Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: Tap My Trees

Growing up in Western New York, maple syrup is a huge part of our lives. Every March our area has "Maple Sugar Weekends" where the industry is highlighted and families can take part in watching the process and tasting the yummy results. If you have never watched huge vats of maple sap boiling down, and realized exactly how much sap is necessary to make just a small bottle of pure maple syrup, you will never know just how precious that syrup is that makes your stack of pancakes so delicious.

Recently we were given the opportunity to try our hand at making our very own maple syrup, with the Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees. I have always been so fascinated with the maple sugaring process, and have such a tremendous respect for those who work so hard during the month of March here in my area, to make enough maple syrup to last all year long. To try it at home with my own family will be such a treat!

What's missing??

After opening up our large package from Tap My Trees, the girls were pretty excited over the prospect of making our own syrup. They cannot wrap their brains around how much sap will be needed for just one pancake breakfast, and I can't wait to show them.

Our Starter Kit includes everything needed to walk out into the yard and begin tapping sap when the temperature is right. 
Sugaring At Home Starter Kit

Starter Kit includes:

  • 3 Aluminum (2 gallon) buckets that have a reinforced hole to hang the bucket to the tree.
  • 3 Metal lids to attach to the buckets. This prevents rain or debris (or bird droppings, as my daughter pointed out) from contaminating your sap.
  • 3 stainless steel spiles. These are inserted into the drilled holes, and allow the sap to flow freely into the bucket.
  • 3 hooks - attached to the spile and and used to hang the bucket off of.
  • Guidebook
  • 7/16 drill bit with 3/8 shank used to drill the holes into your trees.
  • Cheesecloth - used to filter debris or bark from the sap when transferring the sap from the bucket to the storage container. 

There is a very educational and handy instructional book that tells you everything from the history of maple sugaring (it started with the Native Americans) to teaching you how to identify trees in your yard for tapping. There are plenty of tips to make your tapping adventure a success, including step by step instructions and illustrations, and a list of other resources to 'tap' into. 


Because we are still in the middle of a Western New York winter, we have to wait a little while before we can start tapping. When the temperatures are warmer during the day (40's) yet still dropping below freezing at night, that will be the prime season for collecting sap. Typically this doesn't happen in our area until the beginning of March. 

In the mean time, what we could do with the kit is read through the instructions, and identify trees in our backyard that would make good candidates for tapping. The kit contains enough materials for three taps. We have one thinner tree, and one older tree that is actually thick enough in diameter to support two taps, according to the handbook. 

Measuring trees in our backyard.

I was so impressed with the quality of the materials in this kit. Not only is Tap My Trees providing my family with a great educational and fun experience, but we are learning food safety procedures, and being able to use high quality, food grade materials as well. If cared for properly, as the handbook instructs, I foresee the buckets and taps lasting many years, and being ready to use every spring to make our own maple syrup.

Food Grade quality buckets and covers

One thing I learned is that the sap can be tasted straight from the tree. In fact, many Native Americans and other cultures drink the tree sap from maples and birches for medicinal purposes. I think we will have to try that as well, if the girls are brave enough!

Thank you, Tap My Trees, for providing our family with a unique experience!

Tap My Trees has made some simple YouTube videos to show how easy it is to use their kit to make your own maple syrup:

To follow Tap My Trees on their other social media sites, click the following links:


To read how other families are getting ready to use their starter kits, click the banner below:

Tap My Trees Review
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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Parenting With Godly Purpose: Fellowship

When we hear the word FELLOWSHIP, especially in a church setting, how often do we picture a potluck dinner or cake and coffee after the service? Is this what fellowship has been reduced to? Is it just a time to sit and eat together, or is it so much more than that?

When I think of fellowship, I think of people with mutual interests and goals getting together to accomplish a task, which is exactly why I think fellowship between parents and children is such an important activity!

