Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Travel Prayers

Hello friends. We will be travelling to be with family this holiday season, through some snowy winter weather. Our family requests prayers from all of our friends. Blessings for a safe and happy holiday. I hope to have lots of wonderful blessings to share from our journey.
Merry Christmas, Suzie

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Gift Baskets

Each year about this time, I approach dh to find out how many 'projects' we need to do for the special folks he works with. This year we prepared six gift baskets for his work and several extra to deliver to special people like the children's music teachers and a few special families that we are very close to.

Since I had put up copious amounts of pumpkin last month, I knew that some of it would go into a baked item in these baskets. We made mini loaves of Holiday Pumpkin Bread...simple but delicious. Here is the recipe. It makes 3 regular or 2 large loaves or 9 mini loaves of bread.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (opt. we use pecans)
1 cup raisins (opt.)

Preheat oven, grease and flour 3 loaf pans or equivalent. Mix oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs together. Mix in pumpkin and orange juice. Stir together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add to wet mixture. Stir in nuts and raisins. Divide batter in prepared pans. Bake 1 hour. Cool on racks.

We also make these cute little suckers. The children had a wonderful time working in the kitchen making these and clean up really wasn't that big of a deal. The spent an entire afternoon making these and letting them set up in between listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies and playing legos. The molds were purchased at a local kitchen supply for less than $5.00 total and the candy was purchased at Hobby Lobby, they have it 30% off this week. I had the sticks leftover from a previous project but you can also get them at Hobby Lobby. They were wrapped in a fold top sandwich bag with curling ribbon.

Here is the final result. Isn't he cute. There were candy canes, snowmen, Christmas tree and a reindeer in the same mold and we make some of each. In our baskets, we also included some of our family holiday favorites like Buckeyes and peanut butter blossoms. Also included favorites like Hershey Holiday mix of mini candy (kisses, mini peanut butter cups and mini bars) and other hard candy, too.

We all have traditions of giving during this season. I am challenging myself to continue my spirit of giving all through the year. Blessings for a wonderful holiday season, Suzie

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Hum of the Sewing Machine

My sewing machine has been very busy lately. I am finishing up some Christmas gifts including quilts for my mother and newest nephew as well as pillows for many of the extended family. The greatest, most practical items are unmentionables that I will use each month for my cycle. For years I have read that cotton pads would help with my most unmanagable flow but never thought it would help this much. I had the lightest cycle in probably 10 years. I purchased my pattern from Kristin and JoAnns had all thier flannel on sale for $1.49/yard a few weeks ago. I purchased PUL waterproof barrier off of ebay and had some leftover organic cotton batting. I only needed a little of the PUL and batting for the waterproof layer. I went to work and they are truly wonderful. They are so comfortable and pretty, I might add. I will never buy those sticky, boring paper ones again. Also, in considering the cost, I spent about $30.00 in materials to make enough pads for one cycle, with plenty of materials leftover to make several more. I typically spend $6.00-8.00 a month in pads so conservatively, this project will pay for intself in 6 months and I will begin saving that much per month. What a blessing it has been to me. Hope it can bless you in some way. Suzie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner, we decided to exit our traditional studies in Ancient Greece and do some Pilgrim studies. I bought a wonderful lap book from CurrClick titled A Season for Giving Thanks by Pleasant Ridge Publishing. It has a book list and many wonderful cutting activites surrounding the Thanksgiving Holiday. Oldest Son is reading Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, The Story of the Virginia Colony (A Landmark Book). Even though the events are a bit earlier and south, he is still enjoying it tremendously. Daughter is reading Whos that standing on Plymouth Rock by Jean Fritz and Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Bulla. Youngest son is reading The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh.

With all of this talk about Pilgrims and their families, the hardships they encountered and even death, I began to ponder. One DVD that we watched called The Mayflower Pilgrims said that the definition of a pilgrim is a person or group that go on a long journey for religious reasons. I have thought about that much since hearing that definition. At breakfast this morning I asked the children if we were pilgrims. Amazingly, they remembered that definition from the DVD and oldest son said, Yes, we are. After a little more discussion on the matter, we sang the following hymn together.

Here We Are But Straying Pilgrims

Here we are but straying pilgrims
Here our path is often dim
But to cheer us on our jouney
Still we sing this wayside hymn

Chorus: Yonder over the rolling river
Where the shining mansions rise
Soon will be our home forever
And the smile of the blessed giver
Gladens all our longing eyes.

Here our feet are often weary
On the hills that throng our way
Here the tempest darkly gathers
But our hearts within us say


Here our souls are often fearful
Of the pilgrim's lurking foe
But the Lord is our defender
And He tells us we may know


I hope this post blesses your day.

