Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Soap

I finally got around to making homemade soap!  I've read and read about making soap, mainly about safety concerns as soap-making requires the use of sodium hydroxide (lye).  I found a recipe and figured out how much of my additives to add and made Honey Oatmeal Goatmilk Soap last weekend.  I wanted to make this kind because the ingredients are beneficial to the skin and especially for sensitive skin.

Remember the soapbox from a previous post...

I thought they turned out really well, although they are rough around the edges.  Next time, I plan to make round soaps in PVC pipes.  This recipe contains tallow, local goat milk, olive oil, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, oats, and honey.  The oats should give some light exfoliation properties.

This was very exciting to me that it turned out so well! I hope to post future soap-making ventures later on.  I already have an order for 10 bars for someone to give as Christmas gifts, so thankfully this made 25 bars.  They will sit and cure for 4-6 weeks now, so they'll be ready the week of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sovereign Grace

One of our pastors is preaching through 1 Peter.  This last Lord's Day, he preached from 1 Peter 1:1-2 on God's sovereign grace as Peter addresses "the pilgrims... elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ..."

"To the pilgrims" - What a great reminder that we are residing temporarily in our earthly homes.  We have an eternal home!  Several men at our church like to say that everything we know here is in its "pre-ash state."  This is comforting as our real homeland is in heaven, and so is our hope!

We read from Romans 8:28-30, which begins "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  To what do those "all things" refer?  Back up 10 verses where v. 18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  The context is suffering in life.  Peter is also especially concerned about those enduring persecution.  He wants them to realize that they're the elect! 

Our pastor directed us to the explanation in the 1689 Second Baptist London Confession of Faith, chapter III, 1.  "God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass...."  There's a lot more that can be said from this, but I found these to be words of true comfort for believers:  "all things, whatsoever comes to pass!"  Isn't it a comfort that the Lord who saved you, the Father who loves you, and the Spirit who sanctifies you decreed whatsoever comes to pass from all eternity?!  You will not be lost!  These things "work together for good" for you, for your family, and for the church. 

I was so encouraged!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A busy summer

Twin Lakes, CO
the Aspens in Colorado
Well, I haven't posted in over 2 months.  Life is busy.  If you've visited my daughter's blog, Tie-Dyed Rainbow, you know that we took a vacation through Colorado and a corner of South Dakota.  It was beautiful!  And cool (as in, not hot)!

I was also given MORE zucchini, which I shredded and froze to put into zucchini cornbread!  It's really good.  The friend from church who gave us the zucchini had made us some and shared the recipe.

That same friend gave us cucumbers, and we love to make home-canned pickles.  So, I've been pickling.  (I learned that you never want to get vinegar in your eyes!  It stings like I've never experienced before.  The discomfort lasted about a week.)

our little peach tree
Our dwarf peach tree yielded 600 peaches!  Yes, I counted.  I can't believe how many we got.  We ate a few fresh, gave a few away, froze something like 32 cups of peaches in apple juice, canned 12 pints of peach jam (I was tired of peeling, and so I left the peel on.  They turned out great.), and gave the rest to my mom for her to freeze.

pears in apple juice with cinnamon

Then, we had pears.  Our small tree only had maybe 40, but I asked someone in town if I could pick their pears (which were ready and they weren't going to use) and ended up with about 60 pounds of pears.  I started peeling to freeze them when my 7-year old suggested the apple corer-peeler-slicer that I bought from Pampered Chef years ago.  That thing was wonderful!  I had boys and girls all hanging around for a turn at the crank.  It went very quickly.  We canned 16 quarts of pears in apple juice and stuck 2 cinnamon sticks in each jar.  Plus, I froze pears in cinnamon and apple juice too.  I made a few cobblers last weekend with the pears and peaches.  They were soo good!  Honestly, I don't like peaches or pears fresh.  I'm weird.  But, the pear cobbler tasted like apple pie!  It was so good.  I ate it for breakfast too ... twice.  But, my family doesn't know that.  Maybe they'll read my blog.  :)

spaghetti sauce, potatoes, and pickles
The garden is done for the summer now though.  We had such prolific grape tomatoes.  I roasted LOTS of them in olive oil and basil.  They were so good, I was just popping them in my mouth when I got them out of the oven.  I also don't like fresh tomatoes.  I'm weird.  I'm repeating myself.  But, these roasted tomatoes are so good.  Put them on homemade pizza, in chicken with pesto, etc.  I tried them in eggs yesterday, and that wasn't so great.  The roma tomatoes were all canned into spaghetti sauce.  I can't remember, but we probably had 16 quarts?.  We actually canned a lot of the potatoes too because it's too hot here to try to keep them.

from eggs to stew

Oh, and we didn't want to have to ask anyone to take care of our chickens while we were on our trip, so here they are: 

So, this is why the blog has been neglected.  Life is busy.

