June 30, 2010

Summer is here!

Won't you come and visit with us a bit? Let's go sit in the back yard. I'll serve you some iced peppermint tea and a yummy melon salad.


Remember this? The beginnings of our first backyard garden?


Look at it now! Last night we ate our own lettuce in a great salad along some baked fries. Cold avocado pudding for dessert. (avocados, milk, sugar and vanilla)



Here is Sweet Sophia

The family photographer. She has started her own photo and poetry blog which we will launch soon.



We've spent many days recently working hard at the farm planting thousands (yes thousands) of raspberries and strawberries for a harvest next year ~ God willing) My back is sore, my hands are rough, my skin is brown. But occasionally, it is nice to take a day to stay home and rest.


Sitting in my wicker chair, enjoying the warm sunshine, the breeze whispering through the leaves and the clouds gently passing by. Mr. Santos couldn't enjoy the day with us. He was at the farm working like an OX. We will share the amazing transformations of his farm with you soon.

The top and bottom pictures are views from my red wicker chair. If you sit quietly, you can hear the SSSHHH of the trees and the buzzing of the bees.




Cool paths leading to the woods from our back yard


The vegetable garden sits in the sun, but that cool trail beckons. Unfortunately, it is also a perfect path for the deer to come and nibble. We have a motion detection sprinkler that keeps them away. But, occasionally I go chasing them down with my tambourine. What a laugh. I think they rather enjoy our little cat and mouse game. To be honest, I don't mind it either, as long as it is not raining. They are so beautiful and graceful, especially when leaping over the blackberry bushes. And those big brown eyes ~ how is it that such a pest can be so enchanting.

"Tip" ~ a friendly collie we are dog sitting.
Naomi is in love.


Fairy houses

The architect hard at work.

Thank you for stopping by. We always love having visitors.

June 27, 2010

Thinking like a man or a woman?

Sometimes being a wife and mother is just TOO MUCH! I feel like I can't do it anymore, or that I am failing miserably, or that surely any other woman could do a much better job with these littles and this man than me.



But as I sit quietly and ponder what I was created for and especially HOW I was created, I have hope. I am fearfully and wonderfully made...as a woman.



When I am overwhelmed by my job, I am usually thinking about it the way a man thinks about his job. This is more common than you know...feminism invades every nook and cranny of our culture. To be masculine is to compete and conquer. To be feminine is to nurture and be dependent.


I am fearfully and wonderfully made to be feminine.

This gives me hope and strength for my future.

Being feminine is more than wearing a dress and make-up. It is about relationships. Women are relationship experts. We instinctively know what will please or provoke our men and children. We can make unpleasant situations bearable. We have great influence and strength when it comes to the mood of our home ~ able to tear it down or build it up.

Men cannot do what we can do. We can do most of what they can do...work to conquer and achieve. But if we do, then we are not free to use our feminine nature to improve our homes and our culture.

When I apply the "go and conquer" attitude to my daily chores, I am easily frazzled ~ especially when there are interruptions. Are there children around? Then there are bound to be interruptions. Relationships interrupt tasks.

These thoughts go deep and wide, but I am merely thinking of my daily chores. What does it matter if I have checked off my list when I have shunned my children in order to do so? What does it matter if I painted the bathroom and got all the shopping done if I forgot my lonely elderly neighbor in my busyness? My husband may come home to a spotless house with dinner on the table, but if my attitude is "Now pay me my wages" (ex: requiring thanks or "me-time") then I am not being feminine.

To be feminine is to nurture relationships in our daily chores, even through our daily chores. It is the man that goes out to compete, make demands and deals. Women bestow praise and inspire and guide. We do all this to comfort others.

Today, instead of trying to prove my worthiness (competing) I will just BE worthy. I will BE beautiful and kind and helpful. Competition and Conquering is for men. It is masculine.

The Scriptures confirm these thoughts on femininity~

Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work 1 Timothy 5:10

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed Titus 2



The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.


Even the Proverbs 31 woman, with her long list of accomplishments, does all things for the sake of her relationships.


~oOo~
"There are Europeans who confuse the various characteristics of the sexes and would make men and women beings not only equal but alike. To both, they
attribute the same functions equally, impose on them the same duties and grant them the same rights. They would involve them both in everything – work, pleasure, business. It is easy to see that, in this ambition to make the one sex equal to the other, both are demeaned and that, from the crude mixing of nature’s works, will emerge weak men and immodest women."

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1830's)


June 24, 2010

Tea Time



I'm having: Jasmine tea in a cobalt blue mug with one small cookie. A blue sky, a gentle breeze, a messy house, the whole family at the farm.


I'm feeling: Tired yet relaxed. Just taking a small break before I get cracking on this home...time to clean and make dinner.


On my mind: My funny children. I didn't really pay attention to them when we ran out the door this morning to run errands. We were already far from the house when I looked in the rearview mirror to check on everyone. "Noah, did you bring your hat?" "No Mom, but I brought my piggy bank." Naomi was wearing shoes two sizes too big - silly girl - and Sophia as usual, had her head buried in a book.


Three special people ~ always on my mind.


A quote to share:


"Boys say "Oh Boy!" and men say "Oh Man!"...did you know this, Mom?"


~by Sophia, age nine.




Grab a cup and Join Ruth with me...have some tea with us.

June 20, 2010

Safety in God's Hands

We had just arrived at church.



"Go sit down." Mr. Santos directed the children. The three of them headed towards 'our pew' ~ the back row on the left. We always sit there. But wait, some loving church members wanted to greet the children with a hug and a hello.



When was the last time you stopped someone for a hug and a hello?



I was "hugging and helloing" in the lobby. The children walked into the sanctuary.



Suddenly, crashing metal, splintered wood, shattered glass. The sound was deafening. Was there an earthquake? Where were the children? The sound was coming from the left side of the church. The children are over there. Did they drop something? Gasps and screams. All heads turning to the left...to where the children were. I couldn't see them. People were running.



I ran to see what happened. Where are the children? Where is my husband?



A car had crashed through the church wall, plowing through the two back pews on the left.



If it wasn't for the hugging and helloing, my family might not have survived this Father's day. The children saw the car coming towards them, but they had not yet sat down in 'our pew.'


Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1

June 18, 2010

He loves me, I am His child.

I have to go to the Dollar Store.

Noah has begun "working for a farm." He's so funny. He came to me late last night ~just before bed~ to ask me for work so he could earn money to buy a farm.

"A farm?" I asked.

"Yeah, Mom, you know, with cows and chickens and a dog and stuff."

"A toy farm or a real one?"

Noah said, "Why would I want a toy farm? I want a real farm!"

"Oh. Well, if you want to make money, you have to ask your dad. I don't have any money to pay you. But, if you finish the laundry for me, I can spare fifty cents?" I said.

"Cool!" Noah rushed to his work and earned his fifty cents. So, now he needs a piggy bank and that is why I am going to the Dollar Store.

Knowing of my errand, Noah came to me with another request. "Momma, when you go to the Dollar Store, can you also get me a little toy...just a little one...just one that I would like?"

Oh my gosh, he was so cute. The way he waved his hands when he said "just a little one" and the way he cocked his head to the side...He looked so innocent and adorable. I replied, "I'll see what I find, maybe."

He hugged my neck and ran out the door to play.

It's times like this that make me just want to give the world to that kid. My boy.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11

God loves us! God loves me. Sometimes I feel like such a mess-up, what with my snippiness and ungratefulness and jealousies. Can God really love me? Sure, I know all about the "God so loved the world...etc", but does he love ME?

Yes, Yes, He does.
~oOo~
"Go home and say over and over to yourself, 'I am a wayward foolish child. But He loves me! I have disobeyed and grieved Him ten thousand times over. But He loves me! I have lost faith in some of my dearest friends and am very desolate. But He loves me! I do not love Him, I am very angry with Him! But He loves me!'

I came away, and all the way home I fought this battle with myself,saying 'He loves me!' I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted, childish, wicked life came and stared me in the face. I looked at it and said with tears of joy,"But He loves me!" Never in my life did I feel so rested, so quieted, so sorrowful, and yet so satisfied.
from Stepping Heavenward

Kid Quotes

Naomi: Momma? What does "bedate" mean?

Mom: Uh, I don't know. I don't think I've ever heard that word. Can you use it in a sentence?

Naomi: Well, Sophia says it means to fight and argue if you bedate.

Mom: (thinking hard) Um...Hmm. Bedate? I'm sorry honey, I don't know, we'll look it up when we get home.

Sophia: You know mom! When you want to prove your point...but you aren't mad. Bedate!

Mom: (laughing out loud) Oh! DEBATE! Yes, I know what debate means. Naomi, Sophia is right.

June 17, 2010

Tea Time



I'm having: Earl Grey tea in a cobalt blue mug, with a slice of sourdough toast spread with butter.


I'm feeling: A bit anxious, a bit overwhelmed, a bit excited.


On my mind: 650 million things. It's nice to take a break with you.


a quote to share:

‘God never places us in any position in which we can not grow. We may fancy that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting, petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress.’

Elizabeth Prentiss,



Join dear Ruth and others for tea time every thursday.

June 10, 2010

Tea~n~Ride

Our neighbors host an adorable "Tea~n~Ride" several weekends in the Summer. We get to help! I play hostess serving tea and welcoming the guests, and the children run to and fro doing little errands. As you can see, there is lots more fun than helping going on.

Naomi - becoming Princess "Rose"



The "Beauty" Parlour

Sophia admiring her butterfly mask
Princess Butterfly getting a ride on Sunny
Princess Rose on little Kokomo.



I was in charge of "Sunny" most of the day. Here, Noah gets ready for a ride.

My knight in shining armour


A beautiful Tea Table

My little princesses

June 06, 2010

Good Gifts

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecc 3:1


~ A gift to myself ~

To brighten my kitchen


To pretty up my bedroom

~oOo~


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights James 1:17

~ A gift from my Father ~

On the outside of the box showed an ugly white coffee maker. It was the cheapest one, and the only one on sale. But when I opened the box at home ~ IT WAS RED! It matches all of my other red appliances. The Lord loves me so much.


A new skirt (all the tags still on) found at the thrift store for $3.00. Thank you Lord.

June 04, 2010

Bible Bee

It's only been two days and we feel overwhelmed, but there WILL be some great fruit that comes from this HARD thing we are doing. Besides, if it wasn't hard we might get smug and proud...and God gives GRACE to the humble.

Pray for us. Pray for Sophia.

She has to memorize 250 verses and know and understand the book of Colossians well enough to take a 300 question test on it.
God's Word does not return void and we are already being changed by it's power.
(five verses a day ~ 10 down, 240 to go)

June 02, 2010

What can you feed a family of five for $50.00?

This is what we ate:

I shopped at one store, Fred Meyer, with a list and $50.00

My list:


2 Rotisserie Chickens (I could have saved $2.00 to cook two whole chickens myself - but having them already cooked was worth the extra money to me - see "work" below)
Corn (frozen - 2 bags)
1 Bag of frozen normandy veggies
cilantro
potatoes (not organic - but God is still good)
fresh fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas)
carrots
Can of Chili (family size Stagg's)
2 lbs Monterey Jack Cheese
4 avocados (they were on sale)
1 onion
corn tortillas
2 organic tomatoes (they were on sale)
jalapenos
1/2 cabbage
very nice sourdough bread (a splurge)
ham ~ (nitrate free)
crumbled feta cheese (on sale - buy one get one)

Total: $54.00 (it was the bread that put me over)

I was blessed to have in the pantry:

10 grain cereal
butter
rice milk/powdered milk
spices
dry beans
tea
flour
sugar
honey
rice
pasta
eggs
Almonds
Raisins
One pound ground sausage in the freezer
2 loaves of whole wheat bread in the freezer
Maple syrup
Shredded Coconut

~Work~

  • You need two big pots. One for the beans, one for the chicken bones.
  • Cook the beans. (I do the quick soak method - bring pot of beans to a boil and boil for two minutes. Cover pot and let sit for two hours. Drain soak water, cover beans with fresh water and cook beans according to instructions)
  • take all the meat off of the chickens, discarding the skin and fat. Divide the meat into three parts for three meals.
  • Divide the cheese into four parts for four meals.
  • Put bones in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for a couple hours to make several jars of chicken broth.

~Menu~

Lunch and Dinners

Tortilla Soup
Refried beans and chips
Chicken Tacos
Chicken gravy and mashed potatoes
Chili Soup
Grilled Sandwiches with sliced tomatoes and carrot sticks
Pasta/veggie casserole
Grilled Chicken quesadillas
Asian Noodle Soup
Quiche
Fried eggs with beans and tortillas
Beans and rice

Breakfasts and Desserts

Hot wheat cereal w/ honey
French Toast
Pancakes
Eggs and Toast
Banana nut Pancakes
Banana bread
Coconut Cookies
Fresh Fruit
Rice Pudding
Don't forget the BODY BALANCE! When you get the nutrition you need, you eat a lot less. Our family does not snack. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with no snacks in between.


~Recipes~

Each of these meals is completed in under 30 minutes.


Chicken tacos.

Heat the corn tortillas on a hot iron skillet. Wrap them in aluminum foil and a clean kitchen towel. Put the wrapped tortillas in a warm oven while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a skillet, heat the beans (2 cups with a bit of the liquid) and shredded chicken (1 part) together. Season with garlic, onion, cumin and salt and pepper.

Prepare toppings: Shredded cabbage, chopped red onion, feta cheese, avocado, chopped tomato and put them out on the table for the family to serve themselves. Cut up a melon or cantaloupe as a side dish.

Pull out large platter and take warm tortillas out of the oven. Fill 15 tortillas with a tablespoon of the chicken bean mixture. Serve immediately.

We have three small children. This means, 2 tacos and fruit for the kids, 4-5 tacos and fruit for the Mr. and Mrs.

Tortilla soup.

In a pot, and according to your tastes, heat shredded chicken, beans, corn, chopped cilantro, water and one large jar of chicken broth. Add seasonings. Garnish with shredded jack cheese, avocado, crumbled toasted tortillas or chips.

Chili soup.

In a pot heat can of chili, jar of chicken broth, and frozen corn. Garnish with the "usual" - cheese, onion, and avocado. Serve with chips or warm corn tortillas.


Beans-n-chips.

In a heavy iron skillet refry the beans. Sprinkle the jack cheese and season with garlic and cumin and chilies (or whatever you want). Serve with chips, avocado, feta cheese, chopped onion, salsa and a side dish. We usually have carrot sticks, or fresh fruit or maybe some corn on the cob.

Chicken gravy with mashed potatoes.


In a deep skillet make a nice gravy. I make mine with whole wheat flour, vegetable broth (organic) and seasonings. Add last portion of shredded chicken. Serve with mashed potatoes and a raw side dish. We had cantaloupe/melon

~oOo~


We actually ate for two weeks with this food. Most likely because of a well stocked pantry full of dry bulk foods. God is good. May He bless you and your family meals this week.

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