Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A couple quotes about mathematics


I was spending some time this afternoon reviewing the new level of math that Kiersten will be starting this week. Kiersten and I have been using Right Start Mathematics this year and loving it. I say "Kiersten and I" because this is definitely NOT a curriculum that allows you to send the child off to do a worksheet. So far this year she maybe has done 10 worksheets. This aspect appeals strongly to me! I love the interaction we are having as we are making some wonderful memories together. This curriculum also uses math games heavily. Micah is happy to play these with Kiersten and they even request to play some of the games when they are not required to. What a plus!

Under the page titled "Some General Thoughts on Teaching Mathematics", Joan Cotter says, "The only students who like flash cards are those who don't need them."

Joan Cotter has spent time examining the Asian way of teaching mathematics. She lists some of the differences between their approach to education in general and the way we approach it. I'll quote a couple that stuck out to me.

"I first grade teacher has the same status as a university professor. If a student falls behind, the family, not the school, helps the child or hires a tutor. Students often attend after-school classes."

And....

"Asians and Europeans believe anyone can learn mathematics or even play the violin. It is not a matter of talent, but of good teaching and hard work."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Afternoon


We spent about 3 hours baking and then an hour cleaning and getting supper ready. We ended up making Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Oatmeal Coconut Cookies, Oven Baked Caramel Corn (Thanks, Joyce!), and Tiger Butter(Thanks, Leslie!). We let the cookies get a bit too brown but they are yummy; more for us to eat, I suppose. After starting on the Caramel Corn I realized I only had a couple tablespoons of corn syrup, instead of 1/2 cup as the recipe called for. I don't know how much of a difference this made, since this was my first attempt at this recipe. (But I've saved it in my files and will be able to try it again sometime. Progress....)

All of treats were made using ingredients I already had on hand. We could have made lots more with what we had on hand. I suppose getting iced in was good for my budget. I saved time and money, what a deal! :)

Oh, and I keep forgetting that we made a pan of brownies to take with us to church on Wednesday night. We'll be caroling throughout our community and when we get done, we'll all enjoy different soups that each of us will bring, along with goodies. This has been a tradition for years and years for our family and we look forward to doing this with our church family.

Our kitchen was a busy, fun, happy place this afternoon.

Plans For Today

I had planned a big shopping day today but we are iced in so we'll enjoy our time at home instead. We spent our normal time reading aloud this morning. The kids and I are thoroughly enjoying our reading of Jotham’s Journey! I’ve wanted to read the book for several years and I’m sorry I waited this long. It’s definitely a favorite with all of us.


I really do need to get some baking/goody making done for get-togethers that we'll hopefully be able to go to later in the week. I have all the ingredients for caramel corn and that sounds really yummy.

I think I'll dig through my pantry and see if I can't make some tiger bark, too. Wonder what all we could make just using pantry items??? Could be a fun project! I'll post later and report our accomplishments.


The idea of making caramel corn and tiger bark came from friends. At our Thanksgiving meal I realized how every food on my table bore the influence of friends or family. Nothing was original with me. There was my Grandma’s Cranberry Salad, my Mother in Law’s Sweet Potato Casserole, my Mom’s bleu cheese/romaine salad, and Tim’s aunt’s hash brown Casserole. And a new recipe, Brown Buttered Pecan Broccoli, that Clarice recommended. I always take note when Clarice says something is yummy! I’ve never fixed anything that she suggests that my family has not loved, especially my husband. She’s just own of those ladies that knows what good food is all about!


I love food and I enjoy cooking. I always seem to have way too many new recipes to try. There aren’t enough meals to fit them all in! I so wish that over the years I would have kept track of all the different recipes that we love, but I haven’t! I make something new; we love it and I go on to something else new that we will enjoy, too, but I’m not organized in all of this. For instance when, we were first married, Tim and I had a very limited food budget. I would cook everything from scratch and I might add, I had a great time doing it! Pancakes are cheap food and we made them every way imaginable! We made special syrups for our special pancakes. One meal we remember was Scottish Oatmeal Pancakes with an orange syrup. I’ve tried many other Scottish Oatmeal Pancake recipes but none of them are like those first ones I made. Wouldn’t it be fun for me to be able to look back on all the different pancake recipes that I used in those first years of our married life?


I am making progress, though, not all is lost. I have a three ring binder with sheet protectors that I use to store favorite recipes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Robert Frost


Nathan has been reading Robert Frost's poetry for the past 12 weeks. He chose the poem "Walking by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to memorize. Just today, I finished reading aloud to the children Robert Frost: America's Poet by Doris Faber, Illustrated by Paul Frame.

We learned that Robert's dad loved to go on long nature walks with his son, up and down the hills of San Fransisco. Before the age of eleven, when Robert's father died of tuberculosis, Robert nor his sister ever attended school. His father liked to say, "There's no need to coop him up in some unhealthy schoolroom." And when Robert had children of his own he chose to keep his children at home and traveling with him, also. All throughout Robert's life, we noticed that he sought out nature and solitude. He would continually go from times mingling with people to needing times of solitude, manual labor, and hours with nature. I had to wonder how much those early days of trekking with his father must have influenced his life!

Robert Frost, later in life, taught college English classes. I found his teaching style so interesting, quite unconventional! While he ruffled the feathers of other professors, he was often a favorite teacher with the students.

Mr. Frost was the first to speak at an Inaugural Address, invited by President Kennedy. At his death two years later,
President Kennedy spoke for all of his fellow countrymen: "He had promises to keep and miles to go, and now he sleeps."
I've been reminded, once again, of the power of "living" books! Some of my children have been inspired to write a bit more than normal this week. The writing did not come from an assignment that I dreamed up, but it came from the feelings and thoughts of their hearts. I love it when this happens. It's beautiful and it's the kind of education that Robert Frost thought most valuable!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sweet Appreciation


For some time now, at almost every meal, Zeke will turn to me and thank me very specifically for his food. It's so precious. Those words make it all worth it!

Today as he was enjoying his whole strawberry, organic jam on toast, these were his chosen words, "Mmmm, this is good! Thank you, mommy, you cook my eggs. Give me 5!"

Oh, that I would be that grateful for what others do for me. Just a thoughtful, sincere thank-you can do so much to lift my spirits.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Today

My baby turned 3 yesterday. There was much celebrating!
He "loves" his new bike, all shiny and red, and, of course, equipped with a horn!

