Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ode to Pilgrims ~ A "Give Thanks" Round Up

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..."
~ 1 Peter 2:11

In honor of our blog namesake, we are sharing an "Ode to Pilgrims ~ Give Thanks" round up:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
~ Hebrews 11:13

Have a lovely week of family and fellowship!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Beauty of Bone Broth ~ Some Stock Talk, Tips and Canning Too!

"Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain."
~ Sally Fallon Morell, Author of Nourishing Traditions

One of the most healthiest and frugalest ways you can feed your family this fall and winter is to prepare large batches of bone broth. The stock is also a way you can use up all those veggies and scraps you have sitting in the crisper drawer (a veggie saved is a meal earned!). This rich broth can be the base of all your winter soups giving all your meals a nutritional boost! It can be the golden liquid used in place of water to make all your rice dishes spectacular and healthier. It can be the base for that simmering pot of beans. It can be cooked down into thick and flavorful gravies. It can also be ladled as-is into a thermos to keep your husband warm and nourished during those frigid winter days (beef tea if you will)!

“Good broth will resurrect the dead.”
~ South American Proverb

Bones and Your Budget {and Second "Stock Tip"}

You can either collect every single bone (the good, the bad and the ugly) when butchering like we do, you can buy the bones rather inexpensively at the local butcher shop and/or, you can save them from your regular "meat" meals (yes, even after you have cooked up a roast or turkey, you can still re-use those bones! I will actually collect the bones after a meal of oven-fried chicken... from the plates (yes!). There are so many health benefits to these bones that I can't control my frugal self). Also, you can make a few batches of broth with the same set of bones. It is called "second stock".

"SECOND STOCK is made from the meat and the bones that remain after the first stock is strained off. More water is added to the remaining material, and this is then cooked with vegetables, which supply the needed flavor. Such stock serves very well for adding flavor to a nutritious soup made from vegetables or cereal foods."
Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 3 by Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

Homemaking Hints

Something you can do along the way is label a freezer container with the words "broth scraps". Every time you have an end piece/peelings of vegetable or something that is about to expire, add them to the freezer scrap bag. You will have a nice collection of flavor and vitamins when you are ready to boil those bones!

Another step which adds richness and depth to the broth is to roast your bones first (unless these are bones you have saved up from already-made meats/poultry which have already been roasted). I line a large roasting pan with parchment paper for easy clean up and lay out the bones in a single layer for best results. Put them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Now, they are ready to be simmered into a sensational stock! 

Three Ways to Prepare

To prepare, fill up your stock pot about 1/3-1/2 of the way full of prepared bones (we use beef, lamb, turkey and chicken) and your choice of vegetablesI added onions, garlic, carrots, celery, peppercorns, Italian seasoning, pink salt and a bay leaf this time. You will also want to add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar*. Next, fill the remaining of your pot with fresh, cold water. Let this sit for one hour. The vinegar (and sitting) will help to pull the minerals from the bones. Now, bring this to a boil and let it simmer on your lowest setting for at least 8 hours or more (the longer the better and up to 24 hours). 

You can also place everything in the crock pot and let it go all day and all night if you choose. What I have been doing recently for instant gratification is using my pressure cooker. Being we have a propane stove, fuel is something I try to conserve. The pressure cooker will make a beautiful broth without comprising its nutrients in 45-60 minutes (depending on how "strong" you want the stock).

*Note: Our stock pot is 16 quarts. If yours is smaller, use half the amount of vinegar and so on.
As you simmer the stock, skim the broth when you see undesirable foam appear. You don't want to eat that. When the simmering time is up, simply strain the stock so it is nice and clean.

Removing and Recycling the Fat

Place the pot of strained broth in the fridge overnight and skim the fat the next day (it will rise to the top and harden making it easy to remove). The fat, also called suet will make your birds very happy this winter (perhaps that will be a future post)!

Ready to Eat, Freeze and/or Can

Your bone broth or stock is now ready! You can either use it up right away, freeze it in freezer-safe containers or you may want to can it in your pressure canner (it is unsafe to can stock in a regular, water bath canner).

To pressure can your broth, bring your strained stock back to a boil and ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1" headspace. Place lids and rings on jars and pressure can pints for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure and quart jars for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure (do make sure to check your altitude to see if longer canning times are recommended for your location). While the finished jars are cooling, it is important to keep them away from cold drafts or the jars may break.

