Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, February 27, 2009

Homemade Bread and Fresh Churned Butter!

Today the kids and I baked bread (honey whole wheat) and made fresh butter! It was so much fun to watch their faces as the butter began to form and float in the butter milk. I wish I'd have been thinking of this blog when I was doing the project. I hope to have step by step photos if we do this again. We decided to make butter because we had been reading Little House in the Big Woods, by Laure Ingalls Wilder. When I was a girl my mother did the same thing with us. I have warn memories of time spent with Mom as she read through the entire set of Little House books, as well as the James Herriot series. Not until I was grown did I realize how much editing Mom must have done with those Herriot stories to make wholesome reading for us!
We make at least 4 loaves of bread each week, and I haven't bought a store loaf for about 3 months now. I'm pretty sure I'm saving money this way, but it's well worth it even if I'm not. I love making bread! There's just something about it...maybe it's the way I feel connected to the pioneer women of our country, or the good feeling I have providing something wholesome and satisfying for my family, or the comfort I find in the process. I LOVE touching dough. Kneading, rolling, and shaping is so relaxing to me. I plan to add some recipes and photos of bread baking soon, and possibly I'll also document some butter churning. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Birthday Season!

We entered into birthday season after New Years. We're 2 down and 2 to go! Strangely, we have a really fun birth order/birthday order pattern in our family. The first born was born in April, the second in March, the third in February, and the fourth in January. Pretty cool, I think! Here are a few birthday photos of the youngest on their special days.

Danielle, 4 yrs. with the cake Mom made, and the cake her 10 (almost 11) yr. old sister made.

Hattie, 6 yrs. with the cake Mom made, and the cake she made herself!

2 more birthdays to go, 2 more cakes, 2 more special days! We usually give the birthday child the day off from school (Isn't home school great!), and let them choose the dinner we have. They also get the day off from chores. This year is going to be tough, because I'll be loosing my "right hand girl" for a whole day!! Molly's gotten to be a real help around here!

What makes your children feel special on their birthdays? Let us know about it! Your good ideas are always welcome!

Homemade Laundry Detergent, 3 cents a load!

Some of my friends have expressed interest in the homemade laundry detergent recipe that I use, so here it is. My sister gave it to me, and I've been using it for a few months now. It costs about 3 cents a load to use, and seems to work just fine for my family. It creates very little suds, but cleans well, making it ideal for front loading machines as well. Enjoy!

The ingredients!

First, save yourself a couple of clean gallon milk jugs. They work well to hold your prepared laundry detergent.

To make a batch, you will need;

1/3 bar of fels-naptha, grated
1/2 c. super washing soda
1/2 c. borax

(I was able to find all of these at Super One, but not at Walmart.)

Fill your gallon jugs with warm water. In a stock pot that will hold at least 2 gallons, pour about 6 cups of the warm water from one of the jugs. Add the grated Fels-Naptha and heat until the soap is melted. Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved and remove from heat. Add the rest of the warm water. Stir and allow to cool to luke warm. Pour your detergent into the gallon jugs. You're ready to wash! When cool, the ingredients will separate slightly. Simply shake your jug before using and all will be well! Use 1/2 cup for an average size load of laundry.

Here's one more money saving tip I've been trying out. It's for homemade dishwasher detergent. I found it at . Mix equal parts borax and baking soda. Use 2 tablespoons per load in your dish washer. I've actually only done 3 loads, and I'm not quite decided about it. I like that it's a safer, greener, CHEAPER alternative, but I'm not sure how well it works yet.

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you if you try these recipes. Leave a "review" in my comments, and I'll be sure to publish it so people know what you think. Also, I'd be happy if you'd share any of your "frugal" tips with all of us! I'm hoping to share some frugal food tips/recipes with all of you soon! Happy laundry day to you all!