Sunday, November 14, 2010

Colcannon - It's What's For Dinner

My husband has been asking for me to make a special dinner for a few weeks now. I always drag my feet in these issues. It is sooooo difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone and try new recipes!

While what he asked for seemed pretty straight forward, I was concerned that.... it would be lack luster and a disappointment. What did he want?

Mashed Potatoes, Cabbage and Bacon. - aka Colcannon

As a meal??


So tonight, because I was slower about selecting the meal de jour, Aaron once again threw his request out there. I had all the ingredients... so... I said ok.

My son, 4 year old Isaiah, hates potatoes. I have tried many many different methods of preparing them. He accepts hashbrown casserole and chokes down anything else. Really. He even hates french fries.

He watched me sadly as I peeled the potatoes. "Mama? Are you making that for the family, and something else for me?" "Nope honey. Tonight we will all eat this."

"Ok mama." He sadly left my kitchen, but did not complain.

So I cooked it up and served it into the bowls and called everyone to dinner.

Isaiah took the first bite. And exclaimed, "This is soooooo good!" He devoured his entire bowl and requested that we have this for dinner every night.

It is EASY to find recipes online, but here is what I did.....

Peel and dice 2 potatoes per person.
Chop 2 or more cups of cabbage.
Cover in water and boil until potatoes are soft, (about 15 mins for me).
Drain. Mash with masher and some pepper.

In a skillet cook a package of bacon to desired doneness. Take out bacon so you can chop or tear it into little pieces.

Then pour the bacon and ALL bacon grease into the potatoes and cabbage. Mix and serve.

It really is awesome. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gift Giving for the Holidays, Phase II

Since last Christmas, my husband and I have spent alot of time reconstructing what this season means to us.

What is Christmas about?
How do we celebrate THAT?

Let's face it. We all love presents. But when I think of Christmas, I think of music playing and lights glowing and snow. I think of meals with family and friends, warm drinks in front of a fireplace, laughter and love.

And I think of what we are to be celebrating to begin with. The birth of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

I feel bad that it is my second thought often. But I recognize that society as a whole is BOMBARDED with Christmas decor, music, lights, sales, toy catalogs, and spiced pumpkin lattes. And I recognize too that my grandmother, who LOVED LOVED LOVED Christmas, and who raised me and my brother, was a GIFT GIVER!

That is not a bad thing. It is one of the Five Love Languages. Unfortunately... it is the only one I am quite fluent in. And I am trying to widen my repertoire for the benefit of my loved ones and myself.

SO, I am trying to focus my own thoughts and the celebration of my family towards the REASON for the SEASON. Jesus Christ, sweet and fragile babe, born to walk on this earth with mankind..... born to die for our sins....born to redeem those who could not ever redeem themselves.... born to redeem me.

So, how do I go about celebrating the birthday of the Lord that loves the lowly?

My husband had a great idea to start searching the local community, and abroad for charities that we could give to. Local food banks, homeless shelters, schools for underprivileged communities, etc.

And I also was blessed to find a GREAT advent calendar this week that focused on giving to others for the Christmas spirit. I will be paring it down this year to make sure it is doable for my family and small children. But I felt that it really would bless my children and myself to be actively blessing others this year.

Some of the activities I think are perfect for our family include, make cookies and visit someone who is lonely, create your own christmas cards and send to friends and family, and sing christmas carols!

And for our family and friends, I have found some great treats the kids can help make that will brighten their spirits and bring them great, yummy joy.

I am REALLY looking forward to Christmas. The greatest gift has already been given. Receive it! And spend the rest of your life REJOICING IN IT!

Gift Giving for the Holidays

Our family has begun a new tradition when it comes to holidays.  For the last few years we just walked the road that seemed set for us.  Accepting all the gifts showered upon us and our children, wading through the wrapping paper and dealing with lost perspective and selfish attitudes in the post-holiday wake.

Last Christmas in particular became a real eye opener for us when, for 3 days following, my son refused to eat and kept asking for candy.  3 days!  I was really getting worried, and my husband assured me that my son would eat when he was hungry.

We discussed what we wanted for our children and for our holidays.  We wanted the holidays to be a joyful celebration, not a case of overwhelming sate.  And we wanted our entire lives, especially during the Christian holidays, to focus more on Christ and service.

So, much to the angst of some family members (whom I pray will understand and celebrate with us anyways), we have decided on purchasing one and only one gift for our children on these occasions, and focusing on the celebration that we are here and together and that the Lord has blessed us and will continue to do so.

How does this play out?

Soon after we made these decisions, we celebrated my little man's 4th birthday. We planned on meeting at the park, with all his friends (ie. the Huff tribe, lol) and letting them play for hours and enjoy fried chicken and cake. We did not open any presents there.

Why flaunt in front of other people what we have? Why invite people just to have them buy you presents? Why not just hang out with your friends and your family and have a great time! Why not run and laugh and play! We did and it was WONDERFUL!

How many times I have seen my son open a present bought with love and care, only to see him be uninterested, forced to say thank you, and the item thoughtlessly buried under many other purchases, forgotten?

This is not a reflection on the gifts or the gift givers!! This is a reflection of each of our hearts, our own selfish natures, crying "Want! WANT! WANT!" Time and time again it is proven that the more you have, the less it thrills you. And even worse, the more you have, the more you want.

It is not that I want my children grown in poverty. But what a sad thing it is to have a home full of toys, and have poverty of the spirit! On any given day you can walk in my home and find Legos all over the living room floor, children's books scattered around the bookshelves and end tables, a baby doll by the bed, and a much loved Bender doll sitting in the corner overseeing the mess. What do my children need, that time and love cannot provide? It is most certainly not 'things.'

So... with the understanding that some will disagree, we have chosen this path for our family. If you join in our celebrations, please respect our wishes and work within them. There are 365 days a year to show our children that you love them. And no matter how many toys you give them, it will not make up for a trip to the park, sitting down at dinner, and reading a bedtime story. I know you can't be there everyday. But you are welcome in our home anytime you can do so.

And we will be keeping a fund specifically for our homeschool supplies, which any would be welcome to donate towards.

Thank you and God Bless you this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Five Solas of the Reformation

Sola Scriptura
Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely.

Sola Fide
Justification is by faith alone. The full righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith (comprised of His active and passive obedience) is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted.

Solus Christus
Christ is Prophet, Priest and King; the only mediator through whose work we are redeemed.

Sola Gratia
Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us and in us.

Soli Deo Gloria
To God alone belongs the glory.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Cornfield

I got this vision from the Lord last week.....

We are like little kids in a corn field. We are so short and the corn is so tall that we can't see anything past our immediate location.

And this corn field is a crazy place, with bogs and quicksand and fires and bands of thieves and robbers. But you can't see where you are going so if you stumble through by yourself, you won't know where you are going, you will undoubtedly run into trouble after trouble after trouble and never get to your goal.

But God can see everything. And if you stand really still and put up your hand and say "Please help me!" He will come and take your hand and lead you step by step.

And some days you will travel far and see amazing things, because God can see that the path is clear.

And some days you will stand exactly in one spot and not move at all, because the path is blocked by things you cannot see.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Download FREE Health Manuals

At the link below, scroll down the page for the FREE downloads of the books "Where There Is No Doctor", "Where There Is No Dentist", and others. These have been on my wishlist for a while and VOILA! I find that their publisher believes in FREEDOM of information. I love it.

These would be perfect to have on in your possession in the event of an emergency that leaves you and your family on your own for more than .... 5 mins (to be explained later).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010 Garden - Surprise!

