.S.)

Well.  I think I'm finally done.  I'm posting this on Friday instead of my usual Saturday morning because I have things to get to tomorrow and I need to begin early, so I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you got a little something from it.  God bless you in your homemaking this weekend - remember to do something because something is ALWAYS better than nothing.  : )  See you later!











Saturday, February 22, 2020

A New Saturday!

A week of kitchen work.  : )


I think last Saturday I said it was going to be a short post but I went on and on.  Today my post WILL be shorter.  I was thinking that this was the last Saturday in February so I would have given you the March to-do's and March tea party ideas, but I have one more Saturday to go.  Leap year this year!

First, like I said under the picture above, it's been a week spent in the kitchen.  There was more month than money this time around so, while doing my menu and grocery lists, I found myself shopping our pantry and writing everything down that we already had on hand and made the menus around that.  First, I inventoried our fridge of things that should be used up, then went to the freezers and saw what we have, then went to the pantry shelves that could be used for what the fridge and freezer told me what we could make meals from.   THIS is why having a pantry is SO important!!!!

We had:

*plenty of salad fixins'
*plenty of homemade soups and broths
*plenty of meats
*plenty of baking basics
*plenty of eggs

So, we could have:

*main dish salads, taco salads, side salads
*soups with fresh bread
*casseroles
*eggs dishes

We only needed to pick up from the store:

*fresh fruit
*a bit of milk
*blocks of cheese

When you have a pantry (fridge, freezer, shelves), you can get close to running out of grocery money and still have plenty of food to feed your family.  What this means, however, is that our pantry is going to be running out of things (especially the fridge and freezer) so now when we have our new grocery budget for March, I will have to slowly re-stock.  That's kind of where the above photo comes in:

*I thawed the organic bones and made beef bone broth that will go into the freezer
*I had oranges and cranberries so I baked Cranberry-Orange muffins that can be frozen
*I had lemons so I made my lemon cookies that freeze really well too
*I put together our oatmeal packets for the week that can just be stored on the shelves

So, just a little bit at a time, the freezer fills up again to help for any other months that come up where money is a bit tight. 

Mending is another area where we can save money.  We've had our bath towels for years and once in a while the sewn edges become.....unsewn.  So that is another thing I did along with mending a pair of mittens.  Mending brings things back to life!!!  To be used once again.  Don't throw, mend.  : )

Last week, I think I showed the flowers I splurged on just to have a bit of beauty around.  Well, by now some of them are looking pretty shaggy and drooped, so I brought out the flower press that my husband made me last year:


This is so easy to make and it's a big help in pressing flowers.  Underneath the top of this press are a lot of rose petals - these can be used in homemade potpourri or I have sometimes used dried petals in making homemade cards.  There are daisies in the bouquet that I can take apart and press them as well.  (You can also press flowers by the old method of pressing them between the pages of books too!!!)  Again, when you buy something - whether it's food, clothes, or a bouquet of flowers, begin to think of ways that you can use it in another way, or bring it back to life, or use the whole thing up rather than just tossing it out. These things are just many of the ways we, as homemakers, can keep our homemaking from becoming stagnant and boring.  We have MUCH to do if we would just get the motivation to do it.  That is my assignment and encouragement for you today and this weekend.  : )

Just a couple of things before I end.  There were two quotes that I wanted to share with you - something to ponder while you work or something you might want to share with someone else:

* "We go to the Bible, like the shepherds went to the manger, to find Jesus."  Martin Luther

Please, ladies, go to the Bible today to find Jesus.  The Bible is THE one book in your home that should be opened daily.  Learn from it, find Jesus in it and what He wants for your life.

* "People don't go to heaven in groups - they go one by one based on a personal relationship with Jesus."  Dr. Robert Jeffress

We don't get into heaven by belonging to a group (whether that be a family, friends, religious group, church group) - salvation is ONLY found in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.  There is NO amount of works that will get us into heaven.  Being a good person won't get you into heaven.  Because, really, how much work would you have to do in order for it to be enough?  How good would you have to be in order for it to be good enough?  

