Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trip to the Amish Store

Over the weekend, we took a trip to see family... and on the way, we went through some Amish country... what fun to see the horses and buggies...  and scenery that we are not used to seeing here in the city.

We were headed to the Amish store... I love to go the Amish store or Dutch market once or twice a year, when I can.  They are a LONG ways away from us, so I can't go often. 
I love the rolling hills, the farms, the country scenery.... and the Amish horses and buggies...   It is delightful to see scenery that we don't see at home... and it feels so relaxing to drive through the area. :)

I really appreciate going to the Amish store...  I like to stock up on things while I am there since we seldom go.

The man who checks us out greeted us enthusiastically when we entered... he is always so friendly and personable... and we love seeing him and visiting him.  It is nice to be remembered each time we visit. :)
The homemade jams and jellies are beautiful, but I never buy those.... I need to save money and I can make them cheaper here at home or buy them cheaper elsewhere.

We used to buy raw milk from Amish farmers in the area, but haven't for a long time... they are just too far for us to drive. Oh, how we miss that wonderful milk that still has all of the enzymes in it. They sold it at a great price... it is available a little near the city... but the price is too high for me. We saw the Fresh Milk for sale sign in the Amish store... and would have loved to get some, but there was no room because of the trip... and I hadn't brought my gallon glass jars either, so we didn't.

There are so many wonderful bulk foods and supplies to buy, though... and it is hard to zip through this place... it takes time and there is so much to look at.:)

Sometimes it can be hard to see the prices and names on the bottom shelves. The Amish store doesn't have electricity... they do have lots of windows and will light gas lanterns when it is very overcast and darker outside. Still, the light sometimes seems too faint for my eyes to decipher the small prices and names since I am so used to electric lights. :)   When I visited a different Amish store and had even more trouble seeing some items, I asked the man if he would be offended if I used a flashlight in there... he laughed and said he wouldn't be offended. I have never needed to use one since then, but it is nice to know I could if it was needed. :)

I love to get herbs, spices and seeds here....  and I stock up on tumeric and other items I do not grow and process at home.  I buy no-msg chicken broth, cardamom, and various other items. What a blessing.

Some items are constant-they always have them... others come and go... like certain herbs or bulk teas or garden seeds. This year they had added a greenhouse and had plants... but with our trip and not much room in the vehicle, I didn't buy any. That was hard... especially since all of the plants were 10% off for the holiday. :)

I have found blackstrap molasses at a good price here and I was so glad to be able to get it here again - I have still been buying it, but have been spending a bit more at the health food store.

I also love to buy some of their bulk herbs to keep my supply up. Many times, I buy 50 pound bags of flour and oats, but we had no room on this trip.
We also go to another store about 100 miles away... on the same trip...
The Mennonite store is similar to the Amish store... they are similar and yet different...  and there are certain things I like to get at one... and other things at the other. The Amish store is cheaper on the bulk herb and spice items... and some other things. The Mennonite store has some mainstream grocery items that are reduced... I love to get jams there... and usually spend about $1.25/jar... even for the fruit only or low-sugar ones. They also have the mainstream brands which I will buy sometimes. I like to buy granola bars here... also boxed  teas... and more. I do have to be careful to check the dates on the packaged items at this store as the reduced groceries can be out of date. I will use some items out of date, but certain items need to be in date for me to buy them.  I also like the containers used for the bulk herb and spice section at the Mennonite store better... the containers are sturdier and better for being re-used.

 This aisle is the favorite one for my husband. :)  It is his favorite in BOTH of the stores! :)
It's the candy aisle.... he rarely buys anything in this aisle.. because it is too high priced, but he loves to look at it. :) Actually, my kids love to gravitate to this aisle as well!!

Shopping at these stores is helpful for keeping our budget low...  and I love to get yogurt there... this time, they were out. I was shocked at how full and busy the stores were this weekend... and I hope I never go on a Saturday again!  :)

Do you shop at Amish or Mennonite stores in your area? Do you find them to be helpful for you?  I hope you have a great week.... thank you for visiting my blog today. :)

You may also enjoy this post:

10 Tips For Shopping At Amish or Mennonite Stores

#Amish  #herbs #savemoney  #country #TipsForShoppingAmishStores

Monday, May 18, 2015

Simple Birthday Treasure Hunt

In our home, we celebrate birthdays... but we do not have huge celebrations... and we do not spend a lot of money on our celebrating. We do a few simple things that mean something.... and this daughter LOVES having a birthday treasure hunt. :)

 It isn't elaborate...  I just use some small papers - maybe 3" x 3"... and I write Happy Birthday on them...  I use various markers and lettering... maybe some stickers or other messages.

The paper is usually pink because... she LOVES pink! :)

I used to use yellow post-it notes so we could stick them to the walls, mirrors and other places.  Since we have to hide them multiple times, the "sticky" wore off too quickly... now I use regular paper and cut it up... then use tape... just one small piece on the top. Easy.  :)

I like to have these all done and in place before she gets up in the morning... and she loves hunting for these notes.  This year, I made 36 of them... and I think that is about what we did last year.

I started this many years ago, with just a couple of notes.. on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. It was so well-received that I kept adding them until I am doing 36. Why 36? Well, because I pulled out 3 sheets and cut then into 12 each... not because I planned that, but because that is what I grabbed.  :)  I was in a rush to get this done before she got up and I was glad for my husband's help as he wrote a few of them and hid many of them.

 These are such a big deal to her...and the notes from last year have remained on her bedroom wall ALL YEAR long and will be removed so this year's notes can go up. :)

I thought that this year, she may be too old for this, so I wasn't sure if to do it or not... I'm glad we did as she still LOVES it and we ended up hiding the notes 5 or 6 times.  The whole family got in on hiding them.

She had a place on the dining room wall where she collected them and kept counting them and going to look for more..... 

A few times, her brothers took a few from the wall... and hid them again before she was done...   :) 

These were hidden in many rooms... a few even made it outside.

We have had to get more creative in hiding these... I have always put them where at least a bit of the note was showing, without totally obscuring it, but this year, her brothers challenged her more... they totally hid them... in cupboards, under pictures and more. She loved it. 

I am so thankful that all of the family gets involved in such a simple little game...  a game that goes on throughout a day or two around her birthday. It isn't an "official" party....  it is just loving her and having fun with her.

She had trouble finding a couple of them... but she kept looking... sometimes I would tell her there was still one in a certain room.

Her dad wrote a few of the notes... and of course, he helped to hide them.  :)

I think we will probably continue our simple birthday treasure hunt... at least for her.... until she tires of it, which may be a few more years yet.

We are building memories...  and that is quite special.  :)  I am so glad we have never done elaborate or expensive parties...  and I am glad our kids have learned to enjoy these simple birthday fun times.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. :)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Early Morning Walk In the Garden.....

I looked out the window this morning to see some early morning fog... not much, but enough to draw my attention.

I decided to go out and enjoy an early morning walk in the garden... it was peaceful... and lovely...... I hope you will join me and see some of the things I saw...

  I stood on the deck to drink my tea for a bit first... and the scenes were pretty... the bird songs were hushed, but present... the sky was lightening as dawn was breaking... the air was pleasantly cool and damp from the heavy dew...

Having just spent time with the Lord and reading His Word... made the hushed morning time all the more special.

The colors of a sunrise change subtly but continually....  and they are a joy to watch.

My soul can't help but thank God for His beautiful creation as I see the soft colors of the sky.

This brown thrasher kept me company for a bit as I watched him busily searching for... whatever he was searching for. :)

The sky continued to change... and lighten. 

 The dew on the plants created pleasing designs....

 This catbird was searching through one of the herb gardens.....

After taking one last look out at the beautiful early morning scene, it was time to go inside and get to work... and finish my tea. The walk was peaceful and encouraging... and helped me to put off the effects of a night without much sleep.... and  feel more prepared to do all of the things I need to do today. I will be better able to minister to my family after such a time.

