Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pickle Relish

I had the best intentions to not let anything in the garden go to waste but let me tell you these cucumbers are getting ahead of me : ) If you can see in the picture below, that's just some of the cucumbers I have left still . Today I was busy making this sweet pickle relish It was alot more work than the pickles I made recently but it turned out better. I did make sure I used pickling salt this time and I changed the recipe a little. I used all sweet red peppers & vidalia onion & used only about half of what the recipe called for. I'm thinking I'll make more but I'll have to go to the store to buy more onion, cider vinegar, and peppers. If not I think I will be putting the rest of the cucumbers at the end of my drive with a FREE sign : ) I can't wait to use the relish though. I can think of all kinds of ways to use it....on hot dogs, in tuna , chicken, egg salad, potato salad, etc.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This & That

Another one of my children as come down with strep throat. Thankfully all I had to do yeaterday was call the doctor and she called in a prescription for my dear son. He's feeling a little better today.

I'm glad my husband didn't have to work all day & was able to be at home with the kids, because it was a busy run around town day for me. My daughter's birthday is next week , so I spent the day birthday shopping for her as well as getting the ingrediants needed for her cake & ice cream to go with the cake.

I love celebrating my kids' birthdays. We don't have big parties for them , it's usually just us & sometimes a grandparent or two. However, we do like to make the day special for them by giving them gifts, a special dinner of their choice...usually it's pizza and the cake & ice cream of their choice.

This year my daughter wants a brownie-peanut butter cake. The recipe calls for Betty Crocker Pour & Frost chocolate frosting. I don't really like the canned frosting but I also need to avoid it because of gluten, so that leaves me to make it from scratch. After looking on the internet & not really finding a recipe that fit the bill, I decided to look through my cookbooks. That's when I remembered my Betty Crocker cookbook. This is not just any cookbook it's an original 1950's cookbook given to me by husband's grandmother. I thought it was neat how about the time she gave this to me it was reprinted and published to look just like the original...with the same recipes. I figure I must have a real gem of a cookbook. Doesn't it look like it was a loved & well used cookbook? I'm thankful to say I found a recipe for the chocolate frosting for my daughter's cake.
Original 1950's cookbook
On another note.... I thought it was neat today to find a Bible verse in an unusual place. It was on the back of a can of cheez curls that I bought : ) I think that's neat when companies do that. This verse reminded me of the young woman's testimony at Sunday's baptisimal ...it was also fitting to some thoughts I had about some things yesterday.... " The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth." Psalm 145:18. If we call upon the Lord in truth with a sincere heart & pure motives......the Lord is near to us.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Believer's Baptism

Yesterday our church had a baptismal service and picnic. The picnic was lots of fun with games and food but I most enjoyed the baptisms. There was one mom that I would guess is close in age to me, whom I've just been getting to know a little better. Well she was baptized as well as others. She is a very quiet, some what shy and reserved lady but she so eloquently shared her testimony. The words flowed so beautifully and I was truly blessed by her testimony : )

She said she did not grow up in a Godly home and even questioned the existence of God. She said she felt a very empty feeling that penetrated deep into her very being & she became very aware of her sin. She said she tried to change her behavior, she read the Bible, she went to several different types of churches and explored different religions (which confused her even more). She even got baptized but nothing took away that emptiness. She said she cried out to the Lord and asked him to show her what it was she wasn't seeing, what she didn't understand and make her see. Well she read her Bible again after that prayer and God showed her. He showed her through His word her need for repentance , forgiveness of sin and her need to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and that's when she became a child of God. She trusted in Christ and he washed away her sin. What a moving testimony! I wish all of you could have been there.

My husband is newer Christian ( a few years ago he was saved) and has not yet been baptized. He wants to be and knows he should be because it is an outward profession of Christ. He is very nervous about public speaking though & just standing in front of a crowd. I ask if any of you feel led , pray for him. There will be another baptism in a month or so & he might not get another opportunity until next summer. I believe God will bless his obediance.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bathing Suits & Other Stuff

I was in need of a new bathing suit so I went to Kohl's today to see if I could find any on clearance yet. First let me tell you.....I don't like bathing suits, I don't like shopping for them, I don't like wearing them. It's hard to find a modest one that doesn't make you look like your wearing something out of your granny's closet : ) I like the coverage of a one piece but I prefer to have something with a skirt on the bottom....other wise I feel like I'm in my underwear. I've seen some cute swim dresses online but I don't like to ORDER bathing suits because I have to see them in person & try them on . I like the tankini type bathing suits with the skirt on the bottom but the tank top is always to short and my tummy is hanging out....no thank you...not very modest as well as a frightful sight...I've had 5 children...my belly looks like a battle ground : ) Well today I found the best of both worlds. Look at this bathing suit that I got for 50% off. The bathing suit top is like a tank top & it covers ALL of my tummy & the bottom is a skirt & I don't feel like a granny in it either. It was the most modest suit I could find.
I got this suit for my daughter...it was also 50% off




Got this pretty dress for my older daughter for $7





When we got home from shopping I went & picked some more veggies from our garden. I picked all these cucumbers today. This is beginning to get a bit overwhelming ...all these cucumbers. : ) I thought I would try making this sweet pickle relish recipe or some other...haven't decided yet. Hopefully it will turn out better than the pickles. By the way not all of the pickles tasted salty...so they all aren't going to go to waste.