"Jesus paid it all,
all to Him I owe, 
sin has a left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow."

This is life-changing.  Have a wonderful homemaking day.  God bless you and thank you for dropping by!!!!!  : )








Sunday, February 16, 2020

Being Sensible For Jesus

What a glorious color!!!!!!!!


Welcome and happy Sabbath.  : )  A cloudy day today and a bit colder than yesterday but we'll take it!

I wanted to share a few things that can help us all to stay sensible in a world where anything goes:

1.  Don't say what God would not want you to say.  All of us, at some time or other, have been known to say things that we shouldn't have said.  We get caught up in the emotion of the situation and instead of removing ourselves from the situation for a while until we can gather our thoughts, out comes the words that we can never take back.  We can say we're sorry and that's a very good thing but those words are still out there and often recollected later.

2.  Don't do what God would not want you to do.  This should be a no-brainer but we often do things that are a fine line to many.  I always like to say that we need to remember that Jesus is in the room so what would you refrain from doing in front of Jesus?

3. Don't act the way God would not want you to act.  How many of us have been angry and frustrated with people we know and then turn around and act as if we're the nicest people in the world to those who don't know us at all?  Or, how many of us act as if we're better than someone else just because we live in a "better" house, or have a "better" job, or make more money and boast about it?

4.  Don't read what God would not want you to read.  Again, God knows everything so it stands to reason that if you're reading something you shouldn't be reading, He knows.  We are to be pure in heart and if we're reading trashy novels or trashy magazines, we aren't being sensible and it will harm us rather than help us.

5.  Don't go where God would not want you to go.  I heard this a long time ago and it made such sense to me - if you are a follower of Jesus and the Holy Spirit lives within you, who of you would even think about going into a night club or a bar?  It doesn't speak to who we are or who we should be.  I know that a lot of restaurants now have a restaurant and they also have a bar and I really don't like that but some have the bar part away from the restaurant so you can't see it.  But I'm talking about JUST a bar and/or JUST a night club.  I don't think that, if the Holy Spirit lives within us, we should be taking Him into these places - or I should say, we shouldn't even have the desire to go into these places!!!!!!  If the old has gone and the new has come, our "new self" shouldn't even think about it.

6.  Don't watch what God would not want you to watch.   I can't watch TV anymore.  I have been convicted that there is nothing reasonable to watch.  Some programs start out harmless and then slowly they sneak in some bad language, and then some sex, and then some off-color humor.   We don't have cable and that's fine with me!!!!  I'm very particular about what I view - we end up buying seasons of When Calls The Heart, or The Walton's, or Little House on the Prairie, or movies that have been recommended to us.  It may sounds boring, but the older I get boring is just fine.  I'm not going to sit and watch something that is not edifying.

7.  Don't listen to what God would not want you to listen to.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's and, especially the 70's, music was getting quite sensuous and sensual and it aroused feelings that young people aren't able to handle without wisdom and maturity.  Sometimes I will hear a song from back then and I'm transported back to a time and a place that I would rather forget about.   It was sinful behavior and to call it anything else would not be truthful.  Now, as a Christian, I love listening to the Christian radio stations, or at home I listen to classical music while homemaking - no questionable lyrics there!!!!!

8.  Don't wear what God would not want you to wear.  This "I can wear anything I want" attitude with women now drives me crazy.  Ladies..............cleavage and the curvature of your bottom should not be seen by others!  It's totally inappropriate.  If you are married, your husband should be the only one seeing this.  If you are not married, it's the wrong way to attract a man.   I don't go to a fitness club but what I hear is that women pretty much wear things that, at one time, used to be known as underwear.  It leaves VERY little to the imagination.  I see women out with their husbands and, seriously, I can't believe their husbands are comfortable with other men ogling their wives.  I've seen teenagers with their parents and I can't believe the parents are okay with their girls showing parts of their body that should not be shown.   Christian women represent God and our wardrobe should show restraint and decency.   We also represent our families and our wardrobe should be flattering, not embarrassing.

