Long Week…..

With the husband’s surgery Wednesday, this week seems to have dragged on. From Monday to Wednesday it was getting everything ready for surgery. Now it’s been recovering. I figured today we all needed a special treat and I had just fed the sourdough starter Eleanor last night so I thought “hey surely there is a donut recipe for discard sourdough.” So the google search began. Every recipe sounded so good and the stories behind them were fascinating as i scrolled several blogs. But when i got to the recipe cards at the bottom, each one would call for yeast. If I am using sourdough, I don’t like using yeast. Well I finally found a recipe on a website called Chef in Disguise.

Sourdough donuts

½ cup sourdough (you can make your own using this technique)
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 cups flour (I usually need 1/3- 1/2 cup more to make the dough managable )
1/2 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk

Prepare a pot or deep fryer for frying.

Line a tray with paper towels and set aside, you will use this for draining doughnuts.

Heat oil to 360 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda

In a bowl mix the sourdough starter, oil, buttermilk and egg.

Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt to the dry ingredients and then add them to the wet ingredients.

Gently knead to come together. Roll out and cut out with round cup. Use a smaller cutter for the middles. Fry to golden brown. Roll in powdered sugar.

This is the link for the original post. https://chefindisguise.com/2013/08/11/sourdough-donuts/

They were delicious and it called for common pantry ingredients. I don’t keep buttermilk so I just took plain milk and added vinegar. This makes a great substitute. I also added more like a teaspoon of cinnamon. We loved them and I had to set some aside just so I could have some to eat.

It was one of those recipes that got written down in the notebook I keep for writing down for tried and true recipes.

It’s been raining for a couple of days here due to tropical storm Beta so we have been hanging clothes in the sunporch to dry. I will be thankful when the sun shines again. We still

Using what We Have— Taking Advantage of What We Find

It’s been so pretty here we Opened the windows back up, but all the rain made the mosquitos terrible. We have the supplies to repair and replace the screens but just have not had the time. Well since hubby was at work the first pretty day I rigged these old screens and frames to go in the windows that had no screens. It actually worked and now we are enjoying A nice breeze and the air has been off for a few days.

My next project is canning this ketchup I found for 2 dollars a can. I bought 3 of them and will recan them into pint jars using the water bath method. I have done this for a couple years now when I find large cans like this and it works well for us. It’s very money saving for us since me and the kids love ketchup.

I also found about 20 bananas on sale for 3 dollars because they were mushy. So I immediately turned them into 4 loaves of banana bread which will make excellent breakfasts for me and the kids this week on into next week.

It’s taking advantage of finds like this ketchup and these bananas that help keep our grocery bill down to usually around $100 a month. I have a stocked pantry and I already have canning jars and lids. I also bought a 10 lb box of fish sticks marked as irregulars for $6. Once I got home, I separated the sticks into 4 ziplock bags so that they will keep better in the deep freeze. I air fry these and the kids love them.

I have also been working on my 18th century stay. It needs the bottom binding but it’s actually quite comfortable. I was so surprised I actually was able to make one that looks like a stay. Its not the best colors but I was working with fabric scraps because I want to save the nice fabric for making another one once I get all the kinks worked out of this one. I definitely should have went a size smaller.

The kids are doing so well in school and it makes our days much smoother to have that routine.

I have also been reworking our budget and worrying because we have had some unexpected medical bills arise. I spent several days agonizing over this when one of my dear friends called late one night and told me to stop trying to make my plans work. God has a plan and I need to seek His direction and leading and He will provide me with the plan He wants us to follow. It was very clarifying for me to hear that. I also received an email from another dear friend who told me to just trust God in all this uncertainty. I get so worried and overwhelmed; I desperately try to make what I want work. But usually I just need to step back and let the Lord lead me.

So I remind myself of this multiple times a day and just take one day at a time.

Homeschool and Face Masks

Well it’s officially been a week since we started school here. As can be seen above my little boy rarely sits still. I did have them both at the table but they bumped each other and baby girl does not like to be bumped so I put little boy in his green desk I picked up at a yard sale last year and I rigged baby girl a desk. It’s a side table propped up on encyclopedias to give her legs room to go under the desk. Hopefully I will find her a real desk soon. Although the husband said he may be able to add wood to the bottom to raise it permanently. We will see.

