Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Laundry Loveliness: Homemade Stain Remover

Long time readers know my love for homemade laundry supplies such as homemade fabric softener and the always amazing vinegar.....
This summer I found another little potion to add to my laundry arsenal.

I've been testing it for awhile now and I'm ready to share my latest bit of homemade laundry loveliness....

Stain Remover Spray

1 part Blue Dawn Dish Soap
2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide

Pour into a spray bottle and spray lightly onto stained portions of garments, wash as you normally would.

I'm not kidding- 2 ingredients.
I know I was when I first found out about it.

We've been using it exclusively for about 5 months now.
My spray bottle holds a wee bit more than 1 cup so I do 1/3 cup Dawn and 2/3 cup Hydrogen Peroxide. It'll last me approximately one month if we aren't too messy.
It's taken out such pesky stains as pizza sauce, chocolate syrup, ketchup, mustard, dirt, grass stains just to name a few.
And it works.

It's even managed to lesson previously set stains (not removing entirely but lightening them a bit).

I still have my Fels Naptha (and a little scrub brush) which I swear by for the really difficult stains like really ground-in grass stains and blood.
But this right here is my back up. Fels Naptha first and then a spritz or two of this magical potion before I toss it in the wash.

Yes, this stuff really works.
And is ohsovery frugal to boot!

Other Laundry Loveliness Posts you might be interested in:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's the Season of Giving and I've got a Gift for YOU!

There are still presents to be purchased
and made
and wrapped
and cards to be addressed
and stamped
and sent
foodie gifts that need baking
Christmas Party Mix that needs making
etc etc etc

And yet today, instead of doing anything on my To Do List, I decided to get a little creative and create something just for you...
My readers.
Who has stuck around and cheered us on as we put our beloved yellow townie farmhouse up for sale, as we dealt with completely frozen pipes while our house was still for sale, as we sold our house and prepped for our big move, as we moved and started carving a life out here on the farm....
and my blogging dripped instead of flowed and dribbled 'til it about dried up.....

Y'all have been super patient and loyal and I'm just blessed to bits to have you still around.
I want to write more... I've even got a list of bloggy ideas and have taken pictures to go with nonexistent posts.
I'm just really struggling with finding the time to make bloggy magic happen on here.
Sorry 'bout that.

Anyhoo.... as my way of saying Thank You for sticking around and checking in and reading... I created a Christmas printable for you to download and print!

Isn't it lovely?
I'm pretty geeked about it.

Just click on the link below and download your very own print!

I don't know about you but I just needed a little pick-me-up and a good reminder of what Christmas really is.... 
Good Tidings of Great Joy!
For all people!

Enjoy, my dear readers.
And stay hopeful.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hello December

Greetings last month of the year....
You are welcome here.
I think we'll get along just fine.

Last week marked our 6 month farmiversary.
We had a big family dinner and talked about all that we've loved so far and what we're hoping for here on the farm in the near and far future.

Life is adventureful and wonderful and just down right fun 'round here.
For example:
We rescued a donkey today. He was just trotting down the road, wandering and lost. And oh so very friendly. He came right up to us and nuzzled the kiddos and Nana, who were all very smitten.

Leo the friendly donkey neighbor
I think Mads was hoping he was homeless but he was much too nice and well-fed for that and it was only a half hour later that the owners came calling and took their wandering charge back home.
Nan thinks we should have asked if they wanted to sell him.

And just like that, an afternoon adventure with a donkey on the farm has added the following line to our farm goals: Check Craig's List for a donkey.

I love this life.

Our Barred Rock Roosters, Silas & Seamus
We're planning an excursion into the woods sometime this week to gather greens and holly for the house for Christmas. AND to finalize which tree will be our very first Farm Christmas Tree. 
Did I mention how I love this life?

Yes, it's been six months.... and we're still in the farm honeymoon stage.
I'll continue to enjoy it for all it's worth for as long as it will last.

Oh, we do have our low points.... like when the chickens ate 2 of the 3 pumpkins we managed to nurse along and grow this year. And my prize tomatoes... they ate quite a few of those too. And the raspberries. Naughty chickens.
Or when last week's deluge of water caused leaks in the master bedroom and The Boy's room.... right above his bed. Complete with crumbling, falling plaster. Plaster we had replaced/repaired just this past spring.
At least the porch didn't leak.... much.
Yes, replace roof is on our spring to do list.....

