Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new...

In just a few days, it will be a brand new year.  I'm not really into long lists of "New Year's Resolutions" but I do have a few things in mind I'd like to try, or change this year.  But mostly, I'm looking forward to the freshness of 2011. 

2010 was a really hard year for me.  I had a massive amount of personal and spiritual growth, but looking back, I'm ready to let it go.  I have no idea what the Lord has in store for my children and I this year, but I am confident it will be good.  He has been so faithful and good to me so far, and I know He's just begun.  I'm ready to say good-bye to this chapter of my life, and step into the new one.  :) 

Unfortunatley. (or fortunately...I'm not quite sure) this has put me in massive pitch it/donate it/get rid of it mode.  I love when I get rid of clutter and junk, but it's usually then that I realize i needed it!!  Either way, it's what I am doing.  I'm ready to start over "new."

:)

Have a blessed New Year!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Craft #2

The kids and I had a playdate this morning, and we made ornaments out of dough (made from flour, salt, and water.  Super simple!!).  Our hostess, Megan, told us about another type she tried with her kids, made from cinnamon, that smelled super yummy while making the ornaments.  I came home, googled it, and I am sharing it as craft #2!!  I love the smell of cinnamon, and am looking forward to trying these with the kids.



Supplies:

3/4 cup applesauce
4.12 oz bottle of cinnamon, or 1 cup plus 2 tbsp
Bowl
Plastic wrap
Rolling Pin
Christmas cookie cutter shapes

Mix applesauce and cinnamon in a bowl until a smooth ball forms.  Use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon, if needed.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch between two sheets of plastic wrap, and cut with cookie cutters.  Using the end of a drinking straw, poke a hole in the top of each ornament. 

The ornaments can be left to dry at room temperature for 1-2 days, or baked in a 200 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Decorate if desired, and allow to dry.  Thread a ribbon or some string in the hole and hang on the tree!!

The ornaments we made today are better for painting, since they are lighter in color.  I should warn you that as the kids play with the dough, it will develop the gluten and start to get sticky.  Just add more flour if this happens.



Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Mix until you have a soft ball of dough.  If the dough is too wet, add more flour.  If it's too dry, add more water.  If the dough gets too dry, it will crack.  It can also crack if the dough is rolled too thin.  Roll to about 1/4 inch, even a little thicker to avoid cracking.  After poking a hole with a straw to thread a ribbon through, bake in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours.

Once dry, paint or decorate as desired!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Immanuel, Christmas, and a craft idea. :)

Phil and I made the decision to focus on "Immanuel" at Christmas time with the kids, and not teach about Santa (other than to explain he's something pretend).  A lot of families are making, or have already made, the same decision with their children.  I thought at first that it would be hard, since I believed in Santa as a child and wanted to share the "magic" of Christmas with my kids.  But lately, the Holy Spirit seems to be touching so many of our hearts and opening up our eyes to the reality of Immanuel - God With Us.  It's really what the whole thing was about, after all.  The Saviour came down to Earth to be one of us, to be with us.  And when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and remain with us.  I want my kids to grow up knowing this and seeing it as the focus at Christmas.  Immanuel is what we celebrate.  God came here.

Later this week, we have 3 Christmas Eve concerts/productions/services (I can't remember the exact word being used...:-P) that are focusing on God coming to Earth, as a baby, and how that applies to our lives now.  I am honored to be a part of it, and I will post more later (I also have rehearsals tonight and tomorrow, and as a result, this whole week is CRAZY).  But...the point of my post is that taking Santa and glitter and distraction out of Christmas isn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I will be giving my kids each a gift and a stocking, and Phil is giving them about the same.  We explained that it's a celebration of Jesus birth, and since He is not here to give birthday presents to, we each get one to celebrate.  :)

I've also found some awesome Christmas crafts and coloring pages.  I don't know that I will have a minute this week to do these with my kids (super bummed, but I'm going to see if I can fit a couple in on Christmas Eve), but I wanted to share them here, with anyone who may want to do them.  :)

I will post more later, if I get a second.  And since this is my blog (ha ha ha), let me take a sec to say that this week I have Andrew's speech therapy, a playdate, milk pick-up, a coffee date with Bethany, 2 evening rehearsals at church, 3 performances, a house to prepare for my brother coming into town and our annual Christmas open house, laundry, schoolwork (since we got behind before the divorce), and I still have to get a gift for Aimee.  That's a lot!!!  We also wanted to handmake some treats with the kids to wrap and give as gifts.  To say that this week is overwhelming me is an understatement!!  Thankfully, next week I have NOTHING on my schedule!!!




Christmas Craft 1, from Kaboose



Here's the link, for instructions.  I'm sure my kids would love to make the little manger with baby Jesus.  There are other ways to make the baby, if you're like me and don't want to purchase a wooden doll body.  Pipe cleaners bend into people shapes, or a large flesh-toned pompom snuggled inside a felt blanket.  The straw can be made out of spanish moss, rafia, cotton, or even shredded paper.  A paper cup cut in half makes a little manger, or you can construct one out of popsicle sticks, depending on the age of your children.  It's so easy to use what you have on hand.  :)

Coloring Pages here.

I will post another craft idea later. Have an awesome week!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holy Spirit

I just had the most wonderful conversation with Andrew and Amerie!!  It was one of those talks that started out on one topic and moved into something that was completely different, but the presence of the Spirit was so strong, I'm confident He had a hand in it!!

We were talking about dreams.  They were in bed and were supposed to be sleeping, and I had gone up to shush them.  :)  They each wanted to tell me about dreams they had, and after they each had a turn, Amerie asked me to share one of my own.  I told them about a dream I had when I was about their age (Andrew is 5 1/2 and Amerie is almost 4).  To this day, my grandmother still remembers me waking and telling her about it.  My response to the dream led my grandmother to believe it really happened.  My entire life I have firmly believed in it, too.

I dreamt that i had gone to a church, one that I had never been in before.  The church consisted of a sanctuary full of windows along both sides, with full summer sunlight light streaming in.  Before entering the church, there was a large vestibule, with hooks around the walls for hanging coats.  I was waiting in the vestibule, alone, but I wasn't frightened.  I looked towards the entrance to the sanctuary, and Jesus came walking towards me.  He was wearing a white gown, like most pictures show Him in.  He had on a sash over the gown, which He removed and hung on a hook, grabbing a similar sash to put on in it's place.  The two sashes were different colors, but I only remember that one of them was a beautiful light blue.  After He changed sashes, He walked right to me and said, "Hello Elizabeth!"  He knealt down next to me and we talked.  I do not remember how long, or what we talked about.  But we talked.  Like He was a friend I had known forever and He wanted to personally ask me how I was and what was going on in my life.  And He told me He loved me.  I was very aware of the joy that He had and love that filled Him.  I also remember that, although I was a painfully shy child, I felt completely comfortable with Him.  I even have a vague memory of sitting in His lap.  I wanted to stay with Him.

I told it to my kids, with less detail, and by the time I had finished, Amerie was quite upset and crying.  Obviously, this was not a dream that I thought would upset either one of them!!  I asked her what was wrong, and she started crying harder.  She said that she's never gotten to meet Jesus, not even in a dream and she really, really wants to.  I know this child, who has the biggest heart I've ever seen, already loves her Jesus very much.  So I asked her if she wanted to pray about it and tell Jesus how much she wants to meet Him.  In that moment, when I asked her if she wanted to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit completely surround the 3 of us.  He was there with us in that room tonight.  I felt it so strongly. 

I prayed that He would hear her heart and that it would be tender to her request and her desire to meet Him.  I asked that He would come to her in her dream tonight, and Andrew's, and that the Holy Spirit would speak to both of them.  I asked that they would wake up in the morning with shining faces remembering the time they spent with Him.  I asked Him to have it in His hands.  And then I told them about the Holy Spirit, and how we have spirits, which are inside of us and do all the thinking and control of our bodies.  I explained that when we die, our spirit is what goes to Heaven, even though our body stays on Earth.  And then I told them that Jesus is in Heaven waiting for us, but when He died, He sent HIS Spirit down here to Earth, to live in us and stay with us all the time.  We can't see Him, but we can talk to Him whenever we want.  And when we are old enough to know how to listen, He will speak back to us. I told them that I talk to Him all day, and He talks to me.  He tells me what choices to make, and what the future holds.  He tells me how to take care of each of them and what kind of mommy I should be.  And He tells me over and over that He is watching over us and taking care of us. 

They are young.  I'm sure that someone may be thinking "that's a lot for a 3 and 5 year old to understand."  But you know what?  They hung on every word.  They had questions and responses when I was done that assured me they "got it."  I know they understood as much as their little minds possibly can.  And they see it in me.  I am living that faith out every day and telling them about it every moment that I can.  Aimee has already accepted Christ's death on the cross, and she feels very strongly that the Lord is asking her to be baptized. 

I have been praying that the Lord would help me pass my faith on to each and every one of my children, and on nights like tonight, when we talk about Him and we pray together, I feel His prescence surrounding us and their faces shining with their love for Him.  I am reassured that my prayers are being heard and that my children are already getting to know Him. I want them to have the relationship with the Holy Spirit that I have, if not even better.  I want so much for them to lay all that they are at His feet and ask Him to wreck them.  To tear up who they are and rebuild them into a reflection of Himself. 

Only then can they truly experience who He is and what He has in store for them. 

Only then can they know the pure joy of the Lord.

And only then can they see a glimpse of eternity and the endless communion and fellowship in His court.  And what He wants SO MUCH to share with them and do in, and through, them while they are here on Earth.  I pray they desire that relationship.

Tonight, they were introduced to the Holy Spirit.  They heard, once more, that Jesus is with us and they can talk to Him whenever they want.  They talked about Him like He's a personal friend of the family, and sweet little Amerie cried because she wants to see Him in front of her.  To walk with Him, smile up at His face, and hold His hand.  I know He loves them even more than I do, and He wants to see them fulfill every purpose and plan He has for them. 

I am confident that He has my children in His hands, and that He is already calling their hearts.  And my heart is so glad.

We serve an awesome God!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coffee...

I put in a previous post that I was super thankful for Tim Horton's Cafe Mochas (I LOVE them), but that I was giving them (and coffee) up.  I have been drinking tea this week to slowly wean myself off of caffeine.  But wouldn't you know it, that as soon as I say i'm going to give up coffee, I am GIFTED coffee from several wonderful people?!

This past Sunday morning, my Uncle Jeff met me outside the church nursery with an extra large (extra large!!!  Whoo-hoo!) Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha.  Uncle Jeffy and I have bonded over Tim Horton's.  I had to do my family duty and accept the coffee.  I mean, I love the guy.  I had to...

Yesterday, Wednesday, I checked my church mailbox and found a Christmas card with a Tim Horton's gift card inside.  It was signed, "from a friend."  Friend...I love you.

And this morning, when a friend dropped of his son (I baby-sit my friend Ellisa's adorable little boy, who is Amerie's age) he had bought me a McCafe caramel coffee (which I've never had before, but really enjoyed!!).  Ellisa has been under the weather, and the coffee was a thank you for helping them out with their boys.  It was a yummy start to a Thursday morning.

So...I say I'm going to give up coffee, and then I am gifted coffee!!  All week!!  I think this is absolutely hilarious.

Maybe I should say I'm going to give up dark chocolate, also...  ;-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bedtime Prayers

Amerie and Andrew have been saying the Lord's prayer for awhile now.  I love the way their little voices say the familiar words!!  If Blogger had the capability to upload sound files, I would.  But in the meantime, I'll do my best with a phonetic version of Amerie's "Lord's Prayer."

