Sunday, October 31, 2010

just a few words

It’s Sunday.  I am worn out!  We just got home from the Fall Festival at our church and I am plum tuckered out!

Things have been busy around here with these new chicks (they need lots of water and food), the puppies, the cat has taken to the counters, and normal life.

So here are some pics from the last few days – I plan to update more later this week…

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A recent sunrise – we have beautiful sunrises and sunsets!!  Love that!!

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Our chickens arrived on Tuesday!


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They were crammed in that small box – all 26 of them!

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My girls – these will be our egg layers

 malakoff life new floor 022 Here are my boys – our future meat birds!


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We did get these cute Sweet Dumpling squash with our organic veggies this past week!  They were pretty cute!  I decided to bake them with some butter and spices.  Here is a half all finished!

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Big hit with the family!!  They were yummy, paired with sautéed spinach and beet greens, with a side of beets!  yummy supper!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

thankful thursday

just reflecting some thanks for

~ allergy drugs that Betsy told me Lisa liked – and they work & I think they are allowing me to survive this crazy Texas weather!

~ watching 25 chickens grow up – and holding one while it took its last breath

~ kids who take the trash down while playing on the dolly – so that I do not have to haul it all to the street :)

~ a church where the truth is spoken

~ sweet smells at the end of my drive way among the pine straw and fall leaves

~ pumpkin coffee creamer with some fresh ground coffee on a cool morning

~ lavender scented lotion that reminds me of my mom every time I put it on

~ a husband who checks on the chicks before bed and when he gets up

~ friends who encourage

~ a wood floor that is coming along and is sure going to be a great change in our new home

~ fall weather and that cool breeze blowing in the windows and listening to it move through the trees surrounding our home

~ sweet puppies who are fun to play with and are learning to adjust to life with our busy family

~ schooling my children in a wonderful school building

~ finding a few moments to dig out the sewing machine and create

God is so good and if you look he is in everything we do and see throughout our day!  Hope you see him everywhere today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Most days I am comfortable being comfortable. Most days.

But more often I am finding myself wondering. Wondering if comfortable is really where HE wants us. I mean, we are Americans living the “dream” but is this really what it is all about? Is it all about living in our comfortable homes, with cute stuff (that we honestly have too much of and do not really need), going through each day as if that is what matters.

I follow along with many bloggers out there. Some  of them have had some life-changing experiences lately and between them, and a few amazing authors I am starting to really wonder if we have gotten it all wrong? 

Kristen went off with Compassion International and if you go here you will see she is having a hard time going back to who she was before that life-changing trip. Or you can go here and read about that trip.

Ann went on another trip and here she has similar sentiments.

Jennifer went a while back too –and you can find her posts over here.

Then I read books like Crazy Love and I sit back and realize that I am not living out a Crazy Love kind of life toward others – or really even toward God.



Next I pick up Radical – still reading through it – and again I seem to feel that I am not living out what I should be.  So there is the struggle.  Are we trying to balance a life that we are called to live by our God with what this world is calling us to live?  Or are we trying to simply live a life glorifying our Creator in all the facets and aspects of our lives?



What is balance really?  We are all so quick to say we are trying to “balance it all” but really should we be balancing anything?  Was God unclear when he laid out how we are called to live?  Did he say “make sure and balance it all just right?”  Or did he simply say “GO?” put it this way:


/ˈbæləns/ Show Spelled [bal-uhns] Show IPA noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing.


1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

2.  something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.

3. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

4. a state of bodily equilibrium: He lost his balance and fell down the stairs.

5.  an instrument for determining weight, typically by the equilibrium of a bar with a fulcrum at the center, from each end of which is suspended a scale or pan, one holding an object of known weight, and the other holding the object to be weighed.

6. the remainder or rest: He carried what he could and left the balance for his brother to bring.

7.  the power or ability to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, support, or the like, to one side or the other.


I keep seeing the term “equilibrium” pop up when defining balance – and yet I do not recall the Bible ever saying we needed an equilibrium with respect to His word and the world. 

So, the question I struggle with, that I watch others struggle with, that I read about even more struggling with.  How do we live that out?  How do we go about putting up new curtains in the kitchen when I could feed someone for a month through say, Compassion International.  I am frugal by nature, but still I seem to be struggling with more purchases, more of my “want"/need” list, and just the day to day living life in America.

