Friday, March 24, 2023

Variety - The Spice of Life


Our ever-funny cat - Boba.  : )

Hello keepers of the home!  Happy Friday.  We are ALWAYS surprised how quickly Fridays come along - the weeks just fly by.  Only one week left in March and it sounds like (around here anyway) it will go out like a lamb.  Thank goodness.   : ) 

I hope this is finding you doing well and that you have had good days since I last posted.  Mine was kind of up and down and everything in between but I know we all experience those times so I won't go into details.  

The title of my post (variety) is what I feel like homemaking is all about and it's the reason I love homemaking.  I truly jump from one thing to another and each "thing" is different.  In the 30-something years I've been a homemaker, I've NEVER been bored.  There are SOME things that I need motivation for because they aren't my favorite things to do, but I just tell myself that they need to be done and I'm the one to do them. : )  Around here mostly I'm just in the maintaining mode - doing the daily and weekly chores - waiting for the time to begin the spring cleaning (especially windows!).  I usually wait until later in April to do that so that it's warm enough outside to keep windows open for longer periods of time.

My routine has changed a bit in that, now, I begin my days in the kitchen.  After I get ready for the day I get into the kitchen and see what needs to be done.  I've said before that our window faces the east so the beautiful sun shines in.  But I first check my fridge and my menus for that day.  If there are leftovers, that will be our lunch (we don't eat breakfast).  If we don't have leftovers I need to think of what we will have - a lot of times it's breakfast for lunch!  Whatever it is, I will do what needs to be done for that meal and then I check to see what I'm going to have for supper.  Does anything need to be thawed?  Is there any prep work I can do now so that I don't have to do it later?  That includes cutting things up, marinating, measuring out any ingredients into separate bowls that I can cover?  Any salad to make ahead of time?  Is it a crockpot meal? Whatever that meal needs, I do it right away in the morning.  I have found that this gives me peace of mind throughout the day and gives me motivation when that meal actually has to come together.  After I do this, I then clean up the dishes and the kitchen and it's ready for the day!

One thing that I'm trying to do even if the weather is still a bit chilly is that I bundle up and go and sit in the sun with a cup of tea.  Every afternoon (if the sun cooperates).  Feels so good and we need that Vitamin D right now!

Well.......let's jump into what I have for you today.  I hope it will be of some help to you.


As you know, it's important to me to have a book in my hand at certain times of the day (my times are usually after lunch and then I love to read in bed).  So here is what I finished:

The first in the "Miss Read" series.

Now, I've never heard of the "Miss Read" books until lately.  I found it to be a book that one would want to read as a comfort book.  It's not a page-turner so when I put it down after reading a chapter, there wasn't that feeling of sadness that I had to put it down and therefore had to wait until I could pick it up again.  This is the first book in the series so I don't know if there will be more substance to the other books.  But that's okay for me.  I was thinking about slowly collecting all the books, but now I'm not sure.  But I don't want to give up on them either.  It takes place in England (which I always like) and it introduces us to the teachers of the "Village School" and it introduces us to the children that attend and sometimes the homes they come from.  Some children are from very difficult homes and some children are from well-to-do homes and how the children work together no matter their differences (imagine that).  It also talks about their outings, the day-to-day school days, and then you throw in a couple of characters that are spunky or outspoken or helpful. I said, it's a comfort book if you like, or need, that kind of book.

The tea that I'm drinking here is Earl Grey - I thought that would be appropriate for an English read and the teacup is a thrift-store find.  It doesn't have the saucer but I thought it was pretty.  And the snack is a "Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut" and I'll put the recipe below.  : )


I think you know how much I love the baked donut recipes and this one is no exception.  They come out so moist and flavorful.  What I do is to make the mix ahead of time and store it in the pantry so that when I want to bake, that part is done and then all I need to do is add the wet ingredients to it.  Such a time saver and if someone is coming over you can serve something right away - a donut warm from the oven?  Yes!  : )  Here's what you do:

In a zip-lock bag, add:
*3/4 cup flour
*2 Tbsp. cornstarch
*1/3 cup sugar
*1 tsp. baking powder
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Attach a label saying "Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts" on it and put it in your pantry.

When ready to bake:
*Put the mix into a bowl and whisk it till combined.
*In a small bowl, whisk together:
    *1/3 cup buttermilk
    *1 egg
    *1 Tbsp. melted butter
    *1 tsp. vanilla
*Add this to the dry ingredients and stir till just combined.
*Divide this batter evenly into 6 donut wells in the donut pan and bake at 375 degrees for 11-12 minutes (don't overbake).  Let cool for a couple of minutes and remove to cooling rack.
*While still warm, brush 3 Tbsp. melted butter (in all) over tops, bottoms, and sides of donuts and then dip into 1/2 cup sugar that has been mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon until well coated.  
*Serve and enjoy!!!!!  So good.  : )

I have been really trying to keep up with good nutrition and healthy foods and learning about Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies in our bodies and filling in those gaps with good foods, but I also know that I don't want to stop baking.  I love providing baked goods.  We just make sure that we don't go overboard.  To me, there is nothing wrong in having a cookie or two as a dessert after a meal or having a donut as an afternoon snack.  I'm not going to stop baking birthday cakes..........

