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.