The Guestbook

Happy New Year, friends! I am excited about the possibilities that await me in 2017. I have been eagerly working on my list of goals and books to read, and of course, I’m all ready to start my journey through the Word of God again. If you’d like a list of printable schedules for daily Bible reading, then please click HERE and scroll to that heading. (My favorite one is the Robert Murray M’Cheyne schedule.)

A few weeks ago, my husband read this blog post and got a great idea: we would have a guestbook for our home! I only wish we had gotten this idea sooner. We have been married almost two decades and have been blessed to have numerous friends, relatives, church family, missionaries, and preachers visit our home from around the world. We have enjoyed lively conversation and sweet fellowship with so many folks. Seeing their signature in our guestbook would have been a small way to keep those memories alive and strong; a way to savor the time with them and enjoy the echo of laughter down through the years. Well, we can’t go back, but we do plan on going forward with this idea.

I shopped around for a nice guestbook, as I expect that one will last us several years. I found this one at our Hallmark Gold Crown Store.

cover

This one was casual looking with a place to insert your initial, as I have done, or a photo.

celebration-of

Guestbooks are usually only used for weddings and funerals – beginnings and endings – missing out on all the fun in between, called life! We want to change that. We decided that our guestbook will be “In Celebration of the presence of friends and family.”

inside

I chose this one because it had a place for comments. The signer can either just date it and sign, or add comments about his visit, etc. My mother was the first signature in our guestbook. I am eager to see who will be next!

Thank you for reading! May the Lord bless you in 2017 and beyond.

With love,

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Welcome, Autumn!

I would probably usually say, “Happy fall, y’all!” But, I’m trying to add a little elegance to the blog. 😉 I’m excited about experiencing the four seasons in Oklahoma. I’m thinking they won’t be much different from where I grew up, but we’ll see! That’s the exciting part of living in a new place, even the changing of the seasons is all brand new. I’m almost completely recovered from my excursion last weekend. I missed two nights of sleep, so I’ve been trying to catch up all week long. I’ve also found myself behind on my normal chores, but I caught up on those today. It’s comforting to feel the sides of my rut forming around me; that blessed routine of life!

Here are a few photos of our autumn decorations I got out this week:

I got this basket at a thrift store for $2. The pine cones and gourds were in a bag at Hobby Lobby for $3.

I bought the leaves at Hobby Lobby on sale, as well as my little scarecrow. I already had the other decorations in storage. 

Here’s the piano, with my little basket. I set out some of the pine cones and leaves at random. As you can see, I’m not a good decorator; I just do what I like.

We welcome our friends, anytime! 

Okay, so I just have to say it…

Happy fall, y’all!

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The Kitchen: Before and After

Last week I started working to make this house more “homey”. I picked out some curtains for my kitchen windows and a paint color to match. I have red apple decorations for my kitchen, but a lot of them have broken over the years. Rather than replace them, or change my theme altogether, I decided to just go with red as my main color. Any red decorations will match, be they apples, strawberries or chili peppers. 🙂

BEFORE:

Some of my cabinets have glass doors. The walls inside were painted a pretty pink color. If I had pink accents for my kitchen, I would have left these alone. However, they clashed with the red I was going to put above the cabinets, so I had to paint these walls.

Everything was pure white! Very dull and sterile.
You can see how white it all is, and the pink just barely shows up through the glass.
And now, AFTER:
Here are my glass cabinets. The walls are the same color as above.

I think it looks so warm and inviting now! 
Not only did we get new paint in the kitchen, but we got a new dishwasher! Our sweet church family gave us a housewarming on July 7, complete with generous gifts. We used the cash to purchase a new dishwasher on sale. The one that came with the house was about 15 years old. The racks were literally falling apart and the dishes were not getting clean. The new one makes this chore so much easier! 🙂 
I am not a great cook, nor is cooking really my favorite thing to do, but I am enjoying being in my kitchen so much more now. I think I’ll even whip up some new recipes soon! I think the family will like that. 🙂 

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Protect Your Cabinets from Getting "Trashed"

Most of you know that we have just purchased our first home. While settling in, I got an idea. Now, that’s unusual for me, so I had to sit down and share it right away. I am asking myself now, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?” In fact, you have probably already thought of this.

I noticed (too late) at my last house that the wall beside the trash can was constantly getting splashed with…well, trash. I have several small children who are learning to clean up the kitchen and sometimes their aim is off when scraping the plates. This can make a mess. My solution was to [have my husband] tack up clear shelf covering on the cabinet next to the trash can! It’s clear, so it’s practically invisible, and it cleans off much easier than a painted cabinet or wall would!

Can you see it?

Of course, if you have your trash can in under a sink or something, you have it made! If not, this tip should keep your cabinets from getting “trashed”.

Happy Homemaking!
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Homemade Cleaners

I have been making various versions of homemade laundry detergent for quite a while, and saving money doing it. Now, thanks to Pinterest, I’m finding other types of cleaning products that can be made at home and prove very effective. One purchase that I make about every three weeks is a bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles. It works really well to remove that stubborn ring around the tub, but, it’s not cheap. I stumbled upon the following recipe for making a similar cleaner at home using only two cheap ingredients! The original recipe just said to use equal amounts of these cleaners, but I like things to exact, so I’ll share the formula that worked for me.