I wrote the following to a dear friend this morning:

God is on His throne! Kiss your babies; love your husband; and worship God freely and openly!!! We still can do all these things as we see fit. I plan to "live it up"!!! :) I do grieve, as I have for weeks now. But I'm also choosing to look at this with eyes of faith, not that all will be just fine. How could it? Or why would it be? But I do not God has a perfect plan and will for my life. He also holds the nations in his hands and appoints and puts down rulers. My desire is to be strong enough (and my children strong enough) to withstand anything that may come in our path. Strong enough to be what God wants me to be. So....it's back to the daily habits, the habits that will build character in our lives. The simple things.

Not too long after I sent this off to her I read this post written by Lady Lydia.

Although our position in the home as mother or father or child is not voted on, we do cast a vote daily in this kingdom. We vote for strong marriages by our loyalty. We vote for good children by the way we train them. We vote for a future government in our land by the what we allow our children to be taught. If we turn them over to someone else, who does not have the same values as we do, to train their thinking, their judgement and their knowledge, our children will grow up and vote for things that will tear down the kingdom of the home. If we take the responsibility to teach them ourselves, they will stand by the old paths, where is the good walk, that will bring peace to our little kingdoms of the home.


Such wise words. What comfort, freedom and liberty this gives me, if I choose to live in this fashion. And I have chosen that. Oh, I get off track, but there is always rest and peace found when I come back to just living a simple life, enjoying the daily tasks that make up my life.

These wonderful thoughts by Anne at Holy Experience have been an inspiration to me. And I know them to be so very true in my life.

There’s a time for everything under heaven. And that is the time we need. A certain time for everything, a steady beat to our days.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. To the rituals we are establishing. To the beauty the new day will hold. To the peace and joy of living in this little "kingdom" God has given me right her on this earth as I await my Heavenly home.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I love this charge!

A few days ago, when I read this verse, it jumped out at me as a wonderful charge for myself and my children! In it I find the action that I am to take and I see the wonderful trust in the Sovereignty of God.

Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.
~ I Chronicles 19:13

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Days


Every fall I use pumpkin in new ways. Over the years we've made frozen pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin yeast rolls, pumpkin butter and pumpkin pancakes.

Last Saturday we enjoyed Susan's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins ~ a big YUM! I doubled the chocolate chips, like she suggested, and we didn't regret it! My family declared them a "keeper".

Last night was a rare occasion at our house. Tim and I were ALONE! I decided to make pumpkin biscuits, and a big salad. I made a bed of chopped romaine. In the center I put a rounded scoop of tuna salad, and then I sprinkled chopped red peppers, black olives and farmer's cheese all over the top. It was pretty and tasty! Everything was simple, yummy, and peaceful. :) Tonight we were back to normal with all the kids around the table!

I found the recipe for the Pumpkin Biscuits at About. com:Home Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (and maybe a little more, see instructions)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Place flour mixture in a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Remove to a bowl and stir in pumpkin and milk. Mix just until moistened and a soft dough forms. If the dough is too wet to handle, stir in additional flour, just enough so you can handle it.

Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured board. Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut into 2-inch circles. Place on prepared pan 1 inch apart and brush with melted butter. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve pumpkin biscuits right out of the oven with butter, honey, or honey butter.

Yield: about 12 biscuits

note: I changed the amount of baking powder from 3 Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. When I prepared these I couldn't imagine that they would need 3 Tbsp. Using 1 Tbsp. worked out just fine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anticipating the tomorrows


While we are enjoying making the most of today, we are also anticipating many wonderful events coming up within the near future. I'm sure you all are, too!

Kiersten is especially looking forward to Christmas. It will mean a trip to the "city" to see Grandma and Grandpa. When we return my little brother and his wife will arrive. Kiersten already has presents lovingly wrapped up and waiting for them. She's counting the days...literally!

Yesterday, we sat down and made a quick little calendar for her to keep right beside her bed. We outlined all the "happy days" between now and the BIG day ~ the day we get to see those that we've been away from for so many, many days.

Oh, and there are many prayers going up that we will have lots of white stuff while Justin and April are here! Kiersten even dreamed about it last night.
The last time we had snow while Justin was home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stretching those kitchen dollars

I really enjoyed this post at Bread and Roses. It's packed full of great advice on getting the most for your dollar in the kitchen and you will be living "richly" if you follow her advice.

I found the above blog through Gumbo Lily, who I always enjoying reading. If you visit Gumbo Lily, check out the photo of the deer in her header!!! Jody took that picture while she was out on her daily walk. Amazing, isn't it?! Zeke and I were very impressed!

I recently stretched our dollars by making strawberry syrup for our puffed pancake. We were out of agave nectar and maple syrup has been scarce around here. I had frozen strawberries on hand for smoothies. Making the syrup was so easy and is such a treat!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Living in Today


Wise words from Susan at High Desert Home:

I think it's good to be aware of what is happening in the world and then to do whatever we need to do (or can do) to care, to help those who need help, and to bring about change. But I also think it's wise and good to continue to find joy and beauty in the daily blessings, as long as we have them. To refuse to be all-consumed with circumstances, to overworry about them, and to focus on them so intensely that it keeps us preoccupied or brings us low.
I certainly don't consider myself a worrier. But I do like to be able to "do" something about a situation if I something is causing me concern. I do tend to want to talk a lot about my feelings and concerns and perhaps I sometimes tend to look at the worst case scenario.

All that to say, the situation in our country at the present has me quite worn out. I didn't think I was stressed but apparently I must be. Here I go, breaking the good advice Susan gives, talking about the political problems of our country. But I'm so broken hearted over decisions that have recently been made; decisions that will change the landscape of this country for my children and their children. My concern is not for our financial well being but for the very heart of our country~our freedoms.

I've called and written my leaders. I've done all I know to do at this time. We will continue to be conservative financially as we will probably face leaner times ahead.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
~Jesus

I've decided to go on making the most out of every day. Not spending each day thinking of how I'll handle tomorrow if this or that happens but I'll live today just as fully as I can. I think this is what Jesus would have me do. I'll take what is handed me today. And tomorrow I'll do the same. I find it stressful to think too far in advance. I need to cherish the moments I have right now. I have no guarantee of tomorrow, anyhow.

We used the good china today.........and we had fresh flowers on our table, too! Just to be honest, though, chaos reigned in the house, everywhere but at our table. As chaos may be reigning in the world around me, my home can be that little island of peace that we all need.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A few good blogs......



