My Kind of Flower Vase….

Hey Y’all!  I haven’t had any time recently to post … uh… at all… (bad blogger)!!  Today’s just the same.. however I wanted to sneak a minute and show off my latest creation….  upcycle.. whatever lingo you prefer…. anyways here it is! (yep… a shot glass)… works great when you don’t have long stems.  I just had to snip my first two lilies that bloomed! 🙂 I love star gazer lilies!  ok… let me know your thoughts!


Why I Carry… (And You Should Too)

The Judge

How many of you love Aaron Lewis’ song Country Boy? I DO!! I DO!!     Yes, I absolutely love that song. I truly identify with most of it.      Today I’m going to focus on one part of the song:


  • “I never leave my house without my 9 or 45….”

My new favorite gun is my 45 caliber revolver. I must have done something right last year, because I was one lucky gal Christmas morning. Santa was good to me! One of my gifts was the gun I’d been interested in since the first time I saw a commercial for it a few years ago. It’s The Judge.  I’m not sure if it’s the fact that it’s a revolver that I love but it is great.  I highly recommend it for any and every woman.

Why I Carry

Picture This:

  • ….It’s dark, a woman is walking to her car in a dimly lit (seemingly) empty parking garage… and just as she nears her car and fumbles for her keys, three burly men creep out from behind the dark corner… (there’s always a dark corner) – and does she fear? No, she reaches her hand into her bag… is she reaching for her cell phone?
  • No. She pulls out The Judge.

Now THAT’S my kinda woman!!

Ok, forgive me for being nerdy enough to re-enact that scene from the commercial haha.. but seriously. That is why I carry.

 How often do I find myself alone at night walking through a (seemingly) empty, dimly lit parking garage? Rarely. How often am I driving through the wrong ‘hood? Rarely…. And… how often do I find myself with a car broken down on the side of a vacant road in Somewheresville, SomeState?  Never.  However, you never know when you’ll need to protect yourself.  I don’t carry because of fear that something bad will happen to me. I don’t carry out of fear.

In fact I am not afraid. I carry so that I can -and- WILL protect myself if something ever happens. I pray that I never have to use my gun. However, if I ever find myself in a less than stellar situation, I’m prepared.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation what will you do?  We’re not playing a video game, there’s no pause button. You can’t call your mom for help. You won’t have time to dial 911 and even if you do, they won’t be there in 30 seconds or less. And this certainly isn’t a game show, you cannot phone a friend.  What would you do in a dangerous situation?

If you’re a liberal, I want you to ponder this. People say that guns kill people. That’s not true, a gun won’t lift itself up, aim at you and fire on its own. Guns don’t kill people – people kill people.  A gun is merely an instrument that may be used to quicken results.  Have you ever watched those prison shows?  A tooth pick can be a deadly weapon.  A pen can be a deadly weapon.  A shoe string can be a deadly weapon.  If a person wants to lie in wait and murder someone, they’ll find a way.  Keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens only hurts the innocent law abiding citizens.

We have children. Currently, all three are younger than 9. Yes, they know we own guns. The guns are kept out of sight and out of reach of our children. However, we will be teaching them gun safety as soon as they’re ready. I believe in educating our kids. If kids know to respect a gun they’re much less likely to behave foolishly with it or show it off like it’s a toy.  I believe knowing how to clean, load, unload and shoot a gun are important lessons to teach our children.  It’s an important part of independent / self-reliant living. 

I don’t want to begin with the crazy what-if’s and be accused of believing the world’s going to end in December.. but any number of natural disasters or man-made disasters could knock us off this electrical grid we’ve all come to depend on.  What if a disaster occured.  What if you couldn’t just drive to your local supermarket to buy your meat?  What if a disaster occured and you couldn’t drive anywhere?  Are you aware that if an electromagnetic pulse went off near your city you wouldn’t be able to use your car?  No transportation.  No television.  No cell phone.  No home phone.  No internet.  No radio.  No walkie talkie.  What would you do? 

So let’s stop the what-if’s there before you start to believe I’m crazy.  I know it’s a long shot… then again, it’s not silly to be prepared, because any number of things could momentarily disrupt our lives.  I certainly prefer the convenience of buying my meat at the grocery store or a butcher’s market… but what if something prevents that.  What will you do? 

Now, PETA won’t be pleased with me for sharing this bit of knowledge with you… but:

  • God created animals for our use
  • God created animals for our sustanance
  • Ahem… God created animals for food.

While we love buying our meat at the grocery store or butcher’s market; we want to know that if something happened and we lost this easy lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to, we can take care of ourselves..

I know most liberals say that guns are bad and we’d be a better society if we just stopped allowing people to own guns. Have people not realized that “the bad guys” will ALWAYS find a way?  Bad guys don’t follow the laws!  Laws only – and – always end up hurting the good guys. The law-abiding citizens are the ones who are harmed when restrictive laws are passed.

It’s our right to own a gun, and to carry that gun in order to protect ourselves if a situation ever occurred. The anti-gun belief is a new way of thinking… this country was founded on freedom. Small government. Everyone owned guns. We protected ourselves then and we should now. Do you own livestock? Small pets? If so, you may want to own just to ensure their protection.

I’m proud to exercise my second amendment right. I own, and I’m permitted to carry.

So what’s holding you back? Do you agree or disagree with me?

If You’re Interested In Owning Your Own Gun

Are you interested in someday owning a gun but not sure where to start?

  • First of all, please do this!  Exercise and appreciate your 2nd Ammendment right.
  • Second, for a woman, The Judge is a great gun.  It is marketed to women because it is made for women.  This is a gun you can shoot easily with one hand.  There may be a time when this is essential.
  • Third, find a local shooting range and give it a shot. (play on words I know I’m a nerd) 
    • It’ll be less intimidating if you talk to someone you know who owns.
  • Fourth, after you fire a gun, you’ll probably want to own.
  • Finally, when you decide you’re ready to own, research your state’s carry laws.  Go to your local courthouse and apply for a concealed carry permit.  If and when you travel with your gun, be sure to research each state’s carry laws.  Most states will accept your state’s permit but you definitely want to know before-hand.  Also, each state has it’s own laws pertaining to how to properly transport your gun through their state.

My First Attempt @ Homemade Wine

My first glass of The Bryan Family Muscadine Wine 2011

We moved into our home in 2010 and I remember around August there were these little things falling all around our land that resembled grapes.  I asked my husband what they were, because they were falling from trees and not grape vines.  Come to find out, they were a form of grape known as muscadines.

  • A quick memory refresher:  I’m not from the south.  I am proud to love a GA boy and that we’re raising our family in GA, but I’m also proud of my yooper roots.

Anyways, back to the grapes.  For those of you who also aren’t from the south, a muscadine is a type of grape that grows well in the south.  They have a larger pit than the more popular grapes, but are sweet.
It was too late to try and gather them once they’d all fallen so I had my mind set on 2011.  Well, 2011 came, and this mama was prepared!  As soon as I noticed a few beginning to fall I knew it was time.  I gathered my husband’s ladder and my largest mixing bowl and went to town!  (and no… there are no pictures of me on the ladder trying to pick these grapes).  I picked about 8 – 12 quarts and washed them.

I have a book that I highly recommend – Country Wisdom and Know – How, and it has many great recipes…  including a few on wine-making; however this time around I didn’t follow the recipe because it was too in-depth.  I had limited time and resources, so I googled.  I came across a traditional, authentic southern recipe for Muscadine Wine.  Perfection!!!

I followed the recipe as closely as I could…. (limited resources)… so I omitted some of the sugar it called for and I replaced it with whatever I had on hand which happened to be some concord grape jam and a juice box.  I added the rest of the sugar it called for, mixed the yeast in, and voila.


