Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blog has moved!

I have consolidated all my stuff to one website. So please join us over at All Things Granola! My latest posting was on scheduling our busy lives.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Homemade Lye

Try Something New Friday, my first, is all about making homemade lye this week. When I had my dairy goats (and am anxiously awaiting my new dairy goats) I saved some goats milk for soap making. Lye was easier to buy back then, but it can be hard to find now due to its use in drug making. So in preparation of upcoming soap making days, my husband has been saving all his ashes from the BBQ pit. But how exactly do you make lye - the old-fashioned way?

So I went internet searching! I found many websites on the topic and I wanted to share with you my favorites. The first one I am going to start with explained the process well at Journey to Forever. It didn't have any pictures, but I appreciated its detail. So for pictures check out Steve's Art Stuff. He didn't offer a lot of detail, but it did show each step in pictures!

Now for the nuts and bolts. You have read about the process and seen some pictures, but how do you pull it off . . . and safely? Wiki-How had step-by-step instructions for building a lye making device. It's really simple, but I just need someone to lay out the details for me. And for the visual learners out there I found a cool video on You Tube showing the "old-time" equipment and an authentic character telling the story about how they used to do it. The audio is poor, but listen carefully and you will get it all. And for those of you that like nifty inventions, End Times Report set up a rain water collection system for making lye.

Now for the safety of the matter. Lye can be dangerous, but it can be dealt with safely. I found a website that not only describes each step in detail on how to make a lye solution safely, but also offered a video!

After all that, you decide you would rather buy lye than make it here is a list of online suppliers. Although it is difficult to buy lye in the store, it can be ordered from soap making companies. But what's the fun in that? I dare you to try making your own lye for soap making and then tell me all about it! I will most definitely be posting pictures of our endeavors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All Things Granola Re-organization

As my business is taking off and I am settled enough to have some fun with it, I am beginning a new life with my ATG blog! So here is the plan:

Each week of the month will have a theme as follows:

Week 1 - Kitchen Fun (everything and anything that would have to do with the kitchen)
Week 2 - Inside or Out (Beautifying your home, inside or out)
Week 3 - Homesteadin' (Animals, farming, gardening, etc)
Week 4 - Mommy-hood (babies, education, etc)
Week 5 - Wild Card (whatever I am in the mood for!)

Then postings will happen on Tuesday and Friday every week. On "Tip Tuesdays" I will offer quick tips and ideas for whichever theme and on "Try Something New Friday" will be my chance to challenge you to try new recipes, crafts, or products.

Stay tuned as things will start rolling this Friday with Homesteadin'. Please feel free to facebook or email me or comment here with ideas of topics that you would like to read about.

Until Friday . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boba Carrier Review

Ok, I have had the all-new organic Boba baby carrier for a few weeks now, so I felt I needed to offer a consumer review. As most of you know I have worn my 4th child in a Sleepy Wrap since she was 1 week old. And since she is now 17 months old and quite mobile, I tried out the Boba carrier.

I want to start with I LOVE THE SLEEPY WRAP! That being said, the Boba has its perks! But let me start with the Sleepy Wrap. This style of a wrap is awesome. It gives me plenty of back support, is adjustable to the
person and the baby, and is easy to carry around with me. The method of criss crossing the wrap across my back really offers a lot of back support.
By tightening the wrap lifts the baby higher and the higher the baby is the better your back will feel. If you wear the baby too low, your back won't like you very much! And the allowance for
a wide shoulder strap takes all that weight and evenly distributes it. And because you wrap it around you, it fits your body! Same goes for the baby. This is really stretchy jersey-type material and the baby can fit snuggly in there no matter the size of the baby. Shoot, I have put my 6-year-old in there just to prove she would fit! And the
sleepy wraps comes with a handy little drawstring bag that you can pack your wrap with you wherever you go. So those are my top 3 biggest points for the Sleepy Wrap.

Looking at the Boba I was a little skeptical because it was set-up like a b
ack pack carrier. The straps were narrow, even though well padded. But here we go . . . The Boba has a nifty feature not found in other back pack type carriers - a waist table (I made that name up!). There is a stiff piece about 5-6in tall around your wa
ist. All the baby weight sits on that and there is very little pressure on your shoulders. The back-pack style comes in handy because it is relatively quick to put on. So when you have a bouncy kid that wants up and down, this would be quick to put on. But it does require someone to help you most of the time. There is a hard to reach closure behind your back. I did do it by myself, but it was challenging and required a patient toddler. But I'm sure I will get the hang of it. My toddler LOVES the
Boba, just as much as she loves the Sleepy Wrap. It is a little more bulky to pack around with
you than the Sleepy Wrap, but the guys are gonna much more excited about this one than the Sleepy Wrap. The Boba is also much more compatible for on the back than the Sleepy, which the guys like.

