Life

 

house 2011

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve had a blog or website for 21 years now. WOW. That’s a long time.  When I started I had a nursing baby and was educating a passel of children at home.  We’ve had a bakery, moved a couple of times and are now back in the house we started in when I first started a website.

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These days I think more about grandchildren, Church and gardening than curriculum and weekly menus.  Life has certainly slowed down. There are ups and downs to this. I’ve also been thinking about the changes in our life from when we had children at home and now that we’re just the two of us.

My house stays clean longer.  I have to admit I don’t miss the daily scrub and clean that I felt compelled to do when all the children were here nor do I miss the loads and loads of daily laundry. I don’t miss the marathon room cleanings. I do miss having people to talk to all day.  This is a conundrum. I am very comfortable by myself in my own company but I got used to having someone to talk to all day. So being alone all day has been a new thing.

children

My children are marvelous adults. We have 5 and the youngest one just got engaged.  I am really blessed to see them all as adults.  They come to see us regularly and if you have adult children you know how welcome this is. They call, text, visit, and they do things around the house and yard that we’re not able to do any more. They share their children and just come hang out sometimes. they take me for coffee and come chat with their dad. Now this is one of the perks of raising children who like you and whom you like and enjoy being around. They keep coming back and they bring others with them. And I mean that in a great way!

elenore and Leo

So life is taking a new turn and I’m along for the ride.  Its mostly changing for me because my husband still works. I’m thankful for his education and his job. At our age, we’re blessed to have an income and not need much to live and live well.

I am able to spend more time in prayer and Bible study these days and I like that too. We’re still very busy at Church, serving here and there and enjoying it. I take an active roll in the ladies group and that is very enriching for me. I still lead worship, its been 20 years in this particular Church.  I am teaching a young person how to do it, so hopefully I will have someone to hand it to one day.

We haven’t had a garden in a couple of years, mostly because my husband isn’t able to work outside like he once was. But this year I plan to put out a small one.  I was thinking of putting out tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, green beans and okra. Maybe some squash. I’ve got a fellow coming to break a 10×20 foot space in May. This is a far cry from growing and canning 150 quarts of tomatoes and another 150 quarts of green beans every year!

garden

Life is so slow these days.  I do like it but its just so different!  I have my family around me and I have purpose in life. But its way different than it once was. I guess the whole point of this rambling are these things: Raise your children with love and care, be sure you are good to them and be sure you figuratively and literally let them go so that they want to come see you when they’re out of the house. Find something or somethings that you really enjoy doing and do it. Be at peace with your spouse and family. Have a strong bond with your Church family.

Use my life as described here to help you sort of look into the future. You can change things now.

Posted in Titus 2 | 2 Comments

In Which I Bite Off More Than I Can Chew

window cleaning

Oh Spring Cleaning how I love thee and how I loathe thee. But I’m doing it anyway and though it may be more than I can chew at one time, I can spread it out over a few months.

I have officially been cleaning this little house since the first of January. Not not really the first, the second. I am not superstitious but my Mother was apparently, or maybe she was just wily.  She said her mother told her that if you sweep or vacuum or clean on the first of January you’ll sweep all your money away for the year.  Its a good way to get the day off I guess.

Anyway. So I’ve been cleaning like crazy. One reason, and I admit it, is because the Ladies Group at Church was coming over to my house for dinner and Bible study and fellowship. They came, it was wonderful. I love those ladies. And my house was clean.

The other reason is that I read this article.  Oh my, yes that article.  About Death Decluttering. Just Google it. And seriously taking into consideration the real stress and trouble my husband’s late Mother’s estate has been,  I felt determined to get rid of this STUFF.

Death Decluttering is an unfortunate name.  Its sounds worse than it is. Its a rough translation from Swedish. Don’t think cut-throat murder, think a gentle saying goodbye. I think that’s much better than nastying away.

And its better than leaving all this STUFF that no one wants for my children to have to deal with. So I have been going through ALL of it now and giving away anything that doesn’t give me joy, bring happiness or pay for its self in use.  That’s hard for me because I already haven’t bought anything for years that doesn’t bring me happiness or is useful.

But I am doing it and I have made great headway.  Its a leeeeedle more difficult for my husband. We won’t go into that here.

But my junk and stuff?  Its fading fast.  And I LIKE IT.

So, take a look at all my Spring Cleaning articles, look at the room by room decluttering  and the Room Cleaning Systems too and see if any of it is of use.

You might want the Spring Cleaning eBook.    Its $3.00    14 pages of help, 13 extra pages of printable lists

Posted in Homekeeping | 2 Comments

Decluttering Help

clean-floor

These are links to articles within the Christian Homekeeper site. You’re welcome to print them out and use them in your home.

