Friday, July 26, 2013

HOMESCHOOLING: Project Learning Tree - 7/25/13

Yesterday was a totally AWESOME day! Our youngest daughter-in-law, Crissy, and I attended Project Learning Tree at Walter Woods Conservation Area near Joplin, MO. It was hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Two of my favorite people in the world, Jeff Cantrell and Cyndi Cogbill, served as our instructors.

Now, while it's true that I, myself, just ended a nearly quarter-of-a-century homeschool-teaching-career, and that my newly acquired daughter-in-law has no children of her own, and hasn't spent a day of homeschooling in her life, we both felt it was imperative that I be there...and, since no one else was able to go with me, she decided to go along, keep me company, and have a little adventure of her own...and she did. And so did I! I'm so glad we did! Our day was spent with eight public school teachers, one private school teacher, two master naturalists, and six naturalists representing several Missouri state parks and wildlife areas and, together, WE. HAD. A. BALL! I was the only person there representing area homeschoolers.

Crissy and I spent a full day at Walter Woods (9:00 to 4:00), and participated in multiple activities that gave us experience with, and ideas on how to use, the materials that we received. We were also, very generously, blessed with a copy of the Cooking Wild In Missouri cookbook by our instructors before leaving. The materials that I received will be sown into our grandchildren (eight of whom are being homeschooled currently) and other homeschoolers within my sphere of influence through the Frontiers group, etc. I am thinking about taking classes and becoming a master naturalist myself, which would further enhance my learning and teaching abilities.

Anyway...here are few photos from our classes yesterday...I hope you enjoy!

Cyndi Cogbill - "I teach HOW to think, not WHAT to think." Right on!

Jeff Cantrell on the veranda at Walter Woods Conservation Area.

Project Learning Tree Materials

Jeff teaching out on the grounds at Walter Woods.

Learning along the trail at Walter Woods.

Dodder overtaking the Jewel Weed along the creek at Walter Woods...a parasitism.

Learning along the trail...on the bridge...along the trail...at Walter Woods.
(Doesn't that kind of sound like some children's poem?)

Tall Bell Flowers

Crissy and I ended our day with a wade in Shoal Creek below The Falls.



 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RECIPE: Guatemalan Red Beans And Rice



On Monday I cooked red beans in the crockpot for use later in the week. Later is here and today's menu includes Guatemalan red beans and rice. No doubt, it's a family favorite!

GUATEMALAN RED BEANS AND RICE

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS olive oil
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I used 2 tablespoons dried
cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I added more)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 cans(16 oz. each) red beans, rinsed and drained (I used pre-cooked dry beans)
3 cups hot rice

In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion, green pepper and garlic in oil until tender. Add cilantro, salt, cumin, black pepper, and beans. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over hot rice. Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thoughts On The Royal Baby

Photo Source
Isn't it amazing to think that God hand-selected this child, at this time, to be born now, and used for His eternal purposes?

It's the same with any of us,  of course, but to be born a prince of England in 2013! 3rd in line for the crown?

Some say, "What's the big deal? It's just a baby!"

But the Bible tells us clearly that we are to be "...subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1).

Of course, this applies to every power that is in place in every government around the world, but I think what makes it so amazing in England, for me, anyway, is that, in the first place, for many Americans, England is our mother country. Had our forefathers not left the British Isles, it could very well be that this is the "higher power" that we, or our descendants, might have been "subject" to someday.

And, secondly, here in America, every child that is born has an equal chance of growing up to become a senator, a representative, a governor, or, maybe, even president in their lifetime, but there...in England...this child doesn't have that opportunity. He can't learn about different walks of life, dream about it, and figure out what he wants to be. This child was hand-selected by God Himself  before the foundations of the earth were created! He was hand-selected by the Creator of the universe for this role, at this time, and he has no choice in how he will live his life. He IS a prince of England and, very likely, will become a future a king and his whole life will be dedicated to that purpose whether he likes it or not.

It is a grave and powerful position! And it's a little sad in a way, too. Yet, to know and understand that God has ordained him before the creation of the world for this time and His purposes...there's something very powerful and sobering about that. It's pretty amazing if you really think about it.

