Monday, December 10, 2012

Coconut Oil Cream

So, I know I've been a little MIA these passed few months, but I have been doing things and taking pictures so I can do some new posts. :)  Things with my daughter doing chemo are going well but busy and I had my baby (#5) in October.  So, it takes a lot of juggling and acrobatics to get everything done each day! 

But here is a quick and easy thing that I have fallen in love with !  Coconut oil.  I use it all the time.  I have started using it instead of lotion, face wash, mouth wash. . . wait, are we in the kitchen or the bathroom?  Ha ha!  I will give more details on how I use it as face wash and mouth wash, but here is a nice, simple way to make it more usable as a lotion or moisturizer.  

Take some coconut oil and a hand mixer and whip it.  That's all.  Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees.  So, below that, it is solid.  I've been using straight out of the jar for a few months and it gets a little hard to dig it out sometimes.  Once I whipped it up, it stays nice and fluffy and is easy to scoop a little out to use on my hands, my little boy's eczema, my daughter's dry elbows, etc.  I love it.  I hope you will, too. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Clean Dehydrating Trays--The EASY Way!

I don't know about you guys, but I (used to) hate to wash my dehydrating trays.  They were big and awkward and didn't fit in my sink very well, making them very hard to clean.  

Well, here is the answer: the bathtub!  I heard about this and had to try it.  

I put all of my dehydrating trays and leather sheets into the tub with some hot water and a couple drops of dish soap.  I let them soak for about a half hour and then drained the water and rinsed them off.  They were so clean and I hardly had to do anything!  Love it!   I hope this helps all of you dehydrators out there. :)  

Sunday, July 8, 2012


For the past couple weeks I have been busy with cherries. . . and kids, chemo treatments, an MRI, swim lessons, 4th of July activites, etc. :)  Our nearby orchard was selling them for $.75/lb and I was so excited to get some!  Aren't they beautiful?  

I pitted them with my cherry stoner, cut them in half and then had some help from my 2 youngest spreading them out on my dehydrating trays.

I dehydrated them for about 24 hours.  I think they got a little too dry, but it's hard to tell sometimes until it's too late.  

I also made a ton of fruit leather (I borrowed a second dehydrator from a friend because cherries won't wait!).  I think this is cherries with some pear sauce that I canned last year.  I like to add it to fruit leather to make it more pliable.  

 I also got some apricots and mixed those with cherries for fruit leather.  It is soooo yummy!  I love the tartness that the apricots add

So far I have gone crazy with fruit leather.  I have 3 gallon bags full of rolled up fruit leather.  And it's only the beginning of the harvest!  Fruit leather is what goes the quickest in my family. :)  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hanging Towels. . . So Much Easier

This is what my kids' bath towels used to look like. (Actually, I should have left a couple of the towels on the floor!)

I saw this fantastic idea somewhere online. . . and once I was ready to do it, I couldn't remember where it was at all.  So, I kind of made up what I thought it was.  

I got some plain white ribbon at Wal-Mart (you can use cuter. . . I just couldn't find any that would match all of the colors of towels that I have).  It is about an inch wide.

I measured it out 10 inches and cut. 

I folded and ironed down each edge about 1/4 inch.

I looped the ribbon around (like so) and pinned it to the center of the towel.  
(To find the center, I folded the towel in half and marked it with the pin)

Then, I sewed the square where the ribbon ends met together and then an X in the middle, just for fun because it looks nicer.

Ta da!  Now my kids have no excuses when there towels are on the floor instead of on their hooks! :)  

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For My Own Record

I just wanted to let you all know that I have started a blog that is a record for me and my family during this time that our daughter is going through chemotherapy.  If you are interested in reading about our experiences, here is the site:

It is starting to be quite a book, but the posts will get shorter and I'll put more pictures on.  I just wanted to get the whole story covered of our crazy beginning times.

I will still try to do new posts here when I can!  Thanks for your support!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Freeze Dried Strawberries--a lifesaver!

With my daughter doing chemotherapy, we have to be careful with the food she eats.  Her diet is really pretty normal, we just have to make sure cold foods are cold, hot foods are hot, nothing out of bulk bins, and making sure fresh foods are very fresh.  The goal is to stay away from any bacteria and mold.  So, my daughter loves strawberries, but I don't make it to the store every couple of days to get her fresh strawberries.

Well, in my food storage I have some #10 cans of freeze dried fruit.  I had the great idea to open the can of strawberries for her to eat and she loves them.  This has been a great snack for her and I don't have to be so picky about which strawberry looks good.  

I also love these pour-able containers from Wal-Mart.  My other kids tend to just reach in and grab crackers or whatever out of the box.  So, I got a few of these containers that pour really easily and we can avoid germy hands contaminating snacks.

And my the way, Kayla is doing awesome with her treatments so far.  It's going to be long, but's it's going to be do-able.  Thanks for your support and prayers on our behalf!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And then life changes

Sorry for the lack in posts lately.  My little 4 year old was really sick for most of the month of February and then seemed to get better.  This past week we found out that she has a tumor on her optic nerves that is affecting her sight and she started chemotherapy that will be once a week for a year.  So, I will do my best to keep posting things, but I am trying to get adjusted to our new way of life.  With four little ones- one extra needy and one almost 2 year old (plus #5 on the way. . . ) it's going to be a busy year for us.  Please keep looking around at past posts and ask questions all you want.  I have really enjoyed all of the interest that I've had in my blog and will try to keep things going.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Storing Bread

I thought I would share how I store my bread since my last post was on making it.  When I make bread I am making 5 loaves at a time and I don't like them to go bad or dry out.  So, I store them in the freezer.  After my loaves are all cooled, I slice them up and put them in Ziploc bags (gallon freezer bags).  This way when I need to make an immediate piece of toast or a sandwich for someone's lunch, I can grab a loaf out of the freezer and not need to wait for it to thaw before cutting into it.  Anyway, maybe you all do this already, I just thought I'd share this handy tip!  

