Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thankful Can

Each Thanksgiving day, we have a can or box with a stack of paper next to it.  Some time during the day, you write something/someone you're thankful for. 

After the meal and all the clean up is done, we all gather in the living room and read the thankful notes.

This is always a special time.

Tears are often shed, laughter is heard and sweet memories are made.

These made me hold back tears.....

This one made everyone laugh!
Such a wonderful day together!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kitchen Helpers

Proverbs 31:15
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household,  and a portion to her maidens.

I've heard much teaching on the Proverbs 31 woman.  What a great lady to have as a goal.
This verse above was pointed out to me and it really made me think.  It also made my husband think.  He's so sweet.  
This lady had maidens.  These were probably ladies that lived with her or were hired by her to help her.  
Not having daughter to help me or hired maidens, my fella has been so good about making sure my kitchen is well equipt.  He knows all the help will lessen my load and feed us all well.

These are a few of my favorite kitchen "helpers".  Of course,  this is not a complete list.  I'm very thankful for a refrigerator, two freezers, the oven, running water into a sink and the dishwasher!!!  We lived here for a year without the dishwasher and that year without made me so appreciate having it! 
This is more a list of gadgets and tools. 

The Nutri Steamer

I use this juicer for all our jellies and juices.  The steamer is great for steaming veges.  I used this when I made applesauce, pumpkin, and veges with our meals.  But the part of this great set I use the most is the bottom pan.  I probably use this 3-4 times a week!  I use it for soups, stir-fry meals,  and stews.  It's a great size for our family.

Man, look how cute they were! 

Pampered Chef Stones

Our family loves pizza!  Thankfully I learned how to make it.  My first few attempts were horrible.  I found the stones make the crusts great.  I also use these stones for cookies and bars.  They clean well and aren't bad for you like aluminum pans are.

Crock Pot
Each Saturday night I get our meal for Sunday together.  We love coming home Sunday after the church meeting and enjoying a hot meal.  When we open the door, the air smells sooo good!  These are great time savers!
I also use the crock pot to make our broth from the chicken carcuses.  I fill the pot with water, add spices and the bones and let it simmer over night.  Yummy, healthy broth for the soup. 
We have three crock pots and a big roasting size pan.  Sometimes I have 3 crocks going at once. 

A good, sharp Knife

This is my favorite knife.  Because we have alot of meals with chopped veges, this tool comes in handy often!

When we were first married, we lived in Virgina.  We had some close friends there and brought them to Amish country.  On the way to the shops, we stopped at some yard sales.  My fella  picked up this knife at one of the sales.  He always finds things I don't tend to even notice.  I look more at toys and clothes. 
I thought the knife was an odd thing to pick up but I'm so thankful he did!  I use it constantly!!!

Garlic Press and Slicer
I use lots of garlic in our meals.  I grow it all so I know it's very healthy (no poisons). 
The tool on the left slices the garlics.  First I take a clove, put it on the counter, and push it real hard with the palm of my hand.  This loosens all the peels.  Once peeled, I put the cloves into the tube part and turn.  The garlics cut on the sharp blades. 
The press is great for smaller/minced garlic pieces. 
These two tools are both from Pampered Chef also.

Kitchen Aid Mixer
Baking is so much quicker with this mixer.  I can throw the goods in and let it whirl!
Fluffy white frosting takes minutes to whip up.  I remember standing there for what seemed  forever waiting for the peeks to stand,,,, now just put it in and pull the lever.  It does all the work!

Ruthie licking the fluffy white frosting.  She always did all the traditional angel food cakes for Thanksgiving, we'll miss her SO much this year!!!

Cast Iron Frying Pan and Griddle

Every morning, some of us have fried eggs.  The frying pan gets used lots!  Cast iron is good because it doesn't leave bad metal in your food but actually leaves good minerals in your food.  Once the pan is seasoned well, it cleans in a jiffy.
We also have a large cast iron griddle for pancakes and grilled sandwiches.

