Tammy's Kitchen

Photo tour of canning pears

Tanya's pears...

My friend Tanya has been busy canning pears, and took the time to blog about it! If you love to see sweet smiling children and lovely rows of canning jars filled with pears, or even if you just want to learn about how to can pears yourself, head on over to her great post!

Learn about canning pears!

Yehoshua reads Bible stories to me...

Yehoshua reads the Bible

Yehoshua gets very animated as he looks at the pictures. He can pick out pictures of people being hurt and of people being wicked. He points to idols and says "Bad. Idol."

Yehoshua tells a Bible story...

It's so fun to see Yehoshua telling stories!

And then....

And the all-time favorite, the Red Sea crashing down on the Pharaoh's chariots! :D "And the bad one... and the bad one... and the bad one... and the bad one... and THEN... .... and THEN..."

Here is a video clip of Yehoshua reading to me. This is an 8 MB WMV file and you can either right-click and save to desktop, or just click and it will stream.

Baked soft tacos, coffee-drinking poll, etc.

New poll: Do you drink coffee? Go vote! :D

I also added a recipe for Baked Soft Tacos!

Baked Soft Tacos recipe

Baked Soft Tacos is a quick and easy casserole sort of dish that I like to make when we're tired of regular tacos or burritos, or when I have some leftover taco meat to use up.

Today my neck is finally starting to feel better! My mom came this morning and helped me with some cleaning. I'm looking forward to feeling back to normal soon :D. Being injured is no fun, and I'm used to being able to get lots of things done... I don't like having to slow down or take things easy!

Meet the squash family? :)

Mrs. U posted all about squash in her blog entry titled Meet the Squash Family! If you were ever curious about the difference between winter or summer squash or wanted to know more about the different kinds, Mrs. U tells all about it!

Tea Review: Davidson's Cranberry Orange Tea

Davidson's Cranberry Orange tea

A tea fanatic like myself can't help but like a company with so many tempting flavors of tea, such as "Vanilla Cream Spice", "Tangerine Almond", "Caramel Peach with Coconut", and "Raspberry Cream Caramel". Davidson's boasts many unique flavors of tea. You can even request a FREE catalog through their website!

Davidson's recently became certified as organic, and ALL of their teas are now organic. They are also one of the few tea companies from which I have ordered tea directly (since none of the stores around here carry Davidson's). Their service was excellent! Their shipping was a flat rate of $4.95, and I ordered with my cousin so we could split the shipping cost. If you order over $100 of products, you get free shipping. (But only a tea-crazy person like me would ever dream of doing that!) ;)

And, for collectors, Davidson's conveniently and beautifully wraps their teabags individually. ;)

Now, about this Cranberry Orange tea. It is a caffeine-free herbal tea, and very delicious. It has a smooth flavor, and not tart or strong in the same way most other fruit teas are. The flavors are permeating but not overpowering. A delicate and soft lunchtime tea.

The one complaint I might have about Davidson's is that in their catalog or on their website, they aren't very specific at times about whether a tea is an herbal infusion or a true flavored tea. They call everything "tea" and I recall receiving a couple flavors which, on the envelopes said "caffeine-free" and clearly tasted like herbal infusions, but I had thought would be flavored black teas.

If you are looking for an affordable, quality source for organic teas, and especially enjoy caffeine-free flavors, Davidson's is the company for you!

Red Clover Sprouts

My friend Elizabeth just posted about her first batch of red clover sprouts (with pictures)! I found it fascinating, and now I want to start making my own sprouts, too! I think I will add it to my list of things to learn more about! :) Her breakfast burrito picture looks yummy!

Things YHWH has been teaching me this past year

Don't wait to be joyful and content.

I can't wait for more money, more time, or an easier life. I can't wait for my house to be perfectly cleaned, or for everything to be crossed off of my to-do list before I decide to be happy. The time to be content is right now, wherever I am and whatever is happening. I can't keep dreading what is coming "tomorrow" and waiting until "tomorrow" looks comfortable to be joyful. "Tomorrow" keeps getting clouded with unpleasant things, so now I try to be joyful today.

Don't take anything for granted.

I am learning to be thankful every day for little things like a healthy baby, food in the fridge, runing water, and a warm house. None of these things are "guaranteed" to me, and I feel so blessed. I also want to be thankful every day because...

Life can change in an instant.

I don't think I understood this very much until the day that Yehoshua broke his leg. Things had been going okay in my life. Eliyahu was almost 3 months old. Things were settling down, running smoothly.

