Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We decided to walk the creek and climb the hill into the pasture later instead of climbing back up the rocky embankment. The woods were cool, the sun was peeking through the trees and the creek was making music over the rocks. It was a beautiful time to enjoy one another and God's creation.
Our short stroll turned into a 3 1/2 hour hike with no lunch, water and an interrupted nap time. The little ones were amazing. They hardly missed lunch and my nursling took a nap laying on mommy in the shade of a tree while the boys played in the creek.
When we finally got home our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were like a feast. The ice cold water was wonderful and the warm bath to relax was so refreshing. The boys are napping now. Little legs exhausted.
a newborn calf...black as midnight...mother's love protecting
turtle shell...white with age...under the flowing water...God's geometric designs
little one...eye's heavy with sleep...snuggling close to mama...her body warming mine in the shade of the giant trees
watching boys and their daddy...play at the edge of water...then rest in the shade
Bo...such a little man...hiking hungry with hardly a complaint
the warm sun peeking through the trees...shimmering on the water as it rolls down the rocks
Boo...a much improved hiker since last March...quickly becoming a little man
Daddy...so patient and loving with the our new inexperienced hikers
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Bo aggravated his brother this morning with a warning from me that he was not to do that specific thing again. A couple of hours later...it happens...again. In this home we use The 21 Rules of Our Home. These rules have become the foundation of the order we expect in this home. The rules are based on scripture. I reference a scripture for each rule we memorize. Rule 21 is In this home, when we forget or disobey any of the 21 rules of our home, we accept discipline and instruction. So Bo had to be corrected.
After the correction, I went out to help Boo close the chicken coop. I came back in and Bo was weeping uncontrollably on the couch. I picked him up and just held him asking him what was wrong. He said, I thought something I should not have thought. I rocked him and sang to him. I asked him to tell mommy what he had said. After about 20 minutes he finally told me he thought a mean thought about Boo. I should not have done that mommy and I am sorry. We prayed, I told him that:
two boys and their dog...walking...running...exploring...enjoying life together
brothers...walking up the drive...mommy watching from the porch...arms around one another...heads together talking
sweet little girl...practicing mommy gentleness...rocking and singing to the kitty
Boo offering his help with lots of chores today...getting ready to be that provider God has called him to be
fire in the fireplace...crackling logs...flames dancing off the walls...warming our hands...drawing us together.
hiding advent reminders...boys excitement...using the flashlights to find the box
Christmas stories...basket full under the tree...snuggling on the couch reading one after another.
Friday, December 5, 2008
There are 25 ornaments that we hang on the tree. One each night counting down until Christmas. Each ornament contains a prophecy about Christ in the old testament and its fulfillment in the new. We started this tradition on Bo's second Christmas and the little ones look forward to hanging a new ornament each night.
The most exciting advent countdown we do with the children is hiding the small items each night that they then look for with their flashlights. Each item has a corresponding bible passage to go with it and the boys love to find the box containing the item with their flashlights.
This year I am ordering some of the Samaritan's Purse charity gifts and wrapping a picture of the gift and placing it under the tree with "To: Jesus" written on it. We will open the gift on Christmas and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This verse will be written on the card:
Monday, December 1, 2008
Moving was stressful, but I am so glad to be back on the dirt road and farm. We are almost completely unpacked and we have gotten rid of a lot of extra stuff.
The boys share a room and are using bunk beds. It seems to be going really well so far.
Lora sleeps in her crib in the room with Chris and I. I guess we will be investing in a king size bed when the baby arrives.
I am still a little disorganized, but I am looking forward to getting back on our schedule soon.
I made a job chart for the boys today, they were really excited about moving the clothes pins to the completed jobs. I really hope the excitement continues.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was explaining to the boys about what Jesus says about turning the other cheek when we are wronged by someone. I went on to explain that Jesus was our perfect example because when he was beaten and crucified the Bible tells us that:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Isaiah 53:7
I was hoping that this example would make a deep impression on the boys. Just as I was thinking that maybe this had made them think about turning the other cheek Boo made this statement:
"That don't make no sense."
At first I was a little irritated and at this point I don't even remember what I said to him about it. But that little grammatically incorrect statement by my three-year old has stayed on my mind. You see children speak the truth as they see it and the fact is he saw this very clearly.
You know what? It doesn't make sense. The extravagant, rich, far-reaching grace of God does not make sense! How he could love me enough to suffer does not make sense. But it is this extravagant love he has for me that makes me run after him each day.
"While we were yet in weakness at the fitting time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6
"But God shows and clearly proves his love for us by the fact that while we were sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
"...But where sin increased and abounded, grace has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded." Romans 5:20
Christ chose to do something completely senseless to me. At the fitting time, Christ willingly gave his life for me. And this sacrifice that doesn't make sense demands my life, my all.
