Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A few spring and summer acquisitions

Hey girls!  Been missing you all!  We are 2.5 weeks into school now so it's catch-up time for me.  Yay!  Finally...

I bought this awesome hand-painted prim pear trio from Jody over at Primgal's Primitive Palette.  Jody does amazing work and I am so thrilled to finally own some of her pieces.  I bought these back in the spring and I love looking at them every single day in my dining room.  Thank you Jody!!  If you don't know Jody or haven't visited her yet, go see her... she is a real sweetheart and you will see all her talent in her blog posts.  I love them, thank you Jody!!  Aren't they lovely?

My dear, sweet friend Katie and I spent a lot of time antiquing this spring and summer.  She has been switching her home over to primitive this year and has down quite well, it is primtastic!  =]  I've been trying to get her to start blogging but not quite there yet.  Anyway, I had been eyeing this sweet little Amish family for a few weeks and my dear friend Katie bought them for me for my birthday!  I love them and love her too!  They look great sitting on my antique school desk.

Being an old cookie cutter lover, I was beyond thrilled when I came across this cutter in the shape of our great state of Oklahoma for only 80 cents!!

I had to put some fabric behind it for the picture so you could see its shape because here it is in my bowl of cutters... it kinda gets lost in there.

You know how sometimes you start a collection not really meaning to?  It just kinda happens??  Well that happened to me a lot this year, hehe!  A lot of collections got started.  I see graters every single time I go junking but I look for the ones that just jump out at me.  I picked up this one on top to buy it and two others came with it.  They each had a $2 price sticker on them but all three were wrapped with a price tag of $2 for all!  So they all had to come home with me.

Kinda dark, but here is my little collection of graters.

One of my favorite things I bought this summer came from Julie at Polka Dot Pig Primitives.  This link is to her blog which she hasn't updated in a few months... shame, shame girl!  Lol.  But she has been busy cranking out the dolls and all kinds of homemade goodness so you should check out her Facebook page instead: Polka Dot Pig Primitives.  Julie was at "An Affair of the Heart" in Tulsa in July so I finally got to meet her!!  It is in July and November every year at our fairgrounds.  I have been trying for the past year to get there and buy one of her precious Annie's!  I was so thrilled to make it this year and when I came around the corner, I knew immediately it was Julie's booth and I had never met her before.  There were more than just Annie's in the booth and I had such a very hard time deciding what to buy!  Julie is a very kind and beautiful person inside and out and how wonderful to finally meet a fellow blogger!  Especially an extremely talented one!  Annie is so adorable Julie, I love her so much!  Thank you!

I plan to go see her again in November.  Maybe a new tradition can be born... a new Annie from Julie every visit to AAOTH?  Hmm...

Okay, it's been fun to finally catch up a little but I have lots of totes in the attic of fall goodness that I can hear calling my name so I gots to get busy!  Thanks for coming by for a visit.  I sure do appreciate you and your sweet comments!  Now that all my kids are in school for full days, I will have time to finally catch up on blog reading and hopefully stay caught up this time.  There is just so much awesomeness out there in the prim blog community that I wish I had nothing else to do but sit and soak it all up, hahaha!

Have a delightful week my dear friends~

Our week at Falls Creek

This year's youth camp at Falls Creek in Davis, Oklahoma was another amazing year.  God was ever present!  In our cabin alone, there were 44 decisions made!!  One of them was my daughter rededicating her life.  Thank you Lord!

This is from the Falls Creek website:   Nestled in the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains of southern Oklahoma, Falls Creek has become the largest religious youth encampment in the world. More than 45,000 young people will attend its eight weeks of encampment every summer.

This year's theme was "Consumed" and a vintage theme at that so it was fun for me.

The theme was based on Psalm 103

The main lesson I learned from this week is that all my life, I thought I needed to be consumed of God but they put it another way that is so very true... "Not that I have more of Him, but He has more of me!"

A slightly blurry picture of our group before tabernacle time.  This gives you somewhat of an idea of how huge this place is.

Now just some fun pics of rec time.  My son Ryan playing the Human Foosball game with some friends.  He's the one in black on the right. I didn't stick around to see if they won, it was 100+ all week long.  A little rain came along and the kids had a great time playing outside.  A blurry picture of Ryan catching a football.

