Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Project and Herb Tea

Do you save little slivers of bar soap? (I confess in a whisper that I do!)  I have tried making my own soap from scratch before- the result was not something I was inordinately proud of.  I ran across a little "recipe" for turning the little scraps of bar soap into liquid soap and thought this would be a neat project to try- - so Yesterday I DID IT! Here is a link to the "recipe" that I followed ...

It was very easy to do...instead of using a grater I just scraped the scraps with a sharp kitchen knife. The instructions said to not use the amount of a jumbo bar of soap- but it seemed so runny to use the amount called for that I ended up using probably the amount of a Large bar. BUT I FOUND OUT why the instructions said not too-- after standing awhile the concoction gets thicker. All the soap I added made a gloopy brew that is just a little too thick! I thought I needed to add a little more purified water to thin it down. But really I am pleased with the results! I never dreamed those few pieces of hard soap would make this HUGE amount of liquid soap!!! This is an old glass gallon jar I just recently got from my mother's house.

Really I have saved a TON of money doing this- I have used a French liquid soap that I love the smell of, but it is about $16.00 per dispenser. Of course I haven't been able to buy it all the time- I also have used the cheap grocery store liquid soap stuff.  With doing this little project, you can add essential oil to get a great smelling lather. I think my favorite scent for soap is Lemon Verbena. I am growing Lemon Balm in my garden- I use it to make tea with. I love to crush the leaves in my hands for the smell!  I think I read in one of my herb books that you can rub these leaves on your skin to repel mosquitoes! I'm going to try that- I love the smell!!!!!!! I also have a perfume made with the lemon verbena scent.

Back to the herbs- I have also used Lemon Basil in my tea brews, along with some Stevia leaves. I am growing stevia again this year but I don't really have it in enough sun. I think it's fun to be able to use these plants- on their own as tea, or with a regular black-type tea. The following picture is from a nice link that gives  some other ideas for herbs to add to your tea.

When I use the fresh leaves from my herbs, I stuff them into a Bodum Coffee Press, press the plunger down, and fill with just-boiling water. Fun and Easy! (I got my press at Target)

I do not have any dried lemon balm leaves yet, but if I did, I would have crushed them and added them to my liquid soap "brew" for a little scrubby aromatic plus!

Happy Summer!
(Photo from

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Latest Watercolor Portrait

I THINK I've finished my painting of Julia with her wildflowers...Is there ever really a stopping place? And how do you know when you've reached it? I've got a lot of learning left to do- but working on this picture helped me learn a lot already. What do you think of it?
IS ANYONE OUT THERE? Will you leave me a comment PLEASE? I'm begging I know...but I know my blog gets "hits"...why do I never get comments?!!! Oh- really I want Nice ones of course...

(click on the picture to open in a larger format)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Day In June

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days...
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten...

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it...

No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough 
for us now that the leaves are green;
 Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
'Tis for the natural way of living...

selected lines from the long poem by James Russell Lowell

It's started out today as a cool one for June! I decided to take my walk this morning instead of waiting for the coolness of evening...we do not have a landline phone here, just our cell phones. I left mine at the house...when I got back the children were all in an uproar! "The pig got out and got in the garden! She rooted up some plants! We called Dad and he's on the way home! We had to chase her down and Julia has her by the back patio! We lost our boots while we were chasing her!" I went around back and the pig was lying in the sand where we are removing the concrete patio, with Julia scratching her with a stick. Piggy was breathing like she was all tuckered out! Hubby got home and brought up two cattle panels, wired them together with a clothes hanger out of the utility room closet, and we all walked her back to the pen by the barn, enclosed in the panels.(It's a good thing she chose to break out on a cool day, otherwise she might have got too hot and died with all the chasing to catch her- you know pigs can't sweat)

 There was a hole she'd worked through in the corral by the water tank..David brought the hose around and cooled her down with sprays of water. Of course she immediately had a muddy place to wallow in. Julia turned off the hose in the barn and came back to her pen and screeched, "Oh! There's a muddy pig!" I guess it's been so dry that Julia hasn't really seen the pig wet with mud- that was funny.

