Thursday, September 30, 2010

A family affair

A couple of days ago, after the children were finished gathering eggs I found this site.
Cameo and Eli had set up an egg washing station in the living room. Eli was handing the eggs to Cameo, she was washing, drying and sorting into cartons.
It was so cute.
They both knew we had a few friends wanting eggs and without my prompting they went to work.
I loved seeing it.
Taking an interest in what we do and getting involved.
What a blessing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A spontaneous field trip

I am SO not the poster girl for spontaneity. I am a planner from WAY back! I mean, I have to get my lists and then for some reason if I plan on going anywhere that is out of our hometown, I feel like I have to clean out the van. (Which is a good thing) :)
So early Monday morning, I received an email from a friend (Thanks Becky!) :) offering us some free passes to the Aquarium for Homeschool Day! We only had to pay for two deeply discounted child passes!
I was like when is it???
Yeah, I think we will... So in about 30ish minutes we were dressed and ready and out the door on our way.
The van was not cleaned, the picnic basket was hardly organized, my hair was in a ponytail (ack!) but we were on our way.
And this little spontaneous field trip turned out to be one of the MOST fun trips we have had in a long time! :)
The aquarium had put together some scavenger hunt pages for the kids. My kids LOVED those!
It was so fun to see the little ones getting excited about finding the answers.
This one was funny... I am terrified of snakes and when I came around the corner to see what they were looking at, Abram pushed the button that made the rattlesnake tale rattle. I nearly jumped out of my skin and the kids laughed and laughed.
They got me really good. haha
I totally LOVE this picture.
Of course the penguin exhibit is always fun! They LOVE sticking their hand in that icy cold water.
And even though this picture is somewhat blurry, I love how sweet it is.
I hope your day is sweet too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Real Milk!

My family and I have been blessed for a while now with REAL raw milk, from grass-fed cows! WOOT! We don't have our family cow...yet... but we do have a connection and are able to get milk from a friend. It is absolutely amazing what you can do once you have the real deal!
I realize how dark the picture is... sorry! 
In the half-gallon jar we have buttermilk that has been working, in the quart jar we have sour cream and the pint has kefir.
I didn't even get pictures of the butter, yogurt, milk or cheese that I have! :)
Milk is wonderful!
You might be wondering why I would want to make all these different types of dairy products.

Here are but some kefir health benefits:
# It clears the blood vessels
# gives our bodies a boost in energy
# All natural, relaxing food
# It's a great way to treat lung infections
# Great for our metabolism so it can be used for weight loss diet
# Very good for curing acne
# Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties
# It gives that great shin for your hair
# Replenishes body of good bacteria after antibiotic
# A natural way to regulate blood pressure
# Lowers blood sugar
# Great for treating diarrhea

I make my own buttermilk because it is far superior than what you can  buy at the store and it has nothing added that I don't want. Also,  if I can make it at home, then why buy it?
Same goes with sour cream and so on.
I am attempting to cut sugar out of our diet a bit more and I am desperately trying to lose weight.
I am following the regime in this book
I believe in WHOLE foods.
I believe in REAL food.
Not processed, not refined, not enriched. 
I don't believe that just because a fiber bar is only '2 points' that it is something I need to eat!
Right now...
I feel hungry all the time!
I want to eat JUNK, too often.
I feel tired often!
I really, really, really want a change.
I want to feel vibrant and able.
I don't like not having energy.
As I was reading this book last night, it said that all these feelings attribute to the fact that I am nutrient starved! I have been eating, but not eating the right way.
I hope to change that and to help my children not fall in the same bad habits that I have.
I have a long road and a lot of changing that I need to make. 
Have a great day friends!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Abram talks to Jesus

My children know about Jesus. We talk about Him daily, we serve Him and Love Him. We worship Him and know our lives are here on this earth for Him.
My oldest three children have already asked Jesus in their heart.
We were so very happy when each of them seen their own need of salvation, and Shannon and I helped them... talking and guiding them to truly understand what they were doing.
Back to Abram.
My Abram is a thinker.
He could not figure things out in his head.
He knew he loved Jesus.
He knew Jesus loved him.
When we would talk about heaven and Jesus, he would admit that he had never been saved. We would talk to him and he would say, "No... I don't want to go to God."
We just continued to pray and ask God to show him when it was time.
Sunday morning our pastor gave an example at the end of the service. He said that one of these days Jesus will put His arm around us and say, Father... this one's mine. He/She was bought and paid for with my blood.
During the analogy, big sister (Cameo) went up front. Abram looked at me and wanted to know why she was going up.
I explained it to him and said that Bro. Clay knew that Cameo was a Christian and so he was showing how one day Cameo would meet Jesus.
He looked straight at me and said. "I'm ready to go to God... I want to ask Jesus in my heart."
My heart nearly exploded. We talked and he said he wanted to talk with Brother Clay and so there he went, all by himself and told our pastor just what he wanted to do.
He knew. Jesus had made it clear to him in his little ole 5 year old heart.
And he knows now.
He smiles and tells me,
"Now I KNOW Moma... now I KNOW that one day, I'm going to God."

Thank you Jesus, for your AMAZING Grace.

Friday, September 24, 2010

{this moment} 9.24.10

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

This past week has been a week of trials... but trials are part of life and we can deal with them and realize that God is Sovereign or we can continue to wallow. I'll admit, I spent a good time wallowing this week, but thankfully God has reminded me it is time to look up, dust off and try again. 
I hope to be back to regular posting SOON! Blessings to you my friends! xoxo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life and Death

Life is very present on the farm...
Last night we witnessed that fact.
Our 'baby chicks' are getting very big now.
Our teenage chickens, "Laverne and Shirley" are all grown up.
Eggs are abundant since we started giving a bit more grain while the ladies are molting.
The evening was beautiful and not terribly hot... a hopeful sign of fall (another sign of life as time is passing by).

Then, we encountered death.

Polka-dots our Barred Rock was found dead.
Carlie was sad. She said Polka-dots was her favorite.

Dad was away, so the 'man of the house' had to take over.
Those are some nice gloves, eh? Socks are so useful for farm chores. haha
Aside from him carrying a dead chicken, look at how huge my son is becoming. He really is starting to look like the 'man of the house', right? Well, he will be 8!!! next month!

While Eli was taking care of the carcass, the two littles wanted to dig a hole.
Bless their hearts, they worked so hard... this ole sandy soil is not easy to dig in.

Death is hard.
Death is not pleasant.
Death is a reminder that life is precious.
Life is a gift and a blessing that we need to cherish.
We need to stop and praise God for the life that surrounds us each day, and thank Him for each breath we take.

Friday, September 17, 2010

{this moment} 9.17.10

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 
*** *** *** 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bag Lady Angel

My family has a long line of crafters... I remember my Nannie Red was always busy with some type of craft project, whether it be crocheting the grandkids a pair of slippers or making accessories for her kitchen or embroidering pillow cases for her family for Christmas... her hands always had the next project going. My Mother, and her two sisters are very craft savvy and then their youngest brother married a wonderful lady who of course was crafty. :) *hooray!*

A long while back Aunt Tracey set up at craft fairs with her Mom and Dad and they would make some of the prettiest things.
Some of my favorite memories are the festivals that we attended and Tracey's family had a booth. It is the same festival I set up in a few years back. :)

At my recent visit to the Farmer's Market, many ladies asked me if I had something made to house grocery store sacks.
I didn't have anything made.
I realized I could easily make up a sleeve with some elastic and call it good, but I just couldn't... I adore my bag angel and I thought others might like them too.

I am pretty pleased with her turnout considering I just had to 'wing it'.
I hope to post her on etsy today.
Of course, you can get her with any color of skirt and hair ribbon... she needs to color coordinate with your room! :)

She's a bit like me and needs a little tan. 
She's like me in other ways too
She has a bit of a full belly, once you add your bags...
but, we won't talk about that right now. ;)

I do love her patchwork apron. 
I wouldn't mind having one myself.
Every lady needs an apron when working in their kitchen.
I think she is a sweet addition to any home. On the wall in your country kitchen or hanging on a hook in  your laundry room or just on your back door. Having a convenient place to store those grocery sacks is a good thing.

For now, I have to run... lots to accomplish this week. 
Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

Okay, so you have heard me going on about making things from scratch, from your own kitchen, with your own hands.  So here is something else.  
I made salsa earlier this year...
This, however, is a bit different.  I am not cooking any of the ingredients.  It is all raw, fermented, yummy goodness.

What is Lacto-Fermented you ask?
Well, it is…

Delicious, unheated, raw, organic, cultured vegetables are one of the richest sources of healthful lactobacilli and enzymes.  Lacto-fermentation is a natural poetic food preservation method that enhances the life in the vegetables and the eater. 
Studies repeatedly have shown that daily consumption of lacto-fermented vegetables helps in reestablishment and maintenance of beneficial intestinal flora, and aids immune function.  These raw fermented vegetables aid digestion, relieve constipation and are associated with decreased allergies and infections. Fermented cabbage is an excellent source of a protective factor called DIM, which is lost by standard cooking methods.  Raw unfermented cabbage and its relatives depress thyroid function.
You can read a little more about it here and here.
The second site says…
  Lacto-fermented foods have been around for a very long time.  Common in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and North and Central European cuisine, fermentation has been used to enhance the flavor of food, create food, and help food having a longer shelf life.  Fermented foods are delicious and nutritious.  These traditional foods are key to our health.
Fermentation allows the bacteria, yeasts and molds to "predigest" and therefore break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create "Probiotics" which offer friendly bacteria into our digestive tract.  This helps keep our immune system strong and supports our overall digestive health. 
Probiotics are particularly important when we are sick and are taking antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill off all the bacteria, the bad that are making you sick and also the good bacteria.  That’s why many people get yeast infections when they take antibiotics.  Probiotics reintroduce good helpful bacteria into our digestive tract so that while the bad bug is being fought by the antibiotics, we won’t get other sickness on top of that.  Acidophilus pills are a Probiotic which many of us take when we are taking antibiotics.  Look for pills that have billions of live flora.  Look for pills that must be refrigerated.  Jarrow is a good brand.  They make some just for kids too that taste good and are cute shapes.

Fermented foods are enzyme rich foods that are alive with micro-organisms.  These foods allow beneficial microflora to "colonize" in our intestines (and for moms-to-be, also in the birth canal) to keep us healthy.  Our "inner ecosystem" helps support our health and fight infection.   A healthy gastrointestinal tract (GI) is critical to a strong immune system.  Diets rich in fermented foods, as well as fruits and vegetables, are best for us to in order to maintain a strong healthy body.
Fermented foods aid in digestion, promote healthy flora in our digestive tract, produce beneficial enzymes, offer us better nutrition and allow our bodies to absorb vitamins (in particular C, and B12), minerals, nutritional value and omega 3s more effectively from foods.  They regulate the level of acidity in the digestive tract and act as anti-oxidants.  Fermented foods contain the same isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables and therefore fight and prevent cancer. 
Many fermented foods on the market today are not true fermented foods because they are created to maximize profits and shelf life instead of our health.  They are not as beneficial.  It’s important that we eat foods that are fermented with "Active" or "Live" Cultures.  Pasteurization kills off the living bacteria so look for unpasteurized and fresh fermented foods (in the grocery refrigerator section).  Since fermentation is a way to keep the living enzymes alive, it goes against the theory to use pasteurized (or dead) milk, for example, but you can make yogurt and kefir with pasteurized milk, it just won’t be as robust and beneficial.

So here are 2 of my beautiful 5 quarts of Lacto-Fermented Salsa

These type of foods are going to be so beneficial to our family.
Between this, our wonderful daily dose of CLO (cod liver oil) and ACV (Organic Apple Cider Vinegar) and our weekly trip to our favorite Chiropractor,  we should be fit as fiddles. 

There are times when convenience is so alluring, times when you are just too tired to do things right, some times when you don’t plan like you (I) should.  When money is tight and you forgo the things that are the most beneficial for you.  And then you get sick and realize what you have done.  I am resolved, to not let our family go under-nourished again.  My family has never went underfed, but we have been under-nourished and it is time this Moma steps up to the plate and changes that. 
Let’s not be slaves to this overpriced and unhealthy food that is out there tempting you with time saving convenience… What good is time saving when we are doing nothing but damaging our families… Let’s take control of our lives and start really feeding our families body and soul.

So, if you don’t have the copy of NT… really it is an EXCELLENT purchase!! You can check here to buy your own copy.

Here is the recipe
Salsa the Nourishing Traditions Way
Makes 1 quart
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped chile pepper, hot or mild
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional… but not really)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons of whey (if not available use and additional 1 tablespoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
Mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover the veggies.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to cold storage.
That’s it… easy peasy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall is in the air...

... and with that comes out some of our autumn goodness.
Like this Lazy Days Skirt that I made last year for Carlie, thankfully it will still fit her this year.
I just love this little skirt. I have some of the material left and I think that I will use it for an apron for Moma *me* :)
The sweet lace and the little leaves were some tidbits that I had stashed away and made just the right accents.
Paired with a little cream colored top and tights and my little girl is ready for fall.

