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The Taste Of Summer

I am so glad summer is finally here!  And nothing tastes like summer like an ice cold glass of sweet and refreshing lemonade, except perhaps a cold glass lemon and lime lemonade.
But did you know you can make an all natural glass of this refreshing beverage, and it doesn’t have to spike your blood sugar?  Yes, its true. There is an all natural sweetener made from the stevia plant that is many times sweeter than sugar, and it has no carbohydrates and no calories and won’t impact your blood sugar.  YAHOO!  That is super good news!
I have been experimenting with different variations of stevia sweetened lemonade, and I can’t find a combination I don’t like!  I plan to share several beverage recipes with you in the coming weeks for summer. 


I found a brand of stevia powder I like using the best called Nu Naturals Pure White Stevia Powder.  I really like this brand and it has no aftertaste. It is very sweet, so a little goes a long ways.  I ordered it last year and I am just now about to run out of it.  1/32 of a teaspoon will taste as sweet as 2 teaspoons of sugar.  3/4 of a teaspoon will be as sweet as 1 cup of sugar.

There is also a brand of a stevia and erythritol blend called Truvia that I love!  It is less sweet than pure stevia alone, but it tastes amazing and better than sugar!  You can buy it in a box of small packets just like a sugar packet, buy it loose in a jar, or buy it in bulk bags for baking too.

If you are like me, you just don’t get in enough to drink, and lemonade is a great way to increase your liquid intake.  Plus there are other benefits of consuming lemon in your diet.  It helps reduce your ph level, provides vitamin C, antioxidants and much more.
Here is the basic lemon lime lemonade I enjoy the most, and it gives me a quart of liquid (including ice) for my body.  To make it regular lemonade, just leave out the lime.  You can adjust the sweetness to your personal tastes.  Simple!
Sugarfree Lemon Lime Lemonade
1 Quart
1 lemon, peel and seeds removed, 
then put the rest (including the white) in the blender.
1 lime, peel and seeds removed, 
then put the rest (including the white) in the blender.
1/4 tsp Nu Naturals Pure Stevia Powder 
or 2 packets of Truvia (stevia and erythritol blend)
1 cup of ice (plus 1 cup ice reserved)
2 cup of filtered water
Blend all together in blender.  

Pour into a glass quart jar with 1 cup of ice.  Add more ice or filtered water if needed until the lemonade reaches the top of the neck on the jar.  If you need a stronger lemon flavor, feel free to add in more lemon, or a lemon extract, or lemon flavored stevia.  Adding a few slices of lemon to the side of the jar or into the beverage makes a very pretty glass to look at and serve to guests too.
37 Calories, 8 Net Carbs, (12 carbs – 3 grams fiber), 1 gram of protein, 50.2 mg Vitamin C,  46.3 IU Vitamin A, 65.6 mg Calcium, 18.1 mg Magnesium, 148 mg Potassium, 27.8 mg Omega 3 fatty acids, .4 mcg Vitamin K, and so much more. 

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Foundations A by Logic Of English Review

I am so thankful for the opportunity to review Foundations A by Logic Of English.  

Foundations A

Ages 4 to 7
Various components listed below:
Foundations A Teacher’s Manual – Printed   $38.00
224 pages. Case-bound hardcover. Full color.

230 pages. High-quality paperback. Full color.

These two books go hand in hand, and you need both to use the program.

Additional recommended add-ons for the Foundations A curriculum we received to facilitate this review include:

Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds  $15.00
56 pages. Hardcover. Full color.

Basic Phonogram Flash Cards $18
Handwriting Tactile Cards $28
Phonogram Game Cards Red $10
Phonogram Game Cards Blue $10
Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Chart $10
Small Student Whiteboard $9
Why Choose Foundations A?

Foundations A is a “hands on” begining reading, phonics, spelling, and writing program.  It covers lots of different learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile, etc)  for children and gives them opportunity to practice a variety of skills.  It helps you, the Parent / Teacher establish the correct “foundation” for building reading and writing skills in your child.  

