Monthly Archives: December 2009

Domestic Pursuits

Homemaking can be as varied as you want it to be.

                                                    Honey Oatmeal Soap

                                                  Fresh Whole Wheat Bread

I was feeling like quite the domesticated wife yesterday. 🙂

Warning:  If your name is Chloe, Grace or Martha – read no further!!!

Shhhh.  Don’t tell them but I’m giving these Honey Oatmeal bars of soap as a gift to them at Christmas.  A partial list of  ingredients are honey, oatmeal, beeswax & buttermilk.  I may have to put a warning label on the soap saying, “Do not eat.” 🙂



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These Strange American Traditions

About 8 years ago a couple moved here to Arizona from Democratic Republic of the Congo/South Africa.  He (Abel) was from Democratic Republic of the Congo and she (Hattie) was from South Africa.  The morning after they were married they left South Africa.  They came so that Abel could attend an aeronautical university and finally after this many years he has completed his course of study and was given his diploma on Saturday!

Abel’s sister and brother-in-law travelled from Congo to the U.S. to be here.  Now they will be visiting a few different states for the next couple of months.  She was 14 when she married this man and he was 26.  Can you believe it? 

 My good friend, Hattie (his wife).

 My friend has only seen her mother once since she married and that was when we travelled to South Africa with them 3 years ago.  Abel & Hattie had two children at the time.   She has since had two more children that her family have not seen.  She was unable to see her father while in South Africa since he had to be away on urgent business.  This lady is amazing to me – always cheerful even though she misses her homeland and family SO MUCH!

We had a luncheon at our house after the graduation and then at about 5:00 we went to a rented hall where our church had a holiday supper.  There was a special cake made for Abel.  Russell gave a congratulations speech to Abel and then asked him to step up and give a speech.  After the graduate gave his speech, Russell announced that Abel would now cut the cake.  Abel asked where the knife was and Russell (in jest) said, “Oh, you just karate chop it.”  He had no sooner said that then Abel got in karate stance and yelled “Ai-yiii” and hit the cake with a resounding chop splitting it in two!  

Okay, well maybe he didn’t hit it with a resounding chop (how does a cake resound anyways? 🙂 ) and he didn’t go into a karate stance but he did think it was part of our tradition and effectively split the cake in two with his hand!!

Check out that hand.  Red Velvet cake hanging all over.  Kinda makes him look bloody.  Ugh. 

Lesson to be learned.  Always be sure of what you say.  You just never know when it might be taken literally!


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An American Girl Doll Party

Saturday’s big to-do was for Serenity’s 12th birthday.  We decided to go with a doll theme.  Several years ago Serenity and I went to the American Girl store in Chicago.  What a good time we had together.  We didn’t eat at the AG Cafe but we went in and took pictures.  It was beautifully decorated in pink and black.  We decided to use these colors for our party.  Even though everyone did not have an AG doll, we knew that most, if not all, had 18″ dolls. 

We purchased our supplies at Hobby Lobby.  (See the party hat Serenity made for her doll?  She gave one to each girl as they arrived.)

The dolls had their own table. 

The dolls needed something to eat while the girls had their lunch, so each girl made “food” out of Sculpey clay.  (With this clay you make your creation and then bake it in the oven.  It then becomes hard.)

Mmmm.  Yum.  Spaghetti, a banana and a pie.  The girls also decorated, using stickers, little bags to hold their dolls food.

The girls’ lunch was quite simple fare compared to some of the creations made. 🙂

After lunch they made little mini-cakes out of oreo’s.

Serenity didn’t want cake for her birthday so we settled on pies.  I thought it might be enjoyable for the girls to make their own mini-pie, so on Friday I made the pie crusts and put the bottom crust into each of the mini pans I purchased at W*l-M*rt.  From the spare refrigerator the girls picked a tin…

now all we had to do was place some fresh apple slices into the pan and scoop enough of Mom’s apple pie filling she canned a few years ago in until it was filled to the top.

While a another mom, who stayed to help, (so glad for that!) was busy with the apples, I was on the other end of the counter rolling dough and cutting strips.  The girls then did a lattice weave for the top of their pies.

I think they did a great job, don’t you?

While the pies were baking off we went to play some outdoor games.

Coconut’s (the dog) leash was tangled and we had to untangle it before we could go on a walk. (Coconut is a dog in the AG collection.)

Next was the always fun relay of getting extra clothes on, boots & hat and running to tag your team and then running back to take off your extra clothes.

Justus did a practice run for me the day before to make sure everything would work okay.

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

After the relays the girls made either a bracelet or necklace for their dolls.

Audrey made this bracelet.

This was the quietest bunch of children I’ve ever seen. 🙂

Me and my girls. 🙂

What a fun but hectic day for me.


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Serenity’s Day

Something’s happening tomorrow (Saturday) and it involves…

the start of mini-pies

and Serenity

Check in Monday and I’ll tell you all about it.


Filed under Happenin's on the Farm

Ebates – A Cashback Program that Works

Have you heard of Ebates.comEbates is an online store directory where you earn back, in the form of cash, a percentage of your total purchase while shopping online.  There are over 1,200 stores in their directory including Sam’s Club, EBAY, Barnes & Noble, Cabela’s, Target, Sears and Wal-Mart.  Some stores also offer coupons in addition to the cash back. 

How does it work?  First you need to go to Ebates website and sign-up.  It’s very simple and will take only a few minutes.  Then you start shopping.  You must enter the store you want to shop at through Ebates, otherwise they cannot track what you have purchased and you will not get any cash back.  Ebates will keep track of your purchases.  Four times a year (after you’ve earned $10) they will send you, depending on your choice, a check or you can choose to have the funds deposited directly into your Paypal account, or option three is to have them send the check to a charity of your choice.  There is absolutely no charge to use this program.   

Since you might be doing some of your Christmas shopping online, this is a good time to join Ebates.  You can sign up for their program here or cut and paste into your browser  Just for signing up they’ll give you $5.  And if you don’t mind using me as a referral, my email is

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Thanksgiving 2009

I’m happy now.  We were able to have our Thanksgiving dinner and a special evening together.

Serenity made these cute napkin ring holders…

I made the meal.  No big picture of this plate.  If you don’t know how to photograph food, it just kind of looks unappetizing when you do try.


Have you ever had rocks for supper?  Well that’s basically what my little buns turned out to be.  Tried a new recipe in the bread machine that didn’t turn out so well at all.    But a pat of butter greatly helped.  I’ve heard it said that butter makes everything taste better. 🙂

There’s our Audrey again

One of my favorite things we did this year was this little blessing tree.  I’m not sure what blog inspired this so I can’t give credit but we took a dead branch from a manzanita bush and placed it into this jar filled halfway with decorative marbles.

At each person’s seat we placed two leaves that Serenity cut out of construction paper.  Each person wrote something they were thankful for pertaining to the person that sat on their left and to their right.  After reading them aloud, we placed them on the tree.

After supper we watched some home videos of when the children were little.  A foot bath can be therapeutic   as I mentioned yesterday,  but a good laugh is probably even better.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”

I laughed at one scene until I cried.  It involved Zachary and a speech he gave on the Blackfoot Indians when he was about 8.  Zachary always makes me laugh, nothing new there.  He has the quickest wit.  I’ve always wished I could be like that.  My mom’s family are so humorous with their quick replies but I guess it must have skipped a generation because it bypassed me. Rats!

 Dear Lord, all my thanks goes to you for your many and great blessings.  Thank you for the joys you give us through family.

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