Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You Jealous??

Just came in from gathering eggs and picking some supper from the garden.  The peas are from my daughter Renee's garden, the Yukon Gold potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and pepper are from mine.  This is only June 1st and most years I am doing good to have everything planted.  With the wonderful warm spring we had I was able to get things in early.  Can hardly wait until supper.

Peas, Yukon Gold potatoes, red lettuce, green lettuce, sweet banana pepper, tomatoes.

Soap and Rugs to the Shop, and 2 Convenient Mixes Made

Renee and I took our stuff to the shop this morning and have already sold some stuff.  Before I left I made up a batch of the below Brownie Mix and Quick Mix that I posted the recipe for yesterday.  It rained all morning and now it is just windy out.  I have all the ingredients out of the freezer for some freezer convenient cooking that I am doing tomorrow.  I love to have those items for days that I don't feel like cooking or just to darn lazy to cook.  I will post recipes for those items in the next few days.

Brownie Mix

6 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
8 cups sugar
8 oz unsweetened cocoa powder

In a large bowl mix all ingredients, store in airtight container.  Makes about 15 cups Brownie Mix.

For Brownies:
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
2 eggs well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups Brownie Mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Mix all ingredients, pour into a greased 8 inch square pan, bake 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes.

For Chewy Chocolate Cookies:
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 cups Brownie Mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix first 3 ingredients until blended, add the rest of the ingredients.  Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees.  Makes 36 cookies.

Brownie Mix ingredients

Quick Mix ingredients

Brownie Mix and Quick Mix all done and ready to out in the fridge, I use painters tape to label the containers and also I put on the directions for making brownies or cookies and biscuits or dumplings.  The quick mix could also be used in any recipe you have that calls for that store bought product that has all the additives we don't need.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rags for Rugs All Cut and Ready

I spent most of my day sitting at the table under the pergola cutting strips for rag rugs.  I finished everything and now I need to tie the strips together and then roll them up in balls.  It was so nice out today so I took advantage of the nice weather.  This past weekend it was in the 90's, today in the low 70's and tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 50's and finally we should get some much needed rain.
Renee and I take our stuff to the shop tomorrow, really anxious about it.  Was going to see about picking some raspberries that they found on one of their 4 wheeling trips but with the rain in the forecast that doesn't look promising. 
I know I said I wasn't making plans anymore but Friday I plan on making some ham and cheese buns, hamburger in the buns, pizza buns and need to make up a batch of Quick Mix (like Bisquick).  I keep a batch of Quick Mix, Corn Bread Mix and Muffin Mix in the refrigerator all the time so I have it to make up when needed.  I'm not sure where I got the recipes for all this stuff but I will share all of them one at a time.  Today I am sharing the Quick Mix recipe.

Quick Mix

8 1/2 cups of flour 
4 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups instant nonfat dry milk or dry buttermilk powder
2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening

Mix all dry ingredients together, with pastry blender or heavy duty mixer cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal in texture.  Put in airtight container and store in cool dry place (I keep mine in the spare refrigerator).  Makes 13 cups of Quick Mix.

For Biscuits:
3 cups Quick Mix and 3/4 cup milk or water.  Mix, drop by spoonful and bake on a greased baking sheet at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

For Drop Dumplings:
3 cups Quick Mix and 3/4 cup milk or water.  Mix and drop on top of stew, chicken and noodles or soup.  Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

You can use this mix just like you would use Bisquick.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sunday we got together to celebrate Brandon graduating from 8th grade and yesterday we got together at our house to celebrate Memorial Day.  We had wonderful food and had some nice family time.  Both days were unseasonably warm but on Monday we had a nice breeze and we have lots of nice shade trees so it was tolerable.
Today I finished 2 rag rugs that I had started and did several loads of laundry.  Nothing wonderful planned for the week; might make and freeze some ham and cheese buns later this week.  It is supposed to be cooler later this week so it will make a nice time to do this.
Later, take care.




