“Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

June in pictures

Hi all :)
I thought I would photo blog June, or otherwise all the pics I took throughout the month were in vain.
June was a month that reminded me that Winter brings with it many challenges: Laundry...cold dreary, dark days (which make me feel a bit blue at times) and flu bugs. Most people I know are sick at the moment..& thankfully after 4 days in bed I am almost over the worst of it. Yes all those things we so quickly forget about once Spring is in the air and Summer well under way. Autumn woos us with its lovely shades and welcomed cooler days and then BAM !! hello Winter is back to stay :)


 The positive aspects of Winter for me: Soup, Wooly's, coats and scarfs, the sound of the fire crackling away and gratitude in my heart for these blessings, as I know many don't have them.

Life slows down somewhat here at The Little Homestead (at least in the soap making side of things), and it gives me time to plan new things...think about what to plant in the garden in Spring, and also time to get around to little jobs I have neglected..cough cough..such as washing a few curtains etc..anyway on with the pics (some are a bit blurry) of what I achieved, surprises etc this month.
 I gathered the last of our apples (Sturmer), cooked and bottled them, to use in crumble puddings. The rest I put in the fridge to use for muffins etc.
 I quite forgot about the beetroot we planted in summer..oops. As I was getting the last jar out of the preserves pantry I remembered it. I thought it might have gone woody, but decided to pick it all and cook it up. It did take over an hour to cook as some of the beets were very big. I canned about 7 x 1 pound/500g jars of pickled beets. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 Lovely hubby helping with the dishes after one of my many messes xo

Just another banana cake...we seem to have it quite often :)

 Bread : I spent several hours one day baking a huge batch of bread (3 loaves - that's huge for me)..and I was so proud of myself...wait for it...then at the final stage, what did I do? You guessed it, I overcooked it :(   I didn't even think I could slice it, so left it covered with a tea towel over night and then the next morning I was able to slice it thickly. I just froze the whole lot and we've been gradually making our way through it as toast. It's still delicous..but I was very dissapointed in myself !!
 This is the latest book hubby has been reading me while I cook dinner.
Surprise !!! a big fat cute rabbit appeared in the garden one afternoon. !! I spotted him the next day too, but then he disapeared, just as quickly as he arrived. I almost felt like Alice in Wonderland.

My new soap stamp arrived - that was exciting :) (Heart and Hand)

 I found this lovely poem book that was in the 'Free Box' at a Homeschoolers weekend I attended with my daughter (so I could help with the grand baby). What a lovely weekend it was too. Anyway - the poem book. I loved so many of A.A. Milne's poems as a child, but didn't even realise who the author was. Maybe we read them aloud in the classroom or something. It's a bit vague in my memory, I just know they are familiar and they bring me joy, at their silliness. I've been reading some of them to our grandson Alex and he's enjoyed them too :)
 A book out of the library. Shibori is something I'm interested in. I used to do batik many many moons ago when my children were small, but all the complicated heating of wax, ironing it out of the fabric etc put me off....because I just didn't have the time back then. However Shibori doesn't involve wax, its just sort of tie-dying with Indigo. I love the finished patterns and the bright contrast of deepest navy and white.

This months second hand store find $2.00. Its a ravioli mold, with an enamel base :) I haven't used it yet, but plan too. I do made my own pasta every now and then and even purchased a wooden dowel stand thingy that you drape the pasta over to dry. In the past I've just used my broom handle propped up. Maybe winter might give me a chance to get back to some of those activities and venture into Ravioli making too :)

More baking: Blueberry muffins with Lemon Zest and a little bit of lemon glaze icing drizzled on top.

 My little preserves pantry. I also keep some jars in anther large pantry, as this little one doesn't like too much weight on the legs.

Tasha Tudor Pantry art


and that's all for June, as now we're already into July..phew :) Time for me to go to bed. 
Blessings to anyone who reads this. Please leave a comment if you feel to. I'd love to hear what's happening in your corner of the world :)
 ~ Linda


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 
John Steinbeck



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Saddened

What makes you sad? What puts a burden on your heart? What causes you to become discouraged?

I'm sure the answer to this may be different for each one of us.
One thing that causes me much sadness is 'Facebook'. While I know it's lovely to be able to connect there with friends and family and share pictures from our holidays etc;  still  the many negative things I see there cause me to wonder if the good out weighs the bad?

