Have you ever had a dream die?
years we would hold a son in our arms. We accepted what God told her right then. Our whole church gave God praise for this word from the Lord. There is power in faith.
We are looking forward to celebrating the Easter holiday this year. I don’t have big plans, just plan to keep the focus on Jesus Christ, and celebrate here at home with my husband and kids. But there is a special anticipation, a new excitement, and the kids are really excited about this upcoming holiday. This excitement has been stirred by Egglo. We were sent products from Egglo Entertainment to review with our family this month before Easter, so that we could tell our readers about this wonderful learning tool.
I love fruit! Fruit is especially delicious when it is fresh picked. And I love picking fresh fruit with my beautiful kids. They have such excitement discovering the fruit, how it grows, how to harvest it, and how delicious it tastes.
When I pick fruit fresh from the tree, vine, bush, etc. and eat it right where I picked it, I can taste the life energy in every juicy bite. Fruit enjoyed this way is so rich, full flavored, and life giving.
There are places in this world, where fruits and vegetables ripen year around, and folks can gather what they need each day. But most of the world deals with long seasons when vine ripened fruit and fresh picked vegetables are not available.
Even fruits and vegetables in the groceries stores are not fresh or local. They have most likely traveled thousands of miles, and have spent time in various warehouses, trucks, ship yards, etc. They were likely picked weeks before they were ripe, and they are likely modified in some way to last this long in transport without spoiling. For example, apples are picked and then stored in gas warehouses for months before they are sent to market. Of course the government says these modified foods are safe to eat, but do you really want to eat apples that have been stored for months in a building full of gas to keep them from spoiling?
Historically humans didn’t have gas filled warehouses, and a transport system to stock a grocery store across the world, let alone a store just up the road. I recently learned that grocery stores with fresh and frozen foods really did not appear until the late 1940’s and 1950’s in most of the USA. Part of the reason being, that technology for home refrigeration, and small scale commercial refrigeration was not yet available or affordable until the 1920’s, electricity was not yet available to everyone in the urban setting until the 1930’s, and only 10% of those in the rural setting had electricity. The first modern self serve grocery store with shelf stable boxed and canned foods, opened in Tennessee in 1916, and quickly opened franchises in rural towns across the USA. They became recognized in Time Magazine in 1929 and many across the country began trying to bring the concept of a modern self serve grocery store to their state and towns. But it would be many years yet before they could refrigerate or keep frozen meats, and fruits and Veggies. Rather you still needed to visit the meat man up the road who kept the meats in a smoke house, or frozen with large blocks of ice cut from the frozen rivers and lakes.
So how did folks get supplies and fresh fruit prior to the grocery store? Prior to grocery stores, folks were only able to get a few dried staples for the pantry from a small general store in town that sold hardware, ammo, fabric, and other dry goods needed on the homestead. But everything fresh like fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, milk, etc. came from their own gardens, local butcher, or local milk man, or local growers (vineyard, orchards, farms) in their neighborhood community when it was in season. If they or their local vender had an icebox for cold storage, it was cooled with a block of ice that had been cut from the frozen lakes and rivers near by in the winter. They learned to deal with limited seasonablity by either going without and only eating it in season, or by preserving it to use later.
Here is a basic list of approximate harvest dates for fruits in Indiana, but depending on variety (wild, domesticated, special variety), and the weather, the harvest season could vary by two weeks early or two weeks later than posted below.
Apples September 1 – October 25
Blackberries July 15 – July 30
Blueberries July 5 – August 10
Cherries June 10 – June 25
Elderberries August 10 – September 20
Grapes September 10 – September 20
Paw Paws August 10 – October 15
Peaches, Nectarines July 20 – September 1
Pears August 10 – August 31
Persimmons Late September-early October
Plums Late July – August
Red Raspberries July 15 – August 15
Black Rasperries June
Strawberries June 1 – June 15
The benefit of freezing fruit, instead of canning it, is that it preserves most of the nutrients in the fruit. When fruit is subjected to the high heat of canning, the enzymes are killed, proteins are changed, and a lot of the nutrition is lost. But if frozen, they can be served later by thawing and eating, gently heating, or by blending frozen into smoothy or ice cream treats. When fresh or frozen fruit is heated gently, many of the living nutrients like enzymes and vitamins are still available to your body. But these nutrients are heat sensitive and will be destroyed or altered if heated under high temperatures.