Gina & Ronnie











Sunday, May 27, 2012


These last 2 days it has been unseasonably hot.  Usually at this time of year it is in the 70's and 80's; it has been in the 90's for the last several days.  By this coming Thursday it is going to be in the 60's.  Crazy weather and not a very good chance of rain.  My yard has cracks it in everywhere.  Ron will have to water the trees tomorrow night so we don't loose them.
Went to Renee's house today for Brandon's graduation party.  The kids all got in the pool and had a nice time.  I just tried to find a little shade and sat crocheting a rag rug.  Tomorrow everyone is coming over to our house, it is going to be in the low 90's but it will be windy which will make it a little more tolerable.
Later, take care.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Everything is Ready to Take to the Shop

I finished wrapping and pricing everything that I'm going to sell in a local shop.  Wrapping and pricing takes a lot of time and for me it makes a mess.  I had everything spread out on the table and the floor.  I have it all cleaned up except for running the vacuum and sweeping the floor.  I also took all the soap that I made on Wednesday out of the molds and it is now drying/curing.  The colors are oh so nice but they do change as they cure.  You can see that the avocado soap is many different colors even though it was out of the same batch.  The color is affected by how fast it cooled when in was in the mold.  The pictures aren't the best but you can see the different colors.

Top, L-R; avocado, spinach, gift baskets.  Bottom L-R; avocado, carrot and cucumber.

The buckets all have a different soap in them.  Notice that I drilled some holes around the top of the buckets so they could get some air.  The buckets were picked up free from local grocery stores at the bakery.                                          

Pile of rag rugs ready to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Morning

First I need to stop making plans and just do things when I can.  I did not get the mulberries picked last night but I did make it my morning walk.  I picked over a gallon of mulberries and about 1/2 gallon of leaves.  I have the berries on the stove right now simmering and have used the potato masher to smash them to get all the good juice out.  I also have the leaves simmering and will turn both of them off soon and when they cool I will strain them and freeze them in ice cube trays and use them to color my soap.  When I want to use them all I have to do is take a cube or two out and not have to thaw a whole container of the juice.  I also picked lettuce, lots of lettuce this morning and will cook it and then run it through the blender to use to make soap.  I love these no cost items and they are all natural.

I have a neighbor who lives two doors from us going through a divorce.  The house is owned by his parents so he is living there, young guy around 30.  She planted lots of flowers, trees, bushes and herbs over the 5 years they were together.  She would plant the stuff and then never take care of it.  Out back there is a beautiful flower/herb garden (about 30' x 30') that I just love to look at when it is all in bloom.  The weeds have taken over so this morning when I finished picking my stuff I went over and weeded it.  I sure hope he doesn't mind and will watch for him to come home and tell him what I did.  I'm sure there is well over $500 worth of plants in there and I just hated to see it full of weeds.  If he doesn't mind I will probably keep it weeded this summer.  Now if I could get the weed eater started I would use it to go around the spot.  Now the 2 houses on the left side of us have single men who don't take care of their yards like I wish they would.  My sister-in-law from Texas reminded me this morning that I don't need to take care of it for them even though I wish I had the time and energy to do it.  Both houses have neglected landscape and they wait forever to mow their grass.  I keep mine mowed and everything has to look perfect.  In case you haven't noticed I am a LOT picky.  Oh well could be worse.
Later, take care.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soap Making Day

Didn't sleep well last night so I slept in until after 7 this morning.  Did not take my morning walk so after supper I plan on walking up the road to pick some mulberries and some of their leaves to use to make soap.  Brandon is coming over to spend the night so I thought both of us would go pick the stuff.
I made 4 batches of soap this morning and each batch yields a little under 5 1/2 lbs.  I made carrot soap with some the carrots that I got on sale and had cooked and froze for when they were needed.  I then made cucumber soap, spinach soap with the spinach I picked from my garden.  The last batch was made with the avocado skins and seeds that I cooked and froze last week.  I will take them out of the molds Friday morning and then they will sit out to cure for several weeks.  I will post a picture of them when I take them out.  As it dries and cools down it will change colors, so it is very hard to tell exactly what you'll end up with compared to when you poured it.  If the additive that was used in the soap has natural sugars that affects the color.  Buttermilk is white and the oils that I use to make that soap would yield a white soap.  But because the buttermilk has natural sugar it turns a golden color.  Right now the carrot soap is a pale orange, the spinach is a rich green, cucumber is a pale green and the avocado is a rust color.
Later, take care.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Last night we went to see Brandon (grandson) graduated from 8th grade, nice night and short ceremony.

This morning I went to see about putting some soap and rag rugs in a shop and when I was there I sold a rug.  I will take my stuff next Thursday.  Renee (daughter) went with me and she is going to take several items that she makes and sell them there also.  Very nice, clean and organized place.  I will have to start on some more rugs and plan on making a couple batches of soap in the morning after my walk and then a couple more on Thursday.  There goes my plan for getting my last room cleaned.  I have sorted through things and have organized some but it could use a little more work.  Oh well it will be there waiting for me when I get the time to do it.

Mowed the grass and trimmed the trees today.  Getting the trees done means I can cross that chore off of my list.  My list is getting shorter but I still have plenty to do.

Brandon and Derek

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Bedroom is Done

After my walk this morning I came home and cleaned the bedroom.  Now the only room I need to do is the dreaded office.  I want to get it done by this weekend so I will probably start it Wednesday.  It feels so good to have the house clean from top to bottom.
I need to so some yard work and will probably cut the grass tomorrow afternoon.  I also need to do some tree trimming and want to get that done before we have everyone over for a cookout next Monday.
Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at a little shop to see about putting my soap and rag rugs there and still need to make some tags and put on a couple finishing touches on the samples I am taking.
Later, take care.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Laundry Room Painted

Ron and I painted the laundry room today; if I had been doing it myself I would have quit in the middle of it.  Good thing is that the painters union will not let me join.  I usually don't mind painting but there was so much paint brush work instead of roller work.  Monday my plan is to do my bedroom, Ian is doing his own room and that will leave the office/storage room for last.  I'm not sure what day I will do it, there is so much stuff in there because we have very little storage space in the rest of the house.
I also watered the trees and garden today, we need some rain really bad.  Can't afford to loose all the trees and raspberries bushes that we put out last fall and this spring.  Last summer was pretty dry and I sure hope that we don't have a repeat of it. 
Later, take care.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Morning Walk Humor

Every morning this week I have taken a 1 1/2 mile walk from our house to the little community up the road.  The road I take is just a little over a mile long and is a short cut for a couple of subdivisions west of town.  I usually start out around 6:30 am and there isn't a whole lot of traffic.  Twice this week someone turned around and came back and asked if I needed a ride.  There are 2 possible reasons for this;  # 1. people are just super friendly around here or # 2. they are not used to seeing a very out of shape white hair lady walking down the road.  If I was a betting person I would bet it is number 2. :)

Good News Friday

1st thing; those of you who personally know me know how it has been a struggle to get the grandson who lives with us his drivers license.  Well he finally got it this morning, now to get him a vehicle is the next step.  I am so happy that this day has finally came.  Some thought it might never happen (including him) but it has.
2nd thing; I have an appointment with a shop to see about selling my soap and rag rugs.  I go next Tuesday and am very anxious to go and talk to the owner.  If everything goes well I will need to start making some more soap and rugs to get my stock built up.  :)
Later, take care.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Kitchen is Done

Started my day with the 1 1/2 mile walk and then came home to deep clean the kitchen.  Everything is finally done and even though it wasn't that bad it just looks so nice and fresh.  Tomorrow I might get a start on my bedroom and do the closet and dressers and then maybe I'll just wait until Monday to do it.   I have accomplished a lot of stuff this first week of retirement.  By this time next week I hope to be done with the entire house.  I have a lot of things on my to-do-list but eventually I will get them done.   I really need to get some "convenience food" made and froze for the days I don't feel like cooking.  Before I can do that I need to do an inventory of the freezer and organize it again.   I usually have Ron help me with the freezer so it will have to be done on Saturday or Sunday. 
Later, take care.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Noodle Wednesday

After my morning walk I used 15 eggs and mixed up a batch of noodles.  I put them in the refrigerator to rest and then proceeded to make the noodles.  I made enough to freeze 7 bags and we are having fresh noodles and dumplings for supper.  After the cleaning up the noodle mess I started getting the kitchen ready for its cleaning tomorrow.  Everything is off of the walls and the curtains have been washed.  I will need to iron them before I hang them and that will wait until I get ready to hang them.

Here are the noodles drying on the rack that Ron and I made last year.  The wood and dowel rods were all free and were made to fit on the back of 2 chairs.  I drape a white tablecloth on the chairs to catch the noodles that might drop and it also keeps the flour off of the floor. 

