Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make Your Own Everyday Dish Cloths

In the next couple of weeks, I am really focusing on Spring cleaning.
It is always a little daunting, thinking of all of the work, but I sooo love the end result.
Organizing, cleaning out, giving away...it just makes me feel good!
Usually I "Spring clean" all year and just take a room a month and deep clean.
This year, life was busier and I am back to doing most of it at once.
So, why not make it a pleasant experience and spice things up with some pretty dish cloths?



They are made from old towels and lovely scraps of fabric.
{Do you find you need to replace towels in the Spring, too?}
 I prefer to have absorbent cloths because when I clean...I really clean!
And these are not meant to be kept stain free...they are meant to be used!
I have other pretty towels that I save for drying dishes or my hands after cooking.
I want to emphasize that anyone can make these!
 They are super duper simple, quick, and such a money saver.
{I don't use paper products in the kitchen at all.}

You will need:

old towels
several cotton fabric scraps at least 12x12 inches
you could also use old sheets, flannel shirts, or other cotton clothing for the top {use what you have on hand}

Cut a 12x12 inch square out of the towel and a matching piece of fabric.


Place together.



Sew about 1/2 inch all the way around, leaving the edges raw.


Wash, and the edges will fray nicely.



You have a pretty way to clean!


These cloths also make a nice gift for Moms...maybe even a new Mom with a little one?

If you want to add even more pretty things to your kitchen, you could try making my Everyday Napkins or Ruffled Dish Towel.

Happy Spring cleaning!

~Julia

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent: An Attitude of Gratitude

Lent is such a special time of the year for us.
It is a time of renewal of both mind and spirit.
My Lenten verse for this season is:
Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed,
and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Ezekiel 18:31
How sweet to think of yourself with a new heart!
All fresh, new and beautiful this Spring.


I know it takes a little work to make improvements a habit in my life.
My focus is on gratitude and to not be ruled by impulses, spending habits, appetite, or desires.
Everything I have belongs to God....everything...so my attitude and how I use these gifts are all part of God's plan for my life.
For Lent I am focusing on the state of the union of my heart and asking the Lord to guide my decisions in regards to money, eating, buying, and giving to others.
I am choosing a heart of gratitude.


No complaining about this or that.
How often have I complained only to hear the same tone and complaints come from my own children?
Too often! Waaay too often!
And where does that complaining get me?
No where but on the path to negativity.

.
via Pinterest 


God has made it plain and simple that we are to be content with what we have.
So, when you overspend, overeat, compare yourself to another, you are not content.
It is kind of like a "what you gave me wasn't good enough" response to the One who gave everything.
This Lent, I am going to work on those things...which are very easy to fail at!



When I catch myself complaining about something this week, I am going to replace it with gratitude...and say it out loud so my family hears it!
When I find myself anxious, I am going to ponder this verse:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’ (Prov. 3:5-6).”

Anxiousness is both useless and needless.
Trust me, I am a pro at testing that theory out!
Worry doesn't improve a situation one bit. 
It only creates fret and fuming of the heart.

~
via Pinterest




God wants you to be in perfect peace.
...let your requests be known by God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
 will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7


This Lent I pray that we all receive the simple grace to be renewed and to grow in this season.


Have a lovely day:).

~Julia

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Sweet Baby Calf

We had another baby calf born a couple of days ago!


Tim, of course, is thrilled it's a little bull calf because he has his 2 steers for 4-H this Fall:).
He decided to name him Meatloaf.


He was huge...about 70 pounds and is quite leggy.


Meatloaf is half Red Angus, 1/4 Charolais, and 1/4 Hereford.
The Charolais breed tends to throw big babies with lots of bone structure.
He is definitely a moose!


We are sure enjoying Tim's first calves:).


Have a happy weekend!

~Julia

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Apple Roll Kind of Day




Yesterday, I made these wonderfully delicious apple-filled rolls for breakfast and had them with a steamy cup of tea.
They remind me of apple dumplings and were gone in no time around here.
The recipe is also very similar to a Dutch pastry called Oliebollen...it is sooo good! 
The original recipe, I found at Petticoat Junction, but I did change it up a bit:).
Becky has a lovely tutorial with beautiful pictures!
{Thank you Becky for the recipe!!}

Apple Rolls
                 1 beaten egg               
  1/4c melted butter
    3/4c. milk        