Thank you for taking an early morning stroll with me. What a refreshing time spent in the garden, talking with the Lord.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Small Garden-Part 7-Plant Labels

For several years, I have wanted to add name tags to my herbs in the garden. I wanted them so my family can learn what the herbs are and also because sometimes I get specialized herbs... and I forget what they are. :)

I have had different ideas.. and have seen things on Pinterest, but nothing looked like something I wanted to do either because of time and effort required... or the expense.

Recently, I decided to tackle this project, using an old mini blind shade. This is one we are not going to use again... and rather than throw it away, I decided to use it.

You can see at the bottom that I have cut the strings... the bottom section was cleaner. I took out 3 of the slats.

Here are the 3 slats... and I have started cutting them up. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do this, so some experimenting happened.
 I have a set of jewelry tools... I know this isn't really what they are for, but it is what I had, so I got those out.

I have been surprised how handy this set of jewelry tools has been for me... I bought them on sale for about $10.00 new... and I have been so glad to have them. :)

I also decided to use some heavier wire... this is #18 gauge galvanized utility wire.  I had bought a pound of it at a garage sale and it seemed perfect for this task.

 The one on the right is my first attempt at making this... and I think the rest are definitely improvements. :)

On the first one I did, I used the backside of the slat so that it was scooped...  that is the comfrey tag.

On the echinacea tag, I turned it so that the rounded part is what I write on... and I like it a lot better this way.

Step 1: Using scissors, cut slat piece to about 3".

Step 2: Cut the corners off

Step 3: Use hole punch to punch 2 holes at each end, as shown.

Step 4: Using a black permanent marker (A Sharpie works great), draw a simple border.

Step 5: Write the name of the plant

 Step 6: Using wire cutters, cut 18 gauge wire to about 15" length.

Step 7: Bend wire at 6" (90 degree angle)

Step 8: Make another 90 degree bend in the wire.... measure by looking at one of your slat/tags.

Step 9: Starting with long end, feed it into the tag... from the BACK of the tag. Do the same with the short end, when you get to that point.

 Step 10:  Lay tag with the backside up.... bend both wires ... once at corner, then again in middle to go down.

Step 11: Twist wire. This can be done with your fingers or pliers.

Step 12: The tag/sign will be flat... it can be used this way... or it can be adjusted (this is what I do), so that it faces upward a bit.

I like it this way so that a person who is standing in the garden can read it without having to bend down.

That's it... since the wire is quite stiff... it pushes into the garden quite well... it will bend, so push carefully.

As the patch of herbs grows, it will be easy to move the tag, if necessary. 

I have 2 kinds of thyme, so I am glad to label them both. 

I actually have 3 or 4 stands of yarrow around the yard... I'm not sure if I will label all of them or not. We'll see.

I also have basil in 2 places... this is the newest area... just transplanted a couple of days ago from another larger planting in the garden.

I hope to get some different lavenders also... I am thinking I will probably name the kind of lavender on the tag.. and maybe even the hardiness rating, so I know if I need to overwinter it in the house or not. 

 I hope to have a lot of borage this year. :)

The comfrey is new this year from a friend... I use a lot of comfrey, so I am excited to have it in my garden. :)

I don't know how long these will last... maybe only one season, maybe 2 or more, but I am so thankful to have the labels started.

Eventually, I would like to make these tags for rows of carrots, beets, radishes, peas and other veggies. It would be helpful to mark the rows until the plants come up. I would plan to take them in and re-use them the next year.

I love going to professional gardens that have their plants labeled.. that has helped me to identify some of my plants. What a treat to have my own labels now.

Thank you for visiting... I hope you found this information helpful.

     The Small Garden Series:
Small Garden-Part 1-Crop Rotation 

Small Garden-Part 2-Growing UP

Small Garden-Part 3-More Beds

Small Garden-Part 4-Companion Planting

Small Garden-Part 5-Signs

Small Garden-Part 6-Paths

Small Garden-Part 7-Plant Labels

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