Homemaking 4 My Guys

Thoughts on Homemaking, Saving Money, Faith, Family & A Life Worth Living

A Sweet Surprise Reunion

Cardinal homecomingYa’ll know I am crazy about the St. Louis Cardinals and how I love our military families.  My family has quite a history of service in the U. S. military, all branches represented except the Coast Guard, including my husband and our oldest son.

I was blessed by and honored to spend a few moments with some military women yesterday.  When I returned home, I was blessed by another heartwarming story last night.  I found out my favorite ball team with my favorite pitcher starting had started the game with a military wife and her children throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  Boy did she get a sweet surprise.  A reunion with her man.   They went on the beat the Cubbies.  Extra sweetness 🙂

I know we see these stories quite often these days but they always make me cry.

Leslie Rightnowar’s ceremonial first pitch wasn’t exactly in the strike zone, but what happened afterwards was the biggest of home runs.  Leslie’s husband, Sr. Chief Dawan Rightnowar, a 23 year Navy veteran has been deployed to Pakistan for 7 months.With their eldest son gone on his first Naval deployment, and Leslie at home with their younger 2 children, the Rightnowars deserved a little something special. So given a brief leave, Dawan decided to surprise his family at a Cardinals game. We think it’s safe to say that the pictures speak for themselves.

I am always thankful for any positive awareness brought to our courageous soldiers and their families.  They willingly pay a high price for you and I’s freedoms.  Most Americans have no idea just how priceless of a gift our military and veterans give/have given us.  Freedom is free.



Pods for the Dishwasher

b101-dishwasher-podsHere is the recipe for some homemade dishwasher pellets.  The recipe is from http://www.budget101.com/myo-household-items/homemade-dishwasher-pellets-3916.html  She states this recipe ends up costing her $.02-$.03 per pellet or pod.  That is quite a savings.

I have listed the recipe here, however if you click on the above link, it will show you step by step pictures.  I love how she shares that if you do not want to make the entire batch all at once, you can store the powder for the next time you are running low.  Sweetness!!

If you I do not use a dishwasher so I have not made them but I have friends who have and love them.    Enjoy……..

From Budget 101

Recently I started noticing how much money I was spending on dishwasher detergent, especially the pods or pellets. Brand-name pellets ranged from a low of 2.98 to 6.29 for 20 pellets on a recent visit to the grocery store. That’s when I decided to make my own.

Materials and supplies:
2-gallon bucket
measuring cup
large glass mixing bowl
3 – 16 cube plastic ice cube trays

1 – 54-55 oz box of washing soda / detergent booster (3.89)
1 – 76 oz box of borax (4.49)
1 – 2 lb carton of epsom salts (.99)
1 – bottle reconstituted lemon juice (32 oz for .99)
$10.36 for over 300 pellets

I used a 2 gallon bucket to mix the following dry ingredients;
1-54 oz box of washing soda (you can substitute a box of White King Detergent booster (no chlorine or phosphates) for the washing soda)
1-76 oz box of Borax
1- 2 lb carton of epsom salts

I measure out 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the mixture into a large glass mixing bowl and add lemon juice a a tablespoon at a time and stir until it begins to clump. It will fizz a little bit but not very much. If you squeeze the clumps between your fingers it will feel slightly sticky.

Place enough to loosely fill each of the ice-cube molds in a plastic ice cube tray (you will need 3 trays with sixteen molds per tray.

Put on disposable glove or cover your thumb with a thin plastic shopping bag (this is very drying to your skin) and press the damp mixture into the mold until it is level in each mold. The tops of the molded pellets should be moist and slightly sticky.

Put them in the back seat of your car in direct sun – it will take several days to dry out depending on the temperature and humidity. (Do not microwave – it will prolong the drying time and the cubes will stick, do not put them in your oven – the trays might melt) You could also use a food dryer, or if it is summer set them on a table in the sun. We have very low humidity in the Central Valley, so I often set the trays on the trampoline when it is not in use. I bring them in at night as the dew re-wets the cubes.

They are ready to tap out of the trays when they pull away from the sides of the mold.

If you haven’t tamped your cubes down firmly, some will crumble. Don’t worry about it. Crumble up the cube and let it dry until it is like a clod. They grind it in a mortar, put into a shaker bottle. This is the best abrasive cleaner that I’ve found. A little sprinkle (takes very little), hot water, wait a few minutes until the
detergent starts to dissolve, then use a rag to scrub. My broiler pan came clean so easily.

