Homemaking, Recipes

Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day always causes me to think about Grandma Dorothy and her Irish Soda Bread.

Dorothy at 104
Grandma (at 104)

So, in honor of my Irish heritage, and wanting to share with neighbors, I made a batch of

Irish Soda Bread basket
loaves in a basket

bread. Though I gave them a modern twist — dried cranberries and cherries instead of the traditional raisins. Baked into mini loves and tied with a green ribbon  they were ready to deliver.

 I give you:

Grandma Dorothy’s Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread ingredents
I like to use King Arthur flour, it tastes better than others

8 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs – beaten
3/4 cup oil
3 cups buttermilk

2 cups raisins
use any combination of your favorite dried fruit such as:
cranberries, cherries, and apricots (chop the bigger fruit into small pieces)
to equal 2 cups

optional – 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease two large loaf pans or eight mini loaf pans.

Set oven to 350

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
In a separate, bowl mix together the eggs, oil, and buttermilk.

Add the liquids to the flour mix. Stir with a large spoon.
Mix in the raisins (traditional) or the cranberries and cherries and if you wish the nuts.

Divide among your pans.

For mini loaves bake 35 minutes
For large loaves bake 60 minutes


Homemaking, Writing

Monday- A Day in the Life of ME – writer, mom, wife, cosplayer, volunteer, …

The goal is to start writing by 8 a.m, at the latest, but it’s noon and I’m just now putting my fingers on the keyboard. alarm clockTo be fair, it’s also a Monday, Continue reading “Monday- A Day in the Life of ME – writer, mom, wife, cosplayer, volunteer, …”

eco-friendly, Homemaking, recycle, simple steps

Thinking about – Plastic Bags

A friend posted on Facebook how she loves the plastic bags her groceries are packed in each time she shops. She listed the various ways she reuses them and ended with the 2207065273_a55b16424c_ostatement that she does not feel guilty about using plastic bags. Most replies were in agreement with the post. A few souls posted their love of reusable grocery sacks and the ways they’ve reduced their plastic bag usage at home.


It should come as no surprise that I fall in the ‘reusable bags are better’ camp. I have a few thoughts for those individuals who can’t seem to step away from the plastic bag addiction. Continue reading “Thinking about – Plastic Bags”

Homemaking, Recipes

Cider Season

cider in pot

The Harvest Festival at Hawks Landing Farm is a much anticipated fall tradition with families coming all the way from Portland and Beaverton to attend. Crafts people and vendors, most from the local area, enjoy sharing their wares with the public. One of the most visited booths is the Woodville Garden Club’s Cider Stand. Kids and adults have a blast working the hand cranked apple press and enjoying a fresh, frothy glass of chilled cider. As the day wanes and the air takes on a decided fall crispness the spiced hot cider is much in demand. I asked Tina, the garden club’s reining Cider Queen, to share with us what makes their treat so tempting.
~ Sophia

Sophia, thank you so much for asking me to share the Garden Club’s, not so secret, hot cider recipe.

cider ingrediants

It’s really quite simple and so much better for you than the artificial flavor sugar laden packets of “cider” mix.

Gather a few ingredients:
A jug of cider (fresh pressed is best but any kind you like will work)
An orange
An apple
Whole cloves
Cinnamon sticks
Whole allspice

cloves and orange slices

With the peal ON cut a few slices from the orange.
Insert whole cloves into the orange slice (this is a great thing for little ones to help with)

Place the allspice in a loose tea holder.

apple slices

Cut a few slices from the apple, cross-ways so the little star shows.

Pour the cider into a pot, add the clove studded orange slices, apple slices, allspice, and cinnamon sticks.

Let simmer on low until warm.

The longer it simmers the more intense the flavors will become.

mug cider

If you are serving a large crowd or want to keep the cider warm for hours use a crock-pot set to warm. If you have leftovers remove the spices and apple and orange slices. When cool pour into a container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator. It’s easy to warm up a cup when wanted.
Happy Fall!

Do you have a variation on a hot cider recipe? Feel free to share it.

Cleaning, eco-friendly, Homemaking

Fresh for Fall – homemade cleaners

By this time of year the Harvest Festival is well over and the boys and I find ourselves in the familiar rhythm of home school lessons, sports, and getting the place buckled down for winter.

school books

Being that we live in the Pacific Northwest, our summers are mild and the windows are open pretty much day and night. Between that and all the going in and out [especially since some people – Aaron and David –don’t always remove their shoes] by fall the house has collected a layer of dust and grime that only a deep cleaning will take care of.

I’ll spare you the details of our cleaning route, but the nitty-gritty day-to-day happenings of farm life is far from glamorous. Stella keeps trying to get me to hire her cleaning lady, who is wonderful, but there are some things I feel I need to do myself. Besides, there have been too many sleepless nights over the past three years and vigorously scrubbing at that grout line around the tub at 2 a.m. may have been one of the things that helped me keep my sanity.

cleaning supplies

What I will share with you are my all natural, super cheap, cleaning recipes. Be warned, the disinfecting spray contains vodka and if your liquor store is on the main street of a small town and your pastor sees you coming out of it one day with a brown paper sack, and he knows you don’t drink, you might get some raised eyebrows and concern that your new Hollywood beau is a bad influence on you. Just saying – you might want to go to the next town over to get the least expensive vodka you can find. For goodness sake don’t waste money on the higher priced brands, you’ll be spraying this stuff around your toilet after all.

A note about essential oils:
-they are optional
-I like to use orange oil (reminds me of a special someone)
-use the scent you like
-many have antiseptic and antibacterial properties among them: cinnamon, clove, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and tea tree

spray bottles

Disinfecting Spray
(spray on grime free surface and let dry)
Mix in a spray bottle:
1/4 cup vodka
1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide
1 cup water
20 drops of essential oil

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon Citra-solv
1/2 teaspoon Castile Soap
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon essential oil

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Castile Soap
1 3/4 cups water
8 drops essential oil

When I need scrubbing power I use baking soda or Bon-Ami cleaner

What are your favorite natural cleaning products?
What tunes to listen to when tending to household chores?

Put on your favorite play list, round-up your helpers, and make it a cleaning party. 

Until next week