Our Podder
Who art in Hebben
Howowed be zy name
Zy ting-dom tum
Dy will be done
On Erse, as it is in Hebben
Gib ussis day our daiwee bwed
And forgib us our trespassessess
As we forgib those
Who trespassessess against us
Lead us not 
Into ataytion
But dewibber us fwom ebulls
For thine is the Teenom, the Power, and the Gwory
For ebber and ebber

AMEN!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blessings

I guess this would be a post better suited for the month of November, when everyone is giving thanks and thinking about the good things in their lives.  But this morning, around 6:45 am, I happened to be out on the road, in the dark, and my mind wandered to all of the wonderful blessings in my life.  I was amazed at the number of things I am thankful for that aren't actual "things," even if some of them still were (like my minivan.  It was a joyous day when we got a minivan and myself and my four children no longer had to pile into my 5 passenger Aura).

Here they are...

In no particular order, 'cuz it's still too early for my brain to consider things like "order of importance."


1.  My relationship with my Lord.  I didn't know it was possible to have this.  If I did , I would have yearned for it years ago.  It took so much heartache and personal maturity to get where I am, but I am thankful for it. 

2.  I'm thankful for my children.  Of course.  :)  But not a day goes by that I don't smother their cheeks in kisses and thank the Lord for letting me be a mother.

3.  The gift of being able to homeschool my babies.  My heart longed for homeschooling for so long, especially after I homeschooled Aimee for half of her second grade year and then "gave it up forever."  I was so sad over it.  I firmly believe this is what is best for our family.

4.  I'm thankful for the Lord, and my new friend Julie, for blessing us with the use of Sonlight!!!  I have spent HOURS pouring over their catalog.  I'm already excited about each and every year we will spend with their curriculum, if it's still available to us.  Sonlight, and it's heavy reading, is not for everyone.  But it's definitely for us!

5.  I'm grateful for the relationship I have with my parents.  Wait...I'm thankful for my parents!!  I'm thankful for the home they raised us in, for instilling a Christian faith within us, for taking my kids and I in, even though they were enjoying the empty nest!!  It's crazy, messy, loud in this home on any given day and i have NEVER heard them complain about the sacrifices they have made, nor have they ever said anything to lay guilt on me.  Their child had a need and they met it.  They're wonderful parents.  They're pretty fun to hang out with and great to go to for advice, too.  :)

6.  I'm thankful for the relationship that Phil and I are developing.  Aimee doesn't quite know what to make of it.  When he picks up or drops off the kids, he stays to talk.  We joke.  We laugh.  He even bought me a Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha this week, just because.  We may be divorced, but that doesn't mean that we have to hate each other and fight all the time.  I'm also thankful that we can raise our kids "together," by making the big decisions as a team, even if we no longer live in the same household.  Even the homeschooling we discussed before making the decision together.  I'm sure this is of the Lord, and I am so thankful.

7.  Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha's  I love them.  I have decided to give them up, but they were wonderful while they lasted.  I'm sipping my last one as I type.  :)

8.  My church.  I LOVE MY CHURCH.  And all the wonderful people there.  They support, encourage, grow, serve.  They are examples of who/what I hope to be.  I love my church.

9.  My burdens and the work the Lord is doing within me.  He is truly breaking me and making me over.  I feel Him calling me for a specific purpose, and I am waiting patiently and preparing in the meantime.  I am so grateful for our Lord and Saviour.

10.  I'm grateful for Jesus death on the cross.  I may have mentioned it in the number 10 slot, but nothing else matters like it does.

11.  My van.  :)  See above.

12.  I'm so thankful that God always provides.  Always.  My kids (and I) are always clothes, fed, warm, clean.  Even last week, He provided for Aimee's birthday in His own special way.  He amazes me.

13.  I'm thankful that He has a plan for my life.  I sort of mentioned this above.  But my life went in a direction I never thought it would, and I have had to pick myself up and start all over.  I chose to do this by laying every part of me and my life at His feet and asking Him to take over, and I have not regretted it since.  It has been amazing, even if it's scares the heck out of me (I'm such a planner and future-thinker).

