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Are you thinking about planting a winter garden?   My early summer late spring did so well this year my kids and I were sad when it was over.   Then we had a brilliant revelation, we can plant those same cooler weather crops in the fall.

My two-year old saw me post this picture and is running into the kitchen looking for broccoli and yelling delicious.  This is all the motivation I need to plant a winter garden.  I’m going to plant broccoli, spinach, and leaf lettuce.

The trick to planting a cold weather garden is to figure out when and what you can  plant for your area.  This can be done by finding out he average date of the first killing frost in your region. You can do that here .

The next step is finding what crops you can plant. Most seed packets have approximate maturate dates on the back of the package.  Count backwards from the average date of first killing frost.  It is recommended to add three weeks to compensate for shorter days.  I am starting a little late for broccoli so I’m cheating and buying started broccoli plants. Make sure the ground is moist and has a layer of mulch to maintain heat and provide adequate moisture after the dry summer months. The best crops to plant in September are early maturing crops that are fairly cold hardy.

These included are for the Pacific North West other regions especially the southern states will have more choices :

  • Chives
  • Bunching Onions
  • Radishes
  • Early Broccoli
  • Leaf Lettuces
  • Mustard
  • Spinach

 

Here is a chart from Mother Earth News to use for reference.

FALL HARVEST CROPS Days to Maturity
 
beets 55 to 60
broccoli 70 to 80
Brussels sprouts 90 to 100
cauliflower 55 to 65
cabbage 70 to 80
carrots 85 to 95
Chinese cabbage 75 to 85
cilantro 50 to 55 (leaf); 90 to 105 (coriander seed)
collard greens 60 to 100
daikon radishes 60 to 75
green beans 50 to 60
green onions 50 to 60
kale 40 to 50
kohlrabi 50 to 60
leeks 100 to 120
lettuce (leaf) 40 to 50
lettuce (head) 70 to 85
mustard greens 30 to 40
onions (seeds) 130 to 150
onions (sets) 60 to 80
peas 50 to 60
radishes 25 to 30
rutabaga 70 to 80
spinach 50 to 60
Swiss chard 30 to 50
turnips 55 to 60

Here is an approximate planting date guide from Heirloom Seeds website
FALL PLANTING DATES FOR VEGETABLES
AVERAGE FIRST FROST ON –

  VARIETY           OCT. 30    NOV. 10   NOV. 20   NOV. 30   DEC. 10    DEC. 20
 LETTUCE,LEAF   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20   OCT. 30
 KALE   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT.  5   OCT. 15
 MUSTARD   SEPT. 1   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   OCT. 1   OCT. 10   OCT. 20
 OKRA   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   OCT. 1
 PEA,GREEN   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10
 PEPPER,PLANTS   JULY 25   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20
 RADISH   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20   OCT. 30   NOV. 10  NOV. 20
 SPINACH   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5   OCT. 15   OCT. 25
 TOMATO,PLANTS   JULY 15   JULY 25   AUG. 5   AUG. 15   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5
 TURNIP   AUG. 30   SEPT. 10   SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 10   OCT. 20
 BEET                    AUG. 20   SEPT. 10    SEPT. 20   SEPT. 30   OCT. 5      OCT. 15
 CABBAGE,PLANTS   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 20   OCT. 5   OCT. 10
 CARROT   AUG. 15   AUG. 25   SEPT. 5   SEPT 15   SEPT 25   OCT. 5
 CHARD   AUG. 15   AUG. 30   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5   OCT. 15
 COLLARD,PLANTS   AUG. 10   AUG. 20   SEPT. 5   SEPT. 15   SEPT. 25   OCT. 5

So get planting 🙂

-Theresa

Proverbs 25:13- Like the cold of snow in time of harvest

Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.

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Hardly anything makes my skin craw. The exceptions being maggots, cockroaches, and lice.   A new school year is starting for most and that brings with it sports, friends, Awanas, and LICE! Homeschooler’s are not an exception. 2 years ago when my third child was 3 months old my daughter brought home these little buggers from T-ball.  As most do, I freaked out.  We bought all the products on the market.  The hair poisons and spray poisons for bedding and furniture.  My mom came for a visit and we went crazy .  We washed all the clothes we own,  cleaned every room spraying down beds, pillows and we quarantined toys.  It took a lot of time and was stressful with a new baby.  I poisoned my older children’s, husband’s and my own head with store-bought lice removal chemicals.  It was horrible, especially since I was breastfeeding.  I feared I was poisoning my baby and my children,  but the Dr.’s assured me it had no effect on them.  A week went by and while sitting at the dinner table I saw a little black bug dart across my daughter’s forehead. AHHH!!! the lice were not gone.  I called the DR. again and they said to do another treatment.  So, unfortunately, I did.  I cleaned the whole house again.  A week or so later… we still had lice!  I started researching alternative methods.  I couldn’t stomach poisoning my family yet again.  I tried all the over the counter natural products and several off the internet without success.  That’s when I broke down and just cried out to the Lord to remove this plague from my family. I surrendered it over to Him.  I did all I could do and was spent. Then I found The Lice Program.   This website was full of great information and research. I learned why I could not get rid of these nasty pest.  They had become a super bug.

