I’ve got just one word to say…

… and that word is  SCORE!!!

Late Sunday night I was able to take my first batch of soap out of the container and after I saw the one video that you have to be careful of bubbles – well let’s just say I wasn’t so hopeful on how it was going to turn out. I mean these people who make these videos have been making soap for a long time now right? And they must know what they’re doing. Well, I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time when I took the top cardboard off the soap. And guess what? It looked like it worked. Oh yea! I hurried up and took it out of the mold (my bread pan :) ) and put it on some parchment paper. I was so proud that it actually worked that I couldn’t cut it right away. I made Daryl look at it and then I looked at it some more. I walked around with it for a little bit.. well you get the picture I’m sure. It was the coolest thing ever.

Oatmeal, Honey, & Milk soap

Oatmeal, Honey, & Milk soap

OK, but now I need to cut it. The instructions say that you can cut it with a soap cutter (duhh) or you can use a miter box. Or you can just use a knife. Since I didn’t have the soap cutter or the miter box – I opted for the knife method. I guess that I could have bought one of those other things, but with the amount of money that I have in this one loaf of soap so far, I also could have hired someone to come to my house and not only cut the soap, but also probably could have made it for me. But seriously, where’s the fun in that right? Back to the business of cutting my soap. I wasn’t sure how this was going to cut, but it worked pretty good. My bars weren’t even, but that’s just because I was just so happy that it turned out and didn’t care at the time.  And do you know the best thing? Well, I counted the amount of soap bars that I got after I randomly cut them, I found out the I had gotten 12 bars. Yup, just pure luck - but that’s what the book said you were supposed to get. After all these years, I’m not so sure why I didn’t do this sooner. Now what should I make next?

Letting my soap dry for a month is going to be hard

Letting my soap dry for a month is going to be hard

Posted in Projects completed | Leave a comment

First good snowfall of the year

We knew it was going to happen. It snowed in the afternoon yesterday and this morning we woke up to even more snow on the trees and roads. Now it was bound to happen right? But for some reason every year it kind of sneaks up on me. It seems like your’e just never ready for it or something. After I saw that it snowed, I realized that maybe I should have taken in the laundry that I hung up yesterday. But no big deal and a little snow won’t wreck anything anyway. I ended up bringing in my work shirts to our laundry room and I don’t know just exactly what snow really smells like, but our downstairs is smelling pretty fresh as the snow is melting off of the shirts this afternoon. DSCN9166

Update on the soap : Well there isn’t any update. I haven’t taken the soap out of the mold yet. The instructions say 24 to 48 hours, so I’ll have to do it around 9 pm tonight for my 24 hours. I am really anxious to see how this whole thing works out. After you make the soap, it has to set for 4 to 6 weeks to remove the rest of the lye from it and also to make it hard. Whew! More patience is needed!

As for the rest of the day? Well we were pretty lazy around here most of the afternoon and now I’m trying to get some ambition to get the house cleaned and work on some Christmas stuff. Only 5 more weekends until Christmas!! That’s scary isn’t it? Well, it at least looks like it’ll be a white Christmas.

First good snowfall of the year

First good snowfall of the year

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

Clue for Mystery Photo 11-12-14

Here is the first clue to the mystery photo posted on 11-12-14. See if this will help.

If you are not able to see what the picture is telling you then listen close for it’s clue. DSC_0320a

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | Leave a comment

Giddy up

Giddy up and here we go….

What is going on you ask? Well I finally made the commitment to make soap this weekend. See I’ve been literally talking about making soap for at least 15 years and I decided I either had to do it or just never talk about it ever (and I mean EVER) again.

My decision was to pull the trigger and go for it. Now I’ve been watching hours and hours of YouTube videos and not saying that I look like I know what I’m doing – but hey, if these gals can make soap – then why in the world couldn’t I?

After ordering some of the supplies, I soon found that I needed even more. Holy Smokes this soap making stuff costs more than I was expecting. So off to the organic store and Walmart to pick up the remaining items. Now I’m set. One (or three :) ) more videos to watch and I’m going to do it.DSCN9163

After I figured out which recipe that I was going to make, I put down heavy brown paper on the counter top just in case I get into trouble. I measure out the lye and water and stir that together. This is a critical part of the soap making and now the wait for it to cool down. It gets super hot and it has to cool down 100 to 120 degrees.

