. . . . . . . . . .here I share some things I learn with others in the area of gardening, healthy foods, crafts, and other things - as well as share with you creations I make out of guitar strings from my new small business "Fret Knot Jewelry". . . . . . .
What is it with me and weird posts lately? The last post was about a book with zombies and werewolves - this is about running an anti-virus on your computer.
Well, bear with me here. Let me just tell you this: using a good anti-virus on your computer is very important. It saves you time, money, and stress by wiping away viruses on your computer. You've probably heard commercials before about how viruses can steal your passwords and credit card numbers, make your computer slow, and sometimes render your computer barely usable (if not completely unusable). Some of you might be saying "yeah, of course - I've been using those things forever." But I've found that there are alot of people who use their computers regularly, but never check for viruses. Instead they wait until it's broken really good and ask their nearest related teenager to come fix it. That's not necessarily bad, but sometimes it can get annoying to keep fixing things that could have been easily avoided by the computer owner. Trust me, I'm sort of in the middle somewhere - not the "nerd" and also not the "doesn't-run-anti-virus-person" either. So I also hear the computery peoples' frustrations and I'm putting out a plead today on their behalf: run a good anti-virus on your computer!
It's really not as complicated as it sounds. Find a good anti-virus and use it. Ask the teenager that fixes your computer what a safe one is (some of them are viruses in themselves - so don't download something unless you or your computer friends trusts the anti-virus) and maybe they'll even help you set it up and teach you how to use it if you offer them some yummy hot chocolate and a plate of spice cookies or some other yummy cookie! I use "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware". If you download it, just make sure you use the update tab in the program before every time you do the scan.
Then don't forget it! Put it on your calendar if you have to and do a scan at least once a month - or if your computer is acting funny. Your computery friend will thank you for it.
In closing, I am so thankful for the various anti-virus programs we have had over time. They have wiped out so many nasty viruses. Just think of it. How much money would we spend if we had to replace our computers every time we got a virus, if there was no anti-virus software? Wow. Now you're thankful for it too, aren't you?!
(I am in no way affiliated with "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware" and I am not held responsible for anything between you and "Malwarebytes Anit-Malware".)
I know...when do I ever post on Mondays??? Well, I was just thinking of a giveaway and thought I'd invite you all to enter at a blog that I enjoy.
It's a book called "Night of the Living Dead". I'm not a huge fan of zombies and vampires and such, but according to the blog post (who also isn't a fan of such things), she says she really liked the book. I've never heard of it before, but apparently it's a parallel between zombies/vampires/werewolves/etc and how we are as Christians. Do we selfishly live off of others, like a vampire does to take blood from others? Or are we like a zombie, experiencing a false resurrection?....
Give it a look and see if it's something you might be interested in. Or perhaps you know someone else who may enjoy it who you could win it for (or invite them over!). Click here for the link to the giveaway. The giveaway goes until December 29th - so hurry!
Wishing you all a meaningful Christmas this year....
This year we aren't attending the usual Christmas eve service, so I have to point my mind in the right direction without that assistance in remembering. But we'll be up and ready for church tomorrow morning...after breakfast, but before the presents. I'm excited to see how we'll be encouraged with our brothers and sisters in Christ tomorrow.
I admit that I am also very excited for presents tomorrow. This year we did a home-made-gifts-only Christmas and it has been great. It is way more fun than buying something because $$$ limits options, but creativity can go as far as you're willing to take it! We're all on the edge of our seats for people to open the gifts we poured our time and love into!
When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to make this for my brother for Christmas (I know I can tell you guys what I made him because he doesn't read my blog - tee hee!!! Nobody tell him!). He has been very much into becoming a classy man, and among other things, he has taken up shaving with the good 'ole foam + water + mix = shaving cream. He is also appreciating hand-crafted items because of their typically higher quality. So I knew I had to make this for him as soon as I found it. I also came up with the name, hoping it sounds goofy and manly enough for him :D
It's SUPER easy! (I say that about alot of things don't I? Well, it's the truth!) And homemade shaving cream is a great companion to the bath bombs I posted a while back. Now you can make bath bombs for the women and shaving cream for the men!
