Virtuous Homemaking has Moved!

I have moved to and also have opened up an Etsy store. I will be adding soaps and other things to my store throughout the day.

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Homemade Bread

I love making homemade bread. Especially from fresh ground wheat.  Last week, we got a grain mill attachment for my mixer.  Which makes grinding wheat a lot nicer now that it only takes 10 mins to grind it instead of an hour or more like it was taking on my hand grinder.

I like to use about 2 1/3 c Soft White Wheat and 4 2/3 c Hard Red Wheat.  I find that gives me a fluffier bread.   You can use store-bought whole wheat flour too, but be sure to fluff it with a fork before you measure it or your bread will come out really really heavy.

Measure out 2 c water, plus a little extra and warm it to between 105F and 120F.  The extra is to account for any evaporation.  After you have it the desired temperature, measure out 2 cups.  Water your house plants with whatever extra you have.  🙂

Add 1/3 c agave nectar and a slightly heaping teaspoon of yeast.  Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, combine 3 c flour, 1/3 c gluten flour (i am working on not having to use the gluten flour anymore, but I haven’t figured out a good way to make fluffy bread without it) 1/3 c oil and 2t salt.

If your yeast mixture is foamy then it is ready to add.

As you mix, gradually add more flour until your dough is not sticky to touch.  Knead for 15 mins.  (10 if you are using a mixer)  It should be elastic when you are done kneading.

Put someplace warm and ignore for an hour.  In my case, warm is in my dehydrator set to “rising bread”.

While you are waiting, butter your loaf pans.

After an hour, it should be about double in size.  Punch your bread down and shape it so it will fit in your loaf pans.  I’m not quite sure how to describe shaping the loaf, so hopefully the pictures will do it for me.

Warm the oven slightly (about 100F) and put the loaf pans in to let it rise again.  This time about 30 mins.

Then just turn your oven on to 350F.  Bake for about 40 mins.  When they are ready they will be golden brown and the bottoms will sound hollow when you thump them.  Brush a little butter on the tops while they cool.

Here’s the ingredient list in a manner that’s a little easier to read:

2c very warm water

2 1/3 c soft white wheat (omit if using store flour)

4 2/3 hard red wheat (7c if using store flour)

2t salt

1/3 c oil

1/3 c agave nectar

1 T+ yeast

1/3 gluten flour

I adapted my recipe from The Family Homestead.

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Moving Soon

Next week, on the 23rd, I am going to be opening an etsy store at At that time I will also be moving my blog to Herbal Scents so that I do not have to maintain 2 blogs.

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Learning 12 Things

Recently, I bought Emilie’s Creative Home Organizer.  As I was reading the chapter on Organization, it said, “Studies show that the success rate for people who write down their goals is about 90 times greater than for those who don’t.”  I thought that it was a nice quote, and I probably should be writing down my goals.  If nothing else so that I could remember them.  🙂

Then, last night,  I was reading Like A Warm Cup of Coffee and saw that she was starting a link up on learning 12 new things — one a month.  I decided that would be a good way to not only write down the things that I want to learn, but actually do them.

August – Make a basket
September – Make Homemade Tortillas
October – Read Nourishing Traditions
November – Decorate for fall/Thanksgiving
December – Make a wreath
January – Prune a tree
February – Read Home Comforts
March – Design a pattern for a jumper
April – Knit with 2 different colors
May – Make a slip cover for my couch
June – Make pasta
July – Knit from a chart
So, sometime during each of the months, I’ll be posting about how my attempt to learn went.
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Where did the time go?

Have you ever wondered where all your time goes? Even with a routine, I’m still managing to feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Why didnt God give us nice 30 hour days, with the need to sleep only 8?

I asked Bryan this week if he knew of any thing that I consistently did that was a time waster. He said that I sleep too much, and spend too much time on the internet.

I have to disagree with the sleep too much. The problem is that I stay up too late, and thus get up late. But, the only thing he sees is that I get up after he does…So, I must work on going to bed earlier, so that I can get up earlier.

