Monday, March 29, 2010

Garden Fever

I've come down with a serious case this year. Hoping and praying the garden in my reality will somewhat resemble the garden in my head!

The garlic we planted last fall is doing well. It is nice to see the little bit of green in the sea of brown.

We have several tomatoes and peppers starting to sprout indoors. All of my herbs in the kitchen widow have also sprouted! This is my first time to start things from seed inside. They have a long way to go till they look like the plants we saw for sale at Dillons last night. But I know it will be worth the wait.

I am also trying several new things this year. I want to plant a few rows of wheat just for fun. Pretend I live in Bible times or be the Little Red Hen and "do it my self" With the boys help of course! Also I want to plant some pinto beans and see what happens.

We also have the usual wonderful things. Corn, green beans, squash, cantaloupe, potatoes, popcorn,carrots and others I can't think of right now.

Today I'll have the boys help me plant potatoes. We'll also see if we can get an avocado to root by sticking toothpicks in the middle and letting the bottom half sit in a cup of water.

Happy Gardening!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hitting Home

It is so amazing to me how I'll be thinking of something or just what is going on in life at the moment, then I'll go to read my Bible and BAM! A verse or passage jumps out talking about exactly what I was thinking of earlier.

I got a facebook account several months ago. The original reason was to keep in touch with our close friends who were about to move into a fifth wheel and travel as a family with the husbands job. Then I started finding old school friends, family we don't see much of, old coworkers and friends from other forums on the web.

I started spending more and more time with them and less with those who matter most, my sons. Everything I said or did brought thoughts of, "How many comments would that get if I posted it?"

So yesterday I was reading in Matthew 15. Jesus has just told Peter how he will be the rock on which the church is built. He then goes on to say how he (Jesus) must suffer, die and be raised again on the third day. To this Peter rebuked him and Jesus responds by saying, "Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men".

BAM! BAM! I have not been savoring the things of God. Training my children to the BEST and FULLEST of my ability in HIS ways. But those of men. (Ladies on FB)

Last weekend my mother-in-law gave me a great book called Lessons At Blackberry Inn By Karen Andreola

It is a fiction book of a mother homeschooling her children in the 1930's. She puts into practice the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling.

I have just heard bits of this approach here and there, not researching it too much thinking it would be overwhelming. But after reading this book and "seeing" it put into practice, I feel more confident to try and start implementing some of the things. We will be starting to read more poetry, dig out the famous art paintings book to study, more read alouds with the boys narrating back what they hear about the stories and more nature observing.

God is so amazing and wonderful! Supplying a better way to use my time. Teaching for HIS glory.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tater People

This is from an e-mail sent to me from my Mom

Tater People

Some people never seem motivated to participate, but are just content to watch while others do the work.
They are called "Spec Taters"

Some people never do anything to help, but are gifted at finding fault with the way others do the work.
They are called "Comment Taters"

Some people are very bossy and like to tell others what to do, but don't want to spoil their own hands.
They are called "Dick Taters"

Some people are always looking to cause problems by asking others to agree with them. It is too hot or too cold, too sour or too sweet.
They are called "Agie Taters"

There are those who say they will help, but somehow just never get around to actually doing the promised help.
They are called "Hezzie Taters"

Some people put up a front and pretend to be someone they are not.
They are called "Emma Taters"

Then there are those who love others and do what they say they will. They are always prepared to stop whatever they are doing and lend a helping hand. They bring real sunshine into the lives if others.
They are called "Sweet Taters"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring

Today is the first day of spring. What is it doing outside? Snowing and blowing.

To celebrate, the kids woke up begging to make snow ice cream. So Luke went out with the big metal bowl and came in with it filled with snow. Brian stirred in a can of sweetened condensed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla. Barely 10 am and they were enjoying their sweet treat!

Another version of this recipe that we made back in December is to stir in 1 cup of half and half cream and 1 cup of sugar into the snow.