And as for the part about my parents living with us.... well we're 192 days into this three generations-under-one-roof gig and we're doing spectacularly well.  How's living with the 'rents? I'm pleasantly surprised at how well we've all taken to it. Really.
No I'm not kidding. We're a good quirky fit. As long as you don't count my mom's dog that likes to eat our clothes when we're not looking.... I'm not feeling very loving or even friendly towards that pooch..... but my parents? I love that we're sharing this adventure together.

Life here is eventful.... and mostly just.... FULL.
And we love it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Farmhouse Recipe: Overnight Pumpkin French Toast

Pulling a recipe out of the archives to share with you today....

This right here is like eating dessert for breakfast.
It tastes like pumpkin custard.
And it's become the traditional Thanksgiving Breakfast in our family.

Overnight Pumpkin French Toast
(a recipe tweaked from Gooseberry Patch's Autumn in the Country)
1- 15 oz can pumpkin
8 eggs
4 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 loaf of baggette bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
Garnishes: maple syrup, whipped cream

Place cut bread in lightly greased 13x9 pan. Mix together rest of ingredients and pour the pumpkin mixture over  the bread. Push down bread with a spoon so that the tops of bread is completely covered in the pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (check around 25 minutes to make sure your bread is not blackening).
Garnish with maple syrup and/or whipped cream.

I suggest a strong cup of coffee to accompany this.... we also like to add a side of fresh fruit to cut down on the sugary sweetness and sorta even out the meal....

Do you have a traditional breakfast for Thanksgiving?
If so, please share!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sneak Peek: The Farmhouse Sitting Room

Popping in to give y'all a bit of a peek at how the farmhouse sitting room is shaping up.
Sitting Room.
Who has those anymore?
A Sitting Room is defined as a room where people can sit down and relax.
Isn't that lovely?
This house just needed a room for doing exactly that.
So there you go.... a Sitting Room.

When my parents lived here this was their living/family room. When my great grandparents lived here I remember it as a sitting room.
We've put the piano in here, a few mismatched book cases, my beloved rocking chair and a cozy reading chair.

We call it the sitting room
and we call it the library
and when we're stumped we call it the room with the piano.

Here's what I do know- there's not enough room for all our books.
{I'm dreaming of floor to ceiling book shelves on the west wall.}
The reading chair gets a lot of use.... devotion time, coffee sipping time, reading and just resting.
The fact that the furniture is all around the perimeter of the room and the middle of the floor is wide open leads to lots of great time spent playing board games here, and putting puzzles together and most importantly, I have to admit- it's where we separate and fold laundry.
The piano seems to take center stage (it didn't have such a vaulted place at the old house- it was off to the side in the dining room.)
And my girls have never played the piano so much before we moved here.
Now they play often.... (each self-teaching, thank you youTube).
And we like it like that.

Lu just finished sewing me the most beautiful curtains this past week. They really make the room, in my opinion. I love them.

The layout of the room is interesting. It really only has 2 walls. It's an early take on an open floor plan.... It also is the front entry to the house. The two walls have space taken up by two large windows too. The room is on the west side of the house so it gets great afternoon light.
I like that.

In the above picture you can see what I'm talking about when I say "open floor plan". I seriously adore these chippy painted banisters that separate the sitting room from the dining room. The reading chair was a $12 find at our local Salvation Army. It's got great bones and good, firm stuffing but the fabric is totally 1980's and grungy. I'm researching diy chair recovering and have even purchased some fabric.... just afraid to take that big of a diy leap right now. So it's got a couple sheets tossed over it and tucked in here and there for right now. [Remember: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.] It's working for me right now.
And that big, beautiful, galvanized W? Hobby Lobby. Half off. $15. Love.
Standing lamp- Goodwill.

Here's the east side- bonus- you get a glimpse of the family room. We're using the buffet that was in the dining room of the old house as an entertainment center. I like it.
To the far left of the picture is the front door. I'm standing by the piano to take this picture.
My mom picked up that footstool at GW for a couple bucks. We're planning on recovering it, but right now it's just nice to have a place to rest your feet.

One more of the beautiful piano.....

There's a story to this piano.... and even to that old padded cushion on it's bench.
My great grandparents bought the piano for my grandmother in 1932 when they were living in Chicago. They purchased it from the neighbor lady across the street and wheeled the behemoth across the wide street (complete with trolly tracks running down the middle) to their home. It's an old player piano (the player guts are long gone now) and it was brought to this very farmhouse in 1946 when my great grandparents moved here with my grandmother and her older sister. It sat in the family room where the buffet/entertainment center is now. It moved with my grandmother when she married my grandfather and I have fond memories of plunking on it as a child at their home. When Grandma downsized, it went with her daughter, my sweet Aunt Sandy and my Lu was blessed to plunk on it as a toddler at Sandy's house. A few years after Sandy passed away, my uncle hauled the piano to our previous house. It took six guys to get that thing in our house! Gram and Aunt Sandy always wanted Lu to have the piano. 
And now, it has just about come full circle.... right back in this house, sixty-eight years later.
Still sporting the piano cushion my grandmother made ages and ages ago, because I cannot bear to recover it. The memories are too sweet and too strong.