“A new strain of hair or head lice has been around infesting people all over the world for a number of years now. The lice are not killed by modern shampoos and chemical treatments currently available in the drugstore or chemist…  Unfortunately, most members of the public are still unaware that a ‘resistant strain of head lice exists. They purchase lice shampoos only to discover later, after their money is spent, that the lice have not been killed by the treatment. They may then try other methods, like the traditional combing through with a lice comb, or by applying ‘alternate’ lotions and potions, but find they are still unable to eradicate the lice infestation.” from The Lice Program’s website.

These people studied the reproductive cycle of head lice and came up with a program that eradicated these pest without chemicals.  The only thing you need for this program is a lice comb. This program uses the ‘combing’ technique in such a way as to remove the lice in stages which interrupts and disables reproduction.

Here is the graph showing the action you should take each day based on the lice’s activity.

The 21 day lice program    
Not started yet ->  Still reading THE PROGRAM
Entering the war->  Day 0 VIP
Removing the Layers->  Day 1
Getting the evaders->  Day 2
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 3
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 4
Final Sweep 1->  Day 5 VIP
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 6
Facing their 2nd attack->  Day 7
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 8
Getting the 2nd Wave->  Day 9
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 10
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 11
Final Sweep 2->  Day 12 VIP
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 13
Critical Action a->  Day 14
Critical Action b->  Day 15
Super-Critical Day->  Day 16 VIP
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 17
Re-arming (Rest)->  Day 18
Belt & Braces day 1->  Day 19
Belt & Braces day 2->  Day 20
Last Chance Day->  Day 21 VIP
Program Over->  LICE GONE!!

 

The cool thing about this program is that you don’t have to bomb your whole house, or even comb everyday and it works!  There are days of rest and the combing method takes care of reinfestation from any lice around your home . I still changed pillowcases and towels daily.

We just used this method while in the shower.  I even put conditioner in my hair to make the combing easier.  Check out their web page.  There is detailed information for each day of the program along with lots of helpful advice.  You  have to follow the directions precisely. My hope in sharing this is not to make you itch for the rest of the day, but to keep lice from potentially being a traumatic event in your life.

Common Myths about Head Lice

  • They spread disease.  They are annoying but not harmful. They can cause itchiness of the scalp but even this rather benign symptom often only appears with a prolonged infestation of weeks to months.
  • You can get them from pets. No, you can’t. And your dog or cat won’t get them from your kids. Head lice like people, not animals.
  • Having lice means your children are dirty.  Head lice prefer clean hair.
  • Lice jump and fly.  They just crawl off one head and onto another, or from a piece of clothing to a head.
  • My child does not have an itchy head so she couldn’t have head lice.     80% of people never have itching symptoms The itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the louse bite. Much like mosquitoes head lice leave behind a residue of anticoagulant, anesthetic and saliva when they take a blood meal. Most people do not react to these substances right away, but some people do develop an allergic reaction over time.
  • I should use a pesticide on every surface of my house if my child has lice Off of the body, lice can only survive for a day or two. Nits that hatch will die if they don’t find food within hours. There is no need to clean every inch of the house.

What to look for.

Head lice can be detected by looking closely at the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, or adults. Locating a nymph or adult can be difficult because there are usually only a few of them, and they move quickly. If you have dark hair the eggs might be easier to see.  They are white and resemble dandruff.  The only difference is that they are super-glued in and you won’t be able to blow them off.  The best way to see is to comb through your hair with a lice comb dipping it in scalding water and seeing what is left behind.

If you know of an outbreak among friends tea tree oil has been known to dieter lice.  Boys keep hair short and girls keep hair in a pony tail or braid.

-Theresa

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 

Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.But I have trusted in thy mercy;

my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:3-6

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God’s Beauty Spa

Here are some of my favorite  beauty treatment recipes, straight from God’s creation –  pure and untouched by man made chemicals.  Especially when you buy organic ingredients.