May God richly bless this precious little one and his parents. May he grow up strong and healthy in the physical, and to know and serve the King of all kings in the spiritual, because in the end, when this life is over and eternity looms long before us, with God there will be no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)...for this little prince or anyone else. At the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess that HE is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11)!

Congratulations, William and Kate! May God give you both wisdom and direction as you seek to raise this little prince, and may He instill with you the importance of raising, not only a dutiful and compassionate king, but a godly one as well.

With All My Heart,
~Rebecca

Monday, July 22, 2013

Good MONDAY Morning - 7/22/13

Basil Growing In My Herb Wheel
Good MONDAY Morning, Dear Ladies!

It's going to be another hot day here in southwest Missouri, but by the end of the week they're saying that we're supposed to have cooler temperatures. I sure hope they're right about that! :)

I've not been feeling the greatest lately. Have been battling an ear and sinus infection for the past week and half or so, but, as of late last night, I felt my energy levels starting to return. I actually got the dishes done, and the laundry done and put away, before going to bed last night. This morning, I actually got up feeling half-way decent and got going right away. I'm so thankful to be feeling better!

At the moment, I've got fresh basil drying in the oven, red beans are cooking in the crockpot for use later in the week, and I've got chicken leg quarters laid out to thaw for supper tonight. My menu plan for supper tonight is broiled leg quarters, fried cabbage, and roasted carrots with blueberry pie for dessert. As you can see, although with only two of us in the home now progress is slow,  but I'm still working on getting that freezer cleaned out and am determined to use up food on hand before delving into a fresh supply of newly stocked food. The red beans, the chicken, and blueberries are all foods from  the freezer.

Well, I need to go for now. I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a nice day and a blessed week ahead! To God be in the glory!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME Newsletter - July 19, 2013

Greetings, Dear Sisters!

It's a hot and steamy July here in southwest Missouri! As I write this temperatures remain in the mid- to upper-90's and the humidity is out of this world!

Despite the heat there are lots of good things going on in our lives right now. First and foremost, since our youngest son married, and moved out of the home, my husband, John, and I have made a concentrated effort to purposefully work on, and renew, our marriage relationship, as well as, our relationship with God and His Word, individually, and as a couple. Some of the things that we are doing to achieve that is daily devotionals together before bedtime, emersion in God's Holy Word through reading, good on-line teaching and preaching, and, purposefully, looking for places to go, and things to do, and work on, together, that build us up, and solidify our relationship, rather than tear it down or just coast along. Despite our best efforts we have times when we get off track, but, overall, after a very long period of being derailed in practically every area of life, we are starting to see much victory over the enemy! Praise the name of the Lord!

One of the areas that we are working on is moving toward debt freedom. We've paid off multiple credit cards over time, but, this one card in particular has been a real struggle for us. The interest on it was HUGE and we have paid and paid and paid on it for YEARS, and never really made any headway until we purposefully devised a plan and stuck to it. We stayed with a balance of $3000.00 for approximately 12 years. Once we put our plan into action, we've watched that balance plummet down...down...down...on a regular basis. It's taken a little time, but over the past few weeks, we've seen a mighty move of the Lord's hand and He's provided us the ways and means to get that thing paid down and off. It will be paid off in full by August 1st! Again...praise the name of the Lord and glory to His mighty and magnificent name! What an awesome God we serve! Praise the name of the Lord!

Okay...it's time to get on with another issue of HEARTH AND HOME! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do when we spend this little bit of time together. Here we go!

HOUSEHOLD TIPS -

* To sour milk (or cream) mix a tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup of milk. Let stand a few minutes, stir, and it's ready for use in any recipe calling for sour milk, sour cream, or buttermilk.

* To chop herbs such as parsley, sage, or basil, bunch up the herb, then snip across it in narrow slices with kitchen shears or scissors.

* To keep salt flowing freely in humid weather, add a few grains of raw rice to the salt shaker.

* Make garlic cloves easier to peel by mashing them slightly with the edge of a knife.

* Adding about 1 1/2 teaspoonsful of lemon juice to a cup of rice while cooking will keep the kernels separated.