My point is... when a friend gives you veggies, find a way to use them.  When you have veggies (even if you don't like them), find a way to use them.  I got tired of roasting grape tomatoes, so I found a recipe for pickled grape tomatoes.  We pickled 6 pints.  I don't like them.  Oh well.  But, my husband uses them like olives on a salad.  

Use the internet.  I did.  I can't tell you how many recipes I've found just googling what I want to do, like "what to do with grape tomatoes."  My next project I'm looking into is making homemade soap.  I'm finding all kinds of useful information on the internet.  I hope to post soon.  I went to a garage sale today and found a lot of useful things for my family.  The best treasure I found is this box.  I have no idea of what it was.  But, I thought it was perfect for a soap mold... my soapbox!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Zucchini Chips

A friend gave us some zucchini from her garden, so I decided to try out making zucchini chips.  Here's what I did:
Slice about 2 zucchini thin, about 1/4" slices.
Pour the marinade (recipe to follow) on the zucchini and mix around until all the pieces are covered.
Lay your slices on dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate for 14-20 hours or until they are crispy enough for you.

That's it!  Easy!

Marinade recipe:
4 T. lemon juice
2 1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. cayenne
2 1/2 t. onion powder
2 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano

I made the first batch with this recipe, but some members of my family thought it was too spicy.  So, I made a 2nd batch just like this but without the cayenne.  They were good too!  One of my sons said that they taste like vinegar chips.  I think he's just tasting the zucchini.  We'll continue experimenting with zucchini chip recipes, but both of these were tasty.  I just ate a bunch of the spicy ones and figure I must have eaten about half a zucchini worth.  A great way to eat zucchini!

I ran the dehydrator for about 14 hours, and the chips are crisp, but the 2nd batch kind of gets stuck in my teeth some.  Next time, I'll run it longer.  See what works for you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reformed quote

"I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient."
--Hudson Taylor

You can go to to read a daily quotation from the reformed reader.

Spring Garden

We dug up potatoes from the garden last night. It's always fun to see what "hidden treasure" is underground.
Covered in dirt!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some of you have asked where we buy our wheat for grinding into whole wheat flour. Well, last year we found the best deal at Emergency Essentials at We order several Superpails and split the order with someone else in order to split the $12 shipping/freight charge. An 18-wheeler pulled down our street and in front of our house to deliver the Superpails of hard red wheat (and oats and honey that we also bought). It was exciting for the family to watch. If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog page and click on my affiliate link called Buying Wheat: Hard red wheat, it will take you to Emergency Essentials.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The loss of my estate will be nothing...

John Hull, a Puritan and one of the first merchant princes of Massachusetts, lost his ships to the Dutch and took consolation in God's providence, saying, "The loss of my estate will be nothing, if the Lord please to join my soul nearer to himself, and loose it more from creature comforts." (from Worldly Saints by Leland Ryken)

So, I pray that the loss of my "creature comforts," be it health, success, or earthly goods, would be nothing, if the Lord please to join my soul nearer to Himself.  He is good and trustworthy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bread, cinnamon rolls, & baking mix

I've been feeling too lazy lately to grind wheatberries for whole wheat flour, but I got everything out and just ate that frog!  (I'm referencing a book I read recently: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time)  I actually ground extra flour so that I would have enough for everything:  a homemade baking mix to freeze for making waffles and biscuits, homemade whole wheat bread, plus fresh cinnamon rolls using the aforementioned baking mix.  My Baker Bug helper and I actually got all of this accomplished today. 

I ground outside because it's loud and somewhat messy

This will be the cinnamon rolls plus my youngest's "baby one"
We couldn't believe how "perfect" these looked

I took this pic of the final product

My Tie-Dyed Rainbow daughter took this better shot of the final product
She enjoyed her baby cinnamon roll
I took this of the bread cooling

Tie-Dyed Rainbow took this better shot as well
This did not take but a few hours total, and there was a lot of time to do other things (during rising and baking time) like laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, and potty-training the little one (I have lots of excitement in my life).  I'll try to put these recipes on here soon.  But if not, I'll at least link to my Baker Bug's blog where she'll surely have these up soon.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Learn to do almost anything at home!

