Just as I had been talking for years of getting into healthier eating and lifestyle habits, my husband had been talking for years of getting back into running. When one of our twins began running recently, it spurred him on to start too!
It’s January 2nd, 2016, er, .. I mean, 2017 and we’ve done so much already. I’m tired just thinking about it.
But in a good way. In a “I’ve got my list, and I’m getting things done” kind of a way.
Speaking of lists, in the back of my prayer journal this morning I made up a list of goals I’d like to accomplish each month. I’m not real big on ‘resolutions’, but I’m very big on goals. Not just on New Year’s day though, all the time. I actually LOVE Monday’s even, for this very reason. Monday’s are a chance to start a whole new week with a whole new set of goals!
When I was first married, I was quite terrified of making soup. Can you believe that?
My husband grew up living close to both sets of grandparents. I often heard his stories of his grandmothers wonderful homemade soups, her cookies, and not to mention her pies, which I have yet to master…
I was reading a blog post this morning.
When our eldest children, now 20 & 22, were babes it seemed the main concern of ‘social’ groups/mom groups was that our kids looked good and behaved. Today it seems that how we feed our family, and if we do or do not agree with vaccines, is forefront. What’s forefront often changes, yet while it’s ‘popular’ it can make and break friendships between mothers.
No matter what is forefront, most often it’s just a distraction from what we should really be focusing on.
Ourselves. Our behaviours. How we treat one another. Being good role models for our children.
The truth is, who we are, who we are raising our children to be, and showing Christ’s love through it all (as Christians) should be foremost.
And what another does, how they eat, how they raise their children etc. should not be the most important thing. We don’t need to agree with each other 100% to be a support to one another.
For our family, we eat the way we do because of a simple scripture that has been a favourite of ours for over 16 years. It’s taken just that long to finally live it out too!
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
I’m not concerned so much about winning respect, but I desire to see ‘good fruit’ as proof of our lifestyle being right for us. Our children are our fruit. Part of our goal of a country lifestyle has always been to benefit our children, and aid us in raising them to be aware of the world around them. Nature, animals, people. Loving and caring for them all while seeking God’s will for their lives.
We raise as much of our own food as possible because it is an important part of leading our quiet life and working with our hands. (I emphasize ‘our’ because I feel ‘our’ way need not be everyone’s way!) Growing/raising our own food has simply evolved through our desire to live the lifestyle we have chosen. It’s not just about eating better and being healthier. What good are those things if we do not live ‘right’? If our attitudes stink or we get ourselves so busy making healthy food that we ignore our children?
Eating healthy homegrown foods is simply a side benefit. A wonderful side benefit, as we raise these six children of ours. Our heart, our attitude, our behaviour, and how we love one another while living this lifestyle is what determines how our children will thrive as good persons.
Not the food we eat.
Can you guess what I’m making today?
Homemade vanilla extract!
I’ve been wanting to make it for quite some time, years actually, and today is finally the day!
I’m hoping some of my beans are not too old. It took us forever to finally get to a liquor store and buy some booze. lol It’s quite ironic actually. In our first years of marriage we probably spent as much funds at the liquor store each week as we did at the grocery store!
But that was a life time ago…
We contemplated whether I should use vodka, or rum, for the vanilla extract. Hubby figured rum would be a better flavour in the long run, and I tended to agree, so we went with that. It was pretty much the same price as the vodka and for whatever reason, vodka didn’t seem appealing to either of us.
Making homemade vanilla is really quite easy. I simply googled and found LOTS of recipes which all said basically the same thing.
Take some vanilla beans, aproximately 3-4 beans per cup of alchohol.
Slice them down the middle, leaving about the top inch of bean intact.
Place the beans in a container.
I was planning on just putting them straight into the rum bottle but was a little short on the beans for so much rum. Instead, I used these starbucks iced coffee bottles. I personally don’t like starbucks, but my eldest, Alesia, loves these coffees and when she treats herself to a coffee, she brings me the bottles. They are my go to bottle for my DIY Elderberry Syrup too!
Once the beans are in the bottle, simply add the alcohol of your choice.
I’ve read that vodka, rum, and even bourbon are good. One site said you can actually use any alcohol. Most sites said 80 proof was best to ensure that your vanilla wouldn’t go bad. So we used 80 proof.
Now all I have to do is leave the vanilla extract for a month or two, shaking it about once a week, until I deem it ready! Not sure how long that will take exactly, as this is my first time. I’ll share a photo and info as I go through the process.
With the two vanilla beans I had left, I chopped them up really fine to make myself some vanilla sugar!