Homemaking Hint

Our large stock pot is 16 quarts. We filled it with approximately 1/3-1/2 high of beef bones and veggie scraps. By the time we were finished simmering, straining the broth and removing the fat, our yield was approximately half of the stock pot. This produced 7 quarts of canned broth. Therefore, If you have a 14 quart capacity pressure canner like we do, you may want to make two batches of broth each time in order to pressure can a full batch.

Just think that many are throwing away their bones and veggie scraps. They are missing out on a pantry or freezer full of valuable, golden, nutrient-dense stock! What the old you would have tossed in the trash, the new you sees as a food possibility and your family will be tremendously blessed by it (via the budget and health to the body)!

"Properly prepared meat stocks are extremely nutritious and contain minerals, cartilage, collagen, and electrolytes all in an easily absorbable form. Also, meat, fish, and chicken stocks contain generous amounts of natural gelatin, which aids digestion and helps heal many intestinal disorders, including heartburn, IBS, disease, and anemia. Science has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. "
~ Jordan S. Rubin, The Maker's Diet

Some "Stock" Talk {For Further Reading}

Broth is Beautiful by The Weston A. Price Foundation

Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

How to (Pressure Can) Homemade Broth by The Prairie Homestead

"The Maker's Diet" by Jordan S. Rubin

"Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon Morell

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Women in the Ark ~ A Lesson in Prayer and Preparedness

"But with thee will I establish my covenant;
and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons,
and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."
~ Genesis 5:18

The women in the ark have a special place in my heart as the unsung heroines of the Bible. What can we say about them that is actually written? We can focus on this truth, these women were believers or they would not have been spared from the flood.

God warned them of the trials that would be coming. They would be boarding an ark and beginning life anew (from scratch!)! What do you think they did until that final and fatal moment? My guess is that they prepared diligently with their hands and prayed with all their hearts. They learned skills. They were virtuous women. They were of the lineage that could have inspired the Proverbs 31 woman!

The Dove Returning to the Ark (Used with Permission) by Mary Jane Q Cross

They undoubtedly possessed (or acquired from older women like Noah's wife), knowledge in sewing, gardening, animal husbandry and food preservation. They must have been educated in the uses of herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. Let us not forget the art of making oil from olives, creating pottery for dishes and weaving for clothing.  These women must have been intelligent and skilled for didn't their very lives and loved one's depend upon it for survival?

Let us glean what we can from these godly women. Though little is said, much is known! Hard times were on the way and they were prepared. And we, dear reader, are placed in a similar position. Our future as His return comes closer, is actually likened unto the days of Noah and we are warned of intense times by the Master himself:

"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." 
~ Matthew 24:37-39
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." 
~ Matthew 24:7-8 (The list goes on...)
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 
~ 2 Timothy 3:1-7

No matter now "near" we think His coming is, these signs are already present in some degree.

Are we prepared both spiritually and physically? Daily we hear of natural disasters, heartbreaking sickness, disturbing criminal behavior, tragedies, acts of terror, immorality, high rates of unemployment and so forth. Are we grounded in the Scriptures and diligent in prayer to stand strong when calamaties come and test our faith? Are we prepared in a practical sense to some extent in our homes (i.e., at least a few week's supply of food and water, a first aid kit with basic knowledge of application, alternative sources of cooking and washing in case of emergency, and so forth)?

The Dove is Home with Us (Used with Permission) by Mary Jane Q Cross

In recent history, we can learn from the matriarchs who lived during the Great Depression. Many of the women were living modern lives at that point, relying on the cities and stores to provide their needs. But, when hard times came, they were able to put their tucked away skills to use. They planted victory gardens, preserved the bounty, brought small live-stock back into their decorative yards, fashioned clothing for their children out of feed sacks, and patched, scrimped, remade and repurposed. We don't know what the future holds for any of us but the woman who is prayerful, prepared, skilled and works willingly with her hands, "has no fear for her household" (Proverbs 31:21 NIV).

"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come."
~ Proverbs 31:24 NIV

Noah's Daughter-in-Law in the Dovecote (Used with Permission) by Mary Jane Q Cross

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Dear reader, my purpose is not to scare you but to inspire you to embrace the lost arts and skills of the homemaker (and to develop a "sound mind"). We never know when this knowledge may prove useful and be a blessing to our loved one's in these uncertain times. I am not saying to abandon your peaceful lifestyle and prepare yourself into a frenzy, but to take time in those little moments to learn (or do things differently). Perhaps, instead of watching a trivial television show, watch a historical reenactment and glean the old ways. Instead of picking up that novel in your spare time, dive into a do-it-yourself book.  Instead of planting a flower garden, plant a medicinal herb garden. Instead of adding more clothing to your closet, add more food into your pantry. Or make an effort to learn one new skill every year such as canning, fermenting and other methods of food preservation, gardening, sewing, natural healing and so forth. This can all be done gently and sensibly, if done purposefully and prayerfully.

"The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge..."
~ Proverbs 18:15a

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 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.  This article has been adapted from our original one here. Also, the paintings by Mary Jane Q. Cross in this post have been fingerprinted! To hear more about her incredible art, visit our interview {here}.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How to Make a {Vitamin C-Rich} Rose Hip Syrup

"In Britain, during World War II, wild rose hips were harvested to make a vitamin C supplement for children."

Rose hip syrup sounded so old fashioned that I could not wait to prepare some (I imagine that Marilla had bottles lined up neatly in her pantry).  Of course, the vitamin C boost in the winter months was also an obvious reason! Immune building foods are wonderful to incorporate into your daily routine and who doesn't like a sweet syrup?  

You will need:
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen rose hips (if using dried, 1 cup should work)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar  * (approx. depending on final liquid amount)
  • 5 cloves (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

This yields approximately 1/2 cup so you will want to double the recipe for a larger amount. We have found this floral syrup to be very sweet so a little does goes a long way!

*Note: If you are going to refrigerate the syrup right away, you can use half the amount of sugar called for in the recipe - or you could use honey, maple syrup or any other sweetener of choice.

To begin, crush the rose hips slightly and place in a small sauce pan (mine were frozen so I just let them be without crushing). Add the 2 cups of water (and spices if you are going to use them). Simmer this for 20 minutes, uncovered.

The next step is to strain the liquid into a glass measuring cup (you should have about 1/2 cup). Now you need to add the same amount of sugar as there is liquid back into the sauce pan. Stir ingredients together until dissolved and bring it back to a boil. Finally, simmer this for 10 minutes. 

Your syrup is almost finished! All you need to do is filter it one more time into the container of your choice:

  • If you are going to use it right away, store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator for a week or so.
  • If you are going to make larger batches for the pantry, simply sterilize some bottles (the dishwasher can do this for you or simmer them in boiling water for 10 minutes) and place a cork on them (the cork will keep the bottle from exploding if the product ferments a bit). This syrup will keep unopened in your pantry for one year.

This recipe was inspired by James Wong of Grow Your Own Drugs.  He recommends giving children 2 tsp. a day by using it in place of maple syrup or mixing with water. You can also stir this into teas to sweeten and enrich them.  Our favorite way to use rose hip syrup is to drizzle some into sparkling water for a vitamin C-rich herbal soda. One tsp. per 8 oz. glass of sparkling water and 2 tsp. for a nice tall glass works great!

If you are interested in learning how to forage, harvest and preserve rose hips yourself, visit here! We will be sharing more recipes shortly as a part of our "Home Apothecary Series". We also hope to have you share your recipes when we host our "rose hips link up" within the next month or so. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Give Thanks" Vintage Bookmark Set ~ Free Printable

These "give thanks" bookmarks would be a sweet gift to anyone and of any age this fall. 

They would also make a nice favor for an autumn place setting.

Tuck one into a letter for a far away friend.

Use it as a gift tag for a thoughtful hostess gift.

Include a beautiful book (some favorites below) and you will delight a child.

"In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Simply download your free set by clicking HERE. They are best printed on a thicker card-stock. For extra fun, punch a hole at the top of the bookmark and attach some pretty ribbon. And finally, a special thank you to the The Graphics Fairy for the lovely clip art!

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 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.  The pertaining links above are affiliate links. If you were to purchase something through our links, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This greatly helps to support our site so thank you in advance!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Tower of Babel and The Ice Age ~ History of the World Study

"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech."
~ Genesis 11:1

In the last post of our "History of the World" homeschool study series, we left off on Noah and the World Wide Flood.  What major events comes next? Unfortunately, that is quite controversial. However, we believe that the earth is young and follow a literal account of Genesis in our home. Therefore, the next major event in history would be the Tower of Babel, followed by the infamous Ice Age. It is actually very fascinating to study this and put the pieces together in history which bring light to science and the Scriptures. Also keep in mind that studying this early in history makes for some guess work in timeline dates but we did our best.