Every year we set Thursday evening aside as a time when the kids can dress up nice.  The boys escort the girls to the tables, they see what they want to eat and drink, they wait on them throughout their meal, and clean up after the girls are done.  Then the boys get to eat.  It is a fun time for all, even the boys and it helps to teach them respect and how to treat a lady.  I had to snap this pic of Ryan taking care of his friend... this doesn't happen much at home, lol.

A lot of team building happens at camp.  This is from one of Amariah's rec times.  They all had their eyes closed except the leader in front who guided them all to the challenge course.  Amariah's the last girl in the pic, right before the little boy (youth pastor's son). 

The rain was a sweet surprise to our extremely hot week!  The girls enjoyed the rain also... Amariah on the left.

This was Falls Creek's first year for human-sized games and they were received quite well by the campers and sponsors alike.
The girls enjoying a game of Connect 4.

My baby girl wasn't too fond of her Momma going the first year of her youth camp.  I had to let it be known to her that I am a sponsor and go every year, it wasn't just for her (but yes, I was gonna keep an eye on her or try anyway on the 300+ acre campground!).  By the middle of the week, I became her best friend.  While it was sweet and I was loving it, I had to push her to do things with her friends.  We enjoyed our time together swimming, hiking, swinging, relaxing.  By swinging, this is what I meant...

See the little red and blue dot up in the trees?  That's Amariah as we pulled her up high to let her go... swinging

Kickboxing as she's swinging...

Me on the other hand, yelling No, No, that's too high!  Lol

But God saw fit for me to survive the ordeal.  When my shaky body was on the ground, I would have knelt down to kiss it but there were too many people standing around.  Instead I thanked God for allowing me to still be alive and for not letting me vomit on the nice worker that brought me down as quick as he could.

Amariah enjoyed our time together so to me that's all I needed to make it worth it.  The things we do for our kids... geez!

We had a wonderful week and a very blessed week.  I go to mentor to our young girls but somehow they always manage to teach me also.  I was thrilled to have 2 of my kids there this week.  God is so very good!

I am grateful that we set aside a week out of our summer to go to a secluded place where yes, we have fun but more importantly we surround ourselves with sisters and brothers in Christ, dwell in His Word consistently through the week and just allow His anointing to pour all over us.  Thank you Lord for such a special time~

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Well I finally did it... I finally made homemade laundry detergent.  I have been seeing it pop up on the internet over the past year and a half. I always thought "Hmm... maybe".  With a family of five, some things you just go through pretty quick... laundry detergent being one of those things that seem to disappear not too long after it's opened.

The recipe I kept seeing pop up was Mary Jane's recipe from The Beehive Cottage.  [Click on her name or blog name to read more details about the recipe].  She is a sweetheart and has such a fun blog!  I suggest you go follow her even if you don't make her detergent.  She loves all things vintage... a girl after my own heart.  =]

There are only 4 ingredients:
3 bars Fels Naptha bar soap (each one is 5 1/2 oz)
4 lbs. Borax
4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Mix and store in airtight container.  2 tablespoons per load.

Copied from Mary Jane's recipe:
Cost to make: $12.63 = 8 1/2 cents a load!
16 pounds of detergent!
This recipe makes:
150 full loads = 2 Tablespoons per load.

The hardest part was grating the Fels bar soap.  I used my little hand held Pampered Chef grater and had to take a few breaks.  If you have a Kitchen-aid, this step would be a cinch.  The only other difficult thing about making this detergent was finding something big enough to mix it all in.  I used my two biggest Pampered Chef stainless mixing bowls, 4 quarts and 6 quarts to slowly combine it into a 2 gallon apothecary jar that I bought at Walmart for 10 bucks.

I hadn't had lunch yet and this was making me so hungry because it was looking like shredded cheese, lol!  Only, the soap smelled so much better than cheese.

Mmmm... my home was smelling so fresh and clean.  I bought "Tranquil Waters" essential oil to add a nice clean scent to my detergent.  As I was mixing this up, I realized how much I loved the clean linen smell so I didn't add the oil.

