Friday, October 28, 2016

McGalliard Falls

On our way home from getting apples a couple weekends ago, we made a stop in Valdese, NC at McGalliard Falls.

Andy spent several of his growing up years around that area and fondly remembers visiting McGalliard Falls. He has wanted to take me there for quite some time but for one reason and another, it never quite worked out to go until now.

It was a beautiful morning! And very quiet except for a few other visitors, including two photo shoots.

We took the short hike to the falls, sat on the rocks by the stream and just enjoyed God's beauty and the lovely fall weather!

McGalliard Falls is not a huge falls and a fairly small park but still a nice little day trip if you are close. There's a picnic area and lots of wide open spaces for the littles to explore!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Applesauce Week

Last week was quiet in this space as I was spending my mornings making applesauce!

We made a quick trip to the mountains the weekend before and purchased 4 bushels of apples. 

In years past, I've calculated that one bushel of apples yields approximately 13 quart of applesauce. We go through 40-50 quart in a year's time. So 4 bushels of apples= 52 quart. Seemed simple. Some years I purchase 5 bushel of apples because I also make several batches of apple butter. But we still have plenty of apple butter on the shelf so I was just planning to make applesauce this year.

Well...I got a new sauce maker this year ( Yay for birthday and Christmas money!) and it is so much more efficient, cranking out the applesauce much more quickly. Plus I don't have to core the apples; just wash, quarter and cut off any bad spots. 

I did 1 bushel of apples each morning. The first day I was pleasantly surprised to end up with 20 quart of applesauce from just 1 bushel! The next 2 bushels yielded 21 quart each. 

The applesauce with the new sauce maker is a bit finer consistency and a little thinner but I'm good with that! 

Needless to say, 3 bushels gave us 62 quart of applesauce (60 quart canned) so  we should be good to go for the next year and possibly longer than that since it keeps longer than 1 year and I still have a few jars of applesauce left from last year! 

So since the 4th bushel doesn't need to be made into applesauce to can, we've been eating apples fresh, I'll make a batch of applesauce to eat fresh plus some apple pies to freeze. I may even make a few other fun things with them! 

We thank God for His bountiful provision!

For past apple sauce making posts:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Anne Of Green Gables

Can you believe that I never liked the Anne Of Green Gables series?

I tried to read them when I was young and couldn't "get into them". Too much flowery speech and too small of print, probably.

Recently, I saw Anne Of Green Gables on my shelf and decided to give it another try.

And I am so glad I did!

The book took me over a week to read--reading a few pages each night--but held my attention from beginning to end. It was so enjoyable and the characters so relatable and loveable. And so quotable too!

And upon reading the last page, I immediately wanted to read the next book! That's the sign that I really enjoyed a book.

I need to check and make sure the library has Anne Of Avonlea...

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 
It would be terrible if we just skipped 
from September to November, wouldn't it?" 
--L.M Montgomery

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Clean On Tuesday

Continuing with revamping my homemaking schedule...

After determining that Monday would be my main Laundry Day, I chose to clean the house on Tuesday.

The main reason for choosing Tuesday was that I really do not care that much for cleaning. {However, I do love a house that has been cleaned. Just saying.}

There are things in life that are not our favorites but still need to be done!

I knew if I left housecleaning until Friday or Saturday, it would be more likely to not get done. I try to clean earlier in the week and then do a little more as needed toward the end. 

On Cleaning Day, I focus on very basic cleaning. I clean the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, clean kitchen surfaces, etc. My goal is to complete the basic cleaning in 2 hours or less. I don't always manage that but it is a goal. If surfaces have become cluttered, it takes longer. I try to put things away each day which helps Cleaning Day to run more smoothly.

Typically, the tasks are broken down something like this:
  • Clean bathrooms--20-30 minutes for both using this method
  • Dust--maybe 15 minutes? 
  • Vacuum all floors--this takes a good 30 minutes for hardwood floors and carpet. 
  • Clean kitchen: sinks, counters, microwave, wipe down all appliances--at least 30 minutes.
  • Windows and mirrors--as needed. I estimate about 15 minutes spent on these. 

Any deep cleaning or organizing is done in other small pockets of time throughout the week. 

Vacuuming floors and cleaning kitchen surfaces are done multiple times each week. 

I know there are some who are surprised that our house gets dirty with only two adults living in it. But it does! Someone is home almost all the time, we cook and eat most of our meals at home, we wear shoes in the house and we have a dog. In other words, we really do a lot of living in our home! 

Cleaning Day is one of my least favorite but such a great feeling to work a couple of hours and have a fresh smelling and sparkling clean house at the end! 

One thing that makes cleaning more enjoyable is using a cleaning product that smells nice! My current favorite is Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner in the Basil scent. This cleaner can be used for many surfaces in our home. I like that it actually works and is a cleaner I can safely use and not have respiratory problems the rest of the day. (Unlike when I use most chemical cleaners.)

Tell me about your cleaning schedule. What are your favorite cleaners to use? 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Frugal Five

Some frugal stuff happening around here lately....

1. I saw a bunch of Mason jars in the glass receptacle where we take our trash. I asked the attendants if I could take some. He said, "Yes!" So I took what fit in my bag--14 jars in all. Perfectly good condition and will be used here! I didn't think we were typically allowed to take out of the containers but it doesn't hurt to ask!

2. Mended some clothing and home items.

3. Accepted some wonderful home items from family members who are down-sizing. Items included a beautiful Oriental-style rug and an old dresser.
Rock approves of the new rug!

4. Used the library inter-loan system to request and borrow books I wanted to read. Also, I'm re-reading some books already on my bookshelf.

5. We've been eating at home a lot which is nothing new but continues to be a HUGE money-saver. We utilize leftovers for lunches so very little is wasted.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Fall Porch

Nothing like a home study visit to motivate me to clean up our porch and give it a fresh look for the fall season!

Aldi had mums for $2.99 and other plants for $4.50 so I bought a couple things to inexpensively add some pretty. A few pumpkins from the farm market instantly added some fall flavor! 

Almost anything looks better than pots overgrown with weeds...ahem! 

A good sweep of the porch, a quick wipe down for the table and chairs and some glass cleaner on the door and everything was looking fresher and more homey! 

Our wreath has been up for a couple of years and needs a refreshing so I took it down and made this little decoration from burlap, an embroidery hoop and a black Sharpie--all items I had on hand! 

Looking at the clean porch and touches of fall puts a smile on my face! 

Happy fall, y'all! 

Monday, October 03, 2016

Wash On Monday

In the past few months, I've been making a conscious effort to streamline some of my household tasks. I had gotten off track so it was time to get things done again!

One area I revamped was laundry. Over the years, I've tried different laundry schedules and all have worked for those seasons.

Previously, I was doing a load of laundry pretty much each day. Which worked well and I really like doing laundry. But I did feel that we wore the same clothes all the time because they were clean. That isn't a problem but I think they do wear out faster that way! Also, it just seemed to make better sense to do laundry a little less often during this season.

I decided to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing things and have a Laundry Day. Now I do laundry on Monday morning. Because I really like doing laundry, I look forward to this day. Really. I do.

I sort the clothes Sunday night when we get home from our church leadership meeting if I'm organized. If not, I sort in the morning. But it really does help speed things along if I can get everything sorted the night before and a load of towels/kitchen linens soaking in the wash machine.

I know some folks don't sort laundry. I am not particular about it and I do mix up colors from time to time. But I still like to sort.  However, this step takes very little time and I find it easier to wash certain things together.

I don't usually hand wash but I have some maxi skirts and camis that I always put in a mesh bag to wash. I have one bag so I empty it after washing and refill with the delicates from the next load. I set these items to the side of the pile when sorting so I can wash them in the bag. Things in the mesh bag also don't go into the dryer so that is a good way to not accidentally dry something I shouldn't.

On Wash Day, I start the first load as soon as I get up then just keep it moving throughout the morning. I'm usually done with laundry by around 10 am. 

Anything that doesn't go in the dryer gets hung on the shower rod and drying rack in our 2nd bathroom. It's out of the way and then I just fold and put away those items either that evening or the next morning. 

I usually do a load or two of laundry on Thursdays if we need anything and also to keep towels/kitchen cloths from setting too long and getting stinky. Sheets and dog bedding are usually washed later in the week too. 

Overall, having a designated Laundry Day has been a positive change to my homemaking schedule! 

What is your laundry style?