Monday, December 24, 2012

NORAD Tracks Santa

Got my world map hung up so we can follow santa on the tracker all day! What a fun way to learn geography and celebrate the magic of christmas! NORAD Tracks Santa on Facebook has a link to their santa tracker. Like the old radar one on TV news when we were kids only it goes on all day!
This is our second or third year and the kids have been waiting for the start for the last three days.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

ah ha day!

Littleman just looked at the crayola box and said "C in it  like in your name Cam Cam!" Pre reading is paying off big time. I am so proud of little man's ah ha moment.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our spelling word this week is STAR. We are studying stars and last year we made dough ornament stars that we hung on our tree again this year. When they all get the word right I have a special golden star to hang on the tree. There is also a star shaped basket to hold the spelling card (re-purposed from a boggle junior game) and all our collection of stars. Be a spelling star!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Decorated the tree tonight.  The kids had so much fun. I must say Pitty-pat and I agree "the homemade ornaments make the tree the best of anyone" our Tradition is the each of the kids gets to put the ornaments that they have been given or made on the tree themselves. Yes, I do a little rearranging to even the tree out. but they are so happy to see all the past years ornaments with pictures or scribbled names. Little stories about when they made this oneor who gave them that one. Precious times.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Books in our Christmas Reading Basket This Month:
Snitzel's Cookies by Jane Flory
Jesus and the Very Best Birthday by Sunny Griffin
Kitten's Christmas by Dick McCue
The Happy Snowman (a board book)
A Very Special Night by Gil Davies
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (FIAR)
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming (FIAR)
If you take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Grandma's Christmas Tree by Grandma Janet Mary
Disney's Winnie the Pooh's Night Before Christmas
Disney's Winnie the Pooh Jingle Bells

Pitty-pat found one of my cooking magazines with 101 cookies. All three kids "read" it today. Too cute. "Hey, Mom, Can you make this one it looks like a hamburger?"she asked. I guess they never saw a sandwich cookie before. Maybe this summer I will make scooter pies.but not now.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Around the World

 Today I taught them how to say "Merry Christmas" in several different languages while we made cookies, 2 ingredient fudge, and rollo pretzel turtles. Here's our list of Merry Christmas so far
Merry christmas(English)
Feliz Navidad (spanish)
Joyeux Noel (French)
In Japanese, Merry Christmas is メリークリスマス (merii kurisumasu) or just Merry Christmas with more "u"s. I needed my friend from Japan for this one.
 Polish: Wesolych Swiat
 Greek: kala Christougena
Arabic: Colo sana wintom tiebeen. 
German :Schone Weihnachten Thanks to my facebook friend Kasia for these last four.

I gathered all of our Christmas books I could find and put them in the basket to read a new one each night. I didn't wrap them, not sure if I will wrap them this year. I know I am a week late.

Can't wait we are doing the a Jesse tree again this year and we have a couple new ornaments planned  to make for it. I got a fancy metal tree to hang the special ornaments on each night. It is table top size and gold. I think it was originally for mugs but a dollar for it on the garage sale site was a great deal. It has been in storage since I pick it up. One hook for each ornament looks like it was made for this.

I found clear plastic bulbs and stars to decorate for our homemade ornaments this year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

This morning we watched a PBS travel show. It was Christmas in Europe and Steve Somebody showed several ways people in other countries celebrate Christmas. (Social Studies) It was almost two hours long. Pitty-pat stuck through it all, so I sat with her. Tippy-toe and little-man didn't make it past the first hour. I tried to find the book series I had on christmas in different countries but it must be in one of the decoration boxes.
We made peanut butter fudge. So easy 1 jar of frosting, 1 3/4 cups peanut butter and 2 cups powdered sugar. Melt in microwave. Stir. Pour into a dish and spread evenly. Aaron though it could use less powdered sugar. But otherwise it was alot like my mom's stove top from scratch recipe. But so much easier. Let the holiday baking begin!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

elderberry liqueur

Makes about 1 quart.
Prep Time: 30 days
  • 1 pint fresh elderberries
  • 1 quart vodka
  • 3 one-inch pieces of lemon rind, white pith removed
  • Sugar
  1. Put elderberries into a quart Mason jar and pour over the vodka. Add the lemon rind (make sure the rind has no white pith, as it is bitter.) Seal and put in a dark cupboard for at least a month, or up to 6 months.
  2. The alcohol will extract flavor from the elderberries over time, so the longer you let it sit, the inkier it will get.
  3. When it is the color you want – anything from a Pinot Noir color to downright black — pour the vodka through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into another jar and add sugar.
  4. How much sugar? At least 1/4 cup, but to your taste; I go with 1/3 cup. Shake to combine and put back in the cupboard.
  5. After a few days or weeks, the sugar will completely dissolve and the elderberry liqueur is ready to drink. It keeps forever.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cold Weather Potato Soup

1 3/4 cup instant mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoon chicken granules
2 teaspoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Mix several batches and put into quart jars to give as gifts.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

For canning, I clean and cube some of the meat. I also slice some fresh garlic...I fill hot sterilized pint jars with the venison cubes, leaving one inch of headspace. (the meat will expand).
Then to each jar I add a sliver of garlic.
Adding  no liquid to the jars of meat, it will make it's own juice.
Wipe the rim of the filled jar and place a hot lid on top, then screw the band on tight. Following Ball blue book I pressure cook the meat.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rice Mix
1 cup long-grain rice
2 tsp bouillon granules (I use 2 cubes)
3 teaspoons dried herbs
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients and cap tightly until needed. For my family, I double this for one meal. As long as you use the entire jar for one meal, you will have an even ratio of rice to flavor.
No bouillon? How about powdering the dehydrated veggies of your choice: I use tomato, onion, green pepper, nettle , mixed in equal parts with Nutritional yeast, and substitute it for the bouillon. I omit the salt because the bouillon is salty enough.

more food storage

Last night Aaron and I canned 21 qts of venison in the pressure canner. The kids were amazed and loved the fresh tenderloin. Aaron took them out to see the deer before we started processing it. Cam helped Aaron with the butchering while I cleaned the meat,cut and canned it. Then they came inside to help me because I was taking to long cutting it into chunks. We ran out of jars and Aaron had to make a run to the store. I need to really hunt the garage sales again this next summer for canning jars. How is this homeschooling. Well meat doesn't really come from plastic wrappers at the store. Enough said.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I am thankful for...

1. God's unconditional love.
2. Aaron and how he is the glue in my life.
3. My kids no matter how far away or how grown up
4. My job and how wonderful it is.
5. My full pantry of home canned foods

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I couldn't log on my computer was being stubborn. We have been doing alot around here again. Pitty-pat has been working in her workbook. Tippy toe too. Little man and Daddy have been studying his colors and all the kids are working on spelling and recognizing the words for the colors.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Yesterday Pitty-pat and I canned 27 pints of Carrots. Little-man washed them. Pitty-pat peeled them all. I cut and packed them for the pressure canner .(Tippy-toe wasn't left out he cored apples for apple butter.)

Spicy Pickled Carrots 
 (I found this recipe here ) I can't wait to try it so I copied it so I can't loose it. Plus it is a small batch recipe, so if we don't like it we aren't stuck with so many jars of the stuff.
This recipe makes four pints of pickled carrots, and scales up easily

  • 2 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 5 1/2 cups vinegar (white or cider)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp canning salt
  • 2 Jalapeno or Serrano peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 4 tsp salt
 1. Prep the ingredients: Trim the carrots, then slice into 1/4" thick slices.  Put the canning pot on the stove and fill it with enough water to cover the jars when they are added. Cover the pot, and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer the carrots: Meanwhile, put the carrots, vinegar, water, sugar and 2 tbsp canning salt in a large saucepan or dutch oven,
 3. Fill the jars: In each pint jar, put 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns, and 1 tsp salt. Using a slotted spoon, fill each jar with carrots, leaving 1/2" of head space at the top of each jar. Ladle enough brine into each jar to cover the carrots, again leaving 1/2" of head space. If you are doing refrigerator pickles, you're done - cover the jars and skip to the "rest for at least a week" step. If you're canning the pickles, read on...and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer the carrots for 15 minutes.
 4. Process the jars: Wipe the rims of the jars and apply the lids. Lower the jars into the canning pot, and make sure they are covered with 1" of water. Cover the pot with its lid, bring the water to a rolling boil, then process in the hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove the jars from the pot, and let rest for 12 to 24 hours before testing the seal on the lids.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gonna try this recipe today

How to cook dry beans in the oven:
Heat the oven to 325°. Put 1 pound of beans in a 3-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 1 inch. Put on the lid and bake for 75 minutes. Check the beans and stir them. If they are tender, take them out of the oven. If they aren’t done, put them back in for 15 minute intervals until they are, adding a cup of hot water if they seem to be drying out. This will take at most 2 hours, but will probably take less than 90 minutes.
You can add a bay leaf. or a few cloves of garlic. After cooking add chicken stock for bean soup. I am planing on  putting our left over sausage and burger in mine.  Or Serve with corn bread for a complete protein meatless meal.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quote for the day

"Courage is fear that has said it's prayers" anonymous  My cousin found this scribbled on the back of a discarded church bulletin. It is so true! Hope this lifts your day today. 

I wish Lizzi liked The Little House Books as much as I did at her age. I wanted to be Laura and cross the Prairie living in a covered wagon. I still do.  But she finds reading these books supreme torture. And all the butter in jar we make together doesn't make it anymore exciting for her. So this is another curriculum option we have left on the wayside.