More than a month ago I admitted defeat with my garden. I spoke to the master gardeners, I read gardening articles, I look at the farmer's almanac and the accuweather reports. Summer was coming to a close and my garden plants were too immature to really produce before the rainy season set in.
So I gave up.
I left it.
I felt bad about it too. I remembered a dream that I had just a week or so before. I was in my garden and the ground was blessed by the Lord. Everything that I threw to the ground, dug itself into the dirt, germinated before my eyes and grew to produce ample fruit. I felt that this dream was truly from the Lord and pondered why my own garden seemed pathetic in contrast.
I made plans to clear the plots after my vacation to Nevada. I made plans to read everything I could this winter to prepare for next years garden, in the hopes that I would not face another total loss.
While I was there I thought more on my dream. Was it indeed from the Lord? Had I somehow failed a test and lost that promise?
And for some reason... I thought.... what if... I just hadn't put my faith in it? So I made a decision, I would believe that the promise in that dream WAS real, and it would happen without any help from me. I had not returned to my garden for over a month. I did not water. I did not weed. I did not contend with bugs or birds. I did not stake or tie up the plants.
And when I returned from my vacation I would go look at my garden and see if the Lord blessed my plot or not.

All I saw was weeds. But I did not give up hope that easily. I got out or my car and began walking among the weeds in an attempt to find my once planted rows. And I found something amazing!
A hidden, bountiful harvest!
After removing some weeds I found onions, zucchini's, corn, peppers, and... what I had longed for most of all.... tomatoes!

They are not ripe. But they ARE plentiful and big!
So for the next week or so, I'll be pulling up the tomato plants to hang in my shed. They will then ripen on the vines. We will be able to enjoy a rich harvest after all.

And... just for fun I had planted some sunflower seeds. MOST of the flowers are the size of that one on the right! That will be alot of fun to season and enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Threat of "New Baby"

Since we discovered that a new baby is on the way, we have been trying to prepare our children for the new addition. My baby girl, Reya - 15 months, is having the hardest time. She cries and clings and say's "I'm the baby." I reassure her the baby is not coming for many months, but I know she doesn't understand. And even my son, Isaiah - 4 years old, has become more of a Mama's boy, saying that he needs cuddle time, because "I'm still a little boy."

So we are trying to focus on teaching the children that we will love them the same after the new baby comes. In fact, there will be even more love in our family!
"Daddy loves you, Mama loves you, Isaiah loves you, and the new baby will love you too. Our family will grow, and our hearts will grow with it."

To help I've been able to get a few things to share with the kids to soften their hearts and get them a bit more excited about the new baby.

The best tool has been an actual model of the baby in my womb. I hit 12 weeks last week, and came across this little baby.

Both of the kids love it! Reya has even been sticking it in her shirt and carrying it around pretending she is a Mama.

And on our last stop at the library, the librarian helped me out to find several books explaining the babies development for a child's understanding.
How You Were Born, by Joanna Cole
What To Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby, by Heidi Murkoff
It's a Baby!, by George Ancona
The books seemed to help a little, and at the same time, cause a little more stress in the kids. And of course I had to skip all the parts that explained that it was not a baby yet, and all the parts about Mama going to the hospital and being gone for days. So.... I think I'll stick to baby dolls and loving. :)

And I think I'm going to write a little "My Baby" story for each of the kids, describing the pregnancy, the labor and birth, with pictures of the key players. It would be more personal, and help them understand how it will affect OUR family better.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's been awhile...

It's been awhile since I posted. I'd like to say I was on vacation or hard at work doing inspiring and amazing things. But... I haven't been.

I've been sitting at home with pregnancy exhaustion and nausea. And then... over the weekend, my two sweet babes came down with croup.

Over the past few weeks though, we have been able to accomplish a few things. We got our birth supplies for this growing bundle. I get them from In His Hands. They have packages, recommended to them by midwives that use their service. But after researching the uses of most of these items, I decided that we did not need them. I avoid the hospital to bypass tests and monitoring... no need to bring that home. My husband and I got a kick out of comparing the bills from our two children's births.
My son Isaiah's hospital birth that ended in a cesarean section, $24,000.
My daughter Reya's home birth, $35.

We also got some cast iron cookware. We purchased mostly the Lodge brand. And seeing the products we are glad we did. Sturdy, smooth and well designed. We've been practicing cooking various items in them. It is so much different that my teflon skillets. We haven't tried the dutch oven yet, which I am most eager to do. I might plan a camping trip JUST for that reason.

I also found a kindergarten curriculum book at my local grocery store for half price! I flipped through it. It has all color pages with activities in numbers, alphabets, animals, reading, and more. This paired with daily bible reading and discussion, educational games, and a unit study I purchased on farm life should provide a well rounded school year for my little man. I'm looking at some new opportunities for field trips. The zoo, OMSI, local farms, and an astrology club here in town have some great learning environments for me to consider.

My father also found me some unpicked fruit trees. So I have 4 boxes of yellow apples to clean and process. I am freezing up some apple pie filling and making some apple butter. They are so delicious!! I keep walking through my house wondering what that amazing smell is. It's those apples!! The family that I picked them from, said their children lived a little ways down the road and had more trees of the same!! So if I get these processed quickly enough, I might be able to get another round!

AND... my favorite blogger has just posted another installment, The Deliberate Agrarian
He talks about memories of his hardworking grandfather, a great yard sale find, and some painful connections between now and the great depression. I think he gave some GREAT and perfect advice on how to protect yourself and your family.
"Humble yourself. Ground yourself in the spiritual sense. Ground yourself in the physical, earthy sense so you can grow some of your own food. Stock the pantry. Eliminate debt. Downsize. Simplify. Make do and be content with less. Learn the various hands-on skills of self-sufficient living. Establish one (or more) small home businesses. Embrace the little pleasures of life. Thank God for His blessings...."

Regardless what the future holds, or the present for that matter, I am glad to have the Lord to lean on. It is good to know that someone loves us and promises "to work all things to good," (Romans 8:28) and reminds us to be "content in any situation," (Hebrews 13:5).

My exhaustion is temporary, and my nausea means there are lots of raging hormones indicating strong and healthy growth in my child. My son and daughter are coughing and coughing and have fevers, but they will recover and their immune systems will be stronger for it. I'll be peeling and coring apples all week (maybe longer) but my family will be able to enjoy delicious apple pies and butters for the next year. My homeschooling duties are right around the corner and seem overwhelming in my current state of exhaustion, but I should feel more like myself in 3-4 weeks.

So right now may feel hard, but the truth is, STILL, I am sooooo very blessed. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another poem....

I Walked a Mile with Pleasure

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton

I love the old hymns....

My Hope is Built

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

by Edward Mote (1797-1874)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Picnic with the Huffs

Today we had a picnic with the Huffs at Riverside Park.

We had a wonderful time with fried chicken, green salad, fresh grapes and juice, followed by a space themed birthday cake for my little man. The kids played and ran and played and ran. As you can see, even Reya made some new friends. :)

Thanks for such a great day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Warning to The Lazy Man or Woman

A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest;
So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:33-34

I must remind myself not to be lazy. My Lord, my children, my husband, and yes, even I, deserve better. It is insidious, creeping into every moment of my life, unless I am watchful against it.

Things that help me?

1. Putting on music while I do my chores.

2. Praying while I do my dishes (this is my #1 problem area).

3. Do one thing at a time. Regardless of how much there is to do, it is too easy to get discouraged with 20 things half done.

4. Don't get stuck in the blame and guilt games. Get up and do better now!

5. Scheduling! A decent bedtime, and starting your day with bible and prayer time. Things are always more difficult if you are tired. And life can easily get out of perspective if not grounded in the word.

So, if you struggle with this also, let us stand up and do what is needed. Confess our sins, and put them behind us.

A friend that holds you accountable, is a friend indeed.

Gift From God


A new song wells within my heart,
As small and precious life within me grows.
Fear is melting, doubt no more,
This promise more felt than heard.

Has time changed the quality of me,
To a Woman, a child no more?
Daughter, now Mother, Love, now Wife,
My name is as changing as wind on the grass.

Now building creation, inside a womb I denied,
A miracle, a wonder, my mind a mute hostage,
To question, not ever, to fear, do not speak,
For watching and waiting for fruition to bear.

Have you given me my namesake,
An inheritance for my lasting joy?
Have you given me the place to dwell,
within your arms of healing love?

My song it rises quickly, slowly, strongly,
To praise your gift to me and mine,
May it never die upon my lips,
Except for speechless awe.

I wrote this when I found out I was pregnant with Isaiah who today turns 4 years old. Much love to my little man and the Lord who gave him to me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mosquito Heaven - No More

I've been tending my garden in the evenings just as the sun is setting and the day is cooling down. Unfortunately this is apparently when the mosquitoes come out for their daily feast.

Sooooooo... I've researched and found some tips of dealing with the evil beasts and their miserable bites.

To deter the pests in the first place, put Listerine in a spray bottle and spray it on yourself. I'm not sure if other brands will work, but until shopping day next week, that is what I'll be trying. I am so grateful that Michelle mentioned this! I need relief!

And if you have already been viciously attacked here is a list of things you can try for itch relief.

I just tried the first one, rubbing a dry bar of soap on your bites. It worked!

Hope this helps!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

I have been so very blessed this week.

We found out that we are expecting a wonderful new baby. By March 2011, we will have 3 beautiful children to fill our home and our hearts.

The sewing shop fixed my sewing machine and gave me a 75% (!!!) rebate. I was so sad when if fell off of my table and discouraged when I heard that the service rates had gone up. So when the repairman called me with the total I was so grateful.

And yesterday the Parks and Rec Department called to let me know that I can indeed have a third garden plot for free! They offered several more as well, scattered around the garden. I admit I was tempted. But I started with the plan for 3 plots and this one is directly next to my plots.

Here is a pic of my new plot - A-4. You can see it is backing A-3. It gives me access to another water spigot as well.

And my neighbor and friend, Floyd, is actually out there RIGHT NOW tilling it.

I am so excited. I see rows of potatoes, cabbage and onions. I can put out the kid pool for my children to while away the hours I labor there.

I am very thankful.

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy News - And Bible Verses for Pregnancy

Lilypie Maternity tickers

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved,
He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
Genesis 29:31

Then God remembered Rachel,
and God listened to her and opened her womb.
Genesis 30:22

By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
Genesis 49:25

And He will love you and bless you and multiply you;
He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land,
your grain and your new wine and your oil,
the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock,
in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.
Deuteronomy 7:13

Did not He who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
Job 31:15

But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
Psalm 22:9

I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb You have been My God.
Psalm 22:10

By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.
Psalm 71:6

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
Ecclesiastes 11:5

Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you:
'Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.'
Isaiah 44:2

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb:
"I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;"
Isaiah 44:24

"Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the LORD.
"Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" says your God.
Isaiah 66:9

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5

But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
Galatians 1:15

For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your children within you.
Psalm 147:13

The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.
Proverbs 20:7

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble;
For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD,
And their offspring with them.
Isaiah 65:23

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:4-5

Friday, July 2, 2010

Self Evident...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
United States Declaration of Independence Preamble

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh the fresh smell of dirt...

I am overjoyed!

A kind neighbor tilled my garden today! He asked for nothing in return, and in fact has turned down my every offer so far to assist or repay him. I just met him at the garden last week, as we stood and looked sadly at our grassy plots, both looking forlorn and directionless. We laughed about how well our gardens grew grass and comfrey, and how if we looked REALLY hard we could just see our onions sticking out of the wild foliage.

He said he would be back this week and would gladly till my garden along with his own. I was so very impressed with his kindness. And on Monday, I found that he had impressed others as well.

Floyd Willet - Local Good Samaritan

And here.... for your pleasure and most definitely mine......

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the LORD.

Isaiah 54:17

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Little Garden at Home

In front of our duplex, between the two front steps, is a little garden area. It is half ours, half our neighbors. I finally got around to digging up our half and turning it over. It took most of yesterday afternoon, and will be quite weed ridden for some time... but with some work it will be quite fruitful. The neighbor said we were welcome to use his side as well.

To start with I just planted 10 tomato plants in there. I hope to add some peas later this week.

Our neighborhood has quite a cat problem. I had read that Cayenne Pepper will keep them away and most pests, so I sprinkled some liberally over the newly loosened ground.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Raspberries and Cherries!

Nothing says summer like fresh fruit!

Today I stopped by one of the local fruit stands and picked up some sweet treats for the family.

We got 3 flats of Raspberries, with a few extra little baskets thrown in free because that was all the guy had left and he was EAGER to go home! And I also got 1 quart of Black Cherries, because they are one of my favorites, just for eating.

My husband and the kids immediately had a bowl of raspberries and cream when we stepped in the door. Then after discussing it, I cleaned the rest and put them in 2 cup portions in the freezer. I can make jam, pies, smoothies, ice cream or just raspberries in cream with them later as I choose. Last year I did this with only 1/2 flat of raspberries. With our bounty of fruit I didn't use those frozen raspberries until well into March and April. :)

It makes me happy to know we will have wonderful fruit for months and months to come.

Happy Birthday to my Love!

Today is my husband's birthday.  Ohhhh, How I love him!

He insists he wants nothing, which makes it difficult to find gifts for him.  I try my best anyways, because... I am a gift giver.  I recognize I got this from my grandmother who was also a gift giver.  I consider this one of her many good qualities.  But I also consider this one of her negative qualities.

While taking a class for homeschooling I heard of the 5 Love Languages.  With a completely pure and sincere heart, it would be easy for a person to assume that what equals love to them, would and SHOULD equal love to anyone else.  And this is not entirely so.

My husband despises 'stuff.'  He hates clutter, junk, useless gadgets that take up our living space and, as he sees it, hampers our ability to live our lives fully without baggage.

As I write this, I sadly look around my home, and see that I have NOT paid enough attention to my husband's needs, or been thoughtful enough about what equals love to him.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to peg my husband's Love language.  As he goes to work day after day, even evenings and weekends, it is clear that the biggest sign of true love in his eyes, is 'Acts of Service.'

My heart is convicted.  Because today is not the first time I realized that I am NOT being "My Best."  But today, on his birthday, when I want to bless him and show him my extreme gratitude for his love and his faithfullness.... I realize that instead of a box covered in wrapping paper and filled with .... something... What my husband wants the most is my continued efforts for our family, day in and day out.

That is what my heart wants too.  So I pray, Dear Lord, convict me where I am failing, encourage me where I am doing well, and please, please, please direct my path so that I am blessed.... and a blessing.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ladies + Cooking = A Great Day

Today the ladies and I got together to make several batches of Strawberry Jam.  The adventures usually result from my very poor estimations.  Last canning day, my time estimation was ridiculously off.  I said, 3 or 4 hours.... we were there for more than 7.  Today it was my estimation of lbs to cups.

