Monday, January 31, 2011

The Lost Valentine

Hallmark Hall of Fame's newest film aired last night titled The Lost Valentine. It's about a woman whose husband goes missing in action during WWII and how she's stayed faithful to him and to their love for over sixty years. Now I don't watch a lot of movies and it takes a certain film to hold my interest, but this one definitely did just that! It was so wonderful! The story line was heart-warming, heart- wrenching, and moving. I didn't just shed a few tears watching this, I flat out bawled. Seriously, I was trying to hold it in because I was watching it with my parents and husband, but at one point I just couldn't hold back and I started sobbing so loudly. It was just so real to me. My husband told me later that I scared him because I was crying so much. Ha. Anyways, if you happened to miss this movie I highly recommend watching it! Thank you Hallmark!

Simple Cleaning Schedule

I keep my pretty house tidy and organized, however when it comes to actually cleaning it (i.e. dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming) I kinda just wait until the mood hits. I don't let things get too out of hand, but I'm not really particular about keeping my surfaces and floors perfectly spotless. Now when it comes to clutter lying around that really gets on my nerves, but dirt doesn't bother me so much. However, in an effort to instill good cleaning habits for when I have children I am implementing a simple cleaning schedule that is as follows:

Monday: Laundry (Sheets every two weeks)
Tuesday: Floors (Vacuum, Sweep, Mop)
Wednesday: Bathroom
Thursday: Kitchen
Friday: Dust and De-Clutter

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Plan(ish)

I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" kinda girl. I enjoy some structure, but I like it to be very flexible so I'm free to make changes. I've tried menu planning before, but I never actually felt like following the plan. Well I've decided to mature a little bit and try it again. At least for a few days.

I'm just doing dinner because to actually plan out my breakfast and lunches would make life a little too boring. I've gotta have some excitement OK? Here goes:

Sunday: Brown Rice and Veggie Burritos
Monday: Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake
Tuesday: Pizza Pasta and Banana Bread
Wednesday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches w/Veggie Chips
Thursday: Lemon Pepper Chicken w/Mashed Potatoes and Peas
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Free Day

Also here's a list of baking goals for the week:
Granola Bars
Whole Wheat Biscuits w/yogurt instead of buttermilk (experiment)
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Hash Browns (to freeze for later)
Whole Wheat Bread

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thrifted Americana

Amidst a stack of books on herbs,
 I recently bought these pieces from the thrift store:
Amish Couple $6
Wooden Flag $2

What do you think of the Amish figures? Is it normal to put these in your living room? I think so.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Using Up Extra Buttermilk

I looked at my almost full half gallon of buttermilk this morning and noticed that it expired today! Ahh! So I made a batch of biscuits and two batches of pancakes to freeze and I STILL have about a cup of it left! I figure I it would still be okay to use up tomorrow, right? Maybe?

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups white flour
2 cups fine wheat flour
8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
approx. 1 1/2 sticks softened butter
approx. 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients
Incorporate butter with hands until crumbly
Add small amounts of buttermilk and mix until a soft dough is formed
Roll out to about 1 inch thickness and cut (I used a cup)
Bake for 15 -20 minutes at 400 degrees

Buttermilk Pancakes
1 3/4 c. flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Mix dry ingredients.
In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add to flour mixture.
Stir until moistened. (Mine was REALLY thick so I added some water to thin.)
Pour 1/4 cup onto griddle and spread out if necessary. 
Turn when surface begins to bubble.
Should make 12 medium size pancakes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vision for Blogging

Encourage. Inspire. Balance
That's my vision for this blog.

I want to encourage women to embrace the role that God has given them whether that means being a homemaker, mother, wife, nurse, teacher, lawyer, missionary, etc. God has a specific purpose for us all and has given us different strengths and passions in order to fulfill that purpose. Thank goodness we're not all the same! I want this blog to be a place that lifts women up and encourages them to fulfill their God given roles!

I want to inspire women to be creative and try new things whether that means learning to sew, cook, garden, write, paint, etc. I want this to be a place of inspiration and creativity.

Also I want this to be a place of balance. I can honestly tell you that a few weeks ago my blogging time was WAY out of balance. I became a little obsessive and God had to pull me back and help me re focus. I want to be able to enjoy blogging and expressing myself in this way, but I need to keep it in balance with that rest of my life. Blogging can easily become an idol and I pray that I can be diligent in keeping my blogging time in check.

 I hope to fulfill this vision to the best of my ability!

"Therefore encourage one another 
and build one another up, just as you are doing." 
-1 Thessalonians 5:11

Linked at Raising Homemakers

Friday, January 21, 2011

Re Purposing T-shirts

I went through my old t-shirts and decided to re purpose them into something new! I made a pillow and a market bag. These are both really easy projects to do. For the pillow you just cut out two even squares, pin them right sides together and sew around the edges (leaving 2-3 inches for stuffing). Turn it right side out and stuff. Then sew the remaining edge. For the purse you turn your shirt wrong side out and sew the bottom closed. Then you turn it right side out and cut off the sleeves and collar. Super fun and easy!

