"The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that the simpler the life the greater the peace." - Elisabeth Elliot in The Shaping of a Christian Family

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Planning the Homeschooling...Finally

I finally had time to sit at my desk today and work out a general plan for our school year. Yeah, I know, everybody else had that done months ago. Well, I could spend a bunch of time and space to explain why I haven't, but instead I'll share a little of what inspiration hit today.

We lean toward an unschooling Charlotte Mason style of eclectic homeschooling (figure that out if you can) and have done lots of studies in the summer, too, so I figured it was time to embrace our year-round scheduling fully. I read one blog wherein they scheduled their "Sabbath schooling" on a mostly seven-week schedule with one of those weeks being a week off. They named each "term" based on the Christian church calendar. I thought that was pretty cool, but wanted something a little different, so I came up with a schedule and term names that fit our family nerdiness just fine.

Yes, I named the terms after our some of our favorite authors. And each term is going to focus on a topic that goes well with that author.

The colored weeks are the weeks we'll not do our normal studies (yes, of course we'll continue with our read-alouds, don't be silly), so we'll have a week off every 6-7 weeks with three off at Christmas time. Since we are who we are and since life is entirely unpredictable with the process of moving going on, I'm sure we'll be taking other times off. After we get moved and maybe into a co-op, we may cut down to a four-day week also. Or maybe it will work out best to just have a four-day week anyhow so we can clean house, or grocery shop, or do art or music. Who knows?

This year-at-a-glance page is going into the cover pocket of my planner notebook.

To divide up the planner into term sections, I made these divider pages:

The other terms with their emphases are:

Jane Austen Term 
Manners & Social Graces through Hospitality and Traditions & practicing how to write letters and cards (including "thank you" cards)

C.S. Lewis Term
Theology/Philosophy/Worldview through doing the Starting Points study (includes reading 3 of the Chronicles of Narnia books and Mere Christianity)

J.R.R. Tolkein Term
Language through Spanish 1 from BJU Press

Francis Hodgson Burnett Term
Gardening & Health/Nutrition through gardening, possibly reading The French Don't Diet or Naturally Healthy Woman by Shonda Parker

Beatrix Potter Term
Herbs & Nature Study through various herb books & websites, gardening, and Handbook of Nature Study book & website

Within each notebook section I will put our weekly lesson plans and daily schedule which is just a kinda plain thing I made in Excel.

How do you plan out your year?

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We've been having fun swimming, fishing, reading, eating, visiting family, and being together at my brother-in-law's lake cabin in the woods. Just what we needed.

And, yes, I brought my kombucha brewing happily in the car and then on the cabin counter.

A patient uncle to teach how to filet fish.

Kindle and Kombucha

The rope swing is tons of fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More Kombucha

Kombucha can taste a little vinegary, which bothers some, but not others. It can also look scary, which bothers some, but not others.

Enter secondary fermentation.

After my gallons of "booch" have matured, like on Day 6, I like to add some more sugar in the form of juice to better flavor it and add carbonation so it almost seems like flavored pop. My kids are much happier with the results.

Having tried cranberry and discovering that was too tart, this batch I tried frozen Apple Cherry concentrate and it was a hit!

I took the SCOBYs out and put them in another clean jar and then put about half the container of concentrate into each gallon jar. I did not add any more sugar, though you could. After stirring it up and watching the fizz, I bottled it up in Starbucks and others jars, leaving some head-space for some carbonation, but not too much for fear of explosion.

Instead of labeling each jar, because since five of us are drinking this we'd go through them so quickly it wouldn't be worth it, I labeled the clementine box in which I'll keep them till I refrigerate them after four days.

Each day they sit out at room temperature they will carbonate a little more and become a little more tart, so you might want to refrigerate them to stop all this at whatever day suits your taste best.

Day 1 was enjoyed by everyone this morning, probably because it's still got a lot of the sweetness. We'll see how we do tomorrow.

