Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Think I'm Going On Hiatus

Well, as we count down to the big holiday, and Husband, kiddos and I prepare to make our visits to family, I think I am going take a little bloggy break.

I may jump once or twice in the next two weeks to say, "Hi!" if I get the chance.

I hope and pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bon Bons and My Lightbulb Moment

So I've gotten my first batch of Bon Bons dipped and ready to go. Unfortunately I think I'm going to have to do another batch. They are the only thing I'm making this year....however, it just occured to me that I could do a batch of fudge in order to supplement goody gifts and that would be a whole lot easier than making another batch of Bon Bons. Yeah, I think I'll do that.

ANYWAY...as I was saying I just finished dipping my Bon Bons and I had some melted chocolate leftover. I hate to let chocolate go to waste(...that's a mortal sin isn't it?) and I was contemplating what to do with it when I had a light bulb experience.

BING!!!


Dip some marshmallows and plop them down on some graham crackers. Wala! S'mores! And happy children and husband. I drizzled some of the last bits of chocolate over the whole thing. They were absolutely yummy!

So if you have some leftover melted chocolate and some marshmallows and graham crackers hanging around...well these take next to no time to make and they make you look like a gourmet extraordinair.

Oh and by the by...if you are feeling ambitious here is my Coconut Bon Bon recipe! Enjoy!

Coconut Bon Bons


1 large bag of Angel Flake Coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 - 2lb. bag of powdered sugar
1 Cup of margarine
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 Cups of chocolate chips ( I use Nestle Semi-Sweet)
1/3 cube of kitchen parafin (The kind used for sealing jelly sometimes. It can usually be found where canning supplies are in your grocery store.)


In a large mixer, cream together milk and margarine. Add vanilla and coconut. Now slowly add powdered sugar (This can be tedious and messy, I frequently end up mixing in the last of the powdered sugar by hand.) When thoroughly mixed together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.


The next day cover some cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper. Form coconut mixture into small walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheets. When finished filling a cookie sheet cover and put back into the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.


Next comes the dipping. In a double boiler put chocolate chips and parafin. Heat until melted. Prepare surface next to stove top by laying foil or wax paper down. (I use foil.) Now it's time to dip the coconut balls. Plop them gently in the melted chocolate one at a time and use a dinner fork to lift them out and put them on your prepared surface. Allow the bon bons to cool and firm up for several hours. When they are firm, enjoy! Give to your friends to enjoy because this recipe makes about 120 of them!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lots of Linky Love


The Lemonade Award
Which recognizes blogs that reveal great attitude and/or gratitude.

I want to thank Robin at Be Still and Know... for honoring me with this little blog award. Robin showed up at my blog last spring on a post for which I received a couple of really ugly comments (that was before I reviewed my comments). She offered me encouragement and consolation and renewed my faith in the blog reading public. And now she's gone and made me blush!

Now, the directions with this award are that I go on and honor some more great blogs that show great attitude and/or gratitude. But like Robin and Skoots1mom before her I'm not going to do the full count. However, here are a few blogs that fit the bill for me.

Lynn had me when I first saw the name of her blog. She is a faithful wife and mum who writes honestly and openly about her life in England. I love going and finding out what lovely thing she is up to each day.

Tina is a bright ray of sunshine right out of Scottish moors (you do have moors in Scotland, right?). She just went through a kitchen re-do and such a good attitude about it too!

Jen is my friend in real life. And everything about her is real. She and her husband have open hearts and an open home. Just go read the wonderful things she is thinking about and praying about!

Shawna is also my friend in real life. She and I are kindred spirits in so many ways. Her writings are always helpful and challenging. Her latest post is about time management, it offered me not only a challenge but a tool to meet that challenge.

Her "sub-title" kinda says it all, "Because my life needs it's own word." I see a happy, loving, sunshiny person in her blog. She is also real about her life. And she loves to decorate!

I just recently found Gayle via her other blog The Grocery Cart Challenge. She is witty, funny and just has a great attitude about things in general. She also manages to keep her grocery bill to between $200 and $250 a month. She's my hero.

So there are my nominees for The Lemonade Award. I hope you will visit them all real soon.

Now for the rules that go with this little award:

• Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
• Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
• Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
• Share the love and link this post to the person from whom you received your award.

Blessings to everyone who stops by here!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Relieve Some Christmastime Stress

By now you are probably like me. In the midst of Christmas preparations and in need of a good laugh. Well check out these two sites, lolcats.com and i can has cheezburger then take a look at Son's version. He is very proud of his handiwork. :)


I was laughing out loud at some of the pictures....remember laughter is great stress relief!


Monday, December 8, 2008

A Little Walk Down Memory Lane

My Mom loves to sew. When I was younger she did a lot more clothes sewing than she does now. Now she is a quilter mainly. Though she has been known to make some clothes for Daughter.

My Mom is also a saver. I think she has saved every pattern she ever bought and the fabric as well. As I dug through boxes under the stairs at my folks house this past Thanksgiving, I was taken on a trip down memory lane. There were fabric scraps that I distinctly remembered from various clothing items either my Mom or I wore.

And let me tell you there were boxes...as in multiple boxes. One could almost classify them by decade, based on the print styles. It was...amusing, because that "I can't believe I wore that" thing comes up.

But, you know, there are styles that are classic...they don't suffer too much in the translation. Especially now when people dress not to conform so much as they do to define who they are. And since I'm kind of a traditional sort of retro sort of girl, and the patterns my Mom had are in my size so I thought, why not use them!

So without further ado let me show you what I found. And this isn't everything. Blogger would only let me post five pictures.

The blouse on the left reminded me of some of the tops you see in the stores right now. Made in a knit fabric I don't think anyone would know the pattern was from 1964. My Mom and I had matching dresses made from the pattern on the right...well her dress was made from that pattern...mine was from a smaller pattern I didn't find. I do remember they were a light pink, double knit polyester fabric. Somewhere there is a picture of us...but that was another hunt.

I don't think my Mom ever made either of the above patterns. The contents to both are still in tact. I could probably make a killing with them on e-bay! They are priced .75 and .85 cents. My how things have changed!

Now the pattern on the right above is one of those classic ones. McCall's classifies it as "Easy, Recommended For Beginners". It is priced at .50 cents U.S., .60 cents in Canada. I think I will actually be using that one. I might even be brave enough to make the one on the right as well...it's not that outdated is it?


More classics, the pants make me think of Laura Petrie (aka: Mary Tyler Moore) in The Dick Van Dyke Show.


