Monday, July 26, 2010

From Our Garden...

The Ivy is growing some roots so I can transplant it.

I love Ivy - it always looks so fresh to me!

Our Bluberries have done pretty well this year. We have 18 bushes most of which are about 3 years old now. We have frozen about 2 gallons of berries and I can't even tell you how many we already ate!

Yellow Tomato - I love these things!

These are a little "ugly" from the uneven rains we have been getting, but they taste delicious!

My next craft project:

I have had these drying out in the garage for ages. My hubby is a very patient man! He drilled the holes for me and I will dig out the dried seeds and then prime and paint them for birdhouses. Riley, my 11 year old, helped to drill them out, so one has a bigger  "entry way" than the others, but that way we will accomodate several types of birds. Hopefully, we will attract my favorites- Bluebirds!

We are getting ready for a sale this weekend, so my project is on hold while I clean out closets and drawers for donations to our 4H Club for the yard sale, but I can't wait to get started on this!

I am wondering if I can find a good paint that doesn't have a lot of fumes or residue.

Suggestions are verrrry appreciated !

TY - Merit K

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Friend Can Even Give you A Spider...

OK... well she really gave me these lovely flowers from her garden along with the cutest, little green garden SPIDER.

The spider has since escaped into my house somewhere, unless the cat ate it when she knocked over the flowers the other night!

Thanks for my flowers Laura, and for all the excitement they have brought along with them :)

On another note, I have noticed that I have posted a lot of pics of my Kitchen table and so I pledge to try and include others areas of my home and the outdoors in future blog postings so that you won't get sick of seeing my favorite green checked tablecloth all the time! I really do love it though- it is so cheerful. My other favorite Tablecloth is a red gingham one - maybe I will post a pic of that one later-lol!

I really love my kitchen!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sour Dough Starter That Ate My Kitchen!

Here is a picture of a "summery" flower wreath that my gal made me!

I have had a busy week. I keep meaning to blog, but life is getting in the way!

I love to bake, in fact I bake all our bread , and I love to try new recipes, but it just so happens that I am lethal to sour dough starters. My friends are so sweet - they just keep supplying me with new starters after I kill one off!

I recently let a starter that my friend gave me last year die a slow death. I had baked with it rather regularly because it made a great cinnamon bread and the kids loved it for breakfast. But as the weather gets hot, I tend to use the oven less and thus the dough was forgotten.

Last weekend I was feeling like baking again for some reason and realized I had no sour dough starter. I had no time to go and beg for starter from one of my friends who bakes, so I decided to try my hand at making my own starter.

I have tried this before, without success, but I decided that was the past and I would try again!

So I carefully followed the recipe and then threw in some other ingrediants that sounded good  :) and a little extra yeast and then set it out on the counter to let it grow the yeast I needed to make a good, lasting starter!

I proceded to get the kitchen spotlessly clean and was about to relax at the computer and blog (brag!) about my accomplishments that day, when my youngest came downstairs to ask me what was all over the kitchen counter!

Here is what I came up to see:

Well, actually that was taken after I started to clean it up, but you get the idea! That starter was all over the place. I calmly cleaned it up and put it into a HUGE bowl so that it couldn't escape again.

After a couple of days on the counter, I figured that I better feed the stuff so it didn't die on me again. So right before I went to bed, I "fed" it and put it into some pretty canning jars again. I love the way that looks sitting on the counter. It is just so "homey" !

Well I had just settled in with a good book, when my hubby came into the room and asked me what on earth I had done in the kitchen! You guessed it, the stuff went crazy again! So I cleaned up my counter and the starter went back into the "prison" bowl!

The next day, I decided it was time to use some of the starter up and make some bread. So I mixed it all up. That bread rose like a champ, so I punched it back down and I put it into the bread pans. I felt so happy that all the craziness had been worth it!

Guess what - It wouldn't rise! Grrrr - I baked it anyway and no-one will eat it except me 'cause it looks flat. They are so spoiled!  

It tastes good, but it is obviously very upredictable to work with sour dough. I have to get the hang of it though because it is almost time for the Fair and I would love to enter a good loaf of sour dough!

Anyone have any good tips for me ????

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review of "Molly's Money Saving Digest" for August

Storing Summer’s Bounty

Sometime last year, I found out about a great free e-newsletter and website with lots of money saving tips. I have enjoyed receiving Econobuster’s “A Minute with Molly” in my email, but I have been so busy lately, that I have been procrastinating on checking into the full digest version.

Now I do not know about you, but I have found that once I get busy, I get more disorganized and once I get disorganized, it is not so easy to pay attention to the budget! And once I am not paying attention to the budget, it is very easy to go over the budget!

Recently, I realized that I need to get back to some money saving techniques, but I have just felt unmotivated!

Then I got an opportunity to review the August Digest for Econobusters, so I jumped at the chance.

I set aside some of those tasks that have been keeping me so busy that I could not focus on my family’s financial well being as much as I would like, and sat down with the August issue of Molly’s Money Saving Digest.

It turned out that this ezine was just what I needed to get me moving again! I hope my review will help you know if you could use the type of information included in this publication as well!

“Molly’s Money Saving Digest” is a Monthly ezine that focuses on helping you to save money.

Not only does the Digest contain money saving ideas, it also includes time saving recipes and organizing tips that suit my lifestyle much better than some of the glossy magazines available, which are mostly advertisements anyway.

I found that the recipes are not too time consuming and do not include a lot of “exotic” ingredients that will be difficult to find and pricey. I love the way the “grocery shopping list” is listed in the digest so that you can easily add to your shopping list what you will need to try the recipe.

The August articles include: directions for freezing fresh produce to enjoy later, using a dehydrator, canning, making bread and shopping/couponing information that anyone can use. The ezine is very practical, but I also enjoyed the ideas for decorating my home beautifully and frugally.

The articles are well-written by people who are also interested in living a simple life so their tips on frugality are very doable! They also include additional resources and links that I can “click” to go right to the information which saves me more time!

My favorite thing in the Digest this month is the “Freezer Inventory” page that I can print out to help me keep track of what is in the freezer. Since our family grows and raises a lot of our own food, I really need to get (and keep) the Freezers organized.

There is a lot of fun, free stuff that goes with the Subscription ($3.95 per month) including e-books from TOS. You can also sign up for the free newsletter for more tips and ideas.

There are a number of other convenient ways to purchase Molly’s Money Saving Digest here at the Old Schoolhouse store including the Subscription and “Back Issues” or just order the August issue so you can check it out to see if you love it too:

I really got motivated this month by reading Molly’s Digest and I hope that you will check it out too!