Archive for October, 2009

Autumn Sweets

October 29, 2009

girl making cookies

This time of year calls for baking, and all kinds of other sweets.  In a house where we have food allergies (dairy, corn–including and especially corn syrup), and where I’ve noticed that sugar makes us sick when consumed in quantity…Well, the sweets thing can be a challenge.  Because I LOVE me some dessert!

So…I’m planning to compromise a bit.  I’ll enjoy sweets during this season, just not too many.  When I have the urge to bake, I’ll make something over the weekend (the only days I really have time for extra cooking anyway) and share it with a Sunday school class on Sunday.  My kids are welcome to candy they’re given, but just a few of their favorites.  I guess I’m a bit of a mean mommy, but I confiscate it after that, and try to emphasize fun fall activities instead.  If it’s a choice between having strung out, sick children for several weeks or having healthy happy ones, there’s no question for me.

For my allergic child, I purchase some of the (very, very few) candies available without corn syrup or dairy ingredients, and make other special treats…peanut butter balls, old fashioned fudge with coconut oil and rice milk instead of butter and milk, homemade cookies made from simple, pure, safe ingredients.  To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a nice excuse to have to whip up something yummy in the kitchen.

This time of year I especially love spicy and apple desserts.  I’ve been craving a chocolate cake too.

What do you like to make and eat during autumn?  How do you handle the overabundance of unhealthy food?



October 26, 2009

girl autumn leaves

I’m joining Multitude Mondays, a “gratitude community” at Holy Experience.  The long and short of it: to journal what we’re grateful for.  I can personally attest to the power of thankfulness.  During one of the darkest times in my life, I kept a small notebook by my bed and forced myself to write 5 things I was thankful for at the end of each day.  It kept me focused on God’s goodness at a point when it would have been very easy to see only the pain.

It’s a sunshiney season of life, but even so, I’m beginning that habit again.

1. Crisp autumn weather.  In a climate that’s warm 9 months out of the year, I treasure every cool day that comes.

2. Vintage illustrations.  As anyone who reads here knows, I have a thing for illustrations from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.  Those images bring me so much joy!

3.  Baking.  It’s that time of year!

4.  Cleaning day.  I look forward to an orderly home by the time my sweet husband finishes his work.

5.  Children who love each other.  Sure, they fight sometimes.  But I can hear the voices of my older ones playing together right now, and this morning my heart overflowed when I saw my youngest run to give the oldest a good-morning hug.

Frugal Rehearsal Dinner Outfit!

October 23, 2009


Normally I focus here on vintagey, crafty, homey things.  Well, in my world, being frugal and thrifty is part of that.  While this post might have a little different flavor than usual, I hope it’s encouraging and fun nonetheless.

Every now and then Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has a Frugal Fashionista fashion show, and this time I have such great bargains I can’t help participating.  Here you go!


My brother recently got married, and I was on the hunt for something dressy casual for the rehearsal dinner at his cowboy church.  These Gap wide leg trouser jeans were my first purchase, $5 at Goodwill.  They looked like they had never been worn.  They were super long, but they fit so well everywhere else that I figured I’d make them work.

Since I’m a little lazy and very short on time, I just pinned them up, sewed them in place, and hacked off the excess with pinking sheers.  I was the only one who knew!  (BTW, they look huge here.  Not so in real life.)

Similar Gap jeans sell new for about $60-$70.


I love the cute button detail.


I found the green jacket new with tags at my favorite thrift store.  It was originally $35.  I got it for $1.

The pink shirt was given to me in a bag of “hand-me-overs.”  Hint: If someone offers you clothes, never ever refuse.  It’s worth it even if you can use only one item.  Pass everything else on to someone else.

The necklace came from the thrift store where someone had donated a ton of brand new inventory from a store closing.  It was $2.


Details again!  The frayed seam adds a lot.


These adorable Mudd shoes were given to me at the same time as the pink shirt.  I am super super picky about shoes and I will only consider them if they are in new condition, no visible wear on the bottom or anywhere else.  In that case, they have probably never been worn, or maybe worn once.  These fit the bill.  Similar shoes sell new for around $35.  Cost to me: free.

So, if I had bought all this stuff new I would have paid $150 or more.  Instead, I shelled out about $6.