For the BODY: Brown Sugar Lemony Body Scrub (my mom has done this one for YEARS. She’s 56 years old & still has beautiful skin)

This particular scrub has lemon, which works as a natural disinfectant. It will open up and cleanse clogged pores. The oils from the mixture will

 leave you with soft, healthy glowing skin.1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sea salt, 2 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil, ) 1 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp of your favorite essential oil (I recommend bergamot for energy, eucalyptus or spearmint for stress relief and lavender or jasmine for something more relaxing.)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it turns into a paste. Apply to moist skin in circular motion using your fingertips to help skin cells slough off faster.
Rinse off with warm water, and use fave moisturizer.TEETH: Strawberry Bleach Mask

This natural mixture will remove any stains and discoloration on your teeth. Crush or blend one ripe strawberry and mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Apply the mixture on teeth with toothbrush and let it set for 5 minutes; then brush with your regular toothpaste. Repeat once a week.

FACE: Honey Oats Face Scrub

Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon finely ground almonds, 2 tablespoons dry oatmeal and some lemon juice or yogurt and mix into a facial scrub. Massage mixture gently onto face, then rinse with warm water. Use fave moisturizer.

Deep Facial Cleanse:

1 part castor oil, to 3 parts sunflower (or olive) oil. Put it a bottle, and shake well. Hold your head over steam from the faucet. Once pores are open, rub mixture in. (Don’t be afraid of putting oil on your face, your skin has oil in it naturally!) Let sit for about 5 minutes, and then lay a HOT, wet, washcloth over your face. Allow the steam to evaporate the oil. Repeat 2-3 times, until the oil is lifted & your skin has a healthy glow!

For face lotion, I have my own mixture of shea butter, coconut oil, rosehip oil & vitamin E oil that I am still perfecting. It turns out different every time I make it, so I will withhold the info as of right now, as to how I make it. If you want, just play around with those ingredients, and even add a few of your own & let us know how it turned out! ;D

Enjoy God’s beauty ingredients, and have a spa day right in your kitchen!
~April

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Saw this on “Kalyn’s Kitchen” via the “Organically Natural Child”, and just had to post it.  I am a sucker for anything zucchini, and I can just imagine what all that cheese & sauce slapped on it is going to taste like!   I will most definitely  be stopping by the grocery store on our way home from church tomorrow to buy the ingredients.  It will be the perfect quick and easy (not to mention, healthy) Sunday lunch!

Cut slices of zucchini about 3/4 inch thick, then brush both sides lightly with olive oil.

Grill the zucchini slices on one side for about 7-8 minutes, or until there are some grill marks and the zucchini is starting to get tender. (If the slice has one side that’s larger, grill that side first so it’s the top of the pizza.) If you don’t have a grill, this could definitely be cooked under the broiler.
Remove the zucchini slices from the grill and put on a cutting board with grilled side up so you can carry them into the kitchen to add the toppings.
I put about 1 T pizza sauce on the top of each zucchini slice, but the amount will depend on how big your slices of zucchini are. You can heat the sauce if you’d like, but next time I might not bother. (I think Basil Pesto or some type of white sauce would also taste great on this.)
Then put other toppings as desired on top of the sauce. I added a pinch of pizza cheese, a few slices of turkey pepperoni, and then a slight sprinkle of additional cheese. (I used to laugh when Emeril said on TV “We’re really cooking here,” but you can see there was no food stylist for this shot. Sorry about the messy photo, but you get the idea.)

Then put the topped pizzas back on the grill (or under the broiler) and cook for 7-8 minutes more (or probably less time for broiling.)

Remove pizza from the grill and serve hot! This pizza will be a hit with zucchini-loving adults who like pizza. I’m not sure if kids who were real picky about veggies would eat this, but I’m guessing quite a few kids would like it.
Ummmm, yeah…. that would be me, the “zucchini-loving adult”. 🙂 ~April

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As a mother of four small children I don’t get to the store very often.  When I do the last thing I think about is deodorant. So I usually go with out. About a month ago I was cooking dinner for the family and noticed that I really needed to buy some deodorant.  At this point in my life a shower is a sacred and unfortunately an experience I don’t get to partake in as much as I’d like. I was cooking with extra virgin coconut oil and as mot of you surly do I rub a little in my hair and on my lips. (if you don’t, I’m sure you will now) This time, for some reason, I decided to rub some in my arm pits too.  And wouldn’t you know it, fresh as the dew in spring time!  Well.. the point is it worked!  I then searched the web and found tons of homemade deodorant recipes and from them came up with my own from what.

Here is what I did.

I used:

2 Tablespoons of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut oil

1 Tablespoon of organic Shea Butter with natural Hawaiian Kuki nut oil

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch or Arrowroot powder. (Some cornstarch brands contain GMOs or talc.  Do some research. I just found out Argo contains GMOs so I will be using something else in the future)

1/2 Tablespoon of baking soda

Mix the dry ingredients.  Soften the oil and butter so they mix well and combine ingredients. Store in a small jar or plastic container with a lid  rather than an old deodorant container.  When your house gets warm the oil gets runny.  Take your fingers and massage a bit in your pits and you are good to go.  If you don’t like runny, store it in your refrigerator. This deodorant has worked very well for me.  It keeps me dry and I love the tropical scent of the coconut and Kukui nut oils.  You can scent yours however you want with essential oils.  Will I buy deodorant again,  no way.  This is so easy to make and doesn’t have those nasty chemicals that regular deodorant has.