My oldest one was gifted an adjustable desk someone picked up for about $20 when she started kindergarten. Here she is now in third grade!

For her first two years of school we used A Beka Dvds and loved them because this is what I had used from 3rd to 12th grade. But when I was ready to start little boy last year we couldn’t afford two of them in this program. We just weren’t in a good place.

Last year was awful. I Am not a teacher. So this year we dipped into the emergency savings and ordered 3rd grade and k5. I already had books for k5 and baby girl is a fast learner for a 4 year old so I started her in k5 too. If I can get little boy and baby girl on the same level, it will be beneficial to them to have a schoolmate and to us to be able to save about a thousand a year. She and little boy seem to be enjoying the interaction between each other.

I love A Beka’s Bible program. They start each day with a 30 minute Bible class. They sing and memorize Scripture and learn Bible stories. We take frequent breaks with the young ones but so far they are doing better than expected. I like this so much better than me trying to teach.

We found a yard sale last weekend and I picked this drying rack up for a dollar. It has been well worth it.

Yesterday I made the husband some super thin face masks since he is required to wear them on calls. He gets migraines being in the others so long and he likes the lace one I had made myself but of course he didnt want purple lace! So I dug around in my stash and found this thin blue someone had given me and made him two with that and one out of a thin white material I thrifted yesterday. I hand washed them after sewing them because the blue material had that storage smell to them. I hung them to dry overnight so they would be ready for him this morning.

My lace one.

I really do believe we have all had mild cases of the covid this past summer when I thought we had colds. I didn’t see any point in getting tested. We remained home the entire time and about a week after we were well just to make sure we didn’t spread anything because we do have many older people in our church.

I don’t make my children wear masks in public. I don’t think it’s good for their little bodies. As for me and the husband we just wear these thin ones I have made.

I know everyone may not agree but this is what is best for us and what we feel is right for us since we do have mask mandates here.

Yesterday we ran to town on some errands and I have been looking for some lacing for an 18th century stay i am working on. I didn’t find any lacing but I did find about 30 yards of fabric for $11 at our hospice shop. Two are girl patterns and the 8 yards is a boy pattern and then I got the thin white material. The three printed fabrics are a sturdy cotton marked with hobby lobby tags. They were originally 8 dollars a yard! The white I am not sure what it is. Maybe a muslin? I am not good at determining fabrics yet.

Anyway these will be turned into Christmas presents for the kids and husband. I want to make the girls these fancy Daisy Kingdom dresses someone gave me the patterns for. The collars have embroidery so I may try my hand at that or print off a design with my Silhoutte.

For little boy and the husband I want to make dress shirts but I am still looking for a pattern. I am also making each child pajamas for Christmas. They will have a few store bought items as I pick up things at yard sales or thrift shops, but most of their gifts are handmade and rarely is anything new. This year my sewing skills are better and I am eager to sew them nicer items than I did last year.

Well I better get off here. It’s almost time for these little ones to be waking up. May everyone have a blessed day.

Just Ramblings….

It’s been busy around here since my daughter’s surgery. Our garden has pretty much died off due to the excessive heat followed by days of constant downpours. My mint is doing well and I cut some to dehydrate. I just rinse it gently, dry it on a towel a couple hours, then lay it on a dehydrator tray so that it gets airflow all around. It dries in a couple of days this way. I will enjoy the mint come winter when I want a cup of hot tea.

Here lately I have been starting off the mornings with the oil lamp. I love the lamp. I love doing my morning activities by its light. Even my children love the lamp. They will sit and just stare at the dancing flame. It’s a nice morning ritual. It helps me use less electricity as well. I am waiting as long as possible to turn on lights in the mornings and trying my best to not use them in the evenings. Last night as I was working on my 18th century shift, I used the lamplight as I sewed on the binding for the drawstring. Even with the treadle machine I still can’t sew binding on with a machine. It turns out all wrong. Hand stitching is the only way I can accomplish a neat finished look.

This is a view of the underside of the bias binding. I did finish it and it fit much better than I expected. Now I just have to finish seams by flat felling them by machine and evening up thw sleeve length and finishing the sleeve edges.