Middle C sticks.
A string from one of the upper black keys has broken.
It can no longer be completely tuned.... but it's close. Sort of.
And someone took a hammer to over half the ivory keys, breaking off the little curved edge at the ends.
And a few pieces of the veneer have come off and been lost.
But we don't really see any of that when we look at this piano.
Instead we see, feel and touch family history.
Just as it should be.

Just as it is with that beloved rocking chair. The very rocker my parents purchased when they were expecting me. The rocker my mama rocked all three of her children in. The rocker I have rocked all three of my babies in.... It's come back to this house too.
I do believe it's quite happy to be back.

And that is what makes this little sitting room feel perfectly perfect to me.
All that love that's wrapped up in it.

>>> I hope to be able to give you a full post on this room soon. You know..... one with plenty of before and after photos, info on the paint colors and curtain fabric and the lowdown on the cost.
Staying hopeful...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I wasn't forgetting.... really I wasn't.

A year ago I started (what I thought at the time would be) a year long series entitled, "Embrace the Camera", in which I committed to putting myself in front of the camera for a photo at least once a week for an entire year. [see the post that started it all here]
Um, yeah.... about that.

I'm sorry.
According to the blog, I made it a grand total of 26 weeks.
So what happened?
You know.... a little thing called packing up your home of 20 years and moving to a farm.

I didn't exactly stop getting my picture taken, it just wasn't a priority on my weekly to-do list.
And taking the time to put edit it and put it on the blog these last few months.... well, we all know how well I kept up with blogging.

My 41st Birthday.... Me and my girls
I don't see the experiment as a complete failure though either.
I was able to complete and document half of it here.
And if I look back through our photos.... while there aren't pictures every week, there are indeed, more pictures of me than years previous.
And wasn't that the point of this experiment? To get myself out from behind and in front of the camera?
So, in summary, I count it a success.
For a gal that likes to finish a project completely to the point of checking it off the list.... this was difficult to let go of and get over labeling "undone."
And that leads me to thinking-- My life is pretty much about living "undone," so I guess this is fitting.
It isn't about finishing the project, or checking it off the list.... it's about the undoneness of it all. The living and thriving (and dare I say, enjoying ) in the midst of it. And that- that I have accomplished.
I've learned to put myself in front of the camera, even when I don't feel like it, most especially when I don't feel like it. Because it's about marking the memories with and for my children, not about whether that photo angle gives me multiple chins or that my eyes crinkle so much you can't really see them.
After all, I'm a woman who is mostly coming undone. God has shown me that He alone completes me. Nothing here ever really will. I'm okay with documenting that.

In fact, my year came to a close just last week....
I celebrated my 41st birthday. 

And we took pictures.

The Mister and I all spiffed up for our fancy birthday dinner date.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Paint what you can

Last Saturday was a beautiful fall day.
I love spending beautiful days doing outdoor projects on the farm.

Now here’s the deal…. The house is in serious need of some paint.
But I don’t have the time or resources to paint the whole house exterior.
My thing was I really wanted the front entrance (a nice little corner) of the house painted.
It was really bugging me.

And I had the time and the paint to get that done.
So I did.
And since I had paint left in my cup, I decided to touch up the front porch and the back porch. And paint the back door. Sigh. Sometimes I roll like that.
Oh there is plenty that still needs painting but these little areas are done for now and they make me happy.

Because I’m embracing the simple fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful (thanks Nester)
And if little half-completed small tasks make me smile- I should do them.

Isn't that a beautiful difference? And now that one bright, shining, non-paint chippy spot is making me smile.
And also this spot right here- the back door.
It was looking pretty sad until Saturday.....

Yes, the rest of the back side needs a good scrape and paint but that door and the bit of white siding to the right of it look spiffy now!
And that makes me smile.

The other thing that makes me smile is finally finding a very close match to that dark green paint after hauling home paint samples from 5 different stores. [The piece of paper that we wrote down that color and number on are long gone.] Winner: Forest Floor by Do it Best Corp (and I mention it here so I have record to come to....]

With the weather changes the green may have to wait until Spring, but just in case another nice day comes around again this fall.... I'm ready.


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