Tuesday, March 29, 2022

This year's maple-themed decor


 I really should share this year's maple-themed decorating with you all.   I posted a few photos on Instagram but nothing here on the blog.  So here are just a few photos and I'll add a little explanatory text with each one.

It's important to me to celebrate maple season each spring.  It was such a wonderful part of my life growing up, and still is.  Early spring could be a very discouraging season here in New Hampshire -- usually there's still a good bit of snow in addition to a lot of mud.  It's exceedingly rare that any spring flower, no matter how hardy, dares to show its head.  Sugaring time adds a spark of fun to the season as well as a wonderful purpose -- producing maple syrup to enjoy throughout the coming year.

Above are the basic maple themed shelves on my hutch.  Old maple syrup tins, a couple of "sugar cake" molds, and some vintage sugaring photos on the top shelf.

Below it, old and new jadeite, a maple syrup pitcher, and a couple of tiny brown birds.  I added the "blessed" sign just because I am blessed!

The above photo shows the entire hutch.  A bit blurry.  All of these photos were taken with the Kindle.

I added maple decor to the living room this year as well, atop a bookcase in a corner of the room.


Just a favorite lantern, a sap spile, some maple sugaring art, a syrup tin shaped like a cabin, and maple syrup labels from back in the day when Mr. T's grandfather and mine both made maple syrup to sell.

A closer look.

Above is the dining table with a maple-themed centerpiece.  A small cake dome contains a cabin-shaped maple syrup tin and a small wooden tree.
The cake dome is centered on a sugaring-themed linen towel.
From this end of the cake dome you can just see the wooden tree behind the cabin.

 Above is a closer look at that fascinating linen towel.  If you can't read it, it says "With warm days and freezing nights,  sweet impulsive life stirs in the woods.  Sap's A-Runnin'".  That is a wooden sap bucket at lower left. The red item is a wooden neck yoke which enabled the wearer to carry two gathering buckets at once.  A chickadee is perched on the yoke.

And there is just a little peek at this year's maple decor.  Hope it gives you just a tiny taste of New Hampshire maple sugaring season.

Monday, March 28, 2022

One new thing ...


 I was hoping to have something new to share, but all that is coming to mind is a very creepy find in a bunch of red grapes purchased from our local supermarket a few weeks ago.  (For those in New England, it was not Hannaford.  Their produce tends to be pretty reliable.)  Although this is not a fun new thing, still it occurs to me that it might serve as a warning to other consumers. 

The grapes were imported from Peru.  I always wash any produce pretty carefully, and while doing so I came upon some sticky web-like material.  Of course I immediately thought of spiders, but my next thought was of some type of cocoon.  So I was investigating carefully as I sprayed veggie wash and ran water throughout the grapes.

What I found was quite surprising.  It looked somewhat like the photo below, but was a much brighter yellow.  It looks huge here in this photo, but was about the size of a dime.  Whatever it was,  I knew I didn't want to keep it around.  After showing it to my hubby, who was as shocked as I was, I took a fork and gently detached it from the grapes, then plopped it into my container of frozen trash*.  (More on that later.)  This seemed to me the safest course of action.  Tossing it into the trash can, or into the fire (my hubby's suggestion) seemed to increase the possibility that whatever was inside would hatch. 

Maybe you know what it is.  I didn't, but as I was describing the object to my daughter, she was looking it up on her phone and found that it's a brown widow spider's egg sac.  She even read me an account of a woman in Britain who found one (complete with spider) in "a punnet of grapes."

Ever since, I've been wondering just how many spider eggs might have been in there.  Research indicates anywhere from 100 to 250.  Yikes!

So just a friendly reminder.  Wash those grapes thoroughly.

