Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yummy Cranberry-Apple Recipe

                                   8 Tbs butter (I used unsweetened, organic applesauce)
2 eggs (fresh from Philbrick's Dude Ranch are the BEST)
3/4 C sugar (I used honey)
rind of 1 orange, grated
1 C orange juice (I didn't have any so I squeezed the juice out of the grated orange and added water to meet the measurement)
2 C flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
3-4 peeled and chopped apples
1 C cranberries, cut in half
Melt and cool butter.  Whisk eggs and add to butter.
Add sugar (honey), orange juice, and rind. 
Add flour, b powder, soda, spices, apples and cranberries.
Fill greases muffin pans.
Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 min.
Makes 2 dozen.

These freeze super well!!  I put 2 in a plastic baggie and threw them in the freezer.  Now Mark can grab two every morning for his snack at school.  If I don't put them in the freezer, other little men eat them all! :)
I think I'll go have one with some sleepy time tea.

Tincture Time

Because Mark works with kids all day, he tends to be around sickness often.  He's brought/shared many different sicknesses with us (how nice!). 

This past Friday, Mark came home early from work (he didn't do windows) and went right to bed.  He got the lovely bug that's going around at his school.

Before he hit the hay, he asked me where the tincture was.  I was mad, I hadn't made any yet.  I should of had some ready for my fella.  So I loaded him up with the vitamins we had and watched him march off to bed.  When he woke up at supper time, I fed him some "soup" I made.  Man, he reeked the rest of the night from it!  It was mostly garlic and onions.

So this afternoon, I got my herbs out and made some tincture.  It should be ready in 3-4 weeks, I just hope no more sickness hits the house!

I measured out the herbs and put them in a gallon jar.

Then I added enough vodka to cover the herbs.  The jar is safely put away in the cupboard until they're done seeping.  The herbs need to soak for 3-4 weeks in a dark place.

These are the herbs in this batch of tincture:

Red Clover- a blood purifier
Echinacea- infection fighter and is used as a powerful natural antibiotic
Alfalfa- called the King of plants beacause it is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals
Rose Hips- much vitamin C and infection fighter
Bilberry- ( I added this one mostly because I knew it was good for the eyes but there is a big list of things it helps)
Mullein- used in respiratory problems,  loosens mucus and expels it out of the body

Once the herbs are done soaking, I'll strain them and put the liquid in a canning jar and store it in the cupboard with all our vitamins.  As we start to feel illness coming, we'll take a tablespoon of tincture.  This has really helped prevent sickness in our home.

The How to Herb Book: Let's Remedy the Situation

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pass the Hammer, Please

I had a large list for today.  I like to have a list and try to get it all done.

First thing was to move two trees and plant them by the back patio.  Our large maple tree that shaded that area in the past, died and we really noticed a difference this summer without it.  It'll be many years before the two I planted today produce the same amount of shade.

Next was to get the hammer and my good knife.  I got some turnip yesterday and wanted to get it cooking.

I have to use a hammer to cut through it

Since the woodstove is going today, I thought it would be a good time to do them.  My mouth is watering just smelling it, I simply LOVE turnip!

The fruit and vege stand that I buy our fall produce from closed this past week.  I went there the last day it was open and got lots of deals. 
She sold me a large box of squash for $11.  The boys all love squash so I steamed them all today and got it all in the freezer.

I also bought some cranberries from the stand.
I have a muffin recipe and I only make the muffins in the fall.  I decided since I was going to be in the kitchen most of the morning, I'd make them too.  They're a bit of work (lots of different cutting) but they're so worth it. 
Some baked goods I make knowing they're not the best for our health, but at least I know what's in them.
These muffins are not like those.  I enjoy seeing the boys eat them, knowing all the ingredients are good for them.

They also pass Mark's bread test.  He read somewhere, "The whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead."  I often hear him quoting that to the boys about not eating white flour.  I can't believe how much he's changed since we were first married :)

They were some honkin' apples!

It creates tons of dishes and a full freezer for winter :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Waders and Guitars

Jordan started taking guitar lessons from a man in our church many years ago.  The man is an older gentleman and recently had eye surgery.  The problems with his eyes caused him to have to quit giving lessons.  He's such a sweet man; he told me this with tears in his eyes.  He loved giving Jordan lessons and told me again and again how talented Jordan is.

I was burdened about this, as I wanted Jordan to keep taking lessons. 

The Lord answered prayers and provided a teacher for Jordan.
I have SO enjoyed hearing him strumming again in his room.  The sound of guitar is so pleasing!
His teacher suggested him buying a classical guitar.  Jordan's guitar was my Uncle Al's guitar.  Uncle Al tried and tried to learn but finally gave up and passed the instrument on.