Path to Freedom.....always inspiring to me. Sometimes after seeing their pictures I have to run out and do a bit of work in my own garden. My children love to watch the videos they post and they enjoy seeing the pictures of all that is going on. I love their spirit of gratitude.

101 Cookbooks.....lots of yummy food here.

Making Books Blog.....Susan doesn't blog daily or even weekly but I love so many of her ideas. I don't know that I've ever made any of the "books" that she demonstrates but I enjoy reading about her ideas. Maybe because I enjoy almost anything that involves paper; I always have!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Logs for our shop building


These pictures represent lots of work!
Work from past days.
Work for present days.
And
Work for future days.
But we hope to some day enjoy the fruit of the labor!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dairy/Wheat Free Meal Ideas

For various reasons, we are experimenting with eating a Gluten/Dairy Free diet. I've decided to record some of our meals here as a reference for myself and also for anyone else that may be contemplating this.

Today's breakfast consisted of:
Fried Eggs
Oatmeal with your choice of Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Molasses, Peanut Butter, and Flax Oil
Fruit Shakes ~ These seem to always be different. Today we enjoyed blueberries, bananas, flax oil, almond milk, and Pineapple/Coconut Juice with a bit of Barley Green Powder (you don't taste this).
Yum!

Today's Lunch:
Baked Talapia
Romaine Salad
Brussil Sprouts (This sounds like a funny combination but I could eat brussel sprouts with any meal! I love 'em!)

And for supper:
This was a pantry meal that was very thrown together!
Hamburger (from a local farmer), with rice and onion. Instead of cooking the rice in water I used Organic French Onion Soup and cooked it all together.
I served this with green beans. Very basic pantry eating! But it must not have been too bad or else everyone was very hungry because all but about a half of a cup is gone!

For snacks we enjoyed:
Sesame Rice Cracker
Apple Sauce
Pineapple Rings
Apples
Raisins
Juice Sprintzers
Dark Chocolate with Cacoa Nibs
Bananas
Wild Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Honey
My kids can never make it all the way to the next meal without some snacks, as you can see!

I miss being able to cook whatever I want. I feel like this "diet" hampers my creativity but we are making the best of it and we've eaten some wonderful food along the way!

More Neurotoxins

Back in the spring, I shared some information I had received at a conference. The lady speaking made a very strong statement, "Sugar is a neurotoxin." Today, as I was flipping through Sally Fallon's book, I read that she believes MSG and hydrolyzed protein are also neurotoxins. Now, it doesn't at all surprise me that MSG would qualify as such a poison. But hydrolyzed protein somehow seems much more innocent to me. Guess I need to wise up a bit!

Another great reason to eat "real food"!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Animal Tracks

Animal Tracks by Arthur Dorros is just a very sweet little book for young children. Apparently, Amazon doesn't sell any new copies. I don't know if it is available new anywhere else or not, but perhaps your library would have it. We checked it out at our library.

Each page has questions in the story line and there is always expectation of what is coming next. The guess can always be an educated one, because of the tracks that are shown.

I thought it was just a fun story to read with my little ones. A great science book!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Today

Outside my window....
the air is crisp, the sun bright, the shadows long.

I am thinking...."What would Jesus do?"

From the learning room....We are reading some great books together ~ Paddle to the Sea by Holling, Jonathan Goforth by Benge, Homesick by Fritz, The Tales of Uncle Remus by Lester, Just So Stories by Kipling.

I am thankful for.... the long hours (that pass so quickly) with my children day after day.

From the kitchen....We enjoyed fresh pork cutlets and fruit shakes for breakfast.

I am wearing.... a sweater.

I am reading....Phonemic Awareness in Young Children.

I am hoping.... to take a walk this afternoon.

I am creating....homemade cards.

I am hearing....the singing of my little boy as he rustles around in his tent set up in the living room, the voice of the narrator of In His Steps, toy cars being sorted through as the kids listen to the audio.

Around the house....there is much to be done!

One of my favorite things....autumn evenings and mornings.

A few plans for the rest of the week....a couple more quiet days at home, and then a busy day in town, a visit with friends, and Saturday a wedding.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....






Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

Sharpening Their Saws


Day 2 of our Wild Field Trip

We have a few members in our family who are cycling fans. All of my kids love their bikes and my husband is quite attached to his. Riding is a great stress reliever for Tim, as well as a wonderful challenge and means of staying fit. He accomplishes things on his bike that make me hurt, just to think about it.

Monday, September 8th, the first day of the Tour of Missouri ended at the Plaza in Kansas City. I didn't realize this or I'm sure we would have made our way down to the Plaza to enjoy the festivities! We watched it on the news, talked about how we wish we would have thought of that, etc.

Tuesday morning on our way home, we were just driving along when we saw a small sign that said "course" attached to a post on the side of an exit ramp. "Oh, the TOUR!" We turned around at the next legal u-turn and made our way back to the overpass. The tour was to be passing by in just 45 minutes. We were given cow bells and maps of the route. We happily unloaded and found a place to wait.

Here' what we saw:





And here's what some of us looked like while waiting.(Please look with eyes of grace, as this was a last minute trip, with lots of persons crammed in one car) By this point I felt as though I was falling apart:



We couldn't just watch at this one point. We quickly headed on so that we could make it to the next point. This intersection was in the middle of no where, on some back roads with fields on all four sides. This time there had been a break away and they weren't all in just one big bunch.

We were blessed to have such a wonderful "extra" thrown into our field trip!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nature Journals


I believe in them. I love looking at them. I desire to faithfully keep one. I desire to lead my children in this endeavor. I enjoy drawing and writing in mine.

I don't know why I find it so hard to actually be consistent in this!

But, past failures aside. Here's today's humble entry...done right along with my children...another happy memory in our bank of many!

Friday, September 12, 2008

One Wild Field Trip

We decided at a moment's notice that we'd travel to Kansas City to see Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. We packed in five to ten minutes, attended our Sunday evening church services, picked up a couple friends along the way, and then headed out for our four hour trip to Kansas City.

We had a blast on the way up, eating fast food and visiting about everything under the sun as we rumbled along in my fifteen year old Volvo station wagon. I love my car!

By midnight we were in the wonderful home of my second mom and dad. We visited for another hour and headed to bed....morning would come early and we didn't want to miss out on anything.

At around 5:30 a.m. I headed to the grocery store for snacks, water, and extra camera batteries. When I returned all the kids and my friend were about ready to head out.