* Oh, and about that frozen trash.  This probably won't be a new thing for anyone, but I keep a covered plastic container in the freezer that's atop our fridge.  Anything that might smell bad if tossed in the regular trash goes in that container until trash day.  As someone who has been annoyed for years by trash can odors from meat or chicken scraps or spoiled vegetables, this trick has been a real life-saver.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 It's time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I've previously mentioned,  I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I've been using this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I've simply been sharing some of the verses I have worked on and how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 4:17-24, but I chose to write out and SOAP verses 17-18a, 22-24, though I will allude to some of the other verses.  Here goes:

S=  "This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened ...
"That ye put off concerning the former manner of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."  (Ephesians 4:17-18a; 22-24)

O=  This section is titled by Scofield in the Scofield Study Bible as "The walk of the believer as a new man in Christ."  Paul cautions the believers that from now on they are not to walk and live like other Gentiles, in the vanity of their own minds, with darkened understanding.  They are put off the things that characterized their old way of life, and instead be renewed in the spirit of their minds.  Having put off the old self, they are to put on the new self, which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

A=  My way of life is not to look like that of unbelievers.   Since Christ is always with me, I want to walk in a manner worthy of Him.  My understanding is no longer darkened, so I need to be renewed in the spirit of my mind on a regular basis.  I'm to take the action of putting off the things that characterized my old self, and put on the new way of life.  It's not a feeling but an action I must take.

Many sinful ways disappeared almost immediately after I trusted Christ as Savior.   But there are still some lingering old ways that need to be put off.  These are things I continually work on and pray for victory in -- mostly tendencies toward sinful attitudes and ways of thinking.

P=  "Lord, I cannot thank You enough for saving me and for giving me new life.  I praise You for how You have empowered me to put off the sins of my old life.  I pray that You will help me to be continually renewed in the spirit of my mind and put on the new ways that characterize a walk worthy of You.  I thank You for how You will help me to grow and change, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And that's our simple study for today!  I hope it was a blessing to you. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Time for the Hodgepodge!


 Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  This week, the Hodgepodge has a literal theme of "time", which makes for some interesting questions.  Here we go ...

1. What's something you never seem to have enough time for? 

Creating things!   I seem to need some creativity in my life every day, but often it takes the form of cooking, baking, or blogging.  I love to sew, embroider, cross stitch, crochet and more, but it seems like most days go by without much, if any, needlework happening.  

2. If you could turn back time and relive just one day in your life, which day would you choose and why? 

That is a challenging question!   I'm going to say I would choose nearly any day when we have been staying in our favorite place up in northern New Hampshire on Back Lake.  This one, for example, a Sunday in 2019 when we went up there for a week to celebrate our 45th anniversary.

3. Something you enjoy making that takes a long time to prepare/cook? 

This lovely lemon dessert.  It's a bit time-consuming even though it uses mixes, because each layer has to set before adding another.  For years, though, this was a standard dessert for me to take to family parties.  

4. A time recently where you needed/gave yourself a 'time out'? How do you do that? 

If we can, we take time -- even a few hours will do, but overnight is better -- at our little camp.  Talk about an attitude adjustment.  There's just something so refreshing about spending time there.  Last Friday was very warm for March in New Hampshire.  The dirt road was a sea of mud, Mr. T had to shovel a path in the snow to get to the door, but we stayed overnight and were so glad that we did.

5. Something you've done recently that you'd describe as a 'good time'? 

We had several times like that this past week. On Thursday evening, for example, we attended a St. Patrick's Day supper and dance where our granddaughter's youth orchestra was playing.  Yummy corned beef and cabbage and great music!  On Friday evening we enjoyed several rounds of Uno with visiting grandchildren at our camp.  (The photo below shows Scrabble, not Uno, and it's from last spring before the living room walls were paneled, but you get the idea!)  On Saturday afternoon and evening we joined our young friends Sam and Jennifer and their little boys for a "breakfast for dinner" meal and great fellowship.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This hodgepodge has made me think even more than usual!  Especially, it's made me think about time and how I use it.  Do I appreciate the time God gives me each day, and am I making good use of it?

Also, I have a handmade "Best of My Days" calendar on my nightstand, and each evening I record one special thing about the day.  This is such a blessing to help me focus on how each day has its own special moments. 

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, March 21, 2022

One new thing ...


 My One New Thing for this week was cooking with parsnips and also trying a new chowder recipe.  Now I have tasted parsnips (my dad used to love them, and someone recently included them in a crockpot dish at church), but I have never bought them or cooked with them that I can remember.  