We need to be different than what the world says we should be.  Let's watch our speech, our deeds, our actions, our entertainment, our private lives, our appearance.  Let's be wise, mature, and sensible women.  Women that God can look at with favor and be a blessing to Him.  It's not easy because the pulls of the world are strong, but we can be stronger!  That's my assignment for you and my encouragement to you - and God will bless your efforts.  : )

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Good Saturday Morning

Not only do I love the late afternoon sun in our home but I also love the early morning sun in our home as well.  : )


I'm feeling some hope lately as the sun begins to rise a bit earlier and it goes down a bit later!  What that means is that I turn lights off earlier from the dark mornings and I turn them on later from the brighter afternoons which also means we should see some improvement in our electric bill!!!!!!!!  : )  I don't like a dark house so this is VERY important to me.  LOL

Well, it's been another good homemaking week.  Pretty much the same but a few other things thrown in - not a lot, so this will probably be a short post, but I'll share what I have:

*use old socks for dusting!  They fit perfectly on our hands and it's so easy to go around things.  We constantly have old white socks available and, of course, can be washed over and over again.  : )

*soak your whites!  Our city water is good but we've been noticing lately that there seems to be more rust in the water than usual so our whites are getting dingy.  I used to soak our whites all the time but got away from it since the holidays.  So, what I do, is get a LARGE bucket, fill it with hot water, a bit of laundry detergent (homemade with washing soda in it works great) and a bit of peroxide (for whitening) and add the whites.  I let mine soak overnight.  Wash as usual the next day.  I think it helps.  : )

*hydrate your home!  I don't know if you feel it, but my sinuses and skin are always dry this time of year, so it's important to me to hydrate the house.  I just fill my tea kettle (you can also use a pan) on the stovetop with distilled water and bring it to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer and let the steam do the hydrating.  Make sure the water is distilled though - we don't want to breathe in the chlorine from the city water.  : )

*which brings me to the next thing - bath water!  I've just learned that when you take a bath, first fill the tub with the hottest water you can and then let it sit for 20 minutes before getting in - this will allow the chlorine to dissipate and then it's safe for you to get in.  Also.....while you are filling the tub don't stay in the bathroom while it's filling so you're not breathing in the steam at this point.  I never even thought about this until I heard about it - I'm always either brushing my teeth or washing my face or putting a facial mask on while the tub is filling!  So, again, I feel that whatever little tips we can use to keep us healthy is a good thing.  And if this helps, I'm going to do it!!!  : )

*I think it was last Saturday that I had mentioned homemade shampoo!   I had tried in the past to do this but wasn't crazy about the results, but I have to admit that the one I made this past week, I honestly DO like.  I found it on the "Wellness Mama" blog site and I encourage you to go on her blog for other DIY health and beauty recipes.  Here is the "recipe" that I'm using:

1/4 cup coconut milk (canned)
1/4  cup liquid castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint) smells amazing 
20 drops of essential oil (I used rosemary because rosemary helps in the growth of hair and I also wanted to emulate the peppermint/rosemary shampoo that you can buy in the store)
1/2 tsp. olive oil (for dryer hair)

Combine all the ingredients into an old shampoo bottle and shake well to mix.  Shake before each use and you only need a small amount when shampooing.  

I have found this to be wonderful - it actually lathers, smells fantastic, and my hair feels great - I hope you can give it a try!!!  Not only is this better for us (because it lacks all that crazy stuff they put in our body/skin care products) but it saves money.  The can of coconut milk is inexpensive and stays in the fridge - the liquid castile isn't inexpensive but once you buy it, it stays forever and it's a large bottle so you don't buy it all the time - and, yes, the essential oils aren't exactly cheap, but a little goes a long way - and I always have olive oil in my pantry (and this only uses 1/2 tsp).  But I'm also feeling like, again, that if we change just a few things in our lives to help us with our health I think it's worth it.  

