Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lemon Honey Marmalade ~ A Homemaker's Musings {Repost}

She stares intently at the four, large bags of free lemons. Ten years ago, they would have sat on her counter until they rotted (because at that point, she wouldn't feel as guilty throwing them away). Times have changed for her. She sees those gifted lemons as an opportunity. They can be used in different ways to bless her household. She loves the challenge. If she plans strategically, she will have less to purchase throughout the year. She is a home-economist, once upon a time...

She remembers making her last batch of lemon marmalade. The amount of sugar it required got her to thinking… Could she create a tasty preserve using honey instead? It was time to do some research and convert a recipe. She can be a scientist sometimes.

"...eat thou honey, because it is good…" ~ Proverbs 24:13a

She looks out the window. Little pug turns in a circle, trying to catch her tail. The lavender flower is the only burst of color on this chilly, winter day. As she carefully slices the zest, she marvels that she has the privilege to remain home and manage her own little kingdom! She feels like a queen sometimes.

She read in a diary entry that her favorite authoress (Elizabeth Prentiss) enjoyed marmalade. This made the whole idea of preparing it much more charming to her. She has a nostalgic heart. She can be so romantic sometimes.

"We spent yesterday at Hager brook with Mrs. Humphrey and her daughters; papa drove us over in the straw wagon and came for us about 6 P.M. We had lobster salad and marmalade, bread and butter and cake, and we roasted potatoes and corn, and the H.'s had a pie and things of that sort. When they saw the salad they set up such shouts of joy that papa came to see what was the matter. We had a nice time."

She removes the seeds and places them into a square piece of cheesecloth (or spice bag). Though bitter, any excess pith should be placed here as well. She learned that they are both high in pectin and will naturally thicken her marmalade. She is part chemist sometimes.

The house is filled with a wonderful, lemon scent. She had once read that the aromatherapy in citrus stimulates the brain and enhances moods. She loves to learn! She remembers a favorite quote. She is a student much of the time. 

“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”

As she tests the marmalade, she considers her depression-era ancestors. Thank God that they were still knowledgable in the homemaking skills when those hard times came. It enabled them to grow their own food and preserve it by using the arts of drying, fermenting, freezing and canning that their mothers had taught them. They were resourceful, hard working and intelligent. She desires to be like these Proverbs 31 women all of the time.

What a lovely accomplishment. She thinks it would be tasty inside a hot cup of tea. It will also be excellent in the summer to flavor a pitcher of iced tea. Some love marmalade with clotted cream and scones. She can be like a gourmet chef when given some time.

She remembers her creation of lemon labels from her last venture. They would also make nice gift tags if printed on card-stock and attached with twine. She smiles shyly, because in her own little way, she feels like an artist (some of the time).

As the day comes to an end, she is wondering who could use a bit of sunshine? She has captured some in a jar. She bundles up her marmalade in a "hat" and "scarf" because tomorrow, she will go visiting. She is a cheerful nurse oftentimes.

The wonderful part about homemaking is that she can express her creativity in a multitude of ways. It can be nurtured in something as simple as a gifted bag of lemons! She has already discovered many basic household uses for lemonshow to dry lemon peel and its many uses, how to make homemade lemon extract and a simple honey lemon cough syrup. She would also like to share her "lemon honey marmalade" recipe with you. She hopes she is an encouraging friend a lot of the time.

She is tired but feels great satisfaction. She knows the cost of running her household decreases daily because of her industry (she knows she contributes to the income in this way) and she is pleased that she has increased their pantry inventory. She loves the variety in the role that God has given especially to her. She is many interesting things because she is a "keeper at home" all of the time…

"She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness."

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up #91

“I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world...” 
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island
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. Homemakinghomeschooling 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, sewing, crafts, etc).~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!

* I am sorry, I wasn't able to prepare features this week.*

In other news, I have been working on making the switch for our printables to Google Docs since so many had troubles with the last program. Our set of Basic Black {French Style} Pantry Labels, the Gluten-Free Addendum Labels, the Seasonings, Spices and Such Label Set and the Nuts and Seeds Label Set are our latest addition for those of you who are interested and weren't able to print from the last system. Happy homemaking!


On to 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, February 5, 2016

40 Journal Entry Ideas for Nature Study Notebooks ~ Free Printable

"There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error. First, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of creation, which expresses His power."
~ Frances Bacon (1561-1626)

If you haven't tried doing nature study journals because you weren't sure on where to start and how to do them, I wanted to share 40 journal entry ideas with you. There really are no rules to a nature study and yet your children will learn so much from just a little observation and a few moments of time!