* Put rubber bands around the ends of hangers to prevent clothes from slipping.

* Perk up limp lettuce leaves by soaking them in a bowl of cold water mixed with a splash of lemon juice; keep in the fridge for about an hour. They'll be as good as fresh!

* Make a dull pair of scissors like new again simply by using them to make several cuts into a piece of fine sandpaper.


DOLLARS AND SENSE -

* Energy-Saving Tips Around The House - Refrigerator/Freezer...

Your refrigerator/freezer is probably one of the biggest energy users in your home. Here are some ways to beat the cost of keeping things cool.

1) Keep it clean. In a manual-defrost model more than half an inch of frost can build up and make the appliance work harder, so defrost regularly. Vacuum clean the condenser coils below or at the back of the refrigerator/freezer three or four times a year. Clean coils keep it running efficiently and help save energy.

2) Keep it closed. The time for decisions is not when you have door open. Get everything you need for a sandwich or recipe in one trip.

3) Keep it full. Frozen food helps keep the air cool in our freezer. But don't overpack food in either refrigerator or freezer, or the cold air won't have space to circulate properly.

4) Heat has no business in the refrigerator. Cool dishes before you store them so your appliance won't have to work so hard.

5) Investigate before you buy. A frost-free refrigerator/freezer may use 30 percent more electricity than a manual-defrost unit. Also, be sure to choose the correct cubic footage for our family, sine a too-full or too-empty refrigerator/freezer wastes energy.

6) Unplug your second refrigerator. Refrigerators are big energy users, so if your second refrigerator is not being used to full capacity, unplug it. It could save you $15.00 a month or more, depending on its size.

(This information was taken from Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute Home and Family Organizer.)

* The biggest 'Dollars and Sense' tip I have for you this month is this...

Recently, our youngest daughter introduced me to Ibotta. Have you heard of it? You get paid CASH to answer simple marketing questions and purchase items that are probably already on your shopping list (and, if the items you buy aren't offered today, they most likely will be in the near future). And there are all sorts of bonus items that can earn you cash, too! I've not even been with Ibotta a week yet and I've already earned $18.25! I've determined to turn all the cash I earn from Ibotta back into groceries, and saving what we would otherwise have spent out of our regular income. To find out more about Ibotta click here: http://ibotta.com/r/D2wUA By using my personal link to sign up, you and I could both earn extra cash right off the bat! Woo-hoo! :)


KEEPING COOL WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING -

(I have printed this before, but am reprinting it again as it is so terribly hot and we know of several folks who are, indeed, trying to keep cool and do not have air conditioning.)

On the JOYS of Living without Air Conditioning in Oklahoma,

Simple ways to minimize air conditioning and save big bucks on your summer electric bills.

By Robert Waldrop

Originally published Summer 2003, revised May 2005

Keeping cool without AC, or while minimizing air conditioner usage, is not rocket science. It's mostly common sense. These suggestions are distilled from our six year experience of living without air conditioning in Oklahoma City. It should be remembered that our advice is for this particular climate, but ideas may be found here for use elsewhere..

1. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. Avoid soft drinks and caffeine, these will dehydrate you, as does alcohol. The idea that an ice cold soda pop is the perfect solution to thirst is a delusion fostered by hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising. Its purpose is to enrich the stockholders and management of soda pop corporations at your expense. The more soda pop you drink, the more thirsty you will be, the hotter you will feel, and thus the more uncomfortable you will be in hot weather. Soda pop advertisements are LIES! Sugar free soft drinks are as bad as the sugared versions.

2. Dress for the season when inside your house. Wear shorts and a light shirt. Loose fitting clothes are cooler and more comfortable than tight fitting garments. Go barefoot or wear sandals. Natural fabrics are cooler than synthetics. At night, use light cotton sheets on your bed. Minimize indoor fabrics, as fabric increases interior humidity. This is good in the winter, but bad in the summer. People living without air conditioning should probably opt for no carpet on the floors; during the winter they can lay down area rugs, but roll them up and put them away during the summer.

3. In the summer, shade is your friend. Keep the sun's heat from hitting windows, doors, walls. Install window shades on the outside of your house; indoor curtains are not enough (although they will help). Once the sun hits the glass and window frame, the heat is conducted inside the house, even if you have indoor curtains, so shade them in addition to your curtains.

