Those People? They’re not God.

Before you start your day – or when you are already in the trenches of social interaction. I want you to remind yourself of one thing: Those people out there. They are not God.

“Those people” might be your children, your spouse, your co-workers. Your Social Media Friends. Even your Instagram Feed. It is so easy to get caught up in what we believe society thinks of us. Maybe your spouse’s behavior isn’t where you think it should be. Yes, our kiddos – they are cute and sweet and little blessings from God, but they are all still sinners – just like you and just like me.

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We must not wrap ourselves up in other people. We must not base our self worth off our spouse and their actions. We must not scroll through perfect social media squares, and then judge our own lives. We are not our friends. We are not our children. We are not our weight. We are not our spouse. We are not our illness. We are not our financial standing.

Our worth is found in Jesus Christ alone.

Our idol is the Trinity alone.

Guilt and shame are a powerful thing. Especially when that shame is caused by another person we had put our trust in. But, you know what? Our trust can only be found in one.  {Proverbs 3:5} We need to stop relying on other sinners to determine who we are.

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Today, before you allow yourself to sink into someone else’s judgement. Another person’s behavior. Another seemingly flawless portrait – look ahead and know that you are loved so deeply, by the only one whose love truly matters.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.

You are an individual and unique creation of the most powerful being.

You were formed for good and outstanding things.

Be a light in our dark world.

—————

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too?

Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

Why I Don’t Make the Majority of My Blends {plus a few of my favorites} Part 1

Most of us are aware of the effectiveness of essential oil blends: DDR, On Guard, Purify. While it is possible to make your own version of these blend powerhouses, it isn’t necessary.

I love all things DIY, but in this stage of my life (5 little ones), I have found myself to be more picky of my time and the things I choose to do myself. Like homemade laundry detergent. I made my own for years (8 to be exact) before letting that chore go into the hands of doTERRA.

The same is true for proprietary blends. I could purchase all of the components it takes to make my favorite blends, and that would be fine. However, it is so much easier, less time consuming, and I know I can trust the quality every single time, when I purchase my blends from the most trusted essential oil company.

I had a friend recently e-mail me asking about a favorite laundry soap recipe and shampoo recipe. I went through phases where I felt like I needed to do everything myself. With my first pregnancy, I realized I couldn’t trust the household products we had always used, so I began searching natural alternatives. I started using Melaleuca for a time, before eventually falling off the deep end and everything became DIY. I even went so far as the “no poo” hair care method, which believe me.. with hard well water – was gross – and no fun at all.

Now, with a larger than average family, I have learned to relinquish some things to companies I research and grow to trust. Today, I thought I would share a few of my favorite, and not so commonly mentioned blends that I use on a near daily basis.

Peace®

doTERRa peace

My favorite way to use Peace® is with the Touch rollerball. I often roll the blend on the bottoms of little ones’ feet when they become upset, highly overactive, or overwhelmed. The threenager year is tough – on momma and said threenager. This blend is one of my secret tools for combating extreme emotions.

Another way I use Peace® is in the car. I am a terrible passenger, and am prone to small panic attacks while riding in the car. Peace® rolled on my wrists helps calm those feelings of anxiousness.

Peace® diffused aromatically during the school morning helps my children to remain focused and myself (an admittedly impatient person) to remain pleasant throughout the process of educating four different elementary grades.

Motivate™

Motivate

I have always struggled with self doubt, and it has become overwhelming as a -stay at home- | -work at home- mom. As a product of a family prone to mental health disorders, I find that I can easily fall into the trap of depression. Especially postpartum. I purchase Motivate™ Touch in diluted rollerball form, and apply to the underside of both wrists every morning and mid-afternoon, when I feel the afternoon slump coming on. I will share in a later post how essential oils helped me through a serious case of postpartum depression after the birth of my fifth child. Motivate™ being one of those.

Forgive®

Forgive

Unfortunately, I have dealt with a lot of heartache throughout my life, as a child and adult. When I feel the quick rush of anger or resentment moving to the forefront of my mind, I reach for Forgive® Touch, which I purchase as a diluted rollerball.

I struggle with trust, and I really struggle with releasing moments of hurt. As a woman in her late twenties (not saying thirty yet), I know how important it is for my health to release myself from anger, grudges, and stress – which can all compound and lead to awful undesirable outcomes.