To begin, we placed all our paperwork for this unit behind the "Tower of Babel/Ice Age" tab in our History of the World Student Work Binder (which is the divider section behind "Noah and the World Wide Flood"). We are making our own set of encyclopedias this way!

{Here is some clip art to copy and paste into your "Timeline Binder".}

We also pasted down two entries into our timeline notebook at approx. 3500-3000 B.C. for the Tower of Babel and 3500-2500 B.C. for the Ice Age (you will find more information on our timeline notebooks here(world history, Bible).  You could either type in a description of the Tower of Babel and the Ice Age and paste it underneath your timeline picture or simply write in "Tower of Babel"  and "The Ice Age" underneath each illustration. We chose to place a small summary (typing practice) underneath each one of our timeline entry clip arts so that we could go back in time and remember each event more vividly by our descriptions.

"All humans are descendants of Noah's three sons. After the flood, God commanded Noah's family to spread out and fill the Earth. Some of Noah's descendants disobeyed God's command. Under the leadership of a man named Nimrod, they banded together and built a tower that reached into the sky. God responded by causing groups of people to speak a different language. This was the beginning of many different nations."

The first item on the list was to link the last two time periods together in the mind of the student. We commenced with copy work found in the Draw and Write through History Book (Creation Through Jonah) and followed it by the drawing assignment of the Tower of Babel (Bible, art, language arts, world history).

Once that was established, we read the account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis (Bible, history). We also watched this short video clip about Babel from the Creation Museum DVD series (warning: it might scare toddlers). Doing a picture study on a painting of the Tower of Babel is also a nice addition. Here we show Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (art history).

This is also an excellent opportunity to share how the different people groups came to be. The Tower of Babel plays an important role in this. I recommend watching Only One Race by Answers in Genesis. Note: This movie is geared toward a more older audience.

We didn't have much resources on the Tower of Babel so once these activities were completed, we spent the remaining time on the major historical event that followed next, "The Ice Age".

"The flood was not just a local flood. It covered the whole earth... causing a dramatic climate change all over the world. In some areas there was an ice age. Wooly mammoths may have lived at this time. Scientists have found frozen wooly mammoths so well preserved that they could even tell what they had eaten!"

To begin the Ice Age Study, we drew pictures of the woolly mammoth for our notebooks and included the copy work shared above (art, language arts, world history, science).

Life in the Great Ice Age by Micheal and Beverly Oard was an excellent resource for this study and we used it as our read aloud title. I am not scientific minded so this book really simplified the Ice Age through a beautifully illustrated story (language arts, Bible, science, world history) and with a biblical perspective. Something we do splurge on is purchasing these types of books for our home library because this isn't something you will find in your local library.

We made a list of ice-age animals. You could also have your older students alphabetize this list when they are finished (science, basic skills).

We created a map based from the information from Life in the Great Ice Age which indicated where Ice Age fossils were found (geography).

Next we drew "cave men and women", using the Draw and Write Through History Series. We also did the corresponding copywork that these books provide (art, Bible, language arts). Cave men and women or the "Stone Age" people we learn about can simply be the malnourished people who lacked sunlight and fresh food during the challenging Ice Age.  Life in the Great Ice Age by Micheal and Beverly Oard goes into more detail on this. Very interesting topic!

"There are more references to cold, snow, ice, and frost in the Book of Job than any other book in the Bible. Is is possible that Job and his friends had heard tales of the glacial sheets bounding the northern lands even though they had not seen them."
~ Dr Henry Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job

We did some bible verse copy work from the Book of Job that corresponded with Ice Age weather. We used Job 37:9-10 and  Job 38:29-30 (Bible, language arts, science).

For a picture study concerning the Ice Age, you can study the Columbian Mammoth by the Victorian Era artist, Charles R. Knight (fine art).

We also made up poems about the Ice Age for some language arts fun.

Lastly, we found this song about the Tower of Babel and this song about being One Blood that your children may enjoy by Buddy Davis (from Answers in Genesis). You can download it and incorporate it into your study (Bible, history, music). It would be fun to play while the children are drawing or coloring. We enjoy learning through songs in our homeschool. Songs stick!

One field trip we recommend when studying Genesis topics is the Creation MuseumJonathan Park Audio Adventures are also a fun way to learn Creation Science in general. And if you would like more scientific information which is tied to the Scriptures, then I recommend visiting the Answers in Genesis website.

Though on the shorter side, this was a very fascinating study and opened up a lot of ideas of how history could have taken place with scientifically sound information and a Biblical worldview.  Ah, the joys of home education!