Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do You Set The Table?

I have a new post on my vintage inspired blog Not Quite Donna Reed. Please visit for a little
 chat on setting the meal table.

Monday, March 10, 2014

your definition of twaddle free literature, please?

Hello Blueberry Cottage Readers,

I am speaking at a conferencesoon and my topic is twaddle free literature for younger children.  What I am looking for is some input on what you feel twaddle free literature would encompass.  Also, your definition of the term and what you might compare it to.

I will pick one of the funniest and most expressive explanations to use as a hands on illustration at the conference, thus earning the winner a copy of Sarah Clarkson's newest book The Storyformed Life, which will be available this Spring for purchase.

So, all you dear home schoolers, Charlotte Mason influenced or otherwise, leave your definition/illustration of  "twaddle" in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Sarah's new book and to help me out!



*by commenting you give me permission to use your words in my presentation--all names will be changed to protect the innocent. that pesky lawyer of mine told me to tell you this.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

body butter tutorial

For a long time now I have been trying to make our own lotions, lip balms, herbal remedies, and natural cleaners.  Trying to get that perfect body butter has been elusive to me, however. I will figure it out and share it when I do! 

This recipe uses raw organic shea butter which tends to have a greasier consistency in my opinion. With all that being said, I don't want to discourage you before we get out of the gate here, shea butter is extremely moisturizing. My teenage daughter suffers from very dry skin in the winter months, very dry. This one has answered my prayers in regards to a formula to help. Of course, I could resort to some over the counter brands which would heal faster, but the junk in them is really astonishing. I don't need to give my kids toxic ingredients, thank you very much!

Body butters have a light consistency and are really fun to mix up. You can use all kinds of essential oils in them, however check some reputable books to see which ones are beneficial together. Don't be scared to try this, super easy and I guarantee once your hooked you'll be making all your cremes.

Without further ado:

Gather all your supplies. I am including my choice of essential oils. The original recipe does not use the same combo and a couple of steps are a bit different.

*all your supplies can be purchased from Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs. The brands I have shown in the picture are very reputable and great quality for this project.

Using the double boiler method add your shea and coconut oil and melt. I have put a glass heatproof bowl inside simmering water. Don't fill the water too high, best to keep a kettle hot and add water as it evaporates. You don't want splashes of water in your oils. Stir with a spoon here and there to incorporate.

When the oils have melted remove from the heat bath and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so until cooled down.

When cooled down add your almond oil and give it a stir.  

Pop the mixture into your freezer.  Check at 15 minutes, in case your freezer runs super cold. Your not looking for solid. It needs to solidify like the picture below. One way to tell is to poke your clean finger into the middle. See my little indentation there? While it needs to be solidified, you should still be able to indent a finger into the mix quite easily. If it isn't cold enough it won't whip up. Yet, you don't want it frozen solid-no,no,no.

Now you will start whipping and whip it good! I had scored a portable beater at the thrift store, but alas, my thrift store find ones finally gave up the ghost, so I will hunt down another one--I like to save the Kitchen Aid for, ya know.

Once the butter starts looking like frosting I add in my essential oils. Shea butter has a strong scent so I found I needed: 20 drops Rosemary, 20 drops Tangerine, and 10 drops Peppermint. Start slow and you can always add more. Just whip some in then take a little sample and rub it into the back of your hand. Not strong enough? Add more, usually in increments of 5 is my general rule. Whip after each addition.

There you go you talented gal--you just made body butter! And you made about 2.5 cups of it so store in glass mason jars. I like this size HERE. You can buy fancier jars of course, but this size works for little gifts and for leaving in a few rooms of the house. Pretty them up anyway you want!

 This recipe was adapted from Rawmazing. 

My husband is having a grand time slathering it on my feet and giving me a massage, just ask him! For my daughter's dry hands I have her put this on throughout the day and at night lay it on a bit heavier and sleep with gloves. You can do this with the feet too--just put socks on , not gloves, but you knew that , right?

Oh yes, and my lawyer wants me to go over the fine print--this recipe is not used in any way to treat an ailment and I am not handing out medical advice. If you have allergies use common sense and do a patch test before trying anything new.


*this post linked up to Katherine's Corner Thursday Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I have been picking away at my Magnolia Shawl. It really is a lovely pattern. You really can't see the full effect of the design, I think, until done and blocked. But when I pull the yarn and take a close look at the stitches, it's quite stunning. I love how the model is wearing it in the picture. My hope is to have it done for Spring and wear it similiar to her style--I love denim and western themed belts, nothing too flashy mind you, but a little design in the yee haw department. 

Currently not reading any ONE book, but the nightstand is full and I continue to pluck away at a chapter here and there before bed. I always devour Mother Earth's publications. 

Today is the beginning of Lent. Many born-again Christians don't follow any lenten traditions, if your Sola Scriptura. But I try to have us focus on the days leading to Easter with readings and such. I am going to give this book A Family Journey with Jesus through Lent another try. The first few pages in I found a few doctrinal issues, but I think I can modify it to suit our beliefs. Why throw the baby out with the bath water, eh? I would love to hear how others handle Lent from a biblical perspective. 

I really should tell you what the yarn is, unfortunately, the other skeins are in a storage container in our barn and quite frankly, it is too cold to run across there! But it does have a lovley colorway, don't you think? The blue has a bit of teal running through.

I've decided to give myself 20 minutes a day of uninterrupted, scheduled knitting a day. When one deals with chronic pain you have to go to your happy place a few times a day. Knitting is one of my happy places, so I am going to make sure I get there and let the "other" duties wait.

Joining in with Ginny today for her Yarn Along.

Monday, March 3, 2014


With five children (five, oh my!) and four grandchildren there is always a birthday in  motion around here.  This weekend we celebrated our youngest daughter's birthday. As we were told in astonishment- I am TEN, can you believe it, double digits! No, I really can't believe it, my youngest, my baby, is TEN. 

My last blessing came into this world in the most medically challenging of ways-through an AFE. However, God has seen us through the challenges that an AFE brings. He has been faithful and blessed us with this little firecracker. 

This gal is funny, creative, loud at times and a bit sassy. She is quite girly, yet earthy at the same time. When asked what kind of party she might want, she right away stated- a craft party. All nine (9!) of her besties, in her home to do all the crafts she loves--and right now that includes a whole lotta duct tape in every imaginable design and color. What I love most is that she was so insistent on having her party at home-'cause she loves home.....sniff, what Mum wouldn't get a bit teary-eyed at that statement!

So, my husband and I took her shopping and basically just paid for the supplies. Organization is also a gift to this number 5 child. All mapped out were the crafts and supplies needed. All I had to do was bake the cake! Alice Water's chocolate cake from The Art of Simple Food. It has a few steps , but oh the chocolately goodness this cake delivers in every bite is so worth it.

A day full of crafts with her besties was the best party evah! I wish I could just stop the clock right here. This age, this stage of her life is so fascinating and a privledge to be a part of. And while she didn't get that horse (yet) she got showered with beautiful gifts, gifts that reflected her personality. Her friends really know her. Scrapbooks, loom kits, sewing supplies, one lucky gal. 

Happy tenth birthday sweet Lydia Ruth-what a joy it is to be your Mum. I love you!