I know that sugar is really a problem nowadays.  I believe we eat far too much sugar but it's also hard to do without and I don't trust sugar substitutes so I'll just get the best ingredients I can find and make sure that we don't go overboard.

The next two recipes aren't food related.  One is for homemade deodorant and the other is for homemade dish soap.  In the past, whenever I've tried homemade deodorant, I broke out so I stopped.  But I thought I'd give it a try again and this recipe is great and there is a secret to it.  Here's the recipe:


In a container with a lid, combine:
*1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
*1/4 cup baking soda (this is what makes most people break out, but stay with me)
*10-15 drops of essential oil (I did 1/2 tea tree oil and 1/2 lavender)

Here's the secret.  Before applying this under your arm, rub coconut on your armpit.  Two reasons - first, it acts as a barrier and second, it helps the mixture to adhere without leaving a white residue on your clothes.  I apply the dry mixture with a large makeup brush and, seriously, it works (for me anyway).  I hope you can give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

I'm glad this works.  Because I'm concerned about the not-good-for-us ingredients, the deodorant I was buying at the store was $9.00 a stick and it wasn't even working.  So, I'm very thankful that I came across this.


*1 cup Sal Suds (I buy mine at our Co-op, but you can get it on-line too)
*1 cup distilled water (boil first and cool)
*1 tsp. baking soda
*20 drops of lemon essential oil

Put all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until well combined and then pour into an old dish soap container.  It's that easy and it's very good.

Sal Suds is a bit expensive but you don't need to use much of the dish soap in order to get some serious suds going on.  I just did a quick squirt and that was enough for a sink of dishes.  It smells good and it feels good on the hands.  Again, I'm using ingredients that don't have a bunch of weird stuff in them and this rinses very well and the dishes actually shine!  I love it.  Hope you can try it!  : )


Well.......I'm so disappointed in myself.  Last time I showed you the progress I was making on my cross stitch piece.  In looking at it closer (and once I tell you, you'll be able to see for yourself), I totally goofed up the word "Summer".  I tried to pick it out in order to start over and I didn't like the way the fabric looked afterwards so that is going to be put on hold until I'm over being upset with it!  LOL  All that time and then I had to do that.  Ugh.   But I did begin another one (just not far enough along to show you any progress yet).  

So, I decided to finish my trio of wool applique projects:

Small, medium, and large.  They were fun to do, but I'm glad they're done so I can think of another wool applique!

Between cross stitch and wool applique the past couple of weeks, that's about all I've been working on.  Are you doing anything crafty lately?


I think this is the most important part of my posts and I'm very glad to share the Bible verses that I write down and give me comfort and help.  Instead of giving you another "Fear" verse, I've decided to give you a "Love" verse.  You may not consider it to be a verse about love, but I think it is.  It's a favorite of mine:

*Micah 6:8 - "And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".

To act justly is to do what is right.
To love mercy is to have pity, compassion, kindness, and goodwill towards others.  
To walk humbly is be brought low.  Not thinking too highly of ourselves.  Where God is exalted, not us.

I pray that we will desire to exhibit these requirements in our daily lives.  To live them out and be good examples to those around us.

That is it for today.  Again, I hope it has been helpful to you.  I certainly appreciate you and I'm very thankful that you stopped by.  Until next time, God bless you and your homemaking efforts.

Mary  : )


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Enjoying Our Homes


Snowing very softly today. 

Hello ladies!  As you can see, the snow is coming down rather prettily.  It won't amount to much today, but come tomorrow evening into Friday morning we're supposed to get another 6-9 inches.  If it goes over 5 inches it will be record snowfall for a winter in our area.  So, I say, why not go for it!!!  Then maybe it will be done?  I'm glad we're at least in the month of March, but March around here can mean anything so, we'll see!  Oh, well.  I know we're not alone in this so I hope this is finding all of you doing okay wherever you are and as the title of my post says......enjoying your home.

I've been writing list after list these days.  A new list for every new day and then re-writing it after checking a few things off.  Doesn't that feel good?  Working at something and scratching it off the list?  It keeps me motivated.  

I keep going through things as I'm finding that my tastes are changing as I get older and I'm finding that keeping a lot of stuff isn't for me anymore.  What I have in my home is what we truly love and what we truly use, and like everyone...some things are nostalgic. Everything is else is going away.  This also helps when it comes time for daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning.  Less stuff means more time saved.  We have a little house, so I can whip through my cleaning in no time at all and I like that, especially when I want to spend time on other interests.