I will definitely be using both carriers. They each have their purpose. But if you can only afford one, I would highly suggest the Sleepy Wrap! You can't use the Boba with an infant, but you can use the Sleepy for both infants and toddlers. The Sleepy is much more affordable and very durable. I have washed mine many times. But if you are already past the infant stage and need something that dad and mom can use, go with the Boba.

I don't have the Boba's up on the website yet, but email me for details.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Eat from the Pantry Challenge!

Buying groceries is something we must do every month! As mothers, we care for our families by shopping for food and providing healthy meals. But sometimes we wish we had more money to spend or could eat at restaurants more often or have that special dessert. Not that those things are bad, but sometimes we need to change our perspective. Having a grocery store down the street (or in the next town over :)) is a privilege of living in this great country! God has called us to be good stewards of our resources and providing good meals at minimal cost is part of that calling. Cooking from scratch is how I have managed to feed our family of 6 on $200-$300/month. (Of course that is an average, sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less.)

Check out Money Saving Mom for details on her Eat from the Pantry challenge, but read on here to see what All Things Granola will be doing as part of this challenge. I just love this idea!

Since we lived on $100 for the month of Dec, I feel I can meet this challenge in January!

Since I am getting started a little late, I have already done my shopping for January, and since we depleted most of our pantry in Dec, I did a little stocking up, but I know that I won't be shopping again for the remainder of the month!

So here are our family's goals for the Eat From The Pantry Challenge:

1) No more shopping for the month of January. This is our choice because I have no more grocery budget left. I don't recommend this for your family as having fresh produce, milk and eggs is a good thing. :)

2) Create delicious, original meals with what is already in my pantry.

3) Do NOT complain to my husband or children about not having the luxury to run to the grocery store.

4) Teach my kids about families in other countries and how they provide for their families.

Would you like to join us? Please do! You may use the logo above and post on your blog page and share with us in your post about your January Eat from the Pantry Challenge. Then go back to Money Saving Mom and fill in your Mr. Linky so that others can read about your challenge.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frugal Living Support

I am now offering a new service . . . with a twist! I have helped many people over the years adjust to living on one income or work their way thru debt or just learn to live a little more frugal, that I thought I would add it to All Things Granola.

But here is the twist. Families that need help with their budget or making frugal choices don't have money to pay somebody to help them thru it! So what I would like to do is offer my services for barter. Now what does that mean exactly?

For local people, there is a myriad of things to barter with. Anything really. From mowing to books to babysitting to cleaning help! If you live off, as most of you do, bartering is still a great option! I'm always up for good books and they mail cheaply. Maybe you know how to use HTML better than me - I could always use help with that! Advertising is always a great way to help out a small business owner. So you see there are many ways to make this work.

This service is a lot better than finding ideas online just because I can give you advice specific to your situation without you having to do the research and trial and error! My credentials are experience! We have lived on one income for 10 years. Our family began with only three mouths to feed, but we are now up to 6! We have lived under many conditions and have managed to barely float at times to thrive at other times. The Lord called us to be good stewards of our money. Whether we have a lot or a little money, He has entrusted that amount to us. We need to learn to do the best we can with what we have. And what an adventure that can be!

So if you are struggling on your one income and want some advice from someone who has been doing it for 10 years now, lets help each other out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's a new year!

2010 hopefully has a lot great things for All Things Granola!

Over the next two years we are bringing Dad home. This is the goal and hopefully will be attainable. We are following the Lord and will do as He leads. We are very excited about this change as it not only allows us to spend more time with Dad, but will make All Things Granola grow!

We will be adding more homespun and "granola" products and services. Some of the things already in the works are honey, goats milk soaps and lotions, eggs, and homespun yarn. The goal is to have All Things Granola supporting us in two years so that Dad can come home and stay home! I am also currently working on putting my cooking classes into E-books so that those that don't live nearby can enjoy them too!

So please bear with us thru January as we are re-doing the website and blog page, making long-term goals and implementing them, and just getting thru the after-holiday slump!

I apologize for being so hit and miss in the past, but looking forward to a productive new year!