It is easy and inexpensive to make your own outdoor window shades. For six years we have had great success using mylar covered auto sun shades that are about 5' X 2'. They cost a dollar or so at local stores. We duct tape two or three of them together (depending on the size of the window) and hang them on the outside of our windows. Then we cover that with a white roll up shade, which is mostly for appearance. An inexpensive bamboo roll-up window shade works fine. One or more curtains inside will help, and choose white or another light color (sheets are do-able and cheap, & more is better). Don't forget to shade the doors if you don't have a porch. Shade cloth is available and can be used over windows, although it costs more.

The best choice for your wall shade is vegetation. Although it takes many years to grow a tall tree, vines grow in just a few weeks. Morning glories provide plenty of shade plus flowers that are beautiful to look at. We have grape vines on our trellis, so not only do we get shade, we also get tasty grapes to eat.

If you have indoor thermal mass, such as concrete or brick floors, a masonry fireplace, etc., make sure it is shaded so it doesn't soak up heat during the day. (The opposite of what you want to do in the winter, of course.)

3. When keeping cool without any air conditioning, the basic rule is: keep the house closed up during the day when it is hot outside, and ventilate it in the evening and at night when it is cooler. At night we put box fans in the windows to pull cool air in and hot air out of the house, and we open nearly every window and door to facilitate cross breezes. During the day we close up the house to keep the heat out, usually between 7 and 8 AM, depending on the outside temperature, humidity, wind, and cloud cover.. The exact time is based on our perception of what the weather is doing outside. If it is warming up and the humidity is high, we close up right away. If the morning coolness lingers, we "stay open" longer. The longer you live without AC, or minimize your AC use, the better you will be at making this kind of judgment.

We open up the house when it seems as thought it is starting to get warmer inside than outside. We open the doors and windows on the very shady north side and shady southeast side of the house before we open the doors and windows in the southwest corner of the house, which gets the most sunshine.

We sometimes run a small window fan in a window that pulls air that has been cooled by our shady trellis during the day, but we keep the rest of the doors and windows closed.

These ventilation decisions will vary from site to site, and also people have different definitions of comfort. In the beginning you will want to experiment to find the right combination for your own particular situation, which is influenced by the design and construction of your dwelling and the microclimate of its site. But this does work.

4. Keep the air moving around inside. We use ceiling fans and rotating fans to create breezes in the house during the day and the night. Moving air can knock ten degrees off of the apparent temperature, so fans can add considerably to indoor comfort. They can also be used in conjunction with conventional air conditioning. With breezes inside, you can set the thermostat temperature higher than would be the case without the fans. Box fans are good for use in windows, but for other indoor uses, they are inefficient and usually noisy, rotary fans are better. Variable speed fans will help you get the right amount of air. Right now, as I am revising this essay, it is 5:08 PM, Central Daylight Time, in Oklahoma City, 91 degrees outside, the heat index is 96 degrees, yet I am very comfortable. A fan is cooling me with a nice breeze.

5. Insulation and weatherization help moderate indoor temperatures in the summer too. Minimizing leaks will help you keep your cool inside.

6. Ventilate your attic. We did this during our third summer without air conditioning, and it added appreciably to the indoor comfort level.

7. Minimize heat buildup inside the house. If you have a dishwasher, don't use it or at minimum don't use the heat dry at the end of the cycle. Take cool or lukewarm showers, rather than hot steamy showers. (If you aren't using AC, you won't want a hot shower in the summer anyway.) Check your electronic equipment. Many devices such as "instant on" televisions draw current all the time, and thus create heat. Plug them into an electrical outlet strip and turn it off and on with the switch on the electric outlet strip, and thus eliminate the "hot plates" adding heat to the indoor climate. Don't use the clothes dryer, hang your clothes on a line outside to dry. If your neighbors ask what you're doing, tell them you are using your "solar clothes dryer". If you smoke, do so outside. Turn your computers off when they are not in use.