Coconut, olive oil, and vegetable shortening all get melted together

Coconut oil, olive oil, and vegetable shortening all get melted together

My melted oils which get mixed with the lye mixture later were spot on for the temperature, but I had to wait … and wait… for the lye to be ready. I don’t think I ever read that this was a hobby that you had to have patience for. OK, now both sets of ingredients are the right temperature and into the new kettle they go. I must say that it did exactly what the video’s and books said it should do and after I mixed in the milk, honey, and oats, I was ready to mold it. Into the new mold it went and it got covered with cardboard so the top didn’t ash and towels and blankets to keep it warm to help cure it for 24 hours. After it was all said and done, it really wasn’t too bad. So after I sat down to see if there are any more soap videos that I could watch (sad life right?) I found one that’s called the Soap Queen. She talked about making sure you don’t get any bubbles in your soap. BUBBLES? Who ever talked about bubbles before?? Well the soap is going to come out of the mold tomorrow night so I guess we’ll just have to see if I failed on the bubble test. But for now? I’m checking out what my next soap recipe should be.

And how did I spent the night after the soap making experiment was done? Well Ma stopped over earlier with Homemade Beef Noodle Soup. It was perfect way to end the day! See today is St. Albert the Great day and as a kid we either had beef noodle soup or vegetable beef soup on November 15th. If this sounds a little odd, let me back up. See November 15 is St. Albert the Great day in the Catholic Church. And with our family being Catholic and my Dad’s name Albert – as you can about imagine this day was brought up more than once around the November time frame. Us kids loved the beef noodle and Dad liked the vegetable beef soup. So my picture of the day is that of my favorite kind of soup. Ma’s homemade beef noodle soup.DSCN9161

Posted in Family, Picture of the day | Leave a comment

Good Boxes

A couple of years ago when I would see a box, I would think of it only as a box. Then when Kyle went off to college my perspective of boxes changed. What I mean by that is there are boxes… and then there are ‘good’ boxes. The good boxes are ones that are sturdy enough to get filled up with socks, home made treats, gloves, shirts, beef jerky, and then sent to colleges and even other countries to their final destinations.  Well you get the picture. And even though Kyle is out of college, he’s still a long ways away. But William is in college now so that means that no only do I get to send one every once in awhile to Kyle – but William will find one in the mail for him also. So that’s what I’ve been doing these past couple of days. I’ve been seeing what they want me to send (coats, gloves, socks…) you know the essentials. And then I’ve been looking what else that I can send (beef jerky, candy, gift certificates, ..) Even though I’ve got some recipes that travel well, I found a new one on the internet that I wanted to try and then put in their boxes. I must say that it is going to be one that I’ll make more than once ! It’s really easy and if you’re looking for something that you could literally put whatever you had in the house in it – well this is the one for you! I think it would be really good if all of a sudden you needed to bring something and you can make this before you get dressed for the night and it would be ready when you were ready to leave.  Below is the Christmas version of the recipe that I made.

At lunch today I had sent William’s box off to college and tomorrow Kyle’s box goes. How fun it would be to get these boxes in the mail for them!

 

Candy Bark

  • 1 C M&M’s
  • 1 ½ C broken pretzels ( I used the skinny ones)
  • 15 Oreo’s broken
  • 1 pkg of Almond Bark
  • Toppings, I used M&M’s and Christmas sprinkles

Lay out some parchment paper or tin foil and add the M&M’s, pretzels, and Oreo’s. In this picture the pieces are more scattered than it should be, but you get the idea. DSCN9155Melt the Almond Bark and drizzle it over the top. Then add any toppings you would like and let cool to get hard.DSCN9158 Break up into pieces and enjoy! DSCN9159

 

 

 

Posted in Baking, Family | Leave a comment

Mystery Photo 11-12-14

Now I’ve been trying to think all week what I can do for this weeks Mystery Photo. I wanted it to be the hardest one yet because you guys are really good at this game.

So I was thinking… should it be a piece of equipment.. or maybe a farm animal…

So I finally came up with this. Can you guess what it is? DSC_0320a

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | 2 Comments

Mystery Photo 11-5-14 results

It seems like I just can’t stump you guys!

