Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Eggnog that Remedied Halloween

Every week we get raw milk to drink and I go about the task of making butter.

 It's a pretty simple process of letting the milk sit in the refrigerator until the cream separates to the top.

 I carefully extract the top layer of cream out with a turkey baster and then...

put it in the mixer at almost high speed with a towel over the top to protect against the buttery spray that would repaint my kitchen in a hurry.

(I have since discovered that butter can also be made in
the blender: much less mess!)

 After about a half hour, the butter has separated from the buttermilk.

 I then scoop the butter into a separate bowl and push more of the buttermilk out,

 pouring as much as I can into the reserved buttermilk bowl.

 I then wash the butter,

 and press some more, pushing as much of the buttermilk as I can out of the butter.
Buttermilk has a weird taste.
It doesn't taste good in the butter.

 When it is pressed and clean to my liking, I ad salt
(I use something called RealSalt which is not loaded with fillers and has natural minerals still in it.)

 Once it is thoroughly mixed together, I put it in the refrigerator to harden.
Also, real butter like this will mold quickly if left out.

 The buttermilk gets put into a jar.

 Did you know that buttermilk is extremely nutritious?
It contains potassium, vitamin B12, phosphorous, and calcium.
An important ingredient in buttermilk is lactic acid which works at keeping the immune system stronger.*

It's low in fat and calories
and is easy to digest.

So why would I want to throw it away?
Well, if you've ever tasted buttermilk,
you know.

Granted, there are some people who love the taste of it,
but it's the type of thing that you either love or hate,
and this household seems to hate it.

I've added it to recipes and it hides well in baked goods,
but with the amount I get every week compared to how much baking I do,
it seems I can never use it all up.

Great stuff washing down the drain.

I discovered this:

 I found this eggnog for sale at a discount grocery store I go to
and, yes,
I do realize it is not the greatest thing to be drinking all the time with the sugar and other stuff in it,
but I have found if I just ad a little of it, 
and I do mean a little,
it masks that buttermilk taste to the munchkins,
and they beg for more.

Call it a little bit of fun mixed in to goodness.

It's funny because it reminds me of life as a Christian.
Little things in life often do.
I have time to think when I'm making butter.

The Bible says we are to be separate from the world.
II Corinthians 5:17 says,
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new."

and II Corinthians 6:17
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord..."

and Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."


Fast approaching is the day of celebration known as Halloween.

  I am not here to tell you where it came from,

as I know many of our days of celebration came from questionable sources.

I am not going to justify my celebrating Christmas
or Easter (which I try to remember to call Resurrection Day).

  I'm only going to tell you my story about my daughter and her struggle. 

I have always been honest with my kids about Santa Claus when it comes to Christmas;
 I tell them that they can pretend he is real, but we are really the ones who provide the presents because God has given daddy a good job and allowed us to give them good things.

I tell them we are celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus.

  But if they want to pretend, I don't mind; it's like any other fairy tale or fun game they play.

  This is our choice as parents to do.

  When it came to Halloween, the holiday of witches and vampires and devils and such,

we decided not to celebrate it at all.

This was our choice again as parents.  

But this year Violet had a hard time with not celebrating Halloween.
She really struggled with the desire to get dressed up and go to houses and get free candy,
a basket full,
a dream for her as she is not allowed much candy.

I explained to her the reason we did not participate, as I'd learned long ago at Bible college that 
"Rules without reasons make rebellion" ~ Dr. Ollila

But still she kept bringing it up,
"Can't we just do it one time, just this year, and then I won't ask to do it again?"

It was eating at her.

So I prayed about it and asked God for wisdom.
I didn't want to compromise on something I felt was clear to me,
but I needed something for her.

I thought of a book I read by Michael Pearl,
I don't recall if it was in To Train Up A Child or one of his others,
and I remember him saying that when you take away something, you need to replace it with good.
When you try to overcome a bad habit, you replace it with a good one.
A void needs to be filled with good, so it will not be filled with bad.
This void she was feeling was not going away;
it needed something
So I came up with an idea.
I will not say that God gave me this idea as I don't know if I did the right thing by this; I never know if the things I do are always the best, but I prayed for wisdom, and this is what came,
so I think so.

The next time Violet asked about Halloween, which was probably the very next day,
I told her we'd play a game, if she liked, because I could not take her
"Trick or Treating."
She has struggled with math lately, her addition and subtraction facts,
so I told her we could play
"Math and Treat."

When we went to the grocery store, I let her pick out 3 kinds of candies she liked.
The next day I told her that she and Levi could dress up for the game.

