Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tools of the trade

So I implemented a new tool in the past week or so.  While working on the house a couple of weeks ago – I was listening to a Family Life Today broadcast and they were talking about prayer.  (click HERE to go to the broadcast) I am sure I have heard many people talk about prayer, how they pray, ways to pray, things to pray about, etc.  This time though, it seemed different.  This was a man who talked about how he prayed everyday.  He had a small stack (well small is my interpretation – not really sure how big the stack was) of 3x5 cards that he carried everywhere. [I think this appealed to the former Army Officer in me since I always had 3x5 cards on me with notes]
He explained that he had a card for everyone in his life he was praying daily for.  He had the same one he started with years ago for his children – and specific prayers he prayed over them and for them over the years.  I am not sure my specific cards will last years, but I loved the idea of note cards with each person’s name.  He then said he put requests, needs, and verses on these cards that he was praying.  Then whenever he had a few moments in his day he would pray through them.  He said it is usually a 30 second prayer per person.  This is what caught my attention.  This is not a system to add hours of prayer to my already busy day.  This was a system that I could implement today and might just last a while!
So I got out some note cards, put each child’s name on a card, then put many other cards in there (parents, brother(s), friends, our nation) and I start each day praying through these cards – it is very quick – not insignificant quick, but doable quick.  I love that each time I look at my card for one of my kids I am reminded of the real battles he needs me to help him fight through, not just what comes to mind that morning.  It reminds me of the important stuff, then I found character traits that I am specifically praying for each of my kids (their weaknesses).
I have really felt like this way of praying for those in my life is much more significant than anything I have ever done before. 
So that is one tool I want to rave about today.
The other is HERE.
It is a chore chart generator for your home.  I saw this and saved it on my computer the other day.  Today I was able to actually play with it a little while and OH MY!!  It is so good!  You can make it do anything you want.  I can go in and assign chores specific to each child each day – and have daily ones too.  I just love it.  I cannot wait to implement it next week.  It is going to get our home running much smoother I think!!
Hope one of these tools will help you simplify your life!!

Life in the country

On the way home from church Sunday night


malakoff iphone pics 018 - Copy  malakoff iphone pics 017 malakoff iphone pics 018 


Our friendly (or not so friendly) neighborhood hogs


On the way home from church tonight we kept driving down our road past our house and saw 5 deer – 2 momas and 3 babies – so sweet!!

malakoff iphone pics 026  

It is so fun to see these in our yard or on our street and they just watch as we drive by.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pears, Pears and then some more pears!!

malakoff tx 2010 fishery and pears 032

I still have a laundry basket full of pears.  That is after the 3 batches of pear sauce I am currently making and the other 3 batches of jam I made this morning.malakoff tx 2010 fishery and pears 034


But I wanted to share some great recipes that I have found work out well! 

First, for my Pear Sauce (Aka Apple Sauce – except with pears) I used THIS recipe for apple sauce and used my pears. 

Then I either canned that Pear Sauce in a hot water bath, or I stored it in the fridge for later use.malakoff tx 2010 fishery and pears 033

Today I took some pear sauce out of the fridge and used it to make Carrot Cake Jam and Spiced Caramel Pear Jam – both were amazing after they set.   For both of these, I used Pear Sauce instead of peeling, chopping and whatever else to the pears if called for.  I simply measured  the pear sauce to what the recipe called for for the pears.  This made jam making much faster and easier, having the pear sauce ready to go.

Now I am cooking my last batch of pear sauce right now and plan to can 3-4 quart size jars of simple pear sauce to eat like apple sauce.  One batch though I am adding in some brown sugar and some spices and I plan to can this in pint jars and use for dessert sauce – maybe on some pumpkin bread, or ice cream, or whatever else sounds good. 

I have been trying to eat plain yogurt in the morning for breakfast and so I could easily mix in my sweet sauce and have a yummy breakfast treat! 

So while I was busy with my pears, Katie was playing in a Braum’s bag – she was having lots of fun, then she caught me watching

katy playing 

And was not too happy to be interrupted!!

   katy caught me watching

Okay, I am done with pears for at least today.  It was lots of work, but at least it was productive!

Thursday, September 23, 2010



b PJ by barn door 

b PJ smiling by metal


ag by red door b 


b ed smiling in grass 2 

b farm pics of kids 068 

b hazy pj



 b jb smiling by corner

New Garden

Today Robert put in our first garden here in Malakoff.

garden supplieshard working man

The hard worker


The helpers


new garden

The first stage – empty garden

proud helper

A happy helper with his work

plantingputting in seeds

Planting seeds with Daddy

ag planting with dad      

So that was the big news of our day.

