Friday, December 18, 2009


This is one of my favortie times of the day, when the first rays of sunshine make it into my living room.
I love sunshine.
I love the shadows it casts, the way it makes the ordinary, extra-ordinary.
I love the hope that it brings to my heart, the reminder that His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

I ran outside in my bare feet to take this photo. From my back deck, the row of cedar trees were in my way. I love running in the grass in my bare feet. It makes me feel *alive*. Today, though, I soon felt *frozen*. :) Aw, well, just a good little boost for my immune system.

Today is the beginning of days of family and friends. We do our last preparations this morning and by this evening we will be basking in the fellowship of many with whom God has so blessed us! We are counting our blessing and always right there at the top is the incredible families the Lord has placed us in, the family we have created, our close church family, and the many friends we hold dear. God is good.
I love reflecting on the gift He gave us so many years ago. And also anticipating the coming of that Gift once again.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I'm so thankful for this precious little girl that the Lord has entrusted to my brother and sister-in-law. I'm counting the days until I get to hold her, breath in that baby smell, and just marvel at the goodness of God right before my eyes. Soon.....

And I still pray that the Lord will enable me to bring another life into this world. My heart has that yearning. My children are hoping. My husband and I dream.....

I'm not wasting any time pining away over what I "want". I'm so blessed with what God has already given me. A little boy who calls manger scenes "Angel barns". :) A little girl whose heart for giving is keeping her quite busy these days. An 11 year old whose gentle and quiet spirit cause me to stop and ponder. And a young man so full of ambition and life. My husband and I are counting our blessings as we all pray for more.

Monday, November 16, 2009


My body shakes and my mind races as I stare helplessly at this poor man, bruised, bleeding, and broken. He seems so helpless. Men are so pitiful when everything is stripped away and they have nothing to lean on, they're left without all their props. I suppose they are no more in need of sympathy than a woman in the same situation but to me a man on verge of crying because of despair is almost more than my heart can bear to see.

The rain continues, slower now but still there as I stand on the side of the road with this man I've never met, his world just came crashing down around him, literally. He's taken a hard hit to some vital organs and glass is embedded across the back of his neck. There is blood, but not so much that it is of any immediate danger. It's his groans of despair that tear at my heart. And my helplessness amazes me.

And I'm reminded how fragile life is, how weak our flesh is, and how thankful I am to know what my eternity holds all because of the Son of Man who was bruised, bleeding and broken for me! I wonder if this man I'm standing with knows my Jesus. I feebly offer to pray for him and he is thankful.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Let's keep it real

Prices continue to rise but we can still keep it real. That's my goal. And I believe it to be very possible.

Local Nourishment has a great post on this, full of links to give you more ideas. It can be done! And then I want to point you to Storybook Woods who will show you how to do it with class!!! I'll be making her Roasted-Garlic Pumpkin Humus, only I don't have pumpkin. I really don't think it will be a problem. I'll just roast some squash! We all like humus, but my oldest has a love for the creamy dip! And all that garlic will be good for him as he's trying to recover from the flu.

Last night we had two large homemade pizzas that were, oh, so yummy! They only cost us $4.50. That's 75 cents a person. We might just have to implement a regular pizza night!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A new Bible verse

While putting Zeke down for his nap, he was reciting some of Bible verses for me. He recited his new one this way...."All we like sheep, have gone to the fair." :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Food Budget Inspiration

I'm simply out perusing blogs trying to find some new ideas and motivation to keep the grocery budget in check. I thought I'd share them with anyone who might be reading here. And this post will serve as a reference for me.

I enter a state of shock every time I walk into a grocery store. I guess its just my personality. I never get over it. I'm sorely missing my garden vegetables! I didn't realize how much they were saving me. Which reminds me, I need to get out there and plant a bunch of garlic.

30 Bucks a Week This lady appears to be an excellent cook. I'm not seeing any "cheap" food here, lots of interest and variety using whole foods.

I like her cookbook list which features books by Mark Bittman and Alice Waters.

Sugar Crafter I'll show this to my husband and I'll just bet I'll be getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte! Sounds so yum!

TasteSpotting Just another new-to-me food blog. So many options!

Seven Spoons Oh, so many good looking recipes and cookbooks! The chutney looks incredibly scrumptious and the brussel sprouts call my name.

While browsing around I ran into a lot of articles that I remember reading a few years back about the Food Stamp Challenge. Basicly, people spent a dollar a meal per person. Even politicians gave this a try. Actually, this is quite standard in our home. This is my goal. I know other moms who spend less than this. I was visiting with one just yesterday. She has 3 times the children I do (Yes, that's 12 children that she is blessed with!) and she was sharing some of her techniques for staying within a budget.

After my little tour I have new inspiration. I'll continue to cook real food on a budget, always trying new recipes and using what is available to us at the time. I'm off to enjoy a hot cup of tea while I read aloud. Maybe a latte this weekend.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Charm of Simple Things

A sweet friend game me this book. She's the kind of friend you can never out give. She is constantly doing so much that it is impossible to "pay her back". She's a mentor to me, a real live mentor. What a blessing! In my homeschooling journey most of my mentors have been online friendships. Women, who I've never met, except at my keyboard, who have taken the time to invest in my life. I'll be forever grateful to those few who have shared their wisdom with me. And now God has blessed me with an "older woman" to encourage, admonish, and, yes, correct me!

