Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chicken, chicken and more chicken!

 So in an effort to constantly keep our food budget in budget we have discovered, thanks to a friend, Zaycon Foods where we can buy meat in bulk. Its a good middle ground for quality (chicken is 100% natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients) and budget friendly. The only catch is you have to buy in bulk so you need to be prepared. The first time we ordered some we ordered just 1 share at 40 lbs and we went through that faster than i had planned, so this time we ordered 2 shares and arranged a split for half of one of them leaving us with 60 lbs of chicken breasts. Needless to say, my husband was cutting chicken up for 3+ hours this weekend....hehe

They offer more than just chicken and if you haven't checked them out i encourage you to do so to see if it could work for your family at


And I found a great FREE kindle Slow Cooker Recipes book with 30 easy recipes!
Top 30 Easy & Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes

I'd love to know any of your great chicken recipes~im always up for somethin new :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Power of Imagination

One thing that I thank God that He gave me was a great imagination~Oh as a child I spent hours upon hours playing games with my sister and cousins using our imaginations. It was so much fun and the memories are something to be cherished. Tea parties in dress up costumes, putting on plays, roller coaster down the stairs and just playing whatever comes to mind was so much fun.

One thing that I absolutely LOVE about homeschooling is it gives my children the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild! I find that when something we are studying or reading something that sparks their interest, the rest of the day their world is engulfed into it. We do not believe that by them taking a few hours to really "get into" their game all together is wasting time, on the contrary the learning that is taking place is irreplaceable. When they are playing they can be whatever they want to be, whenever they want to be it, wherever they are...there is nothing like it. There is such beauty in that and if only we adults can rekindle our imaginations a little, oh just imagine how our days would go sometimes!
Our living room many times has been transported into a ship, the prairie, wagon trails, trains, airplanes, camping trips and many many other things! I have been witness many days to games in which they are pioneers, cowboys, doctors, mothers/fathers, children in Victorian times, Bible characters, cooks.......the possibilities are endless!

I think that when our children are playing using their imaginations, they are experiencing a touch of eternity. Think about for a minute the vast extent of God's imagination and look at all he has done with it.
Maybe we should stop and use ours more often, bask in the beauty of His, and join in on those of our children.
If you would like to find some more encouragement, I'm linked up today with these wonderful ladies at:
Raising Homemakers Deep Roots at Home Walking Redeemed

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

These past few weeks have been like a giant blur around here. There has been so much going on from sickness, to health scares, to death in the family, to lots of visiting family and then of course Easter.
So after this major whirlwind of events that have left me physically (since the health scares were mine), mentally and emotionally drained, I have decided that for the next few days I will be "getting back into the swing of things".

Sooo how does one do that when all one wants to do is vegetate??? LOL
I do my favorite thing to do....I make a List!!

Its the best way (in my opinion) to collect everything that goes on in your mind that you need to get done all in one place.
There are several advantages to being a list maker such as myself:
  1. You can prioritize what is the most important thing(s) you must do that day.
  2. You don't waste as much time throughout the day.
  3. You stay motivated!
  4. You get to cross stuff off the list as you complete, this one is my favorite because it gives me such a sense of accomplishment!
Whatever you don't get to that day that wasn't on your most important things to do just gets put to the top of the the next days list. There are a few things however that you need to keep in mind if you are an overachiever/perfectionist.....Its supposed to help not add more stress...:)

Being flexible with it gives you the ability to be productive while at the same time stopping throughout the day to enjoy the moments that God has placed before you that day.
So let us always remember as we go through our busy days, lazy days, crazy days or "getting back into the swing of things days".....
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 

So are you a list maker? Do you find them helpful?

Looking for some extra encouragement today? Im linked up with these wonderful blogs!
Time-Warp Wife   Growing Home

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Funny!!

Ive seen this a few times this week and so have been there at times! While I absolutely LOVE my title-the best title in my opinion of Mom there are just some days.........

Have a Blessed Easter Weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easy Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

In my ever growing quest to find ways to stretch the money around here I have finally found a detergent for the dishwasher that works!

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Kosher Salt
2 packets of lemonade flavor koolaide mix
Lemon essential Oil

Mix everything except the lemon oil and vinegar together and store in an airtight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture when you need to run the dishwasher and splash vinegar and a few drops of lemon essential oil on the bottom of the dishwasher and voila!!

The dishes come out nice and clean and we have some pretty tough well water here!
There ya go~Enjoy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Measure of One's Life....A Tribute to My Grandmother

**I originally wrote this post a year ago and I have decided to re-post it this year on the anniversary  of her being home with The Lord. I have had so many ups and downs emotionally this year and several times have found myself reaching for the phone to call her and ask her something or wanting to show her something. Throughout this year I have learned to see her in the small things-the making of pancakes, hemming a skirt for my daughter, starting a new book, sitting in her old chair. Those are the moments to be cherished, the memories, the traditions, the legacy that she has left for me to carry on to my children. So while today may mark a year, its not a day to be sad and mournful because I know that I will see her again someday and until then i will never let her memory die in my day to day life.
So enjoy this post if its the first time you are reading it, or enjoy it again if your re-reading it from last year**

 How do you measure someones life?
 Is it in what their occupation is, how much money they have, or how many possessions they have? 
In my opinion it is none of those and finding our purpose in life can begin by looking no farther than the humble surroundings God has placed you in.

Tuesday March 12, 2013 may have just been another day to many people, but to my family it was a bittersweet day. It was filled with so many emotions...sadness, joy, relief, heartbreak and more. It was the day that my grandmother Catherine passed away. She had struggled through the past year with cancer and put up a good fight. By the end she was so tired, worn out and ready to go home. 

I had a special bond with my grandmother from the very beginning. I am grandchild number 1 and through the years growing up I was so very close to her. So much of who I am today is because of her. I was so fortunate to have my grandparents live in an apartment added onto our house for most of my life which gave great opportunity for lots of time spent. Growing up she gave me so many things that I will cherish forever most importantly memories. There are so many I could write a book but a few highlights are: the seagull that took her ice cream at Sea World right from her hand, parades, eating strawberry shortcakes, sewing me costumes, gymnastics where she would have to be the judge, so many vacations & trips, singing Sonny & Cher songs, eating pints of Ben and Jerry's on the couch bed i named "happiness".

 Watching her do so many things inspired me to want to be the mom that I am today although that was not her intention. What a wonderful cook and baker she was, how she could sew a masterpiece, her love of reading & knitting and just being the "mom" that is Always there for her children and OH how she loved children. She was the constant in a world that is anything but to our family. Those are things that I feel that watching her do made me want those qualities in me. Our times of laughter had FAR outweighed anything else! She was there for my times of pain, sickness, grief, happiness, joy and accomplishment. 

Somehow though life seemed to weather our relationship over the past few years and that made me so sad. My life is not what she wanted it to be. In her eyes she wanted me to be so much more than what she was and was always encouraging me to be and do anything that I wanted....what I really wanted to be most of my life was to be just like her. It took her until the very end of her life to realize that  I did not throw my talents and dreams away. The Lord has blessed me with so many talents and I am using them in the lives of my children and God used her to mold me into who he wanted me to be. A whole next generation will reep the benefits of the time, love, care and instruction she put in to me. I am so grateful to her for all she gave me-things both intentional and unintentional. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Embracing the Storms

The first thing most people generally tend to do when a storm comes is become downcast or even depressed. The cold, rain, dampness, & noise add to the wallowing effect that comes with it. Just take a look at how a child looks at a rainy day-they are bored, whiny, discontent, and sometimes just plain old cranky. They feel restricted from running free, burning energy and steam, their creativity stifled by 4 walls....or is it???

Lately I have been asking myself-Is this how God would want us to act-to use a storm as an excuse to exhibit all of the above emotions?

Of course as we all have experienced the storms of life rage all around us and we tend to get tossed around quite a bit. We have the choice to follow the tendencies that accompany a storm or a rainy day or we can choose to rejoice and even dance in the storm!

More often than not I have to admit that I usually am quite like Eeyore from Whinnie the Pooh when the storms of life surround me. I do find this quite funny because i actually LOVE storms! To me, a rainy stormy day is refreshing-like a breather of sorts. It to me is like God's way of telling me to rest a bit or take it easy-have a day off routine! So why is it that there is such a drastic difference in my responses to both "storms"?

When God leads us through a storm it can be scary, especially if we are right in the middle of it. Imagine how the Israelite's felt as they would flee Egypt with no where to go but towards the Red Sea. What were they thinking? Would fear, worry and doubt grip many of them? Im sure!! But what did they then do.......
They stood still and let God move and boy did he! He parted the sea and made a way when there seemed to be no way.

I think the reason I love stormy days so much is that the storm is outside and I am inside, I am safe and have walls and a roof as protection around me and it doesn't seem quite so scary. What I have learned over these past 2 weeks of some fierce storms is that even in the middle of the storm I DON'T have to fear and I have the same protection as my walls and roof, I just need to trust God whole heartedly and not fear. That is tough, especially for me but its what God is trying to teach me right now.....Stand Still and let Him move! Embrace the lesson he is teaching you, don't be so quick to rush the storm away but quiet your heart and listen to it.

He will always prove faithful and make a way!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Bontrager Family Singers

We were blessed and fortunate last week to see the Bontrager Family Singers perform. They are a family of 12, Dad-Marlin, Mom-Becky and Children: Chelsy, Mitchell, Allison, Carson, Joshua, Denver, Taylor, Elizabeth, Hudson & Rebecca. They live and work on a dairy/hog/grain farm in Iowa. They travel for part of the year as God opens doors, and they minister with a gospel/bluegrass style of music in churches, festivals, prisons, nursing homes, and street missions.

They believe "As God has called us to ministry, so we endeavor to shine His light wherever we go, in whatever we do, with “all our heart, & soul, & mind.” Because of Him, we have a reason to sing!"

It was a truly uplifting and inspiring evening for us but especially for our children. For them to see children, some their age, some older and some even younger, up there singing and playing instruments all for the purpose of glorifying God was very thrilling. To see and hear how they as a family work together and how the brothers and sisters love, help and serve one another really gave a great model to our children of how to work together for the God's glory no matter what he has called us to do.

Please take some time to stop by their website at and be inspired by this family! Their music is fun and upbeat and a wonderful mix of all age voices making a joyful noise unto the Lord! They also have a blog where you can keep up with them on the road and what they are up to at

Most importantly, pray for them. They are doing such a wonderful mission and sharing the Gospel through song, story, and testimony. To God Be The Glory!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Joy in Being the Comforter

One of the joys I have in being a mother is comforting my children when they are hurt, sick, scared or just in need of a hug and a smile. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that you are of great comfort to that child, that whatever was bothering them, hurting them, scaring them is now eased because you were there to show them love. The power of a mother's hug is huge in a child's life, the comfort of the arms wrapped around them tightly extends beyond the physical arms but show them that you truly care and your there to help take away their pain.

As I was putting this into action today after one of my little ones woke up scared from a nap and he had his head nestled deep in my shoulder, i thought to myself.....this is EXACTLY what God is for us. He WANTS to be our comforter- to listen whats to bothering us, hurting us, or scaring us. He WANTS to give us that hug and have us climb up on his lap so to speak and let our tears, fears, worries, doubts flow from our mouths to his ears. But more often than not we do not give him that privilege. We take things into our own hands and try to figure things out ourselves by finding solutions, fretting, making plans, pro/con lists......

But he is still there.
Waiting patiently until we are done and hear his gentle whispering to give it to him.
He is there.
To take our burden and sorrow and give us peace and joy in our hearts.

Our children freely and willingly run to us for comfort first, why don't we do this? It would look a bit strange for a toddler to fall on the playground and then proceed to get up and worry about how he will handle the fall wouldn't it? His first instinct is to run to mommy or daddy.Why isn't it ours?

Are you in need of a hug? Go ahead and take a deep breath and tell it all to our heavenly Father, who wants to comfort us, we just need to let him.
  •  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  •  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
  •  O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2
  • You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
    Acts 2:28
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Will you let him?
Want to be encouraged further, check out the following linkups:
Raising homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Deep Roots at Home,Raising Mighty Arrows

Monday, February 25, 2013

Strawberries Anyone?

This is probably one of my favorite times of the year....its strawberry season :) We have a wonderful local farm that we go to and the kids can pick their own strawberries. This past trip we ended up with quite a few! Everyone in our house loves them and while I had every intention of making some jam with them, the never ending train of hands in the fridge to get "just one" didn't leave many for jam! I did however get to freeze a bunch of them for smoothies and we did have fresh waffles topped with strawberries, strawberries for breakfast, dessert, etc.....

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes! I find it a GREAT way to sneak in some greens and not taste them!

-3 cups Almond Milk (or any other milk if you choose)
-2 cups Strawberries
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 small orange, peeled
-1 banana
-1 cup of frozen or fresh chopped spinach (I have also used some wheatgrass powder for the greens)
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

Blend well and enjoy!! Makes about 3-4 servings.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Im just not getting it all done......

This has been a challenging and stretching week for me thus far. I think i have felt every emotion possible at some point or another. I think there are times in every mommy's life that they just feel like we can't get it all done, the never ending list keeps growing and the time goes by faster.

Our youngest, Gideon who is just shy of 22 months has reached some great "independent" milestones this week. He has figured out how to climb out of his crib (honestly i was thanking God he didn't figure it out sooner...haha) and has decided that there is no need to wear a diaper around the house...*SIGH* Having a 4 month old puppy and a newly potty training toddler is quite interesting if you've never experienced the "guess who did that mess" game or my personal favorite "don't slip in the puddle"!!

With these new discoveries of his independence comes more time of my day trying to stay focused to diligently train him with patience, kindness, and love. Nap time has not been spent napping but a routine of bringing him back and being firm over and over & repeated again at bedtime and well im sure you can guess how the diaperless bum has effected my day!

 One thing i found myself doing earlier this week though was getting frustrated that everything i NEEEDED to get done wasn't getting done. But thankfully the Lord tapped me on the shoulder rather quickly and reminded me that i am indeed getting done everything that i NEEDED to get done. This is so very important and vital and how my heart and attitude are while im doing it is crucial. Its all perspective really. There will always be dishes, laundry, floors to clean, phone calls to make but there is only these wonderful privileges NOW. These "inconveniences" are not that at all, but blessings and I am honored to be able to do them. I am honored to be able to be their mom and time goes by so quickly that I will savor every trip back to bed, repeated instruction to them and yes even the surprises.......

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Day with Winter

We were very blessed and fortunate to be able to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL this past week. It was a really fun day with lots of interaction with some local sea life. This small aquarium that was once in financial trouble now is a very popular stop thanks to this one creature....
This is Winter the dolphin and she has one amazing story to tell!! At only three months of age, Winter found herself wrapped tightly in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon (near Cape Canaveral) and transported to CMA to begin a long rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Winter lost her entire tail as well as two vertebrae a result of the serious injuries that she had sustained.


At only three months of age, Winter found herself wrapped tightly in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon (near Cape Canaveral) and transported to CMA to begin a long rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Winter lost her entire tail as well as two vertebrae a result of the serious injuries that she had sustained.

Although her story is intriguing, it is also very rare, as many dolphins unfortunately die in monofilament and crab trap lines. Despite the odds against survival, Winter's energy and ability to adapt to her new physical form has surpassed the expectations of many experts. Winter has done amazingly well in the short time since her stranding. She has completely healed and has learned to swim with a specially formulated  prosthetic tail.