My favorite part of this whole process?  Reading the boxes as I was grating the soap.  How refreshing to read these words:
"Naturally Derived Since 1891"
"All Natural, Always Has Been"
"Pure & Natural Since 1874"
"Purity for Over 165 Years"

That's the whole point in making your own homemade laundry detergent... YOU can be in control of what chemicals do NOT go into the clothes of your family.  The cheap cost is just a fabulous benefit!  

My personal testimony for this detergent?  First of all, I LOVE the fresh, clean smell.  I am a suds kinda girl.  The more suds, the better because that means cleaner, right??  So wrong!  I didn't know that.  I really thought that suds = clean.  There are no suds with this detergent so don't sit and wait for them.  No suds, only a pure clean scent.  I went to the utensil aisle at Walmart and found this perfect 2 tablespoon scoop for around $1.60.  I wondered how such a small scoop could clean a super load of laundry.  We don't do any small or medium loads around here, only super.  I opened the lid on the washer and it smelled so good.  I have to say here that it was quite odd to see the little yellow pieces of Fels floating around in the water... they kinda resembled little worms because they were wiggling around, hehe!  When I transferred the clothes to the dryer, the fresh clean scent was so strong.  Mmm!  When I took them out of the dryer, yes the clothes were definitely clean but they still had a freshness about them.  Wonderful!

I did another load right after this one with my store bought detergent and I was amazed at the difference in scent!  I truly was shocked that the clothes didn't smell near as good when all this time I thought they smelled perfectly fine, haha!

That was one load, I will be back in about a month or so to give another review.  I'm really excited about sticking with this new detergent.  Plus it looks so much prettier in my laundry room than a big jug of Purex or All... don't you think?

I can be grateful that I even own a washer and dryer since there are so many all over this world that don't have this luxury.  Yes, I am blessed to own them and so are you.  But what I'm most grateful for is the all natural ingredients.  I love that God allows us choices every day.  I am choosing to change the things in our home and I'm grateful to be getting away from harsh chemicals.

Slowly going green.  Wanna come along?  Next up... dishwasher soap!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy Summer

Our summer has flown by so very quick that we didn't even get a real family vacation this year.  We took advantage of July 4th weekend and spent it in Branson, MO with some of my family.  We have a membership to Treasure Lake Resort.  Every year they set off a fantastic show of fireworks.

Little guy's favorite part of the whole trip was the playground.

Can you tell he has older siblings??  Haha!  Where does this stuff come from?

He was so content just playing all alone, having a good ol' time.

While little guy was having a blast all on his own... the big kids were having a great time of playing a game of tennis against Dad two against one.  We also spent most of the day swimming.

This was our only family trip for the summer.  Really a bummer but we have thoroughly been enjoying our not so lazy days of summer by the pool every single day and night.  Even though Tulsa has had 25 days this month in which the high temperature reached 100+ with the other 5 days being in the high 90's; our pool has been amazingly cool!  Rich made a PVC fountain to put on the return inlet which actually cools the pool quite nicely so the 107 temp, heat index 115 days aren't bothering us so much... as long as we are home by the pool, lol!

Sadly, we even missed out on the summer reading programs which we have always participated in for the past 10 years.  I am glad my kids are in sports and love to play... I love to watch them!  But when they reach middle school and high school age there is so much they have to do over the summer.  Between cheerleading, basketball, and football summer camps and practices, we had only two weeks available the whole summer for a family vacation.  The kids were able to visit their grandparents in MO individually here and there so they had their own little mini vacations plus we had a mission trip and church camp going on.

Busy, busy summer with school starting around the corner already... 11 more days!  So in between mandatory drug testing, cheer camp, school supply shopping, school clothes shopping these next ten days-- I can honestly say I am looking forward to school starting so I can catch a little breather, lol!

I love my kids and so grateful for them.  Even though they cost me lots and lots and lots and lots of $$$ and time and energy, I wouldn't trade it for a thing!  Yeah we run, run, run all over the place but we take advantage of every teachable opportunity that comes along so their learning about God and life is not only in the home, but also on the road.  I'm grateful that God provides those teachable opportunities so that I can train and grow my kids in the way that prayerfully pleases Him no matter where we might be!