- 45 grams cocoa butter
- 30 grams light olive oil
- 20 mls liquid castille soap
- A few drops of essential oil (optional)
Melt the cocoa butter and olive oil together in a double-boiler. Let cool. Add liquid castille soap - and essential oils if desired. Whisk or blend with an electric blender. It makes about one cup total because it will increase in volume as you blend. When you're ready to use it, mix a little with some water as you usually would and get to shavin'!
See? Pretty easy. I can't vouch for how it works, as I haven't dipped into my brother's Christmas gift, but it sure does smell good! I had to wrap it so I'd stop smelling it. I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not, but it seems like the scent is dissipating from me opening it so many times to smell, and now it mostly smells like the cocoa butter....oops! Let's hope that's just my nose getting used to the scent and he won't think I made him chocolate scented shaving cream! :D
Does your soap dish every look like this? Lots of random little pieces tossed in. Well, if it doesn't bother you or your family, then leave them be. But if it does, remember you can always melt them together, pour them in a mold, and make your own bar of "recycled" soap.
You can keep a little container in the cupboard and toss the soap in whenever the bars get too small to use. Then when you've got a supply of them, heat them up in a pan on the stove or straight in the mold in the microwave. Viola! A thrifty bar of soap! And it didn't even take very long at all. No more soap slivers down the drain or in the trash!
If you'd like to guest-post a "Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday" for the fun of it, or have a subject you'd like to know if I have any tips about - let me know!
Recently I tackled a "scary" in the area of cooking (or should I say, fermenting?). I made yogurt for the first time! I had always thought that yogurt would be SO hard to keep at the proper temperatures and such, so I never tried it. Anyone else feel that way? But now that I made it I realized how easy it really is. It's SUPER easy!
When it comes to cooking/baking/etc, we try to do mostly whole foods/homemade foods. To some people that sounds like a big chore, but to us it's normal. Sometimes I'll share the excitement of a new food I made with someone, but they'll have an excuse why THEY can't do it. There is one excuse that people give almost every time: "It would take too much time." But alas, after making yogurt, I devised a comparison to defend the pitifully small amount of time it takes to make yogurt. You ready for this?
It takes less work to make yogurt than it does to put together a stinking box of macaroni! NO JOKE!
Since I made yogurt I feel nearly invincible in the realm of food-making. I feel like I used to be such a weak food-maker, though I did know how to make so many things. But now I realize how pitifully easy it is to cook/ferment/etc anything. I also reminded myself how many "scary" things I know how to make. Cheese crackers, yeast bread, YOGURT!!, milk/water kefir, pizza pockets, poptarts, pies, chocolate chips, etc. Things don't seem so scary anymore. So give it a try! Maybe making yogurt will help alleviate your fears too!
There are plenty of recipe variations out there, but this is how I do it and it turns out great for me. I made three quarts at the time I took the pictures, but you can just make one for the first time if you want.
1. Fill clean quart jars with milk and place in a pan of water with a folded towel on the bottom of the pan. Time to give them a nice warm bath!
2. Use a meat or candy thermometer to warm the milk to 100*F. (You can use warmer temperatures in other recipe variations, but we have raw milk, so I opted for a lower temperature so I wouldn't kill all the good stuff in the raw milk and so it will become raw yogurt.)
3. Turn off the heat as soon as the milk is brought up to temperature and add 4 Tblsp plain yogurt (from the store or a previous batch).
4. Stir well with a whisk and put on lid(s).
5. Wrap jars in a thick towel and place in a cooler or other insulated container for about 8 hours. The first couple times you may want to check it at the 5 hour mark to make sure it's still warm. I usually fill a big cup with steamy-hot water from the sink at this point and wrap it in the towel to keep the temperature warm enough.
6. Place the yogurt straight into the fridge when it's done to cool it. Store in the fridge. After it's chilled, add about 1 tsp. vanilla and a big swirl of raw honey (1/4 to 1/2 cup?) to make vanilla yogurt!
TIPS: --- If it cools down too much during the 8 hours, it won't thicken properly. --- Be SURE to use clean kitchen equipment, because if bad bacteria enters the jar, the batch may be ruined. Smell it when it's finished. It should smell warm and slightly-yeasty, like plain yogurt from the store. If not, don't eat it! It may have gone bad and you could get very sick. --- The next tip may sound a bit odd - or at least it is an odd tip to me. Place your cooler or insulated box somewhere cool (like the front porch) when you've got the yogurt in it. For some reason it seems to keep the yogurt inside warmer longer for me. Otherwise it only stays warm for 2 hours. Go figure....I don't understand it. Experiment and maybe you'll find something different ;-) --- Homemade yogurt has a slightly different texture than commercially-made yogurt. Homemade has more...elasticity to it? It's hard to describe. You'll see what I mean ;-)
Before making homemade yogurt, I was never really a fan of eating yogurt. But now I am practically addicted to the homemade yogurt. I love it! If you've never made yogurt before, you really should try it. It's SO STINKIN' EASY!!!