I used my favourite cane sugar (favourite because of taste, and cost, I buy it at well.ca when it comes on sale for 25% off).
I put the sugar and the two chopped up beans into a glass jar and I’ll leave them in the cupboard along with the vanilla extract for the next month or so, until I feel it’s ready.
If I find the vanilla isn’t really infusing the sugar, I may consider throwing the jar of sugar and vanilla bean into my food processor to turn it into a ‘powder’ to see if that will help infuse it better.
For now, I’m just playing around with what I’ve got, and having fun in my kitchen!
How about you? Have you made vanilla extract or vanilla sugar?
If not, are you planning to?
Let me know if you’d like me to share more blog posts like this one. I love to hear from you!
Kombucha brewing day here on the homestead.
The top jar is two brand new baby scoby’s for a local friend.
I started with one large scoby from Delia at Delia’s Pantry. Now I’m up to eight definite scoby’s. Enough to brew for my family and more!
Biggest brew yet. Six jars for us. Should make for 12 litres finished kombucha with enough left over for the new batches next week.
I bought a big jar of pickles from Costco this week, because I prefer the bigger jars over the 2 quart size.
First we need to eat the pickles though! lol
The large jar shown in the photo is actually my cookie jar!
Although I love glass, to keep things simple for my family, that includes four teens, I use plastic 2 litre drink bottles for my second ferment and for storage in the fridge.
I’m the only one that handles the first ferment, so glass is fine. A couple of our children are quite ‘klutzy’ though, so for their benefit and ease of mind, I use plastic after I’m done with the first ferment.
If you’re interested in learning about kombucha and it’s health benefits, google will be your best friend. It’s easy to find ways to make your own!
Don’t be scared to give it a try!
Like many others, I enjoy learning about healthy options. One of my latest learning adventures has brought me to herbs & berries etc. that I never thought of before. First, I learned about Elderberries, and Elderberry Syrup. I had bought elderberry lozenges when I found them on sale and put them to the test over Christmas. Everyone around me had gotten the flu, but I didn’t. I can’t say for certain it was the lozenges, but I figured it was worth the effort to learn more.
Through a friend, Delia of Delia’s Pantry, I learned how to make my own elderberry syrup and we now take it often! It’s so easy! I’ll share how on a blog post again very soon. Then Delia brought in Stinging Nettle Leaf, and I wondered why? I learned one of its benefits is helping pms. No need to research any further, I was sold and asked Delia to add it to my next order! I also liked what I read about dandelion, and decided to order a little to try also. I’m not one to remember taking a lot of different things, but I’ve found one way to easily
take all these new things I love. Every morning I make myself a pot of tea! I made up a personal blend. I start with my favourite loose leaf tea, cranberry fresh from TeaDesire.com Then I add in some stinging nettle leaf, some dried dandelion root, and dried elderberries. My teapot is one of my favorite thrift store scores! I had been looking for a heavy duty glass teapot for years! I steep my tea for quite some time, then add in honey & elderberry syrup, stir well and allow it to cool. Once cooled, I pour it into a very large drink bottle and sip cool healthy tea all day! I have a VERY hard time getting enough liquids into me, I don’t get thirsty for water, I don’t feel store bought juice is healthy, and I’m too busy to get in much hot tea, so this method works perfectly for me! How about you? What are some Ways you’ve learned to
add healthy herbs etc. into your life?
Homestead Emporium now sells
our own special blend of tea in our shop! You can find it in sample
size, and larger, here:
The kids picked cherries for me this evening and I pitted them with ease!
I made myself a cherry pitter out of an old small fork.
I had seen a quick video on YouTube : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LevzJ7X1A_Q&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLevzJ7X1A_Q
When I first watched the video, I thought, “How could that really even simplify pitting cherries? How much quicker could it actually be?”
I mean really? Cherry pitting can’t be THAT hard.
Well, I found out it’s not that hard, but it is a pain in the rear, and time consuming, with a knife! Not to mention messy!
So I figured that I should spend a few moments of my time and make a cherry pitter, after trying to cut out about half a dozen cherries.
So glad I did! The rest of the cherries took me about 3 minutes to pit! Way easy! And nicer looking finished results too, and no real mess!
I promised a photo and recipe for honey garlic meatballs.
I believe this came out of a magazine years and years ago and I can not remember which one. I feel bad not being able to give credit where credit is due…
I have made this recipe so many times that I don’t really follow it, I use no measuring utensils, and just throw it all together as I go, tasting along the way.
It always turns out the same…DELICIOUS!