One of the biggest contributors to indoor heat and humidity is cooking, so during the summer, we cook outside, on the porch. I set up a "summer kitchen" on our shady front porch (on the north side of the house). This consists of a small two burner camp stove, and a conventional backyard gas grill. Both are hooked to 20 pound propane bottles, and seem to be fairly thrifty with their propane consumption, especially the 2 burner camp stove. To use a 20 pound bottle with such small stoves, which usually run on a small one pound or so bottle, you need a special adaptor, sold at most propane and outdoor supply stores. We also have a large gas ring (advertised as a "turkey fryer") for boiling larger amounts of water. When I make pickles in the summer, my boiling water canner fits it perfectly, and it brings the water to a boil much faster than the natural gas stove in the house. A little roller cart, bought at a garage sale, completes the setup. I have a cast iron skillet with a cover, it makes a fine "Dutch oven" so that the gas grill becomes an oven for baking casseroles or biscuits. I do the prep work in the regular indoor kitchen, load everything onto the cart, and roll it out onto the front porch for cooking. When I cook outside, and see the large clouds of smoke and steam rising from the pans, I am reminded about how much heat and humidity cooking contributes to indoor atmospheres.

Cooking outside also makes sense for people with air conditioning, because the AC will have to work hard, and consume energy, and thus cost you extra money, every time you cook a meal.

8. If you are using no air conditioning at all, try to stay out of air conditioned spaces. I am most uncomfortable when I come home from my "perfectly" air conditioned office. But on my days off, when I generally stay out of air conditioned spaces, I am more comfortable. You body does acclimate itself to your surroundings, whatever they may be.

9. If the heat becomes oppressive, dowse your head, arms, and feet with cool water, or take a cool shower, or (my favorite) go outside and dowse yourself with a water hose. Keep a spray bottle of cool water handy, and give yourself a spritz of cool water every once in a while.

The title of this little essay is not a joke. Life is a joy, and I don't miss air conditioning, ESPECIALLY when I open our electric bill in the summer. The gentle breezes from fans inside the house are refreshing, as is going outside and spraying myself (and others) with the water hose. Abandoning or minimizing your air conditioner habit is a way to increase the quality of your life. As with any other movement towards sustainability, do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Summer 2003, updated and revised May 2005


HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION -

With the skyrocketing prices of food, utilities, and gasoline what, if anything, are you doing differently to make ends meet in your household? What money saving measures do you and your family practice on a regular basis in order to combat high utility bills?"

If you don't mind me sharing them in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME, please send your answers, tips, thoughts, and ideas to me at:

proverbs31heart@yahoo.com

Please put MONEY SAVING TIPS on the subject line. Thank you!


RECIPES -

OVEN-BAKED CHICKEN STRIPS

1 cup flour
4 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3-pound bag of chicken tenders, defrosted and rinsed
1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 c. olive oil

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a ziplock bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Pour oil in metal pan with edges (I use my pizza pan) and rotate to cover bottom. Lay chicken out in a single layer and bake at 450 degrees, turning once about half way through, until browned and juices run clear.

POPPY-SEED CHICKEN

(A family favorite!)
 
3 lbs. chicken, cooked and cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 stick butter
2 cups sour cream
2 T. poppy seeds
1 stack Ritz crackers
Mix chicken, soups, sour cream, and poppy seeds. Pour into a large baking dish. Crush crackers over top. Melt butter and pour over top. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

RANCH DRESSING
 
(This whole jar of ranch is only 1.75 grams of fat and 255 calories!)

1 cup Oikos plain Greek yogurt
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch mix,
1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free milk.

Whisk together, pour into an air tight mason jar, chill 1 hour before use. Perfect consistency and tastes better than bottled.
 
TOMATO BASIL PASTA

(This is one I really want to try!)
 
Pasta, Tomatoes, Veggie Broth, Olive Oil, and Seasonings (details below) -Throw it all in the pot, INCLUDING the uncooked pasta, and cook! - Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along with the pasta.

12 ounces pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

 
MARINATED CUCUMBERS, ONIONS AND TOMATOES
 
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving

 
EASY PEACH COBBLER
 
(My mom used to make this a lot!)
 