May you and your family have a Blessed Thanksgiving, Suzie

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

This is a wonderful time of year for lots of baking and one of our favorite things to bake is pumpkin and all the delicious recipes that go with it. Pumpkin is very easy to cook and process. My mother used to cook them this way when I was a child. She grew up in a time when no one wasted anything, and nothing goes to waste on this pumpkin. Seeds are eaten, pumpkin processed and skin and pulp go to compost. I am thankful to mom for teaching me this.

First, when choosing a pumpkin, make sure it is a rich orange color. Any yellow or green on it means it is not yet ripe. Cut the pumpkin in half from stem to stem and remove the seeds and pulp. You can roast the seeds if your family likes them. There is a simple and delicious recipe here. My children love to eat these whole, shell and all.

Oil a cooking sheet that has sides on it. Turn half of the pumpkin upside down on the cooking sheet. I repeat this process for the second half, as I tend to pick large pumpkins. Place in a 400 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours until the skin becomes dark brown and blistered. The pumpkin is going to cook by steaming itself. You may think you are burning it but you are not. After it becomes brown, take it out and let it cool. It will look like it is shrivelling as it cools and that if fine. After it is cool, the skin will just peel off and that beautiful pumpkin is soft and workable. I usually process mine in the food processor and then freeze in freezer bags, 2 cups at a time. Don't add the excess liquid back in as you process, as it may make your pumpkin too thin. It will seem thinner than the canned stuff but it has never caused me a problem. Some recipes may just need to bake a bit longer. Also, the cost effectiveness of cooking your own pumpkin is phenomenal! I bought this very large pumpkin for $2.49 and it made an entire gallon of pumpkin puree! They are a great investment for purchase after October 31st if you can find them on clearence.

Here are a couple of our family favorite recipes

Pumpkin Pie
1 pie crust-9 inch
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cups sugar ( I use sucanat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 t cloves
1 cans evaporated milk (I have used home made almond milk also)

Mix all ingredients well and pour in crust. Cook 15 minutes at 425 then turn down to 350 and bake 45 minutes more. Pie is done when knife inserted in center, comes out clean. My experience with this recipe says that it usually takes a little longer to cook, I think due to the extra liquid in the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup sucanat
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (soy or almond is fine)
1/3 cup oil (or substitute applesauce)
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400 or 375 for dark pan. Butter muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add egg, milk, oil, and pumpkin. Stir until just mixed. Add raisins. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.

We eat this sometimes for breakfast as I can mix it the night before and refrigerate and the children wake up to the wonderful smells of breakfast cooking and it really wasn't all that hard.

Happy baking this fall, Suzie

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Parthenon

We are currently on vacation and stopped by in Nashville last weekend for some sight seeing (ie: school field trip) before travelling on to our destination. We have been studying Ancient Greece in our Tapestry of Grace Year 1, Unit 3 and I was thrilled to find a scale model of the original Parthenon in Centennial Park in Nashville. It was the perfect field trip to go along with our studies.

Notice how huge this building is.

Here is daddy and the children on the front steps of the Parthenon.

The children are standing in front of the huge iron doors of this temple, that originally housed the goddess Athena in Athens, Greece. It was one of the many buildings in the area of the Acropolis in Greece.

Notice how HUGE these pillars. The children could not even go half way around using themselves as a chain. They were quick to tell me that these were doric columns. There was a very interesting film in the museum that told all about how the structure was built. Oldest son was especially interested in this as he has been very curious about ancient architecture.

Here is a guilded duplicate of the false goddess Athena. This was what was beyond those huge doors. She was the height of those doors as well. As the children turned the corner and got their first glimpses of her they commented, 'No wonder they wanted to worship her'. Her sheer size was overwhelming. I too was in awe.
This a photo of the serpent that was wrapped around her and the shield as she was the goddess of war and protection.
As we arrived back at our hotel, we discussed the awesomeness of her as well as how much more great that God of heaven is. We read from Acts where Paul addressed the greek people that were such prevelant worshippers of her.
"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor is He worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things...therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising"
Acts 17:24-34 NKJV

Have a blessed day, Suzie

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home-Made Dishwasher Soap

With all of us pinching pennies over the past several months, like many folks, I too have been trying to find ways to stretch my dollar. I used to spend about $6.00 for a large name brand dishwashing soap. Through trial and error, I have made my own dishwashing powder and saved money. Here is what I do:

2 cups Wal-Mart brand (Great Value) dry dishwashing powder
1 cup Arm and Hammer baking soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
Mix in a bowl and store in a quart glass jar. It lasts me about a week. I use 2 heaping tablespoons per load and do about 3 loads a day.
I also have begun placing apple cider vinegar in my rinse cycle canister. It actually does a better job than the expensive name brand that I used to use.

"There is treasure to be desired and oil in the swelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." Proverbs 21:20 KJV
Blessing for a wonderful day, Suzie

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quilt musings

Dear daughter and I have been working hard trying to get our 'first' quilts finished in time for the county fair.

It was my first quilt that I did using my own pattern, for dear son, and dd's first try at hand quilting as well as learning how to 'stitch in the ditch' and learning to do the binding.

DD received a blue ribbon and I a white one (third).

We had a lot of fun learning together.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff...she maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple...Strength and honor are her clothing: and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Proverbs 31:19 ff

Blessings for a day of strength, Suzie

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Battle of Salamis

We just finished studying Unit 24, of Tapestry of Grace. To go along with the battles between the Persians and the Greeks, we found JuniorGenerals.org. It has gobs of games to simulate historical battles throughout the centuries. We had a blast cutting, taping and creating the game. Thanks to Molly's Blogspot for introducing us to these soldiers. She also has a blog titled Historical Paper Soldiers. We used these soldiers and these triremes. Here were the directions to the game. .
The directions indicated to use a ruler to make your moves. This was perfect for my dear children ages 8, 10 and 12.
Check out this great game board they made out of large drawing paper.

Meet the teams....

The Persians and

The Greeks.
It was fun time had by all. Much was learned in the process.

Blessings in your school this day, Suzie

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bread By Naomi

Dear Daughter has started her own business at the age of 10. How did this happen? Several months ago, two ladies from our church asked me if I could begin making bread for them and they would gladly pay for it. At that time, I didn't think I had the time so I told them so. A few months later, these same two ladies approached my husband and he decided that it would be good for dear daughter to begin her own business. I have made the time as this is such a valuable experience for both her and I. Her products are whole wheat, cinnamon and raisin, and rolls from frozen. She has learned how to serve her customers by even making some 'custom' orders like only cinnamon for one lady who doesn't like raisins and whole wheat cheese to another cheese lover. She is learning how to set aside for her business, half of her earning go to the purchase of more products and the other half she keeps. Of that she keeps, she is learning about saving and giving to the church. She is learning the value of hard work and a good reputation. She is learning how to work in the kitchen with her mother (or maybe it is the other way around). So far, it has been a really great experience.

I decided to post the recipe for anyone wanting to try it. This recipe makes 4-1.5# loaves.
It is a modified version of Sue Gregg's recipe from her Whole Grain Baking Book. If you are a whole grain baker, you must visit her web site. She has one of the most healthful whole grain recipe books I have ever seen. http://www.suegregg.com/cookbooks/cookbooks.htm

Whole Grain Bread

4 cups warm filtered water
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
8 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
(we use golden wheat but you can use red wheat if you want a more sturdy bread)

Blend these ingredients together and let sit overnight or 12-24 hours
then mix in 2 cup measure:
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup applesauce
4 teaspoons sea salt
Microwave this for about 1 minute til warm but not hot (to activate yeast)

then in 1 cup measure place
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons yeast

This is done to proof your yeast. You don't want to go to all the work to make bread and then find out you had bad yeast. Your yeast mixture should begin to bubble and grow. It should also smell 'yeasty'.

Next mix all the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl with your original mixture in it. To this add more flour (between 4-6 cups more) so that it does not stick to the sides of the bowl when mixing and it can be handled easily with buttered hands. Turn into large buttered bowl and knead a few times. Cover with warm moist dishtowel and put in a warm place to rise. When it has doubled, punch it down and let it rise a second time. Punch it down and turn onto countertop to knead. I do not use a floured surface, only buttered hands to knead. If you use flour, it makes your bread dry. With buttered hands divide your dough in 4 parts. Knead and shape into loaves. Place in buttered loaf pans. Let rise a third time. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes until tops are brown. Remove from oven. Butter tops. Remove from pans after 15 minutes and place on cooling racks.

Variations include:
Rolls-same dough just shape into rolls and let rise just like bread loaves. They can be flash frozen then thawed for 8 hours then baked.
Cinnamon and raisin bread-simply knead in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins to dough before placing in pans to rise the 3rd time.

All this talk of bread reminds me of the most important bread, the Word of God

But He answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"
Matthew 4:4

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Safety Chain Part 2

The purpose of part 1 of the safety chain is to show a person who is not a Christian how the Bible says they can become a Christian.

The purpose of part 2 of the safety chain is to show that person who was just added to the Church (Acts 2:47) what the Church of the New Testament looked like, their work, worship, and lives and how the church they attend should look.

Like part 1 of the safety chain, you look up the scripture and answer the question. It is very easy. The Bible speaks for itself.

Unity, One Church

John 17:11 - Christ prayed for unity. Does Jesus want us to be one as He and His father are one?

I Corinthians 1:10-13 - Is Christ divided? Is God pleased with religious division?

I Corinthians 3:3-6 - What do strife and division show about people?

Ephesians 1:22-23 Are Christ's body and the church the same thing in this passage?

Ephesians 4:4-5 How many bodies (or churches) are there?

Matthew 16:16,18 - How many churches did Jesus build? Upon what did He build His church?

Organization of the Church

Ephesians 5:23 - Who is the head of the church?

Philipians 1:1 - What two kinds of offices did churches have in the first century? Who are the saints?


Romans 16:16 - What does this verse use as a term for groups of God's people? Is a name important?

Acts 11:26 - What were the disciples called for the first time in Antioch? Should we use only terms found in scripture to describe God's people?


Hebrews 10:25-26 - Should we make the assembling or gathering of the church an important part of our lives?

How to Worship

John 4:23-24 - How must we worship?

John 17:17 - What is truth?

Lord's Supper

Matthew 26:26-29 - Who instituted the Lord's Supper? What are the two parts of the Lord's Supper? Would it be right to add other things?

I Corinthians 11:23-26 - What is the purpose of the Lord's Supper?


Acts 20:7 - Why did the church assemble on the first day of the week? How often do we partake of the Lord's Supper? What else did Paul do?


I Corinthians 16:1-2 - What should church members give? Is there any specific amount commanded?


I Thessalonians 5:17 - Should the Christian be consistent in prayer?


Ephesians 5:19, 25 - What kind of music shoudl Christians use to worship God?

Colossians 3:16 - Can a mechanical instrument sing? Can a mechanical instrument understand?

Obey all Commands

Revelation 22:18-19 - Should we add or take away from what the scripture says?

Galatians 1:6-9 - Can we preach or teach a doctrine NOT found in the New Testament?

Guides for Living

Romans 12:1-2 - What are we asked to present to God? How are we to deal with the world?

Titus 2:11-14 - How are we to live as Christians?


II Timothy 2:15 - Why are we to study the Bible?

Remain Faithful

Revelation 2:10 - How long must we be faithful to receive salvation?

James 4:17 - If we know to do good and don't do it, what is it?

I close with the following verse:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15

My prayer is that all of us will be one, Suzie

Fresh Garlic Butter

For dinner this evening we are havin' good ol baked potatoes! YUM!

To top our wonderful potatoes, I will make fresh from our garden, garlic butter.

This plant is called garlic chives and grows almost wild in my flower beds. We got a good rain the last few days so the blooms on it are beginning to open. Perfect for mixing into butter to make a wonderful topping for our potatoes.

Simply remove the flower portion of the stem and cut off only the flower to mix in your butter. You don't want even the small green stem in your butter. Mix into room temperature butter with a spoon. Refigerate a few hours to let the flavors blend. You have gourmet quality garlic butter made with the freshest of ingredients.

Along with our potatoes tonight we will have cucumber and tomato salad from the garden and fresh whole wheat rolls.

Healthful food has been recieving a place of honor in our home, most recently.

I have recently been meditating on the following verse:

And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth. And every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yeilding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Genesis 1:29

Blessing for a yummy and healthful dinner for your family, Suzie

Cicada Adventure

A few evenings ago, while jumping on the trampoline, dd found this bug, came running in the house for a jar (which she does for just about every bug that she finds) and captured this little critter. This is a cicada that is getting ready to moult! We put a tea towel to cover the jar so the little guy would have something to hold onto. First the back split open and before we could even get our camera set up, here he went.

Look how tiny his little wings are!

A side version.

A litte farther out.

Now he is holding on with his front feet and the bottom end is completely out of the shell. The remaining shell is probably what you see on your trees, if you have cicadas in your area.

Now check out these wings!

They get bigger and bigger!

In the morning, all of the green was gone and the cicada was a nice rich brown color. We then took him to the garden and let him go.
Interesting Facts about the CICADA
The cicada is considered by some to be the loudest animal on the earth.
There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the globe and many remain unclassified
Cicadas are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs
In the southern Appalachian Mountains they are known as 'dry flies' because of the dry shell they leave behind.
Cicadas do not bite or sting
Some Cicadas have a 17 year life cycle
A female Cicada lays her eggs in a slit on a branch of a tree
Almost all of their lifecycle is spent under the ground
Adult Cicadas don't eat anything above the ground.
Observing this little creature reminds me of a familiar verse:
O Lord, how manifold are thy works!
In wisdom hast thou made them all:
The earth is full of thy riches.
Psalms 104:24
Blessings for a wonderful day! Suzie

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why We Homeschool Our Children

With the beginning of a new school year, I thought it would be good for me to re-visit and share the top 12 reasons why dh and I have made this choice to educate our children from home.

These are in no particular order.

1. Life is not about filling in the blanks, it is about learning to think. Logic and socratic discussions take place in our school on a regular basis.

2. Home is a place where they will recieve their education from a Christian World View.

3. God's Word has a place of honor in our children's education. Bible reading and listening is a built in part of their day.

4. No one knows, loves, or can care for my children any better than I can. I cannot think of a better place for them to be than with me.

5. My children need a family unit to be a part of. We cannot accomplish this very well if we do not spend time together.

6. I never have to worry about where my child is or what he/she is doing.

7. God has given dh and I these wonderful children to raise. This is a difficult task if you are away from them the majority of the day.

8. My children do not need to sit at a desk for 6 hours every day.

9. It is not important that my children learn to spend time with 20 other children who are their same age. Does this happen in real life? It is important that they learn to get along with each other. It is said that if you can get along with your siblings, you can get along with anyone.

10. It is important that each of our children learn and excell at their own pace, meaning they progress at their level rather than a certain grade level.

11. I never have to be concerned that my child will be the victim of the next drive by shooting or another form of violence. Our home is safe.

12. Lastly, but certainly not least, we homeschool our children because we feel it gives them a greater chance of getting to heaven.

Many of our friends and family have been very concerned over the years with our decision to homeschool our children. Probably the most popular question I get from the 'concerned' is "Do they get enough socialization with other children?" While we do take the time to expose them to 'social situations' like youth group and musical recitals, it is not a huge priority in our lives.

There was a study done in 2004 which the author concluded "this study shows me that these young adults who are homeschooled are doing well into adulthood and parents should be encouraged by that." says Dr. Ray, author of Homeschooling Grows Up. You can view the results of this study at http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/default.asp

All that aside, even if we thought our children would grown up to be social misfits (which they are not) we are not here to be concerned about social things regarding our earthly bodies, which WILL pass away.

As Jesus spoke, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Our job is to shape and form the hearts of our children as stated very eloquently by Moses:

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy god will all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Duetronomy 6:4-7

Dh and I just do not see how we can fulfill this responsibility any other way than to teach them under the loving guidance of us, in our home. Are we condenming others for their choices that might be different? No! Each family has their own set of circumstances and each has to fullfill the laws of God as best they can. An ideal situation would be for every Christian family to have the opportunity and means to educate their children at home, however we live in a imperfect world.

Blessings for a wonderful day, Suzie

Purim Hamantashen Pastries

This week we have been studying the story of Esther and some of the traditions of Purim that are part of our Year 1 Tapestry of Grace Study. One of dd's assignments was to make the tasty traditional jewish treat called Hamantashen.

Why do Jewish people eat Hamantashen at Purim? We had that question and when we went looking we found several answers. Our favorite was that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Eating an image of Haman's hat is a way to symbolically destroy his memory. Another explanation included the fact that Hamantaschen means "Haman's pockets" in German and it was rumored that the evil Haman's pockets were filled with bribe money. Whatever the reason for the tradition, they look and smell very good.

Here is the Hamantashen Recipe we used:

4 cups flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
1 jar rasberry or blackberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets with vegetable spray and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add butter, eggs, vanilla and orange juice and zest. Mix well. Finally add in flour and baking powder. You should have the consistency of sugar cookie dough. Divide into 4 parts. Roll out each part to about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a round 3 inch cookie cutter (biscuit cutter) or jar, cut out circles. Place on greased cookie sheets. Place 1/2 teaspoon preserves in the center of the cookie. Fold the sides up pinching them on 3 edges making a triagular cookie with filling in the middle. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Hope you all have as much fun as dd and I did making these together. Blessings in your school, Suzie

Growing Sprouts In My Kitchen

Did you know that you can sprout your own alfalfa seeds right in your own kitchen! Even better add a little radish and mung bean and you have a variety of nutrition.
I have recently had some health issues that have created a wonderful opportunity for us to change the way we eat and sprouts are definately on the menu!
Let me show you how easy it is.
I purchased my a Kitchen Garden Sprouter like this one http://www.canningpantry.com/ks1000.html.
If you do not have a sprouter, a mason jar with a breathable lid (cheesecloth) will work just as well.
First choose what type of sprouts you like. For better nutrition, we like a variety mix that I purchase at called Sprout Spree sandwich mix. http://www.frontiercoop.com/. It contains alfalfa, red clover, mung and radish seed. A pound, which costs $11.00 will make you enough sprouts for at least a year. You will not need to buy sprouts again. And best of all, they are fresh!

First, measure out 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of sprouts into warm water in a bowl, like this. If you are using a jar, only use half the seeds, about 1 tablespoon.
Let this sit covered on your counter overnight.
In the morning, simply pour these into your sprouter. Begin spraying them (if you have a sprayer at your sink) or misting them with water 3-4 times a day. If you have them in a jar, make sure to store the jar on its side while your sprouts are growning.
This is what they will look like after 2 days.
Give them 2 more days and the will be ready to eat.
Our favorite way to eat them is in sandwiches, whole wheat bread, avocado, sprouts, tomato, and cucumber, YUM.
I mentioned that our diet has changed. It will be exciting to share some of the new things we are eating and enjoying so much. Blessings for a wonderful day,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Today was *ahem* my (40th) birthday and I have been approaching it with great reservation, however, the Lord has blessed me abundantly this day both physically and spiritually. Read on to see what I mean.
Dear Husband came home this evening with this beautiful cake. We had a family party and I opened several presents.

My mother (who is nearly blind) made these covers for the counches and chairs in our living room. Aren't they beautiful. When she visited in February, she secretly measured my cushions, taking the measurements home and putting these together. They arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago. They are perfect. Mom, you could not have given me a better gift. Thank You!

My birthday presents from the children included simple things that I have needed in the kitchen (some of which they have lost for me) since we have changed the types of foods we eat. We have recently gone to a mostly vegetarian way of eating so I have been doing much more chopping. The slippers are from my dear daughter. She thought I needed something to keep my feet warm (in August). They are very comfortable and have memory foam in them.

This was an early birthday present from dear husband. I needed a place so I could have my sewing machine out and storage for miscellaneous sewing items. This is perfect fit. I found it very reasonably on http://www.walmart.com/. It came in a large box and half the fun was watching dh and ds put it all together and then wonder what all the extra pieces left over were from :)

It opens up like this and has storage underneath for your machine. There are 3 shelves on the right hand side and as you can see, a large extension arm.

Last, but certainly not least, I am so blessed spiritually. My two oldest dc put on Christ in baptism, Dd on Sunday evening and Ds, tonight. My visions of all of us going to heaven is the greatest gift ever. That dream is becoming a reality. God is so faithful.

As I go to bed this evening I am reminded of this verse:

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I John 1:7

Blessings for a wonderful day, Suzie

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Tabernacle Project

Last year, during out adventure through the Old Testament, we studied about the Tabernacle that the Children of Israel built under the direction of Moses. Here is a picture of their project and the directions to follow.

As our guide to this activity we used the Bible and a small but priceless little book called The Kregel Pictorial Guide to the Tabernacle by Dr. Tim Dowley. This book was mostly text from the scriptures about the tabernacle, condensed into one resource. It had actual photographs of what was being described, which helped children visualize what the finished product would be like.

The requirements for this project were that

1) The finished product was to be a scale model, meaning same of everything just smaller

2) They were to do all the measuring and calculations for the project. They would give them to me and I would go buy the supplies. The cost for this project wound up being around $50.00

3) They were to work together (ds-11, dd-9)

They achieved their goals and we proudly displayed this project at our end of unit celebration.

The actual dimensions of the plywood was 3 1/2 x 5 feet, cut by the hardware store

We used leftover acrylic paints for the plywood (brown) and posts (gold)
The posts were made from 1/2 inch dowel rods

To attach the posts, using a Dremmel tool, they drilled small holes in the plywood and in the center of each dowel. Using finishing nails from underneath and a bit of wood glue, then sliding the dowel onto the nail. Allow to dry.

When dry, attach a small eye screw to the top of each dowel. When curtains are prepared, thread string and curtains.

Curtain fabric was inexpensive cotton with an unbleached look. The inner curtains were a bright blue with iridescent green and red running through it. I found this fabric in the 'end piece' barrel. The outer layer we did not attach but simply laid in place. It was a fake fur that I had purchased previously for a goat project.

All the fabric was cut with a pinking sheer blade into 7 inch strips. We sewed a 1 inch pocket in the top of each strip and then cut the strips (after sewing) into 5 inch lengths. The curtains could then be hung. Dd 9 did most of the sewing. I did the cutting as I wasn't ready to let her loose with the rotary cutter.

The strings were secured with a slip knot and a thumb tack to resemble a large nail

The furniture pieces were all made with bakeable clay that you can get at any craft store. They were painted with leftover acrylic paints.

I hope you have as much fun with your kids and this project as I did with mine. They learned bunches too. Blessings for a great day, Suzie

Friday, July 4, 2008

Egypt and Sugar Cube Pyramids

Egyptian History was part of our studies this past year. We used Tapesty of Grace Year 1. We did lots of fun projects for our Egypt Units. Here is one of our favorites.

Sugar Cube Pyramids

Just using cardboard boxes covered with black consruction paper, we began with a sturdy foundation. Next we laid the cornerpieces. We
had a discussion about how Christ should be the cornerstone of our lives, explaining however that this was a little out of historical context, none the less, extremely important. Your cornerstone must be correct if the rest of the building is to stand. Carefully dipping your sugar cubes one by one into Elmers School Glue (I used this because it needs to be thick enough to not dissolve the sugar cube) and quickly but carefully laying them on the black paper all the way around. When they got all the way around, one layer, this was the foundation layer of their pyramid. They
worked carefully adding layer upon layer. You
must be careful not
put too much glue on each piece and it is better to make the 'steps' narrower than wider. By doing this, there may be some gaps in your pyramid, but this is better than it falling down later on. I would recommend this for ages 3-6 however, you could make a simpler model for younger and let the older ones design their own as we did. This was so much fun that the children often ask me to do it again with all the leftover sugar cubes. Happy pyramid building. Blessings, Suzie

