Husband Bashing or Praying?

God has been so good to bring such good Christian friends into my life.  I’m so blessed to have friends that I can be completely open and honest with.  I can share my heart, the joys, the fears, the frustrations, the victories, the hopes and dreams.  They can do the same.

NO HUSBAND BASHING allowed!  Usually, we’re talking about the ways that we are trying to change, praying to change, and changing.  We talk about loving and submission, teaching and disciplining kids, recipes and what is working for us around the house. 

WE PRAY TOGETHER…for our families, ourselves, those that we know that are suffering in some way or in need, for healing, for the body of Christ, for others’ salvation, for our country’s leaders and our country itself.

Thank You God for my good friends!

Laura

Blessed Among Women in my Own Generation

Simple Pleasures…

Simple Pleasures…

A warm blanket on a cold evening,

a hot cup of Constant Comment tea,

mechanical pencils,

a candle burning or potpourri simmering,

feeding my hens and macho rooster stale cheerios or bread,

a letter or note from a friend,

Jim Brickman piano music,

instrumental Christmas music any time of year,

knitting washcloths and scrubbies, a bowl of fruit on the table, cuddling with my kids early in the morning, tea and scripture early in the morning with my Savior,

a hot bath in my deep tub by the night light high on the wall,

Holmes’ Cream paint from Lowes with white cotton trim on every wall in my home,

friends that just drop in,

creating things,

homemade soups and stews,

Sunday morning Bible Study,

reading to my kids,

reading to myself,

listening to my husband read to the family,

knowing where my children are and what they’re learning,

knowing my Father God and Jesus my Savior and that my future is safe with him.

May God help you find the simple pleasures you have right now.

Forty Ways to Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Dear Readers,

I’ve been trying to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without for several years now. Here are some of the things I’ve done.

Ways to USE IT UP:

1. Toothpaste- Take the end of your toothbrush and slide it along the toothpaste tube, pushing all the toothpaste up toward the opening to get out all the last bits. If you’re at the end and want the very last bit, open the end with scissors and just put your toothbrush inside. You’ll get a few more brushings out of the tube.

2. Lotions- If you have body lotion or baby lotion setting around unused, you can use it for shaving lotion. I just put some in my hand, add a bit of water from the faucet and spread it on my skin. The razor slides smoothly. The same is true for unused hair conditioner.

3. Lipstick- Use a lip brush or cotton swab to get the last bits out of the container.

4. Unmatched dishes-either your own or garage sale finds. Use these to give food gifts to neighbors or friends. We have had single neighbors who really appreciate a single serving of soup or whatever meal we’re having. Using the mismatched items takes the worry away about getting your dishes back. When they’re returned, it’s just an added blessing.

5. Oftentimes, I have leftovers that I like to try to remake into something else. Soup is especially good for this. Leftover meat and gravy makes a great soup base.

6. If you have leftover bottles of cleaning supplies, use them!

7. Declutter and sell your things at yard sales.
8. Declutter your bookshelves and swap on http://www.paperbackswap.com/ . Please mention me, lauraofharvestlane, as referring you.  I’ll get a free book!
9. Sell clothes at consignment shops.
10. Sell other things on ebay.

Ways to WEAR IT OUT:

11. I tear up old towels to use as rags.

12. Wear those old tennis shoes in the creek or to mow the lawn.

13. Wear old clothes around the house; save your nicer things for going out.

14. Wear used clothes from yard sales, thrift stores, or resale stores.

15. Pass clothing down to younger children or to friends.
16. Patch those jeans! Put a pretty patch over a stain on a dress or blouse.
17. Let down the hem on your girls’ dresses. If it’s worn, add some rick rack, flat lace, or fancy machine stitching.
18. Put a ruffle around the bottom of dresses that are too short, or around legs of boys’ shorts to make them hand-me-downable to girls.
Ways to MAKE IT DO:

19. I have brushed my teeth with baking soda sprinkled on my wet brush. I have also poured a tiny bit of peroxide over my toothbrush. I’ve not tried combining them yet.

20. I’ve used my lipstick as blush. Dot it on; then blend, blend, blend.

21. Cut up old clothes or sheets into your preferred napkin size. Zigzag stitch or hem the edges. Fold them and leave them in a basket on the table or counter. It works for baby receiving blankets, too.

22. When I make jelly, I use an old pillowcase that is clean and lint free instead of a jelly bag to hang my fruit mixture in to strain.

23. Remake used or old clothing by: adding pretty patches or yo yos, dying the cloth, embroidering by hand or machine around edges or wear lines where a dress or pants were let out, or adding a ruffle or lace to make it long enough and fresh.