I spent all morning in the kitchen yesterday.  It was a rare sunny morning and the kitchen window faces east so that beautiful sunshine was streaming in while I worked.  I put some soft jazz music on and just puttered.  This is something that I didn't even have planned so it was a pleasant surprise.  It started by looking at my menus and seeing what I had planned for supper.  The first thing I knew I was going through all my spices - in the spice rack and in the spice drawer - and throwing out old spices and rearranging the ones I had.  Then I went downstairs to the pantry and brought up the new spices to replace the old and then write down what I needed to buy on my next shopping trip.  While going through the spices I noticed that I didn't have many taco seasoning packets or pizza seasoning packets left so I got all those spices together on the counter and made those and they are now tucked in the drawer waiting for our next pizza or taco night.  I also noticed that I didn't have anymore homemade Hamburger Helper mixes left so I made a couple of those.  And, then, I noticed that I had kitted up a homemade donut mix a while back so I thought I'd better make those before the ingredients got too old.  Then to top it off, I ground some coffee beans and put them into an airtight jar so that they would just be ready in the morning to make coffee with.  It was just a wonderful morning and those are the little things that no one else will notice but me (and that's okay).   : )


Like always, I've been reading and this is my book to share this time around -

Not JUST this Nancy Drew book, but the whole series.

I know, I know, how juvenile, right?  No!  Not when you've never read them before.  Not if they're classics.  I'm collecting the whole series and there are a couple of people who know this so whenever they're out and about and see some, they call or text me to see if I want them.  : )  I have quite a few already, but I have a ways to go yet to have them all.  In my quest of getting rid of stuff, books are the one constant that I continue to bring in because I love books and I share books and I re-read books - so, of course I can justify that!  : )

They are a fun read and if you have older daughters or granddaughters, I would highly recommend that you introduce them to this classic.  They are, of course, mysteries.  But I think they are more than that.  They were written with good moral characters.  I love it when the author makes the point of saying that they went to church.  I always have to laugh at how much Nancy can do!  So far (what I've read anyway) she can tap dance, dance ballet, drive a beautiful car, flies an airplane, has the appropriate outfit for every occasion, scuba dives, pilots a boat, knows how to cook, can eat everything and never gains weight, has a mind that can solve every mystery............  It's just something light and fun to pick up.  

The cup is from a friend who moved away from this area years ago but we still try to stay in touch.  She sent this to me one Christmas.  The sentiment is true for me as well.  : )  In the cup is just regular black tea which paired nicely with this awesome dessert!  Recipe to follow.


Okay.  Hang on to your earrings, ladies.  Have I got a recipe for you!!!!!  We had friends over after church last Sunday and I made this for dessert.  We all took one bite and looked at each other.  It was a winner.  I KNOW you'll love it so I hope you try it and tell me what YOU think.  The only thing that I didn't realize is that I was treating it like a regular pie.  You know.  Cutting it into eight slices.  While eating, I was thinking that this is too rich to have this size of slice so I went and looked at the recipe and it says that it serves 12 to 16 people!!!!  So I made the slices WAY to big to eat at one sitting. is the recipe (which I got from


Crust:  either make your own Oreo crust out of 25 Oreos mixed with 5 Tbsp. of melted butter OR just buy (and always have on hand!) store-bought Oreo crusts.

*1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
*8 Tbsp. butter
*1 cup powdered sugar

*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
*1/2 cup heavy cream

For the filling, whip the peanut butter and butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Pour into Oreo crust and smooth out with a spatula.

For the Ganache, heat heavy cream on medium-low heat until just boiling being careful not to burn the cream.  Pour over chocolate chips and peanut butter in a separate bowl and allow to rest for 1 minute.  Whisk together until smooth and pour over the top of the peanut butter layer.  Smooth over and try to make a pretty design on the top with a spatula.

Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.  To cut, heat a knife under hot water, dry with a paper towel and repeat when needed.

Enjoy!!!  Seriously.  You've GOT to try this.  : )  


As always, I need something to work on so after finishing my last cross stitch project, I just had to begin another.  This is what I have so far:

It's just in the early stages but I love stitching houses so I started with that first.  I've said this before, but I usually pick out a "Pinker n' Punkin" design that are free to print out and then I make it my own.  I put motifs in different areas and add motifs and/or words of my own to it.  I'm so surprised that that Aida 14-count fabric looks off-white because what I'm stitching this on is a light green called "SPA" from Zweigart.  When I'm finished I'll try to get the full effect of the pretty fabric as well.  I'm using DMC floss in numbers 221, Blanc white, 223, 3345, 370, 3371, 801, 938, and 782.  I'm really liking it and it's been a joy to work on.

Other than that, I'm really trying to get to other crafty things like wool applique and embroidery.  I have a skirt that I need to cut and sew for the spring/summer, and a prayer shawl to keep knitting.  I love to be able to have a lot of different things to pick up and work on as the mood strikes.


Here is another "fear" verse for you.

From 2 Chronicles 20:17 - "You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you..........Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."

Again, this is encouraging.  The Lord fights our battles and we all have battles.  I know mine, what is yours?  Give it to the Lord to fight them for you!  We all need to be delivered from something.  I do, how about you?  To not be afraid takes courage and trust that the Lord will handle what you have going on - joblessness, illness, loneliness, depression, are not alone.  Please remember that.  Ask Jesus for the help you need.  He will be there.

Well, I think that's it for today!  Thank you SO much for dropping by because I appreciate all of you and love hearing from you.  I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend ahead.  God bless.  : )