Friday, April 16, 2021

April Newsletter

 

Are you as awed in the intricacy of flowers as I am?  So pretty.  : )


Well.  April is half over already.  Whoosh!  The days/weeks/months just fly by.  I take that to mean that I keep busy.  : )  

I hope you can grab a hot cup of coffee or tea and visit a spell.

THE MONTHLY REGULARS - those things that I seem to do every month no matter what:

*I'm constantly going through things - shelves, drawers, closets.........and with that comes cleaning, organizing, and re-organizing.  We cleaned and organized a whole wall of shelves in our laundry area this past week and it looks SO much better.  All the cleaning supplies and paper products all in one area - just walk in and see everything at a glance.  No more having some things in one place and other things in other places.  All. In. One. Place.  Pure luxury.  : )

*I'm still knitting prayer shawls.  It's such a relaxing thing to do in the evenings when my energy is spent and I just want to plug a DVD in to watch while still doing something.

*I'm still crocheting quilt block squares for the "Quilt to Give" - I'm aiming for a Christmas finish with this so it can be a gift to someone in need.

*And then, of course, as with all of you.......the daily housekeeping and cooking.

APRIL SO FAR:

*Sent out an Easter newsletter to the senior living center:

again, I really encourage you if you can.......to make cards or write letters to the seniors in your community.  I pray over these before I send them off that they will be a blessing to them.  Lately I've been constantly thinking about the "Do unto others" and how, if I was in their place, I would love to be remembered with something.  Again, this is a project you can do with your children and/or grandchildren so that they can get involved in blessing the elderly.

*We had a few nice warm days, so it's been wonderful to hang some of the laundry outdoors.  I do, however, have to be careful with allergies.  Our clotheslines hang right under the pine tree in our backyard and there is a certain time when it gives off that green dust - not good for the clothes or my nose!!!!!

*On some nights, we've been able to keep our windows slightly open at night while sleeping.  What a treat to sleep with the fresh air coming in.

*We've been out cleaning up the yard and planning on what to plant and where.  My focus this year is on the front yard.  I want to pretty it up.  I also made a new garden journal:

well.......I didn't MAKE it......I bought this and turned it INTO a garden journal  : )

having fun jotting notes down - already crossing a couple of things off because I changed my mind

I love cutting pictures of the flowers I want to plant and I love making lists!

more of the same.....I'm looking forward to maintaining this.  : )

*I'm enjoying starting some seeds - so far......zinnias, marigolds, rudbeckia, coleus........

*Now that it's nice out and there is access to our composter (it's in the back of our garage so in the winter I can't get to it - bad place to have it but it just works for us back there) we've been composting again!  All our kitchen scraps get tossed in.  : )  And I don't know if you know that if you use coffee pods in your coffee machine, you can open the pod up and dispose of the grounds and then throw the pod in the recycling bin?  Yes, you can.  : )


*We had Easter brunch here for the four of us and I served - ham (which cooked in the slow cooker while at church), a yummy egg dish, oven roasted potatoes, a green salad, a variety of sweet rolls, and orange juice and coffee to drink.  It was such a nice, warm day that we spent the whole afternoon outdoors just talking, took a family photo and then played a game before they had to leave for their next Easter celebration.  Dessert was simply an angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries.  Yum.  : )

Here is what our table looked like:

nothing fancy but it worked for us and it felt a bit special for the day.

*The other thing that I've been spending a bit of time on in April is the re-thinking and re-planning of  Spring/Summer menus.  I've always felt that April is a transitional month in so many ways:  from housecleaning, to the clothes we wear, to skincare, to our makeup, to gardening..........but also in the way we eat and what we prepare.

Slowly going are the casseroles, soups, apples, pumpkin, winter squash (unless we have a strange snow event like a few days ago).   : (

Now it's blueberries, strawberries, lemons, rhubarb (well, not quite yet but soon), tuna salads, egg salads, salads in jars, pasta salads, waffles not pancakes, cold sandwiches...........everything that says "Winter is gone, Spring is here." 

So, I've been taking my kitchen notebook and my recipe box and the cookbooks and I'm going through all the things that we enjoy and things that I want to try.  Seasonal food shopping also saves money.  The things that I just mentioned are very affordable right now.