So I often make my fruit preserves or conserves right when I need them or the day before. Lately, in the face of one more subzero frozen day, when winter seems to never end in January in central Indiana, I have been craving the summer harvest. So I pulled several fruits from the freezer to make different dishes with. I will post a story soon how I used frozen peaches this week. But today I am excited to share a Berry Persimmon Compote Preserve that I made.
This was my first year to harvest and freeze persimmons on our homestead. I had seen them in the stores before, but never on the tree and I was really excited this fall when friends on facebook answered my inquiry about what kind of tree and fruit was on my driveway, that it was indeed persimmons. Yeah!
I wanted a fruit spread that I could use this week for homemade bread, waffles, and to stir into my tea for flavor. Rummaging through the freezer, this combo seemed to stand out as one to try. This recipe makes enough for one person to use for several meals or snacks, or if serving a large family like mine with lots of kids, you might only have enough for one meal depending on how much they eat.
Berry Persimmon Compote Preserves:
I was so excited about this butter as my mind raced thinking about all the delicious foods I could make with it. However, as I opened the package, I realized it was not butter, but CHEESECAKE. Oh my, I was even more excited! So I topped the cheesecake with the fruit compote preserves and it was a match made in heaven!
I hope you and your family
have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
I am THANKFUL for you!
Are you a good speller? Did you learn to spell easily or did you find it hard to learn? I loved to read and write in my childhood, but I loathed spelling. I didn’t feel comfortable writing essays and reports until I was in college and learned how to memorize, write lots of rough drafts, and proof read. My whole life I have mixed up a few letters like p, b, q, d, ei, and ie. No matter what I did, I just could not seem to master spelling words that contained these letters. I know now that it is called dyslexia, but back then it was just called bad spelling!
I am really grateful for spelling programs that help kids overcome spelling confusion. One fun program is called VocabularySpellingCity and we were recently given a one year VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership to try it out.
So what is this all about?
VocabularySpellingCity is an online interactive learning program that helps you build vocabulary and spelling skills through a series of computer learning activities and online games. It helps your student become better at both.
You can set up your own lists of words for them to learn, or use word lists already preprogrammed in the system. Just pick the words you want to use and you are ready to go. You can set up assignments for your student. VocabularySpellingCity sets up a Teacher Home Page for you. You can list your students, and add your spelling word lists on your dashboard. It also shows their progress and quiz scores too. It is a very fun and easy tool for parents to use.
VocabularySpellingCity is useful for students in grades K through 12. It retails for $29.99 for a premium family membership and can be used with up to 5 students. There are additional programs for classrooms too. Check out the website for all the details. You also get a free app when you purchase the premium membership to use the program on your iPad or tablet too if you have one available.
The amount of things a parent can do with this program to enhance your student’s learning is amazing. You can use what is preprogrammed which is so easy to do, but you can also customize it to go along with other subjects you are learning in your homeschool. So if you are studying a group of words in your chemistry studies, you could ad those words to a list and use VocabularySpellingCity to help your student practice those words and their meanings in games, quizzes, flashcards, and more.
This is an award winning learning program, and it has so much to offer.
Here is part of the reasons parents and students love this program. It offers:
Interactive Learning Activities
Fun Interactive Vocabulary and Writing Games and Activities
Student activities are tracked.
Able to assign different lists to individual students or groups.
Efficient record keeping making the parent teacher’s job easier.
Student test results and activities are automatically recorded.
Tools for specific populations.
Customizable lists and lessons to meet each student’s individual needs.
Can be used for ESE, ESL/ELL, and RtI!
How We Used It:
We love all the learning games. The kids use this program on our laptop for a set amount of time each morning. They use ear phones so they are not distracted by their siblings and can hear the definitions and spelling of the words correctly. They log in using their own password, then choose a list assignment to work on. They can hear the words pronounced, learn the definition of the words, play games, take quizzes, work with flash cards, and more. We like to use the preprogramed lists. Some of these lists deal with math terms, or science vocabulary, or words from history, etc. It is useful in so many ways.
There are lots of things parents and teachers can do to customize this program. There are step by step tutorial or faq videos to get you started. You can view them here. There are also printable worksheets and handwriting tools too. I love using this program in our homeschool. We have used this program the past with my kids and you can read about it here. I am really thankful that programs like this exist, and I
am very thankful we have been given the opportunity to review this learning program in our homeschool.