I thought I had my days all figured out, and I was more than a little upset when my one-year-old fell on a trampoline and broke his femur. Here we were driving around to hospitals and doctors, and then caring for a child in a hip spica cast for 5 weeks.

We were busier than we had ever had been before, trying to care for two children who each required an unbelievable amount of time. (Thankfully, we had someone at our house almost constantly that first week to help us, and we all managed to get a couple hours of sleep each night!)

My life completely changed during that time, and I didn't like that. I didn't want to be staying up all night caring for an injured child. I didn't want all the struggles of dealing with the cast and injury. I just really wanted things to go back to how they used to be. I remember sitting on our couch, thinking of how I longed for how things had been "before", when I could put Yehoshua to bed for the night and only have to care for Eliyahu at night. When Yehoshua could run around... feed himself... take real baths in a bathtub.

But I realised that wishing wouldn't change anything, and life was happening right now, and YHWH never asked my opinion about allowing Yehoshua's broken leg, and the only thing I could do was start enjoying life right then. And I also learned...

YHWH can use "unfortunate" circumstances to bless us.

YHWH blessed us with so much encouragement, and so many supportive and loving friends and family during Yehoshua's injury. We would never choose to go through some things in life, but then we would also miss some really great blessings. I'm not sure how, but YHWH got us through those months (while Joshua was looking for more work, as well) and all I can say is that we're where we are now only by His grace and kindness to us.

It's humbling to receive.

I love to feel like I'm the one helping people... sending a little care package, writing an encouraging note, or blessing someone in some way. When someone does something nice for us, I like to be able to reciprocate right away. When Yehoshua was injured, I had to do a lot of receiving. People sent us cards, and toys, and came to visit, and let us borrow all sorts of things for him, and all I could manage to do in return was write thank-you notes. I felt so blessed, and so humbled... because I had nothing to give -- no time, no money, nothing -- and all I could do was receive.

Just when you get comfortable... along comes a challenge.

At least, that is how it has seemed in our life this year. If we've had a week without needing to take the children to the doctor's, or without any major things breaking down, I start wondering what's around the corner. ;) But I've also learned...

YHWH gives us strength daily, as we need it (not always before we need it), when we obey Him.

I'm learning to lean on Him moment by moment... even when the skies look dark.

YHWH can provide for me in the most unique ways when I need it.

It just might even mean waking up to find a like-new name-brand jean skirt folded and sitting on my front steps. Or someone "just happening" to have something they no longer needed and wanted to give to me. When you really need something, you really pray hard. And when you pray, YHWH answers. I love it even though it's painful. :)

And lastly...

Potty training can last 6 weeks. Or longer. With a 2.5-year-old. But it sure is nice when it's over! :D


Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

Tonight at sunset, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) begins. This is the one day of the year when I never have to cook! However, by the end of our day of fasting, I am usually ready to get back to cooking, with renewed resolution to never, ever complain about having to make dinner again!

 

So, we'll be spending time praying, reading Scripture together, and thanking our Heavenly Father for the atoning work of Yeshua's blood. It's a sobering, searching day as we stop everything else to be reminded of Yeshua's suffering and sacrifice.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Traditionally, after sunset tomorrow, we'll be eating a "break-fast" of eggs and toast. I have some thoughts written about the past year, which I plan to post here on my blog after Yom Kippur. :)

Using Online Time Wisely: How to streamline your online activities

We all live busy lives, and spending time online probably isn't at the top of our priority list. However, if we're not careful, it's easy to spend more time browsing the internet than doing things that are high on our priority list.

Here are some of the ways I streamline my online time to get the most accomplished and have more time for my family and other duties!

1. Have a plan before you get online.

Know why you're getting online, and what you plan to accomplish. It's helpful to me when I have a list of things to do online before I even turn on the computer. For example, "Check email, reply to Sarah's email, type up apple crisp recipe, and check the weather." Then when I am online I do only those things, and start a new list for next time I'm online.

Even if you don't want to go to the effort of making up a detailed list, at least have a mental list of what you want to read or do. I know if I just get online and start reading blogs or googling things, I could spend so much time on those things that I don't get anything else accomplished!

2. Do important business online before leisure reading.

This one is really important, and I've learned it first hand. ;) If I have an important email to write, work to do on this website, or need to find some information on something, I make myself finish those important things before I allow myself to start reading blogs or emailing my friends. Often, this means that I run out of computer time before I've gotten to email my friends, and before I've commented on everyone's excellent articles or thoughts in their blogs.

That can make me sad, but it's really a matter of picking and choosing and realising that I can't do everything! I used to always, without fail, read all of my friends' blogs and journals (and even blogs of people I didn't know hardly anything about!) FIRST, before writing in my own journal. As a result, I only updated my journal a couple times a week, and I very rarely found the time to write articles or deeper thought-provoking entries. I realised that I must write before I read, or I will always be too tired to write, and I love writing!

I've also learned this: Don't start chatting with friends unless you really have nothing else you need to get done online. I love to chat with friends, but I rarely even start up my chat client, because I know I could spend hours just chatting!

3. Utilize things like RSS feeds, friends' pages, or update emails.

It takes time to visit a large number of websites each day. And it's a waste of time when you browse from blog to blog, hoping for new updates when there are none. Thankfully, there are some great tools out there which can allow you to access blogs or websites of your choice via only one program.

Feed Reader is a downloadable program that allows you to download updates from your selected websites and read them offline, much like reading your email through Outlook.

Bloglines is an online program that will allow you to make a list of your favorite blogs (or websites with RSS feeds, like ours!) and view their updates through a single browser window. It's amazingly quick to sign up for, too!

If you're blogging through a website that has a network of other bloggers from their site, you may be able to take advantage of adding users to a group of "friends" and view all of their blog updates on a single page through that link.

Various online forums, message boards, and blogging programs also have a feature where you can receive notification emails when someone has replied to a comment or post you have made. Enabling this feature can save you the hassle of going back and looking for replies, while ensuring that you aren't missing replies to your comments or posts!

4. Limit what you read on a daily basis.

Decide who your closest friends are, and what websites are the most edifying and beneficial to you, and limit yourself to a certain number of blogs or websites that you visit daily. Once a week, or even once a month, visiting other blogs or websites outside of your "core"  will allow you to continue benefitting from them without taking too much time. As much as I might like to be friends with everyone, leave comments in everyone's blogs, and get to know lots of great, Godly moms and ladies, it's just not possible to be good friends with everyone.

5. Have a time limit.

If it helps, you can even set a timer. There is a seemingly endless supply of great Christian blogs and literature online, and there will always be another link you could follow, or another website you could explore. You have to stop somewhere! Having a time limit ensures that you won't accidentally spend more time browsing online than you truly want to.

6. Have some basic guidelines.

Some of my guidelines about using the computer (online or offline) include only using it when the children are asleep, and (at night) only after I've finished all my work for the night.

Too many times I would get online as soon as the children went to bed, thinking that I would "just check email real quick" and didn't stop browsing or reading until near midnight. I would walk downstairs and realise that the dinner dishes had never been done and the house was trashed. Of course, by then I was tired (why else would I have gotten off the computer?!) and didn't feel like cleaning. Getting up the next morning to a messy house, with dishes needing to be washed before breakfast, isn't a recipe for a relaxing and peaceful day. I knew I had to do things differently, and so now my rule is that I just don't even turn on the computer until the day's work is done.

New poll, new recipes, new haircut... oh wait, no new haircut! lol ;)

I posted a new poll that had been on my mind: What is your preferred drinking water? I always find poll results to be so fascinating! If you've missed any of our previous polls (we've had quite a few by now!) they can all be found here.

I also just added a new recipe for Frijoles De Olla ("Beans in a Pot"). These are kind of like refried beans, but not all mashed. They are sooooo good! I like to put sour cream and feta cheese on mine. Yum! I've really been enjoying experimenting with dried beans, especially because they are so cheap! I also wasn't raised on beans, so it's new and exciting to me!

A few days ago, I made some homemade baked beans. I didn't follow the recipe though... first, I cooked some navy beans and some pinto beans. Then I used those in the recipe instead of the canned kidney and butter beans. Butter beans are at least $0.49 per can, and kidney beans are at least $0.33 (I think, anyway), so using canned beans can really add up... when you want to make a huge batch and use lots of beans. ;)

Anyway, the baked beans were really really good with the navy and pinto beans! Yum! They're almost all gone... Joshua took the last of them in his lunch today.

Well, I'm thinking about heading to bed. Next week (hopefully!) I plan to start posting a menu each Monday. Does that interest anyone, or are menus just boring? I think my menu page needs something more to it... and posting weekly just might work!

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