Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meet Me In St. Louis~ Celebrating St. Louis' Feast Day

Saint Louis of France- King, Husband, Father of 11


Yesterday marked the Feast Day of King Saint Louis (read more about him here). This had significance for our family since he is Brian's patron saint. We feel fortunate to live close to St. Louis, Oregon & the pioneer-era St. Louis Church.

St. Louis Church-
built 1847
We have attended numerous Saturday morning Masses at St. Louis & we knew we would want to attend for sure yesterday. Father Eric Anderson celebrated a beautiful Mass in the second oldest Catholic Church in Oregon with the church almost full to capacity. We then went out to breakfast at the Sassy Onion and had a fun surprise as my folks along with sister Dawn & bro-in-law Jeff happened to be there too. I think Brian was wondering if I had planned to meet them, but since Josh was the one to choose the restaurant, he figured out it truly was a surprise. We all had delicious breakfasts as well as some really good coffee (Josh liked it so much, he ended up drinking four cups). I am always pleased to be able to have a good cup of coffee when I am eating out, and Sassy Onion does a great job with a good "cup of joe"!

We also stopped at a new favorite place to get groceries~ Cash & Carry~ for a few things. I have been going there for quite a number of years to do large meals such as Great Expectations & different retreats for which I have cooked. A few months ago, I realized their prices are very comparable with Costco, and the service is terrific. Knowing this, plus the fact that they have a great website with all of their prices and specials listed (not to mention the easy grocery list I can make on their website), we have started shopping there fairly regular. We did pick up some essentials along with some tea for Josh to take back to school next week, Chai (enjoyed by most of the family) & a large wheel of Brie to make my "Father Todd's Baked Brie" this week sometime before Josh heads off to Thomas More again.

I also planned on making a special meal to celebrate Brian's "Patron Saint Celebration" as we call it in the Keatley family.

Since St. Louis was French, I went with a bit of a French-themed meal with a few variations thrown in for fun. We ended up eating a bit later than I had wanted, due to the lamb taking a bit longer than expected~ that's what I get for roasting an 8 pound boneless leg of lamb late in the afternoon. I wanted to serve the lamb French-style, so I just added lots of fresh herbs, a bit of olive oil & roasted it in a 375 degree oven for about 2 hours. Along with the lamb, I made cheesy grits (okay, not too French, but really tasty), green beans & salad with homemade honey-dijon dressing. This was served with the Willamette Valley Vineyards Oregon Blossom wine (one of my new favorite summer libations)~ great with the lamb!

Sel Gris- adds a crunchy, salty goodness to
lots of things, including desserts!

Mary had made meringues that we were going to fill with whipped cream & fruit. The strawberries that we had made the week before had gone bad, so we poured caramel sauce over the whipped cream instead. Keeping with my French theme, I sprinkled some sel gris (grey sea salt from France) over the cream~ mmm, thus calling it "Meringue avec Caramel et Sel Gris"
Crispy meringue topped with whipped cream,
caramel & sel gris~ a perfect way to end the day!


Here is the recipe for the meringues. They look a lot harder to make than they are! We also like to top them with fresh fruit and whipped cream or even ice cream!

Meringues
3 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar


DIRECTIONS:

1.In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in sugar until very stiff and glossy. Using spatula and spoon, spread mixture onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, forming 4" circles (you can get about 6 on each large sheet). Make
a small indentation in the center of each meringue.
2.Bake at 190 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 2 hours. Turn oven off, and leave meringue in oven for 1 hour. Cool on baking rack for another hour. Store in air-tight container.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Farm to Feast

When Joshua returned home for the summer after a most amazing semester in Rome, we expected him to be able to find a job somewhat quickly. Within a week, he had submitted close to 10 job applications for jobs which he was definitely qualified. After hearing from not one business in a week, he decided to wait it out a few more weeks while gratefully starting to teach a few lessons at Salem Classical Fencing as well as helping me around the house with long-awaited projects that needed finishing.

