What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Little moments that struck me; moments that would probably not strike another soul for any reason but made me pause in wonder.

I see GOD in the glasses drying, perfumed in mint and in the sunspots dancing around reading babies and in fog laying low and in feisty girl eyes that glimmer round pointy orange fingers.

"If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.
I will be FOUND by you," says the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:13-14

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolatey Mint Swirl

A teeny tiny housewarming gift crocheted in kitchen colors...

I think it is really kinda funny that as many pretty dishcloths as I have made, I have never actually made any for my own kitchen.

I really ought to change that one of these days...

patterns here for the chrysanthemum dishcloth, Ocean Grove Circular Dishcloth, and two tone spiral scrubbie in case you were wondering....

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's a family affair

Many hands make light work isn't ALWAYS the case, and definitely not when starting seeds.

Not when little boys want to eat dirt cells and little girls think "plant two per little box" means "dump all the seeds in your hand in any of the already seeded cells. No, no matter that the zinnias are mixed with tomatoes, Love!"

But they love to help and so I let them. If this keeps up, they will continue to love starting seeds and their fingers will grow and SOME day I will get seeds started without having to lift a finger and it will be done well.

All because I let them thwart the seedlings early on.

Until then, I have a lot of thinning to do....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Glorious Spring!

It is the time of pink sunrises and waking up to a world enveloped in cloud; a time of red-winged blackbirds tsk, tsk, tsking us and crooning robins and peepers singing sleep songs at night.

Why, just yesterday while we were walking, a snake slithered past us in quite the little hurry (perhaps it was the handful of children clamoring about him?) and a woodchuck stood not 10 feet away, just watching.

It is the time of seedlings shedding their winter caps and stretching toward the sun; a time for dew covered leaves that miraculously turned green overnight, a time of the first sunburns and the last of the flannel sheets, of putting on dirt and the shedding of winter coats and shoes and of glorious COLOR!

Last night, I slept with the windows open in my bedroom. With all the lovely sounds of the country calling to one another and singing their lullabies, I didn't feel quite so alone.

Today it is expected to mid-80's here. 80's?!?!?!

What a magnificent, glorious, wonderful and unbelievable March!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tonight is the night!

I've got the honey chamomile cupcakes made,

the batches of peppermint tea and lavender lemonade chilling in the fridge,

and my hair amply POOFED for such an occasion. (the no-heat curling trick again. It either works beautifully or turns me into a poodle. I prefer the working beautifully, but it is the poodle look that gets the most 'ooooh's and aaaaahh's from the crowd of children.)

(please pardon the STILL not wallpapered bathroom...)

I guess all that is left is actually TEACHING the class on Herbs tonight.

It is at 7:00 if you want to come. ;-)

Ready or not....here I go!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grocery Day (the no groceries challenge conclusion)

The no groceries challenge was an interesting experiment that taught me a few things:

Firstly, that it wasn't as hard as I had anticipated! Having a chest freezers full of meat, canning shelves full of canned food and wheat berries enough to last until 2020 (slight exxageration, people.) really makes things easy. We wouldn't actually STARVE for a long time! But boy did I really miss our weekly binges on bananas and daily binges on milk and....my much coveted food- cheese.

A key factor in stretching a grocery budget (or an empty cupboard) is to make things from scratch. It is no surprise that when you stock up on staple ingredients- you can stretch your cupboards far more than when you stock up on convenience foods. A bag of flour, for example, costs about as much as a loaf of bread but you can get a whole lot more bread out of a bag of flour than just one loaf. A bag of rice costs pennies more than a box of Rice A Roni and will feed your family a much longer time. Same with dried beans versus canned, bags of sugar instead of premade sweets, etc.

I was very pleased that (besides sugar) I had many staple ingredients on hand to work with and I know that stretching four weeks (unexpectedly) before another grocery day wouldn't have gone so smoothly had I not had basic, necessary staples.

