Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recipes for Baking Mix

I was asked for the recipes that I use with my baking mix which I wrote about in Everyday Notions: Time Savers

Quick Bread:
2 1/2 c. mix
1 cup milk
2 T. Sugar
1 egg
3 T. oil
3 T. applesauce
Mix. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

cut 1/4 c. oil with 1 3/4 c. mix
stir in 1/3 c. milk
Knead on floured surface, cut biscuits (I use the metal ring from my mason jar lids) Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.

Drop Biscuits: recipe same as above EXCEPT add increase the milk to 3/4 cup. Drop on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 10 minutes.

2 c. mix
1 c. milk
1 T. oil
1 egg

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Compost Bin

My darling husband built me a compost bin two years ago. Because it is so tall I had been unable to turn my compost and the pile was close to overflowing until..............
Hubs decided to open up the bin and start digging from the bottom.

 The bottom two feet was beautiful, usable compost which helped fill up my garden beds!

Shared with:

Living Green Link-up

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ RISK

I'm a little late with my Friday assignment. On Fridays, Lisa-Jo (formally The Gypsy Mama) hosts a writing party. We write for five minutes with no editing, no over thinking. We just write our hearts and take the risk of sharing. This weeks prompt word is RISK

The risk of parenthood ~

you will wear shirts with signs of spit up or food.....or both

you may sport bags under the eyes from little sleep.....
losing sleep as your baby wakes you with her hungry cries in the night and losing sleep as you wait for your child to come home at night

you may, no you WILL, love like you've never loved. Love that sometimes hurt.

you will cry when your child is in physical pain

you will cry when you watch your child struggle in making good choices

you will have to be strong even when you feel your legs begin to buckle

But the benefits so outweigh the risks.

smiles from your child will fill your heart with a radiating warmth

I love you, mama will be words you cherish most

the promise of a new life and joy that brings

a risk that I'd choose again and again
Statue of Mother and Children in the Storm1
Mother and Children in the StormPeace Memorial Park, Hiroshima


Come read what many talented writers wrote or to add your own!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Path of Life

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 
I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 
I will praise the Lord, who counsels meeven at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the LordWith him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoicesmy body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay. 

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

I don't know where this new journey, the journey of healing for my daughter, is taking us. I know that the accident has brought us closer. I know that I want to follow God's direction, his path for us. 

I've traveled many paths during the last 21 years of my daughter's life. Most the time, in deviance, I followed my own path. I made mistakes and bad choices but somehow He protected me. Looking back over the years I see where only He could have intervened in my life.

I praise Him for saving me. I praise Him for saving my daughter's life on Monday, June 4th. I give this journey completely to Him. May He direct my feet on the path of righteousness. May He alone be glorified.

Shared on Five Minute Fridays, where many join to write, unedited, unrestrained and from the heart for five minutes. Fridays prompt word was PATH. Check out what other's wrote:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life Can Change In a Moment

I was reminded of how quickly life can change last Monday when I got the call that no mother ever wants to receive.

A social worker from St. Mary's Hospital said, "You're daughter may have been involved in a car accident. Is your daughter Breanna? How soon can you get to the hospital?"

Everything around me blurred as I grabbed my purse and keys and flew out the door. The thirty mile drive to the hospital was one of tears and prayers, pleading God to allow my daughter to still be alive. I had no idea what I would find waiting for me at the hospital.

Once at the hospital I was asked to wait in a private room while the hospital's social worker went to fetch the nurse. I still had no idea if my daughter was dead or alive. The ten minutes I waited seemed like an eternity. While being briefed on the extent of her injuries I silently lifted praises to God for sparing her life and began pleading for healing for my little girl (she is 21 but she will ALWAYS be my little girl).

Possible broken clavicle, head injury, brain trauma, lacerations to her hip/side and spleen, lacerations on her head, possible facial fractures......I sobbed. I was taken to see her. She was heavily sedated because she was combative at the scene. Blood covered her face. OH MY BABY! So much more than a scraped knee which can be healed with a kiss and a band aid. At this point I had no idea how her friend, Megan, who was also in the vehicle, was doing. I prayed and begged for protection over both of them.

As they prepared her for transfer to the ICU unit I again gave thanks for her life. The rest is kind of a blur. Thankfully a friend arrived Tuesday morning with a bag full of Larabars, fruit and Naked Fruit smoothies (all of my favorites) and a notebook. This notebook has been a God-send as I slow down the Doctors while they discuss injuries and treatments so that I take notes. The notebook has taken my mind off of my emotions (fear, sadness, etc) and has helped me to focus on the facts. I write what was happening with her injuries. I write what steps the teams of doctors (another blessing ~ Breanna has MANY teams of doctors looking after her care) were taking in my daughter's road to recovery. The blur of the events of the past 6 days can be easily clarified by my notebook. One of Bre's doctors now consults with me based on the facts written in my notebook. Thank you, Sarah, for providing nourishment for both my body and my soul.

My notebook gives me purpose. Often I don't have time to cry because I have to write something in my notebook. Or I have someone around that I'm trying to be strong for. But sometimes, in the quiet of the night, with no notes to jot down, I crumble. I fall to my knees and cry to the God that hears my prayers. My prayers that can not be formulated into words due to my distress.  I am so thankful that He hears my unintelligible sobs yet still knows my needs.

During the past six days I have so much to be thankful for! In the midst of my emotional pain God has directed me to see His blessings. I can't imagine going through this without Him. Early one morning, I was walking through the gardens. I stopped to sit on a bench, unsure if I could walk any further. Through my sobs I became aware of a sweet, beautiful scent that seemed to wrap it's arms around me. Thank you, God, for your sweetness. Thank you for carrying me when I can not walk.

God is performing miracles. Megan and Breanna are impressing their doctors with the small but so huge steps each day.

Thank you, God, for hearing my prayers. Thank you for ~

Angels that you've put in my path this week.

Friends and family that have gone beyond loving us and caring for our needs. 

A freezer full of food provided by others will help in the weeks to come.

Thoughtful gifts of cards and flowers. 

Gift certificates for fuel, parking and groceries.

A cup of coffee, a hug, and sweet words of encouragement.

Friends and families who have reached out to my son, Isaiah, in order to distract him from his sadness (he loves his sister dearly). 
A stranger who stopped me in the hall because she felt led to hug me.

A parking attendant who showed kindness on a day when I was past weary.  

A physical therapist who fought back tears when she shared with Breanna that she had a daughter who was also named Breanna.

The personal care attendants who watch over Breanna and I at night so that we can sleep. 

Peter, the personal care attendant, who is a single father. Instead of being home with his children he was helping me care for mine. I know the struggles of being a single parent....GOD PLEASE BLESS HIM!

The nurses who are patient with me. 

The doctors who take the time to answer my questions and afterwards ask me how I am doing. One of these docs often give me a wink and assure me that she was doing great. Thank you, Dr. Jenkins, for putting this worried mama at ease.

The blessings this week have blown me away. I am in awe at how great my God is and how compassionate people are. There are blessings in everything.

My daughter, Breanna, is on the right. Her friend, Megan, on the left. 

To see Breanna's progress, please visit her  Caring Bridge website. I also have two requests. Hug your children tonight REALLY tight.....until they ask you to stop. Afterwards please lift up your voice to Jesus. Pray for your children, pray for the friends of your children, and pray for Megan and Breanna to be healed!

Growing Home

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Year of the Staycation ~ Hundreds of Ways to Enjoy Your City on a Budget!

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Coupons, Deals and More
Central New Jersey :: Philzendia (formerly Oh diane)
Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet


Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living
Central Indiana :: In Good Cents
Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Cincinnati, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Cincinnati
Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Dayton
Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas
Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters
Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense
Mount Vernon, Ohio :: Living Better One Day at a Time
North Central Indiana :: Parenting Miracles
Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom
Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors
Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: A Little Bit of This and That
SE Minnesota :: Everyday Notions
Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom
Springfield, Missouri :: I Think I can, I think I can
St. Louis, Missouri :: Our Four Letter Words


Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE
Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores
Grapevine, Texas :: My Crazy Savings
Houston, Texas :: MomsTravelTales


Baltimore, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife
Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All
Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida :: Orlandos Best Deals
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia :: Life Your Way
St. Augustine, Florida :: Jypsie Visions
Washington, DC :: Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling


Arizona (all) :: Mom Endeavors
Colorado Springs, Colorado :: Springs Bargains
Denver, Colorado :: Denver Bargains
Phoenix, Arizona :: Saving For Someday
Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings


Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW
San Diego, California :: Life as MOM
San Diego, California (The Eating Tour) :: Good Cheap Eats
Seattle, Washington :: Queen Bee Coupons