  • Wash the muscadines well
  • Mash the muscadines in order to remove the pits
  • Continue to mash the muscadines until well – “mashed”
  • Mix sugar and water, then add to muscadines.
  • Pour in a large container WHICH CAN BE SEALED and pour yeast over
  • Cover, let sit for 1 week, stirring daily
  • Strain and toss everything but the liquid.  The liquid will eventually become your wine.
  • Re-cover liquid and let sit, UNDISTURBED, for 6 weeks
  • Open container, strain once more, re-cover, let sit undisturbed for 3 more days to finish fermentation
  • BOTTLE and let age, or enjoy 🙂

Your mash will change a lot in the week as shown below:

       This was @ the end of week 1, right before I strained it for the first time.

  • After the first strain @ 1 week – this is what your wine mix looks like.

Now, Muscadine Wine is much better (in my humble opinion) than those “snooty-falutey” wines people spend a lot of money on…  (I get migraines from those fine wines…. and I prefer my homemade Muscadine Wine, Lambrusco, or a Spumante).

Just so you know, I completely messed up my wine because I wasn’t following the recipe to a “T”… also I’ve done a lot more research now and the recipe I followed differed from the instructions above – which I’ve found on many different sites while reviewing the best Muscadine Wine recipes.  I can promise you that this fall when I make mine, the above recipes is what I’m going to do.  I haven’t given specific ingredient quantities, but you can find that by clicking this link:

I can’t wait to follow the recipe verbatim this summer. However, my wine wasn’t a total failure, in fact I had a total of 4 bottles of wine, and it’s pretty tasty! It’s just a little more acidic than I’d prefer and it’s not quite as strong as I like. With a little tweaking, my wine from 2012 will be fabulous.  FYI: In fact, both red and white muscadine wines contain five times or more resveratrol than ordinary red wines.  I just learned that!  I read it on the page linked above.  Trust me you will be missing out on a lot of great information if you don’t check out that page.  I did a lot of research on Muscadine Wine recipes and that was by far one of the best pages I came across.  There are others that are worth mentioning, but I’ll do one at a time.

Great friends, good memories and some sweet homemade Muscadine Wine.

Oh the Many Uses of Vinegar

Hi loves.
I’ve had the intention of sharing this bit of information for about 5 months and just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m not going to try and be fancy with this bit of information because quite frankly, life is getting hectic in 2012 and I’m going to simplify.

So, here is a quick glance list of SOME of the many, many uses of vinegar. Let me tell you friends, it wasn’t until last year that I began to understand vinegar’s importance… and if I were developing a list of the ten most important staples for a self-reliant home, (good idea, check back soon) vinegar would be near the top of the list.

*great cleaner for bathrooms/kitchens

*removes the urine odors out of carpets/upholstry

*use in the washing machine to remove ALL odors and as the best rinse agent you’ll ever find so fabric feels pure and new
–(This was brought to my attention from our friend & sister in Christ: Danielle @ Morethanfourwalls in her awesome post: Homemade Laundry Detergent. <– Click the link and print her recipe. Trust me.
If you’re a mom, it’ll be life-changing! Due to habit, I’m using an entire scoop per load… however a good friend of mine who recently started using Danielle’s recipe told me she’s only using a 1/4 cup per load and everything comes clean! WOW! Do the math, imagine how much $$ she’s saving! God Bless Danielle for her research and helpful heart for sharing this recipe with us mamas!!

*natural cleaner: mix with small amount of baking soda, water, and dish soap.

*deters cats/dogs from spraying in area: pour in spray bottle and spray area they are spraying in: this information was a life saver for us. Last spring our kitten began marking in the fireplace of all places! I used the vinegar and it stopped, and we got her fixed. Our male dog just began spraying.. err.. uh… sprayed our entire upstairs in the few days of no sleep following our lab’s interesting 24+ hour labor…. and the vinegar did the trick… again… Thank God!!!

*great ingredient to entertain kids and perform experiments: google search you’ll find enough activities to entertain the most demanding child (I could spend a long time adding many links and many experiments but since we’re all independent and full capable… I’ll keep this short and sweet. Google, or go to Pinterest. If you’d like to make it even easier, click the “follow me on Pinterest” link to the left and check out my living off the land and for the home boards. Done. 🙂

*takes the itch out of mosquito and other insect bites!!!: This was very good for me last summer. Also helps for sunburn, poison Ivy/Oak.