What are your favorite ways to use these three blends?

In Part 2, I will share a few more of my favorite ready-made blends and how I use them in my everyday life.

Note: For skin application, I purchase all of these blends in the diluted Touch form.

Interested in trying essential oil blends for yourself? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at april@spenglerfarms.com – I would love to help you on your journey to a more natural and healthy lifestyle.

<<Ask me how you can purchase these blends at wholesale price>>

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

Boy Mom

Life as a Boy Mom is so sweet. So rewarding. I grew up with sisters, but find it pretty natural to raise boys alongside my girls. Although, I cringe when dad teaches Jake how to use an ax – or operate heavy machinery, I know they grow up and leave the hands of momma to find themselves as young men.

I am still savoring the moments my other little guy is with me. He received his first haircut a few weeks ago, from daddy, and already looks older. Starting to find his land legs and toddle around more – he has the funniest personality. More quiet and reserved than big brother, but always observing the older siblings.

Joel will someday leave my arms for his dad’s. If he is anything like his bloodline – He will be wild, adventurous, daring.

He will ride horses bareback, drive heavy equipment or Army trucks. Come face to face with an angry animal bigger than he. Race to put out pasture fires, work with hot metal, or cut down tall trees with dangerous tools. He will hunt, climb mountains, and learn new skills the hard way.

All the while momma takes a deep breath and prays that all will be well.

Life with boys is cuddles and worms and kisses – as well as terrifying moments where I question their safety.

Learning alongside them, and knowing when to keep quiet to allow the natural process of maturing is difficult, but I remind myself to be intentional. Intentional in helping them mature – and intentional in keeping them close enough to wrap in my arms with a quick, “I love you”.

Yes, I will keep savoring these moments my boys are little, because they are fleeting. Soon, I will be looking up into the eyes of men whom I once looked down to in my arms.

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

Start Seedlings without a Greenhouse

With every goal there comes the desire for quicker progress or a faster outcome. For some, that may be exercise goals, career promotions, or weight loss. The same is true for farming. Everything in this business takes a lengthy amount of time. Growing animals, growing vegetables and flowers. Raising hens to the laying stage – or waiting for your momma cow to give birth so you can enjoy fresh raw cream. It all takes months to years.

Of course, if you had the opportunity, you would take the route that speeds things up a bit. For gardeners who would like a jumpstart on the season, they choose the route of greenhouses and hoop houses. Believe me, if I had a greenhouse (currently in progress) or a hoop house, I would be in heaven. I could start tulips or lettuces in the hoop house during fall, keep them covered and protected throughout winter, and harvest in early Spring.

This is one of my dreams, not just to grow year round, but to produce the best quality – beyond organic food for my family and my community. I grew a winter garden with low tunnel covers this year, which worked beautifully, but with new adventures on the horizon – better equipment might be necessary.

Until then, I will share with you what I do instead.

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I start my seeds in my house.

Specifically in my living room – the office. back porch… aaand the kids’ room.

Currently, there are seed flats everywhere, and that is just fine with me as long as I can keep tiny Joel fingers from exploring the baby height flats. So far, he has only rearranged my labels.

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This works for me and it can work for you too! Even if you don’t have many windows. As long as you have a warm environment for the seeds to germinate, you can be on your way to Spring Gardening as early as February.

You do need a few supplies to get started.
Seed Flats or Potting Containers
Good Quality Seed Starting Mix
Seeds

I choose to order my seeds (and supplies) from reputable companies dedicated to providing non-GMO heirloom and hybrid varieties.

My favorites are:
Seed Savers Exchange
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company
Johnny’s Seeds

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Directions:
1. Gather all supplies.
2. Place as much seed starting mix as you will need in a bowl or tray.
3. Dampen your seed starting mix with warm water (using warm water will help encourage the seeds to germinate).
4. Fill seed flat or vessel of choice with starting mix.
5. Add seeds to flat in a neat manner. Don’t just sprinkle them on top and call it good. This mistake will lead to a lot of thinning, which means a waste or perfectly good plants.
6. Cover seeds with a thin layer of dry starting soil. It is important to use a thin layer. Seeds need only their width in cover to germinate.
7. Store flats in a warm area near a fireplace or a heater. If you have warming mats, even better!
8. Keep the “soil” damp with warm water and check every day for progress.