A second thing I learned was that I had been buying more convenience foods than I ever thought I was. As you could see from our daily menus, our family has a snack time in the afternoon and I would often buy things like crackers, pretzels, and the occasional bag of cookies for them. Not having access to these quick snacks, I had to be creative and start from scratch. I liked it. But it also required more forethought. Making homemade usually does. I am going to try to limit the overpriced store snacks and be more intentional about making things in the future, especially at snacktime.

Another valuable change I noticed was that since moving I had become lazy at bread baking, opting instead to buy whole wheat sandwich bread from the store. Being forced to start making it again was just the impetus I needed to make the switch back to homebaked bread. They are healthier; they are fresher; they TASTE better; they are cheaper. And, by golly, I already HAVE the wheat. But our family goes through a phenomenal amount of bread each week which leaves me having occasional flour-induced meltdowns having sandwiches everyday, so I have decided I need to begin offering a more varied lunchtime meal and save the sandwich eating for just a few times a week.

Of course, the sandwiches lend some ease as we use paper plates at lunchtime making it a virtually dish-free meal! It sure would be nice to get a dishwasher before I have the dishes of three prepared meals a day to contend with. (BIG hint there, Mattie.)

A few ideas I have come up with for a sandwich-free lunch is:

  • pasta salad
  • rice and bean salad with corn
  • tuna, egg, ham, or chicken salads on a bed of lettuce
  • soup
  • summer sausage and cheese crackers
  • wheat berry salad

I would love any suggestions, if you care to share!

And now- here are the result of my shopping day.

If you are a grocery cart watcher (I am too!), this is for you.

I bought:

5 lb. bag of sugar

3 gallons of milk

10 lb. bag of onions

5 lbs of bananas

5 lbs bag of apples

2 lb block of sharp cheddar

2 boxes of Toasty Oats

2 lbs unsalted butter

2 large containers of yogurt (1 lb a piece?)

2 half gallons of ice cream

Wegmans Club-size Spring Lettuce Mix

Wegmans Club-size grape tomatoes

5 lbs Mozzerella (Wegmans Club Size)

4 lbs of Ketchup

To celebrate grocery day: for dinner we had~

prepared boneless BBQ chicken wing wraps and steak fries

(a bag of steak fries, prepared BBQ chicken pieces, tortillas-and the lettuce and mozzerella from above)

1 package of diapers (this money came out of the 'non food envelope)

100 lbs of cracked corn (chicken feed) (this came out of the livestock fund)

16 lbs cat food (this came out of the livestock fund)

I try to buy in bulk where ever I am able, so this should last us just fine for a few weeks (except the milk, of course.)

Notice I didn't buy any bread OR any snacks? I told you I was going to make from scratch more often!

I figured with the money I saved by not buying those things, I could "celebrate" my resolve (and self-restraint) by buying myself flowers. (Do you see how I justify splurges? By 'celebrating'? I am terrible.)

I bought the most gorgeous bouquet of bright yellow ranunculus and a pot of heavenly-smelling hyacinth.

It is taking every ounce of restraint not to selfishly put the hyacinth by my bed so I can go to sleep and wake up with its scent in my nose. I put it instead, on the table, for everyone to enjoy.

But what I wouldn't give for a hyacinth by my bed....that is the stuff of queens.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On Havng a Cow

After my Q & A post the other day I was asked one more, impromptu question. Since I rather like the gal who asked the question and since I rather like the topic of the question she asked.... I thought I would make a post about it.

Hey. Bloggers can do that sort of thing.

The question was- Have you ever thought about (or plan on) getting a milk cow?

The short answer is... YES. In fact...last year my brother gave us (as his Christmas gift to our family) a tidy sum to go toward a milk cow. We call it our Heifer Fund.

The long answer is... but we don't know when it is going to happen.

Part of Matt starting his own business was to allow for more animals and (finally!) a milk cow on the Place. His going back to work has put all of our plans in a sort of tailspin. Matt is now back to work (and away from home) very often and can not be in charge of the milking and I am, ironically, allergic to cow dander so adding cow milking to my list of responsibilities will leave me a sneezing, swollen and dripping mess for the rest of my born days.

I am considering just dealing with that fact, since I long for a milk cow (and abundant milk and dairy products!) at Hopestead but also sort of dread it.