To be fair to myself, I got these estimations off of another website that was confusing and apparently very misleading.  It said 1 lb strawberries was equal to 4 cups sliced.  NOT SOO!!!  I later found a canning book that had some estimations in it... and it said 1 lbs sliced strawberries would be equal to about 2 cups.  And this was pretty accurate.

Soooooo.... out of a 28lb bucket of cleaned and sliced strawberries, we got 10 batches, with 4 cups left over for a smoothie with lunch. :)

We used a recipe from Sure Jell

6 cups fruit
4 cups sugar
1 cup pectin
1/2 tsp butter

And we got about 34.5 pints to split between us.

As always, spending the day with the ladies is enjoyable.  We laugh and talk, the kids run and run and run and run and wear themselves out, and the day winds away pleasantly.

Thank you ladies, for a day well spent.  I look forward to our next adventure together.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Movie Review - Shrek Forever After

This movie is awesome in every way. My son and husband went to go see it at the theatre, and when they returned, my husband insisted I see it as sooooooon as possible. He said, "I know you'll love it."

And I did.

It is the most wonderful love story I've seen in a long time. And it seems to perfectly fit with the thoughts that have been in my own head and I've shared here in the last week.

Completely realistic about the drudgery of every day life in the family... Shrek feels that he is trapped by his life. He loves Fiona and he loves his kids and he has many, many friends that share in his life. But he misses the freedom that he remembers nostalgically, before he was saddled with a family.

After a blowup at a birthday party, Shrek meets someone who offers him One Day As An Ogre, life, like it used to be, in exchange for "A day you don't even remember."

But Shrek finds out that the deal is as rotten as the dealer, Rumpelstiltskin. The day that was taken in exchange, was the day of his birth, and Shrek never existed, never met Donkey, never saved Fiona, and never married her and had their 3 beautiful children.

Shrek finds that what he had, was indeed the most wonderful life imaginable, and will do anything to get it back.

Kids In Mind Movie Review - 3-3-2

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Fathers Day to alllllll the daddies in the world!

I hope your day is filled with loving hugs and smiles. Personally, I want to recognize my husband who is a great Daddy to his two children, and my own Dad who is very dear to me.

For some of you, like some dear loved ones of mine, who have lost your father, please take time to remember him and thank God for the time you had with him. And then please lean upon those of your loved ones who are still with you, and who still care for you deeply.

God's Words For The Married Woman, Part 2

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Collossians 3:18

Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
1 Timothy 3:11

Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 7:2-16

God's Words For The Married Woman, Part 1

Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Titus 2:4-5

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
1 Peter 3:1-6

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Own Dreams ~ Vs His

Ladies Against Feminism: Promoting Beautiful Womanhood have written a beautiful and thought provoking blog ~ A Dream Deferred.

I consider it thoughtfully, as I recognize that for the last couple of weeks... maybe months... maybe years... I have looked back at my own goals and dreams with regret. I have this baggage that I have been carrying for so long.

I wanted to go to school. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be something. My name would be known by at least a decent crowd of educated, well to do, other somebodies. Thoughts of me would be filled with more than a little admiration and respect, recognition for my small but noble achievements.

But here, now, I am a stay at home wife with two children. My daily routine is to break up fights over the legos, wash ketchup out of my daughter's hair, help my son find a matching pair of socks in his drawers, gather all the dirty laundry to find that I left yesterday's load in the washer, and try to make a meal with only milk and rice in the house.

I feel like I am not there. Where is Caroline? Where did she go? Where is the girl who would go on walks in the rain through the city of Vancouver at night? Where is the girl who wrote poems about every emotion that welled within her? Where is the girl that earned the nickname La Soñador, those many years ago in school?

A good friend of mine also recently sent me an email regarding these very thoughts... The Invisible Mom.

I am reminded of the choices that I have made in the past, that led me to this place. This may not have been what I had in mind when I started. But I have no doubt, that this is indeed what the Lord willed for me. As I was confronted with each major crossroads.... I had a choice to make.

Do I do what I want to do?

Or do I do what He wants me to?

There were times when the decision was easy. The path was clear, and well lit. I could easily see good outcomes from my actions and choices.

There were times though, when the decision was hard. My heart railed within me. It was not what I wanted. It was not clear. And it was more than a little frightening.

But I look and see what has come of it.

My marriage is strong and loving, filled with laughter and touch.
My children are beautiful and healthy, with kisses and smiles for me every morning.
And my home, though small and cluttered, is safe and secure.

Whatever my dreams were, they could not truly have made me as happy as I am now.

So with a thankful heart, I lay my dreams at His feet. "Do with them what you will Lord. And I will trust in You."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laundry Detergent

I just used the last of my laundry soap this morning.  Fortunately I have all the ingredients to make more right in my home.  So I gathered them together and prepared to make 3 gallons, which will last my family about 3 months, for less than $2.00.

When I was young and single I was a TIDE fan.  The smell is awesome, but let's face it, $20.00 for a box of laundry detergent is really ridiculous!  As time passed I went from Tide to Arm & Hammer, $15.00.  I went down the line until I was using Sun, $4.00.  But with a growing family, and me terribly concerned about germs all the time, (yes I may be a bit OCD there), I was running through 1 a week.

When I came across the recipe for laundry soap, I was skeptical, but thought I'd give it a try, simply because it is SOOOOO affordable.

Sooooo here are my ingredients.

Laundry Soap

  • 1/3 bar grated Fels Naptha Soap, or your favorite Bar Soap

  • 1/2 cup Borax

  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda

  • Water

Heat 1 quart water on medium heat.  Add and stir in grated bar soap.  Once bar soap is completely melted in, add Borax and Washing Soda while stirring.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens to the consistency of honey.  Pour into a 1 gallon storage container and fill the remainder with water.  Allow to set for about 24 hours.

You will then have to SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE it out of its hard set jell the first time you use it, and then just a light shake every time after.

Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup per load of laundry, as you see fit.

I make 3 batches at a time, because it uses the entire bar of soap, and then lasts me 3 months.  Here are my fresh 3 gallons of laundry soap.  You can see that it is already jelling up. I used old 1 gallon Gatorade jugs, because they are easy to lug around with that big handle on top and the finger grip on the side, and the plastic is thicker and feels like it may last a while.

As I said, this is extremely cheap to make.  The prices at my local Winco....

  • Fels Naptha $1.30

  • Borax $5.00

  • Washing Soda $3.50

And you can get MANY batches (more than 10) out of the boxes of Borax and Washing Soda.

It is also hypoallergenic.  Basically unscented, unless you choose to add essential oils, which you are FREE TO DO!

Go ahead and give it a try!  You will feel like a superhero, smell as clean and fresh as rain and save money doing it. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This is Summer?

My husband called from work to tell me it is hailing.

Oh, Lord, please shield my already battered garden!

I laugh at the irony of this season.  I choose to grow my own food, I choose to proclaim it loudly, that I trust in the Lord's providence.... and time and time again, my efforts are mocked and brutalized... hail, cold, rain, flooding... lather, rinse, repeat.

I assume that summer will show her glorious face soon and the sun will shine warmly down on my plants and help them grow strong.  But until then, Lord, please have mercy on me and my garden.

Tomatoes - au Natural

Due to the RECORD rainfall last month the community garden flooded.  And unfortunately the rain has slowed but continued, with weather reports saying this week will be cloudy and rain through Saturday, and even some more rain next week also.