 She and Levi could come to the door and knock on it.
I would then give her 5 math flash cards to answer.
If she got all 5 right, they each got a treat in their baskets;
but if not,
they'd have to go around to the back door and try again.
Of course, if she got it right, they could go around to the back door to try for more treats as well.
 Levi had no clue what was going on.
He just had a hard enough time keeping up with Violet as she came and went from door to door.
Eventually, he just sat down and enjoyed this amazing day of getting to eat candies.
You've never seen a kid with such big eyes!

I honestly can't tell you if it was the best solution to a problem I was facing
but it satisfied my daughter.
I've seen many Christian parents who make Christianity lopsided to their kids
raising one flag and forgetting the other:

the banner of fear and holiness
the banner of grace and joy.

I pray all the time that my kids will see the joy in Christianity
as well as the separation that God's holiness calls for.

They can be linked together,
Joy and Holiness
arm in arm.

I call it the eggnog in the buttermilk.

*Information regarding the good of buttermilk obtained from


  1. Wow. You are an awesome mom! That last photo of Violet is really neat too.

  2. What a great idea, at my church we have a harvest festival every year as an alternate to Halloween and all the booths are centered around stories from the bible. It is a way for us to minister to the neighborhoods surrounding our church. The children that come get lots and lots of candy. I think you did coming up with a good replacement for your family.

  3. Thanks, Michaele, I think you are an awesome mom. I can tell by your pictures and blog that your girls are really hard workers but you have lots of fun with them, too. Looks like they have fun on those dirt bikes! And they must be so proud seeing how well that amazing garden of yours did! It takes alot of learning along the way being a mom, and I think you are great with all you do and being a single mom, too!
    That sounds like such a great alternative, Pat. I'd like to see those booths based on Bible stories! FUN!

  4. Always enjoy reading your blog! Do you really do the buttermilk thing every week? Wow, that's a lot of work. So do your kids mind drinking the raw milk? How long does the butter last? My husband loves eggnog ice cream, which they only sell at Chrismas time so I have to stock up when it comes out. I like your Halloween idea. Our church is also having a Harvest celebration as an alternative to Halloween.

  5. Tonya you are so encouraging to me to read! Thank you! Even though our family makes a different decision regarding Halloween (we give out candy and use it as an opportunity for building relationships with our neighbors), I completely respect your position. I think it is so true about filling the void as well as giving a child reasons for the family rules. Also, do you think that you could make butter using the heavy cream from the store?

  6. You amaze me Tonya! You're so healthy and wise:)
    I don't see anything wrong with what you did with the treats. I never had to deal with that. There are other issues that I had to deal with and make sure I explained why. Like you said. without a reason it leads to rebellion. Glad Violet and Levi had fun! I pray that our kiddos will have a sweet fellowship with the Lord and want to do His will too.

  7. Thanks again! Yes, Sharon, my kids love the raw milk. I thought it tasted a little different the first few times I drank it but don't notice it at all now. I usually make butter every week out of two of the gallons (we get 3) b/c that's all I can fit in my mixer. I use the 3rd for coffee creamer or if I need whipped cream for something. I can't imagine if I didn't and we drank all that heavy cream! I've been packing up the butter and freezing it for Christmas baking because we don't use all that every week. It will last in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. When I see it starting to get old (it starts to get a reddish tinge) I just make sure I use it up in my cooking. I think you could use the cream at the store, but it won't have all the good stuff in it like the raw stuff does. I wouldn't bother with the work using store stuff because I would think the butter they make is the same, but if you just want to show your kids how butter is made, I think it would work. It works great when you buy it raw b/c you are just paying for the milk but get the butter and buttermilk for free. I know they don't sell raw milk in MD, which stinks, but I know people from down there who make a trip once a month or so and come up and buy about 15 gallons and then freeze them. Of course, that would mean you'd have to have a freezer and pour a few inches off the tops so they wouldn't burst when you freeze them. I used to freeze some when I lived down there. Milk does tend to separate though when you freeze it. It looks a little weird. Sorry, I didn't mean to go into such detail.
    Halloween can be a difficult one, with kids coming right to your door and all. I know I had to think of that when we lived in MD. I'd go back and forth in my thinking, weighing whether I could do as you said, with handing out the tracts and all. I think that's great! And then I wondered in what situations I should stand apart and be salt/light and not be like Lot and let my children get too close to the customs of Sodom, so then I'd just go out that evening (seems like Shawn always worked late on the farm around that time of year harvesting soybeans so it was always myself dealing with it). It's difficult, and above all, I think if we do things as God leads, with His love and without pride, He will show us what to do. We have a neighbor who always makes our kids Halloween bags of goodies and drops them off, and my kids enjoy them and always write a "thank you" note because I think it is a kind thing that she goes to all the trouble. I think my kids need to learn kindness and not become abrasive in the things we do differently and not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. After all, pride is one of the 7 things God hates. It's a tricky thing (pun intended :) ).


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