Side note on Uncle Al:  Uncle Al is my Dad's little brother.  Uncle Al never got married (yet, he still hopes to someday) and he's always been like an older brother for my sisters and me!  We always LOVED when Uncle Al came over, knowing the time with him would be nothing but FUN!  I have SO many childhood memories with him- trips together, Yodels, Starburst candy, bike rides, sliding on the pond, swimming, fishing,countless games,  etc and etc!  My childhood, right into my adult years have been blessed with times with Uncle Al.  Now my boys enjoy the same memories that I got to make with Uncle Al!  We're so blessed to have the best Uncle in the world!

The guitar Jordan was using wasn't a classical guitar.  I'm learning all about this as we go.  Classical guitar is more plucking rather than strumming. 
So we began looking on line.  This was useless; we had no clue between a good guitar and a poor guitar.
Yesterday before lessons, we stopped into the shop where Jordan has his lessons.  We talked to the owner of the store and he pointed out a good guitar. 
I know this was a huge decision as Jordan is very tight/wise with his money!  He's not one to spend money needlessly.  He wears his shoes until there's not much left to them, finds ways to fix things instead of buying new, and puts his money right into the bank.  Yet, he's very generous, giving money to his brothers for their Birthdays and buying special gifts for them.

So when the man told the price,  I was curious to hear Jordan's answer.  Would he continue working with what he had or spend money to expand his talent (he really needed a classical guitar to advance with these lessons)?   He said without hesitation that he wanted to buy it. 
We ran over to the bank, while the owner put new strings on the guitar, and got the needed funds.

As soon as we got home, I could hear the new strings being plucked!  I just love hearing the sound of it!

Brendan was also showing off his new purchase.  Uncle Al is coming this weekend to take the boys salmon fishing and these are his new waders!

Never a dull moment in this fun-house! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knitted Hat for Lillie

I'm so excited!  I finished it!

Last year I knitted a hat for my niece Violet and her brother Levi.  It was so rewarding to see pictures of her wearing that hat!  My sister said she wore that hat tons! 

Violet and her horse Misty

After you've spent so much time working on a piece (and invested the money into it!  I was shocked to see how much yarn could cost for one item.  I picked out yarns for a hat and the yarn totalled $35!  For ONE hat!  I found cheaper yarn for that hat!), you want to be sure it's used.

I saw the perfect hat I wanted to attempt for Violet's sister Lillie.  Lillie is just one year old, so this one would be perfect!  BUT it looked VERY hard to me!  My knitting friend and teacher taught me how (she stayed with me a week this past Sept  and spoke me through all the directions, confident that I could do it!  Yikes,, I didn't think I could but tried it).

Yippee!!  I finished it,, can you tell how happy I am?!?! 
I so wanted to learn to knit and this helps me think I can do it! 
My goal is to knit some socks; I think I'll attempt a pair after Christmas.

I told the model I would not show his face to hide his identity :)  How awful to be in a GIRL'S hat! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday Routine

For some reason, Mondays get a bad rap.  I enjoy Mondays!

Usually the house is a total mess on Monday but I like getting back into the routine of the week.

This past weekend was especially bad on the house.  Friday afternoon I was gone all day.  Saturday morning we were all frantically getting things done and getting things ready for a teen activity.  Mark's the youth leader and we had a big activity planned for the afternoon.  I was making desserts, getting supplies together and keeping track of all my lists.  Sunday we went to church but didn't come home between meetings.  We went to the nursing home in between so decided to have lunch at the church building.  Our home is 1/2 hour away so it wasn't possible to come home, eat and be on time to the nursing home.

Once we got home late Sunday night, everything was unloaded from the van and the house was a mess! So I had loveliness to wake up to!

Laundry is the biggest job on Monday.  Showers are taken by all on Saturday (every day for the older fellas) so there's always more laundry from the weekend.  I also try not to do any on the weekend for a slight break.

 I was doing laundry and got side-tracked setting up for Luke's Birthday.  We have Birthday decorations and when I set the table cloth out, I decided I wanted to add some more to it.  I got my fabric scraps out and cut out the words and sewed them on!  I just love doing things like this and the younger boys are always so excited when the fun stuff comes out!
I made the table cloth this summer and Titus and Addan put their hand prints down the sides.  You can't see them unless you're sitting down at the table so I wanted to add more to be seen on the top.  I still need to add more to the middle and will probably finish it at the next Birthday. 
What a fun Monday night as we celebrated Luke's 10th year with us!  Oh, the fun the table cloth will share with us; if it could only talk and tell of the laughter and yummy meals shared together for each special Birthday!
 The teen activity was a great success!  We had about 40 teens there and almost half were visitors.  Mark spoke a GREAT message on Samson.  Many decisions were made and one teen girl sweetly asked Jesus to be her Savior.  Such a blessing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mango Memories

This month at our church is a special month.  Each Sunday School class is a fruit.  The theme of the month is the Fruit of the Righteous.  Points are given to each class for visitors, verses said, spirit, Bible brought, etc. 

