Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemaker Monday -- October 27, 2014

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::

This morning was Half-Caff Coffee and toast with Cinnamon Butter. I thought a switch to butter from margarine was past due. Oh the cost, though..
Looking around the house::::
Way too much cleaning needs done just like every Monday. I guess that's the pay off for having fun on the weekend. I need to find the dining room table tonight or tomorrow.

On today's to do list::::

Laundry.... I won't be doing my usual 6 loads today. I think I'll get in 3 or 4 loads. My kitchen is demanding too much time today.

Cleaning..... Lots of cleaning, especially my kitchen. It is amazing how much mess the boys can make when left to their own devices for a day.

Homeschooling..... NOT GOING WELL... Grrr! Portfolio is due to the school district by Friday and it is NOT ready.

Crocheting..... Still no time...

Cooking.... Today is homemade chicken fingers, broccoli cheese noodles and green beans.

Currently reading::::

Haven't read anything all week. :( Still working on Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and quite a few downloaded Homesteading books on the Kindle.

On the TV today::::

I'm not sure if I'll turn on the tv today. I have tons to do and I am worn out..

The weather outside is::::

Woke up to temps in the 50's and now this afternoon it is in the mid 80's with low humidity. I love this time of year! No need for A/C or heat. Just cold enough to have to snuggle at night. We may have to shut the back bedroom sliding door soon but not yet. 

That's Fall in Florida for you. 
On the menu this week::::

Homemade Breaded Chicken Fingers, Broccoli Cheese Noodles, and Green Beans


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Taco Bake

Meatball Stew in the Crockpot

Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli with Cheese, Corn



If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Work on some of my unfinished projects

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
The meatball stew recipe is new. 

One of my simple pleasures::::

Sipping a cup of flavored coffee and reading through MaryJane's Farm

Favorite photo from the camera::::

We went to Sweetfields Farm in Masaryktown FL on Sunday and had a great time. This is a picture of the girls on the hay ride.

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
Haven't really visited any blogs this week. I have been busy. I finally got my fall garden in and things are growing!

Praying for::::

Guidance for direction. I need to learn to "let go and let God" Being a control freak sucks sometimes..

Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Easy Homemade Degreaser Spray

Welcome to another Frugal Friday!

Today We're making Homemade Degreaser Spray.

If you made last week's laundry detergent then you should have all of the ingredients in your house.

You will need:

1 teaspoon of Washing Soda

4 teaspoons of Borax

1 teaspoon of dish soap (I use Dawn)

4 cups HOT water

add the first 3 to your bottle and then pour in the hot water. Hot water will help the powders to dissolve. Shake well.

I use this on all of the surfaces in my kitchen and the even the rest of the house for that matter.  I love the way it cleans. Just remember to shake it again before you use it because it may separate a little between uses.

If you prefer, you can follow up with the glass cleaner ( vinegar and water spray) on the kitchen food prep surfaces but I really don't.

I haven't done a cost breakdown for using these homemade products vs. the store bought stuff but I do know that I save a lot of money this way. More importantly, I like the peace of mind in knowing exactly what I'm exposing my kids to.

Next week I'll show you my recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Deconstructing a dress to make an Apron part 1

I found this cute little handmade Halloween dress at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store 2 or 3 years ago and, even though it is a size or two too small, I had to buy it.

The front has a large "Broomzelda" at the chest. The back has cute little pumpkins.

The front

Around the bottom
Around the bottom

 This dress just screamed, "I'm an Apron!" at me a few days ago so I decided to get to work on it.

First, I removed the rear seam using a pair of scissors. I would have preferred to use a seam ripper but I couldn't find mine. OH to be organized some day!

Then I cut across the back shoulder area leaving a flap with the buttons at the shoulders too. 

I haven't decided if I want to leave this with a straight edge or to round the corners. What do you all think?

At this point I had to stop and make dinner. I'll probably continue this evening or tomorrow afternoon. I haven't decided which.

As soon as I do I will post here. 

What's for dinner you ask?

Baked Ziti the Easy way.

actually today I used penne. <giggle> so it's really baked penne but don't tell my kids that!

To make Easy Baked Ziti (or penne or whatever noodle shape you have)

1 pound box of pasta

1 jar pasta sauce

1/2 pound shredded Italian cheese

That's IT! so easy!

Preheat your oven to 350⚬   
Pour the box of pasta into a baking dish.( I personally use foil disposable pans for this as they hold more than my baking dishes do. Maybe time for a bigger baking dish?)