(My fifth loaf got eaten right after it came out of the oven)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Mama's Bread

So, I don't remember my mom making bread very often when I was growing up. (Sorry, Mom!)  I have a good friend who taught me how to make bread about 5 years ago and I have been making it ever since.  In those 5 years, I have tried several different recipes, and really liked most of them.  I have posted a few on my blog (at least 2, I think--I didn't check).  But sometime in the past year, I got my mom's bread recipe and finally tried it.  It is by far my favorite!  It takes the least amount of time (which is precious!) and turns out great each time.  Sigh. . .

Since we have been living on the BRAT diet at my house (see previous post--by the way, I think we are over it, whew) for the past week, I really needed to make some more bread.  So, I thought I would share my mom's recipe with you all.

Whole Wheat Bread

5 1/2 c warm water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c oil
In a small bowl mix together:
1/2 c gluten flour
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
2-4 Tbsp dough enhancer ( or if you are grinding your wheat, add a couple vitamin C tablets to your wheat as it is grinding-they are a dough enhancer)
Add this mixture to the water/honey/oil and mix
Then I just leave it mixing and start adding flour  11-15 cups.  Once the dough is pulling away from the sides and bottom of your mixer, stop adding flour
THEN ADD 3 Tbsp yeast  (I have forgotten this a couple times :)

Let mix for 10 minutes and then remove, shape into loaves (by the way, this recipe makes 5 loaves and I use oil on my counter as I am shaping them), let rise and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.  Don't forget to grease your bread pans!

It turns out great every time!  As long as I don't forget the yeast! :)  But seriously, this is so fast and easy with no waiting periods here and there that drag out the process.  Just mix, raise and bake.  I can have bread made in and hour and a half, easy.  Most of that is raising and baking time.

My kids also love to help me make bread and it is nice because they can just sit there adding flour and I tell them when to stop.  It doesn't have to be measured super accurately, just as long as you stop when the dough is pulling away from the bowl like I said earlier.

Oh-I almost forgot.  This bread recipe turns out fantastic with hard red wheat.  I know most people like hard white, but the red wheat bread turns out softer and nicer.  White wheat works great, too, but I prefer red.  Just FYI.

Anyway, happy bread making!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken Soup from Food Storage

For the past several days my family has been passing the flu around in a major way.  My almost 21 month-old started throwing up on Wednesday night at about 11PM.  (It always happens right as I'm going to bed)   I was up with him until after 6AM and when he finally went down in his crib.  On Friday night, right at about 11PM (of course) my 4 year-old came rushing out of her bedroom and unfortunately didn't make it to the toilet in time to throw up.  I'm sure you are all really enjoying this story by now. :)  So, she was up throwing up pretty often--like every 15-20 minutes until about 8:30AM.  Ahh, another restful night. Ha ha.  I thought we were good after that, but Sunday night, my 6 year-old came in my bedroom (about 11:30PM) and started throwing up.  Right about that time, I had thrown-up, too, and was not feeling well.  Anyway, my daughter was throwing up fairly often until about 7:30AM.  I had gotten up to get my 7 year-old off to school when my 4 year-old (yes the same one I spoke of earlier) started throwing up.  Sigh.  So, for most of today, me and my girls (4 and 6) were lying on the couch with bowls nearby and sippy cups of water and Powerade (I know that stuff is horrible. . . HFCS is the second ingredient--ugh. . . I had some leftover from my couponing days and they wanted some) watching movies like Enchanted, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.  Luckily, my husband was able to stay home and chase after our 21 month-old son who is in that lovely get-into-everything stage.

So, now on to my point.  I really felt like a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup.  My husband gets after me because I never use a recipe and it always turns out different.  I was still feeling sick and didn't feel like chopping a bunch of veggies to put in my soup.  So, here's what I did:

Chicken Noodle Soup (all from my pantry)

4 cans of Swanson's low sodium chicken broth
1 can of chicken (that I canned myself here)
1 cup of dehydrated carrots (which I dehydrated and vacuum sealed myself)
1/2 cup of dehydrated celery (this came from a #10 can, but I have dehydrated it myself in the past)
1 cup of corn (I actually used corn that I had frozen last summer, but I do have some dehydrated corn on my shelf that I did here)
1/2 cup pearled barley (a great comfort food when sick)
2-3 tablespoons of my dried onion soup mix made here)

I let this cook in my digital pressure cooker (one of the greatest inventions) for 10 minutes.  Then I opened it up and added in a handful of whole grain noodles and just let them sit in there until soft.    Then I added some salt and pepper and tada!  

Sorry there are no pictures.  I wasn't thinking about posting this until about 10 minutes ago and dinner is all put away for the night .  My soup was a little thick, my husband called it chicken noodle stew, but I liked it.  It had a little different taste to it and I think that was because of using my homemade dry onion soup mix instead of just plain onions.  

So, we had a nice quick, healthy easy dinner that was great for a family still getting over the sickies!  (My husband isn't feeling to great tonight and our 7 year old is the only one to escape it so far).  

I hope you all (and me included!) have a good night's sleep tonight and maybe enjoy a nice bowl of chicken soup sometime.   

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