You may be thinking you have seen or heard this story before....well there has been a major motion picture made about her story called Dolphin Tale. It is a very good, clean, funny, heartwarming movie that is GREAT for all ages and for family movie night! Along with admission to the Aquarium, we were able to take a trolley ride to their other exhibit, Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure, which is a huge building that is set up to make you feel like you are right in the middle of the set of the movie! There are tons of actual props used in the movie and lots of little tid bits of information from the wonderful staff and volunteers to make you feel as if you were right there! It was truly a blast of a day and we will definitely be going back!
If you would like more information about seeing Winter, want to read up on her amazing story of survival, or about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and what they are doing to help save more "unwanted" and endangered sea life, please visit

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oh boy its Monday

Ever feel like this on a Monday morning and you haven't even stepped out of bed yet?? Ever hope for someone to not feel well just for an excuse for everyone to lay around all day?? Anyone......???

So thats just me huh?? LOL
I have to admit there are some Mondays that are EGR.....Extra Grace Required!

On these days I need to take a deep breath and remember that it may also be "Monday" for the kids as well and I can set the tone for the day by my attitude and my countenance.

A kind word and soft tone goes a long way and a smile can change even the biggest sourpuss pickle pants!
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Bisquick Recipe

So one of the things that I do for our family budget to make it stretch farther is to make my own bisquick mix. It is super easy and saves a lot! We use it for so many recipes-pancakes, waffles, chicken dinners, biscuits!!

The best part about it is i can whip up a really big batch of it and then freeze what i do not need for that particular recipe and pull out the mix when i need it!

Homemade Bisquick Mix Recipe

  • 10 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shortening
1. Mix dry ingredients.

2. Drop in shortening until mixture is about the consistency of cornmeal.

3. Store in large ziploc bags or air tight containers in freezer.

  Easy as that! If you think that this is way too large of an amount for your family, then just cut it in half.
 Enjoy the possibilities of this versatile master mix!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Enjoying the simple things

Here in FL we don't have a typical winter. During our winter months is really the only time of the year where we can play outside without having to be in water! This is our time to ride bikes, scooters, draw on the driveway with chalk, take walks and this year the new thing to do is play on our "tree". We are so blessed by how much entertainment, imagination, courage and creativity this tree has brought out in our children!
"Super Daddy" has built them a swing out of a rope and a piece of wood and it is so wonderful to see them enjoy something so simple. He also has cleared out a little area that is like a "fort" where the base of their games revolve around. There is lots of imagination that runs wild as well as some energy!

I am also so proud that they are all learning to climb trees, as embarrassing as this is I didn't climb my first tree until I was 22 and to be honest it was only 4 feet off the ground that I climbed...hehe!

And don't think the fun is just for the bigger kids...."Super Daddy" put in an extra swing just for Gideon!
And his swing goes slow enough to enjoy snacks with the ride...

We as a family are so grateful to be able to enjoy such beauty that the Lord has given us and to find joy and laughter in the simple pleasures in life!

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.  Leviticus 26:4

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why We Homeschool...part 1

 We Home school. We Love it. We are called to do it.
There is so much I want to say and share regarding this topic, so i will probably do it over a series of posts. Today I will go into why we have chosen to home school and how we believe relationships are vital, especially a relationship with God.

God has given us the responsibility to teach our children in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Real knowledge apart from Gods word does not exist, so it is imperative that is incorporated into daily life:
Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Psalm 111:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.His praise endures forever!
Proverbs 2:5-6  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

We have a responsibility as Christians to train our children in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

With those scriptures in our mind we believe that the most important thing we can ever teach our children above any knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic, is to Love the Lord their God with all their Heart, all their Mind, all their soul and all their Strength (Mark 12:30) and how to integrate that Love into relationships. Its in relationships where we learn to love others as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. One aspect of that is spending lots of time each day with our children; teaching our children about God, talking with our children, holding and loving our children, and enjoying our children, as these formative years are fleeting so quickly.