This is a view of our back yard & the sticks all ready for a bonfire tonight . We'll be roasting marshmallows for smores. So here you go a bit of my weekend in pictures.
P.S. We came in a little while ago. We had a nice time as a family tonight. Sitting around the fire talking & roasting marshmallows. After we had our smores we played hide n seek in the dark. Pairing up with someone. My 2 year old had the most fun....she was so quiet never giving herself away...of course except when she wasn't hiding with me : ) My 14 year old son was quite clever hiding on top of the shed roof. We couldn't find him for anything in the dark black night. My husband said he heard some little animal critter behind him in the field, when he was hiding. We really had a good time and plan on doing that more often.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summertime Projects & A Learning Experience

My kosher dill pickles that I canned did not turn out very good : ( I'm still not quite sure what the problem is, but the pickles are soooooooo salty. I spoke with my friend that gave me the recipe. She said that you shouldn't use iodized salt....which of course I did. Although she said the type of salt you use wouldn't affect the saltiness. She said if you don't keep the brine covered as it is boiling the water can evaporate & would leave you with a very salty brine. That could have been the problem , since I didn't cover it. Who knows? Maybe not all of the pickles turned out bad but I haven't tried every jar, since they are not all cured. This is disappointing to me but hey you live....you learn : )

I have so many projects I want to finish this summer but I don't know if I will be able to get it all done . I did finally get our room organized a little better and rearranged it. I really like it this way better. It seemed before when you walked in the room because the bed was right there the room appeared small, even though it's not. But now that the bed is on the other side of the room it opens up the whole room. The room would look perfect if I would just finish painting. I painted it in Nov. & ran out of paint & have yet to finish it. In our master bath my husband replaced the shower and built a wall & hung some drywall. So this rooms also needs to be painted. Same goes for my laundry room. I painted it a pretty yellow color but it needs a second coat. I also want to hang the sunflower border I bought for it months ago. I bought border for my daughters rooms and that needs to be hung as well as painted. TOO many projects & so little time or money : )

Tomorrow we are having friends over for a pool party. You know the pool water has been crytal clear and we've had no trouble maintaining it but now that we will be having our party tomorrow the water in cloudy : ( & I'm not sure what to do about it.....maybe shock it. It did rain very heavily here the past few days that maybe why it looks so cloudy.

We were busy today cleaning bathrooms, mopping and dusting, etc. for tommorrow's company. It's so nice to have older kids....they really help out & the work gets done faster. They cleaned their bathroom today & it looks & smells so clean : )

This evening I ran to the store to get some candy to put in Easter eggs for a pool game that my kids want to play with their friends. I hope everyone enjoys themselves.
Well that's it for today

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friendships for Our Children

I've been thinking on some things lately, well I've thought about them for a long time now & I wonder if others with the larger than normal family think about the same issues? Do smaller families think about these things too? It has to do with your children's outside friendships.

When my children were younger their friends were my friend's children. If I would get together with a friend or family it was natural that my kids played with their kids and became friends through that familial relationship. This just has been the natural progression......something I'm used to & comfortable with. But it seems the older my kids get the harder it is to maintain that, even in the homeschool circle. I'm okay with the occasional outing one of my children might have with a friend & their parent or church group outing.........but I am not comfortable with frienships being consistently seperate from family involvement. I see it in churches. I see it in homeschool circles. I just don't see enough family focused fellowship. Why isn't family camp enough? Why do we have to have teen camp....where you send your teen off with the other teens from church to a Bible camp?

There have been times that even though the friendships we have our family based the parent of the other family will only invite one of my children to come over to spend time with one of their children.....they won't invite all of us. I find it to be like this the most with families that have 2 children..... a boy & a girl. Maybe this seems silly to say but it bugs me! The girl will only invite 1 or both of my older girls over or the boy will invite only my oldest son over because they are close to the same age. As you can imagine it can & has caused alot of strife among my children.

I get the feeling that the reason only 1 or 2 of my children are invited over is because it's an inconvience/or takes time away from their child's time with their friend........if my younger children are there they would have to share their time with their friend (my older child).....they don't want to be bothered with someone's younger sibiling. Is my child there just to entertain their's? Maybe I'm the unusual one but I just don't get it! It just seems like selfish gain/motivation. I would never want my children to have a friendship with someone that would take something away from their friend's family dynamics. I hope this makes sense. I just know the world seems to have one way of thinking about friendships & I have another. I want to foster in my children the love of family & family first. I want my children to become friends with & love people of all ages... not just someone in their own age group/or have their own selfish agenda. Certainly not at the expense of their family or others feelings. Believe me were not trying to be anti-social nor do we think we are better than others ......I just feel we have different family dynamics & certain ways of doing things don't fit for us. In some sense I feel we are punished for that.

