May 31, 2008

Blog Thingie

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

I had just gotten my driver's license and was learning how to get around town. (I got lost a lot) I was getting ready for my junior year in highschool, playing lots of volleyball to get ready for varsity the next year, tried getting a summer job, played with friends a lot and was learning to play the guitar.

2. What are five things on your to- do list today?

Continue to sort and pack stuff from our other house

go swimming at some point

try out the Amish Friendship bread starter my sister gave me

make homemade salsa with home grown jalepenos for taco salad later

take a bubble bath :)

What are 3 of your favorite snacks?

Hmm, dessert :) especially with chocolate involved

peanut butter and jelly sandwich

raw veggies with ranch dip

spicy velveeta cheese dip and chips

What would do if you were a billionaire?

Pay off all of my and my family's bills

build a new church building

buy a farm with my own dairy cow, chickens etc.

liposuction and a tummy tuck, LOL!!!

What states have you lived in?
Texas only :)

May 29, 2008

Teaching children

Do children need to be 'taught' how to play?

My little girls baffle me. I know they are still young, but they just don't seem to know how to play. For instance, we have a cute little kitchen set with dishes,appliances, a tea set, play food and a table with chairs. Yet they rarely ever play like they're cooking. Well, maybe 2-3 times a week or less. Or, they have a box of toys in their room, but they don't seem interested in them.

They all love to watch TV and this in part is my fault. I started them all out on baby Einstein movies as babies. They are just glued to them! It was supposed to be educational and it kept them occupied while I cooked dinner etc. Then I learn that children watching a lot of TV isn't the best thing. Well, now I'm not sure what to do to keep them busy, yet be able to do my job too.

I have allowed our house priority over the children the last few years. I am working on changing that. I have issues that go deep about that and I don't to explain it. Basically I was berated for not keeping the house very well and it stung. I've somehow created a complex in myself that I must have a perfect home at all times now. So, I am working on this :)

Still I am not sure how to get all of them happily busy. They do fight a lot amongst each other, so they need to be separated quite a bit, and that is tough. Anyways, it's hard for me to back down and relax on household things and at times the girls get pushed to the side. I don't want to keep doing that. Watching TV is ok as long as there is plenty of learning and interacting time with mom and dad, in my opinion at least. So, that's my post for today. I have my niece and she is being fussy, so I have to go.

May 28, 2008

Wednesday's Frugal Meal

I like to buy whole chickens. They are generally the least expensive 'cut' of chicken you can buy, plus you can really stretch how many meals one chicken can make. I like to make homemade chicken stock too, but I usually don't just boil the whole chicken. I roast it, we eat the meat for one meal, then I pick off whatever meat is left, and just use the carcass for making broth. Much easier than trying to pull a whole chicken out of a hot pot in one piece.

Today I am making a roasted chicken, but I'm planning to do something different. I usually sprinkle salt and pepper and herbs on top and put it in the crockpot or oven. I serve it with roasted veggies and/or seasoned brown rice and salad. That sounds boring to me today, so this is what I will do.

Italian Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken
garlic cloves
1 small onion
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
fresh herbs like basil and parsley

I plan to fill the cavity of the chicken with garlic cloves and onion. Then I'll chop fresh basil and parsley, mash it with garlic powder and butter and slather it underneath the skin. Then on top I'll cover with some olive oil and sprinkle the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. I'm roasting it in the oven today since it's too late for the crockpot.

To serve along with it I will make some marinara sauce (tomato paste, water, more garlic, herbs and onion) and cook some whole wheat spaghetti. Top the chicken and noodles with freshly grated parmesan and it will be delish. A garden salad and garlic bread complete the meal. Not overly fussy, but a little more interesting than the usual.

Tomorrow I am making Chicken Brunswick Stew in the crockpot with the leftover chicken. Stretchin' that chicken!

May 27, 2008

Fabric Softener

I generally use white vinegar in the final rinse for everything except pajamas/underclothes. (I use the Downy Simple Pleasures lavender and vanilla- yum!- very sparingly to make it last) I gave this recipe a try and it works well. I need to find a better scent though.

3 cups distilled white vinegar
6 cups of water
1 bottle of hair conditioner- supposedly ocean scents smell the best. Haven't tried it yet. I had a bottle of 'milk and honey' scent. It's ok.

Mix ingredients together and use as you would regular fabric softener. I mixed the conditioner with the water using a whisk first to smooth out the lumps. I poured everything into a large vinegar bottle because I had used the rest of it in the recipe. An old fabric softener bottle wouldn't work because it wouldn't hold it all. Finding the right container could be tricky, but the vinegar bottle works great since it's large enough to hold the liquid and has a handle.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

I finally tested this recipe last week. It works pretty well and made Sarah's diapers very soft.

1 Bar of laundry soap, such as Zote (which is pink) or Ivory Snow
1 cup of Washing Soda (I couldn't find this until recently, baking soda would probably work)
1 cup Borax
1 plastic container that holds at least 4 cups

Shred the soap using a hand grater or the grating attachment of a food processor. I used my food processor, but I really don't enjoy cleaning all the parts, so I would use my box grater next time. (I just couldn't find it!)