I think VocabularySpellingCity is a must have in your homeschool learning tools as you can do so much with it. I think this would be a fun program to use in bible school too. If Sunday School teachers had access to a program like this to enhance the learning opportunities of their students. You could customize the word lists to correspond to the bible lesson you are teaching and then give the kids some time to practice learning those words with this program. It is the digital age! We need to think outside the traditional learning box to equip this generation. Be blessed!
Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about Vocabulary Spelling City.
I recently accepted a challenge from a homeschool mom friend, Amber at Adventures In Mindful Cooking, to write about 3 things I would like to change in my life for the next 30 days. Amber is a sweet mom with 3 kids and writes about recipes she is enjoying with her family, encouragement in motherhood, and homeschooling. She is re-gaining her strength through changing her diet and habits. She shares her story and many of the recipes she is enjoying on her website. Be sure to stop in and read more about Amber when you get time.
Change 3 Challenge
For the next 30 days I will be posting at least once a week with updates on 3 goals I am working on. I actually started the challenge this past week so I could concentrate on what was really important to me, and would be able to write my progress about it. I had a hard time choosing only three goals, as I have a list of things I am working on that is a least a mile long. But I have tried to narrow it down and I have listed my goals, my plans to reach those goals, and what progress I made toward reaching those goals this past week.
My goals in the Change 3 Challenge are:
Goal #1: Read my bible daily, and if possible first thing in the morning. I would like to start each and every day with scripture, songs of praise, and prayer.
Goal #2: Drink more water. I want to hydrate my body with water and flush out toxins.
Goal #3: Play a game or some physical activity outside for a few minutes everyday with my kids.
Why these 3 goals? Well it was a hard decision to make. I have so many goals, it was really hard to choose only 3. But out of all of them, these 3 are the most important to me and will bring me the greatest satisfaction if I can master them in the next month.
Why Goal #1: I want to be sure to read my bible everyday and study scripture and commit to prayer because this will set my focus for the day. It will give me time with my creator. It will fill my need to commune with God, It will keep me focused on being thankful and giving praise, instead of focussing on problems, stress, or worrying about what my life is lacking.
Why Goal #2: I want to drink more liquid and especially more water because I am consistently dehydrated. I don’t drink enough. It is not healthy to be dehydrated. Getting enough water will help lower my PH level. It will keep the detox highway moving so to speak in flushing out toxins.
Why Goal #3: I want to play a game everyday because games are fun, they bring laughter into one’s life, they lift the countenance. Games build team work amongst the players and provide a healthy outlet for friendly competition.. I want to play games with my children because children need the positive interaction with an adult. They need one on one time. They need to be appreciated. I want to include one outside game a day to build our relationships, and our bodies. Fresh air is healthy and movement combined with fresh air helps to oxygenate the body. Running and playing outdoors builds skills, stamina, Vit. D, boosts the immunity. Winter is headed our way and we many not have many chances for outdoor fun during the winter months. So now is the time to get this done!
My plans to reach my goals include:
Plans for Goal #1: Get up, shower, dress, make something to drink, and set out the bible every day to read either alone, or with the kids. Make a prayer journal and write down scriptures, and things to pray about, and answered prayers too. Include prayers each day for my husband and each one of my children. Sing a new song of praise to God from my heart each day.
Plans for Goal #2: Make large jars of water or beverages for each day the night before or first thing in the morning. Sip through out the day. It is weird because I have known to do this since I met the Amish bishop’s wife 15 years ago. She told me she fixes two half gallon jars of water, or water with herbal extracts (like raspberry leaf extract), or tea (either tea or tea extract), in the morning and sips on them all day long. I just never put this idea into practice. Now I read the same advice everywhere, including in a new book I am reading called the Trim Healthy Mama. So my plan is to take 4 quart jars and fill them first thing in the morning and begin sipping on them for the day. At least one jar I want to include some fresh lemon juice in the water too. I want to make up an additional jar or two of other beverages too and be sure to consume all of this each day. I am going to need a separate refrigerator just to hold my beverages, hummmmmmm…..something to think about.