And despite this conundrum, we also have a fair amount of chores to do before a milk cow can call our place Home:

~ cleaning out the old cow barn of its decades' worth of junk.
~ fence in some pastureland
~ tear down the middle barn before it kills someone
~ get water and electricity to the barn

The first one, especially, is going to be a C.H.O.R.E

So yes. We think about it every day. Andrew asks when we will be getting one SEVERAL times a day. We long for a milk cow. Not only for a quality product and for the experience of having a milk cow (Matt has been infatuated with farming and owning a dairy since he was a boy and has had dairy experience for decades now. He even went to Cornell for animal science.) but also (and especially, in my case) because I value the sustainability of producing your own product so that we will still have access to dairy products (and plenty of them!) even if for some reason we can not get to the store or afford them. In this economy, I rather like being independent. A milk cow, in my mind, is a HUGE part of that.

But, for now, I will enjoy the little luxury of not milking a cow, feeding and watering one through winter and being stuck making batches and batches of cheese (and yogurt and butter) every week until we finally get *our* cow.

Now a question (or two) for those of you who HAVE milk cows, if you please:

~ Do your children help with milking? If so, how old were they when they began milking?

~ Do you find the milk to be overwhelming? What do you do with the excess?

~ How often do you make your own dairy products?

~ Are you happy to have your own cow or is it burdening to you?

And lest I forget~ the LAST of the no groceries challenge!

::: Wednesdays Menu :::

Breakfast~ Zucchini Huckleberry Muffins. Yogurt.

Lunch~ Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with the last of the Feta, peas, red pepper and spices.

Afternoon Snack~ Raisins annnnnnnnnnnnnnddd.........BROWNIES! (I found a BOX of brownie mix tucked WAY back in the far cupboard which means we got something yummy and sweet even without having sugar OR milk in the house!)

Dinner~ Crispy Oven-fried chicken strips with maple mustard glaze. Smashed rutabaga and carrots with honey, brussel sprouts and homemade applesauce.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Chronicling of Days

At the expense of appearing like an unfit mother, I blog these photos. You will just have to trust me when I say it is rare when this boy is out of my sight for two minutes straight. I know how much damage can be done in just two minutes...

My children love to color and paint and being that I am one of those wacky homeschooling mothers, I love that about them and even encourage them to be so. I keep the art supplies out of the reach of little hands but where they can be reached by bigger hands -so that the children have access whenever and where-ever they might get the urge.

But the creating and the cleaning up aren't given equal attention and inevitably, a marker falls to the floor and hides under a table or chair, just beckoning Judah to come and partake.

And since 'creating' is an every day occurrence around here, this happens every
single day.

Our days are named around here now.

This was a red day.

This one was black.

And so on.

And so forth.

I think you get the idea.

This particular day the whole 'color theme' got a bit too close for comfort. Mr. Marker Eater decided to up the ante by finding a can of orange spray paint on top of a chest freezer (which, of course, he climbed to get to). I had just begun stuffing deviled eggs, completely unaware my son was nearly going to blind himself just one room away. That was a fun day.

It would almost be cute.....

if it weren't so INFURIATING.

~and yesterdays victuals~

::: Tuesdays Menu :::

Breakfast: Huckleberry Zucchini Muffins.

Lunch: Tuna in whole wheat Pita Pockets

Afternoon Snack: Hummus and pita wedges. Dried Apples.

Dinner: Matt took pity on me (and my fried brain) yesterday and took charge of supper. Leftover tomato soup. Hummus Pitas. And possibly a few pickled eggs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rare Form

When I was acting a bit 'off' when I was a child, my mother would always say to me "Well. YOU'RE in rare form."

And today is one of those days. I can just feel it. Rare form. And I am in it.

Perhaps it is because I made a startling discovery today:

The no groceries challenge just got a WHOLE lot less fun with an empty sugar bowl. Sugar and I are not soon parted.

I also discovered that the chickens cracked corn is gone. The cat food is gone. The diaper basket is shockingly sparse. The milk is officially consumed. And the gas gauge is falling down like Londons Bridge.

