Baby Time!

No, not baby time for me!
Thank goodness!
Errrr, I mean, just not yet.
When the right time comes ... I'll be excited -
But right now I'm enjoying all the other mommies having babies!
I'm rather obssessed with Taggies.
A dear friend from work (when I was working before Jonah was born)
made me a beautiful Taggy blanket for him.
They are so much cheaper to make than to buy.
Since then, I've worked on perfecting the look I like.

I recently made two Taggies with these fabrics
For friends with little girls on the way.
I have several other friends who are also expecting within 2-3 months.
So more will be following!
Such a simple project (which translates: Elisa can actually do it):
Two squares of cute fabric (I like one side to have texture)
with loops of ribbon sticking out all around the sides.
Use various colors, textures, widths, etc., of ribbon to make it fun.
Sadly, I forgot to take a pictures of the finished projects before I gave them away!
But, here are the colors I used in the past two,
And I can't wait to make some more in the next few weeks!


Laundry Detergent

There are many different recipes for homemade laundry detergent out there.  Just Google Homemade Laundry Detergent and you'll see what I mean (Sarah makes a different kind than I do - maybe she would share that one with us as well - nudge, nudge).  This particular one is my personal favorite for a couple of reasons:  

* It's specially concocted with cloth diapers in mind.  (There aren't any additives that build up in the cotton making it less absorbent.)

* It's really fast to make. (You can make a batch in about 5 minutes.  I tried a recipe that you have to cook and nearly lost my mind.)

* It cleans well. (My youngest daughter enjoys mud quite a bit, so this is well tested)

* You only use 1/8c. per load so it goes a long way. 

*  And though I was just complaining about this earlier, I like that it doesn't have any odor.  (I'm kind of a weenie when it comes to smells.)

Drawbacks - Some of the ingredients are a little hard to find, and the upfront cost didn't seem like much of a deal. (You have to make several batches before the savings add up.)

Homemade Powdered Detergent

1 55 oz. box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Mule Team Borax
2 Cups Oxygen Cleaner (I use a generic brand)
1/2 cup Simple Green (found in the automotive department)
1/2 cup Calgon Water Softening Powder (if you can’t find it as a powder, use 1/4 c. of the liquid and add one box of baking soda, or add a tiny bit to each load)

I also add white vinegar to my laundry as a fabric softener.  (Don't worry it doesn't make your clothes smell like vinegar.)

So there you have it.  If any of you have any other recipes that you have tried and like.  I would love to hear them.  I hope to post soon about the "others" in my Homemade Cleaning Arsenal.


Fresh Laundry

Gerville Hall/Istock

I have been using homemade detergent for close to a year now.  I love the way it cleans, the price, and the fact that it last forever.  What I don't love - the smell - or lack thereof.    I have tried to add essential oils to the detergent with no luck.  It smells nice for about two days and then...nothing.  I considered buying dryer sheets and adding a nice fresh laundry scent that way, but our dryer repair man said they damage the drum.  So I resigned myself to having fresh, clean, odorless clothing.  Until today!  I was changing a load and thought why can't I make my own dryer sheet, of sorts?  It wouldn't have fabric softeners in it so it shouldn't damage the drum. So I took an old cloth nursing pad (I'm sure any absorbent piece of cloth would do), put a couple drops of essential oil on it, and threw it into the dryer.  When the load was finished, I opened the door, and a beautiful bouquet of loveliness entered my nostrils!  Success!!  The nursing pad was still strongly scented so I threw it into a second load.  It worked just a great the second time.  Now if I can just remember to wear deodorant every day, I could smell good all the time!


"Can we?"

My husband came home from work the other day and told me a story about a lady he had met. She and her husband are starting a church inside their home and are on a real faith-testing journey. They believe that living within your means and "acting your wage" are critical and so they were wanting to downsize their home. They prayed to God, "Can we sell our house?" and He said "No, not yet." They waited for a little while and asked Him again, "Can we sell our house?" and this time He said "Okay." Their journey has been long, with lots of ups and downs, and they are still in the midst of running the race.