Maybe 10 years ago, we decided to do more things at home.  This began as we bought our first house, and my husband planted a garden.  I wanted to learn to can the produce from the garden, so my Christmas list for extended family that year was a canner and several books I had picked out.  The best book by far has been The Encyclopedia of Country LivingI've found recipes for canning pickled beets, planned how and when to plant, studied raising farm animals (for the future, Lord willing), and chosen which breeds of chickens to buy for eggs and meat. On the front of the book, it says, "Practical advice, invaluable information, and collected wisdom for folks and farmers in the country, city, and anywhere in between. Includes how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, build a chicken coop, catch a pig, cook on a wood stove, and much, much more." It truly is an encyclopedia of country living! So, look up whatever you're thinking of, and make it at home!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prepare Yourself To Listen to a Sermon

“We are told men ought not preach without preparation. Granted. But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which do you think needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher.” --C. H. Spurgeon
We have to think about what we do to prepare ourselves to listen to the sermon.  How are we preparing ourselves on Saturday evening and Sunday morning?
May our participation in hearing the Word of God be that fertile ground where the gospel seeds produce bountiful fruit in our lives to the glory of God and the good of our fellow members!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I've been waiting to finish off my extra-large box of Cascade before making Homemade Dishwasher Detergent.  I finished the Cascade off in this morning's load, and spent less than 5 minutes making this.  I have spent a lot of time reading different recipes and have come up with a combination of what I've read.  Here's the recipe:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup sea salt
4 packets unsweetened lemonade

I already had everything on hand, except the lemonade, from having made the homemade laundry detergent.  The packets of unsweetened lemonade are 10 cents each at my Walmart and serve the purpose of providing citric acid.  If you can find citric acid in powder form, that would work well instead.  I could only find liquid, so the lemonade will work, so I have read.

Also, I plan to use 1 tablespoon regular white vinegar in the Rinse Aid compartment of my dishwasher.  I have never used a Rinse Aid before, but I have read that it helps with a recipe such as this (and even with store-bought detergent).

With a family the size of mine, I'll probably be able to try this out by the end of the day.  I'll post my results soon.

Oh yeah, that little round thing that I'll put in with my detergent is silica, to prevent clumping.  I've read different solutions for the clumping that occurs because of a chemical reaction between the citric acid and the soda.  One is to find one of those silica packets from a vitamin bottle, or another is to tie a "toe end" of a piece of pantyhose together around some rice.  Well, I found a little silica gel container from a vitamin bottle before I found spare pantyhose around here, so that's what I'm using.

And, I do plan to make a batch big enough to fill that nifty container with, but I thought I should start small.

If you've tried something like this before, please comment with your experience.  Or, let me know if you try this recipe and how well it works for you.

EDIT:   I have used this a couple of times now, and my dishes seem as clean as they did with my former Cascade.  Once I used vinegar as the Rinse Aid, and once I didn't use any.  I didn't see any difference, however I am not a person who cares much if there are spots on my glasses or not.  Works great for me!  I've never used a rinse aid before anyway.

Something to note:  When I went to use the detergent the 2nd day, the powder had hardened in my container.  I hit it against the counter once and then just shook it a little.  It turned out fine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I recently made homemade laundry detergent for the first time.  It was easy, quick, and cheap to make!  I'll show the basic recipe and then discuss why I'll be using a different recipe in the future.

I didn't have a Fels Naptha bar for the picture

1 Fels Naptha bar (I found it at Walmart with laundry detergents for 97 cents)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

Grate the Fels Naptha bar and then dissolve in 1 quart boiling water.  Add the Washing Soda and Borax.  Make sure it looks really dissolved.  Add 1 gallon hot water, maybe a little more.  Use 1/8 - 1/4 cup with each load in washer.  I just estimate in that green scoop you see in the picture.

Now, most recipes I found on the web say to mix with 2 gallons of hot water and use 1/2 cup with each load.  I'm sure that works well, maybe even better, but I had this great container to keep it in that wouldn't hold that much water.  So, I added hot water to fill my container, and I use less of the recipe with each load.

I've been using this for a few weeks, and everything gets as clean as my former box of Tide did.  You can add a few drops of essential oils if you want a certain smell to your clothes.  I'm fine without it.

