Saturday, September 27, 2014

Praying for Babies

This is Charles Owen. 
 He was born yesterday, 9 lbs 4 oz.
 He is the grandson of one of my best friends.

As I was rejoicing over this good news while vacuuming,
 my heart immediately beckoned me to pray for him. 

 Vacuuming the floor is a great time to pray. 

 You see, Charles Owen is in need of prayer...
... and here is the reason: 
 He has been born into a country who has lost its fear of the Almighty God.
  He has been born into a culture where the church goers
 are apathetic to the moral decline of our nation,
 a culture who has given up hope.

When people do not fear the Lord,
 there is moral decline, and hope wains.

Owen needs our prayers.
  His parents need them. 
 They, and all the believing families across the nation,
 need people to lovingly pray for them with endurance,
 that their children would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
that parents would have wisdom and discernment to raise them to be  godly,
 God fearing, Jesus loving men and women.


 Because Owen's parents are swimming up stream.  
And this stream is a raging torrent full of debris to knock one over, 
get one caught in an eddy, or worse....trapped underneath, caught by some branch or rock. 

Because our nation, our churches, our families
 are devoid of faithful Christian men who will stand up and lead like God intended them to...
and lacking women who understand what God values in a woman and then gives her life to pursue His good will instead of her own.

Someone had better pray over this condition-
for it is the ruin of a once Godly nation. 
 It is the ruin of reproductive and spirit filled churches,
 it is the ruin of the Christian Home.

Theologian Karl Barth once said,
 "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. "

We all know of babies and little children like Owen, born into Christian families, and we think,
 "Oh that's wonderful."
  Yes, but let's not stop there.   Do we fervently pray for these young families 
struggling to do right in a society that loves wrong; to be faithful, patient, and wise in their parenting despite their young years?
  And how often do we pray for the children to be responsive to the Holy Spirit,
 having a tender heart toward things of the Lord, to grow up loving Jesus above all else?

This is what was impressed upon me this morning, and I felt compelled to share.
Whether it be Owen, or the little people you know personally, let us pray, pray, pray!

  Hope is not lost when there is prayer.

I wrote this prayer/song years is the cry of my heart,
 and the prayer for the morning:

"Build Your kingdom, Lord,
through our children, Lord.
 May this generation know you more.
  Raise up men of God who stand upon Your Word
 with integrity and hearts that are pure.
  Draw our daughters to a life of trusting You. 
 Servant hearted, wholesome, devoted and true. 
 Give us wisdom, we pray, as we train them each day 
with the vision of leaving a legacy of Your way. 
 Immerse us deeply in You so that it's You that shines through,
and by your grace we will see our children's children
 praise thee.
Build Your kingdom, Lord."


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simple Camping

Desiring to get away for the weekend with our son John and his family,
 we planned for a simple and quick camp trip to our favorite campground. 

 Fall campground camping is wonderful, because the campground is virtually empty, 
the landscape turning fall colors is lovely,
 and the weather is fine, albeit a bit crisp in the mornings.

It was a beautiful, relaxing, and fun weekend.

Our tent site overlooked the play area and the lake, giving us a protective and lovely view.

Sitting around the campfire doing nothing for hours is my kind of relaxing!!

Others find sand an amazing relaxer, and can play in it for hours on end.

For those cool mornings, everyone needs a great hat.

Camping is all about taking time to unwind.

taking time to enjoy one another without the distractions of everyday life

And drink in deeply of the beauty of God's creation

How did we Keep it simple with 11 people?

We did all the cooking in the Dutch Oven, making meals and packing less we took the water kettle, the french press, and the dutch oven, along with a small box of kitchen accessories.

What did we cook in the Dutch oven?
Just easy favorites, nothing fancy, although there are some very scrumptious looking recipes on Pinterest!
Friday night-chili dogs
Saturday morning- hashbrowns with eggs over the top, bagels toasted over the fire.
Lunch- "Pub Platter" our traditional camping lunch of salami, cheese, crackers, apples, pickles, and
Saturday Dinner- pulled roasted meat on hogie buns, cabbage salad
Sunday morning- french toast casserole
Sunday lunch- pub platter again, with fresh picked plums ( a bonus to this particular campground)

Other factors for the keep it simple weekend:
organization for meals-
I keep all the plates, silverware and cups in a plastic washtub so it is handy and not scattered all over.
I have the meal plan written out so I don't forget something.
I precook (before the camp trip) anything I can...sausage for the casserole, made the salad ahead, grate the cheese, etc.

Minimal equipment and clothing-
tents, camp chairs, cooler, camp box, lantern, dutch oven, kettle, sleeping bags, fishing gear, life jackets for littles, towels, and I think that was pretty much all.
For clothing; layers!  We all took quilted shirts for jackets.  fleece pullover, flannel shirt, t-shirt, jeans, one pair shoes, jammies, swim suit, warm socks, and underthings.

And, for extra fun, we took the cutest grandbaby ever!...
  To ensure lots of cuddles, laughs, and endearing moments.

To ensure lasting memories, we took an amazing  photographer to capture the moments-
thank you Rose!

Blessings to you the glorious fall day,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Diary of a Quiverfull Mom: Mastering Breakfast

Faintly I hear the pitter patter of little feet getting closer, closer...
...I strain to attain some sort of consciousness out of the deep, wonderful, life giving,
 (did I say wonderful?) slumber of the night.

Then there she is.  My eyes will not open, try as I might.
  Her eyelashes brush my cheek and suddenly she is kissing me, hugging me,
 like an over friendly cat that wants to be petted. 
 It is 6:09...
 I finally get one eye partially open. 

This is my life, and I adore it...most of the time.

Olivia is 3, and very lovey-dovey, in the morning, especially. 
 So, while I try to attain vision and coherence, she reads to me "Blueberries for Sal" 
in typical 3 yr old fashion.  I should have video taped it.

The inside thermometer reads 61, so Olivia and I head downstairs to start a fire.
  After a few cups of coffee, I am finally fully awake.

 The other 6 children start getting up, and I head to the kitchen to make Wednesday breakfast; 

German pancakes. 

Brian and I believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day
so we have a healthy cooked meal everyday. 
 Why do I think it is so important? 
 Because it starts the day off well, with a loving atmosphere and both spiritual 
and physical nourishment.
  When we all sit down together, hold hands, pray, and share a good meal, the days plans, 
and Bible reading, we pour the foundation for the day ahead. 

Most of my mothering life, I have delegated cooking breakfast to children, since I am
 A). not a morning person, 
and B).  over the last 22 years have usually have a nursling that needs me first thing in the morning. 

 Currently, I am the breakfast cook instead of the usual dinner cook 
because I have recently found that by the end of the day
 I am just plain too tired to deal with dinner 
and still be a human till bedtime. 
 Anyway,  I have three teenagers that need to learn to cook. 
 Last season, they took care of breakfast quite well and are now moving on to dinners. 
 They each cook two nights a week, leaving me one night,
 and that I have planned to be the weekend, not a school day,
 because I have more energy on non school days.

 It is really so much easier, I have found, to have a daily breakfast plan

 Mine goes like this: 

 Monday- egg casserole,
 Tuesday- hot cereal, 
Wednesday-German Pancake,
 Thrusday- Gluten free pancakes, (Bob's Red Mill)
 Friday- Oatmeal,
 Saturday- fried potatoes and eggs,
 Sunday- granola.

Like I said, I am not a morning person, but this meal is so important,
 it is worth the extra effort.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Building A Woodshed

This month we have spent Brian's days off building a wood shed together.
  It has been a trying, satisfying, rewarding project. 
Firstly, we planned where we would build the shed; facing away from the weather and near the cabin. Secondly, we discussed how we would build it, including a field trip to a local log built shed we admired, giving the children an idea of what we were about to undertake.
Day One: Brian and the boys selected smallish dead standing lodgepole on our property, 
cut it down, and hauled it back to the lodge. 
 Meanwhile, I darted into town to purchase pier blocks and screws.
Once home, Brian and I used the dumpy level to figure the length of our 6 support logs.
  Next, Jim used the brace and bit to drill holes for the logs to accept re-bar off the pier blocks.

Our shed is 10 x 20.  We used three logs in front and three in back, with a fall ratio of 5/12 for the shed roof.  Most of the cost for this shed is the 8 inch Torq screws we used to fasten everything together.

 On the second day, mid rafter cutting, the chainsaw broke down. 
 We ended up cutting the rest of the rafters with a hand saw. 
 This gave us much awe and amazement for all the men who have built entire log structures with hand saws!!
This really slowed us down, but was also a great learning curve for all of us.

The horizontal side pieces are notched in for a tight fit.

These smaller brace pieces could be cut with the chop saw, thankfully. 
 At the end of the day I brought home a second chainsaw from a yard sale for $40.  
 Preparedness lesson learned: Always have a backup tool!
The primary saw will be in the shop for more than a week...meanwhile...
we have to finish this shed and get to filling it.

The shed just needs the roof on yet, which will be next week's work.
  We have some used metal that we have been saving for just such a project.
We'll use some scrap 1 inch under the metal.
 Now I can see that all those piles of random building materials really are useful!

Summer is at it's end and we'll be needing that shed full of wood very soon.
We plan on putting some major time in toward that end next week...then on to canning season...
 and all the fun of fall will be here before we know it!

Blessings to you this day-


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Boys Will Be Boys

Life with boys.

  Adventurous.  Dangerous.  Gross.  Funny. 
 and Amazing!

The pictures say it all...



Then there is this classic...

And last but not least....

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Amish Bran Muffins in July

July means swimming in the pond,
 which in turn, means the fence is bedecked continually with swim gear.
July also brings breakfast on the porch, usually with granola or muffins. 
 Our favorite muffin recipe comes from an Amish cookbook,
 but we have tweaked it just a tad, so I will share it here. 
 I hope you try them, they are really outstanding. 
 Don't let the title "BRAN MUFFIN" deceive you! 

 These moist, flavorful muffins make a huge amount of dough that can stay in the frig for weeks.
                  I love that aspect, since then it is sooo easy to make a quick breakfast in the morning.
I also favor this recipe because it is a large enough batch to make a dozen Texas size muffins
 and still have dough for another baking in a week.
If ya all don't have a Texas size muffin pan, you need to get one-- or two.
  It is that special touch that takes a muffin from "good" to spectacular
 Trust me.  Buy one.

I have to tell you a funny story about this particular batch of baking:

So there I was, (all good stories start that way) 
 scuttling around in the kitchen, 
thinking too many things at once while making the muffins,
 when I smelled something very, very odd. 
I  stood there for what seemed like a loooong time trying to figure out what that smell was!
Finally, my brain kicked in and I realized that I had preheated my gas oven 
with mint from the garden drying inside!
  Dear me!
  I then had well dried, nearly burnt, mint.
(chuckle, can't believe I am really sharing this.)
Then that song goes off in my head, you know..."The old gray mare........

Anyway, you see, my oven has a pilot light on all the time,
 so it is an ideal place to dry herbs or veggies overnight.  
This we do often in summer when produce is abundant.
We usually have a slip of paper reminding us that there is something in there, 
since it  has happened before. 
 I had not reminded myself of the mint with the usual paper,
So  that morning our kitchen smelled loudly of baked mint and fresh muffins.

Some people should not bake before 8 am or at least two cups of coffee!!

Back to the muffins in progress.....

Our secret ingredient is adding fresh picked huckleberries to the muffins.
  We have huckleberry bushes right here on our property, ( O glory!) but since most folks probably don't, 
I will say that raspberries or blueberries would also be great.
  However, even without the berries, these are still marvelous muffins.

 Now for that recipe:

5 cups flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp allspice
15 oz. oat bran (about 2 cups)
3 cups sugar (I use less)
4 eggs
1 cup veg. or olive oil
1 quart buttermilk or regular milk plus 2 T. lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well.  Use immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 6 weeks.
When ready to bake, without stirring, dip batter out to fill  a well greased muffin pan.
Then add a scattering of berries on top of each muffin- they will sink when baking.
Bake at 375, cook for 20 minutes or until the tops spring bake upon touching.

Here's to breakfast on the porch with birdsong serenading you, and yummy muffins with your coffee!
If you try the muffins, be sure to let me know!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Around The Homestead: St. John's Wart

Thunder is rumbling across the mountains this afternoon, it has been a stifling hot day. 
 Thankfully,we only have a few of these 90-some degree days per year. 
 Earlier, as a scattered shower cooled things off a bit,
 I eagerly sought my way out of doors to pick the fully bloomed St. John's Wart. 
 It grows all over the place here.
 I had noted on my walk the other day that it was nearly ready to be gathered in and hung to dry.
This winter we will make tea of the blossoms, added to our mint and chocolate mint,
 making a Happy Winter Tea, as I call it. 
 St. John's Wart is known for aiding depression,
 (it is common to get a little low with our 5 months of winter here) 
and... well, 
I have always thought of mint as being a happy flavor and smell. 

 Other goodness growing on our homestead.....
 the goats, getting fat on rich grass, abundant brush, and prolific tree limbs.
  We stake them out in new locals each day, since we lack proper fencing for a pasture.

We have four raised beds in which are growing lots of squash, several tomatoes,
 carrots (just barely up) and potatoes. 
 I am so thankful that, so far, the deer have stayed away.
It is not much, but it is a start, I keep telling myself.

The strawberry patch is doing well for it's first year. 
The berries are sooo scrumptious!
Nothing tastes better than homegrown/ homemade food!

Mint too, is ready to harvest for winter teas.
 That is on my "to do" list, still. 
 Usually a job for the younger children, but they are indoors (making huge sleeping bag forts)
 hiding from the heat today.
 Jim has taken over Anna's herb garden. 
 In it's third year, it is coming along quite well. 
 The garden contains mostly culinary and medicinal herbs,
 but Jim planted several hundred perennial seeds this year to add beauty and color.
So far, we have sage, mullen, horseradish, mint, chocolate mint, tarragon, lavender, and chives for our herbs. I would love to get some echinacia and fever few.
Perhaps next year.

The meadows are brimming with daisies, which makes me happy happy happy!
Don't you think daisies are a happy flower?
  I do like to keep fresh flowers on the book table,
 and I will beg, borrow, or, um, yes, steal (from a vacant homestead) if I must...
but this time I didn't, since they are abundantly everywhere.

And what does our family do here when it is 97 degrees out?
Why, legos while listening to the Man From Snowy River soundtrack,
 dress up, card games, playing with the new kittens,
 and reading, of course!

From our homestead in the woods to yours,

Blessings This Day!

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...