But I was tempted by this recipe in Yankee magazine for Roasted Winter Vegetable and White Bean Chowder.

You can see all five featured chowder recipes here in this article: In the Thick of It.   I changed the recipe a whole lot, and also adapted it to make in a slow cooker,  so I will write it down as I prepared it.  If you prefer to try the recipe and method as written, by all means do that.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


  • 3½ cups diced butternut squash

  • 2½ cups sliced carrots

  • 2 cups diced russet potatoes

  • 1 cup sliced parsnips

  • 2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 3 cups diced onion

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • Dried thyme to taste

  • Dried rosemary to taste 

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or gluten-free)

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans great northern beans, drained

  • Half-and-half to taste

  • Fresh thyme springs and ground paprika or smoked paprika, for garnish, optional


Heat your oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, and parsnips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Divide these vegetables between two large rimmed baking sheets and roast until tender and browned, about 40 minutes, turning them a few times while roasting. 

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the soup base. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Place the roasted vegetables in a slow cooker. Stir in the soup base you have prepared. Cook on Low for several hours.  Stir in half-and-half to taste.  Serve hot, garnished with fresh thyme sprigs and a sprinkle of paprika if desired.  I didn't bother.

 This made a lot of chowder! We ate it for at least three meals and I finished it off for lunch yesterday.  It was really delicious.  I did have to add more broth when we reheated it, but that was fine.  

 But what about the parsnips, you ask?  I chose to use them because I thought perhaps roasting would make a difference as it does with many other vegetables.  It really didn't mellow their flavor much.  I suppose if I had used the fennel bulb it called for, that might have disguised the parsnip flavor.  We aren't huge fans of fennel (other than fennel seed in pizza, etc.) so I chose not to spend the money on that.

I will definitely make this chowder again, but my opinion of parsnips really hasn't changed.  I can take them or leave them, and next time I will leave them out.  Being in the current mode of not wasting any food if I can help it, I'll find a creative use for them.  And that may be another new thing!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 It's time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I've previously mentioned,  I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I've been using this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 4:8-16, but I chose to write out and SOAP verses 11-12 and 14-16, though I will allude to some of the other verses.  Here we go:

S= "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.;
"For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ ...
"That we be henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men ...
"But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ;
From whom the whole body fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."  (Ephesians 4:11-12, 14-16)

O=  In the Scofield Study Bible, this section is titled "The gifts of the risen Christ, and their purpose."  Paul lists several categories of gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers.  The purpose of these gifts is "perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ."  These people speak the truth in love to help each believer grow and mature in Christ so that none will be deceived.   Proper use of their gifts helps the whole body to function as God intends and to build one another up in love.

A= Pastors, teachers, and evangelists have certainly had a part in helping me to grow spiritually.  I've also been able to use my teaching gifts to help ladies and children with their own spiritual growth.  As we move forward into a merger with another church, I pray that there may be some ways in which I can use my spiritual gifts to help build up this blended local body and to help it function smoothly.

P= "Lord, I thank You for Your design for growth and edification in the body of Christ.  I thank and praise You so much for those who have invested their spiritual gifts to help me mature and to build me up in You.  I thank You for the spiritual gifts You have given me and for the ways You have helped me use them to encourage others and to help them grow spiritually.  As we prayerfully enter into this church merger, I pray that You will give me further opportunities  to use these gifts to build up others in the body of Christ.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And that's our simple study for today!  I hope it was a blessing to you.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

A small project completed


 Just popping in on a Saturday with a little story about a recently-completed project.   Many years ago,  I spotted the gorgeous fabric above in our local Ames department store.  It features these sweet vignettes framed in birch branches on a brown background strewn with pine cones, pine sprigs, and holly.  The vignettes (not all visible in this photo) include snowflakes, skis, deer, snowshoes, and a sweet log cabin.  I had no idea what I would do with this fabric -- it was a pre-measured 2-yard piece  and there was not another one like it -- but it spoke to me somehow, the price was right,  and so I bought it.

Over the intervening decades, I came across it in my fabric stash a number of times and mused about what I could make with it.  A few years back now, I decided I would just make it into a simple winter throw.  I bought 2 yards of brown flannel to back it with, then washed both fabrics so I would be ready when the time came.