If you are Chronically Ill or Disabled, you may want to check out my FREE eBook called Homekeeping Lists For the Chronically Ill or Disabled. They’ve helped hundreds of women get control of their homes.

The Living Room

The Dining Room

The Kitchen

The Bedroom

Be Clutter Free

The Master Bedroom

The Bathroom

Basic Cleaning 101

 

Posted in Homekeeping | 2 Comments

Winter Time Warmth And Beauty

Now that Christmas is over, what do you do about decorations?  What do you do to make your home inviting and warm?

My friend Linda asked about that over in the CHK Facebook Group the other day.  She got lots of ideas from our members!   Here are few of those ideas and some of my own.

candle bath

I think its important to create warmth and beauty in our homes. It makes us happy to come home and happy to dwell there, especially when the weather outside is cold and dreary. The best way to do that is to declutter. Get rid of stuff and organize your belongings.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great this will make you feel!

There are lots of articles here at CHK about decluttering every room of your house, just do a quick search of declutter and you’ll see what I mean.

It helps to give your home a change after the busy holiday season by putting away at least some of the Christmas clutter.  The newly found open space gives a clean, fresh feel to a home.

Stick with white and one other color for the winter months if you can. It will help maintain that clean, open look and feel. Winter tends to feel cluttery and crowded anyway what with everyone stuck indoors and blankets and coats and boots hanging around. Its pretty easy to use greenery this time of year and leftover green from Christmas decor works nicely.

Place an arrangement of candles on your dining table and other other clean, cleared off surfaces to bring cheer and warmth. A well-placed blanket or afghan looks nice and offers warmth too.

Consider having meals in front of the fire place if you have one. Even if you don’t, you can set the coffee table like a dining table with candles and a cloth and have a cozy family meal.

Another quick thing you can do to give new life to your home is to rearrange the furniture. You’d be surprised how fresh and new a room feels after some of the furniture is moved around.If you have lots of energy, consider painting your family room a fresh new color.

A simple bowl of greenery and pinecones is lovely on a table. And if you have silver or white ornaments from Christmas, they are very pretty in a glass bowl for the winter.

greenery

What are some ways you bring warmth and beauty to your home in the winter time?

Posted in Homekeeping | 6 Comments

A Purpose

Sylvia curls

 

Have you ever wondered what your purpose was?  Or is?  I certainly have and I think a lot of us have thought about that from time to time.

I arrived online and started CHK when the internet was young and everything online was new and amazing. I started it with the purpose of teaching and learning and blessing women who wanted to know how to do things at home with whatever I had to give which was usually hands on experience and knowledge of doing all kinds of old fashioned things.

That’s still my purpose here.  Although I have not been doing much teaching of late.  I have sort of lost my way as far as CHK goes. Life has gotten busy and sometimes complicated and I haven’t always known if I should keep on working on CHK.

But I have been praying about it and I intend to push on with teaching and sharing here.  It is where my heart lies, and where I know I have been serving God faithfully. So I want to keep on doing that. I’m sorry I haven’t been sharing or teaching here like I was at one time. I’m praying for a new breath of life and renewed purpose and joy.

I know what my purpose isn’t.  I don’t want to create some artificial need in you to do what I do. I don’t want to make you feel like you’re not doing things right or that you don’t have something that I have and you should go get it. I don’t want to make you envious of things or feed any thoughts you have that are not godly. My only desire is to please God by helping you.

My house is ordinary. My life is ordinary. And I have ordinary but interesting and important skills to share with you. And I want to share my faith with you too because its been so important to me.

So if you have read all this, thank you.  I may not be fancy and have a cool website but I will try my best to give you every ounce of what God has given me.  I love doing this and I pray every day that you’re blessed here.

Posted in Titus 2 | 17 Comments

Bay Wax Candles

Well, I couldn’t wait to burn one, so I lit two of them while we had lunch on New Year’s Day.  They smelled heavenly, bay and honey …  and like bees wax, they don’t drip they don’t smoke. Perfection! 

 

If you’ve been around my blog and CHK for very long you know that I make a lot of candles. I use beeswax and dip my candles, several hundred at a time and usually outside over a fire. I have a cast iron pot reserved just for wax.  My youngest daughter has always helped me make most of the candles we produce but this year once my oldest son found out I was making Bay Wax candles,  he decided he wanted to learn how to do that. So we started work on them not really knowing what we were doing but having read quite a bit about bay wax.

candles 1


Dipping candles outside over a fire

The Bay Wax I am using comes from a shrub/tree called Myrica pensylvanica and usually grows in zones 3-6 in the US. I am in zone 7b and while they do grow here as an ornamental, they don’t always do well in the heat of the summers. I purchased this bay wax from www.betterbee.com which is also where I buy my bees wax.

