Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hats and Good Wives

I don't know why I do this!
I started yet another knitting project!
I have a poncho I've started awhile ago,
another pair of socks started,
a dish cloth started,
and I started a hat last night!

I do have reasons for it.
The poncho is a HUGE project and it gets overwhelming.
The sock is to the part that I need quiet to do it without mistakes.

AND most of all, I just love doing hats!
I'd like to make each of the boys a hat for their stockings next year,
so I grabbed the yarn I'd like to use and started
a fun hat last night.  I can do them without too much extra thinking.
That is why I love doing hats!
Our boys wear hats for at least 6 months of the year too!

I just finished The Preacher's Bride.
It was SO good! I really enjoyed it.  The main character Elizabeth
was quite the woman.
I didn't realize it until I was all done and read the Author's Note
in the back, that the book was written based on the
life of John Bunyan's wife.
John Bunyan is one of history's great heroes of the faith.
He is the auther of Pilgrim's Progress.
It was written about the woman who stood by his side and helped shape
him into the hero we all know and love.

It was inspiring to me to be a wife that stands for right and
one who stands by her man!

Am I the only one, or do you too have many knitting projects going?
How many do you have? :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Free Pile

Last week the electric company was trimming all the brush and trees
that came close to the wires. 

All that noise was a distraction to my little gang!

Chain saws, machines, men working!

It was also a distraction to me!!
I could hear that wood chipper grinding up that brush and branches
into some nice mulch.
I so wanted that stuff!
Can't you see all my gardens nicely dressed with those wood chippings?!

The only problem, I'm way to chicken to ask those guys.
So, I begged and pleaded with Jordan to go ask.
The two chipping men were on lunch break, eating in their truck.
Jordan ran up to the truck and told them his Mom wanted
to know if she could have their chippings. 
They willingly agreed to give them to the young man's Mom once
they were done.  They said it would probably be the next day.

That night we got about 10 inches of snow. 
The chippers didn't return the next day.

Well, they came back today. 

Early this afternoon, a nice pile was dumped at the end of the driveway.

Every time I look out the window and see the pile, I envision the woodsy smelling
being spread all over the many gardens in the yard.

God is so good with His special blessings each day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Boy's Room- GROSS!

While growing up, I cleaned many bathrooms!
My Dad is a camp director of an inner-city camp.
Kids from Philadelphia, Lancaster and York, PA came out every week of the
summer and every weekend of the school year.

I started working there when I was almost 15.
Every Sunday after the kids would leave camp, the bathrooms had to be cleaned.
(Or on Friday during the summer week camps.)

My sister also worked at camp with me.
We'd both barter jobs so as not to get the bathroom job!

"Come on, I'll sweep and mop the WHOLE cafeteria and you do the
boy's bathroom!"
"NO WAY!  I did it last time!"

or something like that!

I also cleaned the cabins each week after the campers left.
The beds were wiped down, floors swept and mopped, aaaannnndddd
the bathrooms cleaned!
I could end up cleaning 10 bathrooms that week and the week after
and the week after that.
Needless to say,  I have lots of practice on bathroom clean up!

It always amazes me how quickly our bathroom at home gets untidied!
All those years of practising and I still stand in
awe when I go in there.

I JUST cleaned this room and how did it get looking like this SO

Uht-oh!  Someone didn't put their toothbrush in their basket!
And why is there a gun in here?
Did the enemies chase him into here before brushing his teeth?

I know, he laid down his weapon while
he shaved!

And look at the trash!
"Quick, take the last bite of an apple before I jump into the shower!"

After a quick picking up and cleaning up,
it's as good as new.

No more toothpaste behind the toilet,

I can't even imagine HOW it got there!!!

No more Yankees hats on my towel hook.

No- now it's all neat and clean.
But for how long, is the question!!

Now, I want you to notice this...

It looks like a regular Bath and Body soap bottle.
I love this thing.
It foams up soap so you don't have to rub to get nice suds.
But this is not Bath and Body soap inside.

Smelly products are still such a temptation to me.
I love the sweet smell on your hands after washing with it.
But I know all the chemicals seeping into the skin are bad.

My Mom was recently here for a visit.
She was given a gift of different kinds of lotions.
She offered them to me.
I asked why she didn't want them (I knew why but wanted to be
sure she didn't really want them).
"Since I've had skin cancer, I don't want to put any more chemicals
on my skin" was her reply.

(I ended up giving the lotions away.)

It is so important what we put on our skin.
It goes into your body  right through our skin.

So in that foaming dispenser is this...

Dr Bronner's Magic Soap
Pure-Castile Soap

The first ingredient in both soaps in water.

The Bath and Body soap has  17 ingredients after water.
I can't even say most of them.  I know Red-40 is listed (which is very bad for you!),
all kinds of perservatives, and another is
Xanthan Gum (which is a corn product that is bad- saw that on Food Inc).

The Castile Soap has 7 ingredients.
Organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, organic
jojoba oil, organic peppermint oil, citric acid and Vitamin E.
I can say all these and actually recognize what they are.

The  Castile soap smells good and fresh from the peppermint.
It lathers great in the soap bottle.
And it is so much more economical.
Just a few drops (maybe 5-8) and the rest is water.
I fill this soap dispenser about every other week.

I've had this bottle of Castile for about a year and you can hardly tell I've used it!
I also use it for cleaning.
Smells good and cleans great!
I know what is going in the air and into my body as I use it.

Now if I could only keep the bathroom clean and weapon free!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crocheted Springtime

I'm so excited!  I figured these out.  Won't they be cute
on a little hat or sweater?!? 

What are you learning to create?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Handprints of our Boys

When the Lord made it clear it was time to leave Maine
almost 8 years ago, we began our search for the next adventure.
We put our home on the market and went to the
internet find our home.
We had certain things we were really looking for.

Location:  We decided since my parents live in PA, we'd begin
our search there.

Size:  My husband really wanted land.  Land for the boys to roam. 
  Land for privacy.  Land for building on.
A piece of land to call our "own."

Home:  Something adequate to fit our growing family of the male species.

Affordability:  We wanted an area that wasn't super expensive to live.
My fella knew he wanted to start a family business so this was also
important.  Would the area be able to support the business?
Was the area thriving enough to start work?

My fella began searching the real estate listings on line.
He kept going back to one area. 
Bradford County, PA

There were a few houses on the market that
might work for us.

We loaded our family of 8, headed to southern PA for the weekend
and began our search to start our next adventure.
Our youngest 5 boys stayed with my parents and  Tim came with
us as he was still nursing.
The three of us headed up to Bradford County, met our agent
and began the search.
We looked at around 8 houses.
We finally narrowed it down to two houses.

My fella really liked the house with 30 acres.  It was rather small.
Needed work.  Was very dirty and smelly. 
BUT he liked the fact it had land!
This house also had new windows and siding.

The house we were then living in in Maine was a total
nightmare to heat!  The wind would whip right through the windows
all winter long.  Windows were very important to my fella!

I liked a different house.
This house was much bigger!  It had much more potential
for our growing family!
BUT it only had 9 acres of land and they were all up a steep hill in the back. 
A narrow strip of land.  Not much could be done with it.
This house also had a wood exterior so it would need painting
as up keep and it also needed all new windows.
These were negatives on the list for this house.

That night, my fella and I went back to our motel and
discussed the pros and cons of each house.
Then we decided to stop talking about them and pray individually
and see what we both thought in the morning.

I already knew how he felt.  So it was what I felt
that needed to be decided.
So in the morning, we decided to see if the agent could show us
the smaller house with 30 acres once more.
We did go see it again.
  In the end, we both agreed on this same house.

That seems like such a long time ago, and yet it
seems like yesterday!

Now you can see the boy's hand prints all over our land!

Jordan has left his mark in many places.
He's always loved the outdoors.
When he was 13,  he built a cabin in the back part of  our land.
Now we go back there in the summer and sit by a fire.
What sweet memories!

He built this too.

Now he's begun collecting sap from the maple trees. 

Every morning when he gets home from work,
he runs back to the woods and gathers the sap.

He boils it on the woodstove.

So far, he's gotten about a quart of syrup.
Today the sap has been running well with the sun shining down.
Tomorrow will be another sap boiling day!

I'm so thankful for the Lord's leading.
I'm especially thankful for leading us to our very cozy home
and our GREAT yard for our gang!

Although I love all this
beautiful snow,
I'm very ready to see
the color green!

God's Faithful Hand Leading

For the word of God is quick,
and powerful, and sharper
than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints
and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts
and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

It is so neat to see how the Lord works in many areas of our lives.
When He shows us little glimpses, it is especially
One was recently shared with me and thought it would be
fun to share.

When my fella and I were at college, a guest speaker came.
His name is Tom Farrell.
He is a very good speaker and the Lord has greatly used him.
My fella remembers clearly the message Mr. Farrell spoke.
It was called, "When God Crashes Your Party."
The Lord spoke to my fella through the message.

My fella has also been able to speak similar messages along the way,
hoping to encourage other young people.  The message has had a great impact.

This week at my parent's church, Tom Farrell has
been speaking at their Revival Meetings.
My Dad talked with Mr. Farrell.
Dad shared with him how the Lord really used a message he spoke.
He proceded to tell him about the specific message,
"When God Crashes Your Party" while at the college we
were attending.

Mr. Farrell's eyes light up.  He remembered that very message!
Mr. Farrell speaks all over our country and he remembered that very time!
(This was also 20 years ago!)
Mr. Farrell said he was all set to speak another message
but the Lord told him at the last minute to change his message
and speak the Party Crashing Message.

My Dad thanked Mr. Farrell for speaking that
Mr. Farrell thanked my Dad for sharing with him and was encouraged by
the testimony!
Together, two men could share the blessing of seeing the Lord's
hand clearly at work and how it's continued for many years.
God is so good to give us encouragement along the way!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blueberry Lips

He took some semi-frozen blueberries in a bag
for his snack.

This is how he returned.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Ham, Three Yummy Meals

At least once a week, I hear the comment related
to feeding a family our size.

"WOW!  Must cost a fortune to feed all those boys!"

"I would hate to have your grocery bill!"

"How long is that food going to last?"
and on and on.

Yes, boys DO eat a ton!
Yes, it does cost alot!
and no, the food does not last long in our home!

Because my fella has always been in ministry work,
we've had to spend our money carefully.
We've never been without but we do have to spend our money wisely.

I have tried to live by certain tips that have helped our
money stretch.  One area has been with our food menu.

I only grocery shop once a week.  This is while the boys are taking
music lessons.  So I need to have a plan for each day and do
some preparing the night before.  This also saves
on gas, which is very costly when you drive a 12 passenger van!

I try to stretch food as much as I can.

Here is an example of how I did this with a ham I bought last week.
I don't often buy hams.  Probably three times a year.
But the boys so enjoy ham!
I also try to have our Sunday meal be a bit of a feast for us.
I want everything about Sunday to be a joyful memory for them
Getting up earlier, wearing our best, meeting
with other Christians, serving together and then coming home together
as a family and sharing a special meal together.
This is also the only day I try to always have a dessert. 
We all look forward to that!

So last week I got a ham while out doing the grocery shopping.
The ham was a little over $13.
I secretly hid it in the back of the frig.
I wanted the fun meal to be a surprise.

Saturday night, I peeled the potatoes and got them ready
to be boiled.  I also made a blueberry cake for dessert.
Ugh, the next morning we lost an hour of sleep.
That was hard, I had to get up a bit earlier to boil and mash the potatoes.
But I drug myself down the stairs, turned the burner on and
climbed back into bed for 15 more minutes of sleep.

The mashed potatoes were put in one crock pot.
The ham with some cabbage was put into another crock pot.
So that meal was ham, mashed potatoes, and cabbage in the crocks.
I boiled some broccoli and also served
some chopped, spiced apples I had frozen from the fall.

Monday's meal.

I used my potato slicer and sliced up some potatoes.

Let me explain about the potatoes.
I bought two 50 pound bags of potatoes in the fall.
They were $15 each.
We also grew another 50 pounds.  I try to use them very sparingly.
Once these are gone, that's it until next fall!
Alot of meals we have during the winter months are with brown rice
and that helps stretch the potato supply.
I store them on the top of the cellar stairs.
It's very cool in the cellar.
When I open the door to get them, I do it with much fear!
I'm scared to death of our basement!
It's very creepy. 
There are snakes, spiders, mice, and probably huge
monsters too waiting to attack, I just know it!

 I try to get one of the boys to do this job
but they don't know why.  I know they would truly think I'm a wimp!

I used the leftover meat from the ham,
chunked it,made a white sauce  and added it to the sliced potatoes.
This was a yummy dish of scalloped potatoes.
We used two 9x13's. 
I also had some pickled beets and a green salad with it.

Meal Three

I took the ham bone and boiled it all morning.
It smelt so yummy!
Once that was done, I took the bone out and strained the broth.
I added  chopped potatoes, onions and broccoli.
Once that was well cooked, I added milk. 
I know it would of been alot thicker if I had used cream
but I don't like to make it real fattening. 
  So I just used our 1 percent milk.  I did cut up some chunks
of cheese and melted that in.

I made home made biscuits to go with this meal.
I got HUGE raves and applause from this!
It was a  success with the gang!

Of course, almost each meal gets such praise.
I've learned, men act the way with food as females
act with new shoes, a dozen roses or a new outfit!

Totally excited and much anticipation with each hour that passes
closer to sitting down and putting that first bite into the hatch.
As each dish is carried over to the already set table,
you can almost begin to see the drool running from their lips.
Eyes big with excitement!
Hands loaded with their pronged tool, ready to begin!
Lids lifted, steam rises and so do the cheers!
Again, I feel like a hero!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Matching Skirts and Socks

Every year for Easter, we try to get somewhat matching outfits.
Usually I get or make a new skirt and
we try to find ties for each of the boys to match.
Last year I made my skirt and then had the hardest finding a top to match.

Well, last week while on a date with my fella, we stopped
at Joann's and picked out some fabric for a skirt.
I love it!

I thought we could find bright yellow polo type shirts
for the younger boys and bright yellow ties for the older boys.
I could find a top to match.
Either the bright pink color, yellow or white.

This past Saturday I rode along with my fella and the oldest two
while they went to town to do windows.  They dropped me
off at the store so I could begin the search.
NOT ONE top to match the fabric!
NO yellow shirts!
NO bright pink shirts.  All they had were muted shades of colors.

I'm such a slow learner.  Pick out the top and ties first
and then make my skirt to match that!  So I'm trying plan B.

I made this skirt Monday.  It has alot more colors and I hope
to find a top and ties to match it.

I love how this one is turning out!  Just the
waist band left.  Man, those gathers were "fun".

Last night is when  I usually get the most knitting done.
My fella and I have our "date night" and watch the "fat show", as
it's called in our home.  You might know it as the Biggest Loser.
But our tv wouldn't come in.  I think the cable companies have a scam going
that they steal all the air waves and make us people who won't get cable
have to or we miss our regular watched show.  This is the only show we watch
on television so we won't get cable.
(For many other reasons too!!!)

So I brought out the Pictionary game.  I like playing it but the others don't.
I forced them to play one round with me!  Aren't I mean!!
We had some good laughs. 
Brendan's 101 Dalmations was the best.  It looked like polka-dotted
blobs that were multiplying!

Then we all played a game of Rats.  It's one of the favorites and we can almost
all play.  Although some are still learning, which makes it much
harder for the others trying to bid their hand.

Here's my knitting for this week.  I am so hooked on socks!
I love seeing them form right under the needles.

My fella got this book for me for Christmas.
It's been a very calm read yet just enough interest
to keep me longing each evening to read a chapter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Proud or Humble- What a Challenge!

I read this and thought it was worth posting.
How challenging and thought provoking!


Proud People:
Focus on the failures of others
A critical spirit , fault finding
Independent, self sufficient spirit
Have to prove they are right
Claims rights; have a demanding spirit
Self protective of their time, rights, and reputation
Desire to be served
Desire to be a success
Desire self advancement
Have a drive to be recognized and appreciated
Wounded when they are overlooked
Think of what they can do for God
Feel confident in how much they know
Self conscious
Keep others at arms length
Quick to blame others
Defensive when criticized
Work to protect their own image and reputation
Do not want others to find out about their sin
Have a hard time saying, “I was wrong, please forgive me.”
Tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin
Concerned about the consequences of their sin
Sorry they got caught in their sin
Wait for other to ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding
Compare themselves to others and feel worthy of honor
Blind to their true heart condition
Don’t think they have anything to repent of
Don’t think they need revival, but everyone else does.

Humble People:

Sense their spiritual need
Can forgive much
Esteem others better than self
Recognize their need for others
Yield the right to be right, Meek in spirit
Motivated to serve others
Makes others a success
Desires to promote others
Thrilled God would use them at all
Rejoice when others get lifted up
Know they have nothing to offer God
Humbled by how much they have to learn
Not concerned with self at all
Takes the risk to love
Accept personal responsibility when wrong
Open and humble
What matters is what God knows
Willing to be exposed
Quick to seek forgiveness and admit failure
Acknowledges specific sin
Grieved over the root of their sin
Genuinely repentant
Takes initiative to reconcile
Compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel desperate for His mercy
Walk in the light
Have a heart attitude of repentance
Sense their need for a fresh encounter with God.

Let this mind be in you, which was also
in Christ Jesus:
Who being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon
him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likenss of men:
And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even
the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:2-4

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bone's Burn

Poor Bones.
He was warming up this morning and he
got too close to the woodstove.

How often have we warned and told them not to get so close.
Some of life's lessons are learned the hard way.
But how it breaks your heart as a mother to
see your child in pain. 

We ran the burn spot under cold water.
Then I broke a piece of aloe plant and smeared the clear
goo from the plant all over it.
I kept asking Bones how it felt.

He said the "stuff" made it not hurt anymore.
It's a pretty good sized burn and I know how badly burns
hurt, having burnt myself many times on that very stove!
Poor fella!

Thankyou Lord for your healing plants you give to us.

My sister posted on aloe's healing helps here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Peeps in the Night

Yesterday was my busy errand day.
Jordan had lessons so it was extra busy.

I drop Jordan and his 3 brothers off for piano,
wait for 30 minutes for Jordan's lesson (I shopped at the Salvation
Army right around the corner), pick him up,
errands for 45 minutes and then drop him off for guitar lessons.
During that 45 minutes, we went to Tractor Supply
to pick up chicken grain.
BIG mistake,  I looked at the cute peeps they
had ready to go to someone's home.
Oh man, one batch was marked down because they
already had them for a week and a half.

I told the lady I'd buy all of them and be back to get them
after I dropped Jordan off to guitar.

They were so cute.  Hunter needs new chickens so these
would be his.  I had just looked online and saw the prices
plus shipping prices so knew
I couldn't beat this price.

It was just the timing.
I had to quickly get home, make supper and then head to church.
Could I squeeze getting them set up too?

Hunter got their new home all ready while I helped.
We did it.  The new peeps are all happily in
their home.  Supper was eaten peacefully and we made
it out the door on time.  Wow!

Laying in bed, I could hear the quiet shuffling of the peeps
and the sudden chirping of them being startled.
It's such a familiar happy spring sound.

I love watching the boys standing there gazing at them.
It's so cute.

Caught Titus watching them before he got changed for bed.
They come tell me after all the details,
"Mom, 7 were laying there sleeping."

"Mom, two were pecking eachother."

"Mom, can I hold them?  I'll be real careful."

Such memories!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finished Projects

This weekend two boys were sick.
It was kind of a bummer as it was our Mission's Conference
at church.  Because my fella and boys were singing, I was
the one who "got" to stay home.
I decided to use this quiet time at home to finish
some projects.

I love jumping in and starting projects but
for some reason, I get to the end and fizzle out.
The stack of skirts I started last week all sit
waiting all hemmed and ready, except they all need zippers.
Come on girl, get those zippers in!

Well, I used this past weekend to finish the dolls I started
and to finish the last sock.
I'm so excited to announce,,
I did it!
They're done!  Yippee Skippee!

The dolls just waited for some beautiful locks
to warm their cold, bald heads.
They were supposed to be man and wife but the wife came
out rather small so now they are Mom and daughter.
This actually took alot longer than I thought but I enjoyed
the process.  Their look came alive.

I then finished the toe part of the last sock.
I found out during the second sock that I did the first one wrong.
Oh well, when I wear them and see the mistakes I'll
see them as my first pair that I conquered.
I found that I totally enjoy making socks.
I actually started another pair last night!

The book is from the library.  I love the system our library
has.  I find titles I might enjoy, search them at the library
web site and they order and then hold them for me.
Most of the titles I've searched, they've had.
This has been such a huge help with
learning this new hobby (much cheaper too).
If there's a book I really enjoy, I put it on a list for my dear
fella and hope he gets them for me later as a gift.
This helps him because he says I'm hard to shop for so
I enjoy this way of helping him out, hehe!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Peaceful Laundry

The belt on one of our dryers broke.
My fella and Jordan took the machine apart
and we are now waiting for a new belt to come in.

Last year, our washer died.
Two washers were given to us and another dryer was given too.
We hooked up the new dryer and both
This has been such a huge help!
I can barely keep up with two sets of machines!

During the warmer months, the dryers sit still.
I hang most everything on the lines outside.

Today is a beautiful sunny day!
I decided to hang a load outside since it's above freezing.
I'm noticing again how difficult it is to keep up with only
one dryer.  It seems there's always a load sitting waiting
for the machine.

What I forgot when I brought the basket of wet whites
outside was how much snow we just got this weekend!
I stepped into the path down to the chicken coop and carefully
balanced my footing so I would stay inside of the path.
If I stepped off the path, the snow went all into my boot.
The snow is very deep!

It was so peaceful outside. 
I could hear the chickens in their coops.
A plow was going somewhere, pushing the wet snow out of their way.
Birds chirping all around me.
Oh, the wonderful sounds of the outdoors.

This is one of the reasons I so enjoy hanging the wash outside.
A quiet break from the noise inside.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just Because

While my fella was out, I made him this to come home to.
This is his favorite pie.
Of course, I had to make two for the rest of the gang!
Can't wait for him to walk in the door and see it!!