I was recently surprised to find several easy recipes for making yogurt with coconut milk. “Ha! I thought, how smart and easy, why didn’t I think of that sooner.” Our fresh goat’s milk is minimal during the winter. I have only one doe I’m currently getting one quart from. I purposely left her fresh, so I can have milk available if my own breast milk is not enough for our growing 7 month old. I have been giving him a small amount of goats yogurt each day because he seems very interested in food and yogurt is easier to digest than just plain milk (it’s practically pre-digested by the good flora). As a family we enjoy making smoothies with any additional yogurt. And now we are happy to have smoothies made with coconut milk. Thankfully, most babies can handle coconut milk, so if the goats yogurt is not enough, Yosi can enjoy some of our coconut milk yogurt too. Yogurt and kefir is so easy to make. And if you use a cooler to “incubate” the milk, you don’t need electricity to make your own creamy probiotic! Simply put your yogurt in jars with lids screwed on after adding your culture. Put jars in a cooler leaving space between each jar. Pour near boiling water in the cooler around all the jars. Close lid and cover with a towel for about 12 hours.
I didn’t use a thermometer when heating the milk. I just watched for when the milk is near boiling and turned the heat off. I’ve made this recipe several times now and it has worked just fine. Sometimes, I even mix coconut milk and goats milk and it tastes great too. I must say the beef gelatin really helps give it a nice texture! Some folks may not care for the unique taste of fermented coconut, that said, this recipe tastes best in smoothies or with homemade Grain-Free Granola.
After reading Kim Brenneman’s Large Family Logistics, Ani, Yosi and I have recently adopted a new weekly routine, an afternoon tea party. Usually, we enjoy sitting together sipping tea and nibbling on whatever treat we made together with the ingredients we can find in the pantry for that week. I love how it slows us down and gives the kids quality time with mama. This week was a little different; we wanted to share our tea time with our neighbors.
Ani and I found a recipe in her new cookbook and had a blast dressing up our simple deviled eggs into little white mice with currant eyes and radish tails. Then we blended cream cheese, sour cream and a handful of butterscotch morsels (sent in my mom’s most recent care package) into a rich dip for our strawberry hearts and blueberries!
After our afternoon nap, we warmed up the tea kettle, and made some fancy Ceylon tea with honey and raw goat’s milk for cream. Ani made her friend’s their own place-mats with her artwork. And I used another item from my mom’s box for the table-cloth: a red Indian Sari. The only thing missing were fresh flowers.
Our guests arrived at 4 pm, dressed well and very mannerly and with a bouquet of flowers for Ani. She was tickled pink! We sat down after everyone had a good laugh over the kosher egg mice. Everyone was happy and smiling and enjoying the special treats. The boys left the table with Ani to dance to the classical music playing while I talked more with my friend, their mother.
Overall, it was a great success, and Ani and I look forward to more great tea parties. Some alone and some with guests. I really encourage mothers near and far to plan one with their children and take the time to let the children participate in preparation, party and clean-up. Sit back and enjoy life’s simple pleasures with your treasures from Yah! Cheers!
My good friend and Titus 2 exemplifier in Colorado, encouraged me to read Kim Brenneman’s insightful book Large Family Logistics, and I’m so glad she did! After borrowing the book from our library, I’m sad to see it go, it feels as though I’m loosing Kim Brennenman’s presence from our home. Reading her book has felt like an apprenticeship from an experienced mother of eight children. Kim, thank you for writing this book! It encourages mothers of all ages and stages in the beautiful aft of biblical homemaking. Read her book and you will be so glad you did! If you cannot buy it, borrow it from a friend or the library.
I have learned many new ideas and solutions for a more peaceful organized home. But here are just a few that we are already implementing!
Putting toys closer to the kitchen area so that mom can monitor the children and watch for squabbles.
Initiate a weekly tea party, when the family can learn manners and slow down a bit to enjoy each other’s company. Make a yummy treat and dress up. Ani loves this new time!!
Daily ask your husband: “Is there anything I can do for you today?” Be his helper even when he is at work!