My kids don't ask often for friends to come over. I think mostly because they have each other. But when they ask occasionally...it's asking for " the Smith family or the Martin family" to come over " Not Jenny or Todd". We invite all the siblings & their parent(s). If we have birthday parties we don't just invite one child in a family....we invite all of the kids & their parent(s). If we can't afford to do that because that family has 8 or more kids than we don't invite any of them.

I don't feel I'm doing this topic justice...maybe someone that writes better than I could get their thoughts out in a better way. I just know this subject brings me frustration because I don't think others understand what I mean or get where I'm coming from. I've felt this way for a long time but more so when I had some bad experiences by letting my children have consistent outside friendships that didn't involve our family. It hurt our family. Some people might think this is not living in the real world but I don't agree. I think it's so sad when you see young people so consumed with their friends....that life with their family is boring and mundane. They are just waiting for that time to get away & be with their friends. Wouldn't that kind of thinking just spill over into their adulthood, when they marry & have children? It's a scary thought to me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Passionate Housewives, Gardening, Cooking & Laundry Soap

I just got done giving my 2 year old dd a bath, thought I would sit down and take a break before I made some more laundry soap. I'm not really into homemade cleaners . I like my heavy duty cleaners, with the exception of vinegar & water for mopping floors & wiping down appliances & counters. However, I do like the homemade laundry soap that can be found on Stephanie's blog under home skills. Probably 9 years ago I tried making my own for the first time. It was the recipe that used Felps Naptha (not sure that's spelled right) but I didn't like it very much.

Today the book I won from the contest Robin was having arrived. I'm so excited....I never win anything. It makes me wonder if God really wants me to read this book : ) The last time I was given a book (The Power Of a Praying Parent) God really used what I learned in that book in a very big and personal way! God is truly a living God. Thank you so much Robin for this book...I can't wait to read it.
I showed my girls today how to can pickles....they did such a good job. We canned 6 qts & 2 pints. After that we headed out to the garden and picked green beans & more squash : ) ....... came in an strung and washed the beans. We had enough for dinner this evening. Here's the recipe for how I made them:

1/2 # cooked bacon broken into pieces
minced dry onions or 1/4 cup fresh, diced and cooked in a small amount of bacon fat
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 brown sugar ( I used 1/4 cup of Rapadura sugar)
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups green beans

1. cook bacon in the oven until crispy
2. cover beans with water & simmer until tender & drain
3. Mix all the other ingredients
4. Add to beans & heat through

For those that might think so .......I don't have a green thumb. I just kind of wing this gardening thing. I follow a few basic rules & that's it. We till up the dirt in the spring, add some fertilizer & that's what ever we have on hand. We've used Miracle Grow, seaweed & fish emulsion, 10-10-10 fertilizer etc. After we put that down we till it in & let it set a few days or more before we plant any seeds or plants. My husband and son do all of the tilling with our rototiller. My husband uses the tiller for weeding in between the rows too. I've not weeded the garden once this year : ) We water it if we don't get enough rain but really rain is the best for it.....those plants just explode after a good rain. We will sprinkle fertilizer around the plants every few weeks if they look like they need it. That's about all there is to it. I don't use pesticides. Something did get to our cabbage plants , so we just don't have cabbage this year. So we are out a few dollars and no coleslaw. I guess it's good that we don't have to count on our garden for food....we do have grocery stores/ roadside stands if all else fails : )

I also made up a recipe today to use up some of my yellow squash & zucchini. We also had it with our dinner this evening.

I sliced the squash & zucchini and layered it in a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkled it with pepper, garlic powder, & dried basil. I used the other half of my 1# of cooked bacon by adding it to the squash & zucchini. Poured spaghetti sauce over top & baked it until it was tender. I sprinkled it with grated Parmesan cheese & sliced provolone. Baked it until the cheese melted.

That was my day, not every little detail but close : ) I have to go make some laundry soap & take a shower .....haven't done that yet today ; 0 )

Shade

The gazebo was ready to pick up from Home Depot yesterday. I helped my husband put it together & this is what it looks like. The gazebo to the left my husband built last summer but it's only a small area to sit. The rest of the deck is not shaded. We thought it would be nice to have more area for all of us & company.
A view from the steps of the deck

The inside of the gazebo. We connected the two so you could walk straight through . I know the deck floor looks filthy. I would like to paint it but I have so many painting projects going on in my house right now, that this one will have to wait :0)



Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Fun Busy Day

My daughter on the zip line ~ as I was taking this picture I stepped backwards, not paying attention to where I was going...I stepped on the pulley rope. Well it caused her to stop in midair right over top of the small watering hole that is filled with snapping turtles : ( She said she could feel her hands starting to slip but thank goodness my oldest son acted fast........he pulled her in : )

First thing this morning I was up cutting up watermelon & washing grapes to make a simple fruit salad for my two sons' end of the year baseball picnic. I then checked out my garden & watered my potted flowers on the deck. We then headed off to the picnic where we enjoyed lots of yummy food : ) Both of my sons were given a nice trophy for their participation in the baseball league this year. After we ate my oldest son played home run derby with some of the older kids and the rest of us played on the playground. I ran into an old friend from my childhood...she was their with her young son who also played for the same league this year.



