Are you enjoying the beautiful fall weather as much as I am?
It is certainly pretty with the clear blue skies and puffy white clouds. The air just feels like fall is here. I know we will have some more hot days, but I will enjoy the cooler ones while we have them. And fall brought with it a wonderful rain that has just greened up the landscape and we will be mowing lawns for a while longer.
Another Madison District Retreat has been written into the history book and I think I can speak for everyone who went that it was the best yet. It was a tribute to Reenie Horton, who had been one of the original people with the vision to start it. She died this past year, and the rest of the people stepped up to carry on.
Butterflies was the theme and a lady from Bartholomew County had been tagging the Monarch ever since she was driving in Wisconsin and saw a little sign that said “butterfly tagging.” She told of the life cycle of the Monarch from Mexico where they winter and then going north as far as Wisconsin and Michigan where they start back to Mexico. There are five generations from the time they leave until they get back.
They winter in a certain fir tree, and they are endangered because that area is subject to being destroyed and commercial ventures built.
It was certainly an interesting talk. I even got to release one of the four butterflies she had brought. If you have milkweed plants growing on your property next summer, by all means don’t destroy them as that is the plant where they lay their eggs and the only plant they will eat.
We learned all kinds of things, from making body lotion from dollar store products to making our own laundry detergent. We got the recipes and I will share them with all of you. I haven’t used my sample of detergent yet, but I have used the lotion and it is a winner.
One lady brought a lot of things she had made from sewing projects to paper crafting. She shared a lot of her patterns. Craft demonstrations included decoupaged fruit jars to jewelry. We worked on jigsaw puzzles and I think every one that they had out was finished. We also played Bingo, and true to form, I didn’t win.
There were a lot of funnies interspersed throughout the two days. Of course, the meals were good, as usual. There were16 ladies from Decatur County there. The weather was good even though we had a little shower that dampened things for awhile on Thursday.
Here are some recipes:
Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy
2 pounds salted dry roasted peanuts
4 ounces German’s sweet chocolate (about 4 squares)
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 pounds white almond bark
Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips and then almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture. After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
8 cups unsweetened applesauce
4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Combine all ingredients and cook for 6 hours or until the desired thickness. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
And here’s something new to try on laundry day:
Dry Laundry Soap
1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap or 1/2 bar ZOTE soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
Using food processor or blender, turn bar of soap into powder. Slowly add borax and washing soda and blend well. You can shred the soap in a slaw cutter before putting it in the blender. It will work up better. Note: You can buy Fels Naptha at our local Rural King store. I don’t know if ZOTE is available locally or not.
To use the soap, as the washing machine fills, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of powder and make sure it dissolves completely. if using warm water, you may want to dissolve the soap in some hot water then add it to the washing machine.
This is inexpensive to make and does a good job on greasy, dirty clothes and removes perspiration odors and cleans towels, bedding, as well as regular clothes. ZOTE may leave a more pleasant fragrance, but the Fels Naptha leaves a clean fresh, odor too.
How about some homemade lotion?
Dollar Store Lotion Recipe
2 15-ounce bottles of baby lotion, scent of your choice
4 - 8 ounces vitamin E skin cream (comes in jars)
1 14-ounce jar petroleum jelly
Empty all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. using electric mixer beat together well. Store in an air-tight container.