  3/4c. boiling water
1/4c. honey      

 1 1/2tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast 

3 1/2 - 4 1/2c all purpose flour


Filling
You can use canned apple pie filling or frozen filling.
My recipe HERE.
You could also add raisins.
brown sugar
cinnamon
butter
cinnamon sugar for dusting
~~~~~~~~~~~

In a large bowl, add milk, butter, honey, salt, and boiling water.
Stir until honey and salt are dissolved.
Let cool for a minute, then add beaten egg.
Add flour, then yeast and mix well until a soft dough forms. Add more flour if too sticky.
You can do this by hand, but a mixer makes it a bit easier, as you do need to knead it for a couple of minutes
Place in a greased bowl and cover with a towel.
Let rise until doubled in size.
When dough is ready, punch down and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Divide dough into balls. This recipe makes 16-18 rolls.
Flatten onto a circle, then sprinkle with cinnamon, add about a teaspoon of brown sugar.
Top with a spoonful of pie mix.
Next, place about 1/2 tsp. butter on top.
Pull the edges up around the filling and pinch together to form a roll.
Place in greased 9x13 baking dish, or pie plate and sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
They don't need a second rising.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.

They are perfect and fresh tasting!

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
My personal favorite right now is Tazo Rest...it has hints of rose:).


~Julia



Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Our Backyard...

Practically in our backyard...OK in the neighbor's field...we have been watching these two elk.

They have been hanging out in a hay barn.
And why not?
It's warm and there is a lot of feed!


There are quite a few elk in our area and the Dept. of Wildlife has feeding stations where you can get up close and personal with the local herds. 
These guys just happen to be REALLY local:).


You get such a wonderful perspective of the gifts in nature when you can experience it this closely.
I am sure they will move on soon, but it has been fun seeing a part of our natural area attractions!

 And on another note...
I am longing for my backyard look like this right now.


Is anyone else just ready for a new season?


One filled with warm wafts of intoxicating aromas?


I am pouring over seed catalogs and making plans because I know that the time to plant comes all too quickly.


God is so good to give us the seasons...seasons in life as well as the weather to look forward to!

Have a lovely day!

~Julia

Friday, February 17, 2012

Baby Calves...

Yesterday, we woke up to this guy....meet baby Bob {as Jack calls him}!





Here he is all fresh and new.




He is Tim's first calf and boy is he excited.
Tim has two registered Red Angus and a neighbor was nice enough to bring his Charolais/Hereford bull over last May. 
We kept "Bob" all summer in exchange for the breeding.
Baby Bob will be Tim's 4-H steer next year.

He is such a pretty strawberry color and very vigorous. 
We thought Tim's second cow, Bessie, may drop her calf yesterday so we sat at a distance and quietly watched.
We've watched births before, but we never tire of the marvel of new life.
AND it is just plain exciting!

Bess looked so uncomfortable...oh, I can remember feeling that way at the end of my pregnancies!


Even the neighbor's cow was concerned:).
She went down and we thought this might be the moment.


 Nope. False alarm!


We check on our cows through the night...just in case they might need help.
For me it brings back fond memories. 
Darren worked on a farm through college and sometimes that was our date night...checking cows during calving season. Lovely memories and such a wonderful family that he worked for!
We still feel so close to them:).


This new life reminds me that Spring is just around the corner.
I am so ready for a warm breeze and the chance to get my hands in the soil to plant.
In the meantime, we will enjoy the babies.


~Julia

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Printed Paper Bags and a Lovely Valentine

Did you know that you can run a flat paper bag through your printer?

It is so easy and what a FUN way to personalize gifts!
The process is similar to my tutorial on how to make gift tags on your printer.
I tried using a traditional paper lunch bag, but it was too bulky.
So make sure you are using a flat bag. You can use any size up to 9x11 inches.

First, decide on your design and create a Word document. Center the image where you want it on your bag.

Here are some fun freebies for Valentine's Day...



free printables




Just click on the picture to go to the source.


I always run a test print and then hold the bag up to ensure I have the image in the right place.

The first step is to fold a piece of plain computer paper in half lengthwise.
The fold is your center mark.

Place the bag face up in the center and use cellophane tape to attach all four corners and sides.

I press my fingers against the tape so it is not as sticky.
This way it comes off easily.




Place bag face down and top end first in your printer.
Print away...




That's it. So simple!



AND here is another fun and charming Valentine idea courtesy of my friend, Kimberlee and her girls!
Lily had fun making these with her friend, Millie, yesterday.
OK...I made one, too...I couldn't resist!





Aren't they darling?
You can staple or hot glue as many bags as you wish for a group of siblings or a family and insert little treasures in each one.


Lily personalized a bag for all of us.




I love that it folds out like a little book.
You can decorate the bags with anything you have on hand...paper, lace, stickers.
I even used one of my printed bags.
If you don't have the flat bags on hand, paper lunch bags work great, too!

Such a fun idea...thank you Andersons!
{They are also having a giveaway of some of their amazing goat milk products. Click HERE to enter!}

Hope you have an absolutely great weekend!

~Julia



Blogging tips