OK, here is the clue from last weekDSC_0289a

And now here is the answer. It’s a cow water for the barn (without the water)DSC_0289

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | Leave a comment

Giving in…

We have this crazy competition at our house that evolves around our furnace in the fall & winter time. The competition is to see how long we can go without turning the heat on. OK, yea.. it doesn’t really sound like the smartest game anyone has ever played, but none the less it is one that we do play every year. We’ve gotten as far as the first week of December before which is really hard to beat! Now we do get to turn on our gas fireplace which does warm the house up quite a bit. But this year… this year our furnace was turned on tonight by Daryl. He said that the house was only 52 degrees and he was cold! OK, 52 degrees if pretty cold but we were only a couple of weeks away to breaking our record! But with the temperatures dipping down this week into the teens, maybe it a good idea. I mean when the little kitties would rather be outside than in the house, well that just might be saying something. As for us tonight? Well I must admit having the heat just kick on in my scrapbook room is pretty nice. Maybe it was time after all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Supper tonight

Have you ever  set out some meat for supper and then think to yourself, geez I wish I didn’t thaw that out? As you can about imagine, that’s what happened to me tonight. I purposely thawed out some hamburger so I could make some meatloaf,  but when it came down to making it, man did I wish I had a frozen pizza in the freezer instead. But these two pounds of hamburger were just sitting there and I thought I’d better get in gear and do something about it. So I looked for one of those easy packets that everyone has in the cupboard. These packets are the ones that you literally open and dump on the meat, add a couple of eggs and some water and just like that you’re done. Well everyone has these in their cupboards but me evidently! So I got out my cookbook and looked for Daryl’s Mom’s meatloaf recipe and I was sure glad that I found it. Now it was literally just as easy as one of those packet deals, and I’m thinking it was a whole lot better for you! I’m not a big fan of meatloaf to be honest, but Daryl sure likes this recipe. I think he not only likes how the food tastes,  but I think he also likes the memories of his Mom making it just as much! Here’s the recipe below:

DSCN9147a

Teresa’s Every Day Meat Loaf

  • ⅔ C. dry bread crumbs
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ¼ C chopped onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp sage

Soak bread crumbs in milk. Add beaten eggs, meat, onions, and seasoning to the milk. Mix well and put in greased loaf pan. Cover with the following sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ C catsup
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mustard

Bake 45 to 50 minutes

 

Posted in Baking, Family | Leave a comment

What a busy day today – Sunday

Now I know that Sunday’s are supposed to be a day of rest, but with the weather forecast for us to have snow – well there’s still a lot of things to get done yet! Daryl had just a little bit more to plow out in the field and wanted to get it done this weekend. He didn’t have too many problems (now you always have to expect some right?) and was able to get what he wanted completed and the machinery all put back into the shed and closed the doors for the season. It almost seems like they get tucked back in for the long winter and get to come back out to the fields again to play when spring comes.

As for me? Well I spent pretty much the whole day in the garden. You guessed it,  I was pulling weeds. Now I’ve get mixed feelings about this whole garden thing lately. I mean I spent at least two weekends during the summer just trying to figure out what I actually planted in between all the weeds that grew up around the ‘good’ plants. I spent another weekend trying to just save the tomatoes, and now I’m spending another weekend trying to pull up all the weeds. If there is one thing that I can say about my garden is that it was a complete failure. Yup, I said it.. failure! The only thing that it actually produced was a couple of rotten tomatoes that the chickens ate. And even they weren’t sure that they wanted to eat them!  So now here’s my dilemma. Should I go through all this work and problems all over again next year? Well my vote after crawling on my hands and knees on the ground all Sunday is probably not. I think next year I’m going to get some Round Up and put an end once and for all to my weeds in the garden. Well, OK maybe I might just plant a tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant.

I almost forgot.. the photo of the day is our little milk house that’s been painted. Now granted it looks pretty boring, but I’ll add the outside decorations back on again next year in the spring.

Cleaning out the flower bed

Cleaning out the flower bed

Our old milkhouse that needs to be painted

Our old milkhouse that needs to be painted

Now you would think I would have got enough blocks in one trip right? Not so.

Now you would think I would have got enough blocks in one trip right? Not so.

A fresh new coat of paint is all she needed

A fresh new coat of paint is all she needed

Posted in Farming, Picture of the day, Projects completed | Leave a comment