Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME Newsletter - June 26, 2013

Greetings, Dear Sisters!
It's been a long time since I've put together a regular edition of HEARTH AND HOME. There have been so many things going on here in recent months and years...things that, in the long run, have served as little more than distraction and discouragement to keep us away from where our focus should have been, leaving many things undone that should have been getting done all along and leaving them to fall along the wayside. This blog and newsletter have been two of the areas that have been victimized, but praise God! With His help, we're finding our way back, and we're regaining lost ground! Praise the name of the Lord!

I've got a lot to share with you today, so I'm not going to dilly dally! Grab a glass of something cool to drink and let's get right to it! Are you ready?


* To clean a plastic shower curtain liner, throw it in the wash along with some towels. The towels act as "scrub brushes", whisking away accumulated grime. Your liner will look like new!

* Our daughter-in-law, Christy, recently shared this recipe for ant killer with me and it really works! Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon of 20 Mule Team Borax together. Pour solution into old jar lids or other shallow containers and place where you've seen ants. At first they gather by the droves, but in just a few short days, no more ants!

* To freeze individual servings of uncooked meat or chicken, place the food on waxed paper-lined baking sheets, making sure pieces are not touching one another. Freeze the items, uncovered, until firm. Wrap frozen pieces in freezer paper or heavy-duty foil or transfer to freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Label each package and include the date. Properly packaged, most meats can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

* To keep fresh herbs fresh longer wrap in slightly dampened paper towels and sealed in a plastic bag. They should keep fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

* Keep lumps from forming in granulated sugar by putting a few unsalted crackers in the canister; they'll absorb any moisture.

* Keep your celery from going limp by wrapping it in aluminum foil before putting in the refrigerator. It will keep for weeks.

* To keep your outdoor garbage can smelling good, sprinkle a layer of fresh kitty litter in the bottom to absorb unpleasant odors.

* Before reaching for tweezers or a needle, put a piece of Scotch tape over the splinter and then pull the tape off. Most splinters come right out.

* To save money when traveling take your own snacks and bottled water. These items are very expensive when purchased at convenience stores and gas stations along the way.

* Order checks and deposit tickets from reputable, less-expensive third-party printers such as or

* Pay half your mortgage every two weeks. At the end of the year, you'll have made two extra payments.

* Inspect ductwork and pipes going in and out of your home. Seal any holes with insulation or weather stripping to lower cooling costs.

* To help lower energy costs in your home line the windows on the south and west-facing sides of your home with aluminum foil.

* Close the blinds at night to keep the heat out and the cool in.
* When cutting or pruning roses, use an old pair of barbecue tongs to grasp the branches and keep hands and clothes thorn free.

* Harvest homegrown herbs before the plants begin to flower. Picking leaves regularly encourages herb plants to grow.

* To repel mosquitoes outdoors, tuck sprigs of mint under the rim of your garden hat.

* Nasturtiums, spearmint or radishes planted near squash plants will act as a natural insecticide.

* Old school backpacks make great garden helpers. Use one to hold gloves, trowels, shears, and other supplies. What you need will always be with you as you move through the garden. Plus, you'll
always know where your tools are.

* Use masking or duct tape to quickly and easily remove ticks. Just tear off a piece and dab the sticky side onto the little critter. This method quickly captures them.

* Increase circulation by tapping your face with two fingers.

* Put the brakes on oil overload by brushing your face with pure lemon juice (contains astringent and antiseptic properties) using a clean makeup brush. Let it set for 5 minutes, then rinse. It is better to
do this before bed since the citric acid may cause temporary redness.

* Banish breakouts by combining one part tea tree oil (available at health-food stores) with 10 parts bottled spring water. Dip a cotton ball into mixture and sweep over face after cleansing before bed.
(Tea tree oil kills bacteria and acts as an antiseptic.)

* To correct hidden dryness combine 1 egg (firms skin) with 1 tsp. honey (locks in moisture) and 2 tbs. Olive oil (to soften); smooth onto clean dry skin. Let set 10 minutes; remove with a warm washcloth.

* To deep clean skin and to help prevent and facilitate the removal of blackheads add 3 drops of an astringent essential oil such as lemon or peppermint to 4 cups boiling water. Pour into a bowl and tent a towel over your head, holding your face about 8 inches away from the bowl. Allow steam to penetrate 5 minutes.