Homemade Tub & Shower Cleaner

Ingredients:
An empty spray bottle
Equal parts of vinegar and Dawn dish washing liquid. (I used 1.5 cups of each, but it depends on how large your spray bottle is.)

Directions:
Heat the 1.5 cups of vinegar in the microwave for 90 seconds. Pour into spray bottle. Add dish washing liquid. Give it shake. Spray onto tub or shower, let stand for about five minutes. Use a damp sponge to clean tub. It requires a bit more elbow grease, but it does a fine job at a much lower price! Hooray for saving money! 🙂

*Note: You do not have to re-heat to use this cleaner. Only heat it when you mix it up in the beginning.

Homemade Floor Cleaner

Ingredients: 
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup super washing soda
1 tsp. Dawn
2 Gallons hot water

Directions:
Pour ingredients into large mop bucket, add 2 gallons hot water.

The original recipe said to use 1 Tbsp. Dawn, but that was entirely too sudsy for me! It was almost so soapy that I had to go over the floors with plain water when I was done. If I had a really dirty floor, or if I didn’t have to do my floors often, I might use more Dawn. However, I clean my floors every week…well, actually my son does, so the smaller amount of Dawn worked great.

*Note: This formula is not recommended for waxed floors.

I hope these recipes will help your budget out during the holiday season, and all your long.
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Powdered Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:
1 Fels-Naptha bar, grated and/or processed
1. c. super washing soda (NOT baking soda, must be sodium carbonate)
1/2 c. Borax
Optional: 1 to 1.5 caps full Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer, any scent.(I picked purple!) :]
First, I grated the Fels-Naptha bar, (in above photo) and then placed the shavings into my small food processor for finer chopping. It might have been fine to just break the soap into chunks and then process it, but I was worried that larger chunks would damage my processor.

After processing.

Mix together all of the ingredients and you’re done! 
Use 1 tbsp. for small loads, and 2 tbsp. for larger or heavily soiled loads.

As an addition to the above ingredients, I wanted to share something that my husband and I spotted while on our date to the grocery store (Yes, I take what I can get in the way of dates! lol! Any time alone with my man is a good time, no matter where we are.). Anyway, I saw this:

Now, I’ve been making my own liquid laundry detergent for a while. However, I was never able to add a scent to it because I don’t have a place nearby to get essential oils. Our clothes looked clean, but didn’t have that “fresh” scent. So, I thought I’d add this Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer into this powdered detergent recipe to see how it worked. I put it into my most recent batch. I used a cap full, plus another half of a cap full, and it works GREAT! The laundry smells so fresh and clean. I will probably only add one cap full to the recipe next time. I think I like this dry recipe better than the liquid because it’s easier to make and store. I hope this is a help to someone. I’m grateful to the Duggar family for sharing their money saving tips! 🙂

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Little Girl’s Slip {Tutorial}

My daughter Laci, is needing a new slip for some of her Sunday dresses. It is *very* hard to find her size slip at an affordable price. I am not a seamstress. I’ve sewn a lined vest in high school, a jumper for Lauren when she was two, and a few aprons. That’s about it. I’ve done a lot mending with my sewing machine and made some curtains, things like that. However, I break out in a cold sweat and feel quite nervous whenever I get out my sewing machine. It just isn’t my forte.

I think it’s been over a year since I bought this material to make a slip, which originally was for my oldest daughter. She grew tall enough to be able to wear an adult ladies’ slip, so I didn’t need to make her one. Phew. But, I have two other daughters! I dug out of storage one slip that fits my 7 year old, but we still needed one for the 5 year old. What should a girl with minimal sewing skills, without a pattern, do? Well, if you’re like me, you risk it. My mother used to say “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I ventured, and I gained! 🙂 I was so shocked! I photographed the process “by faith”. After all, if it was a failure, I could just delete the photos. 😉

Okay, I guess  I did sort of have a pattern. I cut up her old slip along the seams and used that as a guideline. It still fit her on the width, so I didn’t need to add anything that way, we just needed some length. I have no idea what this fabric is. Broadcloth? Is there such a thing? This is some kind of white fabric. Not stretchy or silky, just plain. I wasn’t sure if I could sew very well on slick fabric.

Here are the steps I used to do this. You might call this “slip making by a dummy” (It’s not for dummies, you people are NOT dumb!) I’m sure there are dozens (perhaps scores?) of my readers who could do better, but, just in case someone out there would like an easy way to sew a slip, here ya go.

  • Cut apart an old slip on the side seams.
  • Line up the straps along the fold of the fabric. 
  • Using a tape measure, find the length and/or width that you want the new slip to be.
  • Cut along your markings, making the front of the slip neckline a bit lower than the back.
  • Slide the slip over your girl’s head, to be sure the neck and arm holes do fit her, checking also that the sides will meet.
  • Sew side seams.
  • I didn’t have any pretty lace or bias tape to put on the edges, but that would make it really cute. Maybe even a little pink bow on the front? I didn’t have that, either. I also didn’t make a ruffle or even a hem! After all, no one will see it. I could have hemmed it, but I wanted to have all the length from it possible. If it needed to be shorter, I would have hemmed it.
  • Stitch unfinished edges using a zig-zag stitch (or hem).

The finished product: not pretty and not fancy. But, it fits, and it hides unmentionables, so it worked! 🙂 

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