*relieves congestion: combine 1 tbsp vinegar with 8 oz water and drink

*Kills weeds, not grass

*naturally deworms chickens, even small dogs/cats: I add 1 tbsp to the large water feeder for the chickens and same for dogs.

*rinse agent for produce: pour 1 tbsp to water, dip produce, rinse

*ingredient for cooking / salad dressing / white or red wine vinegar

*Removes odor from hands

*Deodorizes sink drains:

*Removes rust: soak nuts and bolts overnight

*makes explosions/lava: mix with baking soda

NOTE: Remove Jewelry before using vinegar… certain jewelry such as pearls may be damaged from direct contact…

Adventures In Homemade Laundry Soap

I’m blessed and honored to be guest posting here today at A Throw-Back to the Good Ole Days.  I’m very excited to meet some new readers and share my laundry soap experiences with you. 

I’ve been experimenting withhomemade laundry soap since March 2010.  Talk about a long-term project! Ihave scoured the internet for recipes and ideas. I’ve boiled, grated, mixed andstirred more times than I care to count and have lost track of exactly how manyrecipes I’ve tried.
I started with powderedvariations in early 2010. I changed variations several times but could neverfind anything that I felt got our laundry clean and left it smelling fresh…orat least not smelling the way it went into the washer.  I especially hadproblems with my husband’s work clothing and towels/sheets and anything thatgot especially messy like burp cloths and cleaning rags.
I used a liquid variation for afew months.  It was not complicated to make but it took more time thanpowder and I felt it was hard to store.  I tried using an old store-boughtbottle but both kinds I made separated (which the recipe indicated wouldhappen).The problem is it was very hard to shake it all back together.  Italmost needed stored in a bucket where you could stir it easily. 
My husband, bless his heart,helps me with laundry and there is no way he has patience to stir detergentevery time he does a load (I barely had patience to do it!).  Don’t writeit off because I didn’t like it though, see if it’s for you.  There aremany women who swear by homemade liquid and love it. 
I found that powder was the bestway to go in our house.  It’s easy to store and scoop. (I use a ¼ cupscoop that came from coffee or something like that.) An old measuring cup wouldwork too. 

My observations in laundry soap

·   Water matters. If you have hard water, softened water, salted water, or whatever it willaffect the effectiveness of your laundry soap.  Our water is salt softenedbut has a heavy clay residue.
·   Don’t expectsuds.  I get zero; none; nada, nothin’. 
·   Patience! Considerthis a long-term project.  Put it on your To Do List for 2012.
·   Experiment withrecipes and ratios.  If it calls for 1 cup of something, you may need 1 ½.It goes back to water and the dirtiness of your clothing. 
·   Don’t be afraid toexperiment
·   Adjust the amountneeded per load based on your needs. 
·   Keep some store-boughton hand.  No condemnation here.  Listen, if you’re experimenting andyour dogs pukes all over the foyer rug at 6am and you don’t find it till youget home at 6 pm USE THE STORE BOUGHT!You aren’t going to lose the mom of the year award.  I’ll still vote foryou – promise!
·   Distilled white vinegaris the best rinse agent.  Add it to your softener ball or softenerdispenser.  Vinegar helps remove any soap left in the clothing plus takesaway odor.  FEAR NOT! Yourclothing will not smell like vinegar when they come out. (I promise,again).  It will smell of vinegar while the rinse cycle is going but onceout and dry the smell is gone.