Mill and Mixer

This is the Whisper Mill (what a joke, it's anything but a whisper!!).  We couldn't eat vitamin filled bread without this mill.  Flour loses all it's vitamins after a couple days of sitting.  There are very little vitamins left in flour once it's been sitting on the shelf.  The best time to use flour is within 24-48 hours of milling.

That brings me to the next item,
the Bosch Mixer.
This mixture is what I use to make all our bread.  It also has a spot on it for a blender.  See the spot on the right, that's where the blender goes.  This blender is super!  Ice gets chopped up quickly in it.  Smoothies are great made by it.
I make our salad dressing  and mayonnaise using the blender attachment.

Cory Coffee Percolator
This makes the BEST, hot coffee!  My fella likes his coffee HOT and I like the taste of this the best.
I can only find these on Ebay.

I have found, living in a house of  men/boys, that they like to eat!  No, I mean LOVE to eat!
When I was a kid, I looked forward to supper.  Sitting together and sharing our meal together brought great memories.
But with males, it's different.  They enjoy the FOOD.  I hear "What's for supper?" oodles of times each day.
OOOh's and AAhhh's are heard when favorites are planned.  Plates are licked, pans scraped and bellies are rarely full!
When the plate is empty, then the nice conversation can start.

I have learned to make LOTS of food and enjoy doing it. It's going to be my task for many days, so I have found it to be a joy to get the most reaction our of each meal.

"Thanks Mom, that was good!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Call To Gratitude

On October 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving,  calling the nation to observe a "day of Thanksgiving and Praise."   This proclamation eventually led to the establishing of our national day of Thanksgiving.

The document began by listing multiple blessings the nation had experienced through the course of the year, even in the midst of severe conflict.  It called the American people to recognize the Source of those blessings and to respond collectively to the Giver in gratitude, repentance, and intercession.  Here's an excerpt:

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States... to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
And I recommend to them that...they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience... fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, humility, tranquillity and Union.

Set against a background of divisive conflict, our nation's leader in the 1860's was humble enough to know that our nation needed God and needed to be grateful.  This kind of heart is no less needed in our nation today as it was then. 

The call to gratitude goes beyond the church and into every avenue of life.  Pray today for a humble, grateful, repentant spirit to be birthed in our own hearts, and among our leaders at every level.

taken from Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pg 212-213

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Pumpkin Today

I've always wanted to process pumpkin.

I've always heard so much doom and gloom about it that I didn't bother.

Since I got this great mill (thanks Mom for a wonderful Birthday gift!!), I wanted to try to also do pumpkin!  I ordered the pumpkin attachment with great excitement!
You always read in garden books do's and don'ts.  This year I did a don't and learned why.
I planted the squash and pumpkins too close.  My pumpkins sure look weird!  They look a little too zuchini-ish.
I was so bummed as I wanted to try and process them!

But the Lord is good!  Our church had their fall program and they gave out pumpkins!  Each of us got one.  There were 10 to start with.  After the harvest dinner at church, I also got about 10 more! 

So today that was on my list to tackle!

It was rather fun!

First I washed the pumpkins and then quartered them.

I scraped the seeds and stringies out.

Then I put them into the steamer until they were soft.

Into the mill to make the beautiful orange goo!

I cut a piece of cheesecloth and hung the pumpkin goo to hang!

Drip, drip, drip it's been going all day.

I'll let it hang overnight. 

Tomorrow is bread day so I'll add pumpkin bread to the list!  Should be fun! 

Here's what Titus did while I was doing pumpkins!
He was quite excited to show me his name!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grandma's Craft Sale

There's a cozy bed and breakfast in Red Lion, PA.  Each holiday season, the bed and breakfast becomes a festive craft sale.  Beds are moved, furniture rearranged and crafts displayed in every nook and cranny.

This town is right between my sister's and my parents. 
I went "down" this past week and went to Grandma's with Mom and Tonya.  My Dad so graciously watched the kids at a park near by.

This is such a fun holiday tradition!