After a few hours of fun we decided to head toward home but stopped at a friend's house first to drop off some video games that my son's borrowed from her's. It was a nice little visit.....we stayed outside & chatted and tried out their new zipline. I went on it twice : ) It was fun but a little unnerving toward the end of the ride as your heading straight toward a tree...hoping your not going to fast to stop yourself : )

When we got home I went and picked lots of cucumbers from the garden, as well as some yellow squash and zucchini. I washed the cucumbers and put them in a bowl in the fridge to have ready to can after church tomorrow. I have to get it done...they take up too much room in my fridge. I think I will be getting more than 6 qts out of this bunch.

After that fun my husband, 2 year old daughter and I went on a short walk down our road. It got pretty warm so when we got back to the house we all got into the pool to cool off. We had fun.....all of us racing across the pool & playing chicken fight. We then all got out of the pool cleaned up & headed to Walmart & Home Depot. I needed to get some more ingrediants for my pickle making tomorrow. We wanted to stop at home depot to see if any of the deck/patio gazebos were discounted yet. They had one left & it was the floor model but they took $20 off of the price & we got it for $100 ....$50 cheaper than the price of it here . They have to take it down so we won't be able to pick it up until Monday. I'm excited, it will be really nice to have on our deck. It's so hot during the day that it's unbearable to even be out there. This will give us some nice & needed shade.

When we got home we had a very simple meal......sandwiches, leftover fruit salad & chips. We just don't like to eat cooked food when it's so hot. The rest of this evening we've just been relaxing. The kids are having fun playing in the basement (there sleeping there again tonight because it's nice & cool). I had to change the sheets on our bed just a little bit ago.... okay...my 2 year old daughter was eating a cookie on our bed : ) I took the sheets off and threw them in the washer. Well now I'm off to go slip into bed. Have a nice weekend : )


Friday, July 18, 2008

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats


My daughter and I made these yummy treats yesterday....they are one of our favorites. I am gluten sensitive so I try to follow a gluten free diet as much as possible. I made these using Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice cereal. They also have butterscotch chips in it. The butterscotch chips I bought have barley protein in it.....so you may want to leave them out & just replace them with another bag of choc. chips if you have problems with gluten.



Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
6 cups rice crispies
2 TB butter
1 small package choc. chips
1 small package butterscotch chips
1. Melt butter, corn syrup, and sugar over medium heat until dissolved
2. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
3. Combine with rice crispies
4. Press onto a cookie sheet using a sandwich bag
5. Melt chips together in microwave
6. Pour over rice crispies & smooth
7. Place in fridge or freezer to chill

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blogger Recognition

I got this idea from Amy's Place , although I don't know exactly how this award thing works & I don't know how to get the picture of the award onto my blog : ) So I'll just do it my way ; ) I want to recognize 5 blogs that have been an encouragement or inspiration to me. I'm only picking 5 because that's what Amy suggested but that does mean I have not been encouraged by other bloggers, especially those on my bloglist.

1. Claim the Mountain ~ Robin is a very smart lady with lots of wisdom........I especially enjoyed her posts on the Modern Church.

2. Sojourner in a Strange Land ~ I love Stephanie's simple lifestyle. They are completely debt free.......even down to their home. I love her laundry soap recipe using Zote soap. I had never heard of Zote before but was so pleased when I found it at Dollar General. Now I'm making a laundry soap that I like a lot & saving a lot of money in the mean time. Stephanie is just a young mom but has alot of good life experience . She's preserves alot of her food & makes her own tinctures. She amazes me.

3. Family Memories ~ Nancy has had 2 very heartbreaking losses. She is a perfect example of perseverance. She surely clings to her Saviour.

4. Proverbs 31 Lady - A Work in Progress ~ She is a newer blogger but I like her style. She shows her desire to be a Godly wife, mother, & homemaker . She clears up some of the misconceptions that are out there in blogland of what a Godly woman is. She's REAL. I especially liked her post More On Spiritual Issues.

5. Blueberry Cottage ~ Last but not least is Suzanne. I love her blog it is so homey . I can just picture her quaint little home in New England. She's a very crafty & creative lady.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summertime Blessings


On the way to the grocery store this afternoon I stopped at a garage sale. They are summertime blessings. I wish I had more time & gas money to go to more of them. I got these two pictures today for 50 cents a piece. I thought they were pretty & the colors go well in my kitchen...so that's where they're hanging. I don't really like the color of the frames . I want to paint them but I'm not sure what color. Since they will be in the kitchen I think the frames looks too formal. So I'm thinking of painting it a creamy off white color or a hunter green. What do you think? I need help deciding.