It was a nice project to work on. This is the third style I have tried and this pattern actually came from a website that publishes old patterns — https://www.marquise.de/en/1700/howto/frauen/18chemise.shtm. Some of her things are in German and the measurements are metric but it’s pretty neat to work with such old patterns. Thankfully all those white sheets I got at yard sales come in handy for undergarment patterns.

Other than that we have been getting ready for our school books and DVDS to arrive. I tried last year to homeschool my little boy myself but my husband and I both agree we need more structure so we went back to the A Beka DVD program I used the first two years with our oldest. I used them as a kid from 3rd to 12th grade and graduated with honors. It’s a good Bible-based traditional school with Independent Baptist roots.

Well it’s already almost 7 am so I better get going on my morning routines. May everyone have a blessed day.

Just An Update…..

Goodness, it’s been quite a couple of weeks around our household! Last week was our church’s one day vacation Bible school. That was a very long day but the kids had so much fun. When we got home, my husband’s mom came over to enjoy his birthday cake with us.

It looks pitiful, but this was a homemade German choclate cake. I just used my depression era cake recipe then used my aunt’a German chocolate icing recipe. I didn’t have pecans, but I did have walnuts. I toasted those in the oven and chopped them fine in the food processor. It really turned out good. My cakes always look messy but they usually taste okay.

My other adventure last week was sewing me a new Sunday dress. Now that my skills are slowly starting to improve, I decided to take some of the high quality material and lace I had been given and cut me out a dress. I was terrified it wouldn’t turn out. All I had was white thread, so I did the bottom pintucks by hand as well as the understitching because I didn’t want any of this to be seen.

I love the lace inset and the ruffled sleeves. This is the fanciest dress I have ever worn in my adult life and I absolutely love it. It’s so me! I even have the chemise and stays in under the dress which really helped the fit be the way it should.

I also made me a new everyday dress out of an old cotton sheet. It turned out well. I made the bottonholes by hand but since it had white in the pink floral design, I machine stitched the hem and it looks great.

This week my oldest daughter had surgery. She came through with flying colors and is healing well. We praise God for her great doctor and his skill in being able to repair this kidney reflux she has dealt with for her whole 8 years. I just wish we had caught it sooner but God has a plan and it all seems to be working out. He is always in control even when we doubt or get scared or overehelmed. Those two nights away from my youngest two were awful because I had never been away from them that long. Their grandparents enjoyed them and they enjoyed the attention of the grandparents so that all worked out as well.

My garden has kind of fizzled out with the extreme heat we have had but my mint plant has thrived. I chopped the bed yesterday and picked only a small portion of it to encourage it’s growth and to have some to dry.

With all that’s been going on, we have taken a break from working on the floors but hopefully we can finish those soon.

Well everyone is up here so it’s off to start the day. May you all have a blessed day.

Not all Glamorous

Finally these two floors are finished. I was beginning to think they never would be. After a few days of drying, the whitewash would turn powdery no matter what recipe I tried. I decided to dig out 4 old white paint cans out of the closet, mixed them with water and painted over the white wash to seal it. That worked great! I really love how they turned out and the white keeps the rooms much cooler.

The shelves my husband bought me were perfect for organizing my food storage.

The whole time I was doing all of this I kept thinking how much easier it would be if we just could have hired someone to lay traditional floors but then I would have missed out on the feeling of Contentment when I finished setting the rooms back up and stood there looking at the work I had done.

It occured to me this frugal life is not always glamorous or even fun half the time but it is rewarding. It’s knowing I am saving money now to give us a more stable future. We want to be financially independent one day and we feel the sacrifices we make now will help us reach that long term goal. We save money and do things ourselves at this point because we want to. We have dreams of owning more land one day amd maybe having a real farm and being totally self sustainable. This is something we work toward. And the diy projects are teaching us skills we can use later. I am not afraid of hard work but yes there are times I look at all the work ahead of me and I just don’t want to do it. Deep down, I know we dont want to be like everyone else and nothing comes without sacrifice. So I get down on my knees on that old concrete floor and get to work. I pray my children learn by my example that we can do what we put our minds to and when we do our best we can be proud of those accomplishments.

I looked up from hanging the clothes on the line the other morning and just stopped and enjoyed this beautiful creation God has made. We are so truly blessed! I realized that this past week more than I think I ever have. So many small things we take for granted. So many moments when we should just stop from the work and tell someone how much we love them or just give them a hug. I have learned that this past week. When I get started on a job, I plow ahead– no stopping. But I didn’t do that this week as much– I made moments where I stopped and just cuddled with the husband and talked to the children.

It was good and these are habits I want to form. I spent my mornings quietly writing in my journal, reading my Bible, running numbers in the budget (because I honestly have fun making budgets). I was purposeful this week and it was perfect and gave me so much more peace.

So I learned this week it’s okay to change plans if your original is not working. I wanted that white wash to work so badly I stubbornly just kept trying. It works great for filling the cracks and smoothing the floor, but the watered down paint was a perfect finish. I learned to slow down and make time for moments with the people I love. I was also reminded nothing in this life happens by chance. Our great Lord was planning everything and that chance event wasn’t chance at all.

Wow! Life is an amazing journey. I am so thankful for the life I live. I don’t think I would change a thing.

Still Whitewashing

Now that I have learned to white wash, I have been white-washing everything in site. This is my clothes line my husband built last year out of scrap wood. It is very functional but it always looked put together and this whitewash helps bring it all together.

It’s hard to believe when you first paint it on, that it will dry to the brilliant white in the first picture. It looks great I think.

We also did the baseboards that went in my baby’s room this way as well. After a week of work on the floors, and husband spending a whole day yesterday building what was needed to place a door in the room and pulling up old baseboards and laying down new, it was finally ready.

I love how the baseboards turned out. He decided to put them in the old style way of squaring corners instead of making angled cuts so that they would seem to be one board. I like the squared cuts and the rustic look the whitewash gives the pine boards.

The baby girl was happy with everything too. The large shelf we will use for the couple of hundred children’s books they recently aquired from their nana. She had saved every book of her three boys and now we have all of them. This will make finding a book much easier than digging through a tub piled with books.

The bottom shelf will be for her folded clothes. I will leave her dresses hanging in her brother’s closet for now.

The other project was the hall linen closet. I wish I had taken a before picture but this closet was piled high with clothes for winter and clothes the kids would grow into. The door would barely close! So I took everything out and sorted through, making a donation bag along the way of anything I just didn’t like or want or anything they had outgrown. It looks much neater and everything has a place. I really love it this way. I don’t care for the shelf being plastic, but we needed something and these plastic shelves were budget friendly.

For the back room and food supplies we did invest in a large metal shelf and I cannot wait to get that floor finished and that room organized.

It seems after 5 years, we are finally setting this house to rights and I love It. I have about 8 bags for donation of different items and clothes and I am sure I will have more as we continue to go through everything — slowly bring some orderliness to our home.

We have also started our first unit study on Little House in the Big Woods and the kids are enjoying it.

This past Wednesday, they each made their own butter and they enjoyed seeing how the cream turned to butter and then using their fresh butter on biscuits for lunch.

It’s been busy here but I finally feel things around here are coming together. We are finding ways to work around a small budget or use what we already have like ths door my husband repurposed for the baby’s room. It gives a sense of pride doing these things ourselves and seeing the results. We are truly blessed.

White Washing

Our house has had bare cement floors for the past two years. All the ugly cracks show, dirt gets down in the cracks no matter how many times I sweep and vacuum. It’s super cold in the winter but nice in the summer. But I hate the bare concrete. I think it makes our house look unfinished. Now two years ago, I had a totally different story. These rooms were beautifully laid in laminate wood flooring. But our undersink water filter blew an o-ring and flooded the house in 2 hours. It was awful. All those hours of hard work and money spent 6 months before was just destroyed. I was so sad. After that I didn’t want to rush into anything with the floors. I knew carpet wasn’t an option because of our son’s asthma. We thought about acid staining but the cost was out of our range. We thought about tile or stick on flooring. It wasn’t until one day when I was looking through this old cookbook that I came across a whitewash recipe. It was a waterproof whitewash because it had the addition of Portland cement in it. I broached this with my husband and knew he would think I was crazy because who whitewashes anything nowadays?

Well he agreed. It was an affordable option for us. We found large bags of hydrated lime and portland cement and some boxes if salt. It is painted on the floor with the biggest paintbrush we could find which was a 3 inch. The whitewash itself is almost like water once its mixed. It amazes me how it dries so thick.

The highest cost was a dye for darkening the whitewash. Well the dye didn’t work. The floor still dried white. But the whitewash did neatly fill in the cracks and holes. So I started researching what could be added to cement to color it. Of course I found many expensive options until I finally stumbled upon a website that mentioned food coloring and clothes dye. I had a box of Rit black clothes dye I had bought at a yard sale for 25 cents. It worked. It actually darkened the floor to a nice gray which is what I was going for. Now we just have to do our other floors which will take more time but it’s encouraging to know this will work!! Sometimes those old fashion tried and true ways are the best.

The picture doesnt do it justice and I wasn’t finished painting yet. But it did end up looking really good. I can’t wait to set the youngest girl’s room up in there.

I am thankful to know this is going to work for us.

My other project today was making up 54 bean and cheese burritos for breakfasts or quick meals. We love these and though they are time consuming, it’s worth it in the long run.

This floor still needs to be whitewashed but I loved the flowers a man from our church grew and gave away Sunday. They are so beautiful. This is now our dining room since I am moving the little one into the room that was the dining room.

I hope everyone is well and I hope this inspires you to try unconventional and old fashion ideas.

Practical Homemaking– lessons lost in time

Above is an aluminum bowl that happens to be my favorite bowl I own. It’s from the 50s I think and it has a small dent in one side that doesn’t affect it’s use at all. I have a pot and small colander that match this small bowl. But this bowl– I don’t know why I love it so. It’s not big but I utilize it frequently for mixing biscuits, shelling what few peas we have got, and as a serving dish at meals. This was a yard sale bowl that I picked up for 50 cents. The owner had assumed It was beaten and done for. It was hidden in a box stuffed under a display table full of electronics and flashy jewlery items. Somewhere in the past– judging from the wear on the set– these were used by some other housekeeper in a different time. She probably really didnt even think about them. In her time, everyone had this same set. These honemakers probably never considered how difficult and expensive it would be to find quality kitchen items. I do just love these old finds and knowing somewhere some long time ago another woman used this same bowl.

Many women try to add new appliances or dishes to their kitchens and homes. I know because I did to and sometimes I am still tempted to. However this bowl serves as a reminder of a simpler time when kitchen tools were few but they were enough.

I have been reading a set of home economics books from 1914-15 that were used to teach young girls in the New York public school system. These books were written by Mabel Hyde Kittredge. I found them on the internet archives website. I hate reading books on a screen but these have been worth it. So much practical advice I wasn’t taught as a girl.

One of the things I have really been working on is saving water and dish detergent since I do dishes by hand. There were dishwashing instructions. I did already know the order of the dishes but I decided to buy another dishpan since my sink stoppers leak no matter how many times I have replaced then.

I spent $1.22 on the white dishpan and the black one I had found about a year ago for a dollar. I had used the black one for awhile for washing but now I have a rinse pan as well. The water bill will show how effective this is.

So far it has worked well for washing though. After the dishes are done, I clean out the the black one and keep the white one for handwashing until the next load of dishes. I just wash it out, fill it with clean hot rinse water and repeat the cycle. This works out great.

Above is my sourdough setup. I always use this glass bowl. It was given to me by a very dear preacher friend when he moved. I made more bread for the week Saturday. The big white bucket holds unbleached white flour and hooked on the bucket it my solar bulb because I try to use as little electricity as possible. The tablet in the background was playing one of my favorite YouTube channels “Townsends”. He teaches ways and receipts ( recipes) of the 18th century. Watching or listening to something I enjoy makes kneading the bread go by faster.

I bought these two tubs and I really am thinking about hand washing clothes in them. I have handwashed many times before in 5 gallon buckets and it doesn’t work so good in those.

These reason I bought them originally was to hold the little kids clothes until I am able to find them a dresser or chest of drawers. The one they had was a family piece and they were so rough with it I moved it to my sewing room and am Now on the lookout for something for them. They immediately saw the tubs as pools so we filled them yesterday afternoon and while we worked on the mower They splashed and played. They had so much fun.

This sight always soothes me. Just the simpleness of this scene. I really crave simplicity and I have been going through our house eliminating things that I just feel take up space. The first lesson the homemaking book taught those young girls was to have an orderly house. It said every item should have a purpose and to have no item that was not absolutely loved or needed. Even the loved beautiful items should serve a purpose. It said empty spaces were more desirable than things just filling a room. I agree with this. I look around my house and see the need to simplify and I have been working on this for over a year but it wasn’t till reading these books have I realized exactly the results I wish to see. I want a simple house with the old tools and not all this modern clutter that not only clutters the house but destroys my peace as well. I look around and just want simple. Just old fashion. I want my home to be a haven not such a mess. The book stressed over and over no matter how clean a room or closet is– if there is no order– it doesn’t matter about the cleanliness because all you will see is the disorder. I agree. And I am striving for more order and simplicity not just cleanliness. Oh how I wish these lessons had been passed down to me by someone– anyone. I am determined to teach my children these things. I want them to know the old ways– the simple ways. I am not saying new things are bad– I enjoy my contacts instead of glasses, my fridge, freezer, washing machine– all these things are good things. Even the internet or I wouldn’t have had access to such old books– but I think these things we shouldn’t depend so much on. We need to learn more than one way of doing things or learning things. I hope and pray I can instill in my children this because I am still learning myself and still working towards this simplicity.

I am not sure if any if this makes sense. Sometimes I feel I am writing just to work through what I am thinking and maybe it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. But the bottom line is– I want open space in my home, I want less consumer goods, I want cleanliness (which I do clean all the time) and order, I want older items that will last and serve the funtion I need– I just want a simpler old fashion life and I am striving for this.

Fresh Sourdough

Due to wheat flour shortages in my area, I decided to stock up on unbleached white flour. Unbleached is the only kind of white flour I use because in the past I learned the hard way bleach all purpose flour kills a sourdough starter faster than anything. If it kills all that natural yeast, imagine what it must do to your body. Anyway so due to the shortages, I decided I needed a white sourdough starter. This last time I fed my wheat starter Betsy, I took the excess and poured it in another jar and fed it, leaving both on the counter all day to see how the white one rose compared to Betsy. Well she did fine– bubbled right up- so yesterday I named her Eleanor and mixed up my very first batch of white sourdough bread. I was hoping to get it done by supper but as I am often reminded, there is no rushing sourdough. I did place the bowl outside in the Sun porch and this allowed me to be able to get the bread cooked before bedtime at least. We just had biscuits with supper and nobody complained.

Eleanor did great! We tried the bread as soon as it was out of oven and it was delicious. I remembered to slash The tops and with the oven heat the bread finished rising above the pans. I have never had wheat sourdough get so high and fluffy.

This morning, for my husband’s breakfast I sliced a couple of pieces of bread, added some fresh tomato, and a couple of pieces of spicy chicken, and fried him a few eggs before he left on his long drive to work. He said it was delicious so I will deem Eleanor a complete success. And I feel better because I now have a white and wheat starter. I don’t have to worry so much about not being able to find wheat flour and I can use my stored wheat flour for smaller things like biscuits or half wheat/half white bread. I also think my kids will like the white sourdough better since it’s a lighter bread.

Sometimes what seems a bad thing can turn into a good thing. If I had not had the shortage I never would have tried the white bread.

Another example of this is my girls’ underwear yesterday. Both of them wear shorts for underwear since We find modern underwear to just not allow enough airflow. They play and get hot and modern panties just irritate them. Anyway they only have a few pairs each and yesterday I was infobrmed they had no underwear because I was behind on the wash. Well I had this swimsuit material someone had given me and I had been intending to sew them some shorts with it. Yesterday was as good as a time as ever. I cut out three pairs- two for the oldest and one for the youngest- sat down at the old treadle and finished all three from cut to finish in about an hour. Roughly anyway. I prepared supper and hung laundry in between as well so it wasn’t a straight hour. But they are done and the girls were so excited. The little one’s were the best because they reach her knees and she prefers dresses so they will just look like a covering under her dresses. I really loved how they turned out. I made all three pairs fitted at tge waist but in all other areas baggy.

It may not seem like much but i felt very accomplished yesterday with my successful bread and completed sewing projects.