My bar of Zote soap made 3 cups of grated soap. I used 1.5 cups of the shreds and saved the rest for another batch since I didn't have a bigger container. Mix with the washing soda and borax and you're ready to go. You only use 1 tablespoon per load of laundry and it does not suds up- so don't keep adding more!

It appears to be working like regular detergent. Next time I plan to use Ivory soap because Zote doesn't smell the nicest. Not bad, but not great.

Frugal Meal Idea

I am going to add a new feature to the blog- Frugal Meals. Like, a full meal's worth of recipes. It's so helpful to see what others are doing to reduce spending on groceries yet still eat well. Today I made lentil stew with dumplings in the crockpot, an apple/waldorf type salad and bread. (I made that yesterday)

Lentil Stew and Dumplings

The night before:
1 regular sized package of dried lentils

put lentils in a bowl, cover with water and add a tablespoon of either kefir, buttermilk, whey, yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice. Allow to soak at least 7 hours.

The next morning:

Drain and rinse lentils. Add to crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients:

2 stalks celery chopped
1 half a medium onion, or more if you prefer
2 peeled and sliced carrots
2 chicken bouillion cubes (MSG I know, that's what I had)
1/4 cup of butter
water to cover lentils by an inch

Cook on low for 8 hrs.

20 minutes before dinner, turn crockpot on high and make the dumplings.

1 cup flour- white or whole wheat
1.5 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T butter
2/3 cup of milk
chopped fresh parsely

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in butter with a fork. Add milk and parsley and stir to mix well. Drop tablespoons of dough into crockpot. Cover with lid. Let cook for 15 minutes or until the dumplings aren't shiny and 'wet' looking on top.

Ladle into bowls and season with more salt/pepper if desire.

Summer Apple Salad

1 chopped sweet or tart apple
2 stalks chopped celery
1 peeled and grated carrot
1/8 cup of sliced almonds or other nut
1/2 c of pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple (I had crushed)
1 t lemon juice
3 T mayonnaise
3-4T buttermilk OR, 1/2 cup sour cream
2 t honey or sugar
a handful of dried cranberries or raisins

Whisk mayo, buttermilk, honey and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. (recipe called for sour cream- I didn't have any and substituted with the mayo) Chop the rest of the ingredients and toss together in the bowl. Let chill at least 30 minutes.

***This salad was frugal because I had all the ingredients on hand. I bought dried cranberries in bulk over two months ago and still have plenty. I hit a sale on pineapple a few months ago, have half a large jar of honey left and always have the other stuff on hand.

Tasty White Bread
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees F), divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup water; let stand for 10 minutes. Combine salt, remaining sugar and water; add to yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; shape into two loaves. Place in two 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans that have coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yes, I made white bread, from unbleached all purpose flour. I had made a heavier whole wheat bread, and it was good, yet not ideal for sandwiches etc, so I whipped up the above recipe, and while simple, it is AWESOME! I couldn't get enough of it. I may try it with whole wheat flour some time. Nice for when you are in a pinch for bread. Serve with butter, mmm.

May 26, 2008

My New Palace

I haven't gotten all pictures taken yet, so I will add to this post as I get more, so this won't make a lot of sense. I don't have pictures of the 'breakfast nook' or our bedroom or the outside yet. But I will- in time :)

We have both a front door/entrance and a carport/side entrance. We of course generally come in the side door since it's quicker :) As you walk in, the eating area is to the right, and this is the first 'room' on the left, across from the table. (all images are clickable to view larger)

My Laundry, er, closet. There are cupboards above both the washer and dryer.

The little white basket is for dirty dishcloths/towels.

Next to this 'room' is another closet, the pantry. I like having everything in one spot, however the herbs/spices are above the stove. I may move the baking stuff over beside my canisters and mixer for ease of use.

Next to the pantry is a little built in desk area. I am planning to use it for the kids' taking turn with art projects etc. Right now it holds my purse/diaper bag and home management binder.

We are in the kitchen now, no pics. The next thing on that wall is the fridge. Then it opens into the living area. On the right is where we put some of the girls' big toys and big blocks. It works well so they can 'cook' while I'm cooking which takes up a good portion of my time.

This is our living room from the front door view. I plan to rework them curtains- talk about OLD!! No brass please, I don't miss 1990 that much :)

I'm in the living room, turned towards the front door now.

It looks different now because we've added shelves and more wall hangings. Now we walk past the recliner and go into the hallway, or as I like to say, 'Hall-ette' since it's not very big. Here is a nice storage closet.

To the right of this closet is Leiah and Alexa's room. I was really desperate to make the room cute since we had painted the mural at the other house, so I raided their clothes closet and dress up box for stuff to decorate with :)

There is a bathroom between the bedrooms, and on the right is Sarah's room. I am planning to change over to the toddler bed again this week. The baskets hold her cloth diapering items. I have some in the closet too. Currently I'm not exactly sure how to store them, so that's what I'm doing for now. I am very glad I already have cloth diapers- will certainly help with money!

Both bedrooms have nice sized closets- not huge, but still good sized. Now we go back to the entrance of the hallway, and this is what you see.

Now we go back by the living room and our bedroom is over by the wall Leiah is standing by. (she was in trouble- standing in the corner) Our bedroom leads into this bathroom.

At the door, then turn right, here is the shower/tub and cupboards.

