Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again: Why do I do this Blog Thing?

Me Six Months Pregnant
I took a little blogging hiatus over the past few months, and it's caused me to reflect on why I started (or should continue) this blog. The reason why I took a break was nothing more than necessity. I don't tend to write a lot of personal information on this blog, but I have two young boys and another little nugget on the way. My last post was in February (shortly after I found out I was pregnant), and I simply did not have the energy, drive, or interest to keep up with a blog. I was just trying to survive: keep food in the fridge, clean clothes in the drawers, and take a shower at least once a week (you think I'm kidding...ha!). I certainly didn't have the energy for the "extras": i.e., shaving my legs, cooking hot meals, or blogging.

During this blogging sabbatical, I didn't log into my account or really check my blog activity. So, when I finally checked it out a month or so ago I realized that no one really realized I was gone. No, "hey, I miss your blog," or "when will you post more?" Of course, that's a bit of a blow to the ego, but it caused me to reflect upon why I created this blog and, furthermore, ask myself, "should I continue?". 

The original reason why I started the blog was for a creative outlet as a new stay-at-home mom. Isn't that who starts 90% of all blogs? :) I really didn't care if anyone read my posts. I wanted a way to exercise my mind through writing and creativity. Blogging allowed me to do as much or as little as I liked whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes here and there. There wasn't pressure or any real deadlines other than what I imposed on myself. 

When I began this blog, I didn't care if another person read it. It was purely for myself. But, it's sure hard not to get wrapped up in how many followers/views/etc. I have. I find myself comparing my blogging success (or lack thereof) with my peers. I sure wouldn't consider myself a "success" in the blogging world. So, should I continue? 

Now that I've had some time to reflect, I've decided to jump back in the blogging saddle. But, I'm going back to my original intentions. This is for me. Certainly, I do hope that others read and enjoy my DIY projects and domestic tips, but I won't be devastated if no one else joins me. 

Another few reasons I've come to enjoy writing this blog in particular and want to continue:
  • As I recall things my mother actually did teach me, it helps me remember some really great things about my youth.
  • This is a great repository of information that I can pass along to my children...if they are interested.
It may be a slow re-entry into the blogging scene with baby #3 due in a month or so, but I'm leaping back in! I do hope you'll join, but if you don't, I'll still be content capturing all the Things My Mother Taught Me. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flashback Friday: No Bakes

Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! This is a quick, easy "no bake" dessert that is a real crowd please. Peanut butter and chocolate. Can you really go wrong? :)

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: no-bake cookies
Supplies:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 T. cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (not natural, it won't melt properly)
  • ~3 cups oatmeal (quick oats are best, but I often use old-fashion rolled oats)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Medium-Size Sauce Pan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • 2 - Cookie Sheets
  • Parchment/Wax Paper
  • 2 teaspoons

No Bake Cookies are one of my favorite stand-by recipes in my arsenal of desserts. This is such a simple recipe, and for some reason, I generally have all of these ingredients on hand. The peanut butter-chocolate combination pleases any crowd! 

In a medium saucepan on the stove over medium to high heat, melt the butter and then add the sugar, cocoa, and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. 



Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. (I like to have the peanut butter measured out before the mixture comes to a boil.)  Add these ingredients first and stir so it melts and combines evenly. 





Stir in the oatmeal one cup at a time. The amount of oatmeal you add will depend on how gooey you like the cookies and how long the chocolate mixture cooked. Sometimes I have added as much as 3 3/4 cups of oatmeal. 



Using the teaspoons, quickly drop the cookies onto the waxed paper before the mixture hardens. 


Refrigerate approximately one hour or until the cookies set. 


* * * * * * * * 

Recipe:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 T. cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (not natural, it won't melt properly)
  • ~3 cups oatmeal (quick oats are best, but I often use old-fashion rolled oats)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Medium-Size Sauce Pan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • 2 - Cookie Sheets
  • Parchment/Wax Paper
  • 2 teaspoons
  1. In a medium saucepan on the stove over medium to high heat, melt the butter and then add the sugar, cocoa, and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. 
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. 
  3. Stir in the oatmeal one cup at a time. 
  4. Using the teaspoons, quickly drop the cookies onto the waxed paper before the mixture hardens. 
  5. Refrigerate approximately one hour or until the cookies set. 