After we ate dinner this evening we all went into the pool. We've had the pool open for over a month now and my two year old wouldn't go in it until this past Sunday. She would protest loudly everytime we tried to take her in. So I just followed the advice of the Water Babies video that I borrowed from the library. Just give her time. We went to visit my Dad on Sunday & while we were there he gave my 2 yr old, arm floaties & a cute little pair of goggles. I guess that was all she needed because when we got home she WANTED to go in the pool & she got right in. She's still a little leary , she hangs on tight but she warming up to the water. I was able to start the first step in teaching her to swim. Getting her feet behind her, me holding her tightly as I move her legs to kick her feet. She got her little feet moving : ) So I'll give her some more time with that before we move on to the next step.I love the summer!! Sometimes the heat is just unbearable but now that we have the pool it makes summer even better. We live out in the country and sometimes winter just seems so long out here....everything is so bare & desolate but when spring and summer arrives it's like a whole new world & I can't imagine living any other place. I love when I'm standing at the kitchen sink looking out into the front yard.... everything is so bright & wide open. Sometimes I just can't believe that God would want to bless us with this beautiful place to live......I feel so fortunate. The above picture is the view of our front yard from the driveway. I just love the old farmhouse across the road : )

In My Dream Kitchen

When we moved to this house 2 1/2 years ago, we needed to buy a stove, because there was not one here. I was really wanting a flat top stove because it was kind of a pain keeping the burner pans clean on the stove I had at my former home. I thought a flat top stove would be wonderful. So we bought one. Now, I am thankful for my stove but let me tell you I don't think they are all they're crakced up to be. I think keeping the top clean is impossible....it was easier to buy new burner pans on my old stove if they got to yucky to clean.

Another thing about my stove that I'm not pleased about is..... the vent for the oven releases steam up near the top of the stove. Well all the steam from the oven has caused the paint to peel off the stove : (....a stove that is only 2 1/2 years old! I've never had a stove do that before. Over all I'm just disappointed with this stove....it just isn't a solid stove. Yes, it serves it's purpose but I honestly wonder how long it will.

What I would love in my dream kitchen is a sturdy & strong stove...something that's going to withstand some serious cooking. In my opinion something you can't get on the market today of course I'm sure there is something out there but way out of my price range. Since I love the old fashioned/ vintage/ country type look of a kitchen, I think a stove similar to this would be perfect for a country kitchen. Now I did look on one site and they were very expensive(completely restored) but of course in my dream kitchen money wouldn't matter : )

What do you think? What would you like to have most in your dream kitchen. If you do have your dream kitchen what is it that you like the most about it?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Something Old Is New Again

This picture was taken off our back deck



Since deciding to keep my blog a little more private I deleted all the posts that had pictures of my family & me in it. It just happened to be that our pool (other wise known as the globe trotter) was in one of those posts. Someone was wanting to get rid of this 23 year old pool... we took it down, put it back up in our yard, fixed it up, cleaned it up, and it looks like new. It was rather inexpensive too as far as pools go. What a great feeling to know that with a little work & alot less money we can have something nice like this. It's been a blessing to us. We've been able to have an enjoyable summer without having to go anywhere.






Blogging Plans

Last night I had a talk with my husband about blogging & privacy . He felt it would be best if I didn't include pictures of myself, the children or him on my blog. I agreed that probably is the best choice to make, even though it's not as fun : ( I love seeing pictures like that on other ladies blogs & I love to share pictures of my family. But he's just thinking about our safety/well being. I don't blame him especially after seeing how things can get pretty mean and hateful out there in blogland. I would hate to have someone take something I said in the wrong way & start to harrass me & know what we look like........it's better to be safe than sorry. At this point I guess that will be my first step to make my blog more private & I guess I'll just see how it goes from there. So for now my blogs not going to be private.

Yesterday the doctor's office called and let us know my oldest daughter has strep throat....the rapid test was not accuarate but the one they sent out was. I went last night & picked up her prescription. I hope this is the end of it & no one else comes down with it.

My kids are downstairs in the basement cleaning it up. It's their play area and they've made quite a mess out of it. My husband was wanting them to clean it up so he's down there helping them. He's so nice. I would just tell them "you made the mess you clean it up" : ) I've helped clean up that messy basement in the past & it just causes me a great deal of stress, so it's just best I stay out of there. No need to make myself cranky : ) That's what usually happens and you know the saying "When mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Considering

I'm considering making my blog private? I enjoy getting my thoughts out in words & memories with pictures written down somewhere. For me, blogging is the easiest, fastest & cheapest way to do it. It's pretty much free, except for the cost of internet service, which I would have any way. I wouldn't mind it being private but I do enjoy the interaction & friends I've made through this blog. I just don't know if I'm 100% comfortable being "out there" having just everyone and anyone reading about my personal life. I can think of one person inparticular that I would never want knowing anything about my life . She claimed to be a friend and betrayed me in a very big way. So I do think about her when I'm sharing about my life on this blog....who knows maybe she's been reading here. I'm just not so comfortable with it anymore. So I'm going to give it a few days of thought & prayer.

