Thursday, June 30, 2016

Making tortillas from scratch

I have been thinking about trying my hand at making tortillas again for a while.  So yesterday Hannah was off work and we had a little time so we decided to give it a go.

I mixed the ingredients up in my kitchen aid mixer.  We followed the directions and made the tortillas.

First we mixed and divided the balls of dough like the recipe said to.
After letting the dough rest and rolling them out Hannah fried them on a dry skillet like the directions said.

After frying the tortillas we put them between paper towels and placed them in a large zip lock bag.  We didn't close the bag until they were cool.
The tortillas we ate right off the grill were ok but kind of bland.  I decided to look at YouTube to figure out what I had don't wrong.
I found this video.
Not only does this lady know how to make great tortillas, she is funny.  She isn't trying to be funny I just found her to be funny.
After watching her video I realized I needed to use very hot water.  And her idea of saving part of the dough for the next day is great because then you can have fresh tortillas each day.  I am going to make them her way next time.

New bed sheets

We have not had new bed sheets for several years.  The last ones we had were when we bought our new mattress when we bought our house.  We didn't have a bed since we had been living in our 5th wheel for 2 years.  The bed was already in the camper.  Anyway we bought a new mattress and bedframe when we bought the house.  We also purchased a set of over priced Egyptian cotton sheets at the same time.  They were nice sheets but I never felt they were worth the high price.  They were soft but with having the high thread count it wasn't long  before they had holes worn in them.

Since I didn't want to pay that high price again for sheet I began searching for alternatives.  In the mean time a friend said she had several extra sets because her husband wore their sheets out in the feet area because of his long toe nails.  Anyway she gave me two sets of sheets which we used for about 3 years.  We finally wore those sheets out and it was just time.  I had to find new sheets.  All the previous sheets had been dark tan, light tan or blue.  I longed for a set of fresh white sheets.

Fast forward to now.  After looking online and in several stores for 100% cotton sheets I had about resigned myself to getting a cotton poly blend when low and behold, there was a set at Wal-Mart.  And the price at $43.?? was much lower than I was expecting to pay.  I only wanted 300 thread count because I had done much research and it was deemed to be softer and last longer.  So I bought a set of king size sheets and an extra pair of pillow cases because Jeff and I use two pillows each.

Jeff washed the sheets and we put them on the bed.  They look so nice and clean in all their whiteness.  I am so happy.  The best part is they are so very soft.  I expected a 300 count sheet to be at least a little stiff  but these were so soft.  I am quite pleased with my purchase.  Now if they hold up to being washed once a week and last at least a year I will be a very happy lady.

I guess I am simple.  A new set of sheets makes me happy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Neck coolers

I have made these neck coolers for a few years now.  I even made a video for YouTube about it.  I will try to link the video if I can figure out how to.  Anyway, you soak these neck band things in cool water and the beads inside swell up, you then wrap it around your neck and as the water evaporates it helps you cool.
I need to make a new video because I've made some changes to the pattern.  I have noted these changes in the comments under the video.

Last year I made over a hundred of these for VBS.  Right now I am making some really cute tie dye ones.  Hannah dyed the fabric. 

I made several for people Hannah works with and embroidered their names on them.  Generally though I just make them with patterned fabric.

I use a product called Water sorb.  One thing I learned is it takes very little in each pocket.  The new pattern I'm using has 4 pockets instead of two and it takes less than 1/8 a teaspoon of the water sorb in each pocket.  You would not believe how much water they absorb.  If you put too much in they will actually seep out of the fabric and it looks pretty gross.  Plus they wont work properly.


Brenda's testimony

DATE: June 26, 2016
When God calls anyone to missions, the first question that crosses most minds is “WHY ME, LORD?”
In 1987, I was an unequipped, new baby Christian, who hardly knew any of God’s Word.
Those who know me well realize that I am a very practical person who appreciates practical answers in bullet format.
So God hit me between the eyes with exactly what He knew I needed to hear.
I clearly heard His voice (in my spirit) say:  “I will use your Agriculture, your Nursing, and your ability to rough it!”
I remember thinking, “That makes sense.  OK Lord, I’ll go!”  (And the matter was settled.)
For the Lord knew that when I give my word, I kept it.
I loved Jesus with everything in my being for He saving me from Hell.  To me, that meant I would do ANYTHING and GO ANYWHERE He asked me too.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that God dropped the “rest of the story” into my lap.
I was watching a DVD from Animal Planet called “The Last American Cowboy”.
It suddenly dawned on me that Cowboys and missionaries share much in common.  The traits that make a lifetime cowboy are the same as those that make a career missionary.
  I was blown away by this revelation, and wondered to myself why I never saw it before.  DUH????
Making this connection brought great JOY to my heart.
For I have always been a Texas Cowgirl at heart, and now I know why He sent me to manage a ranch for kids instead of horses.
On that DVD, they went to great lengths to film the reality of 3 modern American ranches, and the cowboys that work them.
Each ranch was run in a very different manner, yet all 3 families portrayed the same necessary traits that brought success to their ranches.
1.        Working long, hard hours to protect “their herd”, no matter what it took.  (Persistence and perseverance taken to the max.)
2.       Working in all kinds of weather, at great risk, to make sure “the herd” is safe.  (Sacrifice)
3.       Freely helping other ranchers when disaster struck with both emotional and financial support. (Empathy, generosity, and helps.)
4.       Each family stuck together through the toughest of times.  ( SHOWING FAITH in God, and never letting QUIT be an option).
5.       Made many tough decisions on a daily basis.  (Decisive) Able to make a decision and form a plan of action to make it happen.
6.        Using tough love to help their family and team members learn so they could reach their potential.   (Showing LOVE and respect through their actions as well as words.)
7.       Dealing with life and death of members of “the herd” on a daily basis.  (Empathy mixed with the emotional toughness needed to move on in order to help the survivors.)
8.       Giving “their word” to complete an assigned task.  That was better than a signed contract, for it was from the heart, and never broken if humanly possible.  (Honesty, Transparency, and Integrity)
9.       And last but not least, CHOOSING THAT LIFE, because they loved doing it.  (Choosing the tougher lifestyle, enjoying the challenges, even though many easier options for making a living were available to them.)
10.   God was evident in each ranch family’s life, even though it was obvious that not all knew the Lord.  Some did, and their love and patience with the others was very evident.
The “dedicated cowboy’s” actions to save “his herd” is a great example of how God wants all of us to persist in seeking out the lost and leading them to HIM.
These traits and many more were evident in Jesus’ life, and thus are a part of each believer.
You must choose to use them to follow HIS PLAN for your life if you truly want to find happiness.
Speaking from many years of experience living a life of “roughing it”, I can tell you that God’s plan for you will not be your easiest “life option”.
Are we expected to be perfect?  Always doing or saying the right thing?
  Hardly.  That is why He gave us REPENTANCE, which literally means to turn AWAY (from sin) and go in the opposite direction.
These lyrics from a great song sum up what I believe Jesus wants from all of us.
“For when it is all said and done, did you give your best for Jesus?”
For doing our best to follow HIS PLAN for each of us is all He asks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Machine embroidery

I bought several new machine embroidery designs several months ago but was never able to use them because my machine was not working properly.  I finally took it in to be serviced and am now able to use my machine again.  Here are a few of the designs.  I have been stitching out each design and taking a pix for my records.

I have stitched them each out onto a tea towel.  So far I have stitched 18 designs.  I have 6 more new designs to stitch out and then I will know what they all look like.  I have had my machine for at least 13 years and have always enjoyed using it.

I praise thee oh Lord

Psalm 63:3King James Version (KJV)

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stamping bookmarks

Hannah brought Pamela and Nancy over today.  We really enjoy it when they come for a visit.  They have such fun and happy personalities. 

Today when they came over I had them stamp some book marks I had made up.  They did a really good job.  They picked a few out to take home but the rest I will keep and send when I send out greeting cards.  Maybe you will be fortunate to receive a book mark stamped by these delightful girls.
 Hannah didn't get in the picture but we were sure having a fun time.  Its always fun when Pamela and Nancy come for a visit.

 Nancy is showing some of the book marks she made.  She did a really good job making them. 

 Pamela showed quite a bit of creativity stamping her book marks.  They all kept me busy because I was the designated stamp cleaner.  They made sure to use lots of different stamps and lots of different colors so the book marks would turn out fun and bright.

You can tell we were having a good time.  Next time I might try to have some cards ready for them to stamp.  They do such a good job and we have a good time together.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Some things I do to save a bit of money

     Growing up my grandpa Sonday always had a handkerchief in his pocket, and he used it.  I don't know how many he used in a day but I don't think there was even such a thing as disposable tissues.  And if there was I am sure he would think it a waste.  When he died my grandma gave me one of his  clean handkerchiefs as a memory of him.  I still have it in my childhood jewelry box.

       I don't know when disposable tissues came out but we got in the habit of using them instead of a handkerchief.  We also got used to using toilet paper and paper towels.  I think of the three disposable inventions that my favorite would be toilet paper.  I can go without the other two but I don't want to go back to what ever was used before that.

     That being said, I do think we use too many disposable items in our home.  Paper plates, tissues, paper towels.

     One day I decided to cut up some of Jeff's old t-shirts that he didn't want any more.  I cut them into nice squares.  About 12 to 14 inches.  I folded them up and put them in a nice basket on my bathroom counter.  I began to use them instead of toss away tissues.  Wow, these are so much softer on my nose.  I began to put a small stack by my computer and by my recliner I make sure to have one there too.  I use a square a few times until it seems icky to me then I toss it into the dirty clothes basket and grab a clean one.  No big deal.  Now when I have to use a toss away tissue it seems quite wasteful to me.  I do still keep them on my vanity because I don't think Jeff is ready to switch and also because there are times I don't want to have to clean a cloth tissue.  Like makeup removal, not often but occasionally worn.  Also if something gross is spilt I want to toss the tissue.  I don't need to go into further detail I am sure.

      Anyway, as I was cutting the t-shirts up I ended up with some smaller squares and rectangles.  These I doubled up and then took them to the serger machine.  I serged around the edges and folded them up nicely and put them on a basket on the back of my toilet.  Oh my you say, where is she going with this one.  Ha ha.  Just wait.  I ordered a bidet sprayer from Amazon and Hannah installed it on the water line going in to my toilet.  Its clean water, people.  I began using the sprayer for number one and then patting dry with the serged pieces of t-shirt fabric.  That way I know which goes for which end.  So, now I use a ton less toilet paper.  I still use it for number two of course.  I keep a bucket beside by toilet and toss the fabric there after I use it.  Then just toss into my wash when I do laundry.  Its no different than washing a towel after all.  I have rinsed off and patted dry.  There is no smell and I feel so much cleaner.

    For a couple of years we have been using fabric napkins so I almost forgot to mention them.  I just cut squares of pretty cotton, stitched, turned and top stitched them.  We have a small basket in the kitchen where we toss the dirty dish cloths, napkins and dish towels.  I toss them in when I am washing towels.

     A few weeks ago Hannah suggested we should try to cut down on our paper towel usage.  Yeah.  I am for that.  After all we have several dish towels.  I will continue to keep paper towels on the counter for times when disposable is better but we sure have cut down on using the paper towels. 

      Using less disposable items means less trash and less paper in the sewer.  All good things.  But most important may be the savings.  After all, they all cost money.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

     Here is a list of paper disposable a person can almost eliminate if they choose to do so.

1. paper towels
2. paper plates
3. paper napkins
4. disposable cups and glasses
5. disposable silverware
6. toilet paper (or most of it)
7. tissues
8. sanitary pads
9.  what else can be done away with????

     What kinds of things have you quit using or never started using that help your family save money?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sunset Kayaking

Last evening Hannah decided she wanted to take an evening kayak ride.  When she texted me to come to the boat ramp to pick her up the sunset was beautiful.  I had to take a few pictures of God's creation.
                                                   I waited for her to come into view so I could snap this shot.

                                                     Same area before Hannah came into view.

                                                      Sunset at the boat ramp.  The water was pretty calm.
Self portrait Hannah made while kayaking.

My Amish supper plates

When I went on this last trip driving the Amish, I had to opportunity to eat a few meals with them.  They all used these bowl/plate dishes they called supper plates.  I found some in an Amish store we stopped at and bought 4.  I wish I had bought several more, we really like them.  The ones at the Amish homes were more plain in color so when I found these I was quite pleased.

                                               This is the store where I bought the plates/bowls.  I paid $3.59 each for them.
They are about 7 inches across.

                                                     And 1-1/2 inches high.
My Amish friend Simon is looking to see if he can order more for me.  I hope he can get the pretty ones.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The peppers are coming on real nice

My green peppers and jalapenos are producing really nice right now.  We've made jalapeno poppers till we are tire of them for now.  But still cant keep up with them.  So I decided to dehydrate them.  That way I can use them later in soups and stews and the green peppers I can even use in fajitas.

                                        The tomatoes are just starting to produce but they sure look nice and are a good size.  I did have a bacon and tomato sandwich the other day and it was good.
 I am very thankful for the Lord's provision.

Friday, June 3, 2016


My mom and my sister Roberta were spared from too much damage from the 9 tornados that tore around Dodge City Kansas. 
 My brother in law holding some huge hail.

 These twisters were just half a mile from my moms farm.  Her farm is across the road behind this race track.
 This was taken from my sisters garage.  That is way too close if you ask me.  I guess Wayne and my niece Nickitta were in the garage taking pictures and the rest of the family was in the basement.
Another huge hail stone.

                                                          What a huge storm.  Oh my.

                                              Too close for comfort if you ask me.

                                            My family was safe.  A classmate was not so fortunate.
Her home and barn were completely destroyed.  But she and her husband and dogs were in their storm shelter so they were safe.  The tornado even bent the steel door on their storm shelter.

The weather has been tough lately.  But the grace of God has kept my family safe even if they have suffered some losses.

We took a little trip

Jeff and I spent 10 days in Branson visiting 3 of our daughters who live there.  We were able to attend my grandsons 2nd birthday party as well as see two shows.  It was a good time but maybe a little too long.

One beautiful evening we went to Table rock lake where the girls enjoyed the waves sitting on the dock and the sunset.  Mollie, Joy and one of our granddaughters, Courtney.

Isnt this a neat picture of Joy?  She is enjoying the sunset.

We got to see the production show of Moses.  It was great.  They even offered to pray with anyone after the show who wanted prayer.  I loved it.

Jasper got a 4wheeler from his folks.  I think he will have a ton of fun with it.


It rained so Kastyns t-ball game was cancelled but this is her the next week.  She is really growing up.