Monday, June 4, 2012

Staycation 2012 ~ SE Minnesota

I had hoped to take the family to the Black Hills this summer but unfortunately taking a week off of work AND the cost of such a vacation just isn't in the budget this summer. Besides last week I received the dreaded letter calling me to fulfill my civic duty so I'm taking two weeks off so that I'm available to serve jury duty. Right smack dab in the middle of summer. For two weeks I will be calling each week night to see if I need to report to duty on the following day. I'm hoping that I won't be needed. :)

Although not excited about two weeks off of work, I'm excited about the possibility of doing a few fun things that I normally am unable to do. Such as leisurely spending the day in the garden, heading to an Amish produce auction, kayaking on a nearby stream.....the more plans I make the more nervous I get of being chosen to spend two weeks inside the courtroom. Either way, it will be a change of pace. Meanwhile I will plan a few fun weekends close to home regardless of work or jury duty. I'm also intending to use some of this time at home to catch up with many friends that I rarely see. You know how life gets really busy and you run into a friend at the grocery store and say, "OH, I haven't seen you forever! We really must set aside some time to get together!"? Yeah, my goal is to set aside some people time.

Here's my list of things to do in Rochester, MN and the surrounding communities:


Movies Under the Stars at the History Center of Olmsted County
Friday nights from July 20 - August 24

Last years movies included Bee Movie, Bye Bye Birdie, Back to the Future, and Goonies. Movies begin at dusk.

We never been able to fit this into our schedule but I'm hoping that this year we can!

Photo credit: Chad Johnson, Flickr

Thursdays on First and Third, weekly outdoor market in downtown Rochester, includes food vendors, arts and crafts and live entertainment. The strolling and entertainment is FREE. Pack a meal or eat at one of the many vendors (I recommend the fish tacos from Pescara. SO GOOD!) Find out more here. Thursday on First and 3rd begins June 3 and runs every Thursday until August 30 from 11am - 8:30pm.

<b>Down by the Riverside</b><br /><br />Listeners arrive to hear Jesse Lang perform at the opening of a past Down by the Riverside concert series held behind the Mayo Civic Center.</br><span style=color:494e7f;>Ken Klotzbach/Post-Bulletin</span>

FREE SUNDAY NIGHT CONCERTS  DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE CONCERTSBeginning in July and running through August. Featuring bands such as Foghat, Herman's Hermits, the FIXX, and George Thorogood. Grab a lawn chair, pack a picnic and join others on the lawn of Mayo Park.


And of course, my favorite place to visit, QUARRY HILL NATURE CENTER. Yep, it's FREE. :) Pack a picnic and enjoy the hiking trails, the pond (fish and/or canoe), and the fabulous nature center.

Open: Monday-Saturday 9 am - 5 pm and Sunday noon- 5 pm

Rochester Downtown Farmer's Market ~ Saturdays 7:30 am - noon
Before heading out on your adventure, stop at the Farmer's Market and stock up on healthy, locally grown snacks (or not so healthy but yummy donuts and pies from the Amish vendors).

WINONA, MN just an hour east of Rochester
Winona Park and Recreation Department offers FREE canoe and kayak rentals at Lake Lodge Recreation Center. Monday through Fridays from 4 pm - 8 pm and Saturdays, 1 pm - 6 pm. Find out more information here.

Great River Shakespeare Festival June 20 - August 5
Although the plays aren't free, Tuesday night performances are $10. Free concerts "on the green" of Winona State University campus are performed on Friday and Saturday evenings.

I've been wanting to go to the Shakespeare Festival for a couple years but hadn't been able to fit it in. This summer I will. In fact I'm heading over to the website now to order tickets before they sell out!

Lanesboro, MN just under an hour southeast of Rochester 
Grab your bike and hit the Root River State Bike Trail, sixty miles of trails that follows the Root River touring through towns such as Harmony, Preston, Fountain, Whalan, Houston, Rushford and Peterson. Not into working up a sweat? Lanesboro offers "no sweat" options with it's quaint shops, an art center, diners and winery. On Father's Day Lanesboro hosts Art in the Park at Sylvan Park from 10 am - 5 pm.

Chatfield, MN ~

Lost Creek Trail Thanks to a great group of people, the Bluff Country Hiking Club, Chatfield is now home to a great hiking trail! I've only done a small section of the trail through the beautiful, wooded area just outside Chatfield. Lost Creek Trail begins at Groen Park and meanders through wood, prairie grasses and farmland for six miles (one way).

Concerts in the Park at the Chatfield City Park Bandshell 
Thursday evening June 7 - August 11 at 7 pm
Chatfield Brass Band performing a concert in the park

Chatfield Growers Market is also on Thursday evenings from 3 pm - 6 pm
Easy access to the Root River can be found in Chatfield to kayak, canoe or fish. 

CAVES in the area 
on a sultry summer day cool down by hiking in a cave

Mystery Cave at Forestville State Park  (a one hour tour costs $6/children and $10/adult)

Niagara Cave in Harmony (tour cost depends on age ranging from $7 - $11)

Whitewater State Park near St. Charles, MN
Years ago this was one of my favorite places to take my daughter camping. It's close enough for an overnight get away and has much to offer with hiking trails, fishing streams and a sandy beach for swimming.

Regardless of where you live, here's a few other summer fun ideas for you:
1. Check if the museum's in your area have "free days".
2. Camp out in the backyard.
3. Check your public library for summer programs.
4. Visit a garden nursery and have a scavenger hunt!
5. Many communities have free outdoor concerts.
6. Scavenger hunt at a local park. (think bugs, rocks, varieties of leaves and flowers)
7. Organize a block party, it's a great way to get to know your neighbors. Or just invite the neighborhood to your backyard for a potluck. Make it easier by asking your guests to bring their own serving ware, a dish to pass and a lawn chair. All you have to do is mow the lawn and make a salad.
Christmas Day. Yes, I was ecstatic! Cooper could care less, he's just thirsty.

8. If your darling son gave you a kayak for Christmas get out and USE IT! ;) That's my plan. I'm making sure we have a few weekends free so that The Boy and I are able to kayak!

I've only listed a few fun things to do in SE Minnesota. On the top of my summer's bucket list is the Shakespeare festival and many floats down the river, soaking in some sun in my new kayak. I'm looking forward enjoying not only my backyard but the areas just outside my "backyard".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baking Soda Free Deodorant Recipe

Another attempt at finding a natural deodorant that works for me.

Last fall I shared my quest for finding a natural deodorant. Most of the winter I was able to completely omit deodorant with no stinky side effects but now, with the increase in temperature and activities that go along with summertime temps, it's time to find something to deal with the stink (I know, probably too much information).

4 oz. coconut oil
1 cup arrowroot
1/2 beeswax
3 tsp. essential oil

Melt coconut oil and beeswax.
Remove from heat and whisk in the arrowroot.
Add essential oils. I used  1 t. lemongrass and 2 t. tea tree oil

I used small plastic containers as molds. After hardening the deodorant popped right out.

Verdict? I can't decide. I didn't get an itchy rash like the baking soda recipes. The smell is first. But somehow, after a hot day of working in the garden, the scent of body odor mixed with the scent of my new deodorant was not great.  In fact I think I prefer my own b.o. scent all by itself. My pits smelled like morning-after-alcohol-breath or something equally stinky (again, too much information). And no, I hadn't been drinking. I think the culprit for the stink was the tea tree oil. I don't know but I will try this recipe again with different essential oils. I'm not giving up.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ SEE

It's Friday, which means it's time for FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY! Set aside five minutes to write. Just write and allow the words of your heart flow to your fingertips. Today's word is SEE.

The following quote from The Color Purple is between two women, Shug and Celie. Celie is having a hard time seeing God. 

“Listen, God love everything you love - and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

You saying God vain? I ast.

Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

What it do when it pissed off? I ast.

Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” 
― Alice WalkerThe Color Purple


Photo credit: Christian Holmer

Do you see the color purple in the field? On the way to my parent's home is a farmhouse. In the spring the whole lawn is covered with purple flowers. I look forward to those flowers. I wait for the color purple. I search for it. And when they finally appear I can imagine Shug yelling at me, "Do you see it? Do you see God in the color purple?"

Are my eyes wide open to seeing the gifts that God has given me?

Do I see a stack of laundry or do I see clothes that cover bodies that I love?

Dirty Dishes? Oh yeah, God not only gave me a family to nourish but he also provided the nourishment.

Messy house? Yes, not only has God given me a roof over my head but he's also filled it with joy.

Take time to see the new blooms, the rising and the setting of the sun, the nest in the backyard filled with baby robins, the child who desires your love and all the other little, yet so very big, blessings that God has bestowed upon you.


 I so love seeing the different perspectives on one word. Come see what others have written at Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday and take five minutes to add your own!