Thursday, January 31, 2008
Since this is February, I have been thinking about love. Yes, that’s right – LOVE! We have just finished a book for our devotions called “Heroic Faith: How to live a life of extreme devotion” and the last chapter was about love – heroic, self-sacrificing love.
Well, I think we home schooling moms certainly love our children (or we wouldn’t be doing this) and often make personal sacrifices for our children. Sometimes the chaos of life and home schooling, might “muck it up” as far as being able to clearly see and demonstrate our love for our children, but I have no doubt about that love. Loving our children is probably the easiest self-sacrificing kind of love we have.
I know that we all love our Lord, but do we really demonstrate that on a daily basis? Do we sacrifice personally to show Him how much we love Him? This is possibly a little harder because He often seems intangible to us. We can’t hug Him or kiss Him physically (like we can our children or spouses). So how can we demonstrate our love for Him? Spending time with Him, talking to Him, sharing about Him and sharing His love with others, just for starters.
Well, that’s another category completely – loving others. Are we willing to lay down our lives for others? To tell them the good news of Jesus? Do we love our neighbor enough to sacrifice our time and humble ourselves to share with them about Jesus? “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13 Do we love sacrificially? Do we love others enough to bake some heart shaped cookies and stop by their house and tell them that you just wanted to share about the greatest Valentine’s gift of all? The greatest love-gift of all?
Forgiveness is also sacrificially loving. Is there anyone you are still holding something against? February is a great time to love by forgiving. Release yourself and that other person from the prison of resentment, and free yourself and them to love and walk wholly, and holy, before God.
Take a little time this month to think about love and He who is Love. Then DO some loving of others by showing them you care. Hug your kids a few extra times, kiss your hubby every day, show someone who doesn’t know Jesus the way to eternal life through your acts, AND words, of loving kindness.
I was in a quandry today what to make for breakfast. Then I came up with a frugal and healthy dish! I had some potatoes, LOTS of spinach and only 3 eggs to feed 4 of us. So here is what I made:
Spinach, Potato and Egg Pitas
I took 4 small potatoes and diced them with the skins left on (for extra nutritional value). I sauteed them in a little canola oil and sprinkled some 21 Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joe's) on them. Put the lid on the skillet for a few minutes to soften them. Then I added a BIG handful of baby spinach (I just ran the knife through it to chop it a little). When the spinach seemed mostly cooked, I added the 3 eggs, scrambled. Let this cook a few minutes and when the eggs seem almost set, sprinkle a handful of Fiesta Blend shredded cheese. Put the cover on and turn the heat off. Then I spooned this mixture into some of my homemade whole wheat pita pockets, added a little Chalula (hot sauce) and we had a great breakfast!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
And then maybe starting next month I will begin participating in some of these bloggy giveaways and you can win a prize for leaving a comment. How does that sound? Something handmade, of course!
For us here in the Southwest, citrus is in season. Yes, I know this seems weird for any of you on the East coast, but that's how it is out here in the Southwest. Everything is in season at different times than I am used to, being from the Northeast.
Anyway, we receive alot of lemons and oranges that we cannot possibly eat before they begin to dry out. So I needed to find a way to preserve it. Here is what I found. You can squeeze the juice from the lemons or oranges and put it in ice cube trays to freeze. After it is frozen solid, just pop them out and put in a ziploc bag and back in the freezer. Then when you need some lemon or orange juice for a recipe or lemonade, just take them out, pop them into the microwave for a few seconds and you have wonderfully fresh juice!
You can also freeze the peels in a ziploc bag for future use as zest. No need to thaw first, just use your citrus zester or fine grater.
For more great Kitchen Tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.
Monday, January 28, 2008
This is a great idea I found over at Sew, Mama, Sew! before Christmas. I made a couple crayon rolls for gifts, and today I made one for my daughter's watercolor pencils. She was always losing them out of the box and didn't want to keep them in a ziploc bag. So I made this cute pencil roll for her. Now my son wants one for his drum sticks - but I don't have "masculine" fabric to use right now. Must visit the fabric store soon! But you can also make them to hold crochet hooks, knitting needles and other kinds of tools, pencils, etc. I even applique their names on them sometimes to personalize. I will be making these to sell for Hope House in the near future and feature them in an Etsy store (like Ebay, but for handmade items). Let me know if you might be interested in purchasing something like this to help support Hope House. I am trying to get the comments working on this blog so you can let me know what you think each day. Look for it soon!