By 6:30 we were in line behind probably 400 other proud Americans. For two and a half hours we visited with those around us and dodged some sprinkles, praying it wouldn't rain. The sky was so dark.

A lot of older people seemed proud that the kid's were there. Strangers explained to them that they were seeing history in the making. We were also going to get to see one of America's wartime heroes. My kid's knew that. They are proud of John McCain, and are thankful for the sacrifices he made for them!

Reading up to this point, you may think I'm a big McCain supporter. In actuality I don't even know who I will vote for. I am a big supporter of America and I'm very proud of John McCain and his service to our country, even though, I disagree with him on some issues that I consider very important to me. That said, there are some issues that I think he takes a wonderful stand on!

We were also at this rally to see Sarah. She didn't disappoint us!

The media reported, around 9:00, that there were 400 people in line. Ummm.....just before that we saw the line going back, block after block, and a police officer estimated that there were 8,000 in line! Gross misrepresentation, to say it mildly!

As we were entering the building, the security was tight....and then as we waited among a few other thousand people inside the building, the standing room was tight! We were in a great position, right in front of center stage, not too far back.

As you'll see from my photos, some of us didn't get to stay at our original, optimal spot! A little girl needed to use the restroom, really, really bad!!! But it worked out fine. Kiersten and I left the others and then stayed to the far right of the stage. I would hold Kiersten over my head as much as my arms would allow, and she would wave at Sarah with all her might, just hoping Sarah would notice her. AND SHE DID! She gave her a huge smile, winked, and waved at her. Kiersten was thrilled!

As Senator McCain spoke, I whispered to Kiersten, "Just think, that's the same man who weighed 100 pounds, and lay in a cell suffering, fighting for us." Kiersten said, "Mom, I'm not thinking of that right now. I'm thinking, I'M ACTUALLY IN THE SAME ROOM WITH HIM RIGHT NOW!", her eyes shining and wide with pride, AMERICAN pride!

We got to sing the National Anthem, say our pledge, practice the UNDER GOD part and pray to the God in Heaven, all with thousands of other proud Americans! We got to honor the veterans that were there, and there were MANY! I pray that our God will have mercy on America.

Here's a couple pics of what we saw. Later, I'll tell you how we finished up our field trip, a great bonus ending to our spur of the moment trip to Kansas City!









Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Homeschoolers


picture taken by Kiersten


Reasons my kids are glad we homeschool (directly from them):

We get to be with one or both of our parents all day.

If something cool is happening outside we can go watch it.

When you are done with your first subject, we can go right on to our second subject without waiting on anyone else.

If there is a book we want to read, we can.

We can eat whenever we want. (Missy, my kids were horrified to hear your children ate at 10 something at school and then had to go so long before eating again.) :)

If we like airplanes, we can learn all subjects through that: geography, spelling, history, science, math, writing, reading, etc. We won't get tired of this because it's really what we want to do.

My mom and dad aren't too strict.

We get to be with our little brother and play with him.

Mom can tell us what she wants us to hear.

I get to pick flowers outside while on my breaks.

We get to have nature collections.

We can play outside lots.

We can build models.

We can do science projects out of different books.

We can bake because mom thinks that's part of school.

It's fun.

We can have tea parties.

We can have friends over during the daytime.

We get to go to book sales and the fair.

We own hundreds of books.

We read hundreds of books.

We can wear whatever we want.

We can sing when we want to.

We can read the Bible when we want to.

We can praise God during school.

We can have our Grandma over when we're having school.

We can play with our horses and dog during the day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

One Hundred Push Ups

Nope. I can't do it. Not yet. But I'm on a plan to be able to in just six weeks! Want to join me?! I thought I'd share the link to the plan I'm following in case there are others who are interested. I know I need a bit of motivation. A simple plan will help, too!

Here the link:
Push Ups

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Local Food

I'm getting my food locally, about as close to home as is possible ~ right outside my back door. We love every bite and we feel so grateful for all God has provided for us. Just this morning, I worked up a great sweat as I harvested some radicchio, kale, and tomatoes.

But I just started purchasing some vegetables from the neighbor down the road, not even a mile away. This older gentleman has a stand out by the road (highway), with a canopy set up. The tomatoes and onions rest in bins on a table, along with a cooler filled with ice and stocked with peppers, cucumbers, and okra. He has his prices posted on a dry erase board and a scale hangs from the canopy. Oh, and the money box is setting on the table, also.

I can't believe I haven't been buying from him, every day, all summer long! Look at these prices ~~~
cucumbers 25 cents
tomatoes $1 a pound
okra $2 a pound
peppers 25 cents
onions 50 cents
Amazing!!! Oh, and they are so fresh and lovely!

But you know what I love? I love that he trusts everyone with his money box right out there in the open. Even my children are amazed! I love the idea of helping a neighbor, a retired person, who will benefit from my enjoying his food that he labored to grow. I love the fact that he'll get every penny of what I pay for my produce. I'm thankful he didn't have to use fuel or time to transport his vegetables. I love the feeling of "community" I get from the simple act of buying my food in this fashion.

I'm so thankful to live in America where I still have the freedom to grow my own food, purchase my food from my neighbors, praise God openly for his bounty, all while my children bustle about me, happily content with this gloriously simple life the Lord has given to us. How blessed I am!

***Remember to check out Biblical Womanhood's Frugal Friday Tips***

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wanna See Some Serious Mud???




This is the site of where we hope to build a workshop. Tim had just done some scraping/leveling of the ground, nothing serious, yet. We've had lots of rain this year. It was the strangest thing. It wasn't exactly muddy, but the ground was so saturated that it felt almost blubbery if you tried to walk on it or put any pressure on it.

Micah had fun with it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Only A Little Thing

It was only a tiny seed,
Carelessly brushed aside;
But it grew in time to be a noxious weed,
And spread its poison wide.

It was only a little leak,
So small you could hardly see;
But the rising waters found the break,
And wrecked the great levee.

It was only a single spark
Dropped by a passing train;
But the dead leaves caught, and swift and dark
Was its work on wood and plain.

It was only a thoughtless word,
Scarcely meant to be unkind;
But it pierced as a dart to the heart that heard,
And left its sting behind.

