Monday, September 29, 2014

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up #20


"AN OLD-FASHIONED RECIPE FOR A LITTLE HOME COMFORT.—Take of thought for self one part, two parts of thought for family; equal parts of common sense and broad intelligence, a large modicum of the sense of fitness of things, a heaping measure of living above what your neighbors think of you, twice the quantity of keeping within your income, a sprinkling of what tends to refinement and aesthetic beauty, stirred thick with the true brand of Christian principle, and set it to rise."
~Sel.

There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemaking, homeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, etc).~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!

* Here is the #1 Viewed Post from Last Week's Link Up *

Who Says You Can't Go Home by Homespun Devotions

Now for this week ~ For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Friday, September 26, 2014

Homemaking Helps for the Homeschooling Mother


Is the laundry, cleaning and meal making overwhelming to you as you home educate your children? Here are some ideas to incorporate some homemaking into your homeschooling schedule which will help to relieve your daily duties while fulfilling your role as teacher:

#1 Audio books are a homeschooling mother's best friend. The library is full of them to borrow or you can even download your favorites online. One major solution I have found is to dedicate at least a half-hour (or more each day) of your homeschooling with an appropriate audio book (we choose books that pertain to something we are studying or are on our reading lists).
  • Turn your audiobook on in the kitchen and dump a pile (or two or ten…) of laundry on the table. Have your children fold the laundry as they listen to the literature being read. Little ones may not fold perfectly in the beginning but trust me, practice does make perfect! We started our daughter at 3 1/2 years and now she fold better than I do!
  • Children can also sort dirty clothes for you as they listen to the book. Teach them your system such as white's, lights and darks and have them prepare the piles for you accordingly. Teach them to check pockets and place clothing on the right side out. This will really help to lesson your laundry load.
  • While they are listening, folding and/or sorting, you can either tidy up or begin doing some dinner preparations. I usually will do some chopping of any vegetables needed in my recipes, shred cheese if necessary, cut up the salad in advance or any other quick steps that will make meal making that much smoother (you could also enlist a child each day to help you in this area too if you have a large family). Something always seems to come up around dinnertime and it really helps to have the bulk of the work out of the way while you still have a decent amount of energy.
While all this work is being done in your "little elf workshop", you are able to listen to books that have been on your homeschool reading lists. Your children are also getting a nice dose of home economics as some of these principles are being applied. Don't underestimate this valuable tool (it has kept me sane during many interesting times). You will find some of our favorite exciting and inspirational audio dramas here.


#2 Another way to keep up on your homemaking is to have an "independent curriculum". The idea is that it is something the children can do on their own {DVD tutorials are excellent choices} such as an art curriculum, a crafting kit that would interest your child or a nature study workbook {affiliate link}. A computer curriculum such as the Rosetta Stone for learning foreign languages is also a good choice. While they are working on these particular programs, you can be doing some home maintenance.

#3 Thoughts on toddlers. A special set of toys for little ones would be excellent to bring out during these homemaking times. These should only be utilized during your laundry and meal making management. This would also be the time to give them their special snack of the day or simply enlist the toddler in putting some of the easy laundry pieces away such as socks (they can do all the running around while everyone else is listening to the audio book and working).


#4 Videos and when sickness strikes. Of course, there is always the educational video, but I would rather do the options shared above prior to placing my child in front of a screen. I do reserve those moments of movie watching for times of sickness to keep the child comfortable and less miserable. This also allows you the time to prepare herbal teas and nourishing soups for the sick, the washing of soiled sheets, and all other issues that come up when illness is present.

#5 Meal making. There is no need to be a gourmet cook at this point in your homeschooling career! Stick to simple, healthy and fresh meals. They are just as tasty and better for you too! Make a large pot of soup for your lunch that week (idea here) and change it up daily with different crackers, cheeses or salads. Prepare a large batch of pinto beans and make the following easy menus each week. There is always the simple sandwiches such as grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, etc. (serve it on some healthy bread, with some sliced fruit). This way, dinner is the only meal you need to fuss with as hardworking hubby would appreciate a variety for his special time with his family at home.


When it comes to housecleaning, don't forget to have the children help. Here are some ideas to get them involved.  Happy homeschooling and homemaking!

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity..."
~ Ephesians 5:15-16a (NIV)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make an Elderberry Oxymel and an Immune Boosting Herbal Soda


Our latest adventure with the infamous elderberry had us preparing an elderberry oxymel. What is an oxymel you might ask? It is simply a sweet and sour herbal mixture (apple cider vinegar with raw honey in this case) designed to make the not-so-tasty into something medicinally delicious. It was commonly used as a cough and/or sore throat medicine in the days of old (and it still can be!).