Noodles drying on the rack


Soon the gardens will be abundant with all the goodies that we have planted.  One way to save these items is to dehydrate them to use later.  I have dehydrated items from the garden last year and when I get items on sale that I use and can dehydrate I do it,.  Last fall when we were in Colorado on vacation I picked up 50 lbs of organic grown Yukon Gold potatoes for $8.  When we got home I spent 2 days dehydrating them; I made shredded potatoes, sliced and diced potatoes and used them in soups, stew, and cheese potatoes.  I still have some and they are delicious.  At Thanksgiving I got 20 lbs of sweet potatoes for 19 cents a lb and dehydrated them.  All I do is add water and a little butter and simmer for 1/2 hour or so and they are as good as fresh mashed sweet potatoes.  I also picked up several bunches of celery and dehydrated them.  They were 59 cents each and I use them in soups, stew, and have made dressing using some. Below is a picture of some of the items I have in the cabinet right now that I have dehydrated.  Uses for these items are numerous and when you can get them on sale or from your garden you save money.

Not pictured are apple slices, these went about as fast as I could make them.  I sprinkled them with some cinnamon and sugar before putting them in the dehydrator and they were wonderful.

L to R; front; lemon slices, 4 lbs of carrots in a pint jar, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, red and green peppers; back; onions, celery, pineapple, orange slices, mushrooms.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Living Room Clean, Another Thing to Cross off the List

I started my day out with the 1 1/2 mile walk, got an earlier start and there wasn't as much traffic on the road that early.  When I was heading towards home a deer crossed the road about a block in front of me.  I take my little camera with me in case I see something but it was to far away to get a good picture.  Went to see about selling my soap at the little shop but it wasn't open today; called and left a voice mail and am waiting to hear back.
Changed my plan and cleaned the living room today instead of the kitchen.  It looks so nice and everything is so nice and clean.  I forgot that I want to make and freeze some noodles so will do that tomorrow and then clean the kitchen on Thursday.  When I make noodles I get flour everywhere and if I cleaned it first I wouldn't want to make the noodles.  I told my husband and grandson that if they get one thing out of place in the bathroom I would beat them.  I feel the same about the living room; I don't want to sit in there because I don't want to get it dirty.  After the kitchen that is all I am planning for this week.  I will start on the bedrooms and office next week.  Really tired and sore after working so hard the last 2 days but when it is finished everything will be all cleaned and organized.  Things had gotten a little cluttered in spots the last couple of months and I HATE clutter.  I have to have things clean and organized to be happy.

Using Food Items for Soap

When making soap there are so many food items that are little or no cost that add color and scent.   Save and ask family and friends to save some of the following items for you.  All you have to do is put them in a baggie or plastic container and stick them in the freezer until you have enough.
These items cost nothing:
1. Avocado peels and seeds, when I get enough to fill the small crock pot I just throw them in, add enough water to cover and cook until they are soft and mushy.  When they cool I put them in the blender and blend until they are a thick liquid.  I put them in  freezer containers and freeze until I am ready to make some soap.  I replace about 1/2 of the liquid with the frozen avocado and add to the lye; the soap turns out a caramel color.
2. Orange, clementines and lemon peels, when I get enough to fill the small crock pot I just throw them in, add enough water to cover and cook until they are soft and mushy.  When they cool I put them in the blender and blend until they are a thick liquid.  I put them in  freezer containers and freeze until I am ready to make some soap.  I replace over 1/2 of the liquid with the frozen citrus and add to the lye; the soap turns out a pale orange and has a slight citrus smell.  You can also keep out some of the peels after they are cooked and just chop them in the blender and add some at trace to have some small specks of peelings in the soap.  I do this and it really looks nice.
3. Pineapple cores, when I get enough to fill the small crock pot I just throw them in, add enough water to cover and cook until they are soft.  Pineapple cores don't get real mushy but you are still able to get a thick or thin liquid from them when put through the blender.  I put them in  freezer containers and freeze until I am ready to make some soap.  I add water to the pineapple until I get the amount of liquid needed for the batch and add to the lye; the soap turns out a pale yellow.
4. Melon, after cutting the melon from the rind I then go back and cut any remaining pieces as close to the rind as I can get, add water to cover and simmer for 20 minutes on the stove.  Cool and then put through the blender and you get a pale orange color.
All of the above items I have used, play with the amounts added.  There is no wrong way to do it,
Try using mango peels, pears and apple skins, cucumber skins all of these items are what would have gone in the garbage or compost and by using them you are only out a small amount of time.
These items cost very little and will be trying them soon:
1. Carrots, I took 1 lb of the ones I got for 49 cents, put them in the crock pot, water to cover, cooked until soft, put through the blender and have them in the freezer ready to use.
2. Cucumbers, I am going to put 3 of the whole cucumbers and the peelings from the 4th through the blender tomorrow and freeze this until ready.  I got these for 29 cents each this past week, or use some from your garden if you grow them.
3. Spinach and lettuce, I have more than I will ever eat in my garden right now and plan on preparing these items this week and freezing them for some soap to have when ready to use them.