Happy secondary fermenting!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why I'm Blogging

  • I love to write.
  • I want to make friends and have conversations about a variety of things.
  • I like to share ideas and projects.
  • I want to get in on some of the online quilting community projects.
  • I want to encourage and connect with other homeschooling moms.
  • I want a public place to praise the triune God who does all things well though we don't always understand what He's doing.
  • I want to recommend great books I've read and share the blessings.
  • I want to have a gateway to the Etsy store I hope to start.
  • I want a place to post my photography, which admittedly needs to improve, but is fun for me.
  • I want a place to help me rebuild after the many losses of late. Maybe others will benefit, too.
So I hope you'll join me on this renewed adventure.

Kombucha Kim

In the midst of all the painting and preparing to sell our house, one thing that is staying on the counter is the "weird growth," "alien," glop stuff called kombucha.

Yeah, it's strange looking stuff. But so good for you.

It replenishes the good bacteria in your gut, which affects ALL of your body (the gut is sometimes called your second brain).
Some of the benefits of a kombucha-induced healthy gut include:
  • Lessening of arthritis/rheumatism/joint pain
  • Help with asthma
  • Possible protection against cancer
  • Lessening of arteriosclerosis
  • Lowered levels of blood glucose/diabetes
  • Healing of gastrointestinal issues/acid reflux/ulcers
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Healthier kidneys and liver
  • Helps with weight management
  • Kills candida overgrowth
So, we're fermenting black tea with its "mother" and making new "daughters" for new batches of this miracle drink. And we're drinking a little every day. You're supposed to start slow and work up to more so that you don't shock your body with all that goodness. Or create too much gassiness.

We're experimenting with different flavors in our secondary ferment process and discovered that cranberry only adds to the tartness, so we'll try others instead. While all organic ingredients would be best, of course, we're not to that point yet, so I've been using frozen juice concentrate for the sugar and flavoring of the secondary ferment.

So, how do we go about making this elixir of life? 

This book is a huge help:

Until you get your copy, here's the basics for starting:

You'll need a SCOBY - Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It's the "mother" of yeast bubbliness that makes the stuff ferment. I got mine from a friend. You can buy them online, but you need to be careful about who you trust. I'd suggest https://www.kombuchakamp.com. The book also tells how to start you own SCOBY from commercial kombucha.

To make a gallon, leaving some head-space for brewing,
bring to a boil:  3/4 gallon filtered water

Add: 3-5 black tea bags (organic is preferable) or 1-2 Tbsp. loose leaf tea
        3/4 cup sugar

Let cool to room temperature.

Pour into a glass gallon jar and add a large SCOBY, about the same circumference as your jar. 

Add: 1 cup of already made kombucha

Cover with a fabric that will let the brew breathe, but keep fruit-flies out. I used leftover muslin from quilt backing and just set a canning jar ring into the jar's mouth to hold it in place. When I get a chance to sit down to sew I hope to make some pretty fabric and elastic covers.  

This loveliness needs to sit out at room temperature unjostled for 7-14 days. We're discovering that it can get pretty tart and even vinegary if you leave it for too long. Even just seven days could possibly be too long. So, play around and experiment with it by taking dipperfuls after day 5 or so.

You can bottle it up in smaller bottles (I've used canning jars, but plan to transform my cute Starbucks bottles into vessels of healthfulness in an effort to redeem them), then refrigerate them to radically slow down the fermentation.

For better taste and some carbonation, try experimenting with the secondary fermentation which I'll talk about next time.

Happy fermenting!

New Beginnings

Over the last year my family's life has changed in many ways. New and different thoughts are being thought, so I wanted to start a new blog - one in which I hope to share some of those thoughts as well as continue to share some of what we do in hopes that I can help others who might want to try some of the things we're doing. These things include homeschooling,discovering how to help a dyslexic learn to read, doing a variety of crafts, helping my girls with a rabbit business, continuing our gardening and preserving, enjoying and growing through a lot of reading, going through hard times as a family and as individuals, always seeking to honor our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I also hope that this blog enables me to make some new online friends and join in some online quilting groups.