Visit Jen to see more great, frugal outfits!

Lovely Fall

October 20, 2009


Fall comes late here, but we’ve finally had a nice cool snap that tells us the season really will change, eventually.  We’ve spent most of our spare minutes outside, working in the yard, cleaning out neglected garden beds, nature journaling.  Oh, and playing fall soccer.

It’s also baking weather.  I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen.  Too bad we don’t eat many sweets because that’s what I’ve been wanting to make.  I guess I will have to channel my impulse in a more healthful direction.

Mmmmm…this is my favorite season.  What are you all doing for fall?

(WHOOPS!  No weekend and no Monday post!  I should really quit making promises that I apparently can’t deliver.)

Cozying the Camp

October 14, 2009


Whenever we go to our camp, I try to do one or two things to make it more orderly, clean, organized, or pretty.  The funny thing is that I usually forget what I’ve done between visits, so I’m pleasantly surprised when I arrive.  Strange, I know.

On this past trip, I  hung pictures and a couple of wall quilts my mom made me years ago.  They fit well with the cozy country cabin motif.  (Picture is  crooked–sorry!)

Making Herbal Salve

October 12, 2009


My 8 year old has always been interested in medicine (at one point she wanted to be a nurse), and lately she has become interested in herbs.  Together we put together a simple herbal salve, just for family use on minor scrapes and the like.  It was such a fun, easy project to do together.  I looked up a number of recipes online and created my own with what I had on hand.  Here’s what we used and how we did it.

¼ c. dried calendula flowers

¼ c. dried St. John’s Wort

¼ c. dried lavender buds

¼ c. dried comfrey leaf

(I ordered all these from Bulk Herb Store.)

We infused these herbs in 1 c. olive oil for about 4 hours on the oven’s lowest setting (I think it was about 170 degrees).  We did this in a glass bread pan.  Then we strained the oil through a thin cloth into a DISPOSABLE pan (because we didn’t want to get wax in a pan we wanted to use again), being careful of course—it was pretty warm!

We added about ¼ c. beeswax, chunked up.  (Next time I will use an inexpensive grater.)  Beeswax melts at a low temp, but the oil wasn’t quite warm enough to do it, so we put the whole mixture back in the warm oven for a little while.  Then we creamed the soft beeswax into the oil until it was dissolved (again, using a cheap spoon dedicated to beeswax projects only).  I could see it starting to thicken, so I quickly poured it into some small containers.  Baby food jars would be perfect, but I didn’t have any, so I used mini glad ware instead.  We let it cool completely and then put the lids on.  It smells really nice (thanks to the lavender) and is very soothing.  It makes great lip balm!

Based on what I’ve read, I understand that the herbs are effective for the following reasons:

Calendula oil keeps the skin soft, promotes healing, and minimizes scarring.

St. John’s wort is good for bruising.

Lavender is antibacterial.

Comfrey promotes rapid healing. (We made a batch without comfrey too…Herbalists have told me that you don’t want to use comfrey on deeper cuts and scrapes because it can cause the wound to heal so quickly that it traps bacteria inside).

How fun to make something so simple and useful!  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes and combinations.

Just a little disclaimer: I’m not an herbalist or any kind of doctor or medical professional, so all this is just what I understand from my own reading and isn’t intended to be medical advice of any kind.  Try any herbal remedies at your own risk after doing your own research.


October 7, 2009


Hi everyone…Sorry it’s been so quiet here.  It’s been a busy season of life lately, trying to stay on top of homemaking and homeschooling, music lessons, soccer, getting ready for a special wedding, and other miscellanies.  The rest of this week promises to be full, but I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule next week…Monday/Wednesday/weekend.  Have a wonderful week!

Saturday Evening Blog Post

October 4, 2009

sat eve blog post

This month I’m participating in Elizabeth Esther’s Saturday Evening Blog post.

TSEBP is a monthly carnival which invites bloggers to share a favorite post of theirs from the last month.

I’m linking to my post The Old House, where I shared pictures about a 100 year old home we rented for a few months.  Bottom line: It’s my favorite thing I’ve posted in recent history!  Go to Elizabeth Esther’s to see more lovely posts!