Add the pasta sauce.

Fill the empty pasta jar with water and dump into dish. Do this twice or as close to twice as possible. 

Stir it all together.

Add 3/4 of the cheese and stir it in. Save the rest for later.

Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Check it after 45 minutes. You don't want it to be too dry.

Uncover, add the rest of the cheese to the top and let sit 5 minutes til it melts.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Homemaker Monday Oct. 13, 2014

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::

Coffee and a half peanut butter sandwich. Once the girls are up, I'll have some pancakes with them perhaps.

Looking around the house::::

It's the usual Monday morning mess around here. It seems to take less time than it used to getting it cleaned up though. Here's hoping that trend continues!

On today's to do list::::

Laundry.... Today's focus day. I will be spending extra time trying to get this area tamed. Note to self: We have way too many clothes!

Cleaning..... Working on cleaning the laundry room today. Hope to find the floor under Mt. Washmore eventually. (here's hoping!)

Homeschooling..... Jacob has been slacking quite a bit still. I have to turn in a portfolio of his work by the end of the month so he better get cracking!

Crocheting..... Bought a new crochet hook while thrifting over the weekend. I hope to try crocheting sometime this week.

Cooking.... Homemade meatloaf today. I want to make beautyberry jelly this week too.

Meatloaf covered in a zesty sauce, all ready for the oven. yum!

Currently reading::::
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

This is quite a good read. I am really enjoying it. It was a thrift store find last week.

On the TV today::::

The guys are all very into the new Gotham show and then my husband watches Sleepy Hollow afterwards. As for me, I'll probably just head to my bedroom and watch some Hulu. I am currently watching the Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska series as well as Life with Elizabeth from the 50's. 

The weather outside is::::
Still a bit too hot for my taste. High 80's to low 90's during the day and 70's at night. When, oh when will fall finally arrive in Florida?

On the menu this week::::


Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes with Green Beans


Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Rice in the Crockpot


Baked Ziti

BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli Cheddar Spirals with Corn

Steak and Zesty Au Gratin Potatoes


Free for all. We will probably eat out somewhere

Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and green beans and corn

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::

Create a Halloween apron from a jumper dress that I found at a thrift store a few years ago.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
Beauty Berry Jelly. I have a large beauty berry bush in my yard and found a recipe to make jelly from it. I want to give it a try. Never made any kind of jelly before so this will be an adventure.

One of my simple pleasures::::

Feeling like I had a good day as a homemaker and a mom. Thankfully I am getting better at this all the time!

Favorite photo from the camera::::

The girls tried on these Halloween costumes at Target recently. I love the smiles on their faces, they were having so much fun!

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
I spent quite a lot of time this week looking through Susan Branch's Blog I love so many of the posts there. I got some great ideas on cleaning my vintage linens too.

Praying for::::
My family and our little cottage.  I would like to become more self-sustaining as a family.
Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::

nothing here this week either.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent

Happy Frugal Friday!

 Since I conveniently ran out of laundry detergent and had to make some today, I figured I show you how I do it.

Here are the things you'll need :

I usually buy mine at Walmart.

The Borax and the Washing Soda are both 3.97 or there about. The Fels Naptha is .97 At first glance $9 seems like a lot of money but it really is very cheap considering I make dishwasher detergent and a degreaser spray from them as well.

Here is how you make laundry detergent:

2 cups of Borax

2 cups of Washing Soda

1 bar Fels Naptha (you can use another type of bar soap if you choose. I like the Fels Naptha for the scent and the cleaning power)

grate the Fels Naptha and add all three together. mix well.

I found this awesome little food processor at the thrift store this week. Before this I was hand grating using a box grater. The food processor is soooo much quicker and easier!

This is what my grated soap looks like.

I put it all into a disposable storage container. Eventually I'll upgrade to a fancier, prettier container but for now this works for me.

Add a 1/4 cup to the washer before the clothes while the water is filling. This gives it a chance to start dissolving (although I've never had a problem with it not dissolving)

Add the clothes and wash as usual. :)

For fabric softener I use Mrs Meyers lavender scented fabric softener.

But to be more frugal this is how I use it:

In another of the storage containers I dilute the fabric softener with water half and half. Then I place a couple of sponges that I cut in half into the bucket. Keep them in there until you need them.

To use place a well squeezed out sponge in the dryer with your wet clothes. This one bottle should last many months. I personally do 4 loads of laundry nearly every day. I haven't even made a dent in the amount of fabric softener. I expect it to last me nearly a year!