24. The most romantic dinners that my husband and I have had since we were married were those at home. I’d feed the kids and put them to bed early. Then, I’d either prepare something for us; or, we’d eat take out. Sometimes, we’d eat at the kitchen table or dining table, or even at a little table in our bedroom. When we lived in a second floor apartment, I’d put a tiny round table and two chairs on the balcony. Each time I’d use a nice tablecloth, candles, china or nice dishes, nice glasses or stemware. Add soft music; and, you have a wonderful setting. Give it a try!

25. You can clean a lot of things with baking soda and/or vinegar. Do some research.
26. Old baskets can be had for a song at many yard sales. You probably have some on hand. They can be spray painted for an updated look or to put goodies in for a gift.
27. Mismatched dishes in a color scheme, from yard sales, look pretty when set on a lovely table cloth.  Right now, I’m collecting white stoneware.
28. A sheet will work for a tablecloth. A two yard length of fabric hemmed at the ends can also make a tablecloth for many tables.  Sometimes I don’t even hem it!
Ways to DO WITHOUT:

29. Don’t go shopping for entertainment. Stay away from the mall and on-line shopping. It’s a whole lot easier to do without the latest greatest if you don’t go shopping for fun.

30. Stay home. Gas is a luxury these days; so limit trips.

31. Combine trips when you do need to go out. We have to go to a nearby city for some things we need. I like to combine everything I can think of that I need to do in that city on that day. This gets me to Hobby Lobby more frequently than I would get to go otherwise. ~smile~
32. Use a bicycle, if you have one.
5. Shop locally.
33. Invite friends for a pot luck. Share the cost of the meal by having others bring dishes to share.
34. The fewer ingredients in a recipe, the simpler and more cost effective it usually is. Steak is a notable exception to this rule. ~smile~

35. Rethink why you eat. Really, it’s just to fill your tummy and to give you nutrition. Rice and beans can do that just as well as meat and potatoes.

36. Always think about what precedents you are setting with your children. A new bike for a birthday or Christmas sets a high precedent for next year. Designer tennis shoes or clothes set a high precedent for next year.
37. Don’t allow your children to watch Saturday morning cartoons. The commercials are designed to make your children into Gimme Monsters.
38. Stay away from toy stores and toy aisles. Don’t let your little darlings see what other accessories there are to go with their toys!
39. Stay away from craft and fabric stores!  Eek!  I knew you wouldn’t like that one!
40. Do a Bible study on contentment. “Do not covet your neighbors______. You fill in the blank.
May God bless you as you journey along this life using it up, wearing it out, making it do and doing without… CHEERFULLY! That part can come only from God!
Blessings,
Laura

An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.

Laura

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.

Thrifty Roadkill Soup

180px-opossum_2

I spent an enjoyable afternoon with two of my best friends Wednesday afternoon.  We usually get together to make crafts, sew, or crochet.  Yesterday we decided to exchange recipes, especially thrifty ones.  Just for fun, I slipped this one in on them.  Click here for a thrifty way to use your roadkill.  It’s a real website and a real recipe.  I’m not planning on ever trying it; but, well, who knows?  My eldest son loves the whole Redneck thing and has tried possom grilled.  He likes it.  By the way, I do know it should be oppossum.  I also know everyone in Southwest Missouri just says Possum.  I do NOT recommend eating Roadkill!  This is just for Fun!  If you would like to try the recipe, please trap or shoot the critter fresh!

Laura

So happy I don’t have to eat off the road.

 

Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch

My family just loves the rich flavor of old fashioned cocoa made from scratch.  Scratch means you start with basic ingredients and go from there.  I love it because I always have the ingredients on hand.  My kids will have the memory of Momma over the stove stirring the cocoa.  They come running when they hear the sound the whisk makes in the pan. 

 Here’s how I make mine.  All you need is Hershey’s cocoa, sugar, milk and a bit of water.

Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch

Combine 1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa and 1 cup of white sugar in a three quart saucepan using a wire whisk.  I do this while the cocoa and sugar are still dry so that the cocoa will mix in nice and smooth without a bunch of lumps. 

Add about 1/3 cup of cold water and mix until smooth.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil it for about a minute, stirring constantly.  Don’t worry if it sticks to the sides, it’ll melt back into the cocoa as it heats up. 

Fill the pan with milk, It”ll be a little more than a half a gallon of milk.  Stir and heat using  medium heat.  If you need to walk away from it, just turn it on the lowest heat.   I check to see if it’s hot enough by dropping in a miniature marshmallow.  It’s ready when the marshmallow just starts to melt.  I offer extra milk to my little ones to cool it if they want it. 

