Saturday, April 28, 2012

Here lately we have been canning dewberries! We have gathered and picked close to 4 gallons. We so far have made a dewberry crumble, dewberry jelly, canned dewberries in a light syrup and in the near future, are going to make some delicious dewberry dumplings! I have never made them but my mother-in-law told me a simple way to do so. I am not one that likes dewberries too much. I can not handle the seeds. I do enjoy the jelly and feel as though I will enjoy the dumplings. I can make them by straining the juice off of the berries first and then drop the dumplings into seed-free juice! Here are the beautiful berries we canned just a few days ago.

I have quite a few of the berries frozen but I really like the fact that I can just pop open a jar  and make something very fast without having to wait for the berries to thaw! I can even make jelly with these berries in a jar. I have been thinking alot about  trying to do lots and lots of canning this year. I always can but not to the extint I want to this year.

I feel that if I can put most of our garden in cans, we are guaranteed food! I am always fearful of freezing everything and then down here in the south have some kind of bad weather and lose electricity. You know what that means.....a possibility of losing everything you worked so hard to put in your freezer! 

In about a week, we are going to be slaughtering about 25 meat chickens. I plan on putting most of them whole in the freezer. I don't know any other way. Maybe I am worrying about it to much.  I am wanting to try something I have never done before. Can homemade chicken broth. I usually freeze all of my broth but since I want to CAN almost everything this year, why not can chicken! I am really excited to see how it turns out. Just like the berries, I won't have to wait for the broth to thaw out. I can just open a jar of broth and enjoy!

Wish me luck!

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

what you might want to bring to a homeschool conference


  In less than three weeks, we will be attending our local homeschool conference. This is our third year of attending. We went to the Mid-South Homeschool Convention last year in Memphis, TN. That convention is alot bigger than our local one. For some of you, it might be your first time to attend a convention, so I wanted to share a few things I have learned and what you should bring along with you.
     It may vary depending on how many go with you. Our whole family of 7 goes together and so we have to take lots of things with us. Here are some things I take along:

Comfortable Clothing: You will do lots of walking and squatting. Make sure you dress appropriately. 

Snacks: (Especially for the kiddos!)  You don't want to buy food and drinks at the conference. Plan ahead! Bottled water, homemade granola bars and fruit are just a few of the things we bring.

Green Bags (Backpack): The older girls and I sew some cute little carry bags together last year for the Memphis conference to keep all the books and flyers, etc. in while we walked and visited each and every booth. A backpack or one with wheels would also work very well.

Cash: Bring cash. Stay on a budget. It is real easy to spend, spend, spend! Cash works much better than a debit or credit card. It is much easier to stay on budget using cash because you can plan ahead on what your budget will be and be able to stick to it.

Book List along with a notebook and pen: It is always helpful to make list. Each year, I put together a folder with the schedule for the convention. You can go to your website from your local group and print it. I also put together a list of books and curriculum that I am interested. It is so easy to forget what you wanted to look at when there are so many different vendors there. The schedule helps me decide and remember what workshops we want to attend. Sometimes there are two sessions going on at the same time that you wanted to see but had to miss one for the other. Most of the time at these conventions  you can purchase CD's for the sessions you missed. Look for them, they are great!

     I hope I have helped anyone that might be attending a homeschool convention for the first time or just needed a little reminder!

     Good Luck and God Bless!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Menu Plan for Sunday, April 22nd - Sunday, April 29th

I have been really trying to stick to my meal plan every week. In the past, it was really hard for me to do so but for the last two weeks, I have been doing good. Here is our meal plan for the upcoming week.

Sunday, April 22nd

Coffee and Granola
Spaghetti, Salad and Homemade Garlic Bread with Cream Cheeses Pound Cake for Dessert
Egg Salad Sandwiches or Open-Faced PB & J sandwiches on Toasted Bread

Monday, April 23rd

Chocolate Kefir Bread - Recipe on next post!
Butter Noodles with Blueberry Coconut Muffins
Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole

Tuesday, April 24th

Cheesy Eggs and Toast
Sandwiches and Fruit
Breakfast Meal in a Loaf - Cooked by the Second to oldest bug!

Wednesday, April 25th

Kefir Pancakes
French Bread Pizza
Beef Tips with Gravy, Brown Rice and Veggies

Thursday, April 26th

Sausage Biscuits
Something leftover in the Frig! (HOPEFULLY!!!)
Chicken Alphabet Soup with Toasted Bread

Friday, April 27th  -  FIELD TRIP TO THE ZOO!

Baked French Toast Casserole with Sorghum Molasses
PICNIC - Hamburgers, Chips and Granola Bars
Noodles and Tomato Sauce

Saturday, April 28th

Grits and Eggs  - Brunch
Toasted Bean and Cheese Opened-Faced Sandwiches - Recipe on next post!

Sunday, April 29th

Lentil Chili
Chicken Salad Sandwiches in Homemade Pitas

What does your meal plan look like? I would love some new recipes!

God Bless!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Math Lessons for a Living Education

   I have been homeschooling for almost seven years now. When we first started homeschooling, I knew nothing. I thought I would need to purchase really expensive curriculum and alot of it to be successful. I thought the textbook approach was the way to go. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against it, it just doesn't work for us. After almost seven years, I decided to school the bugs using the Charlotte Mason Style. We jumped into it this year and never looked back.