It is in the home where they will learn about what we value in life. It is here where they will see our true character. It is here that they will see what Love is and how they will use it. It is here where we have the honor and responsibility to shape the next generation.........

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 in 2013

Ok i have decided to purge/get rid of/donate 2013 items in the year 2013!
If you have been to my house you know i am far from a packrat or a hoarder but with 7 people in the house stuff tends to just appear and multiply at times.

While we are very blessed by what we have i feel sometimes that "stuff" keeps me busy throughout the day and even the things that are meant to free up your time like washing machines, dishwashers, & vacuums-when you have a lot to maintain that's exactly what you spend your day doing....maintaining.

Well i have decided that i long for a simpler day and would like to have less to keep up on to be able to spend more time on what truly matters. So far this year I have already gotten rid of 1500 items!!! INCREDIBLE! If you think "there is no way i even have that much stuff" take a look at some of these places in your house and you will find unwanted/unused items:

  • Under your bathroom and kitchen sinks
  • Kitchen drawers (utensil drawer, the ever growing junk drawer, spice cabinet, Tupperware...)
  • Entertainment Centers (dvds/cds/books...broken, unused, missing, damaged??)
  • Jewelry box
  • medicine cabinet
  • Filing Cabinet, School papers/desk area (this one was a 500 item garbage hit for me!)
  • Nightstands, dressers, shelves
  • Kids rooms....need i say more....hehe
So you get the idea, once you get started its a liberating feeling! You can toss the junk/garbage, donate or sell what is garbage to you but will be a treasure or a blessing to someone else.

Happy Simplifying!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

But how do you feed everyone???

Ahh i love that question, really i do!
The verse that comes to mind when i think about this is Luke 12:42
  And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?"

Over the years I have learned some great tips and tricks along the way to streeeeetch our food budget with our growing family. I know that there are extreme couponers and while that is great, most of what I buy and feed our family there aren't coupons for- we eat mostly whole foods, fruits, and veggies. So here are my tips for getting your best bang for the buck on food:

1. Make a List and Meal Plan! I think this is the most vital lesson i have learned. I make my meal plan either over a 2 week segment or if I'm ambitious the whole month. Then knowing what meals I intend to make it makes it easier to formulate the weekly list for the store. Going to the store without a list is a disaster and an expensive one.

2. The fewer trips you make to the store the better and NEVER go shopping while you are hungry....(hint hint don't go after church....)

3. Buy in bulk when possible and shop local farmers markets. I get some great deals by buying in bulk and while BJ's and Costco may not be feasible for some things you can get a good deal on others. When in season shop local markets and produce stands. Its so much better for your family and helps out the community.

4. Utilize food shopping online! As crazy as that sounds i have really begun to like shopping from my computer. I get some great deals on Amazon and on

5. You don't need meat in every meal....really you don't! We do love our meat around here but have found that making meals with beans, lentils and vegetable/pasta combinations are quite filling and stretch nicely to feed everyone.

6. Make things from scratch. It may take some time, practice, and preparation on mama's part but it is so worth it. A lot of things can be frozen and taken out for convenience sake.

See what works for your family and start slowly or if your super thrifty with your groceries I'd love to hear some of your tips!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!

There is nothing quite like the aroma of fresh baked bread....mmmm!! I was soo intimidated by making my own bread for so long but i have stumbled upon the perfect easy recipe for fresh baked artisan bread. After trial and error and with much tweaking I have found that this recipe is AWESOME and is perfect for a loaf a day while the dough sits in the fridge and they freeze sooo well!
Here are the ingredients & supplies you will need:
  • 3 Tbsp yeast
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 6 Cups of warm water
  • 13 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • A Handful of cormeal
  • large container with lid (for storing dough in fridge)
**If you don't have a large family or don't want to make such a large batch, just cut everything in half**

1. Combine the salt, yeast, and water.
2. Add flour and mix until there are no dry spots.
3. Cover with a loose lid and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. It will start to rise quite a bit!

 4.. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cut off a hunk or two about the size of a grapefruit. Let that rise for 40 minutes on a corn meal dusted surface or right in the loaf pan which is what i do.
 5. After the bread has been rising 20 minutes, Preheat the oven to 450 or if your oven is really temperamental like mine-425.
6. At the end of the 40 minute rise, put into the oven and bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes.
7. Allow the loaves to cool on a wire rack.

*Put the rest of the dough loosely covered in the fridge and take out a hunk a day for fresh daily baked bread and repeat the process!
*Get creative with them! I have added honey into one loaf, rosemary and garlic into another...the possibilities are endless!

Bon Appetit

Monday, January 28, 2013

Character Qualities

We believe that in order for our children to become strong and stable adults that will be productive and an asset to society that they need to possess strong character qualities. We find that instilling these in them from very young will create a great work ethic, build strong communication and conflict resolution skills and help them in various relationships and situations they will face in their lives. We use this chart in the training of them and it has been most helpful and beneficial to our family, I hope it will be to yours as well :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Well Intentioned Child

I don't know about your house but around here it can go from calm to crazy in 60 seconds and most days it does just that! As the children grow older i encourage them that when they see something in a place it doesn't belong pick it up, be diligent with their chores, look for opportunities to help out without being asked etc. In the process of the older ones learning this the younger ones learn from their example which brings us to the well intentioned child......

You know the one im talking about.........
The one who will try to put a glass in the sink and it shatters in a million teeny tiny pieces on the tile.
The one who tries to clean a diaper for you and ends up making a way bigger mess.
The one who brings you some paint for a craft, trips and covers everyone and everything in the way in pink paint.
The one who brings you the huge bag of oatmeal and you end up with this on the kitchen floor.
So in these moments we are faced with a challenge and how we respond immediately and over time will strongly affect that child. We must be careful not to feed our own selfish desire to be exasperated and inconvenienced, when these accidents come at the MOST inconvenient times often. So here are a few verses i have memorized that have helped me greatly to overcome my selfish desires to feel violated against and let words come from my mouth that will give the impression i am mad, upset, frustrated, tired and so on....
  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
 I do not always get it right and i fail at keeping my emotions in check but I try to realize what a great heart opportunity i have at hand to point them to the gospel not just in my words but my actions. If i respond calmly and lovingly then they in turn will do that when they are wronged, but in those occasions when i miss this I can come to them and repent and give them the opportunity to see forgiveness in action.

I'd love to hear some of your funny "well intentioned" child stories!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens......Just kidding! But i do want to share with you some of my favorite things to help you get to know me a little better, so here goes:

  • I absolutely LOVE being a wife and mother. I believe its what God has designed and called me to do so that has to be my most favorite thing <3
  • I enjoy reading a wide range of books from faith to personal growth to biographies and of course my Bible.
  • I am a history buff and especially like to study WWII so any book, documentary, or article from that time I've probably read it!
  • As dorky as it sounds i truly enjoy to research EVERYTHING! Whether it be finding the best rates for car insurance, planning a vacation or looking deeper into a new found hobby i tend to be a little 'fact crazy' and jump right into it.
  • I thoroughly enjoy traveling and while i have been very blessed to see quite a bit of the USA and have traveled to Italy, Greece, and some Islands I soo want to be able to see so much more of this beautiful world that our Lord created. I pray I am blessed to do so and share the love of travel with my children.
  • Me and my kitchen aid mixer are best friends...seriously! I guess its a good thing since i spend most of my day in the kitchen feeding everyone that cooking and baking has quickly risen near the top of the list of my favorite things as well! This is a huge accomplishment for me considering when i got married Michael used to joke that i couldn't even boil water....and he was
  • The Gilmore Girls is my haven when i need to get away from life...Stars Hollow will always have a special spot in my heart. That show makes me crack up and even if I've seen it in its entirety over a dozen times it never gets old!
  • I like watching old movies, my kids call them the 'dark movies' because they are in black and white and they can't figure out why they won't turn the light on inside the tv....hehe
  • And i will save the best for last....Chocolate! No explanation needed there!!!!
Now its your turn...share with me some of your favorite things!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meet the Funnies

 Time to Get Acquainted with the Funnyfarm:

 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them! 

Psalm 127:3-5

 These are our beautiful, spunky, smart, talented, and EXTREMELY energetic children

  • Isabella is 8 and she is a typical first born. She is born to lead, loves to take command (sometimes a little too much) and is a tremendous help. I am so blessed by her and tell her all the time that God knew what he was doing when he gave her to me first!
  • Michaela is 6 and is a craaazzy! She is incredibly smart, spunky, has a great imagination and has an insane amount of energy! She is a force to be reckoned with and the Lord has blessed her with a super strong will that im sure in her years to come will be used for His glory!
  •  Levi is 4 and our oldest boy. He is smart as a whip and is very detail oriented. He loves to learn and picks up everything super fast! He is very cautious and likes to weigh the pros/cons before jumping into something new!
  • Silas is 3 and oh my..... if only we all lived life like he does! He is sweet, loving, kind yet adventurous, daring and fearless. He amazes me everyday and lives to the fullest. He also is full of energy and at times astounds us with his lack of need for sleep!
  • Gideon is our youngest and he is 20 months. We joke sometimes and say that it took us 5 tries to get a calm He is very laid back, sweet & affectionate. He goes with the flow of the rest of the funnies and joins in where he can. He has a little quirky side to him and its funny to see that little personality peek out.   

Meet the Fur Funnies:

  •  This is Barnabas and the newest addition to the Funnyfarm. He is a Lhasa Apso and is about 3 months old now. He is a tiny little while snowball and we all love him to pieces! He is very cuddly and calm and gives a whole new meaning to the term "ankle biter" and is adjusting very well to his new role as the "baby" in all the pretend games.
  • This is miss Lucy. She is our yard sale kitty! We went out yard-saling one Saturday last summer and came home with a free kitty! She is precious and sweet and is a wonderful cat. She is so very tolerant of being held, dressed up, slung over a shoulder and pushed around in a laundry basket by the kids.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The beginning was just that, the beginning

I Love the quotes you see on all the picture frames and plaques...."It all began when 2 people fell in love", "Our family grows better with Love" etc. I am a sap for the romantic. There is romance in every love story between a husband and a wife and each one is unique & special.

My husband and best friend Michael is the Funnyfarm Papa around here. He is the solid force that leads this family with love, grace and strength. His is a wonderful husband, father, provider, and shepherd of our children's hearts. He is a man who strives to please the Lord in everything he does, admits when he is wrong and asks forgiveness, and is my hero. God has used him mightily in my life and I would not be who I am today without him.

 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23

This quote is especially special to me because Michael has always called me "My Rib". It is so wonderful to see in the Bible the very beginning of marriage, as well as the vast amount of scripture in the entire Bible pertaining to marriage.

Our story may not have been what one would call traditional but it was perfect for us and most importantly ordained by God. Although life has thrown twists and turns at us in every direction, we are in this together. It is the BEST feeling to know your best friend is always beside you ready to face what comes. Who knew when we met it would be the beginning....the beginning of something truly wonderful!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ready or Not.....

So after much contemplation, hesitation and fear....Here I am!! I have been wanting to blog for some time now and wanted a way to chronicle these wonderful fast paced years of our live. So much happens around here on a daily basis from the funny to the strange to the sweet/thoughtful to the "umm did that really just happen" and I don't want to forget a minute of it as it is fleeting so fast!

Fear has been one of the main things that has held me back, as silly as it may sound. As I took the final breath and leap to creating this blog i was reminded of the Lords reassurance in His Word "Fear Not". If I hold on to that than there is nothing to fear...EVER. So here I go, ready or not, and as I jump into this world to be able to create a scrapbook of the best years of our live, I'd love it if you'd join me for the ride.....

After all what are you afraid of....????