Friday, October 23, 2009

Healthy Sour Cream

It's not a hidden fact that dairy upsets a lot of people's stomachs. Our household is not exempt from the stomach distress. I've been searching and experimenting with different things...for example, for years and years now we only drink rice milk or almond milk. Quite tasty, in fact my younger two children don't like the taste of regular cow's milk.

So what to do about sour cream?? We enjoy a generous dollop on top of baked potatoes or tacos, who doesn't? A couple years ago, I followed a recipe that called for plain yogurt to be drained overnight and then used as sour cream. I'm trying that again for tomorrow night's supper. (okay I just looked at the time and it's "tonight's supper". )

Here are some recipes/instructions I found online for Sour Cream out of Yogurt:
Ehow: How to make sour cream from plain yogurt.
Yogurt, the healthy food substitute.

Drats! I just started to strain my yogurt and wondered why it was falling through the sieve at a rapid's non-fat! From what I read on the above sites, the yogurt must be 1% or higher.

Okay, maybe a quick trip to the grocery will be in order tomorrow morning!
{Just a side note: I want to start making my own yogurt's been YEARS since I did it. We liked it, I just got out of the habit of doing it.}

Monday, October 19, 2009

Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I've not met a bean that I liked.

Does that surprise you seeing that the title of my post is "Crock Pot Pinto Beans"?

Well, my hunny likes beans and beans are good for a person, really good. So, I'm eating beans; not enjoying them, just eating them. Eating them for my health, for our budget and for hmmm, can't think of another reason.

Up to this point, I've been buying cans of beans--pinto beans, black beans, etc. I'm ready to try my hand at making them myself. Making them myself for the betterment of our budget and ummm, can't think of another reason.

So, here goes. I'm trying a recipe that I found here at Cooking Claire. [Disclaimer: I do not know Claire except that her recipe came up when I googled "Crock pot pinto beans". Since that was handy, I'm trying her recipe.]

I'll update tomorrow and let you know how it went.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grape Expectations

Although the kitchen looks like a tornado went through, I thought I'd tell you all that I made grape juice today...27 quarts of grape juice! :) We really did love it last year and since my grape jelly didn't set up properly, I didn't want to brave it this year.

I love seeing all the jars on the counter. Makes me feel like a Proverbs 31 woman...
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Okay, so I didn't plant the vineyard and I didn't go out in a merchant ship to retrieve my grapes, but you get the point. :) I imagine I might feel the same way if I get the kitchen cleaned up and keep the rest of the house organized--you think?? I'm thankful for the weekend. My plans must include getting the house in order and catching up on clutter. The clutter has sneaked its way in when I was taking care of my sick little girl, or maybe when I was updating my blog or even possibly when I was catching a nap. The reality is that it's here and it needs to GO!

Declutter plan:
  • finish the summer/winter clothes swap
  • take too small clothes to "Once Upon A Child" tomorrow
  • Declutter the school room (where does all the paper come from?)
  • Clean off every surface in the kitchen and living room, only leaving the things that belong there (what an idea??)
  • Put every piece of remaining clothes in its proper place
I'd better stop there--that's enough to keep this Proverbs 31 gal busy!
What's got you busy this weekend?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When life gives you grapes

Well, life didn't actually give me grapes....I bought a half bushel of the most delicious concord grapes. Keep reading to see what I'm doing with them.

Today has been quite a day! My 7 year old daughter has been sick since Saturday...she is finally on the mend, but still has a terrible cough. My hunny and I are exhausted from being up nights with her. God is faithful and I'm so thankful for His watchcare over us.
I Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you."
I read an encouraging post today from Jenni at Life is Not a Cereal. It's about what happens when your day doesn't go as planned...and even more than that, it goes downhill! I need to print out her suggestions and keep them handy! Good advice!

My order of concord grapes came in yesterday, so I'm getting ready to start making the grape juice. I'm using this recipe from Recipe Zaar. Last year's juice was SO good and we are all looking forward to it again. I'm debating on whether or not to make jelly. Last year it was a LOT of work because: 1. I didn't know what I was doing and 2. I didn't have a good method or materials for squeezing the grapes. And to top it off, I didn't follow the directions and the jelly didn't set up!
You'll have to tune in tomorrow to get the "Did she make jelly?" update.

Which brings me to a fun report: I know have 2 followers! What fun! Thanks you two!!
Off to make grape juice...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Julie Bogart of Brave Writer

I had the privilege of hearing Julie Bogart speak at a recent homeschool support group. She is a fantastic, encouraging speaker. Even though I've heard her before, I still left feeling motivated, enlightened and equipped with skills to use with my kids.

Here are a few nuggets I walked away with::
  • be aware of your child's feelings about writing--does even the mention of writing bring tears and frustration? We want our children to have success in their school work (and in their life). Make sure you connect with your child emotionally, relationally, because writing is a personal endeavor.
  • If you have be critical of the child's writing in the past and have hurt his/her feelings, start by apologizing to your child. This will be the first step in your strategy for encouraging your young writer.
  • Honor the child. Encourage each attempt at writing. Find one good thing to praise. Don't immediately look at the misspelled words, missed punctuation and run-on sentences. Look at the content.
  • Ask questions that draw out "more" from the child. For example: if the child writes "Rollerblading is cool." Ask him "What makes rollerblading cool?"
  • Writing thrives on letting some of the problems go. Only work on 1 or 2 things at a time. Don't overwhelm or discourage the child. Writing can be exhausting--just the physical aspects of writing; however when you also are demanding creativity in word choice it can be way too much for the child.
  • Writing is 'breathing' and 'moving'. Type the paragraph (rough draft) with each sentence on its own line. Cut the sentences apart and have the child manipulate them to see if a different order would be more interesting or sound better.
  • Good writing takes time. 4 weeks per writing assignment from start to finish is a good time frame.
  • For young children, write/transcribe what they say. They will learn that writing is for shared enjoyment. Read it to the family at supper time.
On the Brave Writer website and Julie's blog you can learn more about the classes that she offers and the techniques she has used in homeschooling her own children as well as used in her own professional writing career. She knows her stuff and is excited to share it with others.

I'm praying that I can implement some of Julie's ideas and certainly her philosophy on teaching writing. Brave Writer works for me!

To read more "Works for Me Wednesday" posts, visit "We are THAT Family".

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Preschool Activities

Today I need to be busy finding and planning activities for my active 4 year old son. His two big sisters are 2nd grade and 8th grade, so he needs to have activities that he can do 'solo' while I am working with them on school. Sometimes he is able to be included in the schooling, especially with my 2nd grader. However, he really needs something of his own.

So, here are my finds so far and I'm busy printing and cutting--hoping to be ready for the upcoming school week. {The past few weeks have brought frustration and hair-tearing from the momma. I cannot and do not want to repeat these times. And we all know "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you are going to keep getting what you've been getting."} Here's to doing something different and praying for different results!

Walking by the Way--Preschool Activity Bag
Shirley's Preschool Activities has lots of preschool worksheets and activities has a listing of preschool activities and printables from different sites

This next link has nothing to do with preschool activities, however I wanted to link to it because I think it's a neat idea!
"I have to say" is one of the blogs I read frequently. Look at this tutorial for reusable snack bags. I really want to make some of these. I think a beginning sewer like me should be able to make them, right??

Hopefully I'll be back to update you on the week. Feel free to share ideas on how you keep your preschooler active without losing your mind.