This is also the sale where I sell my crafts.  Hey look!  There's one of my rugs hanging there!

And there's the pillowcases!

Those are Tonya's gourds on the wooden crate.  Tonya does lots of painted pieces and some jewelry.

There was SO much fun stuff to look at!

What fun family memories! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The New Job

A few years ago, another Mom with boys said this to me,
"If your boys are hard working boys, finding work won't be the problem.  Deciding which job to take will be.  Be sure to be very choosey and wise in your job choices."

This was many years ago and I can still hear it being said to me.

Three years ago, my Aunt Rosey built a home on "our" land.  The man who built it was a contact through Mark's school.  We trust this man. 
While he was up there (it's up the mountain from us.  Our home is build on a side of a big ole' hill) building, Jordan was there often watching and offering his help.

Many times later, Mark would run into this man in town and he would comment about hiring Jordan some day.
Mark saw him again this summer and he made the same comment.

Last night, the contractor called and asked if Jordan could work two hours every morning.  A house is going up right near us.  Mark  asked Jordan how he felt about it.  Today was Jordan's first day of work that wasn't by his Dad.  Ugh, time goes too quickly!

How proud I was to see him working with 4 other men this morning.  I still see the little boy who loved to throw rocks into the pond and throw the ball with his red headed brother. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Biddies Share

A friend loveth at all times. Prov 17:17

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Prov 27:17

The 2008-2009 school  year, I felt burdened to have a Bible study in our home. 

I wanted to especially encourage Mom's with young children, so I invited the ladies who had young school age children in our church to join.  I invited about 12 ladies.  Inside, I was scared spitless to do this.  I have never lead a study and get so nervous speaking in front of people.  Mark kept encouraging me to do it though as he saw and felt my burden.

I was so glad, five ladies committed to coming.  It was a fun group.

*One lady has children our children's ages- from teenagers to toddlers. 

*Another had two young children (she's had another since then).

*One lady moved to our area, leaving all her family behind.  Her husband's job brought them to the area.  What a perfect way for her to meet some ladies, I thought.  She's extremely quiet (that's just the first impression!!!!) so thought this would be perfect for her!

*And another lady had a very scary, touch and go healthy child.  This lady has gone through immense struggles with her daughter's health.  She was pregnant with her second during the year of the study.

*Another lady joined us half way through, so our group grew :)

We studied the book,  God's Pricelss Woman by Wanda Sanseri.

It was a great study to do together.  We all learned so much.
We also formed a friendship that would of never happened if the study hadn't brought us together.

We prayed together, shared our burdens together, challenged eachother, cried together, saw prayers answered together and encouraged eachother through some HUGE struggles in our lives!

God is so good! 
Last night, one of the dear friends had us all over.  Her husband is away on business, so she took advantage of the time. 

I quickly fed the boys and left with games, knitting and snacks in tow. 
We sat at her kitchen table, snacked and snacked while chatting, laughing lots and crying together!
It was commented by us all how that year so needed in our lives!  
God's timing is always perfect, He gives us just what we need, just when we need it!
I stayed out WAY past my bedtime but cherished the time we shared together!

This morning, Luke asked me, "What games did you play?"  I answered, "Oh, we never got to the games, we just talked!"
"Guys, did you here that?  They didn't do ANYTHING!!!" was his shocked reply!

Oh, how we all enjoyed that time not doing anything!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Wicked Windy Out There!

I have to run the older two boys to town this afternoon to meet Mark at a job. 

So I had the goal today to get ALL the laundry washed before we have to leave!  It looks so nice out from inside and there appears to be a nice wind.

Little did I know the wind is also very cold!

So far I have 10 loads briskly flying in the wind.

I did see faint hopes that the sun will shine some time soon.

Only two more loads to go.

I'm going out tonight,  so guess what job I'll leave for the boys.  Aren't I mean?!?!?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rainy Day Thoughts

It must be the rain. 

I've been thinking and remembering different things today.

Little things are triggering my memories.

It started with these laying on the living room floor.

Oh!  Mrs Elliot's flowers!  I had picked them to take to her when she was in the hospital.  Because she was having complications, I couldn't go in and  see her so I set the flowers on the piano when I got home.  They dried so beautifully there.  The silly cat knocked them off in the night.
While I picked them up, I thought of her and her now sad, lonely husband!

Lord, be with Mr Elliot today!
Then while I was working on this

and listening to Luke read his lesson,
I started to hear this...

Ah, Moonlight Sonata.... my sister, Tonya had her bride's maids come down the aisle to this song. 
My little red head also came down the aisle to this song.  He was only 4 then.  I remember Brendan rubbing his belly button as he came down,, this was how he let out his nervousness!  It was so cute!

Hunter, Brendan and Jordan with my sister. Tonya's husband and his nieces and nephew.

Man, this seems like yesterday but it also seems like ages ago.

Now that little red head stands taller than his Mom and his older brother!

Life goes on so quickly.  So neat how sounds and things trigger so many thoughts. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Liver Care

I wanted to make the tincture for my liver.  The article states all the important things your liver does.  Here are just a few: manufactures proteins, forming and secreting bile, absorbs vitamins A, D, E adn K.  It also eliminates the potenially harmful biochemical products produced by the body and detoxifies drugs, alcohol and environmental toxins.

As a child, I got strept throat often.  My parents (knowing no different) put me on antibiotics.  This happened just about every season!  I know my body has been damaged by all the antibiotics.  So I would like to build my liver back to good health. 

The article stated some side affects of an unhealthy liver, so if you're interested, I'd highly suggest reading it.  Also research what your liver does and it's importance to our well-being!

Our God is an awesome Creator!  Every part of our body works together to make a healthy body.  When one part is unhealthy or damaged, the other parts have to "pick up the slack" or function with a damaged "team mate". 

Here are some ways to help your liver:  eating nourishing and organic foods,  avoid chemicals, drink 8 cups of water a day, taking/eating  nourishing anti-oxidants, and using purifying herbs and foods.  Avoiding chemicals is a huge one!  Read the list of ingredients in most things we eat.  I heard it said, "If it's something our great grandparents wouldn't of used, we shouldn't be eating it."  There are so many chemical additives in everything!  Preservatives are put in tons so the shelf life is longer but it's killing our health!

I ordered the herbs listed in the article and they came in yesterday!  I'm so excited to make some tincture that will be used just to build my liver into good health!

The coconut oil is not for the tincture, just our household uses :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Floor Musings

Every afternoon, when the books are closed and the kitchen is closed (the few short minutes that happens each day!), I quickly grab a broom and sweep the kitchen and family/school room floors.  It's not a deep cleaning but a tidying up cleaning.  Funny, just having that little bit done, I feel relaxed about a clean house.

My Mom is a clean floor fanatic!  The joke was that during the Y2K talk, Mom was going to go crazy if she couldn't vaccum!  She was going to have to stock up on brooms, about 100 of them so her floors would be neat and clean! :)

After I get the edges and under the table in the kitchen, I sweep in front of the door.  You have to enter our home right into the kitchen.  Right now, leaves are constantly brought in and they can crumble and leave a big mess.  I laugh inside, as I sweep up the pile.  Mom is always amazed at how much I can sweep up in a day (or hour).  "I never get this much dirt all week", is always her comment.

From the kitchen, I head into the family room.  That is where the woodstove is.  That is burning right now so there is always another pile, right around the stove.  The wood pieces and ashes create so much dirt and mess!  When I sweep that pile up, I close my eyes to the dust flying from the dustpan!  If you could only see how much dusting that ALWAYS needs to be done!  Bad confession here, I only dust when we have company coming or it gets super bad.  About once a month :)   My boys could care less about a sparkling trinket so why bother!?!?! 

So funny, how just doing that little chore each day makes me think of Mom and the hard worker she is!  I'm so thankful for a godly Mother in my life!