Friday, January 30, 2009

Finishing Out Our Unit on Coffee and Tea, our books

Serving Coffee

Is coffee healthy for you, or is it a health hazard? Maybe, it's a bit of both. The studies seem to be contradictory, at any rate. Scientists are finding out new reasons why coffee might actually be very good for your well-being. At the same time, coffee consumption has some potential drawbacks, and coffee also affects different people differently. Here's what Wickpedia has to say about it. If you are pregnant, be sure to ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to drink coffee or not. De-caf coffee can have its own health risks for pregnant women, as there is some concern about the effects on a developing baby of the chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee.

Some tips that will improve your coffee experience:

1) Make sure that all equipment you use for coffee making is very clean. I do what it takes just to get the coffee maker basically clean, but true coffee drinkers thoroughly clean their coffee maker and other equipment after every use.

2) If you like, experiment with buying a re-usable metal strainer that fits your coffee pot. Some coffee drinkers think that the paper filters we all buy leech bleach and other chemicals into the coffee that alter the taste. This type of filter is not supposed to be very expensive. I just learned about this, myself, so I am going to investigate.

3) Remember, the largest ingredient in a cup of coffeee (or tea) is water. It's fine to use tap water, if your tap water tastes okay. If you have any question about the taste of your water, use water poured from a pitcher equipped with a Britta filter when making coffee.

4) Make only enough coffee to last for the next hour. Don't make so much coffee at one time that it either sits in the pot for quite a while or you are tempted to reheat it later. Trying to keep coffee hot for too long or reheating it later makes it taste harsh. As I mentioned yesterday, if you are having a lot of people over and you are serving coffee, you can transfer the coffee to carafes to keep it warm. This is better for the coffee than letting it sit in the pot.

5) In today's world, the making of coffee has become an art and a business. There are any number of coffee gadgets and expensive coffee beans or blends that you can buy. However, unless you have a special interest in coffee, you probably need only a basic drip coffeemaker and a reliable, but not necessarily expensive, brand of coffee. If you want to take it up a notch from there, buy a coffee grinder and grind your own beans. Other than that, you probably don't need to invest in a lot of expensive equipment in order to produce a decent cup of coffee. As with anything, we need to take care not to be dazzled by an offering of products that we don't really need.

For your homemaking journal:

It's quiz time!! Use these questions to spur your thoughts:

1) How are my family relationships? Do I have areas of concern? Have I reasons for rejoicing? Have I seen growth in a relationship lately?
2) Am I enjoying my family and my home? Why or why not?
3) What is my current greatest struggle as a keeper of my home? What will help me overcome this?
4) What is my current greatest joy as a keeper of my home? Am I grateful?
5) How am I doing as a steward of my time?
6) How am I doing as a steward of my health and energy? Am I eating nutritious food? Do I allow myself some time to rest when needed? Am I getting enough sleep? (If you have a baby or a toddler in the house, you probably aren't getting the full amount of sleep that you're used to. Are you taking measures to cope with this?) How am I doing on exercise? (Heavy gardening and heavy housework count here.) Are my thoughts focused on the things in Philippians 4:4-8 or do I allow my thoughts to wander at will? What influences do I allow to dominate my thoughts? Do I have any medical, dental, or eye appointments that you need to make, but have been putting off. (Ouch!) (See the Home Manager's Health and Beauty, a companion blog to Project Home Economics: A One Year Course.)
7) Have I learned something new about keeping a home recently? Am I still growing as a keeper at home or am I coasting on what I already know? Learning new things will help us stay inspired as keepers at home, rather than feeling that we are in a rut.

For Your Book of Days:

Remember, in your homemaking journal, you not only keep information that you are learning about managing a home, but you take some time to take note of everything connected to your adventures in managing a home -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. For your Book of Days, focus more on the good and the beautiful. This is the book where you record the gems you find in the ore of daily life.

1) Have your husband or children said something to you that you want to remember and treasure? If so, make a note of that in your Book of Days.

2) Have you seen something beautiful in nature recently? Make a record of that, and include a photo if you can.

3) Have you recently completed a home project? Take a picture and make a few notes in your Book of Days.

4) Have you learned something new about God lately? Record that in your Book of Days.

5) Have you come across an inspiring quote in your reading lately? If so, record that in your Book of Days and jot down a few lines about why you found it to be so inspiring.

6) Have you recorded any happy childhood memories in your Book of Days? Do you have special memories of the way your mother or a relative or a friend kept her home? If so, record those for inspiration.

7) Do you have a special pet? Write down something cute your pet has done. Record any happiness that your pet brings to your life.

Happy homemaking!

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