Fellowship is a companionship or sharing of friendliness. When people work together on a project to meet a goal they not only accomplish jobs, but they can have a great time doing it. Parents and children working together serves several purposes:

  1. Building character through showing the child how to do a task.
  2. Learning about each other.
  3. Having time to talk.
  4. Building memories.
  5. Giving your child a sense of purpose and belonging - of being on a team. 
Sometimes fellowship with family members requires some creativity. Busy schedules hinder fellowship. A lack of patience may suggest that it's easier to just do a job by yourself while the children run off and entertain themselves. But fellowship is a worthwhile investment in the relationship between parents and children. Look for ways to be together, and do things! Sometimes it may be a fun job while other times it may be a tedious task that just has to get done. Either way, your child will be learning valuable lessons by watching their parents work hard, and working alongside them.

The ministry is a great place to have fellowship with your children! 

There are plenty of ministries or volunteer opportunities available for parents and children to fellowship together. Working in a ministry together can be one of the most rewarding times of fellowship and building of memories that children can experience. Not only are they learning more about loving the Lord and caring for others, but they are giving rather than taking, which is a great lesson for children. It helps children to be more thankful when they see others in need. 

As a family in the ministry, some of our children's best memories surround times when they have accompanied their pastor-dad on various activities, visiting and helping people, I believe it has helped them to have a more tender heart towards those who are hurting. It has definitely made them more willing to help others. We have been blessed to have some wonderful opportunities for fellowship with our children, especially in areas of service.

Choose something that interests your family, and look for an opportunity to serve and fellowship together. It will strengthen and help your family's bond to grow strong!

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Once again, this post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet" with Cristi @ Through The Calm and Through The Storm and Meg @ Adventures With Jude. Check out the linkup for some really neat posts this week!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Parenting With Godly Purpose: Encouragement

What does it mean to be an encourager? By breaking down the word, we can see that it literally means "to put courage in". I love the mental picture that brings when thinking about my children. We have come to understand that this world can be a harsh place. If we are striving to raise Godly children in a Godless society, they will face abundant challenges, doubts, and uncertainties - many that were unheard of even when I was growing up.

How can we help our children be strong? One way is to be an encouragement to them on a daily basis.

Here is the dictionary definition for encourage: (taken from

verb (used with object)encouraged, encouraging.

to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence:
His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.
to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.:
One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students.

I love the first definition, emphasizing inspiring our children. As parents, we are the first line of defense against discouragement and defeat in our children's lives. If we truly believe they can accomplish something, and help them set out to reach their goals, their life will be significantly impacted for good. Yes, times of defeat will come, but what an opportunity they can be to inspire our children and equip them with the tools needed to get through it without being destroyed or distraught.

Having the approval and acceptance of parents is vital to a child's overall well being. After many years of working with young people and seeing shattered lives, I am completely convinced that children crave their parent's approval, and are devastated without it. Encouraging them regularly demonstrates this, and places the parent as an anchor in the child's life.

How can we encourage our kids?

  1. Look for the good in them, and praise it. Try to compliment good behavior and character when it is demonstrated, to reinforce those desired actions. Compliment inner character over outward beauty, yet don't neglect to let them know that you value everything about them, even their appearance. 
  2. Find the good. Some days an ornery child may not be very complimentary. Search for something good to value and praise, even if it is little. 
  3. Encourage quickly and easily. Don't withhold praise when it is due. Letting your child know you appreciate their hard work, and that they did a good job, gives them deep inner satisfaction.
  4. Tell them often how much you love them, that they are a gift and blessing from the Lord, and that you enjoy them.
  5. Show that you enjoy them by hanging out with them and doing fun things.
  6. Don't just "love" them, but "like" them as well!
  7. Pray for them, and let them know  that you are. Ask them what they need prayer for, and then pray with them about it. Praise the Lord together for the answered prayers in their life.
  8. Look for ways to build their confidence. Let them attempt some difficult (age and ability appropriate) things on their own. It's great to give a little instruction then step back and let them take off with an idea. This shows that you are confident in their abilities and that you don't always have to step in, take over, and 'do it for them'. Yes, they may mess up a little at first, but rather than jumping in to help, share a story where you messed up in a similar way and laugh together about it!

Our kids need to feel special and loved, and the easiest way to make that happen is to encourage them as often as we can. Be their cheerleader, and don't ever let them feel as if they are facing this world on their own.

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with Cristi and Meg 
and all the rest of the bloggers who are 
"Blogging Through The Alphabet"
Check them out!