Archive for the ‘repeat after me’ Category

nth drilling tap holes in the maple tree

I’m not sure that it’s going to be successful this year.  But now that we know that it can be done, we are thoroughly excited.  Some Canadian friends shared some maple taps with us last year, and a friend in Knoxville successfully tapped a maple tree this year and boiled the 5 gallons of sap down to a quart of maple syrup.  We put in our taps and so far, we think we’ve collected mainly a rain shower with a slight hint of maple sap.  But we’re anticipating… He said there are three weeks left in the season.  Maybe…

ekh snitching a sap snack

jdh securing buckets on taps

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r e c i p e

t a x o n o m y

Here’s a simple idea that has almost solved all my problems in this department: organizing recipes into photo albums.  Each category—beverages, breads, appetizers & snacks, etc…—gets its own album and label, of course.  And if you stumble across spare time and inclination (I haven’t yet), you could replace the cardstock inserts on the covers with colors or patterns that compliment your kitchen.    Not only am I more organized for this convenient system, but the boys (and Eden eventually) have their own recipe albums as well, and after they have made a recipe successfully, they get to add it to their book of tried and tested recipes they can make independently.

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g o u r m e t    b i r d    s u e t


Science lab.  We’re making suet cakes following the fine recipe in our Apologia’s Zoology 1 text which is a mix of 2 cups peanut  butter, 2 cups lard, 4 cups oats, 4 cups cornmeal, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup sunflower seeds (or other birdseed),and 1 cup of raisins.  It smelled as tantalizing as a peanut butter cookie so naturally Matthias was disappointed that the birds were going to get to eat it rather than him.  I sewed a piece of mesh material into a bag, placed one suet cake in it (recipe makes several), and tied it to our hanging bird feeder.  Apparently raccoons are pretty wild about it too, because the following morning, my bag was still hanging, but it was all gnarled and a broken clay saucer (which normally holds the bird feed) lay on the ground.

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g o o d   c l e a n   f u n:

h o m e m a d e   s o a p


This was our first soap making experience ever.  This wasn’t the kind of soap that takes sacrifice (animal tallow), fire (ashes for lye), and water–not to mention goggles, gas masks, and skin protection.  Though maybe someday for a chemistry lab we’ll take on that challenge.  This, however, was just meltable, pourable glycerin soap and meltable, pourable goat’s milk soap to which you add your preferred colors, dyes, and fragrance.  First we made two round molds which each required a two-foot length of 2″ diameter PVC pipe with a cap.  We placed the caps at the ends and tested to make sure they would hold our future mess of hot, melted soap.  We made an orange glycerine soap with lemon scent and  orange peel which we added before the soap had cooled enough, so the citrusy grit sunk to the bottom.  Then we cleaned up the pot (no soap necessary) and made a second batch—this time a goat’s milk bar of lavender colored soap, with lavender dried flowers, and lavender essential oil.  Seriously easy.  Seriously fun.  Good clean fun. We unmolded them later in the day and sliced the long cylindrical bars into small soap rounds and now we have a stack of sweet little soaps to use or share with friends.

The materials for this project came from Hobby Lobby, which by matter of interest to me, had a sign posted on their door that they are closed on Sunday to give their employees the opportunity to spend time with their families and in worship (Good for them–reminds me of Nehemiah 13:15-22!).  The glycerin soap was $7 and the goat’s milk soap was $10.  Fragrance, color, and herbs were available there as well.  Both packages made approximately 18 bars of 1/2″ thick, 2″ diameter soaps.  A 1.5 inch pipe would have been useful for pushing the soap out of the 2 inch pipe mold more easily than the various tactics we employed (:.




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[g r o o v y]

B O T T L E   C A P   M A G N E T S   or   G I F T   T A G S   or   O R N A M E N T S

A bottle cap ornament, Eden

Martha Stewart’s book Good Things (1997) inspired this one, but my “shiny object” compulsion took it in some new directions.  Collect some bottle caps (I prefer silver or black caps).  Collect some of those photos where half the family were looking in the wrong direction or shut their eyes.  Crop out a photo about the size of a nickel and press it inside the bottle cap. Or, print a favorite verse, poem snippet, or quote that makes you smile and cut it to size.  If the photo’s too small or loose, put a dab of glue on the back to secure it to the bottle cap.   If you’re  making a magnet, use a glue gun to adhere a magnet to the back of the bottle cap. Or, if you want to make an ornament or Christmas gift tag, before inserting the photo, pierce a hole in the cap, make a loop with wire and twist tie the ends in the back.  For ornaments, insert an ornament hook in your loop or in your pierced hole (hopefully you can find the cute S-shape ornament hooks I found at Walmart).  For gift tags, run ribbon through your loop and tie it around your Christmas gifts.

Well, then, this project morphed into several others.  I started having leftover cropped pictures from the Juice Can Lid Ornaments and so I made some bottle cap magnets and then stuck these photo magnets onto blank metal juice lid ornaments.  Maybe it started looking a little wilder and little crazier.  But I liked the cheery whimsey of it all.  So it stayed.

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J E S S E   T R E E   A D V E N T   O R N A M E N T S

We used Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree Advent Guide to make these ornaments that we added to the Christmas Tree this year.  Thanks Sara Cole for sharing this link:



Voskamp’s guide takes you through the scriptures’ stories starting where the story began in all its glory, in Genesis, the beginning of all beginnings.  Each day there is a picture ornament to add to the tree.   I glued the date on the back of each ornament.  Then each day, one child would turn the ornament over after the day’s scripture reading. As you progress through the readings, you rehearse the story of God’s creation, our fall into sin, God’s redemption, and the ultimate fulfillment of that promise in Christ.  This is the story of stories– don’t wait until Christmas to tell it, or you’re cheating everyone. (:

Jesse Tree Ornament, The Fall

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