Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wild Flowers

On the way up north last week, we stopped to do one of my favorite things!!


I am not in love with the pics, it was hard sun as it was early in the  morning and the sun was in everyone’s eyes.  But, I love pictures each year in the flowers – and hate when I miss it!

One of my favorite things about Spring in Texas!! 

4 kids in blue bonnets

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleepy {but thankful} Monday

It is quiet here, finally.  I hoped to be in bed by now, but I am enjoying the quiet while I await Robert’s return home. 

After a crazy weekend in Dallas, waiting up late Sunday for kids who were at a concert (2 older boys), and all-around tired – I am just enjoying the sound of the frogs by the pond, the crickets, and the night here in the country.

4 kids in blue bonnets

As I stood outside tonight, after taking out some trash, I had to stop and try to file away the picture  the sun setting behind our pond, the sky holding onto clouds layered along the horizon and the sliver of a moon shining down.  This perfect picture of where we are.  I try to completely savor the life we have right now, while not perfect, it is perfect for us.  We love this place (warts and all), love this land, and love this life.  Yet, I try to remind myself to hold loosely.  Kind of like my kids.  It is not mine.  It is not promised forever, and we never know when God will ask us to go or give.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Review : The Last Plea Bargain & Giveaway

If you love an amazing legal thriller like I do, look NO further!

{And, don’t miss the AMAZING giveaway at the end of this post!!}

The Last Plea Bargain

I cannot tell you enough how much I loved The Last Plea Bargain.  I really loved this book!  I have enjoyed novels by Randy Singer in the past, to include False Witness and the Justice Game, but this novel is hands down my favorite by him. 

There are so many stories all going on in this novel, so many twists, so many surprises, and lots of drama.  Once I started this story, I never wanted to put it down, I wanted to keep going deeper into the situation that Jamie Brock was facing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review : You’re Already Amazing

Next book up for review:

You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

If you are just now hearing about Holley Gerth, let me tell you, you are going to love her!  She can work wonders with a few simple words!  I have enjoyed reading her conversations with blogger and author Ann Voskamp on both of their blogs.  So when I had the chance to read this book, I eagerly accepted!!

Holley takes a straight forward approach to convincing us that no matter who we are, where we are, or what is going on in our lives, we are loved by an amazing God.   I think, it is easy for us to get caught up in the normal things of life, and when that happens we forget that simple message.  She explores why we forget to feel loved, how we need to get connected to others to feel and share that love, and then leaves us with reminders of how we can continue to rest in that love.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review : 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates

Does your husband “date” your daughter?  No?  Maybe?

In our family, we think this is an important subject!  We want to make sure our daughter knows what it is like when a man treats her right.  We want her to know when someone steps over the line into poor behavior, so that she can walk away as soon as it happens.  How do you teach your daughter that?  By showing her the right way, the only way, a man should treat her.  We also feel like the time with our children, one on one, allows our relationship with each of them grow to a deeper level. 

88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates: Fun, Easy & Creative Ways to Build Memories Together  -     
        By: Rob Teigen, Joanna Teigen

This book, 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates is a tool that every dad needs to put in his toolbox!  This book has 88 great date ideas, but not just that.  It also has suggestions for discussions for that Daddy to have with his daughter. 

As you flip through the book, there are notes that will help you pick the right date for that time.  For instance, there are annotations for the cost (if there is any), the requirements (car), and then it lists at the beginning what you will need for that date.  It is very easy to skim over those few things to know if that date will be one that will work for that time.

Blown Away Breakfast

We enjoy trying to eat healthy.  (really we do)  But we also like eating yummy stuff!

I love when I can merge both!!

So for breakfast last weekend I splurged, bought some white bread (okay, maybe this is not the most healthy…) and mixed up some baked French Toast, did I mention blueberries and pecans?  No?  Oh, yeah.  They were all in there!

(Yes, I forgot to take pics, but trust me this was yummy and gone!!)