The curriculum includes:

48 Lessons (40 instructional lessons
and 8 Assessment and Review lessons)
6 Student Readers that develop true reading
 comprehension skills rather than encouraging 
students to “picture read”
22 Phonemic Awareness Games
28 Phonogram Games
10 Reading Comprehension Games
2 High Frequency Word Games

Summary of goals your child will accomplish when working with Foundations A (adapted from the Logic Of English web site): 

By the time students finish Foundations Level A, they will: 

Have an awareness of how sounds are formed in the mouth.

Blend and segment words auditorily (with no printed words).

Be able to identify the initial and final sound in a word and 
match it to the correct single-letter phonogram.

Read all the sounds for / from A-Z.

Write the lowercase alphabet in manuscript or cursive.

Read consonant-vowel-consonant words.

Be able to decode 25 high-frequency words with some fluency.

Spell short vowel words.

Read short vowel words with consonant blends.

Read and comprehend phrases with all lowercase letters 
and short vowels.

Check out the web site for more information about the benefits of Foundations curriculum and why it can meet the needs of your homeschool.

How we used Foundations A:
I am using Foundations A with the recommended add ons, with my 5 year old son for the purpose of this review.  We are completing one lesson a day, and sometimes going back over the lesson again the following day if he needs more work in that skill.  The lessons are short and easy to do. This is a very nice beginning level learning product and he is really enjoying it.  He is so proud of “his” curriculum!
I like Foundations A so much, that I want to purchase an extra workbook for my 6 year old daughter as soon as I can.  My youngest child, age 2 1/2 also loved to follow along and mimic his older brother too.  I will get him a workbook in the next year or so when he is ready. The reusable resource kit will last for several kids and through all the various levels of the curriculum for future use too. There is an app available to use on your smart phone (or other devices) that I would like to get too.  My son loves to use my phone, but I hope someday we can get a learning device like an Ipad or a tablet so they can do a lot more.

First off, I was thrilled with the quality of these materials.  Logic of English has spared no expense on the materials these products are made of. Everything was heavy duty and of good quality and will last for a long time.

The Teachers Manual is a large hardback book.  It is full color and laid out very nicely.  It was very easy for me to stay organized, follow instructions, and implement the lessons. There are lots of colorful graphics that organize everything and provide extra tips too.  I think it is the nicest Teacher’s Manual I have ever owned.  If all Teacher’s Manuals were made to these standards, it would be so easy and wonderful to teach various subjects.  

The Student Workbook is a large full color paperback workbook.  There are lots of bright colors and interesting graphics for the kids.  He really likes it and I think that partly has to do with the fact that there is not too much information on a page, as the instructions for each lesson for the workbook are located in the Teacher’s Manual.  This helps to keep the workbook easy to read and do for young learners.  They must listen to the instructions from the Teacher and follow along and then complete the answers.  Below is a picture of the very first lesson my son did and he was listening to me explain compound words, learning how to “glue” words together to make a compound word, and then locating the matching picture.

The Tactile Flash Cards are very nice.  We have never had a set of tactile flash cards before.  It incorporates more than just your sense of sight, it blends sight learning with your sense of touch to help your brain remember and process the information.  You remember better the more senses you incorporate when learning new skills and information.  The cards are made on very heavy paper and include a sandpaper shape and letters.  The student traces the shape or letter with their finger.  Then practices writing the shape or letter on the wipe off board.  They first learn shapes or directions of lines before learning the letters that are made up of those shapes and lines.

He loved using the wipe off board to copy the tactile cards.  He is left handed so that made it a little challenging for him.  When you use your left hand and write from left to right on a wipe of board, you tend to accidentally wipe off what you just wrote as you move along.  That got him a little upset after it happened several times, but he kept working at it, and re-wrote his work so he could show me that he completed it.
The curriculum is full of learning games and hands on activities.  There are games that involve large and small motor skills where you move through out, spelling games, listening games, card games using the Phonogram Game Cards, and more.  An example of a silly learning game is to use a fly swatter and slap the correct phonogram card when the teacher calls out the sound.  There are also 6 readers, or picture books in the back of his workbook that he gets to assemble.  