Plans for Goal #3: Have a list of games and supplies ready to play each week. Place the names of games in a jar and have the kids pull one out each day to play. Ideas: kickball, jumping race, jump rope, hop scotch, catch, baseball, capture the flag, hide and seek, tag, freeze tag, musical chairs, dancing, bike ride, frisbee, frisbee golf, yard darts, ladder ball, corn hole, volleyball, parachute, make tents and a campfire, and more. Some of the outdoor learning and games we have done in the past, I have posted in PE and Outdoor Learning, and Walk and Talk Wednesday posts.
Progress on Goal #1: This is the hardest one for me to get it the way I want it. I get up, get breakfast for the kids, make my self something to drink, start homeschool with the kids, but don’t always get to read my bible until later in the day. This week really helped me narrow down the reasons why. One reason is because I don’t get up until 6:30 or 7 am. At least 3 or 4 of the kids are already waking up at that time. That does not leave enough time for me to read the bible before we start our day, so I find myself reading the bible at 10am or later. I don’t mind including the kids in my bible study, as a matter of fact, I want to include them in bible study every day. But I would like to have a few minutes of study alone, to collect my thoughts, and meditate on the word. It is impossible to meditate on anything with 6 kids bouncing all around. So, I need to get up earlier, despite my desire to sleep in longer.
Progress on Goal #2: Didn’t reach it.&nbs
p; I have never liked the taste of water. Why? I don’t know. I have tried, and tried. I always revert back to my old ways of not drinking enough. I did make progress to drink more liquid this week. But not enough water.
I make several beverages each week, despite my interest in water. I have learned to sweeten them with stevia and or chickory sweetener, but in the past I sweetened with maple syrup, sucanat, or raw honey. I have been exploring natural alternative sweeteners this summer and I am pleased with the taste of NuNaturals Pure Stevia and Just Like Sugar brand chickory sweetener. Both are delicious and do not spike the blood sugar.
One drink I am making a lot of lately is called the Shrinker from the Trim Healthy Mama program. It is an iced tea drink that has a few “extras” added in to help you loose weight while you hydrate. Their recipe is to consume two quarts a day. I have adapted it, OF COURSE, and call my version the Dragon Shrinker. I have added a lot of extra spices and increased the healthy aspect of the tea and it tastes just like a Chai tea I used to drink with friends in college over 20 years ago. I drink only one quart or 32 oz a day. I hope to share the recipe with you soon. I’ve posted a picture below for you to see.
I am also drinking an 8 oz Bulletproof coffee (coffee blended with butter and coconut oil) that really sustains me for several hours.
On off days from the coffee, I drink a protein drink.
Then everyday I drink a 16oz glass of either Kombucha or Kombucha and juice blend, or a KeVita and juice blend. I drink this to get in both some probiotics, enzymes, and nutrients. Nutrition gets into the blood stream much quicker when it is in liquid form. So I try to include at least one juice drink a day. Below is a picture of the peach drink I made several times in September using organic peaches from my own tree in the background. This was a wonderful treat while the peaches were ready to be harvested. They are finished now, and I will be making it with other flavors until next year when they are ripe for harvest again. The second picture is one made with KeVita and carrot and apple juice.
Lastly, but not my favorite, I also drink 24 to 32 oz of water. I know, it is not enough water.
So currently on an average day, I am consuming around 80 oz to 104 oz of fluids. But seriously, I want to consume at least a gallon (128 oz) of water, and a half half gallon (64 oz) or more of other beverages. So my daily fluid goal is 190 oz or more. My current intake on an average day is about 104 oz of combined liquid. 190 – 104 = 86 oz . So I have a ways to go (at least an additional 86 oz) to reach my goal.
Progress on Goal #3: I only managed to work on physically playing outside with the kids three out of seven days this week. I did have bible study and feed them lunch outside 5 out of seven days that the weather was nice. The kids managed to go out and play all seven days, they don’t mind the rain one bit. But I was not so diligent. On Sunday afternoon we walked around Metamora IN for a couple of hours and rode the train (see upcoming story for details). On another afternoon this week I played tag for about 20 minutes. And another afternoon I went for a short walk and played catch with a big ball with the kids. Two days I lost my motivation because it rained. The other two days, I just didn’t feel like going out. I have a ways to go to making this a daily priority and I am running out of time. The weather has changed here and it is really showing signs of fall now. Mornings and evenings are chilly. Some afternoons are warm, and some are chilly, and off and on we have rain. I really want to reach this goal this month, because I know soon enough, the weather here will get so cold, I won’t want to go outside, so NOW is the time to make this happen before I loose my opportunity.