"I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1
Still Learning...(from my children)
early morning snuggles from baby girl...her fingers gently touching my eyes, ears nose and mouth
three warn bodies laying beside me in the early morning...four-year-old observing..."we are a family"
new life growing within...being knit together day by day...by the hand of God
time with Chris last night...snuggling on the couch...breathing in that smell of his
listening to my boys sing praises to their God
the smell of supper cooking on the stove
Basking in his gifts...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I went yesterday for my first visit and a heartbeat check. We couldn't hear a heartbeat but a quick ultrasound revealed a tiny baby with a beating heart! I am 11 weeks and 5 days pregnant and we are due May 16.
*Weeks 5-9 were the most difficult of any pregnancy in respect to the all-day nausea. I usually have no nausea at all. But this time I've been nauseated and craving every fast food imaginable.
*Chris is convinced that we will be having another bouncing baby boy. So convinced that he says we don't even need to think of any girl names.
*During circle time we have been learning about Christians in different countries using the Samaritan's Purse prayer guide. One of the Christians was a pastor in Pakistan. When we asked Boo what he wanted to name the baby he said Pakistan.
Monday, October 27, 2008
If a group of people can perish without a vision for the future, so to can a family. God prompted our hearts a couple of years ago to pray about and discuss a vision for our family. We had always had certain dreams for the future, but a family vision seemed to give us a road map to follow.
Here are some of the visions we have for our family:
1. We believe we have been called by God to educate our children in the home.
Now having these visions clearly outlined helps us make decisions from day to day. When we are faced with a choice we have some guidelines to help us answer these questions. For example, when we are asked by people if Bo is going to pre-school or isn't he almost old enough to go to school? We can confidently answer no we have chosen to homeschool. Now, I would leave it at that with most people, but if questions persist, I can say with confidence that sending him to public school or pre-school does not fit into the plan we have for our family.
Chris recently had the opportunity to go on an alternate schedule at work. It was a hard decision, but ultimately, more time at home seemed to win out. This decision fit perfectly with the third vision for our family which is Chris being able to work at home. It is not fulfilling this vision, but it is a step closer.
Lastly, we made the decision to not have a television in our home (only for a few pre-selected movies). This fits in well with the fourth vision for our family. Television seems to be one of the biggest time wasters in most homes. Before we got rid of our television, we would sit in front of it for 3-4 hours per night. Let's see 3-4 hours of the worlds standards being pumped into our homes or 3-4 hours spent with our children playing, having family worship and reading. There really is no comparison. Television would have stood in the way of our fourth vision. If we were constantly watching shows that glorify sin, make jokes of God's perfect plan for man and woman and advertisements that develop a must-have attitude we really would not be instilling in our children a healthy respect for obedience to God, a realization that life is about holiness not happiness and an understanding that God's plan is perfect, not the worlds.
So having a vision based on the Word of God really helps guide our daily decisions. If a decision comes up all we have to do is search God's Word, pray and consult the list of visions God has given for our family.
I am honored to be the keeper of Chris' home and the mother of his children. There is no place I would rather be than in his arm's surrounded by our little blessings.
I love the way my heart still pounds when I see him turning in the driveway after work.
I love the way he leads us in family worship.
I love the way he loves our children.
I love the way he can always make me smile.
I love the way he can fix anything that is broken.
I love you Chris!
Friday, October 10, 2008
big brothers...hovering...helping baby sister along..catching her when she falls...learning how to protect
little ones...surrounded by God's creatures...lambs...goats...geese...chicks...kittens...puppies...mesmerized by the soft fur and wet noses...little fingers...gently stroking...enjoying
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I didn't have to take an extra trip to Wal-mart. I managed for 4 weeks and 2 days with only spending 100.00 there.
I wasn't so lucky this month I was out of a few more larger items and budgeted 150.00 for Wal-mart I made it out spending 170.00 I still have about 200.00 left for the month. After Wal-mart, co-op order, 2 milk runs and 2 PW trips.
Our calf is ready at the processors. I always look forward to another freezer full of meat.
Houses up for sale... Slow economy...uncertainties....
So, we just decided to make a few steps in the direction of farm life at our current location. So we have nine laying hens in a movable coop. They are fertilizing the ground for my next years garden if we are still here.
Hmmm, wonder if I can talk Chris into a milk cow and lamb?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Monday: eggs, fruit
Thursday: eggs, fruit
Saturday: biscuits, fruit
Sunday: yogurt, granola and fruit
Dinner Menu September 22-28
pinto beans, cornbread, turnip greens, okra
homemade pizza, and cheese sticks with sliced veggies
chicken stir-fry stew with rice
pancakes, eggs, grits, fruit
BBQ roast on homemade buns, fries, sliced veggies
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
As I reported earlier, a good amount of the 110.00 allotted for Wal-mart went for non-food items.
