Cloth Diaper Sweepstakes  

Win a Bum Genius Starter Kit in the "Beat the Heat!" Contest!

No purchase necessary to enter & win! Just got to and answer the question "How do you beat the heat?" by midnight on July 31, 2008. Winner will be picked at random from all entries.

The winner will be announced by email to all entrants on or before August 10, 2008.

Winner will receive: 18 bumGenius diapers, a diaper sprayer, a dozen cloth wipes, and bottle of odor remover OR a gift certificate to the Nature's Child of comparable value ($250) that will be honored either online or in their brick & mortar location in Charlottesville, VA.

A Bee in My Bonnet  

The blog will be a mess for a few days... Please, bear with me as I attempt to redecorate the place (i.e. play around with the code to see what happens).


Scentsational Gardenias  

Stand anywhere in my yard. Take a DEEP breath.... Hhhhmmmmm... smell that? That intoxicating fragrance is coming from my Gardenia bush. I only have one, but the breeze carries the sent all over the yard.

Gardenias From My Front Yard
I wondered if Gardenias had any medicinal value, as I tend to believe that most plants do. So I looked it up...

Chinese herbal medicine makes the most extensive use of the gardenia. Its Chinese name is zhi zi. The traditional medicinal actions attributed to gardenia include calming irritability; cooling blood and clearing away heat (a yin/yang imbalance often characterized by deficient yin); reducing swelling; and moving stagnant blood that has congealed in one place, usually following trauma. Gardenia is considered to be very effective as a hemostatic agent, which means that it stops bleeding; and also effective in treating injuries to the muscles, joints, and tendons. Gardenia is commonly used in Chinese herbal formulas to treat infections, particularly bladder infections; abscesses; jaundice; and blood in the urine, sputum, or stool. Because of its perceived ability to ease agitation or irritability, it is also used in formulas to treat anxiety or insomnia. It is also helpful in correcting menopausal imbalances reflected in insomnia and depression, nervous tension, headache, and dizziness.

The United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service phytochemical and ethnobotanical database lists the following species of gardenia as having specific medicinal properties:

Gardenia gummifera. This species can be helpful in treating digestive problems, including dyspepsia and diarrhea; or used as an astringent and expectorant for nervous conditions and spasms.

Gardenia storckii. This variety can be used in treating constipation.

Gardenia lucida. This gardenia has antiseptic properties that can kill both bacteria and insects.

Gardenia pseudopsidium. This species has been used to treat smallpox.

Gardenia jasminoides. This gardenia has been found to be helpful in the treatment of pain, nose bleeds, fever, and influenza; in healing wounds and reducing swelling; and in treating mastitis, hepatitis and the hematuria that accompanies bladder infection.

Gardenia augusta. This variety has shown effectiveness in the treatment of headaches, fever, delirium, mastitis, and jaundice related to liver problems.

Gardenia campanulata. This plant is used in healing wounds, burns, and scalds; in reducing swelling; as a treatment for fever and influenza; in treating jaundice associated with liver problems; and in stopping bleeding.

Gardenia labifolia.This gardenia has been found effective in treating the bites of certain snakes.

The kernel within the gardenia berry is often removed for use in herbal poultices put on sports injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles, or inflammation of nerves. The use of gardenia poultices is particularly common in Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese practitioners make a paste of the herb with flour and wine. The powdered berry is given in both and capsules. When gardenia is used to stop bleeding it is usually burned before it is simmered in water.

Chinese herbalists state that gardenia should not be used when there is cold deficiency (watery) diarrhea present.

Side Effects
Gardenia has laxative properties, and can cause loose stools when taken frequently or in large amounts.
I have really been enjoying the scented flowers this season. First came the honeysuckle down by the road. Then my dog rose bloomed for the first time since we transplanted it a few years ago. But the Gardenia has got to be one of my favorite fragrances. It takes me back to my childhood... bursting through the door of Granny Trudy's house, out into the yard to play, hearing the screen door slam behind me, running past the blue and green Hydrangeas, and taking in the wonderful smell of Sweet Shrubs and Gardenias in bloom.