After the majority of the water receded this last weekend, I went to assess the damage.  I fared quite well actually.  The potatoes, onions, beans, sunflowers, radishes and peppers are all alive and growing and well drained.  And my son's garden is doing very well on a little hill in the middle of the garden.

The entire back row where the corn is supposed to be ..... nothing.  I think perhaps the seeds were no longer viable, because they should have sprouted before the rains flooded us out anyways.

But, the far left corner of my garden is just a mud pit with nothing growing, and I lost that last row of tomatoes.  And, since the hailstorm that opened the month of May, already left me short on tomatoes, I was in dire need of getting some more.

I discussed it with my father, because he is full of ideas and sympathy usually. :)  And he did not fail me!

After last season, he rototilled his garden, leaving all the remaining vegetation there to add mulch and structure to the soil.  And this season he had tomatoes sprouting up everywhere!!  These were not in his plans so he was just going to hoe them down.

I was more than happy to take them off his hands!  I went and dug them up.  And while I was there my dad, being so very generous always, gave me some celery plants, a garlic, and said, "No problem," regarding the dill plant that was wedged against a tomato.

Since the weather is still wet wet wet and my garden is just a mud pit right now.... I planned on storing them at my house for a while, where they will be able to grow some more and drain well.  So I separated them and planted them in every available container I could find.

They are pouting, having just been replanted and watered, but I'll take them outside and they'll perk right back up!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

I love canning.  Just coming out of winter, I haven't had much canning to do until just recently.  Some friends and I got together about a month ago to make a HUGE batch of peach jam (frozen from last year) and apple butter (newly available from CA).  It was so enjoyable.  I love meeting with the ladies and talking and cooking and having a wonderful time.  And the kids love it too, getting all together and playing.

We're planning on doing that again next week and making strawberry jam, one of my favorites!  The local Lions had a great deal on 28lbs of cleaned and sliced strawberries for $40.  I figure that will make alot of jam, and maybe some left over for smoothies! :)  I am excited about it.

Anyways, yesterday I was picking up some things for a BBQ and saw that they had strawberries on sale at winco, $1 for 1lb.  I bought a couple just to eat and HOPEFULLY they will still be on sale tomorrow when I do my normal grocery shopping.

This morning we all had a bowl of fresh strawberries and it was glorious.  But by afternoon I saw a sudden growth of mold!  Apparently if they are washed and wet, they mold quickly.  I hadn't paid any attention to the fact that they were wet from the store.  But next time I will!

So I dropped everything and cleaned and cut the strawberries that were still good.  I pulled out a freezer bag of prepared rhubarb (from my mother in law's garden a couple of months ago) and whipped up some Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

After dinner, my honey and the kids enjoyed some toast and jam for dessert.  And they all asked for "More please."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Because That's What Daddy Likes

My son has red hair.  REALLY red hair.  There are all those jokes about gingers (Southpark) and red heads being nothing but trouble.  He is alot of trouble.  But he's also a LOT of fun. :)

My husband likes the kids hair to be neat and unfortunately (in my mind) this means shaved.  Yes it's neat.  But I LOVE to see those red locks.  And since I asked my husband has been letting our son's hair grow out in all it's shining glorious flame of color.

But last night my son asked for a haircut.  I stopped short. "Why?  I love your hair!"

And he said, "Because that is what Daddy likes.  And Daddy is the boss."

I'm not too sad about it, I know it will grow back again.  Kind of nostalgic though...

So... here are my before and after pics.

They don't show the red well, but you can see he is a handsome little man.

It does make him look SOOOO much older and determined.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fishing ... for fun and for little girls

Tuesday night my husband was working late. So I bundled up the kids and took them for a walk to the lake. Grandma had recently got my son a Lightning McQueen Fishing kit and he was EAGER to try it out.

Lake Sacagawea is our ONE refuge in this town. Three blocks of ghetto to get to two miles of wonderful.

So we went down to the south end there and I let my son cast for a bit.  I realized I had forgotten the camera... my son's first fishing attempts and I was missing this chance to capture it.  So I called my husband who was fortunately going to be leaving work in a bit and said he'd grab it.

We moved around the edge to a more shallow spot and Isaiah was doing great.  I looked at my little girl, stuck in the stroller.  I felt so bad for her, being stuck there, watching her brother and not being able to do anything but munch on cinnamon graham crackers.  So I let her out to walk around on the grass, and watch her brother in slightly more comfort.

Then my son notified me his hook was stuck, and it was, wrapped all around a plant right out of arms reach off the shore.  And out of the corner of my eye I see it, a little blue bundle rolling rolling..... Oh how I tried to reach her, but she rolled right into the lake.

I jumped in and grabbed her by her sturdy overalls and heaved her on to the beach.  She was wide eyed and shocked, she didn't even cry.  I looked up to see Daddy arriving.  I stripped her wet clothes off and wrapped her in a dry blanket and asked Daddy to take her home in the car which would be much faster than me walking her home.

I arrived home about 15 minutes later to hear her laughing and splashing in the bath.  So fortunately no lasting trauma for her.  I wish I could say the same about myself.  I love that little girl SOOOOOOO much.  My heart still quails thinking about it.  I think she can stay in the stroller .... for the next 5 years. :)

Here is some info on fishing at the lake if you are local...

And here is a free online course on First Aid and CPR.  You don't need it until you NEED it!  SO I encourage everyone to get a little refresher regularly.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I want to be a Christian Agrarian.

I want to be a Christian Agrarian.  What does that even mean, you might ask?

Well, it begins with Christian.  I am a follower of Christ, Jesus Christ.  I believe the Bible account of Creation, The Fall, The Promise of Redemption, The Coming of the Son, The Payment for My Sins, and Salvation and Adoption.  I believe I am a child of God, covered by his grace.

And it ends with Agrarian, ie Farming.  Whether one believes the Dominion Mandate still applies, or if one simply believes in being responsible for oneself, and being liberated from the corporations and masses.... I think most can see the benefit of providing for one's OWN needs and not being dependent on others.

But entwining the two.... also entails the understanding that I do this for the Lord.  I care for the land and trust that the land will care for me BECAUSE the Lord made it so, and promised me He would provide for me and my household.  By moving towards my subsistence on the land, I am leaning more and more on my TRUST in the Lord.  I am believing that He will care for me, and acting on it.

This does not mean that tomorrow I am moving out into the woods and building a log cabin by hand and washing my clothes in a creek.  Although... If I had to... I guess I'd have to make the best of it.  It means, to me, that I must educate and train myself, how to move off of the grid.  What do I purchase at the store regularly?  Can I provide it for myself without buying it?  What would that take?  And as I research, use my newly acquired skills and move closer and closer to my life on the old homestead.

Is this even possible??

I can grow many vegetables and fruits and nuts myself.  I can raise chickens for eggs and meat, and cows or goats for milk and meat.  I can keep bees for pollinating my crops and a supply of honey, one of nature's most amazing and astounding foods.

I can choose a home that is energy efficient.  I can utilize Solar, Wind and Water Energy Sources.  I can use water in a responsible manner, not wastefully.  I can provide adequate living space for family, animals, and food storage.  And I can attempt to do this without living under mind numbing debt by choosing functionality over appearances.

I can take the best care of my clothes.  I can purchase or take used clothing from others.  I can purchase sale cloth and make any necessary items of clothing that my family needs.