Check out more posts on my 2014 A to Z Challenge!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Flashback Friday: Sewing a Button


Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! Here's a basic video tutorial on how to sew a button. 

Skill Level
: Beginner 

Skills Attained: Sewing a Button
Supplies:
  • Button
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Straight Pin

Sewing on a button is a basic skill that everyone should know -- even you men out there! I bet many of you have a jacket or shirt sitting in your closet missing a button that you haven't worn in a few months, and your mom doesn't live in the area so she can't sew it back on for you. :) Well, do not fear! I am hear to give you a video tutorial on how to sew a button. 



I hope you feel equipped and empowered to sew that button!


Check out more posts on my 2014 A to Z Challenge!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flashback Friday: My Tomatoes' Journey

Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! Last year I tracked growing tomatoes from seed. Depending on where you live, you will probably start your tomato seeds indoors in the coming weeks. So, check it out if you're thinking about growing tomatoes this year!

This series of posts documents my experiences in growing tomatoes from seed. Through these posts, you will journey with me through the life of my tomatoes. I provide instructions on how to start, transplant, care for, and harvest tomatoes. Topics include: common pests and diseases, fertilizers, and plant varieties, to name a few. 

Check out My Tomatoes' Journey:

Flashback Friday: Making Laundry Detergent

Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! If you're looking for a way to cut your household costs, check out how I make my own laundry detergent. It only takes me about 20 minutes every 6 weeks. Of course this will vary depending on how quickly you go through laundry detergent.

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: DIY Detergent
Supplies:

  • Bar of Soap
  • Borax 
  • Washing Soda
  • Cheese Grater
  • Large Pot (large enough to hold two gallons of water)
  • Wooden Spoon
  • (2) Gallon Milk Jugs (empty)
  • Funnel
  • Ladle

I started making my own laundry detergent last year. (If any of my friends or family are reading this post, they my fall over in their seats. I'm not usually this "earthy".) What was my main motive in doing this? Money. Every once in a while I challenge myself to cut costs in our family's budget. I was first inspired -- as many people are these days -- when I saw a few websites walking me through the process on Pinterest, and I thought, "I can totally do that!" 

As I mentioned, there are many blogs that walk you through how to do this, and my method does not deviate from many of those. In case you're interested, here's how I do it:



Grate one bar of soap into a large pot. You can use any type of soap you would like. I just use what I have on hand. Today, it happened to be Dove. If you'd like a scent to your detergent, you could use a lavender soap or something similar. 






Add one gallon of water and heat on the stove until the soap has dissolved. 






Add one cup of Borax (No, not "Borat". Borax is a "detergent booster" -- not quite sure what that means.)  and one cup of washing soda. I found both of these items at my local grocery store. Bring the mixture to a boil. (Keep an eye on the pot so the mixture does not boil over. That happened to me, and it got everywhere! I guess there are worse things to spill all over your stove than soap:) 







Remove from heat and add one gallon of cool water. As you can see, I need a bigger pot, but it's all I have, so I work with it:) 








Once the detergent has cooled, funnel it into your milk jugs. As the mixture cools, it will congeal. To use, add 1/2 c. of the detergent to your washing machine per load of laundry. 





I haven't done an actual breakdown on the cost savings, but I would estimate the cost of this homemade laundry detergent to store bought detergent is pennies on the dollar.

If any of you are wondering, do you notice a difference in your clothes? The answer is a resounding, "No!" I haven't noticed a change in color, smell, or cleanliness. I'm happy to have found a way to save my family a little money and not require a lot of extra work on my end. 

Have you ever tried making your own laundry detergent? If you've used homemade laundry detergent, have you noticed any differences in your wash? 

Check out more posts on my 2014 A to Z Challenge!