Friday, January 30, 2009
3 cup sugar
1 ½ cup water
3 T. molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp maple extract (I couldn't find this ingredient, so substituted 2 tsp maple flavoring)
Bring all ingredients to a good rolling boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off the burner but let the pot sit until bubbling stops. Cool. I like to pour into an old syrup bottle.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
1.Increase the amount of anti-bacterial solution, whether it be soap, tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract. I use 10 to 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract.
2.I cleaned out my baby wipe container with bleach. Since it has been in continual use for almost five years, I figured maybe it needed a good cleaning.
3.After I mix up my soap and water solution, I dip the top of my paper towels in the water before flipping it over and setting it in the container. I seemed to only have mildew on the top edge and figured that maybe the soap just wasn't absorbing all the way to the top.
4.Some people boil their water first. I never have, but maybe it would be something you wish to try.
In the last month, I've had no problems with mildew, so hopefully some of these things did help and will answer your problems as well!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Conventional Bible memory always seems laborious. Read a line, repeat it again and again, then move to the next line for more of the same until finally the whole verse is memorized. Several times the past months, I read of a different (to me) method of Bible memory. Instead of line by line, a small passage of Scripture is read all together. No progress is seen the first several days, but with consistent repeating of the passage the child will learn verses with more fluent recall then normal methods. At least, this is what the writer claimed.
I decided to try it as an experiment. Since this was back at the beginning of December, I chose the Christmas story in Luke 2. I really lack discipline and consistency in such areas but I was determined to read this passage every day for a month. The first couple days the children were excited to hear the story. Then I began hearing “We read this yesterday, let's read something else!” But soon they got the idea that we were going to do this daily and they began to remind me if I forgot! I would sometimes stop and explain a word they didn't know, such as “haste” or “glory”.
After the first week, I had it memorized myself which made it easy to quote when driving or other activity. I really didn't know if the children were actually learning the passage and wondered if I chose too many verses at one time. But on about the third week, I overheard one of them looking at a Bible story book and quoting a few of the verses almost word perfect. By the end of the month, the three and four year old could say the verses about the shepherd alone. They never did get the first verses about the taxation but for the small bit of time and effort it took me each day to say these verses, I certainly was pleased with the result.
This month, I chose a much shorter passage, Psalm 1. The children like adding some hand motions to this chapter and even the one year old is enjoying it. I'm excited about how quickly and effortlessly they are learning verses with the investment of only a couple minutes every day.
I thought I'd share it for any of you other young moms who want to teach Scripture, especially the pre-reading child. This is one area that I feel that we moms can have an impact on our children's lives for as long as they live. But if you are like me, it is easy to be so busy fulfilling all the physical needs of a home and children that it can be pushed aside.
If you have any other good ideas on memorizing verses, I'd love to hear them!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
Trowel and Error by Sharon Lovejoy
The New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery
Easy to Build Compost Bin
Saturday, January 24, 2009
As a "thanks" to all those who shared their old jeans, I am attempting to write my first sewing tutorial! Maybe some of you will be inspired to make your own ragged quilt. I love recycling something totally useless, like worn out jeans into something useful and attractive. These directions can also be used for flannel or fleece to make a very cuddly blanket!
If you can sew a straight seam, you can make this very simple blanket. There is no need for batting, quilting, or binding. Actually, this is not literally a quilt, since it is not "quilted"! The variations are endless but I show you how I made mine!
1. Choose your fabrics. You'll want at least two different fabrics. You can use scraps of almost any sort but cottons will give you the ragged affect. I used black denim for the back, blue denim of various shades for the front, and various cotton homespuns for the alternate blocks.
2. Cut your fabrics. You may make them any size you choose. I chose to make seven inch squares. With one half inch seam allowance, this gave a finished six inch square. A pair of newly sharpened scissors will make the job of cutting denim much easier!
