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Comfort: Food

Food is a language I speak fluently.  For me, food has always been the very best way for me to express love.  When Nick and Olivia came home, they left absolutely everything that was familiar.  They had to get accustomed to a new culture with customs, foods, and language different from the one they had always known.  They were introduced to faith and its practice in a meaningful way.  And they had to learn to be a part of a family.

One of the things that I can do is to create meals around dishes that are familiar to them, or that were especially memorable for them, recalling those precious good memories from the years before they came home to us.  We have been eating a LOT of Bulgarian food lately because I have been compiling a collection of Bulgarian recipes that Nick and Olivia have requested.  This requires converting and modifying them for the ingredients available here in the States, and testing them to further tweak for our tastes. 

I’m about three-quarters through the recipes that I have collected, and I’m beginning to style and photograph each recipe.  Once that is complete, I’ll start casting about for printers so that I can make them available as a complete cookbook.
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Read Aloud: The Dollmaker of Krakow

This year we have been making a study of Poland.  This is the book that inspired the unit study, but we are only just now getting to reading it because it comes later in chronological order.  I read several pages aloud each day before we get going with the rest of our studies.  It’s utterly charming.  The illustrations are lovely.  I’m a little obsessed with this style of art.  And the colours on the cover are pretty perfect for my life right now.

If you have a familiarity with trauma, the will take on a deeper meaning and you may find yourself crying through the first couple of chapters.  Ask me how I know.


And speaking of art, I’m having another go at a project idea that I tried a couple of years ago.  The composition is better,but this is only the first ‘draft’.  It still needs a lot of work, but I like the direction I’m headed in.


© Nissa Gadbois | All Rights Reserved

Craft Therapy

Self care is really important when you are the parent of a child with special needs of any kind.  Taking time away when your child suffers from trauma-related effects is not usually a great option, so I need to find other ways to lift my spirits and find respite.

I’ve spent the month of January nesting and breaking from the use of my personal Facebook account.  It’s too easy for me to become negatively affected by other folks struggles.  I need to conserve that energy for my children, for the pain that needs healing right here in my home.  Slowly we have been re-organizing and replacing and redecorating in order to make our house a home.  I’ve also been going through my library of art and handcraft books, replacing tools and supplies, and making lists of projects to make.  Many will stay right here in our home to decorate walls, or to be worn.  Some will find their way to our shop and the sales will help support our farm and ministry work.

I’m going to share my Craft Therapy projects right here on the blog.  Maybe something I’m trying will inspire you.  There is a link up below to share your current project.  I’d love to see what you’re making!

Right around Christmas, Dawn posted something about making a temperature scarf and that seemed like an ideal first project, but one that will take all year to complete.  You can find some great examples of temperature scarves and blankets on Ravelry.

While I’m waiting for more supplies to arrive, I’ve also cast on a beautiful “cowlette”, a cross between a cowl and a shawlette.  It’s called “Clairmore” by Corinna Ferguson (available for $6 through Ravelry). 


I chose Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend in the colourway “Caribe”.  I’m a little obsessed with the colours of the sea lately.

I love the pattern so much that I might just make it in a couple of other colourways.

  I’d love to connect with you on Ravelry.  My handle is “nissa”.  Easy, right?

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A word to the wise…

This is how we roll for every special occasion.  In this case, it is how we rolled the day before Cat’s wedding.  She made cinnamon rolls for her reception.  The only place with space to spare were the ovens.  Without fair warning, breakfast could have precipitated a disaster of near-epic proportions.

Cooking with Mama

©Nissa Gadbois | All rights reserved

Last week, Geo and I gathered about 5 pounds of crabapples from one of our trees and made some crabapple jam.  I love this time of year.  There is so much to remind us of God’s bounty, so much to be thankful for.   How blessed we are to be able to feed ourselves from our own land, from foods that grow wild all around us.

Besides food, we are surrounded by medicines.  The youngest five went down with a cold virus just three days after their older brother had surgery to repair a shattered knee.  I was able to make a strong medicinal tea from elderberries we harvested from around the barn.  I’m happy to say that they are all feeling better.

William, our 16 year old, is recovering beautifully from his surgery, too.  Thanks be to God.

And that crabapple jam?  It was delicious spread on our homemade sourdough bread. 


Crabapple Jam
A gorgeous, rich spread for toast or biscuits.
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  1. 5 lb fresh organic crabapples
  2. 1 1/2 c. water
  3. 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar (with mother)
  4. 1 1/2 c. raw honey, agave nectar, or organic sugar
  1. Place fruit, water, and vinegar in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook fruit until they burst, about 20 minutes. Run fruit through a food mill or sieve. Push pulp through the sieve and discard skins and seeds. Place pulp back into the pot and add honey. Heat gently until honey is completely dissolved and incorporated.
  2. Using a jelly funnel, fill clean, hot jelly jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Process in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool.
  1. This recipe results in a very thick jam. If you were to add mulling spices, you would have a beautiful crabapple butter. The flavour is astringent. Consider serving with butter or cream cheese, or on a piece of shortbread. It would also be lovely served alongside a beautifully roasted pork loin.
At Home With the Gadbois Family
Crabapples ©Nissa Gadbois

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