Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blessings - Laura Story

In case you were wondering...this is my favorite song right now. :):):)

A Garden Apron

I was feeling creative today and decided to make an apron especially for gardening.

What attire says "garden" better than overalls! 

A while back I purchased a denim overall jumper at a second hand store for $1.50 and today I repurposed it into my garden apron. 

Since I am a girly girl I had to add a few ribbons and bows! 
 And of course I saved some matching ribbon to wear in my hair!

I love the way it turned out.  It has tons of pockets for holding  garden gloves, seeds, small gardening tools, and anything else I have a mind to put in there. 

It took me less than an hour to make and cost me less than $2.00.  That's my kinda project! 

Now if we can just get some warmer weather so I can use it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beautiful Lips....Homemade Lip Balm

I made lip balm today for the first time!  It was so easy and fun and I will definetly be making more.    I love making products that I know exactly what is in them.   There is a feeling of satisfaction that comes over me when I make something myself instead of purchasing it in the store.  It makes me feel all Susie homemaker.   It's a feeling of self reliance and proficiency.  I love chapsticks and lip balms and I know it's going to sound a little bias, but this is the best my lips have ever felt. :) So much better than a store bought product.  My lips feel so soft, smooth and fresh!  Here's the recipe I used:

3 tsp. grated beeswax (or pellets)
3 tsp. cocoa butter (can also use shea)
2 tsp.  olive oil (or other oil such as almond or coconut)
2 drops of honey
4 or 5 drops of spearamint flavored oil
1 vitamin E capsul (cut open and use liquid)

The vitamin E acts as a preservative and is optional.  This made enough to fill 4 chapstick tubes.  I purchased the tubes on ebay and I also purchased a pippet from ebay to fill the tubes which was much easier then trying to funnel the mixture.

There are so many  different recipes on the internet (just ask google) and I am going to be trying some different ones soon.  I think I wil try a wild berry next time and add a smidge of color. 

If you are wanting something all natural for your lips but don't want to take the time or spend the money to make lip balm I have a very simple mixture for you:

One drop Olive oil
One dropy Almond Oil
One drop Honey

That's it!  Apply to your lips before going to bed!

Remember....don't wait for you lips to get dry and chapped.  Apply lip balm on a regular basis and your lips will stay moisturized and soft and supple.

If your lips are already really dry and flakey try this great lip cure:

1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Mix together all ingredients and apply to your lips and leave on overnight. In the morning you will awake to smooth, soothed lips. If you have any mixture left it should be stored in the refrigerator because of the fresh lemon juice.  It's sort of like a deep conditioning treatment for your lips!

Beautiful lips are natural lips!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I scream, you scream, we all scream for SNOW cream!

We have snow again and I'm okay with it!  Maybe because, even though they are covered in snow, all the flowers and trees are blooming and giving me a reminder that spring is coming...soon. 

We started the week with warm beautiful weather and ended it with cold, snowy beautiful weather.  Who can complain about that?!   Last I checked we have 5 inches and it's still snowing.  It's a perfect snow for building a snowman and once again it is clinging to all the trees, branches, and anything standing, making it all look like a winter wonderland.  What is prettiest is the forsythia bush all bloomed out in yellow, now covered in a white blanket of snow.  I'm thinking tomorrow will be a perfect photography day.

My nieces are spending the night with us and I discovered that they never had snow cream before.  We quickly remedied that.  We fixed up a huge bowl of delicious snow cream and the smiles on their faces brought a smile to mine.

Everyone always asks me for my recipe and truthfully I don't have a traditional recipe.  I go out and get a big old bowl full of ice cream (make sure it's clean)  add a can of evaporated milk, some sugar and vanilla till it tastes right.  You just stir or blend that until it has the right consistency!  It is deelish!!

Refreshingly Uplifted

This weekend I was blessed to be able to attend a Homeschool convention on Friday and Saturday.  My body is tired, my pocketbook depleted, my heart encouraged and my soul uplifted.   Not only do I come away from an expo with new books, curriculum, guidance and new ideas for homeschooling  my children, but I also leave refreshed in spirit. 