Linked at The Little Green Project @ Heavenly Homemakers

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cinnamon Crunch Muffins

Here's a delicious muffin recipe that I found on Heavenly Homemakers:

Cinnamon Crunch Muffins

Vanilla Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 cup milk

Cinnamon Crumb Topping
6 T. brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 T. butter, softened

Stir together flour, brown sugar baking powder and sea salt.  Add egg, vanilla, butter and milk.  Mix until ingredients are combined.  Scoop into paper lined muffin tins.  (24 mini muffins or 12 regular sized muffins)  Mix together Cinnamon Crumb Topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of each muffin.  Bake in a 400° oven for 15 minutes (mini muffins) or 20 minutes (regular sized muffins).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Going Private?

I've decided to make my blog viewable to invited readers only. I've become increasingly uncomfortable with my whole life being plastered all over the internet. Thanks for understandin!

UPDATE: Exactly six days after posting this I've thought some things through and decided it was okay to change my mind. I'm a little flakey sometimes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Glorifying God Through Homemaking

I've been thinking lately about how to effectively glorify God through my role as a homemaker. I came across this post yesterday and it really encouraged me. It basically says that we're suppose to give of ourselves sacrificially in our homemaking in order to Glorify God. This is so simple and so true. In order to honor God in our homemaking we need to be giving of ourselves daily to those that He has entrusted to us. We are suppose to serve our families through cooking, cleaning, laundry, prayer, encouragement or whatever tasks that need to be done. We are suppose to do this with a content and joyful heart in order for God to be Glorified. These verses have also encouraged me:

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever 
you do, do it all for the glory of God." 
-1 Corinthians 10:31

"If anyone would be first, he must 
be last of all and servant of all." 
-Mark 9:35

What if we were to truly live these verses out? What if we were able to glorify God in literally every breath that we took? What if we were truly able to make ourselves last and servant of all? I want these verses to sink into my soul so that I might begin to live them out. I want to be content and joyful in whatever task I'm doing. Lord Jesus help me to grow in these areas and keep the true purpose of homemaking in my heart.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Purpose. My Vision.

I'm studying my vision statements lately so that I can remember my purpose in this world.  Somehow Christ has taken a backseat to cooking, sewing, and daily life. I want to slow down and focus on the will of God. I want to spend quality time daily in the word and in prayer. I want to reflect God's love, hope, and peace in every task that I perform. I want to Glorify God in all that I do and in all that I say. Here is my heart:

Christian - To live my whole life as holy and set apart glorifying God in all that I do. Weaving my faith and relationship with Christ in all aspects of my life. 
Wife - To encourage Mike spiritually and in all that he does. To love and serve him in anyway that I can. To stand beside him and make his life easier. To build him up, not tear him down.
Woman- To realize the influence that Christ has given me as a woman and to use it for His Glory. To be strong and beautiful from the inside out. To be gentle and nurturing as He has made me to be.
Family Member and Friend -To be welcoming and accepting of all people. To love and serve others in whatever capacity they need. To show others the hope that lies in Christ.
Homemaker - To create a clean and comfortable place for loved ones to rest and fellowship. To create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Planning My Garden

 My gardening experience is as follows:
1. Occasionally helping my grandma when I was younger
2. Planting a few vegetable plants one year in college
(my mom basically took care of them)
3. Planting random vegetables around my grandparents yard one year in June (nothing came from it, but hot peppers)
4. Growing already started tomato plants last year in the backyard

That's it. That's all the gardening I've ever done. That being said, I'm so very excited to be planning my first garden. I spent most of Sunday afternoon trying to map out a tentative garden plan. I had many conversations with my grandparents. They know just about as much about gardening as any book could ever tell me. I used a companion planting guide and I'm putting Marigold's throughout in hopes to deter pests. 
I've discovered that gardening takes lots of planning and organization. I thought I was being a little overzealous in starting my garden plans in January, but I've found I'm actually right on time. I need to order my seeds in the next couple of weeks in order to figure out the best planting dates. I need to make a planting schedule and figure out what I'm going to start indoors and when to plant my cold weather crops outdoors. I've also started to collect egg cartons and milk jugs for starting seeds. I'm learning so much just through the planning process and I look forward to learning so much more throughout the planting and harvesting seasons. I'm sure I'll have some heartaches and a steep learning curve, but I'm praying for the best! Here's the gardening library I've been compiling (all but one from the thrift store of course!)

On another note, I found some canisters that fit my style AND were very affordable ($1.95 each).
Yay for flea markets! 

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
-Genesis 2:15

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beginner Sewing Project

I had big plans of making my niece a "Learn to Sew Kit" complete with funky felt shapes, bright colored yarn, and a huge plastic sewing needle, however it didn't get done. So since today was a snow day I decided to start teaching her some sewing skills, even if she didn't get the awesome kit I had in mind. We worked together to make a felt pillow:
I'm sure you can all figure out how to do this, but just in case, here are the instructions.