I know there are always people who are naysayers in all of this talk about health and well-being and trying to eat better and change lifestyles to maintain health because they have known people who tried all of this and it didn't work in their lives, but I'm saying - what if it does?  Why not at least try even if it makes us feel better in the doing it?  

*and then, here's a recipe for roasted broccoli stalks.  I said a while back that while I was cutting up our broccoli one day, it occurred to me that I don't want to throw the stalks away - so:

Peel, and thinly slice the stalks of your broccoli (I saved my stalks in the fridge until I had enough to roast).
Toss the stalks with a little olive oil, some salt (I used Himalayan), black pepper, and a bit of garlic powder.
Roast in a 450-degree oven (lined with parchment paper) for about 20 minutes (could take longer) and turn them over half-way through until soft and browned.
Oh my - these were really good!!!!  NO waste - eat the broccoli florets first, roast the stalks next.  Win, win.  : )

*while shopping for bread, I picked up a large rustic style loaf of sourdough bread a while back and while I had it in our freezer at home I was thinking that I can make this same rustic style of bread myself (again, one less thing to buy).  What we like to do is take a couple of slices from the freezer and then put them in the oven to toast (because they are too large for the regular toaster) and toast them while we make our smoothies.  But instead of sourdough, it would be a loaf with some healthy grains and seeds in it and then we put peanut butter on top and sprinkle with raisins.  We're eating less bread now but for those times we do want it (a sandwich for example) it's nice to have it in the freezer.  I hope you can look for a bread recipe that you enjoy and begin this wonderful practice of homemade bread for your family.  With our bread machine I find it's so easy to just make the dough in and then bake it myself.  Your home will smell wonderful and it's such a homey thing to do.   : )

*I have wanted lace curtains for a long time in our kitchen and I couldn't find the right size so I went and bought some lace and made them myself the past couple of days (one day for the window, another day for the door) and it only amounted to $17.00!  A lot less than the curtains I was looking at and I like the way they look:

The "farmhouse" sign was purchased at Hobby Lobby for a REALLY good sale price!  : )  I love country so this fits right in.

This is something that I want to encourage you in - making things for your home.  It's SO very easy to just go out and buy what you need, but there is great pride in making things.   It's worth it!!!

*Lastly, with snow around us and cold temperatures I just needed to have a few flowers in the house to "Spring it up" so my splurge was a pretty bouquet -



Something pretty for you too.  : )

When grocery shopping, it's okay once in a while to pick up some flowers.  Bring something pretty into your home!  : )

Well..........I thought this was going to be a short and quick post, but I guess not!!!!!  I hope you enjoyed it and I hope I gave you some encouragement and I hope I shared something of interest to you.  Thank you SO much for stopping by for a visit because I DO appreciate it!  God bless your homemaking day.  : )






Sunday, February 9, 2020

Surrender

The full moon has been so big, so bright, so pretty lately.


We woke up this morning to quite a snowfall.  Maybe about 5 inches more of snow - just enough to be beautiful and cover up all the old, icky stuff.  Now the sun is out and talk about bright!!!!  : )  Now on to the snowblowing and shoveling!

It's been a while since I've posted on a Sunday, but I thought it was something that may benefit you as well.

It has been quite a few years now where I've been at peace within myself and with others.  I have always been a person who is sensitive to the situations around me - no matter who it is or what circumstance is going on.   Getting to know people has never been easy for me - you'd think that at age 60 I would feel less and less like I'm 6 in this area.  But once I know someone that I feel I can trust, the talking comes easy and it's all good.  It's the betrayal of trust that is hard and it's hard for me to let go of it.  I hang on to hurts.  And even though I pray about it and temporary feelings take care of it (for a while) it all comes back and I'm right back to where I started.