I think I will be making both of these as well. The drawings make look dated but really, the styles are simple and, once again, classic.
So there you have it. Well, not ALL of it. Like I said I could only post five pictures on this post. These are just the sewing patterns. I still have to show you the knitting and crocheting stuff I found! But I'm going to save it for another post. :D

You know there are draw backs to saving everything, but in this case I'm really glad my Mom didn't get rid of anything. And she was glad that I will be able to make use of them again. Ooooo, it just makes me all frugally and warm inside!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Walking Faithfully - The Whiner Edition


So here is how it has been going for me. I have a cold, a UTI and Aunt Flo came to visit (and if you don't know who Aunt Flo is you are either not a woman or you are too young to be reading this).


Yeah, it's been great.


For most of the week I've felt like I've been hit by a Mac truck and left for dead. Daughter has been wanting to decorate the house for Christmas and little by little we've been getting it done. Poor thing, she's so excited and her Mama has been so wiped out.


I actually feel better today. The cold symptoms are subsiding. All I'm left with now is an over abundance of mucus...and I'm running out of tissues....both in the box and on the roll.


I started on some antibiotics for the UTI yesterday. They also gave me a medicine to relieve the symptoms...that was a welcome relief! I've drunk enough cranberry juice this week to support Ocean Spray for the rest of the year. Not to mention water...oy!


And Aunt Flo, she packed up her bags and more or less left yesterday. That was the biggest relief of all.


So....just to let you know, I did find some cool stuff under the stairs at my parents house. I'll get some pictures taken this weekend and post them on Monday. I'm sure I'll be feeling better by then! I hope!


I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your Christmas season. I'm done whining now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Excuse Me While I Collect My Thoughts

I'm coming, I'm coming....oh just let me get my thoughts together...excuse me...oh I dropped a page....heh, heh...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Writing To Say Hello!!!

Hello Everyone!

I'm hailing to you from somewhere in the lower 48 but for security reasons I can't tell you where! ;)
Specifically we are at my parents where my husband is at this very moment enjoying Monday Night Football in 52" HDTV.

Yeah...he's a happy man.

I can't quite get my thoughts together enough to really write something pithy right now, but maybe that will happen later on this week...maybe...

Right now my parents under stairway closet is calling my name, because somewhere in there are numerous vintage sewing patterns and crochet magazines. I hate to think of them as "vintage" because that would make me somewhat "vintage" as I remember when they were all new. Of course I was only a kid when they were new...still....

Anyway, as you can tell, I can't quite finish a thought and I think I better go answer the siren's call. Hope you are all having a great week!

P.S. I'll try to post some pictures of what I find this week...if not this week then next week when I get home to my own computer!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Not A Lot, But It's My Life

There are so many inspirational blogs out there. Just look at my blog-list and you will see some of the blogs that inspire me. They are blogs about home keeping, child-rearing and walking with the Lord. I love them all. They all are encouraging to me. Sometimes they are sad, sometimes funny and sometimes just, you know, everyday. I love that too. Because sometimes there is really nothing all that exciting to share about life.


You get up, get dressed, take care of what ever your day holds, and go to bed. That may be an over simplification, but you know what I mean.


And I love reading about it. Because there is joy to be found in the everyday things of life. Because that is mostly what life is made of. The everyday.


I mean, let's face it. Cleaning out a chicken coop isn't exactly earth shattering. Stinky maybe, but not earth shattering. Yet that was a part of my otherwise completely ordinary day yesterday. And I loved it.


In it's own way it was fun. Not the kind of fun I imagined when I was sixteen and seventeen years old, but fun in finding out our chickens were stealth. Fun in figuring out how to thwart their egg-hiding efforts. Fun watching them get excited about the new layer of straw we put down in their coop.


Taking joy in the everyday things of life can be hard sometimes, especially if you find yourself yearning for something more seemingly vibrant and exciting. But I have found that when I stopped looking over the fence at my neighbors lawn, or life, or whatever, I am much more content with my own life. Comparing my life to someone elses gets me no-where but depressed.


Jesus had an answer for this sort of thing. This comparing we do. In John 21:21 Peter asks Jesus about the future of John's (the disciple whom Jesus loved) life. Jesus says to Peter in verse 22, "...what is that to you? You follow Me." I just need to do what God has put before me. I don't need to be worrying about or comparing myself to anyone else.


And therein lies the secret to contentment and, dare I say, happiness.


So to quote a famous ant, "It's our lot in life...it's not a lot, but it's our life!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Poultry Tale


It has been awhile since I've given you any news about "The Girls". And yes they are all girls...in fact Josephina, who I was worried might be a Joseph, has turned out to be one of our most prolific layers. I do believe she was one of the first to start laying and she has carried right on with nary a stop since she began.








Nelly too, once the most henpecked of the bunch, and still the bottom of the chicken totem pole, has turned into a prolific layer. We can usually count on these two to give us an egg a day.


But things have been getting cooler here with temperatures dipping down into the low 30's at night. So when we started seeing fewer eggs, even though we were disappointed, we weren't all that surprised. One day we didn't get any. The next day we got three. We just figured that that's how it goes with laying in the colder months.


Oh contrare mes amis.


On Sunday, our dear sweet thief puppy greeted Husband with an egg in her mouth. How...did she get an egg!?!?!? we wanted to know. Husband made a beeline for the chicken coop and found everything secure except for an outside corner of the coop where our little thief puppy had been digging. This seemed to be the only logical place she could have gotten it from, although we were somewhat mystified as to how an egg got on the ground when there are four perfectly good nesting boxes in the coop.



Then this morning my dear little daughter, who loves the chickens more than any of the rest of us, went down to check for eggs and came back with a very dirty one in her hand telling me she had gotten from the ground outside the coop on the same corner that Puppy had been digging. AND one of the chickens was down inside of that corner of the coop under our makeshift floor. The floor is just two pallets stacked on top of one another with a piece of plywood on top.

Well, I decided, I've got to get to the bottom of this. So I pulled out the plywood. There in the corner was Josephina happily sitting on six eggs. We shoo-ed her away and I pulled out the pallets. As I was pulling out the pallets I ran over a seventh egg. Now with those seven, plus the egg puppy found and the egg Daughter found there were nine eggs. They had all been layed by either Josephina or Nelly.

Our two best layers have gone broody on us.

I'm not sure yet what we will do about this. I feel kind of bad for them...wanting chicks and all. For now the flooring is out of the coop, but we will have to put something back in by the end of the day. I'm thinking that we ought to skip the pallets and maybe just lay a few bricks down and put the plywood on top of that. We'll see what husband says when he gets home.

So there you have it...just another pawltry...I mean poultry episode in "As The Chicken Turns".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keep the Main Thing

Missy over at It's Almost Naptime had a link to this post Was Jesus A Democrat or a Republican? written by Carol of Sheep To The Right and posted at Internet Cafe Devotions.