The What
I store it in a 2 gallon bucket with alid.  When I was experimenting I made ½ as much and stored it in a plastictub.  Whatever works for you.  I’ve included links to Amazon more sofor the picture in the event that, like me, you never heard of some of thebefore. I urge you to price check your local stores and online before you buy.
1 box 20 Mule Team Borax (4 lb box) (laundry detergent isle)
1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda(55oz)(laundry detergent isle)
3 cups of baking soda
1 bar Fels Naptha soapbar (laundry detergent isle)
1 canister Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap (16 oz) (hand soap isle)

The How

Combine borax, washing soda,baking soda and boraxo in a large tub. 
Grate bar of Fels Naptha with ahand grater into the powder using the finest side of the grater. (I have an oldone I keep especially for this job).   Stir together.  I take off myrings and use my hands to mix it.  You reallyneed to incorporate the ingredients. 
To make combining easier whenI’m dumping the dry ingredients I alternate some borax, some sodas, some boraxoand keep repeating that until they’re all in. 
Use between 1/8 and 1/2 cupdepending on size of load. (Experiment with what works for you.)
Fill your softener dispenserwith vinegar.  Wash in cold or warm water. 
I’ve read that hot water and theborax can create a chemical reaction which can take color out of somefabrics.  I have not had any problems doing towels, sheets and doggieblankets in hot water. 

More Notes

I recently came across the idea of using a food processor with the grating blade to grate the Felsbar.  I imagine it would work I onlyquestion if after continued use would it begin to smell like soap and thereforenot work so well when used with food again. It would surely cut down on time and let’s face it mama – time isprecious!
Add some essential oil if want ascented laundry soap.  I did this halfway though my last batch, at my husband’s suggestion, and it made a nicedifference.  I added 10 drops of lavenderessential oil to half my bucket.  Thelaundry now has a light lavender scent. The vinegar rinse probably dampens the smell but I wasn’t going for astore-bought lavender scent anyway. 
The great thing about thisis you can adjust the ingredients as needed.  I used the above minus theFels Naptha for my son’s infant clothing. I think the Fels is the key togetting really dirty clothing clean.  Of course if your husband has anoffice job, you have no pets, your kids don’t play in the mud and you neverspill anything on yourself you might be ok without the Fels. 
Try it and let me know what youthink. 
Until Next Time,
Be Blessed
Danielle is a wife ofone amazing husband, mother of one handsome little boy and daughter of onemighty King.  She works full time outsidethe home and is learning to balance being a full time homemaker with being afull time worker.  Her dream is to stayat home and raise her family.  Until thatday comes she is learning to balance the demands of life while building aChrist-centered home.  Read more at MoreThan Four Walls.

Which Came First?

It’s That Age-Old Question….
Which Came First: The Chicken? Or The Egg?

Answer: The Chicken.

How do I know?  Well, this is my reasoning.  In Genesis, God created the heavens and the Earth, the stars – and told them where to shine, humans, and all living creatures.  God created the chicken with the ability to reproduce after fertilization.
Further proof —  An egg, without fertilization, is quite simply, an egg.
So, the next time you are asked this question, you know the correct answer!
Anyways, what if you could wake up every morning and have the most delicious, nutritious super-food delivered right to you?
We do. You can!
Have you ever tasted a fresh egg? If not, what are you waiting for?! Did you know that the average egg bought in a grocery store is forty-five days old? Eew. Read that again. Does that sound appealing? Think of all the nutrition that has been lost in a month and a half.
Now, if you love eggs as much as I do, or simply use them often in baking, you really should think about investing in your own chickens. Before you scoff, or roll your eyes at me, let me tell you I never thought I would own my own chickens.  However, prices continue to increase, and we were going through five dozen eggs in less than two weeks.  I knew I had to do something.  The feed & grain stores nearby were advertising baby chicks for Easter, and we didn’t think very long before deciding to do it.  We bought our baby chicks, brought them home, and started planning the location for the coop.
Of course… most people build or buy a coop before getting chickens, but we didn’t want to miss out on the baby chicks, and knew we could keep them in our backyard while they were small. It was only a month before they became roamers.
One thing I’ve learned about keeping chickens is that they will never stray from your land as long as they’ve got a safe place, food and water. We knew we had to finish the coop if we planned on benefitting from the eggs when they began laying. As soon as we had the coop finished, we were able to get the chickens inside very easily, by feeding them. Chickens love table scraps and can eat just about anything. We also keep a steady supply of water and feed for them. I will post more about keeping chickens soon; so if you’d like to have these every morning with only a little work, follow this page, subscribe for updates, or check back soon.

I love my free eggs every morning!