My Additional Goal List:
To be honest…I have way more than 3 things I want to change this month, and my list grows and grows every month. It was so hard when Amber asked me to choose three things to work on to make my life better in the next month, because I have so many goals that I am continually working on, that even though they are all great goals, it is overwhelming sometimes.
Here are just a few of my additional goals I have been working on the past couple of months and will continue on through the end of the year:
*I want to get to bed earlier and get up earlier. This is so hard for me to do! I am a night owl. I prefer to get my work done when the kids go to bed for the night. But sometimes this means going to bed too late when I am really involved in a project. Sometimes I don’t make it to bed until 12 or later. This is not a very healthy routine as it upsets the body’s natural rhythm. I want to have a set time each night to be to bed no later than 11:00 for example. It is a work in progress, lol.
*Use facebook and other social media less each day, perhaps 30 minutes max and value my time with my family and my hobbies more.
*I want to write my blog stories for 2 hours a day five days a week, and take weekends off. I want to be able to be able to write about family adventures, homeschool, and complete my product reviews all within this window of time. I need to learn to type faster I think! I currently find that if I miss even one day, I easily get behind. It takes a lot of time to write stories. But I hope to keep publishing about three a week, and be able to keep it in balance with my family and my own interests too.
*I want to make home remedies and have them ready in my medicine cabinet or freezer if needed. Remedies like: elderberry extract, elderberry syrup, and elderberry variations, garlic extract, garlic oil, apple cider vinegar, 50 garlic soup or the modified version, and more.
*I want to make my own homemade “safe” hous
e cleaning and laundry products.
*I want to do some fall cleaning (spring cleaning in the fall).
*Prep the garden for winter. I would like to get all the old plants pulled out and composted. I also want to disc the ground and sow winter rye or alfalfa that I can till under come spring for green manure and enrich the ground with all those extra organic nutrients.
*I want to harvest the walnuts that will soon be dropping all around and make fresh walnut oil, and sprout and freeze the nutmeats for use in snacks and deserts. I hope to post a lot of recipes using walnuts later this fall if I can get this goal reached.
*I want to make every meal from scratch this month according to the nourishing principles of the Weston A Price Foundation, using their cookbook Nourishing Traditions, and following the diet plan and recipes of the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD). I am also interested in the program called Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and I am in the process of reading their book and studying the science behind it. I lost 17 lbs on the FMD program back in April and it was a good place to start on revving up my metabolism. But I stopped following the specific steps of the diet when I moved to Indiana due to too much stress and other priorities taking first place. I kept using several of the recipes, but without following the specific steps, the weight loss stalled. My goal to loose weight went on the back burner. But I need to, and I think I am ready now to, get back to it.
*I want to prepare some of the FMD meals ahead and freeze in the freezer for easy prep later (like cooking soaked oatmeal, meats for tacos and fahitas, and foods like chili, soaked rice pudding, and breakfast egg casserole), ahead of time in the crock pot and divide them into meal size portions for the freezer. I find that if I use the crock pot. We have more variety in our meals if I have this step done ahead, because meal prep is that much easier and faster when we are hungry.
*Re-read the FMD book.
*Finish reading the THM book.
*I want to make a new ferment starts of Kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir, fermented pickles and other fermented veggies, and sourdough starters. I can’t wait to have some sourdough pancakes, sourdough waffles, and sourdough cinnamon rolls with kefir frosting! Most of these recipes are listed in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions easily available on the internet. I’ve been saving lots of them on my Pinterest boards and on my facebook page.
*I need to find a grassfed RAW MILK source for my family. I would love to keep a Jersey cow again. But I just don’t have the funds to buy one right now. I need to find a source soon. Raw milk provides so much protection for the immune system and with flu season (stomach and respitory) coming soon, we need it. Oligosaccharides in raw milk bind with bacterial and viral toxins and render them harmless. Grassfed raw milk is also a wonderful source of Vit. D, Vit. C, and Vit. A and Lord knows all my kids need more of these wonderful nutrients in our diet with the coming of winter. It also has CLA and complete protein with 22 amino acids to build muscles, Vit K2 to promote blood health and prevent arthritis, B12 & B6, fatty acids that help the white blood cells fight disease, and more. God made a perfect food in this resource. Deuteronomy 26:9 “You brought us here and gave us this land rich with milk and honey”. I feel so much better when we have this fresh raw milk as part of our daily nutritional routine.