It may seem a trifle at most,
The thing that we do or say,
And yet it may be at fearful cost
We may wish it undone some day.
~~~Author Unknown



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scriptures that spoke to me today....

I am blown away by God's Word! I've never read or experienced anything so rich, so full, so new every morning! I just want to jot down a couple Scriptures that blessed me today. I don't want to forget. There's something about writing down what God has done in my heart, what He's whispered in my ear, what He's urged me to do! I started this practice when I was about ten years old. It's one of my sweetest times of the day.....my alone time with Jesus. Since the birth of my fourth child, those times have been fewer and I've never managed to have them be nearly as quiet as they used to be, but always God is faithful to speak to me, if I'm willing to listen!

Psalm 16:8-9
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

How can my heart be glad, my glory rejoice, and my flesh rest in hope? By keeping the Lord always before me and at my right hand. Then I will not be moved! What a promise! My flesh resting in hope? I need that!

(italics added for my benefit)

II Peter 1:2-9
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, (how?) through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, (How awesome is that thought?!), having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (purity, moral excellence, courage in the midst of opposition); and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(How are grace and peace multiplied? Through the knowledge of God and Jesus. How will I not be barren or unfruitful in this knowledge of Jesus? By giving diligence to the above "list". By adding one upon the other.)
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off (temporally minded), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

The green writing is what I've inserted.....it's most definitely not inspired! :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ramblings......


Are you ever amazed at the fullness of life? Today is one of those days when I am simply in awe of all the "good" God has bestowed on me. Nothing earth shattering has happened today or even recently, but my daily blessings are so great that I can't help but marvel at the goodness of my God.

My kids are back from spending some time with their Grandparents. I missed them so! I missed them in very practical ways. They help me with everything I do and so I realized how much of the load they carry around here. We're family and when one of us is away, we feel it. But I also missed the kids in very sentimental ways. They may need to be tucked in at night and they do each have their own little way of wanting to be told goodnight. But I think maybe I need four little ones to kiss me goodnight at the end of each busy day.

So today was so nice just being a family all together again. We worked most of the day and enjoyed just being together. Is there anything on earth more precious then loving those God has given to you? I can't imagine what it would be.

Tomorrow a dear friend and her boys are coming to visit. I so look forward to preparing lunch for them and then just enjoying the fellowship. She'll want to see my gardens. She'll be interested in the wild plants growing on my land. She'll listen when I cry, and understand and she'll be truly happy for every joy or accomplishment I share with her. She's a true friend!

To make life even a bit richer, we'll head over to another mutual friend's house for dinner. The children will run and play, the women will cook and clean, all the while catching up on the little details of each other's lives, and the men will discuss their recent endeavors. I have no doubt it will be a relaxing, refreshing time. Why? Because they are true friends. Friends that love you just as you are. Friends who know the good, the bad, and the ugly about me, and still they love and give to me. We don't agree on everything. We don't have to. We're friends!

I always know that God is good. But tonight I feel that God is good. The economy may stink, gas and food prices may be higher than normal, my house may still hold too much clutter, but I have in my trust two things that money can't buy....family and friends who I love and I know they love me. Life is good because of God's goodness to me, though undeserving I am!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Great advide for Elementary Science

I recently was feeling very clueless as to what direction I wanted to go with Science for our new school year. I have a terrible track record at finishing what we start with Science. It's not that my kids don't know any science, they really do! But their knowledge has been gained from their own interests, asking questions, watching science videos, talking with their dad, reading books on their own, etc. We've always enjoyed nature together and they each have a nature journal. I've just not been consistent with it.

I wrote the following to a group of friends and below is one of the responses I received. This lady has been my mentor for over seven years now. I've never met her in person, but she has blessed me over and over again. Some of her words of wisdom are printed out and saved in my homeschool binder, the one I open most days of our school year. Her words are there for my quick reference on the days I need reassurance that all will be o.k. and I just need to remember what is important, what really matters. I aspire to be gentle and wise, as she is. Here's a bit of our conversation:

I never seem to finish any Science that we start. And I really think it's because I just don't have a whole lot of interest in science other than natural science. It takes too many of my brain cells right now, isn't that horrible to admit?!

Thank you for admitting that you really don't like science except for natural sciences. I'm that way too, that's why generally for the grade school years, we did nature journals and observations. (did you guess I'd say this?)

Some ways to do this to keep it interesting for the varied interests of your family.....

Ask the kids to choose something to study. Let's say they choose frogs. Give them free reign to find books they want to bring home from the library about frogs or pond life. (Pond life might be more fun since some of the children can study frogs, some dragonflies, some turtles or fish, plants and etc.) Let them do their own thing with their info. Maybe one will want to just read and tell you about it. Another might want to go sit at the pond every day for a week or two or maybe study the pond for an entire year, noting the changes in a pond. Some may want to journal or draw pictures or take photos.

When the frog/pond thing wears out, let them choose another topic. Fruit, changing leaf color, rodents (maybe you have a mouse in the house!), weather, birds.... Whatever they choose, let THEM decide how to study and show their skills. Again, the library is a good jumping off point with books that may lead to other books and ideas.

Some of my kids liked experiments. Any of these topics could lead to experiments --tadpole eggs to adult frogs, looking at pond water under a microscope, identifying leaves from the trees on your land and so on.

Have you ever done the Backyard Bird Watch from Cornell University? That might be a fun "science" project for the whole family or for the kids to do together.

I preferred to always have a book case of field guides rather than a bookcase of textbooks, but that's just me. I saved the formal science texts for high school and that has worked pretty well for us.

Jody

You can find Jody at Homemade Living where I found her 7 years ago. I remember reading there and it being like a huge breath of fresh air. I copied off everything in case for some reason I couldn't get to her website again. Her words have shaped our homeschool more than anything else. I take her book recommendations seriously! And I now recommend those same life changing books to other moms.

Jody also has a blog about her ranch life at Gumbo Lily.


Thoughts on Good Intnentions

People know you for what you've done, not for what you plan to do.
~~Author Unknown

Ouch! I have so many good intentions that never materialize! One of my goals for our upcoming school year is to plan "small", not overdo my planning! My great plans aren't what make our year a success, anyhow! Usually, it's the small moments of our everyday life that add up to big learning experiences.