(Is that enough links for ya: ;D )

I love how it really gets to the main thing...Jesus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Living and Breathing Word

I read, or at least try to read, daily from The One Year Bible. This year I am reading it in the New Living Translation. Personally I have no particular translation loyalties. I do think that certain versions are probably a little more accurate than others....but that is not what this post is about.

What this post is about is that I am so in awe of how the Word of God, from Old Testament through the New Testament is just about God reaching out to us poor sinners. In reading an Old Testament passage juxtapositioned with a New Testament passage everyday it just becomes so clear.

My readings today came from Joshua 3:1 thru 4:24, Luke14:7-35, Psalm 80:1-19 and Proverbs 12:27-28 (yes, for those of you out there who follow along diligently according to the date, I don't...I'm in April...but that's another post).

The Joshua passage is about the people of Israel passing through the Jordan into the Promised Land, the Luke passage is Jesus talking about our priorities and where they ought to lie, the Psalm is a plea for God to show mercy on a sinful nation and Proverb is a comparison between the godly and the lazy. Here are a few verses I highlighted.

Then Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you."J.3:5
Today you will know that the living God is among you. J.3:10
...the Lord of all the earth. J.3:13
He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORD's hand is powerful, and so you might fear the LORD your God forever. J.4:24
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. L.14:11
But don't begin until you count the cost. L.14:28
Salt is good for seasoning But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! L.14:34
Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven's Armies. Make Your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. Ps.80:7
Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven's Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Ps.80:14
The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death. Pr.12:28

I have only done this sort of thing, where I take the verses that popped out at me and wrote them down together, one other time. I was amazed then and I am amazed now at how God can speak to me in this way....I know I probably shouldn't be, but I am.

God's Word is living and breathing and it is consistent. For those who claim there are contradictions...well I beg to differ. Yes, there are things that are hard to understand. But if I served a God who I could completely understand then he would be no god worth serving. My mind is finite, His is infinite. His ways are not my ways.

What an awesome God I serve.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Pizza Never Lies




What Your Pizza Reveals



People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.



You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.



You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.



You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.



You are definitely unique and artistically inclined. You should consider traveling to Prague.



The stereotype that best fits you is guy or girl next door. Hey, there's nothing wrong with being average.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Wasn't Kidding!

She looks innocent enough doesn't she? A sweet faced lab with a penchant for cat food and chicken feed, tomatoes and pears. I wasn't joking when I told you she emptied the contents of her stomach on my carpet last night. She really did. And it was all chicken feed that she had snuck into the chicken yard and eaten right out the chicken's feeder while we were at Son's pizza party for his soccer team. When we arrived home from the party and went to lock up the chickens it was already dark (we still haven't gotten used to the time change yet). We hadn't locked up the chickens before we left and I was a little alarmed when we approached their pen and the gate was ajar. I stopped Daughter from going in and went in ahead of her, worried I might find a dead chicken. Thankfully all five biddies were safely snuggled up on their perch in the hen house. Apparently, they themselves are not what my dear sweet puppy were after....no....just their feed.

The problem is, she is one of these dogs with a sensitive stomach. We found this out last Christmas after an episode of throwing up and diarrhea. She's only aloud 3 cups of her own lamb and rice food a day. Apparently she doesn't feel that that's enough.

Little thief.

Anyway, my carpet is mostly recovered. I need to go over the spots one more time and I think that will do it. We are now carefully locking the chicken gate with an extra carabeaner so hopefully there will be no more episodes like last night.

The weather here has done a rather abrupt change...my kids seem surprised by it, but after living where we do for 17 years now I've learned to expect the unexpected. Last week we had a few afternoons in the upper 70's and lower 80's. Today....it is snowing!

Daughter, who earlier was complaining because it was cloudy and gloomy, is now thrilled with the weather and doesn't want the snow to stop. And I must admit that it's a wonder how the same grey skies that gave us rain early this morning suddenly didn't seem so gloomy when the rain turned to snow.




There is a certain odd beauty in snow on a still somewhat leafy tree. And it has made things in the house seem a lot more cozy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

...and in other news...

It's 11:50pm where I live.

Obama has been elected President of the United States.

I just finished spot cleaning my carpet because my dog ralphed chicken feed on it.

I'm not feeling so well myself.

But I will respect my leaders even if I don't agree with them on most everything.

Who Ya Gonna Serve?

Well, here it is voting day. Did you wonder, in the midst of primaries, debates and conventions, if we would ever get here? I certainly did.





Yet here we are, Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Today the voters of the United States will choose a new President. Polls say it will likely not be who I prefer. But I'm going to vote anyway. Why? Because crazy things can happen on election day.


This picture is kind of small, but it is of Harry Truman holding up a newspaper announcing Dewey winning the election when in fact Truman had. AND can you say, "hanging chad"?

So I go out today to cast my ballot.

Even if the candidate of my choosing is not elected I still owe him respect as the leader of our country. And ultimately it is not him I serve. I serve the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth who sent His only Son to be the Savior of all mankind. And He is sovereign and in control. Whoever is elected has been allowed to be elected by God. "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves." -Romans 13:1-2

That is a hard thing to do. Especially when there are preciouse lives at stake. But this country is unique in that we can change things by voting. Before I vote, I pray, because I want to do the Lord's will, because that is who I serve. Who do you serve?


By the by, I hope this plays alright for you. I had some trouble with it but I think it was because our server was running slow. In a past life I was (and still am to an extent) a Bob Dylan fan. I hope he maintains his relationship with Jesus Christ, but even if he doesn't he wrote a great song here.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve....But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. ~Joshua 24:15

Friday, October 31, 2008

Light On A Dark Day

Today it is overcast and is threatening to rain. We've had a little rain already and we are hoping for more because it has been so very dry here all summer and fall. In spite of the dryness we've enjoyed a beautiful display of God's handiwork with color. I love to take walks this time of year. We go to our local park, pick one of it's many walking trails, enjoy the beauty of the trees, the spicy smell of the woods and pick up acorns along our way.
It would seem that there could be nothing to mar such a beautiful season. However, in my humble estimation, there is just one thing that does. Just one day. I refuse to call it a holiday because there is nothing holy about it. It does not glorify God or honor Him for His handiwork. It is in fact extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find anything redeemable about this day.

If you haven't surmised what day I'm speaking of let me just say, it is halloween.

I do not like this day. I loath to see small children dressed up like axe murders, Dracula with fake blood dripping from the corners of their mouths and ghoulish, ugly creatures. Yes, I know, not all children dress this way but all the same there are enough who do.

In our small town the local elementary schools make a BIG deal out of this day. There are activities and lessons in the morning centered around the themes of halloween. There is a parade in which all the children walk through the downtown area with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles watching and cheering. And then to top it off they return to their classrooms for candy, cupcakes and juice boxes. Oh, and the children wear their costumes all day at school.

That is just in the schools.

Then there is the house decorating. One home in particular in our town is an advertisement for every yard decoration that's been thought of. The home itself is a beautiful white, two-story home with a wrap around porch, surrounded by lovely grassy lawns and a graceful curving gravel driveway. On Halloween it is turned into a mock graveyard complete with skeletons rising from the earth. From one of it's tall stately trees hangs a life size manikin in a noose. In two of it's large windows, well lit from behind, stand manikins of a vampire and some other scary guy. Greeting trick-or-treaters at the door is a tunnel with the grim reaper at the end. There are other blow up things on and around the house as well. In fact there is so much stuff I couldn't possibly hope to give you full inventory even if I wanted to. In short, its disgusting.

With all the "everyday"evil in the world, you know like, terrorism, murder, abortion, molestations, etc., why do people want to celebrate it? And don't tell me it's "just a fun" day. There may be "innocent" fun aspects of it but it's roots are not. If you talk to law enforcement, firemen and emergency room workers there is very little that's fun about it.

So how does a Christian deal with this day? How have I and my family chosen to deal with this day? Well, we try to be lights. We don't decorate for it but we do pass out candy with some sort of Christian tract or sticker. We try to take opportunities to talk to people about the Light of the world, Jesus. We try to shine as brightly as we can...and on this dark day that is getting darker the light of Jesus is all the brighter.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." ~John 8:12


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And as if I don't have enough to do....

I started another blog.

Yeah call me crazy. Call me nuts. Call me a spendthrift reforming her ways and wanting to blog about it.

I didn't want to make this blog about being frugal, a tightwad...whatever...and I have a lot of ideas about what to post on the frugal subject. I want to keep this place what it is...just a little spot in blog world.

Not that I'm expecting my new blog to light the blog world on fire. It's only one of many blogs out there on the subject of being frugal.

But hey...if I can add anything of value...well at least I'm gonna give it a try.

Soooo, if you would like to you can go over and check things out at Walking Frugally. Yeah I know, it's a brilliant name! HA! Either that or I'm trying to franchise myself...ummm...not. Let's just say, "it came to me."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Perseverance


Someone once said to me, in regards to walking with the Lord, that you know you must be headed in the right direction if you are getting opposition from the Enemy.


Well, I would say that in the last year and a half or so we have definitely been getting some opposition. There have been slings and arrows wielded in our direction which we have not always handled the way we ought to have. But the thing with testing and trials is that they are meant to grow us and conform us to the image of Christ.


This morning I was reading through my journal and came to this entry. I felt led to share it here and I hope it will be a benefit and/or blessing to you.


Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and, let us run with patience the race that is set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1


The weight that I must lay aside is that of working for acceptance, working for points, working to earn favor with God, working with the thought in the back of my mind that if I'm good enough God will owe me a peaceful, perfect, prosperous life here on earth. And in that lies the sin, the sin of pride, pride that I can in some way do enough or be good enough to tip the scales in my favor.


And when this sad, pathetic formula doesn't work, I move on to my next sin, murmuring and complaining and unbelief. I am no better than the Israelites in the wilderness. It's a wonder that God doesn't just open the earth and swallow me up. It's what I deserve.

This all leads to doubt and despondency. I doubt God is ever going to change things. I fret that he is done with Husband and me. I lose hope. More sin.


This quote from Streams In The Desert has opened my eyes to the spiritual warfare I am, we are encountering:


"The devil has two master tricks. One is to get us discouraged; then for a time at least we can be of no service to others, and so be defeated. The other is to make us doubt, thus breaking the faith link by which we are bound to our Father. Look out! Do not be tricked either way." -G.E.M.


Praise God for His mercy and grace and forgiveness. I am not swallowed up by the earth, I am forgiven.


Praise God for His Holy Spirit who gives me the strength, hope and will power not to succumb to discouragement, despondency and doubt.


Praise God for His Word that gives me truth to cling to when the Enemy is whispering his treacherous lies in my ear.


This season of trial will pass. My prayer is that I will count it all joy, that I will walk closer with Jesus, my Lord, that it's lessons will someday help someone else and that my trust in Him will be ever deeper.


"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." ~Romans 5:3-5

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm On A Mission!

I mentioned in my Monday post that I have been thinking a lot about how to spend less money. Of course the obvious solution would to not spend any at all but hey, I have these people living in my house that seem to want to eat. Personally I could easily live off my fat stores but the kiddos haven't got any fat to speak of so...well...I guess I ought to feed them.


So I've been obsessing lately about how to feed this crew with the least amount spent. I've been reading The Tightwad Gazette, (actually it's The Tightwad Gazette III, borrowed from the library, but I am hankering to get the newer edition that includes I, II and III), visiting sites like The Grocery Cart Challenge, $5 Dinners and The Simple Dollar and taking inventory of my own stores and resources. And Tuesday I set about to make a list and a plan to spend as little as possible on a months worth of groceries.


I felt challenged by Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge to spend only $50 a week on groceries. From what I've read at her blog this is her goal every week.


Right off the bat my challenge is that I don't shop for groceries on weekly basis. As I mentioned before, in our small town we do not have access to discount grocery anything. In order to get to those stores I needs must travel an hour away. There I will find Costco, Winco, Dollar Tree (at least one that sells more than mac&cheese), and the Grocery Outlet.


My next challenge is that there are a few items that I insist on buying organic. Milk, apples, potatoes, carrots, salad greens all fall into that category.


So I decided I would shoot for about $75 a week. This amount, I decided, would include not only food but household and hygeine items as well.


I am happy to say...I came in at $291.44. Woo Hoo!!! And here is what most of it looks like.



I did not include the Food Saver or the Starbuck's coffee in the total above. One was a special purchase so that we don't waste things we buy in bulk and the other was...well...you know...ummm kinda like a necessary thing...sorta....you know...like medicine.


This isn't all of what I bought, what you don't see are things that needed to get into the freezer right away. But that there is what ya call a whole lotta food. Part of my strategy was to avoid as much convenience foods as possible. I'm trying to make it from scratch. Whatever "it" may be, like baked goods, beans and casserole type stuff. I also shopped the bulk aisle at Winco. For some reason I just thought it had a lot of candy over there. Imagine my surprise when I found everything from dog food to spelt flour tucked away in the corner of the store.


Wow.


Where have I been?


Never mind, don't answer that.