Two more days.....

Or maybe my funk is due to not going to bed well last night.

Or perhaps it is because I have made two loaves of bread (I gave the two I baked away yesterday), a double batch of pitas, some Huckleberry Zucchini muffins, a large batch of hummus (and did the dishes for it all) while still trying to do school and while looking longingly outside at the most gorgeous day in the last 5 months which I am missing because I am inside making bread (and washing dishes) for the bazillionth time.

And tonight I have a 'thing' which requires Matt to feed and put the children to bed so I have to have dinner all ready for them and I have NO idea what to make and now it is TOO LATE to make anything in the crockpot.

I feel like saying "There are the pickled eggs. There is the pile of fresh pitas. Make yourselves some pickled egg pitas for heavens sake and have a muffin for dessert!" But....that is the BAD wife (and Mama) coming out.

And besides, pickled egg pitas sound just about gross.

So what do you fix for supper on your grumpy days when your groceries are limited and you don't want to spend any more time in the kitchen?

PS.(as if I would forget!)

::: Mondays Fare :::

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal. And by peaches I mean dehydrated peach chunks from last year and by cream I mean a splash of milk. But hey. Peaches and Cream sounds so delectable, no?

raw Eggnog

Lunch~ warm, fresh from the oven whole wheat bread. Unadulterated by anything but luscious warm streams of butter. The children snarfed a whole loaf.

Afternoon Snack~ the last of the pretzel rods I keep in the car for 'emergency car snacks'. Dehydrated apple chips (from the fall)

Dinner~ I was helping with the last boil of the syrup season from early afternoon until evening. On syrup days, we all kinda eat smorgasbord style. Linda made cabbage, carrots and potatoes. I brought onion and pepper Italian sausage, two jars of canned pears and two loaves of homemade bread.

Monday, March 12, 2012


By eight o'clock this morning I had:

~ cut Matt's hair

~ Made (and baked) two loaves of bread (including grinding the wheat....though that isn't all that impressive since it is an electric grinder...)

~ was warmed and filled spiritually

~ Made a batch of oatmeal and a batch of eggnog to fill a hungry brood

~ Washed an entire counterful of dirty dishes

~ and scooted around a bit on Pinterest.

I am not always this good at being a morning person, but when I am, it always makes me think I need to be.

You know what they say about early birds.....

and, of course, the Menu for Sunday~

Breakfast: scrambled eggs. sausage. yogurt.

Lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup

Afternoon snack: pretzel rods

Dinner: at church. We brought pickled eggs. And snacked on them on the way home too. ;-)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Q & A !!!

I wrote some of the answers to questions five or six times, thanks to a computer that kept crashing on me. At this point, I am sick of reading my own writing so I will post this and hope that you give me heaps of grace if my answers make no sense or come across wrong. Forgive me.

Erin asked:

How hard is it to can things? And how did you get started gardening? I'd like to try my hand at it sometime.

Canning isn't HARD to do~ the process is a very simple one~ but it can be hard to be motivated to do it as it IS time intensive, especially if you can large batches of things as I do. But it is VERY rewarding and when you are done, those jars make you very proud of your work! I learned to can by getting the Ball Blue Book of Canning and diving in. I think the first thing I ever canned was applesauce-my, how far I have come. I just recently got a new pressure canner (well, last fall) and have begun doing non-acidic things like meat. That is a whole new ballgame for me-I hope in the next few weeks to can a few batches of dried beans. If I ever get my act together.

And gardening? I got started gardening by just digging in. I knew nothing about it but wanted very badly to have a garden. This was the first year I was married, we were living on a farm where my husband worked and in the yard was a concrete pad where a trailer had once been. Matt built a raised bed on top of it and we loaded it with PURE MANURE *ew* and planted all sorts of things. I still laugh at the fact I planted carrots in about 6 inches of pure manure that year-though blessedly, they never grew. The tomatoes did great though. ;-)

Long story short~ start out small, read up on what you might like to grow and then PLANT SOMETHING! You can even buy plants at a nursery and enjoy the harvest with not as much work (it still saves you money from buying at a grocer.) Just starting is usually the best way to begin. ;-) I guarantee you will be bit by the bug before too long.