But unlike Sweet Shrubs, Gardenias not only smell good, the blooms are big and beautiful and can be packed together for an attention-getting arrangement on your dinning room table. (I'm enjoying them now, as sit and type this --hmm, the whole house smells wonderful.)

This old-fashioned flower may not only hold a lot of good memories for me, but also a lot of new uses!


Proud Momma Has Piano Photos  

Sweetpea learning to play the piano.

Sweetpea, on stage, playing the grand piano.

Useful & FREE Sewing Patterns or Instructions  

Here are instructions for making a diaper bag.

How to make a baby romper (onesie) from a t-shirt.

Instructions for making a newborn footed sleeper.

Here's a pattern for a footless sleeper for a preemie (4 to 6 lbs).

Instructions for using a towel to make a bath robe for a baby.

Adult bath robe from towels.

How to make a t-shirt dress.,1789,HGTV_3256_1371470,00.html

Baby Booties

A different kind of baby booties.
Click Here

Great instructions on how to bind a quilt

Really nice headbands

Instructions for Peasant Skirt

Simple baby quilt (three for one --very easy --although, you do need specialized quilting tools)

Hand Towel Bib

Proud Redneck Momma Has Photos  

Muddin' with the 4Wheeler!

Muddy Rooster! LOL!

Show and Tell  

While I'm waiting for pickle to wake up from his nap so we can go to the library, I figured I'd post some photos I took at my parents house yesterday. They have an emerald isle, secreted away, in a sea of subdivisions. And they really make the most of their little paradise. They have planted a veggie garden, grape vines, fig, peach, apple, and pear trees, blueberry bushes, flowers and greenery galore, a weeping willow, a corkscrew willow, and numerous other trees and shrubs. Needless to say it is beautiful! Here's a small glimpse of what you'd find there, if you were to stop by for a visit (click on the photos for a better view)...

Willow trees and garden


This pretty fellow

Young figs with...

Grape vine in the background

The fountain/bird bath

The birds

An odd fall leaf in Spring?

Can you find the toad? He's staying cool by half burying himself in a shady spot.

Here he is!

Hey, Honey...  



(What about the grumpy dads --we don't have "Unhappy Fathers" Day?)

Butt Cover Update  

I made the flats (though they still need the stitching around the edge).

Mac N Cheese / Chili Mac  

Well apparently there are different opinions on just what constitutes "Chili Mac". Some say it's just chili and pasta... to me, that's Beefaroni. Around our house Chili Mac is macaroni and cheese with chili. I mentioned it in my post on Chili last month. So I thought I'd give you my mac and cheese recipe to go with that, and a pic of the finished Chili Mac.


2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1-3/4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (you can use Parmesan if you want)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Sharp or Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain, drizzle with a little oil or butter, and toss (to keep it from sticking together).

In a saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour, and cook for a minute. Add milk and whisk 'til smooth. Add sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, 'til it starts to thicken. Add the Cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Fold in macaroni and pour into serving dish.

At this point, to make Chili Mac, I dollop the chili over the top and gently "swirl" it in. You can serve it now or sprinkle a little more cheese on top and stick it in the oven 'til the cheese is melted.

Another Leftover Makeover  

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes just go together. And if you have any leftover, this is what you can do with them (Granny Trudy showed me this). It's so simple --this will be a short post.

If you have fried chicken strips, then just cut them into bite-sized pieces. If you have bone-in fried chicken, then pull it off the bone, trying to keep as much breading intact as you can (I also pull the crispy breading off the bones and add that to the meat). Then, cut it into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Put about 3 TBSP of butter in a skillet on medium heat. After butter melts, add 2 TBSP flour. [These measurements will depend on how much chicken you have.] Mix it together and let it cook for a minute. Stir in milk and/or chicken stock, depending on what you have. Keep stirring 'til smooth but don't let it start thickening yet. Add the chicken and gently stir 'til the gravy is thickened and chicken is warmed thru. Season to taste. Spoon over warmed mashed potatoes.