Have any of you had a private blog before & how does it work for you? Do people actually ask to be readers of your blog? Or do you just invite the people you want?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

You Can ~ Can in 10 Easy Steps

I've always been interested in canning........I love the idea of growing something yourself, going into your own backyard picking it and preserving it. I think there is a great satisfaction in that kind of work. I've not done much in the way of canning. In different seasons of my life when I had very little ones, I just didn't have the time/patience to learn. Not to mention I've lacked the no how & the confidence to do it. However this past year I did something to change that. I made up my mind I was going to do it & I planned ahead. In years past I would be so mad at myself when we would grow things in the garden & they would just go to waste because I didn't know how to preserve them. So last summer, towards the end, I found a few simple recipes on how to preserve garden produce through canning or freezing. I then planted the plants I would need to follow through with my preserving plans. The following recipe is simple and great for beginners who are lacking the confidence & know how. It's a great way to get your feet wet.
Deli Style Kosher Dill Pickles (makes 5-6 quarts pickles)
Pickling cucumbers ( about an average size mixing bowl filled with cucumbers should be enough for 5 - 6 quarts)
1 quart vinegar
3 quarts water
1 cup pickling salt
fresh dill heads
12 cloves of garlic
6 bay leaves
1. The night before you plan to can, wash cucumbers well and put in the fridge overnight. Wash all your jars and bands. I just run mine through the dishwasher. Use new lids.
2.The day of canning......... preheat oven to 225 degrees to sterilize jars.
3. For EACH quart jar (preferably wide mouth, it doesn't have to be though, just use what you) lay out 2 dill heads, 2 cloves of garlic & 1 bay leaf. It's good to have it ready so you can work quickly.
4. Bring vinegar, water & salt to boil ( this is called the brine) ~ boil lids & bands to sterilize.... keep them in gently boiling water until ready to use. Put jars in oven...set timer for 20 min.
5. While the brine is gently boiling and lids, bands, and jars are sterilizing..... cut cucumbers.
6. after 20 minutes ....when the jars are sterilized, take one jar out of the oven and put one clove of garlic & one dill head on the bottom of the jar.
7. Pack with cucumbers
8. Place 1 clove of garlic, 1 dill head, & 1 bay leaf on top of the cucumbers.
9. Ladle boiling brine over cucumbers to cover. Using a funnel will make it easier.
10. With tongs take lids and bands out of boiling water, put on jars and tighten. Continue this one jar at a time until done.
Your done : ) You will hear the lids pop when they seal. When they have cooled a bit, right the date on the top of the jar with permanent marker. Place in the fridge and allow them to cure 2-4 weeks before eating.
If you are curious or like me, had no idea what a dill head was : ) here you have it.... this is a fresh dill head. It is a dill plant when it flowers. This was one of my larger dill heads. For larger dill heads, tear in half & count them as two. For small dill heads use two & count it as one.


Before you begin lay out 2 cloves of garlic, 2 fresh dill heads & one bay leaf for EACH jar.

While the brine is gently boiling, lids & rims are sterilizing in boiling water & jars are sterilizing in the oven , cut up cucumbers. The smaller cucumbers like the one I'm cutting in the picture above can be cut in half length wise.




The larger cucumbers like this one can be sliced.




The finished product. Cool a bit and then put in the fridge. You can leave them on the shelf but they don't taste as fresh and crisp as they do when you refrigerate them.
**** Keep a lid on the boiling brine when not using. If the lid is left off the water will evaporate, leaving you with a very salty brine.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Day Of Baking/Preserving

Today I've been busy canning some kosher dill pickles with the cucumbers from my garden. I will be posting pictures & directions of the process in the next few days. I also made yellow squash muffins with the squash from my garden. They taste yummy : )
Since I have to follow a gluten free diet ....I made then GF. I want to play around with them a little more to get them just right. It seems when converting a recipe to gluten free you need less fat. The texture was a little off but they were still good. Below is the NON gluten free recipe, as well as the gluten free version. I omitted the applesauce because I didn't have any. I added 1 tsp. of xanthan gum and used my homemade all purpose gluten free flour mix.

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix

3 C brown rice flour
1 ~ 1/4 cup potato or corn starch
3/4 c. tapioca flour

Yellow Squash Muffins

about 3 small yellow squash
2 eggs
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. applesauce
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 c. honey)
3 cups all purpose flour or 3 cups gluten free flour mix (plus 1 tsp. xanthan gum if using GF flour)
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1. cut squash in small chunks
2. cook in a small amount of water for 20 min.
3. drain well & mash
4. Combine to squash (about 2 cups)~ eggs, butter & applesauce (omit A.S. if making it GF)
5. Combine dry ingrediants (xanthan gum too if making GF)
6. Add squash mix. to dry ingrediants ~ mix until moist
7. fill greased muffins tin 3/4 the way full. Bake @ 375 for 20 min. or until toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
8. While still warm dip the top of muffins into melted butter and then cinnamon sugar

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doctor's Appointment

My kids were feeling alot better this morning but I took them to their doctors appointment anyway this afternoon. None of them have sinus infections (that suprised me) just a virus, which the doctor said she's been seeing alot of lately. The doctor did do a rapid strep throat test on my 2 older daughters.....both were negative. She thought my oldest daughter looked like she had strep for sure, so she did the more accurate test that has to be sent out to a lab. I should hear something by Tuesday.