Cut out two squares in felt or fleece
Cut out a shape to sew onto the front
Pin the shape to the front of the pillow and sew around the edges
Pin pillows pieces wrong sides together and sew around the edges leaving 2-3 inches for stuffing
Stuff and finish sewing around the pillow

To make it easier for small hands you can hole punch around the edges and use a plastic needle and yarn.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More Thrift Store Fun!

I went thriftin' again today and found some great stuff!! I got four skirts,  an egg collecting basket for when we get chickens, more free patterns, a cherry serving tray to use in the summertime and a couple of books. Total I spent $19.85. Woohoo!! 

Natural Acne Fighters

I've struggled with mild to moderate acne for several years now. It happens in cycles, I'll be pretty broken out for several weeks and then it will clear up for several weeks. Acne can be so frustrating to deal with, but I've found some natural products that have worked for me (thus far).
I use Burt's Bees Deep Cleansing Cream twice a day to wash my face. It has chamomile, aloe, and echinacea extracts which help to calm the skin. I also use Witch Hazel which acts as a disinfectant, astringent, and anti-irritant. (It smells kinda strange.) Also, I did use Aloe Vera Gel (straight from the plant) to reduce acne (it worked really well on me), but have since replaced it with tea tree oil because the aloe vera tastes HORRIBLE if you accidentally get it on your lips (or your husband kisses your face ha). Aloe vera reduces redness and swelling and helps to soothe the skin. Tea tree oil has been working pretty wonderfully to help heal my acne. (It also has a very strong smell, but I don't mind it.) Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties so it kills bacteria. Also, I've noticed that if I forget to take my vitamins for a few days my skin starts breaking out. I take a children's chewable, cod liver oil, and garlic. This could just be a coincidence but I think it might have something to do with the garlic which has healing properties. Anyways, I hope this encourages you to try some natural options for fighting acne!

Side Note: Due to some weird search queries found on my stats page I have deleted several personal posts and pictures of peoples faces. Going forward I hope to focus more on what instead of who (if that makes sense). Also due to personal convictions my husband and I have deleted our Facebook accounts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recent Thrift Store Haul

OK so I went to the thrift store today looking specifically for vintage patterns and they had lots! I had the girl I take care of with me and her stroller was loaded down with all this stuff. People probably thought I was stealing or something because I was sticking stuff everywhere ha. Anyways, when I got up to the counter and asked how much the patterns were the sweet woman said they were free!! What?! I was so excited! I just love looking at all the graphics on old patterns and dreaming about making them. (Is that just me?) I think I'm gonna go back this weekend and grab some more because collecting them is my new hobby. I also got a pizza pan (which I needed to make pizza this week) for $1. The adorable cups with the blue flowers were .25 each and the watering cans were $2 each. The books were priced a little more than I usually pay at $1-$2 but I think they're worth it! :) Total cost for this was $14. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I made BISCUITS y'all!

They may not be the prettiest biscuits you ever saw, but they're definitely the best tastin' ones I've ever made! I'm pretty proud of myself because normally when I make biscuits they turn out like hockey pucks. This time I used the recipe on the Homestead Blessings Cooking DVD. Yay for the West Ladies! I even got to use the buttermilk I made yesterday with my butter. Here's the recipe (I adapted it to what I had on hand):

Homemade Biscuits
2 cups white flour
2 cups fine wheat flour
8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
approx. 1 1/2 sticks softened butter
approx. 1 cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients
Incorporate butter with hands until crumbly
Add small amounts of buttermilk and knead until a soft dough is formed
Roll out to about 1 inch thickness and cut (I used a cup)
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees

I can cross this off my list now too!! :)

Linked at Raising Homemakers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Homemade Butter

So I can cross something off my 2011 Goal List because I've officially made butter!! I'm glad I did it, but unless we get a cow, I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon. All you have to do is shake heavy cream in a jar until it makes buttermilk and butter. Sounds easy, right? Well shaking a big jar for 30 minutes made me motion sick and cranky. Just ask my husband. (Actually I had to do it twice because I didn't have a container big enough for all of the cream so I was EXTRA cranky.) It was pretty cool to watch the whole process though and it would be a fun science activity for kids.

All you need is heavy cream and a container with a lid:
 Then shake shake shake until it makes
butter that clumps together like this:
 Then squeeze the buttermilk out of the butter and separate:
 You could put it in a butter mold to make fun shapes, or you could add honey, cinnamon, herbs, etc to make a specialty butter, or you could just melt it on a biscuit. :)  
Refrigerate so it will harden and enjoy your hard earned butter!

Learning Curve Note: Rinse the butter until ALL the buttermilk is out, otherwise your butter will sour.

2011 Goals

finish bible reading plan
meet any need around me that I can
focus on Christ's hope, joy, and peace
slow down and see people the way Christ does

save for car and pay cash
win lottery (hey i can dream)

finish quilt top 
make butter from cream
get chickens
sew more clothes
learn to crochet
practice piano
plant garden
can surplus from garden
learn to make biscuits that aren't like rocks
cook from scratch
make beeswax candles
start composting
wear skirts/dresses more often
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