Janelle’s Blueberry Pecan Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast

3 eggs

2-3 T honey

3 cups milk (2.5 cups)

¾ pkg Sliced bread

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Blueberries sprinkled throughout (2 handfuls per layer)

1 cup chopped pecans on top

I mixed up the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and honey.  Then I sprayed my pan so it would not stick.  Then I put my first layer of bread to cover the bottom, sprinkled a handful or two of frozen blueberries (one we picked last summer).

Then I put the second layer of bread, and some more blueberries.  Then I poured the milk & egg mixture – I did press everything down a bit to absorb the liquid.  Next, I covered with foil, and put it in the fridge overnight. 

The next morning, I put my dish into the oven at 375 – for about 45 minutes.  It was wonderful!!

Next time I will try homemade cinnamon bread!!


I did merge two recipes and substituted a few things, these are the two I used :

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun Weekend

We worked hard this weekend, getting more room in the garden, spring maintenance on all the equipment, some mowing too.  After all that work, we had a fun bonfire with hot dogs and smores!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chickens, Eggs & More Chickens

From our first hen, we kind of hoped one would be broody and want to sit on eggs.  But, to no avail.  They all lay well, but while the kids often claim one is sitting, she really just laid and it resting.

That all changed about 2 weeks ago.  And it seems to be in the water now.

3 nesting hens

(an aerial shot of my three girls)

We have three, yes THREE hens laying on eggs.  I do not think they care whose eggs they are – they might even be sharing.  It started with one hen, our bantam Japanese something or other.  She started sitting on a few eggs, none of them were hers, I might add.

Then another bantam came along to join the fun, our White Frizzle.  She is a mangy thing these days, not completely sure why she has lost many feathers, but she is cute, and happy on eggs.  And finally another bantam Aracana joined the party.

Friday, March 16, 2012


It is gardening time around here.  Hard work, but, so rewarding!

garden corner view

I think we will be outgrowing out 3000 sq ft garden this year, just a hunch, but time will tell!  So far we have lots of potatoes coming up – plants are about 8-12 inches tall! 

potato plants

We planted three times more of these than last year, to include Dakota Pearls, Red, and Yukon Golds.  We are hoping for a huge crop and a few more meals this year!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review : Sixty Acres and A Bride


If you are looking for a great read, a book that will encourage you, and inspire you, look no further!

I loved this story by Regina Jennings.  She wove a lovely story together with ties to the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. 

Rosa is a young widow who returns to her Mother-In-Law’s home in Texas to face prejudice, as well as many other struggles.  As her options for the future seem a bit daunting, and even vague, Rosa must decide how Weston Garner fits in, however, he has his own battles still waging in his heart.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book review : Love’s Sacred Song

As I read the last page of my latest read, I smiled.  It was a delightful read.  It inspired me in ways that I can hardly explain.   This is a love story, but it is so much more than just that.

The book?


Love’s Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews

As I was thoroughly captivated while I read this book, in the back of my mind I constantly wondered how much was accurate and historical.  I wish that I had read the notes at the end before I started, so that I would not have wondered.  The answer  Ms. Andrews said is “As much as possible!”  This was not a passing fancy, this subject of Solomon and his beloved bride, in fact, it took twelve years of dedication and research to produce this wonderfully written novel.  Yes, it is still a novel.  We do not know the actual words spoken between the characters, but Ms. Andrews has ensured that the words she wrote were biblically, and historically accurate.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies (sans sugar)

This sugar free living thing is certainly not black and white.  And, honestly, I really like life when it is black and white.  I know what to do, I follow rules, I like it when it is easy.

cookies close up

But as I am on my third month of a “Low/No Sugar Lifestyle” I am learning that life without any sugar is no life.  Life with artificial stuff is not much better than being addicted to the sugar itself.  So what do we do?  I am finding, that better choices – are the way.  Not the right choice, because I am not sure there is a right, unless you say no sugar, and like I said, that is no way to live.