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 large can of peaches
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients, except butter and peaches together. Melt the butter in an 8x8x2-inch cake pan in oven. Pour batter over the melted butter, then top with fruit. Add juice accordingly to how moist you want the cake. Bake at 400 degrees until done. Approximately 25 to 35 minutes.

FRUIT WITH MARSHMALLOW DIP

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium firm bananas, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 to 1-1/4 cups flaked coconut, toasted
1 jar (6 oz.) maraschino cherries, drained
1 cup seedless grapes
 
Drain pineapple, reserving 4 teaspoons juice (discard remaining juice or save for another use); set pineapple aside. In a bowl, combine marshmallow creme, mayonnaise, vanilla and the reserved pineapple juice until blended.

Roll banana chunks in orange juice concentrate, then in coconut. Thread bananas, pineapple, cherries and grapes on skewers. Serve with dip. Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup dip).

JUST FOR FUN -

Our youngest daughter recently surprised us with an unexpected, several day visit. It was so good to see her and spend time with her. I wanted to share a couple of the things we did while she was in.

1) We visited Big Sugar Creek State Park near Pineville, Missouri. Basically, all that's there is a walking trail, but the park is near the Elk River which is beautiful! Here are a few shots of our recent visit there:
Big Sugar Creek State Park - Ozark Chinquapin Trail

Big Sugar Creek State Park - Ozark Chinquapin Trail

Big Sugar Creek State Park - Ozark Chinquapin Trail

The Elk River
 
The Elk River
 
2) Our oldest daughter introduced our youngest daughter to MasterChef, with Chef Gordon Ramsay, which lead to a bake-off in our oldest daughter's kitchen in hopes of turning out the perfect Molton Lava Cake...which they did...

"The dish that makes chefs on Master Chef quiver in fear...perfected by sister and I.....MOLTEN LAVA CAKE."
~ Amanda Coonce 
To read more about Amanda's obsession with MasterChef now you can read the post that she posted on her own blog in which she talks about it. You can do that by clicking HERE.


FOR NEXT TIME -

Last month I asked for canning recipes and tips, but I didn't get one response. It's not too late though! We've got a whole canning season ahead of us, so, if you don't mind me sharing your tip or recipe in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME just send it to me at:

proverbs31heart@yahoo.com

Please put "CANNING TIPS AND RECIPES" on the subject line. Thank you so much!


To get us started, I'll share one of my very own all-time favorite canning recipes...

REBECCA'S OWN APPLE BUTTER RECIPE

2 quarts summer apple pulp
5 cups sugar
2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/2 heaping tsp. ground cloves

Put all ingredients in a pan. Cook about 15 minutes; stirring occasionally. Put into jars. Hot water bath for 20 minutes. Makes 5 pints.


Well, Ladies, that's it for this time. I pray that you all are having a lovely summer. Stay cool, enjoy time with those you love, and walk in the blessings of God!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca


 

Encouragement In Times Of Trouble - Psalm 37

Good Morning, Dear Ladies!

It's not even noon and the temperatures, here on the tall-grass prairie of southwest Missouri, are already registering in the low-90's. The humidity is out of this world and today promises to be another scorcher. 

You know, there are so many things going on out there...so many of us are under attack of various kinds...there are so many hurting people. This morning as I was praying and seeking the LORD, Psalm 37 was brought to my attention, as it has been so many times in the past, but this morning I wanted to share.
 
This Psalm is not a prayer. It's more of set of instructions on godly wisdom. Its theme concerns the believer's attitude toward the apparent success of the wicked and the hardships of the righteous. It teaches that the ungodly will eventually be cast down and lose all they acquired on earth, whereas the righteous who remain loyal to God will have His presence, help, and guidance on earth, as well as an eternal inheritance...salvation and eternal life in the new heaven and the new earth.
 
Some of the instructions found in Psalm 37 include "Fret not thyself because of evildoers..." (v. 1), "Trust in the Lord, and do good..." (v. 3), "Delight thyself also in the Lord..." (v. 4), "Commit thy way unto the Lord..." (v. 5), "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him..." (v. 7), "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath..." (v. 8). The Word promises that "...evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth" (v. 9), that, even though " The wicked plotteth against the just..." (v. 12), that "The Lord shall laugh at him...(v. 13) and cause the sword that they have drawn (v. 14) to "enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken" (v. 15). Verses 16 and 17 tells us that, "A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the rightous." Furthermore, verses 23 and 24 assure us that, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." The Psalm ends with, "But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him" (v. 39 and 40).