Of course planning is important for most areas of our lives. A loose schedule/routine has been a lifesaver to me in the past. And for my family, a necessity! Planning daily science lessons, though, just doesn't seem to ever pan out! Instead, maybe I can be realistic and enjoy an afternoon of science read-alouds and experiments. Nature study seems to be on going at our house. But I could be a good example and pull out my own nature journal. The kids are always so thrilled when I do!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Price Increases for Food

Today, my mom graciously offered to pick up some food items for me at Sam's. The closest Sam's to our home is over 60 miles away. It would cost me at least $24.00 to travel that far and back and, therefore, I rarely go!

Here's what I asked for:
spinach, green beans, romaine hearts, maple syrup, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, blueberries, and strawberries

A few months ago, these items would have cost me $71.56 before tax. Today they cost $81.39 before tax. Quite an increase in a short amount of time.

But this put it into perspective for me. Aren't we blessed?! I'm not hungry or doing without. I may have to get creative but is that really so bad?

Brothers


Zeke has loved tractors for a very long time, before he could walk. He used to sit on the floor, flick the tractor wheel and watch it spin. This was around the age of 9 mo. Now, he plays with his John Deere mower and trailer and a zillion other construction and farm vehicles. But he's always been so afraid to get on the real thing. He loves to watch the tractor at work in the fields or building new roads, etc. He just doesn't want to get too close. My brother owns a landscaping business, so he's had plenty opportunity.

A few weeks ago, he took the plunge! He let his big brother lift him up onto his lap on our riding lawn mower. The look of pride was precious. And ever since, he about breaks his neck to get his boots on and get out the door to have another ride. He won't ride with just anyone. The only trust-worthy people according to Zeke are his daddy and his big brother, Nathan. Honestly, I think Nathan enjoys these rides as much as the little guy.

As a mom, I love watching my children enjoying each other's company. Children caring for each other is a lovely sight!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

After the Rain


I love the light after a rain. And when it is evening light I enjoy it even more.
There's a certain time each evening as the sun is going down that I am in awe of the beauty
God has given me in my very own yard.

We are blessed to own land. Land that I can walk barefoot on in the morning dew. Land that I can get my hands dirty in. Land that my children can run free on. Land that I can raise animals on. Land that gives me a sense of place in this world.
Land that is my own.
I wanted to capture the beauty of the rain drops hanging from the pine needles.
The rain drops were actually the reason I left my dishes half done and ran with my camera outside. It was as if the moment would be lost if I didn't hurry.
I need to practice taking more pictures. I didn't capture what I was wanting to share!

My front flower/herb bed.
I don't like things in my life too structured.
You can see that judging by my flower beds! The orange flowers above are called Indian Paint Brush and they grow wild around here.
These flowers are always a bustling home to much butterfly action!

My favorite spot, my raised beds.
The fence is a new addition that my men recently added for me.

And the east side of my house. I've always thought this looks almost park like.
Maybe a bench? Tim thought a pond. I think he's just wanting another
excuse to own a tractor. :) Maybe soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

High Desert Home: Getting There...

I found this post by Susan encouraging. It brought calm to my spirit today. My goal for this summer is a clean, orderly home. It will probably take me all summer, and that's o.k. I'm craving order! Right now, chaos is on the throne! But there is hope........

High Desert Home: Getting There...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dutch Babies

We eat breakfast at our house, every single day! And if it's cereal my kids think they're being mistreated! Frugal Upstate started a series on Frugal Food and part 1 will be about the egg. We love eggs around here and I have a recipe that I want to add to her list. I plan to check out all of the submissions that she receives. Perhaps we'll add another favorite to our breakfast menu.

Dutch Babies

~~Place 1 stick of butter in a 9x13 pan and place in 425* oven.
note: If times are tough you can cut the stick in half and it will work!

~~In blender combine:
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
8 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla (again, you can skip the vanilla if need be)

~~Pour into melted butter and return to oven for 20-25 min.

~~Cut into squares and serve with butter and syrup, powdered sugar, or even fruit, or fruit syrup. We always add peanut butter, but that's just us.

~~This will puff up in pan.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happy, Healthy Children


Our local health food store asked if I would write an article about what I thought was important for the health of children. This is really a sad/funny story in a way. I agreed to write the article and had a whole week to do it. But guess what?! I forgot, until the due date! Desperate and panicky are words which describe my mental state when I realized my blunder. I dropped the kids off at their karate class and Zeke and I sat in the car and I wrote like crazy! Thirty minutes later I turned in a hand written copy of the following:

Children who establish positive healthy habits will be equipped to live a healthy life as adults. Parents have a huge impact on these early patterns that are being formed.

Providing whole foods in abundance for my children is a gift I can give them. Whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, along with quality raised meats provide wonderful nutrients for our growing children's bodies. Whole milk products, free of hormones and antibiotics, give our children the fats their brains crave.

A few supplements may also be appropriate. I would consider the benefits of cod liver oil, probiotics, and a whole food multiple vitamin.

Play. Unstructured play. Outdoor play. Children need free time to think their own thoughts and experience nature at their leisure.

Give your children whole foods, extra support through supplements, undisturbed play time, and of course, lots of love and you'll have given them the beginnings of a life of health.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

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Influance of Attitude

This past year I've become friends with a lady who seems to always be positive in her attitude toward life. I don't mean to say that she portrays her life as being perfect but that she chooses to look at life with joy and hope. Not only is she positive about her own life but she bestows praise freely on those around her. Many times over the past year she has been a breath of fresh air to me. I want to cultivate this characteristic in my own life.

As I was thinking of having a positive attitude I ran across this about teaching reading to a struggling learning and I think it applies to many area of parenting, life, and education:

Limit struggle. Limit failure. Praise success. Keep your energy level high. Keep surprising him. Keep him laughing and giggling. Happy people learn faster. Have fun. He will take his cues about attitude from you. (from Joyce Herzog)

Abiding with the Lord

Last night as I dropped into bed I was weary from hauling loads of dirt for my garden and just working hard physically all day. So I turned to the Psalms. They always bring calm and comfort to my heart. I was delighted with Psalm 15 and read it over several times. I love it when the Bible plainly states what I am to do or be! And this Psalm is very straight forward! It clearly explains what I must do and be so that I might abide with the Lord. And truly that is what I want for myself and those that I love!

Psalm 15
Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in they holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.
In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
He that putteth not out his money to usury, not taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Idea


I'm putting this in my sidebar. I don't know that I've ever apologized for not posting. I doubt anyone is too disappointed if I don't post, guess that's why it's never occurred to me that I should apologize. But I like this little banner and thought maybe some of you would, too!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Free Worksheets