The curriculum is fun, easy to implement, multisensory, and my son is so excited about all the different activities in his curriculum.  I would definitely recommend these materials for homeschools, classrooms, afterschool programs, tutoring, and ESL programs.  They are great resources.
Great news! The Foundations A is the first level in a series of learning materials. Each level is progressive and builds on the last.  There is A, B, C, and D levels.  Would you like to try out a sample of the different levels before you buy?  There are FREE SAMPLES of ALL student levels, teachers manuals, readers, and more.  

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Death Of A Dream

Have you ever had a dream die?

I have had quite a few.  I have had goals that I didn’t reach.  I have pursued dreams that along the way lost their importance during that period of my life for one reason or another, like pursuing my master’s degree.   I have had businesses that failed to be economically viable even after tremendous efforts on my part.  Though many dreams did turn out wonderful, I have had other dreams, wants, and desires that have changed over the years and did not come to pass.
But one dream that has ended in death in my life hurts the most.  It is the dream of holding a child in my arms, and hopes and plans are made, and then suddenly that dream turns to a nightmare when that child has died and I will never hold it.

I recently had a miscarriage.  Today it feels like a dream…a hope that has died…

It is my second miscarriage of a confirmed pregnancy.   I was about 10 weeks along this time when the bleeding began.   I went through 10 days of bleeding and 24 hours of labor and heavy bleeding.  I delivered the baby and placenta at noon on Saturday March 22, 2014 when I was about 11 1/2 weeks along.   A dream of a beautiful child had died.  I was grateful for the chance to hold the small baby and say goodbye.  I didn’t have that closure last time and it was much harder to get through the experience. 

On October 19th, 2010  I was 13 to 14 weeks along when I miscarried.  I already had a natural ob doctor, a midwife, and had plans for a doula too.  I had a normal sonogram and blood work, and had already made plans for the new baby.  But when I lost the baby, I was in such shock from extreme blood loss, I did not get to hold it and say goodbye.  That was much more devastating to journey through.  I grieved deeply, and it helped me to reach out through writing down my feelings, and sharing with other women who know what it is like, but it took many months to get through the grief.   I definitely believe I needed the opportunity to hold my child and say goodbye for a healthy healing from the situation.

During this miscarriage and for the week following, I bled heavily.  Then slowly the bleeding decreased until it stopped almost three weeks after the miscarriage.  I took some vitamin K to try to get the bleeding to slow down.  For the first 5 days I struggled to regulate my blood pressure.  The upper number swung from 105 to 165 about every 15  to 30 minutes.  The bottom number swung from 65 to 95 about every 3 hours.  And my pulse ranged from 100 to 115 while at rest.  I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest.  I also suffered from an extreme migraine headache and nausea.  Everytime the blood pressure was in the process of climbing the headache would get intense, and every time it would fall I had a nauseated sick feeling that I was about to throw up.  This lasted for several days.  During this time I also took chlorophyll capsules, EmergenC powdered vitamin blend mixed into water, Concentrace minerals, and spoonfuls of blackstrap molasses to build back up my iron after the blood loss and re-establish my hydration and electrolyte balance.  I had bleeding and severe anemia for 12 weeks last time I miscarried, and I did not want a repeat of that situation.  Finally around day six, things started returning to normal for me and the blood pressure stabilized and my resting pulse decreased to a normal rate and I slowly felt my energy coming back.  About a week later I felt I was on the mend and my stamina started increasing.  I was so thankful it went better this time than last time.