From "On The Banks of Plum Creek"

"After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I have a few grapes that haven't got eaten up yet so I am going to make a single jar of grape juice. It can process right alongside my big batch of applesauce. It will add some more variety to my pantry.
Easy small batch grape juice

To each sterilized quart jar

2 cups washed and cleaned  grapes
1/2 cup sugar

  1. In sterilized jar place 2 cups grapes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup sugar.
  3. Fill to top with boiling water.
  4. Seal jars at once with 2 piece lids. Process in water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and keep out of drafts(cover with a towel). Next day remove metal lid-bands, and label with date and contents.
  5. Let juice stand 3 to 4 weeks before using.
  6. Strain juice from grapes and use juice.
My mom grew her own grapes and made this but I think my leftover store bought will taste just as good.  I want to say this is the method handed down to me. Refer to a  professional guide before you can anything. This recipe  is intended  my for own records only.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Pumpkin pie pancakes recipe from
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk ( or any kind of milk)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup whole wheat flour
Mix wet ingredients and spices. Add flour. Cook on heated griddle. Cut jack o'lantern faces.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

quote for the day

Something of God…flows into us from the blue of the sky, the taste of honey, the delicious embrace of water" C. S. Lewis

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Applesauce Bread:

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and applesauce. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Slice while hot, slather on some real butter, and dig in.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

quote for the Day

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.”
- Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples

Canned more applesauce today. 1 pint and 7 half pints. Plus 1 qt of grape juice from left over grapes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

why don't I see you homeschool?

Why don't you see us homeschhool?  Because it is not a spectator's sport. No audience is necessary and in fact it just isn't worth the behavior problems caused by having someone here when we homeschool. How are we homeschooling? We unschool. I tried everything else with them and nothing worked. NOT FIAR, not Montessori(it can only go so far), not workbooks, not classical, not a Charlotte Mason approach, nothing. For us it has to be child led learning. Lizzi  fought me like a tiger, there were tears on both sides about reading. Nothing worked. You cannot stuff knowledge into a kid's head, you cannot beat knowledge into them (no I did not even try), you cannot yell and scream knowledge into them(Although I felt like it no I did not try this either). You cannot cry knowledge into them ( I did try this and it  doesn't work). You cannot doom and gloom it into them (yes, I did resort to sounding like my mother). THEY have got to want it AND they have got to have the switches turned on in the brain to understand what you're trying to teach them.. When they want it, NEED it AND their brains are physically ready, then and only then will they learn it and not a second before then.   Location can not change this one simple fact of biology and psychology. I'm dealing with a variety of learning problems.  I have had to learn the hard way about wanting to do something and having to be physically ready to do it. This is with kids who are very smart.Sometimes too smart. But have ODD and RAD. I am so tired of people asking when I am going to GIVE up and put them back in REAL school. I am NOT going to give up on these kids, my kids. So all of you need to accept that as their parent I AM the ONLY one who knows what is best and I am doing my best-- to do the best to meet these kids REAL needs-- not the ones you imagine-- or you think are the priority. What good is fighting over reading until the the underlying issues are improved and the barriers to learning are down ?Kind of like Jon's vocabulary- bring a dictionary-not bad for a kid who didn't talk four years ago.Yes they say they don't read they are learning but slowly but they do both read. It get's them more attention from you and causes more contention to say they don't. Did you miss the part about RAD? If you don't know how this goes together go read about it. That is REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER. I will not get into an argument with anyone over this. It is a waste of my time and the time of any person who wants to change my mind. I am just going to printout  this statement and hand it to the next person who asks me about REAL SCHOOL. And how the kids are doing with homeschooling. It's like talking physics with Sheldon of big bang theory. You don't understand and you never will so stop bringing it up. I will not be moved. Taring me down is your only way isn't it? Well  I will stand firm and take it only so long. And going around me won't work either I am like the great wall of china. I can defend my position. I am resolute. I am also right.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford

The author Horatio Spafford suffered many sorrows and disappointments - all four of his daughters died while crossing the Atlantic 

I love this Hymn.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"To every lonely heart,

Your heart may ache tonight.
You may feel alone.
Lost. Hurt. Broken.
Like no one cares or no one sees you.

I hope to remind you of this one thing tonight; you are not alone.
He is with you.
Much closer than you think.

Meaning, "God with us."

He sees you today.
You are not forgotten."
Christa Baca
I read this while searching the web,,loney...hurting...heart broken..I needed these words.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

quote for the day
"It is around the family and the home
 that all the greatest virtues...are 
created, strengthened and maintained."

Winston Churchill

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gotcha Day

Today is our family's Anniversary. Our last Adoption was final on Sept 11th,2009 so for us this day is a happy day, a special day more  important than any other. Just wanted to share that with you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I need to track how much we use in home canned goods so I will be updating this list and adding past totals as I find my diary. Each year is defined by the different Jam I make for the year. The year Taylor was born 1994 was Tipsy Peaches. When Camryn was a baby we made "baby sauce", the kids wouldn't eat pears so we made pear sauce and called it baby sauce. They loved it! One year I made an uncountable amount of Elderberry Jelly at the request of my Aunt Harriet Ross, she died this year(2012) at age 90.  I attribute some of her long life to the health benefits of elderberries. This year I couldn't find a single elderberry bush to make one tiny jar in her honor.