Get rid of all the extra kitchen clutter. How many knives do you really need? Do you really need all those gadgets, dishes, cooking pans and bowls? Pay less attention the the utensils and focus more on the ingredients.
Teach your children to smile when they talk. Smile when you talk. Smiling really does help the mood and attitude.
Refuse to whine about your children. Do not whine about them online, on the phone, at your friends house. Simply do not whine!
Spend time each day exercising your mama muscles, so that you stay fit in your belly area and feel better. Exercising actually does give you more energy!
Initiate a better bedtime routine for your children. They thrive with order and knowing what is going to happen next. And you will enjoy a better quiet time with your hubby.
Please note…I do not aggree with everything Brenneman puts forth (mainly her advice on the Lord’s Day, because we rest on Shabbat) but her heart is so precious and she has been a blessing to many a home from her advice!
Yesterday while buying groceries, I just couldn’t get myself to purchase the natural beef jerky. It was almost $8 for 6oz. So I purchased a 2lb hormone-free beef roast for $8 instead, with the hopes of making my own jerky when I got home.
While looking for recipes online, I noticed that most folks use steak to make jerky. But all types can be used as long as you trim off all noticeable fat. I used this recipe with photos for a guide.
Slice the meat thinly (1/4 inch). I didn’t pay much attention to cutting with or against the grain. I just cut it all different ways, as you can see in the photo.
Soak the meat in a marinade overnight. I used 1/2 cup natural soy sauce, 2 T. kosher Worcestershire sauce, 2 T. sea salt and 2 T. brown sugar (but maple syrup or honey would be better).
The next day, place several pieces of meat per wood skewer. Put one oven rack on the highest level and another at the lowest level. Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch drips. Use the top rack to hold your skewers and allow you meat to hang.
Bake on your lowest setting in your oven for 2-6 hours. Check meat for desired consistency. It should be dark brown or burgundy in color.
Store in a plastic bag in freezer or refrigerator and eat within two weeks of making. It tasted soo delicious, I doubt it will even last a week!
Enjoy! I’m going to try making salmon jerky next and then goat jerky.
During a library visit, I noticed a a handmade family tree chart that the librarian made with the local after-school kids. I thought is was such a great visual for helping little people understand their genealogy. So Ani and I had fun painting and pasting yesterday. We just used cardboard and craft paint. Have fun creating your own charts and praising our Creator for multiplying families.
Ani painted her tree and pasted the names after I printed them off.
I made mine a bit more fancy because I’ll be hanging it up in the living room.
In the past several years I’ve learned of some very important items folks should keep on hand not only for the “cold season” but for daily health maintenance. If you have found something particularly helpful please share in the comments section!
Prayer! Nothing can bring healing to our bodies without our Creator’s will. He is the giver of life and he is our Roffe (Hebrew for healer). Pray that He might reveal what will help you the best and pray for His ultimate will above our own understanding.
Vitamin D/Cod Liver Oil: Several years ago I learned how important vitamin D is for strengthening one’s immune system. Without living in a sunny equatorial area, you become very deficient from vitamin D (which is suppose to be absorbed by your body from the sun). It isn’t a coincidence that many become sick with a cold or flu during the cloudiest days of the year. For those who live in the northern hemisphere it is imperative for you take take vitamin D supplements or a high quality Cod Liver Oil. Also, please note that the general dosage ”recommendations” for vitamin D is far too low. Please see: Mercola’s Vit D Resource for more accurate dosage amounts.
Minerals: Thankfully my husband got me started on taking liquid mineral two years ago. I thought I was getting enough minerals by drinking our raw goats milk on a daily basis and consuming bone broths every week but the intense carpel tunnel in my wrists was becoming unbearable especially while trying to milk the goats. I was still having “growing pains” in my legs every few days. And, less obvious, I had an uncontrollable desire to pop my knuckles (if I didn’t pop them they would hurt). So after much encouragement from my loving husband, we bought some of Dr. Wallach’s Plant Derived Minerals. After a good three weeks, I had absolutely no wrist pain, no leg cramps and I actually forgot all about cracking my knuckles. I’ll admit, since then, I’ve been hooked on minerals and see how deficient we really are in today’s diets. One great way to put minerals back into your soil is by sprinkling all the wood ashes you can find on your gardens. Please listen to Dr. Wallach’s Mineral Teaching. It may change your life!
