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.

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

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
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. 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 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