I also went with a sort of spread sheet...well that may be too grand a term for it...I'm one of those people who has never really been able to effectively make a spread sheet. It was more like a price comparison chart. I made a list of most of my usually bought grocery items down the page and then across the top of the page the various stores. Then I took some receipts from the last couple of months and started filling in squares.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. I tried to fill in new price comparisons as I went along at the different stores. It was helpful in deciding if I was getting the best deal or not. I missed getting the best deal a couple of times because of specials but on the whole it was a good thing.
The best part of my day though was buying gas. Bet ya haven't heard that from anyone lately! Imagine my delight when I walked into Costco and saw this sign.
I couldn't understand why there wasn't dancing and celebrating right there in front of the sign. In my home town at the begining of the day the cheapest place in town was still $3.43 a gallon. Eighty cents cheaper in "the nearest large town"! Eighty cents people!!!!
And yes, my children were mortified that I was taking a picture of a gas price sign. I told them that they would just have one more story to tell their kids about their crazy mother.
So all in all, I felt it was a pretty successful day hunting down bargains. The real test now will be to see if I can avoid a trip to our local grocery stores for the next month. I have a feeling there may need to be an exception for produce...but we'll see. I do have plenty of frozen and canned stuff on hand.
And I enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, but you know it is always more fun to hunt with other people. So I'm wondering, what sort of things are you doing to "tighten your belt"? What strategies and tools are you using?



Monday, October 20, 2008

Simple Thoughts

FOR TODAY Monday, October 20, 2008...

Outside my Window...
…it is overcast (okay, partially cloudy) and the trees are turning gorgeous shades of yellow, orange and red.

I am thinking...
… a lot about how we can spend less money and get our debts paid off. I must admit to being slightly obsessed by this at the moment.
From the learning rooms...
…the kiddos actually got going before 9:00 this morning so it was a much less stressful day than usual. I also insisted that written work be done first before reading. This made the day go a lot more smoothly…this made me happy…and when Mama is happy, everyone is happy!
I am thankful for...
…the fact that today is the. last. soccer. game. of. the. season. The last one friends!!! Do you hear my elation? Do you hear the joy in my voice? Hallelujah!!!!

From the kitchen...
…beef barley soup and homemade bread. I think I will also make an apple crisp. We picked the last of our Granny Smith’s on Friday and I need to start using them. I think this will be a perfect meal after our last soccer game.
I am wearing...
…my new jeans rolled up to be capris, a blue floral t-shirt over a long-sleeved white t-shirt, socks and my favorite pair of slippers.
I am reading...
…I have moved on to James Herriott’s Every Living Thing. Did I mention before that I love these books? Tina at Red Wellies, Rainbows and Cinnamon Whirls left me a note telling me she had actually gotten to go see the real Skeldale House. Did I mention I’m a little jealous Tina?
I am hoping...
…that we can have a nice family evening, maybe even play a board game or something after we get home from the last soccer game of the season.
I am creating...
…not much right now.
I am hearing...
…the dishwasher running and my son chopping fat wood for the fire.
Around the house...
…we are still working on finishing up the painting on the outside of the house. Praise God that it has been warm and dry this October, I think if the weather holds we will actually be able to finish it next weekend!

One of my favorite things...
…is time with my hubby. We have been making much more of a concerted effort lately to make sure we get more time alone together.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
…I think I now have enough ripe tomatoes to finally make some stewed tomatoes. They are holding up remarkably well in the frig. On Wednesday we will head to the “nearest large town” for some serious grocery shopping, so on Tuesday I will be making my list and checking it twice.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Welcome to my home.

For more entries in the Simple Woman's Daybook head over to The Simple Woman.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Too Many Receipts

This, my friends, is two months worth of debit receipts which have been hiding out either in my purse, my husband's wallet or a manila envelope I use for storing them until I record them in my check register.

Now please, for those of you who balance your checkbook every month down to the penny, please don't think any less of me because I don't. I have never been able to do that, no matter how hard I tried. I do keep track of my balance by viewing my account regularly on-line and checking what has cleared against what has been hiding out in my purse.

And today, I entered all the receipts into my check register. We have Quicken which also can help you with a budget and generate spending reports for you. I know I do not use this software to it's full potential but one of these days, very soon, I hope to be able to.

Because....today after entering all debits and credits I generated a spending report for groceries and auto fuel.

ouch.

First of all, we have been spending about twice what I thought we were on gas. Of course, these days that's not hard to do. But the reason it surprised me was because I stay home. A lot. However, when I do go out, it's usually to our nearest large town to do grocery shopping. Said large town is approximately 60 miles away. We have a Ford Focus and get anywhere from 28 to 32 miles to the gallon but when gas is close to $4.00 a gallon it all adds up quickly. I am going to start thinking twice about quick trips around the town we live in though. Those miles can add up quickly too.

Our grocery spending was also more than I originally thought. During the Spring and Summer months I wasn't able to make as many trips to "our nearest large town" and so I bought groceries in small quantities from our local markets. Let's just say that while we are blessed to have three supermarkets in a town of 7500 people, they aren't exactly discount markets. We do have a W*lM*rt in town but it's not a Super one and judging from the Super ones I have been in I don't know that I would be inclined to shop for my groceries there anyway.

So how am I going to tackle these two areas? Well that there my friends is a good question. We have pretty well stripped all other areas down to bare bones but we can do some good work in these areas I think.

#1 - less trips anywhere. Period. There are places we can walk to easily and to our health's benefit. Time to get out the walking shoes. (I need to lose ten pounds anyway.)

#2 - make more food from scratch. I have already started to do this. Bread in particular. I haven't done an actual cost breakdown of how much a loaf of homemade bread costs compared to a store bought loaf but I'm willing to wager it's less than the $3.00 a loaf I can expect to pay locally.

#3 - some friends and I are going to start some "co-op" buying. We have yet to work out all the details but when we do I'll let you know how we do. Some things we have considered co-oping include flour, sugar, meat, paper products and other staples. We are also working on a plan to coordinate our garden produce.

#4 - eliminate as many "in between" trips to the local grocery store as possible. This will take a considerable bit more planning on my part to make sure I purchase all that we will need when I make my trip to "the nearest large town".

These are just some initial steps to stem the flow of blood cash from our wallet. Some other resources I plan on utilizing are The Tightwad Gazette, borrowed from the library, of course. And I'm going to be reading a lot more over at this gentleman's blog, The Simple Dollar. I've only just begun to do some reading over there but what I've read so far seems practical and useful.

So what I'm thinking is...if I do less spending (always a good thing) I will have less receipts to enter in my check register. If I have less receipts to enter I might be more inclined to get them entered in a timely fashion and then there will not be a pile like the one in the picture.

Some Simple Thoughts



I think that this little meme is normally to be done on Mondays. But I was about 400 miles away from my computer on Monday so…well…anyway…I needed something to spur on my thinking and I’m doing it today…



FOR TODAY Thursday, October 16th...


Outside My Window...
…it is dark right now. But the trees are beginning to turn to shades of gold and there is a crispness in the air that makes me think of apples and cinnamon.