My mom has always been there for me. I can't even begin to describe all the ways she has invested in my life. And I realize more every day the heritage that I have been given. It's in me. It's who I am, because of all the hours that she and my dad spent with me. It comes from the home she built for us, the food we cooked together, the clothes she sewed for us, the games we played together. And the list goes on and on. Some things are just part of my fiber. I don't remember learning them. But now I have friends who are learning these things as adults, I don't mean cooking and cleaning, I mean all the lessons my mom taught me as we were cooking, cleaning and playing, just going about our every day lives. And then I realize so much has been given to me by my parents. The life we lived together was a simple life! And I'm so glad.

I found several quotes in book The Charm of Simple Things that I want to take note of.

"You will be surprised by how much of an adventure can enter into ordinary things."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, will admit that we live too fast, too erratically, too crudely, and too thoughtlessly. The remedy or antidote for all of this is to live gently."
W. Phillip Keller
Taming Tension

"Simplicity is not just another interior design option. It is also one of the great expressions of Christian faith. Simplicity is devoting our lives to one thing and one thing only--to loving the Lord our God with our whole being and our neighbors as ourselves."
Harriet Crosby
A Place Called Home

Friday, October 16, 2009

Zeke was washing up some dishes tonight, greatly enjoying himself. For some reason when you are little bubbles and water is enough to make doing dishes a delight! He was kind of talking to himself and I could hear in the next room. "You know how long this is going to take me? Years to get this done, all done."
Hmmm...that's how I feel some days. :)

I realize the picture has nothing to do with my post, but I like it anyway.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kailee Grace

Here she is so fresh from Above!

My baby brother's first baby!

Duties~our joy

It is wholly impossible to live according to Divine order, and to make a proper application of heavenly principles, as long as the necessary duties which each day brings seem only like a burden grievous to be borne. Not till we are ready to throw our very life's love into the troublesome little things can we be really faithful in that which is least and faithful also in much. Every day that dawns brings something to do, which can never be done as well again. We should, therefore, try to do it ungrudgingly and cheerfully. It is the Lord's own work, which He has given us as surely as He gives us daily bread. We should thank Him for it with all our hearts, as much as for any other gift. It was designed to be our life, our happiness. Instead of shirking it or hurrying over it, we should put our whole heart and soul into it. --James Reed

This quote really blesses my heart, speaks to me. And when I live this way I'm truly content and happy. I feel I experience true joy. I'd much rather enjoy the simple joys of the day to day than live to be ready for the next big adventure. This week (so far) has been one of those weeks. It's a "Grace Week" after being back to our studies for 7 weeks already!. We are still learning a lot but just not while doing our normal lesson routine. We've done extra cleaning, some yard work, odd jobs for the neighbor, etc. Today we made a huge pot of pear butter and also a quart of yummy pear syrup. This afternoon we whipped up a batch of no-bake cookies and decorated a container so that we can deliver them to our neighbor later this evening. Oh, and we've flown kites! It's been perfect weather for successful kite flying and I'm so glad we've taken the time to enjoy it.

I first read this quote in an article in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Today it appeared in my inbox from Crosswalk.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gratitude List ~ The Thousand Gifts

#21 ~ chocolate (I was blessed to find these chocolates for only $1.60. All I can say is they do me much good!)
#22 ~ Kailee Grace, she's here, with us, on this earth, healthy and whole!

#23 ~ my little brother, he's a wonderful man and I'm so proud of him. He'll make an awesome father!

#24 ~ my friend who teaches my children art ~ She certainly inspired them this week!

#25 ~ soil ~ I love soil, the texture, the scent, the life it holds.

#26 ~ Indian spices, make simple food so very yummy!

#27 ~ The Arts, I'm by no means educated in them, but every little bit that I learn enriches my life and opens up new avenues of joy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Her Angel

A little angel today did leave her
The little angel her body held
In this flesh, she'll not hold him
Yet he's held by the One who's holding her.

O sweet Jesus, come and bless her
Giver her body grace to heal
May her Spirit soar to meet you
That her heart may know your rest.

My dear friend lost her baby today. She called only minutes after I was rejoicing with my little brother....he and his wife were leaving for the hospital, a new baby to welcome. I cried. With both phone calls. I'm amazed at the intense emotions my spirit can experience. Oh, how I long to be miles from here to welcome my little niece, Kailee Grace into this world, to hug my brother and sister-in-love, to see the joy in their faces, to hear the sweet sounds of the little baby girl, to smell the heavenly scent of a newborn again. And yet, I'd like to be miles from here in the opposite direction, where I'd hold my friend and we'd cry. Hopes crushed, empty arms aching, little boys and a daddy saddened that one will be missing. And yet we have hope...our God is good. Know what my friend said when I told her my brother and sister were on their way to the hospital?..."Tell her I'll pray with every cramp I have." ....and she will. That's the kind of person she is.....sometimes I think she's really not made for this world. Things don't matter to her...people always do. She and my sister share a bond; they both know what it feels like to have empty arms. I've never experienced the pain of a little life lost. The only pain I feel now is of arms outstretched, reaching, longing to touch those that I love.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gratitude List ~ The Thousand Gifts

#11 ~bright red, perfectly fresh beets raised by my daddy :)

#12 ~ healthy, active, happy children

#13 ~ ties to our history

#14 ~ a very kind, wise dentist

#15 ~ field trips

#16 ~ laughter

#17 ~ a new friend, I think probably a soul mate

#18 ~ an old fashioned snail mail letter

#19 ~ an abundance of old books

#20 ~ a new book

Monday, August 24, 2009

Town Hall Meeting

We enjoyed a 3 hour Town Hall Meeting this morning. I'm a terrible person to estimate how many people attended but I would say between 300-500??? It was well attended considering it was held at 8:30 a.m. when most people have to be at work. Rep. John Boozman took time to answer each question and was considerate of each person who spoke. Afterwards, he was kind enough to speak with my children. When my son told him that we pray for him often, he said, "That is the best gift a person could give me." During the meeting his wife sat right behind us and afterward we were able to visit a bit with her, a sweet, dear lady that I should pray for more often, also!

Today, I thank God I'm an American, still able to freely speak! May God have mercy on our land.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

America Frugal Housewife

I found the cookbook Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook at the library and found it quite interesting. It is a reprint/re-do for modern times of the cook book The American Frugal Housewife first written in 1829 by Lydia Maria Child. There is a lot of history bound up in this little book. But I really love the opening quote and went to bed pondering how I could benefit my household if I worked to apply it more diligently.

"The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost."

The original book gave advice on efficiently running the home, which I wish were included in this book. Instead this book just focuses on the recipes.

I was thinking of our simple supper last night, which really did not require a ton of food, yet was nutritious and delicious. We had chicken breast with a simple stir-fry containing one Japanese eggplant, an orange and red bell pepper, 4 small okra, and a handful of chopped sweet onion. This made up plenty of vegetables for our family of 6, with just enough left over for someone's lunch today. That's not a ton of food and I can probably easily get that from my garden every day for the next month.....just thinking.

I realize many are having tough financial times right now. But it seems there is still so much waste. We've tightened our belt in a few areas but we still aren't using every morsel......if I don't get the produce preserved that is setting in my kitchen, it won't mean that we'll go without a meal tomorrow. Times don't appear to be like they were during the Depression, (thankfully).

Monday, August 17, 2009

#6 He's Mine

and I'm his....forever and ever.

#7 ~ the first morning light streaming into my living room, warming the walls
#8 ~ the chatter of my children as they have "tea" with their breakfast
#9 ~ red peppers slices that disappear almost as quickly as I place them on my table
#10 ~ neighbors who "trade" chores with us

Friday, August 14, 2009


Once again, I have been the recipient of the comfort of God, fleshed out to me through the body of Christ. Last week my husband's Grandpa, at age 90, left this life to take up resident in His everlasting home, free from all his earthly cares. He fought the fight; he kept the faith. I imagine his entering in was a blessed occasion.

I've been overcome again by the blessed grace of God. I've seen it working in my family's life as we all sorrow, but not without hope. God's promises bring such great comfort. It's only of His grace that we have the glorious assurance that one day we'll be reunited with those who have gone before to their Heavenly home. Of course, it is only of God's grace that all of my children's Great-Grandparents and Grandparents will abide there someday.

I was blessed to have this Grandpa for fourteen years. And truly he was a Grandpa to me. I felt loved and accepted. He always took interest in my life. We loved to visit about our gardens. He liked to know how my family and church were doing. Up until the very end he would have little gifts for my children, relevant gifts, gifts appropriate for their ages and interests. He was aware of others and their needs. And so for fourteen years, my life was enriched by our relationship. But truly he blessed me years before I married his Grandson. His impact on my husband was great. And of course he raised my father in law, the daddy of my husband, the Grandpa of my children. The impact of one life reaches so far.

During this week I was struck with the fact that God ministers His grace many times through the hands and words of His people. We were flooded with love and practical care. It was beautiful to watch the body of Christ minister to our needs. I had my dear friends who showed their care, the ones who are always there for me. I had the family members that I can always count on to go the extra mile. Several church bodies ministered to us. And then I had strangers, yet my brothers and sisters in Christ, who I was able to have sweet fellowship with.

Oh, the depths of the riches......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On Captain John Smith....

Our school days have resumed....

As I was reading to the children today I ran across this paragraph that I found to be good advice for any leader. I can apply it to my life.

From the book "This Country of Ours" by H.E. Marshall:
"Many of the unruly sort were glad to see him (John Smith) go, but his old companions with whom he had shared so many dangers and privations were filled with grief. "He ever hated baseness, sloth, pride and indignity," said one of them. "He never allowed more for himself than for his soldiers with him. Upon no danger would he send them where he would not lead them himself. He would never see us want what he either had or could by any means get us. He loved action more than words, and hated falsehood and covetousness worse than death."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

When I'm a daddy....