 I'm sure you can guess that the time never came.  It never does, right?  But in God's timing, it did.  When my hubby and I took a week looking after things at a Christian camp this month, I brought along my sewing machine and fabrics.  At last my dream project, simple as it was, became reality.

 You can see the directions I used here: Flannel Throw Blanket.  The only additional step I took was to top-stitch all around the edge.  

A kindle photo taken in a lamplit room at evening, so not the best.  But you get the idea!

And now ... the throw is at home in our little camp!  Due to an unseasonably warm day yesterday and a fairly warm night for March, we were able to stay over there last night.  I brought along the finished throw and it looks very much at home on the back of the couch.  

It will be comfy for friends and family to snuggle under in any season.  The camp is the perfect place for it to be!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Hodgepodge takes a Roman holiday


 Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  Here we go ...

 1. It's March 15th and as the saying goes-"Beware the Ides of March". Have you read or studied much Shakespeare? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? 

I studied some Shakespeare in high school -- I think we studied something by him every year, but the ones I remember are The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth.  I really can't say that I have a favorite Shakespeare play.

How do you feel about a Caesar salad? 

I don't care for anchovies, so I don't love a traditional Caesar salad.  But years ago I found this recipe: Lemon Artichoke Romaine Salad, and it has been a favorite ever since.  It is close enough to a Caesar salad for me.

2. Have you ever been to Rome? If so what do you love about the city? If not, any desire to go?

I have never been to Rome and really have no desire to go there.   Possibly another Italian city, like maybe Venice, but not Rome.

3. What's your favorite place to 'roam'? 

Hmmm ...  Well, I would say either the Maine coast or various regions of New Hampshire.   We have a dream of renting a convertible some beautiful autumn day and taking time to explore a number of back roads all over the state.  We also love exploring hiking and walking trails anywhere we happen to be in this beautiful region.  Read about the photo below, from roaming much closer to home,  here: Mental health day.

Photo above is from a fine spring day and a "mental health" hike we took a few years back with our daughter and family.

4. Do you like pizza? Thick or thin crust? Red sauce-white sauce-other? Your favorite toppings? How do you feel about pineapple on a pizza? 

I do like pizza and prefer it with a thicker crust, though thin is fine -- especially if cooked in a wood-fired oven.  I like it with red sauce, but my favorite sauce for topping a homemade pizza is pesto.   My favorite toppings for a pesto-sauced pizza include roasted vegetables, Italian-blend cheese, and freshly ground Italian seasonings from one of those spice grinder jars.

I first got the idea, though, from this recipe: Pesto Vegetable Pizza.  It's yummy, so if you'd like to try this concept without winging it as I so often do, there's the link back there in green.

I do like pineapple with ham on a pizza.  I also like a barbecue chicken pizza, in which case I will spread barbecue sauce on the pizza and top with colby jack and/or cheddar cheese, plus cooked chicken and sometimes red and green pepper strips.

5.  'Rome wasn't built in a day'...tell us how this expression applies to something in your home-life-job currently (or recently)? 

Trying to get a start on another round of decluttering and downsizing. Three boxes are ready for the thrift store, but that's only making a very small dent.  Still, it's a beginning.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Why is it so difficult to get rid of books? (Speaking of decluttering, as we were above.)  I'm sure I've mentioned more than once in cleaning out the old homestead, that my parents had hundreds of books, shelved or stacked in nearly every room in their house, including the cellar.  As you might guess, this experience made Mr. T and me decide that we would downsize our own books.  (I will admit that they are mostly mine.)  I had a goal this past week to get rid of 20 books.  I managed to get rid of more like 30 books, but it's so hard!  I'm doing better, though, and will set a goal for another 20 books this week.

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, March 14, 2022

One new thing ...

Here's another super-simple One New Thing that I recently tried -- a new way to make a coleslaw dressing.  Here's a little backstory:

We had leftovers of two meals planned for supper (we love leftovers!), but it seemed a little skimpy so I thought I would make a small amount of coleslaw to have as a side.  I remembered that there was part of a cabbage left in the fridge.  Well, it was a much smaller piece of cabbage than I remembered.  I shredded it up with a knife and then shredded a carrot (using a grater this time) into it.  Still looked a little skimpy, so I cut an unpeeled apple into very small dice and added that.  Perfect, but now for dressing.

