Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

~Treadmill Homemaking~

My husband and I were talking on the way home from church last Sunday, and I was comparing my housework to being on a treadmill rather than running down the street and actually making progress. I'm sure many of you can relate!

Right now I have a very busy little girl. The Baby is not content to lie back and let the world go by. No, she must explore! And do! and see! All that she possibly can! It is such a joy to look at the world through her eyes, and to watch her learn new skills. But it is also exhausting, and greatly limits my homemaking efforts.

I am not complaining, not in the least! I'll happily keep on my treadmill--at least the dishes get done before midnight (usually) and there are clean clothes in our closet (usually). Anyone out there have some super-mommy pills I can pop? Maybe something along that line would help me, so that when The Baby finally goes down for a nap I can get something done instead of slump into a chair! =P

Please give me your best tips for getting things done around the house with a little one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A very wet day

~Monday's Daybook: September 28~



Outside My Window...the leaves on my neighbor's trees are turning a beautiful orange.

I am thinking...what to have for company this Friday.

I am thankful for...The Baby!

From the kitchen..."Artisan bread in 5 minutes" dough is in my fridge. I'll be baking up a loaf later today. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I am creating...an afghan for my sister's wedding present.

I am going...grocery shopping.

I am reading...The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket.

I am hoping...to get my house straightened up today.

One of my favorite things...my new Winnie the Pooh mug.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...attend ladies' Bible study, company on Friday.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The afghan I'm crocheting for my sister's wedding. I'm pleased with my progress.

For more Daybook entries, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hot chocolate in my new mug


I broke one of my Pooh mugs *sobs* so this new mug is a replacement, not an addition, to my Pooh mug collection (three so far).

~Sunday~

Psalm 118:24
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple on a tree

~A very fallish corner~

Here's a little sneak peak at my fall decorating:


This little guy stood in my dining room last year, but this year I am keeping him off the floor so I don't have to rescue him from The Baby. :-)

I've gotten my living room decorated and I'm anxious to show pictures, but it started an avalanche of cleaning. Since our living area is so open, I can't just snap pictures with a mess in the background. Well, I could, but who wants to see that? Well, actually, maybe you do want to see my mess, but I do not want you to see it. ;-) So until I get my home-sweet-homey mess picked up, this picture will have to suffice. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Test project


A hotpad for myself; project ideas swirrling through my head for future gifts!

~Sunday Dinner~

Freedom from Want
Freedom from Want


Quite a few months ago, Kevin and I were talking to someone after church, and she said that she needed to get home, and that she was going to heat leftovers for dinner. She then mentioned that they do this every Sunday. I thought that was a fantastic idea, and have started doing that for us!

I usually save Friday's supper leftovers for Sunday's dinner (the noon meal). When I'm planning my menu, I plan something that will make good leftovers, and plan to make enough for two meals.

This has worked so well for us! We live about 40 minutes from our church, so by the time we get home after church, we are hungry! I have tried to do nice meals on Sundays (such as a roast) but even when it cooks in the crockpot, and is done when we get home, there is still a lot of preparation to do in order for it to be ready to get onto the table - you have to take the roast out and slice or shred it, separate out the potatoes and carrots, and make gravy. With leftovers, you pull them out of the fridge, heat them and you're ready to eat.

I'll give you an example of last Sunday. On Friday we had grilled chicken, pilaf, and corn on the cob. On Sunday I cut the corn off the cob and steamed it for a minute or two to heat it. I put the rice in my skillet, cut the chicken in bite-size pieces and put it on top of the rice. I added a little water so the rice wouldn't stick, and then put the lid on the skillet and heated over medium for a few mintues. All this was ready in just minutes.

This is the easiest and fastest thing we've ever done for Sunday's dinner (besides fast food on the way home from church!). It cuts about an hour of my time out of the kitchen and still provides us with a nice, homemade dinner on Sundays.

What do you do on Sundays? I'd love to hear your ideas and menus!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

~Blueberry Picking, and general rambling~

I wrote this last August, but I'm not quite sure why I never published it...

Last night we went to a U-pick blueberry farm. It was raining softly, but that didn't hamper us. The blueberries were abundant on the bushes, there was a stand of trees in the near distance with birds providing beautiful melodies for us, and the air was *so fresh*. It was just beautiful!

I had never picked blueberries before, so I had no idea what to expect. It was fun to see the blueberry plants. I was reflecting on how far removed we are from our food. We go to the grocery store and buy it. Most food in the grocery store is prepared for us in some form. Until this week, I've never even thought of what a blueberry plant might even look like!

That's not to say that I've never picked anything. I've picked lots of fruit! I've picked apples, apricots, peaches, tangerines, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries, figs, cherries, strawberries, and grapes (to name a few), and gathered walnuts and almonds, and picked (and grown) many different types of vegetables as well!

I think it is very important for children to grow up knowing where their food comes from, and enjoying the great outdoors! I'm glad that I had that privelege while growing up though sometimes I didn't exactly think of it as a privelege, because it can be hard work! But looking back, it is a great privelege, and one that I want to provide for our daughter!

Image: just one of many blueberry bushes at the blueberry farm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unexpected


Tortoise? Turtle? Whatever this guy is, I saw him on my walk this afternoon!

~Cold-brewed Iced Coffee~

Last fall, I bookmarked these instructions for making cold-brewed iced coffee. I was going to try it sometime this summer, and it just never happened.

So recently, I thought I'd try it. It worked. If you're a coffee lover, you'd probably love it. I enjoy coffee, especially a light or medium roast. However, it was too strong for me this way. I prepared a nice tall cup of iced coffee, then I ended up pouring it into a mug and heating it. It was much better warm.

It is always fun to try new things, especially simple things like this. I now know that I don't care for coffee prepared this way and I can delete my bookmarked link. ;-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

~Happy Fall, Y'all!~


Today is the official first day of fall! Happy fall!

Now that summer is over, and fall is here, I'm excited about what this fall will bring! There are apples to sauce, pumpkins to pick, fall leaves to see, crisp autumn mornings to enjoy, and soup and chili to cook!

Our church had a "tailgate" themed potluck last Sunday, and I took my tried-and-true chili recipe (posted here). Is chili on the menu for most tailgate parties? I had no idea since I've never been to a football game, much less a tailgate party, but at any rate, I thought it sounded good!

To celebrate fall, I am going to pull out my fall decorations and spruce up the living room! I'll be back later on to post a few pictures.

What are some things you and your family are looking forward to this fall?

Monday, September 21, 2009

~Soapnuts~

Have you heard of soapnuts? They are very intriguing to me!

Here is a description from a site that sells soapnuts (there are many sites that sell soapnuts, this site just happened to have a good description):
Maggie’s Soap Nuts™ are the only laundry soap that grows on trees! Truly effective, 100% natural and safe for your most sensitive skin. Soap Nuts™ are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. They contain saponin, a natural cleaner used for thousands of years to clean clothes, just like the plants used by Native Americans for washing.

Simply put a few Soap Nuts into the included cotton sack and drop it in your laundry. Your clothes come out clean, vibrant, and soft. Replace your laboratory detergents and softeners with the soap made from Nature by Nature. Your clothes, your skin, your family, and your planet will thank you.


I've yet to give them a try, but from all I've read online, they sound like a very healthy, inexpensive alternative to laundry soap. Additionally, you can add your own scent to your wash by using a few drops of pure essential oil.

Several months ago, I combined great sales and coupons to get quite a large amount of laundry soap. I think I still have about 7 or 8 bottles left. Most of it is unscented and dye-free, so I am planning on using the rest of it before I buy my soapnuts. Plus, soapnuts are available on Amazon.com, so I am saving up my Swagbucks money to make my purchase!

Please let me know if you've tried them, and how they work for you!

Image is also from above link.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

~Sunday~

Psalm 122:1
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the
house of the LORD.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Flowers for a friend

~"Just" a Wal-Mart Greeter~

We all have people in our lives who influence us - whether for good or bad. I'd like to share a little about a person who influenced me for the better.

There was a difficult time period in my life - about 12 years ago - where I just really felt it hard to believe that God loved me. I seriously considered dropping out of church and not living for the Lord. I didn't have any "huge" sins in mind - I just didn't feel like Bible-reading and church-going were for me any longer.

But then, there was Ray.

Ray was the greeter at Wal-Mart. We saw him every time we went (which was quite often). He had a cheery smile and ready "hello" for us each time we walked through Wal-Mart's doors. We could have been his long-lost relatives, as heartily as he greeted us!

But then I started noticing how he greeted everyone else. It was exactly the same. No matter what the person looked like, rich or poor, he had a happy face and genuine greeting for each and every person.

And then one day I happened to notice his bracelet. WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? And I realized he was living out his life for the Lord, right there inside Wal-Mart's doors. Each person got a glimpse of our Savior through the smile of Ray.

The Lord worked through Ray to reach out His loving arms to me. Through Ray, I realized anew God's love for me. And I knew that I could never walk away from God. All because of the greeter at Wal-Mart.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Three Peppers


from the farm stand

~Dates on the cheap~

One of the things that Kevin and I have been focusing on is to go on a "date" every week. Our budget does not allow for a fancy, sit-down meal each week, so we are have to be a little creative with our date nights. (Which, really, is more fun than going out to eat every single week!)

A few months ago, we decided to take turns planning our dates. One week I plan out where we're going, and the next week Kevin does the planning. It has worked wonderfully for us!

It prevents this:
Kevin: What do you want to do?
Tammy: I don't know, I want to go somewhere though.
K: Well, where do you want to go?
T: I don't know. Not the mall though.
K: What about Home Depot?
T: What for, we don't need anything do we?
K: Well, no, but it is fun to look.
T: No, I don't really want to go to Home Depot.
K: OK, then, what do you want to do?
T: I don't know. Maybe we could go to the mall.
K: What about Menards? (a store similar to Home Depot)
T: But we don't need anything there!
K: Well, I don't know. If you think of something, let me know.

Get the idea? We were stuck in a rut!

Since then, we've discovered several area parks and gone for long walks. We've walked around town, we've picked blueberries (with ice cream and fresh blueberries afterwards!), and yes, we've gone out for a nice dinner once. I really look forward to our date each week. It's a chance to get out of the house for a little bit and enjoy each other's company.

If you do a search for "free dates" you can come up with all kinds of ideas. If you live in an area that attracts tourists, spend some time visiting the areas that tourists do. Here's a great post to get some ideas from: 20 Pocket-Change Date Nights. The most important thing is to have fun with your spouse!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

~Enjoying your area~

No matter where you live, there is something unique about your area. When we lived in the Bay Area of California, we could be in San Fransisco in 45 minutes, be at the coast in under an hour, take a winding road through the Redwoods, or go to the mountains which were a little further away.

Here in Michigan, you don't have to travel far to get to *a* lake, and *the* Lake is never far away.

On Monday evening, we hopped in the car and drove to the lake. I will tell you, it took us a few years to truly enjoy being at the lake, and to stop comparing it to the ocean. But once we stopped lamenting about our ocean-less state, we started enjoying the lake. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Kevin went for a swim, can you see him?


while I stayed further back on a beach towel, enjoying the late afternoon sun, the seagulls overhead, and the sound of the waves. The Baby tried to eat the sand. ;-)

Footsies in the sand:


What are some things about your area that you enjoy?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pear Sauce


Homemade, chunky pear sauce with a smidge of nutmeg on top. Yummy!

~Menu Planning~

I have always struggled with menu planning. I have developed many complex ways to plan out my menus, from once a week to planning a whole month at a time. Nothing has ever worked well for me. Each week's menu and list making took me around an hour, sometimes more. It was ridiculous.

Then I stumbled upon The Happy Housewife, right when she was introducing her Menu Planning 101. I linked to part 4, which has links to the previous 3 "lessons".

If you have trouble with your menu planning, I highly suggest that you give this a try. It has really, really worked for me! I now sit down, look over the sales, quickly pick out my menu for the week, and write my grocery list based on that. I am on my 3rd week, and I'm loving it! It is saving me so much time!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ripple progress


My ripple afghan is growing...

~Fast Food~

Wendy's currently has the advertising slogan of:

"It's waaaaay better than fast food."

So, um, if I go through Wendy's drive through, am I to expect to sit there for fifteen minutes while they make my food? Hopefully not! If I go inside and sit down do you think someone will come take my order? I don't think so.

Or is their slogan supposed to make me think that their food is nutritionally better than other fast food restaurants?

Here's a dictionary definition of "fast food":

NOUN: Inexpensive food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, prepared and served quickly.


In what way does Wendy's disqualify themselves as "fast food"?

Maybe they should go back to "Where's the Beef?"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last trip to the Lake


Our last trip to the Lake for the year.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Latte


Maybe fall has its merits after all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home


Quite possibly my favorite Yankee Candle scent!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It's inevitable


Fall is coming; summer is on her way out!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

Drawings


We stopped by my husband's office this morning, and I snapped a picture of these drawings stacked up (he works for an architect).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday Sunrise

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Full Moon


This isn't from today; in fact, it's from Thursday. And it wasn't taken by me; in fact, it was taken by Kevin. But I wanted a picture for today so here ya go!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

~Today~

Today was simply gorgeous! It was one of those days that you don't dare stay inside! You get out and enjoy the weather, because it very well could be The Last Nice Day. You just never know in Michigan!

Such a pretty flower:


at the crosswalk:


waiting ever so long, even though I pushed the button:


shadows are so much fun, no matter what your age! :-)


Hope you had a nice September day!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

~This 'n that~



This afternoon I went to one of my favorite produce stands. It is a little drive, but it is worth it! At the end of the summer, they have all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and towards fall, they have apples in so many varieties, pumpkins and mums.



I wanted to buy peaches, but before I did so, I asked about the pits. You see, I have purchased two 1/2 pecks of peaches from two different places, and even though they were freestone peaches, the pits were hanging on to the peach very tenaciously. So instead of canning peaches, I made peach jam, sugar-free peach spread, and zesty peach barbecue sauce. These are all very good, mind you, but I still wanted to can peaches. Well, guess what? It is not the peach's fault, the fault is that of the weather. It was so cool in July, that when the peaches finally ripened, they ripened too fast. So I'm glad I asked, because who knows how many peaches I would have bought trying to use them for canning! I just might buy some and can peach slices, but it sounds like peach halves are out for this summer. Oh well!

I recently put up sheers in my bedroom. I bought the curtain rod from Hobby Lobby. It was only $7.99, which was a good price, but I had a 40% off coupon which I also used. I bought the sheers at Target for $4.99 each. I think this is the least expensive window treatment I've done! I wanted something understated because this wall is busy enough with the dresser butting right up against the window frame.



This is one project done of the three that I said I wanted to do (put up curtains, new throw pillow(s), and a saying over the closet doors).

This summer sped by too fast, I tell you! I am a little sad that fall is just around the corner, but I do enjoy fall, so I'm sure I'll embrace the fall weather when it gets here! :-)

Flowers at the produce stand

Tuesday, September 01, 2009