How is marriage different for you after being married for 8 years? I've been married a year and a half now, and loving it. I'm curious how it changes as your marriage gets more kids and more years and experience added to it.

Actually, THIS year will be our 10th anniversary so I am even more 'seasoned' than you thought. ha!

This question has so many different caveats, I think I will have to work very hard not to go on and on (always a challenge for me) about the subject. Here are my few (I'll try) scattered thoughts on the subject:

Firstly, I think the first year we were married was the hardest for us (until now) so if you are still swooning and wearing stars in your eyes, you are far ahead of us. For us, it was an adjustment learning to live with another being and different temperaments. It was a somewhat difficult transition.

For the most part though, the first year or two of marriage everything your husband or wife says (or does) is adorable or funny. I think we try hard to impress and please our spouses at that point~ we want to be loveable. It is glorious, being so enraptured with one another.

As the years progress a shift happens~ you begin to feel loved unconditionally. Your spouse has seen your nasty streaks, your unlovely moments, your sin. And s/he has loved you anyway. You begin to feel comfortable around them in a way that you never have before. This is a blessing and at times, a bit of a curse.

A blessing because it is a WONDERFUL feeling to know someone accepts and loves you for who you are, and a curse because it becomes easy take that someone and his/her feelings for granted. You don't have to work hard for love because you already have it. The result can be that husbands stop wooing their wives and wives stop trying to impress their husbands.

It is important to step up, no matter where you are in your marriage, and live for each other again... but especially important during those years when it is easy NOT to.

When children are added to the mix- ohhhhh boy!

If you are like us, at about 10 years you will have many little draws of your attention besides one another. Ours are Corynn, Andrew, Adele', and Judah. (And work. And animals. And land. And a hundred different things. But I digress....) You have to learn to share each other with the children (and that can be hard!) Sometimes it stinks that after Matt has been gone a week, I am the LAST to get a 'happy to finally see you' smooch; he is bombarded with jumping and hanging children before he even pulls in the driveway. It can be hard at times, but worthwhile.

As with the point above, I think it is crucial to get some 'couple' time together. No children, no distractions. After all, when the children grow up and leave-it will be back to just the two of you. How awful to have your other half, somewhere down the line, become a stranger to you.

But don't let me lead you astray-having children doesn't pull you away from one another or lessen your relationship with one another. On the contrary~ it intertwines you both all the more. You'll find great joy in laughing at the little funny things together, staring in awe at the wonder of these little beings that have 'your nose' and 'my attitude'. You will have a connection with your spouse unlike any you have ever had. It is really wonderful to share your life with someone.

How did you make a house a home when you were first married? We are living in a duplex right now, and next year we will be moving to a different state. No idea where, but somewhere. That's one of the difficult things about being military, is that I don't really have much hope of owning our own home until he's retired. We can't really plant roots because we'll be moving around every 3 years. How would you deal with that, do you think?

Well, we sorta lived the military lifestyle these last tens years. Sans military. It has just worked out that we have moved about every two years.

My advice would be to embrace each home you live in as YOURS (even if it is temporary!). Don't say "Well.... I won't do this because we will not be living here long anyway...." I can tell you for a FACT-it will be worth the time if you enjoy it for two years.

Be creative

If you love gardening-but can't plant perennials, pot them! OR- plant it anyway and justify it as you leaving your mark on the world. If you don't like the walls of a home but can't rewallpaper or repaint, I have heard of people putting fabric up with starch (it comes right down in the end). If you can't put holes in the walls, make collage type things (varying high and low pictures) on a mantel or table. As much as I have yearned for permanence in my own life, there is something wonderful to be said for the adventures of a blank slate now-to-you home. Embrace that.