* Soothe summer-sensitive skin by trying this at-home facial: Rub 2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt (cools and sooths) into skin. Let set 5 minutes; rinse with cool water. Fill an empty spray bottle with cooled chamomile tea (calms the skin and reduces redness) and mist face; let dry. Follow with an unscented, sensitive-skin moisturizer.
* SUMMER IS POPSICLE SEASON! Try some of these interesting, inexpensive, and oftentimes healthful ideas for creating homemade Popsicles…

- Left over Jell-O
- Plain yogurt with a little jam mixed in for flavor
- Apple, grape, orange, or any other juice
- Fruit and chocolate syrup
- Cranberry sauce
- Applesauce
- Kool-aide
- Pudding


(Note: The longer you store the bubble solution the better it works. You might want to prepare it weeks or even months in advance for a special event.)

9 parts water
1 part Joy dishwashing liquid
½ part glycerin


Save coffee cans. Cut off tops and bottoms. Hammer the edges smooth. Dip cans in a pan of bubble solution and wave through the air. Have a contest for the biggest bubble, smallest bubble, and the bubble that floats the highest.


- Observe an anthill for 15 minutes. Draw what you observed.
- Grow a garden in a jar.
- Start a rock or a seashell collection.
- Visit a nature center with your family.
- Go on a bird hike. See how many different kinds of birds you can observe. Can you make their calls?
-Take a survey of the wildlife in your neighborhood or around your house. Look closely and note what plants are growing on walls, guttering, window ledges, and on the bark of trees. Look amongst
foliage for animal life, and put out traps and sticky jam jars half full of water to sample the insect life. Enter your findings in a notebook.
- Grow a sweet potato vine by taking a sweet potato, inserting 4 toothpicks into each side of it about half way round its middle, then put the bottom part of the potato in a jar of water and keep it filled. Soon your sweet potato will put on fine hair-like roots, and then it will be begin growing a lovely vine plant for your mother's kitchen window.
- Collect fireflies in a jar, observe them for a short time, and then release them.
- Cut a flower in half and observe its parts. Can you name them?
- Visit a beekeeper and find out how honey is made.
- Start a nature journal. Record all of the lovely things that you observe in God's creation.
- On warm summer evenings look for bats flying around your neighborhood.
- Observe insects hovering around a light at night. Record three different kinds of insects observed by drawing them in your nature journal or notebook.
- If you live near the beach explore a tide pool and see how many plants and animals you can find living in it. Can you identify them?
Celebrate America's greatness by trying some of the following ideas this 4th of July:

* Have a backyard barbecue and invite over your neighbors or extended family.

* Have a blast at your picnic by putting out table crackers, which look like giant firecrackers, but are actually tubes filled with treats. Save cardboard from paper towel rolls, and cover the tubes with red tissue paper. Before sealing both ends, fill with such things as printed out patriotic sayings, small red, white, and blue toys, foil-wrapped candies, or other treats (use your imagination). Seal ends, adding a piece of gold starred and glittered wire garland on top for fuse.

* Layer pre-made blueberry Jell-O, Cool Whip Topping, and strawberry Jell-O in clear Solo cups. Top with a dollop of Cool Whip. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

* Put a patriotic spin on party games. For example, pin the name of an American icon on the back of each guest's shirt. Choose important people, places, symbols…even quotes found throughout our country's early history. For example…Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Francis Scott Key, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, Philadelphia, Boston, the Old North Church, Constitution Hall, the American eagle, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, "One if by land and two if by sea!", "Give me liberty or give me death!", "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.", etc. Get creative with your selections and have fun!

* Give small children large pieces of bubble wrap to stomp on. When they stomp…it sounds like firecrackers going off. The kids love it and…just think…no mess, no smell, and no danger!

* Plant red, white, and blue flowers in your flowerbeds and window boxes. Things like petunias, impatiens, salvia, alyssum, and ageratum work well. If you have enough space, and the ambition, plant them to resemble a flag!

* Fly your flag!

* Make Minuteman Ice Cream Sandwiches by spooning ½ cup vanilla ice cream between 2 chocolate wafer cookies. Roll edges in red, white, and blue sprinkles. Freeze until serving.

*Attend parades and local firework displays in your area.

* Make an American Berry No Bake Cheesecake.