I can be like everyone else and justify – can’t we all do that?  I can justify that God has “blessed” us so he must want me to have a nice home – with new curtains – right?  Or has he blessed me so I can turn around and bless the next person?  That is my question, how to I live a life to provide a home or refuge for my family, yet ensure that I am being the best steward I can be with all I have?

I read blogs of people who go with Compassion International to these third world countries and see so many people with less that I have in my bathroom – let alone new curtains in the kitchen.  We are following this amazing youth minister as he travels through India – and man this stuff will make your head spin!!  Like 700 families live in this one poor village and none have a bathroom!!  None!!  And I have been pining away for that 3rd bathroom for years.  Man, I seem to be missing the BIG picture here!!

Finally as the holidays approach, will you join me (and many others) in being intentional about our choices?  And check out this video – it will make you think.   Again this year, I challenge you to consider the Advent Conspiracy.

Going Green

I am so easily inspired.  Really.  I love to read other blogs for crafty ideas, recipes, or some encouragement.

Well, this week Lola inspired me with her green smoothies!  She referenced another blog for a number of green smoothies and since it has been a while I thought we needed to have a yummy green smoothie!

So we enjoyed a green pumpkin smoothie!  About 2 c of fresh baby spinach, about 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax, 2 bananas, about 2 cups of milk, and about 2 cups of ice.


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It seemed to be a hit!

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Check out AGs outfit – she put together herself!  She got some new socks and decided to make it a pink day!

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And finally, today we picked up our veggies!  So excited!!

Dinner: Swiss Chard sautéed with some onion, tossed with pasta and parm cheese!


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School has gotten back on track after 2 weeks of too many trips and too much playing!  Life is just so much better here when we are really schooling!  We have added map drills to our weekly rotation and hte kids are living it!  We are working on Europe right now and it is fun to see them learning different countries – even the little ones coloring in a few each week! I think we are going to thoroughly enjoy map drills!

We have changed out handwriting practice too – instead of me just doing a dictation passage I pick at some random time, I have given then the passage to practice all week and then on Friday will be our “test” to see if they have learned the words, the punctuation, and everything else.  Instead of me saying “figure it out” as we go along, I think I am setting them up for success now!  Loving that too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A full day for us

We started our day pretty early this morning by heading up to Dallas/Fort Worth.  We planned to do a series of errands and then end the day at a birthday party for a sweet 5 year old friend!!

So we hit Sprouts, Walmart (a big one), Target, Half-Price books, the Irving library (woohoo to that one), pick up some Mary Kay, drop off some boys clothes to a friend, and ….am I missing anything?

So yes, we had a packed day.  But we found some treasures along the way – a 6 tape set of Adventures in Odyssey for $1!!  That is a bargain indeed!!  My young son found this on the sale shelf at the library!  And we checked out 30 books too – can you tell I am a little in need of some good books out here?  Love this country life, but the libraries need some work!  But I am not complaining at all – especially if I can trek up and check out some books in Irving!

I also needed to stock up on our favorite – Steel Cut Oats – and would you believe they were $.50 a pound!!  What a deal!  I pay about $1.50 at Central Market (when I have to) but today Sprouts made my day!!

The best part of our day was our birthday party though!  The best part of the party was seeing Russ painting faces!! Loved it!!

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Here I was trying to get a pic of her butterfly to show her – He did a great job for his first butterfly!!


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trip to DFW oct 2010 027 Super cute cake!!  Loved the Farm/Barn theme!!


Here are some pics of the pony rides – lots of fun there too!!

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   Does she look happy?  Or what? 

It was a long day – but well worth the smiles near the end!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

this and that

Wanted  to share this great fall craft idea – but you could use the same idea for any season/holiday!Fabric_Ornaments3 fall

We had an impromptu visit from my sister-in-law Lisa yesterday and it was fun showing her our new house and watching the enjoy playing together!!

We tried to pick some persimmons for Lisa’s mom – but then decided that they were not the ones she likes to eat.  But here are the kids trying to pick some..

