Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Remembering Aunt Bee ~ A Guest Post


Special Note: This is a guest post by my dear daughter...

I adore the Andy Griffith Show! Uproarious Deputy Barney “Barn” Fife is the perfect sidekick to friendly “sheriff without a gun” Andy Taylor. His son Opie spices up the show, along with other heartwarming characters such as Floyd Lawson (Mayberry’s inimitable barber), Thelma Lou (Barney’s girl) and many others. But the heart of Mayberry has got to be Aunt Bee, with her warm, bustling everyday baking and housekeeping.


When Andy comes home from a long day at the sheriff’s office (worn out from Barney’s antics), Aunt Bee is waiting to tell him that there is leftover homemade apple pie in the kitchen.


Later, when the family is gathered on the porch – with great nephew Opie building block houses on the floor, Andy playing the guitar, and Aunt Bee knitting, she exclaims – as the clock strikes nine – “bedtime, Opie. I’ll be up in a minute.” Then of course, she hears him say his prayers and tucks him in.


Aunt Bee is an artistically talented woman as well – her side hobbies include crocheting doilies, knitting, painting with watercolors, and singing. She is also a member of the Mayberry Garden Club. 



First thing in the morning, Barney will make his “usual quiet arrival” in the squad car. Of course, Aunt Bee always insists he sit down and have a cup of coffee while she swaps recipes for cherry upside down cake with best friend Clara over the telephone line.


When a traveling handyman fixes the roof, she has cold lemonade, a beautiful lunch, and a guest room all prepared. Aunt Bee’s hospitality extends to many! When various cousins or others pass a few days at the Taylor’s, she is always scrupulous about clean sheets and good dinners, insisting that everyone help make their guests feel welcome.



Any neighbor down on their luck is sure to meet with a warm invitation to come on over if you need a place to stay. 


Bachelor Barney looks forward to Sunday dinners at the Taylor’s – in fact, everybody in Mayberry hopes to be invited, as they know Aunt Bee will have fixed a feast of her famous fried chicken and biscuits, along with homemade pies for dessert. 


Then, too, there are the not so welcome visitors – the infamous Darlings, an army of silent, hungry mountain men. But Aunt Bee just presses her lips together and cheerfully resigns herself to working in the kitchen, cooking enough for all.



She delivers a delicious lunch over to the courthouse for Andy and Barney every single day – but she generally has to hurry back home as she’ll have cakes for the church social in the oven. Somebody sick in Mayberry? Aunt Bee never forgets to send hot soup over. 


Still, no one woman can be good at everything.

Aunt Bee loves to can pickles and jams to keep on hand in the cupboard… But they are usually inedible. Nobody has the heart to tell her so, but Barney privately refers to her pickles as “kerosene cucumbers.”  Her thrifty ways can also get her into trouble – like the time she bought an entire cow for the freezer. Unhappily there was a reason why it was so cheap… 


Aunt Bee’s attempt at playing baseball with Opie was equally unsuccessful, but you have to give it to her – she tried. For all that, Opie’s own words are “she’s the best cook in Mayberry.” And that’s all that really matters to a growing boy... 


Not only does Aunt Bee cook – she keeps the house spic and span, and always keeps the men folk’s shirts clean and mended. Yes, sir, she keeps the world going round for her two nephews. In fact, the few times she’s had to go away for a few days, they’ve had a rough time getting on without her but Aunt Bee enjoys it all heartily, and loves to be needed by her family.


Modern women can say what they like, but the fact is everybody loves the “Aunt Bees” of the world. They are always in demand, always needed, always cherished, and always remembered fondly when they pass on. That's a legacy worth leaving.



I’m proud to say that I want to be just like Aunt Bee when I grow up. Heaven forbid such lovable, necessary ladies become a thing of the past, like calling cards and kid gloves! Let’s create a new generation of aspiring Aunt Bees – one apple pie at a time...


P.S. This post has been pre-scheduled as I am out of the country (visiting my precious far away family) until Septemberish. Though I won't be able to reply, I would still love to hear from you (and so would my daughter!) in the comment section if you care to share! Happy summer and/or winter (to those in the southern hemisphere)! Love, JES
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up 163


"Their parlor with its jar of fresh flowers, the snow white cloth spread on the table, covered with the pretty tea service, which had been a wedding gift...tempting bread and butter and the homemade cake... all formed a picture of neatness and comfort. How different the home where holiness and love went hand in hand..."
~ A.L.O.E., Sheer Off (1867)
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemakinghomeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, sewing, crafts, etc).~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!

* I am sorry, no features this week, we are visiting far away family *


On to this week! For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Alternative Lighting Options ~ Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series


“If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."

"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves--they're good things to have, but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em.”

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

Pa and Ma were quite right! The minute we lose our electricity at night, we are all scrambling about and make a good episode of the Keystone Cops. Loss of power is a very common thing in our area and depending on where you live, you may face it more often than most. Today I would like to discuss alternative lighting options as a part of our practical Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series


"Lighting is so critical to our sense of well-being in a crisis. Being unable to see creates a great feeling of vulnerability. Light a lantern during a power outage and you can feel calm settle over the room."