 Being frugal can be easy. Hope you give it a try...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thrifting Finds and Busy Hands

Hey ya'll, how are you?

I wanted to share some of the fabulous thrift store finds from this week. I traveled out to a Goodwill Outlet this past Tuesday and got some great bargains.

My favorite would have to be "Granpa George"

This is a large painting on canvas. I don't know who he is or even who the artist is, but he spoke to me. It's over 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Right now he's just sitting on my dining room floor, but eventually he'll go on the wall to watch over us. I hope we meet his approval.

I also found a quilt rack, 2 comforters, a gorgeous white cutwork duvet cover, clothes for the girls, a small food processor to help with making laundry soap, and a whole bunch of other cool things.

Can you tell that I live to thrift?

I finally got around to making my compost bin out of old pallets. I even got some things thrown in there to start composting. No pictures though. By the time I was done, I was much to tired to take pictures. Next on the agenda is getting the raised garden beds filled and planted. Hopefully this weekend.

I even came up with a cleaning plan for the cottage. It's not very clean here I'm ashamed to admit. With 9 people in our little home, it tends to be hard to keep up with. Something is always neglected.

My plan goes like this:

Monday- focus is on laundry and garage (since that's where the laundry area is)

Tuesday- errand day. Since we only have one car and Megan has to be picked up after school, my husband has to come home early. Therefore I can travel to work with him, use the car in the "big city" and come back in time for the kids to come home from school. This also means crockpot meals on Tuesdays.

Wednesday- Bathroom day. With 3 bathrooms, they need a focus day all to themselves.

Thursday-bedroom day. Mainly I will be focusing on the master bedroom but trying to get the kids to clean their own as well.

Friday- the main room which consists of an L shaped living area, dining area and kitchen. 

Saturday- outside areas. This is going to be a bit of a challenge. My husband is not much of a homebody. He enjoys going out shopping and such on weekends. Maybe I'll get some stuff done outside in the mornings while he is sleeping in. 

Sunday- family day. A day to enjoy each other's company and prepare for the week to come.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday Oct 6,2014

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::

Lately I've been eating a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. I think it goes great with my half-caff coffee.
Looking around the house::::
Lots of cleaning needs done. Mondays are bad as far as cleanliness goes. I guess that's what happens in a household of 9 people.

Right now Thor is chasing an empty water bottle around the livingroom. He's being quite entertaining.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.... I try to do at least 4 loads of laundry every day. Most days I miss that mark. Mondays I make it mandatory though. It's the only way to make a dent in Mt. Washmore.

Cleaning..... Kitchen is high on the priority list today. I have at least 2 dishwasher loads to do.

Homeschooling..... Jacob is my only homeschooler this year. He is supposed to be working on PACE units. I need to get cracking on him to catch up.

Crocheting..... I plan on learning to crochet one of these days. I have hooks and yarn just waiting...

Cooking.... Not much out of the ordinary cooking today. Just dinner. Spaghetti and Meatballs, yum!

Currently reading::::

I have tons of books on my Kindle that I got free. I just need to find the time to read them. Most are either Amish fiction or some type of homesteading information.

On the TV today::::

I really don't know what I'll watch on tv today other than the news. Husband and kids usually dominate the tv in the evenings.

The weather outside is::::
So nice. Fall is finally making a brief appearance here in Florida. It got down into the 40's last night and only the low 80's during the day. The big thing is low humidity,yay! No sweating buckets today.

On the menu this week::::

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Roasted chicken in the crockpot


Italian Sausage and Rice with Peas


Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and fresh bread


Pizza and Wings


Something with Ground Beef but I haven't decided yet


Don't know

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::

Oh my, I have so many projects that I want to work on that I don't even know where to begin!

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

The Italian Sausage will be a new recipe for me. I love looking for new recipes to try, but the rest of my family are such picky eaters. I like to have alternatives for them when I make something new.

One of my simple pleasures::::

I love thrifting. You never know what you'll find. Thrifting also helps us live more simply. 

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Couldn't decide on one so I put both of the girls' pictures up. This is from our last trip over to the beach which is 10 minutes away.

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
I have been checking out quite a lot of blogs lately. As a blogger myself, I tend to visit many other blogs daily. Right now I'm really liking 

Praying for::::

My relationship with my husband is not doing as well as I'd like. I've been praying for guidance in this area. 

Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::

Nothing that comes to mind right now.