Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Free Monthly Printables and Planners for the New Year

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you.
We should regret our mistakes and learn from them,
but never carry them forward into the future with us.” 
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

For many of us, planning and preparing for the new year is exciting! It is like a clean slate and fresh start for the keeper of the home. With that in mind, here are some of our printables (homemaking, homeschooling and homesteading) that may assist you to start the new year with a smile!




{You will find more home organization ideas and printables here.}

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Taste and See" ~ Free Inspirational Art Printable {A Gift for You}

I like to share Scripture throughout the house as a daily reminder for all who enter. This particular verse would make a lovely piece of art for the kitchen or dining room area where family and friends gather in His name to share a prayer, meal and fellowship. The background of the antique silverware makes for a lovely "setting", don't you think?

You can find frames inexpensively in second-hand stores and paint them to match your home decoration. We printed ours on white card-stock, cut it down to size (leaving some white border as a "matting") and placed it in an 8 by 10 inch frame. To use, simply download from the link HERE and print. Happy homemaking, ladies!

{You may also be interested in our "Give Thanks" printable for your living room and our "Study to Shew Thyself" printable for the home office, library and/or school room.}

"O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
~ Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Make Your Own "Almond Joy" Body Scrub ~ All Natural DIY

This body scrub will certainly bring *joy* into your next shower! The dried coconut flakes will gently exfoliate your skin leaving it nice and soft. The delicious aroma will leave you smelling sweetly and lovely. Unfortunately, it may also leave you with a dessert craving and for this I do apologize :)

Simply mix together these ingredients from the pantry:
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. almond oil
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 - 3 tbsp dried shredded coconut (unsweetened kind)
  • 1 - 2 tsp. vanilla extract (depending on how strong you want it)

If the mixture is too dry, add a little more oil. If it is too oily, add more sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

This recipe should fill approximately (2) 4 oz. jelly jars or (1) 8 oz. jar. Though I personally prefer the look of glass, I will add that plastic is a safer choice for a container in the shower and/or tub.

Directions: In the shower, massage a small handful of scrub all over wet skin (avoiding sensitive areas, concentrating on dry ones), rinse off and pat dry. Don't wipe away the oil feeling since this will keep you moisturized without applying lotion. Suggested use is once a week. Not recommended for your face. (Caution: Shower tub or floor may become slippery with use of this product.)

HERE is the printable recipe and set of two labels which you may like to use or even add to your herbal. Simply download from the link, save and print.

To give as a gift, simply tie with a ribbon, raffia or twine. This is certain to bring some *joy* to the recipient {though not as much as what has already been given}...

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
~ Luke 2:10-12

What have you been working on in your home? We would love for you to share with us every week at the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Winter Blues" In the Laundry Room ~ Little Homemaking Touches

“The point is, bring joy to your surroundings.” 

In the colder months, there is more mud, darkness and dreariness on our farm. We do not get snow but will get plenty of rain. For this reason, I like to refresh our laundry room with little touches of love. While many are on the move at the malls, this mama bear is hibernating. In the winter, we spend all of our time inside the home and it is prudent to keep it cozy and inviting. 

The first thing I did was to create some happy laundry room labels. We had some basic labels before but I wanted something a bit more perkier and polka dots certainly fit the bill! We are sharing our printable HERE if you would like some.

I also prepared a large batch of natural fabric softeners in four different scents. It is fun to have an array to choose from depending on the laundry you are doing. I generally use lavender for our clothing and bedding, lemon for our kitchen linens and eucalyptus and orange for any pet related wash.

You will find more details, the how to, and some labels in this post if you are interested in making your own. I placed each "flavor" inside old recycled bottles and added corks for extra flair. It does lend to laundry room fun (though my husband just shakes his head at these types of frivolous things)!

I have also found an indoor retractable line that I am going to put to use since I sold my dryer a few summers back (very crazy daring, I know). If this works out, I will purchase a few more as they are only 8 feet long. I appreciate this particular style because it is enamel (and not plastic) and seems to be sturdy. We shall see!