*I want to update my calendar / planner daily so I can keep track of what is going on and what is coming up soon. Currently I update it once a week or less, and I can so easily loose track of what is going on and forget to plan enough ahead.
*I want to keep a daily food journal this month. I have kept them off and on over the years. I really helps me a lot to keep one and see what I have been eating and where I need to make changes.
*Take a weekly outing to the park.
*Take a weekly outing to the library.
*Spend more time with my husband discussing future plans, hopes, and dreams and nurturing our relationship. We have been married 22+ years, but it always takes a “first place” focus to keep it strong.
*I want to have one on one time with each one of my kids and do something special together.
*I want to learn to sew. I will be learning to sew a doll outfit this month. That is a good start! But I want to learn to sew pretty things for my daughter.
*Remember to take my supplements and vitamins each day. It is so easy to forget.
*I want to loose weight. That right there is a huge goal for me and one that is always on my mind. I haven’t lost any weight since we moved in May, and well the lack of progress in this area has me discouraged.
*T-tapp two times a week (even at least once would be better than none at all), walk one or two times a week, and strength train once a week. FMD encourages one day of cardio (M), one day of strength (W), and one day of stretching like exercises (F), and then off on the inbetween days (like Tue and Thur) and for two days (Sat and Sun) then start over each week to stimulate the metabolism. I don’t get enough physically activity and any or all of these would definitely improve my physical health and my mental outlook, and may keep my metabolism up high enough to burn some extra calories and help me loose weight.
*I want to get out of debt and be able to save money for the future.
*Go through all the clothes (for all 8 of us) and figure out what we can and can not wear, and find clothes warm enough to get through this coming Indiana winter. We have lived the last five years in North Carolina and it didn’t get very cold. We didn’t have to wear coats and boots and gloves and things that are a neccessity to get through the Indiana winter. So I am feeling stressed with how to do this with no money to buy the things we need. But going through what we have to work with is a good and nessessary place to start.
…and my list goes on and on and on. See, I told you it was a lot! It was so hard to choose only three things to focus on for this challenge this month.
But I hope by focussing on 3 of my goals for the next 30 days, I will make progress and permanent change for the better.
So what are your goals you are working on? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.
Would you like to join us in the Change 3 Challenge? If so, you can list your 3 goals on Amber’s facebook page, or if you write a blog post about it, you can leave a link to it on her website.
Be sure to stop in and read the challenge links at Adventures in Mindful Cooking. You will glean so much and be encouraged when you read what 3 goals other mom’s are working on this month too.
This post will be linked up with:
Adventures in Mindful Cooking
Walk and Talk Wednesday
We have a new kitten. She is adorable. She surprised us. We knew the mother who is 80% wild and always stays just out of arms reach lives under our deck. She comes and goes, and even though we feed her, she doesn’t want to be petted. We thought two months ago when we moved to the farm that we would see kittens, but we never did. We saw a male cat hang around from a distance about a month ago and assumed that if she had kittens, he had likely killed them. We were disappointed, and my husband was especially disappointed. He really looked forward to taming some kittens. But with no kittens to be found, he accepted that it wasn’t the right timing and life went on. Until today.
Today, this beautiful black and white long haired kitten climbed up from below the deck. She is so tiny and so new that she can barely walk. She seems to have recently opened her eyes and her sight isn’t very good yet. We estimate she is about 3 to 4 weeks old. She climbed her way right into a ready made family with 16 hands to hold her.
Now the kids, and daddy, and mommy, can’t stay away from this adorable baby who has captured our heart.
She is so content. She isn’t afraid of us. I think it might be that she has been listening to our voices everyday from down under the deck. We eat most of our meals on the deck this summer, and we have daily bible study on the deck too. I think she is so relaxed because she already knows us. She is already a member of the family and today she let us know it.
So what do you do when you don’t have XYZ? You MAKE DO! “It’s healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up”.
Let’s face it, you can’t always get what you want when you want it. Or haven’t you learned that yet?