I am really excited about some of the talks I heard and some of the books and curriculum I purchased.  In the next couple weeks I am hoping to find the time to share with you some of those things.

But for now...must. get. rest. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Butterfinger Cake

One of my favorite desserts is a Butterfinger cake.  It is pretty simple to make and oh so yummy!


1 chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients to make according to box)
2 packages of snack size butterfingers
1 can of sweet condensed milk
1 tub of cool whip
sprinkles (optional)

Make the chocolate cake according to the package. 

While it is baking, unwrap all the Butterfingers and put them in a Ziploc bag and pound away (I use a meat tenderizer) until they are all crumbly. 

As soon as the cake is done take it out of the oven (do NOT let it cool) and begin poking holes all over with a wooden spoon handle.

As soon as you get that complete, open your can of sweet condensed milk and pour it over the cake evenly.

Now let the cake cool.  When it is completely cool, top it with the crumbled butterfingers.

On top of that, add your cool whip!

You can add sugar sprinkles for a little color...
...and last, get a fork and enjoy.  Unless you are going to share it with the rest of the family.  Then I would recommend cutting and serving on plates. ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Perfect Book for Country Living

I call it my country Bible. It's loaded full of so much useful information.  I am convinced that everyone that desires a simple, country life, whether you live in the country or the city, could benefit from this book.  It's like having a loving, seasoned family member that has farmed and lived off the land their whole life, to run to and ask your pressing questions about gardening, bread baking, herbs, livestock and so much more.  I keep it handy at all times and sometimes I pull it out and flip through the pages just to read, not to gain knowledge on any certain subject, but to gain knowledge in general.   Even more so, I get it out for guidance.  It was very helpful when we had our first kit of rabbits.  It helped me through raising chickens, building the coup, raising ducks and gardening.  This year I am going to plant potatoes for the first time and it's my trusty Country Living Encyclopedia that I am turning to for direction.  There was a time that I could call upon my dad, or my grandpa and glean from their knowledge, but now that they have gone on, I am so thankful that I have such a book to help me stumble thru my attempts of country living, however feeble they may be. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Bunny Talk

Our bunnies are getting so big. We have sold 2 of the first litter and tomorrow we have someone coming to get 4 or 5. I'm hoping for 5 and that would be all of the first litter. They will be going to their new home at Purina Farms and will be a part of their petting zoo. We were so excited about that. We know they are going to get good care and plenty of attention from lots of sweet little kids!   They are all so tame, thanks to Bethany holding and playing with them so much.  Friday is a little spit fire, but we figure you have to expect a Friday to be little wild. :)


 A tisket a tasket, bunnies in a basket!!

Pinny's litter is a little over 3 weeks old.  They get in and out of their nesting box and today I caught one of the babies doing the funniest thing.  It flipped over on its back and tried to shimmy under its mom to nurse.  She wanted nothing of it, but the little bunny was determined.  He kept after her, flipping over and shimming,  until he got spooked by my laughter and climbed into the nest box.  It's very cute how they climb the wire nest box.  There are 3 steel and 3 black.   I love this age!  They are so cute and cuddly! 
Pinny is Dakota's rabbit so he named these Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marsha, Jan and Cindy. :)
It's the BUNNY BUNCH!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weather we like it or not

Where can you wake up to 4 inches of snow on Monday and expect temperatures to be in the 70's on Thursday.  That's right....Missouri!

Today we woke up to a winter wonderland.  It was a very wet snow so it clung to all the trees and every other object standing, making for a truly beautiful sight. 

It may of been beautiful but I cannot wait till Thursday to enjoy some warm weather.  Me and the kids are planning a trip to the park to enjoy the beautiful day.

A day or two ago I noticed that the crocus' were blooming.  So even though we are covered in snow, it is a nice reminder that spring really is on its way!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hidden Bible Books Puzzle

If you are someone who likes puzzles I have one for you.  Here are the directions... 30 books of the Bible are found in the paragraph below. (Actually, 31 if you can find the variant of one Old Testament prophet's name? Print it out and circle those you can find.  Let me know if you can find them all!!