Still not hearing from anyone, we all wondered if he was going to spend the summer without any being able to earn some money for school. In June, a surprise job offer came his way from our new friends, Raymond & Annette Fordyce of Fordyce Farms. We attend Saint Joseph's with the Fordyce family & had the opportunity to start to get to know them as we attended different holiday celebrations with them over this past year. Anyway, Joshua was offered a job to help out at their farm~ doing everything from helping at the u-pick strawberry stand to picking apples to sorting blueberries to working in the farm store. He has had a wonderful time & has learned a lot about farming & customer service. A special added bonus has been being able to help Mr. Fordyce with his "intellectual stimulation" as they have had numerous conversations about everything from philosophy to politics to music. I told Joshua this has been terrific to help keep his brain in gear while home from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (plus it has given him someone other than me to talk with [insert "mom smirk" here]). 
Another benefit has been getting to know the Fordyces (mom, dad & six awesome kids)~ We've enjoyed spending time with them and building relationships. I have especially felt blessed by getting to know Annette as we seem to have so much in common (not to mention, she is really fun to make laugh)! One more benefit has been being able to go to their farm store to get the delicious produce and baked goodies- plus Graham's ice cream. I've tried all kinds of new produce plus we've got a nice variety of berries sitting all bagged up in our freezer straight from the farm. I also must talk about Raymond's scones. Now, you all know how much I like to bake. I think I am actually a pretty decent baker. This being said, the Fordyce Farms scones are the best I have ever tasted~ moist, just the right amount of fruit, chewy but not dry...I could go on, but my mouth with start watering. If you get the time to go out to the farm, do so---soon. If you can't make it this summer, be sure to go to the Salem Public Market this fall to pick up some of their scones or stop by their store for the hay maze in October!


Now that I have waxed (eloquently or not) about Fordyce Farms, I want to share a recipe I made with berries from their farm for the Feast Day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe~ I have shared before about celebrating Feast Days with special food before. The kids and I were heading to another family's farm to help prepare for the Saint Joseph's Knights of Columbus Chapter's Oktoberfest booth & I wanted to take a dessert to share. I decided on a strawberry jam tart. I made it using strawberries from the Fordyces along with puff pastry and homemade yogurt. It was a big hit with everyone who tried it. They especially liked the significance of the design and colors- red for martydom & white for purity.
Here's the recipe for you to try for your next Feast Day Celebration~


Strawberry Jam Tart

Ingredients

  • pound strawberries, sliced
  • tablespoons sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • sheet (9-inch square) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (homemade or store bought)
  • tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . In a large saucepan, cook the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vinegars over medium heat, stirring, until syrupy, about 7 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until reduced to about 1-1/4 cups, 10 to 15 minutes; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Place in 9 x 13 baking dish and fold the edges of the pastry inward to form a half-inch rim. Spread the strawberry mixture within the rim.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and honey and dollop over the jam. Bake until the crust is golden, 22 to 25 minutes. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Camping...Catholic-Style

"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,there's always laughter and good red wine. At least I've always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!"~Hilaire Belloc 

 So it's been a while since I've posted anything. This probably means no one (except maybe my kids) will probably read this. You know what, I am totally okay with that. In order to perhaps entice a few others to read this, there will be a recipe at the end that you should definitely try.
The three oldest kids and I (Brian stayed home & Mary is working up at Camp Howard this summer) just spent an amazing weekend with a group of about 65 others from St. Joseph's on a Knights of Columbus-sponsored camp-out. This was a Cove Creek Campground on the south shore of Detroit Lake about 1 1/2 hours out of Salem. We arrived Friday, promptly (well, pretty it was pretty prompt) set up the tent & headed to the group spot where our friends Bill & Ann had dinner ready for us. After eating an enjoyable spaghetti dinner, we got to meeting the others who were there for the weekend. This would be done over the ever-popular camping tradition of s'mores. About 12 families were represented with ages ranging from 2 up to ??? (I'll never ask). 
With full stomachs, we settled down for the night. Before I knew it, morning came with birds singing, children laughing and boats motoring on the lake. The kids and I lit a small fire to start the day in our site, along with some chai tea. Heading again to the group spot, a delicious breakfast of an egg/ham/onion/pepper scramble plus sourdough or buttermilk pancakes and fruit was ready for us.
After breakfast, most everyone went for a hike- 5 miles round trip up the side of a mountain. Needless to say, I stayed back at camp with a few others to "guard everything". The hikers had a great time, and we all gathered for a lunch of sandwiches with all the fixings plus watermelon and yummy brownies made by one of the younger girls, Emma. The afternoon was spent in the water of Detroit Lake- not too cold plus sunshine and blue sky made it almost idyllic.
Cleaning up ourselves after that (with a few of us trying the coin-operated showers), we headed over to celebrate Mass with Father Pitstick in the "group spot". It was really wonderful, and the towering trees made a beautiful backdrop. We also had some more families be able to join us for Mass and dinner which made the evening even more special. Dinner followed- hot dogs, 3 kinds of sausages & numerous salads plus pies that the Fordyce's brought from their farm. These were enhanced with a selection of beers, including Ellie's Oatmeal Stout from Seven Bride's Brewing (my favorite libation with sausage) and a bottle ofDi Majo Norante Sangiovese that Josh had chosen at Roth's Vista on the way out of town.
Another round of s'mores followed accompanied by Serena on guitar and singing from my oldest, Cari. We also brought out the makings for banana boats, one of our favorite camp specialties. How fun it was for me to share these with a group of people who had never tried them.

Bernini
 After the younger kids headed off to bed (of which there were a large number), most of the adults and teens stayed at the campfire talking and discussing things from the artwork of Caravaggio and Bernini to Napoleon Dynamite.
Caravaggio

Those of us who were old enough to imbibe also enjoyed some raspberry cordial (or raspberry-infused vodka) made by our "resident Kiwi", Paul. It was a wonderful way to end the evening before heading back to our tent and my comfortable air mattress.
This morning was the Keatley's family turn to cook breakfast. We had decided to volunteer for this since the kids are all old enough (Cari reminded me that this was the first time we had been camping with all of my kids being adults- remembering, of course, Mary wasn't with us). We chose to make eggs, bacon and Double-Berry Buckle. It's a take off on "Nora Richards' Huckleberry Buckle" recipe that I first got when the West's invited us to go huckleberry picking many years ago. Due to my low supply of huckleberries, I decided to use a blend of huckles & blues or huckles and kotatas that I still had in the freezer. I made six 9x13 inch pans full (using disposable foil pans which worked great) plus one 9" round gluten-free buckle for Cari and anyone else that needed it. She ended up being the only one, so she is happy with her "ready-made" breakfast for the next couple of days. The whole breakfast turned out great & everyone really seemed to like the buckle. 
We then packed everything up. Cari, David and I helped at the "group spot" while Joshua packed everything at ours into the suburban. Saying goodbye to those we had spent this pleasurable time with, we headed off towards home and the "real world". Making a stop at the Stayton Dairy Queen for a treat~ which we recommend for both their goodies as well as the great service~ we drove into Salem, deposited Cari at her apartment and arrived home to unpack while already looking forward to next year's camp-out!

I did have quite a few requests for the buckle, so here is the promised recipe to try~
Not my buckle, but a reasonable facsimile.


Double-Berry Buckle
Batter:
1 cup of sugar                         1/2 cup of butter                     2 eggs 

1 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt (I like to use homemade plus you can use milk, sour cream or 1/2 & 1/2 if that's what you have)
4 cups of flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt 
4 cups berries- can use a combination of huckleberries, blueberries, Kotata or other blackberries
Topping:
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup butter

Mix all batter ingredients well in mixer or by hand. Spoon into 9″ x 13″ pan that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. 
Combine the topping ingredients in mixer or by hand.  Sprinkle over top of batter. 
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 375 degrees. Sometimes this takes a bit longer to bake, so be sure to test for doneness with skewer or chopstick.






































Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"A unVeiled Idea of Relevant Reverence"

Disclaimer: the following blog entry isn't my usual "recipe with story", but I've been wanting to write this for quite a while. The next entry will have Easter recipes, promise!
This Lenten season has found me pondering numerous things about my life. Some are very, very good while some seem rather mundane or even to the point of wondering why I thought of it in the first place.
Thoughts have ranged from "Do I really want to get up for 7:00 a.m. Mass?" to "What is the Lord teaching me through this pneumonia?" to "What on earth am I going to teach my fencers tonight?" to "I am so excited for Cari to be going to Rome to meet up with her brother for three weeks... will they be able to get around without getting lost?".
A beautifully illustrated plainchant
piece of music
One thought that's been continuing to go around in my head occurs every time I head to Saint Joseph's for Mass or to go to the Adoration Chapel. That is the issue of reverence. As a Catholic "revert" (coming "home to Rome" 1 1/2 years ago), I have been made aware of the changes in the Church over the last 31 1/2 years. I thought, coming from evangelical churches for the last 29 years that I'd appreciate the Mass where the songs are the same as what we sang before coming into the Catholic Church, but it has not been so. Instead of modern praise and worship, I have found my heart soars listening to, as well as taking part in singing, beautiful Gregorian (our favorite album is Chant) or plainchant (see video here) and palestrina (see video here). Don't get me wrong, our family still listens to Toby Mac and David Crowder Band sometimes, but our tastes have definitely taken a turn down the very traditional music path.
Veils- not just for
grandmas anymore
Another part of the reverence issue that comes up is head covering. I have had a veil from my Grandma Pitalo in a dresser drawer for many years with the intention of keeping it as a momento and not planning on ever using it. When we started attending Saint Joseph's, I saw a few women wearing mantillas, veils or scarves, but I didn't want to "yet". I kept thinking I wasn't quite holy enough to wear one. All of that changed (not being more holy, but the wearing of a veil) Christmas Eve Mass 2010 when Joshua asked why his sisters and I weren't covering our heads. The young women he attends school with all wear mantillas or veils to Mass, so he was pretty used to seeing them. I mentioned the not being holy enough to which he laughed gently and gave me the scarf wrapped around his neck to wear for Mass. Since then the girls and I have worn our veils or scarves every time we attend Mass~ no matter where we've been. It's always interesting to be the only ones veiled, for example, at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno or St. Mary's in            Mt. Angel, or to be just one of many, like at The Rosary Bowl and, our home parish of Saint Joseph's. I wore a white veil that I had made when Brian and I convalidated our marriage January 2011, and the girls wore their scarves. A friend saw the family photo on facebook and said we must attend a conservative church. I laughed and told her where we go to church. She was surprised, but then I was able to explain that it was my choice to wear one because I wanted to show reverence for the Lord when I go into church. That is what is comes down to: I am not required to wear a head covering, but I do it out of my love and reverence for the True Presence of Christ at church. It doesn't have anything to do with making a statement. I've been the only one in church sometimes when I have stopped by to take some time to pray, and I still put it on before entering. My girls (22 and 17 years old) both wear scarves when they attend Mass or go to the Adoration Chapel~ the decision to veil their own.*
What it really comes down to, whether with music or veiling or anything else that can help or hinder our time spent in the Lord's presence, is relevant reverence. Does the music we sing/listen to bring us closer to Heaven or help us to simply feel good? Do I care more about what others think or do I want to do whatever it is the Lord is calling me to do, even if that means being the only one wearing a veil? Does what we are doing help us to focus on Him or is it more about us? Webster's online dictionary defines reverence as "profound, adoring, awed, respect". What deserves more awed respect than our Lord? No matter how that ends up looking for each of us, it is something we need to ponder~ during Lent and the rest of the year.