Elephant Garlic  

We dug our Elephant Garlic a few days ago. We didn't have a whole lot of it planted but we plan to turn around and plant cloves from all but the smallest bulbs next year. That way we can start to build up the amount of plants we have, from the same plants that we started with. These plants are kinda special to me 'cause they came from my grandparents garden and they have both passed on now.

Here are a couple pictures of one of the bulbs. Then I will tell you a little of what I found on the 'net about elephant garlic.

Elephant garlic is not a true garlic, it's really a leek that divides like a garlic. It has a milder, sweeter taste than American garlic and is sometimes called, "the garlic for people who don't like garlic".

Elephant garlic is pretty versatile in the kitchen. You can use it in dishes where you would normally use garlic. It is mild enough to use in dishes that would be overwhelmed by the strong flavor of regular garlic. And you can even slice it into 1/4 inch thick slabs, saute it in butter, and serve it as a vegetable.

When you dig fully mature elephant garlic you'll find some hard, little, yellowish, bulbets around the bottom. Some people call them bulbets and some call them corms. I don't know who's right but I'm calling them corms because most farmers call them that.

If you want, you can plant the corms right after you harvest the elephant garlic and they will form new plants. The first year, they make a round. A round is a small plant that has one solid bulb with no divisions. These can be eaten and I've read that they have a stronger garlic flavor than mature elephant garlic. If you don't eat them, they will come back the second year and form a mature plant with cloves.

If you can't plant the corms right away the "shell" will get quite hard and they will store 'til next year. Then score or nick the shell to allow water in and soak them overnight before planting.


My wonderful husband got a bonus at work and spent it on me!

He got me this!

It's a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor!

I've never had a food processor before!

I don't even know where to start!

Suggestions, please!

Is that enough exclaiming? : D


Capturing the Rapidly-Moving Cutie  

A Breakfast Fit for Princess  

I just wanted to brag on my Princess (SweetPea). She is learning to cook and one of the things we are doing is reading a book called The Mary Frances Cook Book, written by Jane Eayre Fryer in 1912. The author wrote several books about the Mary Frances character that were aimed at teaching children different skills. So, of course the cookbook is about learning to cook. You can read it online at

Here is one of the recipes, from that book, that SweetPea made...


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 slices toast

1. Make ready the toast.
2. Heat the milk until smoking hot.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
4. Throw the flour into the butter. Cook until it bubbles a little, stirring all the time. Take from the fire.
5. Pour 1/3 milk upon the butter and flour, a little at a time, stirring with the back of a spoon to press out the lumps.
6. Place over fire, and gradually stir in the remaining milk.

Of course, she did it on a modern stovetop so the process was a little different, but she has helped me in the kitchen often enough to figure it out.

Here's how her breakfast turned out:

And there was enough left for me to enjoy Creamed Eggs!

It's yet another idea I got from my online friend, HB. It basically consists of milk toast with chopped, boiled eggs in it. Very good. I really enjoy it and have it for breakfast pretty often (and sometimes for lunch).


Enchilada Recipes For Ms. Rose  

Hi Ms. Rose!
Sis told me you'd be popping in for some recipes so I thought I should post some.

Three Cheese Chicken Enchiladas
These are THE BEST!!! I got the recipe from Steph's Country Kitchen Goodness back before she bought into the "low fat is healthy" garbage and changed a lot of her recipes. But that's a rant for another day. LOL! These are soooo yummy!

1/3 cup olive oil
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (preferably yellow corn tortillas, but white corn will do)
2 (10 oz) cans red enchilada sauce
3 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Heat oven to 350°.

2. In 8-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. With tongs, dip each tortilla in hot oil, turning quickly to soften, about 3 seconds; set aside.

3. In large bowl, stir together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in salt, cumin and pepper. Stir in chicken, 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese and green onions.

4. Pour enchilada sauce in shallow dish (pie plate works well). Dip tortillas in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Place chicken mixture in tortilla; roll. Place tortillas, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle remaining Monterey Jack cheese over enchiladas and bake 3 minutes longer. Garnish with sour cream and/or guacamole, if desired.

Enchilada Pie
This is an enchilada casserole. It tastes good and is easier than regular enchiladas.

2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
1 (1-1/2 oz.) package taco seasoning mix [I make my own]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (14 oz.) package corn tortillas [again, yellow corn is better]
1 can cream of chicken soup [I make my own]
3/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine beef, onion and garlic powder in large skillet. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Add next 7 ingredients; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tear each tortilla into 8 pieces. Place half of tortilla pieces in a 9" x 13" pan, top with meat mixture. Arrange remaining tortilla pieces evenly over meat mixture.

Combine soup and milk in a small bowl, mixing well. Pour over tortillas. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top. Bake 350 for 45 minutes.

The Lost Episode...  

Ok, so really it's just the lost pictures from some of my previous posts. I finally found our camera (which had all the pics I had not downloaded yet) amongst the junk on the table near the front door. Actually, Bull found it and told me where it was, along with his new theory that everything we've ever lost is somewhere on that table.

Anyway, I'm adding photos to some of the old posts so take a look at Pineapple Coconut Pie, Gardening Goof, and The Chinese Food's Still Good to see what's been missing.

"The Chinese Food's Still Good, Honey."  

[Most of the things I post about food, are not recipes but concepts. No measurements. You just have to figure it out from what you have in your kitchen and what your family likes. What follows is along those lines. It's how I deal with leftover Chinese food. I hope it's helpful to someone.]

Bull (my husband --it's a term of endearment, honest!), brought home Chinese food the other day and, as usual, we had leftovers. There were two boxes of rice and a container of egg drop soup sitting in the fridge. When we eat Chinese food, these are the two things of which we always have extra, so let me tell you what I do with them.

If you have enough rice, you could make chicken and rice (that's right, from Chinese food to a classic Southern comfort food) and then use what's left to make a yummy soup. If not, then you could just make one or the other.

Boil some chicken and reserve the broth. Separate the meat from the bones, and pull the meat up into bite-sized pieces. Set aside half the chicken meat. Next, add the egg drop soup to the reserved broth.

That's just about it. Not much left to do but put it all together!

Now, put some chicken in a pot along with about 2/3 of the rice and enough broth to keep everything wet while it heats up. Season with salt, pepper, and whatever you like (we like hot sauce). Put everything else in the fridge for tomorrows supper.

The next day, chop up some carrots, onions, and whatever veggies you like in your chicken and rice soup, and saute them 'til softened. Add them to your pot of broth, along with the rest of the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Add the leftover rice (and any of the chicken and rice you may have left from the night before) and season to taste.


Gardening Goof  

I have a gardening tip for everyone... If the spot you want to plant in, has Bermuda grass growing in it, whatever you do, DON'T TILL IT!!!

Each and every little bitty piece of grass that was cut up and buried by the tiller, will sprout from both ends and you will NEVER get it out of your garden. For every one you pull, two buried ones will spring to life.


The grass has taken over my garden this year.

But next year I will know better. I searched the net and found what we should have done...

1. Mow the grass short.

2. During the hottest part of the day, spray grass with a combo of vinegar, orange oil, and molasses and let it sit in the sun for the rest of the day. Repeat if you need to.

The vinegar should be 10 to 20% and made from distilled grain alcohol - NOT acetic acid which is a petroleum derivative. The vinegar will kill the top growth. The orange oil is a surfactant. And the molasses 'causes bacterial bloom to rot the crowns of the grass.

3. Prevent regrowth by laying down THICK layers of wet newspaper (or cardboard), and leaves, compost, mulch, etc. (Lasagna Gardening style). Let it sit all winter and plant in spring.

4. Be diligent about weeding the boarder.


What in the World Does Yarb d'Farb Knarb Mean?!  

Yarb d'Farb Knarb \YARB-du-farb-narb\, exclamatory phrase: 1. No! Don't go there. 2. Stop! That's too far. 3. Hey! Come over here (where you belong).