I can make my own laundry, dish, hand and body soaps.  I have made my own laundry detergent for a few years now.  It is very cost efficient and hypoallergenic.  And my pantry currently holds the ingredients to make laundry soap for the next 2 years.  My mother in law makes hand soaps, and has recipes that especially help eczema or dry skin, and these too are hypoallergenic.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Henry de Bracton.
I can eat a moderate and well grounded diet (ie dirt growing), and exercise regularly.  I can treat many minor ailments with rest and fluids.  I can make distilled oils and balms with herbs from the garden.  I am also fortunate enough to conceive and bear my children in the privacy and safety of my own home.  I can go to a doctor when I NEED to.

Home is where my heart is.  My husband... my children.... there is nothing more dear to me.  I love them and though I may not like the labor involved, I rejoice to do what is necessary for their care.  It is an act of service, and an act of love.

My Progress....?
I guess at this point, I can consider myself a beginner.  So, at least, I have BEGUN.

In the last few years I have begun to learn vegetable gardening, and fruit harvesting (since I don't own any fruit trees/plants myself yet).  I have begun learning to sew, from a dear friend of mine.  I have been canning jams, vegetables, sauces, and even chili.  I have been researching the care of chickens and bees, because when we do move onto our land, I hope to get started on that.

Here are some links of other Christian Agrarians, what does it mean to them, and how do they live out their beliefs and dreams.

I have alot to learn.  But I am not alone.  And I am not giving up. :)

The Garden Update - Or Should I Say The Marshland Update

My garden is flooded.  Not just mine.... Most of the community garden is under water.  I drove up... I looked at the orange fencing saying "Do Not Enter."  And I knew it must be bad.  I trudged out in the mud to my plot.  It was heartbreaking to me.

I'll add a photo tomorrow.  I was too stunned to think of taking one today.

One side of the garden seems to be doing well.  The potatoes, onions, salad bar (hehe), beans and sunflowers are all visibly growing and for the most part, well drained.  The other side of the garden.... is under water.  I see a sad tomato here and there sticking out it's little head.  Oh those beautiful seedlings, that I lovingly raised in my home, for many months.  I don't think they will make it and there is nothing I can do except wait for the flood waters to recede.

I see on the news there is more rain to come.....

Maybe there will be a rainbow across the sky tomorrow to remind me of the Lord's promise to not flood the whole earth.  There must be a happy growing garden somewhere out there..... and I will find it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bicycling - MUCH Harder Than It Looks

I am not a kid anymore.  In fact, if I look at my driver's license, I am not even a young adult anymore.  Am I sad?  Not really.  Maybe I wish I had used my exuberance and freedom more productively, but all in all, I really love the direction of my life and having my dear family to share the days with me.

I have been so excited recently by getting a new bike and a bike trailer.

My husband and I have used the bike trailer in stroller mode and gone on some great walks in the park this last week.  But I was really quite eager to tow my kids around while I felt the wind rushing on my face as I biked the town.

So today I loaded them up  (with copious amounts of help and encouragement from my husband) and was off.  The bike teetered this way and that for a bit.  My husband laughed and suggested that he would record the whole process for the kids to watch someday. HA HA *growl*

After a few feet though I evened her out and was off.  The bike trailer really did beautifully, it rolled so easily, that I actually only "felt" the pull of it once when I hit a bump in the road.  The kids were content, sharing crackers and water while I did my tour of the neighborhood.


It was hard work for me.  I'm surprised because I can walk for hours easily.  Bicycling must use entirely different muscles because I was beat at 10 blocks.  I had to get off and push the bike the last 20 yards home because there was no way I could push those pedals anymore.  I know it will get easier with time.  I enjoyed it.  I feel great now having done it.  But WOW, I'm exhausted!

My husband DID point out I could probably bicycle SLOWER.  I guess, since this isn't a timed test or anything, I could try that. :)

Deuteronomy 7:12-16 ~ If You Follow The Lord's Judgements

Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you. Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 7:12-16

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Bike Trailer has ARRIVED!

YEAH! A loud banging on my door announced the arrival of Fed Ex, with a beautiful, enormous package.
My bike trailer has ARRIVED!
Now...... to assemble and enjoy. :)

Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, May 21, 2010

Daniel 4:10-12 ~ A Tree In The Midst of the Earth

I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Attempt at Healthy Living

My husband and I are making some changes this week... month... year. Fortunately we were already headed in, what we feel, was the right direction. Garden, Exercise, Scheduling, Family Prayer and Reading.

Our 40'x40' plot of dirt is taking shape. It is taking us ALOT longer than we thought to get our planting done. But we are optimistic and realize that it is time consuming and labor intensive because we have such lofty goals. Currently we have 2 40' rows of corn, 1 35' row of potatoes, 1 35' row of onions, about 30 tomatoes, 2 25' rows of various beans, about 21 pea plants, 2 hubbard squash, 3 zucchini, 3' square of salad stuff (lettuce, radishes, green onions, cilantro, and arugula) and some cabbage. I think, "WOW that is alot." But we literally are not 50% done planting!!!

I recently got a bike and just this morning ordered my bike trailer/stroller to tote my kiddos around in while I get some fresh air. I am eager for it's arrival and my freedom!!! Of course, with freedom comes responsibility. So I will MOSTLY be using this as transportation to check my garden frequently during the coming months. A rumor has reached my ears that someone is giving my husband a bicycle too... and I dream of family bike rides at the park!

Personally, I am a disorganized laze about. I am NOT proud of this. So I have been trying to better myself and have been implementing some scheduling techniques I learned while reading Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell. I was doing pretty good actually and feeling quite proud, until we took a "Garden Break." I really fell of that wagon and haven't gotten back on since! While it's only been two weeks, I see the consequences in my attitude, my children's behavior and my housework. So.... NO complaining. Get up and do the job right GIRL! :)

Family Prayer and Reading:
Our relationship with God is central to our family. How can I prepare my children for their futures, when I have no idea what they will face? I cannot. But I know who can. I know who loves them more dearly than I do, who knows every hair on their head, every thought on their mind, and every day that they will walk on this earth. So, I find my most important goal, is to show them where to go, and hope they go there. "Look child! There is the fountain of life! There is the source of all strength!" I need the same reminders myself. When there is trouble at my door, where can I turn? When there is fear in my heart, who will uphold me and strengthen my hand? When there is a blessing, who indeed has placed it in my keeping? And though I know I am imperfect and fail constantly, I look at my children as they clasp their hands at bedtime and we say, "Amen." And my, soon to be, 4 year old son says, "Wait, please. We did not pray for the boys.... or Samantha.... or Aunt Nessa.... or Grandpa Hans... or the baby in Mrs. Jessica's belly."

Just a little reminder what we're trying to better ourselves for.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Psalms 42:11

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again
My Savior and my God!
~ Psalms 42:11

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Psalm 74 - The Enemy is in the Sanctuary

Psalm 74
A Contemplation of Asaph.

1 O God, why have You cast us off forever?
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—
This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.
3 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations.
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
4 Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place;
They set up their banners for signs.
5 They seem like men who lift up
Axes among the thick trees.
6 And now they break down its carved work, all at once,
With axes and hammers.
7 They have set fire to Your sanctuary;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.
8 They said in their hearts,
“Let us destroy them altogether.”
They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.

9 We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
10 O God, how long will the adversary reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
12 For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.
14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
15 You broke open the fountain and the flood;
You dried up mighty rivers.
16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
17 You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
20 Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.
21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.

22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.
23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies;
The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Year Ago Today - About our homebirth.

One year ago today, my beautiful baby girl was born at our home.