Are you going through trial and tribulation today? If so, stand firm, dear child of God! He is there with you...right now. Nothing is happening to you that He doesn't already know about, and that isn't being filtered through His loving fingers. I'd like to challenge you to pick up your Bible right now and study Psalm 37 for yourself. What instructions are waiting there for you at this very moment? What promises belong to you? Take the time to find out, then stand on that Word!

God's blessings be upon you! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hens, Hot Weather, And a Homemade Electrolyte Recipe


The effects of summer heat can be devastating to chickens. Temperatures higher than 75 degrees can cause added stress on their bodies, because the extra blood flow to their combs, wattles, and skin reduces the flow to vital organs. This imbalance in the body produces symptoms including purplish combs, droopy wings, a disheveled appearance and a refusal to eat or drink. This eventually leads to coma or death.

Chickens combat the heat, in part, by panting. Their panting to keep cool increases their respiratory and heart rate, causeing them to lose carbon dioxide much faster than they would normally, upsetting the Ph balance in their bodies. And that can lead to Acidosis, a potentially fatal condition. Adding a 2% ratio of baking soda to your chickens' water can help prevent Acidosis.
 
Adding apple cider vinegar to your chickens' water once a week comes with many health benefits including an increase in calcium absorption, which is particularly important during the summer months when the hens' feed intake goes down and they aren't taking in as much calcium as normal.  
A far better water additive in times of extreme heat is this homemade electrolyte balancing recipe. We've used it for several years now and have never lost a hen to summer heat yet.

To make, per gallon of water, mix 2 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. baking soda. I've got where I just add it straight into my water.

I'm also notorious for freezing old water, juice, and milk containers nearly full of water (I usually fill within an inch of the top to leave room for expansion), and freeze them, making big ice cubes to go in my chickens' water. I usually add once or twice per day to fresh water during times of extreme heat, then, at the end of the day, I put the warm containers in a Walmart sack to refreeze them again for use later in the week. I keep several frozen bottles on hand at all times to keep a rotation going. 

I hope some of these tips help you to help your hens in beating the summer heat!

Until Next Time,
~Rebecca

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sharing The Love - Ibotta

How many of you know about Ibotta? Our youngest daughter recently introduced me to it and I gotta tell you...I'm impressed!  I JUST got started using Ibotta last night and I've already earned $14.25 in CASH BACK buying products that I already purchase anyway, and they are constantly adding new products to the list. The cash back is deposited directly into my Paypal account and, from there, into my bank account! It's amazingly easy and it's definitely an awesome way to make money back on groceries! (Who doesn't want THAT?) It's like couponing, only better! I'd like to encourage you to check out Ibotta for yourself and starting earning cash back today. And, if you do sign up be sure and let them know that you found out about Ibotta through me (http://ibotta.com/r/D2wUA) and we can BOTH earn some extra cash! Share the Love! :)

http://ibotta.com/r/D2wUA

Fresh Garlic For The Ear


I had been battling a painful, swollen, stuffy ear for several days and it wasn't getting any better. In fact, it was getting worse. It felt like I had a super ball stuck in my ear and I could barely hear out of it. I was living on pain relievers and Benadryl until I thought, "You know what? I'm just gonna try garlic!" I had heard of it from multiple sources before, but would never have believed it unless I tried it myself...which I did...and it does! A clove of garlic in the ear really works to draw infection and the pain is gone! And relief came in an amazingly short time!
What I did was remove a clove of garlic from the head, peel it, snip the pointy end off making it flat, and cut a few small slits in the end of it to release the oils. Then I stuck the whole clove down into the ear canal and immediately the oils began to sooth the pain. Within a short time afterwards the hard ball of infection behind my ear began to grow smaller and the pain was gone. I still have a very small knot behind my ear, but the pain and swelling have not returned. I am doing a second clove in the ear canal now and expect that it will finish the job that the first one started. I am totally and completely amazed!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is The Enemy Hot On Your Heels?