Colloidal Silver: As a child, I remember my parents using colloidal silver but I never remember any success with it. I also became quite leery after seeing photos of folks who took too much colloidal silver and turned bluish. Yikes! Recently however, I found how well it can work zapping virus and bacterial infections. Silver has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and I really wish it was given more credit. When our family is hit with a terrible bug that just won’t clear up with Probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin C and Echinacea, we use a potent dose of Colloidal Silver (30 parts per million bottle). You are not to use Silver long term because it will not only turn you blue but it will also disrupt the friendly flora in you gut. After using Silver be sure to follow up with some type of Probiotic. Also, my son contracted Conjunctivitis from a neighbor recently. His eyes were draining green discharge and my efforts of breastfeeding (giving him the Probiotics, Buffered Vit C and Echinacea, I was taking through my milk), and using essential oils in a nebulizer just wasn’t cutting it. One spray of Colloidal Silver in his eyes nipped it in the bud. I only sprayed a few more times to make sure all infection was gone. I was sooo thankful and little Yoseph was too! BTW, I also tried spraying a small amount of breast milk directly into his eyes. This is a practice that many cultures use to protect newborn’s eyes with the natural probiotics in mother’s milk. But this method works better when there is still some colostrum in the milk.
Probiotics: Last but certainly not least, probiotics or friendly flora is so important to consume for your health. In fact, many do not realize that most of your immune system is the friendly flora housed in your intestinal tract. After using antibiotics and eating a diet of excess carbs, the flora balance quickly becomes damaged and outnumbered by bad bacteria. One with a strong flora rarely gets sick because they have an army of micro-organisms protecting them 24-7. You do not need to invest in a packaged probiotic unless you just used antibiotics recently. If you do need to jump start you gut, I encourage you to buy a high grade probiotic like Bio-Kult or Mercola’s Complete Probiotic. I have tried many others with not much satisfaction because they are not strong enough. If you can not afford to buy supplements then make your own probiotics. It’s easy! Choose one or two things your family enjoys that is fermented or cultured. We enjoy homemade goat yogurt as a snack and Asian sauerkraut (kimchi) along with our dinner. You can find recipes for fermented salsas, chutneys, breads and porridges and many cultured dairy recipes online. If you can not handle dairy you can even culture coconut milk (coconut kefir).
Several days ago, my friend from Colorado sent me a recent article by Flylady.net. I thought it was such a great idea, I just had to share it with others. Here’s what she had to say about making pantry space for food storage:
Even if you have no pantry space, you can easily make pantry space out of almost anything–like the linen closet. What do you do with the linens? Here’s where you need to declutter. First, only two sets of sheets per bed. Why should we store several sets of sheets anyway? That’s crazy. They never get all used. You will have one set obviously on the beds, put the other set (folded very spare and flat) and store it in-between the mattress and box spring. The case of too many sheets solved!
After reading her idea, I quickly gathered up all my sheets, put the best between my mattres/box spring and saved the rest in my sewing box for making quilts. So now I can use my linen closet for the extra food that doesn’t fit in my kitchen cupboards.
We will be getting our first efoods order soon. At first I was a bit hesitant to join efoods because I wasn’t too trilled about their product line. The prepackaged meals are items we would never buy at the store. The only real reason we are investing in these packaged foods is because of their storage life. The meals last about 15 years. You just can’t find any foods that will provide nutrients after 15 yrs. at your local grocery store. We do have things like nutritional supplements, coconut oil (10 year shelf life), grains, lentils and beans in our reserves but if something actually happens someday, we may get pretty tired of only eating sprouts made from our grains. So by adding a few orders of efoods we will have a bit more variety and I don’t have to worry about shelf-life. If you are interested, check out efoods here: efoods global
It’s easy to dismay when its gray and cold outside here in North Western MT. By November, I begin to day-dream about walking bare-foot in the garden and enjoying homemade goat milk ice-cream on the hammock with Ani. But a mother just can’t wallow in day-dreams, she has to take action and be creative while living in the NOW. So, here are a few things we’ve done as a family to stay active indoors and have fun while the snowflakes and temperatures fall outside our windows.