The other day I saw a post from the Duggar family pop up, where one of their children had celebrated a birthday. There was a picture taken of the birthday girl standing in a group with some of her friends.
 I suppose its their choice that they share these images with the world and then open themselves to whatever people will do by way of 'comments'. If anything one would think people might click 'like', or write happy birthday - smiley etc. You would think...and yes people did do and say those things, but what they also did and said was distressing. People took it upon themselves to critique the clothing that the girls were wearing. The girls were dressed nicely/modestly and looked happy...It was a special day. However people criticized the style of dresses, saying they looked frumpy etc etc and picked on one friend of the Duggar family in particular, saying she looked like she was wearing her grand mothers dress...and on and on it went.

After reading through some of the comments, I felt thoroughly disillusioned and asked myself these questions:
1. Why are these people following the Duggars? Do they share the same values? Are they christian? 2. What makes them feel entitled to say anything of this nature at all?  Are they aware that their words are cruel and mean spirited?

and I reflected on these thoughts:

1. Would people say those comments to the girls face to face?
2. Does social media provide a venue to promote meanness and bullying?

Once this type of behavior was relegated to our childhood schoolyard years..or was it? It still apparently happens on social media and in work places, so it can't be just considered 'childish' behaviour.

Time and time again on Facebook I witness people being very thoughtless and hurtful with their words and posts. Just spewing out horrible things, without thought that they will hurt others. I see people putting others down, discussing personal matters, telling whole arguments publicly, where one tells there side of the story, but the others persons side is never heard.
I wonder why do people even do this? Is it to get attention? sympathy?  to make themselves look good? I just don't understand it.

When I see this kind of behavior among those that don't know the Lord, I can sort of accept it easier, because I know they are not striving to live a holy life, and are not aware of God's goodness and what He requires of believers.

When I see it going on with people who profess to know the Lord and supposedly walk with Him, I am saddened greatly.
1. It casts believers in a poor light. Where is the moral integrity? Can they be trusted?,  if they would publicly malign someone so easily?
2. What does it do to someones witness?  People scoff at Christians as it is..and say things like.."Ha..look what she's doing, saying etc and she calls herself a christian". (or Him)

I have brought all these thoughts and concerns to God in prayer and was reminded of these scriptures from His word.

Matthew 12:36
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

and...

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (NIV)

My daughter keeps telling me that I am too sensitive, and while I don't deny this (It's how God has made me). I do feel very strongly about what I have written here. Also, it is not judging. What I am doing is simply naming something that is real and going on constantly.

If this speaks to you?as it has caused me to examine my own heart, then I pray you will think about what you say, write, share publicly in a deeper way and how it will affect others. Let's strive to encourage and support one another, celebrate alongside others and not tear down.

Blessings to anyone who reads this and comment if you feel to. ~ Linda

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Busy.. Busy..

Life, Oh my isn't it busy?
I always find there are more tasks/projects to be completed than hours in the day. When one has a set back in their health it only adds to those things mounting up. Currently we are getting parts of our roof repaired.

Our home was built in 1880, so its understandable that their is much that needs doing. Yesterday the sound of hammers banging away was music to my ears..with intermittent pauses as sun showers came through. We're also getting some rotten weather boards replaced. Then all this new work will require painting, which will be my husbands domain, eventually :)
I thought I would just post a whole bunch of pictures of various things I snapped over the past couple of weeks, mostly baking & soap :)
Muffin our cat, lounging on the front deck.
Front yard trees in Autumn, now they are all bare, except for the Camelia's which are just coming into flower :)

1st up: I love to go to Second Hand Stores - called Op Shops here in NZ, as one never knows what little treasures might be found. This week I got a little Hand Sifter, and some good quality square baking tins (esp for Christmas fruit cakes). I picked up this little crockery mustard pot a couple of weeks back - too cute !!!
here it is displayed on my kitchen shelf :)
and some baking I've been doing for lunch boxes etc.
Chocolate Afghan Cookies - some with choc chips & some with walnut toppings.

CHOCOLATE AFGHAN COOKIES

200g Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder - sifted
1 1/2 cups cornflakes 

ICING
1 - 2 Tablespoons Butter
1 - 2 T cocoa powder
2 t vanilla essence
1 packed cup icing sugar
Hot water to mix


Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper (I always use baking paper or those silicone
tray liners that are washable.
3. In a medium size bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa. Mix well. Add cornflakes and mix again, being careful not to thoroughly smash the cornflakes :)
5. Roll mixture into balls, I use a tablespoon (not mounded). Press with a fork.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Ice with chocolate icing and sprinkle with walnuts or chocolate chips. ~ enjoy

Icing: Mix icing sugar and cocoa with a fork. Throw in the butter, mash till crumbly. Add vanilla & mix well. Drizzle drops of Hot Water at a time and beat until a smooth consistency is reached, but still thick (not runny !!!) . 

Hokey Pokey Biscuits - a simple old fashioned and inexpensive Cookie with quite a unique flavour. My Nana used to make them when I was a child and I always loved them !

HOKEY POKEY BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS
125g softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 Tablespoon warm Milk
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Method: 
1.  Preheat oven to 170 C
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3.  Warm the milk in the microwave and stir in the baking soda until it froths.  
4.  Add milk mixture and creamed mixture to the flour. Mix well and form into small balls. 
5. Place on lined trays. Press with a fork lightly and bake for about 12 minutes. ~ Enjoy

I also made some Black currant Jam from Blackcurrants I had from the garden in our freezer. It turned out beautiful. Apparently most berry jams are improved when the berries have been frozen (well especially blackcurrants), it soften the skins. 


Yield x 9 Jars

Soap & Apothecary: I restocked my website with Body Butter (so perfect for Winter) and made some lovely Rosemary/Lavender Soap with French Green Clay.



all tidied up and stamped :) These are Bastile Bars made with 75% Olive Oil (I know the stamp says 72%) :) plus Coconut Oil for extra Bubbles and Cocoa Butter for added moisturizing properties. One of my favorite soaps.
same batch, different molds (below)
Rose Geranium Savon Bastile Bar Soap (with Coconut Milk)
Little Owl Lavender Cocoa Butter Soap


Garden produce: Our Feijoas are just finishing off outside. All up we gathered about 3 plastic supermarket bags worth of fruit (about 10 kilo - 20 lbs.) We gave some away and have just been enjoying eating them fresh on porridge with homemade yogurt in the mornings. I havn't bottled any this year (just storing them in the fridge). We also have a huge yield of Sturmer cooking apples that I havn't done anything with either sigh...well I did make one apple pie so-far. But honestly we do not need to be eating desert very often. I planted all these trees to not only eat the fruit, but also preserve; however I find we mostly share it, eat it and preserve very little. But that's okay, its just a blessing to have seasonal fruit nearly all year round, that's not only organic/spray free, but also nutritious !!!


So that's about all for now. I've been making a concerted effort to return to the ways of my youth when it comes to my cooking style. I used to make everything from scratch, bread, baking meals and we were healthier for it. The garden was more of a focus, and our meals revolved more around it. I mentioned in the last post that I've been making bread again too. The problem is New Zealand wheat is not that high in gluten, so additional gluten flour needs to be added to help the texture. I purchased some Organic flour yesterday from the wholefoods store: German Spelt flour and Unbleached White. Plus some more whole grains for the grain grinder: Wheat and Buckwheat. Buckwheat makes the most delicious pancakes. Okay, so now I am rambling..I really must go and make some more labels for soap. Bye for now, blessings and love to all.
* Please leave me a comment, if you stop by, It brings me Joy with a capital 'J' to hear from you :) ~ Blessings to you ~ Linda


Thursday, 8 June 2017

All the Comforts of Home

Hello :)
Home - isn't that the loveliest word...I always remember that line from The Wizard of Oz,  where Dorothy is waking up from her dream state and saying out loud : "There's no place like home, there's no place like home "...and its so true. The older I get the more I appreciate and love being at home. In my younger years I had a bit of wanderlust and desire to see the world (which I did, the parts I wanted to see that is :), but now there is nothing I love more than cooking dinner, knowing my husband will come home and enjoy it with me, in our clean, quiet, humble home. Home for me is a place of contentment..and where I choose to use my gifts of creativity. That may be in cooking, gardening, or craft. It's never a drudge to me, rather I find it a joy.
I've just spent an hour or so writing out..well copy and paste more like and then printing out bread recipes. Periodically I go through a season where I want to make bread and experience the wonderful aroma as it bakes. I watched this video below on youtube and was even more inspired, even though I'm not really a white bread gal.



One of the main reasons I wanted to get back into bread making, was because
1. Its more nutritious and you can add whatever you want to in it.
2. It seems to be better for my whole digestive system and body in general. No more upset tummy, like I get when I eat regular bread from the supermarket. 
3. It's cheaper :) and puts the most wonderful, earthy, homely aroma into the atmosphere.
Anyway...
This week I've mostly been making bread in the bread maker as I havn't been feeling the best, some sort of Winter virus thing...sigh. So far  I've made Oatmeal/Milk & Honey bread, which was very delicious and wholemeal/seed bread - with a mix of seeds: linseed, chia, sunflower& pumpkin. I also occasionally add in some ground cornmeal and Barley, which I grind with this little guy: My Snitzer Pico electric Grain Grinder. Its the smallest model, but adequate for our needs.

Another bread I often make is 'Crunchy Bread'..full of lots of seeds too. As soon as this bread is baked and cold, I slice it thick and freeze it, as it makes the most wonderful filling morning toast. But often I'll sneak a quick slice, with a little butter and peanut butter or Marmite (Our Mate) !!

such fun adding in all that nutritiousness. 


One of my latest online purchases via another blogger https://www.nourishingdays.com/
is a foodie book all about fermentation.
This is the family from Nourishing Days Blog (No, they're not Amish).
and this is Shannon's Book: Traditionally Fermented Foods
and I have to say, it is the most well written, thoroughly researched book I have ever read on this subject. I am yet to start making her sourdough recipe. It takes a week to make the Sourdough Starter, so quite the process initially and I have to be fully up to speed to start something new. If I get around to it, I'll post some pics as an update to this bready post. Well that's all for now. If anyone reads this and is also enjoys bread making I would love to hear what you bake. 
Blessings and Love 
~ Linda ~
(comments are welcome)




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Freedom



This topic just won't seem to leave me at the moment, so rather than have it drive me nuts, I thought I'd get some thoughts down on paper and see where it goes. I wanted to look at what it means to be free? and more specifically what does it mean to be truly 'Free in Christ'. Generally when we talk about being 'set free', we mean free from our sins; that Christ's blood washes away when we give our lives to Him and we no longer have to fear what will happen to us when we die eg. going to hell.

But back to freedom. As I was meditating on this subject...I started to wonder how free are we really in Christ?  If Christ died to set us free, it's about more that just that moment of our deaths; its also about setting us free from being slaves to sin in this life, right now; those desires of our fleshy/selfish nature, which we will grapple with our whole lives to varying degrees. If we've let Christ take the wheel & He truly is King of our hearts, then the grappling with sin is lessened greatly, as we surrender to Him all our struggles and he relieves us of so much turmoil.

But what could we still hold onto; even after our conversion, that might cripple us and prevent us being free in this life right now ? What could so hinder our walk that we may find the Fruits of the Spirit, such as 'Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness & Self Control to be very hard to grab hold of and not really be evident in our life at all (in a lasting way).

So far we've see that we are:
1. 'Free' from fear of where we will end up when we die (an assurance of a heavenly home).
2. 'Free' from slavery to sin (we have the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen our resolve to live pure & holy lives).

However Sin is not always so obvious. In this instance I am speaking of Fear...as we can hide our fears and it becomes a hidden sin.  If we look closely at the word of God, it reminds us we need to truly examine our lives/hearts and see if any hidden sin remains. Even a small speck can spread through the whole.

1.“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

The only antidote to true and lasting freedom from fear is greater FAITH. Without it, we strive to do a lot in our own strength; we try to control outcomes and only feel a 'sense of peace' if those outcomes are good. But often situations/outcomes in life are not so good (even as Christians). People let us down; disappointment in people, church, friends, spouse etc stalks us at every turn. We often become fearful of life and what might happen next.
So where does our peace go in these situations?.. often right out the door. Are we Free from whatever life throws at us..No, we are not. The bible tells us God causes the sun to shine on the good and the bad. Are we Free to choose how we respond to life's situations? Yes we certainly are. What does this require?  It requires staying anchored in the Freedom we have in Christ. Walking steadfastly in Faith and not allowing Fear to have even a foothold in our lives. We need that precious faith, as of a child, trusting the Lord that he holds us and is in control. Faith and Fear are not Friends (remember that). They are like oil and water and will not mix (ever) !.

 2. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


So to conclude - To truly attain lasting Freedom in Christ simply means disciplining your mind (first and foremost - and what a battle ground that is !!!), and your heart to choose to trust the Lord and walk in faith, not fear.  Meditate on faith building verses of scripture. Soak yourself in them through difficult times and you will find that those verses will naturally come back into your mind when you need them most. Pin them around your home. Paste them into the front of your bible..etc. The Holy Spirit will prompt you and comfort you by them in your times of doubt to drive away any fear, anxiety and fretting. Prayer and scripture are your spiritual weapons to fight with. Believe me, it truly is a choice and it is a sin to choose fear over faith. One will give peace, comfort and warm assurance. The other will drive you mad, leaving you cold and empty.  I truly hope this post with strengthen and equip even just one person who may read this.

Blessings to all - Linda
Please feel free to leave me a comment, if this writing has helped you in any way. xo

More strengthening versus:

3.“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 4.. “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

5. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

6. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

7. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19

8.“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
9.  “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25
10. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
11. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
12. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
13. “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
14. “Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4
15. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26
16. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
17. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22
18. “Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” Mark 6:50
19. “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
20. “'For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-14
21. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
22. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” Psalm 118:6-7
23. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25
24. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40
25. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7
26. “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14
27. “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
28. “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
29. “Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.'” Revelation 1:17
30. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36
31. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38-39
32. “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17
33. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” from Psalm 91:1-16