I am thinking...
…that there is a lot I’m thinking about these days. More than I can possibly put into words. I think that there is a stage in life when you look all around you and things and people are changing. Children are getting older, parents are getting older, suddenly you realize you aren’t as young as you used to be. This causes me to reflect a lot. What is next in my life? Am I doing a good job raising my children? How can I be a help to my parents?

I am thankful for...
…the fact that I don’t have figure all this out on my own. I have my husband who God has gifted with steadiness and clear thinking. I have my Lord who will guide and direct us both.

From the kitchen...
…ummm, not much too exciting lately. I did make an apple crisp last week. The weather is prompting me to make lots of soups, stews and chili lately. I hope my family doesn’t get tired of them!

I am wearing...
...my yoga pants (can I just say I love these things…they are so comfortable…and I don’t even do yoga!), a t-shirt, a fleece sweatshirt and some socks. Yep. You could definitely call me comfy.

I am creating...
…ideas lately. I hope to be making some Christmas gifts soon.

I am going...
…to hopefully stay home for awhile, at least until Thanksgiving.

I am reading...
…James Herriott’s The Lord God Made Them All. Again. For like the umpteenth time. I first read this series in the ‘80’s when I worked the swing shift as a PBX (switchboard) operator at a hospital.

I am hoping...
…that we will be able finish painting our house before it gets too cold.

I am hearing...
Jon Courson doing his Wednesday night teaching on-line at KAPL. He is going through Proverbs.

Around the house...
…things are pretty snug for the winter. We have been lighting a fire in the wood stove in the morning to take the chill off.

One of my favorite things...
…is sitting by the woodstove in the morning and doing my devotions and having my coffee. So cozy, such a special time for me.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…
…mainly to get our schooling caught up and make a batch of stewed tomatoes.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


...it makes me think of warm family times to come this holiday season and reminds me to be thankful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just Thinking Out Loud

For the last few mornings I've gotten up and made my way to my kitchen only to be faced with three large bowls of tomatoes.

Daunting.

Every day Husband asks me, "Are you going to take care of the tomatoes today?"

I go through my mental list of to-do's and say, "I don't know...depends on how things go."

The bowls of green tomatoes have me less worried than that bowl of red ones. The green ones will take a couple of days to ripen but the red one wants taking care of now.

I have contemplated inviting my dear, pregnant friend over, who currently is having tomato cravings and sitting her down with the bowl and letting her have at it.

This afternoon there will also be grapes and Granny Smith apples joining the entourage of produce.

Now don't get me wrong. I am in no way complaining about my good fortune. I know that later this winter I will be ever so grateful for the "free" produce sitting in lovely jars in my pantry. It's just the energy I know it will require to get it all into those jars AND trying to do school with the kiddos as well.

I think it's the combination of the two, canning and schooling, that I'm finding daunting.

We are also going to celebrate my Father-in-law's 80th birthday this weekend. So that means Saturday is shot as is Sunday. (We will be traveling 8 hours to his home, thank God that gas prices have gone down some this week.)

So here is what I think I will do. We will be traveling home on Monday. I think we will have a "recovery" day on Tuesday and I'll get some of that produce taken care of and then back to school on Wednesday.

Yes...I think that is what I will do.

Thanks so much for coming by and listening to be babble about my tomatoes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Can't Get That Song Outa My Head

Ever wake up in the morning with a song looping in your brain? This frequently happens to me. Usually it's a praise song I heard recently or something the kids have been humming.

This morning it was the Beatles.

I haven't listened to a Beatles song in ages. In fact I can't even remember the last time I purposely set out to listen to a Beatles song. (Nothing against the Beatles per se, just haven't listened to them much in the last ten years or so.)

And not just any Beatles song either. No. I woke up with When I'm 64 looping in my brain.

Just so you can join me in my time of madness crisis whatever here is the whole song for you to listen to.



The last half of this segment reminds me of some of the counting clips they used to have on Sesame Street. Hmmmm. Wonder who copied who. Anyway.....

You can think of me today as I go around with this song in my head.

La la la la la, la la la la.........

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Psalm


The Lord is teaching me these days to rest and trust in Him. To praise Him through my trials. James 1:2-4 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall in various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." This is not easy but by His grace others have gone before us and found that it can be done. The following hymn, written by Horatio Spafford, came to me this morning. I thought of the story of how he came to write it and suddenly my trials seemed miniscule in comparison (you can read his story here). Thank you Lord for these sweet words that I can sing today, It Is Well With My Soul.



When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul.


(Refrain)

It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blest assurance control,That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


Refrain


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin, not in part but the whole,Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


Refrain


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:If Jordan above me shall roll,No pang shall be mine, for in death as in lifeThou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


Refrain


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,The sky, not the grave, is our goal;Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


Refrain


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,Even so, it is well with my soul.


Refrain

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hello Again

Is anyone still out there? Hello. Hello. Hello.

Well I'm back. At least tentatively. I say tentatively because I have gone back and forth several times about whether to continue blogging or not in the past few weeks.

I like to blog. I like to "go around" and read other blogs, commenting here and there. Frequently a subject will come to mind and I will begin composing a blog entry in my mind...in there it sounds great, pithy, worthy of conversation and comment. When I finally have time to sit down and write I just stare at the screen and wonder what it was I wanted to say. And that's when I don't like to blog. Because then I spend much too much time on it to the detriment of other things I ought to be doing. I walk away from the computer aware that there is laundry I ought to have folded or time I ought to have spent with my kids.

Let me tell you...it is a vicious cycle of enjoyment and guilt.

However, I did decide to give writing my own blog one more shot and see if I can come up with some way of getting all my "pithy" thoughts out of my head before they go wandering off.

heh heh....we'll see what happens.

So anyway...I'm back for now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Can't Do It On My Own

Things here are not just busy....they are a bit disorganized. In fact it's driving me crazy.

I had all these great intentions to get all these projects done around the house this summer...and...well...I had great intentions.

Now, in just a week and a half we start school again. Thankfully I have managed to get our school lives mostly together. You know, books and curriculum ordered and received. I still need to work out a daily schedule and some kind of rubric of expectations for Son.

Can I admit here that I'm feeling just a little...errr....overwhelmed? Not totally overwhelmed, just a little.

I really want to do an excellent, consistent job in educating Son and Daughter. I want to make sure that we cover as many bases as possible and that they will be able to stand on their own two feet when the time comes.

Sigh.

I think that every parent and every homeschooling parent struggles with many of the same feelings and questions I'm struggling with right now. And those are just the parenting concerns.

As a wife and mom I have a whole other list of goals I want to accomplish that concern the running of our home. Housekeeping goals, menu and feeding goals, gardening goals,...the list just goes on and on.