I learned this lesson at a very young age. My dad used to frequently tell me “Don’t sweat the small stuff” meaning don’t worry about things I can’t change and things that in the bigger picture of life really are not that important.
I want my children to learn this lesson while they are young too. I hope that by teaching them while they are young, and leading by example, and as they watch me and my husband cope with difficult circumstances in our adult life where we have no choice but to go without the things we want, or making do with what we have (and do it with a joyful heart), will make a positive impact on them and give them coping skills to handle whatever situations they face in their life.
Sometimes accepting that I will have to “make do” means saving my sanity too. No point in throwing a fit about it. Just accept it for the time being, “make do” or make the best of the situation and the resources I have, and go forward. If I waste my energy on pouting or throwing a tantrum, I miss my blessing. I tell myself that someday I will improve the circumstances if I am able, but until then, be happy.
Our current season of life finds us “making do” with what we have and living without what we don’t have. I won’t mention all of the wants, but one want / need we have is a backyard grill for our large family of eight people. We would love to have a grill to enjoy summer cooking outside.
About two months ago, we moved from North Carolina to Indiana. The old farmhouse in Indiana is hot this summer. I leave the kitchen door open most of the time, because it is so hot in the kitchen. The kitchen is small. It was a porch at one time in history, before indoor plumbing, and then was enclosed and plumbed probably in the 1930’s or so to become an indoor kitchen. It is somewhat frustrating for me to cook in it as I was used to a big modern kitchen, with nice appliances, and lots of counter space for food prep with room still leftover for several small appliances in my previous home. I also had a separate but adjoining dining room so the food was prepared in one area, and eating could take place a few feet away. We enjoyed this lifestyle as homeschoolers, because we use our table not only for eating, but also for school work too, so I could cook or prep food in one area and all six of the kids could study and or play at the table and we had plenty of room for everyone.
I am not complaining, but just pointing out the facts as they are. Being in the small kitchen cooking, or at the kitchen table, means we are all on top of each other. Literally, we are elbow to elbow in the kitchen. I find myself in a very old house with almost no electrical outlets, poor lighting, and the kitchen feels like a dungeon. It is not convenient at all.
I have two feet of counter space to the left and to the right of the sink, and I bump into the table behind me every at every turn. And sitting at the table means your back is to the wall on one side, and bumping into the oven door or fridge door when they are opened on the other side. I currently can’t even imagine how I am going to use the table for school work too. I feel like I am in a camper with the burden of cooking for a large family and don’t have access to what I need. By the time you have the coffee pot, a mixer or bowl, and if there are any dishes on the counter to be hand washed, there is no room left for food prep. There is no dishwasher, microwave, or nice appliances, and gasp. . . no ice maker or water dispenser in the fridge door either. Nope, NADA!
And did I mention it is HOT!?? It makes more sense to cook outside than inside right now in the hot summer. But we don’t have a grill and we don’t have the budget for one at this time either. What little money we have had has gone to cover basic needs for food, gas, bills, and the garden seeds, and a few fruit trees / plants for the orchard. In this season of our life, there are many needs and plenty of wants going unmet.
One thing is for sure, when you accept your circumstances, you can deal with them better. If you fight, pout, and are frustrated about your circumstances, it makes it all that much harder to live with.
I am so thankful for my family, even with the demands of caring for a large family. My kids can be a great source of encouragement in this whole thing, because they are resilient, and optimistic. They may need a little “get over it” time too, but eventually they come around to the idea of let’s “make do”. As long as you are together, and have each other to build one another up, you can get through it.
It is tough! I am not going to lie! It is not easy to set aside your wants. And it is hard to watch those you love suffer, struggle, or go without.
Evaluate What You Have On Hand To Use
So. . . what to do. . .what to do. . .?
First I need to look at the resources I have on hand, and then I can MAKE DO!
If I want to cook outside, but don’t have a grill, why not cook on an open fire? For thousand years my ancestors cooked on open fires. They didn’t have grills, gas ovens, crock pots, or electric stoves. Yet they succeeded in feeding large families with the resources they had.
Well, in theory that sounds good, but in practice cooking on an open fire presents some challenges: a steep learning curve if you have never cooked out in the open, safety for the cook, safety for the bystanders, keeping a constant source of heat or temperature, preventing food from burning, and food from falling into the fire and being covered in ashes, etc. It is definitely challenging, but if I can manage those challenges then I can “make do”.
