Monday, May 24, 2010

Away for the Week

Mr. K, Abigail, and I are starting the drive to MI tomorrow for a family wedding on Friday.  This is a very exciting time for Abigail as she is one of the flower girls!  Pretty dress, fancy hairstyle, and flowers ... what more could a 6 year old girl want.  =)

While I'm gone, I hope you'll browse all my past posts and leave lots of comments.  It's a 12 hour drive to MI and I plan on using some of that time to brainstorm blog topics for the coming months.

See you in June!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Garden Update

The rabbits found my garden.

I knew it was only a matter of time ...
perhaps they'll notice I planted an extra row of lettuce just for them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's a Gorgeous Day ...

and I don't feel like blogging.  =)  The sun is shinning and it's pushing 75 degrees.  It feels wonderful after several days of cold, rainy weather.

I did a bit of errand running this morning:

new RED shoes for the upcoming wedding ....

parchment paper for soap molds ....

rolls and rolls of screen for this weekends project. ....

Mr. K and I are going to re-screen our sun porch.

Off to make a couple batches of soap!  I used up my supply of lye but found it at Lowe's, of all places.  It's nice to know I can get it locally.  =)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Peak into a Yarn Dyer's Kitchen

Tuesday was a cold and rainy day ... perfect for finishing up a yarn order.  I'll be hand delivering it next week when we are in Michigan for a family wedding.  It's going to a lovely yarn shop in Hudsonville, MI called Painted Trillium Designs.

Dye stock solutions at the ready.  

Where all the magic happens!

I love my dye pot - it is so roomy and deep. =)  My friend Sue gave it to me when she was de-cluttering.  Her trash became my treasure.  Do you see the missing knob on the stove?  I take them all off but the one I'm using so that I don't accidently turn on the wrong burner.  Yikes!  What a mess that would make!

Yarn cooling in the sink.  

I rinse it well with water and hair conditioner.  That's my "secret" ingredient for making the yarn smell so nice.

Here I am!  Jill of all trades, master of none.  LoL

Yarn drying on the porch. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fourteen Years Ago ...

Mr. K and I were married. 

Words cannot express what I feel for that man but I absolutely love him from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The New Planner

My love for day planners/calenders began when I was a child.  The local Hallmark store gave out free purse sized ones at Christmas.  Momma would get me one and I couldn't wait to enter in everyone's birthday or anniversary.  As I got older I added other important dates and times like "Work: 1-8", "First Day of Driver's Training", "College Application Due Date", and "Pizza Hut w/ Michael".  =)

Soon after we got married, I decided to become a Longaberger Basket consultant.  Included with my Starter Selling Kit was a Franklin Covey Day Planner.  I'd never seen one before and it was love at first sight!!!!  There was something about those light green pages ... =)
The basket gig didn't last long and neither did the Franklin Covey planner - those refills are PRICEY.  I went back to the classic monthly calendar on the wall ... a free one, of course, from the local funeral home.  =)  Hey, all you had to do was cut off the ad at the bottom and no one would know the difference.

I discovered Home Management Binders in 2005 through some blogs that I was following and gave that a try.  It was totally up my alley ... schedules, plans, binder, dividers, color coding, page protectors, important phone numbers, high-lighting, to-do lists!!!  It went through several transformations, progressively getting smaller each time.  Then I just stopped using it all together ... keeping up with all the aspects of a HMB frustrated me and made me feel like a home-management failure.  =(   


Fast forward to May 2010 ... I'm very pleased to announce that I found a system that works for me and this is it:
  • A 8x10 monthly calender with 2 pages per week  - doesn't get lost on counter but not too big to carry in purse if I needed.
  • Important dates with times are written on the monthly calender ONLY - these are in pen.
  • Everything else is written on the weekly calender ONLY - these are in pencil.
The weekly pages are divided into 4 sections - Meals (what we are going to eat), HB (House Blessings), Blog (post topics to jog my memory), and Family (artsy-fartsy projects that I want to do or things to get for Mr. K or Abigail).  I keep a binder clip on the current month plus the "used" months.  I paperclip the current week's pages and the pages up to the next month together.  Everything is easy to find and it works so well for me!

