Monday, November 24, 2014

Menu Monday!


The weekend was so busy with lots of family here and celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner that my weekly menu was not even on my mind. But I managed to get one put together so I can do some grocery shopping... the week does march on!

Leftover Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey soup, dinner rolls, salad

Crockpot pork chops, brown rice, salad


Enchilada bake, tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Split pea soup w/sausage, biscuits, salad

Cream cheese chicken casserole, rice, salad


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Planner!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year at your home?  If you are, this list might help you to be a bit more organized.   

I'll be hosting my family's Thanksgiving meal on Sunday the 23rd.  We'll have about 16 people here including grandchildren.   Being prepared with good planning is a must!!  

3 weeks ahead of time
 Figure out how many people will you be serving and how big of a turkey you will need.  To calculate this, you need to figure about 1 ½ lbs of turkey per person.  So if you are feeding 8 people you would need a turkey that was about 12 pounds.  I usually buy them bigger so I will have leftovers. 
Write out guest list
Plan out menu
Gather recipes
Write out grocery list
2 weeks ahead
Buy turkey (if buying frozen ones)
Make dinner rolls and freeze.  I like to freeze them before baking.  I shape them into rolls; lay them out on a tray and flash freeze them.  On Thanksgiving Day I bring them out in the morning to defrost and rise. 
If your guests are contributing to the meal let them know what you would like them to bring.
1 Week Ahead
Clean out your fridge to make room for the added food items
IF you have not bought your turkey yet, they should be on sale this week. 
Do your grocery shopping of staple items you will need for the meal
4 to 5 Days Ahead
If your turkey is frozen you need to put it into the fridge to defrost now.  A turkey will take anywhere from 2 to 6 days to defrost depending on its size (figure one day for every 5 pounds of weight). 
Buy any fresh and perishable items you will need
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate
Make salad dressings and refrigerate
3 Days Ahead
Clean your house
Get out and ‘good’ dishes or bigger serving dishes and get them washed
2 Days Ahead
Wash table linens
Get out your roasting pans, thermometer, turkey baster and make sure they are clean and ready to go
Wash and chop up veggies for stuffing and side dishes and put in refrigerator
Make pie crusts, roll them out, and put in pie plates. Cover each one with plastic wrap and put in fridge
1 Day Ahead
If you are making mashed potatoes for the crockpot you can make those up now and store in fridge. Tomorrow you take them out and put in the crockpot on low in the morning.
Make stuffing and refrigerate. If you are stuffing your turkey do not do that now, wait until right before you put the turkey in the oven
Assemble side dishes
Assemble any jello type salads
In the evening pull out your turkey, clean it and make sure it has defrosted and put back in fridge. Remove giblets and refrigerate
Set the table in the evening if desired
Assemble and bake pies
Thanksgiving Day
Put some Christmas music on (this is our little tradition ~smile~)
Stuff turkey and put in oven at appropriate time (or if you have a roaster oven you can bake the turkey in there leaving your oven for heating up side dishes and baking dinner rolls)
Put the giblets in water with a little salt and let those simmer. You can use the broth for gravy and the cooked and chopped giblets can also be added to the gravy
Pull out dinner rolls and let them defrost and rise
Set the table if you did not do this yesterday
Put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot
If you have a second crockpot you can put the stuffing in there to warm (if you are not stuffing your turkey.  I always stuff the turkey and have leftover stuffing in a second crockpot)
When the turkey has finished cooking, pull it out
Put the side dishes in the oven to bake (if you did not bake the turkey in a roaster oven)
Bake dinner rolls
While the side dishes are heating up and rolls are baking, make gravy
Take a deep breath
Light some candles
Freshen up
Greet your guests
Enjoy your meal and give lots of thanks the Lord for his blessings and bounty in your life

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu Monday!