What I often do to make coleslaw dressing is to stir some mayonnaise into the slaw, then add seasoned rice vinegar to make it the right consistency.  I usually also add some pepper and some onion powder.  No salt or sugar needed, because the seasoned rice vinegar contains those things.  (And maybe my simple slaw dressing will become a One New Thing to someone else -- who knows?)

But I had run out of rice vinegar and had to think about what to use instead.  I wanted it a little bit sweet because of the apples, but not terribly sweet.  I was thinking maybe a teaspoon or so of sugar, but didn't want to use honey or maple syrup as I felt those flavors would be overwhelming.  What I decided to do instead of adding any sugar was to add about a tablespoon of frozen apple juice concentrate.

So I used mayonnaise to taste, probably a half cup or so, salt to taste, some dashes of pepper and onion, and the tablespoon of apple juice concentrate.  It turned out really good.

I failed to take a picture the day that we enjoyed this coleslaw, so this is a container of the leftover slaw which we enjoyed with our lunch the following day. 

Hope you'll try this trick if you like coleslaw! 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I've previously mentioned,  I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I've been using this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 4:1-7, but I chose to write out and SOAP verses 1-3, though I will allude to some of the other verses.  Here we go:

S= "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called,
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  (Ephesians 4:1-3)

O= It is Paul, "the prisoner of the Lord" who is beseeching his readers here.  Paul was literally in prison as he wrote.   He beseeches the Christians at Ephesus (and us!):
* To walk worthy of the vocation God has called them to;
* To walk in lowliness and meekness;
* To exhibit longsuffering; to show forbearance to other believers in love;
* To endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

A cross-reference to this passage is 1 Thessalonians 2:12 -- "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory."

A=  As one of "the faithful in Christ Jesus" (1:1), I know that Paul is also beseeching me to pay attention to these matters.  I am to "walk worthy of God, who has called me unto His kingdom and glory."  He is instructing me, and all believers, to walk through life in humility and gentleness as members of His redeemed family.   I'm to be longsuffering and forbearing with my fellow believers.  This isn't always easy, but can be done in God's strength to promote greater unity and peace in His body.

The Reflection Question directed, "Evaluate yourself right now and write below which areas you need to work on.  In what areas are you tempted to be prideful and how can you be humbler?  Would others describe you as gentle?  Why or why not?  Is anyone trying your patience right now?  Pray for strength ... Is there anything you can do more to bring greater unity or peace in the body of Christ?"

Maybe you would like to work through this exercise on your own.  I will share my answers below:

"I have a list of character flaws that I am continually praying my way through.  I don't necessarily see myself as prideful, but I'm sure I have some tendencies toward that area as it's just the human condition.  I don't really see myself as gentle, although people have described me that way.  In general, my patience is tried by people who are closed-minded and those believers who won't make any attempt to grow spiritually.  I'm sure that there probably is more -- maybe much more -- that I can do to promote greater unity and peace in the body of Christ -- and I can trust Him to lead and guide me in that."

P= "Lord, I know that these verses speak directly to me.  I pray that You will help me each day to walk worthy of You -- to live my life in an attitude of humility, gentleness, patience, and love, especially in relationship to other believers, but also to the world around me.  Help me to grow and change in the areas that need work.  I thank You for all that You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

That is our simple study for today!  I hope it was a blessing to you.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Handy homemade helpers

I've been meaning to put this post together for a couple of years now, and actually thought that I had, but I guess I haven't done so.  I can't seem to find it, anyway, so if it is there, no one else is likely to find it either.

There are many homemade helpers I've come to rely on.  Some are mixes (and I know I have blogged about those, but maybe I should consider doing so again); many are household helpers like cleaners, etc.  Here's a rundown of the ones that have worked best for me:

Tub and Shower Magic.  That's it in the photo at the top of the post.

