Saturday, December 5, 2009

Preparing for a "Season of Simplicity"

(Picture is of our Backyard area)
A few months ago, I was inspired to participate in a "December Project" which basically is a time to pull away from the noisy distractions of the season, and focus on the Lord in the comfort of our home. I'm so excited, because as a family, we're going to use this time to *really* simplify!
December 11th-December 25th We're planning on:
*Strictly Candlelight/oil lamps only
*Television/Movie, radio & internet free
*No convenience foods/mixes
*No trips to the store/shopping
We're really looking forward to this, and I know it will be hard not to update my blog ;) I'll take pictures everyday though! Our one free day is Dec.19th, so that evening I'll give you a huge post!! :) We're all thinking of creative ideas for games, crafts, putting on a theatrical play, singing hymns, family devotions & reading...
If you have any electricity-free ideas, please comment!!
Inspired by MaryJanes recipe for Homemade Crackers, I decided to give them a try!
First, I prepared my favorite No-mayo Spinach Dip recipe:

Drain 10 oz. pkg of Chopped spinach...


Add 8 oz. softened cream cheese...

Add 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup sour cream. (I know, I know, triple threat!!)

1 Tbsp minced onion, 2 cloves garlic (crushed) , 1 tsp spicy mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper

Combine ingredients, then put in crock-pot or on stove top until cheese melts. (Makes 4 cups)


MaryJane's Basic Farmhouse Crackers

In Medium bowl combine:

1.5 cups flour, 3/4 tsp salt

(1.5 tsp cream of tartar, 3/4 tsp baking powder--I just used baking powder instead of tartar/soda)

Add 1/4 cup oil until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs

Pour in 1/2 cup water. Stir until dough forms

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Roll out dough as thin as you'd like, then brush with a bit of egg mixture.

Cut into whatever shape crackers you prefer. (I did rectangles) Transfer to oiled baking sheet.


Bake for 10-20 minutes in 350 degree oven...Then serve with dip!!!
O0O0Oh, this is *delicious*
I sprinkled the crackers with sea salt before serving :)
Tip: I'm sure it depends on your family/friends, but I'd triple this cracker recipe for serving 4-6 people.


Jenna said...

I love your idea of completely *simplifying* for December, though I too would find it a little hard not to update my blog:)

The recipe looks mouth watering! As soon as we get some spinach, I am totally going to try it!! Thank you so much for sharing:)

Have a blessed month, Mia, and have a blessed Christmas as well~

Love in Christ,

Regan Family Farm said...

Blessings to you and your sweet family~
Merry Christmas!
Mrs. Regan

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Wow! You guys are brave! It will be interesting to hear how you guys do. I'll be waiting...

Stephanie Ann said...

It is so great that your family is doing that. It sounds like it will be a very good family and personal experience.

If you have a while A Christmas Carol is a good play to recreate or just to have someone read aloud.

Link to the full book:

Link to a script version:

Paula said...

Hi Mia,
I just blog-hopped onto your wonderful little home on the web a few days ago. (came by way of a link from Granny Miller's blog) I am so glad I did! You and your family are truly encouraging!

I like the idea of going internet free and will maybe see how long I can go without getting online. I do not watch television or idly "chat" on the telephone. May have to try out a wal-mart fast. I spend way too much time and money there. LOL Worthy goals, methinks!

I would like to ask if you would mind answering some questions for me about homegrown stevia.

[1] where did your original plants come from.

[2] I live in NC, do you think it could survive our winters? Do you all cover your plants during frost?

[3] also would you mind sharing more about the healing herbs you all grow?

Thanks in advance.
Shalom, Paula

Tant Berg said...

What a wonderful project you have! I almost never watch TV, but my husband and my children loves to watch - all too much :( But the blog is a big "time-thief" (I guess that is a very "Norw-English" word, sorry I'm not better in English, I hope you understand me) for me.

You have so many beautiful photographs in your last post :)

Cinnamon said...

Oh that does look yummy~ Thanks for sharing~

Mrs. Kerschner

Born Again Dreams said...

Hi Mia! I'm a huge follower of your blog. I will miss not having a post to look at until the 19th, but I'll be looking forward to it. I'll just go through your archives! If I'm ever in yoru area, I will def. want to come visit (I'm from CT) As for non-electricity ideas...
-My mom and I love to play this game called "Bananagrams"'s like Scrabble and crossword puzzle.
-You could write a diary of your days...
-Paint maybe? Do you like to paint?

I'm out of ideas... ;)

Kateri Scott said...

Lately, I pulled out some of my antique books and was reading some poetry that was actually rather funny. I read aloud to my son, putting in all the "voices" and comedy to it. It really was fun!

You could also take the time to review Christmas Carols. Have you ever REALLY listened to the words of some of these songs? (I mean the Christ-centered ones, not Jingle Bells.) Beautiful and convicting. A more modern one that always sets me to tears is:

"Mary did you know that your baby boy is Heaven's perfect Lamb. That sleeping child you're holding is the great I AM."

Perhaps learn some old card games like Loo or Whist. They're always playing Whist in Jane Austen movies. :)

Enjoy your time of simplicity!

Clara Van Nattan said...

Something we find fun to do is to play board games (or design your own board game - I made a Bible trivia one once), and do crafts - collect all kinds of "junk" like scraps of paper and things from the garden (like flowers to dry - if there are many left at this time of year for you), leaves, feathers, and boxes and packaging from around the house, and then see if you can make something fun or beautiful with it using glue and paints etc. Being really creative takes time and imagination, but it can be SO much fun! :) Your brother might find it fun to make his "collections" into a plane or car or truck - that's what my son does :)

Erika said...

Wow, Mia - that is so exciting! I wish my family and I could do something like that, but life is so very different in the city.
I think that is such an amazing idea to spend time strengthening the family and drawing closer to the Lord. I pray it is a wonderful time for you all.
God bless you all!


Kelsey Anne Hoppman said...

Going simple sounds like a great idea! That would be hard to go without things your used to using every day though. :)
I'll look foward to your large post!
God Bless,

Miss Jen said...

Dearest Mia~
Going 'simple' sounds delightful
indeed! :) I hope you have a blessed
retreat away!! Oh my~ dear that dip
and crackers looks and sounds
amazing! I may just have to give that
a try! :) *hugs*

With Much Love~
Your Sister in Christ~
Miss Jen

An Electricity-free
idea~ 'Letter Writing'
Would you be still interested
in being pen pals?! ;)

Kelsey Anne Hoppman said...

Hello again Mia-
Just so you know, I've tagged you on my blog! Also, thank-you for the cracker recipe. They came our great!

Catherine said...

You have inspired me! I've been wanting to take a break from technology for some time now and I think I will join you in this short time of "simplifying". May we both grow closer to the Lord during this time! :)

Mia said...

Thank you all for your comments and wonderful ideas!!!

Ms. Paula,
*My original stevia plants came from a local garden nursery.
*I didn't cover the stevia during frosts, but I'm sure in NC your winters are quite colder. Covering the plant with plastic during cold nights should be fine.
*Yes, I do hope to share more about the herbs we grow! Right now we have english lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, peppermint and oregano.
Dear Kelsey,
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe!! We've made it twice, adding fresh rosemary and garlic powder on top. yum!
Dear Catherine,
Oh, I'm so excited!! Yes indeed, I'm happy to hear that you will join this challenge!
Again, thank you all for the ideas!!

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Mia,

My daughter Sarah and I love your blog! You are a very lovely young woman with very admirable convictions.

Your orange sky photograph is gorgeous! Your photographs have such a warm, old fashioned feeling. We love old fashioned things, too. Tasha Tudor and Beatrix Potter have inspired us so and we can see that they have inspired you also.

We don't watch TV either and we love candle and lamplight. Occasionally we will watch a Beatrix Potter or Tasha Tudor video or an old movie. We love old books and fashions.

Tasha Tudor has inspired us so with her dolls and Advent calendars. On our web site we have a Calendar to Count "The Days Until Christmas". Here is the link to our Calendar:

We have a blog, too, called The Corgyncombe Courant. Here is the link:

This Autumn I made some crackers too. The receipt was from an old "Country Living" magazine. The term "receipt" is an old term for recipe. Here are the links to my cracker and cheese making posts:

We know that we will see many more wonderful inspiring things in the future from you!

Have a lovely, blessed Christmas!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah

AJ said...

Hello Mia!
A "Season of Simplicity" sounds wonderful. I'm sure you all will enjoy the challenges AND rewards of doing this. There are some really good ideas are a few more:
-start a sewing/crochet project
-try going to zero waste...recycling
-write your own poems,songs, & plays
-natural home spa treatments
-decorate a tree outside with popcorn and fruit for an "animal" Christmas tree
-sing carols to neighbors :)

~*~Merry Christmas~*~

Mrs. Bridget G. said...

I never had spinach dip before, so i think the first time i try it will be yours! Your way is so natural- no preservatives, well except the sour cream. lol. Even the cracker recipe is simple!!! How I adore you for providing them. Have a great Christmas, and enjoy your technology solitude. Because i you, my family has started the tradition of turning off the lights and sitting by candlelight! Keep it up! Have a great time, and God Bless your family!

Paula said...

Dearest Mia (and family),

Thanks for replying.

I hope you and your family the best in your commitment to a Season of Simplicity. It will be a delicious treat when you update us on the 19th.

I pray y'all have a blessed old-fashioned CHRISTmas and a wonder-filled new year!

Truly, Paula

Anonymous said...

Mia, These recipes look wonderful! I love that you made your crackers. And what a sweet and precious way to celebrate Jesus, with simplicity, just as He entered the world. No pomp or circumstance, simple and humble. What a Savoir!!

Beck's Bounty said...

For us, the simplicity enables us to truly experience the beauty that is Christmas-time. Through the years we discovered that it is in these simple things and in the quiet that the Spirit and Voice of Our Lord can be both felt and heard.

Thank you for the delicious recipes -- we are definitely going to try them SOON.


viggie said...

I just wandered by from Down to Earth Forum and had to say I love your blog and the sweet spirit that shines through. This project is a wonderful idea. I hope you are enjoying yourselves :)