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Safety Chain: Part I

Things are a bit crazy around here today. I am preparing to go on a 6 day evangelistic mission trip. Once a year, several dozen Christians from our area visit a city that has requested our assistance in helping them to grow. We will knock doors, set up bible studies and watch the Lord's church grow in this town. This year we are going to a small town of around 30,000 people and we will be knocking every door in this town. It will also be very hot, so I am packing cool but modest clothing. I have posted the Safety Chain of Salvation part 1, which is the Bible Study that we will used to teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will post the second half upon my return. You just use the scriptures to answer the questions. Blessings, Suzie
Traditions of Men
Mark 7:7,9 and 13 - Are the commandments fo men equal to the commandments of God?
I Timothy 4:1-4 What are two examples of traditions of men found in verse three?
Old and New Testament
Colossians 2:14 When was the Old Law taken away?
Galatians 3:24-25 Since we are saved now by faith, are we still under the old law?
Hebrews 8:6-7 Which covenant are we under today?
Hebrews 9:15-17 When does a will or testament come into force? So what testament are we under today?
Inspiration of the Scriptures
II Timothy 3:16-17 What scriptures are inspired by God?
II Peter 1:3 Does the Bible contain everything we need to guide us through life? Do we need more than what was given in the first century?
All have sinned
Romans 3:23 How many of us have sinned?
I John 3:4 What is sin? What does transgress mean?
Christ reconciles
Romans 5:8-10 Because God loved us, what happened for us?
John 14:5 What is the only way we can come to God the Father?
Obey God's Will
Matthew 7:21-23 Who will go to heaven? Will everyone who professes to be a Christian be saved?
Matthew 7:13-14 What is the way to destruction like? What is the way to eternal life like? Is there safety in numbers?
John 14:15 If we really love the Lord, what will we do?
John 3:16 What does this verse say we must do to have eternal life?
John 8:24 What will happen if we don't believe in Jesus?
Hebrews 11:6 It is impossible to please God without what?
Luke 13:3 This verse says we will perish (or be lost) unless we do what?
Acts 17:30 Is ignorance of God's law an acceptable excuse?
II Corninthians 7:10 What does godly sorrow work in us?
Matthew 10;32-33 What do these verses say we must do if we want the Lord to acknowledge us before God?
Romans 10:9-10 In addition to belief, what else do we need to be saved? How do we do this?
Acts 8:37 What did the Eunuch confess?
Acts 8:35-39 When Philip preached Jesus , the Eunuch wanted to do what?
Mark 16:15-16 What two things are we to do before we are saved?
Acts 2:37-41 What were these people told to do to have remission of sins? What does it mean that they were told to save themselves?
Romans 6:3-6 What is baptism compared to in this passage? How do we bury people?
I Peter 3:21 What does this verse says saves us?
Acts 22:16 When were are baptized what hapens to our sins?
Results of Obedience
Acts 2:47 What happens to those who are saved? Do we join the church? Are we voted in?

See Part Two Of The Safety Chain

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fermented Baked Oatmeal

Breakfast is usually a challenging time at our house as I don't do mornings very well, sooooo we have several things that get mixed up the night before and popped into the oven in the morning. This is one such recipe, specially requested by a good friend.
Fermented Baked Oatmeal
3 cups oatmeal (fresh is best)
1/2 cup coconut oil, butter or applesauce
1/2 maple syrup
1t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
3T whey
1 cup water
Mix all these ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning add:
3 eggs
1t vanilla
1t baking soda
1/3 cup raisins
Pour batter into well buttered loaf or 9x9 pan and bake 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Enjoy!
We have suspended school for our summer break. I will be leaving on an evangelistic mission trip on Friday and will have more on that tomorrow and Thursday.
Blessings, Suzie

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sewing Up A Storm

Did you notice that I didn't post yesturday? It was because we were sewing up a storm. Let me begin by saying, I am not a seemstress and have not done anything in the way of sewing clothing in 20 years. The state of the current fashion trends and the inability to find modest clothing for my daughter has forced me out of my comfort zone. I found that it's kinda fun!

This pattern is Simplicity 4206 (Sewing patterns for dummies) with some minor alterations. I added 2 inches to the length of the blouse and added a fourth gathered layer to the bottom of the skirt, making it four tiers rather than three. It was so much fun shopping for fabric with her. Her personality really came out. To see her face light up when when modelling the finished product for her daddy, was truly delightful. Daddy was please also.

For today, do something out of your comfort zone. You might find some joy that way and maybe even a new hobby.

Blessings to your day, Suzie

Passionate About Robots

Oldest son has a passion for building NXT robots. He will be attending robotics day camp at the local university next week. He built and programmed this robot, called Grabber bot, in under an hour, which is a record for him.

I have recently challenged him to create, build and programmed a robot that will assist in furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is incredible to watch him ponder this one!
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (KJV)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Curds and Whey Part 2

I am a very visual person, so I have included lots of pictures today. I hope it will help you visualize this process. A Special thank you to my dear daughter and budding photographer.
First, this is my yogurt maker. I use it all the time. This yogurt has been making all night.

After your yogurt is done, chill it well before trying to separate curds and whey.
Here are the supplies you will need for separation.
-Fresh, well chilled yogurt
- A strainer
- A bowl that fits under the strainer
-Flour sacks, torn to fit in your strainer
(I got these in the dish towel section at Wal-Mart)
First, wash your hands well, you don't want to contaminate your good bacteria with bad bacteria.
Next, fit the flour sack material inside the strainer. You want this to fit your strainer and not be too big (like hanging all over the counter) as the entire fabric will become saturated with whey and you want more whey in your container than absorbed in your cloth.

Next, spoon your fresh, well chilled yogurt into your strainer that is lined with your flour sack cloth.

Next find the largest rubber band you can find and a piece of saran wrap. Cover the entire concauction with saran wrap and place the rubber band on the outside container, the one that is holding the whey. Now refrigerate this whole thing for 10-12 hours.

After refrigeration unwrap it and pull up the corners of your cloth. You are going to twist the cloth, squeezing any remaining whey from the curds.

Open the cloth and put the curds into a clean container. This cloth may be washed and reused over and over. Curds will last covered in the refrigerator for several weeks, however, it doesn't last that long at my house. My dc have discovered that is is really good on whole wheat toast mixed with their favorite jelly. YUM! I also use it in any recipe that calls for cream cheese.
Store the whey in a glass jar in your refrigerator. Whey contains much of the healthful bacteria that is in the yogurt. It is an excellent medium for fermenting and preserving foods.
This is a foundation for some of the recipes that I hope to share on my blog. Admittedly, we use a lot more of the cream cheese than the whey. A little whey goes a long way.
In His Service,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Curds and Whey Part 1

We have all heard the nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet.

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a Tuffet

Eating her curds and whey


Along came a spider

And sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away!
Curds and whey are yogurt or cottage cheese. Whey, when it is separated from the yogurt or cottage cheese is a very healthful medium for natural fermentation of foods. For more information on this, get a copy of Nourishing Traditions. It is full of information on healthful fermentation of foods that is a lost art in our society. In this post, I will attempt to show you how to make yogurt, the first step in separating your curds from your whey. We will then use the whey in many different recipes that I will blog. Please be patient with me as this is new so I am experimenting somewhat but what I have tried thus far, I really like.
Homemade Yogurt
4 cups milk ( I use pasteurized, non-homoginized)
1/4 to 1/2 cup full fat unflavored yogurt
You will need a thermometer as pictured here http://www.chefsresource.com/taylor-analog-instant-read-dial-thermometer.html, however, I think I bought mine at Wal-Mart.
Bring your milk to a temperature of 180 degrees on stovetop. Next, cool it down to 110 degrees. I do this by submursing the pan in cool water that is being held in the sink. When it arrives at 110 degrees, I stir in the starter yogurt. I then pour the whole thing into the yogurt maker. It holds the temperature at a constant 100 degrees, the ideal temperature for bacterial multiplication in yogurt.
If you would like directions to make yogurt in your slow cooker, you can find them here http://myblessedhome.blogspot.com/2007/06/how-to-make-yogurt.html#article.
When you use your yogurt, be sure to hold back 1/2 cup for your next batch.
So you ask, what do you do with all the yogurt, since you cannot buy only 1/2 cup? I put mine in ice trays and freeze it. When it comes out of the ice trays, I store it in ziplock bags in the freezer. When I accidentally use my starter or my yogurt seems a bit too runny for my taste, I just begin from 'scratch' next time, using 3 frozen cubes of yogurt.
Genesis 18:8 He took curds and milk and the calf which he has prepared and place it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.
Kinda neat that our sister Sarah prepared a similar dish.
Blessings for you and your curds and whey. Tomorrow I will show you how to separate this wonderful stuff into cream cheese and whey.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Elijah and the Ravens

This past week in Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Unit 20, we were studying about some of the prophets of the Old Testament including Elijah and Elisha. Daughter and youngest son made these cute raven puppets to retell the story of Elijah being brought food daily by the ravens. You can get directions for this project here http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbagcrow.htm. The supplies for this project were simple and I had them all on hand.

Daughter with her raven puppet!

Close up of raven puppet.

Youngest son with raven puppet!

There are so many other miracles that we have studied about during our continuing journey through the Old Testament. It is amazing the way that God brought His chosen people back to Him. He often times used surrounding nations to conquer them, thus turning their hearts back to Him. Is this something that we need to think about with our own nation today? Let me know your thoughts.
My thoughts go to this verse:
Proverbs 14:34
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. (KJV)
Blessings, Suzie