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, 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
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 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

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Blessing of Flowers

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love flowers!!

Up until last evening, this little patch of flowers outside our front door was a weed patch. I had gotten the garden and back flower beds planted and they are actually looking well, but this one I hadn't gotten to yet.

Last night, while I was cooking dinner, DH and children surprised me by pulling up all the weeds and planting these beautiful flowers. Begonia, Impatience, and Petunia. I am blessed to have such a wonderful family.
This whole thing reminded me of a great verse: Isaiah 40:8
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (KJV)
What a wonderful promise!
Blessings to you and your family this wonderful weekend! Suzie

Friday, May 23, 2008

A half-day in the life of US

Blessings from our home. As this is a new thing and I am kinda experimenting, I have chosen to share the life of us blog on a regular basis but today I will only do a half day. I won't post any pictures yet as I havn't quite figured out how to do that.
We rose, and I got breakfast in the oven. It was Fermented Baked Oatmeal, yum! It needed to bake 35 minutes, during which time we dressed and did family chores. I got the bread dough that had been rising, into bread pans to be baked later on. I also fed my sourdough starter and checked on my corn relish that I began fermenting yesturday. I have been reading Nourishing Traditions and this recipe is from there.
At breakfast, we ate and discussed our day. Today is a little different as my oldest son has an appointment to have his annual 'birthday' photo taken, this afternoon. It is also Friday so that means family movie night tonight. We will be watching a movie about the life of King Solomon as it goes along with our school study from this week.
After breakfast, we cleared the table and began our Proverbs reading chapter 6:9-11 and had a great discussion about laziness!
Next we did scripture memorization. Each of the children is in a different place in the 'Safety Chain'. Youngest son is memorizing II Peter 1:3, daughter is memorizing Galatians 3:24-25 and eldest son is memorizing Colossians 2:14.
Next was Math. All are required to spend 30 minutes on math. When their Math U See sheet is completed, they can go on the web site and do drills til their time is completed. All three computers were doing math drills this morning, yea!!
Next was language arts time. Friday is spelling test/dictation day. We use McGuffey readers most of the time however daughter is doing a literature unit from Total Language Plus this week
During this time, I do any cooking for the day. I have bread that is just about ready to go in the oven, so I have the oven preheating. For lunch we are having cheesy rice, apples, and herbal tea. For dinner we will be having home made pizza, so I will set out the sausage and make the sauce, it is a family recipe. I also take this time to usually catch up on any e-mails or (now) blogging that I need to do.
This afternoon, I anticipate that we will have read aloud after lunch. We are currently reading God King by JoAnne Williamson. It is a wonderful story set in the time of King Hezekiah. The children beg me to read more when it is time to stop.
We will also do geography from our Tapestry of Grace Year 1 Unit 20 as well as have a small discussion about their reading they did this week. This week the children are studying the division of Isreal into two nations, and the first kings of each as well as the prophet Elijah.
As I was pondering my day today this verse came to my mind:
'Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the Glory of God' I Corinthians 10:31
May you have a Blessed Day! Suzie

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My First Post - May 22, 2008

Well, I finally did it. After searching, lurking and discovering so many other wonderful blogs and realizing how much they have helped me in my journey, I have joined the blogging mothers on the internet.

There are many things that I hope to achieve with my blog. I want to have a place to display my children's school work especially to friends and family who live far away. We use Tapestry of Grace Curriculum which include lots of rich hands on material in our lessons. The children also have many other interests that they would love to share with friends and family.
My prayer is to impart a blessings to anyone who may happen to read my blog. For today and all the days to come, I am truly blessed.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (KJV)