What is neat about nature study is that it also encompasses many of the school subjects during one sitting! If you spent an entire day outside with God's creation, you need not have the "homeschooling-mother-blues" (though 20 minutes a day is quite beneficial)! You have art covered as your children sketch and/or color in their entries. You have covered science and nature as they observe God's creation and learn more about the plant or animal life they come across. You have included language arts as you do copy work of nature inspired poetry or favorite quotes from nature books.  You can spend time with the Scriptures when you include Bible verses pertaining to the objects of nature you are studying. And if you have taken a vigorous nature walk, you have included physical education into your nature study time as well! I think you can see how nature study is more than nature. It is a lifestyle of learning through various subjects that the Almighty has prepared for us to enjoy and learn from (remember "Go to the Ant"?)!

You needn't be outside to do a nature study (though you should definitely make time to do so when convenient). Rainy days, chilly days and the hottest of days could still provide nature study time! There are always indoor plants to draw, identify and learn about, the occasional insect and/or spider you may find indoors to study, you can grow your own butterfly kits, maintain ant farms, study any indoor pets you may have, sketch still life such as pinecones and leafs, read books on nature that can be studied and used for copying drawings and recording information. The possibilities are endless.

And in the end, as your children begin to observe nature, our prayer is that they will be intrigued by the One who created it, the Master Artist. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." (Romans 1:20).

You can view and/or print our 40 Journal Entry Ideas for a Nature Study HERE. Should you like further ideas on how to conduct a nature study, visit HERE. To view a sample of our nature notebook pages, visit HERE.


For books to inspire mother in the art of nature study, I recommend a Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola (written in a sweet novel form that gently teaches), Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock (an old fashioned thick volume of interesting nature information and concepts), the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden (a romantic look at the natural world) and Nature Study the Easy Way (a casual conversational how-to-guide) by Cindy Rushton. For it is often that the teacher's love must first be ignited in order to pass the flame down to the student!

"With nature study in this easy way, there is a completely different focus. There is no undue focus on facts, trivia, and a sampling of information to learn off for a test. Rather, the focus is on recognition of nature ALL throughout the year and in every season, learning the life cycles of plants and animals informally as they go along, and growing in appreciation and attentiveness to the tiny details of God's creation! Amazingly, the children come to KNOW and UNDERSTAND God's Creation!"
~ Cindy Rushton, A Charlotte Mason Primer

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Examining the Toolbox or "Junk Drawer" ~ Odds and Ends Series

"Seventh. Have in a box a hammer, tacks, pincers, gimlets, nails, screws, screw-driver, small saw, and two sizes of chisels for emergencies when no regular workman is at hand. Also be prepared to set glass. Every lady should be able in emergency to do such jobs herself."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873

Alas, the final installment of steps in our Victorian Era tribute to the "Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance Series. Today we are examining the homemaker's "toolbox". I do hope the Beecher sisters forgive me as I take some liberties with their idea and also include a look into the modern day  "junk drawer" (which may house similar items)! You see, hubby keeps our garage well stocked with all kinds of tools so a few in our small home is all that is necessary. However, we will delve into this topic and see how it can apply to us today. But before I move on, I will admit that I can not "set glass" though I can set a pretty table!

What the Beecher sisters recommend is basically maintaining a home repair kit. If you do not have a handy husband with a stocked garage, you may consider storing a tool kit of some sort in your home. They even sell pink ones! Such items might include a hammer, screwdriver (Phillips and flathead), adjustable wrench, utility knife, pliers, tape measure, nails, screws, scissors, etc.

For those of you who own a "junk drawer", now would be the time to clean it out. Remove all the items and throw away anything you no longer need (like scraps of paper, weird unidentifiable objects and so forth). Wipe out the draw and apply pretty shelf paper to make it nice and neat. Inserting an organizer tray (like shown in pictures) may also be helpful to maintain order. 

Since drawer space is minimal in our home, we keep a small utensil caddy on a shelf which acts as both mini tool box and "junk drawer". This stores our handy homemaking basics such as a hobby hammer, 7-head screwdriver tool (which I love!), glue to fix minor household items, measuring tape, packing tape, regular tape, pens, markers, highlighters, tape measure, small flashlight and a few other odds and ends. These items keep our home running smoothly for the most part. Repairs which require "more involved" tools are done by my dear husband.

Odds and Ends Challenge: If you have these items spread all over the house, perhaps it would be a good time to corral them into one convenience location. Whether it be a "junk drawer", toolbox or a handy homemaking station like ours, it does help to have everything in its place!

"A housekeeper who will have a regular time for attending to these particulars will find her whole family machinery moving easily and well; but one who does not, will constantly be finding something out of joint, and an unquiet, secret apprehension of duties left undone or forgotten, which no other method will so effectually remove."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873

This final installment will be proceeded by a printable of a complete step-by-step instructional checklist to aid you in doing your own "Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance. Here is what we have accomplished thus far in our Series (note that some steps were placed together and altered to make for modern day needs):

Step #7 ~ Examining the Toolbox and/or Junk Drawer {This post was it!} 

Are you ready to begin your monthly home maintenance?

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