*I know I've mentioned this before, but for me it's so helpful to take my recipes - especially for baking or something that requires seasoning - and make my own mixes to put into plastic storage bags, label them, and put them on the pantry shelf so when the time comes to bake or make, that part of the recipe is already done.  So far.........waffle mix, lemon cookies, lemon muffins.......all you do is add the wet ingredients and the job is done!

an example - the waffle mix

*A great project for giving is a "pocket letter" - you can look these up on-line and find hundreds of ideas.  I've been doing them for a while now after a friend had told me about it.  This would be great for the kids/grandkids to do for their friends or for grandma/grandpa.  Here is what I just finished:

kind of a summery theme

supplies would include:  trading card sleeves, a playing card to use as a template, pretty paper and cardstock, magazines to cut pictures from, embellishments such as stickers, lace, etc, scissors, glue, and let your imagination take over - it is such a relaxing, creative thing to do.

When finished decorating, you slip each into the sleeve and then you fill the back of the cards with fun little items such as:  word searches, towelettes, postage stamps, band-aids, paper clips, labels, Bible verses, hymn pages, stickers, coffee/tea packets, gum, charms, candy, seed packets, newsy articles, lens cleaner wipes...........

Have fun with this and, again, this would be great for kids!  

*I've been cutting up old sheets into rags, sewing them and pinking the edges:

not pretty, but useful!!!  Remember to keep a homesteading attitude about using things up rather than throwing.  

*I made another batch of homemade dry laundry detergent:

I use this for hot water wash and for when I'm soaking our whites.  

8 cups of baking soda
6 cups of borax
4 cups of grated soap such as castile, Zote, or Fels Naptha (I used Zote here - it's pretty and smells good)  : )
1 1/2 Tbsp. essential oil of your choice (this is optional)

Combine the above really well and I play around with the measurements - I can just tell if I'm getting it right or not.  This lasts a long time so I find it very cost-effective.

LOOKING AHEAD

*May newsletter for the seniors

*I want to try my hand at growing microgreens - I've been reading up on the health benefits of them and they are so easy to grow - I bought broccoli seeds, spinach, and other greens to see how it will work.  I will fill you in on how it went!

*I also want to try my hand at making dishes (not for eating off of) using cold porcelain clay.  I was all ready to buy the clay when I found that I can easily make it!!!  SO excited about that.  It was an idea that I saw in one of my magazines and knew that I had to at least try it - again, I will let you know next month how it went.  : )

*As we all know, May is Mother's Day month so now is the time to think about it.  I miss my mom and mother-in-law on this day wishing they were still here.  If you have a mom, please remember her in some way.  

*Getting outdoors more with planting, cleaning, eating, entertaining, planning............

A FEW EXTRA THOUGHTS

*Continue to pray for our country!

*Remember to try new things - this is SO important because you will never know what you could be good at unless you try it.  This includes crafting, hobbies, baking, cooking, sewing, clothes, makeup......just try.   I have found out so much about myself this way.  I absolutely love quilts but because I tried I found out that I don't have the patience for it so I know now that I won't waste my time doing it. I will just continue to admire the quilts I see and continue to watch quilting podcasts.  The other thing that I found out about myself in regards to quilts is that I love to make the hexagon "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt blocks.  I don't know if that makes sense or not!  What I found is that I love handwork and I love making all those little hexagons and putting them together.  I would have missed out on something that I really enjoy doing if, when I saw them, I didn't try it.  So.....I encourage you......if you see something that interests you, at least give it a go!

*Remember to ALWAYS have a book to read.  Be cautious and be discerning - there are a lot of awful books out there - ask a trusted friend for ideas.  In my opinion, you can't go wrong in reading the classics!  

*It's almost sandal season!  So we need to start taking care of our feet!  Remember to moisturize in the  morning and before bed and massage your feet when you do.  Even giving them a good soak in Epsom salts feels great.  Trim your nails and use some fun colors of polish.  Pretty up!!!

*Remember that we are missionaries - I've heard this a couple of times in the past week and needed to be reminded of this. We are Christian women and we are missionaries in our homes.  We are missionaries on the street we live.  We are missionaries in the stores we shop in.  We are missionaries in the workplace.  People are watching us and how we handle things.  They watch how we take care of things.  They watch our attitudes towards them and others.  Our jobs in the home are important - from making a meal (or taking meals to someone), to doing the laundry, to cleaning the bathroom, to teaching our children, to helping our husbands...........

A FEW EXTRAS

our neighborhood turkeys are back.  : )

whenever I take these lemon cookies anywhere, they get rave reviews!

here's the recipe - if you can't read my chicken scratch writing, just let me know!  : )

every once in a while I will buy a knob of gingerroot, mince it, and freeze it in small portions

bag it up and keep it frozen until ready to use in a favorite Asian recipe.

from a pretty bouquet in the kitchen



Well, I think I've exhausted everything that I wanted to share with you.  I know there are still a couple of weeks left in April so I hope that you will enjoy the rest of this month and be encouraged to keep doing and keep trying.  I also hope that some of you would be willing to share with me some of the things that you are doing around your home as well.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and visit a bit.  I appreciate you and may God bless your homemaking efforts!!!!!

















































6 comments:

  1. Your Easter newsletter to the seniors is so beautiful and inspiring! I've never known anyone to do this - did you just begin or did someone encourage you to start? This year we received 8 Easter cards, and we sent out 5 to widows. We've never done it before, and had never rec'd more than 1 or 2 before, so I was surprised.

    My menu has already turned to many of the things you mentioned because winter is so short here. I'm trying to remember to add fruit - when we miss our 10:30 time I usually forget all day (like today). I need to write myself notes. Pretty table!

    Okay, your rags ARE pretty! I just tear up our old clothes...but then, the rags usually get used when my DH works on the car then get tossed into the trash.

    You are so crafty! I do plan on having my mom and mil on Mother's Day. I already have the gifts, but am still unsure as to what to serve...I feel like we've done it all : ) Maybe quiche (again).

    You are so right about being missionaries and people watching us. I'm always shocked when someone says, "I've been watching you and..." Thankfully it has always been positive (to my face!). And then in reading what you wrote, I remember how intently I watched a few women I admired in our church when I was much younger and tried to learn what set them apart. I really tried to emulate them (and my mom). And now I know that they also were FW readers/implementers, which goes so well with Christianity.

    Your lemon cookies do look delicious! Your flowers are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them : ) I really enjoyed your newsletter!

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    1. Thank you, Janine! In regards to the newsletters/cards to seniors....I had been praying during last year's lockdowns on how in the world I could volunteer when we couldn't go into any places and then one day while I was listening to a podcast, an ad popped up about "Letters of Love" and they were asking people to do this for seniors. Well......I wrote all the information down and followed through. The "interesting" thing is that after that one time of seeing the ad, I never saw it again so I knew in my heart that I was meant to see it at that particular time! : )

      I sent a lot of Easter cards out this year and we usually don't receive many but we did this year. Like you, we were pleasantly surprised.

      And the rags - my husband has his rags, I have my rags. He doesn't make his look nice, I try. LOL : )

      I, too, used to watch my MIL for inspiration in my homemaking because I thought she was the best - I now regret telling HER that.

      Thanks for commenting, Janine! Have a great upcoming weekend. Mary

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    2. You regret telling her that? Or not telling her?

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  2. Hello!
    I cannot tell you how much I enjoy these newsletters you share.
    I pour myself a cup of coffee, get comfy and read slowly.
    Thank you for the words of wisdom concerning so many things.
    I am a homemaker and embrace my vocation, and am always happy to learn from others who share my love of home. I need to get after my feet in preparation for summer! And I am the same with cooking. Time to lighten things up, and eat the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season. Have a cozy afternoon!

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    1. Hi Billie Jo! Thanks so much for your comment. I, too, love to learn from other women who are in the home and was SO pleasantly surprised when starting to read other blogs that I wasn't odd or a lone ranger in being content with being at home. : ) The Lord truly gave me the desire of my heart. : ) Have a great day and thank you again!
      Mary

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    2. Whoops. Glad you brought that to my attention! I regret NOT telling my MIL how much she influenced me!!! Thanks Janine. : )

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