Related Posts with Thumbnails

Making Sauerkraut Successfully

My parents had an excess of cabbage, so I decided to attempt sauerkraut. There is so much advice out there about how to do it, and some of it is conflicting! Here is what I did:

* Shredded the cabbage with a knife
* Placed it in a pot overnight in the hope juices would begin to run. They didn't so I then placed it into the casserole dish pictured above, interspersed with salt. I ended up having to add water.
* Placed a plate on top, with a weight.

If you'd visited us in the last couple of weeks, you would probably have been asked your advice on whether or not you thought it was working! No one who visited had ever made it, so they gave their best guesses.

Two weeks later, and four people have tasted it. Dave says it tastes like beer (an accidental homebrew, perhaps!) and two friends looked uncertain about whether it was sufficiently sauerkraut-like. The fourth person is me, and I've only ever tasted this batch of kraut. You know you're into conserving food when you try to make something you've never tasted before!

I have now placed the kraut in jars in the pantry, without a weight. Some sources recommend this after only a short time (days) and others only recommend it for sauerkraut that has been fermenting for months.

Have you ever made sauerkraut successfully? If so, do you have any tips?


Invictus and Reconciliation Day

If you had dropped by our house this week, you would have been likely to hear something about the movie Invictus. Dave and I went to the movies on Monday to see it, and we felt like we'd been transported to South Africa for a couple of hours.  The movie tells the true story of the way Nelson Mandela overcome prejudice and pressure to unite South Africans in support of their rugby team. It is amazing when a movie tells a story you would have liked to tell, but so much better than you ever could have. As a result of this movie we've found ourselves discussing Mandela in depth, marveling at God's providence in South Africa's history, and deciding to learn the South African National Anthem. We believe that God used Mandela (for all his flaws) to live out forgiveness and lead boldly. This movie would be a great one to watch as a family on Reconciliation Day, one of the South African public holidays.


Father and son time

Dave loves to hold and play with Elnathan on our lawn. Dave has also been working to improve the lawn so it is nicer for Natey to play on as he begins to be able to move.


All credit to Graceful Designs!

Hannah of Graceful Designs created this new header. Thanks Hannah, I love it!


Elnathan can roll!

We have been anticipating this event for months now. When I first walked out and realised that Elnathan had rolled from his back to his front I was very excited! Since then he has not stopped. It is his new strategy for avoiding sleep. We put him down and he rolls right over onto his tummy and starts to move around in his cot.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day

We have a great calendar from Creation Ministries International that includes the public holidays of other countries as well as Australia. This is great for remembering South African holidays, and now I am also trying to use it as a prompt to research. In the future I want to teach Elnathan about the holidays other countries celebrate, as this can be a fun way to connect history to the present day and to our own lives.

I have checked out several children's books from our library which include sections on Martin Luther King Jr. These books also include other men and women who are considered to be heroes or campaigners, so I'm learning about lots of other people as well. Even children's history books raise many questions that would be worthy of discussion. They simplify history, and I hope that we will be able to discuss the complexities and the different presentations of the same events.

The history of the civil rights movement provides rich opportunities to discuss the way God uses sinful men and women to accomplish his purposes, the necessity of personal efforts to love people different from ourselves, and the tendency we have to ignore evil. The history of racism in the US has obvious connections to what happened in South Africa.  

Driving Miss Daisy would be a good film to watch at this time of year. It is a touching story of the friendship and respect that develops between an elderly, crotchety Southern lady and her black driver. Miss Daisy goes to an event where Martin Luther King Jr. speaks, and I vividly remember one of the lines from his speech. Evil triumphs because of "the fear and apathy of the people of light".

Right now, though, my little baby is calling out from his cot because he has finished his nap. Right now "ma, ma, ma" is one of the few words in his vocabulary, so it will be a while before I find out whether he is interested in discussions of racism and personal responsibility and US public holidays. In the mean time, I plan to add a book of Martin Luther King's speeches to my reading list.


More family devotion ideas

My sister suggested that I post some more of the family devotion ideas that I've been coming up with. For the start of our week on humility, I used a measuring jug to give each person a different amount of juice, illustrating Romans 12:3.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3, New King James Version)
The rest of the verses I've found on humility are harder to find tangible examples for, but at least the first day of our new topic had a fun illustration!

Next time we do our holiness week, I want to illustrate 2 Peter 3:10 - 13 by printing out a picture of the earth and burning it up outdoors!  
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13, New King James Version)

The next two ideas are from our week on generosity. We've all got rusty and old things hanging around, no matter how hard we try to declutter or keep our tools in tip-top shape! These less-than-perfect possessions can make a perfect centerpiece to illustrate Matthew 6:19 - 21.  
  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21, New King James Version)
 Just one more idea!  Illustrate Matthew 10:42 with cups of iced water for each person at the table.
And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42, New King James Version)
If you have other ideas for making these passages "tangible", I'd love to hear them!


Look closely!

If you look carefully, you can see Elnathan's first two teeth!