   One of the books I am using with my nine year old son is a book entitled, "Math Lessons for a Living Education" by Angela O'Dell and Kyrsten Carlson. We are currently doing book 2. My son loves this book. It is such a fun book that when I am reading the little story each day to him, all of the bugs stop what they are doing and listen in. We all enjoy this book. 


     Follow along with Charlie, Charlotte and new baby sister, Ella, as they learn about the wonderful world around them. In this volume, the twins discover the value of money, higher place value, adding and subtracting larger numbers, fractions, time, measurements and much more. Throughout the book, they discover the joy of giving and praying for those less fortunate than themselves. Seasons of the year, nature tidbits and exciting hands-on projects will invite children to dive in and enjoy learning. Childhood is so short and only comes once - why not enjoy the trip?

   Math Lessons for a Living Education is available through Queen Homeschool Supplies for $39.95. They also have Book 1 and Book 3 available. This is a 326 page consumable, spiral-bound book that lays flat so that a right or left handed student can use it. It also comes complete with cut-out manipulatives. Everything you need to teach a complete year of math. 36 weeks worth of lessons!

   I highly recommend this book. I have quite a few friends that were wanting to learn a little about this book. All opinions are my own and this review was completely done to help some friends!

God Bless!

no bake granola bars

Today we are heading out to the Louisiana Homeschool Convention for a used curriculum sale. We will be leaving around lunch and won't be back home until after 5pm. I knew we needed some things yummy to eat to take with us. These no bake granola bars are one of our families favorites. Easy to make and a healthier option compared to other granola bars. Try them, you won't be disappointed!

No Bake Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups Crisp Rice Cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips

You can omit the chocolate chips and add dried fruit for a healthier bar.

Combine your cereal, oats and dried fruit if using other than chocolate chips. In a saucepan, heat the honey and brown sugar until boiling and then remove from heat and add your peanut butter and vanilla. Stir this mixture into the cereal and oat mixture and mix well. Oil a baking sheet and press this mixture into it. Be careful, it will be hot. If using chocolate chips instead of dried fruit, press your chips into the granola mixture. They will melt a little but it doesn't affect the final outcome. Let cool and them cut into bars.


God Bless!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Menu Plan for Sunday, April 15th - Saturday, April 21st

Sunday, April 15th

Coffee and Toast
Lunch with Pactor and Big Daddy (Grandparents on Fathers Side)
Breakfast for Supper

Monday, April 16th

Homemade English Muffins with Eggs
Birthday Celebration for the 4th BUG! Turkey Burgers, Homemade Fries, Birthday Cake and Homemade Ice Cream!!!

Tuesday, April 17th

Oatmeal and Toast
PB & J Sandwiches
All American Cheeseburger Soup with French Bread

Wednesday, April 18th

Cheesy Eggs and Toast
Inside-out Pizza with Ranch
BBQ Chicken Drumsticks, Mashed Potatoes, Chinese Green Beans and No-Knead Rolls

Thursday, April 19th

Noodles and Tomato Sauce
Baked Salmon, Sauteed Veggies and Salad

Friday, April 20th

Grits, Eggs and Biscuits
Hopefully Leftovers!
Baked Chicken, Veggies and Split Top Butter Bread

Saturday, April 21st

Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Homemade Whipped Cream
French Bread Pizza

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

our first dewberries!!!

The bugs and I decided to go for a little walk down our driveway today and pick some flowers that are growing along the road. Take a look at what we found along the way.


How fun it is to go for a walk and find something like this growing and ready to be harvested to eat and enjoy. So, of course, we had to come home and make us a smoothie with these beautiful berries. It also gave us the perfect opportunity to try some of our kefir we have been making with our kefir grains. Here is the recipe we use to make smoothies. It comes out of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

Cultured Milk Smoothie

1 1/4 cups whole-milk buttermilk, kefir or yogurt
1 ripe banana or 1 cup berries(frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 egg yolks
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Smoothies made with good quality cultured milk make a wonderful snack, quick breakfast or strengthening meals for invalids. Unfortunately, most commercial smoothies contain soy protein powder and problematic sweeteners. Fortunately, smoothies are easy and quick to make at home.

Place banana or berries in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended.

****We also add about 1/2 cup of our raw cream to this. It makes it real creamy.****

Looks like we will have as many dewberries we had last year if not more!!!

God Bless!

Monday, April 2, 2012

looky here!

We planted one strawberry plant into an old tire and its making strawberries!
We also took these ends of celery and planted them in the garden. I am hoping these little things will make more celery!
We are still waiting for our heirloom seeds to come in so we can plant them in the garden. Here is what the garden will consist of:

Blue Lake Bush Beans (string beans)
Henderson's Lima Beans
Purple Hill Speckled Cowpeas
Bull's Blood Beets
Golden Beets
Long Cucumbers
Marketmore 76 Cucumbers
Telegraph Improved Cucumbers
Orlinabel Melons
Louisiana 16 inch Long Pod Okra
Red Okra
Stewarts Zeebest Okra
Yellow Crookneck Squash
Lemon Squash
Black Beauty Zucchini
Golden Zucchini
Empress of India Nasturtiums (to make colored and flavored vinegar)
Yellow Sweet Corn
Lots of Tomatoes!

We order our heirloom seeds from here. They are by far the best heirloom seeds ever. They have so many varieties of any thing you want to plant.

My favorite seed is the Lemon Squash seed. We grew these little squash last year and were very surprised by them. They taste just like the yellow crookneck squash but look like lemons.

I am patiently waiting for our order! Can't wait! So ready to plant the garden and enjoy all of the beautiful vegetables and fruits that God has created!

God Bless!