And now for a bit of homemaking history... This random quilted runner began the "blues" in our laundry room. It was purchased for a dollar at a little garage sale. It is always an exciting challenge to decorate a room on a budget. The hunt is a blast and bargains are the best! Little by little I was able to round up some blue touches to create our little wash area for under $20. To have a "Look Inside Our Laundry Room", visit here. Just keep in mind that I have since changed the labels to the polka dot rose ones featured above.

What little homemaking touches have you done lately?

Should you desire more wash day inspiration, please visit here!


All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekly Menu Planner ~ Free Printable (And Why I Don't Use One)

To be honest, I am not a weekly-menu-planner-type-of-gal. My goal each week is to use what we have growing at the time, what I find in my pantry, what is fermenting in jars and what has been preserved in the freezer or canned in prior months. With these resources I am able to prepare a meal inexpensively for my family without taking too much time (the time had already been spent in the preservation process). This means that in the winter and autumn months, we don't eat foods like fresh tomatoes or anything else that isn't grown in the cold seasons or is already preserved.

Before it sounds too "out there", I will explain. When thinking of meals, I don't wonder what I "need" to make dinner, I wonder what I can "use" to make dinner.  For example, in the winter our tacos would have toppings such as cheese (that was purchased in bulk, shredded and frozen in smaller increments) canned salsa, cabbage salad (or sauerkraut) and guacamole (our avocados are ripe in winter). In the summer, the toppings would consist of shredded cheese, fresh garden lettuce, tomatoes and onions. In another instance, it wouldn't do me good to plan for burritos on Thursday and then have my husband bring in a bucket of zucchini that same day. I need to use up that squash and fast! So you see, I need to do some creative adjusting to make our meals coincide with our seasons and our surpluses. Hence, I don't meal plan (I meal "scan").

However, I find that when overnight guests come, I do need to meal plan and I do spend a bit on the extras (like those out of season foods) in order to make some special dishes. Lately, we have been having a lot of extra company and so I created a menu planner printable to get me through this busy time.  I also included a grocery list at the bottom of our planner which can be conveniently clipped off and taken to town once our menu is prepared and the inventory has been ascertained.

I store our planner inside our Home Management Binder which I have begun to appreciate more and more. It works well in our "weekly" section. You are welcome to use our menu planner, simply download from the link HERE and print.

Something helpful which I have also adopted is what the author of Healthy Foods shared. It is called the "Ten O'Clock Principle" (which she in turn learned from her friend Demaris Ford).

"The Ten O'clock Principle is simply that you decide on your dinner each night by 10:00 that morning. However, if you know that Wednesday, for example, is always very busy, then you decide on dinner for Wednesday night on Tuesday night at 10:00 PM. The Ten O'Clock Principle is the same, you just move it around (AM or PM) accordingly. That way, you can prepare! Like take something out of the freezer to thaw, plug something into the indentured servant (crock pot) or check to make sure you have charcoal for the barbecue."
Healthy Foods by Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

The author also gives the idea to have a basic meal plan each week that you follow like spaghetti on Monday, a meal with beans on Tuesday, salad on Wednesday, chicken on Thursday and so forth. That would be an option for some women who don't need to utilize what a farm provides. The only thing that is pretty much certain in our home is that Friday night is pizza night :)

Do you plan menus for the week? What are your thoughts on meal planning? Happy homemaking ladies and embrace your daily duties! Your efforts in every area of homemaking are forming childhood memories that will last forever in the hearts of your family and will continue to sweeten the heart of your husband.

"It belittles us to think of our daily tasks as small things,
and if we continue to do so, it will in time make us small."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

About Elderberry {Information, Recipes, DIY's} ~ Herbal Link Up

"The Elder, with its flat-topped masses of creamy-white, fragrant blossoms, followed by large drooping bunches of purplish-black, juicy berries, is a familiar object in English countryside and gardens. It has been said, with some truth, that our English summer is not here until the Elder is fully in flower, and that it ends when the berries are ripe."
~ A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
{Please note that this is a special edition link up we are running which is separate from our regular weekly link up, The Art of Home-Making Mondays.} Learning from other women about herbs is something that really interests me and here is the place where I would love for you to share!