Progress is being made in the school room, it is still a work in progress, but here are a few pics of the school

kids area 2

Here is the kids play area – hopefully the little ones will be happy over there when I am doing some more serious school with the bigger two.

kids area 


Here is the same area with the costume area and AG’s little people area set up.

school bathroom

Here is our school bathroom – this needs some love and lots of work!  But it is starting to look decent.

 school table

This is our school table set up – the corner will be a our nature center with all our nature collections.

 break time fussball

Here is our break-time fun – Fussball and Air Hockey (the air hockey is currently a table but soon will be cleared and operational)

 computer work area


This is our computer & supply area – it is right next to the school table. 

And lastly

working ac

My WORKING AC – this thing really works and we just figured out how to turn it on today when we moved a hutch that was blocking the thermostat!  So excited to have a cool room to work and school now!!  yeah!

Still processing those pears – today I made 2 batches of Pear-Sauce and plan to make some jam tomorrow.  I cannot believe how many pears we have!  But it will be worth it this Christmas for gifts!  yeah!

Life is great here in the country – we are loving it!!

Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot, I did get a few pics of the kids this am when the sun was coming up – here is my favorite

best 4 kids in grass  I wish AG was smiling, but I still love that they are all in close and look too cute!! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Hero

This post is a few days in coming.  Last week, Thursday I think, Robert finished some fabulous projects!!  The most important one was in our kitchen (you know I love my kitchen!) – now it looks like this:

malakoff tx 2010 005

I just love it!!  I did take a before shot of the sink, but my memory card was not in :( – but trust me, it was in need of replacement!!  The sinks were very shallow (as shallow as you can have) the faucet was very old and not very good – and well, this is just so much prettier to look at!!  And I love doing dishes in this new sink!!

The other project he finished was our dear little girl’s room – her fan was replaced with this one

malakoff tx 2010 004

The last one was a metal one, that I am sure was capable of decapitating.  While Robert figured she would learn, I was not willing to make such a sacrifice for that fan!  So now we have a nice white one in there that will not hurt her too bad if she chooses to jump on her bed!!

Robert has been working so hard in our new home.  He has not really had a day off since we got here, he does not even get Sunday mornings off to spend in church.  This weekend he was working.  So tomorrow he comes home and there are so many things we need to get done.  But as we choose to be intentional in many areas of our lives, we need to intentionally make sure he has some time “off” as well.   

I was so thankful for all projects he has finished and his heart to work so hard to serve our family. 


Time For Fall Canning!!


Start with a simple pear

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add some of his closets friends

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Core and cut up – put in a pan with about 1 inch of water in the bottom

 fall canning 2010 002

Cook until done – this took me about an hour maybe?

While they cook prep your jars (clean, put in boiling water)

prep your lids (put in very hot water)

and get all your tools out

fall canning 2010 007fall canning 2010 008  

the above pic is a ricer that am using for the first time!!

Betsy got it for me to make gnocchi but pear sauce will work too!

Once your pears are tender you put them through the ricer – this catches all the peels and it makes it the texture your would expect in apple sauce.

I added the juice of a whole lemon, about 1/4 cup of sugar and about 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.  Brought it back up to a boil.   Then put it into my jars.

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Drop the jars in my waiting boiling water bath and boil for 10 minutes.

Final product:

 fall canning 2010 006

2 quarts, 1 pint.  I expected more, but really this was virtually FREE!! I already had the jars, I picked the pears here and at my dear friend April’s house.  So I have 3 jars of semi-organic pear sauce I made! Not too bad!! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just another day

We spent all day working around here again, putting up mirrors, a few pictures and some other random stuff.  Robert was not working today (which always makes our days a little more fun).  After supper (Buffalo Taco Salad – yummy) we all trekked down to the pond to feed the fish, this is what we saw….


waiting for the fish to bite

The sun setting behind the trees

AG in the weeds at the pond

A sweet little girl in the weeds by the pond

another bite

A few fish biting – always a treat!

big spider closeup 

A local banana spider

racoon tracks

signs of raccoons


And earlier this was what was going on with my big boy

He was mowing the grass!! Yeah!

malakoff tx 2010 065 

Here he is quite proud of himself

my big grass cutter 


And finally another cute shot of this sweet little girl, who is loving living out here, riding bikes on our street, catching grasshoppers, running around barefoot, and just loving this country life!!

sweet girl

In case I confused you, my bread making station is off the main kitchen.  Our kitchen layout is a bit odd, but if you are standing at the stove facing away, there is a bar sticking out between you and the laundry room, next to the fridge and to the left past that bar is my bread area.  It is weird, but so far it is working out ok!

Other than our impatient waiting on the cooler weather, life is good here!!

life is good


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