Also, if you are making just 48 pellets at a time, what do you do with the powder that’s left? I asked for a large empty whey powder container and stored the extra powder there.

From what I can figure, it costs me about three to four cents per dishwasher pellet.

You should use some lemon juice as a rinse aid in your dishwasher to avoid spots.b101-dishwasher-pods

Blessed By The Air Force Ladies

Today I have the privileged and honor of  to some sharing along with one of my dear friends, with some very special ladies, our unsung and unappreciated heroes, women who serve in the U.S. Air Force and women who love and support their man and take care of the home front.

These ladies are amazingly strong and courageous.  I have walked your shoes and know the price you and your family pay for defending our freedoms.

On behalf of my family, please thank your service member for us if you are a dependent.  Thank you for your sacrifice ladies.  We salute you.  We love you.  We pray for your families, for strength, protection and strong family bonds.  We pray that each one of you will come to know Jesus Christ as your very best friend.  It is a decision I will never regret.  He gives a peace this world cannot offer.

I pray that you were pampered and spoiled rotten today.  That you were refreshed and relaxed after your days.  That your children had a blast in Pirate Land.  It is Bren and I prayer that you could take some small piece of what we shared and it will prove to be beneficial to you and your family.  Thank you for being so gracious to us as we fumbled through 🙂

You will never know what an encouragement you were to me!!!!  God used you to bless my socks off, (or in my case, my shoes).  Thank you ladies.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  I love to visit (and I freely admit I prefer one on one or small groups to larger setting like today, not my comfort zone………..God is definitely stretching me).

To my partner in crime, Bren, thanks for pushing me out of the nest.  I am so thankful for the friendship the Lord has given us.  You inspire me to be a stronger woman of the Word, to reflect Him more and more ever day and I so appreciate your holding me accountable.  I love ya friend.


Wool Dryer Balls

Here is a really awesome idea I cannot wait to try.  For the cost of a skein of wool yarn and a drop or two of essential oil you can eliminate the cost of fabric softener or dryer sheets.  This comes from One Good Thing By Jillee

How would you like to never buy another fabric softener product again AND cut your laundry drying time in half???

Would you believe me if I told you these little woolen gems can do that?

Wool Dryer Balls save you moneyenergy and time by cutting the dryer’s drying time and by eliminating the need to buy softeners. When you use 4 balls in your dryer, you can cut your dryer time by 25-50%!


The balls circulate and separate the clothing and get the warm dry air right down to the core of the laundry load! The more balls you add, the faster the drying time. They also soften your clothesthrough gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers. And as if that weren’t enough…..they LAST for YEARS!

They couldn’t be simpler to make (all you need is some wool yarn, and a pair of pantyhose) and I just LOVE howPRACTICAL they are! I actually think these would make a wonderful gift! (Making mental note.)


Start with a skein of 100% WOOL yarn. (This cost me about $5 and I got four balls out of it.)


To start your ball, wrap the yarn around your fingers about 20 times and then slip it off and wrap the yarn around the middle of that circle you just made about 20 more times.

wool dryer balls

Now pinch the beginnings of your yarn ball together and keep wrapping! Make sure you wrap it nice and tight.  Pretty soon you will have something that looks like this. Tuck the end of the yarn under some of the other strands of yarn to secure.

Repeat above steps until you’ve made 4 or more balls.

Now you are ready to give them the “felting” treatment. You are going to need one leg ofwool dryer balls a pair of pantyhose or tights. Put the first ball into the toe of the pantyhose and secure it there with a piece of embroidery floss or acrylic yarn. Do NOT use wool yarn, you don’t want this to felt.

Toss the pantyhose “snake” into the washer (the hotter the water the better) and then into the dryer (again, the hotter the better. Speeds up the felting process.  After the first felting. The fibers have fused and it’s much smoother and tighter.

At this point you can do another layer of yarn and “felt” again if you want a larger sized ball. I chose to leave mine as is. Keep in mind they will get slightly smaller over time as they continue to felt.


You just made your own wool dryer balls! Go ahead, give them a spin! If you want, you can even add a couple of drops of essential oil to the balls before you throw them in the dryer. I used 1 – 2 drops of lavender on each one and my clothes came out smelling sooooooo nice!!!  I think the scent should last through several loads!

Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pieHere is a chicken pot pie recipe I have made for years, thanks to my awesome mom.  I grew up eating this yummy dish.  It is so very economical to make and super easy.  Like many of the recipes I share, this can so easily be doubled or tripled and put in the freezer for another time, making your life a little less stressed on a busy day 🙂

Chicken Pot Pie (printable version)

Chicken Mixture                                                                  Biscuit Mix

  • Pre-cooked shredded chicken                           1 1/2 c. flour
  • Potatoes, cubed and par-boiled                        1/4 c. shortening
  • Diced Onion                                                          2 tsp. baking powder
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables                                  2/3 c. milk
  • Chicken Broth                                                      1/2 tsp. salt
  • Corn Starch/Water                                              chopped onion, (opt.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat broth and thicken with cornstarch

Biscuits:  Mix all ingredients together and water mixture.  Add all ingredients gently.  Place on a floury Heat thoroughly.  Place in a greased pan.   Place on a lightly floured surface.  Pat to approx. 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out biscuits.  Place on top of hot chicken mixture.

If you prefer, you can always top with a pie crust.  My family just happens to love to pour the chicken mixture of the fluffy biscuits.

Bake at 425 º for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Boost Your Plants

PeppersOur friend Hugh shared this tonight.  Thought it was a nifty little tip to pass on.  Definitely cannot wait to try this with our plants.

Thanks Hugh.  He is right, this is so cool!!!

1 tsp epsom salt in 4 c warm water….spray on plant and then again 10 days later. Produces more fruit due to boost of magnesium… especially for tomatoes, peppers and roses.

Food for Thought on Marriage

This morning, after getting the kids off to school, running a couple of errands and a brief meeting I came home and opened up my email.  In it was this blog entry from Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women.  It is geared to younger brides than I but it spoke to me as well.

Just like Scripture, there are always new truths to be revealed and times of reflection and evaluation are needed.

It both encouraged me and convicted me in my relationship with my husband.  I never want to settle for the status quo.  I want our relationship to continue to grow and thrive.

Do you have someone who will pray over your marriage with you?  A friend who will hold you accountable for how you pursue not only your husband but your walk with Christ?  I pray you do.  If not, start asking the Lord to send you that someone.

Here are Lisa’s words:

25 Tips I Want to Share with Younger Wives
1.    Hold hands whenever you can. We do and always have. We’ll clasp hands when sitting next to each other on the couch, while we’re driving along in the car, and when we’re out walking. A simple connecting that goes a long way.
2.    Pray for him every day. Faithfully. What better gift than to offer up a prayer for him? Ask God to bless him, protect him, and work in his life.
3.    Look for the many ways to love on him. Small gifts and thoughtful gestures. Those little things that say, I love you and I’m thinking of you.
4.    Make friends with people who’ll encourage your marriage. Surround yourself with those who will support and pray for you both as you grow together.
5.    And avoid those who pull against you. If they were friends, I’d ditch them altogether. It’s harder with extended family members, but I’d dodge those as much as possible too.
6.    Go to the Word of God for the best marriage counseling. You can get good advice from others, but there’s no replacing the loving, powerful Truth to be found in Scripture.
7.    Cultivate your friendship. Marriage isn’t merely a business deal.
8.    Never give up on each other. People go through difficult seasons and we get to persevere through them. Don’t let go.
9.    Confess your sins to one another. Doesn’t help to smooth it over; instead repent and ask forgiveness. (Jas. 5:16)
10.   And then forgive freely. (Col. 3:13)
11.    Be patient with him. Love is long-suffering, remember? (I Cor. 13:4)
12.   Show him respect. It’s in the Bible. And it’s what he needs (Col. 3:18).
13.   Leave off with the complaining. It only drags the both of you down (Phil. 2:14).
14.   Focus on those things which are true, pure, and lovely. (Phil. 4:8)
15.   Speak kindly to him. Gracious words are sweet to the soul (Prov. 16:24).
16.   Let the little irritations go. Is it really worth bothering about? Probably not.
17.   Keep the home fires burning. Intimacy is still important. Yes, even long after the honeymoon.
18.   Stand by your man. You’ll probably find loyalty toward the top of his list.
19.   Make loving him your priority. Over your job, your friends, your extended family. Even over your children.
20.   Give him – and yourself – room to grow. I know that we’re not done growing yet and I’m guessing you two aren’t either.
21.   Express appreciation for the man that he is. Be an encouraging voice in that otherwise thankless world he lives in.
22.   Protect your marriage. Value your relationship for the treasure that it really is.
23.   Never leave off with kissing. No matter how old you grow. My husband’s 80-year-old parents still kiss each other goodbye – on the lips!
24.   Decide you’re going to stick together. With God’s help, you’re going to stay together throughout the years. (Mark 10:9)
25.   Put on love. Above all things. (Col. 3:14)
May you be blessed with a truly beautiful marriage!
In His grace,
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Pineapple Teriyaki Crock Pot Chicken

If you love Chinese food, you will love this amazingly simple and economical meal from Jillee at http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com.  My family is not big on Chinese food so I did not connect the taste to being nearly the same as Sesame Chicken (minus the sesame seeds) like my friend Brenda did.  Thanks Bren.