Canning Totals
2012-Choke Cherry
38 qts-9 pts Stewed Tomatoes
 3 qts-4pts  Tomato Sauce
11 8oz jars Tomato Jam(not a fan of this)
   qts- pts Dill Pikles
   qts- pts Sweet Pickles
1 qt Grape Juice
2 qts Choke Cherry Juice
7 8oz jars Choke Cherry Jelly
          Apple Pie Filling
1 pt- 5 8oz jars Pear Sauce
6 qts Peach Slices
4 qts Sweet Cherries
3 pts- 3 8oz- 10 1/4pt Sweet Relish
10 qts Chicken Soup Stock
7 pts Turkey stock with Carrots
1 pt steak strips(left overs)
1 pt chicken breast(left overs)
  pts Beans
7 qts Potatoes, Cubed (This was so good need to double this next year)
4 qts Pickled Peppers
27 pts Carrots(Deer Carrots)
1 qt 1 pt Plums in honey
21 qts venison

 2011-Apple Pie filling
apple sauce
apple pie filling
applebutter-big hit didn't make nearly enough!
chicken stock
pickled peppers


2000-Salsa-- This was the year I was given 6 bushels of mixed peppers and didn't waste a single one.
1999-"Baby Sauce"really pear sauce/puree but don't tell! 
????-Elderberry Jelly-- I cant even remember exactly how many pints but it was about 152.
1994-Tipsy Peaches Wish I still had the recipe. It was a better homes and gardens magazine recipe.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Right now I am so into making small batches of fresh local foods. Plus a small batch this size can easily be made by an older child. I put this in the category of life skills. Putting food up in season is good skill for both boys and girls. It gives them a real sense of accomplishment. An adult on their own could easily make a jar for their own use. Or split this recipe for a hostess gift or Christmas giving to others.

 Small Batch of Strawberry Jam 

Makes 1 pint

1 quart strawberries (approximately 3 cups chopped)
1 cup honey (12 ounces)
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Chop berries and place them in a bowl. Add honey and stir. Stir to combine.When honey has dissolved and the strawberries are quite juicy, scrape the mixture into your pan.Bring to a bubble and cook over high heat for 8 to 12 minutes, until the jam is thick and sticky.Funnel jam into two prepared half pint jars and process in a small water bath canner for 10 minutes.When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. When they're cool enough to handle, remove the rings and check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten promptly. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.This recipe doesn't have to be processed in a water bath canner. If you prefer, you can skip that step and simply refrigerate the finished jars once they're cool. It will keep 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chokecherry Juice

4 L prepared chokecherry juice (16 c)
60 mL lemon juice (4 tbsp)
250-500 mL sugar (1-2 c)
Note: If the chokecherry juice is to be used for jelly-making, omit the lemon juice and sugar.
Make juice: Select ripe, firm, perfect chokecherries. Wash thoroughly, remove any stems, etc. In a large pot, crush berries (but not seeds) and simmer until soft to release juice. Strain juice through cheesecloth or a jelly bag for several hours. For a clear juice, do not squeeze bag. Discard skin and seeds.
Fill boling water bath canner with hot water. Place preserving jars in canner over high heat to sterilize. Place metal snap lids in boiling water and boil 5 min to soften sealing compound. Keep hot until ready to use.
Measure juice: To each 4 L (16 cups) prepared juice, add 60 mL (4 tbsp) lemon juice, and sugar to taste. Bring to a simmer (93 C or 200 F). Pack hot juice into hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1 cm (1/2 inch) headspace. Remove bubbles. Adjust headspace if necessary. Clean jar rim. Seal with two piece metal snap lids. Screw metal band just until fingertip tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat with remaining jars. Adjust boiling water level to 2.5 cm (1 inch) above jar tops. Process pint or quarts jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Begin processing time when water returns to a boil in canner. Remove jars from canner. Let cool overnight on racks or folded towels out of drafts to cool. Check for seals. Snap lids will curve downward slightly in center. Remove metal screw band. Wipe jar, label and date. Store in a cool dark location. Refrigerate unsealed jars and use promptly. Use juice within one year of canning.  recipe  from Saskatchewan fruit growers association. Now I can put the juice up and make jelly later when we need it. I have foraged many chokecherries this year. I pick while the kids play in the pines making forts and a encampment .I just enjoy that kind of thing. It just amazes my kids that I can make food from the woods. Survival skills are important.You never know if you could get stranded in the woods on  a hike or something.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tomato & Thyme Jam Recipe

  • 1 lb Tomatoes, roughly cut (some varieties may need to be peeled)
  • 1/2 c Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1 T fresh Thyme, finely minced
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 1" stick Cinnamon
  • 2 t Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T   fresh Lemon juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, then simmer over med-low heat.  Stir occasionally and gently.  Simmer about an hour or until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency (who'd have thought.)
  2. Put tomato jam into sterilized jars.  For longer storage, can in a water bath (cover with water about 1" above jars & simmer for about 15 min.) or just store in the fridge to keep for a couple weeks. recipe from

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I have a confession to make...I am addicted to my local farmer's market. This recipe makes it easy to can a small batch of whatever sweet summer goodness I can find at the market. I love the bright red cherries and peaches on my shelves right now.  The kids learn life skills and measuring is math. They use the safety knives I bought from pampered chef and the pumpkin carving ones we picked up on sale after halloween last year that are identical to the pampered chef ones. I find they eat better when they help prepare the fruits.