*There are quite a few blogs with really great veil posts. Here are a few of my favorites, if you feel like checking them out.
Standing On My Head
Altcatholicah
Will You Mantilla with Me

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Lenten Bent

The Lenten season has came upon us- not unexpectedly, but rather like an old friend one has been waiting to see after a long absence. Many people do all sorts of things for Lent: give up a food item or beverage, t.v., computer,etc; making a sacrifice of time by visiting shut-ins or relatives they would prefer not to hang out with normally as well as giving "alms" by donating money to worthy causes. Before coming back into the church, I had resisted the Lenten idea of sacrifice deeming it "too Catholic" and refused to give anything up, instead, focusing on doing and giving since that seemed more appropriate to me. During my years at various Protestant churches, the idea of Lent was often talked about, and many times the congregation was "challenged" to think of how to do stuff to prepare for Easter. My kids loved this and were busily choosing something they might give up or do. It was a great "warm-up" for them becoming Catholic. They are still very thankful for all they learned at Salem Alliance about the Bible- especially when they were in the grade school department.
Once we started on our Catholic journey, I thought it would be harder for me to want to follow all the "rules". Needless to say, it was so much simpler than I ever could have imagined- not that it was a piece of cake, but it was something that caused a source of unexpected joy instead of the more likely grumpiness. A lot of people think the Catholic Church is still really strict on what is required to give up during Lent. To be honest, it is pretty minimal (source AmericanCatholic.org):


1) Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday ONLY
 Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.
Saint Joseph's in Salem
2) Abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. This would be why fish frys and soup dinners at so many Catholic Churches are popular Friday nights during Lent- including the one David helps with at St. Joseph's.


Compare this to the old calendar which had this on it:
  • Ash Wednesday, all Fridays, and all Saturdays: fasting and total abstinence. This means 3 meatless meals -- with the two smaller meals not equalling in size the main meal of the day -- and no snacking. 
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays (except Ash Wednesday), and Thursdays: fasting and partial abstinence from meat. This means three meals -- with the two smaller meals not equalling in size the main meal of the day -- and no snacking, but meat can be eaten at the principle meal.
  • Sundays, of course, are always free of fasting and abstinence; even in the heart of Lent, Sundays are about the glorious Resurrection.                   Source: Fisheaters.com
 To me, even this seems to be something not that hard to do. I think what it comes down to is as Saint Ignatius Loyola said, "Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly." 


I hope to use this year's Lent to do just that and pray for my family to do the same thing. Of course, this also will mean we are planning on trying some fun Lenten recipes. My hope is this post gives you some thought about the next 40 days as we await the celebration of Jesus' resurrection-
Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.                             
     – Luke 9:23

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Party (or at least Eat) Hearty...Mardi Gras 2012

Cereal Muffins
We are once again upon another day before the start of the forty days of Lent~ Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") which has traditionally been the day of partying, including eating a lot of food before Ash Wednesday the next day. I have also read that the foods people have typically eaten are ones they will give up for Lent. Our house is no exception as we have already enjoyed some delicious Cereal Muffins for breakfast, and we are looking forward to Chicken & Leek Casserole for dinner plus pancakes of some sort for dessert. Here's the recipe for the muffins. In order for David to be able to have them, I used half soy and half coconut milk instead of regular milk plus cereal that has no nuts. They turned out moist and yummy~ terrific breakfast goodies!


  • CEREAL MUFFINS
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for tin
  • 1 1/2 cups raisin bran cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups honey bunches of oats cereal (we buy the knock-off brand from Grocery Outlet)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk- use whatever kind you need, cow, soy, coconut, almond, etc. 
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine cereals and milk; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Stir oil, egg, and sugar & molasses into cereal mixture. Fold in flour mixture. Divide batter among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in tin 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack; let cool completely, or serve warm. Store up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container- if they last that long.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Deliberate Housewives

Ah, the joys of housewifery!




“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”  ~Tasha Tudor




SCF- a great place to work!