I purchased this shower curtain (which is cloth, we have a plastic liner) from Walmart for less than $10. I love it! Ok, back at the doorway of bathroom. More lovely storage.

And that is it for now. We are blessed indeed. Sarah followed me around everywhere and she loves that empty toilet paper holder.


God has been making it more clear to us that we acted rightly by choosing to move here. This was a huge step in our faith, because the numbers on the paper said we couldn't make the rent, but we had peace and confidence that this is where He wanted us and if He did, then He would work it out.

1. This house has some features that I've always wanted to have in my own house- breakfast nook surrounded by windows; larger bathrooms and big tub; an area in the main room for the children's toys; um, a nice POOL!

2. Our neighbors offered to let us connect to their highspeed wireless internet. We don't have to pay for that now.

3. My husband is working at a different location and the company he works for is paying for his gas.

4. Saturday I was trying to take a nap and realized that we needed to find a bed! Here's the history- last May Matt and his mom brought down a set of bedroom furniture from Michigan to the other house. The plan was to keep it there until his parents made the move to Texas. So that's what we used. Well, now that they are selling the house, they are coming this weekend to take the furniture back. We had just put the mattress on the floor in this house until we found something else.
So, I thought, well, God will help us find a nice bed that we can afford. Less than 30 minutes later I got a call from a friend that they were getting a new bed and didn't have a place for the old one. It was a KING SIZE POSTURE PEDIC PILLOWTOP mattress and boxsprings. For free. They brought it over that afternoon and it is wonderful! I still have a set of king size sheets, but not a comforter yet. The bed is just on the floor for now, but Matt's parents have an extra king size frame, so they're bringing it for free. I was about to start crying Saturday as they were setting it up. I hadn't said a word or even really prayed for a bed. He just did it.

Another one: Last Monday I got called on my cell phone and had to go outside to take it because we get terrible signals here. After I was done I realized the door had locked behind me. The front door was locked, my car was locked, I was barefooted and all of the girls were inside taking naps. I could either run down boiling hot pavement or grass full of stickers and fire ants in the hopes that maybe our landlady still had an extra key, or, I could call dh and make him come all the way home to unlock it. The windows were locked and high off the ground. A still small voice said to me, well, I AM here. So I prayed- the Bible says He is a very present help in time of trouble and that He has the keys to the kingdom. I said" Lord, you're gonna have to open that door because I can't get in. You're Word says that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus that You would do it, so I ask in Jesus name that door be unlocked right now."

I went to the door and tried it- still locked. I messed with it a little. Finally I looked at it and said" You come open in the name of Jesus!" I heard a click, and I opened the door :)

Talk about shouting for joy- I was internally, didn't want to wake the littles. God cares so deeply, loves so infinitely I cannot comprehend it. Earthquakes and wars and lots more important things going on, yet when He sees His child standing in faith like Jesus did, He is there! I'm sure He was very excited to see His child model after Jesus, in faith.

And He will do this for anyone. He wants to do it for everyone everyday, but they have to believe and not doubt. Faith like a little child. I have been raised in 'faith' church- that was all that was preached. Yet the years of seeds being planted and watered and germinating have finally just now sprung into plants. The reality of what we can do if we believe is hitting me. If Jesus rebuked a storm so can we, I've done that before too. If He walked on water, or changed water into wine, so can we. He was our example and He lives in us. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in those who have accepted Him as their Saviour.

Today is the day of Salvation, now is the accepted time. We are in the generation that all Christians past have wanted to live in. We will see miraculous things and He will use us to make those things happen if we are willing and obedient. I have not 'arrived' or reached some higher plane. I am moving up in my walk with Jesus, but I am still learning and growing. I am just so excited about all that He is showing me I gotta tell it. This is for anyone! Listen to the Holy Spirit, ask Him what He wants to teach you and be open to Him, with ears to hear. He'll speak.

I am still working on my picture post- we are still moving stuff from the old house and had some company over the weekend, so it's been real busy. This is going to be a busy week too. But I shall not neglect my blog, hopefully :) Happy Monday everyone :)

May 23, 2008

Summer Days

So, summer is just about here. I don't know about you, but for me, summer is the time to wing it. You know? No schedules or major projects etc. Back in my day, summer was lazy lazy.

Things I remember about summer...


playing on the slip-n-slide and 'laying out' to get a tan

eating cheetos and koolaid

watching the tube

playing however I wanted because there was no school

staying outside till dark catching grasshoppers and other bugs

cousins visiting

playing T-ball and snow cones

picking blackeyed peas in the garden- hot and humid and unenjoyable since I didn't like to eat them

playing in the dirt- it was nice and cool

My grandmother lived next door and she always did stuff with us. One summer we did tons of tie dye shirts and painting on t-shirts in general.

Sometimes we went to the lake for a day.