Really, there was not much damage done to our garden- here My Husband is patting back into place a little corn that Piggy had rooted up...

Now I'm going to confess my ignorance! Here where we live there is a little plant that grows all along the sides of our road, and along the fence of our horse pasture. It looks like a petunia or morning glory flower.
I asked my husband the other day, "What is that plant that looks like a petunia that grows all along the roads here?" He replied, "Oh, that's bindweed. It's a terrible nuisance."  Of course, I have lived in a country setting most of my married life, and have heard the farmers talk of bindweed, but no one had ever pointed out to me what it looked like! Here I was thinking it was a pretty thing to find growing up our fence...

...and all along it's a bad problem! I did a little research this morning online, and one site said that the roots of this little strangler can go 27 feet deep! It's very hard to eradicate, I also found out-it may take several years even using herbicides. Here's a link if you are interested

I've had my watercolor painting on hold for several days- I've been doing my "spring" cleaning now that it's really SUMMER! This little picture of tulips below is actually the very first painting I did after I got back from my workshop in April. The tulips are from Dan and Angela's front flowerbed- she told me red tulips are his favorite flower. I did this really for him- I wanted to somehow put a Bible verse on it- "Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is Fulness of Joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." (from Psalms) I was so grateful for them letting me stay with them while he is suffering from this disease that may take his life. I had emailed them a copy after it was finished, but I just now figured out how to print it out as a card, so I sent it to them through the mail last week, along with my handwritten greetings of love and assurances that they are still in our prayers regularly. Angela had picked these last two tulips and placed them in her kitchen window above the sink- when the sunlight shone through them they were lovelier yet. I am not perfectly happy with my results but it is a happy memory for me, and may God bless my dear friends in Kentucky today and everyday! (If you click on the picture, it will open in a larger format)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just For Fun

Here's a fun post from a blogger I stumbled on ...  read it and laugh!

Shampoo alert!
   As I was conditioning my hair in the shower this morning, I took time to read my shampoo bottle.  I am in shock!  The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my entire body says "for extra volume and body"!  Seriously, why have I not noticed this before?  Now I understand why I am so "full-figured"!
   Tomorrow I am going to start using "Dawn" dish soap.  It says right on the label "dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove."
   It pays to read the warning labels, my friends!

Here's the link to the original post by Elizabeth of Home Is Where The Heart Is

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reader Beware

Everybody has an AGENDA! No matter what kind of book you read, whether about art, or health, or history, depending on the author's belief system, the agenda is presented as truth and the readers must 
beware. It seems to me that this is more common nowadays than it used to be- maybe it's just because I'm older and wiser that I realize it now. I just read an art book this past month and it was almost flagrantly full of pro-homosexual beliefs. I try very hard to watch what my children are reading because their minds just believe anything that is presented in a book as truth. Got to keep on top of it all!

I buy books at library sales , sometimes these books have been discarded because they are older or have not been checked out recently. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a lot of times these books are the "good ones". I must say I have run across some veritable TRASH this way though. ANYWAY- - Here is some good advice I found in a pre-teen book by Mary Stolz, The Noonday Friends.

- -On the stairway behind her there was a light step and Francisco came up whistling, taking the steps two at a time. 'Hello, Francisco,' she said gloomily. 'Boy, you look happy.'  'Do I?' said Francisco. 'Well, that's because I am.'  'Why?' Simone demanded. 'Did somebody leave you a million dollars?'  'Why,' said Francisco, 'should it be that if a person looks happy, somebody always asks if he's been left a million dollars? Is money the only reason for a man to whistle? Why do you not say, 'Francisco, have you inherited a star? Have you unearthed a treasure chest containing affection and grace?' Why doesn't anyone say, 'Have you fallen in love?'  Why money, Simone? Why always money?'  A little hurt, Simone said, 'I suppose it's because that's what most grown-up people talk about.'   'Oh, now. I've wounded you. Come, Simone, forgive me. And you are quite right, of course. Money is what everyone talks of. It's also what everyone needs, let us have no mistake about that. I just get tired, sometimes, hearing about it. Ah- what delicious odors are wafting toward us!'  'Why so peppy, Francisco?' said Mr. Orgella. 'Somebody die and leave you a million?'  Francisco winked at Simone...