When the doctor was listening to my 7 year old's heart.....she discovered a heart murmur. She wants him to have an echocardiogram so I need to take him to a Pediatric Cardiologist who will then determine what tests to do.

My oldest son had a murmur when he was younger too...... which I hear is fairly common. The doctor had me take him to a a pediatric cardioligist for an echocardiogram. When I got there they only did an EKG which could have been done in our pediatricians office. So he never did get the echocardiogram. Today at the doctors office the doctor didn't hear a heart murmur on him......... so I suppose it went away over time, which I hear most do. I had one as a child that I no longer have either.


Well that was my day : )




Pesky Old Mouse

No we don't have mice problems , at least not the furry kind. My left click button on my computer mouse won't work so I'm limited on how much I can do on my computer. I tried to moderate comments and I just couldn't figure out a way to do it without having to use that left button. The sad thing is this mouse really isn't an old mouse.....it's brand new and came with the brand new tower my dad bought for us back in May. I'm going to go take it up to where my dad bought it and see if they will replace it. I would think it would under the warranty.

I had to return some libary books today, pick up some of my gluten free bread from food co-op and ran to Walmart to get the things I need to can some kosher dill pickles this weekend. The cucumbers in my garden are starting to explode and I want to get right to canning them before it get's out of hand or they are no longer fresh.

Just to let you know.... I'm an amateur when it comes to canning. I've only done it a few times in my whole life & it was me pretty much watching/learning from someone who was experienced. Anyway I got this pickle recipe from a friend and it really seems simple. She's been making them for years. The pickles can be kept in the fridge or on a shelf but I figure I will keep them in the fridge since they taste better and stay crisper that way. If a jar doesn't seal properly than it's not a big deal because it's in the fridge.

I made a doctor's appointment today for all of my children. We will be going tomorrow. I wrote about how they all have been sick. The fevers are gone but I'm positive that my 12 year old daughter has a sinus infection from the pain she is having & the fact that her eye is now infected and puffy. I started using the left over eye drops that my 9 yr old daughter had used several weeks back. It's helping her eye but doing nothing for her sinus infection. She's been drinking Emergen C and I have been massaging Tei-Fu oil onto her forehead and around her nose & other areas of her face that's hurting. It would take away the pain as well as the headache , but it would return after awhile. Her headache would return even with Tylenol.......so I think it's best to get into the doctors office before the weekend in case she and my other children get worse & not better.
I really don't like to use antibiotics if we really don't have to. I hear about the over use of them and how there are now super strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics & then even stronger antibiotics are needed next time. I tell ya sometimes ignorance is bliss. I'm sure my parents never had to worry or even thought about these things. My mom drank & smoked when she was pregnant with me. She was a little lady at 95 lbs. & gained only 14 pounds with me. I was born 2 months early and had health issues. I stayed in the hospital for a month and half. My parents didn't have a car or much money to take a cab from New York State (where they were living) to the Bronx (I was taken to the hospital there after I was born) to see me. So they din't see me for a month & a half.....they only were able to get updates over the phone. I was formula fed for a short time and them my mom gave me good old Carnation milk out of a can. So even after all of that........I'm still here : ) Go figure. Surely it's only by God's grace.

Well I'm getting sleepy ...time to go to bed : )

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Buildeth Her House No More....

Okay, I'm not trying to be difficult by changing the name of my blog : ) Actually "His tender Mercies" is the name I originally had on my blog, that I deleted months back. I wasn't sure about the name "Buildeth Her House" for one reason. I don't want people to think that I have it all together......"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1. I'm not so wise & still have alot to learn........I'm more of a fool than anything : ) Proverbs 14: 1 is more of a verse of hope/vision for me.......someone I want to become. I want to be a wife and mother that builds up her home and the people in it. I don't want to tear them down with my words, bad attitudes, impatient ways, selfishness, etc. I want my family to be encouraged by me .....not to feel discouraged & defeated & feel like they can't come to me with any problem, no matter what it may be. I want my husband to come home from work at night to a loving wife....... not a complainer. I want my children, even when they are grown to want to come for visits and have fond memories of the life they lived here & to know that they and their families are truly loved & accepted by me. I know I mess up and I know I will continue to mess up & may not live up to these hopes I have. So having said all that I feel that "His Tender Mercies" is more fitting because I need His tender mercies & His grace on those days that I screw up and am "the fool that plucketh her house down with her hands."