I never want to be without this one.   A combination of blue Dawn® dish soap and heated white vinegar, it works better than anything else I have ever tried.  We have hard water, and this has been the very best shower cleaner I've used.  Just writing this reminds me that I need to refill my spray bottle.  Today.

Dryer balls work very well.  When using these, I use only one tennis ball and it is fine.  I usually just use white vinegar in my laundry as a fabric softener.  But for loads that seem prone to clinging, or for really stiff items like work jeans, I will add the dryer ball.  

Homemade toilet cleaning bombs.  I keep a jar of these under each  bathroom sink.  

The toilet really needs to be relatively clean before you add one of these -- I think of them as "freshening" more than actually cleaning.  But they are great for freshening up a toilet quickly before company arrives, or sometimes I will pop one into the toilet at night before going to bed.  The ones below were made using a silicone ice cube mold in the shape of oranges.

Homemade fabric softener.  I usually just spray the tennis balls with a small amount of this rather than using the essential oils.  I do know that essential oils would be healthier, so maybe I will get into doing that.

Vacuum Cleaner Bag Sachets.   These are easy to make and I really like how well they work. You just put a sachet into your vacuum cleaner bag when you change the bag, and a nice fresh scent results.   The directions and "recipe" came originally from Tipnut.   I have modified it slightly.

1/4 cup dried lavender* (I buy the dried lavender from the bulk herb section of our local health food store)

1/4 cup dried rosemary*
 (I buy a large spice jar of rosemary from the spice section at Dollar Tree)
1 Tblsp. cloves*
 (Again, I buy in a spice jar at Dollar Tree or Ocean State Job Lot)
1/2 cup cedar shavings

1 Tblsp. baking soda

5 to 7 drops of essential oil (your choice)

Coffee filters

*Or use 1/2 cup of your favorite herbal blend instead of the lavender/rosemary/cloves.

    •    Mix ingredients together then store in a sealed glass container for 1 week.
    •    Place 3 Tblsp. of mix in the center of a coffee filter.  Gather up edges and tie tightly with string.
    •    Store them in a sealed glass jar until needed.

Instructions For Use:
    •    Pop a sachet into the new vacuum bag each time you change it. When you vacuum, the fragrance from the pouch will fill the room.
    •    Instead of using a sachet, you can add a few tablespoons of the mix into the new bag when changing it.
    •    If you prefer a stronger fragrance, add a few more drops of essential oil to the pouch.

This is another one I try not to run out of.  When the sachets get low, I make more and add them to the sealed glass jar.

I have found that these sachets also work great to keep linens and blankets fresh-smelling in storage.

Crocheted Swiffer Sock.   I need to make one more of these.  I've made three, but wash them frequently.  They work wonderfully and I like not having to spend money on the swiffer refills.  I've recently made another of these to take to our little cottage.

Lavender Room and Linen Spray  is so easy to make with just a few ingredients.  I had had a purchased lavender room spray and when it ran out, I tried making more using this formula and was very pleased with it. 

Peppermint spray to deter ants, from Jess at Mom4Real.  This one works very well.  It also helps with silverfish and spiders.  Occasionally I have even used it as a cleaning spray and it smells wonderful!

Photo by Mom4Real

  Homemade fruit and veggie wash, another from Jess.  It works great!  I had at one time tried a different recipe for this type of product and I just didn't feel confident that it was working as well as it should.  This one is much better, and so easy!

There are others that have not worked so well.

A daily shower spray that I tried was such a disappointment.  I didn't throw it away, however, since I knew that if I ever happened to run out of Tilex Daily Shower, it would be much better than nothing.  And now, I have not been able to purchase Tilex Daily Shower for many months.  It's one of those things that has inexplicably disappeared since the coronavirus, and I've had it on order for months.  So now I have a different homemade recipe -- still not as effective as I would like, but it helps.

(And -- this is not homemade, and I really have no idea what dangerous chemicals might be in it [the label doesn't say] -- but I have recently found that the LA Awesome daily shower cleaner sold at the Dollar Tree works extremely well.  It is made in USA, at least, so that is one thing.)

An all-purpose cleaning spray is nice, but I haven't found one yet that works as well as I would like.  I'm still trying to figure out one that works well.  I might try this 3-Ingredient All-Purpose Cleaning Spray; I have everything I need on hand.  It seems to be mostly for kitchens, though.