For this month, please link up all of your articles (past & present) which pertain to the:


i.e., elderberries, elderflowers, root, bark, leaves, etc...

This can include herbal recipes and remedies, informative articles, how to grow elderberry plants or even cooking and preserving with elderberries and elderflowers. Our link up will be up until the end of this month in order to collect a massive archive of elderberry information.  {Please understand that all posts which do not pertain to the elder bush will be deleted in order to maintain the goal of this post.} Thank you for joining us!

This post is a part of our Create Your Own Home Pharmacy Series.

Don't know where to find elderberries, etc? I purchase my supplies here (these are affiliate links)
or you can find the pre-made medicine below as well:


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving "Thanks" During Hard Times ~ Happily Ever After?

Oftentimes we romanticize the plight of the pilgrims.

Their journey consisted of wild storms in the violent, stormy seas and a lack of fresh food for many months at a time. There was seasickness and dirty diseases while being surrounded with buckets of filth for the uses of everything else I dare not mention. Showers and clean clothes were non-existant. These people were also among passengers who taunted them for their faith on their historical voyage to the "New World".

Notwithstanding all these torments was the grief in their hearts lingering from their final good-byes to loved ones. For others it was the great detachment from the civilized world as they knew it. They would most likely never see that world and those left behind loved ones ever again.

When they finally arrived at their destination, their troubles were not over! They lost one half of their people to starvation, disease and cold in the first winter.

And this was a journey led by God because of their faith in God?

Surely they must have felt forsaken? They had every opportunity to lose hope. But, what did they do when given the opportunity?

They thanked God for everything He had done for them!

Truly there is much to learn from a people like this! In these uncertain times, it is so easy to lose heart. Looking back to the journey of this God-fearing people, we can see the grace that has been shown to us in our present circumstances because of their endurance. {Think of the legacy you may leave the next generation because of the life of faith you are currently living!}

May their example stand out like a beam of light during our dark moments for what was their source of strength?

Dear reader, it was the Living God and the inspired and encouraging words of the Scriptures!

This is the faith that we must hold on to in our own lives when our journey goes down a thorny path of sorrows, storms and pain. This is the faith that will sustain us in all circumstances. And when our life takes us to some scary scenarios, we know that we are safely in the place God has chosen for us…

"In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

{emphasis mine on "you"}

We know it isn't this life where we will live "happily ever after" but the next one to come. The Lord has already laid down His precious life for you, for us (John 3:16). And for that, we should always be thankful...

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
~ Colossians 3:15

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Modest Mom Monday's, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday's Musings, Marriage Monday, Titus 2sdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tuesdays with a Twist, Raising Homemakers, Make Bake Create, Wise Woman Link Up, Wow Us Wednesdays, Whatever You Wish Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Scoop, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home, Homemaking Thursdays, Home Sweet Home, Hearts for Home Thursdays, Home Acre Hop, From the Farm Blog Hop, Farmgirl Friday, Front Porch Friday Blog Hop, Simple Meals Friday, Foodie Fridays, Simply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This was shared a while back on my other blog and edited slightly for this blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Mulling Spice" Room Spray ~ Autumn Aroma Essential Oil Blend

"The smell rejoiceth the heart of man, for which cause they used to strew {herbs and flowers} in chambers and places of recreation, pleasure, and repose, where feasts and banquets are made."

Ah, the warmth and coziness of autumn is captured and bottled in this aromatic blend! To make this seasonal room spray, place the following ingredients (in order) in a small spritzer bottle:

Let mixture sit for 24 hours and it is ready to use! Simply spritz around your home and soak in the sweet and spicy scent! 

This would also make a lovely hostess gift if paired with our DIY mulling spices and/or simmering potpourri. Happy homemaking, ladies!