Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Venture

When I wrote the buttermilk post, I mentioned that there might be a business opportunity for me in it. I have been giving it some more thought; can I do it above all I am doing lately? Can I keep the house clean? The children happy? My husband? I asked him about it again last night, and he encouraged me to go ahead and try it! That was the push I needed to get me started. Today I brought my very first batch of cultured buttermilk to the store to sell!

I don't know if I will sell anything; but I want to at least give it a try.  I have advertising ideas in mind if needed and have given some buttermilk with recipes away for free, hopefully to get people 'hooked' on the product.

 So, if you visit the FTC in Spanish Lookout, and see this buttermilk, you know exactly where it comes from! And, you might want to consider supporting me:) I have included two recipes on the label, so people will not be left hopeless when they purchase a bottle. 

Isn't it great to be a stay-at-home mama? Life is so full of opportunities.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Laundry Stain Remover

This recipe is very simple. I put it in a neat spray bottle. I find that the best place to keep this bottle is in the bathroom, where the dirty clothes can be sprayed and have a chance to soak before they get to the washing machine. Handy!

1 cup laundry detergent
1 cup household Ammonia
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup dishwashing detergent

Mix together and shake well.

(After posting this recipe originally, I realized I used too much ammonia, so I changed it. I couldn't stand the smell when spraying my laundry, but this way it is much more diluted, but works just as well. If you still find the smell unbearable, you can add one more cup of laundry detergent.)

Have fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catching Up

Finally I have gotten the quilt done. I don't think I will attempt another queen size quilt anytime soon. I thoroughly enjoyed having all the ladies over to help me quilt it though.

 I have matching curtains, and plan to make matching pillowcases someday. For now I will pack it away.

 Here are the chickens I mentioned a while back. For the most part the coupe is now done. All the wood is recycled. I love recycling! The posts come from hubby's work shop, and instead of nailing a structure that can be moved, I dug holes in the ground, put the posts in and attached everything to the posts. I did not bother trying to saw those posts in any way, so I found it easier to put them in the ground till they were the same height, as the posts came in different heights. Our skill saw is down so everything else had to be sawn by handsaw. (I suppose its just as well, since I am too busy lately to exercise, but I need it somehow. :) The roof is not nailed down and can easily be removed. The door is on the north side; I used a plywood sheet as I figured this way the chickens had a little more shelter in one corner at night. During the day we open the door and let the chickens roam. It is Joseph's job to feed them before breakfast, and he enjoys it. 

Will it save us any money raising a few chickens this way? Maybe, maybe not, but when you are a parent, you start looking at things not just from a financial point of view, but how will your children benefit from the experience. And in this case I realized it is an invaluable lesson for them. Besides, its fun!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thirteenth Anniversary

Daniel and I celebrated 13 years together last week. We took the weekend to get away. And, a wonderful get-a-away it was all right. We went right back to the place where we spent part of our honeymoon. Here are some photos to enjoy. 

 The cabins at our resort, MET. The resort is tucked away in the forest, a very private and lovely place to retreat from bustling life. 

 We did not ride, but I did like the looks of the stables; I like anything rustic. 

 The cantina where fresh home-cooked meals are served.

 Birds eating at a bird feeder.

 Saturday afternoon we went further into Mountain Pine Ridge. We visited some friends, and then hiked to this waterfalls that is way out where nobody is. That is one thing I really like about this country; there are places to go where nobody else is, places that are out there in the wilderness for us to explore.
 Private road we took to the falls.

 This creek comes from the falls. We were determined to swim so we did, but whew, was it cold. I mean it was cold, kinda like canadian waters.

We had a sunny day on Saturday when we did the hiking, then on Sunday when we wanted to rest and relax it was cloudy and a little rainy. Perfect weather.

 To top the weekend off, we ate sunday lunch at this Barn & Grill Steakhouse. It again is rustic, just according to my liking. If you are from Belize or visiting, be sure to check them out! They are just west of the dangerous curve on the Western Highway, in Teakettle.

 I had cowboy steak. It was seriously delicious.

I tried to capture the rain, but I can never do that too well with my cameras. But you get the idea.

That was our weekend! Hope you enjoyed the tour.

(There is one special item that I acquired when we were still at the resort, but I will blog about that later! I am very excited about it, but I have yet to go back there to pick it up...I know you are curious, but keep checking back! Think vintage, furniture...;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Borax -- Yay! (Laundry Detergent)

I recently told you about the buttermilk I was not able to get here in Belize. Well, borax was another product pretty much unheard of around here. It was quite frustrating for me when we moved here to have to do without these products I was so used to in the US.

I constantly used to make my own laundry detergent. It was fun, frugal, and a healthy alternative to storebought detergent. Seeing I couldn't get borax here to make my own, I reluctantly turned to using storebought.

