The Erazo’s Doings and Happenings of 2016

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Exploring the wonderful world of God’s creeping things.

This year started out with a great desire to grow in prayer.  I designated our pantry closet as my prayer room.  I spent precious intimate hours with the Lord there.  I learned to trust and wait in the Lord once again, something we continually must cling to.  Destiny liked to rise up earlier then everyone else and join me.  What a blessing!  This pantry closet is where a lot of one to one discipline happens and lots of prayers of forgiveness with my children.

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Mornings Family Worship. Here is Liberty when she cut her own hair.


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Making tamales with the Pyles on New Year’s Eve.

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Our Christmas decorations we gather from our backyard trees.

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Merry Christmas!

Liberty maneuvered her way into piano lessons.  Even at the piano recital, she was ready to play her “piece” even though she was not scheduled to play.

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Liberty loves to enjoy the outdoors.

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Our edible gingerbread house. We weren’t done decorating when Nathaniel starts to eat it. It didn’t last very long.

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Destiny making ginger cookies.

Growing up in the homestead is a blessing for the children.  I especially enjoy the nature around.  It is also true that a farmer’s work is never done.

 

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Working outdoors is more fun with wheel barrow rides!

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Danielle and Destiny taking the goats to pasture.
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Morning chores are full of surprises and adventures. Danielle finds the goats water turned to ice. We don’t get really cold weather in Gilroy. So finding ice chunks is rare.

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These pilgrim children helped gather walnuts from our walnut grove. They cracked and sold them to help their family’s economy.

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We found banana slugs while hiking Mt. Madonna

 

God gave us the opportunity to take a tour around Lake Tahoe on the Dixie!  It was a gift from a couple who was leaving the lake.

God gave us the opportunity to take a tour around Lake Tahoe on the Dixie! It was a gift from a couple who was leaving the lake

 

Wether summer or winter, mud is always a part of childhood fun.

Whether summer or winter, mud is always a part of these children.

Our homestead grew by the acquisition of Freya who freshened in early May.  It was a Sunday and Liberty was sick so she stayed home with me while the rest were at church.  That morning I knew Freya was giving birth that day.  As I went to check up on her, she had just had one cure little buckling.  I ran back home to gather some supplies and Liberty ran out with paper towels and immediately began to clean Newt, as we called him, and carrying around.   Well, Freya became too strong for children to manage and for me too.  Newt seemed to be part boar goat so I sold both for $300.   What a deal!  I discovered that I could have easily gotten $800 for both.

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Here is Freya whom we sold because she was too strong for us. But she was a good mama to her kid.

I wanted a cross of guernsey and nubian because of the rich sweet milk of the guernseys and quantity of the nubian.  Also, I was specifically looking for a polled or disbudded buck and a doe like Faleen.  God gave us what I asked for and we acquired Beric and Amelia.  In June, Faleen freshened with two kids.  She miscarried so the kids died after a week.  I cared for them day and night for 4 days, but they didn’t make it.  It was a sad experience but I learned a lot about caring for goats and kids.

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Little Beric.

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We prayed for these two cutest little kids, Beric and Amelia.

How about our chickens?  All was well, until mischievous naughty neighbor dogs attacked them and killed 12 of our best layers.  Others were left wounded.  The egg sale at church stopped and we only had enough eggs for our family for the rest of the year.   We learned about treating the bugs in the coop and chickens without the harmful chemicals of course.  The children would go all around gathering wood for a bonfire.  Then they would catch the chickens and I would bathe them in the ash.  Later I would just throw it in their bathing holes and they will bathe themselves.

 

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At the Gilroy Gardens for Liberty’s birthday.

A big project we undertook in October was organizing our church’s Reformation Night.  We had a great amount of fun.  We made this huge castle entrance out of cardboard boxes.   I sewed costumes, put together a couple of plays and the program with the help others in decorations, food and games.  It was a great evening.  The only downside is that the time was so short to really enjoy all that was planned.  We put together a couple of trailers.