I was making a single size quilt. I needed ten rows of fourteen blocks, which totaled 140 denim blocks and 140 homespun blocks.
3. Prepare your fabric sandwiches. If you've done a lot of sewing, you are probably accustomed to placing right sides together. Since in this case you want the seams OUT, you'll need to adjust your thinking. This was probably the most difficult part of the entire project! Many of my denim squares are actually turned wrong - but since they are from old jeans and all rather faded, I don't think it shows too much! If you work with fabric that has no wrong side, like homespuns, you'll save yourself some headache!
You will be stacking a front denim square, wrong side up. Then a homespun square, right side up. Next, a back denim square, wrong side up. Then a home spun square right side up. (It is so much easier to do then to write about!)
Above is what the back looks like.
4. Sew the fabric sandwich layers together. I didn't do any pinning. If the squares are the same size, it isn't necessary.
Above is a view of the front of the blanket.
5. Continue sewing the squares together in strips until you reach the desired size.
Above is a view of the back.
6. Stitch around the outside of the blanket to hold the fabric together since there is no binding.
7. The quilt still looks rather unfinished. To get the "ragged" affect, you snip the seam allowance. You want to get close, but certainly not the whole way to the stitched seam. If you have spring loaded scissors, you'll make the task much easier for yourself. This is a monotonous job, one that takes time but is rather mindless. So have a friend over and chat while you snip! Don't forget the edges!
8. Almost done! Throw the whole blanket into the washing machine with a tiny bit of soap. Then dry it in the dryer. The agitation and drying process will soften and "fluff" the seam allowances giving the ragged appearance you've been aiming for. Check the dryer about every five minutes and empty the lint trap! You will collect an unbelievably large amount of lint and threads!
This the huge pile of lint after drying two single sized blankets!
9. Go cuddle up under your new blanket with someone you love!
Variations: I made two small blankets with this method, adding a heart applique. Before sewing the denim squares together. I stitched on a heart in the center of the square. I also snipped the heart so that it would fray and add to the ragged affect. I really liked the effect, but both blankets were gifts and I don't have pictures to share!
As mentioned earlier, this is a great way to make a soft quilt with flannels or fleece. Fleece won't "rag" but still looks quite cute. If you want a thicker quilt. You can add some thin batting between the layers.
If anything is not clear in these directions, please let me know!
Just for fun, last week I made a batch of my whole grain bread, divided it into six loaves and brain stormed on all the different ways I could use the dough. Here is some of the variations I came up with!
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Roll out your bread dough into a rectangle.
Spread with softened butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. If desired, sprinkle raisins, chopped nuts, craisins or other dry fruit. Roll the dough up beginning with the short side, squeezing tightly. Place in greased loaf pan.
Note: Bread made like this will separate but taste awesome. If you want a prettier slice, omit the butter and sugar so that it will "stick" together better.
Roll out and spread with butter, cinnamon and sugar as above. Roll up the dough beginning with the long side. Cut into rolls and place in greased pans.
Pull dough into small balls. Dip into melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Place into greased bread pan. (Don't fill too full. I often have balls “hopping” out of the pan as it rises in the oven! Maybe the reason it is called monkey bread! This is the children's favorite and is usually consumed immediately out of the oven!)(I didn't get a picture of the monkey bread before several "balls" were pulled off and consumed - but you get the idea!)
Dinner or Sandwich Rolls
Form into rolls of whatever size desired and place in greased pan or baking sheet.
Herb Cheese Bread
Roll dough into a large rectangle. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs as desired. I usually use mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, and poppy seeds.
Roll up dough beginning at long side, squeezing seam tightly. Place on greased baking sheet.
I often form a figure “eight”, tucking the ends into the center. Brush top with milk, sprinkle sesame seeds and slit the top.
Twist Top Bread
Take a one loaf portion of bread and divide into two. Form both pieces into a long thin strand. Twist the two together and place into a greased loaf pan. You also may use three pieces and braid the strands together.