Here's some more good advice from this book- -

- - Francisco leaned against the door. 'You know what it takes to make a friendship? A real friendship?' Franny sniffled. At length, because he didn't go on, she said curiously, 'Well, what?'  'Compromise. You know what that is?'  'Not really.'  'Compromise is when you say, 'This is a person I am truly fond of, and he, or she, you understand, has some ways that I am not fond of at all. But because my fondness is so great, I will overlook these things. Because the whole person is more important to me than these little pieces I do not care for, I will overlook them. Because friendship is more important than anything else, I will overlook them.'

I like finding these little snippets of wisdom in books I think my children will enjoy reading. Little pieces of advice stick when they are included in a good story.
This is my old book cover-

and here is an updated one I found online

Monday, June 20, 2011

Episode 4 - Father's Day Weekend

Thanks for tuning in to another Episode in The Continuing Saga of OUR NEW LIFE.

Episode 4- Father's Day Weekend 2011

The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!!

Just what is he doing to our back patio?!!   To find out, stay tuned for the next episode...

Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Saturday before noon my husband had to go pick up a motor for one of his pumping units...I thought of that old saying, the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys! but sometimes it's the size of the toys, too!! My little boys liked playing with toy machinery- my husband "plays" with the real stuff!

At lunchtime we went to a local pool/spa dealer that was having a Big Green Egg demonstration!

Are YOU an egghead?

The dealer cooked a whole chicken in the Big Green Egg, and on another grill they were demonstrating, The  Holland, there were steaks and sausage links! I think the Holland Grill would be best for our usage, but the chicken from the Egg was so tender, it just fell apart in your mouth  MMMM!! 
Inside the store- - -

a neat way to make an outdoor chair!
from PVC pipe
summertime decor
I really liked this wall "sculpture" made from metal

The Holland Grill (inside the store)

(and from the webpage)

Sunday morning My Big Girl took me to church in her new car- we had to take her dog along- not much room for a Rottweiler in a little car with 2 adults in the front seat!

My husband's family all ate together after church in the dining hall for Father's Day instead of going out to a restaurant or having a cookout- when we meet at church we all come from about an hour away so we can't go home to grill without it being late afternoon before we can have lunch! Here are our Father's Day photos
My father-in-law with his two sons

This is all of our little family that were there-
my oldest son and his wife are missing

By the way- - our pastor was real inspired to preach about our Heavenly Father! A wonderful sermon about how good He is...I am so thankful for the good experiences I have had with my own father, and my father-in-law. I have not had to deal with any "baggage" because of a bad relationship with my earthly "fathers"...This sure makes it easy to relate to God as Father. I know the love of a good father and to see God as My Father is a wonderful thing. There are so many passages in the Bible that reveal the Father-type love that God has for his creation. May YOU Dear Reader  (smile)  know Him as the Loving, Kind, Compassionate Father also!

Stay Tuned for another episode in The Continuing Saga of OUR NEW LIFE.........
to be scheduled  who knows when?!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The View From Here

Well Ladies and Gents!
I've been an oilfield hand for a day!

Our children are spending the week at the grandparents' farm so today my hubby had me go to work with him to lend an extra hand on some piddly jobs he had to do on a couple of his wells- nothing hard but he needed more than his own two hands.

This is at the last pumping unit we were at for the day...

To give you a little perspective of  the size
of this pumping unit

Bringing all his weight to bear on a stubborn fitting

Right after I took this picture, the tool slipped and dear hubby came hurtling down on the ground and the tool narrowly missed hitting me in the head...

Anyway... safely back at our home in the country, here is what we got to see going down the road right in front of our's not everyday, or EVERYWHERE, that you get to see 3 horses being ridden down the street !!! ( I tried to enlarge this so you could better see the horses, but the photo was too pixilated, being taken with a phone camera- sorry)  You might take note of the wheat field across the road- it has just been harvested in the last week...

So ends the day...

My husband was reminiscing about when we first got married, I used to go with him on his well route and be with him all day. It's been QUITE A WHILE since I've done that! This is the first time in, at least 15 years!