Friday, November 30, 2012

Pretending to be Pioneers ~ Precious Playtime

"All alone in the wild Big Woods, and the snow, and the cold,
the little log house was warm and snug and cosy.
Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie
were comfortable and happy there, especially at night."
Little House in the Big Woods

Little children love to dress up and pretend. A few books can inspire a pioneering spirit in your home. It will implement the good values and hard, honest work that are being lost in today's "gimme" society.  A childhood with these simple amusements will yield beautiful fruit (Galatians 6:7 ).

"And then, Pa told stories.
When Laura and Mary begged him for a story,
he would take them on his knees and
tickle their faces with his long whiskers until they laughed aloud.
His eyes were blue and merry."

Read to your children… Books are the best way to open up a hobby in the home. When reading a book like Little House in the Big Woods, you will be surprised at how quickly they create a pioneer playtime themselves. We began reading chapter books at the age of four (this one is appropriate for that age) and have had great success. They are learning about history and do not even realize they are being educated. I suggest reading a chapter a day together and then offering them the use of the My First Little House Series books for further pictorial inspiration. These will really inspire both boys and girls toward healthy and historical fun, the old fashioned way...

Summertime in the Big Woods (My First Little House)

County Fair (My First Little House)

Going West (My First Little House)

Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books)

Winter on the Farm (My First Little House)

Sugar Snow (My First Little House)

Going to Town (My First Little House)

Prairie Day (My First Little House)

Dance at Grandpa's (My First Little House)

The Deer in the Wood (Little House)

Cook with your children… Choose some recipes to cook together from the Little House Cookbook and make a pioneer style meal together. Or, some biscuits and gravy recipes from your own collection would work out just as well!

Another fun kitchen activity would be to make some butter out of cream. All you need is a jar with heavy cream and some little, helping hands.

Playact with your children… Enjoy an evening together with only candlelight like Laura's family…

Make a simple coonskin style hat for your son to wear (or you can find one here)...

Make a simple bonnet for your daughters to wear (or you can find one here)...

Encourage a working lifestyle... If you live in the city, visit a working farm where your children may be allowed to milk a cow, feed animals and do farm chores. Children in the city can also pull weeds,  be responsible for pets and do other daily outdoor work (which would be just as valuable). If you live on a homestead, I do hope you involve your young ones with jobs such as feeding the chickens or taking care of the smaller animals. Good old fashioned work is what they need to encourage future industry. We don't grow up and instantly become hard workers, we need to nurture that now (in proper doses) so that it is a natural part of life for our children (Genesis 3:19).

"Father and Almanzo tramped through the falling snow in the woods, looking for straight, small oaks. When they found one, Father chopped it down. He chopped off all the limbs, and Almanzo piled them up neatly."

Have children collect and stack firewood for the "winter". Little children can collect piles of sticks for kindling.

Color with your children… Here are some pioneer inspired pictures that can be printed out.

"After the day's work was done,
Ma sometimes cut paper dolls for them.
She cut the dolls out of stiff white paper,
and drew the faces with a pencil.
Then from bits of colored paper she cut dresses and hats,
ribbons and laces, so that Laura and Mary
could dress their dolls beautifully."

Craft with your children… Make your own paper dolls like Ma (instructions above) or you can print out these paper dolls for free. You may also like to create a corncob doll wrapped in a handkerchief like Laura had.

Enjoy music with your children... There are some fun, historical songs from Laura Ingalls Wilder books that have been recorded for our listening pleasure. It really enhances the stories to hear these!

Enjoy this precious time with your little pioneers! Everything is new to your children so read to them and expose them to all the good things in life…

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). All the black and white illustrations are by Garth Williams.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Golden "Company" Cornbread ~ Printable Recipe

"Ma rolled up her sleeves and washed her hands and mixed cornbread,
while Mary brought the wood and Laura set the table."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

This is our *all time family favorite* cornbread recipe which is so simple to make since you are placing everything inside one bowl (love those kind). It is hard to believe that I used to spend money on mixes! Here is how we prepare it:

"They talked about spareribs, and turkey with dressing, and baked beans,
and crackling cornbread, and other good things."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy

Place in a large mixing bowl the following dry ingredients (then stir):
  • 1 c. Organic cornmeal
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar (You can also get away with using 1/2 c. sugar but it is not as sweet or 1/2 c. honey can be substituted but cornbread will be more dense.)
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt 

Once the dry ingredients are stirred, add the following:
  • 1/2 c. oil (We use sunflower or grape-seed oil.)

  • 4 eggs

  • 3 c. milk (I used the same glass container for the oil so pardon the weird oily milk look.)

Stir all ingredients together until smooth with a wire whisk to break up any clumps.

Pour mixture into a greased, 9 by 13 inch pan. Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake for approx. 35 minutes. When toothpick in center comes out clean (and top is golden brown) then it is ready. Let it sit a few minutes prior to serving to make sure the cornbread has set.

Note: Cornbread goes great with beans for a frugal and filling meal.

You may also be interested in our Cornbread Mix-in-a-Jar kit!

* HERE is a printable recipe should you like to add it to your Recipe Book *

"In the middle of the table she set a milk-pan full of beautiful brown baked beans, and now from the oven she took the square baking-pan full of golden corn-bread. The rich brown smell and the sweet golden smell curled deliciously together in the air."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie