Thursday, May 21, 2015

Homeschool Class of 2015

My firstborn is about to graduate this Sunday! Because we homeschool, this is creating a few weeks with a ton of work and getting ready for the graduation ceremony and the party!  But I have to say doing the crafting is my favorite part!
 
There are four boys in our area that are graduating together, so we are having their graduation in one of the family's barn (not animal barn, but really, an extra space for people gathering barn!)  It's a beautiful location and a beautiful barn, so we feel extremely blessed to be a part of this ceremony and party!
 
We decided to make the most of the country feel and have burlap and country accents.  I offered to make burlap pennants for each of the boys, spelling their names, for the card tables, and then also a big GRADUATION banner for the gate out of burlap.  I happened to have four extra pennants, so decided to make one with 2015 on it for another accent. 
Their color is navy blue, so I added some scraps of material that looks similar to bandanas.  I think it looks very country and masculine.  The boys name banners only have bandanas on the ends. Overall, this project only cost me $2 for the twine.  I have about 150 burlap bags on hand and the material was an old skirt! What do you think?   Stay tuned for more details....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Coffee Hydrates You?



Well, moving West to the prairie, has not converted me to be a coffee drinker at all!  It seems to not be an enjoyment to drink coffee, but a way of life here.  One of the things that was recommended in my 30 Day Healthy Cleansing and Fat Burning System was to go off all coffees and sodas.  Here I will admit - Diet Coke was my hurdle.  Well, now there is new research out about coffee being ok!  Even though I still don't drink coffee, nor will I, I am really excited for my friends and family who do.  Here's the article: Hydration: How much water do you need?  It also talks a lot about what you should drink each day, too!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Big Move

Last year, we raised a mix of laying hens and meat hens.  We ordered 25 as chicks in a random mix and ended up with 7 meats.  Well, that wasn't quite enough for our family of 7, but it definitely got us wanting more this year.  We decided on getting 50 this year of the fast growing, Cornish Cross. 
 
We actually kept them in a second room off our chicken coop with our laying hens, and anxiously awaited their Big Move to the Chicken tractor in the yard, so they weren't making such a mess in the hen house!  Tonight was the move!
With the move to the tractor, also came a new water system.  We found chicken nipples in the farm store and drilled holes in PVC pipe attached to a hose and then a 5 gallon bucket.  The bucket is placed on the top of the pen full of water, and the gravity makes the water run to the nipples.  This is far less messy than the traditional waterers!  We had to watch the chicks for awhile to be sure they knew how to drink. 
As you can see, the chicks are figuring it out!  It's pretty fun to see them drink from a nipple.  Who knew that chickens could push a little nipple to get their water out?
 
One of the best things about doing so many chicks, this spring, is that after we got our chicks, they announced on the news that millions of chickens were sick and that the price of chicken will be sky high this year.  For us, we will have 50 chickens in the freezer by mid June!  What a fabulous and fun way to know where our food source has come from! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Living Blessed

The sunsets on the prairie are always a reminder to us that we truly made the right decision to move our family of 7 across the United States to the West.  Some days are tough here, it's hard to fit in with the locals, difficult to get used to everything new and seems unreal that we are 70 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart or McDonald's.  And then, God sends this for us to enjoy at the end of most days!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Celebrating My Children

 State Championships are big deals around here for sports.  Parents often decorate the buses for their trips as well as give the teams goodies to cheer them on!  I think its great and have enjoyed participating in both of my kid's adventures this year to State!
 
My oldest son, just qualified with five other kids to compete for State Sole Ensemble, so I wanted to treat them to some cheer too! Here's what I sent for the trip with them!   Here's what the tag says:
 
"Pop, Pop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh what a great Singer....you Izz!  Congrats on going to State!"
 
In the party bag, I included:
  • Can of Dr. Pepper Pop
  • Tootsie Pop
  • Pop Rocks
  • Bag of Microwave Popcorn
I also added in a bag for the teacher and their accompanist and thanked them for their efforts to get our kids there!
Love the fact that I can do a little something to cheer my son and his friends on!  Hoping they enjoy!
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fresh Rhubarb!