I have read statistics that 1 in 4 to approximately 1 in 5 pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage.  It is devastating to know these numbers are so high and they have been a reality in my own life and for so many other families.  I was comforted to know a few other women through an online forum of Christian woman, who were miscarrying at the same time I was and we could all pray for each other.  The forum is a healthy eating group forum I am on,but folks sometimes share about other things happening in their life, and though it was heartbreaking, hundreds of other women began praying for us when we let them know what was happening, and many openly spoke about miscarriages they had been through too.  It was bitter sweet and I am grateful to all of those who prayed for me. 

We are a large family and don’t believe in controlling fertility.  We have had folks in our life, both family and friends, who had said things like, “be happy with no children”, “don’t have more than two children”, “children are too expensive” and so on.  We have recently even had a family member say sternly when we needed help due to a job loss “don’t have more children”.  However, we don’t agree with our American culture to kill pregnancies with birth control chemicals, or to surgically clip or tie shut the tubes that God created allow sperm or eggs to travel to meet and fertilize.  We believe to do such things is to become a god if we were to take away or prevent life.  The bible says we are created in the image of God.  It also says that children are a blessing.  We believe the bible, and we believe God is in control of life.  We believe we are not to take away life,and that HE is creator, the great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, our provider, and the GOD OF FERTILITY.  This was a process and decision we came to after several years of marriage and we still believe this to be true, even in the face of miscarriage and not understanding why it has happened this way.

We decided after being married for about 5 years, and through a lot of prayer and our church praying for us to have children, that we wanted to serve as foster parents.  We went through extensive training to become therapeutic foster parents.  After we had been married seven or eight years and was unable to have our own children naturally, the doctor labeled us infertile and wanted to do exploratory surgery and put us on fertility medications to try to improve our chances of getting pregnant.  We prayed about it, our church prayed with us to, and eventually we came to the decision that “no, we would not do any of those things, but would trust God in his infallible and infinite wisdom”.  If he chose for us to remain childless and instead do foster care and adoption then that was the route we would follow.  If he decided to allow us to get pregnant naturally then that is the route we would follow.  We continued being therapeutic foster parents, and then went through a homestudy and certification for adoption.  

Our church continued to pray with us that we would have natural children of our own too. About the time we were approved for adoption, a mom of one of the youth in our youth group came up to us and said she had been praying for us and that God told her within two
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.
Sure enough, within two years to the day she spoke to us, we had given birth to a son. That was 13 1/2 years ago and I was already 30 years old.  Since that time, God has continued to bless our home with children born from our womb.  We have a 13 year old son, an 11 year old son, a 9 year old son, a 6 year old daughter, a 5 year old son, and a 2 year old son, and two babies in heaven.   God is the God of fertility and he will remain so in our life.

We just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary this past week.  Though it has been a difficult journey, and it has been a long time to see the dream of a family we have today manifest in our life, and some dreams have lived and manifested in wonderful ways, and other dreams have died along the journey, we are greatly blessed to be parents to them all and to have traveled this journey together.   

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Egglo Review For Easter

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.  

What Is Egglo? 

Egglo includes a group of products that help you make Christ the focus of your Easter celebration. Egglo’s motto is to “Learn Biblical lessons and Gospel truth through a glowing egg hunt!” and they focus on the bible verse “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5  The light being referenced is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Glow In The Dark Egglo Eggs retails for $11.99 on sale for $9.99
One dozen plastic and fillable eggs that glow in the dark when charged under light. They come in four colors: green, yellow, pink, and blue.  Half of the eggs have a cross design on the egg.  Discounts are available for bulk purchases.
The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure retails for $12.99 on sale for $9.99
Illustrated 40 page story book about an Easter egg hunt and the true meaning of Easter.
Lesson plans with suggestions for activities, snacks, and crafts to help you use the Egglo products and keep the focus of Easter on Christ. 60 pages with reproducibles.

These are a package of 12 mini scrolls with scriptures and are great to stuff inside the plastic eggs.

This is the story book in a 30 minute audio form.

