Thursday, October 30, 2014

Canning Outside


 Since we don't have a range this year nor a real kitchen at the moment (while we live in the garage) I wasn't sure if I would get any canning done this year. I haven't done as much as normal but I am kind of excited about what we have gotten done. Also I have learned that I kind of like canning over a campfire. I would still love to have a kitchen sink to work with as I process my foods but I don't mind the canning over a campfire - it works pretty good.

This year we have been able to can 2 loads of tomatoes, 2 of salsa, 2 of applesauce and 1 of mince. Not a ton- but something for our cupboards and I am pretty happy. The tomatoes were all thanks to my parents and most of the apples were thanks to being able to pick at a friend's.

We have been doing all our waterbath canning on the campfire but this week my parents brought over a cute little old woodstove to cook on outside (since I like cooking outside and my parents thought that it would be nicer to have something higher up, that didn't make all of my pans black and didn't get smoke in my eyes so badly) and it was wonderful for cooking up my applesauce. When I had cooked the applesauce on the campfire before I had gotten it to hot and scorched a batch. The stove doesn't get as hot so it worked perfectly.

We did still do the canning over the campfire as we like it to stay nice and hot for that.

On these chilly days (guess how many layers I have on in the picture above) it is pretty nice to work around a fire or a woodstove. We are thankful for all the woodscraps from the house to burn and all the wood from clearing earlier this year. We are just wishing we could manage to have a woodstove here inside but have decided it might not be worth all the work and expense since we will hopefully be in our house soon.

Have you ever done any canning outside?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Dip {A Yummy Recipe for Fall}

 A week or so ago Mara made a very yummy mistake while cooking. She was planning on making no-bake cookies but when it got to the point of adding cocoa powder she accidentally added cinnamon instead. At that point she realized her mistake and came to discuss what she would do next. She then came up with an idea of an apple dip and it turned out wonderful!
 Here is the recipe:
Cinnamon Apple Dip

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
Mix all the ingredients together in a pot and heat up to boiling. Let boil while stirring for one minute. It is then ready to use. 

We had picked some really tart apples and having the cinnamon dip on them was a very yummy treat. 

After the leftovers had been refrigerated the mixture was then hard and we discovered that you could form them into candy. However after sitting out at room temperature for a while they do tend to get pretty soft.

  The dip can easily be reheated for using on apples again.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

I will be linking this to several blog hops that are on my sidebar.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Strength


"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him."
Psalm 28:7

During these very busy days when I so often grow tired it is so nice to be reminded that my strength comes from the Lord. I don't have to do everything on my own. He is always there for me to lean on. And yes, with our love of music we have been doing lots of thanking Him in song. Work is always a little more fun if you sing too.

I hope you have a great week and that you remember to lean on the Lord and thank Him!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sometimes I Don't Even Feel Like "Me" Anymore

 This evening as I was going through the grocery store (after going to Taco Bell for supper and then yet another trip to Menards to make some house decisions) and I was putting into my cart yet another thing that I normally don't buy I started to really feel like someone different then myself.

  I have made all sorts of names for myself:

  • Abbi the Frugal Homemaker
  • Abbi the Real Food Cook
  • Abbi the Natural Mama
And so forth and so on. I had become a person who bought almost no processed food (no crackers, no tortillas, very little bread products - you get the idea), who made her own laundry soap and used cloth pads, who bought things basically only when they were on sale and stocked up to last until the next sale, who creatively found ways to do without and substitute if I couldn't find something cheap enough, healthy enough and natural enough. And who didn't go out to eat just because I was struggling to figure out a meal.

  But I think I had made those goals an idol in my life. They are good things in an of themselves but if I have real struggles with putting paper plates, laundry soap, crackers, cake mix and full priced butter in my shopping cart because I believe that they will help our family during this super busy and somewhat stressful time in our lives - then there is a problem. 

   The thing is - my identity should never be tied up in whether I am consistently frugal or natural or anything other than what my relationship is with Jesus Christ. He is the one that provides my identity. I am a sinner saved by grace and my role is to glorify my Maker and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. If I can do that better right now by using paper plates some of the time and feeding my children crackers when they need a snack - then so be it. 

  Do  you ever find yourself making an idol of a certain lifestyle that you have chosen for yourself? Does it ever take up more of your attention than God does? I hope you will join me in striving to put everything else in it's proper place and always keeping God in the highest place that He deserves.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lead Me

Photo by Mara
"Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day."
Psalm 25: 4 & 5

This is what I want as my focus each and every day. That I would learn to follow in the path that Jesus walked. That each day as I go along making big and little choices (whether to say a kind word or one that tears someone down, to serve someone or to be self-centered, etc) that I would seek the ways of my Lord and follow in His path.

  I also want to focus on knowing God's truth. To study His word faithfully. To be aware of teaching that doesn't agree with the Bible and to turn away from it. To teach this truth to my children as well. 

  All day, every day, I want my thoughts and focus to be on the One who has done so very much for me. The only one who provides for my salvation - May my life always be His!

I hope this is true for you too and that this verse will encourage you in your walk with Him.

I thought I would share this song with you as well - it is one I was one that I have been enjoying listening to and it ends with the words "I am Yours" - the words that my heart is also crying and I hope that you will choose that way as well.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

So Many Decisions!

 The one thing that I am finding about building a home is that there is an insane amount of decisions to be made!! That is one of the reasons that just buying a home or building it slowly over time would be easier. Oh well - it may be challenging but it is fun too.

  Here are some of the decisions that we have been making this week:


  • Where all the outlets, switches and light fixtures are going. And how many. We are trying to think of everything - but you wonder if you really did.
  • Where all of the plumbing things need to go - like outside spigots, the height of shower heads, and then dealing with figuring out things that needed to be changed because of how the plumbing would be running and things that weren't fitting.
  • What sort of shower that we wanted - after we found out that what we had planned on wasn't available. I guess we are going to put in a tile one. We are going to try to do it ourselves so if you have any tips they would be appreciated!
  • Where all the cultured stone should go on the outside of our house (as it seems we ordered more than we need for the areas that we planned on putting).
  • What sort of bathroom vanities and medicine cabinets that we wanted.
  • What sinks we want.
  • What light fixtures that we want.
  • Continued discussion and research on countertops. I would like slate countertops but our cabinet man (and every other cabinet maker in our area) is unfamiliar with using it and nervous about it. If any of you have experience with slate countertops I would love to hear your thoughts! 
  • Whether to have a doorbell or not.
  • What tile we want.
  • What wood flooring that we want.
  • Trim color.
  • What doors we are getting.
I think that there have actually been quite a lot more than that - but that gives you an idea. We had researched some of these things earlier and thought about them but we hadn't actually made a lot of the decisions and suddenly it needs to be made now. 

  As always I love to hear your tips or thoughts on what makes a great house and what you have really liked or disliked about your home.

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