Friday, February 25, 2022

The End of February Homemaking Newsletter


Let's get to green soon!!!  (And I mean the color green)  : )

Hi ladies.  I thought I'd better get another post in before we turn the calendar to March.  I say this ALL the time but really......March already.  Closer to spring!  We just got about 6 inches of snow (5 on Tuesday, 1 last night) and as of this typing, it is 6 degrees.  So spring is a big deal and getting closer to it makes me very happy.  : )  I would be the one to admit that spring is my least favorite of the seasons because when the snow melts it reveals all the icky stuff underneath and it's sloppy and we bring it into the house and.............but this year I'm very ready for it.  

I hope this finds you doing okay and feeling well and getting through.  So many things going on right now, aren't there?  I could go into it and I have before but at this point there is something inside of me that is telling me to just stick to the homemaking and to encourage all of you to keep on keeping on.  Keep on loving your family, your friends, your home.  We can't (and shouldn't) bury our heads in the sand and act as if there aren't some very concerning things going on, but I think the best thing we can do as women of our homes is to keep it up and make it a place that is different than the outside world.  I believe there will be some difficult times ahead.  Unless you make a lot of money and that is not an issue of concern, it will be a challenge.  But homemakers have always faced challenges and we can do this.

At this time of year I re-read the Little House on the Prairie books and am ALWAYS amazed at what they went through and how they got through it.  How little they had at times and stilled survived (barely sometimes, but they did it) and how innovative they were at making do with what they had.  As a modern-day society we have been SO used to having pretty much everything we want and need, so the idea of those things being taken away can be kind of scary.  But there is so much we can do without and maybe it IS time for us to learn those lessons.  

One thing that I always notice is that the Ingalls women always worked before play.  They spent the morning cleaning and getting food prepared so that by the time afternoon rolled around they were able to sit and read or knit and crochet or whatever else they wanted to do.  I also noticed that when they did sit down to do these things, everything they worked on had a purpose.  It was going to be used in some way - they didn't just make things to make things - they had a reason to the making.  So, I'm kind of following that same routine, although some of the things I work on in the afternoon don't necessarily have a purpose, but a few do.  Here are some things I've been working on (and I've mentioned some of these in past posts):

I've been enjoying embroidering - wanting to make some things for the pantry room.

STILL crocheting those quilt blocks!!  I was hoping to have a "quilt" made this past Christmas - obviously it didn't happen.  

Still knitting prayer shawls - what a wonderful relaxing thing to do and this is a project for others so it makes it extra special.  : )

STILL working on the Grandmother's flower quilt blocks.  I have a feeling I'll need about 60 more years to finish these!!!  LOL ; 0  But I enjoy it!!! is my newest interest.  And I do mean interest - maybe passion - but I'm smitten.  On YouTube I've been watching to/listening to various cross stitchers (never know if it's one word or two) and I was bitten by the bug.  I had to order this book that everyone seemed to rave about:

And then I had to buy the Aida cloth, and then I had to buy the embroidery floss and then I had to find some motifs and then I had to stitch the design!  Here is what I've come up with so far:

This is a small and I'm not done with it yet, but it's my try at a cross stitch sampler piece.  I chose motifs that I knew would be easy to stitch just to get my feet wet and I absolutely love it.  Every day I have to set some time aside just to work on it.  And I already have about 3 designs worked out in my head that I will stitch as soon as this one is finished to my liking.  The Aida cloth is already purchased for those and I have plenty of floss so I'm excited about it.  I have purchased kitted pieces before but found I didn't enjoy it - what I enjoy is designing my own and seeing the design come together! 

Now, I will be the first one to admit that this is not a necessary hobby.  But time and time again, when listening to other women, they will talk about how therapeutic it is for them.  Some are going through really difficult times and if they can just sit and stitch for a while during the day it helps them tremendously and I would agree to that.  That is why in past posts I have tried to encourage everyone to find something to do - paint, sew, make cards, crochet, draw, knit, quilt..........for yourself.  You will never know what will jump out at you unless you give things a try.  If you don't like something try something else.

A couple of weekends ago when it was beyond frigid, I just went back to my craft room and did all kinds of things and then I lost all track of time and it brought me joy.  I truly hope that if you don't have something creative to do, that you will try to find it this year.  : )

Along with crafting, I love reading and since I have literally run out of NEW books to read, I ordered a few - 2 new-to-me Grace Livingston Hill books, and 3 new-to-me Nancy Drew books.  I can't wait to receive them and dive right in!!!  I seriously don't like not having something to read and since I collect the Nancy Drew books and Grace Livingston Hill books, I don't mind purchasing them.