It's also true of people who are hurting.  There has always been something inside of me who hurts when others hurt (that's called empathy) and that's good.  I'd rather be empathetic than not care at all.  But I have noticed that it can take a toll on me physically and emotionally.  I tend to put myself in the place that others are in and, even though I cannot fully understand the totality of their pain, I can only imagine.   And it's in that imagination that can just about do me in.

This past week during my prayer time the Lord gently reminded me about "surrender" - it is a word that I had almost forgotten about.  I said it out loud and it has stayed with me through the week.  He really wanted me to remember that those people and circumstances that I feel so deeply about are His to work on, not mine.  He reminded me that I take the weight of the world on my shoulders when it's His shoulders that bear it.  That's what those daily morning prayer times are for!  To give the Lord those hurt feelings, that lack of trust, the difficult things that people are going through to Him.  Because God is God and I'm not.   I can't bring that person to repentance - only God can.  I can't make someone an honest person - but God can.  I can't heal anyone - God can though.  And even if He doesn't, He knows what we don't.  He sees what we can't.  

So........I continue to offer prayers up to our Lord and Savior.  He tells me it's okay to care deeply about things and people, but just remember that if I want change in it He's the one that's going to make it change - or, it's He that might withhold the change and I am to wait on His timing.  Not mine.

My shoulders are lighter now.  It doesn't mean that I don't care anymore (as a matter of fact, it means I care even more if that makes any sense), it just means that I need to give it (whatever or whoever "it" is) to The One who literally shoulders the whole world and all of mankind on His.  He never gave me that job - it's one that I took upon myself.

So, as we slipped and slid all the way to church this morning, our little part of the world white with new snow, I sat in my seat, listened to the message, and what do you think was the last song we sang before leaving?  "I Surrender All".  Well, I tell you, the tears flowed and I knew that Jesus was with me.  Surrender.  I haven't chosen a "word for the year" yet.  I think I found it.  : )



Saturday, February 8, 2020

A COLD Saturday Morn

On these cold mornings I'm trying to look for photos of past summer get-away's to remind me that days like the one above will come again!  : )  Doesn't open water, green grass, and summer skies look wonderful?


I seriously can't believe I'm here again on a Saturday morning - this week flew by.  I'm not so sure that I have a whole lot to share with you but, once again, I tried to write things down as I went through the week.  Here are just a few things that I've noticed this past week or wanted to tell you about:

*A while back I had mentioned using apple cider vinegar for a hair rinse once in a while to restore the pH balance - what I SHOULD have said is that you need to dilute it first!  Half ACV and half water.  I'm sorry that I failed to mention that.  Same with your skin.  That also helps with the strong smell of the vinegar as well!

*Preparing a drink of ACV with water and a little honey is a VERY healthy drink too.  Many benefits from apple cider vinegar - hair, skin, and internal health - not bad!  Make sure, though, that this is organic.  

*The same goes with coconut oil (unrefined, organic) - I have been using coconut oil for my skin and as a facial moisturizer.  I'm trying very hard to go as natural as I possibly can with skin care and coconut oil (as with the apple cider vinegar) has many health benefits.  So, every morning and every evening I put a SMALL bit of coconut oil on my face as a moisturizer and I like the feeling.  You would think putting oil on your face is a bad thing but the oil soaks in and just leaves your skin feel moist and soft - no artificial ingredients, all natural.  I can buy a whole jar of organic coconut oil at Aldi for around $4.00 so what a savings!  This whole jar will last forever.  So coconut oil - you can add it to your food for all it's health benefits and you can use it as a beauty treatment.  : )

*I'm going to try to make our own shampoo today out of coconut milk and organic castille soap along with a few drops of essential oil - I will definitely let you know how THAT turns out!!!  - As you can see, this year I'm really motivated to try as many homemade health and beauty products as I can along with homemade cleaning products.  In the past whenever I've tried this, I found I didn't have the patience to find that one thing that worked so I just reverted back to store-bought products, so I'm hoping for a bit more patience to keep going.  I just want to be careful now that we're older to make sure I'm going more natural in our home.