As you begin to see tiny seedlings emerge, move flats to a sunny space in your home, under a south facing window or any window that gets plenty of sun. If it is warm enough during the day, feel free to place flats outside only if it isn’t too windy. Placing seedlings outside will help them to grow strong enough for their future home outdoors. If you have a little extra money, and the space to do it, you can also purchase grow lights to improve stem strength.

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If using flats, when seedlings reach 6 inches in height, it is time to move them to larger vessels. I use biodegradable peat pots. Some gardeners use plastic cups. Whatever you prefer as long as it is big enough to house the plant’s expanding root system.

Remember, you are not required to have fancy houses or equipment to get an early start on Spring gardening. All you need is a few supplies, a warm space, and sunny windows. Don’t let the big guys deter you from planting beautiful veggies and flowers!

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

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Spinach & Mushroom Calzones {Vegetarian}

We might raise our own meat: beef, pork, and chicken – but we also choose to eat vegetarian once or twice a week for health purposes as well as the financial benefits.

A fresh batch of ricotta and mozzarella make these calzones the perfect meal for a Wednesday evening. Ricotta is one of the simplest cheeses to make, and will leave you feeling like a farmstead rockstar. I made the cheeses the morning of, before my farm deliveries, and the dough upon returning home. Components spread throughout the day make for an easy compilation at dinner time.

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The crust for these calzones are from scratch whole wheat – with a small amount of honey to activate the yeast, and only take an hour. Pizza dough is definitely one of those things that are super easy to make by hand. You can whip up a batch to rise quickly.

Mushrooms, Spinach, Garlic, and melty cheese. You can’t go wrong with those flavors.

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Add these calzones to your weekly meal planning. You won’t regret it!

Serves 4

Spinach & Mushroom Calzones {Vegetarian}

Whole wheat calzones filled with mushrooms, spinach, and melty cheese. The perfect weeknight meal for busy parents who love garlic.

20 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • Prepared Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups Ricotta
  • 1 cup Grated Mozzarella
  • ½ cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Mushrooms (cleaned and chopped)
  • 3 cups Spinach (chopped)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (diced)
  • 1 stick Butter
  • ¼ Fresh Parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ½ tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • ¼ cup melted garlic butter for brushing tops (melted)
  • Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheet
  • Marinara for dipping.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. If using stone baking sheets, place in oven to preheat.
  3. Divide prepared pizza dough into four equal pieces.
  4. Gently clean mushroom by wiping with a cloth or paper towel.
  5. Prepare calzone filling by sautéing mushrooms and spinach in butter over medium heat.
  6. As the mushrooms and spinach begin to cook down, add garlic and 1 tsp salt.
  7. Once mushroom and spinach are cooked down, drain liquid through a mesh strainer. Set aside.
  8. Prepare cheese mixture by mixing ricotta, shredded mozzarella, and parmesan in a large bowl.
  9. To cheeses, add one egg, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and chopped parsley. Mix gently to incorporate.
  10. Begin filling calzones.
  11. Roll out pizza dough into a rough circle.
  12. Place ⅓ cup cheese mixture on one side of the pizza circle.
  13. Spoon ¼ cup mushroom filling onto cheese.
  14. Fold over the other half of pizza dough, pinching seams. Crimp edges as you prefer.
  15. Brush melted garlic butter on top. Sprinkle with corse salt and grated parmesan.
  16. Sprinkle baking sheets or stoneware with cornmeal to prevent calzones from sticking.
  17. Transfer prepared calzones to baking sheet.
  18. In a hot oven, bake calzones for 20-25 minutes.
  19. Remove from oven.
  20. Serve hot with marinara for dipping and a side salad.

Notes

If you don't have time to prepare the cheeses or dough, store bought will also work beautifully.

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https://spenglerfarms.com/2018/02/22/spinach-mushroom-calzones-vegetarian/

Bonus: You can freeze these before or after baking! Simply place on a baking sheet. Freeze for a couple hours. Transfer to a freezer safe bag. Bake (do not thaw) in a screaming hot oven until cooked all the way through. Easy!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have questions?

Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

Spiced Applesauce Cake

The aroma is what hits me first. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger need no introduction. They are earthy – subconsciously causing you to take deep breaths. Inhaling, closing your eyes, and physically feeling the warmth of cool season spices with all senses.

