Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cloth Napkins

I spend far more time than I probably should on Pinterest.  In my defense, I have come across some really great ideas that have sparked my creativity.  This is one of those ideas.  So, I was on Pinterest looking for tips on being frugal and in one of the little squares a picture for cloth napkins appeared.  I clicked the link, became more interested and actively searched for more pins on napkins.  In just a few short minutes I was inspired!


I walked to my craft room and dug through my fabric, some of which had been sitting there for close to 10 years.   The fabrics I chose appear to be cotton blends.  Then I got out my pathetically dull scissors and went to town.  I cut up long lengths of fabric into napkin-sized squares.  I did this by using another cloth napkin that I had in the closet as a guide. I ended up with over 20 rectangular pieces of fabric that would soon be napkins.

Next, I ironed and pinned down the seams so that they would be easy to sew.  I folded them so that no rough edges would show.


Then I took out my sewing machine, which buy the way, I think is the easiest machine ever!  The task I have the most trouble with is the bobbin, and this bobbin threads automatically after you load it and begin sewing.  Major score!  Anyway, I began sewing up the edges and these pretty napkins are the result.

Unfortunately I did not do a step-by-step tutorial.  I'm still a little bit of a newbie at sewing.  In the

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Reflection - Be Happy and Do Good

Image by Pippalunacy
"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in his toil -- this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever, nothing can be added to it and nothing will be taken from it. "

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14a


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recipe - Lemon Blueberry Cake




Lemon Blueberry Cake

This recipe was requested after I brought it to a potluck party. It's modified from a recipe in my mom's cookbook. The glaze is a halved recipe from allrecipes.com.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Ingredients:

1 box lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 cup blueberries


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Musings - The Family Vacation

Wacky family picture

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the disruption to go on a family vacation.  I'm content to sit here in my house and let the kids swim in our small pool.  They are happy to do that.  I'm happy to go on day trips and spend the day nearby.  The kids probably wouldn't mind.  I wonder if all the money and time and effort are worth it.  I think about the years past and all the trouble with public bathrooms and how one child won't go unless it's a private, single stall.  I remember whining car rides to our destination.  I think about the grumpiness caused by lack of sleep and the complaints about food because things just aren't as convenient in a hotel.  I think about the begging and crying and fighting.  It all makes me want to stay home!

Then I stop for a second and reflect.  I call to mind the fun and excitement, and the look in my kids' eyes when they arrive at these new places full of wonder.  I remember my son finally glancing up from his tablet to see the mountains in front of us and saying, "wow".

Go ahead and tell me that egg isn't creepy.  I dare you.
I think about seeing my daughter reel with joy over all the rides at the park especially the roller coaster, even though she assured me one time on that was certainly enough.  I fix in my mind the moments of her learning to swim in the hotel pool only to beam with excitement at how she learned a new skill.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Reflection - Holy, holy, holy


Image by Pippalunacy

"'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,' who was, and is, and is to come." Revelation 4:8b

In life stress, tension and worry are inescapable.  When these inevitable feelings arise in me I pause briefly, close my eyes and meditate on these words from the book of Revelation.  I repeat them in my head and sometimes aloud.  I hand over my sense of urgency and my need for control, and these words offer comfort.  God is holy.  God is powerful.  He was here before me, he is here now, and he will be here long after I depart.  There is a certain comfort in this.   I can hold in my hand the unknown, knowing that I do not have to analyze it.  God is holy and that is enough.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Simple Iced Tea

Image by Pippalunacy
I almost feel silly writing a recipe for this, but I figure some people out there might really enjoy fresh brewed iced tea and not know how to make it themselves.  It's super simple and can be modified according to your taste preferences.


Simple Iced Tea

Ingredients:

5 tea bags
boiling water
water
ice
sweetener (optional)
lemon (optional)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Reflection

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Jesus

Luke 6: 27-31

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Make Your Own Deodorant

I know, I know….

It sounds weird.


The deodorant I use daily

I make my own deodorant.  Some do-it-yourself stuff I try and quickly abandon.  Some things I try and later abandon because even though they are pretty good, they take a quite a bit of effort.  Other do-it-yourself projects are definite winners. This deodorant is a winner.  Although it's not as easy as picking up a stick at the store, is very much worth the effort.

I've been using it for about five or six years and I'll never go back.  The recipe is from my mom.  I don't know where she got it, but I am posting it below. 

It is not an antiperspirant but I don't prefer one anyway.  Before I used this I was using a commercial deodorant product made for men which I had to reapply on hot days.  This product prevents odor all day, even in the heat.  I don't add scent, but I know others who will add a few drops of essential oil.  My skin is very sensitive and I would rather keep the recipe as simple as possible.

As an added bonus this deodorant is free of nasty chemicals so it won't cause any unwanted side effects. 


Make-Your-Own Deodorant

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil*
2 Tablespoons beeswax- grated or pellets

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Musings- My Thoughts on Artificial Sweeteners

You hear it everywhere.  Artificial sweeteners are bad for you.  You should avoid them at all cost.  They are going to make you fat.  They are going to give you cancer.  Well, I'm not sure about any of that, but I can give you my opinion on a few that are currently available.

Stevia
This is my "artificial" sweetener of choice.  Though it's not technically artificial, I wouldn't exactly say that it's natural in most of the forms in which it is consumed.  Personally, I use granulated stevia, which definitely has some not so natural ingredients such as maltodextrin.  I also use a liquid form with minimal ingredients which appear to be natural.  I feel very good about using stevia.  I let my children use it and it helps me to reduce the calories I consume.  

There are some drawbacks to stevia.  I like it in tea, but for coffee, it really is second rate.  It's great to sweeten cold beverages such as lemonade instead of sugar and it's good in yogurt, but for baking just skip it.  

I recommend stevia as a good option for people wishing to use a calorie free sweetener.

Brands:
Vitacost stevia extract
PureVia
Great Value stevia
Truvia


Aspartame
This product is found in most diet sodas and virtually all commercial chewing gum, even in gum with sugar.  I usually stay away from aspartame.  I admit to having some in diet soda and chewing gum occasion, but if I drink more than one beverage containing aspartameI get headaches.  This does make me wonder what else is going on in my body as a result of consuming it.  

I have read that aspartame changes to formaldehyde at 86 degrees.  I cannot personally verify this, but it's just one more reason to limit consumption of it.  Supposedly there are government conspiracies surrounding the approval of aspartame as well. While I cannot confirm this either, I would not be surprised if it were true.  

In the past few years I've noticed that aspartame is making a slow retreat from the grocery store shelves.  Many of the items that used to contain it are switching to sucralose.  

For all intents and purposes, I cannot recommend aspartame as a calorie-free sweetener.

Brand:
Nutrasweet


Saccharine
I admit I know very little about saccharine.  I do remember at some point many years ago, the warning that it caused cancer in lab rats was removed from its label.  It was said that it was not a good predictor of what it did in humans.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Reflection

Image by Pippalunacy

As the deer pants for streams of water,
   so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God

Psalm 42:1-2a

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Family Recipe - Spinach Bread

Here is a tried-and-true family recipe from my mom's recipe collection!  

We love Spinach Bread, and while it's not exactly low in calories, it DOES contain spinach.  My mom used to make this bread quite often for parties.  Minutes after setting out a fresh platter only crumbs were left behind.  So, if you want to bring a highly requested recipe to your next get-together, try Spinach Bread and surely you will not be disappointed.

Spinach Bread

Ingredients:

1 loaf French Bread (Italian is good, too)
1 box frozen creamed spinach
3 oz. cream cheese
10 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated