Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade laundry soap: One year later. . .

Almost one year ago we began making our own laundry soap and I haven't looked back. It is simple to make and I have been very pleased with the results. I have not any issues with stain maintenance, and I have even been washing muddy play clothes with it. . .manure has yet to be tested. 

I had come across some old pictures from the day we made it for the first time that Farmboy never got around to adding to the origional post, so I thought I would let you all in on the process he documented here on that February day at Grandma's house

- Supplies:  soap, borax, washing soda, and a bucket with lid = $12.51

- Time to complete: 20 to 30 min. (including cleanup)
- Difficulty:  1 easy to 5 hard  = 1

F.Y.I. I have not had to purchase any more of these supplies since the first batch, 
so the $12.51 has lasted us for the whole year!

For the recipe you will need:

1/3 bar soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

The first step was to grate the soap.

Add it to 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts.

It should look like this.

Next add the washing soda and borax and stir until disolved.

Pour 4 cups of hot water into your 2 gallon bucket, add the soap mixture and stir. 
Then add 1 gallon and 6 cups of water. 

If you do your math right you will end up with 2 gallons of laundry soap. 
You will need to let it sit overnight while it thickens. 

It will be kinda lumpy, but I pour it into an old detergent container and then 
just shake before each use. You will need to use about 1/ 2 cup per load. 
It does not get sudsy, so it is perfect for use in HE washers as well!

So the bottom line is that you get 2 gallons of soap that does what it is supposed to do for about $0.70.

I like them numbers!

Link to Homestead Revival

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Due Date!

Once again, no baby involved! I just like messin' with ya!

Farmboy came home from work the other day and waited a whole HOUR to casually grab a calendar and plunk his finger down on February 25. Our due date. The day when all of our planning and waiting will come to fruition and we will hit the ground running! 
We will be moving in!!!!

Since spring is fast approaching we will have to get in gear for our first spring/summer on the farm. We will be focusing this year on our garden, 

a batch of chickens for eggs and eatin', 

Golden Comet

and last but not least (after 14 years of wanting) I will be getting a puppy!!!!

Golden Retriever Puppy in Bucket (Canis Familiaris) Illinois, USA

And I shall name her Daisy.

One Excited Mamma

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Thank You Cards

Here are a couple of thank you cards I made a few weeks ago.

For the first card I stamped the snowflakes with white ink and
then put glitter glue in the centers for added detail.
I colored in the bird using a blending pen and
then finished the card up by distressing all of the edges.

The second card used a stamp from a VERY well used stamp set
(I hand stamped all of my brother's wedding invitations).
 It was fun revisiting this one!

Hope you are having a cozy winter!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthday's galore. . .

Tis the season for birthdays in my extended family. It started in December and will continue marching right on through the spring. My goal is to create a card for each family member and then post it during the week of their birthday.

December Birthdays

The first card was for my baby brother and you can see that here.

Next came my sister-in-law for whom I made the Aloha Card set seen here.

Now for my sweet neice Anna, who didn't get hers on her birthday. . oopsie! The thing you have to know about Anna is that she looooooves ponies, so for her card I found this stamp set in my bin and then hit the scrap stash for the paper and ribbon. I loooooooove this card!!!

And I looooove my niece! Happy Birthday, Anna Banana!

January Birthday

This card is for my big little sister. She is my big sister. . .but she is very little. . .hehehe!
I went for a bit of an Asian feel with this card, because she might as well be Asian. . just sayin'.
I love the colors of this card. . .especially the soft blue. . .like her eyes. . .again, just sayin'.

She is sweet and she is perty! She is my sister and my best friend. Love you, Jenn!

On to February. The end.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Daily Bread. . .

If you know me at all, then you knew it was bound to happen. . .

I have started making our bread.

 I was tired of looking at the never ending ingredient list on the bread at the store, and was frustrated that with the decrease of ingredients came the increase in price.

I set out to come up with a light and fluffy bread using basic ingredients.

And, yes, this is white bread. I have plans on attempting a wheat version, but not just yet. My family loves this bread, and they love their veggies. . . It's all about balance, right?

Here is the recipe that I came up with.

Note: This recipe is made for a 4 1/2 quart stand mixer and makes only one loaf. Most bread recipes make two loaves, but my mixer can only handle enough flour for one loaf.  If you decide to make this by hand (or have a larger mixer) you can easily double it and make two loaves.