At our home we have two apple trees, which leads to a preserving frenzy each year in October. Apple pies are number one on my list, but the mountains of apples I am left with go straight into jars. I have noticed over the last several years that members of my family are not quite interested in applesauce, leaving quart jars to sit on my shelves longer than necessary.

My family does, however, enjoy eating cake. Yes, I said it. We like cake. A lot. Cake for dessert, cake for snack, cake for breakfast. But not the kind of cake slathered in buttercream frosting. The kind of cake that makes you feel like… “hey, maybe this COULD be a breakfast food”.

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This applesauce cake is definitely that. In fact, we just enjoyed a slice for breakfast because my three year old – who also eats whole carrots the moment she opens her eyes – wakes up already thinking about dinner. If you aren’t quick enough in feeding her you might be breakfast.

This cake is perfectly moist – with just the right amount of spice. Perfect when served warm in the winter, or cooled in the summer. And both seasons deserve a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

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For this recipe, I use a Wilton Bundt pan (see below). You can also get creative and purchase pans with funky designs!

If you are feeling super into scratch baking, you can prepare your own homemade butter and buttermilk in advance.

When baking with all purpose flour, I choose to use organic. You can purchase what I use here.

So, take those old jars of applesauce sitting in your pantry, and turn them into cake!

Spiced Applesauce Cake

A good spiced cake is one of my favorite desserts, and is really simple to prepare from scratch. The smell of this cake baking will have your mouth watering long before it is ready to eat.

15 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 5 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups Organic AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Ginger
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 cups of Chunky Applesauce
  • ¼ cup Buttermilk (if necessary)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Butter a bundt pan.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl: Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger.
  4. Using a stand mixer (or with a handheld) on medium speed, beat room temperature butter, sugar, and honey until light in color and fluffy.
  5. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each.
  6. Mix in applesauce.
  7. Gently incorporate dry ingredients. Do not overmix the batter at this point.
  8. Depending on the consistency of your applesauce. The batter may be too dry. If so, add ¼ cup buttermilk, and mix.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a little wet batter, but is mostly clean.

Notes

Optional: After cooled, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

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https://spenglerfarms.com/2018/02/19/spiced-applesauce-cake/

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have questions?

Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent {Lemon Scented}

The object of cleaning is not only scrubbing dishes and folding laundry, it is providing an environment in which you and your family can thrive.

I started making homemade cleaners and detergents when my family embarked on the journey toward natural and sustainable living. We had just made the decision that I would stay home with our children, and I was searching tirelessly for ways to pinch pennies. I quickly realized the cost benefits of making our household products from scratch.

Not just cost saving, but also free of harsh chemicals, and decent for our ultra hard well water. This dishwasher detergent has lasted me throughout the years, as I have used this same recipe, without change, since 2012.

The powder can also be transformed by adding a little water, until it becomes a sandy mixture. Then, packed into ice cube trays, dried overnight, and used as dishwasher tabs. I do this often, but usually just stick with the powder form because, with five kids and a farm calling for me, I am generally in a hurry.

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To make dishwasher detergent, you only need a few common household ingredients.
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Baking Soda
1 cup Epson Salt
1/2 cup Citric Acid
Lemon doTerra Essential Oil
Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Prepare powder by mixing the Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Epson Salt, and Citric Acid together, in a medium sized bowl, with a whisk.
  2. Add 3-4 drops of Lemon Essential Oil.
  3. Continue mixing until well incorporated.
  4. Store in an airtight container such as a glass jar or tupperware dish (which is what I use because…children).
  5. When ready to run a load of dishes, add one tablespoon of powder to the tray of your dishwasher.
  6. Add a splash of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher for a clean finish.
  7. Run dishwasher cycle as normal.

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Lemon Essential Oil by doTERRA is so versatile, and necessary in every home. Not only can you use it in cleaning products such as homemade dishwasher detergent and antibacterial sprays, you can also add a drop to your water, flavor baked goods, add a drop or two to your chicken marinade, or simply cup in your hands and inhale for a mood lifter. Lemon is one of my favorite oils. Ask me how you can purchase Lemon and other essential oils at wholesale prices.

family essential kit

Remember, I was on the fence too – for years – before signing up as a wellness advocate. I told myself there was no reason to sign up… I am not good at selling products, but I did sign up, not to sell, but to have access to the amazing high quality oils I was already using, at a wholesale price. Now, I can’t help but share the benefits of essential oils – whether that be through cleaning products, cooking, or healing. Essential oils are right for everyone. Contact me by e-mail at april@spenglerfarms.com, or on Facebook, if you are interested in learning more.