Maybe one day I will be able to share the entire story, but for right now I want to share with you what impacted me the most about this story: they asked God before acting. I have the tendency to act and then pray for God's wisdom and blessing. My biggest fear about asking first, is that I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to hear God's answer. I have been reading Genesis lately and I have been shocked at how the characters (Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham, etc.) all talked with God like He was sitting right there next to them. I long to have that type of relationship with God, but I am definitely not there yet!

I am a work in progress, but I know the promise has been made, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)


Much Is Asked ...

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded,
and from the one who has been intrusted with much,
much more will be asked." Luke 12:48

This afternoon as I was before the Lord, He used the verse to speak directly to me. The past several weeks have been a time of wrestling with the Lord. He is causing me to look within myself - at my sinful, fleshly, nature - and I don't like what I find. He is asking me to change. To give up things, to give up dreams and hopes, to allow more of His ways and thoughts to become planted and become a way of life, a way of daily living ... I feel as if I can't explain it clearly. But it truly has felt as if I were wrestling with the Lord, with myself.

But back to today. I have been given so much. A strong family, wonderful friends, a loving church, a heritage of Godliness, knowledge of HIM at a young age - and now ... He is going to ask of more from me. He is asking more of me. Demanding more from me - to give up more for His kingdom. His purposes. To die to myself in ways I haven't. To lay down my dreams and follow His.

This is both terrifying and freeing. No matter how often I say I want to do whatever God asks, the cost is there, and it is often so painful to my flesh. I must put to death my sinful desires and be willing to allow Him to change the desires of MY heart to become HIS desires for my life. It is not easy for me to put the desires for a larger house, secure finances, close friends, and many other dreams in His hands. My need to be in control bleeds through. But yet, my spirit wages war and is crying to "do it, surrender all, find true security in Him amidst your deepest fears".

It feels raw. It feels scary. My flesh isn't going down without a fight. But I want to be found in Him ... and as He asks more of me, that I can give it, only because He is of the highest value to me. I must press on. I must draw closer to Him.


Recent craft/sewing projects

Forgive me, there are no tutorials with this post, only pictures of the recent projects I have completed. Let me know if you want to know how to do any of these projects and I would be more than happy to send instructions (I didn't take pics during the crafting/sewing and that is why there are no tutorials).
Freezer Paper Stenciling (matching cupcake t-shirts for my nieces using two different colors of paint and a little bit of glitter):

T-shirt Skirt (I used a XXXL t-shirt that didn't have a logo on the front or the back)

Baby Gift


Great deal on Cheerios!

Dollar General has Cheerios (all varieties) on sale for $2 a box. There are two printable coupons from www.coupons.com for Cheerios: one coupon is for 75 cents off of a box of Multi-Grain Cheerios and the second coupon is for $1 off TWO boxes of any flavor of Cheerios. If you use the coupons then you can get three boxes of Cheerios for a total of $4.25 (before tax)!


Upside Down Peach Cake!

Around here, peaches are coming into season!
This is means for the next few weeks,
they are on sale ... at the store, farmer's market, area orchards, etc.
I bought a few pounds at Checkers last week:
my intention was to surprise Eli with a peach pie - his favorite.
I think realized that I had no Crisco.
And since I had already made my weekly trip to the grocery store,
I needed to find something else special to make!
I pulled out Cake Keeper Cakes. A new cookbook I got several months ago and LOVE!
And found this recipe ... give it a try and enjoy!

Peach-Buttermilk Upside-Down Cake:
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar (I always use dark)
2 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round pan and dust with flour. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over med heat until foaming. Stir in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low and cook, whisking for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth. Arrange the peach slices in concentric circles on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

*Cream butter and sugar together in mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix well. Dump in all dry ingredients and combine - mixing for 30 seconds. Spread batter over peaches. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 min (make sure you have a cookie sheet underneath - mine bubbled over along the edges). Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate. Yum! Author, Lauren Chattman