Other products are available on the Egglo website, such as a complete kit, stickers, character stickers, DVD, and more.  These products are suggested to be used by kids ages 4-13 but activities can be easily be adjusted and used by kids of all ages with adult helpers to host the activities.

How We Used Egglo:

We received a box with 12 Egglo eggs, Egg-cellent Adventure book, mini Treasure Scripture Scrolls to fill the eggs with, audio book download, and a pdf file with the Program Guide / Curriculum.   

The first thing I did was download, print, and read the pdf Program Guide / Curriculum guide we were sent.  This is a treasure trove of information.  The Program Guide / Curriculum is filled with great ideas for activities, lesson plans, devotions, questions and answers, how to hold a nightime glow in the dark Egglo Egg Hunt, crafts, games, coloring pages, etc.  It is written to be used by a church group with volunteer helpers, but also works great for families, classrooms, and local clubs too.
We implemented most of these great ideas as a family.  There are 8 of us, 6 kids of various ages and 2 adults, so we had a good size family group to have a fun learning adventure and celebrate with this. Though I love the idea to approach the local church on hosting a fun Christ centered egg hunt too.

The older children read the story book to the younger children and everyone enjoyed the colorful pictures, the characters, and the biblical message. 

 I have two who can read the book on their own, one who can read it with assistance, and three younger children who needed the story read to them. Having the older ones read to the younger ones is a win / win!

“Jesus Loves Me”
This was my own idea, and I thought it would go great with the Egglo theme and other activities we were doing.  This was a craft project we made with foam crosses.  We had these wonderful foam craft supplies to make crosses and put each child’s name on them. They say “Jesus Loves Me” and then there is a banner that hangs on the cross with the child’s name.  We loved adding in this little craft kit for Easter.  If you don’t have a craft kit, you could make this with construction paper, popsicle sticks, or draw, and use paint, crayons, or markers to color something similar on regular paper.   

We discussed how Christ loves us and that is why he died for us.   We celebrated this activity theme with a cake with three crosses to signify the two sinners and Christ on the cross.  Christ said he is the light of the world, and those who walk in the light will not fall away.  He also said that those who believe in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.  One of the sinners who died on the cross accepted Jesus as the son of God, and one did not.  To the one who believed him, he told him he would be with him in heaven forever.  The other sinner went to hell for rejecting Jesus and refusing to repent of his sin.   The cross represents Christ’s love and sacrifice for us, but it also represents our personal choice to follow or reject Christ.

“Egglo Egg Hunt”
We planned our egg hunts using the dozen Egglo eggs we were sent.  We also added a few extra plastic eggs we had on hand to provide a few more eggs to find.  These eggs are neat because they can be used in the daylight or in darkness, inside or out.

We charged up our eggs in the sun and then had an egg hunt in the house after dark. It is suggested to “charge” the eggs in sunlight, or other kinds of light and that the eggs will stay brightly lit for about 45 to 60 minutes, and then give off a dim light for a little longer.  I left the eggs in bright sunlight for two hours, and they stayed dimly lit for a long time.  The kids could find their way to the eggs in the dark, because of the dim light they gave off.  

Another day we had an egg hunt outside just before dark.  We filled the eggs with a scripture verse and a small chocolate candy bar.  We added six additional eggs to the 12 glow in the dark Egglo eggs we were sent.  This allowed each child to find a total of three eggs, and that was more than enough chocolate!  You can copy the scripture cards from the Program Guide, or use the Egglo Treasure Scripture Scrolls and place them in the eggs.  There is also the idea of placing stickers in the eggs that are also available on the Egglo website.

Like the glow in the dark eggs we hunted, and flashlights we use to light our path in the dark, Jesus lights the way in our life.  He is the “Light of the World”.  For this activity, the kids made an edible torch.  They placed large pretzel sticks into marshmallows, then dipped them in whipped cream, and sprinkled on red, yellow, and orange sugar sprinkles.  This gave the look of a flame on a torch.  We talked about how Jesus is the light in our life to light our path, and also how we can be a light when we tell others about who Jesus is.