This week will be busy! I have shopping and prep to think about for my family's Thanksgiving dinner and a couple of sewing projects that I need to make progress on if they are going to be finished by Christmas! A planned out menu is a life saver on busy days. How is your menu looking this week?

Hot roast beef sandwiches, salad

Homemade pizza, coleslaw

Mexican chicken casserole, tortilla chips & salsa, salad


Teriyaki pork chops, brown rice, green beans

Chili, cornbread, salad

Our Family Thanksgiving Dinner


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hot Process Soap Making – New Video!

Making soap is fun and rewarding. It can be scary to start out but once you do it you realize how simple it is. And you realize how useful it is! I know my family and I could never go back to store bought soap.

In this video I'm showing you how to make hot process soap in a crockpot. There are 2 ways to make soap. One is called Cold Process and the other Hot Process. Here is the difference...

CP - This stands for Cold Processing. This is a soap making method. This is the method I use for making soap to sell. It involves combining your liquid/lye mixture with your oils and stirring until you reach trace (as defined below). Then pouring the mixture into molds. In a day or two you unmold, cut the bars and let the soap cure anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks depending on the recipe.

HP – This stands for Hot Processing. You follow the same procedures as CP but instead of pouring into your mold you keep cooking the soap. The soap is heated and cooked all the way through to the end. After you remove it from the mold you can cut the bars and pretty much use them right away.

I think hot process soap making is easier for the home soap maker, and you have usable bars of soap much sooner.

I use my older (like 20+ years old) crockpot for making soap in. In my opinion you do not need a separate crockpot for making soap. I've used this same crockpot often for soap making and for cooking in. When you are done making soap, you have soap, which is what you use to clean your crockpot with. It is entirely up to you if you want a dedicated crockpot for soap making. 

The Recpie..

Crockpot Hot Process Soap
18.9 oz coconut oil
30.8 oz olive oil
14.2 oz palm oil

20 oz water
9.2 oz lye

2.5 oz fragrance oil
And here is my video and below the video is a list of websites that you can use to find soap oils and lye.


Don't forget to sign up to my You Tube Channel

Soap Making Supplies:

Majestic Mountain Sage

Soaper’s Choice (oils only) 

Sweet Cakes Soap Making Supplies  

Milky Way Molds 

And for Lye...

Bitter Creek Candle Co. 

Texas Natural Supply 

Lehman’s Soap Making Supplies   (look under “Personal Care”) 

The Boyer Corporation (this is where I buy my lye from) 

Snow Drift Farm  

The Chemistry 

If you are interested in learning how to make cold process soap I have an ebook wit step by step directions and pictures...

Hand Made Soap - A Step by Step Photo Tutorial

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Striving for a Heart of Gratefulness

This is a repost from last year..  but my feelings are still the same!!  Be grateful, be thankful for all of God's blessings..  the big ones and the little tiny ones..  God's love is everywhere when we take the time to look and see them.. 

Thanksgiving always means to me a time to stop and give thanks. I’ve seen many lists on the things people are thankful for in their life. I have my own list as well. But I have really been contemplating something beyond this. I’ve been contemplating and thinking about a heart of gratefulness.

How is this different you might ask? Well I’ll share my thoughts. In my mind a true heart of gratefulness goes beyond my list of what I’m thankful for. It is a deeper meaning that I am going to strive for in my life. I looked it like this.. if you were walking through a desert of heat you would be so thankful, deeply grateful for every drop of water you had. If you stood next to a huge lake, water would be taken for granted. How many things in my life do I take for granted? 

It’s not about looking at those less fortunate than I am and realizing my blessings. It is choosing every day to be honestly grateful for all my blessings. I remember something from several years ago. I was driving with my van full of children to Walmart. Now, I live in a beautiful area. It is so beautiful that is considered a National Scenic Area (The Columbia River Gorge). I’m driving to Walmart and my kids are being noisy and my mind is focused on my trip to Walmart, what I need to do after I get home, food to prepare and chores to be done. Then it hits me. It is a completely beautiful July day. The sun is shining, the sky is an intense blue, the trees and mountains beside me are a deep, rich, vibrant green and brown the Columbia River to my left is stunning in its colors and calmness. If a tourist was driving through they would have been in incredible awe by the beauty of it all. But on that day for me, up until that point, it was just how I got to Walmart. I realized that in the hectic pace of my life, I take things for granted. The beauty of God’s creation right in front of me goes unnoticed due to focus on other things. 


How many other things go unnoticed in my life? The laugh of a child, the quiet of an afternoon, the noise of a houseful of grandchildren, a cup of coffee shared with a good friend, the rain making my area so green and beautiful, the hard work of my husband to provide for us, a load of clean and folded laundry, the wood stove simmering and keeping us warm, the work of my husband and sons who gather the wood in and stack it and bring it into the house so I can make a fire and keep us warm and toasty all winter long, a pot of soup on a cold winters day, the blessings of being a stay at home wife and mother, a clean kitchen, dirty dishes (as they say it shows I have someone to cook for), a child who learns a hard concept in his/her school day, a quiet evening spent with my hubby, new toothbrushes, dirty windows that show the handprints of little grandchildren who’ve been at my house, a barn full of hay to feed my goats for the winter, and my list could go on and on, the big stuff and the little stuff. Lord may I never take any of it for granted. 


So many things go way beyond my list, it is a daily heart that wakes each morning and says, thank you Lord, I am alive today, and I have so much to be thankful for that it can bring me to tears. If you’ve ever lost a loved one or been close to losing your own life, then you know how incredibly grateful you can be to simply wake up in the morning and step into the day ready to tackle whatever God has in store. Let me live daily with a heart that is truly grateful to Lord and chose not to take my life for granted. As a Peanuts cartoon I saw the other day said, “What if today I was just grateful for everything”. That is my desire, to strive towards a daily heart of true gratefulness to my Lord and Savior. Not all days will be great days, some will be hard, some will be sad, some will try my patients, but every day there is beauty, there are blessings and there is a Lord that has blessed me with so many beautiful simple things. Lord may I never take any of it for granted.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for November – Update

I've met most of my goals.. but the months not over yet!! The windows are still on my to-do list.

The kitchen has been given a good cleaning.. wiped down, cleaned up, etc.. preparing for our holiday baking and cooking which is coming up soon!

I wanted to get my “baking cupboard” cleaned out. It was messy, over crowded and a few items that needed to be tossed. Here was the before pic...

The first step was to clear everything out and go through it all. Then wipe down the shelves...

Then it was time to put it back....

Aww.. looks much better, easier to use and I even have that top shelf area for storage if needed.

Now I feel ready to do some baking. I've gone through my spices and other ingredients to make sure we are ready to tackle the pumpkin pies and other goodies.

My family will be celebrating Thanksgiving on the 23rd of November. Last year we celebrated a few days late so that my daughter Leanne could be home from S. Korea to join us. What I really enjoyed is that this gave my other children the opportunity to celebrate the actual holiday with their in laws or girlfriend/boyfriend's family. No issues on where to spend the holiday, and no one has to have their dinner with family missing. This year we are doing it ahead of the holiday and I plan on decorating for Christmas and getting the tree up on the actual holiday.

In any case.. there is always so much to be thankful for and I love this time of year as a reminder of the things in life that matter. For me, my family, children, love, grace, kindness, and togetherness. God is good all the time!!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Monday!

Last week was just busy! We had a fun trip up north to visit my in-laws, and then busy days for the rest of the week. This week should be slower paced. For now, the menu has been planned and that is always the best start to my week. How is your menu planning going?

Crockpot pork roast, roasted potatoes, coleslaw


Chicken/spinach casserole, brown rice pilaf, salad

Chicken veggie soup, dinner rolls, salad


Hamburger/rice enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad

Chili, corn bread, veggie platter