Here is a list that I found and there are many more out there.

What items have you used that are no or little cost to use when making soap?

Left to right, front; carrots sitting on top of avocado, strawberries, citrus mix (orange, lemon, lime); back; cucumbers in the 2 freezer containers sitting on pineapple (left), oranges (right), and the jar with the red cap is cantaloupe.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Check this out

Check out this delicious homemade pizza I made for supper tonight. It was as good as it looks and plenty of leftovers for lunch for a couple of days.  The crust, sausage and cheese were all homemade; the mushrooms and onions were ones that I had dehydrated and added to the sauce about 1 hour before I made it so they would rehydrate.  Can't get much better than this.  Yum, yum.

Homemade pizza ready for the oven

Day 1 of Retirement

I started my day off with a 1 1/2 mile walk and then feed and watered the chickens.  I have a goal for the next 2 weeks and that is to clean every room from top to bottom, clean all closets, dressers, cabinets, curtains and wash the walls.  When I get done with all the rooms I am going to paint the laundry room which is way over due.  My plan for painting is to do it this weekend when my husband is home and he can help with it.  I don't mind doing the painting it just moving the heavy stuff in there. Today I can cross off the bathroom, hall coat closet and the linen closet.  Tomorrow morning Renee (daughter) and I are going to a little shop to see about selling some of my soap and rag rugs there.  I won't get a whole lot of work done at home so I plan on starting in the kitchen and then finishing it on Wednesday.  Then on Thursday I will do the living room; that leaves the laundry room, 2 bedrooms and the very messy, cluttered 3rd bedroom that is used as an office/storage/soap drying room.  That room will be the last room I am doing and will need a day to recoup after getting it done.

Well I have used the time I allowed myself to sit down and need to go out and check on the chickens and then start the pizza dough so it has plenty of time to rise.  I make little goals for myself and find that it helps motivate me.  This is the first time I was on the computer today and I wouldn't touch it until I had certain things done.  Sorta like you do with the kids, I make myself earn time to do the fun things when I have a lot of work to do.  Whatever works.
Later, take care.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Hope all the mother's and mother figures had a blessed and wonderful Mother's Day, I know I did.
Later, take care.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Herb Garden

Ron and I made a 4' X 10' raised bed herb garden today.  I picked up several herbs when we went to town this morning and had a couple that were in pots that I added.  I now have 5 stevia, 2 lavender, 2 yarrow, 1 spearmint, 1chocolate mint, 1 apple mint, 1 orange (citrus) mint, 1 bee balm, 1 pineapple sage plant and am moving some oregano over to the new bed tomorrow.  In my tube gardens I have several varieties of herbs.  I added some straw between the plants to help keep moisture in the soil.  The mints will be used to make some tea and also will be able to use them in my soaps.
When we went to town I took my Aldi ad and comped it at Walmart.  I got 8 containers of mushrooms (8 oz, 69 cents ea) and have 7 of them in the dehydrator and the other one we had buttered mushrooms with our butterfly chops for supper.  I picked up 6 pks (1 lb) of carrots (49 cents ea) and will dehydrate some of them, save some to eat raw and cook some and put them through the blender for soap.  I  also picked up 4 cucumbers (29 cents ea) and will use 1 for some fresh salad from the garden and 3 will be used to make soap.
It was a busy day and have one more dreaded thing to do, when the chickens get in the coop for the night I will close their little door so they can't get out and then will proceed to dust them down with diatomaceous earth.  I try and do this each month in warm weather to make sure they don't get any mites or whatever.  Brandon (grandson) loves to do this for me and when he is here I gladly let him do it.  It is not weather the rooster will attack me its how bad he will attack me.  Well it is getting about time that the chickens go in the coop so I guess I will get my face mask and safety glasses on and go have some fun, NOT.