About our homebirth...

My first birth went badly. I researched NOTHING during my pregnancy. I had full medical. I went to all my appointments. I did everything the doctor told me without question.

After 26 hours of labor, I had no strength. The epidural was causing uncontrollable back spasms. I could not concentrate on anything, and was already feeling very "out of it." The doctor recommended an emergency c-section. So they carted me into an emergency room, put up a sheet so that Aaron and I could see nothing, and they pumped me full of enough anesthetic so that I stopped twitching, and could no longer move, speak, or even think clearly. Isaiah was cut out and handed from doctor to nurse to nurse to doctor while we looked on from across the room. The nurse bathed him while he screamed. It was more than 2 hours before I could hold him. He would not nurse for the first month. I
continued to pump with the hopes that we would eventually be able to enjoy that, which finally after many tears happened.

I didn't want my second birth to go this way. And after a c-section the outlook seemed even worse. Doctors demanded a 2nd c-section. My first doctor, whom I immediately quit, strongly urged a tubal ligation. That is where they tie your fallopian tubes in a knot so that you are incapable of having any more children. WHY? He said 2 was enough children.

It was after that appointment I really cried out to the Lord. I was SO scared, disappointed, and hoping against all apparent reason that there was a better solution. I wanted 6 kids, maybe more. That isn't a joke to me, it is my deep desire to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother, with my children surrounding me and blessing me. I wanted my husband and I to raise our children with names of promise and pray our blessings over them and their lives.

And that is when I heard of homebirth.

I found another doctor, and continued to struggle and argue with her as I researched and read on my own about this other possibility. I found more and more articles and evidence that doctors' interventions, stress of being in the hospital and any drugs or hormones greatly increased chances of having complications in childbirth, including leading up to c-sections. My research led me to believe that the epidural actually caused my failure to progress. I felt that if given the opportunity I could birth my child naturally. I finally found the courage to talk to my husband about it. At first he said nothing.

My new doctor at first seemed like she wanted to "work with me." She offered the "trial of labor." That is where I go into labor and we watch and monitor it closely and any signs that it is not progressing or any signs of complications we would immediately go into another emergency c-section. I asked her about her success rates. She said, "Oh about 60%." That meant that 40% of the time it ended in a c-section.

That wasn't good enough for me. And I told her so. I told her how much it meant to me to have a natural birth. I didn't want IVs. I didn't want the monitoring band around my stomach. I didn't want doctors I didn't know and tons of nurses surrounding me and taking away from the experience between myself, the baby and my husband. But those were all
just part and parcel of the hospital birth.

And that is when my husband said, "Yes. We will do a homebirth."

And that was when our doctor started lying. She purposely measured my stomach incorrectly, telling me the baby measured weeks too large. She purposely started stretching the percentages of uterine ruptures after c-sections. We found out that I had gestational diabetes. I increased my research, and my prayer. I began a careful diet to control my blood sugar to ensure my baby's safety and health. After the first week there were no signs of uncontrolled blood sugar. my doctor demanded more tests. There continued to be no signs of uncontrolled blood sugar.

Then my doctor calmly asked me to take non stress tests. At first I complied, although this meant that I now had to ride the bus or walk to the doctors office twice a week now, sit for 30-60 minutes with my toddler son while attached to a monitor to see if myself or the baby were under stress. They came back negative. We were fine.

After a couple of appointments the doctor said, she wanted the baby to move more and requested a second ultrasound. I went to get my second ultrasound. 1.5 hours of laying there while the technician measured and measured and measured. I requested a printout of the measurements. While most of it would not make sense to me, there were included estimates of how large the baby was compared to it's gestational age. They told me only the doctor could give me this information.

At my next appointment she told me the baby was too big and MUST BE INDUCED at 36 weeks. I refused and requested the documentation. The doctor said I had to talk to the hospital, who said I had to talk to the doctor, who said I had to talk to the hospital. Why the run around?

So I did not go to any more appointments. I continued my careful diet. I gathered equipment for my homebirth. I prayed and prayed incessantly to make sure I was doing the right thing, for my baby, for my family.

The morning of my due date I took castor oil. That evening labor started. My husband took our son to a friends for the night. I called my sister in law who was going to assist us. We all slept a few hours. I woke up after a while and labored quietly in the other room. My sister in law woke and found me up. So we watched Frasier and ate toast with peanut butter. In the early morning hours we took a walk. It seemed like the labor was slowing down. So when we returned home I took a warm bath.

My water broke, and I got out. Hard labor had begun.

I could barely walk to the living room. I leaned on the arm of the couch and couldn't move anymore. My husband saw that it was time. I was afraid and started to cry. But my husband and sister in law were right there and encouraging me. And I cried out "Lord help me!" And my baby girl came out in 4 pushes, less than 30 minutes. I could feel her little hand moving wedged against her face. And then she was wrapped up and in my arms. I sat there for a long time, and offered to nurse her.

But she was not ready. Eventually my husband took her for her first bath while I took a shower.

Then we settled in on the couch for my son to arrive and our first guests.

And here she is today!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Children are a Heritage ~ Psalm 127

Psalm 127
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blessed is every one who fears the LORD ~ Psalm 128

Psalm 128
A Song of Ascents.

1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.

2 When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the LORD.

5 The LORD bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.
6 Yes, may you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to ALLLLLLLL the mamas in my life.  Hope you have a lovely day with loved ones!

Personally I don't worry too much about Mother's Day.  I get kisses and hugs from my family every day and know they love and appreciate me.  It is a good feeling.  "Husbands and Children out there!!!! DO THE SAME FOR YOUR MAMA!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Homeschooling - Year One Down!

My husband and I are part of that crazy fringe group known as homeschoolers.  We love it.

August 24, 2009 we started our first year of homeschooling.  Our son was only 3, but he was extremely driven and curious about the world.  A very quick learner, with an ABUNDANCE of energy, I found it very challenging to shape and lead this little man.  We knew we had to teach him to use his many wiles for good, and not evil.  You think I jest.

Here is our "School Photo" for the year.  Look at that smile. :)

We wanted a good foundation of the basics.  So, we laid out our goals, and some tools we thought would work and began our new journey.

The Alphabet, Counting, Colors, Shapes, as well as Healthy life habits, manners, hygiene and chores were all included in our plans.

It was a learning experience for all of us.

The tools I found most useful....

Managers of Their Homes: This helped me list out EVERYTHING I wanted to do, and see that it was INDEED possible!  BY using a schedule I really could do the housework, the schooling, AND watch a tv show..AND TAKE A NAP!  Wow.  What a joy to read and to live.  Look, I even have time to keep up this blog.

Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills, Preschool: Isaiah LOVES this book.  And... so do I.  Everything a preschooler should be learning, all in one book.

Leap Frog Learning Videos: Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, Code Word Factory, Math Circus and Lets Go To School. My son learned his ABC's by sight, in 1 week watching Letter Factory.  I was able to get these through Netflix, LOVED THEM and immediately got my own copies.  They have a new one out too, Math Adventures to the Moon.  I am looking forward to checking it out!

I added to this frequent walks to the park, bus rides to the library, play dates and a trip to the zoo and a field trip at Petco.  These outings were memorable, educational and enjoyed by all.

Now that gardening season has started (YEAH!) I just don't have the time every day to devote to so much schooling.  So we are taking a Garden Break.  We'll start summer school in June using Summer Bridge Activities: Preschool to Kindergarten.  And then we'll have a Harvest Break before we start in the fall.