This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much, he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or a scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, "The books are all right here in plain view hidden from sight." Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus; there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found. God Bless.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Angel Chicken

Don't you love meals that you can throw in the crock pot in the morning and have a delicious meal at supper time.  Mom's need easy.  This recipe does it for me.  It's easy, delicious, and the whole family loves it!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 Cup butter
1 envelope dry italian salad dressing mix
1 can Golden Mushroom Soup (you can use cream of mushroom soup instead)
1/2 Cup (or 1 small bottle) white grape juice (I've also substitued apple juice)
4 oz. cream cheese with chives and onions

Cut chicken breasts into smaller pieces (I usually just cut them in half) and put them into the bottom of crockpot. Melt and mix all other ingredients in saucepan until smooth. Pour over chicken. Cook in crockpot on high 4-5 hours. When you are ready to eat, prepare (boil) one package of angel hair pasta, drain and serve chicken over the top of the pasta. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I love, love, love making homemade laundry detergent!  I've been making it for about 2 years now.  It saves so much money and I love using products that I know exactly what is in them.   Here is a list of the ingredients you will need.

4 cups - hot tap water
1 Bar - Fels Naptha soap (you can use Ivory)
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 Cup - Borax
1/2 Cup - Oxi Clean *optional*
The first thing I do is grate my soap.  When I first started making homemade laundry detergent I used Ivory soap.  Now I use Fels-Naptha and let me tell you, it really does make a difference.  If at all possible try to find some Fels-Naptha it is a laundry soap so it is made to do what we are using it for and it smells so good!
Bethany loves to help with the grating!
I try to grate my soap and put it in a jar so it is all ready when I need it.  Instead of having to take the time to grate it, I can just start the process!

Put your grated soap and 4 cups of water in a saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until all the soap dissolves and is melted.  Be sure that it all melts!!

Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.
Stir well until all powder is dissolved.
Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
If you like you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons after soap is cooled.  I've only added the oil myself, one time.  Essential oil is not cheap and I did not see a huge difference.  The Fels-Naptha gives it a nice smell anyway!  Now, cover it and let it sit over night.

The next morning it will be a very thick gel!  Fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with your homemade laundry soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use.

Use 1/2 cup per load - It is a low sudsing soap. If you do not see soap suds, it's okay. It's not the suds that do the cleaning, it's the ingredients in the soap.

If you break down the expense - to make 2 gallons averages to be less than 1 cent a load. Who can beat that?!?

Be sure to use washing soda not baking soda. You can find it and the Fels-Naptha in the laundry aisle. Schnucks and  Shop n Save are two places that carry it around my neck of the woods.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Dad

Nine years ago today, God called my dad home.  I still miss him like crazy, but I know how blessed I am to have had a dad like him.  It was the year he died that I came to the Lord, repented of my sins, and accepted the gift of salvation.  I know my dad would be so proud, for he prayed many a prayer for me.  I know one day I will see him again and he will know that his prayers were answered..  For now I have so many memories to cherish, for he really was a great dad and a great man. 

1.  He was a man of God. 
2.  He was a pastor.
3.  He loved God.
3.  He loved to be outside, working in the yard.
4.  When working outside, he wore thick, ugly elastic suspenders.
5.  He loved to fish...with me.
6.  He didn't talk negative about other people.
7.  He lived many days in pain, due to back problems, but never complained.
8.  He loved my momma with all his heart, and the look of worry on his face when she was sick let us all know he would be lost without her.
9.  He was a hard worker.
10.  He loved to listen to christian music.  Southern Gospel was his favorite.
11.  He loved his computer and his digital camera.
12.  He loved Alley Springs and telling us stories about his childhood.
13.  When he got excited he had a child like grin.
14.  He was so proud of his grandchildren.
15.  Each year we would see who would get the first homegrown tomato out of the garden.  Today, I always sit down and eat my first tomato and think of him.
16.  He loved sweet-tarts.  When I was a kid, it was always his candy of choice,
17.  For years he managed a chain of flower shops and he made beautiful floral arrangements.
18.  He cried tears of joy when his grandson was born.
19.  He loved animals.  Especially his dog Lady.
20.  He gave the best hugs.
21.  It made him so happy to have his family together.
22.  He always had a toothpick in his mouth.
23.  He ate cereal standing up in the kitchen like he was in a hurry.
24.  After he brushed his teeth on Sunday mornings he would give kisses to his family.
25.  He spent a lot of time studying the word of God.