Oh-and one more thing: Fill your home with things you LOVE. Things that make you HAPPY. Don't fill it with stuff you don't....no one wants to move things they don't love and CERTAINLY not every three years! :-)

Where do you find all the books you want to read? I'm an avid reader, always eager to find good books. We have a library here, but it's a very, very small one. Any books you'd recommend for how to be a good housekeeper? What about good books on raising children?

Any library, no matter how small, has an interlibrary loan option from what I understand. You request books from other libraries and they send them to you. Living in a small town, our library is also very small. So what I do is I go to Amazon.com and search for books. If I am interested in a particular topic I will search that topic and on the bottom, Amazon offers suggestions of other books you might like. I go NUTS with this feature. Instead of buying them, I just borrow them from the library. And I have a running wishlist of to-reads which I add to whenever I hear a good one. I really need to share mine....be on the lookout for it one of these days.

Brenda asked:

How do you clean your eggs? When do you clean them? What do you clean them with? Curious how you go about using them after you collect them? And do your other animals like your dogs or cats bother the chickens when they are roaming? We want to start letting ours roam but I am afraid the cats or dogs will go after them?? Any words of advice you can offer on egg cleaning and protecting the chickens from the other animals?

We don't clean our eggs unless we have to (if they have poo or have straw or yolk -when a naughty chicken eats one- on them...) and then, we just use water to scrub the nastiness off. The beautiful looking ones I don't bother with. If you are nervous about that and feel you ought to clean them-wait to clean them until right before you use them. Eggs have a protective coating on the shell that keeps them fresh-if that protective coating is washed off prematurely, the eggs lose their freshness more quickly.

Our cats don't bother the chickens at all. It was funny-when they were teeny little kittens, they would shake their rears and pounce on the chickens backs but it was just a game to them. As adult cats, they don't bother them at all.

Ruby, our dog, when she has been tied up for a long time (in winter she is tied up more than in summer when she basically runs free) has gotten naughty a few times recently and has pestered the chickens. I have had to scold her a number of times for catching them. It looks at first glance like she is going to kill them but I think she is just playing as the chickens usually just ruffle their feathers and move on. I am trying to break her of it. When she is loose all of the time, she is fine. It may just be an attention thing.

For the MOST part, if animals are around chickens they won't bother them in the least. If you are introducing animals to chickens for the first time, I would keep the chickens caged up and let the animals get used to their presence before you let them roam. When you DO let the chickens out in the open, be around your other animals to scold them if they begin to bother the chickens.

Another great thing for protecting chickens is to have a ROOSTER. They are fabulous! They are like watchdogs and really do protect their harem. ;-)

Bobbi asked:

what books to you recommend for home schooling prep? My daughter is 15 months old and we are just reading board books ect, but id love some christian inspiration!

My suggestion would be to read all KINDS of books. Poetry. Fiction. Non-fiction. Goofy. Who needs homeschooling prep anyway? The goal should be to establish an infatuation and LOVE of books. You got that, you've got an easy homeschooling road ahead of you! :-) And a love of books only takes READING them!

Read with an animated voice. Make different sounds. Make her point things out on the page. Make her point things out on the page. Ask her questions like "Where's the duck?" Scream when the character screams. Cry when the character cries. Moo when the character moos. Keep her engaged.

Remember that children can understand a LOT more than they can communicate themselves-so I would say 15 months old isn't too young for actual stories. Paraphrase the story if she gets squirmy before the words on the page end. More than anything-just read! And often! If she loves a certain book (My kids ADORED the Icky Sticky Frog) than read it. Over. and Over. and Over.

The goal right now is just to get her interested in books.

Maybe I will make a list of good books for different age groups in the coming weeks.... I wonder if that would be helpful to some?

Mary asked:

Please forgive the nosy question. If you are making meals like this without going to the grocery store, what are you buying there that you need to go often ?

Hmph. Funny you asked...I have been asking that myself this same question all week, thanks to my no groceries challenge. Seems to me- it is for dairy products (we eat A LOT!), fresh fruits and veggies and convenience foods.

And by convenience foods I don't mean the boxed/pre-made/junk foods that really aren't even foods (if you ask me): I am talking about BREAD. Crackers. Cookies. Pasta.