Monday, September 13, 2010

To Market, To Market

Last Saturday my family and I ventured into a new area...
The local Farmer's Market.
I woke early on Saturday morning and baked up a storm in our little homestead kitchen.
We didn't sell out, but we sold some, made some connections and had a great time.
Some stitchery.
This one was my favorite. Isn't it adorable? :)
Our little table. I thought it looked so sweet. :)
I dipped some candles and they all sold. Woot!
This was the view across from my table.
It started getting pretty warm and so my bunch went to sit under the tree on a bench. I was able to look over and see all the loves of my life. So special.
Jams, Jellies and a little treat for stopping by.

Thank you for stopping by too!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I love my lifestyle.
I know it's not for everyone, but I adore it.
The only thing I would like better is if we were off a bit more by ourselves, with woods and land and no neighbors. :)
Not that ours are bad or anything, but I would like a bit more seclusion.
A little cabin tucked away.  *sigh*
A woodstove to keep us warm in the winter.
A big garden that we work and eat from every day.
Animals that provide us meat, eggs and dairy.
A big ole clothesline...
An orchard and vineyard.

This has been my dream for a long time now.
I see us moving toward that dream and it excites me.
We are making steps.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and may you keep on dreamin too. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

::Learning to Dance in the Rain::

I adore the quote...
Life is not about waiting on the storm to pass...
But instead, learn to dance in the rain.

Lately, this has been something very present in my mind.

Like I have told you before, Shannon lost his job over 2 weeks ago. Still no direction on a job, no job offers even. We are continuing to pray.

Labor Day weekend around here brings a long 50+ mile yard sale. The sale begins Thursday and ends on Labor Day Monday.
I set up last year and this year did the same.
My sister set up with me this  year, I don't know that I could ever go it alone again... it was so nice having her company each day! :)

On Friday, we were set up and everything was going along nicely when we received a call. My Mom's husband Alan fell from a 2 story house that he was building (he is a carpenter) and was being rushed to the hospital. 
We were not given ANY information other than that. 
It was awful.
I just began to pray and call to see what I could find out.

A few moments later the phone rang again and we were told that he would have to go to a different hospital for trauma.
The horror that swept through us was unimaginable. 

We had so many things set up at the yard sale, it was very busy and there was no way it could be operated by one person.

Finally... many hours later we find out that he has a broken shoulder, a broken forearm, 2 broken vertebra, all his ribs were broken on his left side, and there was a pocket of air that was trapped between his lung and his chest on his left side. 
Alan has had several back surgeries in the past and this was terrifying. 

It could have been SO much worse. He fell head first landing on his head and left shoulder.
He could have been paralyzed.
He could have had brain damage.
He could have died.

But Praise be to God that he was spared.

I'm not making light of the injuries that he has endured. They are serious and he has a LONG recovery ahead.... but I am so thankful that  it wasn't any worse.
I would very much appreciate your prayers for him.

All that being said, I felt guilty of posting... I felt like I couldn't share all the happy, happy, joy, joy posts that so many enjoy reading. 

This afternoon we had a glorious rain shower. It was only an hour or so before we had to leave for church. 
*I* would NEVER allow my children to go play in the rain when they just had their bath, it was only an hour till AWANA... I would have to do more laundry.

but... they knew Daddy was the one to ask...
And he did let them play in the rain.

I felt terrible.

Why am I not more fun?

So, instead of being so caught up in work and hurry.
I walked out on the porch, sat down with my camera and enjoyed the beauty of my children dancing in the rain.

I got to catch these sweet little glimpses.... 
A big sister's encouragement

A tender moment between sisters.
So... what all does this have to do with each other?

Sometimes I get wrapped up with 'doing'.... 
More often I need to be busy just 
Not waiting on the storm to pass, but seeing what joy lies during the storm.
What beauty is waiting to be seen.
What lessons can be learned.
And how to dance in the rain, too.

Love to you my friends.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Budding Photographer

Cameo has a love of photography.
She adores setting up props and her siblings for pictures. Sometimes the pictures can be quite humorous. :)
The rest of the gang are usually more than willing to do whatever she asks of them because they enjoy getting their picture taken.... most of the time.
I enjoy seeing what she has come up with. I am impressed with many of them and I think these three are really cute. I am excited to see her enthusiasm growing and finding what she really likes!

Here are a few of her latest pictures of Abram.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Around the Homestead

Some pictures of things happening around here lately.

Big Sister giving Little Brother a 'mohawk'. He was so excited. :)
New life bursting out around the corners of our home.
 New/Old fencing going up. Hurrah!
I believe Papa New Guinea has found himself a new Mama. :)
Siblings being friends. *love*
Mamie and I spending a little time together. :)