My Blog is Moving!

Hey Everyone –

I am starting to blog in a different location now: I have been feeling led to write on a more consistent basis and focus more specifically on encouraging and supporting other homemakers, wives, and moms. Especially ones like me who are starting from scratch in the skill department. 🙂

While not necessarily feeling led to make money at it, I have been convinced through the counsel of my husband and some good friends to go ahead an monetize the blog in case my little hobby can help contribute to household finances. So that’s why I’m switching to blogger. I may be the only one in history to switch from wordpress to blogger 🙂 but it seemed like it’s set up better/easier for monetizing blogs without having to pay for a hosting service. I will be re-posting some of my old entries from here.

Please come visit the new site and subscribe via email and add yourself as a follower to the site via Google Friend Connect (all on the right sidebar). Also feel free to let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see me writing about related to my focus.



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Baby Shower Theme – Spa / Homemade Beauty Products

I had a blast doing a baby shower for a friend a bit ago. I wrote earlier about the rose cake I made, which was fun. But my favorite part was coming up with a creative shower for a second pregnancy. The parents already had everything they needed! So here’s what I did…

No Gifts 

The mom had everything she needed, so we pooled together money to go toward a maid service for post-baby chaos. To make it easy, people just gave cards with cash or check to the mom. Of course, gift bags made it through the door anyway – us women can’t help ourselves! 🙂

Light Brunch

  • A few crustless quiches (cuz’ I’m too lazy to make crust) with chard and onions. Here is the recipe.
  • A bowl of grapes, a bowl of strawberries, a veggie platter with ranch, crackers with dill havarti cheese (YUM!), and pita chips with hummus
  • A big pitcher of lemonade and a station for making hot teas
  • Cake and cupcakes


Easy Games

  • A jelly jar full of chocolate covered sunflower seeds – closest person to guess how many gets a gift (I counted 940 seeds… I think I’d use peanut M&Ms next time!)
  • Each person wears a clothes pin provided at the door. If someone catches you saying “baby”, they get your pin – person with the most pins by cake time gets a prize.


Make Your Own Beauty Products (I wish I took more pictures of this)

  • Stations for making toners, body scrubs, bath salts, and linen/room sprays.
  • I had a ton of pretty jelly jars I bought at a great price last year. Each station had the ingredients for the beauty product and jelly jars that would contain the finished product for the guests to take home. I also used large canning jars for holding ingredients like epsom salts, sugar, and witch hazel.
  • There were labels on or in front of the ingredient bottles. I also provided paper labels for guests to write on and glue to their take-home jars.
  • Each station had a propped-up card with instructions for making the beauty product and suggestions for optional ingredients. See below for the text I put on those cards.
  • I already had lavender, rosemary, and chamomile from my garden. You can also buy lavender and use chamomile from tea bags if you’d like. Crushed mint, cucumber pieces, and lemon or orange zest would be good additions as well.
  • I also already had a set of essential oils that I set out for people to add to their concoctions. Lavender, sweet orange, chamomile, and bergamot seemed to be the most popular ones.

People LOVED this and it kept them talking and busy during a non-gift shower. 

A few things to note:

– The jars could be spendy. Another option is to use lidded plastic food containers found cheaply at dollar stores or drug stores. Or you could start early and shop thrift stores and garage sales.

– I provided pretty little corked bottles from the craft store for the guests to take home with for their toner. They had to let the toner mix sit in the jar for a few days, then strain and funnel into the bottles. Same kind of thing for the room sprays but using spray bottles. That was kind of spendy, so you could probably just let them worry about getting their own bottles if you want to.

Beauty Product Recipes:

  • Body Scrub
    • Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar with enough olive oil to make it spreadable and 3-4 drops essential oil.
    • Suggestions: Essential oils such as sweet orange, lavender, vanilla, or jasmine.
  • Bath Salts 
    • Mix 1/2 cup epsom salts herbs and/or essential oils.
    • Suggestions: Dried or fresh lavender or chamomile, essential oils such as geranium, sweet orange, bergamot, lavender.
  • Facial Toner
    • Mix your 1/2 cup witch hazel with herbs and/or essential oils.
    • Let toner soak in the jar for at least two days, then strain and pour into a bottle.
    • Suggestions: Essential oils such as lemon, rosemary, chamomile, geranium, and fresh or dried herbs such as lavender, chamomile, or rosemary. Cucumber and citrus zest are also good additions.
  • Room/Linen Spray
    • Mix 1 cup of witch hazel with herbs and/or essential oils.
    • Let solution soak in the jar for at least two days, then strain and pour into a fine mist spray bottle.
    • Suggestions: Essential oils such as lemon, chamomile, geranium, sweet orange, bergamot, and fresh or dried herbs such as lavender, chamomile, or rosemary.
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Good Reads – July 2011

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Wanna Look Like You Know How to Decorate a Cake?

i am mommy is one of my favorite blogs, as is her baking site, i am baker. I have mentioned her before as the inspiration for these cookies I tried a while back.

Well, my friends, I am about to introduce you to the best thing since boxed cake mix. THE Rose Cake! She provides a complete tutorial as well as links to a great buttercream frosting recipe (at bottom of post).

Go ahead – look at that cake. Does it not just make you HAPPY?

iambaker Rose Cake

So I decided to try it out since she kept insisting it was so easy to do. I volunteered to do a baby shower for a friend of mine and make the Rose Cake.