Hands down everyone likes the sweetened condensed milk version better.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homemade Pasta Noodles

Thursday afternoon I was thinking about what to make for dinner. I was going to the grocery store that night, so pickens were pretty slim. I had a bag of raw shrimp in the freezer, a box of cream cheese, 1 cup of milk, and two eggs. Everything for shrimp alfredo except the noodles. Wait! I had 1/2 box of lasagna noodles. I could have broken them into little pieces, but didn't think they would be enough for 6 hungry people. So I decided to make my own noodles.

A quick google search brought up plenty of recipes. Remembering Lydia Bastianich from PBS all I needed was some eggs and flour right?

So I mounded up my flour and then made a little well for the eggs.

I gently start working the flour into the eggs. So far so good. Soon I run into a problem though. The eggs have soaked up as much as they are going to and I still have a ton of flour. I decided to start rolling it out anyway. I end up with a nice flat mound of flour that is barely damp. Some of the other recipes called for oil, so I drizzle on some olive oil. Still too dry. I add water. STILL dry, more oil and water. I decide to add some flavor so I sprinkle on some basil and garlic powder. Finally it is coming together and the color is beautiful. I rolled it out as thin as possible, not having a pasta machine or anything. Kind of fun actually!

Then Luke and I take turns with the pizza cutter making thin strips of pasta.

Five minutes in boiling water and it's done and delicious!

(sorry no picture of the final dinner, I was running out the door to visit an old friend and grocery shop)

So if you are wanting an exact recipe of what I did, weelll, I kind of turned into one of those pinch of this people on this, but when I make them again I'll write down the exact measurements of everything. But here is a guesstamate.

2-3 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mound two cups flour on lightly floured surface.
Beat eggs and pour into well made in flour.
Gently stir flour into eggs.
Add basil and garlic powder.
Gradually add oil and water until dough is smooth, add more flour as needed.
Roll floured dough as thin as possible. Might be helpful to do in two sections.
Using a pizza roller, cut strip to desired width. Cover with damp dish towel until ready to cook.
To cook: Add noodles to boiling salted water. Stir occasionally. Done in about 5 minutes. Drain, top with favorite sauce.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy Newsletter

ARTICLE: Homemade Chemical Free & "Green" Cleaning Products

By Sarah M Winn

Today's modern home is loaded with toxic and polluting substances designed to make domestic life easier. The cost of these commercial, chemical-based products can be high -- long term health concerns for the family and environmental pollution caused by their manufacture and disposal. In the US, for example, 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis (US National Center for Health Statistics). Treatment for these conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment.

For many home-cleaning chores, you can make your own cleaning products using the formulas listed below.

A growing number of commercial non-toxic home cleaning products are also available, as healthier and environmentally responsible alternatives. Your use of these products helps promote the growth of green businesses which are contributing to a sustainable economy.

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Another alternative is microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.

Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.

· Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.

· Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.

· Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.

· Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.

· Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.

· Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.

· Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in the room.

Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower

Dishwashing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs.

Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth.

For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it
Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back To The Future

We got our new washing machine about a week and a half ago. It is basically awesome!

It is a Maytag 3000 series. Front load, energy efficient, less water, less soap, yet WAY CLEANER clothes! And the best part, according to Bri, it spins the clothes so fast, especially if using the max extract button, that they come out barely damp!

Which brings me to the title. We decided since it spins so well we didn't need a dryer anymore. We use the cloths line out side most of the time anyway. On rainy and winter days, Bri put up three long rows of rope for a clothes line down stairs.

Onto other news: Here is our new green metal roof!

And lastly, yesterday Brian, Luke Jacob and Caleb built a rack on the trailer to hold more canoes and kayaks! It is a simple design, yet super strong. Best yet, it is low enough for me to easily help Bri load both canoes with out almost dropping them! We are really looking forward to showing more people to joy of canoeing and kayaking at SFL this season.