Saturday, September 24, 2011

31 Days to Clean

This looks neat...if you decide to get it, let me know what you think!!
I need more of a Martha attitude--I think I focus too much on the "Mary heart," to the point of Mary laziness.

Click here to visit Sarah Mae.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogs From Which I Check

Otherwise translated as "Blogs to Check Out." The list is growing. The list is fascinating. Beware!! I need to check out from them more often, like right now in fact. I didn't realize how many people there are interested in the same stuff I am! Am I really not a weirdo?? Will the blogging world accept me? Haha. Really, right now, in real life, I am just sitting in a room by myself, alone. A cyber friend, or even a cyber opinion, will not change the hermit life I am tempted to lead, right MM?

I downloaded an RSS feed burner, but I do not know how to use it yet. So I have just been bookmarking in different categories, and feel like the information out there is phenomenal. Here are my "health" and "homesteading" blogs--I obviously don't keep up on all of them, but they have helped me with a recipe, going 'poo free, gathering farm dreams, and researching GAPS diet, to name a few things. You can't beat that kind of practical advice! Do y'all have any you would recommend adding to the list?

Plus there are the usual Holy Experience, Pioneer Woman, and Inspired to Action forays (I am starting the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge on Thursday!)

Go to town!! But don't stay up as late as I just did.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple lacto-fermented salsa

First off, credit where credit is due: Got the recipe for this salsee online somewhere, but I couldn't find it. How's that for credit?? Of course, I did find it here. Aren't you relieved? It seems that many have found the secret to this amazing, healthy, keeps-in-the-fridge-for-months way to preserve summer's garden tomatoes. Without sweating in the heat of canning baths! Here's another recipe from Cheeseslave for you that's very similar to what I did. But I didn't have jalapenos, and I would have definitely used cilantro if I had it. And red or yellow peppers. As you can see, my pantry was low. But that didn't keep me from the salsee!! Nothing can stand between us now.

So I didn't get the food processor in a picture, but you probably know what one of those looks like. Throw a couple tomatoes in (I chopped mine in big chunks), an onion (also in big chunks), and chop it up, whatever consistency you like your salsa (it's hard to keep it chunky if that's how you like it, just warning you). With all my friend's generous tomatoes, I had to do maybe 4 rounds in the Cuisinart. So I divided mine into 2 big bowls, and basically halved fudged the recipe between them.

Warning before I go any further. That was perhaps my first striked out phrase in my entire blogging career of 90 or so posts. Not sure about that. But I am a little happy on the striker finger. Just warning you. And I kind of rebelliously did the opposite or perhaps what I am supposed to do with the striked out part, since the part that remains is reality. But I am a bad liar anyway.

I used a garlic press for the garlic cloves, instead of peeling them. I am too important lazy to peel garlic. Then I used 1/2 lemon per bowl, added maybe 2 Tbsp. sea salt in each one, 1/2 cup plain yogurt in each, and 1/4 cup water because it said to but then I ended up straining them later because they were too watery. I forgot to mention I was also out of cayenne pepper. Isn't this a great experiment recipe?

Somehow I got them into quart jars, I think with my 1/4 cup measure. With much landing on the counters. Now here is the wild part. Over the next 3 days, I would be working in the kitchen, and might move a jar a little, and it would HISS at me. Not a threatening one, but a little "ffff" like someone is making that sound with their lip and their teeth that sounds like a door creaking open...and it wasn't like twilight zone, but I was a little perturbed. Disconcerted. Definitely worried about my first fermentation experiment attempt. Here they are below, not looking very scary at all. Just kinda different. Oh, and I guess I used one quart and one smaller jar, and ate some of the fresh salsa for supper and put it in a quart jar later. Clearly I made sure I was doing it in the most confusing way possible, just to keep you on your toes.

Later I learned that I probably should have filled a baggie with water to "weigh down" the salsa and make sure it is immersed in the water the whole time (oh well, can't win 'em all). And you are supposed to stir them every so often, so I would have to open them up, and kind of plug my nose in my head (kind of like when you cringe when you're about to hear a loud noise, but with your nose). And stir and close again real quick. "Is this really working?" I would wonder. "Did I just ruin all of M's lovely tomates??" Sometimes I would just try not to look at them and forget they were there. But then they would hiss.

Twilight Zone version of the fermenting salsa

When it came time to face strain them, it really wasn't bad at all. I said, "Guys, I hate to stop your wild fermenting party, but I really think it's time to call it enough bacteria already. I know you're good and all, but I can't take too much of a good thing." Or something like that--stay very sensitive to the salsa and you'll have better results.