(Prep time 15 minutes plus refrigerating.)

2 packages (8 oz. Each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/3-cup sugar
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping thawed, divided
1 graham cracker piecrust
strawberry halves and blueberries

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Spread Cool Whip on top. Arrange berries in rows to resemble flag.


Photo Credit - The Simple Farm


*  When buying watermelon, check for ripeness by looking for a buttery yellow underside. Avoid melons with soft spots or bruises. Depending on the variety the color of the rind may vary from deep emerald green to grayish green to various shades of green with stripes

* Uncut watermelons can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

* Keep fresh-cut watermelon in an airtight container.

* Don't chop watermelon too finely or it will lose its texture and turn mushy.


Fresh from the garden and hot from the oven! One of our favorite summer time treats are Margarita pizzas (named after the queen of Spain for whom it was first made), and they're so easy to make!
Make crust (1 c. warm water, 1 pkg or 2 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. salt, 2 T. olive oil, 2 1/2 c. flour) and spread in a pizza pan that has been drizzled with olive oil.
Top with fresh, sliced meaty tomatoes, a handful of chopped, fresh basil leaves, and cheese (provolone slices or shredded mozzarella).
Bake in a 450 degree oven until cheese is brown and bubbly. Enjoy!
(A family favorite!)

¼ cup canned crushed or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1pound ground turkey
8 slices Italian bread, toasted in oven
4 slices mozzarella cheese
½ cup meatless spaghetti sauce, warmed

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into four ¾-inch-thick oval-shaped patties. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting
the grill. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat (I use my indoor grill.) for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Place each patty on a slice of bread; top with cheese slice and spaghetti sauce and another slice of bread. Makes 4 servings.


1 cup soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-teaspoon garlic powder
1-teaspoon ground ginger
Meat of choice (chicken, beef, or pork) cut into 1-inch pieces
Assortment of vegetables (green pepper, red pepper, mushrooms, pearl onions, etc) cut into 1-inch pieces
wooden skewers that have been soaked in water

Cut up meat and put into a gallon zip-lock freezer bag. Cut up vegetables and put into a separate zip-lock freezer bag. Mix together first 4 ingredients. Pour half of the marinade over meat; pour the
other half over vegetables. Seal freezer bags and refrigerate on sides for at least 4 hours, turning bags over occasionally. When ready to grill drain marinade, then thread meat and vegetables alternately on skewers. Grill on outdoor or indoor grill until meat is done and vegetables are tender.

Assortment of fruit (grapes, cantaloupe, blueberries, red
raspberries, watermelon, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, etc) cut into
1-inch pieces
Wooden skewers

Thread fruit alternately on wooden skewers and chill until ready to serve. If you use bananas, be sure and dip slices into lemon juice before threading.


Slice zucchini into 1/8" slices; roll in flour and fry in olive or canola oil until brown on both sides and tender, season with salt and pepper. Layer cooked zucchini in casserole dish, alternating with slices of American or Mozzarella cheese slices…ending with cheese on top. Keep warm until ready to serve. Very good!
(My friend, Cathy, recently shared a piece of this delicious summertime pie...and her recipe (smile)...with me and, with her permission, I am passing her recipe along to you. Thanks, Cathy! <3)
1 baked pie shell
1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 small box strawberry Jell-O
Fill the pre-baked pie shell with the fresh strawberries. Mix water, sugar, cornstarch, and Jell-O together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, cool, and pour over strawberries. Chill pie until ready to serve. Top with Cool Whip, if desired.

8 to 10 whole graham crackers
1 package fudge brownie mix
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1-cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped peanuts

Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Spread over crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30
minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts. Bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows are slightly puffed and golden brown. Cool before cutting. Yield: 2 dozen.


…home canning tips and recipes! If you don't mind me sharing your tip or recipe in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME just send it to me at: Please put "CANNING TIPS AND RECIPES" on the subject line. Thank you!
Well, dear friends, that's it for this month. I pray that you have a wonderful 4th of July and a fun and safe summer ahead. God bless you, your precious family, and your home. Until next time…

Love and Hugs,

1 comment:

  1. Hello from Kansas.
    The Italian Turkey Burger is coming to my house. This sounds delicious to me.
    Ground turkey is popular around here.

    Sweet blessings,


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