For our records my husband and I discussed different methods of testing Isaiah.  We decided to make a video of him presenting what he has learned.  The program on my computer has been glitchy and not working.... but as I type this blog I have JUST NOW remembered that my camera records videos quite well.  Soooooooo... maybe I will do that today!

For those considering homeschooling... try it.  You and your children will love it.

For those not considering homeschooling, I beg you to think about it.  The benefits to your children, and to your family are incalculable.  It does not take much searching nationwide or even in my own town's paper, to find MANY reasons my children should not be in public school.  Drugs, violence, poor test scores, and even more insidious, VERY POOR association are detrimental to young learning minds.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yes, I'll be making granola.

My husband tells me, he loves granola.  My heart cringes.  Doesn't he know how much that stuff costs!!!  Here I try to live on a tight, well thought out budget.  Breakfasts of oatmeal and farina, lunches of peanut butter and homemade jam, and dinners of rice and pasta dishes, and casseroles.

So my husband says, "Why don't you make it yourself?"

Ummmmmm..... because I don't know how.  So, I googled it, (I love googling things).  How To Make Granola.

So this will be today's project (after planting in my totes).

Also, please notice and check out my recipes in the left column.  I'm slowly adding my favorites and hope you enjoy them!

Prepping for our Community Garden Plots, Part 4

Last Friday we were invited to Meet and Greet, for the Community Gardens.  We met our immediate neighbors and chatted a little, received our passes and another copy of the Community Garden rules.  We also found that we were only able to get 2 plots this year, instead of th three that we had planned on.  This was followed by a question and answer time.  After 40 minutes of discussion about the shallow tilling in previous years and the new deeper discing this season, I lost interest.

BUT, my excitement about our garden was stoked.

In a conversation last week, my father, with years of gardening experience, strongly urged that I try to do companion gardening, instead of individual rows of vegetables.  Companion gardening is grouping vegetables and herbs together to repel pests and increase soil nutrient use, and even the flavor and juiciness of some vegetables.

So I redrew my garden plan, using companion gardening and within the 2 plots.

My father got a flyer from the local Extension Office, showing some good companion plants.  Many of my vegetable choices were easily grouped.

Sunflowers, Beans, Cucumber
Corn, Peas, Pumpkin and other squashes
Tomato, Carrot, Marigold
Celery, Cabbage family, Potatoes

While Eggplant and Zucchini were not specifically on my own list, I paired them with onions, celery and potatoes, just to try that.

And while planning that, my husband also thought of another way to improve our gardening harvest, skills, and utilize our LARGE back yard (which the landlord will not allow us to dig up).  We have SEVERAL 18 gallon totes.  We use them for everything, packing, kids baths, temporary fish tanks when cleaning our tanks, toy boxes.

After seeing a woman selling THESE totes with 1000 worms as compost bins, my husband got to thinking.  Why don't we just put drainage holes in them and plant some vegetables in them in our backyard?  Salad veggies and herbs would work perfectly.  And we would love to try potatoes and onions.  So I have a couple ready to go right now and am just pondering what to plant today.  I love day dreaming about my veggies. :)

Another thought that passed my head this weekend..... How To Grow Rice.

I was inspired to look it up after reading Robinson Crusoe.  And I'm glad I did!  It looks easy!!!

Now to get my hands dirty.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Armor of God

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
Ephesians 6:10-18


Liked this rain soaked ranting from La Soñador?  Check out these similar posts.....

La Soñador ~: Engaging In The Act of WAR
Ephesians 6:10-18 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prepping for our Community Garden Plots, Part 3

In the past I have had difficulties with my seedlings.  They sprout like crazy, grow two inches tall...

and die.

What did I do wrong?

So many things probably. :)  Overwatering, underwatering, fertilizing too soon, moving too soon or too roughly, leaving them in too much sunlight, not allowing them enough sunlight, soil that lacks the proper amendments, is too hard, or too soft.  There are so many variables.

While I have gained SOME wisdom in the growing of my plants, I am hardly an expert.  Looking at my own seedlings this year, and being able to say honestly that I have not lost one, does give me some pride, encouragement, and potentially some bragging rights.  But I think that mostly my limited wisdom is held up by a merciful and loving God, and that He looked on my poor effort to grow green and beautiful plants, and blessed me.

From the beginning of my seedling starts, to now, mid April, I have changed my direction, tools and materials DRASTICALLY.

BEGINNING - I began with egg cartons and jiffy pellets.  I lined my window sill with aluminum foil trays (to reflect warmth and light and to contain drainage) and planted my seeds, 2-3 in each Jiffy pellet, this held gently in each egg cup.  And my seeds did sprout and got to about 2 inches tall.  2 inches = make or break for me.  I struggled finding the appropriate watering levels.  They were too dry.  I watered them.  They were too wet.  The egg carton NEVER dried and mold sprung up on them.  I searched frantically on the internet for a solution for this problem.  I didn't want to lose my tomato plants.  This was my test.  This was my year.  Grow my year of vegetables to feed my family.  And I was already at this crux, near to losing, before I had truly begun.
Many gardeners on the internet had run into these same problems, it seemed, and they recommended a 1-10 solution of bleach water lightly sprayed on the mold.  My heart quailed.  Bleach water??  I clean my bathroom with bleach water.  I didn't want to spray this all over my beloved young plants, that would eventually, hopefully provide my family with lots of delicious fruits.
But the mold spread.  It grew up the cartons, up the netting on the jiffy pellets, and then up the stems of my tender tomato plants.  I made my bleach water solution and sprayed a few plants to test it.  The plant weakened.... the mold did not.

I thought long and hard, and I prayed....  What must I do to SAVE these seedlings?  I had plenty of seed to throw the whole lot out and start again, and again, and probably again.  But why start new ones?!?  Why go to all the trouble of planting and watering and turning and tending new seed pellets and watching the sprouts grow, only to watch them then mold, wither and die, like so many before.

I did not water them while I pondered this, and slowly the mold died.  The plants remained alive, but began to weaken.

I prayed.

And while wandering Walmart, I had a new and I think, ingenious idea.  Try to mimic the store bought starts as much as possible - larger, well drained containers, and good soil, not fake jiffy pellet soil.  My thoughts are that more soil equals better drainage, better root structure, more warmth.

So I purchased some large plastic cups that were on sale.  I got about 150 for $3.  And a large bag of Miracle Grow Garden Soil.  I DID NOT purchase starter soil.  I purchased Garden Soil - ie. as close to real dirt as possible.

I transplanted all my starts into these cups, and used a knife to cut 4 drainage holes in the bottom of each.  I have NO mold.  I have NO weak plants.  I have not lost a single plant!  And next year I intend to plant my seeds direct into the cups to begin with.  I believe that the less you have to transplant, and move and transplant and move, the better.  I would highly recommend this method to anyone.  It worked great for me, black thumbs and all. :)

My own personal take on our goals....

I want my plants to grow big and strong, so that they fulfill their purpose.  Being a christian, I think of myself as a steward, in all areas of my life.  Children, Husband, Home, Animals, Plants.... I try my best to care for them for the Lord.  I look to tending these plants, so that they may do what God intended them to do.  And this year, I pray that they will feed my family, and provide us, not just with our nutritional needs, but some extraordinarily delicious meals.  And I also pray, that the time spent tending them, strengthens my family, doing our physical labors in the sunshine and fresh air, digging in the fresh, rich dirt of the earth, spending our time together, productively with laughter and learning and an end product that delights our eyes and our stomachs and our souls.