For finding out just how much time I was wasting online, I decided to write down the time every time I sat down to the computer, and every time I left. I spent 3.5 hours on the computer. I was stunned. How could I possibly be using that much computer time and have no clue? That’s nearly 1/2 a work day! So, less computer time for me. I am working on revising my schedule to add in some computer time.

Rachael got some chores this week, and she is doing really good with them. She now takes her plate from the table to the trash and empties it, and then puts it in the dish washer. She puts clothes in the dryer for me. (I have to hand them to her) Or, if I am hanging them outside, then she hands them to me.

She also really likes books. Several times, when she suddenly gets quiet, and I go to check on her, it’s because she found a book to look at. Most of the time, its her picture books. Sometime it’s my heavier reading. I have found her looking at Sense and Sensibility and John Calvin’s Institutes. The problem is, when she gets bored, she abandons them. So, we are working on only getting one book at a time, and putting it back after she is done. I’m also trying to teach her the same thing about her toys. At least putting it back after she’s done.

I was having problems with her being afraid of the broom and the vacuum. So, we got her toy versions of both. She likes to use the broom like a vacuum. It’s really cute to watch. Unfortunately, every time I tried to take her picture, she would turn

Her little vacuum supposedly really will pick up stuff. But we aren’t really a fan of battery toys. So it has no batteries, and I have no idea if it picks up anything. We figured she can push it around and pretend.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am really big into using natural cleaners and as few weird chemicals as possible. I wholeheartedly believe that it is healthier for my family, and a lot of times, it’s easier on my budget as well. 🙂

Yesterday, I made laundry soap. It’s actually quiet easy. All you need is 4 ingredients. Fels Napa or Zote Soap, Washing Soda and Borax. I used Zote for a while, but I can no longer find it. So, I’ve been using Fels Napa. I think I might like the Fels Napa a little better.

Anyway, grate 1/2 bar of your chosen soap into a medium to large pot.  Add water, and heat on the stove to melt the soap.  The bubbles are from adding water.  Do not let it boil.  Then you have bubbles everywhere.

Here’s what it should look like after it’s all melted.

The add 3/4 cup each of Washing Soda and Borax.

Heat and stir until it’s all dissolved.  I have found it helpful to add one, stir, and then add the other.  It does not seem to matter which order you add them in.

Then, dump your mixture in a 2 gallon bucket.

And fill your bucket up with water.  It’s actually better to not get as many bubbles as I did when filling up your bucket.   But, being pregnant, I was having trouble lifting it out of the sink.  So I’ve been using the sink sprayer hose, and that makes quite a bit more bubbles.

I use 1/2 cup per load.   2 gallons will give you about 64 loads.

One thing to note.  This does make a very low sudsing detergent.  It will still get your clothes clean.  The bubbles aren’t what get them clean.   The soap being in the water does.  When you are used to using normal detergent, it’s a little worrying to not see any bubbles when you do your first few loads.

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Learning Homemaking with an Almost 19 Month Old.

Rachael has taken to trying to wipe puddles away when she sees them. So, I figured I would use that to my advantage, and armed her with a rag. Now, I can just make my own puddles, and put her to work. 🙂 After figuring that out 2 days ago, I think I now have the cleanest toilet seat lid in town. She stood there wiping it for nearly 15 mins.

The only problem I have encountered with her love of puddle wiping is that she also likes to pour out whatever is in her sippy cup and wipe that around too…

I came to the realization in the last couple of weeks that the best housekeeping advice I’ve been given came from my husband. “Pick up after yourself.” I think he’s been telling me that ever since we got married. I’ve been trying to do better about not abandoning one project to go to another. It does seem to be helping to keep the house clean. At least a little.

While working on the Self Discipline Chapter of Polished Cornerstones, I realized, part of my problem is lack of discipline, but a bigger issue is I don’t have the faintest clue how to manage my time wisely. Which makes learning self-discipline even harder. So, we are going to start learning about time management this month. I also need to revise my routine I made last month. Rachael eliminated her morning nap, and moved her afternoon nap to about 1130.

So, my goal is to start some of the polished cornerstones lessons. And Rachael’s, although not a PC lesson, is to pick up her toys before bedtime so I don’t trip over them while coming to check on her during the night. 🙂

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