Herb garden, day 1

1 of my 3 tube gardens

Winter onions and garlic

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Official

I am RETIRED.  Thanks to my IT friends for everything.  I will use my gift from you to get that new pressure caner I want and the gift card from TSC from that special Director I will use to get some stuff for my chickens.  The only thing I am not allowed to get is more chickens.  :) This also was a day for me where I found out who was and was not a true friend and I was a little sad.  Oh well it is what it is. 
Later, take care.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Next to my last day of work

Tomorrow at 3:00 PM I will be officially retired.  The last couple of days has been a little emotional.  I worked for the department I am in now since 1999 and have seen a lot of people come and go.  No matter how crazy it got or how mad I was at the "boys" I will miss them; some more than others.
I am an organized person who loves a routine.  I will have to start a new routine and have fun doing it.  I have a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next 2 weeks that I have been putting off and then I will feel like I can do the fun things without feeling guilty.  I will be cleaning each room in my house from top to bottom and shouldn't take to long.  Washing curtains and the windows will take the longest and the room I use for my office/storage/soap drying room will be the worse.  I thought I would do the easiest place in the house first, the linen closet and go from there.  I also need to make and freeze some noodles and want to make some lasagna and freeze it for some convenient meals.  I have to remember that I don't have to rush and do things because I have all the time in the world.
My daughter Gina sent me flowers today at work which made me cry, that was so thoughtful of her to help brighten my day.  She just wanted to let me know that she was thinking of me.  Well hopefully this will be the last night that I go to bed before it gets dark out because I have to get up at 4:45 to be at work by 6:30.  One more day.......
Later, take care.

Flowers from Gina to brighten my day

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soap and garden update

Came home from work and cut enough lettuce and onions for 5 salads.  Making a salad from the garden is a labor of love.  It takes me so long to clean each leaf, one by one, wash it several times and then put it in the salad spinner.  When I was in the garden I decided to pick the cilantro that went wild and get it in the dehydrator.  I will get it out tomorrow when I get home and get it in the jar.
After supper I cut the remaining soap that I made on Monday.  The soap I made with buttermilk I put in some of the vanilla carrier oil and it smells really nice, the cinnamon one I tried to make it 2 tones of brown and it turned out OK, not wonderful but OK.
I'm saving the spinach that is in the garden to use to make some soap green.  I've been researching how to use different food products to color soap.  I plan on making the spinach coloring and then freeze it until I want to use it for the soap.  I will post more later when I make it and also post some more of the food items that I plan on using to make some soap.
Later, take care.

The Garden and Soap

After the rain we had last week my plants have doubled in size.  My lettuce, spinach and onions are beautiful.  I am picking stuff for a salad after supper so I can have it for my lunch tomorrow.  Salads made with the fresh lettuce always last for over a week so when I pick it I try and make several meals of it at a time.  My potatoes are doing very good and I added straw to the sides of them when I piled soil on the sides of the plants on Sunday.  I also added some mulch to the other raised beds and pots; it holds in the moisture and adds some good nutrients for them.  My husband brought home some wood from work on Monday and am going to put in a raised bed just for herbs to use for cooking and also for making soap.
My soap looks so good; some of the soap I made last month will be ready to take off the drying rack this weekend and put in an open container for storage.  My daughter Renee has found a little shop in a small community not far from our house that sells homemade items but does not carry soap.  We are going to visit it next week to see about adding some of my soap and rag rugs to their shop.  Sure hope that this is something I can do, I really enjoy making the soap. 
Later, take care.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Hooked

Just thought I would share that officially I am hooked on making soap.  I removed some of the soap from the molds that I made yesterday.  This batch was made with lavender scent and it smells wonderful.  I used 1 tsp of the carrier oil that I made and I think I got it right the first time.  I will remove the other 2 batches tomorrow night.
Later, take care.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saop making day