PJ in a tree 

pickin' persimmons


Here is Floyd (Lisa’s dog) playing in the back with our girls (Lucy & Polly)



floyd and the girls

And there is always a project under way here at our new abode..

the latest is the floor – Robert was DONE smelling the old carpet that has “who-knows-what” living in it!  So he started pulling it up..

no more carpet

And started putting down some new wood!!

start of new floor

Meanwhile, we found a treasure of sorts under the carpet in the boys room – the original wood floor!!  This is a treasure because we are going to restore it and have that as our flooring in the hall and boys room.  Our little girl has begged to keep her carpet so her floor is “soft” so for now, the carpet will stay, but eventually we will restore her floor to the original wood too!  The sorts is because it will take a lot of work to get this looking good, but it will be worth it!

kids future floor

Here Katie is enjoying our temporary remodeling with the piano right behind the couch – she likes to walk on the keys and evidently sleep on the cover too!

  katie's perch  

Make sure you check out our nature blog too!  I plan to get more consistent about posting pics the kids have taken around the house and fun stuff we are learning through our Charlotte Mason nature studying!!

Just another country day : COWS

So, on Wednesday, Robert was asked if he want to go by and help a guy from work with his cows.  I think this was a chance to learn a little, help someone out and have a good time.  So he took our oldest, who was more than eager to go and help out!

I sent them with the camera all charged up!  My son usually is walking around snapping pics of everything here, his siblings, the carpet, bugs, etc.  That day, with a ton of things to photograph, he kind of forgot!  Robert had to remind him to take some pics well into the morning.  But, here is what he was able to grab…


the bull

The bull


all penned up 

big fly

a fly he thought was huge!

 giving shots

Ray Daniels – the owner of these great cows & Robert’s co-worker

lookin' at me

Just watching my boy

 ready to go

Here they are all loaded up

 rounding up cows

Here are some more cows they got into the pen to inoculate and check on.

So it was a fun day!  My men came home worn out – my boy went straight to bed – he was plum tuckered out!  But he had tons of fun!  Last night at work Ray told Robert how impressed he was that J was not afraid of the cows at all and that he was a lot of help!  He warned him if we are not careful we will be showing steers in no time!

Either way, I think it was a good day.  Did I tell you one of these fine young cows will be in our freezer next week?  I cannot wait to not buy any more beef in the store and be able to feed my family a well raised cow that has been grass fed its entire life! 

I love the country!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

moments slipping by

I have been trying to figure out how to live each day – to grab each moment and get everything I can out of it.  Instead of just schooling and going through the motions, instead of being distracted by a to-do list that is always “to-do” and never “done”.  Being where I am at the time it is happening and now somewhere else mentally or emotionally.

How do we do this?  How do we live each  moment of the day grabbing the moments we so often try to get back once they slip by?  Some days I do better at this.  Saying yes to the simple and frequent requests for a walk, or a game of cards, or the reading of a favorite book.  But all too often the “no” slips out before I can even think of why I would say no.

I started out the year with a list.  It was a simple one.  Not goals for the year, not a list of to-do’s – instead a simple list on my mirror in my bathroom, reminding me of who I want to be this year.  A mom who says yes.  A woman who puts truths into her heart to take up residence there.  A wife who honors the man who works so hard to provide for this family of ours.  Making it a priority to spend 10 in 10 (10 minutes in prayer and Bible reading) each morning.  I hoped to delight in reading to my blessings instead of just reading to check a block (whether for school or just when asked to read).

And now, this year is passing by, the days are few at this point – and yet still so many moments to grab.  How am I doing?  I am not sure I have accomplished any goals enough to check them off – not that I would check them off, they were intentionally chosen as reminders – as things to do better.  And yet, I have said yes a few times without thinking, I have made prayer and scripture a morning priority.  And yet, there is so much further to travel.  So as these days of 2010 slip away, I need to continue to try to remember my list of “Today I want to:” and be more of the woman I think God wants me to be.  Do less on my list – really what will those items matter with respect to eternity?  Very little.

So for now, I will ponder how to put more of me into my family & less into those pesky lists (even if I do enjoy checking those items off) and I hope to grab a few moments that would have otherwise slipped by!

Here was my list of 2010 – wonder what 2011 will look like….