*One thing that I did this week in cleaning out our bathroom cabinet, was to take the skincare products (and others) out and look up on-line all the the different ingredients that were written on each to see how many of those ingredients were safe (or not).  Well, not many WERE safe so out they went.  I've said before that going totally organic and "safe" is so expensive but I think that doing little things here and there and switching out slowly can benefit us all.  Maybe start with one thing - deodorant for example - stop using antiperspirants.  Switch to an all-natural deodorant.  And from past experience you may need to try a few before you find one that works and that your skin doesn't break out from!  But don't stop if one doesn't work - keep going until you find that right one.

Then, next go on to skincare products - again, find a natural one that works for you - simple ingredients that won't harm you.  Just little switches make big results!!!!!!!  

Next, your food of course.  Begin to cook from scratch with REAL food.  Don't keep relying on packaged food to get you through.   This is one area that you really have control over.  Make it fun and make it a new year goal to eat better food!  

Then there is the household.  SO MANY awful cleaners out there!!!!!!  Let this also be the year where you do the research on making household cleaners instead of depending on the chemicals.  Yes, there ARE a couple of products that I do use in our home only because I have tried every homemade product to take care of what I needed but they did not do the job, but that is the exception not the norm.  What we all want is easy and chemicals tend to make the work easy, but we need to be patient and get used to some elbow grease work again!  

*I am slowly switching my candles out to all beeswax.  They burn a long time and they smell heavenly and I love the old-fashioned look they give to the house.  They also don't have ANY chemicals in them so I can burn them for a long period of time (which I love to do).   Again, this can get expensive so that's why I said "slowly" switching over.  Picking up one or two at a time at our local co-op.   And also buying a big chunk of beeswax and making my own is fun!

*Remember to try to fix things first before buying something new.  I have a lamp in one of our rooms that just drives me crazy!  It comes apart after a while and I've been tempted for years to just go and buy a new one - but I don't.  My husband just simply takes it down to his "shop area", fixes it, and it's fine again for a while (until next time).  I have a feeling people just get bored with the same things year after year and if something "breaks" we have an excuse for throwing it out and buying a new one!   I totally get it.  : )  But if we're really trying to save money in our home, most things CAN be brought to life again.

Well, I think that's all I have for you today!  Not much, but I'll continue to keep writing a few things down as they come to me and hopefully will be able to share again.  : )  Thank you SO much for stopping by for a visit - I appreciate you!  God bless your homemaking day - remember to seize the day - Carpe Diem!!!!  

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February To-Do's and Other Things

I looked out in the blackness of the early morning and actually saw stars in the sky and now, as I write this post, I actually see a sunrise beginning - I'm SO happy.  : )


As soon as that sun comes around to our back patio area, I'm putting my coat on, grabbing a blanket for my legs, pouring a cup of tea, and heading out!  Sunshine at last!!!!!!!!!!  This has been the topic of conversation around here for a long time - you wouldn't think it would be such a big deal, but oh, it is.  : )

And now........on to today's post.  Welcome!  I hope you can relax for a moment as I try to bring to you little bits and pieces of ideas that might be of some help to you in your homemaking.   Now that January is gone and February is here, I would like to begin with the February to-do's and the February tea party theme.  It's a short month but I always feel like it's a transition month.  It feels closer to Spring yet there can still be so many things to do within the house before we begin the busy-ness of the actual springtime outdoors work.  So, I encourage you to just buckle down, write those lists of things that you have to get done, and begin to work at it with all your heart.  : )