~ If you think something would be a great Christmas gift, do a quick search for it online. Don't wait for a favorite blogger to post the how-to. You might be surprised how easy it is to make. Pre-made mixes, playdough, shaving cream, jewelry, recipe books, toys, tools, tree ornaments - the list goes on! Don't be limited by what everyone else is doing. Your options are practically endless.~
Or if you're not feeling creative, you can always look into the deal on jewelry from my last post by clicking here ;-)
And next, I want to ask you all: what would you like some tips-n-tricks about next? Do you want to hear more about food? Gardening? Siblings and kids? Crafts? Sewing? Sometimes it's hard to think of the tips I use so often when I'm using them on a regular basis. I forget they are even tips! So help inspire me. Please?
Over the end of the summer and into the fall of this year I've been playing around with making jewelry out of recycled guitar strings. So, after getting a collection of ideas, I've decided to start an online store and sell them. Below are some pictures of the things I make.
The name was chosen with it's double-meaning in mind. God tells his children often in the Bible to "fear not" - and the name reminds me of such. I'll probably go into the name more in future posts.
Come check them out at my new Facebook page! I would absolutely love any comments, tips, or constructive criticism about the page, as it's just getting off the ground. So check it out and feel free to look around!
"Wire-Wound Cross" Necklace
"Artistic Heart" Necklace
All the guitar string jewelry is made out of recycled guitar strings. If it wasn't made into pretty jewelry, it would have been dumped into a land-fill.
"Basic Wrap" Bracelet
"Christmas Tree" Necklace
These are so fun to make! They're also unique so they can be great gifts for those ladies you know who "have everything". You don't happen to know anyone like that do you? (laugh) I think anyone who lives in America often encounters THAT problem.
Like that little catch-phrase there? :D For a week only, you get $3 off your purchase when you blog about Fret Knot Jewelry. This is a blog-only offer - which means I'm not announcing it on Facebook. (Oh wait, I'm actually going to put it on Facebook - sorry about changing it on anyone who already read this before my edit!) So take advantage of it while you can! The rules are simple: blog something nice about Fret Knot Jewelry, and send me a link to your post (PursuingTheArtOfWomanhood(AT)gmail(DOT)com). Note: this in-store credit MUST be used before the start of the new year, or it is forfeited. And yes, there ARE items that cost $3, so you could potentially get something free and just pay shipping - how nifty is that!? I'm so sorry, to those of you who don't have a blog - I was wanting to do a contest for who can get the most people to "like" my page, but this is against Facebook rules. Well, I'm a softy. So anyone (except those who blogged about Fret Knot Jewelry) who places an order during this week gets $1 off. Does that make you feel at least a little better? Both deals end 12-9-11 at 1pm, EST.
See these egg shells? Why in the world am I saving them? Well, the title of this post gives it away ever-so-slightly! Winter is fast-approaching and many people aren't thinking about their gardens, but this is something you should consider.
Whenever you use an egg, save the eggshells. When you get a little dish (or can in our case) that's full of them, dump them outside in a 5-gallon bucket. Keep adding to this bucket all winter. (You want to store them long-term outside, or else they'll stink up your house!) Then when you plant out your tomatoes in the spring, crush up the shells around your plants or drop some crushed shells in the hole before you plop your plant in. Eggshells provide calcium for your tomatoes - great for general health of the plant and especially to scare away blossom end rot (when the bottom half of the tomato rots and turns black while it's still on the plant, but the top half is still good).
So save those eggshells! It's a win-win. You don't have to pay to send them off in your garbage can and plus they will feed your tomato plants next year (free and organic fertilizer!).
I want to share a song by Casting Crowns with you all. I love the lyrics and meaning behind the song and I think it sends a great message that so many people need to hear. Yes, I know, all of Casting Crowns' songs are really good, but this one has just been sticking out to me lately. Listen to the words. Enjoy.