Assemble all of your ingredients.

 Cut butter into cubes, place it into the milk and microwave until butter starts to melt
 (approximately 1 minute).

 Put remaining ingredients into the mixer with a dough hook attached.

This is a dough hook. This little miracle takes all the "work" out of bread. Having had surgery on both of my hands I am not in the Knead Your Own Bread by Hand club.

This is what your butter should look like.

 Mix for 10 seconds then add milk/butter. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 10 minutes.

Here comes the tricky part. You have to decide by look and feel if you need to add more liquid or more flour.

The above picture needs a little more four (about 2 Tablespoons).

For a tender bread you want it a little moist. It should be just sticking a little bit to the bottom of the bowl. It should feel tacky to your fingers, but your finger should not have any dough stuck to it.

After is is done kneading, remove dough from hook and shape it into a ball.

 Lightly grease the bowl. Turn dough over once to coat. I just sprayed the bowl with Pam and then sprayed the top of the dough as well.

Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm oven. I usually turn my oven on until it just kicks on then shut it back off.

Let rise until double (approximately 1 hour).

Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle,

 roll into a loaf shape 

pinch to seal the seam

and then press (seam side down) into a greased loaf pan.

 Cover with a towel and let rise until dough comes to the top of the pan (approximately 45 minutes).

 Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for  30-40 minutes.

 Place piece of foil over bread during last 10-20 minutes to keep from over-browning.

Turn out of pan and then cool completely before slicing.

Try not to let your kids (or your mouth) scarf the whole loaf down before it even cools. 

Try. . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Memory Lane. . .

Perhaps one of the things I like most about scrapbooking is reliving the memories. I know some people try to keep up with recent events, and try to get it all in while it is still fresh, but there is just something about spending an hour or so focusing in on a very special past memory.

This was Morgan the very day she turned 4. She got to have a party with her pre-school class at Crosspoint and she absolutely had to have birthday hats! She is still kinda partial to birthday hats!

We got to drive by her old school while we were visiting SoCal this weekend. A lot of fun memories inside those walls!

 I have enjoyed reliving every one and look forward to reliving them with her as she continues to grow right before my eyes.

Life Is Good.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

WVU Birthday Card

My little brother turned 30.
My baby brother grew up.

My wittle baby brover is a man. . . and a doctor.
How did this happen?

Why does it make me feel so old?

My brother graduated from WVU and still "occasioanlly" watches their football games and has maybe even been to a game or twenty, so I wanted to make him a fun yet "manly" card,
 'cause he's a man now. . .

But no matter how OLD he gets he will still be my baby brother. Love you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pile up. . .

News Bulletin: There has been a two cat pile up at the intersection of Bed and Blankets. . .

I would like to know how a family that is a self-professing dog loving, cat neutered neutral finds itself with no dog and two barn cats that are in for a rude awakening next month. . .

You see, we are not only without a dog, but are also without a barn, and being of unsound mind and soft heart have allowed these two kitties to seek occasional shelter in the house.

Something tells me that they don't think of themselves as barn cats.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My favorite Christmas gift. . .ever!

Just before Christmas 2010 we were still searching for "home." We had been searching and dreaming of this place called, "Home," for such a long time. I never could quite imagine what it looked like, but I kept saying to myself. . ."you'll know it when you see it."

Kinda like love. . .you'll know it when you find it.

Kinda like going into labor. . .you'll know when it's the real thing.

Sitting side by side with my husband on the couch, we were both on laptops
still searching for this place. . .Home.

Farmboy saw it first. . .

(If you have never read his version of the story you really need to check it out here.)

This was both of ours first view of Home.

We both knew it when we saw it. . . it was the real thing.

On January 7, 2011 we stepped out of the car and onto the ground that would be Home.

In about one month we will move into this place called Home. 
We have been waiting and dreaming and sighing. . .Home.


This brings me to the part of my favorite Christmas gift. . .ever! In our family we draw names each year. My brother and his wife decreed that they needed to draw us this year. . .they decreed it with a smug smirk. . .like they were up to something.

On Christmas day, standing in the kitchen of my mom's house, I was handed a wrapped gift. 

I took off the paper. I took off the cover. I cried a little.

They had had a friend of theirs paint this picture for us. . .our first glimpse of. . .