Canning in Small batches Fruit

 This is close to the recipe I used for the canned cherries. I couldn't resist posting it.The easiest way to can fruit. I use my spaghetti pot for my boiling water bath.
Fresh fruit of your choice, peeled, pitted or cored   
3/4 cup sugar
boiling water
Pack jar half full of fruit. Pour sugar over top. Pack with more fruit leaving 1 inch headroom. Fill with boiling water to within 1/2 inch of top. Place sterilized metal lid on top and screw metal band on securely. Turn jar over a few times to start sugar dissolving. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes. Five quart jars fit in my pot at one time.
To make pints....use 6 tbsp. of sugar. (this is the part I didn't want to loose)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I found this recipe on line here it makes delish jelly!
"A large amount of berries is required to make jam and jelly because the seed inside is large and the skin tough.  The process is more work than other berries because after picking, you must wash clean, and boil them hard to get juice. 
The recipe we used for our jelly is as follows:

 CHOKECHERRY JELLY (makes 12 ½ pint jars)
4 cups juice
1 box Sure Jell pectin
5 ½ cups sugar

Wash berries; put in water to cover by placing hand on top of berries.  Bring to boil; simmer until there is good color.  Berries will begin to burst.  This takes 20 minutes of boiling.  Strain through cheese cloth.  Mix Sure Jell with juice in large saucepan.  Bring to hard boil; stirring occasionally.  Add sugar and bring to boil again for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off foam.  Use scalded jelly jars.

Chokecherry jelly has a wonderful taste and is well worth the work.

NOTE: for many Native American tribes in the Northern Plains, chokecherries were the most important fruit in their diets.  The bark of chokecherry root was used to ward off colds, fever and stomach maladies.  Chokecherries are very high in antioxidant pigment compounds, such as anthocyanins."

My mother and my Aunt H. talked so much about elderberry jam during the depresion that i made 45 pints for my Aunt one year. Here I found a recipe for Syrup I think i will try it when they are in season again.
Elderberry Syrup

-1 cup of fresh or 1/2 cup of dried elderberries
-3 cups of water
-1 cup of honey
-2 tablespoons grated ginger (optional as a warming agent but not necessary for effectiveness)

Directions: Place berries, ginger (if using), and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Smash the berries. Then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Add honey. Bottle syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Use: Child: Administer 1 teaspoon per day for prevention or 1 teaspoon per waking hour at the onset of cold/flu-like symptoms. Adult: Administer on same schedule, however increase dosage to 1 tablespoon.

Note: Not suitable for children under one year of age.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


"Classic Cherry Compote

    If you have a perfect batch of sweet cherries, I can't think of a better way to preserve them than to pack them whole (stemless with pits intact) in a simple syrup of sugar & water. Leaving the pits in the cherries will impart a pleasantly bitter note that is so subtle it might even be undetectable to some people. 
   The relatively long processing time -- compared to pickles and jam -- will draw ruby-red juice out of the cherries, creating an elegant light syrup with pure fruit flavor; perfect for sipping on its own or for fancifying plain seltzer water and/or cocktails. Serve the cherries on ice cream, yogurt or just eat them straight from the jar.
    You could use any type of sweet cherries for this, but I usually use Bings. If you use Rainiers, you won't have the ruby-red syrup, but they'll surely look spectacular in the jars with their bright yellow skins, and are bound to taste as good as they look, if not better.
     This recipe was inspired by Linda Ziedrich, who has a recipe for Moldovan Cherry Compot [sic] in her terrific book "The Joy of Jams, Jellies and other Sweet Preserves".
Makes 1 quart (or 2 pints)
  • 1 pound Cherries, washed, stems removed, pits intact
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
Pack cherries firmly into clean jars, considering placement for maximum utilization of space. In other words: put as many cherries into the jar as possible, without smashing.
Make a syrup by boiling the water, then adding the sugar, stirring to dissolve. As soon as the sugar has dissolved completely, carefully ladle the hot syrup over the cherries, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim.
Using a chopstick, plastic knife, or "bubble remover", pop any air bubbles which can be seen trapped in the syrup. Be careful not to poke holes in the cherry skins.
Wipe rims clean, place warm seals on top the jars and screw bands onto jars "finger-tight".
Process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes for quarts, 35 minutes for pints.
If jars lid seals it will easily keep for one year in a cool, dark place. If jar doesn't seal, place it in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months. Either way, use within 2 weeks of opening. "