One day I just decided to ask the service boys here at the local store if it would be possible for them to order borax. They took down the name of the product, and now, several weeks later, I went shopping and was surprised! There on the shelf sat a row of borax boxes!...;) I was so happy. I grabbed two boxes, (in case they run out soon) and now I am back in the business of making laundry detergent! The store usually already sells washing soda, and I make my own lye soap, so the rest is history.

I encourage you to try it, if you haven't yet and are feeling a little experimental or frugal.

Laundry Detergent

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
Cover pail and use 1/4 cup (I use more) for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

My personal note: If mixing it this way does not work well for you, you may want to try what I usually do. Into three separate jars pour hot boiling water. (slowly so you won't break the jars...) Add borax to one, washing soda to another, and soap to one. Stir one by one till all is dissolved. Let the jars cool separately, and pour into a big container with water until you have the required amount. 

Hopefully I can soon add more recipes including laundry softener and stain remover. Have fun!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Vintage Enamelware

Yesterday there was another yard sale, which meant more fortune for me! I have been collecting enamelware for a while without realizing how much I was accumulating. Now, I am thinking all I need is an old cabinet painted white, and I will have a lovely display. 

The flower bowl to the back left was my Grandmothers. It seems to me it was a soup bowl, but it being so long ago, I can hardly recall anymore. The cup to the front left also belonged to her; the handle is broken off. 
The little cream pitcher to the right is something my mom passed on to me. The bowl to the back right, the candleholder, and the two huge cups toward the middle I picked up from yesterday's sale. The candleholder and bowl were free. :) The rest of the items are garage sale finds over many years. I have green enamelware as well, but decided only to show the white here.

I welcome any suggestions for displaying these items, if you have any ideas.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Singing the praises of buttermilk...

When Daniel went to the US last week, I ordered buttermilk powder. Yes, you heard me right. Why?

When I first came back to Belize, I went hunting for buttermilk. In store after store I was met with blank looks when I asked for buttermilk. I eventually stopped looking. Sorry to say, Belizeans just don't know what they're missing, and how good food made with buttermilk tastes. I mean the cultured kind, not the kind that's left over from making butter. Anyway, I had to wait all this time for someone to go to the US so I could order some buttermilk powder, and now I finally got it!

Now that I have the powder, I believe I can get a starter, and keep making it myself. (Perhaps there is a business opportunity here for me as well...I am dreaming about it; if I can convince people that food tastes better made with buttermilk) 

I am convinced I don't have time to make every one of these recipes just to take photos of to show you, but here are some great recipes for buttermilk foods.

Ever heard of scrumptious buttermilk pancakes? If you have been to Cracker Barrel, you probably have...

How about a decadent chocolate cake

How about fluffy buttermilk biscuits! A real southern treat for breakfast, and when I miss Tennessee, I sometimes make biscuits and sausage gravy, a must try if you haven't yet...

Hushpuppies. I guess most people have no idea what that is, but they do taste great! Not a regular treat, but now and then I make some.

Fried Okra. Ahhh, now that is a treat, and they go fast at our house. It might not sound appealing, but you simply have to try them to believe they taste good. They absolutely do.

Buttermilk Cornbread. The best cornbread there is.

There you have some new recipes to try! One thing I learned while living in TN is that a good cook is not without buttermilk. During this time when I have not had it on hand, I have used yogurt and kefir as substitutes, and they work all right, but it's not QUITE the same.  

I am so glad to have my buttermilk back.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yard Sale Find

Yesterday I took Jessica along to a yard sale. In case you haven't noticed, I am a bit of an antique freak, so I have to go check out all antiques. I don't think many people around here care that much for old things, so I sometimes get lucky.
(1 BZE $ = .50 US)

  A complete old-fashioned marble checkers game. The children love to play it. I thought it was a good buy
(especially since I checked ebay and saw people are asking $60 US for these!!!...)

Two more teacups with saucers to add to our collection.
 An old wooden handmade box.

Some great books for our little bookworms. I can buy the workbooks here and I think I will just do that for our little bookworm students.

A gallon canning jar: $5.00. I love jars, especially these old ones that are becoming rare!

'Some of the best things in life are free', right? Or, 'one woman's junk is another woman's treasure'. I usually look in the FREE box for stuff, in case this can happen. I was very much pleased to find all these vintage hankies tucked away in it. A steal, isn't it! Especially since Jessica has started her own collection...

It was definitely worth going, and I can't wait for the next one...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fun Project

A wobbly old table. My Dad built it years ago for my sister and myself. Two rickety old chairs that my aunt said I could have.

I am having lots of fun working on this set, and will show you how they look when they are all done. Both my dad and my mom were (are) good carpenters. My Mom would probably not prefer to be called by that title, but she is good at it!

Stabilizing the chairs so they won't wobble anymore.

(And now you know why I can't finish my quilt; this table and chairs are standing right next to it...)
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