Fresh Rhubarb!  There's just something exciting about having rhubarb freshly cut and bagged up in the freezer.  I freeze it in 2 cup measures because that's what my rhubarb coffee cake calls for.  All winter long, my family gets fresh rhubarb coffee cake for breakfast.  I also noticed that as soon as I can get some fresh strawberries this spring, the strawberry rhubarb jam recipe calls for 2 cups of rhubarb, too.  Rhubarb is my favorite spring harvest from the garden.  What is yours?
Oh, I wanted to share my Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe.  It is from my favorite farm Old Oak Family Farm in Wisconsin.  You can look up recipes from any of the fruits and veggies that the grow there on their farm!  I love them all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Laundry Soap Recipes

For years, I made my own liquid laundry detergent every couple of months.  That being said, I always put of making the detergent until I absolutely had to, because it was messy and needed my undivided attention to make (something I don't have much of).  Overall, I loved this laundry soap, but really wanted an easier one to make. 

Then I ran across a recipe for dry laundry soap that could also be used in HE Washers.  This recipe is so fast and easy, it's unbelievable!  The other part I like about this recipe is that it includes OxyClean, which I find really cleans my clothes better than find the pool supplies.  Here is where you can get my number #1 laundry recipe:  Laundry Detergent Recipe.  I've copied and pasted the Liquid Recipe I used below for your reference.

Here is my recipe for that detergent that I first posted on my first blog, www.spartasavings.blogspot.com:

One of the things that has saved me a ton of money over the last year or two is making my own laundry detergent.  Now we live in a small town and had a difficult time finding the ingredients in the first place (I just don't have the patience to order this stuff online) so after some research, we were able to find some good substitutes for the ingredients we couldn't find.  I used the Duggar Family recipe (The link is no longer available.)  I wanted a liquid detergent and one that worked in a front loading machine.  I have used this in both a top loading and front loading machine. The ingredients needed for this are:


5-gallon bucket with lid
Cutting board
Knife
Kettle
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda*
1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap**
1/2 cup Borax

*Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate and we found a 97% Sodium Carbonate in the pool aisle of Wal-mart.  The product is by hth Spa and is called pH increaser.  I've even seen this go on clearance, so it seems readily available (more so than the A&H Washing Soda.) 
**Ok - this bar, I haven't been able to find on the shelves, but had read in other recipes that you can use Ivory bars instead, so that's what I tried the first time.  I can't stand the smell of the Ivory, so tried the Dove bar and love the smell.  In this recipe today, I used the Cucumber scented & really loved it!
 
 
First I sliced up the bar of soap.  The recipe calls for grating, but slicing chunks it up into small pieces just fine.  I have found that because I am just cutting up a mild hand soap, and wash all the utensils in the dish washer, that it is fine for my food prep items.  You may want to use these kitchen tools only for soap making if it bothers you.  The kettle, I reserve only for laundry soap, because I wasn't sure about the rest of the ingredients being cooked on it.
 
Then you add all the ingredients, plus 4 cups of water to the kettle and cook it on medium heat until all the particles are melted and the liquid is smooth.  This gets poured into the 5-gallon bucket.  Then, the fun part - you fill the rest of the bucket with warm tap water and mix it!  Leaving this overnight will solidify the liquid, so it has the same consistency as store purchased detergent!
 
To use the detergent, you take old laundry containers and fill them half way with the homemade detergent and half water.  Mix it well before each use. 

I have figured out that because this batch actually makes 10 gallons of detergent, it costs me about $3 to make all of it!  I haven't counted how many loads it makes for me, but I only make this two times a year.  We have six in our family and do around 10-12 loads a week!  I suppose that if you multiply 10 load X 4 weeks a month X 6 months you would get about 240 loads! I find this to be such a great value and only takes about an hour of my time to make!