So recently I went off with a  group of dear friends for the Sally Clarkson conference, I knew there would be tons of sugar, and more than tons of chocolate.  So, before I left, I decided that after 7 week of no sugar, that I was going to enjoy whatever that weekend.  However, I also went equipped with healthy options. I made my own chocolate chips cookies – my favorite recipe of all time, and I modified it to get the white, refined icky stuff out.  I was so happy to have my friend here when I made them, she was very experienced in sugar free baking, so she suggested options to help me out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meeting the neighbors

One thing I wish I was better at was getting out and visiting my neighbors more.  Our pastor often talks about talking to the people closest first.  How can we fly to Uganda and tell those strangers about God and his love, and not every tell the man or woman next door?

And yet, sadly we do – all the time.

This week I tried to really make a plan to get out and visit some neighbors.   {I am not advocating a Jehovah Witness like visit – more of a friendly neighbor, loving visit}  When I am in the middle of  a project though, I am reluctant to stop and make time for what I know I need to do. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One of our Favorite Things

Not like Oprah – but like our favorite things in life!  We love all things country these days. 
But, right now, like as I type, in this moment – we love hatching chickens!  We absolutely delight in having eggs in the incubator for 21 days and then, after that long wait, watching them peck their shells, start to pip at us, and then finally break free. 

(MY favorite thing is that we, my kids and me, see God’s hand all over this process!)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Shaping Influences of our Children

As I read through Shepherding A Child’s Heart, a book I have read before, I continue to learn “new” things.

This week, I read about shaping influences in our kids.  It is so easy in this “instant gratification” culture – the one where every book offers a 3-5 step plan to fix your life, it is easy to think we can fix what we want to fix.  I find myself thinking I can control my life, and the things around me.  Often God has to knock my around a bit to remind me that this is not true.

Tedd Tripp talks about how our children are influenced not only by our parenting style but by the shaping influences in their lives as well.  So I spent some time thinking about how that affects my gang.  One of the questions at the end of the chapter was What are your values?  What is more important to you?  And at 6am I was not sure what was most important – well actually, I was not sure what my life was saying was most important.  you understand?  What would my kids say is most important.  So as my oldest son came out to get  a kleenex & check our incubator, I asked him.  He told me the most important thing to me was that my children grow up to be Godly men and women.  He did not have to even think about it.  Then he had supporting evidence.  Wow. 

Book review : Sarai

The latest book on list to review is Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith.    Previously, Jill has written a series about the wives of David, while I have not read them, they sound very intriguing!

I enjoyed reading through this book, I felt like I was able to connect to several aspects of the story of Abram and Sarai, as well as Lot and his family.  I thought Jill did a fantastic job researching the details of this time period, to include food, culture, and especially the living conditions.

While I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it, it is important to note that many details that Jill weaves into this story are not Biblical.  In a case like this, there are many details one could argue about, and honestly none of us knows the details.  So, as long as the reader understands that what we know to be true about this story is what is in the Bible, and the details added to make a fuller story are simply fictional.

I found the story very entertaining and each time I set it down, it left me wanting to know what would happen next. 

I recommend this book as a fiction story woven around a some details that come from the Bible.

NOTE: I was offered a copy of this book at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, by Revell Publishers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicks are here


baby chicks

Wednesday our latest batch of chicks arrived!  We have 25 that we are raising for one of our boys to show for 4h.  We love to have baby chicks in the house – well here at the house.  I do love to have them in the house, I love to listen to their constant chirps, but this time they are in the workshop.  So I do not get to hear them, but they are still fun to watch; and if you cannot find a child you can assume that child in in there watching them!


baby chicks 2

We were hoping to hatch out some chicks too – we found 20+ eggs in the woods about a month ago, but it seems that none of them are going to hatch.  We have another day or so to wait and then we will ditch the incubator and throw away the eggs.  Oh well.  I am sad, I was hoping to have some hens to replace some of our hens who are getting close to ending their peak laying time.  They will need to be replaced this fall I suspect.  That will be hard because they are our first hens and we are pretty attached to them – well aside from my husband, that is.

And if you were wondering these chickens (pictures above) are meat birds – they grow really big, really fast.  So sometime in April we will be butchering these lovely (at that point disgusting) birds to have in our freezer!  I am pretty excited about that part, most of all!!


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