FEBRUARY TO-DO'S

*change your furnace filter 
*buy plants (or more plants) for your home
*keep decluttering those shelves, cabinets, closets, drawers in each and every room of your house - there will ALWAYS be something to get rid of!!!!!!!  Only keep those items that you actually use and that you actually need or are actually keeping for someone else to be passed down to them (children/grandchildren) - but even with that, ask them if they actually want it!  You'd be surprised at how much stuff we keep because we think someone else would like it (and they really don't).
*if you have a flip-able mattress, flip!  : )  and then wash ALL the bedding (comforter/bedspread, dust ruffle, pillow shams, etc.)
*repair any wood floors, creaking stairs, and furniture
*inspect your house for any ice damage (for those of us in the northern tundra)
*check your dryer vent - dirty vents cause house fires!
*if you do anything on Valentine's Day, now is the time to plan - are you having friends or family over?  Do you want to send cards out this year?  If you have children/grandchildren it would be fun to make those old-fashioned paper bags (remember those from school?), decorate them and put their names on them and fill them with Valentines and goodies for them to open.  Remember that we need to find ways to keep this life fun (especially if you have kids around).  : )

There!  That's it for the month of February.  I encourage you to keep at it, keep going, and it will definitely pay off.

FEBRUARY TEA PARTY THEME

February is a natural for a tea party.  Tea parties are supposed to be pretty and with a Valentine's day theme it just lends itself to be pretty.  Remember that if you don't have anyone to do this with (I don't!) - do it for yourself.  It may not be as fun but it can be enjoyable.  Just take some time (if only for an hour) and pamper yourself for a while.  Again, this is fun if you have children/grandchildren around.  They can certainly help in preparing the goodies and the tea and especially help with the decorating.  Here are some ideas:

*decorate with flowers in one color scheme (traditionally, pink and/or red) with lots of greenery and baby's breath
*if you can find an old bird cage to spraypaint - paint it in gold and put a pretty plant inside of it
*scatter paper hearts around - I used to hang them from the ceiling
*serve angel food cake, chocolate truffles, and beautiful fruit tarts
*offer different teas and coffee
*play Frank Sinatra music in the background

I hope you can give this a try.  Again, this life is serious a lot of the time - we need moments of just "getting away" and make things pretty and fun once in a while.

JUST A FEW EXTRAS

As usual, I wrote things down as they came to mind that I would like to share with you.  Some of these you probably already know but just in case you don't..............

*I had a turkey carcass in the freezer from Thanksgiving so I brought that out to make turkey bone broth soup with vegetable and noodles.  This soup makes a lot and we love it with noodles but I also knew that I wanted to freeze some of it, so instead of adding the noodles to the soup, I cooked the noodles separately.  When ready to serve, we put the cooked noodles in our bowls first and then poured the soup on top.  It felt kind of trendy!  LOL  For those of you who don't know, you shouldn't freeze noodles in soup because they just become mush.  So when pulling your jar of frozen soup from the freezer, just cook the noodles separately and there you go!  : )

*I know I had said in my last post that my time has been in the kitchen this week and it was - we eat a lot of oranges in the winter so yesterday I took some of the rind and made candied orange rind -

this is SO good - beware though, it's addicting but oh, so simple to do.

I have a book that is called "Country Store" that I bought at a thrift store a LONG time ago and I love looking through it.  It has this in it.  They're great to snack on (but remember they're covered in sugar so you'll want to limit how much you eat) but they're also tasty on a piece of cake covered in whipped cream.  You could serve these at your tea party!!!!!  : )


You can make these with all your favorite citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes.  I hope you can give it a try.  Just cut the rinds in thin slices, cover them with boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes, drain, and repeat the process for 4 more times (this takes the bitterness out).  Make a sugar/water syrup and pour the rinds into the syrup and cook for about 30 minutes.  Put them on a wire rack with a foil-lined baking sheet underneath and let them cool and dry.  That's it!  And that's one way of using the whole fruit - eat the orange segments first (or squeeze the orange for the juice) and then cook the peel.  : )

*Also, when preparing broccoli, we all know that we cook and eat the broccoli heads, but there is still a LOT of the broccoli left - the stalks.  Don't throw those away!  Just wash them, peel them, and slice them for roasted broccoli stalks.  Just put them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and fresh pepper, bake until roasted and soft!  Yum.  : )  Again, this is using the whole vegetable-no waste!!!!!