I want to be able to do all things well. I want to have a well oiled machine running here in our home in which the schooling and housekeeping are smoothly integrated. In which the kids recognize and do their part to keep it going.

I see in my minds eye how I want things to look and run and then I look at the reality and there is a minor gulf between the two.

And then....

And then I get down on my knees and I pray and I give it all up to Him. Because I recognize that I'm trying way to hard to do it in my own strength. I'm trying way to hard using my own feeble brain and my weak, weak muscles.

I realize I can't do it on my own.

Again.

This is not the first time I've had this revelation. Oh no. I've had this revelation at least a hundred times in the last year alone. Yet it's a lesson I keep having to go over again and again. Praise the Lord He is patient and willing to teach me again and again.

And since I'm learning my lesson yet again, I have decided to take a blogging break. I know I only manage to post once a week but right now I can't even do that in a timely fashion. So I'm going to give myself a break. One less thing on the plate to worry about, so to speak.

So...for the next six weeks...I'm taking a break from blogging. My idea (I refuse to call it a plan) is to return to the bloggy world around the beginning of October when hopefully things will have returned to some kind of predictable pattern and we are settled in our school routine.

Thank you for continueing to check up on me this summer and I hope that you will come back this fall. I really and truly appreciate every visit and comment I receive from all of you. And thanks for allowing me this time.

I will lift my eyes to the hills -
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1~2

Friday, August 8, 2008

As The Chicken Turns

When we last left our lovely flock two new chickens had joined. One was learning the meaning of pecking order and the other was enjoying immediate acceptance. Apparently there was more going on than just mistaken identity.

You see we thought the reason the others accepted the new Barred Rock was because they thought it was the missing bird that Chewy, our dog, had sent off to poultry heaven. Now we're thinking that it may be because she is really a he.


What do you think? Believe me it was no easy trick getting this picture. However, please note the large crest and floppier waddle than his more feminine kin.


He can certainly give you quite the evil eye but he seems to be a really rather docile bird. He has yet to crow but I'm worried it might happen any morning now.

We do have a contingency plan in place for him to go back to his original farm and trade him for a her. I'm putting it off it until we know absolutely, positively for sure though because Daughter gets so attached to all of the birds. She gets big sad eyes whenever I say we will have to relocate "Joseph" aka Josephine to his farm.

Boy am I a soft touch.

But really. We can't keep a rooster here in town. We value our good neighbors.

So what do you think? Have I got a rooster or a hen here? "Joseph" is the bird on the far right. Doesn't his comb look a.lot. bigger than his hen friend standing next to him?

Cockadoodledoo!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stay Tuned....

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and checking in on me today. I'm afraid that I have to postpone a more lengthy entry until tomorrow (Thursday) because I'm not actually at home today. I'm at my dear friend Shawna's house visiting and enjoying her new farm. You can check out some of her pictures here.

So stay tuned or come on by tomorrow sometime and I will have something more to say!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Look Mom! I posted twice this week!

Soooo, here's what happens when you can't move around on your feet too much. You blog a lot more than usual.

Last week Robin over at Be Still and Know... taged me with this meme

Here are the tag rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So here are six random things about me:

1. I have two places in this world that I dearly would love to visit before I die or the Lord raptures the church. One is the English countryside. I have been in love with England since I was in high school and have devoured many a book that takes place in the English countryside. Specifically I would like to visit Yorkshire where all the James Herriot novels take place and Shrewsbury where the Brother Cadfael stories take place. I want to stay in a little country inn and have a real English country tea. Oh I could go on and on about this but lets just leave it with, I really would like to visit the English countryside someday.

The other place I want to visit is Israel. I want to walk where my Lord walked and see all the places that I've read about in my Bible.

2. When I was thirteen I had a crush on the horse racing jockey Steve Cauthen and wanted to become a jockey myself...just so I could meet him. LOL! The things kids think!

3. If someone told me I HAD to have plastic surgery done but I could pick any part of my body for the remodel I would choose my nose. I have one of those rather heavy Northern European jobbers that are really not all that feminine looking.

4. I love going to Disneyland. I haven't been there in about 20 years but I bring it up every year as a possible vacation destination. The kids are starting to catch the bug too, I think we are wearing Husband down.

5. Even though I handle myself pretty well in front of and around large groups of people I am at heart a rather shy person. There are times when I would happily fade away into the wall paper. I also hate trying to start a conversation with a newly met person. I often can't get past the weather. It's really no reflection on the person, it's really about my own self-conciousness which I've been told is at the heart of shyness.

6. I'm a small town pastor's daughter. I grew up in a fish bowl. I was so happy to go away to college where no one knew who my Dad was or what he did for a living. I loved the anonymity!

Now I live in a small town. Husband is the Youth Leader at our church. God has a sense of humor that's for sure. The fish bowl isn't quite as transparent and it's not the same fish bowl but...I live in it again!

So there you are...six random things about me! Now let's see, who will I tag? Ummm...okay...

Shawna over at We Lift Our Eyes Up

Gina over at Ward and June

Amy over at Sonshine Cottage

Jenn over at Grace and Glory

Frances over at Cherish the Days (aka Woman of Faith)

Linda over at 2nd Cup Of Coffee

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

...and this little piggy is layed-up.



I thought I was just going in to have a couple of plantar warts removed. And indeed, I did have them removed. I just didn't know that it would mean being off my feet "as much as possible" for the next week. Or that my foot would still be numb from anesthesia nearly 24 hours later. Or that my little piggies would be so swollen.


I'm not kidding. When I went in for my initial consultation with the podiatrist he told me I would be hobbling around for a couple of days and that would be it. I was thinking a large bandage and a few days wearing flip-flops.
HA!
Not so. Instead my little piggies got wrapped up like they were going to the North Pole and they get to wear this charming piece of footwear when the do get to go hobbling about...which is usually when I need to use the facilities.

Isn't it lovely?

I've learned two things from this little ordeal.

#1 - When you get a wart on the bottom of your foot don't wait thirteen years to have it removed. Just get it taken care of immediatly.

#2 - When you go in to see any doctor to have a procedure done ask a lot of questions. Ask what the worse case scenerio might be. Ask what "hobbling around for a couple of days" looks like to him.

This was not a worse case scenerio...he told me what that was while he carved a crater in my heal....but it was certainly more than I expected.

I hope I haven't grossed you out with all this information. I tried to avoid most of the gorey details. But let's face it...I'm looking for pity. Yes, please pity me and my little piggies! But not too much. I go back in a week for the bandage I first expected and I should be hobbling accordingly after that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I think I need a nap.

I'm tired.


I mean to say...it's the middle of the afternoon and I really want to take a nap. However, I have a list of things that I need to get done or nearly done today. Mostly they involve getting things reading for next school year. Specifically they involve getting my carpet in our schoolroom/family room clean.


