Saturday, July 1, 2017

HEARTH AND HOME Newsletter - July 2017

Greetings, Dear Friends!

Welcome to the July 2017 issue of Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME newsletter! I pray that this issue finds you healthy, happy, serving the Lord with gladness, and enjoying all that the summer season has to offer!

In January of 2017 I shared a bit about this newsletter's history and expressed my desire to get back to publication. At that time I could not promise that future issues would be very large in content or published on a monthly basis, but I did promise to get an issue out on an as-consistent-basis-as-possible in the months ahead. While it's not the track record that I had hoped to achieve by this point, this is the second issue of HEARTH AND HOME published in 2017, which is definitely an improvement over the past several years. Thank you for bearing with me in my inconsistencies and for giving me grace when I need it...which is often. 

Having said all that now...please...grab a tall glass of something cool, then sit back and join me for another issue of Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME...


* Meat slices easier if it's partially frozen.

* You can peel garlic faster if you mash them lightly with the side of the blade of a chef's knife.

* You can save a lot of money on groceries by simply Googleing PriceMATCHERZ for your local area and add-matching at Walmart. 

* Time yourself by setting a timer. It's amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes.

* Turn your unused bread crusts or not-quite-fresh bread and crackers into crumbs by using your blender. Use your crumbs in stuffing, casseroles, meatloaf, and meatballs.

* To get more juice out of a lemon, place it in a microwave oven for 30 seconds. Squeeze the lemon and you will get twice as much juice. Vitamins won't be destroyed.

* To keep olives or pimentos from spoiling, cover them with a brine solution of one teaspoonful of salt to one cup of water. Float just enough vegetable or olive oil over the top to form a layer about 1/8-inch thick. Store in the refrigerator.


A Beetle On A Coneflower In Our Front Yard

With summer comes plenty of bugs. Try these tips to discourage unwelcome guests in and around your home:

* To prevent meal worms from infesting flour, cereal, or grain place in clean containers along with a dried bay leaf or two.

* To moth-proof garments make sachets of dried rosemary and mint. Hang in closets.

* To repel fruit flies around the fruit bowl, scatter some fresh basil or bay leaves among the fruit.

* To rid plants of spider mites spray with a solution of 2 tablespoons biodegradable liquid detergent to a gallon of water. Thoroughly saturate leaves.

* To discourage flies from entering your home, hang bunches of bay, pennyroyal, mint, or eucalyptus leaves near windows and doors that are often open.

* To get rid of mosquitoes get rid of all standing water outside. Check gutters and look for containers that may have collected water.


Here in southwest Missouri we have been enjoying warm days and cool nights, which means we haven't had to run the air conditioning as much as we normally do at this time of the year (and obviously, summer has just started, so I imagine that that will change), but, in many areas, keeping cool in summer can cost more than keeping warm in winter. Here are some things that you can do to hold down air conditioning costs no matter where you live...

#1. Watch your degree of comfort. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or above. A setting of 78 instead of 73 saves 20 to 25% of your AC operating costs.

#2. Keep the cool air inside. Close doors and windows. Check the weather-stripping. Seal up cracks. Insulate. These measures will help cut heating costs in the winter as well.

#3. Don't block vents. Move furniture away from vents and window units. Trim shrubbery outside, too.

#4. Close drapes or blinds. This helps keep the sun's heat out. Solar screens and shades can also effectively block a large amount of the sun's heat before it enters your home. (We go so far as to cover our windows with foil in the least the top half...and shiney side against the glass. It completely blocks the sun.)

#5. Check your filters. Do this once a month during cooling season. Vacuum or replace them as necessary.

#6. Grow deciduous trees. Plant them where they will shade your house from the sun's hottest rays in the summer and let warming sun through in the winter.

#7. Check the EER before you buy. Some systems use less energy than others...sometimes only half as much. Find the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the yellow energy-guide label. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. An EER of 10 will consume half the energy of a similar unit rated at 5.

(These tips were taken from Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute Home and Family Organizer.)


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.

* Did you know that eating watermelon improves cardiovascular health, soothes the tummy, reduces blood pressure and improves circulation, reduces inflammation, treats kidney stones and acne, and cures constipation? Read more about the health benefits of watermelon, find fun ways to serve watermelon this summer, and get a free recipe for fresh fruit popsicles by clicking here


Here are more cool treats that you can make to sweeten up your summer...


- 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.

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.


1 small can frozen limeade (or, if you want lemon, you can use lemonade)
1 8-oz. carton Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

Beat ingredients together and whip until fluffy. Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust and freeze until ready to serve. You may refreeze leftovers.

(makes about 6 cups)

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
3/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
4 cups cold water
1 lemon, sliced
ice cubes

Combine lemon juice and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar. Add water, lemon slices, and ice cubes; stir until well blended. Serve in tall glasses over ice.

SUMMER IS POPSICLE SEASONTry 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

Well...that's it for this time! Enjoy your summer and have a Happy 4th of July! I'll see you again soon!

Until Next Time...

Related posts and other posts that might be of interest:

Rebecca's Hearth and Home Newsletter - January 2017

Hens, Hot Weather, And a Homemade Electrolyte Recipe

Please read Rebecca's Hearth and Home Blog online @ and, if it has touched or inspired you in some way, please, leave a comment and let me know. I love hearing from my readers! 


  1. I enjoyed your newsletter Rebecca! What a great assortment of wonderful tips! I have some lemons on hand that need used up, I think I will make the lemonade recipe you shared! Blessings :)

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Marilyn! Let me know how the lemonade turns out. I'm sure it will be delicious! Have a wonderful Independence Day! <3


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