2010 : Today I want to

~Follow and serve Him

~ Read my Bible for 10 minutes

~ Spend 10 minutes in prayer

~ Be a loving & patient wife

~ Be an intentional Mom

~ Say yes more

~ Read to my children for the sake of joy

~ Be frugal with our money

~Plan ahead (meals, time, etc)

~ Encourage someone

~ Spend some time doing something


And now I need to read to 4 clean, snuggly kids before they depart for dreamland, and there is a certain Dr. Doolittle waiting for us!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

words to remember

I seem to be thinking a lot lately about scripture memorization.  I started the year planning a verse every two weeks.  What happened?  What always happens, I miss a week, and fall off the train.  I have tried to keep up with my list though, looking over the ones that now reside in my heart, reminding myself of their truths.

But as for a weekly or every other week schedule, I have not been there.  Partly I blame school, we have been out of school so much over the summer and into fall… But now we are schooling, and I have felt unprepared in this area.  Usually I have a verse I am working on, and then I offer one to the kids, in Irving the kids would come home on Wednesday night each week with a verse to memorize and we used that for school – copy work, memorization and so on.  So we started up this year and I did not have a list to go off of, for them, nor were we settled into a church that sent them home with a verse. 

But, then!  I went to that Simply Charlotte Mason conference and she turned my “scripture memory system” light on!  Yesterday Robert stopped and got my recipe box (just a simple one from just about any store) and a set of dividers for that box.  I had the notecards and so, this morning I set to work!

I labeled all my sections : 1 for each day of the week, one for odd, and one for even and then one for each day 1-31.  I already had lots of cards with verses on them, ones we have used in the past for copy work, ones I lived with during the time of our “sabbatical” and ones I have been working on this year.  So now, I just need to put them behind certain dividers.  Then each day I go through the box and read the cards in the even/odd day (depending) and the ones behind the day of the week it is, and finally the ones behind the date.  As we commit one to memory we add a new one to that section. 

I plan to print out the Bible Drill verses to use also, I really want my kids working on those even if we never get to compete! 

Finally I will also be back in the swing of putting those words into my heart and also the fertile soil of my children’s hearts! 

So then I also went over to read Ann’s blog tonight and her post was right where I have been today!  Focused on scripture – please take a minute and check out what she has to say.  Such wise words she shares!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin = Fall (in our home)

    kids in doorway 

Today started with one of our favorite foods/flavors!  We had pumpkin pancakes with chocolate chips this morning for breakfast!  How can you not have a great day when it starts that way?

2 kids in door

Then off to a great church service, meeting new Home School friends in Sunday School and then home.  After catching up on some errands in the school building, we made it in for some chili quesadillas for lunch followed by a pumpkin pie in a glass smoothie!!

gourd house

I love Starbucks Pumpkin Latte – but when I stopped to get my one and only one (so far this season) and my 5$ gift card carely covered it, something in my mind registered that it may just not be worth all that hard earned money!  I mean, I love it – but $5 for a drink???

cute pumpkin

So after watching the Vitamix guy make an Apple Pie in a glass smoothie at the fair, I decided I could make one similar!

Here is what works in our home:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 c (up to 3/4 c) yogurt

1 cup canned pumpkin

a couple sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice

about 1/2 cup Chai Tea Mix (recipe here)

the I put a lot of milk in the blender – I have a 8 cup blender maybe?

then about  1 and a 1/2 cups of chopped ice

mix it all up – I added a bit of honey

[note: this is very precise and if you vary it may not turn out :)]

then I poured it into kid cups – 4 of ‘em

topped with a little whip cream (what kid does not love that part?)

and a drizzle of caramel sauce!

Voila – a special afternoon treat – don’t tell them it is in the healthy category with all that yummy pumpkin!

I could have added some flax too – I should have – did not think about it – but would make it healthier!!

 more gourds

About a week ago I indulged in a delightful Pumpkin Dessert thanks to Eryn – and took her recipe to my Mom’s night out with my homeschool group.  It was perfect!!  Make sure you head over and check out Eryn’s recipe (here)!!

And oh my!! I just found THIS fabulous Autumn Spice Granola recipe – check it out & make some!  I plan to! Maybe today!!

more pumpkins


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