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pinto Beans

Ingredients (per quart size jar):
1 cup dry pinto beans
1/2 clove fresh garlic
1/8 of a small onion (chunk)
3/4 tsp. salt
Fill with water, leaving 1 inch head space at top.
Boil flat lids in water for three minutes.
Meanwhile, wipe down rims of jars with damp cloth.
Place flat lids on jars. Screw on bands.
Cook for 50 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure and enjoy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Extra-Crisp Bread and Butter Pickle Slices
from "Fancy Pantry" by Helen Witty

12 firm, fresh pickling cucumbers (6-inches long)
1 gallon cool water
1 cup pickling lime
64 ounces apple cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fine non-iodized salt
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1-1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 quart of sliced onions, cut 1/4-inch thick

Wash cucumbers. Cut off and discard both ends, then cut cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Measure cool water into a ceramic, stainless steel or other non-reactive container (do not use an aluminum container) and stir in the pickling lime very thoroughly. It will not dissolve completely. Add sliced cucumbers, stir, cover, and set aside overnight or for up to 24 hours. Stir them once or twice.

Drain the cucumbers into a colander. Return them to the rinsed out container and rinse them in three more batches of cool water, stirring them well as you do so. Drain them again and add cool water to cover them by an inch or two. Set them aside for three hours.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and other seasonings in a non-reactive saucepan. Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then boil it, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the cucumbers well and return them to the first container along with the sliced onions. When the syrup has boiled 5 minutes, pour it over the slices. Stir the slices gently, then push them under the surface, cover the bowl with a towel, and set it aside overnight.

Transfer the cucumbers and syrup to a large preserving pan and cook the whole business, covered, over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally (be careful not to break the brittle slices), until the cucumbers are translucent, 20 to 30 minutes.

Using a funnel, spoon, long fork or tongs, arrange the pickle slices in 8 hot, clean pint canning jars, leaving about 1/2-inch of headspace. Divide the spices from the syrup among the jars, then add boiling-hot syrup to reach 1/4-inch from rims. Remove any bubbles and add more syrup, if necessary. Seal the jars with two-piece canning lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Cool, label and store the jars. Be sure to let the pickles mellow for 4-6 weeks, then chill before opening.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Refrigerator salad pickles
3 c. cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. white vinegar
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. mustard seed
1/4 t. salt

more sugar to taste 
Mix cucumbers and onion in a glass or plastic bowl; set aside. Stir remaining ingredients together in a microwave-safe container. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes.Let cool then pour over cucumber mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving to blend flavors. Keep refrigerated. Makes one quart. Makes a great side dish. My dad loved these!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Freezer Meals

Fajita Marinade:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lime juiced and zested
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
 Marinade for chicken before freezing for crcockpot.

Monday, June 4, 2012

what did we do all day

Pitty-pat and Tippy toe worked on cleaning the bathroom they use since it was grimey. Pitty-pat made peanut butter sandwiches for Lunch and Little-man shared dried fruit with each of them. Good job Sharing. I logged some of our books on Libray Thing. Tippy-toe Vacumed his room. They are coming a long way with lifeskills and responsibility. Good Job and a good day guys.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Snow cones

It’s ridiculously easy to make your own snow cone syrup. Put a cup of water in a pot and heat it on the stove, adding two cups of sugar. Add a packet of powdered drink mix (such as Kool-Aid). Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.So easy peasy and cheap!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I love Indian food so I have been making naan for years. It is an easy flat bead to make. Perfect for the campfire as well as the stove at home.

STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.

STEP 2: In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour a half cup at a time until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).

STEP 3: At that point, turn the ball of dough out onto a well floured counter top. Knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. I ended up using about 3 cups of flour total. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky.

STEP 4: Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.

Step 5: Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the under side is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface (see photos below). Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs!

TIPS: For the most bubbles, don't roll out the ball of dough until just before it is ready to be placed in the skillet. I experimented with different skillet temperatures and found that a medium heat produces the most bubbles in the dough and does not burn the surface.
The above recipe I found on pinterest by

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer make and takes for picnics

Orange Fluff Jello Salad Recipe:

1 large package Cook and Serve vanilla pudding
1 large package orange jell-o
2 cups water
1 16 oz Cool-Whip (lite or fat-free is fine)
1/2 bag mini marshmallows 
1 can pineapple tidbits (Any size, depending on your preference)
1 can mandarin oranges (Any size, depending on your preference)
2 bananas, sliced (Optional, put in before serving so they don't turn brown in the fridge)

Mix together pudding, Jell-o, and water over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until mixture has thickened (about an hour). Beat until creamy. Fold in Cool Whip, marshmallows, and fruit. Chill about an hour before serving.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Smothie packs

I found this recipe for Smoothie packs on pinterest at we are ready for summer so as I find fruit on sale I have made up these packs.