Give this system a try - simplicity is the key!   I think it's pretty adaptable.  If you need any help getting a system set up for your family, drop me an email.  I'd love to help, if I can.  =)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Soap Making

A couple weeks ago the idea of making soap just POPPED into my head.  That's usually how it goes!!!  I did a quick Google search for "cold process soap tutorials" and found a lot of great video tutorials on You Tube.  My sister Sarah makes soap so I had a little chat with her about what oils and essential oils to use.  I did a bit more searching for a good lye source and ordered 2 pounds of it.

Last week I made 3 batches of soap and it was so fun!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's cut and curing on paper bags in my closet for 6 to 8 weeks.  Wednesday I made 3 more batches of soap:

The peach soap is scented with Grapefruit Essential oil and colored with Paprika.  Isn't that cool!  The paprika adds a nuttier note to the citrus smell which is really nice.

The soap log behind that is also scented with Grapefruit Essential oil but I left it uncolored.  By the end of the curing time it will lighten to a soft yellow.

The soap log on top is scented with Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint Oil.  I love this combination!  Tea Tree Oil on it's own can be a bit medicinal but the Peppermint Oil really tones that down.

Mr. K made these FABULOUS soap molds for me since I insisted that NATURAL soap be made in NATURAL soap molds.  I'm so glad he puts up with my craziness.  =)

I popped them out of the molds and will cut them into "bars" this afternoon.  I call them "bars" because the shape rarely looks like anything you'd buy at the store.  =)

Once they cure, I'll do a little giveaway so that you can enjoy my new hobby and experience the delight of washing up with an 100% natural soap!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Keeping it Real ...

The state of my sewing/computer room @ 9am Thursday morning.  

I have this horrid cough that drives Mr. K. upstairs to the air mattress so that he can get a decent nights sleep. During the day, Abigail likes to make a mountain of the down comforters and flop on it. 

Improv Quilting

Last night after supper, I was puttering on the computer upstairs.  Abigail came upstairs and asked if she could play with my fabric scraps.  Sure, go ahead!

She sits down on the floor with the bin, a pair of scissors and gets to work.  I love it when Abigail plays creatively like this because she always hums and sings made up songs to herself.  As she worked, I heard her say things like, "Oh this looks nice together ... I like this solid fabric ... These flowers are so pretty"  Fifteen minutes later she calls out, "Mommy, I'm done!  Can you sew it together?" 

I turn around in my chair to find all these little hand cut squares of fabric laid out on the floor in a very planned yet random pattern.  It was so charming and very modern.  Improvisational quilting at it's best!

"Did you do that, Abigail?!?!" 
"Yes, Mommy.  Do you like it?" 
"Wow, I'm impressed!  That's called Improv quilting and Mommy's never done it before!"  
"Can we sew it together?"
"You are one creative little girl, Abigail!"
"I'm going to blog about this tomorrow!"
((Squeal and great big hug from Abigail))

I suggested two side borders to even out the size.  Would this mess with her creative mojo?  No way!  The grass green solid border and polka dot backing she picked, totally works and makes the patchwork center POP.  =)

I quilt, I knit, I craft ... but I've NEVER pushed it on Abigail, hoping that she would acquire a love for these things on her own.  She has and that makes me one VERY happy mama.  =)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Picture!

I found this website with wonderful vintage knitting clipart this afternoon and decided I'd change the look of Dutch Girl Diary with a new avatar.  Is that what you call that picture on the left???  Then I had to change the colors and fonts to fit the "feel" of the picture. 

If you were to transport Mr. K and I back 200 years, that's what we would look like.  =)  Erin diligently knitting a pair of socks while Mr. K watches her with such adoration ... or is that consternation?  "Excuse me, Dear.  But I'd really like my supper."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend in Review


Mommy-Daughter date for breakfast -- we got bagels. 
The day was filled with house projects by Mr. K and soap-making by me. 
Father-Daughter date and a bit of Mother's Day shopping.


Lovely balloons, a homemade card, and beautiful necklace.
Church and a wonderful time of fellowship afterward!
Lunch prepared by Abigail and Michael
A nap, a walk, and pancake making
Foyle's War on Masterpiece Theatre

I believe this was the BEST Mother's Day EVERY!
I am BLESSED.  =)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hurray for Friday!