I will eat Panekokan every day, and pancakes, and macaroni and cheese, and an apple and cucumbers. ~ Zeke

"Mommy, when I grow up I want to marry you!" ~ Zeke

Zeke is really wanting to get married at a wedding. A friend of ours recently got married in a park and apparently Zeke really enjoyed the whole celebration. He also recently realized that he needs a wife to have a baby and he really wants a baby.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another great audio resource! Several of the book for our study of the Middle Ages are found here! I'm thrilled.
My Audio School
This could come in very handy!!! When my older boys were little, on rainy days they would lazy around listening to audio books while they played Lego, K-nex, and Lincoln Logs. We don't ever seem to have those "down" days anymore. Everyone is busy with all sorts of different projects, but if I turn on an audio book, it seems people quiet down and migrate toward the story, even if the story was meant for me. I love listening to audio book while doing laundry or dishes!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More quotes and blog links

The purpose of compulsory education is to deprive the common people of their common sense.
--G.K. Chesterton

I found the above quote at Morningside Family. Laura has some great posts and check out the links on her side bars too.

"You are only as wise as your next decision. You prove your wisdom in what you choose today."
--Joshua Harris

And this quote I found at Plain Ol' Vanilla,
who I must say makes some of the most gorgeous quilts I've ever seen. Also, I believe she truly possesses God's wisdom. And so over the years as I've visited with her, I pay close attention to her words, because I view them as words of wisdom.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it" Winston Churchill

I'm looking forward to getting back into our more formal learning routine. One aspect that I look forward to is all the reading of history that we get to do. I absolutely love learning along with my children. And when I say "along with my children" I mean just that! I made A's in history all through school, but I don't recall much of anything about it. In fact, I didn't like it. What a shame! Thankfully, it's not too late for me to enjoy it now!

I ran across this site tonight that offers History magazines and timelines.
The History Shop

And I just ordered a print catalog from Winter Promise Publishing.

We'll be studying the Middle Ages this year. I'm so in the dark but looking forward to exploring a new-to-me part of history

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Quote

I find that I enjoy posting little snippets of information on my blog that I don't want to forget. Today, while doing laundry and general cleaning, I've been listening to Crazy Love by Francis Chan and I've been challenged. It's free to download this month at Christian Audio.

Here's another quote I quickly grabbed pencil to copy down, "How we live our days is how we live our lives." ~ Annie Dillard

Now, I'm ready to fill out the annual homeschool forms that we are required by law to submit to our local public school superintendent. Doing this makes the new school year seem very close. But that o.k., exactly when does it end? Zeke sleeps. The rest of the kids are all water class is in full swing. :)


"Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually." ~ David Getts

"There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day." ~ Martin Luther

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gratitude List ~ The Thousand Gifts

I want to begin this journey of chronicling my everyday gifts. I need this. The awareness to the moment. The heavenward focus. The storing up to savor later.

And I begin.....

#1 ~ Being married to my best friend. We've been friends for, let's see.....since I can remember, and intimate friends for 20 years, and totally, loyally in love for 15 years.

#2 ~ My baby's voice singing "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy to Jesus, but to trust and obey." (And yes, he sings it, "to be happy to Jesus".)

#3 ~ Dark Chocolate Truffles found on clearance for 50 cents.

#4 ~ The first ripe yellow Pear Tomato from our garden.

#5 ~ A mom who's only a phone call away.....ready to just chat.

Middle of the Night Browsing

I couldn't sleep......

So I'm browsing online, something I don't do very often. I have my list of blogs that I read through Bloglines, check my e-mail and then I'm off to do "real life". But my every-once-in-awhile midnight readings do lend some gems.

Storybook Woods is always a delight for the eyes! Clarice has stated that is a goal she holds for her blog and I'd say she's accomplished just that! I was browsing the lists of blogs that she reads and ran across Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I own the book and love, love, love it, but didn't realize they have a blog! And just look at all those wonderful bread recipes. I'm thrilled to see they are sharing how to bake bread on a grill. How brilliant! My bread baking has come to a screeching halt as we have had at least 90* weather for days on end. But I've missed the simple pleasure of fresh bread.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend celebrating our dear country's 233rd birthday! We enjoyed lots of fellowship with friends and family. I feel very blessed! I want to thank all of the soldiers out there who are sacrificing all on my behalf......I thank the families of each of the soldiers, too. You are all appreciated and held up in my prayers. I'm overwhelmed to think of all that others have done down through the years so that I can enjoy freedom today. Let's not give it up. Let's not let their sacrifice be in vain!

May God have mercy on these United States of America!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A couple new-to-me blogs

I've spent a bit of time browsing blogs this evening. I rarely do this. I have my favorites and just stick with those. I find I don't have much time to sit in front of a screen these days. I have much more important (and fun) things to do.

But tonight I found two blogs that I took note of. Maybe you'll enjoy them, too.
down to earth is full of lots of "home" information. I like practical tips and this blog is full of them. She made is to my blogroll! I love looking into other people's gardens!

I hope to use the resources provided at
Great Books Audio. My kids and I love to listen to audio books together as we're doing laundry, dishes and general clean-up. This will be an easy way to get some of the classics in.