Smoothie Packs:

16 oz. frozen strawberries $2.69
16 oz. frozen raspberries $4.15
16 oz. frozen peaches $2.69
4 medium bananas $0.86

Fruit n' Flax Smoothies:

1 frozen smoothie pack $1.30
1 cup light vanilla soy milk $0.41
1 handful baby spinach $0.53
1 Tbsp ground flax seed $0.03
1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.03

Sunday, May 20, 2012


We went camping this weekend Pitty-Pat used the time to read a bird book and idendify the odd looking duck she saw. She also worked on multiplication tables. I think she finally gets it. Well maybe. We explored the pine river and found 2 clams, 5 minnows, 1frog, and nothing else. Scary!  I remember playing in  the creek by my house and it was full of life. Where were the dragon flies, crayfish,snails, mayflies, water skaters, and all the creepy crawlies? It was almost dead really. We walked in the river for 1/2 mile and no life! It is so sad really. Tippy-toe had fun making log teepees in the woods and riding his bike. He did manage to find time to review subtraction. I bought placemats with dry erase crayons and everyone enjoyed working on school work while I made lunch. the kids got sunburnt yesterday they didn't get out of the sun while Little-man and I tried to take a power nap. They were told but didn't listen. Little-man got a new bike two wheeler with training wheels. He needs to practice. No televison or electronics means they all have to get along and play together. It was a good weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We went camping this weekend. We got the camper all set up and our little campsite all in order. We have friends that camp with us and it is so much fun for the kids to play together.  Aaron built a firepit with a ring and sand then I put rocks all around. He also made a burn barrel. (Nobody wants to make smores over a dirty diaper burning.) Aaron and Cam also hauled enough sand for the kids to have a sandbos where we can see them play. Since someone dumped trash in the kids old sand pit. (We don't own the propery where we camp we just have the lease of it if we keep it up and a friend of the neighbor mistook the property line and dumped there now we have a big mess to clean up)(P.S..He has 45 days till I load it up and dump it in his kids sand box or front yard!) I had so much fun camping.Our camper is 30 foot with 4 bunk beds a dinette that fold into a bed and another bunk above that so I guess you could say it sleeps 7. We paid $300 dollars for it. And have spent $500 to remodel it. I put in new screen in the door today. It is so cute and everything works now. Aaron is so handy. the kids spent most of the day in the woods making teepees. I remember doing that as a child myself. The best way to learn about nature is to live it. I saw six different butterfly species,a cat bird, an unusual duck, geese, a morning dove, a mouse, a garter snake, wild strawberries, raspberry plants, white pines, birches. This kids brought me interesting rocks to add to our collection. No amount of book work equals all they learn camping. Science is in the exploration of our natural world. summer is when we do alot more science but Math is also going to be an empahsis this summer.

72 hour emergency kit

1.       Container to hold your Kit.
2.       1 Flashlight for each person + extra batteries
3.       Current family picture and photo of each family member 
4.       Can opener
5.       List of important phone #’s (laminated if possible) cell phones, and our Family Doctor
6.       $50 in one dollar bills + roll of quarters
7.       4 rolls toilet paper cardboard removed
8.       1 bar soap
9.       1 emergency blanket per person
10.   1 roll paper towels
12.   1 box bandaids
13.   1 package wet wipes
14.   100ct multi vitamins
15.   1 pack of gum
16.   2 candles
17.   Package of matches
18.   2 decks of cards
19.    ziploc bags
20.   1 bottle Ibuprofen (add baby Tylenol if you have a baby)
21.   2 lighters
23.   1 whistle per person( no way I am giving my kids a whistle but I did include a compass   they know how to use)
24.   5 dice (to play games)
25.   Rubber gloves 2 pair per person
26.   Sunblock
27.   filter mask for each person
28.   Gauze and medical tape
29.   3 heat pouches per person
30.   Bug spray
31.   Rope
32.    radio hand cranked/solar
33.   1 package garbage bags (10)
34.   Package of tums
35.   Pocket knife
36.   Thermometer
37.   first aid triple antibiotic ointment
38.   Hand sanitizer
39.   2 packs instant hot cocoa per person
40.   Granola/breakfast bars
41.   2 packs instant soup/ramen per person
43.   10 hard candies per person (i.e.peppermint)
44.   4 AA batteries
45.   10 instant crystal lite packages
46.   2 instant oatmeal packs per person
48.   Notebook and pens (for journaling/notes/entertaining kids)
49.    Small pot
50.    Travel size shampoo/conditioner
51.   Bible
       52.  bottled water/gatorade

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lillac Jelly

I love to make different jellies so since I have lilacs in the yard I decided to try this recipe.

Lilac Jelly      makes 8- 4 oz jars

2 c. packed lilac flowers
2 1/2 c. boiling water

1. Pour the boiling water over the lilac flowers, cover and allow to cool. Allow the infusion to sit 8 hours, or overnight.