*One thing I've been doing this week while in the kitchen (and I'm sure I've mentioned this before as well) is that I listen to Classical music while cooking/baking/cleaning up.  It brings such a calm to the kitchen.  It helps me to slow down and be less stressed rather than always hurrying to get things done so I can get to the next thing.  I've been so trying to be more present in what I'm doing at the time because a day can go by where I know that I've gotten a lot of things done, but I couldn't tell you what they were other than going to my notebook and the list of things that I checked off.  So, whether it's folding the laundry, or ironing, or cleaning, or cooking, I'm trying to make sure that whatever it is that I'm doing at that particular time, I'm enjoying it instead of just getting through it.  I think this makes a huge difference in our homemaking!  I hope you can give this a try and see if you can tell the difference between just working and enjoying your work.

*I've also been starting to hang our clothes up again after laundering them.  I took a break from it during the holidays but have started it again.  Of course, I can't hang them outside with the snow on the ground (but we used to when growing up at home!) so years ago my husband stretched a clothesline in the laundry room, plus put up a couple of poles and then we bought a laundry rack so there is plenty of room to hang things.  I don't know if you know that the dryer is one of the most energy-zappers we have in our homes.  It's very expensive to run a dryer.  So I encourage you to save some money, at least buy a laundry rack (that you can fold up and put away when your done), and start hanging your laundry (if not all of it, at least a good part of it!).  : )

*I know I've already touched on using apple cider vinegar for hair and skin, but another tip in your morning shower is to turn your hot/warm water to cool/cold at the very end (just before you get out).  We've all seen the Scandinavians with their saunas in the winter by a cold lake - they sit in the hot saunas for a while and then, literally, go jump in the lake?  Well, we can emulate that in our showers!  While our skin is still warm from the water, turning it to cooler/cold temps can do that.  It's actually good for us - just keep saying those words while the cold water goes over your nice warm skin - "it's good for me, it's good for me".  LOL  What the cold water does is close the open pores and rejuvenates the skin.  At first, it's REALLY hard to do, but after a while it actually feels kind of good!
Crazy.  I know.  : )

*Lastly, and I've mentioned this before too but I think it's work re-mentioning, that if you really want to learn how to do more things or you're homeschooling and you want to find new curriculum for your kids, don't forget using good magazines to help with this.  I love Capper's Farmer magazine and Grit magazine:



I collect these magazines and save them for research on how to do different things - if you notice the topics on the covers, you can learn how improve soil for planting, crochet a rug, planting trees ..........

I even go through our magazines and put tabs on them for the different subjects that I want to look at again for future reference:


this one has recipes in it, gardening ideas, how to preserve what you've planted...........I wish I would have had this magazine around while homeschooling.  I know our son would have done many of the things within the pages.  So, I encourage you to find a magazine that gives LOTS of advice and ideas for around the home, subscribe to it.  Again........keep learning new things!!!!!!!!!!!

Well that's pretty much it for this day.  I hope you will find things to do around your home today that you will enjoy doing to make your house into a home that you will be proud of and comfortable in.  A few of things on my list are:

*bring out the candle and soap making things that I have and make some!
*decorate our bulletin board for February
*send some cards out
*bake some bread and salad dressings for the week
*read
*exercise
*order seeds from the garden catalog
*sit in the sun!  

Have a wonderful day and upcoming weekend.  Thank you for dropping by.  God bless.