Friday, January 30, 2009

Make It Yourself - Pancake Syrup

This isn't one of those “good for you” recipes, but we eat lots of waffles and consume a lot of syrup! I would love to serve real maple syrup but just can't justify the expense! This recipe is from the Tightwad Gazette. In my opinion it is quite a bit better tasting then the normal pancake syrup I used to buy. It is simple to make and quite cheap! I never run out of syrup now, which saves one of those emergency trips to the store! That makes it a winner at our house!

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

Baby Wipe Update

Several of you have told me that you love making your own baby wipes that I had shared directions for several months ago. You can find directions here. But some of you also had problems with mildew. I can understand why mildew could be a problem in the moist warm environment. I had found that using anti-bacterial soap had avoided the problem. But, interestingly, last month I began having a mildew problem again! Here are some things that worked for me that you may wish to try if it continues to be an issue for you.

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

Encouraging Children to Memorize Scripture

Like most pre-schoolers, my children seem to be able to memorize effortlessly. They can hear a silly rhyme or song once and sing it days later. Many of their favorite stories are memorized word for word! They also absorb Bible verses quickly but that memorization seems to be dependent on their mom's consistency or lack thereof! We've learned verses very sporadically the last couple years.

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!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ragged Denim Quilt

Some time ago, I asked for old jeans to make a denim quilt for my son! The response was quite generous! One reader told her grandmother who gave me three boxes full of jeans! Not only was I able to finish the quilt for which I was collecting denim, I also made a matching quilt for my younger son. We hope to have bunk beds for them someday and now I'm all prepared with matching bed spreads!

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!

Friday, January 23, 2009

On this day...

On this day, 32 years ago, I received a gift of unmeasurable worth, when my husband was born. Each year, I realize more fully how incredibly blessed I am!

Happy Birthday, Ed!

I hope the Lord gives us many more years together!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crayons in the Laundry

Several weeks ago, I opened up the dryer to find a load of tye-dyed laundry! Apparently, a crayon was in a pocket and most of the clothes were decorated with red splashes. I should have taken pictures to show the damage! How glad I was that it was a Thursday and not a load of dress clothes!

My first reaction was to just trash the worse of the clothing. I didn't think the crayon would ever come out after being heat set in the dryer and I imagined the crayon rubbing off on future laundry loads, affecting new clothing! After asking several experienced moms, none of whom had a similar experience, I turned to google! There I found moms who had effectively removed it from clothing and a few hints to try.

The worse items were two pairs of Ed's jeans and three little boy's pants. On Ed's jeans, I squirted GooGone on the spots. But this wasn't just a spot or two, these pants looked liked someone had a rough day painting house! So I gave up with the GooGone and filled the washing machine with water and several scoops of OxiClean.

I put all five pants in the washer, left them soak for several hours, then ran the washing machine cycle as usual. When I skeptically pulled the pants out, I was completely shocked to find most of the red decoration gone! Ed's blue jeans and the little boy's pants only had a few very light spots. Ed's other pants were a brown denim of an unusual texture and didn't look as good but they were still far wearable in comparison to what they were a few hours earlier! The inside of the dryer, which was also liberally splashed with red, recovered with some Comet and elbow grease. Who knew that one crayon could give so much color to my world! But at least the result wasn't permanent!

I hope that none of you have similar dryer surprises, but just in case, I thought I'd share what worked for me! Do you have any practical solutions to household problems? We'd love to hear about it!


Related Posts with Thumbnails