"No one understands me."
The smell when I popped them open (again with the hissing) was pretty normal, actually. And I decided there was too much liquid in there, so I strained that, but saved it because I figured it was valuable probiotic juice (later I made tomato soup with it and some more donated tomatoes). And here's what straining them looked like:

"Yes, I'm plastic and I have feelings too."

Yes, I'm proud aware that it's a plastic tupperware thing. But it fit my strainer really well. And then I microwaved it all and leeched plastic into it and killed all the good  bacteria. The end.

Haha, no really, here is the finished salsa scooped into new quart whatever-that-smaller-size-is-called jars:

"See, we're not so bad."

At least they are in the fridge now, where they seem to fit in better. And they aren't too high and mighty to hang out next to the Aldi salsa. 

"Hey, brow. Sorry you're not lacto-fermented like us."

Such a happy family combination of fermented and cheapo salsees.

Oh, and it is good! Would be better with cilantro and cayenne or jalapeno peppers, since judging by the Aldi brand I like it medium and this is definitely mild. I also, like Pioneer Woman, love that it does not have vinegar in it. Salsa need not have vinegar. Just lacto-fermenting goodness.

One other thing, for those out there who HATE to throw out food because it's past the expiration date? Anyone? Well, this SHOULD keep for months. And it's a great, simple way to get rid of enjoy your plentiful tomatoes. But please, do yours more carefully than me. I am a little bit too adventurous rebellious to be posting recipes.

This was my first attempt at a "link up," so if it doesn't work, go check out the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop at GNOWFLGINS!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I decided to take part in the blogging world's "naming days" phenomenon. And I can't decide if it needs hyphens, or quotes, or what. But as I actually chronicle the things I'm reading, I'm a little embarrassed--there is probably a little too much reading going on here! Especially since I'm not including anything that we are reading all day during our actual homeschool. My throat is a little hoarse after our first couple days of school this week, acksha-lay.

First of all, this is what my husband thinks of me reading so much:

Or maybe he's just tired of refried beans. Either way, my book pile is a little out of control.

Let's start with the ones I am reading for my homeschooling job. They are the ones that make me salivate when I start them, and then tend to work through rather slowly.

The Heart of Homeschooling is a really nice one, and it makes me nostalgic because Christopher Klicka passed away in the last couple years so it puts the whole book in a different light. Are we spending our days pouring into our kids in ways that really matter? What is the purpose of education? What is our role as parents? Reaching our kids' hearts is hard to do when we do not have much time with them. Sheesh, it's hard when we are with them all the time too. Maybe harder in some ways because we can't hide our yucky stuff as easily.

A Thomas Jefferson Education has been very challenging and kind of mind-blowing. It has already caused me to pick their college! (Is that controlling?? Nah!) Much of homeschooling has caused me to see that I really wasn't that great growing up. I got awards and school came easily for the most part, but a lot of the time I was just jumping through hoops. Except for the rare teacher or rare assignment, I wasn't experiencing true learning, much less retaining things. I hated history, and now that we are homeschooling it is one of my favorite subjects. I am really excited to start some American history with them this year! The book is challenging because I have NO IDEA how to teach this way, as an expert mentor who is guiding the student while instilling a love for learning. It involves reading classics ourselves! Yikes! You mean I have to struggle through Beowulf again??

A Biblical Home Education (Ruth Beechick) and Home Education (Charlotte Mason) espouse a similar home school philosophy. Both are very much in favor of using real books and real life and real nature to teach kids, because it just isn't natural for kids to learn "inside the box." They need to be active and living it (even through a living book) for it to make much sense. Why would they care at this point about something they can't apply to life? Outside the box should be standard procedure (which would make it not so much "outside the box" anymore, eh?). I have to admit, I have not gotten very far with CM's direct words so far; it takes concentration and I have precious little time or brainpower for that these days. But it is sweet to hear her actual tone and writing style, and the words straight from her very wise brain.

I can see that I will have to save some books for next week, if I expound on each I'll just talk about what I'm using during quiet time. I don't use all these everyday, although I'd like to, but usually some combination.

The Hour That Changes the World was my book for 2010. I had a book exchange where ladies brought their lifechanging, recommended 2010 book, and this was the one I brought to try to "sell" others on (if yours got traded the most, you got an extra prize book--but everyone was too nice and didn't "steal," so we had to do a drawing instead).

It is a great framework for prayer. It keeps me focused, and gives structure to my time and my frazzled brain. And it keeps me from starting out with a focus on myself, since the first thing is PRAISE. Then it moves through waiting (a nice part too--just meditating on the love of God), confession, scripture prayer...and I'll leave you hanging for the rest. But there are twelve parts, which theoretically you could spend 5 minutes on (making the hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer). It really would change the world if everyone did these everyday!!