We talked about how Christ’s body was removed from the cross, wrapped in linen, and placed in a tomb.  The tomb was then sealed with a large stone to cover the entrance. Guards were posted outside of the tomb to be sure no one disturbed it.  But on the third day, God opened the tomb.  He rolled the stone away.  Mary and other desciples went to find his body, but he was gone.  An angel told them he had risen, just as he said he would.  Christ had risen from the dead on the third day.  To celebrate God openning the tomb, and Jesus resurrection, we made “tomb” sandwiches with bagels spread with an herb cheese spread to represent the tomb, and a slice of cucumber to represent the stone that was in front of the tomb, and then was rolled away.  The kids really enjoyed making their own sandwiches and retelling the story.  

We changed this game that was mentioned in the Program Guide / Curriculum with our own version.  The original game uses three inflated beach balls.  I did not have beach balls on hand.   So we made our own game with plastic base balls and a bat.  We labeled three balls with the words “Tell”, “Trust”, and “Thank”.  The person who the ball was batted to answered the label on the ball.  For example, they might say they want to “thank” God for sending his son Jesus, or they might say why they “trust” Jesus, or if they got the ball labeled “tell” then they might mention who they want to tell what God has done for them, or tell them about Jesus and his love for us.  I would encourage everyone to play this game even if they have to adjust it to what supplies you have on hand.  Try it with bean bags, balloons, stuffed animals, etc.  Or use a coin and flip it heads or tales to answer questions.  There are many ways to play this kind of game and still get the message across, and there are no wrong answers.

Coloring Pages:
There are several wonderful reproducible coloring pages in the curriculum.  We completed three per child to reinforce the bible lessons we learned and we still had several left over that we did not use.  Our favorite picture is of the crippled boy and his mom with Jesus.  The boy is embracing Jesus and Jesus is holding the boy and laying his hand on his forehead and healing him.  

More Plans:
Before Easter arrives, I still plan to do several more of the suggested Christ focused activities, and other additional hands on activities, to help build our faith and reinforce the true meaning of Easter:  projects like the “Egg-cellent Easter Eggs” activity with the kids making and decorating sugar cookies and gelatin snacks and use icing to draw a cross on the cookies and I would like to find cross shaped or egg shaped gelatin molds too; “Light and Dark” activity where the kids are placed into a large dark box like a leftover refrigerator cardboard box, and they can’t see because it is dark inside, but then when given a light they see pictures of people that God loves glued on the inside walls of the box; Bible Memory games based on Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-20; “Scripture Scramble” where you place words from John:1 on various balloons and it is all mixed up and the kids race to put it back in order; we want to do the “He Is Not Here” activity again and make another fun craft (we will come up with something) and the fun snack using mini donuts, cookies, graham crackers, icing, and coconut; and I plan to add in some Lego fun too.   I want to have the kids make an Easter Lego movie where they retell the story of Jesus death and resurrection using their Legos.  They love to make stop motion Lego movies and this would be a wonderful opportunity to reinforce our faith.  Perhaps there is a way to incorporate the Egglo eggs and the Lego people at the same time.  I’ve got to think on this idea some more.  We also plan to do another Christ focussed, “light in the dark world”, Egglo egg hunt the night before Easter, weather permitting outside, or inside if need be.  Plus my younger kids love using eggs year around in their school learning.  We match colors, count, sort, scoop, practice skills, hide themes inside, and more.  We are looking forward to lots more fun and using this product again in the future.

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Fruit Preserves, No Sugar Required

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?


Food Preservation

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.  