We have no more money in the Wal-mart and Piggly Wiggly budgets as of today.
We have no co-cop money left because we received and payed for our order last week. We have about 15.00 left in our milk budget and 100.00 left in our market budget. I over-estimated the market budget because I had been buying extra fruits and vegetables for preserving. This month I have not been buying extra. I will transfer a little of the market money to other areas next week to finish out the month. I should come out under our budget of 550.00. Which is good, beacuse I do not buy meat from week to week. We buy a whole grass-fed calf for the freezer each fall as well as some chickens form our local sustainable farm. I can now add our meat cost in and hopefully come close to the 550.00 budget.
To make things stretch further this month I began making a breakfast and lunch menu. The breakfast menu really helps because the boys would eat eggs every morning. But with a menu we now eat eggs only two mornings per week. Eggs can get expensive at $3.00 per dozen.
I have gotten lots of pears from our tree in the backyard. I have made lots of pear sauce. I have gotten apples from people with trees in the their backyards. I boiled the cores and peelings with water the other day and used that for apple juice.
I have also been trying to cook at least one meat-less meal per week.
I water down our milk if I am running low and water down the milk I am cooking with as well.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Just because someone is pro-life does not mean they are pro-family.
Just because someone has children does not make them pro-family.
Just because someone claims to be a christian does not make them pro-family.
To be "for your family" you must first understand how God has designed the family to function.
First and foremost God has designed the father to be head of the home. He is to embrace this calling wholeheartedly as protector, provider and spiritual leader.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Palin a Pro-Family Choice?
Framing the Abortion Debate
Waking Up the Sheeple
Monday, September 8, 2008
Lest anyone think we have only played outside and not enjoyed any learning that would be an inaccurate perception. Here's a better look at what I have been doing with my children
Reading has always been an enjoyable activity for us as a family. My Bo especially loves to read and would listen to story after story. He began to love to listen to chapter books around 3 1/2 years old. I have read the Boxcar Children, Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte's Web, and we are currently reading The Burgess Seashore Book for Children.
Bo has many favorite picture books as well. I have tried to get rid of all stories that relate to any television or Disney characters. I have gotten rid of over half of my books from my school teaching days. We have chosen to include many of the books from the Ambleside Year 0 list on our bookshelf.
We have also enjoyed drawing together with our crayons or pencils. As I draw things I will always label them. Bo and Boo will ask what that word says or what is that letter. Bo is left handed so he has never seemed to have very good fine motor skills. We decided to never push him to hold a pencil or try to write or draw. So I have been waiting patiently for Bo to display an interest in writing.
During family worship couple of weeks ago Bo said he wanted to learn about Abraham and began drawing a stick figure to represent Abraham with lines going out as in a family tree and he added Ishmael and Isaac. The figures were so cute that tears welled up in my eyes. Chris and I were so proud. That was the first time he had really drawn anything discernible.
He has now began to write letters. that are recognizable and he is trying to write his name. His interest in letters and their sounds is increasing rapidly. The other day he wanted to now what my name would be if we took the h off of the front. We said olli and he laughed and laughed. He had gotten a pack of Skittles at church and wanted to now what it said if we covered up the s and then the k. Kittles and ittles made Bo laugh as well.
All of this major interest in letters has surfaced within the last month or so. It is a culmination of the gentle exposure to books that he loves to read and paper and writing utensils for exploration that has brought Bo to this point.
I am so glad that I have not pressured him to memorize letters and try to write them. It is fascinating to watch him develop at his own pace.
Coming soon a look into our daily routines and circle time.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Magnificent weaver...brilliant web...yellow...black...the promise of more beauty next year in an egg sac
weathered skin...experienced much life...holding fresh soft babe...just embarking on life
chubby cheeks...pursed lips...hair curled on cheek...grinning at the sun
baby girl...daddy's strong arms holding up high...she's taking in the wind and waves...he's taking in those cheeks and eyes
Friday, September 5, 2008
wobbly legs...holding baby weight...the first tentative steps...soon she will be running after her brothers
the smell of homemade biscuits cooking...rising in the pans...homemade blackberry jelly waiting to be slathered on
pear tree limbs hanging heavy with summer's bounty...growing here in our yard...free for the picking
pears mounded over in the sink...washed...peeled....mounded over in the pan...the smell of pears and cinnamon...the taste of homemade pear sauce
Basking in his gifts...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Using the USDA's food expenditure allotment I came up with the amount of 550.00 for out grocery budget this month. The thrifty plan called for a 512.00 food budget and the low cost plan was 648.00 for a family of four. Since my nursling is eating much more now, I decided to round the 512.00 to 550.00. No science involved, that's just the round number I chose.