I love and miss you dad!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Random Thoughts

1. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

2. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

3. How are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

4. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

5. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

6. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page report that I'm positive I did not make any changes to.

7. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

8. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

9. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

10. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

11. Men are from Earth.  Women are from Earth.  We're just different. 

12.  Junk is something you keep for years and throw away 2 weeks before you need it.

13.  Always remember you are unique.  Just like everyone else.

14.  Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

15.  A closed mouth gathers no foot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

 Crust: 2 C. flour
           1/4 tsp. salt
           2/3 C. Margarine
           1/2 C. Cold water

Sauce: 3 Tbsp.  butter
           3 Tbsp. flour
           1 C. half & half
           1/2 C. chicken broth
           1/2 tsp. salt
           1/4 tsp. pepper

Filling:  2 1/2 C. cooked and cubed chicken
           2 C. Frozen peas
           1/4 C.  finely chopped onion
           3 - 1 inch sliced carrots
           2 medium cubed potatoes

Heat oven to 375.  Stir together four and salt for crust and then cut in butter until crumbly.  Mix in water.  Divide into 2/3 and 1/2 portions and set aside the smaller portion.  Roll out 2/3 of the dough into a 14" circle about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Put it in pie dish and set aside.

Combine all filling ingredients and set aside.

In a 2 qt. saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter and stir in 3 Tbsp. flour.  cook over medium high heat stirring occasionally until hot and bubble (about 3-4 min.)  Whisk in half and half, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Cook until sauce thickens (about 3-5 min.)  Stir sauce into filling and pour into pie crust.  Roll out remaining dough into a 10" circle about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Place on top of pie, flute edges.  Make 3 slits on top and lightly brush top of crust with milk.  Bake 50-60 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Upcycled Denim Skirts from Recycled Jeans - It's what I do!

Several years ago I was at a church youth camp and noticed that some young teenage girls had on denim skirts that were made out of blue jeans.  They were so cute!   I knew I had to learn how to make them.   I went home and got right to it.   They are super easy to make and the skill of making them has been such a blessing in my life.   In more ways than you can imagine! 

As a mother I find it very difficult to find modest clothing for my daughter.   So being able to make her cute, fun and unique denim skirts has been a lifesaver!  

I also have used it as a way to earn a little extra spending money.  Mainly for Christmas, Birthday's, and anything extra that we need.   For instance...I will be going to a homeschool expo at the end of this month and selling these skirts are a way for me to be able to buy a few of the school books we need for next year.

It is also, in a sense, a ministry for me.  I offer my skirts at a very reasonable price.  Usually people are shocked when I tell them the price.    Knowing how hard it is to find decent clothing for young ladies, makes it all the more important to me to offer it to others.   It has been a blessing to me and I want to share that blessing with others.  

I Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

I've had several people ask me to share how I make the skirts.   I will eventually do that.   I'm thinking a blog tutorial with pictures will be the best.   I just have never taken the time to do that yet.  It's on my to-do list. :)  For now though I'll share a few picture of some of my  creations!!
 These jeans were laced on the side so I removed the original lacing and added a matching red ribbon on each side.  Also shown is the back view.   I love the little girl sizes that are small enough to use a bandanna.  They turn out so super cute!!

Another fun skirt made with a pink polka dot insert and a matching belt that could also be used as a headband!!
 Are you loving these yet???
 One more!!!
If you are convinced that your daughter would look so adorable in one of these skirts, shoot me a message and we'll talk!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Bunny Update

Today we awoke to 6 new baby bunnies! That's 13 in all! WOW! Here's some pics of the new arrivals!

The other litter will be two weeks old tomorrow and they are sooo adorable!  All their eyes are opened and they are moving around and just being cute!
Now don't ya'll just want a bunny!!!