Eating watermelons for dessert and fresh tomatoes at breakfast

hand cranking homemade ice cream

shucking corn and picking plums/peaches to make jelly

Going to Wet-n-Wild!!! (waterpark)

Going to Six Flags- been there too many times

Going fishing with my uncle and grandma

Vacation Bible school

Babysitting (after I grew up of course)

One funny memory is the year those Nintendo running pads came out. It laid on the floor and you ran on it in one of the Super Mario Brothers games or something. Anyways, my sister and I were staying with cousins and we would take it to whoever's house we happened to be at. When we all finally came to my house, we got my dad to do it. He got to going so fast he slid and fell! (my dad is 6'3 and isn't skinny) LOL. We all laugh about that one. (all including my sister and 4 other cousins who witnessed it)

So what are my plans for this summer? Well, I plan to use the midmorning as outside playtime for the kids and I. So, if we go swimming or whatever, we'll do it from like 10am-12pm or so. Before and after that I will use that time to work on house stuff etc. That way it won't be terribly hot and they'll be ready for naps later. More than likely I will have visitors often because we know everyone next to us and the kids will be out for the summer etc.

We'll grill out and go to the nearby lake and pool, keep up the garden, do some canning and freezing, make ice cream, go to some t-ball games (nephews) and have fun. Next year Leiah will be going to kindergarten, so we're going to make the most of this time. No vacations this year unless God hands it to us :)

Being in this house brings a lot of memories back, because the house I grew up in was almost identical to this one, and we're out in the country again. I feel much more at home here. Amazingly, the week before we decided to move, I had been wishing inside that I could just move into a double wide or other manufactured home. I had also been silently praying for God to find us a house. Then all of these things happened. 'Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.' Amen, and thank you Lord.
I am working on a picture post of the new house. Yesterday I ran lots of errands and today I have 4 little girls again. Plus I don't know where my cable is to download the pics yet :) So, something more interesting is coming, take heart :)

May 21, 2008

Ramble much

Ok, we are now back in the world of modern technology thanks to my smart husband. We have been blessed with free high speed wireless internet- woo hoo!

Talk about a whirlwind of activity- I mean it! I have been running to and fro dropping off and picking up kids, going back and forth to the blue house and the 'old' house, boxing and unboxing, staying up real late etc. etc. And, living here in Texas, the hot weather is arriving :( I have to prepare myself for the long summer- at least 6 months of it.

So, we are adjusting. For the first few days Sarah wasn't doing well at bedtime- she was really wanting her baby crib, but we are going to sell it, so she's in the playpen for now. I've had very whiny and gripey kids- very. We have ants in the kitchen, no home phone yet, one of the toilets was broken until yesterday and no computer. It's hard to get all these things done when dh has to go to work and I have the children.

Today I have a fourth child as well. But, overall, we are glad to be moved. Our garden is flourishing- we've picked a few cucumbers and a tomato. More than likely the house won't sell until after we get our harvest in, so I'm not worried about that. So, that's that.

I will be happy to photograph our home's setup as soon as everything gets set up, LOL. I am so very proud of the master bathroom- it's a dream and I even like the colors in there :) I plan to paint our bedroom but not anything else at this point

It has become more evident to me how important the different roles of men and women are during this move. The men are great at the heavy lifting of furniture and boxes etc. But, it's up to the women to make the house look like home. Monday I worked on fixing the rooms up a little, as much as I was able. My husband commented on how nice everything looked. He does the hard stuff, I do the pretty stuff :)

I am hoping to 'pretty up' the house some more today, but I never can tell how things are going to play out when I have my niece too. Anyways, enough rambling :)

May 20, 2008


I'm popping in to say that we are basically moved in. I am so exhausted, I have no internet or phone yet, don't know my address or new cell phone number and am at my Mom's right now. So, maybe some time later this week I will have an internet connection and can update.


May 15, 2008

Is it possible?

Can I really pack my house in day and half? Are we nuts?

You know, it's actually kind of fun to go this route. Instead of planning everything to a 'T'- we're just winging it big time. Why are we moving this weekend?

1. most of the strong men we need to help us are available this coming Saturday only
2. we are only taking the essentials and will be gradually sorting and moving the rest of the stuff to prepare for the massively huge yard sale we are planning.
3. Dh's parents are coming on the 30th, so we need to be moved somewhere by then :)

We also need a bed and some dressers, because the ones we've been using are also Matt's parents' that they want to take back to Michigan because it is highly valuable. We might be sleeping on our sleeper sofa for a week or two or three...

Whitney guessed it- the mantel decor is a window valance. I was so pleasantly pleased (ha,ha) at how it turned out that I want to recreate the whole thing with a shelf I found at our new house.

Today I went and gave the house a good cleaning. There was lots of dust, and well, other people's germs :) My littles actually did a good job of helping with the cleaning, yay! Right now I am packing up my kitchen, at least everything we can spare. Anything I don't want is going into a big cupboard to await yard sale day, whenever that will be.

I've already drank just about a whole pot of yummy tea, so I'm raring to go! I'm gonna get me some rockin' music going and get that kitchen boxed up. Don't you wish you could be doing this too, at 10pm??? Sarcasm, much? Silly me...

May 14, 2008

The Tea Party

Finally I'm getting around to posting this.

I had a blast with the tea party. It was a lot of work but it really fun. I had about 12 adult ladies and 7 little girls. I tried to have everything done 15 minutes before they arrived and popped the scones in the oven as they came in the door. (I froze them earlier in the week-BIG help- and they have to be fresh out of the oven) I made them wait in the main living room until everyone arrived, then I read off some tea etiquette. They all had a laugh over that- we are countrified east Texans, most of us, there ain't no etiquette here :) Then I took them to the tearoom, here.

The lighting was much softer, but the flash on my camera you know, and I am not skilled with the camera at all. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything except the pink flowers on the tables and the favors was stuff I already had or borrowed. I had the tables, I borrowed my mom's tablecloths and teacups and all her decorative teapots. I borrowed my grandmother's teapots and some chairs from the church. The greenery I used was from our wedding! I bought pink twin sheets to place under the white lace tablecloths at $3 each, I bought 10 bunches of silk flowers at 84 cents each, 10 tiny glass bud vases for 97 cents each and a package of shower curtain rings. Guess what the lace thing hanging from the mantel is??? I want to see guesses in the comments :) I'll tell you later...

I wrapped the shower curtain rings in either ribbon or lace and hot glued bows or flowers on them. Then I put viva paper towels in them! The roses in the vases were from down the street- wild sweet roses- totally for free :) I brought the tea mix and explained what it was and passed it around so they could sniff it while the water came to a boil. I filled the serving teapots with hot water to 'preheat'. Then I put 6-7 teaspoons of loose tea in two teapots- some that weren't so pretty- allowed to steep 5 minutes, poured the hot water out of the pretty pots, then poured through a strainer into the pretty teapots. I poured everyone a cup of tea and passed the sugar cubes and half and half around. By the time everyone had they're tea fixed and started drinking it, the scones were done and I allowed everyone to fill their plates :) Here is the buffet table :

The breakdown- the table in the middle is our desk with a large board on top. A nice white tablecloth covers it all the way down to the floor. On either side are some side tables covered with a square of tea towel and topped with a sheer rosebud curtain. My husband decided to get involved and put those two sconces on either side of the picture, then to cover the cord he (yes he did it) taped flowers and vines (most from our wedding) all around it.

On the table is the mini quiches which I purchased and the chocolate petite fours on the bottom. I cut and washed tiny viola flowers from my flower bed and put them on top. Very cute and edible. There is the strawberry cake which no one ate because they ate too much!!! The bowl with a towel is waiting for the scones, there is a platter for the cheddar dill bread, strawberry and apricot jam, a bowl of creme fraiche, a crystal bowl of grapes, platter of lemon cookies and the small table on the far end had the sandwiches. Here is another picture at a different angle, after they had eaten :)

Here is my best dressed guest. (I forgot to get a picture of myself in my Regency gown, oops)

I hung up Leiah's baby quilt on the wall behind her. Our filing cabinet got covered with some rose print cloth I had laying around, a picture of a quilt, a teapot and a candle. The computer cabinet was covered with a tablecloth, then topped with a porcelain doll, a photo of my grandmother on her wedding day, a figure about mothers and candles. Amazing what you can do with stuff around the house.

The rest of my guests, well, most of them. I am awful at pictures people!! Everyone loved the special tea I had ordered, Rose Cream tea. I made 5 pots total. I had two creamer/sugar sets so we passed them around. I used sugar cubes and half and half. Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed themselves. They stayed a long time too! I am a little sad that we are moving because this room was so perfect for hosting tea. I am planning to get dh to make a fake mantel or shelf just so I can decorate it exactly like I did on the fireplace because I love it so much.

A bit of effort and creativity and you can have a lovely gathering :)

My niece that I babysit, Emily, 13 months old.

Sarah in her tea gown and 'matching' hat :)

Big News

Well, we are moving. Like this weekend. This time last week I still thought we were going to be in this house for another year or so. Things can sure change fast.

What's going on exactly; my in-laws bought this house for a future residence and we rented it from them. They really need to sell it now because of the real estate market and just the way things are looking financially in the country. They have let us rent this place very cheaply, thus the challenge of being able to find a place we can afford.

We decided to tell Matt's parent's to go ahead and sell the house on Saturday morning. Sunday afternoon we found out that some dear friends from church have a vacant house for rent, which is only a few miles away. The price was still a bit steep for us, but we feel the peace of God and know that if this is what He planned it will work. So it's ours now.

It is a nice large blue double wide trailer with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a built on garage/car port and storage area, nice front porch, the largest back porch I've ever seen and access to a pool. A real inground pool. Plus we will be surrounded by people from our church.
(they're all related)

I took some pictures and then my camera died, so I will try to do that later. I will expound on it some more, but i've got my sister's little girl too, so we'll have to wait till naps for that.

Ok I have a minute :) I didn't get all of the house ,but i got the main parts except for the ultimate huge bathroom. I'd rather have a big bathroom than a big bedroom personally.

Most of the front.

The eating area. I have always wanted bay windows and a 'breakfast nook'.

Part of the kitchen.

Main part of the living room.

And that's it for now. Maybe I can do a more detailed post after we move- it has been almost a year since I did A Day in the Life of Me. Maybe I can do that after we move...

May 12, 2008

Frugality and Abundant Life

Everyone is talking frugal these days. Sky high prices on gas are causing everything to go up. All the talk about the economy and recession and so on- it's disconcerting. But it also makes me a bit, well to be blunt, angry.

Not just because of tightened wallets, but at the response of Christians. So why am I angry at Christians getting upset about the rising costs of everything?

Because, we should know without a doubt that there is no need to worry. I think that is necessary to spend money wisely; I think it is necessary to know how to do things like cooking from scratch, sewing, how to make your own whatever in case it's not available or you need something and can't buy it. Generally when you make it yourself it's cheaper.

I think it's good that people have to stay home more because of gas or to watch less TV/have less computer time etc. This is forcing people to be more creative and to actually do something with their family members, LOL.

But when I hear Christian people preach doom and gloom I get real ticked. That is not the message of the Bible. What was Jesus' whole ministry on earth about? Faith, faith, FAITH!!!! What is faith?

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."Hebrews 11:1

A lot of people hope that God will do what He says in His word without really being convinced that He will. Faith is being fully persuaded that God will do what He said period- no matter what things look like on the surface. It is remaining steady and sure in what He has said regardless of how things look or feel.

God is not honored by poverty. It is not His will for us to barely scrape by. Look at the Israelites- God wanted them to go from poverty and slavery under Pharaoh's rule to the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. Abundant life.

"The thief comes to steal and to kill and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly." John 10:10

This abundant life is our physical life as well as spiritual. God wants Christians to be so prosperous and healthy that everyone will see what a good God we serve and be drawn to Him. I am not worried about the circumstances of this nation. I know that no matter how bad it looks, that all things are possible with Him. I know He will not leave us high and dry.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?...If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry...for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. " Matt 6:25-34, condensed

The Holy Spirit reminded me a moment ago of the little boy who had three loaves of bread and two fish, and from that Jesus fed the 5,000. Do we really and truly believe that God can perform miracles? Or is that just something that Jesus did? If He is living in us, then don't we have the same power? If God so loves us, then wouldn't He give us the tools we need to live in this earth? Faith, standing and believing no matter how it looks. God can multiply our funds, if we believe.

"...for verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you say unto this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Believe and you shall receive. You have not because you ask not. My husband and I are being stretched in our faith right now. We have to move out of this house, yet we don't seem to have enough money to rent or buy a home. My husband's job is over 30 miles away (gas) he has to have highspeed internet and special cell phone for his job. These things are costly. We barely have anything extra as it is- cut down the satellite TV and things like that already.

But, we have been faithful to give the firstfruits to the Lord, which we do with a cheerful heart. We are sowing into His kingdom, and this is what He says about that:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, ' says the Lord Almighty, ' and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,' says the Lord Almighty. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,' says the Lord Almighty. " Malachi 3:8-12

We know that He is keeping us and is guiding us. Nothing is too hard for Him- He specializes in impossible things. (example, Jesus' birth and the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus) So, this post is written to myself, and I hope it helps others. I am learning more and more about how to be more frugal and shave off extra things we don't really need, but I don't plan on being forced to eat only bread and water. Abundant life remember.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

" Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things that these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:11-12

May 9, 2008

Sweet Morning

This morning I woke up with no husband beside me. The bathroom was quiet too- usually he's in there this time of the morning. Hmmm, maybe he got a call from work...back to drifting in and out of strange dreams. I finally decided to get up and sit up a little , when they walk in- Matt, Leiah and Alexa- husband carrying food, Alexa carrying a big present and Leiah carrying a card.

My husband is the great omelet maker- I'm terrible at it. So he had made me one and got the girls up early to help with it. Talk about melt the heart! My present was a single serve coffee/hot tea/ hot water maker. They had one in the room at our hotel when we went out for our anniversary and I thought it was the coolest thing. It's easy to do and made a very good cup of coffee. Dh doesn't drink coffee anymore so it's just me and I don't drink that much and don't even drink it everyday.

The 'card' was actually a love note he typed up for me, which I loved better than a card. Lucky for him, it's Mother's Day and birthday all in one! He really lucked out on that one, huh? So, I am a very blessed lady. I've not been easy to deal with this week- emotions up and down a lot, feeling stress about entertaining etc. Plus, half of the people I invited have declined the invitation to the tea party for one dumb reason or another. Honestly, they are dumb reasons- who wouldn't jump at the chance to have an elegant party with delicious food in a beautiful environment? I've even made party favors and gifts, made my dress and special ordered tea. What's up with that?????!!!!!

Oh well, if it goes well, I may do it again someday. The first one is always harder because you normally don't have all the 'stuff' and have to get it all. After that you have most everything and it's not that big of a deal. Wow I really sound like a redneck- yes, I am typing how I would speak from my mouth. For the record, I can make myself sound intelligent or I can sound extreme redneck- just depends on who I am with and my mood, LOL.

May 8, 2008

I Scream for Ice Cream!

My dear sweet husband came home early yesterday to help me out with all the children. (I had baby niece) I've been rather stressed with various things and he had some extra time off he needed to take. Anyways, so last evening he and the children accompanied me to the grocery store and then I persuaded him that a cappucino MooLatte from Dairy Queen was just the thing we needed. (and it was- something about coffee and ice cream and chocolate)

So of course we can't get something and not let the kids! So they got chocolate dipped cones- wow- what a mess!!!!!! And that's an understatement. We all stood out in front of the house eating the ice cream because it was an awful mess- the pictures just don't even show the half of it.

Matt tried to sneak one in of me- the last thing I want to see is me chowing down on ice cream :)

May 7, 2008

Tea Etiquette

Here is an order in which tea party foods are to be eaten. First, scones or muffins, then sandwiches, and lastly,

Take small bites. Never stuff the whole sandwich or dessert in your mouth even though it seems small enough.

Do not dine with gloves on.

When seated at a table, raise only the teacup to drink, not the saucer. Place the teacup gently back on the saucer. If you are not seated at a table, simply hold the saucer in your lap with your left hand and raise the teacup with your right hand.

Return the cup to the saucer between sips.

Never dip a scone in jam or cream. Pretend it is a dinner roll. Break off bite size pieces and add the jam or cream in your own plate.

Scones are not to be eaten with a fork.

If serving on a 3-tiered server, place the scones on the top tier, savories and sandwiches on the middle tier, and desserts on the bottom.

Never sip or slurp tea.

Place all forks or spoons on their corresponding plates. Never lay a serving utensil on the tablecloth or table.

Be sure to unfold your napkin and place it in your lap. Leave your napkin on the chair, not the table, if you must leave the table.

May 6, 2008

Blogger's block

I don't really feel like I have anything great or interesting to say and am not really sure why anyone would be all that interested in the day to day happenings in my life :)

Frankly, my brain is just fried right now. My 'friend' came to visit on Saturday and hasn't left yet, so I'm sort of wiped out with that. (this friend visits monthly on the same date in case you don't catch my drift) Also this time of year is quite busy with birthdays and Mother's day. (my nephew's birthday is today, mine is Friday and my grandmother's is the 15th, plus Mother's Day is the 11th) About every seven years my birthday is on Mother's Day, which also happened to be the day I was born. May 9, 1982 was Mother's Day and I was the present :)

I am also preparing for this tea party. Naturally it has ended up being a lot more work than I was hoping. I keep wondering why I get myself into these types of things. It's not like I'm really looking for something to do with my time, but the ideas just pop up and I think I can do it. Honestly it must be some type of spiritual gifting or something- hospitality I guess. I just really enjoy opening my home and cooking for people. It's not about me and what I can do, I just do my best to make people know they are special and worth the time it takes to make something nice.

Everyone keeps asking me how do you do things like this etc? Why are doing this to yourself? It is not about me! Sometimes, there are no other alternatives but to work hard. Not everything worth having is easy. There have been times when the hard work didn't yield much return, but other times when it did. I'm not a showoff- I just do the best I can and work hard. Yes I have small children which can be difficult to juggle when I'm sewing a gown or making cream puffs, but somehow it works out. I pray a lot :)

For anyone interested, here is the current menu I am planning. It has changed several times in the last few days, but I think this is the keeper.

Savories- mini quiches from Sam's, cucumber, egg salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (for the little girls)

Breads- cheddar dill scones, cranberry orange scones, creme fraiche and jam, maybe lemon curd
Sweets- strawberries and grapes with poppyseed dip, lemon cookies, cream puffs with chocolate cream, Strawberry meringue layer cake

Iced peach tea with edible flower ice cubes
Rose Cream hot tea and some other flavors
half and half, sugar cubes, lemon wedges and honey

My mom might be making some brownies with a cherry topping, we'll see. I wish I could invite you all :) Anyways, I'm going to go now- I just got home and got the girls settled into naps. Time to test some recipes :)

May 3, 2008

Life in general

Life is busy, busy as usual :)

My sister is a highschool special ed teacher. She also has three kids- two boys ages 7 and almost 5 and a little girl who just turned one. Her mother-in-law has been keeping her children since the first one. However, she has been sickly lately and found out she has breast cancer. So, my sister (Rebekah) has had to find alternative babysitters while her mil goes to all the doctor appointments etc. to figure out what should be done.

So, the only other people she knows are those of us with little children already and no openings at daycare. Tight spot! So, three days last week I watched little Emily. She is a good baby, still takes two 2 hours naps and is easy going. Still though, I end up with 4 little girls 5 years old and under. Can't go anywhere and my normal routine is off.

However it has been good to just take it easy and play with the kids. I've been able to do some housework, but not like when it's just my three. So we've been outside a lot playing with bubbles and sidewalk chalk and puttering in the garden. (which is growing like crazy by the way-dh is weeding the masses of weeds right now) I have been online, just not able to really pull a post together :)

I am also getting ready to host an afternoon tea next weekend for the ladies at our church. The extra living room we have will be the tea room, which I will transform with all of my and my mom's porcelain dolls, doilies, decorative teapots and artwork depicting children and mothers, candles etc. etc. etc.! I also decided to make another Regency dress for myself, since I am the hostess I figure I should look the part. I got the dress cut out and the bodice well on its way. I am still deciding the menu and we've been eating a lot of scones :)

By the way Evelyn, I ordered tea from the link you sent and it's already here! I tried the Rose Cream tea and it's great!!!! Thanks so much- I ordered a tea cozy like I was wanting and now I can figure out how to make one. Plus she sent me three samples of other kinds of tea. For anyone else interested here is the link. The prices were great, which is why I was able to buy a tea cozy because it was less than $15!

Anyways, in other 'news' Miss Sarah is talking a lot more now and it's so cute. She runs and yells 'mommy' to me now and will say 'Pow pow, where it go?" (pow pow= pacifier) She has several other words like 'puppy' 'cat- meow, hiss hiss', 'ok' and her jibber jabber, which I love. I've never heard a child 'talk' like her. She will be carry on a whole conversation with gestures and everything in some unknown tongue, LOL :) The cutest part is her voice inflection and tone when she says the words, kind of sing song.

Ok, enough bragging on my cutie pie. The other two are still fighting a lot, mostly because Alexa tries to boss Leiah and Leiah can't talk back so she just bites or scratches :( But I am working on getting a schedule going so we can keep them busy and separated and only allowed to be together for a certain length of time. Usually when I decide this they suddenly start playing well together :)

Well, it's past time for me to cook dinner. Have a good weekend!

May 1, 2008

Is Nourishing Traditions a Fad?

I've been coming across a lot of websites and blogs lately where the women talk of nutrition and namely, that they eat according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This is exciting to me because I personally think it is the healthiest way to eat. How great that more and more people are discovering the principles in this book.

But there are others out there that sort of cast disdain at the book. I don't know if it's because of all that they read about other people cooking and all the work involved, if they actually read the book itself and just didn't agree or what. In this day of information, it can be really confusing about what is right. There are so many different healthy ways of eating, and I'm sure that they are good- and it's hard to know what to do.

For instance, I love Dr. Schulze and his products, but he is totally vegan and thinks all animal products are evil. He is extremely healthy and knowledgeable and that style of eating apparently suits him. Then you have the low carb people still going that eat tons of animal products, so it's confusing when so many people claim great health on opposite diets.

The main thing about NT, is exposing common myths about our health. The American Heart Association and the one for diabetics have pushed low fat/no fat, no cholesterol etc. for years and years now. You would think, that if so many people were eating this way, that there would be a lot less people with heart disease now. Nope. Heart disease still continues to plague our nation and cause 40% of deaths. We have been brainwashed into thinking that saturated fat clogs arteries and so you would think that we must be eating more and more saturated fats that before. "During the period of years from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 % to 62% and butter consumption from 18lbs per year to 4lbs per year. "(quote from Nourishing Tradtions p. 5) Hmm, things don't quite match up there do they? Less animal fats, more heart disease, more animal products, less heart disease, hmmm.

Here are some more examples of saturated fats being healthy:

"Mother's milk provides a higher proportion of cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. Both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially the development of the brain. Yet, the American Heart Association is now recommending a low fat diet for children. "

"...Let us consider the French. Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is loaded with saturated fat in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream liver, meats and rich pates. Yet the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries. In the United States, 315 of every 100, 000 middle aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple in the diet, this rate is a remarkable low 80 per 100,000...this was dubbed the French Paradox."

"The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors in herent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour;mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins A, C and D needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals..."

Nourishing Traditions is based on information gathered by a man named Dr. Weston Price, who traveled the world over into the most remote people groups to find if they had cavities. He found that not only did they not have many cavities, but that their health was excellent. He then began learning about their diets and noticing that those who ate traditional foods, foods that were local and prepared the way their ancestors did, were in great health. Those who had gone to more civilized areas where 'white man's ' food was available had poorer health, cavities and usually missing teeth. It makes a lot more sense to me to follow something that generations of people have done and lived a good quality of life. Yes, it does take a bit more time and planning, but is that really a bad thing? Our world is so fast paced, it gets old real quick. At home we have the choice to slow things down a bit and we benefit greatly from it.

I have to include one more passage from the book. I might have to compromise some things regarding food by what is available to me, but I will never, ever buy margarine again or white bleached flour. This is why:

Hydrogenation: This the process that turns polyunsaturates, normally liquid at room temperature, into fats that are solid at room temperature- margarine and shortening. To produce them manufacturers begin with the cheapest oils-soy, corn, cottonseed or canola, already rancid from the extraction process- and mix them with tiny metal particles- usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is then subjected to a hydrogen gas in a high pressure, high-temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency; the oil is yet again subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. (what??) This removes its unpleasant odor. Margarine's natural color, and unappetizing gray, is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavors must then be added to make it resemble butter. Finally, the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a health food.
Partially hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are even worse for you than the highly refined vegetable oils from which they are made because of chemical changes that occur during the hydrogenation process. Under high temperatures, the nickel catalyst causes the hydrogen atoms to change position on the fatty acid chain to bend slightly and creating a concentration of electrons at the site of the double bond...With the hydrogenation , one hydrogen atom of the pair is moved to the other side so that the molecules straightens...called the trans formation, rarely found in nature...unfortunately your digestive system does not recognize them (as toxins) as such. Instead of eliminating them, your body incorporates trans fats into the cell membranes as if they were cis fats- your cells actually become hydrogenated! "

Horror of horrors!! It may be cheaper than butter, but your life isn't cheap. I also said I wouldn't buy bleached white flour, since we all know that it is completely devoid of nutrients and wreaks havoc with sugar levels.

So, in light of all this info, I am not 'jumping on a bandwagon' with this book. For one I've been reading and using it for over two years now. Am I gorgeous and skinny? No. But, I have not been in-the-bed sick for like two years. (I do attribute a lot of that to faith in God's promises in Psalms 91 too) My children are rarely ill and are usually over it quickly if they do get ill. Do I feel great and full of vibrant health? Not all the time, but I feel 10 times better now than I did last year. It takes awhile, things are not instantaneous like we want them to be. Do I do everything in the book? Absolutely not. I do what I can and trust the Lord for the rest.

However, it is a worthwhile endeavor to read the book. Very enlightening and inspiring. Mine is getting sort of worn now, but at least it's being used.