Jordan and Brendan are in Mark's class.  Their fruit is mangos.  They're both into this.  I love seeing them get so excited about the simple things in life. 

 Jordan bought two packs of t-shirts and got the paints out.  He got Brendan to help and wrote the letters M A N G O on each shirt.  He's going to have each of the boys wear a shirt and shout their cheer.

I sat in the other room while listening to them chatter together.
"Jordan, is this song in a minor key?"  (Commenting about a Christmas carol being played on the CD player)
"I can't wait til Sunday!"
"We should...."  (endless ideas being chattered about). 

These are the best memories!  Unplanned but yet so memorable!
I love our home!  What a fun day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now Presenting the Letter G

This week is the letter G for Addan ( actually it's been the last two weeks, last week was a shorter week for school so I contiuned it into this week.  God is good!  Addan couldn't seem to get this letter, so the extra week was a huge blessing and it wasn't even planned!). 

Addan is not a quick learner.  We've had a few of those and the extra time to learn the letters always balances out in the long run.  I can just double up or go quicker on other things to get him caught up to his grade.  So many huge blessings of home educating.  I can't imagine how some of our boys would keep up with the quick learners in a large classroom setting.  I was not a quick learner and I remember always being sent to the "dumb" table (as we students called it!).  I couldn't understand how all those other kids knew that a circle with a little tail was an "a".  Of course, I eventually caught up but the humiliation of sitting at that table every day is not forgotten!!!

Brendan was also not quick at learning the letters and their sounds but he's our best reader and you can always find him reading!  So I know once the letters are finally learned and the facination of jumping into a book is caught, my fears can be put aside!

Today Addan made a Gratitude mobile.  I cut some leaves out and had him write things he's grateful for on each leave.

It's so cute seeing the things he's grateful for come out of his little head.

The letter F was fun too!  On Friday we had our Fabulously FUN meal together.  We had finger foods, fruit, and French fries!  What a Fantastic way to spend a Friday as a Family!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ladies' Conference Blessing

This last weekend I went with six other ladies from our church to a conference.  The ladies that went weren't ladies that I normally am around.  One is a recent widow, one recently joined our church family and I hadn't gotten to know her to well yet, another moved to our area so her husband could start a printing ministry in our church, two were teen girls and the other was our dear Pastor's wife.  Going away like that helps you really get to know other people.  I am very thankful to have gotten the chance to know these ladies a bit better.

The speaking was excellent.  I asked the Lord to give me one specific truth (verse) to encourage me with. 

The theme of the conference was, When Life Gives You Lemons.  The main speaker adressed 4 lemons women face:  Meekness, Modesty, Manual Labor and Misery.  I enjoyed each session!

The encouraging verse the Lord gave me was during the Manual Labor lesson.  It was not the main point or main Scripture but it really encouraged me!

As having been  part of so many different churches in my life, you always tend to hear different things stressed by each Pastor.  Each seem to have their own "hobby horse".  I'm not saying this is bad but just something I've observed.  I found it especially true as to their opinion of the woman's role. 

I have very strong opinions on what I feel I should be doing Bibically and very rarely do you hear it spoken on or encouraged.  I'm not looking for that, just something I've observed.  So I need to be sure what I'm doing is what HE wants me to do and not any man. 

The verse the Lord gave me was from I Timothy 5.  The chapter begins by talking about widows and how the church should handle widows.  Then in verse 10 it says, "Well reported of for good works;  if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, is she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, is she have diligently followed every good work."

This is what the Lord wants for women to be doing!  I never noticed this verse before but it is such a completer to the Titus 3 woman.  If she did these things mentioned during her younger years, the church could then take care of her.  Wow!  I'd say these were very specific things the Lord wants to see in my life.  I foud them very encouraging!

Friday, October 15, 2010

On "Philbrick" Mountain

I remember an episode of the Waltons when they were being their mountain was being "invaded".  I think the land was being logged.  That's how I'm starting to feel.

Big, loud dump trucks are going by, all day, every day for the last week. 

The area around us has natural gas underneath us!  The gas drillers and drainers have figured this out and are starting to invade our land and pump all the expensive liquid from under our ground.  I'm not opposed to it but it sure has made a difference in our little dirt road!

Before this started, I could count how many cars went by in a day on my two hands!  Now I hear a dump truck every couple minutes. 

This is one going down, it's real loud when they put their brakes on!

This is the road in front of our home,, going up the hill.  The trucks are going up with loads of dirt and crushed rock.

 This is where they're headed.  It's the farm at the top of the hill/mountain. 