2. Strain the flowers from the liquid using a coffee filter, you should have about 2 1/4 c. liquid.

2 c. lilac infusion
4 T lemon juice
1 box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
4 c. sugar

3. Place the lilac infusion, lemon juice and pectin in a large pot. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
4. Add all of the sugar at once, and stir to dissolve. Bring the jelly back up to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
5. Remove the jelly from the heat, skim the foam from the top (I got a lot of foam from this recipe) and ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

quote for the day

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, April 30, 2012

quote for the day

Go Forward With Courage

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
So long as mists envelop you, be still;
be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
-- as it surely will.
Then act with courage.

Ponca Chief White Eagle (1800's to 1914)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

books I bought at the Garage Sales

My Father's Dragon By Ruth Stiles Gannett (0.10)
The Good Little Bad Little Pig by Dan Yaccarino (0.25)
The Life of the Forest (0.25)
Old, New, Red, Blue level 1 step into Reading Book
The Magic School Bus and the butterfly Bunch
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daaniel Kirk
Mummy: The Inside Story by John H. Taylor (0.50)
Aesop's Fables retold by Ann McGovern (0.10)
Pigs will be Pigs by Amy Axelrod
Reeces Pieces count by fives by Jerry Pallotta
The M&Ms counting book(hard cover)
More M&Ms math by Barbara B McGrath
Poetry for Young People Samuel Taylor Coleridge Edited by James Engell
Beauty and the Beast Ill by Jan Brett (0.25)
Weather  by Seymour Simon (0.10)
Big Cats by Seymour Simon (0.50)
Noah & The ark& The Animals by Andrew Clements (0.25)
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potte r(Tiny Board book that will fit tin the tin I bought)
Snail by Jens Olsen
Let's Count It Out, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
Usborne Big Machines Diggers and Cranes
Two Tiny Mice by Alan Baker
This Year's Garden by Cynthia Rylant
Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell (FIAR book we may have a copy but for 0.10 who could resist)
150 Great Science Experiments Editor Chris Oxlade (1.00)
Who is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate
Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink (I read this in elementary school)
Wonders of Rivers by Rae Bains
Skeletons! Skeletons! by Katy Hall
The Little Red Caboose
Can't you Sleep, little Bear? by Martin Waddell
Little Bear's Visit by Else Minarik
A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Minarik
The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant (FIAR)
Going to Sleep on Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Super Garage Sale finds

So many good books at $0.10 to $1.00 each so many I can't count. Baby clothes for Alijah. and little toys to send him too.A shape matching set for 1 to 1 correspondence for Little-man was just $1.00.  Two tins one Peter Rabbit and One birds nests for storing  unit studies $0.25 each. One wooden box with four spaces divided out for sorting $0.25.One large beanie bear $1.00. Peg puzzles several in a bag $1.00. Old wooden heart shaped step stool $0.50. Electric blanket that plugs into the car $5.00. 1940's Charm bracelet $3.00. ( on ebay one of the charms sold for $26.00 today) Stainless steel restaurant cooking spoons and utensils $5.00 for a large handful. The kids had fun picking out their purchases and making change. (Don't tell them that is math and life skills Yes we did do homeschooling today after all They thought they got  a day off! ) We had lunch at McDonald's and they got to play with Peggy's girls as we all Garage "Sailed" together. (So much for socialization, the kids were all very well behaved).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly         makes about 5-8 oz. jars

4 c. dandelion flower petals, green bits removed
4 c. water

1. Place the dandelion flower petals in a pot and add the water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow the pot to cool.
2. Use a jelly bag or coffee filter to strain the flowers out of the water, you need 3 c. of dandelion infusion, but may have some extra.

3c. dandelion infusion
1 T lemon juice
1 box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
4 1/2 c. sugar

3. Place dandelion infusion, lemon juice, and pectin powder in a large pot. Whisk together and bring this mixture to a rolling boil.
4. Add all of the sugar at once, stirring constantly, and return the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute.
5. Remove the jelly from the heat, skim the foam from the top and ladle into sterilised hot jars. Cover, and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

I loved picking flowers when I was young. I also loved Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. So I had to save this recipe from The 3 Foragers.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Emergency preparedness

With spring storms always comes the thoughts about emergency preparedness. We are checking our stock and stocking up more as our family grows. Here is a good list to always have on hand.

Here are the items that should be in your kit, this list comes directly from FEMA.
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

frugal grape juice

I got this recipe from lehman's catalog and it is like the one my mother made. I got grapes from the fruit market a dollar for a large bag. So I thought I would try it.
Grape Juice (Quarts)
Ingredients per quart jar:
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. grapes
boiling water
Wash the grapes well. Using a funnel and ladle, pour sugar and whole grapes into hot jars. Fill jars with boiling water to 1/2 in. head space, then cover with lids and rings. Pressure can jars for 10 min. at 5 lbs. Allow to cool overnight before testing the seals on the lids. If any didn’t seal, refrigerate immediately.
The pressure from the canner causes the juice to squeeze out of the grapes and fill the jar. Most of the grape skins will fall to the bottom of the jar eventually, although it’s okay if some still float, they are easily strained out. A layer of sugar may harden at the bottom of each of the jars, but this will dissolve over time.