Aluminum compounds:  It has been suggested that there is an association between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.

Parabens: A reproductive toxin that acts like estrogen. Estrogen is known to drive the growth of cancerous cells.

Triclosan: is classified as a pesticide by the FDA.

Talc:  is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Propylene glycol l: is a neurotoxin and may cause kidney or liver damage.

These are just a few of the harmful ingredients in deodorant.  The list goes on.  All the more reason to make your own deodorant. The only downside is your fingers get a little greasy while applying.

-Theresa

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

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I had the privilege of spending the day with one of my best friends. We talked we laughed  and just plain had a good o’l time. Our kids played well and finished the 7 1/2 hour day together with minimal incidents.  Now with 6 kids ages 7 all the way down to 5 months that’s pretty darn good. But best of all I canned!

Dosen’t that just make you want to say ooh and aww..or maybe yummy.   I have never really been too interested in the idea of canning.  It kind of seemed old fashioned like something my grandma use to do.  Some start canning because its economical, but that didn’t interest me.  I am starting canning because i  care what is in the food my family eats…..and because my husband said “babe, I want to start canning our food”.

We used a beef stew  recipe off of the Ball Canning website as our base, doubled it and added more seasonings.

I provided the meat from our cow and she provided the know how, along with everything else.  First we broke out 14 clean jars rings and new lids.  New lids are important to make sure you have a tight seal.   Then we followed the directions on preparing the stew.  While we were waiting for the stew to come to a boil we heated 2 inches of water in the pressure cooker along with water filled jars.  We did this so that the jars wouldn’t crack when we put the hot stew filled jars into the pressure cooker. Right before the soup was ready we heated the lids and rings in boiling water. This is to sterilize and get the seal ready.

When the soup and water in the canner reached a boil we funneled the soup into the jars leaving about an inch of room.  Then we took a plastic utensil and pushed it down in the jars to release bubbles. We did this to reduce excess pressure during canning. The funnel not only aids in putting the soup in the jars it also keeps the rims of the lids clean. If the rims are not clean then the seal won’t take and you will be eating it for dinner… which may not be a bad thing after all. 

         

Next we put the warmed up lids and ring onto the jars making sure the rings not too tight. Just “hand tight”.  Why..I don’t really remember,  something about exploding, so just don’t.  Make sure there is still  two to three inches in the pot, seal her up, bring it it up to pressure and maintain by adjusting the temperature on the stove.  The  pressure level  the cooker needs to be at is different for the altitude level you are at.  I am at sea level so we maintained it at about 10 pounds pressure .
Then all you have to do is wait. What do you do while  you wait and maintain pressure?  Well you can sing “Under Pressure” (not that I know the words, just the catchy tune).   Or you can spend time talking and having wonderful fellowship with a good fried and reflect on the blessings of the day.  Oh yeah and eat cookies, watermelon, and popsicles.  When the time is up turn off the heat and let the pressure slowly go down.  Do not open it until  the pressure is completely released.  If the food is still boiling in the jars wait a few minutes.  We put them on the counter on a towel and then placed another towel on top.  we did this to reduce drafts and to eliminate rapid cooling. Well what happens if the jars cool too quickly?  They can crack and all your had work would be for nothing.
Let the jars cool and listen for that pop pop pop of the seal.  If you are impatient like us you can hurry the process by touching the lid.  After the jars have cooled you can store them in the cubbord for a quick healthy meal.  If you plan on storing them for a long time you might want to store it without the ring so that it doesn’t rust on.
We had some left over in the pot so we finished cooking it and had it for dinner.  We also made the rolls to go with it.  I know they are hamburger buns,  but they were still good as rolls… and super easy.
 Then for desert we went strawberry picking!  Don’t you just love this time of year!
The blessings of this day were numerous.  The fact that the day had no incidents and went so smoothly is one huge blessing from God.  The other blessing was having a good friend to spend the day with.  We honored God with our fellowship and we honored our husband by saving his hard earned money by canning soup ourselves. We honored our families by making a healthy  meal, which also honored God!  Theres a whole lot of honoring going on over here!  Oh and it was super fun too.
This is just the experience of two novice canners and is in no way expert advice.  If you want to start canning do your research, find a friend and have fun.  If there is anything I missed on our adventure feel free to comment.  If there is something we did wrong please comment,  or if you just feel inclined , comment.
Thank you Stephanie for all your advise.

                                                                      -Theresa
 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens anotherProverbs 27:17

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