This is the left side of the picture above.  They put a road behind the farm buildings and that goes onto the pad they built.  It's huge!

I wonder how the farmer's milk cows feel about all this change.

It makes me smile.  Last night while I was fixing supper, Addan ran outside.  A few seconds later, I heard the "beep beep" from the dump truck.  He loves going out there, standing at the end of the driveway with his skinny arm waving up and down getting the drivers to beep!  The boys love the trucks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Busy Kitchen for 10

 Welcome to our cozy kitchen!  It wasn't always this way!  These are the before pictures!

The first month we were here, we painted the dark paneling a brighter yellow to make due. 
After much looking and picking exactly how I wanted to do our kitchen, we began the project.  I put a few kitchens together that I liked.  I got my ideas from Country Sampler magazine.

We tore all the paneling off the walls and put new walls up.  Then we painted the walls.

Mark taking the old paneling down.

The guys hanging the cupboards back up.

It's starting to look a little better.

Next we painted all the bottom cupboards and new doors.

Once the painting and work was done to the walls, we started the floor.  Again, I found a picture of a floor I liked and we tried to do it like that one.  The boys did all the work, I'm so thankful for them!
Some of the floor was rotted underneath, so Jordan cut it all out and replaced it before we could start putting on the new flooring.
Starting to lay the wood boards down.
This is the kitchen now.  This is the room I probably spend the most time in.  Our boys love to eat and I enjoy cooking/baking so it's a nice team we have.  :) 
This is the where we eat together each night.  We sit and relax and listen to Mark share about his day in school or his window jobs.  It seems alot of talk is about sports.  The boys reminiscing about plays in their softball games or games out in the field.  Would be so interesting to see what it would be if there were 8 daughters around the table!

This is directly behind me from where I was standing to take the picture of  the dining room side.  It's basically one big room with the door to enter right in the middle. 

I love having the window above the sink.  I can look out and see my gardens and beyond that the swings where the younger boys often play!  I just love how the kitchen turned out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Swing Sets and Honey

I've learned over time and much stubborness, that listening to my husband is best!

When we lived in Virginia, I did daycare in our home.  I was able to help our income and stay at home with my young boys.  Our first two homes, were rented.  Rent was so high, we decided to buy a home and the mortgage was less than our rent.  The only problem was, the price of house we could afford was usually a HUGE fixer-upper.  My husband is semi-handy but these were major projects!

The Lord provided us a home and we totally gutted it out and hired someone to fix it up for us.  One HUGE plus for me was that the house had a big yard.  It was very big for that area and it was totally fenced in.  I loved it! 

Once spring came, I got the urge to get a swingset for our yard.  I was determined to get one.  The only problem, Mark didn't want us to get one.  I tried and tried to talk him into it, "I'll use "my money" from daycare" ,  "It's a write off for my business",  "The boys NEED a swingset", etc.  We had a tree with two swings and he felt that was enough.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I wanted a REAL swingset!

I even went to the store and picked one how, but HOW was I going to sneak it past him?  I am REAL stubborn!

Then a few months later, due to church/school changes (Mark worked at a Christian school that was also part of the church we attended), we had to move.  We put our "brand" new house on the market!  It was so bittersweet.  We lived in it for a few months with EVERYTHING in it brand new and how we liked!  But we knew we needed to move on.

It hit me, we could never have brought a swingset with us.  We were moving to Michigan, living in a tiny two bedroom apartment on the second floor.  It would of been money spent on something we would of left behind!  God is so good!  Why was I being so stubborn?!?

I've seen it happen again and again in the years we've been married.  My stubborness to get my way and the Lord using Mark to protect me.

Since we've started eating better, I've always had the "itch" to keep bees.  When we lived in Maine, I wanted to get them.  God spared me from getting into it, we moved from there too. 
I've thought about it some while we've lived here.  There are many obstacles here.  One being bears, but I've seen people put electric fence up for that.

This past week, while at Shiloh in upstate NY, we stopped at a stand to buy some honey.  I went inside and the beekeeper was giving a tour of his bee business. Perfect timing!  I asked and asked tons of questions.  It seemed totally overwhelming to me!!  Yet I also had the urge to learn and get into it. 

Later that night,  I brought it up again to Mark.  He kindly said to me,  "You lack one thing"  (Great, I thought, now what?!),,, "time."    He just really reminded me how limited my time is right now to learn another hobby and keep up with another project.  I felt so relieved inside.  I WANT to keepbees and maybe make some extra money from it, but reality is that I'd probably spend alot more than I'd make right now.    The beekeeper we visited sold a 5 gallon bucket of honey for $100.  That is alot less than what I'd have to spend to get started and not near as time consuming!

I'm so thankful for a husband who looks out for us!  Now I need to just learn not to be so stubborn! :)