A Slice of Organic Life

We have loved looking through this beautiful book which we borrowed from our local library. It has something for everyone. Whether you live in a flat or on a farm, there are ideas for you! Due to borrowing this book, Dave and I reconsidered the idea of getting backyard chickens and Dave is building a coop. Last night I began to try to make saurerkraut. The book is full of beautiful pictures, which makes it fun to flick through even if you don't have time to pursue any of the suggested activities.


The Zulu of Africa

 It has been fun to check out some books from our local library that could be useful in teaching Elnathan about his South African heritage. The Zulu of Africa is full of lovely photos. It focuses on traditional and rural Zulu culture. This means that it does not give a detailed idea of what Zulu life is generally like today. However, it is useful from a historical perspective. It is also an enjoyable read because it focuses on the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where Dave spent several happy years. We have also spent a lot of time together there. Thsi book might be worth owning. I believe that it is good to own books that you want children to identify with as part of their childhood and history. I remember reading and re-reading books about Tasmanian aboriginal people as a child, because we had these in our home.


A heart for joyful learning

I've enjoyed reading over Mel's responses to my final questions, which make up part three of this interview series. Mel focuses on heart issues. These are more important to creating a joyful home learning environment than the specifics of curriculum and schedule. I hope you enjoy the couple of silly questions I've chucked in at the end as well! How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Is there a home education track you wish you'd never gone down (perhaps a curriculum or way of structuring your day)?

We have used the same curriculum for our time home schooling and are very pleased with our choice. Since our first baby we have had a routine. That has grown and changed as our family has. We had our first 4 children in 5 years, so a routine was the only way I could get anything at all accomplished! The track I wish I had not gone down is that of having expectations that are too high/unrealistic for our family and for our season of life. I regret second guessing the choices the LORD has led us to in our homeschooling walk, because of the comparison that can easily be made of our family and children. Everyone thinks the way and style they have chosen in homeschooling is the best, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it, but the way we share that information can portray to others that the choices they have made are wrong. Books, CDs and DVD’s on homeschooling are great, but the information/ideals presented can inadvertently set us up with an unrealistic idea of what the daily walk of homeschooling life is really like.

What are the key elements of creating a home where joyful learning can happen easily?

Regardless of the style or curriculum, a key element of joyful learning is a home free from parental anger and bitterness. If these negative characteristsics marr our instruction and interactions with our children it is poison to those precious relationships and robs the home of joy and peace. It also greatly hinders capturing the hearts of our children. The bible says learning increases by kind instruction. This doesn’t always come naturally and is not an easy call to live daily and consistently.

Encouragement is another key to joyful learning. Our children will not excel in every area nor will they be good at all the things they try, like, are interested in, or things their siblings and friends can do really well. Encourage them in the gifts, talents and abilities that the LORD has blessed them with and remind them that it is fine for us all to be different. There is one body, but many parts….just as the LORD himself has made it.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

I did laugh, at this question as I do happen to have a bit of a thing for shoes - have you been speaking to my husband? I haven’t gone downstairs to my shoe box to count, but to hazard a guess I would say about 15-20 pairs would be down there!! Shoes just make the entire outfit that much better!!

If we invited you over for dinner, is there anything we really shouldn't serve you?

Not big fans of seafood or pork. We try to eat wheat and sugar free as much as is possible, but receive all things with thanksgiving!


Yellow Pear tomatoes

Our yellow pear tomatoes have been the first to ripen this season. This picture was taken on December the 31st, and we enjoyed the tomato in a salad. Since then we have had two more, but we didn't get to eat them. Dave is involved in a tomato growing competition at work and they had to be submitted as evidence!


Salmon Ponds at Plenty

During Dave's recent leave from work we enjoyed a day trip to the Salmon Ponds near the small town of Plenty. I just love the name Plenty for a town!

Most of the beautiful ponds were actually stocked with trout. It was fun to watch them swim. The albino rainbow trout were particularly striking. A museum on site explains the history of raising trout in Tasmania. The first successful shipment of eggs arrived in 1864.

It was fun to take photos on self timer.

The ponds are surrounded with beautiful old trees of many types. Dave loves trees, so this feature was an unexpected highlight of our visit!

The restaurant sells delicious savoury and sweet pancakes. We enjoyed lunch, then a stroll, then sweet pancakes for dessert. The Salmon Ponds is definitely worth another visit, perhaps when the trees are changing colour.


Family devotions that are tangible, memorable and fun

Do you ever wonder what you should be doing with your time and how to choose the most important things? I certainly do! We have only a short time on this earth. How can we invest in what matters? I am encouraged that God tells us what is important. When we invest in these things, we can be sure that it is not a waste of time. One of these things is teaching children about God.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, New King James Version)
All Christian parents are called to a form of home education. They do not all homeschool, but they are all called to faithfully teach their children about God at home. Due to this, I have been investing time in beginning a morning devotion tradition in our family. We have found that attaching Bible reading and prayer to a meal time is the most effective way for us to remember to include devotions in our lives. We find this easy at dinner time, because we always eat together and we usually have plenty of time.We are mindful, though, that children learn better in the morning. So we have begun to eat breakfast together and to have a short time of Bible reading and prayer then as well.

I've begun with some themes Dave has said that he'd like to characterise our family: faith, holiness, generosity, humility and hospitality. We'll do a week on each. I'm finding a verse or short passage for each day and then looking for a fun illustration to go with it. Last month I was privileged to be able to submit a book review of Treasuring God in Our Traditions to Passionate Homemaking. Reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions was a reminder that children benefit from tangible teaching tools. It has been fun to try to make the verse for each day tangible.

We enjoyed a display of grass and lilies for Jesus' teaching about having faith instead of worrying.

  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30, New King James Version)

When we started our holiness theme this week, I used a cookie cutter to make paper bodies to put on our plates.
  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1, New King James Version)

We haven't made every morning "tangible", but it has been fun to aim for this. Right now Natey doesn't understand, but it is still fun to watch his responses. He laughed when we had a doll on the table with a burden created from socks and string, which was designed to represent Pilgrim losing his burden of sin through faith in Christ. He also tried to eat one of the paper bodies! My goal in beginning morning devotions now, and putting effort into tangible displays, is that we will be better prepared when he is old enough to understand. Preparing breakfasts (rather than eating cereal and fruit on the go) and planning devotions has made extra work, but it is wonderful to know that it is definitely a valuable time investment!


Fullness of Joy

It is wonderful to be able to share another post from my mother, Lorraine. I can testify to her quiet joy over many years of sacrifice for her family. I hope you find this post to be a special New Year treat and reminder of where our hearts need to be in order to produce fruit for Christ this year.

 Is it possible to live a joyful life at home, even in the hectic time of bringing up a family? The Lord certainly says it is possible! In John 15 Jesus says that He has told us certain things so that His joy may be in us and so that our joy may be complete. How does this joy fill us?

In the illustration of the vine and the branches we see that the joy is not something we can manufacture or get by our own effort. The Lord says that the joy comes from abiding in Him every moment of the day. We cannot have His joy without His life or His abiding presence. When I surrender all to Him and simply let Him work in me, trusting that He has saved me and will produce His fruit in me, I am abiding in Him and then His joy will be in me. In my family life this means sharing the whole day with Him, seeking His way in my relationships and walking constantly in repentance and humility. I need to quickly repent when I sin in family relationships, bring my sin to Him and let Him change my heart. Then I will have His joy. It will just surprise me and well up like a fountain which I cannot stop unless I stop following His way in my life. Many times I have experienced the fullness of this joy when circumstances have been far from easy and all seemed too much for me. I remember getting up in the night to my chronically ill second child and calling out to God for strength and direction. Suddenly He was there again! His joy was welling up from the presence of His Spirit, comforting my weary mother’s heart. What joy!

 When I live the life of a branch with all my heart, I have His joy in all its fullness. On a day when life seemed full of dirty nappies and crying children, to know that the Lord loved me and that He was producing that love in me to pass on to my family and to pour it out on others was the source of true joy and He kept me going when I wanted to give up.

In the home we can daily celebrate that joy and love by worshipping Him and expressing thankfulness for all He gives us. Daily have a thanksgiving time for all the good in your life- this will bring joy as you see the Vine producing fruit in your family! Thank Him that He is producing the fruit of the Spirit in you as you rest in Him.

Enjoy the simple things the Lord has given you each day. Take a short time out from the chores to look at a ladybird or a butterfly or a flower. Smell the flowers and grow a garden with your children if you can. You will see the Creator at work! Going outdoors gives you a different perspective on life and the Lord will lift you up in your spirit as you marvel at His creative genius.

Joy seems an impossibility when you are tired out from being up in the night to a baby or when you can’t conquer the mess in your house because of exhaustion, but the Lord says that in being a branch of the vine, resting in His love, calling out to Him for help, giving up self in love to bear fruit for Him, you will have fullness of joy! 


Preserving loquats

Pictured are the results of two sessions of loquat bottling. My Dad has two loquat trees that produce too much fruit for their needs, especially as they compete with cherries at this time of year! We harvested two bucketfuls and most of them are now preserved. Our friends the Baehrs helped us last night. Preserving bees are the best! It is great to work with others. Today I worked on the remaining bucket on my own, and found the process less arduous than I expected. This year we left on most of the skins. These are tough but will be softer with cooking. Loquats have lots of pits (those pictured are a fraction of what was removed), and right now I'm nursing a sore thumb as a result of pitting them. My fingers are thanking me for choosing not to peel them all! Those who have preserved fruit before will know the satisfaction that looking at the finished product brings.


Our moving baby

Elnathan has learnt to swivel himself when he is on his tummy. In this picture he  was originally facing the little block train carriage. He turned himself right around and started grabbing Christmas presents!


  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP