Apr 22, 2017

Weekend Links

I made spruce tip syrup last week.
In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page.

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

* The pole barn is fully up, the weather is less wet, and we've re-started the process of moving in! It feels really good; I'm ready to make this house a home! But projects are pressing us at every side. The greenhouse still isn't repaired (hurricane force winds blew off the roof) and my seedlings are suffering (especially the tomatoes), the garden spot still needs to be prepared, fallen trees need cutting up so they can cure for next winter's firewood, vehicles require repair...the list is long.

* 25 outdoor entertaining tips...cuz summer is coming! 

Our old apple tree started blooming on Easter.
* War room prayer ideas for our nation.

* How to raise innocent kids who are worldly wise.

* How to clean your home's air vents.  

* Store bought cream of...soup is so, so bad for you. Here's a great recipe for quickly making your own, healthier homemade version.

* Questions to ask before buying a homestead.

* Spring is an excellent time to learn to forage for wild food - or to expand your foraging
The wild berries are starting!

Even some bolted lettuce provides beauty, here on the homestead.
knowledge! My book The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook is an excellent place to begin! 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, and available in digital and paperback formats.

Oldies But Goodies:

* Making Dandelion Jelly (it tastes like honey!)

* How to Make a Quiet Felt Book for small children 

* Starting a Garden from Scratch

Apr 20, 2017

Perfect Pork Chops with Spicey Green Beans Recipe (Keto, LCHF, Paleo, Low Carb Recipe)

Keto, LCHF, Paleo, Low Carb RecipeThis post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site!

 Is it scary for me to put the words "perfect" in the title of this recipe? Yeah, a little...'cuz you can't please everybody. But truly, this is the most perfect pork chop recipe I've ever eaten, and my hubby - who is super-picky about how his meat is cooked - feels the same way. And yes, I know the photos make this look like any other pork chop and green beans recipe. My photography skills are definitely lacking. But I do believe you will find the meat moist and highly tasty, and the green beans cooked thoroughly while still being crispy, with some excellent, spicy flavor.

Happily, this is a meal that's pretty quick to make, too, and fits with a variety of diet-lifestyles, including Paleo, keto (LCHF), and low carb. 

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Sauteed Green Beans Recipe

For the green beans:
Green beans, stem ends removed
Sea salt
Black pepper
Garlic clove

For the pork chops:
Pork chops (bone-in is best)
Seasoned salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Bacon drippings

1. Place a pot of water on the stove over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the green beans. Immediately start timing 3 minutes.

2. When 3 minutes are up, drain the beans and plunge them into cold tap water. Allow to sit until step 6.

3. Season the pork chops, front and back, with a generous amount of seasoned salt, and pepper. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper - unless you like a lot of hot spice, in which case, slather it on!

. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, adding a rounded tablespoon of bacon drippings and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the pork chops, working in batches, if needed. (If the fat "cooks away," add more butter to the next batch of chops.)

. Cook one side of the pork chops for about 3 minutes, then turn over. Cook the other side for about 2 minutes, or until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the chop (nut not next to the bone) reads 145 degrees F. Remove from the pan, place on a platter, and put inside the oven. Do not turn on the oven's heat.
Allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving. 

. In the meantime, pour the green beans into the same skillet used to cook the pork chops. Do not clean the skillet first; you want all those wonderful drippings that are still in the pan to help flavor the vegetables. If there's not much fat in the skillet, add a dollop of bacon drippings. Season the green beans with salt, pepper, garlic and s
auté until bright green.

Estimated Nutrition, according to SuperTracker; per one medium-sized (about 6 oz.) pork chop: calories 394; Carbs 0 g total; Protein: 24 g.; Fat: 46 g. Per 1 cup of green beans: calories 39; Carbs 9 g total; Protein: 2 g.; Fat: 0 g.


Apr 17, 2017

How I Reversed My Diabetes

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site!

Shortly before Christmas 2016, I had blood tests performed for the first time in about 8 years. I'd switched doctors - and it turns out, my new doc was much more on his toes than doctors I'd seen previously. He called me a few days after my appointment and gave me some bad news: I had type II diabetes - and I had it bad. My blood sugar was 260, and my A1c test, which indicates what a person's blood sugar has averaged in recent months, was 9.5%. At 9% medical guidelines say to put the patient on insulin.

I was shocked. In fact, I was so upset, I mistakenly hung up on the doctor before he was done speaking with me!

But unfortunately, this wasn't my first brush with diabetes.

Beginning to Understand Messed Up Diabetes "Science"

Eight years earlier, while pregnant with my second child, I'd been diagnosed with prenatal diabetes - a type of diabetes that only strikes pregnant women, and then (usually) disappears. (Though having it means you're at higher risk of developing type II diabetes later in life.) At that time, I had to be medicated, and went through all the standard nutritional training that's given to diabetics of all types.

I had a terrible time getting my blood sugar under control, and I remember thinking, "Carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body. What if I just lower my daily carb count?" So I did, and my blood sugar improved...but my dietitian freaked out and told me I had to eat more carbs. Once she ordered me to go home and eat three cups of popcorn. "It will be good for you," she insisted. I did as ordered...and got very sick, my blood sugar skyrocketing.

In fact, every time I followed the dietician's advice - which was just standard American Diabetic Association stuff - my blood sugar got worse. When I ate lower amounts of carbs, my blood sugar improved. I hated being medicated while pregnant, so eventually I just stopped telling the dietician I was eating fewer carbs, anyway (one piece of bread a day, no pasta, no rice, and no popcorn). My blood sugar stabilized (though it was still high) and my baby was born healthy.

And yet, my doctors scolded me, saying, "If you just eat the way we tell you to, you'll avoid getting diabetes later in life." When I explained that previous to my pregnancy I ate just the way they were telling me to eat now, they looked at me incredulously.

A Whole Food Diet Wasn't Enough

Fast forward to my recent diagnosis. I'd been eating a whole foods diet for a long time - and a lower carb one at that. I avoided wheat and rice, though I did not entirely omit them from my diet. I ate tons of veggies, and rarely ate fruit or sweets. So I was frustrated when my doctor said, "You really need to stop drinking soda."

"Doc, I never drink soda. Not even diet soda."

"Well you need to stop eating sweets."

"Doc, I very rarely eat sugary things. Not never, but rarely."

"Well, all that processed food..."

"Doc, I almost never eat processed food!"

When I explained how I did eat, he was surprised. We concluded that my genes play a big part in my diabetes, since there is type II on both sides of my family. (In fact, everyone on my father's side has type II - even the thin folks. Yep, you can be thin and still get type II diabetes.)

But then my doctor said the words that changed everything: "Look into a keto diet."

The Key Diet for Diabetics

I'd heard of the ketogenic ("keto") diet before. I knew it was "another low carb diet," but didn't know anything beyond that. In fact, I figured it was pretty much the same thing as the Atkin's diet (which, incidentally, was the only diet I ever successfully lost weight on...and trust me, over the years I worked hard at soooo many diets!).

So I went home and started Googling. Fortunately for me, I ran across a fantastic Facebook group called Reversing Diabetes. Here I learned that it wasn't just a keto diet I needed - it was a therapeutic keto diet that was required. If I followed that diet, I learned, I could, like many thousands of other people, reverse my diabetes.

Happily, the diet was pretty effortless for me. I cut all wheat and rice from my diet. I cut all fruit. I chose only lower carb vegetables. I made sure I ate only moderate amounts of meat. (There is some controversy about whether or not high amounts of protein can cause problems for diabetics.) And the biggest change? I dramatically increased the good fats in my diet. In fact, healthy fats (like olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, bacon drippings, and lower carb dairy like butter, cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, and cream cheese) now made up 70% or more of my diet!

For most people, all that fat is a hard thing to wrap their mind around. But study after study shows that "good fats" are GOOD for our bodies. (I'm not talking about unhealthy fats - processed polyunsaturated fats such as corn, canola, soybean, peanut, sunflower, and grapeseed oil, or processed trans fats, like margarine and vegetable oils.) In fact, countless studies show the saturated fats that have been demonized in recent years are even good for you. (Read more about healthy vs. unhealthy fats here.)

The amazing thing about this was that unlike every other diet I had ever been on, I'm not hungry all the time. I feel totally satisfied, even with smaller meals. In fact, I often skip lunch because I'm just not hungry.

The Results of Keto
Left: Before keto. Right: 25 lbs lighter after 3 months...and still losing!

And doing this therapeutic keto diet (also called "Low Carb, High Fat," or "LCHF"), here were the results:

* Within a few days, my blood sugar had dropped to the low 100s - not quite "normal," but much better and definitely out of the immediate danger zone.

* Within about a week, my blood sugar was in the 80s and 90s; that's generally accepted as totally normal!

* After three months, I'd lost 25 lbs. and three clothing sizes. The weight just melted off. I've always struggled with my weight, but this weight loss was effortless!

* After three months, my cholesterol, which had been a bit high, was normal. My bad cholesterol was down and my good cholesterol was up.

* After three months, my A1c was 5%. NORMAL! In fact, according to my blood work, I no longer have diabetes!
Of course, there is no cure for diabetes. I am still diabetic. If I change the way I eat, my blood sugar will rise again. BUT as long as I continue to eat therapeutic keto, my blood sugar will remain in the normal zone. Without medication!

Living with Keto

Can I live with this diet for the rest of my life? Absolutely, unequivocally YES! I feel full and energetic and well. Do I miss some foods? Occasionally. If I have cravings, which isn't often, it's mostly for popcorn. (I think because it's hard for me to get enough salt in my diet...because when your body starts burning fat instead of clinging to it, it also stops clinging to salt; so you need to consume more salt while doing keto.) Eating flavored pork rinds (I know! I can hardly believe I eat them, either!) totally wipes out that craving. And fruit. How sad is it that I finally got the fruit orchard I've longed for and now I can't eat the fruit?! But I can eat some low carb berries, like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, in small quantities. And, joyfully, I enjoy and appreciate them more now than I used to.

Most of all, knowing that I'm preventing all the horrific complications of diabetes, including:

* Heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke
* Loss of vision
* Nerve damage and loss of limbs
* Kidney disease
* Hearing impairment
* Gastroparesis (slow emptying stomach)
* and Alzheimer's disease

is all I need to keep me on track! If I'm ever tempted to stray, I just remind myself of the very real fact that carbs/sugar are poison to my diabetic body. I really have no desire to eat poison.

This is so do-able. Many thousands of type I and type II diabetics have done it.

But What About the American Diabetes Association?

I know some diabetics who go on therapeutic keto and get their blood sugar down like mine, only to have their doctor tell them they must eat more carbs because their blood sugar should not go below 7%.


Notice that the doctor clearly understands that more carbs equals a higher blood sugar count.

Also notice that the doctor doesn't want his patient's blood sugar to be normal. (Normal is 5.7% or lower, folks.)

How can this be? I can't get into the minds of these doctors, but my opinion, and the opinion of Dr. Bernstein (who is a type I diabetic who was the first in modern times to write about how low carb diets control diabetes), many doctors see diabetics as cash cows. Get some diabetic patients, and you're in for years of expensive medical treatment due to direct treatment and complications. I hate to think any doctor would put his financial gain over the health of his patients, but I can come up with no other reason why doctors would insist their patient's blood sugar should be above normal. (By the way, my doctor is not that way. He celebrated with me when my blood sugar returned to normal.)

What about the American Diabetes Association? Why do they advocate a high carbohydrate diet for diabetics (even while mentioning that carbs raise blood sugar)? Again, that's tough to answer. Certainly plenty of research shows that high carbs equal high blood sugar in diabetics, while low carbs equal low blood sugar in diabetics. So one has to wonder if the ADA is also playing the money game. Are pharmaceuticals funding the ADA? I don't know, but it sure makes me wonder.

Frequently Mentioned Concerns

But going into ketoacidosis is deadly!

Yes, it can be. But fortunately ketoacidosis is something completely different from from going into ketosis, which is what you do on a keto diet. Learn more about the difference here.

But you have to eat carbs or your body shuts down!

First of all, no healthy diet should have zero carbs, because you'd be unable to eat any vegetables. Secondly, you do not need to eat carbs. If you reduce your carb intake, your body simply starts making it's own carbs! And it starts burning fat instead of carbs. Don't believe me? Check out these sources:

BioMed Central: "Very low carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass"

Huffington Post: "Actually, You Don't Need Carbohydrates for Energy"

Graeme Thomas: "Are Carbohydrates Essential Or Not?"

Do you get enough nutrients without eating fruit?

Yes! Eating a good mix of lower carb veggies gives me all the good vitamins and nutrients I need.

But fruit is good for you!

Sort of. Fruit is full of sugar, which is why historically it's been treated like a dessert. Yes, it has nutrients in it, but nothing you can't get from vegetables and animal-based foods. And yes, it has fiber. But that does not take away the high amount of sugar/carbs the fruit has, and the fact that they affect your blood sugar.

But low carb diets count net carbs!

Most low carb diets do; that's true. They go by the theory that fiber in food "cancels out" some of the carbohydrates - so eaters subtract the fiber from any given food's carb count. This is why some people refer to certain recipes as "zero carb" even though they clearly have carbs in them.

The problem is, the carbs in such foods still affect your blood sugar. Fiber may delay your blood sugar reaction, but there is still a reaction. So while counting net carbs might be fine for non-diabetics, it's a no-no for diabetics.

But how can you loose weight while eating all that fat?

Because you've been lied to. In the 1980s, dieticians demonized fat, but the science was based on now-acknowledged made up stuff and some very dubious studies. And did you know that one of the big pushers of the modern low fat diet/whole grains movement, Nathan Pritikin, discovered, (according to Sally Fallon in her landmark book Nourishing Traditions), that a fat-free diet lead to many medical problems, including depression, difficulty concentrating, mineral deficiencies, hardened arteries, and weight grain?

Fallon also points out that fat wasn't officially blamed for heart disease until the 1950s. Since that time, "the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from 18 pounds per person per year to four." And yet, the rate of heart disease and obesity became epidemic during that same period.

Natural fats are good for you. Your body needs them!

But you'll die of heart disease eating all that fat!

Actually, no. The world's top cardiologists now say dietary fat has nothing to do with heart disease. In fact, they say healthy fats can improve your heart health and that carbohydrates are probably more to blame for heart disease. This, this and this are just three of the many studies that have come out in recent years that support these claims.

I could never eat such a restrictive diet.

Actually, unless you eat anything and everything, you already eat a restrictive diet. :)  But truly, I don't feel deprived. One of the joys of adding fat back into your life is that everything tastes so good! As any good chef will tell you, fat equals flavor. And there is such a wide variety of really delicious food you can eat on this diet, it's hard to feel deprived.

Get real; what's most challenging about this diet and how have you overcome these things?

I haven't had a ton of cravings, but when they hit, they hit hard. I already mentioned my popcorn craving and how flavored pork rinds vanquish them. (They have to be flavored for me to find them edible. I'm going to experiment with making my own, more wholesome flavorings for plain pork rinds.) I also sometimes really miss the freshness of fruit in my mouth, even though I really never ate much fruit until we moved to our new homestead last year. I overcome this by knowing the exact carb count of cherry tomatoes (1 per tomato), and often have 4 or so for a snack. I also cautiously eat a few strawberries or raspberries now or then. Chocolate cravings at that time of month are challenging, too, because I think I'm allergic to Stevia (I feel lousy after eating it), and I just can't make myself eat bad-for-you artificial sweeteners. I plan to experiment with some other natural sweeteners (like Erythritol) soon. When I was sick a few months back, I craved carbs - I suppose because that's what I grew up eating while sick. I learned to make "90 Second Bread," which has only 5.7 carbs per serving.

Another challenge is eating out. We don't do it often, and if we go to an American style restaurant, I'm just fine. But if my hubby craves Chinese or Mexican? Yikes. Recently, I picked what I thought would be an okay meal at a Chinese restaurant: beef and green beans. But it spiked my blood sugar; it had a sauce, which I'm sure had either sugar or flour or both - even though I questioned the waitress about any sugars or flours in the dish and she assured me it would be without them.

People tend to think family gatherings would be challenging, but I'm blessed with a family that understands the seriousness of diabetes and tries to make sure there's something I can eat at all gatherings. If you're not so fortunate, plan to bring keto food to the gathering, or eat before the gathering.

Further Reading

The Skinny on Fat
Why the War on Fat Was a Huge Mistake
23 Studies on Low Carb and Low Fat Diets 
The Ketogenic Diet 101
A Guide to Healthy Low Carb Eating with Diabetes
Facebook's Reversing Diabetes Group Files 
My Facebook Group of Keto Recipes (Very Low Carb/Keto/LCHF Recipes)
My Pinterest Page of Keto Recipes (LCHF Diabetic Recipes)
Diabetic friendly recipes on this blog
Signs You May be a Diabetic

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor should anything on this website (www.ProverbsThirtyOneWoman.blogspot.com) be considered medical advice. The FDA requires me to say that products mentioned, linked to, or displayed on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this web site is designed for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified medical advice or care. There are no assurances of the information being fit or suited to your medical needs, and to the maximum extent allow by law disclaim any and all warranties and liabilities related to your use of any of the information obtained from the website. Your use of this website does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. No information on this website should be considered complete, nor should it be used as a substitute for a visit to, consultation with, or the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider.

Apr 13, 2017

How to Make Cutworm Collars to Protect Seedlings

One day last fall, I was sad to find some of my cabbage seedlings guillotined - their tops sitting neatly beside the pots they'd been planted in. Last weekend, I discovered some of my precious tomato seedlings had suddenly disappeared. Both problems were caused by the same pest: Cutworm. These nasties crawl around at night and chew through young plants at the base of the soil, quickly decimating garden crops.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix: Just give your seedlings collars!

There are several methods of doing this, but my favorite is to use ordinary kitchen foil, since it holds up to spring rains or garden watering. Watch this quick video to discover how to do it:

Apr 12, 2017

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

Now is a great time to make homemade, DIY sauerkraut. It's healthier than store bought (because all those good probiotics are still in there, whereas most store bought sauerkraut is "dead" of probiotics), cheaper than store bought, and fun and easy, too. Here's my preferred method - which, incidentally, does not require any special tools. For written instructions, click here.

Apr 10, 2017

Foraging for Miner's Lettuce

How to Identify, Eat, and Grow this Super FoodThis post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site!

Imagine it's the days of the California Gold Rush. Despite the lofty name given the period, times are tough. Gold is hard to find, and you went into debt to buy the things you needed to try to strike it rich. Food isn't abundant in the winter. In fact, you may be totally out of winter provisions. You might also be feeling tired and sickly. Then the first spring rains come, and you learn from a native friend that there's a cure for your winter ailments: A common, abundant weed that will make you feel better and fill your stomach.

Today that weed is commonly called Miner's Lettuce, because so many gold miners cherished it as a way to prevent scurvy. It's got lots of vitamin C, and is one of late winter and early spring's first wild offerings. Most often, it's eaten raw, as in a salad, but it can be cooked like spinach, too, and tastes similar to that green.

Common miner's lettuce's lily pad shaped leaf is easy to spot. Courtesy of Wikimedia and Franco Folini.
Identifying Common Miner's Lettuce

There are two main types of Miner's Lettuce in the United States. The most common, if foraging guidebooks are to be believed, is called simply "Miner's Lettuce." According to most sources, it's not native to this continent, but is believed to have been introduced to North America from Europe in 1794. It's sometimes called Indian lettuce, Cuban lettuce, winter purslane, miner's green, spring beauty, or it's Latin name, Claytonia perfoliata. It grows primarily in western North America, especially in coastal or mountainous regions, from Alaska and British Columbia down through Arizona and Central America. It can also be found in the interior western states. It tends to grow in great patches and has distinctively round, lily pad like leaves. This plant loves moist areas and tends to grow abundantly from late winter to mid-spring, notably in shady, wooded areas. It particularly loves disturbed areas of soil, especially if the area has recently seen fire.
Before blooming. Courtesy of Wikimedia and Rob Hille.

Miner's lettuce grows in a rosette, up to about 15 inches high. Usually the leaves are green, but the first young leaves may be purple or even brown-green. The mature leaves have very long stems - up to about 8 inches long. The five petaled flowers are pink or white and 3/4 - 1 1/2 inches long, appearing from about February through June.

Courtesy of Wikimedia and Rob Hille.

Courtesy of Wikimedia and
More rare purple miner's lettuce. Courtesy of Wikimedia and Jason Hollinger.
Identifying Siberian Miner's Lettuce

Our Siberian miner's lettuce starts purple and slowly turns green with time.

The second type of miner's lettuce is commonly called "Siberian Miner's Lettuce," or sometimes Siberian spring beauty, Western spring beauty, candy flower, pink purslane, or it's Latin name, Montia sibirica. It's native to both Siberia, and according to some sources, North America. (Other sources have the plant introduced to North America in the 18th century.) It grows over much of western North America, including Alaska down to British Columbia, down to California and Montana, and then west to Utah.

This plant is quite different in appearance from the other type of miner's lettuce. It's leaves and stems are lanceolate (almost heart shaped), succulent, thick, and about 2/5 - 2 inches wide. Early leaves can be purple, but more mature leaves are green. They grow in a basal rosette. The plant has 3 - 8 inch flowers with five pink, white, or pink and white striped petals. It usually flowers between February and August. It's stems grow about 4 - 14 inches high. Like common miner's lettuce, Siberian miner's lettuce often grows in patches, though I've also found single plants in our forest. You're most likely to see Siberian miner's lettuce in moist woods.

Close up of a Siberian miner's lettuce leaf.
Growth habit of Siberian miner's lettuce.
Siberian miner's lettuce flower.
A clump of Siberian miner's lettuce.
How to Eat Miner's Lettuce
Both types of miner's lettuce are edible raw or cooked. Usually the leaf is used, but stems, and flowers are all edible and high in vitamins A and C. This plant does contain oxalates (just like almonds, tea, rhubarb, and bananas), which can build up in the body and be toxic. So be smart: Vary your diet! (Read more about oxalates here.)

According to foraging expert Hank Shaw, The Journal of the American Dietetic Association says that every 100 grams of miner's lettuce (about as much as you'd use in a salad) contains 33.3% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C, 22% the vitamin A, and 10% of the iron.

Herbalists say miner's lettuce cleanses the body. It's high in chlorophyll and antioxidants, which may back up their claim. This wild green is also said to contain Oega-3 fatty acids, although I could find no scientific papers to back up this claim.

To harvest, cut the stems off near the soil, or cut off the leaves only. Young leaves taste best and have the best nutrition. Once the plant flowers, the leaves may taste more tangy. Older leaves, or plants growing in the sun, can taste bitter. Usually the flowers - only fresh ones - are left on the leaves and added to salads. Harvest responsibly. Leave plenty of the plant behind, so wildlife can reap its benefits, and so the plant will continue to thrive and spread.

Planting Miner's Lettuce from Seed

If you don't have miner's lettuce nearby, you can now buy seeds for it! Both Territorial Seed Company and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds carry common miner's lettuce seeds. You can even buy common miner's lettuce seeds on Amazon!

Just remember that like most wild plants, if given a setting they like, miner's lettuce will spread. So consider planting it in a container, and make sure you remove flowers before they go to seed.

Apr 8, 2017

Weekend Links

I'm loving learning about the wild plants on our homestead.
In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page.

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

* The plum trees are done blooming and are getting bright green leaves. The pear, cherry, and prune trees are blooming, as are some of the blueberries. One of the apple trees is about to bloom pink, I believe. Every day there are changes on the homestead - things becoming greener and more alive. I love this time of year!  I have lots of baby plants waiting for a garden bed. Hubby did a great job getting trees down and cleared away, so now I just need to have soil brought in. (The garden area has rocky, clay soil, so creating berms or raised beds is the path of least resistance.) Oh, and did I mention they finally finished replacing our pole barn? So now, theoretically, we can finish unpacking!

* My little guy is so excited to finally have a Bible he can read himself! I used the Hear Me Read Bible with both my kids, and they both love(d) it. I can't recommend it enough if you have a beginning reader.

* Recall of asthma inhalers.

* Recall of frozen peas sold at Aldi due to possible listeria contamination.

* Recall of Hunt's chili due to salmonella.

* Little boys escape kidnappers by remembering their mom's simple rule: Adults don't ask children for help. 

* Pediatrician gives advice on protecting children from sexual predators.

* Mom and children evade kidnappers by noticing these signs.

* American Kids Badly Need a Chore Culture 

* How to make fermented pickled asparagus.

* Making ricotta cheese in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

* Oh my goodness! I think I need this shower curtain that looks like rustic wood doors for our bathroom! 

* Free printable "He Is Risen" banner.

Oldies But Goodies:

* 5 Safety Rules Every Kid Needs to Know
* Teaching Children How to Forage 
* How I've Blown it as a Mom


Apr 6, 2017

The Best Empty Tomb Easter Ideas on the Net

Over the years, I've shared lots of ideas for making Easter more meaningful for your children. But now that my kids are getting older - the youngest not quite beyond the Easter egg hunt, but still having a much better understanding of what Easter is all about - I'm striving to set up more reminders about Easter's deeper meaning. The empty tomb is an easy, graphic symbol of what Easter truly means, and this year, I hope to incorporate some of these ideas:

Empty tomb donut, via Catholic Icing.
* Empty Tomb Cake. This is a fun project to do with the kids. All you need is a Pyrex bowl or a domed cake pan. Here's a variation that might be even easier.

* Empty Tomb Donut. It doesn't get any easier than this! Just plop a donut onto a cracker and viola! An empty tomb craft/decoration/dessert! Here's a variation on this activity, which also uses a donut hole. Another variation uses half a bundt cake.

* Empty Tomb Pineapple. Ha! It's just like the donut project, but made with a slice of pineapple!

* Empty Tomb made with Cookies. Also super-easy. Use store bought or homemade cookies to make this Easter display.

* Empty Tomb Cookies. This is a fantastic way to really garner the interest of younger kids. You help them make cookies that turn into empty tombs overnight.
Empty Tomb Garden, via Uncommon Designs.

* Empty Tomb Garden Pot. If you have a green thumb, grab a pot, some small rocks, and some grass seed to create a lovely Easter display.

* Resurrection Buns. Similar to Empty Tomb Cookies, but much easier. This is a tradition in our house, and one that my children love.

* Play Dough or Salt Dough Tomb. A fun craft for grade schoolers.

* Moving Empty Tomb. A free printable for younger kids, which uses a comic strip that moves through the hole in the empty tomb to tell the story of Easter.

* Empty Tomb Made of Legos. Self explanatory...and you'll know if this is THE activity for your kid!

* Empty Tomb Play Box. This is perfect for very young children. The instructions aren't specific to Easter, but you can easily tie this into an Easter picture book, plus playtime.

Related Posts:

* 14 Christ-Centered Easter Ideas
* A Week of Easter Activities
* Making Easter Egg Hunts More Meaningful