Here are a few scriptures for those within the body of Christ that are troubled in spirit by the enemy that seems to be hot on their heels and breathing hard down their necks...

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut... off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and the bows shall be broken..." (Psalm 37:1-15).

"Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and the grins of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape" (Psalm 141:9-10).

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).

"...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17).

These are the words of our Lord. They're real. They're true...living and breathing. Return to the Word. Get into the Bible and search out scriptures that apply to your situation. Read them! Memorize them! STAND ON THEM! God's Word is there and He is waiting for you. It's time to put on the whole armor of God, wield your spiritual weapons, and reign victorious over the enemy!
 
Love In Christ Jesus,
~Rebecca

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Four of our children were able to join us yesterday for an afternoon of Independence Day fun. Here are a few shots of our family....










 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cleaning Out The Freezer

It's July first and the weather is beautiful! Perfect for working out on the back porch and getting something done.

We've got two freezers out there. The bigger one is the one that we bought before moving to Liberal and had a family of eight; the smaller one is the one that my dad blessed us with a year or so ago. He had bought it brand new thinking that it was something that he would use, then discovered that, even though it was the smallest one available at the Home Depot, that it was still too much for what he needed, so he turned around and gave it to us. At the time, I thought, "This is great! Now that there are just the three of us (my husband, myself, and our youngest son), we'll switch out the food we've got in the big freezer, unplug it, and just use the little one!"

Shortly thereafter I bought two 50# bags of flour to run us through the winter, along with a bunch of other stuff, and guess where I had to store everything? In the big freezer...along with all our other stuff that was still in there from before...AND the little freezer! Now, all this time has passed and both freezers have remained, for the most part, full.

With the marriage of our youngest son in May, now there are just my husband and myself in the home, and the thought of running two freezers around the clock is driving me crazy. And, I'll admit, I think a lot of the problem that I've had...all the procrastination and lack of control in this area...centers around holdovers from the past.

Number one, my dad was grew up during the Great Depression in western Kansas and he suffered real hunger as a child. As a result, when I was growing up, and even though I was an only child (there were only my parents and I in the home) the focus on having an overabundance of food in the home was always a top priority.

Secondly, after buying food for, and cooking for, a family of eight for so many years...stocking up when things are on sale and cooking huge amounts of food...it's been really hard for me to adjust to buying food for, and cooking for, only two or three people. In fact, I don't think there's ever been a time in my life when I ever even SAW portion-controlled cooking for only two or three people. I don't think I really even know what that looks like!

In addition to this, multiple times I have tried to use up the food on hand before shopping again and, due to the fact that I couldn't get past the "I've GOT to have a full freezer and pantry" feeling, I have failed every time.

BUT! With the Lord's leading and help, I am FINALLY breaking this stronghold in my life and getting a handle on things! While we've still got a long way to go, over the past few weeks we have used up a LOT of what food is on hand. My goal is to get all the food on hand used up, then plan weekly menus based on what my husband and I want in the line of good, fresh, healthy foods, and to purchase them based on servings for TWO...not four, or six, or eight people. This in turn will promote better health and weight-loss due to the fact that there shouldn't be a lot of excess amounts of food sitting in the freezer and fridge to be cleaned up at all times.

Of course, I will still be buying staples (flour, oats, oat bran, etc.) in bulk at the Mennonite store (but in smaller quantities than in times past), and I will continue to store those in the little freezer, along with what little meat we buy (mostly turkey and chicken).

Now that I've got the little freezer cleaned out, it should be getting cold enough to transfer food back to it from the big freezer. As I do, I am going to write everything down that I decide to save, and menu plan for the month of July around that. I have a feeling that, once I get down to the bottom of the big freezer, there will be a lot stuff that I can get rid of from there, too (old vegetables, frozen water bottles, etc.). I might even be able to unplug the big freezer tonight! What a blessing that will be!

Well, Ladies, you all have a great Monday afternoon and evening, and I'll be with you again soon! God bless all here!

All My Love,
~Rebecca <3