As you will see this is an amazing simple recipe.  I have altered it a bit.  I use pre-cooked shredded chicken breapineapple-teriyaki-chicken-1st meat.  I mix all ingredients up and cook in the crock pot for a couple of hours.  It could also be done in the microwave or on the stove top.   Either way, this recipe is super simple to double/triple and throw in a zip lock bag and store in the freezer for another day.

Pineapple Teriyaki Crock Pot Chicken


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. (Jillee skipped this step, she put in whole chicken breasts.)

Add chicken and the other ingredients into your slow cooker. Stir.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is tender and falls apart.

That is literally all there is to it. If you prefer a thicker sauce, transfer to a small sauce pan and boil with flour or cornstarch until reduced to desired thickness.

Serve over rice.


Role Models and Opening Day :)


I am so excited, today is officially the opening day of the 2014 season for the St. Louis Cardinals.  To top the day off, my favorite Cardinal, pitcher Adam Wainwright gets the start.

I love Adam for the fierce competitor that he is, his work ethic is amazing.  He is one of the leaders of the Cardinal Clubhouse.  I love to watch Adam pitch and strike batters out and swing his bat in awesome offence.🙂

But my favorite things about Adam are off the field.  Adam is a great husband and father to his little girls.  He and his family are very generous with their time, talents and the money God has blessed them with, from feeding the hungry in the communities/states they live, to helping obtain fresh and clean water that is safe to use in third world countries to the orphanage they are a part of building in Haiti.  Check out his charity’s website: http://www.wainosworld.com

My favorite attribute about Adam though is his heart that has been transformed by a personal friendship with Jesus Christ.  It is why he does what does and is who he is.  He is a life that has been transformed by a relationship with the Living God.  I love how vibrant Adam is about his sharing his faith.  Adam’s number one priority is his relationship with his Savior, his family, then his passion for baseball.

Adam is only one of numerous St. Louis Cardinal players, coaches and organizational leadership who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  You can see the difference this makes in their team mentality, the mentor ship of young players from older ones, the closeness this clubhouse shares as well as their involvement in giving back to their community and humanity as a whole.

Our middle son and I are started following the Cardinals when one of our favorite players was traded to them.  Since then we have fallen in love with St. Louis and it’s deep roots and love for baseball and it’s history.  

We also appreciate the strong men of faith on the team and in their organization.  A cool book our son and I read entitled “Intentional Walk, The Faith That Drives The Saint Louis Cardinals”  It was a very good read.  (Available on Kindle.) 

In a world were so many athletes and celebrities are the last ones you want your children to look up to, we appreciate have men of substance and value who continually point the honor and glory to their Heavenly Father.  Men who are humble and gracious.  Men who desire to be a godly example, to be the spiritual leader in their homes and communities.  

Thanks to Adam and the boys for being a godly role models.  We in this home deeply appreciate it.

Hearty Penne Beef

Our family has fallen in love with the flavor of the sauce in this casserole.  So simple and so yummy!!  The sauce recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and stores very well in the freezer.  Pasta does not do well in the freezer (you can use pasta cooked al dente and it will do okay).  Pull your frozen sauce out, cook up so fresh pasta, add somHearty Penne Beefe fresh french garlic herb bread and a crisp salad and you have a wonderful meal.  Quick and easy.  I found this dish on Taste of Home’s website.

Hearty Beef Penne Pasta (click on title for printable version)


2 3/4 c uncooked penne pasta (any pasta will do, we like mini shells)

1 lbs. ground beef

1 teas. garlic, minced

1 can (15 oz.) tomato puree

1 can (15 0z. beef froth (I use my homemade or made with bullion)

1 1/2 teas. Italian seasoning

1 teas. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teas. salt

2 c. chopped fresh spinach ( I use spinach that I have cooked and pureed, froze in ice cube trays)

2 c. (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese

1/4 teas. pepper


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomato puree, broth, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add spinach; cook for 1-2 minutes or until wilted.
  3. Drain pasta; stir into beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This recipe serves 6-8, it makes a quart of sauce and it more than serves my hungry guys and leaves a few leftovers on occasion 🙂


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