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Danielle helping make the castle for Reformation Night

Lady Jane Gray

 

Wiliam Wallace and Robert DeBruce

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2015, Growing in the Homestead

Our family’s 2015 was a year of growing on our little homestead one piece at a time.  We are very grateful for the abundance the Lord brought from all sides.  Jose’s work was steady, our new baby Nathaniel grew into a lovely baby we all took delight in.  We lost a few teeth, gained some and grew a few inches.

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Nathaniel gained some teeth. Here he is displaying his diaper rack in the background.

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Nonstop adventures for Noah and Liberty.

Nonstop adventures for Noah and Liberty.

 

Nathaniel helps Mom work outdoors.

Nathaniel helps Mom work outdoors.

 

Destiny singing as Dad plays the piano.

Destiny singing as Dad plays the piano.

 

Liberty reading.

Liberty reading.

 

Danielle making marshmallows

Danielle making Shiloh’s treats.

 

When we moved here 3 years ago, we were living in camping conditions.  My kitchen was a folding table and a single burner.  Not cold water or sink.  I used the bathroom sink to do all washing.  First came the hot water.  After a year came a temporary sink!  It was a weight off my shoulders.  A year after that, came a full range with oven and real kitchen with a dishwasher as well as a shower!  After a couple of years without these luxuries, I appreciate them.  This year, 2016, came the washer and dryer.   With all those diapers to wash,  what a blessing these machines are.  Most importantly, all these have given me a little more time to focus on teaching my children.

We spent more time outdoors this year.  The chores are never ending but surely enjoyable.

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The spring brings a beautiful mustard field covered with its yellow flowers.

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We were blessed with a big trampoline.  It is an excellent way to get some fun exercise, for me too.  There is our new car too in the background.  Now everyone has their own seat!

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On the animals side, the children had been praying for years for a dog, then Shiloh came but he didn’t belong to us.  Since we were the only ones who cared for him, the owners decided to give him to us, another answered prayer.

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Here is Danielle and Shiloh walking across the creek in the back of our property.

 

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Last February we brought in 27 cutest chicks.  They were a lot of work because we were not fully prepared with a good brooder, a place for them or a coop once they grew.  We really wanted to raise chickens because they are easy maintenance and a delightful farm flock that even little children can handle.  The pastured eggs are simply the best.  We don’t know of any good soy free pastured eggs around here.  We were also happy to provide eggs to friends from our church community.

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The chicks came by mail. The day before we put together a brooder with diaper boxes. It only lasted a few days.

 

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Jose built a big comfortable coop.

 

The coop turned out very nice.  The chickens are very happy.

The coop turned out very nice. The chickens are very happy.

 

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A tribute to our lovely Cheetah who fought to protect his flock to the death.

Happy chickens pasture in the sunshine green field all day.

Happy chickens pasture in the sunshine green field all day.

 

In April came also a cute little milking goat.  She is a mix of Guernsey and Nubian.  She looks and hops like a deer, thus, we named her Faline.  She is still waiting for her Bambi.   We also had a couple of kids born from goat Vana.

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Nathaniel feeding Faline.

 

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This year’s garden was an exciting one because we implemented the wood chips, Garden of Eden style.  I had 5 big loads of wood chips.  I did lots of shoveling with blisters and good exercise.  My setback has been those pesty gophers who ate our blooming fig tree and almost every pumpkin plant growing.  But we had tomatoes, cucumbers, unending chard and kale. We got excited about herbs. I am really happy about our little herb garden.  We took a couple of courses on herbalism called “The Taste of Herbs” and an essential oils course as well.   So I started a small medicinal and culinary herb garden.

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At the end of May, we enjoy going to the War Between the States Reenactment.  What a great way to learn about this war of Northern Aggression.  In September we drove to Southern California to our new friends who had Pastor John Weaver and his wife teaching about this war and a gun training.  We had an amazing time.

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Dressing up is half the fun.

.  Dressing up is half the fun.

In October we held a walnut picking day. We have about 15 walnut trees.  Friends came for the day and gathered as many walnuts as they wished.  After drying them,  we sit during the rainy cold winter days and crack walnuts while listening to an audio drama.

 

Walnut picking with friends.

Walnut picking with friends.

We remembered two martyred queens during Reformation Night at our church.  Danielle reenacted Queen Ann Boylen and Destiny Reenacted Queen JeAnn De Albret.  Their stories were that of self sacrifice, love for our Savior and a zeal to see the Kingdom of Christ grow in the midst of persecution.

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Danielle, sharing about the piety and courageous life of Ann Boylen.

Danielle, sharing about the piety and courageous life of Ann Boylen.

Destiny, as Queen JeAnn DeAlbret.

Destiny, as Queen JeAnn DeAlbret.

Destiny shared about the life of this fearless martyr who like a Deborah, advanced the Gospel in France like no other ruler had done.

Destiny shared about the life of this fearless martyr who like a Deborah, advanced the Gospel in France like no other ruler had done.

The children enjoyed cutting a Christmas tree this year.

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We ended the year, thanking the Lord for His faithfulness and abundant blessings over our family.  Jose and I are grateful for 16 years of marriage and blessed to be best friends.

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 Danielle and Destiny shared Scriptures of our Dear Savior during our Christmas Caroling at church.

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2014 Snapshot of the Erazo Household

A few weeks ago I was telling my daughter we were in 2014 because of an announcement in the library.  She assured me we are in 2015.  I said, “No, the library says here that they are going to start doing this in the  year 2015 that’s next year.”  Well, that was embarrassing!  I realized, how difficult a year that was for me.  Perhaps the most difficult in all my life.

Although I struggled emotionally and cried many tears, the Lord was most gracious unto me by rewarding me with a precious baby, Nathaniel Ethan.  How loving and patient God is!

The lessons learned are invaluable.  The children learned much about the doings of God and to depend and trust in Him.  Family worship triumphed by teaching the children disciplines of prayer and His righteousness.  We concluded the year reading from our “Give Thanks Wall” which are postings of praises, answered prayers and thanksgivings we do throughout the year.

Here is a very brief snapshot of the year:

The Birthdays:  Destiny turned 6 years old.

Happy birthday Destiny

 

Noah turned 4 years old.  He wanted to visit the Redwood trees for his birthday.

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Liberty Joy turned 2 years old.  We celebrated her birthday by going to the Gilroy Gardens.

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Danielle turned 10 years old.  We had a dainty tea party.  Her piano teacher, Mrs. Hershey, came to wish her happy birthday.  To celebrate her also, Dad took her to a horseback riding session with Mrs. Reed.

danielle's birthday

danielle and horse 2

 

The beach is near us.  We took trips whenever we could get away.  The water is very cold but that won’t stop the children from having fun.

carmelbeach3at the beachThis was a special trip to Carmel 17 mile drive as a reward for Danielle finishing copying the book of Proverbs.  She learned many things like spelling, grammar, vocabulary, wisdom, diligence, excellence, discipline, understanding among others.17 mile17 mile drive317 mile libby17 mile drive 517 mi drive17 mi drive destiny17 mi drive

 

We enjoyed the War Between the States Reenactment at Roaring Camp.

 

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civil war hat

danielle's hat

destiny sewing

 

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We had an abundance of apricots from our tree this year.  We made apricot ice cream, jam, pies and ate lots of them.

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Our garden was small this year because of my pregnancy.  I could not get around to planting during the season.  But we got some strawberries and cucumbers going.  The girls also planted a flower garden.

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danielle in garden 2

 

danielle weeding

 

Wings of History in May was a thrilling event for Danielle.  I can’t believe we let her fly in the helicopter.  She loved it of course.  Such an adventurer as she is!  There she goes.

 

Danielle in helicopter

 

Destiny in the Fire Fighters truck.

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Thus our Worldschool (aka homeschool) experience for this year was a success in my opinion.  The Lord provides the opportunities He wants his children to have.  We are their guides.  Study took place anywhere and in different places.

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Danielle and Destiny participated in Piano Recitals.  We have been trying to cultivate an appreciation for music.

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Another part of the children’s education was starting a small business called Wonderfully Made Body Products.  We completely sold all of our whole body products, about 20 different ones, and established faithful customers.  Some were sold to friends, family and through our Etsy shop.   We all brainstormed together, created a website for it and formulated our own recipes with professional guidance.  Danielle was a great sales representative who worked on commission.  Destiny has great marketing ideas.

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A big miracle of God’s angels very tangible to all our children was the day Noah got ran over by our van on one foot.  By God’s grace, no bones were broken.   He drag his foot for about a week or two.  So we took him to the beach to brighten his days.

 

 

noah and dad

 

Above all, the greatest blessing and miracle was the gift of Nathaniel Ethan.  I could have not gone through the hardships of this year without God’s goodness of this precious gift.

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By God’s grace, the Erazo’s share in His joy.

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It is a joy to see the growth of each of these children.  Here are the many faces of each:

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sisters and noah

 

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brother & sister

 

 

 

 

Cute Libby, as we call her.

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libbyat beach

 

little shoppers

 

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libby on horse

 

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Liberty is such a loving sister to her little brother since the day he was born.

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I had fun having a special tea time with Destiny.  Danielle set up a beautiful table for us here.  Destiny grew beautifully all year.  She is our goofy one right now bringing laughter to the whole family and a very loving girl.

 

 

tea with destiny

 

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girloy destiny

 

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destiny on chip

 

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Noah has been a delightful son.  I have taken joy in his care and obedience.  He wants to be a noble knight for the Lord.

noah and dog

 

He began to learn reading.  Here he is trying to read? or sleep?

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noah on chip

shopping

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What boy does not love adventure?

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cowboy

noah gilroy

 

 

Our Danielle continues to break ground for the rest of her siblings, fearless and adventurous.

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danielle and dog

 

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Taking every opportunity to learn about God’s Creation.

 

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She was able to ride by herself and did wonderfully.

danielle on horse

 

We must not forget another addition to the Erazo household, our playful blessed Shiloh.

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Thus, our battles were grave but we finished the year victoriously in Christ.  Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow.

 

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Profiles in Education Part 6

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Meet Leah, another homeschool gradate, a very educated young lady who is making a difference in many children around the world through her minstry.

 

Be inspired as you learn about Leah’s compassionate heart.   Her cause should really be all of ours too.  In such a materialistic environment, worldly success competition, hobbies and self-centerdness, our children can lose sight of true religion: to visit the widows and orphans.  Leah is an inspiring role model to our children of a young focused life serving God and helping others.  Leah is 18 years old and graduated from College with a Bachelor’s in Marketing.

Here is her website where you and your children can be encouraged, challenged and strengthened.

http://teensintercedingfororphans.com/tio-blog/

 

 

 

 

 

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Nurturing Children Through A Read-Aloud Story Hour

mother readOne of the most beautiful scenes is a mother sitting with a book and her children snuggled around her.  My children absolutely love this time.  It is a time of closeness and discipleship.

There are truly many benefits of reading aloud to your children:

1. It expands their imaginations.

2. It builds togetherness as a family.

3. By asking questions about the read, children learn to formulate ideas.

4.  They become adventurous and creative.  My children will take what we are reading and turn it into play during their play time.

5.  It is a time of shaping a Biblical worldview into your children by applying God’s Word to what you are reading.

6.  Children will love reading.

7.  By reading well-written books, children develop a good vocabulary and learn to write well.

8. By reading books beyond their speaking abilities, children learn to ask questions for understanding and thus great teaching mother readingsessions happen.

The books you read must be carefully selected.  There have been a few that we started and dropped into the first chapter.   This is specially true if the children have brought some from the library that we didn’t review before.  But for the most part, we read books that we purchase because we will read more than once.  My goal is to read as many good books to my children aloud when they are little, so that when they can read them as they grow.  That way we can further talk about the books and I am at peace knowing what it is they are reading.

Book list ideas:

1. My daughter read the 3 book series of Jonathan Park in two days.  They are educational, fun and adventure packed books.  She has read by herself the daughters of the faith series.  These books are great for studying history.

2. Here is a list we have read in the past and recommend, especially for girls. Book list for girls here

3.  I pretty much recommend all of the Lamplighter Publishing books.  We now enjoy the Lamplighter Theater during our car drive; they are so much fun.

4. We have a book club going on to log our reads and encourage others.  Check it out here

5. Story books are best.  An educational book that is dull, textbook like will ruin the experience.  I have found excellent character building books, science story books, lots of historical accounts that are fun.

I am now beginning to read books that are more for boys like Guns of Thunder and Men of Grits as my little Noah is able to sit for story hour.

When to do story hour:

1. In the middle of the day when it is too hot outside in the summer or the winter days have been long.  After lunch time, baby goes down for a nap, so it is perfect for reading with the other younger ones.

2. Before going to bed.  Once everyone has pajamas on, I serve cookies with milk and snuggle for a fun children’s hour of reading aloud.

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…and enjoy your little ones.  Soon they will grow and this time and way of nurturing will not suit them anymore.

 

What are some of the memories you have of reading to your children?  Seasoned mothers, what are some tips, advise you can give those in the process?

 

 

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How to Make Organic Non-GMO Masa from Scratch for Pupusas, Tamales, Tortillas and sopes

I have longed wanted to find non-GMO Masa.  Corn Tortilas are a staple in our family.  I find organic corn tortillas at Whole Foods, but I could never find out ingredients on how to make masa for all those other traditional goodies.  I remember my grandmother in Mexico making the “nixtamal”.  She would soak it and grind it with a long stone on a stone tilted table.  This was hard work.  I finally make my own masa and thankfully in a much easier way than grandma.  My mother showed me how to use the Cal and corn to prepare it.

Step 1

Gather the ingredients:

I found good organic Non-GMO field corn from Azure Standard.  Buy 25 lbs. for greater value.

You will find Cal (Lime) in any Hispanic or Mexican store in their packaged spices section.  It is a white powder.  Do not use the Cal for making concrete.

Step 2

Dissolve two Tablespoons of Cal in about 6 cups of filtered water.  Add 2 cups of corn and bring to a gentle boil slowly.  This should take about 30 minutes.

Let it sit overnight or about 12 – 24 hours in a non reactive container like stainless steel or glass.

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I have a handy salad spinner to rinse and rub my corn.  Do this procedure about 3-5 times.

Step 4

Pour half of the corn into a food processor with a little water 2-4 tablespoons and salt (1/2 teaspoon).  Let it grind for about 3-5 minutes, until it is smooth.  Scrape the sides once through the process.  Repeat with the second batch.  Mix together with your hands.  IMG_7452

Your are done!  Masa should look, smell and feel wonderful.mStep 5

Proceed to make whatever suits you.  I was so excited the first time that I made tortillas, sopes and sopitos.  You can use grapeseed oil and grill these sopitos at medium high.  I only had olive oil, so I cooked the at a lower temperature.  There still turned out fine.  The shaped thicker sopes, I shaped them with olive oil and baked the at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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The children had fun eating these withe toppings, smashed  beans, raw cheese, and a bruchetta type topping.

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The next day I made another batch and make some cheese pupusas.  I had the “curtido” done already too.

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Give it a try, it is not that hard really.  Your corn goods just got healthy and so much more flavorful.  Everyone at home commented on how good these were as opposed to that Maseca GMO poweder stuff they sell.

Let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

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Home Education Out Of The Box Part 5

Here we have a young family who vertured to tour the world in one year.  This homeschool family were worldschooling like real troopers.  We might never have this superb oppotunity, maybe not even to tour the US, nonetheless, the lessons learned by thiis family are ones that we can all keep in mind as we move into whatever opportunities come our way.  They reflect what Deuteronomy 6 means by “…when you walk by the way…”  The education these children acquired this last year was a real life one.

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See their story here and 12 lessons learned.  The tour has inspired their 8 year old daughter to write a book.

 

Here is another fun site about “roadschooling” families who are on the road.

familiesontheroad.com

 

Don’t miss the rest in this series.  Here is Part 1

http://www.blessedhomestead.com/home-education-takes-the-lead/

 

 

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Profiles in Home Education – Part 4

Here are two inspiring stories of two young men who see the world out of the box.    Be challenged by this amazing story of Kelvin Doe.  But, beware!  He is portrayed as a prodigy, which separates him from the rest of the “ordinary” children.  He is not a prodigy, just a self-taught boy who saw a need and wanted to help.  Society has placed such low expectations on youth that when someone does something, they think he is not “normal”.  But these stories should be normal.

Kelvin Doe

 

Zac Sunderland

On a very different adventure, we have Zac Sunderland, a homeschooled young brave man of only 16 years old who was the first person to circumnavigate the globe alone under the age of 18.  He became famous, but few know of his strong Christian faith.  Note his T-shirt’s message, Rebel with a Timothy 4:12 cause.  I love it.

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The perils he faced alone are very rare for a young American boy of his age.  He took the challenge and achieved it.  Here is a video of the first days as he began his journey.  Be sure to check out more of his story at http://www.sailzac.com/.  Kids would love this contemporary real life story of adventure, danger and pirates!

In this video, his father answers the media interviews as Zac arrives back home with an encouraging message, giving glory to God and telling everyone,  ”we wouldn’t be anything without Jesus Christ.”

Here is Part 1 of this series.  Don’t miss the rest.

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Profiles of Home Education Part 2

Today we will look at two homeschooled students who are leading in two different arenas.  Photography as a field of artistic study and in the Pro-life movement as a warrior of righteousness.

My goal is to encourage families and show how Home Education takes the lead when students are liberated to pursue the good works God has prepared for them.  These children are not prodigies or geniuses.  They have just been given an education according to the Hebrew model of leading and guiding them in the way they should go throughout the day.

These students are free to explore about the world God has created and the social world of the generation they are a part of.

Here are a couple more examples:

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Zev Hoover is a 14 year old homeschooled photo artist who has received many offers for his photos which have made it big online.   Here is his story.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/06/28/zev-hoover-fanciful-visions-become-internet-sensation/Ob1mExyJM2C5Phm5VHruiI/story.html

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

LiLa Rose of Live Action

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Lila Rose is one of 8 homeschooled siblings who was grasped with a passion to save the babies’ livesShe is now a powerful national shaker and mover.  But I met her when she was 14 years old, in her family’s living room.  She would go with me to high schools to share her values about abstinence but her passion was always to end abortion.  She would arrange meetings with her friends and siblings to brainstorm on ideas how to educate the public about the horrors of abortion.   As I was able I would arrange meetings for her and her team to speak to youth groups and public schools.

 

Would you believe me if I told you she is a very quiet girl.  It reminds me of what Peter meant by a “quiet spirit”.  But  she was “as bold as a lion.”  It was then that Live Action was birthed.  Quickly many young students joined her movement.liveaction

Here is her story now:

http://www.liveaction.org/lilarose/

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Home Education Takes the Lead

It is encouraging to see homeschooled students continue to break ground in different arenas and in different ways.   When America was founded, the founding fathers were home schooled and finishing College at a very early age.

Public school just “gets in the way” of real life education according to Easton LaChappelle. He has several scholarship offers, works at NASA and has businesses rolling through his innovative inventions.  He says public school didn’t teach him anything about it.  He was featured at TEDxMileHigh where he urged the audience to “challenge the systems”.  Some say he could be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Here are some examples that will encourage and inspire homeschooling parents and children to set no limitations to your education.

Here is Easton’s story:

http://www.businessinnovationfactory.com/weblog/easton-lachappelle-no-time-school

http://inhabitat.com/17-year-old-creates-a-3d-printed-robotic-prosthetic-arm-for-250/

 

Here is the Harding Family with the youngest architect and youngest Physician in the United States.

Here is Part 2 of these Profiles of Home Education

Here is Part 3 of Profiles of Home Education

Don’t miss Part 4 of Profiles of Home Education here

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