This is so easy, we can make it any time we want it.  Read aloud time is one of our favorite times to enjoy Old Fashioned Cocoa.

German Apple Stuffing

My momma always made sage dressing.  When I got married, I decided to do something different.  It’s become my family’s favorite stuffing.  I always think I’m going to go back and make the sage dressing sometime; but, I’m always voted down!  Happy Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas!

German Apple Stuffing

1 loaf white bread in 1/2″ cubes

1/3 cup butter

1medium chopped onion

1/2 c chopped celery

1/4 c chopped celery leaves

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten slightly

2 medium Red Delicious or Gala Apples, pared and chopped

1/4-1/2 cup raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 6 cup baking dish.  Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and toasted, about 5 minutes.  I sometimes just have the kids toast the bread in the toaster and tear it up small for me instead. 

2.  Transfer bread into large bowl.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. 

3.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in onion, celery, parsley, salt and pepper.  Cook 3 minutes. 

4.  Pour over bread and stir.  Add milk and eggs.  Stir to moisten.  Gently stir in the raisins and apples.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil.

5.  Bake one hour.

How to Plan Your Holiday Meal Preparation Timeline

Happy Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas!

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage 

Notes on Time to a Younger Mother…Something to Think About

I am, by nature, an introvert.

God, by nature, likes to stretch us beyond our comfort levels.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

I, by nature, wanted one child.

God, by nature, gave me four children!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

I, by nature, want to create.

God, by nature, wants to create.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

 

He understands your many responsibilities, the many things that pull on you as a woman. You must ask Him to help you find the minutes here and there.  You must ask Him to show you how to organize your projects in a way that will work for you.

For example, when I’m working on a project, I will often pin or sticky note a note to myself to tell me what the next step is, so that I can go back to it without rethinking it.  I also have several projects going at once.  So, I try to do all the cutting out that I can at once.  The next time, I try to do all the marking I can at once.  Next time, it’s all the pinning I can do at once.  Then, all the sewing I can do at once.  Then all the pressing.  I’m sure you get the picture.

I want blocks of time.  God gives me minutes.

I’m trying to learn to discipline myself to use those minutes more wisely.

Laura

Happy at Home with my four wonderful blessings!

6, 8, 10, and my teenager

If you’d like to see a photo of my blessings, you can find them on my other blog, Harvest Lane Cottage.  Just scroll down on my Day Book entry.

 

My Little Butter Fingers!

My Amy and I made butter today!

I just had to share a few photos.  She was just so cute!  I don’t know when she’s had so much fun!

First, we put the heavy cream that I’d skimmed from real live cow’s milk into the Bosch mixer.  We mixed it until Amy practically squealed that it was butter.  The mixing caused the butter and the buttermilk to separate.  I poured off about a pint of buttermilk through a small strainer into a pint jar.  My Matthew, 17, immediately suggested I make biscuits…maybe tomorrow.  Here’s Little Amy putting the butter into my Grandma Bern’s old mixing bowl. 

Making Butter with Momma 

Next she washed the butter.  She absolutely loved getting her hands into it.

Washing the Butter

Finally, all the buttermilk was rinsed out. 

It was time to squeeze out the last of the water.  I drained it and put it in the refrigerator for a bit to firm up.  Then I pulled it out and worked in the salt.  Last of all, I packed it into Tupperware to keep it safe.

It was great fun!

Oh, I added a set of cards to my shop.  I have more items to come including some cute little socks with crocheted lace trim. 

SCRAPBOOK STYLE FLORAL CALENDAR CARDS
$3.00
Crocheted Cotton Dishcloth - Yellow with Blue and Pink Speckles
$4.00
Crocheted Cotton Dishcloth - Blue Speckled
$4.00
Crocheted Dishcloth or Wash cloth, for Kitchen or Baby
$4.00
Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
harvestlanecottage.etsy.com

Have a great day!

Laura

Happy at Home

Super Simple Snow Ice Cream!

Hi!  I had a super frosty freezer to defrost.  So my husband and son moved the freezer outside and I had an idea.  SNOW ICE CREAM!  The neighborhood kids and my kids loved it…they enjoyed a June snowball fight too!

SUPER SIMPLE SNOW ICE CREAM

Scoop as much clean snow or frost into your cup as you wish.

Drizzle one or two tablespoons of Sweetened Condensed Milk over the snow.

Stir and enjoy!

 

Have a great summer!

Remember to make lemonade out of lemons!

Laura of Harvest Lane