Well, first of all....oops...it's not Tuesday....it's Wednesday! Sorry about my tardiness.
This "tip-n-trick" is really very simply said: make some of your Thanksgiving meal in a crockpot. Some things can be made the day before Thanksgiving, but ultimately, you're gonna have a full stove the day of! So stick some things in a crockpot or two. You can find recipes online of how to make some parts of the meal from start to finish.
73? Yup! Don't you ever sit down and wish you could think of something really cool to make for relatively cheep as Christmas presents? So do I. So when I came up with this list, I just HAD to pass it on.
They vary in difficulty and cost. So just scan through and see what sparks your interest. These are also SUPER GREAT to make with your kids or siblings. Good quality time ;-) And if you don't know how to make something, google it! I'm sure you can find a tutorial.
And most of all - be creative! These are all very, very basic descriptions. Take the idea, sit down with the kids, and RUN WITH IT! Have fun!
1. Partially pre-made "photo album recipe book" with recipes in it using index cards
Ever heard of putting vinegar in the washing machine? Well you really should try it some time. It's great for your clothes. I can't remember where we heard of it, but we've been doing it for a while now.
Vinegar reduces soap build-up in your clothes, as well as help brighten them just a smidge. Just pour it into whatever liquid compartment you want - depending on when you want it to wash with your clothes. Sometimes I just do half of it in the "fabric softener" hole, and half in the...um....I can't think of what the other hole is called....."bleach hole?". Ha ha! I don't know. But nevertheless, you should give it a try and see what you think ;-)
In the last several weeks I've been having alot of fun trying out recipes over at Heavenly Homemakers (which by the way this post is linked to their Gratituesday). I'm so thankful for the good recipes on that blog! If you haven't been there before, you should really check it out.
Anyhow, today I want to share the brilliant way she found to bake fresh pumpkin to make into puree. It is SO easy. And anyone who has every cubed a pumpkin to cook it down will greatly appreciate how easy this is. So here is her "recipe", with my own little twist.
1. Break off stem from pumpkin or squash.
2. Give it 6-10 stabs (like a big 'ole baked potato!). Be careful that no one gets cut!
3. Place on pan and bake in oven at 350* for about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until it is easy to push a fork through the skin.
4. Remove from oven and let cool until it doesn't burn your finger-tips when you touch it.
5. Slice pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and peel/slice off skin.
6. Put the squash in the food processor until blended smoothly.
Lately I've been reading some of Paul's writings in the New Testament. Something that has really been standing out to me this time through is how important helping eachother really is. I think sometimes we go through life, trying to get the best for us and our families - which isn't necessarily bad, but there's more to life than that....
Paul is willing to do anything it takes to tell someone the Gospel and to help the fellow Christians around him grow. Whatever it takes. He would willingly get beat. Willingly get spit on. Willingly fight a lion with his bare hands in an arena. Willingly be imprisoned. Willingly go hungry..... Would WE do these things in order to encourage and teach a brother or sister in Christ, or in order to tell someone the Gospel? Reading this you may think, ah yes, the Gospel IS that important - I should do that! But truth is, Paul was also willing to go through these things simply to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ. Wow....just wow. No money can buy the life of a soul. No time. No car. No house. Nothing. Nothing on this earth can compare to the importance of an eternal soul.
So let us ask this question of ourselves: what is a soul worth in my eyes?
Here is a verse as example, though it hardly brushes the edge of Paul's devotion to God by the exhorting of others' souls.
"For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for,that you be made complete." ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9
Have you ever looked up to see all the good things baking soda can be used for? Many people put it in the fridge to deter odors, but it is so good at deodorizing other things too. Sprinkle some in your smelly shoes, sprinkle some on your smelly clothes to "pre-soak" them, or use it as deodorant (it sounds weird, but works AMAZING!) These are just a few ideas. What do You use it for?
Hemming pants that are too long. To someone who knows how to do this, it's relatively easy. But for someone who feels inept in the area of sewing, this can be nauseating. So here, let me help you avoid the nausea ;-)
Note: On the first picture I accidentally pinned it on the wrong side. You actually want to put the pins in through the "right-side-out" - THEN turn it inside-out for the rest.
Also note: Sorry you can't see the pins very good in the third picture where you fold it up to the pins. Click on the picture for a larger version and you should be able to see them.