I made 3 batches of soap today.  Each batch will yield about 5 1/2 lbs when cured.  The first batch was scented with lavender oil and used assorted heart molds for most of it.  The second batch I used one of the wooden soap molds and poured most of it in the mold and saved a little and added some more cinnamon to make it darker and tried a simple swirl.  Really anxious to see how it turns out.  The third batch is a vanilla scented buttermilk soap.  I used the wooden soap mold for this one, buttermilk soap is very good for your skin.  I used some of the frozen buttermilk I had, will have to make butter real soon so I can freeze some more buttermilk.  The "true" buttermilk has a little bit of butter fat in it and that also adds to the advantages of the soap.
For the last 2 days I have been washing my hair with a bar of homemade soap.  Yesterday I used some avocado soap and today I used an unscented soap.  Both times my hair has turned out really soft.  I just get my hair wet, rub the bar on my hair and it when I have plenty of suds I just scrub my hair like I normally would.  I plan on using whatever bar of soap I am using on my body on my hair, the savings is huge.  I told Ron (my husband) yesterday that when he is out of liquid body wash he will have to start using bar soap.  He isn't real keen on the idea but why pay all that money when I make something that is better for the environment and better for you and better on the wallet.  I haven't said anything to Ian (grandson who lives with us) yet but I'm pretty sure he will react the same way. 
Later, take care.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Carrier oil for soap

I mixed up some carrier oil for scents and color today.  I put 2 ounces of grape seed oil in several 1/2 pint canning jars and added the following to the jars:
Lavender oil
Peppermint extract
Vanilla powder
Jasmine tea leaves
Black currant and vanilla tea leaves
I have 3 more jars ready and will try and find some other spices to add to them.  On each jar I also added the cost of the scent/color so I can keep track of the cost of each.  The most expensive is the lavender but you only use a small amount of the carrier oils.  There is no exact science to how much you add to each batch of soap, I will just keep track of the amount added and adjust accordingly.  The grape seed oil is good for you skin so along with the addition of color or scent you also have added value to the soap.

The scents and colors I mixed up for soap.

Soap Basket

I made up a gift basket for my daughter Gina to give to someone she works with.  She wanted some heart soap and luckily I had some to use.  The basket is one I made several years ago and had packed away.  I only have 2 more baskets that I made so I will have to add that to my list of things I want to do.  I plan on making 2 "egg" baskets; one for me and one for Renee to use when she gathers her eggs.  As far as baskets go the "egg" basket is made differently than the baskets I've made in the past.  It will be a couple of months before Renee's "girls" start laying so I have plenty of time.
Later, take care.

Basket of soap for someone special.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hannah going to Morton Prom

Hannah (oldest granddaughter going to Morton Prom)
All grown up, time flies.

Amish Saturday

Today we went down to the Amish greenhouse and got myself some more herb plants.  Brandon picked up some hot peppers, watermelon and some herb plants.  Renee had me get her pepper and tomato plants and she also got some herbs.  Then we went to the Bulk Food store and it was donut Saturday.  Got 6 donuts, pecan rolls, some special oils for soap making and some rhubarb jam.  Gina had me get her 2 strawberry-rhubarb jams, Renee had me get her cocoa and some ham.  Next was the Kaufman's dairy, everyone was busy getting things ready for the wedding that will take place on Thursday.  One of the Kaufman girls will marry one of the boys who parents own the store.  They are expecting about 400 people for the noon meal.  Because the Amish don't have church buildings they have the wedding at the house.  It will start in the morning and takes about 3 hours, then they will serve a huge meal at noon and then the family and extended family has a meal at supper.   The couple spends the night at the brides house and Friday everyone gets up early to help clean up and pack up dishes and pans that were borrowed for the meal.   The meal will be served in an out building that they have taken everything out of and they were power washing the floor and walls.  Several small boys were out cutting the grass; everyone has a chore to do no matter the age. I got 6 gallons of milk and came home and made mozzarella cheese.  We didn't use the separator to separate the cream and make butter this time.  I usually do but just did not feel like doing it.  Next time we get milk we will be able to use the ELECTRIC cream separator that Gale is sending me.
After I cleaned up the cheese pans and mess I went out and filled up the 3 water containers for the chickens.  Ron filled their feed up as I was doing the water.  Tomorrow I plan on putting the herbs out that I picked up today.
One of the herbs that Brandon got was some spearmint and he will be making me some mint oil to use when I make soap.  He has a mint plant at home already and will make some oil from it also.  All you have to do is to put some vegetable oil (or any orderless oil) in a jar and add crushed mint leaves to it.  You microwave it just to get it warm and it helps the mint release its oil into the vegetable oil.  He will add mint leaves as his plants get larger and when I am ready to use it all you have to do is strain the oil.  
Later, take care.