In the last 26 years of my life, I have discovered that no matter what else I was doing, I have always tended, like Tasha Tudor, to proudly write housewife when the occasion arose. Whether it was signing mortgage papers, tax forms, little league sign ups or church documents, I have always put down housewife even when holding another job outside the home. It seemed so easy when the kids were younger since my only outside endeavors were of the volunteer-kind. For the last seven years, I have been employed at Salem Classical Fencing- going from an instructional assistant, to an assistant instructor to a full-fledged certified instructor and coach. Even with this, I still am pleased to wear the badge of housewifery. 
Part of this has always been trying to instill in my kids the case of frugalness (I'd call it being cheap, but my dear husband always reminds me "frugal" is such a better word to use). Our long and winding road towards the frugal land has not always been smooth- there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way. I remember making my own baby food & wipes (easy) and going with cloth diapers instead of disposable (good, but not always so easy). There have been homemade mixes for everything from bisquik to my own spice mixes (great Christmas presents this year). I had even taken some of my homemade taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix to Africa on my first missions trip to give as a gift to missionaries serving in Guinea.
Great and inexpensive composter!
The homemade goodness of cooking items has always made sense to me, but I've never thought of homemade cleaning items until the beginning of this year. With two kids in college, I've been trying to come up with ways to save money in any little ways I can. Besides having gotten an Earth Machine composter last summer and just this last month having gone down a size in the trash can we use from our garbage company, we are producing less waste and recycling more. That saves a little bit each month, but I knew there was more I could do. I set out to find homemade "recipes" for everyday cleaning items as these tend to bite into our limited budget much more than they should. I don't take credit for creating any of the following concoctions, as there are a number of sites that come up when you search on the internet. I've been experimenting with a bunch of different ones, and I have found that I like the following the best~
Keatley Laundry Soap


LAUNDRY DETERGENT
2 cups finely grated Fels Naptha soap (found at Winco)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Powder (not detergent, but it's found by the laundry stuff)


Mix all ingredients together & store in sealed container. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per 
load (I was using 1 1/2 but have found 2 works better in our front load HE washer)


FABRIC SOFTENER
6 cups hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups hair conditioner (I've used White Rain as it's cheap and you can choose your favorite scent- you can use whatever brand you want)


Mix conditioner and hot water well, until conditioner is dissolved completely. Add vinegar and mix well. Store in large container.
Use 2 tablespoons in washer per load.


LIQUID HAND SOAP
4 oz. natural bar of soap (I've used the tea tree soap from Trader Joe's, but you can use anything that is all-natural)
1 gallon water
1 T. glycerin, if desired


In large pot, steam water over medium heat. Grate soap. Take water off heat.
Add soap to pot and let sit 15 minutes. Blend with hand mixer or immersion blender until well mixed; let sit overnight. Blend again the next morning, adding glycerin, if desired (I don't use it, but some people like it). 
Using funnel, pour into soap dispensers. Store remaining soap (I use a clean empty milk jug to store ours).


DISHWASHER SOAP
(This is the newest concoction to try- it looks just like the stuff you buy, but it's way less expensive)!


2 cups Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 cups lemi shine (Brian bought at Target)
1 cup Kosher salt


Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load in dishwasher.


DISHWASHER RINSING AGENT
I read on a bunch of sites about using white vinegar in place of Jet Dry in the dishwasher. I was a little skeptical, but it totally works. The dishes come out clean and don't smell like 
vinegar, either. Obviously, this is a whole lot less money too!


SINK UNCLOGGER
This last one is a bit of a bonus~ you may not want to take the time, but I was getting desperate one day, and so I tried it. Not only was it inexpensive, but it worked great.
You simply take 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar and pour it down the drain (whether it's backed up or not). Let it sit for 1 hour then pour 1 teakettle's worth (about 6 cups) of boiling water down the drain. Your clog should be gone!


I hope you try some of these ideas. We housewives are often overlooked unless we are somewhere other than home fulfilling our first calling. The next time you feel frustrated when it's time for another load of laundry or another meal to be made, remember this quote from Saint Frances of Rome~


“It is good to be devout as a housewife but sometimes you need to leave God at the altar to find Him at home. ”



We must remember our duty to the Lord is duty to our family. I know I haven't always done this as well as I could have, but thankfully that is why there is grace. I continue to be encouraged by others as I travel on in this journey of being a deliberate housewife.