Don't fret ... Erin's still here.  =)  Wednesday and Thursday were very full days with so many things getting checked off the "to-do" list:

Meal brought to family with new baby ... check.
Packed lunches ... check.
Garden and new bushes watered ... check.
Grass fertilized ... check.
Made beds ... check.
Bought window a/c for upstairs bedroom ... check.
Parts and pieces for Abigail's closet bought ... check.
Line dried laundry ... check.
Trip to the Post Office ... check.
Ate awesome wet burritoes for supper ... check.
Found glass for island doors ... check.
Abigail read to me ... check.
Finally found the right ant traps ... check.
Made awesome homemade pizza for supper ... check.
Snuggled with Mr. K ... check.
Made first batch of soap ... check.

I went to bed every night tired but feeling very happy and satisfied.

Society may not see any value in my work at home and bemoan the fact that I am "shackled" to an old-fashioned and antiquated way of living.  But I know this to be true:

My family is Happy ... My family is Healthy ... My family is Together!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hearty Vegtable Soup

Let's cook together this morning!  Run around the kitchen and gather all these ingredients.  Don't forget TWO cans of diced tomatoes and TWO cartons of chicken broth.  I did.  =)

Chop up the onion.  This was a particularly big one so I reserved some of it for our pizza tomorrow night.  Did you know there is an art to cutting an onion?  Watch this short video to learn how.  =)

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a big stock pot and dump in the chopped onion.  Add a generous sprinkle of salt and a good pinch of black pepper.  Stir and saute until the onions are translucent.  

Take two cartons of chicken broth, two cans of diced tomatoes (with the juices) and one can of tomato paste and add them to the onion mixture.  Give it a good swish with a wooden spoon or whisk to break up and blend the tomato paste.  I like to turn the burner down to low at this point so I don't get tomato juice eruptions all over my stove-top. 

Wash the veggies under cold running water.  You'll need four stalks celery, five carrots, and two to three potatoes.  I happened to have some mini Red Bliss potatoes growing eyes that needed to be used. I think I used about a dozen of them.  Add all three vegetables to the stockpot and give a stir to combine with the tomato/broth mixture.

Open up two cans of beans, drain off the juice, and give them a good rinse with cold water.  Add those to the vegetable/tomato/broth mixture and give a stir to combine.  I like to add a bit more salt and pepper before I turn the heat up to simmer for an hour.  Give the soup a couple stirs during the hour of simmering to keep any bits from sticking to the bottom of the stock-pot.

Here's my lunch!  It tastes really good.  The vegetables are tender but not mushy.  It's seasoned perfectly.  The pepper adds a nice kick without being spicy.  And my favorite part ... this is such a frugal meal to make.  =)

  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 cups diced potatoes (3 large potatoes)
  • 2 cups diced carrots (5 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained (SORRY, I completely forgot this!)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
Saute onions with salt and pepper in EVOO.  Add broth and tomatoes to stock pot; whisk until smooth.  Add vegetables.  Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. 

Monday, May 03, 2010

Meal Plan Makeover

Instead of doing a single post on Monday with my weekly Meal Plan, I'm going to put it in the sidebar.  If by chance you actually follow and fix the same meals I am, you'll be able to find it much easier. =)

Do you see a method to the madness of my meal plan?   Try saying that 10 times really fast.  =) 

Wednesday is homemade pizza night.  Many families make that meal on Friday, but I prefer a pick-me-up half way through the week.  This week I added a SECOND pizza night, Saturday, because it's fast, cheap, and we all love it. 

Tuesday is soup night.  I can pull this off as long as it's a hearty soup and I serve a really gooey grilled cheese sandwich along side.  No sissy "soup and salad bar" for Mr. K.  =)  There are 3 or 4 soups in the rotation at this point that are family approved, but I'd like to add a few more varieties. 

Going into the hot summer nights, Monday and Thursday are going to be Grill Nights - chicken one night and beef the other.  One of the easiest "recipes" in Freezer Cooking is dumping boneless, skinless chicken breast in a freezer bag, slather it with a homemade marinade, seal it, and freeze it.  My meat loving man would not complain if I grilled hamburgers once a week for the entire for the entire summer, either.

Friday is casserole night.  I'm talking a big 9x13 of lasagna, burritos, cottage pie, or meatballs, so that there will be leftovers for Saturday AND Sunday lunches.

Sunday night is a breakfast meal such as pancakes, french toast, pig in the blankets, or an omelet. 

I'm heading out the to the post office in a bit to mail out Mother's Day cards.  That was a friendly reminder for you to do the same.  =)

(FYI,that's a picture of about 1/2 my pantry that was reorganized 2 weeks ago.) 


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