Speaking of YouTube, I have a couple more for you:

*Dr. Berg, DC - I'm big on nutrition for health so he's great to listen to.  Don't get me wrong.....I'm very thankful that the Lord has gifted men and women to be doctors to help us in our time of need, but the thing I have a problem with is when we go in not feeling well in some areas, I think (my opinion) that they should always check for nutritional deficiencies/vitamin and mineral deficiencies FIRST.  There are so many things that can be helped just by finding out what we need in that area.

*In Touch Ministries with Charles Stanley - we've all heard of Charles Stanley, haven't we?  He is one of the best preachers.  ALWAYS speaks truth from the Bible - and don't we all need truth nowadays?

Next, I have 3 recipes to share with you (two with photos this time!!!).  : )

The first one is candied orange peel.  I don't know about you, but around here we eat LOTS of oranges and grapefruit (and I know they are expensive right now, but I'll keep buying them).  And instead of throwing the peel, it's great candied.  I just put them in a jar and they're great for snacks.  Here it is:

CANDIED ORANGE PEEL(you can also use lemons, limes, grapefruit)

5 large oranges or about 10 of those little mandarin ones (our favorite)
3 cups sugar (I know.......a lot.....but the peels are bitter and need to be sweetened)

Cut the peels into strips about 1/2 inch wide and place in a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drain, then repeat this step four times, using fresh water each time.  In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water and the 3 cups sugar and heat until dissolved.  Add the peel and cook slowly, partially covered, until soft (30-40 minutes).  Cool thoroughly and then sprinkle with a little sugar.  Yum.  : )

**Important - when draining the peels from the sugar water, keep the sugar water in a jar in the fridge and use this as a sweetener for your tea!!!  Again, yum.  : )

I think I may have shown you this next recipe, but I made it again and forgot how much we like it.  It requires Spam.....yes, Spam.  Some people like Spam, some people not-so-much.  We like it so this is for those of you who aren't wrinkling up your noses right now.  : )


Saute' chopped onion and a red bell pepper.  Add chunks of Spam to cook and brown it.  Add 1 can of pineapple chunks with the juice, and some of your favorite BBQ sauce to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season with salt (though not much because Spam is salty) and pepper.
Serve over rice and sprinkle with green onions.

Hope you can try it and let me know what YOU think.  : )

This next recipe is one that I haven't even tried yet, but was reminded of because of the seemingly shortage of cream cheese (of all things).  This recipe was in my Spring 2015 Capper's Farmer magazine ( pays to save some of those old magazines!).  Now, I know we can all live without cream cheese, but do we really want to?  ; )


1 quart homemade or store-bought plain yogurt (whole milk or low-fat)

*Place a clean kitchen towel or piece of clean muslin in a colander, and then place the colander in a large bowl.  Add the yogurt to the lined colander and wrap the towel over the top to cover it, or use a plate.  Leave this to drain for about 5 hours in the fridge.  If you want a thicker consistency, leave it longer, making sure to empty what is being drained so it doesn't reach the bottom of the colander and get reabsorbed.

*Transfer the cream cheese to an airtight container.  Cover and store in fridge.  The homemade cream cheese will last as long as the yogurt would, so if you used purchased yogurt check the expiration date.

*They also suggest that you can add your own flavorings to your homemade cream cheese - different jams, dehydrated onions, green onions or chives.........doesn't that sound great?!  I can't wait to try this.

Well, I think that's pretty much it for today.  I have crossed all these things off my list of what I wanted to share with you.  : )  Thank you SO much for stopping by today.  I appreciate all of you.  

Before I leave, I just wanted to remind those of you who have not yet turned your life over to Jesus, to do so today.  The Bible says that "today is the day of salvation" and with the world as it is we need to be ready for Jesus' return.  And since we don't know when that will be, it's vitally important to be ready.  It's not through being a "good" person that we are saved because none of us can be good enough in front of a Holy God.  It is through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross - he paid our sin debt in full - so it is by God's grace that we are saved not through our works.  Then when we are saved, the work that we do in Jesus' name is important and Holy Spirit led.  

This is important, it's always been important, but in these days we need that assurance of salvation so that we will be together with Him forever!!!!!  Great news!!!!!!

God bless you all and God bless your homemaking endeavors.  See you next time!  : )


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Valentine's Day Ideas


A little pretty.  : )

Wow. It's 36 degrees right now!!!!  Woo-hoo!  We'll be going for a walk here pretty soon.  : )  Gotta take it when we can.  This weekend will be cold again.  LOL

I don't know how many people get together for Valentine's Day (or thereabouts) but I just thought that if you did, I would give you some ideas to get you started if you find that ideas are few and far between right now.  : )  We are planning on getting together, but like always it depends on all of us staying healthy.  First I will start with game ideas.  I found a book on games at a thrift store a while back and I wrote down six ideas that I thought would work for us.  Of course, we won't do ALL six of the games but I will let you know which ones I'm thinking of for us.  Here we go (the first two are "active" games):

*I know you probably have heard of this one (I did) and I found it to be fun so this is one that we will do.  Put hearts on everyone's back that has a word or name on it - for example, for Valentine's Day you could put the word Cupid, cupcake, roses, conversation hearts, etc.....(choosing just one for each person).  That person has to ask questions of the other participants in order to guess what he/she has on his/her back.  You don't have to stick with a Valentine theme - you could put the names of famous historical figures, or food, etc.  Since there are only 4 of us and I would like to play along, I'll just have someone fill out a heart for me and attach it to my back.

*This is another one that I would like to try.  Have everyone thoroughly survey your living room and then have them go to another part of the house so that they can't see you or hear what you're doing.  While they are away, you move some things around - change a picture, move a plant, turn something around.......anything you can think of.  Make sure to write these changes down so that you remember!!!  Then invite everyone back in and give them paper and pencil and have them write down what they notice but not saying it out loud.  After everyone is finished, you read off your list of what you changed and have them tally up their score.  The one with the most "finds" wins!  (And also wins a prize) 

*The next game is called Dictionary.  Choose a person to be "it" and that person looks through the dictionary and finds a word, says it out loud, and everyone else (with pencil and paper in hand) has to write out what they think the definition for that word is.  The one who is closest goes on to find the next word for the others to figure out.

*At the table (again, a pen and paper game), have everyone figure out how many words can be made out of the word, or words, that you choose.  Again, you can stick with the Valentine's Day theme and use those two words.

*Another pen and paper game is to have each person write down the first 12 words which comes to their minds after you give them their cue - example words could be moonlight, farm, church, ocean, ice cream, books, etc......use whatever words you want and have them say what they wrote.

*The last game is, yet, another pen and paper game but should provide a lot of laughter!  You fold a piece of paper in the shape of a pleated fan.  On each fold each person must write a sentence having to do with taking a trip.  Be original and humorous.  After the paper is finished, the pleats are unfolded and then someone reads the entire story.

Now for some food ideas.  I think parties are fun when everyone can participate in making their own food instead of the host/hostess making everything so this is what I've come up with (choosing only one):

*Walking tacos - purchase little bags of Doritos, have the taco meat set out along with everything you like on a taco - sour cream, onions, black olives, corn, salsa, lettuce, cheese, etc.......serve with fruit.

*Waffles - set up the waffle maker, make the batter and let everyone do their own.  Set out whipped topping, strawberries or other fruit, butter, syrup, etc........  serve with bacon and sausage.

*Mini-pizzas -  turn the oven on, put out different crusts (Naan bread, flour tortillas, French bread, etc.) and then put out your favorite pizza toppings - sauces, meats, cheese, etc.......serve with a salad.

*Mini-frittatas - bring out your cupcake pans, beat the eggs and let everyone everyone pour their eggs into the tins, and add their favorite toppings - ham, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, onions, cheese, etc.....serve with sweet rolls and fruit.

I really do love it when people are walking around doing something instead of just sitting and waiting.  It makes for laughter and conversation.

And now some dessert ideas:  (again, letting everyone do their own)

*Unfrosted sugar cookies and/or cupcakes.  Set these out along with frosting that has been colored with the appropriate seasonal colors (for Valentines' Day it would be red and pink) and then set out all the fun sprinkles and let everyone frost and decorate their own!

*Or try a chocolate fondue - you can find a recipe on-line - serve this with brownie bits, strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, pound cake......all cut up into serving pieces to dip into the fondue pot.  Because of the hyper sensitivity to getting sick, each person has their own fondue fork and there would be NO double-dipping!!!  (But this is a fun thing to do)

*Or, just a simple ice cream bar - provide a couple of flavors and then provide all the toppings your little heart desires.  Again, everyone can help themselves to whatever they like.