Happy Cleaning!

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

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Garden Planning

I am not sure why, but every year January flies by – probably the busyness of holidays and birthdays clustered together. It is nearing February, and I have yet to start my seeds. That is my main To-Do for this week.

We hosted our homeschool friends from our Wild + Free group, and the kids loved exploring outdoors. Among the treasures we had freshwater shells, bones, turtle shells, and a caterpillar. Several kiddos went home with live muscles. My daughter stuck her live muscles in the fish tank. We will see how it does, but it is very interesting watching the muscle reach it’s “body/tongue” out into the water. We had over 35 kids, not including parents, so I was thankful to have an open house to serve them in! It was a wonderful time for the kids, and this momma.

Wild and Free KidsPhoto Credit to my sweet friend, Jessi.

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful in Kansas. The sun was shining. It was warm. And best of all, no wind. We enjoyed walking around the property and dreaming about our goals for the farm this year.

We are excited to jump back into market gardening head first, but with our main intention of providing for ourselves first. It is our dream to feed our family 90% from the farm for the entire year, and hopefully several other families too.

So, as I am planning to order seeds to supplement my current stash. What are some of your favorite things to see at Farmer’s Market? What are your go-to veggies? We will also be growing cut flowers for our honey bees and pollinators. I am most excited about the rare heirloom corn variety we have chosen for grinding – we eat a lot of cornbread in the winter.

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This corn variety originated in New England, and was cultivated by Native American tribes for hundreds of years before traveling to Italy, and back again. Almost lost, this rare seed is making a comeback through the hands of great chefs and passionate seed savers.

This Spring, we are using the Back to Eden gardening method, and I am looking forward to sharing the process and outcome!

I love seed shopping – and I am not a shopper. I order the seeds for our garden from Baker Creek and  Seed Savers. We visited Baker Creek Seed Company a couple of years ago in Mansfield, Mo and loved it there! We left with all of our seeds, and a few fruit trees we managed to carefully stuff in the back of our minivan.

I hope your garden planning is going well! Spring is almost here!

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

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Beef Bone Broth

The taste of warm broth from healthy bones is what people have savored over multiple generations. Stocks were sold in early restaurants, and weary travelers were often greeted with the comfort of a hot mug of bone tea.

At Spengler Farms, we insist on the enjoyment and education of traditional foods consumed by our ancestors. We encourage our friends to step away from the industrial food chain – away from processed foods, and back home to wholesome cooking. That begins with sourcing local foods and preparing delicious, wholesome, nourishing meals for your family.

I shared my recipe for Chicken Bone Broth earlier in the week, and next up: Beef Bone Broth. Used in soups, gravy, or straight from the mug for a healthy boost, beef stock – made from scratch – should be a staple in every home.

Broths are incredibly easy, and very hands off – which is exactly why I like it. Cooked long and slow to extract all nutrients and minerals, bone broth is necessary for every aspect of our health.

For all things bone broth – I love the book, Bone Broth Secret by Louise Hay and Heather Dane. You can purchase that here.

 

This recipe can be prepared in a stock pot, Dutch Oven, Instant Pot, or Crock Pot.

Yields 7 Pints

Beef Bone Broth

The perfect bone broth recipe. Use in sauces, gravy, soups, stew. Or simply savored daily, from a mug, for a nutritional boost.

10 minPrep Time

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Ingredients

  • Beef Bones
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • Water

Instructions

  1. The first step in this process is to source local Grass Fed Beef Bones. This step is crucial in extracting the highest nutrition possible.
  2. Prepare onion, celery and carrots by roughly chopping into quarters.
  3. Smash the garlic cloves. No need to peel.
  4. Add all vegetables to cooking vessel of choice.
  5. Arrange beef bones on top of vegetables.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Fill to the top with water.
  8. If using a slow cooker, turn on high, and cook for 36 hours. If using an Instant Pot, use the slow cooker setting, and let simmer a total of 36 hours. Remember, add more liquid as it reduces. You want the amount of liquid to stay near the top of the pot.
  9. A dutch oven or stock pot will be a lot more hands on. You will need to keep at a gentle simmer for 36 hours, always making sure the water level stays near upper half of the pot.
  10. After 36 hours, allow your stock to cool and store. You can now pressure can, refrigerate and use quickly, or freeze. I prefer to freeze my stock for easy usage. You can see how I do that here.
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https://spenglerfarms.com/2018/01/19/beef-bone-broth/

Now, go make some bone stock, and drink to good health and traditional foods!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have questions?

Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

-April

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I might earn a compensation from that company.**

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How to Make Meaningful Connections with Your Children – when you are busy.

“If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.” – Beatrix Potter

As parents, we all have those thoughts creep in day – after day – after day. Am I making a difference in my child’s life? Do they know how much I care for them? How can I raise them to be kind, confident, and thoughtful as adults?

In our busyness of every day, it is hard to remember to take the time, and give our children the attention they need. We are all working parents. We work in the home – outside the home, trying to keep up with all of our responsibilities. Meal Planning, Bills, Household Chores, Deadlines. They tug on us, sitting at the forefront of our mind. It is vital to the health of our young persons to keep our main responsibility – family – ahead of the rest.

So, how can we make meaningful lasting connections with our children despite our mounting stresses and piling responsibilities? I will tell you – it’s the little things that matter most. It’s the small deliberate everyday acts that will shape them into the person they are meant to be. Here are a few of those little things you can implement in your home today.

Look Them in the Eyes

When speaking to your children, get on their level and look directly into their eyes with a kindhearted gaze. This is one simple way to show you care. Direct Eye Contact during conversation not only stimulates the child intellectually, it also develops a healthy self-esteem, and encourages a calming effect on the heart, lungs, and stress axis. With this one simple act, they will feel safe, confident, and secure.

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Hands On

Although girls benefit from touch, this is especially true for mommas of boys. When you are standing near each other, place your hand on his shoulder, or you arm around him. Lean in close. We are often told that boys don’t need as much physical attention from their mom as girls do, but the opposite is true. You are his first love. When he is young, wrap you arms around him often, and squeeze tight.

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Dads – do the same for your girls. If you do not give your daughter the love she needs as a child, when she is a teenager she will seek it elsewhere. Hug her often, especially before you leave for work. Tell her how beautiful she is. Treat her like the princess she is. She deserves your attention, and the love you show her when she is young, will carry on throughout her life.

Hands Off (Electronics)

There is nothing more disappointing to a child than constantly seeing a parent on a device. That can be a game console, cell phone, tablet, television, or computer. When they come to you, excited to show you their latest project, put the phone down immediately. Give them your attention. If not, they begin to feel you don’t have time or energy for them, and in turn grow hostile and distant. When you are sitting with your child at a doctor office, skip the browsing of social media, and talk with her. Get to know her. Read to her. She is an individual thinking person – full of ideas, and loves you with all her heart. Put the phone down. She is first.

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Generously Give Praise

Did your son take out the trash? Genuinely thank him for it. Tell him how much that little job benefited you personally. Say, “Son, I am so thankful you did that job for me. It helped me out a lot. I really appreciate you.” Did your three year old scribble color a picture. Gush over it. Hang it on the fridge. Make a designated area in your home for scribble portraits and secretly rotate them out. Children need praise. They need to know they are worthy, and that they are needed in the home. Include them in household chores. I tell my children that we are part of a team, and it takes all of us – working together – to accomplish our daily tasks. They know they have responsibilities in the home, and I repeatedly praise them for even the simplest jobs. Keep optimism in the home. If you have a good attitude, more often than not, they will too.

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Mommas, I know you are tired. I know it can be difficult. I am there. We are given the responsibility to raise something beautiful. Our babies, they are only young for a little while. They are our legacy. Time goes so fast, and I do not want you to waste these precious hours away. The fruits of your hard work will be visible to everyone, especially when your children become adults, and begin to raise a family of their very own. Take the time – be patient – and love them deeply.

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“Train up your child in the way he should go: and when he is old; he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Did you enjoy this article? Know someone who would love it too? Share with your friends!

Questions? Simply ask in the comments below, or reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

Shortages at Whole Foods Stores – How can we fix this?

Featured Image from Business Insider. “A Whole Foods Store in West Hartford, Connecticut. Photograph by Derek Beere.”