Over the last several months I have received a Nutrimill Flour Mill from my great aunt and a Bosch Universal Mixer from my dear hubby. Well, here where we live it is VERY dusty - we live in the desert - so I decided I needed covers for my new appliances. So I got out some old fabric I had from many years ago and set to work. It was quick and simple, so I even made a potholder and plastic bag holder to match. I love to decorate, but since we live in a rented house in Mexico, I haven't done much in this house. So this added a nice, decorative touch to my kitchen as well as being very functional. I just measured the sides and top of each appliance and figured how much fabric I would need for each. By using two different fabrics for each, I didn't need really large pieces.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Grain and Nut Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (fresh ground is best!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (you can make this by adding vinegar to regular milk)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey or Sucanat (you CAN use sugar if you want)
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
2 bananas, mashed (optional)
Grind the oats in a blender or food processor until fine. In a large bowl, combine ground oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, milk, oil, egg, and honey with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix wet ingredients into dry with a few swift strokes. Stir in nuts and bananas, if desired.
Lightly oil a skillet or griddle, and preheat it to medium heat. Ladle 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot skillet, cook the pancakes for 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until brown. Enjoy!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I don't know about you, but whenever we start a new unit I visit the library (or my husband does like this time) and get LOTS of books on the topics we are studying. This month we are studying Ancient Rome and Rocks & Minerals, Earthquakes and Volcanoes. There are DVDs, videos, activity books, fiction books, and non-fiction books. Hopefully , these will last for 3-4 weeks. And that cute crate? Found that at a yard sale a few months back for $4.00!!
We are using Learning Adventures "A World of Adventure" this year and I LOVE it! It is laid out day-by-day and covers everything except math (for that I use Math-U-See). During this unit we are also studying and listening to Handel's Messiah. That has been really great, too. There are plenty of hands-on activities like cooking, science experiments, etc. It also includes Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary, History, Science and more! I am very pleased with this curriculum.
And BTW, this doesn't include all the personal reading library books that we have out right now. Good thing our library lets you check out as many books as you want:-)!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Ok, here is what I did today - I made Turkey PEPPERONI! And boy, is it spicy! We really like it!
I used Tammy's Recipe, but I used ground turkey and instead of Morton's TenderQuick Curing Salt (which I couldn't find anywhere), I just used regular salt. This way, it doesn't have any nitrates or nitrites, either. I will keep it refrigerated or frozen so that it won't spoil anyway.
Here is the meat just before going into the oven.
It takes 4 days to make, but it is worth it! Not only is it healthier and tastier, but it is about 1/4 of the cost of Turkey Pepperoni at WalMart. Now I can't wait to make pizza and try it out! Of course, I make my own whole grain pizza crust. I will share that recipe another day, too.
Here is the recipe I have been using, but I am also giving you this page that has 10 slightly different recipes for making laundry detergent (liquid and dry), so you can try and see what works best for you.
1 bar of soap (I like to use Fels-Naptha)
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not the same as baking soda)
1/2 cup Borax
Step One: Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.
Step Two: Put three gallons of hot water into the five gallon bucket (fill up three gallon milk jugs). Then mix the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.
And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used. One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry – and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent.
This will NOT suds - the suds don't clean the clothes, the other ingredients do. So don't fret!
Try it out and see if you like it - it will definitely save you money!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This recipe is for Spiced Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and it is SO yummy! I think this is my family's favorite.
I like things spicy, so I tried this Jalapeno Hummus and loved it too!
This Black Bean and Chickpea Hummus was the first hummus I made because it is tahini-free (before I found out about using peanut butter). It is good, too!
I hope you can enjoy a little hummus with your homemade Whole Wheat Pita from yesterday - what a tasty treat for the tastebuds!
Isn't Vinegar Amazing? My friend, Jaye, emailed me yesterday with her tip about using vinegar to wash fruits and vegetables. She said, "You just mix 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. It kills 99% of the bacteria and removes traces of pesticides, etc... and it’s super cheap!" Thanks, Jaye!
Here are some uses from the Vinegar Institute:
Garbage disposal cleaner:
Garbage disposals may be kept clean and odor free with vinegar cubes. Vinegar cubes are made by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray and then freezing it. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so.
Coffee maker cleaner (automatic):
White distilled vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers from hard water. Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.)
Clean the microwave:
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.
Deodorize the kitchen drain:
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.
Clean the refrigerator:
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.
Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.
Ant invasions can sometimes be deterred by washing counter tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous place first.
Cleaner Dishes and Glasses
Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.
Remove Refrigerator Smells
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator. Within 2 days, any smell is gone!
Check out Tammy's Recipes Kitchen Tip Tuesday for alot more tips that are very useful!
Monday, January 21, 2008
This is in response to a request by my dear friend Terri! Over the last couple weeks I have made this pita several times and we just gobble it up! It is so good and tasty! I made "mock" gyros last week and I will share about them and how you can make them really simply another day. You can also make up some hummus to eat with them. I have a couple of yummy recipes for that, too - roasted red pepper hummus and jalapeno hummus.
Whole Wheat Pita
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
4 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
(if you don't have fresh ground, try 3 cups whole wheat to 1 cup bread flour)
Place water, honey and salt into a large mixer with dough hook. Mix well.
Add 2 cups of flour and then yeast. Mix well.
Add remaining two cups of flour and knead dough for 5 minutes.
Remove dough to lightly floured surface (I use a big bowl because I don't have any counter space) and hand knead for a few minutes.
Separate the dough into 8 portions. Set the dough aside and cover with a towel for 30 minutes.
Roll down each ball with your palm on a floured surface forming a small disc. Then, with a rolling pin, form 8 discs 7-inches diameter. They should be bout 1/4 inch thick. Set aside and cover with a damp linen or towel. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
While they rest, put a stone or baking sheet into your oven and turn the oven on the 450 degrees. After the fifteen minutes, starting with the first pita you rolled out, put a few of them onto the stone or sheet. Do not crowd! They need the circulated air.
Let them cook for about 6 minutes. They should be puffed up, but not really browned. Remove with tongs and keep under a warm, moist towel until all are done baking.
Store in airtight container or ziplock bag when cooled.
Yummy! Enjoy these wonderful - and easy - pitas! I will give you the other recipes tomorrow, I hope.
Just throw a handful of popcorn in the little brown lunch bag, fold over the top a couple times, place in microwave and turn on for about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes. Then stand by and listen, when the popping slows down, turn it off. In just a couple minutes, you will have freshly popped popcorn with no oil or butter! Then you can season it however you like (I personally like Cajun Seasoning on mine) and enjoy! So simple, so quick, so healthy! It is my favorite snack!
Oh, and make sure you reuse the brown paper bag over and over, unless (this happens occasionally) you get a tear from a particularly violent popcorn:-).
All you have to do is put 3 Tablespoons of liquid hand soap or dishwashing soap in a bowl with 2/3 cups of water. Gently mix soap with water - DO NOT SHAKE! Pour into foam soap dispenser and VOILA! More foam soap at a fraction of the cost of any other since you are only using 3 Tablespoons!!
How cool is that? And I am sure your kids will wash their hands more often and for longer with the foam soap. Mine do!
Here are the recipes:
1/2 white vinegar
Mix equal parts to fill your spray container.
All Purpose Cleaner (like 409)
1 quart warm or hot water
1 tsp. Borax
squeeze of lemon juice or splash of vinegar
Mix together and pour into spray container.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sprinkle baking soda around the toilet bowl, wait for a few minutes, scrub with toilet bowl brush and flush.
1 cup Borax
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
Mix together and store in a container (I like to use old Gatorade or powdered drink mix containers). Use 1 Tablespoon per wash load. For spot-free dishes, put white vinegar in rinse compartment. Also, if you have a problem with getting a film on your dishes, put a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent (like Dawn) in with the dishwasher detergent.
Enjoy a clean and healthy home!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Today, I decided I needed fingerless gloves because my hands have been FREEZING when I am on the computer. So I found a pattern online (what an incredible instant resource the internet is!!) and made myself this cute pair. If you know how to crochet and would like to make your own, I have linked the website and you can follow the easy instructions. My hands are nice and warm while I type this. In case you were wondering, we don't have heat in our house, so when it is chilly like today, I am freezing! So I wear heavy sweaters, socks, etc., but gloves just don't work when you are typing. Now I am all set - nice and cozy!
So you will be hearing from me as I blog about our family, what's cooking, what new project I have completed, what we are studying in our homeschool, what is happening with Hope House and whatever else I decide to share. I hope you enjoy and benefit from this. Blessings to you all!