I never really thought of these things as convenience foods before-but it is a real CONVENIENCE not to have to bake bread all the time. Or cookies.

All these things CAN be made at home-but man, is it ever convenient just to pick them up at the store!

Snack time in the afternoon requires a WHOLE lot more forethought. No more opening a ream of chocolate sandwich cookies.

After this no groceries challenge is over, I have some changes that I will be making. Nothing like never buying a box of crackers ever again...but valuable changes that can and should be made.

Sandy asked:

How do you manage your weight when you're always making such delicious, abundant meals?

Well, the short answer is: I am not. I have a pesky 20 (or in my dreams, 30) pounds to lose that just don't want to say goodbye~hey like my midsection too much.

I know the answer- Eat better (quality, healthful, non-processed foods). Eat Less (Americans tend to eat portions like their forefathers generations ago-but without the physical, hard laborous days). Be active more (and here I sit at the computer, blogging!). Simple things really, except in the implementation, apparently! ;-)

As for the abundant meals~ I try to cook healthful foods most of the time. But by healthful, I do not mean skim milk and sald. I will never shirk (and wouldn't ever want ANYONE to shirk) away from real butter, milk, eggs, meat, cheese or even bacon grease. These things are HEALTHY-much more than margarine, egg beaters, or vegetable oil.

-what advice would you give to young mom's who aren't falling pregnant as quickly as they'd like? (I had a miscarriage in august, but am longing for another) My Olivia is already 19 months old and I SO wanted small gaps:-(

I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. It seems as though the longing for a child is made more sharp by the little life that you so briefly could enjoy. May God grant you peace.

My advice to young mothers who are longing for children is the same advice I give to myself-and often: That God has a plan for my life and it is currently in motion. I am not doing anything wrong if I do not get pregnant and those who have children aren't doing anything right. It is God who is in control of our wombs and no other.

If I have children-or do not have children-I am living the life that God WANTS me to live and has planned for me.

Sometimes I remind myself of this when I long for more children. Sometimes I remind myself of this when I am overwhelmed with the four I have! Either way, no matter what, God is in control of my life and THAT fact, my friend, gives me GREAT comfort.

When I am pregnant, I try very hard to enjoy every moment, and remind myself that it could be my LAST pregnancy. When I am holding a new little life, I try and soak it up completely-it may be the last new life I can bring forth. When I look at the children I have already been given, I try to remember they may be my only ones.

In this way, I prepare myself for the possibility that I will no longer have children. I would rather be prepared emotionally and be pleasantly surprised, then to expect things to happen just so and then be disappointed.

Because despite was 98.57% of the population using birth control believes, not using birth control will NOT immediately result in you having a new baby every 18 months.

Children aren't a given. They are a GIFT.

- how did you learn to crochet/sew/all the other amazing things you do. I am now living in the middle-of-nowhere! I would love to learn more of the domestic arts but am not sure where to start.

I learned pretty much everything I know simply by starting. Through trial and error, I am STILL learning and am excited to know that I will continue to do so every day of my life.

I did get help crocheting by a wonderfully talented lady who turned into an extraordinary friend simply because I asked. She also helped me to step up from my self-taught seamstressing to do a much nicer job (ironing those seams IS important!). Our get togethers became more about our lives and less about the crafting as time went on and now, it is not only crochet hooks that hold us together.

My advice to you is to pick one and begin! That is where you start. By STARTING.

Books are such a valuable resource and are free for the borrowing at the library. The internet is a wonderful place full of valuable information and learning. Youtube has how-to videos on pretty much every subject in the world. Lovely people provide tutorials on blogs, many with step by step pictures. And there is a wealth of information just a click away at Google.

And if you know of family members, friends, church people or even strangers who have talent in an area where you would like some, then be brave and ask. The worst that could happen is they could say no. The BEST is that you find a new talent AND a lifelong friend!

- Do you read out of a children's bible or just a normal bible?

The Holy Bible. When the children were very young, I read out of a Childrens Story Bible (by Catherine Vos) so many times through that the children knew the stories by heart. At that point, I knew we had outgrown the childrens Bible and began reading the regular Bible using the Veritas Press Bible cards as a timeline.

Now that I have very young 'uns again, I may break out the childrens bible again and go through it a few times for their sakes.

- Lastly, how old was Corynn when you started having bible/school time with her. What age would you recommend having a set time for those sorts of things.

Christian Faith is the foundation of our lives. It is something that defines every single moment of every one of our days. As such, there was never a moment when we 'began' but it is just something that has always done.

I remember when Corynn was born-September 2nd 2003- the very day we brought her home from the hospital, Matt read to her Psalm 2, 'her' Psalm. I remember watching Matt in that overstuffed rocking chair, holding a Bible and a newborn and thinking how everything I loved was sitting in that chair. It was a beautiful moment and is a beautiful memory.

I read to the children the Bible at lunchtime every day and we talk about things...every day. We have family devotions often in the evenings. We pray. We sing. It is who we are.

As for school, five is when I begin teaching how to read (starting with letter sounds) and write (letter forms). Once they can read and write relatively well, then the 'formal' schooling begins-more complex topics, more time devoted to learning.

Even before that there is plenty of learning going on though-in the form of puzzles, songs, practice, and in life. As with our faith, we have a deep love of learning. And when one has a zealous sort of love of something, it is hard to disconnect it from other areas of your life.

Everything just flows naturally into and around it.


And for the record: The no-groceries challenge continues:



cornmeal mush with maple syrup
(raw) Eggnog

peanut butter and honey on whole wheat bread

Afternoon Snack:
A slice each of Papa's birthday Summer Sausage (Andrews present to him). The last of it, I am afraid.
Dried apples

Dinner: We were syrupping this night, at Matts parents'. My mil made goulash. I brought pickled eggs and beets and snickerdoodles.

and Saturday~

Breakfast: Dippy eggs. Sausage patties. Toast. Cheerios.

Lunch: Peanut Butter and homemade Apple Butter for the children (used the last of the bread)

After the children went down for a nap I made Matt and I chili cheese fries using the last of an open bag of french fries in the freezer, chili using the last of the leftover meatsauce (from ziti night) and some velveeta. (We buy Velveeta cheese MAYBE once a year since it is a naughty treat-but boy, was I so glad I found some of it in the fridge!)

Afternoon Snack: Popcorn and Raisins. Water.

Dinner: Taco night. I used the last of the rice (from the Pineapple Pork Picante night) in our burritos along with meat flavored with homemade taco seasoning. Refried beans. A teeny bit of shredded cheddar (I am hoarding that last 1/3 a the bar!) Lettuce. Salsa. Tomato.

Sadly, without the blissful dollop of sour cream I love so much. :-(


Friday, March 09, 2012

A Hat from Way Back

A picture of a plain old hat on a plain white background....

..... because my model was uncooperative.

The hat was made to match the crocheted sweater I made for my nephew at Christmas...because I had a bit of blue Homespun left over just begging to be used up. (It still isn't.)

It looks too small on Judahs huge noggin but Davids head isn't all that huge. But winter hats aren't really conducive to 60 degree March days...

I hope he got (and continues to get) a few good wears out of it.

And the menu:

:::: for Thursday ::::


Homecanned grape juice
Chocolate-covered Strawberry Whole Wheat Scones

(I found the recipe
here but since I didn't have any chocolate chips I used chocolate I had bagged from leftover Christmas clearance (I hammered them into chunks). And, despite her friendly caveat, I had no fresh cream to dollop them with. But we won't tell her that........ And even without that little luxury, they were GREAT!)


We went to a luncheon at my sisters. I brought along deviled eggs. (I am very glad not everyone is as sick of eggs as we can be at times! It means I can take them places and people are actually EXCITED about it!)

Afternoon Snack~

Cashews (the last of them)
Cinnamon sugar almonds (from Christmas)
Triscut crackers (the last of them)


L.O.s (that is, leftovers)

I try to make large batches of food, just so I get a night off of cooking every now and again. We usually have leftover night once or, if I am VERY lucky, twice a week.