Create a playful stage area and put on a show. We used a clothes drying rack, drapped a blanket over it and placed stuffed animals and toy horse behind for the puppeteer to use. First I put on a random show for Ani and Yosi, then I encouraged Ani to put on a show for me. I got out the camera and relished her every song. If you have trouble thinking of a story, adapt a popular one like: The Three Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. Even Yosi, my 4 month old has enjoyed hearing Mama’s voice behind the blanket.
Find a few random objects around the house and use them to create a story to tell. Sometimes I’ll find an object or subject, begin a story and then allow Ani to finish it after I say something like “The little girl opened the door and found….”
Turn up the music, put on a skirt and dance with your kids. They will love to see your energy if you get up twirl them around and get your blood flowing. It’s great exercise and lifts everyone’s spirits. Be creative with music, try finding your favorite oldies or favorite movie soundtracks on youtube and turn up the volume until you’re neighbors think you’re crazy. J/K The other night while Jason was working late, I turned up beach boys and the kids and I were dancing like Richard Simmons, until I hear the door bell ring and found our very curious neighbors standing on our porch
Make your own Play-dough. Find things around the house that you can use to create textures in the play dough. Make a pizza out of play-dough and have your kids put on their favorite “toppings.”
Make geometric snow flakes out of tissue paper or wax paper and hang them up in your windows.
Teach your child some type of “handi-work.” I was surprised Ani was able to cross-stitch this summer at age 3 and even enjoy it! After getting her started by threading her (not-so-sharp) needle and preparing her hoop, she loves to weave her colorful thread in and out, in and out. I admit it takes time to teach these intricate things to your child, and also, I must say you should not force them to learn something like this unless they show interest. It has taken much patience and diligence to show Ani how to crochet. She still needs my help but she enjoys it immensely and is learning hand-eye coordination very fast. She also loves to sit on my lap as I sew with the machine. And she has also learned how to sew buttons on. I tell you these things not to brag on my daughter but to share with you that you might not expect your toddler to be able to learn such “motherly” things…it is possible and even pleasurable for them to learn at a very young age.
Build with Popsicle sticks (they are very cheap at craft stores and Wal-Mart) and then paint your creations. Ideas: picture frames, log cabins, stick people.
Allow your child to paint on different surfaces, for instance, brown paper bags, wax paper, Popsicle sticks, scrap wood, egg cartons, smooth rocks etc.
Try reading a very short passage in Scripture or another special chapter book and just see what questions come out of your child’s mouth. I’ve gotten many that I can’t even answer, but Ani’s questions amaze me and sometimes I’m surprised she was even listening.
Warm up your house by turning on your oven and baking something. Make gingerbread men for your neighbors, or help your child bake your hubby’s favorite treat to give him when he gets home from work.
If you have a camera, make short movies with your kids. I have fond memories of video-taping my little sisters and brother while they ad-libbed musical’s. Or play improve, encouraging them to act out a scene without any planning. It’s not only hilarious but also great for keeping the brain sharp.
Playing dress-up with my friend when I was 5 (I'm the brunette on the left)
Please share any ideas you have in the comment section! I’d love to hear what you’ve done this winter!
This play-dough stores great for 2 months or so in the refrigerator. I haven’t had much success baking this play-dough, because it puffs up too much in the oven. But all the kids in our neighborhood love coming over to use this play-dough…even more than the store bought kind. You can add your own desired food colorings if you want.
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 T. cream of tartar
4 T. vegetable oil
2 cups water
Mix all ingredients in a medium large heavy duty saucepan. Heat on low on stove top and continue stirring until dough is thick and no longer sticky to touch. Allow to cool and enjoy! Store in plastic bag in fridge.
Here in the States, this time of year, chickens are producing well and you may have an abundance of eggs. Here is a great satisfying recipe to try when you have a chocolate sweet tooth and a excess of eggs to enjoy.
