Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Soap making

Our family came home with a few souvenirs from our trip to Williamsburg. One of my favorites, was the homemade soaps. The girls and I decided we wanted to learn how to make this age old craft. So we checked out a movie on soap making from the library, along with several "how to" books.
I found a bulk dealer online for the Lye, and found the rest of the ingredients at our local Healthy Life Market store. We were all set...several weeks ago. Why was I not jumping into this project with my normal enthusiasm? Could it be the fact that the Lye arrived with caution stickers all over the box? Or the two page warning in the soap book describing how blindness, burns, caustic vapors, and even ruined floors and counter tops could occur while using Lye? I mean, it turns into soap right? How can this stuff be so dangerous? I was pretty intimidated therefore, putting the whole project on the back burner. The girls and I were watching a movie yesterday when I jumped up declaring "It's time!"  Now this is not going to be a tutorial on soap making. It is by the grace of God that this stuff turned out even remotely nice. I pretty much just dumped it all in a pot and then proceeded to stir, for what seemed to be an eternity.
The princesses eventually got bored with the non exciting, rather monotonous stirring, and ended up in the pool. It was a pretty easy process, and I came out of it without any major Lye accidents.
They still have to cure for several weeks, but I think they look so pretty, and they smell WONDERFUL!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dancing in the rain!

When life sends you rain,
It's best to learn how to dance in it.
It is not always planned for,
or even pleasant. 
But one thing is for sure..
 It brings forth wonderful fruit!
"Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness ; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruitAnd righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it."  Isaiah 45:8

Monday, June 27, 2011

There is no greater thing!

What a precious day yesterday was. My sweet Princess transferred her membership from our old church, to our new one. She was able to go through a communicants class with one of her good buddies, and then met with the session to give a confident account of her testimony. She was brave and courageous. I know at this age I was terrified to stand up in front of people, let alone have to give my testimony.
 God you are an awesome God! Be with this child and instill in her a faith that cannot be shaken. Give her the wisdom she needs to be a light in this dark and dying world. Give her a clarity to know exactly what you are calling her to do. Give her father and I a peace to know that you will take care of her.
Yes. There is no better feeling than to know that your children walk in truth! Thank you Jesus for being with this family of ours and giving us a wonderful church family, that has come alongside us to lift us up in prayer and point us closer to you. And thank you for giving us a reason to celebrate....with cake. ;-)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not the bummer summer!

Yesterday I took the girls on a rare outing. We went to the movies. With the price of a movie ticket being right up there with a trip to the moon, we hardly ever get to go. We chose the matinee showing of Judy Moody, Not the bummer Summer. It was a pretty cute movie about a little girl wanting to have the most wonderful summer vacation ever. I thought it would be neat to show some photos of things we have been doing, to insure our summer wouldn't be able to be described as a bummer one.

We carved out new little gardens everywhere...including IN the yard. ;-)
Tried our hand at paint by number...for the first time! This was definitely a hit!
Added a new little bunny to our bunny coop. cause ya know, man wasn't meant to be alone.
Spiced up some old T-shirts with puff paint.
Experienced the magic of shrink art.
Had a full blown camp out with a fake fire, scary stories under flash lights and everything. All in the comfort of a princesses' bedroom.
Had a spa day for our four legged critters. Hmm...I think I need a bigger wash tub. ;-)
Spent a whole day, seeing what we could create with melty beads.
Got in touch with our creative side and painted sculptures, napkins, paper and even arms. :-o
Last but not least...helped daddy get our pool ready. Between this pool, our sandbox and a box of Popsicles, our days have been a hit. And with all that outside play, my house is still a mess. How does that happen?
Any days spent with these girls, couldn't be described as being a bummer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Preserving someone else's harvest

My kitchen has been a heated place lately. No, not because of arguments, but from canning. Lots of canning. I believe there is a misconception out there somewhere, that you have to be able grow what you preserve. At least that is what I always thought. But what about all the great produce that is on sale this time of year? Or the amount of tomatoes our family would have to grow to be able to preserve enough for a whole year? I am on a mission to preserve enough pizza and pasta sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce, ketchup, sloppy Joe sauce and tomato soup to get us through the winter. Now, that adds up to about a gazillion tomatoes. I dream of one day growing enough for all of this, but as of right now, that hasn't happened. This is where a big can comes in. Several of them!
No. It's not organic. No. I won't receive any awards for homesteader of the year, but for a little under $3, I bought 6 pounds of tomatoes. Add that with the canning products I got for sale in the "off season", and it all adds up to a pretty good deal. No additives that are unhealthy. No high fructose corn syrup. Just pure yumminess!
Spaghetti sauce!
Messy kitchen = happy Mom. (well, this time anyway ;-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something added to the morning routine.

I am definitely a creature of habit and love a good routine. My mornings pretty much always go the same.
                                          1. Wake up before the crack of dawn to go walk with my good buddy.
                                          2. shower
                                          3.drink coffee and study my bible
                                          4. Tackle feeding and watering all the farm critters
                                          5. Pack Sweet Man's lunch
                                          6. Get bird out of chimney.

Wait. Number 6 has just recently been added, and is getting old pretty fast.

( I don't know why, but blogger won't let me upload this photo right.) Do you see the starling? It goes great with my primitive decorations, but I am still not a fan of it hanging out in this window, after it's rescue from the stove pipe. Oh wait! Sweet Man came down to the rescue, wearing nothing but his bath towel. ;-) A long pool net sent this little guy flying through our house hitting every small window he could find, until he flew out the rather large door that was propped open for him. I think this is one part of my routine I would like to change! ;-) Does make for a comical morning though.... especially when the bath towel falls off! ;-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's day surrounded by godly men that the Lord has placed in your lives. I know I did!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A post with a disclaimer???

WARNING: This post is heavy in opinions, and light on humor. There, you have been warned! ;-)

I was having a conversation a while back with a friend. A question came up about a mutual friend that neither of us had seen in sometime. The comment was made that it almost seemed like she fell off the face of the earth. I sat silently, deep in thought as to how to reply. As I sat there thinking, I knew. I wanted to fall off the face of the earth like she did. No. Not a depressing way. A way that I was free to focus on my little family and not to be so torn going to various activities or volunteering at every possible given moment. This "missing" lady had a baby two years ago, and was staying home to focus on her home schooling and her children even more. Why is that not enough for the "world" to realize that, that is...enough!? Something has happened in the home schooling world. I think the fear of being unsocialized has left us being OVERsocialized. It actually requires being home, to get the home schooling done, but during the school year it seems like we are everywhere but home. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I haven't learned how to do it all correctly. That is probably more the case, but I wonder if others feel this way.  Not many people would dare to take on two full time jobs, but that is exactly what a lot of home school moms do. Between house work, schooling, trying to be a good wife and volunteering,  it all adds up to way too much "overtime".

This past week the weather has been beautiful. Almost fall like. I had gardens that needed to be cleaned out. Animal pens that needed some maintenance and children that wanted a mother that was free to play games. I was unable to do these things. Not because I didn't want too, but because I was swamped with volunteer projects that I keep thinking the Lord had called me to. I was diligent and got most of my paperwork done for these various projects and then sank down in my computer chair to just sit, and stare....and then I got another email. The one from The Old School house. I was ready to start my training for my new product reviewing job. I felt like crying. When is too much too much?? I started reading the twenty-one page manual and noticed something very important that I had forgot. You have to have a Face Book account to have this job. I just deleted my account a couple of months ago. Now, I know that I just briefly mentioned that earlier like it was no big deal, but it was. It was so hard for me that I had to have my Sweet Man actually click the delete button. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I knew not having the account would make me be left out of home school get togethers that were mentioned on there. I knew it would be hard to stay in contact with my Aunt who lives in another state, but I also knew I wouldn't be privy to some not so lovely gossip and serious bragging that was going on. When I first joined I thought Face book would be an outlet that we could spread our testimonies or encourage one another, instead I saw it tear friendships apart because of slander. I saw it as an avenue to build oneself up instead of encourage one another. I saw it steal minutes or even hours out of one's day, when their precious children were waiting for their mommys to "log off". It just wasn't for me anymore, and now this job was requiring me to have it. I was so confused, but then again I wasn't. I had seen earlier that my schedule is way to full of outside things, and here was a way out of adding another one to it. Could I do it? Could I decline a coveted job to better make me suited to mother my children the way the Lord keeps telling me? Well it took about two days and then I knew. Yes, I could. So I am not a product reviewer anymore for the much loved magazine, and I am on my way to "falling off the face of the earth"! I am learning to say No...which does not come easy to me. I am learning that just because I am capable of "getting a job done" that I am not the only one that the Lord has given those abilities to. I am trying to learn that there is enough value in being a wife and mother, that I don't have to pile up extra jobs or titles so I feel and/or look more important. I am learning that there is a season for everything, and right now mine is at home. I am learning to pray more and actually seek His wisdom and try not to second guess the answers He gives me. You know what one of the things He has showed me recently is? That being a servant for Christ can look like many things. Even though I am trying to lighten my "work load" of volunteering, I am still serving Him by caring for my family. There is going to come a day that my children will not need me as much as they do now, I will be able to serve much more outside the home then. If you get a chance, please pray for me. Pray that I will know which activities we are supposed to keep, and which ones need to be left behind.....
"God has given you children, which are your glory
To enrich your life and help write your story,
You're in God's perfect will for this is your calling,
He'll help you each day and keep you from falling."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cleaning windows!

My aunt sent me this email this morning. It's very convicting to me...

A  young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while  they are eating breakfast,
The  young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
"That laundry  is not very clean", she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash  correctly.
Perhaps she  needs better laundry soap."

Her  husband looked on, but remained  silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to  dry, 
The young woman  would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice clean wash on the line and said to her  husband:

"Look, she  has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her  this."

The husband  said, "I got up early this morning and
Cleaned our  windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching  others
Depends on the purity of the window through which we  look!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Made from scratch pudding. YUM!

A quick trip to the local grocery store for clearances proved to be quite beneficial. They had organic milk half price!! Wait. We don't drink cow's milk, so why am I so excited that it was on sale?? Pudding of course. Did you know that you can actually make pudding without that little square box? Well, me neither! In an effort to rid our house of all products that contain high fructose corn syrup, I have been browsing the web and various cookbooks, for "from scratch" recipes.( If you aren't sure why you should avoid this ever abundant sweetener, check this page out. Start reading your labels. It is in pretty much everything.) A pudding recipe was found. Who doesn't like pudding?

2 cups milk (2% or higher)
2/3 cup sugar (I wonder if you could use honey instead?)
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla (get the real stuff)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg (got plenty of those!)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter

In a medium sauce pan whisk together the milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, egg, and egg yolk. Once well combined place the pan over medium heat and cook until thick. I quadrupled this recipe and stored some in the fridge for snacks for the girls, and then made an awesome banana pudding pie for desert.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (almost ;-)

 T-shirt puff painting
 Grinding wheat
Grinding oats to make oat flour
Listening to a sales presentation for knives (no, we didn't buy any)
 Melty beads craft

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The motivator

I am sure there are many things that could qualify as a nickname for me. But lately it seems like "The motivator" would be the most likely candidate. To be a motivated person is a great quality to have. Sometimes it comes easy, and other times you have to persevere and look toward the end goal to muster up enough motivation to finish something.

This summer I have been working with my girls on their motivation. I have found that if there is a prize at the end, their motivation is so much greater. Prizes aren't always bad, and eventually I feel like they have a learned trait or habit, and they no longer require the "prize" to keep them motivated.

Reading is one of the areas I wanted to work on. I found these neat little charts on the clearance table at the Parent Teacher store.
For each book they read aloud to me, or each other, they get to put a sticker on the chart. When the chart is full they can turn it in to me for a $5 prize.

Being unplugged is another area that I am striving for in this house. There are just too many ways to become lazy and unproductive now a days. I gave up Face Book several months ago, for I could see how wrapped up I was getting in it. I mean, do we really need to spend an hour or two out of our day, learning about what so and so had for dinner?? They claim that it helps you stay connected, but I found it to do the complete opposite. I was less inclined to call and check on someone, when I read all about their day online. They didn't know I was checking their statuses to make sure they were ok. Sitting on the porch drinking ice tea and chatting. Now that is connecting! That's what I want. To talk in person. To actually know that someone cares about my day or week or month.

 TV is another one of our big ones, and after much thought we cancelled our  tv service. I am so excited about this one step to being unplugged. We wasted so much time and money on watching shows that did us no good at all. Very few shows on TV actually point you to the life God wants you to live, and it is way too easy to loose valuable time watching them. Sweet Man and I are also motivated by a prize. One step closer on our Dave Ramsey financial plan. See, prizes can motivate! To help our girls with this new "unplugged" lifestyle I found this neat little system.
 There a few neat ideas displayed on the white board in our class room to help prompt some creative fun!
They can earn up to two of these discs a day for an hour of unplugged playing. When they have 10 discs they can turn them in for a trip to the dollar store for one thing, or substitute the trip for a dollar to put in their savings jar. We are on our second week of this little program, and it is going great. The first week you could see them counting the minutes till their hour was up. The past few days, they haven't even asked to watch a movie, play the Wii or computer at all. They are playing things they never had a desire to before. Yesterday they spent the morning playing baseball and then they wanted to practice using my big shovel by digging ditches in our mulch pile. I love it!! Those are the memories I want for them to have!

Dental care is another area we are working on motivation in. There isn't a prize for this one, just a beautiful smile.
It's amazing how new dental products can motivate a child in their teeth brushing. They have been brushing after EVERY meal since we got these. I would say that was a good investment!

 Motivation is the key to success. There are many factors in life that determine the amount of motivation we have at any given time. What do you find that helps motivate you or your children?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well balanced parenting...with the help of blueberry bread

For me one of the biggest challenges in anything, is balance. I tend to go to the extremes on certain things, and then feel that lovely burn out feeling. I have blogged about balancing before between diets, house cleaning etc. But one of the biggest balancing challenges, has to be in my parenting. It is important to balance fun with responsibility. Structured school work with creative outlets. I could go on and on...

As Christians we are supposed to train our children to be missionaries for Christ. No. Not all children will go to some third world country to spread the good news. Some will spread the news in their hometown, at their workplace, or with someone they meet at the grocery store. Princess #1 told us when she was seven, that she felt like God was calling her to actually be a missionary full time. What an awesome thing. She has recently been mentioning it more and more. She found a series of books on my shelf of biographies of famous missionaries, and has read them ALL, in a matter of days. She has expressed the need to "train" for this calling. I am now noticing that I need to not hold her so close, and to let her grow up just a bit. She wants to hold a bible study in our back yard. She wants to buy bibles for children that may not have any. She wants to grow up and be responsible with the life God has given her. I have been praying super hard that the Lord will allow me, to let her do this.

At the same time Princess #1 is wanting a little bit more space, Princess #2 has expressed the complete opposite. As I was tucking her in last night I kissed her on the forehead and casually said, "Oh honey, don't grow up too fast." She broke down in uncontrollable sobbing. When I asked what was wrong she told me how she never wanted to grow up. We had just watched "Returned to Neverland" where Wendy is all grown up and has a family of her own. This little princess said she knew that was how it worked, but she always wanted to be my little girl, living in my house. I started crying right along with her,  for I could tell that she was in a phase that she needed me to hold her just a wee bit closer than normal. She needed to just be mommy's girl for a little while longer.

I continue to pray for wisdom in my parenting, for if it was up to me,  we would always be snuggled on the couch reading fairy tales. I don't know how to raise a missionary. I don't know to express that age doesn't mean you stop being a daughter. I don't know how to give each child exactly what they need. But I do know how to make blueberry bread, so that is where I will start!


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (we used more since we have plenty right now)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix all of that goodness together and throw it in a pan. Mark it with a B for baby and me. Wait. That's not right...Oh yeah, bake it in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Slather it with organic butter and serve with a smile. :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

New email feature

Did you see it? Did you notice something new on the blog? Sweet Man added the follow by email option. How cool is that? You can have all new posts be delivered directly to your inbox. :-) Sweet Man, you're so cool!!

Thought you might enjoy some more pictures of our new babies.