I got 550.00 cash from savings and my trial month began yesterday. I divided the cash up into 5 different envelopes.
Co-op order- 100.00
I placed my co-op order for the month of September yesterday and my total was 102.00 I was pleased that this was so close to my allotted amount. I had to refine my list of items several times before I got this close.
I went to Walmart today and my total was 98.63 which leaves me 11.37 for the rest of the month. This may or may not be possible. Over half of my spending at Wal-mart was for non-food related items. (dog/cat food, toothbrushes, baking soda, dishwashing detergent, vinegar for cleaning, etc.) I hope I can still feed properly without any additional Wal-mart spending.
I go to buy our milk for tomorrow. We had been using 6-7 gallons of milk per week. At five dollars per gallon it is still affordable compared to some raw milk, but it adds up quickly. I make yogurt, and butter from the milk, but that still adds up to a lot per month for milk. So I chose to allot 130.00 for our milk budget. I will get 4 gallons some weeks and five other weeks. We also get our cheese from the milk farm. Lets see if we can still drink raw milk but a little more in moderation.
I went to the market today and spent 4.00. I purchased a cantaloupe and watermelon. Still lots left in my market budget, but the month is just beginning and I buy our farm fresh eggs with that money and we go through a lot of eggs. Some weeks we go through 4 dozen per week. That adds up quickly. In an effort to use less eggs I made a breakfast menu this month with a little variety for the boys. They would eat eggs and fruit everyday.
I go buy Piggly Wiggly on the way to get milk each week and pick up butter, bananas and any other item I may need. The bill is usually between 20-30.00. I will have to trim even more off with a 65.00 PW budget for the month.
Friday, August 29, 2008
We found a toad, dead bumblebee, and saw a beautiful morning glory vine. We observed the toad hopping and noticed his flat ears behind his eyes. The bumblebee had four wings-2 small and 2 large and six legs. Some of the morning glories were closed and some were open.
We decided to take a walk early the next morning to see if the morning glories were all opened up. They were all bright and beautiful early the next morning.
Yesterday we went for a walk in a small wooded area on our property and we saw four cicada's crawling up a tree getting ready to emerge. It was sooo amazing. This was the first time the boys had seen a cicada emerging. They are bright green when they emerge from the brown shells. It takes about 30 minutes for them to emerge and begin stretching their wings. I am so fortunate to live in a place where it is sooo easy to observe God's glory through creation.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Some things I love about Boo:
- His long eyelashes almost touching his cheeks as he sleeps.
- That he has learned to crack and scramble his eggs in the morning.
- His eagerness to pray when we sit down together for a meal.
- When he sees baby sister in the mornings or after naps and squeals her name with delight.
- Watching Boo play his little guitar during praise and worship at church.
- Those times we have alone together, when everyone else sleeps...reading...cooking...snacking...drawing...searching for one of God's treasures.
- Running to greet his daddy after a long day.
- Busy with the work of a man...hammering...mowing...building piles here and there.
Happy Birthday Boo!
I love you...
Friday, August 15, 2008
Hearts captivated by stories from God's word...eyes big...mind considering...tasting and seeing that the Lord is good
Little mouths reciting memory verses...catechisms...songs of the faith...hiding His Word in their hearts as little ones...hearts being made wise for salvation early.
Brothers...best friends...growing to be protectors...providers...husbands...fathers...spiritaul heads of the home
Baby girl...holding babydoll...rocking back and forth..already hints of God's intentions etched on her heart...nurturing...cradling...one day mothering
Friday, August 8, 2008
So here it is:
What is your family drinking?
Take stock of your frig and cupboards. Are you allowing yourself and your little ones to consume lots of sugary drinks or are you doing good in this area?
A couple of years ago, I stopped buying soft drinks. This was huge for me. I always drank a glass of Coca-Cola or Mt. Dew with my supper. When I finally stopped buying them I have learned to do without them.
What about fruit juices? My children used to drink lots more juice than they do now. I have been limiting juice intake to a small glass of fruit juice at breakfast and supper. The juice is not from concentrate and it is watered down as well. The rest of the day we enjoy filtered water and fresh raw milk.
I had been making an effort to make Kefir. We enjoyed grape water kefir. It can be overwhelming to keep up with. May try it again soon.
We occasionally make lemonade with water, lemon juice and a few drops of Stevia.
Tips for making the transition easier:
*Put the water in new water bottles. We have the Klean Kanteens
*We are using the Royal Berkey water filters and we love it. The boys can each go and fill their cups up with water whenever they are thirsty.
*Slice a few lemons and limes to squeeze into the water.
*Take all other options away until you have created a new healthy habit.
Here are some links about soft drinks/juice
Soft Drinks-America's Other Drinking Problem
Aspartame: Diet-Asterous Results
For anyone who needs more convincing that breastfeeding is the absolute best for your children check out these 101 reasons to breastfeed.