10 oz dark chocolate chips or bar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)
12 free range eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup sucanat or rapadura or brown sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In saucepan, on very low heat, melt chocolate, cocoa powder, peanut butter and water together, stirring often. Allow melted chocolate to cool while blending the egg yokes, 1/2 of the sugar and salt for about 3 min. Combine chocolate mixture with creamy egg yokes. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Then beat in the rest of the sugar until stiff peaks are formed again. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolaty mixture, take note to not over mix.
Butter two 9 inch cake pans or like my case, since I have little kitchen ware, use one large cast iron skillet. After buttering, I placed a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan for popping the cake out easily. Pour batter into pan.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cake has puffed high and the surface is dry to the touch. Cool cake on a rack for several minutes and enjoy.
Instead of frosting, we ate our cake with sliced strawberries and a tad of maple syrup. The cake tastes great by itself too!
A few years back I followed the anti-Candida diet by Bee. Bee created a awesome milk-like drink with eggs, which is very soothing and satisfying. Infact, after eating an abundance of scrambled or boiled eggs during my pregnancy, now I find myself only wanting this drink. And my 3 year old loves this milk in the mornings when we first wake up. We drink it more often in the winter when our goats are pregnant and we are not getting any fresh milk. Try it, experiment and enjoy!!
While heating water in tea kettle or pan to boil, place the rest of the ingredients in blender or food processor. If you do not have some type of blender, place ingredients in a jar and use a hand-held blender. Blend ingredients until well mixed. While blender is still on, pour boiling water over the egg mixture. Blend until nicely mixed and frothy. Sometimes I use 1 whole egg and 2 egg yokes because the whites really make the milk frothy. This milk also tastes fine with only one egg if you are short. Keep in mind if you have never had coconut oil before, to start out with very little because it may make you feel nauseous from its strong anti-bacterial properties.
Recently, Dr. Mercola posted this awesome list that I just love! It is the top 10 things children really want their parents to do with them, from children around the world. The results remind me of the times my own Mom would do such things and made my life as a child so delightful.
Many moms today feel as if they are not good mothers unless they are racing around, shuttling their children from lessons to practices, and back to lessons again. What do you think matters most to your children? You driving them to lessons and practices? Or the smile and hug you greet them with after school?
If you guessed the latter, you are correct.
Children are incredibly wise and tend to see the world more simply than we do. Perhaps it is time we start taking their advice.
Here is a list of the top 10 things students around the world said they desire most from their mothers.
Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little.
Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
At night talk to me about anything: love, school, family etc.
Let me play outside a lot.
Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
It has been a few months since reading The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith but since its contents are still resting on my mind, I thought it worthy to share its qualities with others.
As a unconventional home schooler as a child myself, I was very intrigued in this insightful style of learning when first hearing of unschooling a few years back. But I didn’t do much research because I had no children at the time. After our daughter Ani was born, the passion for learning was sparked in our house and I really wanted to know more about this “unschooling method.”
Its really quite easy to understand, at least it is if your main desire is for you children to learn well, enjoy learning and know how to learn. If your main goal is to compare your child with standards, fill up workbooks, have readers at age 5, and other conventional ideals then unschooling is really hard to grasp.
I love how Mary Griffiths shares with her readers that children as well and adults for that matter learn best when allowed to pursue their interests and curiosities in their own time frame and environment. Everyone has a natural desire to learn but tend to loose much interest when forced to learn a certain subject a certain way, within certain time frames and while sitting still. Unschooling makes the WHOLE world your classroom. No unschooling family matches another unschooling family in their use of books, crafts, science experiments, media, the great outdoors etc. As each child is different all families learn differently and at very different time tables. Some children who unschool will only master reading when they are 8 but the concept is that THEY mastered it because they wanted to and because they put forth the effort they mastered it well. Mary Griffith does an excellent job compiling first hand accounts from unschooling students and parents as well as helpful resources for those interested.