A recent article was published outlining the effects of a newly implemented system at Whole Foods Stores. This new system, OTS, or order-to-shelf, has cost saving benefits for the company, but is leaving shelves empty – and customers, as well as employees, angry.

Click here to read the article from Business Insider.

So what can we do?

Shop Local: Find a local farmer – or several – that specialize in meat, dairy, grain, and produce. Purchase your food from them.

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Eat Seasonally: Why does a person in Connecticut need a Pineapple in the middle of winter? Sure, this can be an occasional treat, but we need to take a serious – in depth look at how these exotic to our area foods came to our tables, and then decide whether we truly need them. This doesn’t just end with pineapples, of course. There is no reason we need to purchase sweet corn in the middle of winter. Buy from a local producer in the summer – preserve – and enjoy throughout the winter. This is real, wholesome food – that you can feel good about consuming.

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Improve your Menu: Yes, I said Improve. We need to improve our meals to reflect the area we live in. Prepare basic – traditional meals more often. Eat like your ancestors. Make Chicken and Dumplings in winter months, and purchase the chicken from an area farmer. Make your own Yogurt, Sour Cream, and Cheeses – purchased from your area dairy farmer. Buy your produce from your Farmer’s Market and ferment as a way to store them, and to provide extra healthy bacteria.

This is not a Whole Foods problem. This is a problem caused by consumers. We need to be the first to say, We will no longer purchase food out of season. We will no longer eat Chicken and Beef shipped from China. We will no longer eat Tomatoes, coated with chemicals, and shipped from South America.

If we do this, more Farmers, dedicated to regenerative agriculture, will dot our landscapes, and provide food for all our needs – and for all of our population. It only takes dedication. Dedication to those that raise our food – and dedication to our country.

Make a difference with your dollars. Keep trying. If you can’t find Organic, Non-GMO grain in your area, research and source it from someone you trust.

A couple books that are beneficial to all of us as American consumers: The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan and The Third Plate by Dan Barber. We should all have these books on our shelves.

 

Do you need help finding a local farmer? Check out Local Harvest.

Share with your friends, and reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things, Pray.

-April

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When did you start?

We all have dreams and goals.

Some are big – others are small.

The hard work, dedication, and trust it takes to reach those goals is what makes them daunting.

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Maybe you are an accountant or secretary, sitting at your desk – dreaming of the day when you can purchase your own land, and raise a family with a simpler lifestyle.

Perhaps you are a working mother – praying for the opportunity to spend more time with your children, but afraid to lose your income.

I was once that person – sitting at a desk in the mental health field, wondering what my life was meant to look like. Working full time with two babies under the age of 3, and going to school full time – I missed so many sweet moments with them, and with my husband. It was stressful for all of us. Relationships were tense, and smiles weren’t often authentic.

Each and every day I worked with children from broken homes – broken families, while mine grew up in the hands of others. I saw through the eyes, of the children I worked with, the desire for a stable environment, and the hopes for committed parents.

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My dream in that moment was to stay home. To stay home with my children, and commit everything I had to raising them. To creating a loving environment as a homemaker. Sure, I was afraid to leave my job, but I was more afraid of losing the experiences my children would make during their childhood.

So when do you follow your dreams? The answer is: Right now – This very instance.

Figure out what is crucial in taking the first step.

If your goal is to get out of debt – cancel the credit cards.

If your goal is to buy land – start saving.

If your goal is to stay home with your children – make it happen.

Don’t waste a single moment. You will soon realize how quickly those moments fade.

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My generation was taught that the only way to be successful is through accumulation. Accumulation of money and stuff. In my home, success will be determined by the accumulation of heartfelt memories – time spent together.

Please, always remember – a career is not what defines you. What truly defines the person you are, is what you leave behind. Your children – your grandchildren. The home you create together, and the impressions you leave.

Whatever you do in life – give it your all. Make it your goal to commit every ounce of your capabilities to improving the environment around you. Optimism is the most powerful tool you have.

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Do you need help finding your way in this wild world?

Is it your dream to stay home and raise a family?

Shoot me an e-mail. I am more than happy to talk with and encourage you.

Comment below – share with your friends – and reach out to me on Social Media, through Facebook and Instagram.

In All Things – Pray.

April

 

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