Here are my top reasons for breastfeeding:
3. No getting up in the middle of the night worrying with bottles and mixing and warming milk.
2. Take a look at formula cans: Closest formula to breast milk, Contains _________, like breast milk. Why give my baby formula that researchers are trying desperately to pattern after breast milk when I can give her the real thing?
1. Because breastfeeding is the way our very wise, loving and all-knowing God intended babies to be fed.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
sweet boy...exploring the beach...on a hunt for God's treasure
Friday, July 18, 2008
Sweet girl...pointing at everything...grunting...babbling...reaching with those sweet chubby arms for me to lift her into mine...irresistible
butterfly wings...God's stunning colors...black...blue...orange...white
blackberries...ripe...limbs hanging heavy...juice running down three little chins...fingers stained a deep purple.
blueberrries...sweet...tart...cool morning breeze...time alone to reflect and provide for my family
two brothers...playing so well together...hugging...telling each other they are best friends
Bo..crying in the night...trembling with fear...me...able to calm those fears...God reminding me to be accessible at all times...just as he is accessible at all times.
Boo...snuggling on the couch after nap...pillows...blankets...time together
Chris...taking the time to talk...the hour is late...he must rise early
Chris...graying hair...maturing..daily being refined into a man God uses
God reminding me that my purpose is...to be a suitable helper for Chris and his calling
shade of the tree...blanket on the ground..eager ears and hearts...listening to God's word...amazed at his miracles...bursting into songs of praise
little hands inspecting God's creation...butterfly wings...birds nest with shells...cicada shell...shiny green beetle
Holli...who thinks it has been too long since I've recorded his gifts
Friday, July 11, 2008
Dinner 1: Roast 2 chickens (Use one for supper and reserve the remaining chicken for stir-fry stew and chicken salad)
Fresh green beans
Place chicken carcass in stock pot and simmer overnight.
Chicken Stir-Fry Stew (adapted from Nourishing Traditions)
2 cups leftover chicken soaked in 2 Tbs. lemon juice
1-2 cups peanuts (my family loves peanuts, I use a lot)
2 carrots thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed
1 yellow squash chopped and lightly steamed
1 zucchini chopped and lightly steamed
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons naturally fermented soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons rapadura
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger (I'm just guessing here! I just sprinkle it in the broth.)
A few red pepper flakes
arrowroot for thickening
Marinate chicken in lemon juice. Saute chicken in olive oil. Remove and saute peanuts.
Saute carrots a couple of minutes. Mix chicken stock, soy sauce, rapadura, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper together in a separate bowl. Add chicken and peanuts back to skillet with carrots and pour sauce over these. Add a couple of tablespoons of arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer until thickened. Add Broccoli, squash and zucchini. Mix well and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.
*I omit the onions and peppers that are in the original recipe.
I added the squash and zucchini and it turns out well.
This recipe serves 6-7 easily. I have a family of 4 eaters and we can have it for supper another night and freeze a couple of portions also.
Leftover stir-fry stew
1-2 cups reserved chicken
1 small cucumber chopped
1/2 cup grapes chopped
1 apple chopped
1/3 cup Walnuts chopped
2-3 tablespoons mayo
Mix well and chill.
Enjoy cool chicken salad on a hot afternoon, maybe even a picnic in the shade.
your favorite chicken casserole
Monday, July 7, 2008
Just for clarification, I mean how many colorful, whole, unrefined foods are you preparing for your family? yourself? Grape kool-aid and a colorful pack of Skittles or M&M's do not count:-0 We need to be providing wholesome colorful foods for the bodies that God has placed in our care.
So grab a pen and paper or post a comment on here, sharing how you are doing with eating your colors!
Boo-homemade yogurt, blackberries, boiled egg, sweet banana pepper, grapes, blueberries, herb biscuit, supper will be soup with squash, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, green beans, cabbage and rice
Bo's will be the same except no blackberries.
Shater aka Lou Lou's will be the same except no sweet banana pepper, or grapes and add banana
Mine will be the same except no sweet banana peppers
Chris will have the veggies in the soup tonight and I'm not sure if he took fruit to work.
We normally do not have that many veggies during the day. The soup I made tonight has lots of veggies. It's easy to get frustrated if you think you should eat from every color group every day. Keep a list of what you eat in a given week and see if that is easier. It gives you seven days to get your color groups eaten.
Here's our menu for the week:
leftover soup (I'm just making this today. We had a couple of parties for the 4th that we attended and ate supper at those.)