There are many lighting methods that you can choose from. We are opting for the most practical and least-expensive options. We do have a generator now and technically, we are covered when it comes to lighting. However, for short periods of time (or the few moments until we get it running), we have solar powered flash lights that always work as they are always being charged by the sun in our sunroom. We also have battery operated headlamps which are convenient when walking out onto the homestead to check up on things and do quick fixes. For indoor lighting, our back-up plan had always been candles. However, not much can be done with candlelight and you are limited. I love what a friend from Australia had shared about a homemade oil lamp they created. This can be made easily and the fuel is simply cooking oil from your pantry (she graciously shares her tutorial further down below).

Photo Courtesy of The Little Houston the Prairie Museum

Here are some of the basic lighting options available and the pros and cons of each. I have also consulted the book, Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens for further insight. You can choose the system that will work with your budget and your needs. I would recommend a stable light source in the home as well as some sort of flashlight/headlamp for everyone in the family for a convenient portable light.


  • Head lamps - These are great for outdoor choring in the night and allow you the complete use of your hands which is very handy on the farm. You can even prepare a meal in the dark with one of these in the kitchen. The downside is you need to keep the batteries stocked. 
  • Flashlights - These are great for outdoor use and minor indoor use but the downside of most models are batteries. We purchase solar flashlights inexpensively to remedy this. Though the light output isn't that strong, they do get the job done and are always charged.
  • Kerosene lamps (aka Hurricane lamps) - These give off a moderate level of amber light but unfortunately give off an odor that bothers some people (especially those suffering from asthma). You will need to store extra wicks and fuel for these lamps and be careful as the fuel is highly flammable. Kerosene lamps are a good and inexpensive short term option. Placing a mirror behind the lamp will enhance the light. Some of these are nice looking enough to keep out conveniently as part of your decor. 
  • Hand-cranked lantern/flashlights - These types of light options are run by hand and will provide about an hour of light per every minute of hand-cranking. They do not provide as much light as the kerosene lanterns but they are handy since they don't require additional supplies and are safe for children. I personally do not have any experience with these.

  • Candles - Candle light is quite dim but it will light the way in a home to make it somewhat bearable. However, you can't play a game, read a book, etc. by them. It may be difficult to prepare a dinner with just candlelight also but it can be done if you have quite a few lit and that is all you have in your budget. For safety reasons, please don't leave a candle on unattended. 
  • Solar landscaping lights - These can be charging outside during the day as a part of your landscaping and brought inside at night to illuminate your home during a power outage. I think this is a really neat idea though I am not sure how bright they would be.
  • DIY oil lamp - You can make your own oil lamp with a few frugal ingredients! Rachel Holt from Australia shares her tutorial and pictures with us. I hope you enjoy the information! I am going to put together a few of these for every room in our home. This is a better solution to candlelight which is what my back up was before. She says it puts out enough light for her to knit by and you may even be able to read by it. 

Note: By placing a mirror behind many of these items, you will be able to enhance the light output.

Photos of the "DIY Oil Lamp" Kindly Provided by Rachel Holt of Australia

DIY Oil Lamp with Designer Floating Wick by Rachel Holt (and Husband)

Tutorial below shared (in her own words) by Rachel Holt of Australia --

"I am aiming, here, to describe how to make a simple oil lamp with a floating wick. This is the type of oil lamp that lights our home at night.

Firstly, the lamp part is very easy. This is just a glass jar holding oil. If one wants a very large flame, then a heat resistant preserving jar is required. We currently use a small, squat honey jar. It warms slowly, and the heat escapes directly upwards, so it is suitable for a modest size flame. Olive oil (even recycled from cooking) works really well and doesn't smoke. It is cheaper than candles (even cheaper than Chinese tea candles). We have also used sunflower oil. It tends to smoke with a larger flame, and is much, much cheaper again than olive oil.


I learnt about wick making from a rough description on the internet. It looks like I've lost the link to that! Anyway, my best wicks are made using this rough description to treat the plaited cord that I make using nine strands of knitting cotton. Cotton or linen fabric can also be used. I have not yet made a fabric wick as good as the knitting cotton cord. The plaited wick then needs to be covered with boiling water - enough to wet it. Then cover the wet wick with fine sea salt and stir/jiggle. (I find that not all of the salt dissolves in the water.) Then, a smaller amount of borax is added and stirred/jiggled. I let the wick soak for a while before wringing it out and hanging it up to dry. That's the wick. In my experience, using salt only will still work. Using only borax will not work. Borax just makes the wick burn longer and brighter. (Harpers Borax has some information.) Next time used, we pinch the burnt black end off the top with our fingers, and pull the wick through a bit more. Having the top of the wick 6mm/quarter inch above the floating cap is good. Increase the height for a taller flame. Have a wider wick for a wider flame. Reduce the height to eliminate light smoke. Having the wick dangling on the bottom of the jar can affect level floating. To avoid excess cutting of the wick, a taller jar is useful. Topping up the oil before lighting floats the wick higher and enables easier lighting of the wick. 


Now for the floating wick which moves down with oil use. This floats on the oil. The beauty of it is that the wick falls with the oil level and rises when oil is added, so the wick does not need height adjusting and can easily burn all night. This is my husband's clever design which addresses the wick problem. Firstly, a cork is used as the floater - since it floats and only burns poorly. It is placed within an aluminium wine bottle screw cap lid which further protects the cork. A well fitting cork is best. Otherwise, if there is sideways movement of the cork within the lid, then it should be packed securely - at three equidistant points for balance - with bits of matchstick or cardboard or sticks (which can cause air locks under the lid cap so that it lists sideways. Tiny 1mm drill holes, three of them, above these air traps enable this air to escape so the floating wick levels itself. Problem solved. More on this later to reiterate.) 


With the cork secure within the wine bottle lid, drill a 5/32 inch hole vertically through the centre point of the lid with cork. This holds the wick nicely for the plaited wick we use. By way of reiteration of that mentioned in brackets above, there is just that one problem to eliminate. To prevent the floater listing over with air bubbles (& being swamped with oil), three tiny 1mm equidistant holes need to be drilled through the LID TOP ONLY - in the airlock spaces between the packing sticks, if they were required. The floater is ready for the wick.


Thread the wick. After dunking the wick end in oil first, thread it through the drill hole, cork side first, up through the lid with a twisting motion. With the loose fitting packed corks, never pull the wick downwards - only upwards. Set the wick afloat in the oil (drop it in levelly). Light the oil lamp, which can take a few seconds to light. Don't burn your fingers. Back off and try again if it does not light quickly enough. It will burn all night.


Lo and behold! You should have a simple, beautiful oil lamp to shine through the night!! Good night all."


(The photo below shows the amount of oil used overnight! This lamp is running on sunflower oil.)


I thank the Holt family for graciously sharing this useful tutorial today with our readers! I think this homemade oil lamp is wonderful!

Do you have any lighting strategies you would like to add? I am in no way an expert in this area, but am sharing what is workable for my family (and on our budget) and what I have gleaned from Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens.

Your homework for the week:
  • Do you have a back-up lighting system for your home? If not, adopt a plan and follow up when the funds allow. For those with very meager resources and time, I would encourage inexpensive candles. We used these for many years and found that we just went to sleep a bit earlier when there wasn't much to see! :) Or better yet, make up a few of Rachel's oil lamps in advance and store them in your pantry. Use them a few times before a power outage to make sure they function properly. This is also a very inexpensive option and is more self-sustaining than the candles (since cooking oil is a staple in the pantry and you can continue to refill this little lamp as opposed to candles that have a one-time use).
P.S. This post has been pre-scheduled as I am out of the country (visiting my precious far away family) until Septemberish. Though I won't be able to reply, I (and Rachel too!) would still love to hear from you in the comment section if you care to share! Happy summer and/or winter (to those in the southern hemisphere)! Love, JES
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). 
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Monday, June 19, 2017

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up 162

"Being a mother is worth fighting for,
worth calling a career, worth the dignity of hard work."
~ Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemakinghomeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, sewing, crafts, etc).~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!

* I am sorry, no features this week, we are visiting far away family *


On to this week! For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DIY Easiest & Frugal-est Way to Make a Mason Jar Straw Cup


“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” 
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

I think that summer and mason jars are synonymous, don't you? These mason jar cups have been quite popular the last few years and though I adore mason jars, I never made any because of the whole drill and grommet situation. And then I thought of this... 


Using my handy homeschooling supply -- the mighty hole punch!


Just make a nice clean punch through one of your recycled jar lids (making sure to get as close to the middle as possible). Don't worry about the dent, it won't show when the ring is placed on. 


Just pop in a straw and you are finished!

If you are concerned about the long-term use of this concept because of potential rust, then please read on for idea #2...


Recycle an old plastic lid (like a plastic cream cheese container lid, sour cream lid, a plastic coffee lid, etc.) and trace the shape and size of the original mason jar lid onto the plastic lid. I personally prefer the Philadelphia cream cheese lid because it is grey like the mason jar lid/ring set.


Next, cut out the pattern with basic scissors. I traced my circle near the edge so that I can get the whole puncher close enough to punch out that dent in the middle of the plastic lid. 


Finally, punch through the plastic and you are finished!


Just attach the ring, screw on the lid and slip in a straw for a nice and easy mason jar cup! This is very convenient for outdoor use as the bugs have less of a chance to share your drink and they are also somewhat spill-proof.

And there you have it, the easiest, frugal-est way to make mason jar straw cups!


P.S. This post has been pre-scheduled as I am out of the country (visiting my precious far away family) until Septemberish. Though I won't be able to reply, I would still love to hear from you in the comment section if you care to share! Happy summer and/or winter (to those in the southern hemisphere)! Love, JES
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

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