Monday, April 19, 2010

Pretty Good Day

The sun was out, the birds were chirping, the squirrels and deer frolicking.

Kids got their school work done in a timely manner.... and were still on good enough terms to play together afterward.  : )
The dogs played games with their number one girl,

                           The hens sunned themselves,

Francesca or 'Frenchie' as we call her,  watched everything from her deck perch.

And Chuck  got scratched in all the right spots!

Can't you tell?  It was a pretty darn  good day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Love One Another

A wonderful Sunday message:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wholesome Living

I believe I've mentioned before that I love all things wholesome and good.
Because they're just that; wholesome and good.

This world could use a lot more of those two adjectives.

I love anything that inspires you to:
better yourself, get back to basics, 
simplify, hold your family closer,
learn to love those who drive you crazy (it's called charity), 
educate yourself, learn new skills,
and enjoy the land.

There is something so profound in growing your own food and seeing for yourself the magic of what this earth can do for and with you.
I love it!  

Which is another reason why I'm leaving the beauty of my area and moving back to a place that has a long growing season.  'Cause I like to grow things.  

Recently, I was introduced to a couple of great items.  
Items that I would LOVE to own.
To enjoy with my family and to loan out to others. 

The first item is the DVD entitled, 'Food, Inc.' 
Using Amazon's own product description:
Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the
livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it's produced and who we have become as a nation.

You can watch the trailer for it here.

Another wonderful item is the set of 9 DVDs entitled 'Homestead Blessings'.   
The West ladies- Jasmine, CeCe, Vicki and Hannah  host these DVDs from their farm while demonstrating  skills in the following areas:
soap making, candle making, bread making, canning, gardening, herbs, cooking, dairy and sewing.   
Many arts that are being forgotten today.

You can find these wonderful DVDs here.
 You can also look for them at your local library- or even request them.

Here's to living a more wholesome and agrarian lifestyle!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whatever happens today....this is the plan.

I love homeschooling.
Particularly September through December.  
January is okaaay.
But by February/March/April.....I'm usually tired and running out of steam.
And wintry weather never helps. 
Not so much different from the days when I was in school.

This year is no different- except that it's a bit worse.
Because showing your house adds a large stress component.  

Basically, I don't know how to keep an immaculate house and teach/guide my children at the same time.  
They're like oil and water.
Living in a house 24/7, teaching with books and maps and papers and pencils and having a life just doesn't mesh with an immaculate house. 
Especially one that must look homey but not exactly lived-in.
And life doesn't go on hold.  Daily routines and duties must still be done.

So we try to take life one day at a time; which is difficult because you can't plan anything too far in advance.  
And so very often our school day is disrupted by a phone call;(or two or three)that people will be arriving. 
At least after-school activities are in the evening!

Take this weekend for example: We cleaned up for a showing and went out to the camper to watch a video and just hang out for the hour window that they would be here. Several were sick with colds but being troopers about it all.

They left and we grabbed our things and headed back inside. As we walked in, I noticed the answering machine blinking.
Yep, another call, another showing- within the hour.  
We pretty much spent the day in the camper.  Some napped, some watched Pirates of the Caribbean. 

We are all learning patience. Whether we want to or not. 

And today I was led to this message.
Which is what I needed so very much.
To take away some of the guilt
And frustration.
To bring me some peace.

I hope it brings some to you as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jess Cooks! Easy Potato Soup

I realize Spring is here and people are thinking of BBQ's, salads, corn on the cob and watermelon on the horizon.
However, Spring is a crazy season and some days you still need warm comfort food!

If you're having a day like that, this recipe fits the bill.
Warm, nourishing potato soup.  
Just thinking about it makes me want to slip on my Old Friend slippers, curl up in my jammies and read....while eating spoonfuls of this goodness.  
But, I'd have to do so at the table. 
'Cause we installed new carpet and a new rule with it:
No eating in the living room except for water and popcorn. 

It's a good rule, really it is.  

But on to our soup!
This recipe is so easy- you'll be partaking of the warm deliciousness in no time at all.

First, you'll need :
Potatoes- 3 1/2 cups, peeled and diced.

 Celery-1/3 cup, diced

Ham- 3/4 cup cooked & chopped
(I've used a small amount of bacon in place of the ham before)

Onion- 1/3 cup, finely chopped

Combine those ingredients in a stockpot with 3 1/4 cups water.
Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender.  (About 15 minutes)

Meanwhile, get out your other ingredients:
Chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, butter and milk

When the potatoes are tender, add:

2 Tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)

In a separate saucepan, melt 5 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Whisk in 5 Tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring quickly until thick. 
Slowly pour in 2 cups of milk, stirring constantly.  Continue to stir over medium heat until thick.

Now stir the thickened milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through.

Serve immediately.
Garnish with a bit of cheese...
And some green onions.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Silly Rabbit, Kids are for fun!

Kids are Kooky.  And fun.

Like when they're left to their own devices outdoors and they stick their own hands with thorns to "prove their loyalty to the tribe" .
I'm not sure what tribe they were a part of this day- but they were enjoying themselves immensely.
And to think of all the times in the past that they whimpered and cried when they accidentally got slivers.  Geesh!

 Kids are also Cooky.
I love it when they make up their own menus, cook a meal and serve it as waiters.  Or waitresses.  Or waitpersons.  Whatever.
All I know is I get excellent service and delicious food!

Eggs over-easy with French toast, anyone?

I also love it when I ask them a question about their school work or chores or major life goals; 
And they slide further down in their chairs- and put their feet on the table- and make goofy faces- and try to avoid giving me answers.  : )

So for Easter, I decided to spice things up a bit for them.   We didn't have much in the way of plans and several kids were getting over colds.  

I put off the inevitable Easter candy for as long as I could.  But there it was, still in bags and staring me in the face.  And though I tried to ignore it, the kids' holiday candy fever began.  

So, early in the morning I hid their candy outdoors. 
Gotta make them work for it, right?  

Then I wrote up an individual clue for each child.  
Things like: 

"Through the miniature forest lies your Easter joy, Gump." 

for my youngest son.

and; "Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails...that's what little boys are made of.  (And little girls like them, too!)

for J, who is into catching garter snakes right now;
in a certain spot in the yard.
Or: "Hitch your wagon to the stars!"
(And give the dogs a ride, too.)


"Aw Mom, that was too easy!"

Sorry baby- little baby Boo.  My little sugar blossom.    You are still my baby.

And, last but not least:
"Oh the many joyful hours spent changing solid to liquid!"
for my middle son, who has spent the winter keeping the steer's water drinkable during the consistently freezing temperatures.

And who seems impervious to cold himself , dressed in shorts and barefoot on this chilly Easter morn!

 I believe his words were, "Are you serious?!"

 As he raced in desperation to retrieve his booty. 

Aah, the joys of having children! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Resurrection Rolls

 A yummy, hands-on way to instill in children the true meaning of Easter.  These rolls end up hollow, representing the empty tomb.


  • 1 (8 count) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 4 regular marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted in shallow baking dish
  • 1 cup cinnamon sugar, in small bowl


  1. Roll out the crescent rolls and separate.
  2. Place two crescent rolls next to each other with the wide ends of the triangles overlapping to form a right angle.
  3. Show the marshmallows and explain that the color white represents purity.
  4. Dip marshmallows individually in the butter, then roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, coating evenly. Place one butter and cinnamon sugar coated marshmallow in each set of crescent rolls. Pull up the narrow ends of the triangles and wrap the crescent roll dough completely around the marshmallow, sealing well. It is very important that no gaps are present.
  5. Explain that each marshmallow represents Jesus' body which was anointed in oils (butter) and spices were used in burial (cinnamon/sugar)  wrapped (the roll) and placed in the tomb (the oven) which was then sealed tight. Read: Matthew 27:57-60.
  6. Use remaining butter to brush the tops of the "tombs" and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste.
  7. Bake on cookie sheet at 375°F for 14 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown. Cool 1 minute in the pan.  Have two or more children stand at the 'tomb' and guard it until they are done.
  8. When the "tombs" are ready to be served have each person break theirs open and experience the emptiness of the tomb. Explain that Jesus was raised from the dead and His followers were amazed to find the tomb empty.   Tell them, "He is not here, for he is risen."  Read: Matthew 28:1-9.
Happy Easter!

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