Have you ever been near an electric fence? Growing up in the rural South, I have. Many times. The ones I encountered when I was young, had an almost inaudible hum about them that warned you (if you were paying attention) that you were about to cross into forbidden territory and you wouldn't like the consequences. I guess you could say there was electricity in the air. You could almost feel it.

Well, when I was young, our neighbor had a brahma bull that he kept in the field across the road from us. I had been warned by my parents about how mean that bull was and to never go near or tease him. But it didn't bother me to play at the end of our yard or walk down the road in front of his field because there was an electric fence and he never got too close to it.

The bull didn't understand the power behind the fence, nor did he fully understand that it was put there to protect him and others, but he had learned that there was a boundary. The promise of pain was enough to keep him on the safe side of that boundary.

When I was about 20, I had some friends who lived in town, in an apartment. They also owned a ferret. They wanted the ferret to be able to enjoy the great outdoors but they didn't want him to run away and get lost or killed. So they bought a leash. Have you ever seen a ferret on a leash? Well, if you've ever seen a two year old, in a sugar induced frenzy, with one of those kid harnesses on, then you've got a pretty good idea of what it was like.

The ferret would sniff the grass, take a few steps, something would catch its attention, and ZOOM! You could almost see a little puff of dust where the ferret had been just a second before, just like a cartoon. The owners would exclaim something to the effect of "No! Stop!". But the ferret would ignore the warning, continue on, and then he would suddenly come to end of his rope - literally. Ack!

After watching this play out for about the fiftieth time, one of my friends turned to me and said, "I know he doesn't understand English - to him it probably sounds like 'Yarb d'Farb Knarb!'. But you'd think he would learn that it was some kind of warning, and stop before he got to the ACK (making a choking motion)!

Hmmmm, I know there's a lesson for all of us in there somewhere.

But if you don't know God, then I need to tell you, that there are some serious boundaries He has set for you. Boundaries that you must not break through. They are spelled out in the Bible. He has given you many, many warnings. Are you paying attention to the hum in the air? If you ignore His warnings and break these boundaries, then when you get to the end of your life there will be a big ACK! waiting for you. God doesn't want that. Please see "Are You A Good Person?", or "Need God?" and take a quick test to see where you stand with God.

You may feel like you don't understand the Bible, or the God of the Bible. You don't have to understand everything, you just have to be willing to learn. And this is the beginning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.


More on Martins  

I think Purple Martins (Progne subis) have one of the most beautiful forms of any North American bird. The adults have black feathers with an iridescent purple sheen and their songs are quite beautiful and cheerful. I love to watch them in the evening as they fill the sky over our back yard, diving and swooping to catch flying insects (like the moths whose eggs turn into ravenous caterpillars in our garden).

I also appreciate them as a part of our American heritage. Some say that the Creek Indians were the first to utilize gourds to attract these extraordinary birds. And until a couple generations ago, every Southeastern farmer knew about Purple Martins and almost all of them made use of these fine feathered friends to reduce the insect population on their farms. These days, the overuse of chemical sprays makes the keeping of martins around the farmstead unlikely at best.

But over the generations, these former farmers' friends have become completely dependent on humans for housing. For this, and the above reasons, I wanted to encourage you to consider becoming a Purple Martin landlord.

Here are a few links for more info on these wonderful birds:

Purple Martin Conservation Association

Short video on Purple Martins in Brazil (where they spend the winter)

Another interesting video clip on Martins


P.S. A study of Purple Martins would make an interesting topic for homeschool!

The Ball Blue Gift-Away!  

Want to enjoy your garden bounty all year long? I sure do. So this year my mom and I are going to get in the kitchen and can it! I will be helping her, she will be teaching me, and we will both end up (hopefully) with some beautiful jars of tomatoes and pickles for our pantries.

I, however, do not have the equipment needed. Soooooo... I was very excited to find The Simple Woman's Cannery with the Ball Blue Gift-Away where Mrs. Peggy is gifting some luck person with a new Ball Blue Book of home preserving as well as a Ball Utensil Set.

Visit the link and take a look around.