Is your summer crazily busy? What ever happened to the lazy days of summer? Our days are good and full, but seems there is so much to "do"! I often wonder how in the world the pioneers made it. I'm certain I would have starved to death or died of heat stroke. I've told my family if we ever have to live off of our garden, we'll all get skinny really fast! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amazed Again.....

"In thy light shall we see light." Psalm 36:9
He's my all in all. Without Him I would be nothing. His beauty and love literally leave me standing in such awe. And then to think that He would love me, care about my daily needs, and catch each of my tears that fall. Amazing!
"Oh, how marvelous,
Oh, how wonderful,
And my song shall ever be,
Oh, how marvelous,
Oh, how wonderful,
Is my Savior's love for me!"
Truly, "I Stand Amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean!"

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Wouldn't Abiela make a pretty little girl's name?! I'm taking note of this name just in case I'm blessed once again!!! :) Oh, and it means ~ "My Father is Lord!"

Pea Blossoms

Sweet words.....

"You are my mommy so much!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fresh Flowers

For probably a month now I've been blessed with new fresh flower arrangements on a regular basis. Kiersten loves flowers and is constantly putting together different arrangements. I love flowers but arranging them isn't my favorite activity. I certainly do enjoy having a daughter that likes to do this, though! Even in the dead of winter she will take a walk in the woods and come back with a beautiful bouquet of greenery (one of my favorite ways to enjoy a bit of the outdoors indoors!).

I'm often amazed at the difference a week can make in the vegetation world! We certainly shouldn't get bored if we pay attention to nature! And there is so much that I don't know about plants growing in my own yard!

I get nervous every year about this time~planting time. I don't want to forget to plant something important. And I want to get enough of everything planted so that I won't have regrets later on. Because, I can't re-do this for another year. It seems so final. Thankfully, there is always next year but next year can seem so very far away when you know you've missed out on something.

So far this season I have planted:
asparagus (Actually, I'm only maintaining what I already have.)
tomatoes~Aunt Ruby, Jubilee, Ace 55, Beafsteak, Pear, Cherry, Green Zebra
lettuces, romaine, head, and loose leaf ~ lots of different kinds but I goofed up my markers and don't know what is what
Burgundy okra
bush beans, couple different varieties
sugar snap peas
Yukon gold potatoes
peppers, banana, sweet bell, and a hot variety that, again, I've lost the label to
Basil, 3 different varieties
common thyme

I've a decent list of vegetables that I'm still hoping to find a spot for! We'll see.....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A New Cookie

I wanted to share this cookie recipe because it was just too awesome to not share! 101 Cookbooks is a great blog! I would love to try most of the recipes that she shares! These Carrot Oatmeal cookies were just incredible! I will say that I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever do!

Maple syrup has become so out of my price reach that I substituted my own homemade brown sugar syrup, which is simply:
1 part water:2 parts brown sugar, plus any flavoring you want to add, probably vanilla but I have used almond, too.

Oh, and another substitution that I had to make~I didn't have fresh ginger on hand. Powdered ginger worked just fine.

Here are the ingredients used. I won't post the whole recipe as I'm not sure how much is considered o.k. to share when it comes to recipes. But go on over to 101 Cookbooks and you can have fun browsing for hours if you have the time!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Raw Food Week

I enjoy experimenting with raw food. I've eaten completely raw a few times over the past few years, sometimes for a couple months, usually not that long. I always feel pulled in that direction, especially when Spring rolls around. I also turn to raw food when I'm concerned for my health. I know how great I feel when I'm consuming huge amounts of raw food.

For a week now I've been enjoying the raw food way of eating. This time around I'm determined to keep track of the foods that I really love. I'm always trying new recipes but am awful about keeping track of them! I figure if I post them here, I'll have a record. Plus, maybe someone else will see a recipe or idea that they would want to try. I realize this if quite different than main stream food thinking, but that's o.k.! I certainly wouldn't want to be "normal", whatever that is! :)
I've used recipes from and enjoyed perusing the following sites:
Ani's Raw Food Kitchen I happened upon this blog right after preparing a recipe of Ani's that I found in the Tribest catalog. Kiersten and I made Strawberry Parfaits and they were awesome!
I wasn't able to follow the recipe (again) and so I'll just post what I did below:

Strawberry syrup:
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup raw honey (We have great local honey! ~ Ani called for Agave Nectar.)

Cream sauce:
1 cup soaked walnuts (Ani calls for cashews which I do think would probably work better but not a must!)
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
1/4 cup filtered water, as needed (I used more than this and my cream was still quite thick.)
(1 Tbsp. vanilla extract ~ the recipe calls for this but I didn't have any.)

1/2 cup sliced strawberries or more

1. Buzz the syrup in your blender.

2. Buzz the cream in your blender.

3. Assemble. Cream on bottom. Syrup on top with strawberries topping it all off. Ami garnished her parfaits with mint. Not sure why I didn't. I have tons of it growing right out my back door. Next time.....

Navita's Naturals I've never ordered from this company but they appear to have a lot to offer.

Raw Royalty Just a new-to-me raw food blog.

Today, I had the most wonderfully refreshing lunch!~~~Vegi Wraps
The wrap itself was a romaine lettuce leaf. I spread this with some Raw Cheddar Cheese Spread I'd made earlier in the week. Next I put a hand full of shredded carrot and zucchini down the middle of the wrap and then topped it off with homemade fresh salsa. My salsa was ultra simple. I chopped up lots of cilantro (from my garden) sweet onion, and a Roma tomato. Oh, yum!

I've enjoyed raw fruit shakes of all kinds, many wonderful salads with incredibly tasty home made salad dressings, and I've enjoyed nuts, raisins and dark chocolate for my snacks. It's been a great week!

I almost forgot! For Easter lunch I made a Raw Strawberry Pie. I've enjoyed every last bite!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Toddler Reading and Play

Here are a few library books that Zeke and I have enjoyed this week.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
All of my children have enjoyed the Harold books, especially my oldest. Simple, fun, and sweet.

I Like it When.... by Mary Murphy
Zeke really like this book. He's begging to keep it at his house. "We really have to keep it at our house." The first page says, "I like it when you hold my hand." I would read this and then he'd respond, "I like it when you hold my hand, too!" We took a long walk on Friday and did just that!
I'll probably try to get this book from Paperback Swap.

Hugs and Kisses by Christophe Loupy and Eve Tharlet
Sweet and innocent with pretty illustrations.

We also recently made this great play dough from Simplicity Soup! By the way, play dough isn't just for toddlers!!!

Play Dough

2 c flour
1 c salt
4 T cream of tartar
2 T oil
2 c water

Stir until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring rapidly (to avoid lumps) until it forms.

Scrape out of pan onto flat surface. Knead a few times, cause it’s fun when it’s all warm and it helps get the sticky out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mommy Power

Today has been a very windy, beautiful, sunny day. We've had our windows and back door flung open wide! While eating a simple lunch of banana/berry/kefir shakes, toasted long-ferment bread with butter and raw honey, and kale chips, a big gust of wind blew in ruffling papers and blowing the calendar off the wall. Zeke (age 3) very calmly and sincerely turned to me and said,
"Mommy, can you turn the wind down?"

How does my garden grow?

My bed of kale is really paying off, finally! I planted it last fall and it survived the winter just fine, but it didn't do much growing until just recently. All winter it stayed around 3 inches tall. But now that our days are beginning to warm up it is growing like crazy. We've harvested a couple pounds and we've hardly made a dent in the bed of greens! And 2 pounds of kale is LOTS of kale!

We've enjoyed the kale sauteed in olive oil with onion and garlic. I like wilting it quickly in bacon grease, too, with a sprinkling of garlic salt, but real garlic is always best. As soon as I find the time I want to prepare some "kale chips" that I've read about on a raw food website. As soon as I find a decent avocado again, I'll make the raw kale salad that we enjoyed earlier this year.

We're also enjoyed our first asparagus, green onions, garlic tops, cilantro and parsley. The cabbage, a few lettuces, sugar snap peas, and arugula are looking promising! Oh, and my mint is growing quite happily, too! In about 3 weeks I'll be able to plant to my heart's content. I can hardly wait, but until then, we'll putter around the gardens getting the soil prepared, feeding the chickens the few stray weeds (which I actually found to be edible~hen bit and chickweed) and harvesting every bit of produce that we can!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Post 200

This is my 200th post. This is what's on my heart today.....

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it. -G.Washington

Monday, March 09, 2009

A few thoughts on dyslexia

"When we look at highly successful dyslexic individuals, we see that they succeeded by following their substantial gifts, not by focusing on their difficulties." - Thomas G. West, In the Mind's Eye, Thinking Like Einstein

I am a faithful reader of the blog Eide Neurolearning Blog. They consistently post scientific information about the brain that interests me. The above quote resonates with me, in that I need to take heed to it! I tend to want to "fix" things in those that I teach. Actually, I need to make more time for their "gifts" to flourish! This isn't the first time I've come across this advice. I also like the following quote from their post today:

If a child has trouble in core school subject such as reading, an equally intensive search should be made for a child's strengths and interests, remembering to specifically set aside time for gift/talent development.

And I really think this would apply to all people, not just those that are struggling in a core subject. Of course, we can all work hard at mastering different skills (not just the ones that come easily to us) but should we not strive to use to the utmost the gifts that God has given to us as individuals?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A few Quotes

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ~ Abraham Lincoln

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. ~ Ronald Reagan

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Arkansas State Capitol

My children and I were blessed this week to be able to visit our beautiful
state Capitol!
Arkansans can be proud of this incredible building that holds so many
symbols of our history!

Beautiful architecture!

Mike Huckabee's Portrait
(our previous Governor)

This sign above both the House and Senate doors.
It was also found in stone monuments on the grounds of the Capitol.

Our Representative, John Burris.
My children prayed this man would be elected and now we pray
for him by name quite often. I was able to share this with him.
He seemed, I'm not sure, maybe surprised, but thankful.
So far there are several things I appreciate about this young man.
Chiefly, he personally responds promptly to any e-mail I send to him.
He has also worked on the new law to make partial birth abortion illegal in Arkansas,
even if our federal government reverses this law.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So Simple, Incredible Soup!

Simple Cauliflower Soup

There is no way for me to describe how wonderful this soup was! Just amazing! I will make this again and again! It takes mere minutes, uses only a few ingredients, all of which are very good for you! What could be better?

Treat yourself!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Daniel Boone

I find our current read-aloud, Daniel Boone by James Daugherty, quite fascinating, as do my children. Here's a couple quotes:

Being good members of the Quaker faith, the Boone family gave and took among themselves and their neighbors with an easy kindness that brought a quiet sweetness to the stress and strain of heavy tasks. Out of the ponderous Bible they daily read and listened and believed, striving to walk with a wise and gentle God in love and truth.

Father and Mother Boone with their eleven children were an average-sized American family of that day.....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Raw Kale Avocado Salad

We love the salad! And I'm so glad. I plan to grow lots of this stuff this summer and I'm so thankful we've found a way that we can eat *lots* of this green, raw!

Sara at Happy Food has a great post about this salad, along with a video that will even show you how to make it!

This is what we put in our salad. I think next time I'll cut back on the lemon juice a bit. Zeke said, "This is spicy!" I think he meant very tangy! :) All of the kids agreed that it was good.
  • 1/2 pound baby kale
  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or hemp seed oil (go for less if you can)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Real Salt sea salt, to taste (1/4 - 1/2 t)

Grocery Cart Challenge ~ Share your recipes here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Harvest

I picked half a pound of kale today. Doesn't sound like much, but that is a big bowl of kale! I'm so excited to be trying a new kale salad for supper. I'll let you know how we like it.

Today, we planted more peas, sugar snap this time. We still need to plant the plain old garden pea. While cleaning out a bed and raking up the leaves I found 5 beautiful romaine lettuce plants that had self seeded. I did a happy little squeal an dance. And then explained, "I'm so excited." My soon to 13 year old smiled and said, "We can tell!" I loved that red speckled romaine that I had last year. I've already started some in flats here in the house but it was a great surprise to know that I have some a couple of inches tall already in my garden!

We're debating whether or not to till up a "field garden". I've told so many people that I'd never do it again, but I'm wanting more space. I'd love to plant long rows of peas. We can never get enough of them, even from the Farmer's Market. I often buy everything the man brings and we go home and still eat them all raw. My poor husband never gets to enjoy any of them. They are like candy to the kids and I. I've heard gardeners say they are their appetizer as they stroll through the garden.

I'm looking for wonderful ways to eat kale raw. Do you have a favorite way? I enjoy it stir fried but I really hate to do that if I can find a way my family will love it raw. Why cook it? We like a little bit of it in salads but not a whole salad of just kale. Actually the recipe I'm trying tonight is
made using kale as the only "green". I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Do we need another reason?

For years we've tried to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diet. We don't purchase pancake syrup, sodas, or baked goods that contain this ingredient. (I won't say that we *never* do. But it is certainly not the norm in our house.) We already have many reasons. Now, there is another.
  • Coca-Cola Classic
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly
  • Nutri‐Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup
The above list of products was found to not only contain high fructose corn syrup, but also mercury! You can read about it at Small Notebook.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

One Million Pounds

Path to Freedom is hosting a challenge and we're going to participate! Want to join us?! You can find all the information you need right here. Together can we grow a million pounds?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I agree with this man, again.

Ron Paul spoke in Congress on something I'm passionate about. Might seem silly to many or even scary (why, I'm not sure) to some, but to me it is just "freedom" and common sense.

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul

Introducing Legislation Allowing Interstate Shipment of Unpasteurized Milk

January 29, 2009

“Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation that allows the shipment and distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption across state lines. This legislation removes an unconstitutional restraint on farmers who wish to sell or otherwise distribute, and people who wish to consume, unpasteurized milk and milk products.

My office has heard from numerous people who would like to obtain unpasteurized milk. Many of these people have done their own research and come to the conclusion that unpasteurized milk is healthier than pasteurized milk. These Americans have the right to consume these products without having the federal government second-guess their judgment about what products best promote health.

If there are legitimate concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk, those concerns should be addressed at the state and local level. I urge my colleagues to join me in promoting consumers’ rights, the original intent of the Constitution, and federalism by cosponsoring my legislation to allow the interstate shipment of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption.”

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

When to plant?

I'm getting very anxious to put some seeds into my gardens! Yesterday I purchased some seed potatoes along with some red and sweet onions. Mmmmm... makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Today, I found this great resource concerning planting times.
Outdoor Planting Table
You can personalize it for your own zip code.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company has a wonderful website with very informative forums. Their seeds are awesome and their newest catalog just beautiful! Order one if you haven't yet!

Stonewall Kitchen

I've always enjoyed flipping through the Stonewall Kitchen catalog. I've never placed an order, everything seemed very much out of my price range! Browsing always inspired ideas of what I could do in my own kitchen, though.

Well....yesterday at one of our favorite discount stores (Duffy's, if you are from around here) I found Orange Zest Pancake and Waffle Mix from Stonewall Kitchen for 89 cents, plus I had a 20% off coupon! This morning we enjoyed a big batch of these pancakes. And they are very yummy! I'm continually amazed at all the good things God gives for me to enjoy!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Black-eyed Peas with Ham

This recipe is so simple that it's almost embarrassing to post but it was also so yummy that I'd hate for someone to miss out on it if they've never tried it.

Since yesterday we had two music lessons and basketball practice, along with lots of errands to fit in around them, I knew I needed something in the crock pot ready for us when we arrived home in the evening. I had the bread baked and ready but what to throw in the crock pot? Here you go. It can't be any simpler than this! Takeout would take longer! And everyone thought it tasted great!

3 cans of Black-eyed Peas (could be more than this)
1 pound of ham, chopped however you like

That's it!

The bread is a new recipe I tried, Multi-Grain Seeded Bread, from the new Eating Well magazine.

I also wanted to include a link to an article that is a good reminder to all parents.
Top 10 Brain Foods for Kids

You can find more frugal recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back to our Routine

Oh, it's so good to be back into our routine. I truly love my days. Days that are made up of minutes. I have few minutes alone. I have a wonderful family to take care of! A friend of mine always reminds me that never ending laundry, meals to cook, and dishes mounted high just mean that we are blessed. It means we have family and friends to love! And this is so very true!

Monday we spent our day cleaning, room by room. As always, we didn't get as much done as we would have liked, but we did accomplish a lot and had a great time doing it. Yesterday, we did a few activities that I suppose you could call "schoolish" but that's not what we were thinking as we did them. We watched a new Moody Science movie (Tim and I got the kids the set for Christmas.), while we ate bowls of popcorn. Oh, and we learned some new music! We've listened to Go and Tell Greater Vision Kids too many times for my to count. And we're all singing along already even though we hadn't heard any of the songs before Sunday night. (Thanks, Julie!) And there was basketball practice.

But today.....we got to read aloud, together, alone, and in pairs. Anytime that happens it would have to be a great day, right?! We just moved down our "list", which has such a comfortable feel to it. We baked together, too, and really enjoyed the new wheat bread we made! We have another Multi-grain bread raising right now. It's the kind I'll make into a round loaf, covered in seeds and bake in my new cast iron dutch oven. Can't wait. We mixed it up this morning and it will set all day, go in the refrigerator all night (to enhance the flavor) and then I'll let it rise one more time in the morning and into the oven it will go! I don't imagine it will last long after it comes out, bread never does around here.

Here in a little bit, I'll call the kids in from playing outside and we'll ready ourselves for our mid-week church service where we'll sing, pray, and worship together. And I'll thank God once again for the awesome blessing it is so meet with other believers without any fear of harm. In the mornings, as the children and I read our Bibles together, I often pause with overwhelming gratitude to thank God for the incredible privilege of spending my day, all day, with my children. I wouldn't trade it for anything! I want to savor every minute of these freedoms that I so enjoy!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Good Day

For the past few weeks I've been feeling especially blessed. I've been overwhelmed with the love and support from my family and friends. I was reminded of it again this morning when my sister in law woke me up just to tell me what she'd dreamed last night, my mom called soon after for just a little chat, and then my little brother, now traveling to his far off home, called to just let me know where he was. And the realization of just how rich my life is washed over me all over again.

During the Christmas season, I felt so thankful for my husband and children. I can't help but offer silent prayers of thanks as I sit with my children all curled up around me as we listen to Tim read God's Word to us. The night we opened our gifts together here at home was a little bit of heaven here on earth....peace, contentment, and thankfulness....we couldn't have asked for more.

And today was another sweet reminder of all God's goodness in my life. Today was the kind of day I would call a favorite of mine......

Enjoyed breakfast with my family. Did a little laundry. Puttered around in the kitchen a bit and then headed outside with temps already in the lower 60's. We all cleaned up a few things from the "leaf fort" that the kids had made. And did a few other odd and end jobs. I fixed a simple lunch (Kashmir Spinach-but not from scratch), but Kiersten made it all into a tea party and we all sat around a lot longer than normal just talking and enjoying the food and fellowship. After we cleaned up, I ordered my garden seeds for the year, most of them anyhow. I'm sure I'll find other things that I just can't resist but the bulk of the buying is done.

Just ordering those seeds made need to dig in the dirt a little bit. Tim turned over my compost pile for me and then I added that wonderful, rich, black dirt to some of my raised beds. We worked outside until supper time. Supper was a simple Taco Salad made with chicken. It's days like this that make you wish spring was already here. It certainly felt as though it could be spring today. Absolutely beautiful. I just closed my kitchen window a few minutes ago and the air still felt heavenly.

This evening we all watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

I think I have everything a girl could want. Dirt to dig in that is my own, plenty yummy food, and a family to share it with. And the knowledge that it is only of God's grace that I enjoy each of these gifts. It's the simple things in life that bring me the most enjoyment. That little plot of land in my back yard is one of my favorite spots. My favorite people live under my roof and I get to spend every day with them.

Life is good!