Parents and skeptics are worried that some children will just be plain lazy and never amount to anything if not forced to some degree. But according to Griffith and the many families who contributed to the book state that all children can really go only a short time before becoming uncomfortably bored with sitting around watching tv. Eventually all children run to activity, inspiration, discovery, and learning. Also, many claim that parents don’t have to do anything to help their children grow and learn when they unschool. But the truth is quite the contrary. The parent must be the facilitator and make the commitment to learn with the child. Curious questions from little voices can not be ignored even if the parent has no idea how to answer. The parent must be willing to search out the answer with their children.
The Unschooling Handbook has chapters on reading writing, math and science as well as a resource chapter and info on college bound youth. Griffith includes ideas from parents from all backgrounds as well as single parents. It is a fascinating and yet simple book that really ignites the passion for learning in the whole family.
From my own experience with unschooling so far I must say I am so impressed and inspired when I see its results. My daughter will be three tomorrow. We read tons of kids books from the library and I read chapter books out loud some nights while she listens. She draws endless pictures of people and animals. We explore outside when weather permits and visit our goats. There never seems to be enough puzzles in the house. We do watch movies on netflix and youtube. We do crafts everyday and play together with her little babies. I spend many rest times telling her stories. In all of these areas I have not pushed or had ulterior motives, I simply exposed a few things to her to see if she was interested. What she shows interest in has changed a little every month and it is fun to see her blossom in new things. At one point I tried encouraging her to play with magnetic letters, teaching her sounds, but she wasn’t interested. So I let it go and kept the letters on the fridge. It is amazing now to watch her walk over, grab a letter, mention the name or sound after she sees it in a book I’m reading her. It amazes me when she grabs a book and pretends to read to me. And to top it off, a few days ago I saw she had drawn a bird and next to it she wrote “Bid.” I have never taught her that bird started with a B nor have I ever taught her how to spell it. Somehow she took note of the word when it was associated with a bird. I look forward to the days ahead and will update our unschooling news as she grows.
If there was a power outage in your neighborhood for the length of a day, how much of your household appliances and gadgets would be useless?
After a few good outages the past few years, I’ve grown to dislike the electrically powered appliances and tools we own. These include both small and large items such as, a sewing machine, a hot water heater, a grain grinder, an oven, a washer and dryer etc. It’s not that I don’t appreciate electricity. I don’t doubt how wonderful the invention of electrical current is. However, I think that independent solar/wind/water generated power is the ideal situation.
But we do not live in an ideal world. Many are unable to attain independent homemade power because of cost and lack of knowledge and resources. But because of the days in which we live, I believe it is foolish to rely on our local power plants. One small step at a time we should move closer to owning and using non-electric tools and appliances around the house. I also must make mention that I do not just want to make do with the products we find at Wal-Mart. It is essential that we find items that will last a lifetime.
My own list of ideas include:
Learn to enjoy sewing by hand, become very proficient at stitching fast and very well. I’ve heard stories that our great-grandmothers sewed beautiful small perfect stitches that created durable clothing, quilts and crafts.
Use dry land farming irrigation techniques for garden instead of relying on well water being pumped.
Make lots of homemade candles and invest in an Aladdin lamp or other non-electric lighting
Learn to work with leather, investing in a few essential leather tools.
Eventually invest in all the expensive items such as, a wood burning stove for heating and cooking, non-carpeted floors dismissing the need for a vacuum, a hand-pump for the water well and a gas fridge and a well designed root cellar.
More thoughts to come. Please share anything you have found or thought of.
Who says you need to buy a pricey wood doll house in order to hours of creative fun?
Ani and I spent a short morning recycling and crafting a Costco oranges box using craft paper, glue, string, and a hole puncher. I did not have any strong tape on hand for supporting the second floor and roof so instead I used the hole puncher and some string to inforce the walls. Putting my mothers age old advice to use: ”Nessesscity is the mother of invention,” we managed to put together a nice strong cardboard box doll house. To make it more homey, we used some craft paper to cover up the Costco advertising plastered all over the box. Ani added her own dolls and furnishings and in the end she now enjoys her own unique doll house. Be creative and make your own out of what you have around the house. And have fun making a mess with your little one.