Kaufman's Dairy Farm

The Bulk Food Store Parking Area

Young Boys Cutting the Grass

Working in the Field

The Amish School

Friday, May 4, 2012

Found Friend

Today I sent out an email to the vendors that I deal with at work explaining that I would be retiring on May 11th.  I added to the email a name that I hadn't heard from in over 4 years just hoping that he was still with the vendor.  OK, I think I feel like someone who is dying and not giving up until he/she sees that special person and when they do they feel at peace and give in.  When you deal with someone regularilary you get to know about their personal life.  Patrick was one of those people that I could talk to forever and I sorta felt like he was one of my kids.  I would give him advice and scold him for staying out late and not getting to work on time.  I know that all the advice was not what he wanted to hear but he listened anyway.  Well he emailed me back and I feel like now everything is all well in this world.  He was always so polite, had answers or knew where to get them, generous to his co workers and his family and always went out of his way for you.  I was fortunate to visit the vendor a couple of times for the day and he made us feel at home and went out of his way to do everything he could to make us feel like there was nothing better to do with his day than to spend it with us.  Thanks Patrick, I wish you the best in life and one day that special person will come along.
Later, take care.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday May 3rd

I finally got the yard work done today.  About the time I was getting finished it looked like it could rain but so far nothing.  The yard looks so nice after it is done, looks almost like a park.  Several of the trees need their lower branches trimmed.  I have to duck when I am mowing under them and a time or two I didn't get far enough down and it hit my beautiful hat.
Someone at Ron's work sent me 65 quart canning jars (free).  I think I am all set and if I get some more free ones I will share with Renee. Now I need to look into getting a caner but have plenty of time to find one.
Later, take care.

Don't be jealous of my hat.  :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On sale this week at Aldi

Avocados 59 cents, Roma tomatoes 59 cents for 16 oz, Sweet corn 4 pk for $1.29, Blackberries 79 cents for 6 oz, Strawberries 99 cents for 16 oz, mangoes 49 cents ea; either go to Aldi or take the add to your local Walmart and they will price match.  I plan on getting some of the strawberries, mangoes and blackberries.  I plan on using the blackberries to make a cobler, yum can't wait.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Came home today gathered eggs, feed and watered the chickens and noticed that one of the comets was under the nest boxes in the corner.  She was still there when I looked in later.  I decided to roll the yard because we had 2 nice days of rain and the moles have had way too much fun tunneling through the yard.  When I finished I looked in on the chickens and the comet was still there.  I took a long stick and tried to move her and then asked my husband to look in at her and see if she was OK.  He moved her from under the nests and she was dead.  This was my first death with the chickens (have only had them for about 13 months).  There was no sign of blood or any wounds.  I have no idea what was wrong but hope that it wasn't contagious. Ron said she was still warm so she had not been there that long.
Later, take care. 

Salad, fresh salad

I enjoyed a fresh salad today from my garden and will enjoy one everyday this week for lunch.  Today I added some leftover beer can chicken or in our case it was Mountain Dew Can Chicken that I cooked on Sunday.  Sooooooooo glad for this rain we are getting as it is much needed for the fields, gardens and our well.  I have about 20 baby tomatoes on my plants, my goal now is to have a ripe tomato by June 1st.  I have everything in the ground now.  I finished planting the herbs yesterday when there was a little break in the rain.  Now all I need to do is weed when needed and wait for the fruits of my labor.
Later, take care.

Homemade dish soap

Saw a recipe the other day for liquid dish soap and thought I would give it a try.  I changed it a little and this is my version:
Homemade Dishwashing Liquid
1 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup homemade grated soap

1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP washing soda
Wisk this all up for several minutes until soap melts.
I added several dehydrated lemon slices to the soap and it will give it a fresh lemon scent and helps cut the grease.

This recipe makes a little over 16 ounces and I use about 1 TBSP per sink of dishes.

I've used this twice now and the verdict is still out on it, gets the dishes clean and I knew it wouldn't make suds but there is just something about the suds and doing dishes.  I might try and add a drop of dish soap with it to see how that works next time. 
Lemon Homemade Dish Soap