I've tried homemade Soft Scrub recipes, and they work okay, but they quickly get too stiff and difficult to use.  The other day Mr. T suggested trying just plain baking soda, and really that worked as well as the homemade scrubs I've tried.  One of my bathroom sinks really seems to need something more abrasive than just a spray.  The baking soda is fine but it's not as quick and easy as using a spray.  So we will see if I can come up with something better.

There you have it ... some of my favorite handy homemade helpers.  Hope this is an encouragement to other frugal homemakers!

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Hodgepodge for March 9


Somehow it's Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  Here we go ...

 1. Where do you get your news these days? 

For the past couple years, we have been thankful subscribers to The Epoch Times.  It's such a relief to read honest, uncensored news.  Our subscription also gives us access to Epoch TV, where we find a wealth of thought-provoking interviews and news.  [A trial subscription is very inexpensive, so if you are unfamiliar with this newspaper you might wish to try it out.]  The print newspaper arrives once a week, but it's so filled with good articles that it takes us at least a week to read it.  News from The Epoch Times also arrives by email -- you can decide which emails to receive.  For years we subscribed to our state's daily newspaper, but it became so untrustworthy that we looked for a different news source, and are so thankful to have found such a good one.

Photo from Pixabay

2. It's National Crab Day...do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby? 

I do like crab meat, and even the imitation crab is not half bad.  A favorite recipe from years gone by that my kids enjoyed was Crabbies, open face cheesy crab sandwiches on English muffins.   Usually served as an appetizer, we enjoyed them as a quick meal with tomato soup.  

Photo from This Mama Loves

As to what makes me crabby, right now one thing that does so is the fact that masks are still required on airplanes and in airports.  Completely ineffective and unnecessary.

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate. 

I don't think freedom necessarily means more choices.  (See the dictionary definition below.)  I would be very satisfied just to be able to freely exercise the rights that we have as citizens, which have been seen to be very precarious in the past couple of years.

Sometimes I do feel as if there are too many choices ... especially, say, on supermarket shelves.    While it's nice to have so much variety, sometimes it can feel overwhelming.  A first world problem.  We are so spoiled. 
4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959...that's Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet? 

I did have a Barbie, one of the first ones that came with a blonde ponytail and a black and white striped bathing suit.  I also had a Barbie Dream House, and spent many enjoyable hours playing Barbies.  I did let my daughters play with Barbies, and they enjoyed them too.  They even had Barbie coloring and activity books, which they loved.  As far as a well-known Barbara, I would say perhaps I might like to have met Barbara Bush. 

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

Integrity, kindness, and the ability to keep a confidence.

Sweet image by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

 6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Mr. T and I had a great week last week as we had the unique opportunity to "caretake" a Christian camp.  By that I mean staying onsite and checking on the buildings, etc. every day, doing any necessary snow removal, and more.  But it was a very relaxing week, especially for me.  It was quite cold and windy most of the time, but Mr. T found a nice afternoon to go snowshoeing, and I found a glassed in porch that was perfect for cross stitching.

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, March 07, 2022

One new thing


Here's a very simple One New Thing that I've tried recently: an essential oil blend to help my problematic knee feel better.  When I mentioned the pain I was having, my dear friend Vee mentioned in a comment that she uses a Young Living blend called Deep Relief to help with sciatica.  

Now I have purchased essential oils in the past, but never the high-end ones like Young Living.  I have basically only used essential oils in cleaning formulas, so I usually got lower-priced brands because I wasn't using them in foods or diffusing them into the air.

However, on Vee's recommendation, I did order a bottle of Deep Relief from Amazon.  It's a roll-on and very easy to use.  What is the blend of oils exactly?  Well, it's nine invigorating essentials oils, including peppermint, lemon, balsam fir, clove, and wintergreen, to name the most prominent.

Is it helping?  Yes, it is.  I use it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  My knee issue is not fully resolved -- I've begun an exercise regimen which is another One New Thing -- but Deep Relief is definitely helping me feel more comfortable.  Thanks to Vee for introducing me to this new-to-me product!