There.  I think that's all I have for you.  If you have children and/or grandchildren around, I highly recommend you do something if you can.  This life can get pretty serious and busy and I just think we all need to celebrate once in a while.  And I hope if you try any of these ideas that you would let me know how it went, or if you have ideas of your own that you've tried please let ME know!!!!  : )

I kind of do this in memory of my mother-in-law.  She kept us hopping whenever we got together at her house.  She was very much into making sure that people had fun at her house and I want to keep that up with our family as well.

So........with all this said, I hope you enjoy your home, your family, your friends, and have fun!!!!!!  

Friday, February 4, 2022

It's February!


Our cute calendar picture.

Hi everyone!   It's been so very cold here but that's nothing new.  My husband and I just had our 34th wedding anniversary this past week and it's ALWAYS been cold this time of year!  We're looking forward to this weekend as it will at least make it up to the freezing point and hopefully we can go for a walk somewhere.  I have to admit that I'm getting a bit of the cabin fever.

I hope you can relax for a moment while I bring you up-to-date on what's been going on over my way (just in case you've been wondering).  : )  This is a very short post this time, so it won't take long.  LOL

What I've been doing:

*I'm having my husband give me shirts that don't fit him or that he doesn't like anymore so I can make aprons from them.  This is my absolute favorite kind of apron for me - it fits well and the coverage is great.  Here is the one I just made:

SO easy to do!!!

*Right before my husband got sick, he was taking my grandma's hutch apart in order to rebuild a few areas of it and then when he got sick, it just sat in our basement in the middle of the room and I've been so antsy to get it upstairs into my "pantry room" so that I could start using it.  I'm SO happy to say that it's upstairs now (with our son's help) and I think it looks great in the small space I have:

We're pretty sure it's almost a hundred years old so it's not in great shape, but it's still usable and I can't wait to start using it for my baking space.  I just couldn't get rid of it.

*And because that was in the middle of the floor in the basement and everything else was kind of strewn around, I was able today to go down and do a thorough cleaning (well, maybe not thorough, but WAY better!)  It looks so nice now and comfortable - it's truly a second living area complete with a dining room table and chairs for putting puzzles together.  I love how it turned out.

*I have been trying to craft when I can - crocheting, embroidering, quilt blocks, making cards.......

These take quite a while to make and I have SO many more to go!!!!  But I do enjoy it - it's one of my favorite quilt block designs and I can't wait to put them together one day!

*I baked a rhubarb pie.  I've been going through our freezer and using up things and found a big bag of rhubarb from last summer and, since I'm "hungering" for a bit of Spring, I thought a rhubarb cream pie sounded good.  

*I'm planning a Valentine's party for just the four of us.  It won't be on Valentine's Day because I want my son and his wife to be able to something on their own, but at some point during that week they will be coming over.  I've been writing down game ideas and have about 6 so far.  I want some active games instead of sitting at a table and playing one game so I'm really looking forward to it as something different to do in the midst of winter.  We haven't been together since Christmas.  I am planning a build-your-own pizza night with salad, fruit, and something chocolate-y for dessert.

*When I sit and work on something or when I'm cooking in the kitchen I like to watch a YouTube and when I find one that I like I want to pass it along to you.  I found "Frugal Fit Mom" - she is about 40 years old and she gives some great recipes and tips on how to cook frugally.  She feeds a family of six very well without spending a lot and I've been getting some good ideas.  She will also let you know if a recipe doesn't work or they just didn't like it.  I'm thinking she's very "type A" - she has a sense of humor and she's just a happy person to watch!

*Because winter starts seeming long around this time, I always pull out:

If you haven't read this or haven't read it in a while, it will remind you (like it does me) that we have NOTHING to complain about!!!!!  Oh my goodness, what they went through.  It is SO eye-opening!

That's pretty much what I have for you this time.  I don't have any new recipes for you but I'm hoping to be better at that as I cook with what I have.  My husband still doesn't have much of an appetite and his taste buds are a bit off so we're eating very simply.  I'm just trying to treat each new day as a new beginning - kind of like the feeling we get at new year's only this is every day now.  It's such a wonderful opportunity to start again with our daily to-do's and enjoying the process of the doing and being grateful for so much and try to squeeze as much out in a day as I can.  

The word that I chose for this year is "JOY" and I'm definitely ready! 

Thank you so much for, once again, dropping by.  I appreciate all of you and hope to see you again soon!  God bless you and your homemaking.  : )