BBQ baked potatoes
homemade BBQ sauce
roast (pull roast apart and pour sauce over)
various toppings: onions, cheese, butter
chicken stir-fry stew and rice
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Lunch options: variety plate:(boiled egg, almonds, cheese, cucumbers, tomato and blueberries), peanut butter and banana (if not chosen at breakfast), homemade bread with peanut butter and jelly, chicken salad (made with cucumbers, walnuts, grapes, chicken, and a boiled egg) with crackers and cheese or leftovers
Day 1: meatloaf (Chris said my meatloaf was the best he had ever had;-)
cucumbers with apple cider vinegar
Day 2: Fish Cakes (salmon and rice)
cucumbers with apple cider vinegar
Day 3: leftovers
Day 4: tabouli
Day 5: Baked chicken
cucumbers with apple cider vinegar
Day 6: leftover soup (leftovers I've been saving thrown into a pot of homemade chicken stock.)
Day 7: supper with my grandmother
Local food treasures found at the market:
cabbage (a couple of weeks ago, just cooking it)
cucumbers (bunches in our CSA box)
sweet banana peppers
2 dozen eggs
*We picked 1 gallon of blackberries off of the 2 bushes I planted in our yard three years ago.
*We went to Chris' uncles farm and picked 3 gallons yesterday. I hope to make a little jelly and juice then freeze the rest.
See how many wonderful, fresh fruits and vegetables are available at your local market!
Join me for the challenges.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
For the next couple of weeks I want you to work on buying as much locally grown produce from sustainable farms as possible. I am allowing two weeks for some of the challenges because I know how overwhelming it can be to change a family's eating habits. A great place to find locally grown organic food is Local Harvest.
*Plan a menu for the week. Remember to include an array of fresh fruits and vegetables that are currently in season in your area.
*Make a list of the fruits and vegetables you will need.
*Visit your local farmer's market and see how many items you can find that are on your list.
*Take time to talk with the farmers about their farming practices. You will probably make some new friends while you are there. I value the friendship we have made with a local sustainable farming couple that we met at our local market. We purchased a CSA share with them this year.
Here is an article about why eating organic food may be especially beneficial to children.
Here is a guide that lists the dirty dozen. These fruits and vegetables should be purchased organically whenever possible.
Here is the website to the book I have recently finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. This is the account of a family who made a commitment to eat only what they could grow or buy locally for one year.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Chris has had stomach issues for the last several years. Frequent heartburn, nausea, bloating plagued him severly for months on end. He would stop eating this or that to see if the symptoms could be relieved. He visited doctor after doctor. He had an upper GI, colonoscopy, gallbladder scan all to no avail. He was frequently perscribed heartburn medication. One doctor even suggested depression, as it could cause stomach problems. I picked up a book called The Maker's Diet and so our journey began.
This book made me think a lot about the foods I was preparing for my family. Was I really providing the very best for them in terms of quality and nutrition? After reading this book, I bought Nourishing Traditions and began reading its information and trying a few recipes.
This led me to the Weston A. Price Foundation, Real Milk, Eat Wild, and the traditional food message board of Mothering. My search for understanding continued here as well as in God's Word. After much research I have formulated my own set of guidelines for the way I provide for the health of my family.
*As a wife and mother it is my responsibility to provide the most nutritious and appealing food for my family.
*Because my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the my families bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit we feel it is vital to treat the Spirit's temple with care. We would never abuse the spirit's temple with addicitons to alcohol or tobacco, so why would we abuse his temple by being addicted to sugar, processed foods, or carbonated beverages.
*We believe that as humans we should not try to improve upon what God has created. So we do not rely on processed or dead foods for our nutrition.
*The healthiest things we can eat are "whole" as close to the way God provided as possible-fresh fruits and vegetables, meat raised humanly and eating the diet that God intended for them, fresh raw milk and milk products, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
These are the convictions that we as a family have as we seek to be good stewards of the lives God has so graciously blessed us with. We do not believe that we will attain any sort of perfection from a life lived in this way. We understand that God is the giver of life and we live in a fallen world. We are simply striving to take care of the life that God has so graciouly given us. We believe that salvation comes by God's grace through out faith, it is not because of any thing we have done.
After reading and researching and Chris suffering on and off for years we finally discovered that Chris was palgued by low stomach acid. The symptoms mimic that of too much stomach acid, thus the many heartburn perscriptions through the years. We finally figured this out because milk helped Chris symtoms and the doctors said milk should worsen the symptoms if too much acid was the problem. Because Chris lacked acid which aids in the digestion of food, the raw milk he drank with his meals provided valuable enzymes that helped digest his meals. So Chris is doing wonderfully now with the raw milk, garlic tablet and disgestive enzymes he takes daily.
I am continuing my study in taking care of my family by taking the Naturally Healthy Family Study Course and reading The Animal Vegetable Miracle and Real Food.
I am continually learning more through much study and prayer. I want to share what I have learned with others. I will begin issuing a weekly challenge aimed at providing the very best of what God has provided for our nutrition.