I ran across this website this evening and wanted to share it with any of you who might be interested. I was impressed. Here's the link. Enjoy!

Worksheets

Great Missionary and Mothering Advice


The children and I are reading aloud William Carey, Obliged to Go by Janet and Geoff Benge. In the chapter we read this evening, William is concerned about the authorities not permitting him to land in India without a permit. He shares this situation with John Newton and asks for his advice.
Newton replied, "Then conclude that your God has nothing there for you to accomplish. But if He has, no power on earth can hinder you."

I'd benefit by keeping this in mind as I go about my daily tasks!

As a side note, don't you just love how biographies bring you into contact with so much more than the main person you are reading about. I had no idea that we would encounter John Newton this evening! It was a pleasant surprise.

I was saddened to read of William planning to leave his wife and children to head to India, possibly being separated for years. Dolly, at this point, is not willing to go. But the story is not over, maybe I won't be disappointed after all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God."
~William Carey

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Book Suggestion

I've not read the book I'm about to recommend but I'm confident it will be worth your time. In my post below that referred to Susan's writing on housework, Susan left a comment with a book recommendation. I have Letters from a Woman Homesteader on my wish list but as I was doing a search online for sellers of this book, I ran across the text online, free for your use! Letters from a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart can be found here. I've benefited from many of the books that Susan enjoys. Anytime I hear her mention a book that she values, I jot it down because more than likely it will bless and instruct me to read it. I'm thankful for my online mentors!

I also will mention that I have really enjoyed troubling stars blog. She's not been writing on her blog for long but I've enjoyed several of her posts. I love her refreshing and honest look at what it is to live the Christian life as Jesus would have us to. She is serving those around her and it has blessed my heart as well as challenged me to "get my hands dirty".

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Importance of Sleep

I've always felt that when kids aren't allowed to get enough sleep that it is very close to abuse. Guess I feel strongly about this subject. Maybe I'm just overly opinionated! That is is very real possibility!

Anyhow, I just know from my very limited experience with my own four children that when they are rested, our lives progress much more smoothly than if they are sleep deprived. My baby boy who is now 2 and a half years old still takes two and three hour naps. He's much happier, content and peaceful when well rested. Life just becomes a big frustration to him when he's tired. Tears are never far away.

This afternoon Nathan and I were reviewing the new math program we just purchased. It is an Intermediate Hands-On Geometry course. I decided to let Nathan "play". He loves hands-on learning of any kind, it seems, and I'm undecided as to which direction we should go in math and so we'll just play for awhile. Nathan is thrilled with this new course of study. Back to my point, as we were beginning the program I read over the page titled "Hints on Tutoring" and ran across this statement that I found interesting. "Research shows one of the major causes of difficulties in learning new concepts for this age group is insufficient sleep" Unfortunately the author, Joan Cotter, does not site the research she is referring to. I'd be interested in knowing more.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Washing Dishes By Hand

High Desert Home always gives me much to think on! I love her ideas and thoughts on so many subjects. She's able to put into words so many things that I think about. I like her writing style and love getting little peeks into her world. She's always inspired me to enjoy the ordinary, every day aspects of my life. Read this article on housework to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

I have to agree with her concerning the peace and contentment that comes when doing things by hand. Just this evening I enjoyed a leisurely time in my raised beds. I planted some more lettuces, a few tomatoes and peppers, pulled a few weeds and just enjoyed being in my little domain. My husband and son sat on our bench swing and planned the new chicken house and yard. Kiersten followed me around watering everything I planted. Zeke played with all of his tractors nearby and Nathan was practicing riding a wheelie on his bike. Life was good as I played in the dirt. But I digress....

Kiersten's piano teacher wrote a little biography on Kiersten to read at her upcoming recital. She asked Kiersten to list some of her favorite activities. Kiersten didn't have too think to long and she quickly came up with the following list:

sewing (I am ashamed to say I've not taught her much of anything. She sewed on two buttons last week without any assistance. She's working on an apron for her doll.)

crocheting (I don't know how to crochet, although I would love to learn. She's had friends who have shown her some basic stitches-Is that what they are called?-and she is getting much better.)

picking flowers (We are often blessed with wild flowers in a vase, jar, or cup on our table because of Kiersten's love of pretty things!)

buying dishes (For several years now Kiersten has shopped at thrift stores for dishes that she can use for tea parties. She fixes me a cup of tea at least once every day!)

And last but not least she said she likes to~~~

wash dishes by hand

This prompted a lively discussion on the simple joys of washing dishes. I love it when a breeze is wafting through the window as my arms are submerged in the hot, soapy water. I like watching the many birds at the feeder and the bluebirds twittering back and forth as they feed their young, which are housed in the gourd house one of the kids made. I often find myself talking to God and thanking Him for His many blessing on my life. I remember washing dishes with my mom every evening after long days at school. I needed that. We talked over everything that had happened during the day and she helped me to sort it all out. Or she just listened and I felt better.

I hope my little girl can hold on to all the simple joys she now knows. I hope I don't clutter up her life in a way that will crowd out the peace that can come when life is so uncomplicated.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Neuro Toxin


This past weekend I was blessed to attend a great homeschool conference. I hadn't planned to attend until I saw that a lady who works with children with certain learning difficulties would be speaking. I was able to meet her before I heard her speak and we hit it off right away. There were so many subjects we both passionately care about: living foods, raw milk, cultured foods, harm from plastics, great farm raised meats, EFA, organic products, chemical free home and body care, gardening and most of all children. Children, who we believe, have been affected by this toxic world that we live in.

In a session she taught titled "Reading and the Brain: The Neurology of Learning Disabilities and What You Can Do About It" she was asked about diet and if it mattered. She emphatically shared with the audience that she did and recommended a couple books. Then she pleaded, "Please, please, please, stay away from sugar! It is a Neoro Toxin, not a traditional part of our diets." That was all. She didn't preach. She didn't rant and rage. She just pleaded with a large group of parents to not feed their children what she believes is poison. Oh, and then she shared that she believed it to be more addictive than heroine. We really wouldn't know though, would we, since most of us rarely stay away from it for any amount of time. I'd bet the majority of Americans eat sugar every day!

This stuck with me. I want what is best for my children. There are many things in this world that I have no control over but I can limit our sugar intake and I'm going to be much more vigilant about it. I don't plan to feel deprived, either. There are a ton of foods that we'll enjoy on this journey to a more natural, poison-free diet.