A great way to beat the heat while building up your immune system is to make a refreshing herbal soda with your oxymel. This is especially a treat for us since we don't purchase soft drinks. Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, B6, it is an ideal beverage to bridge the gap between summer and autumn, to begin boosting that immune system while quenching your thirst in the last of the summer's heat. 

"Elder flowers and berries have a long history of use for alleviating the symptoms of cold and flu, in particular fever and congestion of the nose and sinuses... Laboratory studies suggest that constituents in the berries may activate certain immune cells and act directly on viruses to reduce their infectivity."


In order to prepare the sweet soda, we must first make the easy oxymel:

1. Fill a clean jar 1/4 of the way with dried elderberries (if using fresh berries, fill jar half way).

2. Add warmed apple cider vinegar up to the half way point on jar (If you are using fresh berries, warming the vinegar may not be necessary). For the healthiest oxymel, use raw apple cider vinegar which boasts many medicinal benefits.

3. Fill the remaining jar space with raw honey (it is okay if your honey is thick, it will eventually dissolve into a nice syrup as you shake it) and cover.  If you have a metal cap, I recommend placing a plastic layer under the lid so it doesn't corrode.

4. Store this mixture in a cool, dark area (like your pantry) for 2 - 4 weeks. Shake often to infuse the flavors and dissolve the honey (like once a day or so if you remember).


When the allotted time is completed, strain your oxymel and store it in a clean glass bottle or jar. We were impatient and waited 2 weeks and still had a nice strong flavor. This syrup should keep for six months in your pantry (and longer if stored in the refrigerator).

Don't discard your precious, strained elderberries (especially if you paid for the dried elderberries like we did)! Boil some water and prepare a large batch of hot or iced tea with them. This will be another healthy drink for your family. I am freezing my leftover pieces in order to make a "scrap" syrup. Hopefully I can share that recipe in the future too!


Homemaking Hint:

I suggest starting off with a pint-sized jar for your first oxymel so that you can perfect your ratio. If you want a sweeter oxymel, you can add more honey into your next batch, if you want a more tart oxymel, you can add more vinegar. Once you have your desired proportions, make larger batches. 


To prepare the herbal soda, we like to place 2 teaspoons of the elderberry oxymel into an 8 oz. glass of iced, sparkling water. However, I encourage you to create your own concoctions! 


Suggested Usage and Dosage:

Of course, your oxymel can also be taken by the spoonful or with a glass of warm water or anything else your taste-buds can recommend (like enhancing a salad dressing, etc.).

The Mountain Rose Blog suggested that "at regular health a spoonful a day would be supportive however, if you are in the middle of a cough you could take a spoonful as often as every hour for soothing support".

I would personally begin administering any form of elderberry medicine at the first signs of illness in our family (such as the flu, cough or cold). You may also be interested in making "elderberry infused herbal honey".



Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up #19

"Nor need we power or splendor,
Wide hall or lordly dome;
The good, the true, the tender,
These form the wealth of home."
~ Mrs. Hale
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemaking, homeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, etc).~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!

* Features From Last Week's Link Up *

This week I would like to highlight some DIY homemaking hints which interested me:


How to Make Your Own Bouillon Cubes by A Return to Simplicity


I would also like to share some tasty looking recipes that looked absolutely delicious:


Whole Wheat Crusty Bread by Natural Chow

Zesty Zucchini Tots by Best of Long Island and Central Florida


Now for this week ~ For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Friday, September 19, 2014

"The Way You Keep Your House" ~ Housecleaning Inspiration


“The way you keep your house, 


the way you organize your time,


 the care you take in your personal appearance, 


the things you spend your money on,


all speak loudly about what you believe.


The beauty of thy peace shines forth in an ordered life.


A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman


"Let all things be done decently and in order."
~ 1 Corinthians 14:40


Housecleaning Inspiration:


This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sHomestead Barn HopAmaze Me MondayMonday's MusingsMarriage MondayTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersMake Bake CreateWise Woman Link UpWow Us Wednesdays, Wildcrafting WednesdayThe ScoopCoffee and ConversationSo Much at HomeHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeHearts for Home ThursdaysGrowing in Grace ThursdaysHome Acre HopFrom the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch Friday Blog HopSimple Meals FridayFoodie FridaysCultivate NourishingSimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.  All the beautiful paintings are by Walter Gay.

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