*The air heavy...the smell of rain thick and fresh.
*Tiny caterpillar...growing bigger...preparing to change
*Boo...excited over God's creation..."Come see the spider, Mama, isn't God amazing"
*Laying on the reading blanket...quiet time with Bo...snuggling...reading...giggling
*Shater's first words..."dadada"..."uh-oh"..."mamama"
*Shater's closing eyes tight...silly grin...pudgy cheeks...adorable baby face
Sunday, June 8, 2008
No, Mr. Obama children are not a punishment. They are:
a blessing and a reward!
Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you and before you were born I separated and set you apart...
For you did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother's womb. I will confess and praise you for you are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are your works and that my inner self knows right well.
And he made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation.
Here's another video that I have heard was chilling. Haven't watched it yet because we are on dial-up. Beware the discussion comments below this video are argumentative and use strong, offensive language.
Think long and hard...
Monday, June 2, 2008
As the mother of two young sons, I can identify with the advice King Lemuel's mother gave him when he was a boy. I can just picture her taking him onto her lap and ruffling his hair as she kisses him on top of the head. She begins to offer him some nuggets of wisdom. She tells him to avoid loose women, avoid strong drink, and speak up and defend those who cannot defend themselves. The advice is not unlike what Chris and I have already had to discuss with our sons. Just within the last couple of weeks we have already had the alcohol and tobacco discussion complete with pictures on how they can ravage the body.
In verse 1o Lemuel's mother begins her discussion on the type of woman Lemuel should search out as a wife. She dedicates the remaining 21 verses to a description of a wife who would benefit and uplift her husband.
The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
Am I Chris' most treasured possession? I pray that I am. I am amazed at the change that God has worked in my own heart and mind since we married almost eleven years ago. My heart's desire had always been to be a wife and mother, but God continually works on me, refining me into the woman his inspired word has commanded me to be.
As I read the above verse, I am compelled to examine my life. Does Chris confidently trust in me? Does he trust my commitment to him and our marriage? Does he believe in my commitment to be a wise manager of the living he brings home? Does he trust in my ability to train and nurture our children day by day? Does he trust that I will prepare the very best food and clothing for us that his money will provide?
I think he does. I so desire to bring him comfort and encouragement. I pray that each day I live I will do him more good than the day before. But this takes me dying to myself daily. If I am not extremely careful I can let pride take hold and I begin to live for myself. As soon as I become focused on my own self, my own desires and my own needs, I begin to resent serving others.
I'm not implying that I do not enjoy the occasional break, but when I begin searching for it day in and day out, I begin to resent the family that God has entrusted to my care. I'm reminded of Christ and his disciples withdrawing occasionally for some time alone. Many times the crowd followed and Jesus was always moved with compassion to begin ministering once again. When Christ is my example, I will always strive to minister and serve no matter how weary I may become in my own strength because
"My grace is enough for you; ...for My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Amp
Proverbs 31 continues with brief glimpses into the life of a woman who is a true treasure.
A life lived in this manner will be cause for our children to rise and up call us blessed. Our husbands will praise our efforts.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised!"
Do I fear the Lord enough to live the life he has commanded that I live?
I not only have two sons that I should encourage with these verses as they seek a wife one day, but I have a daughter that I must prepare to be some special man's treasure.
This was the part that made me think the most. I am afraid many parents are not preparing their daughters to be a treasure one day, instead they are preparing their daughters to seek earthly treasures.
You see, our culture today promotes preparing daughters to go to college and establishing a successful career as goal number one. . This mentality is preparing the daughters of today to believe that college and career are the real treasures in life and marriage and family are only secondary. I have major objections to this line of thinking, because it is simply not in keeping with God's word.
Did I go to college? Yes
Do I think it is wrong for a girl to go to college? Not necessarily. But I would caution parents of daughters today to think about the ramifications of countless dollars and hours spent preparing for a career outside the home. Let's teach our daughters that being a Keeper of the Home has great value because they are not only investing in this life, but eternity as they raise Godly children.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
As mothers, it is our responsibility to get our children outside each day so that they can begin to see and experience God's amazing creation. Creation is all about God revealing himself to man and I want my children to develop a love for God revealed through creation at an early age.
Would you join me in sharing God with your children through nature? The notebook pages provided with this challenge will make recording your nature study time easy. When compiled in a notebook you will have a wonderful keepsake.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We have chosen to call it being good stewards of what God has so graciously entrusted to our care.
Going Green or stewardship whatever you decide to call it, requires examining many areas of life and investigating ways we can lesson our impact on the world around us. Not many people would argue the need to Leave No Trace in a National Park or Forest, but what about the traces we leave every day in our communities and homes.