I wrote this mostly for my sake, I will need the reminder!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Commit thy works
unto the LORD,
and they thoughts shall be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Friday, April 18, 2008

Interesting Info on the Brain

I've been trying to eliminate stress lately. I mean really working at eliminating anything unnecessary to my peace of mind. I'm doing this out of necessity. My blood pressure is high, again, and I'm even on medicine this go around. In light of all I've been working on lately, I found this article interesting. Here's an excerpt:

This has strange consequences. We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brains to multitask when it comes to paying attention. We have created high-stress office environments, even though a stressed brain is significantly less productive. Our schools are designed so that most real learning has to occur at home. This would be funny, if it weren't so harmful.
I'll be perusing Brain Rules blog and their website more thoroughly over the next few days.

Over Budget

Yep, I've already spent more than $500 this month on food. I've spent $515.40 to be exact. This morning I read this wonderful post at The Common Room. She is so right. We just have to get creative. I'm amazed at all the details she gives in this one post! This would be a wonderful article to print off for those just starting out trying to live within a budget and not having a clue what to do.

Now... as to why I've gone over budget. It's really not so much that prices are up but that I just wanted my house stocked up with the basics. And I found lots of good deals over the past couple weeks! I think by spending this month, I may be able to save next month. We'll see....

Last night's supper was easy, yummy, and frugal. Kiersten did most of the cooking for me. She's really wanting to cook and bake these days and she's doing a great job of learning! Thursdays are crazy days for us. It is our big "town day". As gas prices increase, we definitely don't need to be running every day and we don't like to anyhow! We like long days at home. Here's what we had with prices included:

Organic Marinara & Herbs Pasta Sauce (Walnut Acres) with Italian Sausage (all-natural and freshly made at our local grocer) ~ $1.40 for the sauce and $.75 for 3/4 pound of sausage

All-Natural al dente Spinach Fettuccine (I love this pasta for quick suppers as it cooks in 3 min.) ~ 12 oz. for $1.12

Bird's Eye Frozen Peas with butter and salt ~ 69 cents for the peas and 5 cents for the Tbsp. butter

1 fresh sliced cucumber ~ 55 cents

Water to drink

The total price of this meal is $4.56. There was enough left over to pack a lunch for my husband and even have a some left after that. We'll say we served 8 for $4.56. That's $.57 per person.

The Bird's Eye Vegetables were one of my great deals this month that I spent a good chunk of money on. My freezer is stocked full of frozen vegetables, though! I had waited a long time for these to go on sale like this.

So, to be frugal, sometimes we have to spend! Don't you just love the feeling of a stocked pantry and freezer?!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blonde Brownies

I use all "real" ingredients in these brownies, but, um......they really are not good for you! :)

Brown sugar is what defines these brownies as blonde. Top them with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce for a bonus.

1 (16 oz.) package brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans (I don't always put these in.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to sugar mixture, stirring well. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350* for 25 to 28 min. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Living Rich

This post from Carocoknits Weblog sums up my vision on frugality.

Know that you don’t need hundreds of pairs of earrings. Know that there are other ways to save money than using an egg carton as an earring holder. Simple living is about knowing what is important to you. It is not about baking bread and raising chickens. It is about making choices that are strictly based on you, not about what the neighbors might think.

I had been wanting to put on paper my swirling thoughts concerning "living rich". But I kept running into a brick wall, because I really don't know myself well enough yet. There are too many other voices still whispering in my head for me to be able to clearly know what I need in order to feel as though I am "living rich". Oh, there are moments of my day, when I "know" that what I'm experiencing or seeing is truly "rich". For instance, yesterday morning, Kiersten wanted to make a fruit salad. All we had was a pear and an orange, but we cut these up in bite size pieces and sat down to tea and fruit salad together. As we clasped hands over our little breakfast and I heard her sweet little voice pray, "Our dear Lord Jesus.....", I knew it was a moment that I wanted to hold onto! And, by the way, the fruit salad was delicious! Simple can be so wonderfully sweet!

"Living rich" is going to look so different for all of us, isn't it?! Just as living a frugal life fleshes itself out in very different ways in each family! I'm convinced, though, that for me to truly live a frugal life, I'm going to have to work on "living rich", which means I have to get to know myself! I have to listen to my true thoughts, now those fed to me from so many outside sources. And, of course, I must find QUIET in this noisy world that I might be able to hear the voice of the Spirit of God who created me. My Creator wants to teach me who I am and I know that I can learn that best by knowing who HE is!

By the way, I love to make bread and we do raise chickens! I feel quite rich as I sit down with my family to fresh baked bread lathered with real butter! And I find great joy watching the chickens free range across our property! I guess in my case, raising chickens and making bread fit into my living a rich life! But I understand that doing this might make you feel quite poor!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

March Food Budget

I did it! Two months in a row now, I've stayed under my $500.00 amount budgeted for our food expenses. I'm finding that by the end of the month we are running low on quite a few items; therefore, the first week of the month I'm spending quite a bit of money. This first week of April I spent to the tune of $260 some odd dollars. I didn't splurge, just restocked. I did put in a coop order that included, molasses ( at only $5 and something a GALLON!), agave nectar, organic popcorn, sea salt, etc.

I'm excited about the organic popcorn that I was able to purchase through the coop! I got a 5 pound bag and we've already enjoyed some big bowls of yummy buttery, salty popcorn! It's a healthy, cheap, quick snack. What more could you want?

I'm staying under budget, but I have yet to put any money back towards meat purchases from local farmers. I really would like to do some more pork and by the end of the year I'm going to want more beef. Since I've already spent so much this month, I don't see how I will be able put any money back. Guess I need to spend some time thinking on this one.

I'm still not making a weekly menu. As I read blogs, so many ladies swear that by planning a menu, they save money. It's not my personality to plan my meals ahead, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit me to do so. I don't know, it's as if my creativity is stifled if I have to think too far ahead when it comes to food. Lame excuse, right?!

This month we've been able to purchase raw goat's milk. Oh, it is so creamy, rich, and sweet! I've been making lots of kefir which we use in our shakes. I pack two fruit and kefir shakes for my husband to take to work every day. The kids and I enjoy them for breakfast!

Prices have gone up on so many of our basic necessities. We live in uncertain times but I think our outlook on life really matters! I'm focusing on trying to live "rich" on what we have. I can't say that I feel we've gone without anything because of the increase in grocery prices, unless it would be less fresh produce. There are times I stand in the produce isle and look....and then just walk away. I have "limits" that I just won't cross. Do you do this? For instance, I won't pay more than $1.99 for 10 pounds of potatoes. We just do without if they cost more than that. I buy a couple bags when the price comes back down. We just eat some other starch if we are out of potatoes. No one in our family knows the difference. No one feels that we've gone without anything. We feel blessed with what we have!