Here's why I'll be trying a new recipe next time:
I must have some kind of allergy to the Fels Naptha.  I noticed when I was grating it, that my lips and tongue were stinging.  Now, everytime I use it to wash, my tongue stings.  Weird, huh?  I have always added Borax to my wash, so it's not that.  And, the washing soda doesn't seem to bother me.  It must be the Fels Naptha.

Here's my solution:
I'm too frugal to dump this out and not use it.  So, I get my laundry and washer all ready, then I hold my breath while I scoop the detergent out and put it in the washer.  I don't let my breath out until everything is closed up.  So, I have found that if I don't inhale it, I'm okay.  (I forgot that when I took the pictures though, ugh.)

I've never read of anyone else having this reaction, so try it!  My next try will be with an Ivory bar or maybe with Dawn.  I've read good things about using these too.

Leave me a comment if you try it or if you have any questions.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4 weeks to a more organized home

Well, that's the plan I've read about on other blogs anyway.  It's day #11 of the 4 weeks, and this is the first day I've even attempted.  But, it only took about 15 minutes to do today's main project:  Clean your silverware drawer.  So, I thought I'd post before and after pictures.  I repurposed an oatmeal can with lid to keep all the corn cob thingys in, and I filled a small jar with all those twist-ties.  Much better!

Keep Learning!

"We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth.  How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40-- and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20?"  --Arthur C. Clarke

Friday, April 13, 2012

If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee

These are the words to a great encouraging hymn.  Our church uses the Baptist edition to the Trinity Hymnal, where this can be found.

If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength whate'er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God's unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.

What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help, if thou bewail thee
O'er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.

Only be still and wait His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate'er thy Father's pleasure
And all-deserving love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for His own.

He knows the time for joy, and truly
Will send it when He sees it meet,
When He has tried and purged thee throughly
And finds thee free from all deceit,
He comes to thee all unaware
And makes thee own His loving care.

Nor think amid the heat of trial
That God hath cast thee off unheard,
That he whose hopes meet no denial
Must surely be of God preferred;
Time passes and much change doth bring,
And sets a bound to everything.

All are alike before the Highest.
'Tis easy to our God, we know,
To raise thee up though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low;
True wonders still by Him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to nought.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
So do thine own part faithfully,
And trust His Word, though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee!
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

This hymn was written by Georg Neumark in Kiel, Germany, in 1641.  You can look at for more information on the situation in which Neumark wrote these verses.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

When I read or sing the words to this hymn, it is a great sermon of the goodness and sovereignty of God.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


My 11-year-old daughter has become quite the baker (and cook!) lately.  She made the Homemade Magic Shell in the previous post.  She has a new blog called The Baker Bug with recipes she likes to make.

Homemade Magic Shell using coconut oil

Our most recent use of coconut oil is in making Homemade Magic Shell icecream topping, that yummy chocolate syrup that hardens when you pour in on icecream.  Our family has decided that it's better than store-bought.  And, I'm all for it since it's cheaper and has the health benefits of coconut oil in it.  Here's the recipe we use:
Homemade Magic Shell

1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon sugar (you can use an alternate sweetener like stevia)

In a saucepan over low heat, melt all of the ingredients together and stir until combined.

That's it! Just keep it in your pantry, and don't refrigerate.

Try it now, and send your husband to the store for some icecream to serve it on. 

Remember, you can get $10 free if you join Vitacost and order your coconut oil (or whatever you want) from them. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

$10 free at Vitacost

$10 free at Vitacost

I have recently discovered  If you click on the above link, you'll get $10 free at Vitacost.  I used my $10 to get 54 oz. of organic coconut oil for around $11 with free shipping!  Look for future posts on how we're using coconut oil in our homemaking adventures.


We have 9 chickens right now. That’s 7 outside pecking around the grass, 1 in the crockpot for dinner tonight, and 1 in the freezer for another day. This is our 3rd group of chickens to raise. Originally, we wanted them for eggs, but when 1 turned out to be a rooster who crowed way too early in the morning, we decided they might taste good as well. We really enjoy having fresh eggs, and we have a couple of friends from church that enjoy buying them from us also. Someday, we hope to have more land than our current 1/3 acre so that we can have more chickens (and other animals) to be able to provide eggs for all of our friends that want them.

Introduction... My first post

This is my first blog post ever. I shared a little about myself on the “About” page. I have 7 children who are ages 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13 right now. We homeschool them, so I will probably have posts that refer to their studies or whatever they are interested in at the time. My main purpose, though, is to post about my adventures in homemaking (making things at home rather than buying them pre-made) and what I’m learning from the Word of God. May this blog be for His glory!