Preserving fruit (or any food) can mean variety of things.  I might be put into a cellar for cold storage, dried, powdered, frozen, cured, smoked, mixed with sugar, mixed with spices, etc. to prevent it from spoiling.  In recent human history, since the 1800’s, we also learned to can fruit and other foods to extend the availability of to the food, and the sweet flavor in regards to fruits, however, canned fruit (food) does not contain the same enzyme or protein structures and nutrients of the other historical forms of food preservation. Minerals and fiber in canned food are similar to their fresh stage, but high heat can cause the breakdown of fiber too, and many of the minerals are dissolved into the canning liquid.  So if you pour off the liquid, you likely are pouring off the minerals too.  It is wise not to make canned food the majority of ones diet.  If you do use canned food, it is best to use foods preserved in glass rather than metal cans whenever possible.  Metal cans, and the coating within, can break down and leach potential toxins and metals into food, especially acidic food like fruits, including tomatoes, over time. 

Indiana Harvest

Here in the midwest in central Indiana, fruit has a very limited harvest season. Typically, whether it is wild fruit, or domesticated fruit, any variety has about one month or even a few weeks of harvest is about all you can expect from a local fruit.  Locally grown fruits in Indiana typically include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, elderberries, mulberries, plums, apples, paw paws, pears, peaches, persimmons, and grapes.

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               

When I harvest fresh fruit on the homestead or at a local orchard, we usually eat fresh what we are able to, and then I typically freeze some so it does not spoil.  Sometimes I will can fruit preserves, fruit butters, tomato sauce, and green beans in glass jars for convenience and gifts.  But honestly canning the fruit is not the best option, so I try to only can enough to give as gifts, and to use occasionally.  

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.


Compote, preserves, and spreads contain rich deep tones of the fruit it is made from. Fruit compote is basically fruit preserves, or fruit jam, but the fruit is left whole instead of cut up, crushed, or pureed. It still vaguely resembles the original fruit.  Making traditional fruit compote preserves involves basically using whole fruit, or dried fruit, that is cooked in water, sugar, and flavored with extracts or spices. However, I believe that if you combine fruits that are tart and sweet, you really don’t need the added sugar, and you are able to make a delicious treat that is healthy for the body. And if you reduce or eliminate the water, and heat very gently until much of the moisture is evaporated and the fruit is tender, you have maintained much of the integrity and nutrient value with in the fruit itself.

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.

Fruit Preserves, No Sugar Required

Berry Persimmon Compote Preserves:

2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
1 frozen or fresh persimmon without seeds (I mashed this as it is hard to remove the seeds from a thawed persimmon otherwise.  This was the sweetener and thickener for the dish, so it was fine to mash it).
1/4 cup water (more or less depending on what you desire).

Heat gently over low heat, stirring occassionally, until almost all of the liquid is evaporated and a thick consistency is achieved. Remove from heat.  It will continue to thiken as it cools, serve warm or cold.  You can use this as a topping for deserts, snacks, meats, as a side, or use it in place of jam.  I also enjoy using the stained sauce from it to stir into tea and flavor drinks.

Sweet Blessings

I was all set to use these preserves on waffles and homemade bread for breakfast this week, when our pastor stopped by with some wonderful food.  He picks up restaurant leftovers that otherwise would be thrown away then distributes the frozen leftovers to families in need.  He has helped thousands of people through this wonderful ministry over the past few years.  

I hope to post a story soon about this ministry. If you would like to see some of the meals I have made, stop in to my Instagram page and check out the pictures with hashtag #pfwcleftovers. The pictures represent a combination of foods that I was given mixed with foods I had on hand. Sometimes I use what was given in its original form, and sometimes I use it as an ingredient to make something completely different.  It is exciting for the kids and I to sort through the box and see what is in there when it arrives.

As I sorted through the recent box, there was a package of something round and creamy looking.  At first I thought it was a big ball of butter. It looked similar to butter when I make it homemade. 

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!

My kids were so excited about this awesome cheesecake.  It quickly dissapeared, and became a fond memory.  But I ate mine slowly and savored every bite.

This post will be linked up with: 
Raising Homemakers
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