Monday, March 31, 2014

Homemade Deodorant Powder

This is a weird post.... I will reveal information that I normally wouldn't.  Maybe too much for some of you. 

My deodorant wasn't working.  I don't know about you, but I have better things to do than to worry about how I smell all day long!  I have tried the natural deodorants from the store and you know what? They don't work! 

A friend had suggested Lush's coconut deodorant powder but it looks like they don't have it any more. I knew there must be a way to make my own. 

Here's what I found at The Homemade Experiment.  

Equal parts of cornstarch and baking soda. That's it. 

You know what? We have all been using this for about 3 weeks now and we love it! Just rub some on...maybe while you're standing on your towel or leaning over the sink and that's it!

Would you try making your own deodorant? 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kitchen Workspace

We are enjoying our spring break...even with the cold weather! Today I'm digging out of my pile of laundry and actually getting it folded and put away while the kids are playing gymnastics in the bedroom.
So fare we have...
Had easy mornings,
played the cup song...many times,
played secret spy,
and baked cookies. 
Yesterday I tried a new cookie recipe that will make it into our Christmas baking. Sandwich cookies. Someone made these when I was a kid but I can't remember if it was my grandma or a friend of hers. So yummy and flaky!

Last week I created a small workspace in the kitchen using my sweet Grandma's sewing machine. I love having a place for the computer that isn't on the counter!

To decorate the space I hung up a picture of the kids and drew a frame around it. The idea came from Ashley at The Vanilla Tulip.  I wanted the matting but it was heavy for the washi tape, so I just added a few Scotch tape loops to the back and stuck it on the chalkboard. 

Hope you're enjoying your week! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

RISEN Banner

I made a couple of these Easter banners last week and I love how it looks on the corner of the mantel. I sent the other one off to a sweet friend. Don't you just love happy mail?
The only things you need are book pages, a Sharpie pen (my favorite), a hole punch and some twine. The lettering is just my own handwriting. 

Do you decorate for Easter? 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quick and Easy DIY Rug

Why are rugs so darned expensive?  I was on the look out for a cheap rug....but here's the catch....I wanted to like it.  Here's my solution.

I ran to JoAnn fabric store and picked up 2 yards (maybe it was 2 1/2) yards of grizzly fabric and used my 40% off coupon. I planned on making this a bigger rug but when I laid it out on the floor it wasn't as white as I wanted. To fix that quickly, I folded the fabric in half. That's it. No sewing. Nothing underneath. The coffee table holds it into place well enough!  There you go! We LOVE this rug and it was so affordable! When I clean the floors, I simply sweep off anything on the rug or take it outside and shake it.

Simple, easy and cute!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crawfish or Shrimp Boil Recipe

I always wonder what I should call my husband on the blog. Mr. Prairie Girl... nope. Mr. Southern Belle...not going to work. I'll just call him my man.

Well, my man is going to share his boil recipe with you. We usually have the block of families over in the fall and in the spring for a boil. Getting together and sharing a relaxed meal like this is so fun. Everyone brings something to share and the kids (there's a lot of them) run around and play. They love checking on the crawfish before we start cooking!

Use this recipe for shrimp if that's more your style or if crawfish are hard to find.  This is his recipe for 40 lbs. Enjoy!
Crawfish Recipe
What Ingredients you'll need to cook all 40lbs of crawfish:
35-40lbs live Crawfish (this is one sack of crawfish)
5lbs Red Potatoes (small or new potatoes). If not available quarter red potatoes.
4-5 Ears of Corn (Halved or Cut Into Thirds)
1 White Onion, quartered
8 Garlic Bulbs
6 Lemons, halved
2 small boxes of whole mushrooms
10 bags Zatarain's Crawfish Shrimp & Crab Boil In A Bag (1 bag / 4lbs crawfish)
~1/4 cup Cayenne Pepper
26oz canister of Salt (Morton Salt or other)

You'll need a large pot w/a basket.  I have an 80qt pot, basket + propane burner

For two batches, half recipe:  Fill water to 1/4-1/3 mark (~7 gallons) in pot. To cook all 40lbs at once: Fill water to 1/2 to 2/3 mark (~14 gallons) in pot.

I typically cook 2 batches. 

Directions below are for a half batch (~20lbs crawfish) 
  1. Fill pot to 1/4 to 1/3 mark (~7 gallons in 20 gallon pot)
  2. Place the half the onion, ~2.5 lbs of potatoes, 3 squeezed lemons and 5 Zatarain's spice bags and halved corn (or cut into thirds) in the water.
  3. Slice 4 of the garlic bulbs cross-ways. Meaning, you'll want to have 2 halves of a garlic bulb with all the cloves exposed.  Don't separate out the garlic cloves.  That will be important later.  Place them in the boil.
  4. Salt the water by outing the canister of salt in (half of it)
  5. Add 2-3 tablespoons of Cayenne
  6. Heat water to boiling. Boil for 15min.
  7. Add 1 of the mushroom boxes.  Boil for additional 10min
  8. Sample potatoes to make sure they are soft (well cooked)
  9. Pull out the basket from boiling water to add crawfish.  Add 20lbs of live crawfish to basket.  Place basket back in boiling water. 
  10. The crawfish will cool the water and it'll stop boiling.  Bring water back to a boil or close to a boil (should only take 5-7min)
  11. Turn off burner.
  12. Add 10lbs of ice to cool the water to stop the crawfish from further cooking.  They are cooked.  Now, time to add some flavor.  
  13. Soak crawfish in boil 15min before removing.  Soaking allows the crawfish to soak up additional spice.  The longer the soak, the spicier the crawfish.  Sample as you soak, to establish your spice preference.
  14. Serve crawfish on a table covered with newspapers.  Have a beer and enjoy!
  15. Repeat for 2nd batch!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Hoops on the Wall

We had some friends from church over for a crawfish boil (recipe coming this week) on Saturday. I love opening up our home to friends and family because that's who we are, but I also like it because it's motivation to get some of those little things done that I just let slip otherwise.

 On Saturday I hung up two new hoops that the kids stitched a while back when they were home sick from school.

Is there anything more special than capturing your child's writing or something similar? I love it. I framed some fabric scraps in small hoops and wrote each child's initial in pencil. I showed them what to do with the needle and thread and they traced their letter. They both thought it was a fun little project and Kayla even asked if we could do this for homeschool next year. I'll have to brush up on my skills! 

I also made a quick rug for the living room. The lighting has been horrible the past couple of days. When the sun decides to shine again, I'll photograph it and tell you how I did it. Way easy!  

Moo loves it.

Here's what our weather has been like....except yesterday was pretty chilly again. Come on spring!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How I Clean My Shower

Tomorrow is bathroom cleaning day for me. (Here is my cleaning schedule)  It is the day that I like the least. Who likes to clean bathrooms? Yuck.   I thought I'd share how I make it go as quickly as possible, including my homemade shower cleaner.

Homemade Shower Cleaner
Fill a spray bottle (leaving some room) with vinegar. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute.
Add 2-3 Tbsp regular old dish soap. I just keep a bottle of the Target brand on hand for this purpose.  It doesn't have to be exact, I just squirt it right in the bottle. 
Mix by tipping upside down and back again a few times, until it looks mixed up.

When you're ready to get to it and knock out those bathrooms, start by spraying down the showers and tubs. The soap in the vinegar helps the vinegar to stay on the surface longer. And the fact that it it warm helps it eat up all the soap scum and hard water marks.   Step away to take some fresh breaths if you need. Warm vinegar has a strong smell!  I spray all the showers and tubs in my house so they can soak. 

While the vinegar works it's magic, I clean the toilets.  Worst. Job. Ever.  Keeping toilet cleaning supplies in each bathroom makes it much easier. No one likes to drag around toilet cleaning supplies. GROSS! So splurge and get a set for every bathroom. 

Since I cleaned the surfaces in my house yesterday (Tuesday's cleaning task), the counters and mirrors are done, so I simply wipe out the sink.  

Showers and tubs are ready now. I think using a Magic Eraser is fantastic. I just get the one that has extra scrubbing power. No need for the shower kind, but if you like it, go ahead. Or you could even just use a wet rag. Wipe them all down and give it a rinse if I feel like it. 

That's it! 

Worst job of the week. Finished. 

On to better things!

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Monday, March 10, 2014


The kiddos were so excited when our globe was delivered on Friday afternoon! I used homeschooling as a chance to pick one up off of ebay.  I have long envisioned a group of 3 or 4 vintage globes sitting on top of our bookshelves.  Thanks, Pinterest.

I love this time of year. The weather is perfect and all we want to do is spend the day outside, enjoying the sunshine and warm spring breeze.

I love how Noah wants to help his Daddy out with any type of project, be it starting the grill or the fire pit, or even changing the oil in the van. Seeing their relationship grow is such a blessing.

My parents came for a visit and the kids were in heaven. They had a list of the things they wanted to show them. Earrings, planes, Legos, pictures made for them, new tricks, and their secret hideout. (A pile of dirt in the field behind our house.)  :)

Getting the chance to visit and watch the kids play with my parents tops my list for a great way to spend a weekend.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Got Happy Mail

In September, our friends moved away. We only hand known each other for about a year but our families just clicked. Our kids are about the same ages, we have the same love for our families and good old fashioned values, and coffee.  We all love coffee.  

Christina is such a sweet friend who is always looking for a way to make you feel special. She picked out journals for the kiddos and me (she sent my hubby a small journal more as a joke...he's not the journaling type).

But what made the journals so special was that she took the time to write a letter to each of us on the first page. She talked about fun times we had together and how she remembers us. The fact that she wrote about our good qualities means so much to me. I think that's something we need to make a point to do more often.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Recent Orders and Projects

Yesterday I shared about this super fast wreath. It's a cute little one. At first I thought it looked kind of goofy on my door, but I'm starting to love it. The fact that it's small adds to it's cuteness.  

The majority of my business comes from custom orders and I don't typically post them in my Etsy shop. I plan to sit and make a gallery, but for now, here are some of the recent items.  All signs and script art are my own handwriting (or script) therefore, each piece will vary slightly from the picture shown.  That just means you're getting an original piece for your home!

Remember that if you have a verse, phrase, word, etc. that is special to you, we can work together to create something beautiful and fun for your home!


pledge of allegiance chalkboard 
approximately 12' x 20'  $55

36' x 16' verse sign $60

State Art
hand stitched state art 5x7 $8
(shadow box not included)
also available in hoop $12 or 
Script Art
script greeting cards - set of 8 $10
may vary slightly from picture

you were made to be awesome print 8x10 $15
original painting $20 (may vary slightly from picture)

you and me print 8x10 $15
original painting $20 (may vary slightly from picture)

Wedding Collection (more to come)
mr. and mrs. chair signs
These signs are both 10 inches long and hang with twine.
$20 for the set

book wreath - available for local pick up or delivery only-
small- approx. 18-20' across $60
large- approx. 28-30' across $75
custom burlap wreath
small (shown) approx. 22' across $50
large- approx. 30' across $60

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Super Fast Wreath

Confession: I have not had a wreath on my door since Christmas. I make custom wreaths for people but I didn't have my own.

Quick fix:  The other day I was working on cleaning out the craft room that will soon be a classroom during the day and I decided to make a wreath out of what I could find.

For the base, I used a small foam wreath form that came with a kit from Target.  I bought it on clearance for SUPER cheap just so I could have the wreath form. (Why do foam wreaths cost as much as they do?) I had one roll of polka dot burlap ribbon and some chevron ribbon left from a project.  And the flowers. They were left over (read: never used) scrapbook kit from when I was still living in traditional scrapbook denial. (bought a lot of stuff, but never did it)

To assemble the wreath I wrapped the polka dot ribbon all the way around the wreath and used 2 pins to secure it. I tied the chevron bow just like a regular bow and worked it into place until I was happy with it. I used 2 pins to attach it to the top of the wreath.  The flowers were just laid out and pinned into place.

Not a drop of glue. How easy is that?!

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stringtown home
living well spending less
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