" The Lord is good to all: His tender mercies are over all His works." Pslam 145:9 . God gave me this verse after the birth of my daughter 2 years ago....it is special to me. This is how I want people to see me.......that the only reason I have anything good in my life or that I'm even here is because God's been so tenderly merciful to me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Things To Do

I'm not feeling to well today and have alot to do for company that's coming tomorrow...... I don't really feel like doing any of it : ) I probably won't post anything again until Monday or later. Have a great 4th of July and weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Contentment

My daughter seems to be feeling better this morning. She still feels feverish but not as warm as last night & she is her normal pleasant and happy self. I gave her a popcicle for breakfast just because it's cold.....that made her morning : ) I only had to give her the Tylenol once so unless she starts to feel as warm as she did last night I will only be giving her the Herbs for Kids. It's a rainy day here...perfect weather if you are not feeling well and need to rest. At least she won't be missing out on having fun outside : )

On another note I was reading a post over at Adundance of the Heart. She was asking about how to teach your children to be content and grateful. It made me think of something my 9 year old daughter wrote that I would like to share in a minute but first..................

In one of my previous posts I talked about how I lean more toward keeping my children in church services with me but don't follow it 100%. This is where I don't follow 100%....... Our church has a Wed. night Bible Club for children up to 6th grade. It has been a blessing & ministry to us. I do understand as parents it is our responsibility to teach our children about the Lord and the Bible but it is important to have a church that can help lead you in that area....walk along side you. Personally...... I need some help in that area and accountability of sorts.

The children are given a book of memory verses/Bible studies appropriate for their level. I really like this approach because it allows me to teach my children but gives me/my husband something to follow. We have to sign off on verses they have learned at home & then their Bible club teacher signs off on them. As they memorize verses and finish short Bible studies they are awarded points that they can use to "buy" things in a store that is held twice a year. I don't make my kids memorize verse after verse just so they can rack up points just to "get" things. I have them memorize just one verse a week, more if they want to or are able. My main concern is that they have an understanding of what they are memorizing.
One of the Bible studies that my 9 yr old daughter had to do was on contentment. She had memorized a few verses on it and had to write about what it meant to be content using these two verses and give examples of times she wasn't content and why when we are not content that it is a complaint towards God. She did it all herself without anyone's help. Here's what she wrote:

Philippians 4:11 says, "Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be therewith content." This verse teaches you whether you have much or little you should be content."
Timothy 6:8 says. " And having food and rainment let us be therewith content." This verse teaches you if you have enough food and clothes you should be content. The opposite of contentment is complaining and not being thankful with what God gives us. Once I wasn't being content with the clothes I had and the food I was going to eat for dinner. Another time I wished I had a robot to clean my room . ( I wish this myself at times : )
Being content would change the way I would think on Christmas and my birthday because I wouldn't want things as much. When your not content it's a complaint towards God. Being content is being thankful for what you have instead of complaining about it.

I'm amazed that this came from a 9 year old but it goes to show that the word of God is for every one, young and old alike. I'm thankful for this church ministry that supports us as parents. It really has helped me & my children.

Wed.

Today was one of those days where I felt very busy but didn't get much done around the house. My daughter had her ballet classes, so while she was there my two younger daughters (9 & 2 )went grocery shopping with me. My 9 yr old dd helped keep track of what we were spending by using the calculator. I just would tell her the price of an item as I put it in the cart. I was afraid she would put the wrong numbers in or push a wrong button and I would be way off. I was trying to be careful because I had cash only to pay for groceries. She did a great job because she came up with almost the exact numbers as the cashier. She was so careful & did a good job.... what a help she was : ) After grocery shopping I went & refilled our 5 gallon water cooler jugs. We buy water for 25 cents a gallon at place in town. I just don't like the taste of our well water.

I then picked my daughter up from ballet & headed home. We had a simple dinner of sandwiches & watermelon...it was just too hot to eat cooked food. Really it was a pretty uneventful day until a few hours ago.

My 2 yr old fell asleep on Daddy's lap and when he layed her down & I checked on her she felt pretty warm ,like she had a fever. I checked her temp. & it was 101, although to me she felt warmer than that. She acted like her normal self all day.....so it just seemed strange that she all of sudden had a fever. I woke her up ,gave her some Tylenol , Herbs for Kids, & wiped her down with a cool wash clothe. I tried to get her to drink some cool water but she didn't want any.

She seems to have cooled down and is sleeping peacefully. I hope whatever is wrong passes quickly. It's so hard to see my kids sick, especially the littlest ones because they just can't tell you how they feel & it's so hard not to start worrying.....and I tend to always think the worst. I'm so glad that God as made it possible for me to lift them up in prayer to Him......it's really the only peace I have when they are sick. I'm going to check on my little one and then head to bed myself.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home

Since it would take forever to upload pictures of my entire home ( I have dial up) I thought I would just share pictures here and there. Here are a few pictures of our living room. This is the view of our living room from the kitchen.
This is the view of our living room from the door.