Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Homemade tortillas

For years I put off trying to make flour tortillas at home, thinking it must be too difficult. And why go through the trouble anyway, when they are available at the store, mass-produced, packaged, and ready to go?

Welll, I found out that those icky mass-produced, ready-made tortillas are not to be compared to hot, homemade ones. And they are actually very easy to make! Here's the recipe we use. I call it mine, because I've adapted it :o)

4 cups flour (use as much whole wheat as you want)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 cups water

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Sprinkle with oil, and mix until you have even crumbs (no big ones). Stir in one cup of the water, then add just a little at a time until you have a workable dough (meaning when you knead it, it doesn't "crack" where you bend it). Knead about twenty times.

Let the dough sit for 10 minutes, then start heating a large skillet or griddle to med/high heat, not high enough to make it smoke. Your cooking surface should be dry, not greased. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, and roll them out into circles as thin as you can get them. Cook the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, or until the dough is firm and you see browned spots.

These are so delicious while they are hot! We have eaten them with refried beans, cheese and salsa, etc. They are also yummy for a snack, with butter and honey on them. Oh, the possibilities.

They take about twenty minutes to make, start to finish, and that is if you roll them out, like I do. If you happen to have a tortilla press, you could whip these out all the faster!

¡Buen provecho!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Laundry soap experiment

Lately I've been playing around with the idea of making laundry soap, for several reasons. One, it would be something less harsh to wash my family's clothing with. Two, it's cheaper than the laundry soap we can buy here. And three, it just looked like fun! So when we ran out of powdered laundry soap yesterday, well, necessity provoked some invention.

Most of the recipes I found online called for a bar of plain soap, borax, and washing soda. I did find one recipe without borax, and that was good because I can't buy borax here.

So I shredded a bar of soap into a saucepan and melted it with a little water. Then I poured that into a bucket with 2.5 gallons of hot water.

Then stirred in a cup of washing soda. Actually, all I could find was a laundry treatment powder made of 1/2 sodium carbonate (which is the "washing soda") and 1/2 sodium percarbonate, thinking that it wouldn't make much difference. Would it?

The recipe said to set it aside to cool. Which I did. And the stuff just kept foaming up... and UP...

...and UP SOME MORE.

Perhaps that sodium percarbonate made it do that, because none of the recipes I saw said anything about the soap foaming up.

Anyhow, what we ended up with was a nice liquid gel laundry soap with a foamy head. We stir it up, then use 1/2 cup of it per load, or a little more for particularly dirty loads. It works great, and smells so fresh!

Friday, July 25, 2008


What's this girl up to?

Trying to look casual...

Uh oh... She's not gonna...

YEP, she wants to ride that cow!

OOF!... Well, maybe next time. :o)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Attitude of the Heart

"Thou Shalt Not Kill."

This, the sixth of the Ten Commandments, is written succintly there in the context of Exodus 20. It is further explained in the next chapter of the Bible. There the law states that premeditated murder calls for execution, but a person who kills another person in self-defense or by accident is not to be put to death. The difference is in the intent and attitude of the heart.

"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer..."

...Words from I John 3:15 reiterating that murder is not just the act of taking the life of another person, but it is the attitude of the heart that makes a murderer. So one can be a murderer without taking someone's life!

Now I am going to say some things here that not everybody is going to agree with, but I think I stand on God's Word.

Most Christians believe that aborting a baby is wrong, that life begins at conception, and to take away that life is to commit murder. But many of those same people practice a form of abortion in the privacy of their own homes. Others have the spirit of abortion and murder, harbored deep in their hearts. I am talking about an ungodly attitude toward having children.

"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it."

We call it "family planning". But if you are a Christian, you say Jesus pilots your ship, that God is in control and you've surrendered your life to Him. Why is it, then, that you take the helm when it comes to having children? Whose job is it to build our families? It is the Lord's, and there is no Biblical evidence that shows that responsibility has been placed into human hands, regardless of our modern medical advances.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Children are gifts from the Lord! Imagine if the royal king of a vast kingdom were to choose to honor a peasant by bestowing him a rich, priceless treasure. He sends a caravan to deliver it to the doorstep of the pauper with much pomp and an entourage of well-wishers. But when they arrive, the poor fellow turns them away and sends the gift back to the castle from whence it came. He doesn't need it, nor want it.

Would this not be offensive to the king? Of course it would! It would be at the height of ingratitude and shameful arrogance on the part of the peasant. Or perhaps simply ignorance of the value of the treasure he turned away!

A child is an eternal soul, a priceless treasure, that God intends to give to a man and his wife. It is His blessing upon the marriage. Will the Christian turn away such a priceless gift, given with all love and blessings from the heart of God? It is certainly an unrighteous attitude toward the Giver of Life. Each one of us will give an account to Him one day.

And yet many Christian families take careful, premeditated measures to turn away the blessings of God. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but most of them have to do with convenience. (Peasant: "I don't have room in my house for all this gold!" or "I don't think I have what it takes to manage it all, and am too lazy to learn how.")

So what does family planning have to do with the spirit of abortion and murder? The attitude. The attitudes that one can't afford children, or just doesn't like children, or that it would disrupt the course one wants to take in life, are common whether contemplating abortion or just family planning.

Granted, family planning is not necessarily an act of murder (although most methods can destroy life that is already there). But I think Christians should rethink their attitude toward having children, and make sure we have the mind of God on this issue. If we were to place the same value on children that God does, there would be far fewer families limiting the number of children they have.

"Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mr. Personality

Baby Joel is eight months old. He's so much fun! His sisters love to do silly stuff with him.

Okay, so I was doing it, too. :o)

"Hey, there's Mom..."

"Got milk?"

He puts in long hours of playing and learning. So when it's naptime or bedtime, he sleeps like a... well, like a baby.

He is such a sweet blessing from the Lord! :o)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

Nina over at Portugal Bound tagged me for a meme. This is my first time to do a meme, so fortunately for me, the rules are simple:
1) Link to the person who tagged me.
2) Mention the rules.
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself.
4) Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them.
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged.

So here are six quirky details about me:
1) In fifth grade I decided to stop biting my nails. Then I started biting my cuticles instead. Still do.
2) I have a tiny hole at the top of each ear that I was born with.
3) I procrastinate until the last minute. I guess I work better under pressure.
4) My doctor hates to see me coming. He knows I most likely will not take his advice nor Rx, but rather get his diagnosis then look for a home remedy to treat it.
5) Babies #4, #5 and #6 were born in water. I loved it!
6) My husband asked me to marry him when he was fifteen. (Good thing we lived 300 miles apart. Ahhh, camp romance!)

Okay, so I'm tagging:
Tammy at View from Behind. Church planter's wife. God bless her!
Ashleigh at Heart and Home. Military wife. God bless her, too!
Charity at Fresh from the Chari Tree. A fellow Texan, Yee-Haw!
Jaynee at The Lockwood Family blog, if she has time. This lady has 11 precious little ones to look after!
My buddy Tori at A Home Away From Home. She did a meme a while back, but might have developed some new quirks since then ;o)
And Sandra at WatercolourDreams, about whom I would like to know more. :o)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pickin' some salad

We are enjoying some fruit from our little garden, and will soon have broccoli, cauliflower and beets. Sadly, our tomatoes were attacked by what turns out to be fungus. I'm going to try to save them by spraying them with GSE water.

Ever hear of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)? It is a wonderful antifungal, germicidal, all-purpose product. It can be used externally, taken internally, used to disinfect anything! It's wonderful. Google it, and you'll learn more about it.

On fire!

This rose is on one of the beautiful rose bushes that Daniel has planted for me. Its color is so vivid, I had a hard time taking a picture of it that shows detail instead of a bright flash of orangey-red! To me, it looks just the color of glowing embers.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two Special People

Forty years ago today, Edgar Graham and Barbara Epps tied the knot. They went off to Bible College, started a family, and began a lifetime of serving the Lord. I am so blessed to have been raised in their home!

Dad is Mr. Steady. His faithfulness to Mom and to our family made our home solid indeed. He was the first man that ever held the heart of this little girl, and there remains a special place for him there, even though I'm married and have a family of my own. His easy laugh is music to my ears, and there's no one I'd rather hear sing, than Dad.

Mom is Mrs. Creative. She seems to be good at anything she puts a hand to, and has never ceased to amaze me with her music, her art, her way with children... I don't know how I could have survived those difficult adolescent years without her patience and willingness to listen. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. Oh wait, I am grown up. Well, I still have a ways to go, but I have a wonderful example in my Mom.

Dad and Mom raised four children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Sometimes when we needed it, they nurtured and admonished the tar out of us, but we always knew they loved us! I am so grateful for that. I am forever indebted to my parents for teaching me about love, family, laughter, loyalty, joy, and God.

Their love for God and for each other has stood the test of time. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you!

"The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." Psalm 16:6


This is me, taking Oscar and Canela out for a walk. Correction: Oscar runs, leaps, rolls, and gambols; Canela walks, but only because I've got her on a leash, and I'm walking. She keeps that leash pretty tight. Have you ever seen horses released from the starting gates at a horse race? That's Oscar and Canela when we open the yard gate to take them out. Check out Oscar on the left.

Here's a closer look:

That dawg is airborne!

Do you see the look of grim determination on his doggy face? That's because he has one thing on his mind:

Not the cute little boys, but the flock of unsuspecting sheep behind them.

Our dogs are sheepdog wannabe's.

"Bring 'em home, Lassie!"