Here’s the finished product! I admit, I used boxed funfetti. I was so anxious about decorating the cake that I didn’t want to worry about baking it in the first place. Plus, whoever invented funfetti is some kind of culinary genius.

I also made cupcakes.

Here’s several things to note about making THE Rose Cake:

It’s really fun to make! Big clouds of frosting everywhere, swirly piping motions, great flourishes of food coloring spray, if you so desire…


It’s really a forgiving way to decorate a cake.

Did you neglect to read the directions on the box and instead pour ALL the batter into one round pan, thus creating a warped dome funfetti monster? It’s ok, I did that too! Just make the roses bigger where needed and it will look right in no time.

Are all the roses different sizes? Did you just swirl in from the outside instead of doing it like she said? Did you accidentally stick your finger in a few spots? Does it look really sloppy compared to i am baker’s pictures?

Do not worry one bit – no one will know, and it will still look awesome. Trust me. They’ll be like “wow – you’re really good at decorating cakes!” and you’ll be like “I know, right?”

A few tips:

1. Follow the directions. Unless you’re like me and are physically incapable of doing what you’re supposed to, in which case, go ahead and wing it.

2. Decorate the night before and refrigerate. Just make sure it’s out for a few hours before the event so it’s warmed up and creamy again.

3. Go out and buy that 1M tip if you don’t have it instead of trying to make due with a smaller one. It’s just right for the job and is SO FUN to use!

4. Do not waste frosting, but… When you’re done decorating your cake, and you realize you have a whole bag full of delicious buttercream frosting left, do yourself a favor: do not start randomly adding to the cake! It will not end well. Instead, just swirl a rose on your kid’s hand, on the toast, in your mouth, in your coffee…

Because it is SO FUN!

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Pray for More of HIM!

Source: Christianphotos

What happens when you read God’s word every day? When you really immerse yourself in it and find yourself becoming more and more in love with it?

You change.

The same Word spoken by God to bring creation into existence is being spoken right now. The Bible is not a collection of old dusty words that we must studiously read and hope that relevance may occur. It is the living, breathing expression of the voice of God. He is speaking now and will continue to speak. His words never fade into the distance or into a memory, but rather continue to become, create, live, and bring about His purposes. And He wants to speak into our lives right now!

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

I have mentioned before that I have prayed that I would live my life in light of the reality that I am desperate for Jesus and the Word of God. So far, it has been an exercise of both self-discipline and surrender for me.

Self-discipline Reading God’s Word regularly and make it a priority, not only first thing in the morning but also throughout the day.

Surrender I cannot simply read the Bible and make it work for me. I must surrender myself to the Lord and really listen to Him, bringing my heart into a position of attentive openness, and allowing God’s Word to do it’s work IN me.

And it is doing it’s work! My mind fills up with scriptures that I have memorized or recently read. The Holy Spirit uses it to teach and direct me in the moment. I WANT to read my Bible all the time. I NEED to. My children now see this as a characteristic of MY life and not only my husband’s. So, in turn, it is changing us. I hope and pray that it becomes a permanent part of who I am.

Praying for the desire and the self-discipline is what made the difference. Praying for God to change me and put a deep longing for His Word in my heart. And then taking small, determined steps toward Him, like a toddler with her arms reaching out to her Father.

If you have struggled with reading the Bible on a regular basis, I encourage you to pray! Put sticky notes around your house or reminders in your phone/computer to pray. Pray for the desire. Pray for the discernment to find that opening in the day to reach for your Bible. Pray for ideas that will make it not only easier for you but help it become as much a habit as breathing or eating! One thing that has been proven to me is that if we pray for more of HIM, God will say yes!

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Good Reads – June 2011

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Gardening Progress (and setbacks)

Happy snap pea bloom

I wrote quite a bit ago about my project to build garden beds and try doing my own transplants. Well, I’ve had mixed results. I did build the garden beds. One was a raised bed and the other two are in-ground but with mostly new soil. The plants in the raised bed are doing significantly better than the plants in the other beds.

NONE of my transplants worked. In each case I either could not keep them hydrated enough while they were in the little trays, or they died immediately upon transplanting. It was a tad frustrating but I wasn’t too upset about it. It was my first try, and I had a baby to take care of. I did underestimate how much watering they’d need as they were sprouting though. Once a day was clearly not enough. I’ll try again next year.

Raised bed vegetable garden

The snap peas, chard, and spinach I sowed directly seem to be doing ok, as well as the nasturtiums. But for all else I ended up getting starts at the nursery. The broccoli and walla walla onions are doing particularly well. The cold weather did cause problems for my greens and killed both attempts at growing cucumber starts. Oh well!

Sad flower and herb garden

My herb and flower garden is not doing as well. I’m hoping it picks up a little soon. I’m also going to plant more there later and do some wildflowers in certain spots around our property. I also did some pots of orange mint,  peppermint, and one big one with oregano, echinacea and lavender and they’re all doing really well. Yay!

Lavender, echinacea, oregano, etc.

I’ve been using Sluggo pellets from the nursery to keep the slugs away. Other pests were getting my greens and peas so I took some advice and tried a spray bottle full of water, 1/4 cup vinegar, and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Seems to be working!

I don’t have pictures of the strawberry patch out front, but they’ve started producing a few and the rest are well on their way! The grape vines are doing really well too, although we won’t allow them to produce until next year. In the meantime we put some clover in the bed and are just focusing on training the vines.

I have to say I enjoy gardening a lot! Especially the kind that doesn’t involve too much work. 🙂

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