Monday I rented one of those machines they have at the grocery store and in the time I had allotted I ran the thing over our carpet as many times as I could. However, by the time I was done it was still pulling some pretty dirty water. I quit and hoped for the best. At $28.00 a day I didn't want to rent the machine a second day....besides that I couldn't as I had to make a shopping trek on Tuesday.


I woke up Tuesday morning and saw these awful rusty sort of stains in the high traffic areas of the carpet.


Groooaan....


What to do, what to do?


Buy one of the above. Also known as a Bissell Quicksteamer Model No. 1970. Small but affordable.
I don't need to do the entire floor, just the areas that have that rusty brown stain which hopefully isn't a permanent sort of stain.
Alas...it makes me tired just thinking about it.
Soooooo, instead of doing that today. I ordered our school curriculum. It felt really good to get that task done. It also is a motivator to get the carpet clean and get furniture back into the schoolroom/family room.
Which brings me back to my need for a nap.
Think I'll go take one and see what I can get done after that!
YAAAWWWN....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

As if chickens weren't enough....


...we bought a pig.


(Okay, I'll let that sink in for a minute.)


Well, we actually bought half a pig.


(I'll let you cogitate on that a moment.)


Alright...let me do some 'splainin.


We went in with another family on a weaner (as in a baby pig that has just been weaned...it has nothing to do with what it might become later) which they are housing. We are helping pay for the feed (they're doing the feeding), and in the fall my husband (not I) will help with the butchering.


For an investment of about $50 or $60 we should end up with about 125 pounds of meat. We will still have to pay the local butcher to smoke some ham and bacon but I'm pretty certain it will still be A LOT less than we would pay for all that meat at the grocer's.


So why would we buy a pig? Well I had to think about that for awhile myself. I am not a big pork eater. However, when an opportunity presents itself for inexpensive food, sometimes you have to take it.


With prices on nearly everything taking such incredible leaps I'm looking for all kinds of ways to save money. Raising our own food seems like a no brainer. In the past what that meant for me was growing a garden. And this year we do have two tomato plants and two struggling squash plants (I think we will be lucky to get anything off of them) but we are already making plans for a much larger and more productive garden next year. And we are now raising animals.


Honestly we are doing more than just planning a garden and raising chickens and a pig, we are rethinking our lifestyle.


It's very easy to go to the grocery store with a list of things I need and pluck them off a shelf , put them in a cart and pay for them. It's somewhat harder to dig around in the dirt...er...soil, make sure everything gets water, isn't eaten by a bug, harvest the produce and find a way to store it for future months (ie. can, freeze or dry it). However, I think it is more satisfying and much less expensive to do so.


The same goes for the pig and the chickens. (Besides that the chickens add a lot of entertainment value.)


Some friends of mine and I have also begun looking at the things we buy out of convenience that we could be making ourselves at home. Soaps and cleaning products have become our target. We are a little bit surprised to find that they are easy to make and much less expensive. Did you know that you can make your own laundry detergent that cleans your clothes just as well as the name brand products for a fraction of the cost? Check it out here at The Family Homestead.


I like the thought that I can stretch our ever shrinking dollar by learning how to make some things myself and also by growing some of our own food. I also think that in many ways it is much more wholesome. I like knowing where my food is coming from and how it has been raised.
I know I've seen this question asked on other blogs but I'm going to go ahead and ask it again. What kinds of things are you doing to stretch your dollar (or pound for my friends across the pond)? Are you making lifestyle changes? Have you bought a pig?
By the way, the picture of the chicken at the beginning of the post is one of our newest editions. Her name is Nellie.




Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ummm...

...today was a little busy. I've got a post in the works for tomorrow!

Whoever coined, "lazy days of summer" hasn't been to my house between June and August.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time Is Slippery

Remember last week when I said I wanted to post something pithy about the passage of time and so on. Well, I don't know how pithy this will be but here are some thoughts that I keep having about the passage of time.

I'm having difficulty understanding how quickly time goes by. Do you remember being nine years old and waiting for Christmas to come? I mean it felt like it would never get here. Days upon days, weeks upon weeks....trying to be good, pestering your mother with your wish list, writing to Santa at least three times. Now I look at the calendar and think, "Oh my goodness, Christmas is only sixth months away!"

My father-in-law has a theory about this phenomenon. When you are five a year of your life is only one-fifth of your life. So say you are looking at your life in terms of a pie (I prefer mine to be peach pie thankyou) one-fifth of your life is a pretty big chunk of pie.

Now say you are, oh, forty-three (yeah, that would be me) that pie is now in 43 smaller slices of that same pie and the older you get the smaller the slices get and the faster the years go.

Scary, huh?

The other difficulty that I'm having with this whole time thing is that stuff starts changing. Stuff I don't want to change. Most specifically parents start showing their age. In my mind my Mom and Dad are still young and busy with life. And in many ways they still are. However, my father informed me that he turned 70 this year.

Huh? Well if he's seventy that means I'm....well anyway. My Dad also told me that he made me executor of their living trust (gulp) and that he's looking forward to when my Mom gets to retire. (Retire? Y'all are doing what? Retiring? That's for old people!)

I'm trying to be gracious about this whole time thing and aging and all that but I have to tell you it is a little mind-boggling. I am appreciating more and more passages from the Bible that refer to our lives as being "but a vapor" and that our days are pre-ordained. And I'm thankful that this is not the only life I will live.

This life that I'm living right now is just the beginning, the proving ground for eternal life. Things here are a mixed bag of joy, sadness, elation, pain, happiness and sorrow and as I'm told in Romans 5:3-5, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

My God is busy molding me and shaping me into His image and whether I view that time as short or long or both it is, in the end, His perfect time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fixing

I am frequently plagued by worry and anxiety. It seems to be my thorn in the flesh. In fact there are times when I feel worried and anxious and I can not pin point what it is I'm worried and anxious about. (This, I think, is related to hormones.) There are other times though that I know all too well what it is I'm stewing over. I prefer these times because then I can easily pick up that worry and hand it over to Jesus.

I sometimes take it back...but He is gracious and always lets me hand it over again.

When I can't pin point the source of my worry I'm learning to just look and fix my eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2a says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." in some ways nothing more need be said. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...and as the song goes "look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

All the things of this world that occupy so much of my time and attention, all those things important for carrying on life in this world are put in their proper place when my eyes are on Jesus. They are temporary, fleeting, but a vapor in comparison with the eternity I will live in and with Jesus.

When I fix my eyes on Jesus and things get put in their proper place there is no place for worry or anxiety and His peace that passes understanding floods in.

Fix, look deep into, focus alone upon Jesus. "....the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." ~Hebrews 12:2b-3