Resources I have on hand to cook a meal outside:
-open space in the backyard
-shovel to maneuver hot rocks, hot bricks, and charred wood that is on fire
-tree limbs: maple, apple, mulberry, etc.
-matches to start a fire
-foil to provide some protection for food that can burn easily or food that
needs to steam in its own juice
-a pocket knife to whittle wooden spears to hold food over the fire
-fresh garden produce
-bread and buns
With these resources we were able to build wonderful camp fires in the evenings when daddy got off work, and cook fresh food for several delicious and fun family dinners.
In the meal pictured below, we roasted fresh corn on the cob, roasted fresh red potatoes with onions and zucchini that was just harvested from the garden before going on the fire, and uncured all natural beef hot dogs cooked by the kids skewered on our wooden spears.
Within a few weeks of learning to cook on the fire, we acquired a new resource: a grate to place over the open fire to cook on. I was so excited about this “step up” ! I had looked and looked at newspapers, online sources, etc. to try to find a free grill someone was getting rid of, even if nothing on it could be used except the grate, or one that could be bought very cheap. But as the weeks went on through the summer, I could not find one, not even one to recycle.
After a few times of cooking on hot rocks and bricks and spears made of sticks, we finally acquired a grate we found on clearance while grocery shopping. We now have a wonderful grate to put over the fire for under $10 and and a couple of metal
spear/forks for $2 to spear the food if desired, and this made cooking over the fire much easier. Total investment was around $14. We had the bricks already on hand from an old foundation we recycled that was under a shed we took down on the farm. We made side walls with the bricks by stacking them two bricks high and the bricks helped to keep a hot fire going by retaining a lot of the heat and preventing the fire from spreading out to much, and also helped to hold the cooking grate. I am very thankful for the upcycled bricks.
Cooking over a wood fire is lots of work! It takes diligence to gather sticks to build the fire, and constant stoking the fire, and time to monitor the fire so it is just right to cook on. About an hour or more of work goes into making the wood fire before we can place food on it. And there are a few dangers to keep in mind at all times, especially with young kids around, and if the fire flairs up unexpectedly while you are leaning over it!
Though we have been “making do” without a modern grill this summer, we have a good attitude about it. We are enjoying our time together, and enjoying learning the ongoing process of getting by and making the most of what we do have. We are especially enjoying learning the delicious art of cooking over a wood fire outdoors. No grilling we have ever done EVER, has tasted this good!
The food is juicy and has a delicious flavor infused with the smoke from the apple, maple, and mulberry tree limbs we are burning. If you enjoy apple wood smoked bacon, smoked meats like maple wood smoked turkey or smoked brisket, then you will enjoy the flavors of this style of cooking. It is very exciting to the nose and the tastebuds.
All of the ingredients in this dinner (except the bun, hotdogs, and the beef), were picked fresh just a few minutes before grilling them.
The fresh veggies in our meal include:
next to the bun (potatoes, greenbeans, Jalapeno, Cilantro, shallots, acorn
inside the burger (Jalapeno, Cilantro, shallots)
and on the burger (lettuce leaves, sliced radishes, yellow tomato, and onion),
Though this dinner was cooked outside over an open fire, this meal was restaraunt quality, there is no doubt about it! Pictured below here is garden fresh red potatoes and green beans, acorn squash, and a delicious garden fresh sirloin burger.
Our country has been so blessed to have easy access to so much modern technology and appliances. These modern conveniences have made cooking easier for our generation. Past generations had a much more challenging time preparing foods and cooking delicious meals for their families. Yet they learned to master the art of cooking both outdoors and indoors (in fire places) over an open fire.
I am excited to post some upcoming stories about outdoor cooking over the open fire that we have been enjoying this summer. Stay tuned and I will share with you some delicious foods you can easily cook in your own backyard with your kids and you can make them on the grill, in an electric skillet, or on the campfire.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to embrace the circumstances you find yourself in during different seasons of life. Give “making do” a go and I am sure you will get through the toughest of times. It will inspire you and your family to keep believing that one day the circumstances will change and they will be able to get the things that are needed and wanted, but for now we can and will endure with with a joyful heart what we have on hand. We can “make do”.
What ways are you making do in your life? Have you shared this experience with your children? Please share your comments below. Thank you.
This post will be linked up with:
“It’s healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up”.