Myrica-pensylvanica

Myrica pensylvanica, the bay berry shrub

 

 

 

Here is how to extract Bay Wax from Bay Berries…….

Because the shrubs don’t grow plentifully here, I couldn’t go pick the berries and extract the wax.  I bought the wax at www.betterbee.com.  Its pretty expensive and that’s why bay berry candles are costly. Approximately 25 pounds of berries will yield only about 6 ounces of wax.  If you have access to the berries, here’s how to extract the wax:

Pick out all the twigs and leaves from the berries. Put the berries in a big heavy pot in batches, you don’t want to overcrowd the pot. Cover with water by about 2 inches. Simmer the berries in the water for about 20-30 minutes.

Line a large bowl with several layers of cheesecloth. Pour the water from the simmered berries and the berries onto the cheesecloth. Lift out the cheesecloth full of berries and plant matter and let it drain. You can boil the berries again to extract more wax.

Once you have your water with the berries drained out of it, let it sit and cool. The wax will rise to the top and harden. Allowing it to sit over night is a good idea, you can even let it sit outside overnight. After the wax hardens its easy to pick it off the top of the water.

To use Bay Wax with Bees Wax, which is what I am doing, use equal amounts of bay and beeswax. You can use up to 1.5 times as much beeswax as Bay wax and still get a good fragrance and color.

Bay Wax candles are greenish in color and have a subtle evergreen scent that most people find agreeable. Mixed with the honey scent of Beeswax, the candles make wonderfully fragrant gifts.

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I use an old olive oil can to melt wax in when I make candles indoors. I have equal amounts of Bay Wax and Bees Wax melting here.

oliveoilcan

Olive oil can for melting wax and dipping candles

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the slight difference in color between the filtered Beeswax and the Bay Wax in this next photo. The bay wax is pale with a whitish dusty coat. The bees wax is yellowish.

bayberry bees

Beeswax (largest piece) and Bay Wax (two smaller pieces)

This is the first time I’ve ever worked with bay wax and it was a great learning experience. I think the next time I make bay wax candles I will use a mold. The candles that I dipped wanted to twist and contract a little and they were difficult to roll and smooth out. Bay wax seems brittle so we had to be careful as we dipped and straightened them with our fingers.

This is in contrast to how easy beeswax is to work with. Bees wax is bendable even when barely warm and it is easy to make the candles straight after you’ve dipped them simply by gently rolling them on paper.

The fragrance of Bay Wax is wonderful and mixed with the beeswax it is just perfect. The candles are a soft green color. I haven’t lit one yet because they need to sit and mature a while so that they will burn longer. Once I burn one I’ll come back and tell you about it.

candle 1

 

 

Posted in Preparedness | 1 Comment

Home Canning Sausage

sausage

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a jar of my home-canned sausage. My husband’s Grandmother taught me how to can it using grease instead of broth or water. The grease, lard in this case, keeps the sausage tasting like sausage and keeps the typical sausage texture in tact. 

You will need: bulk sausage, extra lard, jars, lids, rings and a pressure canner

Omit sage from your recipe if you are mixing your own sausage as sage  will make the sausage bitter. Go easy on other herbs and spices too.

Use 2/3 lean meat to 1/3 fat to make the best canned sausage.

First, melt some lard in a heavy pot. This lard will be used to cover the meat in the jars instead of broth or water. Keep it very hot while waiting to be poured.

Put water in your pressure canner according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

Get your jars, lids and rings very hot in boiling water.

Make small patties from the sausage meat, cook in a skillet until very done.

Reserve the grease from cooking the sausage and add it to the melted lard.

Fill each quart or pint jar with cooked sausage patties. Don’t fill the jar too full, 2/3 full is enough.

Pour the hot lard in each jar and cover the sausages.

Wipe each jar opening and the whole rim of the jar with a clean cloth dipped in vinegar. The vinegar will help to cut the grease and get it off the jars. If you leave grease on the jars, they won’t seal.

Adjust lids, can in pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure.
Pints 75 minutes
Quarts 90 minutes

Let the canner cool naturally. Once cool, remove jars and allow them to continue cooling on a clean towel on the counter top.

To serve these sausages, open them up and pour the patties, grease and all into a skillet. Heat til very hot and serve.

Posted in Canning-Dehydrating-Prepping | 6 Comments

2017

peace

Posted in Titus 2 | Comments Off on 2017