Many days the children and I go for walks within a quarter-mile of our home and pick up garbage left on the side of the road. This is a wonderful opportunity I take to talk to my children about God creating the world and seeing that it was good. We talk about how the person who threw the garbage out of the window was not being a good steward of God's creation. The boys are usually the first to notice garbage now and eager to pick it up.
There are other ways we have chosen to lesson our impact on the environment. I have been using re-usable nursing pads for awhile, as well as washcloths for baby wipes. Just this week I ordered and received Shater's first set of cloth diapers. I received them on Thursday and begin using them yesterday. We really like them an I regret that I have not used cloth sooner.
An idea that is close to my heart is growing fruits and vegetables sustainably and buying locally at the Farmer's Market. When we do this we are not only caring for God's beautiful world, but as a mom I am providing the freshest and most nutritious food for my family.
We have chosen to buy our meat and milk from animals who are raised locally and grow up on pasture. By spending our money locally we are helping farmers in and around our community. We avoid meats or dairy that have been raised in CAFO's. You can too! See Eat Wild for more information.
As always, making much of our food and snacks from scratch reduces waste. Because we do not use a lot of pre-packaged convenience foods, the garbage I put our for pick-up each week has declined.
We are always open to trying new things that would make us a better steward of the land and home God has so graciously given us.
Here is something that I am looking into for when my cycle returns after nursing Shater.
108. Mama and Boo...playing together in sandbox...sand between toes...fingers making letters
109. short little Boo...tall daddy...side-by-side...father and son...mama watching from behind
110. nest on porch...mama bird sitting patiently...fulfilling the job God created her to do!
Thank you for your gifts that fill my days with joy and wonder. Help me to slow down and drink in the blessings of each moment.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I stand in complete awe that God would choose to reward me with three of the most beautiful children in the world. It is humbling to realize that God saw something in me that he knew he could use to train these precious lives up to know and follow him. As I sit in the quietness of this moment I am struck with the magnitude of the job he has given me to do. A job so important it takes every minute of the day...preparing my heart, training them alongside me, turning their hearts to the word, laughing, loving, just being...here together.
When I think of my life I am reminded that my actions speak much more loudly than any word I could utter.
Can I teach my children to be passionate about a personal relationship with God, if I never lift my voice in praise and my hands in worship?
Can I teach my little ones to serve others with a joyful heart, if I do not fix their meals, bathe them, or clean their messes with a smile on my face?
Will I really teach them that people are important if I shoo them away while I cook, clean, read or blog?
Am I giving my children a beautiful picture of the way a marriage is supposed to look like? Do I smile at and joke with their daddy? Do I hug and cuddle with their daddy? I must make my children hungry for a beautiful godly marriage! Then, they may see the importance of waiting for that someone God has just for them.
Do I treat my children the way I want them to treat my grandchildren? Those little hands will one day train up the next generation. Do I speak to Chris in the way that I would want baby girl speaking to her husband? That little mouth has the power to bless a husband one day. It also has the power to tear a home down. Am I teaching those little ones to properly care for their bodies and God's creation? For that is my responsibility also...stewardship...it's really each person's responsibility, but how will they learn if I do not teach? More importantly, how will they learn if I do not show?
Yes, mothering has changed me, humbled me, brought out the best and the worst in me. It has been the tool that God has used to chisel away what does not belong in my life. He has used it to reveal the character that he wants me to clothe myself with daily. And for that I am so very grateful.
102. warm sun...warm breeze...cool grass...relaxing with my babies in the afternoon
103. brothers welcoming one another with a hug
104. baby girl exploring the grass, sticks, rocks and leaves
105. baking biscuits and bread with my boys helping...Baby girl sitting on the floor at our feet
106. footsteps coming...door opening...Daddy's Home!...boys squealing...baby girl clapping...Mama smiling.
Friday, May 9, 2008
As I look closely at the word I see its meaning jumping off of the page. As I aspire daily to be a homemaker I am all the more convinced that homes cannot make themselves.
There are many areas of my home that need to be watched over and guarded carefully. It can be easy to put the place before the people who reside in our homes. My main concern every day should not be a spotless home, but a home where the love of Christ is shared with my husband, children and all who come through my doors. As I take my children alongside me and train them to care for a home we are spending valuable time together. I am teaching them to have a servant's heart as I strive to meet their needs and they are learning valuable lessons in running a home as they work alongside me.
As I watch over my household I need to be aware of the magazines and the books that are making there way into my home. A television is another potential influence for evil on my children. Are the books, magazines, computer sites and movies we watch bringing honor to Christ and building up my faith and family?
Making a home takes work. But, its work that God has created me to do. With the guidance of a loving husband and the nurturing servant's heart of a mom, christian homes can be beautiful reflections of Christ's love. My desire is to have a home that makes the world hungry to know Christ as they observe our daily interactions with one another.