With Christ in the School of Prayer is a sweet little book. I heard about it through study in brown and it has helped awaken more of a sense of the straightforwardness of prayer, and how God really does delight in giving good things to His children. And also how it's important to ask for the right things! The last chapter I read was about how much MORE will He give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Yes!

Heaven at Home is a sweet book by Ginger Plowman that has challenged my selfish tendencies as a wife and mom. And that I am creating the kind of home I live if I don't like it, it's my attitude and actions that need to change. She says it much more sweetly, and also makes sure to say this can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible. 'Nuff said. And I didn't put a picture of my journal so that it remains incognito in case you ever find it somewhere.

OK, last ones for now. These are kind of my "reference books" currently that I go back to and use over and over. Power of a Praying Parent, along with a "How to Pray for Your Husband" card tucked inside, are great for praying many powerful things when I may not feel so inspired.

And Love and War was a study DH and I did that really rocked, but I keep the book nearby for a superduper prayer at the end. It's a doozy. It's like 3 or 4 pages long. And it covers every aspect of spiritual life and daily warfare you would ever encounter or think of. So I feel very "covered" when I take the time to pray this baby.

What are you reading?? Hopefully not just on Wednesdays?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nutrimill Giveaway!

Lest you think I have hit it big in the blog world, I'll say quickly that HEAVENLY HOMEMAKERS is having a Nutrimill giveaway. Not me. Nada me at all. But I have let you know about it, and would encourage you to enter, and perhaps I could get 1/100th of the credit if you win. Not that we care about credit, right?? But even if I had credit, I still wouldn't have a Nutrimill (thankfully I have access to one through my dear friend at Joyful Home)! Well, have fun and don't let the grain grinding bug getcha too bad.

Oh, you can also enter to win a dehydrator on the Heavenly Homemakers website too, and there's ALSO info there about a sweet Tropical Traditions giveaway too. These all apply very well to what I need right now. There's nothing like a giveaway that's not too frivolous, that applies to my real, felt needs--and, hm, there's nothing like winning it either. Let me know if you win it big time!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I've been looking back at 2010. I had made goals for 2011. The space between now and the goal is kind of a question mark though. I was never the type to be good at those kind of details! Just dream and hope and you're good to go. But then you look back at 2010 and it looks kinda like 2009. Like the bumper sticker I saw that slapped me upside the face, "If nothing changes, nothing changes." Oh, yeah (if you don't have a comma there, it sounds like Kool-aid man going, "Oh yeah!").

Awaken is my WORD for 2011. I've mentioned this.
And I've been reading this passage from Isaiah 52 like a madwoman:
"Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;
clothe yourself in your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Will no longer come into you.
Shake yourself from the dust, rise up,
O captive Jerusalem;
Loose yourself from the chains around your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion."

We've written a song with those words in them. I've meditated on them almost everyday. But I am still not sure how God is doing this in my life. I don't see all this amazing evidence right in front of me. And despite trying to teach my kids to obey "all the way, right away, with a happy heart" (thank thee, Ginger Plowman!), my obedience still has a lot to be desired. Maybe that's part of the problem with my kids' obedience??? Hmph.

I am giving my testimony at Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday. It is a funny time to be doing it, because I don't feel this awesome sense of victory right now. It's almost like it will be a testimony on step one: surrender. "We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable." (Romans 7:18-"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.")

Or Principle 1, which is what usually sticks in my head: Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Matthew 5:3-“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.”)

Either way, I hope people go away encouraged rather than discouraged, ha! I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How far will we go with our surrender?

Discerning the Will of God
by Elisabeth Elliott

The primary condition for learning what God wants of us is putting ourselves wholly at his disposal. It is just here that we are often blocked. We hold certain reservations about how far we are willing to go, what we will or will not do, how much God can have of us or of what we treasure. Then we pray for guidance. It will not work. We must begin by laying it all down--ourselves, our treasures, our destiny. Then we are in a position to think with renewed minds and act with a transformed nature. The withholding of any part of ourselves is the same as saying, "Thy will be done up to a point, mine from there on."

Paul gives four important steps to discerning the will of God:

1. "Offer your very selves to Him,"

2. "Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world."

3. "Let your minds be remade."

4. "Your whole nature transformed."

"Then you will be able to discern the will of God" (Rom 12:1,2 NEB).

Copyright © 2011 The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. (Back to the Bible) Lincoln, Nebraska, USA Used by permission. All rights reserved
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