14.  I'm so excited that this year I am actually able to buy each of my kids a Christmas present.  I know presents are not what Christmas is about, but when you have four children and no means to give them gifts under the tree, this means A LOT.  They have never gone without Christmas presents, thanks to others that love them, too, but my love language is gifts and I am so very, very grateful that I can sit and think of the perfect gift for each one of my babies.

That's definitely not everything, but that's what I thought about this morning.  I also have a one year old (almost two year old!!) who is insisting on sitting in my lap while I type, and a nine year old who wants to put up the Christmas tree.  So I must get to it...

Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fresh milk update!!!

We have fresh milk!!!  We've been leasing a cow from Hicks Dairy Farm for about a month now.  This is NOT the one from Eastern Market.  In this lease, I get up to 3 gallons per week and pay $7.50 per gallon.  We drink about 3 gallons a week between the 5 of us.  Every Wednesday, the milk is delivered to a local church, where I pick it up.  And because they actually deliver their dairy, they have to have the bacteria levels tested every other day in their milk tanks.  So I know it's bacteria-free, for those who are skeptical!!  :)

Below is a picture of Aimee's hand pointing to the layer of fresh cream on top.


The kids really like the milk, but I haven't tasted a difference.  I was partial to Meijer Vitamin D before, because it was so creamy and "fresh" tasting, and I think this milk tastes the same.  It was a little rough on our stomachs the first week, but now it just keeps us "regular."  Sorry if that was too much info, but I'm being honest!!  :)

To read about the benefits of fresh milk, I recommend this link.   Just click on the "what, why" etc. links on the left.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aimee and I were just talking...

about how we want to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

She started it, actually...

"Mom...I think we need to do three things to stay healthy."

"What's that, baby?"  (I call all my kids "baby."  Except my boy.  He's my bubba...)

"I think we need to eat healthy, go to sleep early, and watch only a little TV."

Smart girl!!  Apparently she's absorbing some of what I am trying to teach them.  I added "drink more water" to her list and "keep the house chemical and dust free."  We're off to a good start!!

I've also purchased several teas.  I have peppermint tea, for upset stomachs, Chamomile tea to boost our immune systems and fight infection (it also helps relieve menstrual cramps), and SleepyTime tea has a "Throat Tamer" which, combined with Buckwheat honey, helps soothe sore throats. 

Aimee and I learned in Sonlight Core 2 Science yesterday all about the nose and sinus cavities, and how to keep them working properly to fight infection.  I'm the type that needs to know the "How" to understand the "Why."  If your nose dries out, like in dry winter air, it can't "trap" germs and dirt from entering your system.  Simple stuff, but it was nice seeing it all laid out and explained in detail.  :) 

So...some simple, and maybe even obvious, things we're doing to stay healthy and illness-free...

(Warning...you might think I'm a little weird on some things.  :-P )

1.  Vacuum all the rooms every single day, even the bedrooms, which I tend to slack on when it comes to every. single. day.  But I won't vacuum a bedroom within an hour before sleeping, because vacuums kick up more dust than we realize.  Let's NOT breathe that in...

2.  Wash our hands A) every time we enter the house from a trip or playing  B) before we eat  C) after using a tissue  D) obvious times, like after using the potty.  My preschoolers are not very good at this last one!  :)  While you're at it, change your towels frequently.

3.  Sweep at least once a day, to collect dust bunnies before they have dust bunny babies.  It's always after the bunnies collect that my kids decide to play under the furniture...

4.  Go to bed at a regular, reasonable time.  I am the worst offender on this one.  Midnight is usually when I call it a day.  But since the week of the divorce, I've been going to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 and I can't believe how much it's helped me.  I'd like 9:00 to be my bedtime, the kids usually go down 7:30-8:00.

5.  Dress warm!!  I have always been obsessive over this with my kids.  Socks on their feet, sweatshirts if it's below 50 degrees.  And we have quite the collection of hats, scarves, and mittens. You'd better believe my kids get their use out of them.  If your body has to put extra effort into staying warm, how can it put extra effort into fighting germs??  Dress warm.

6.  Eat healthy.  Obvious, I know.  But it's so important.  Especially fruits and veges, which are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  And keep some homemade chicken stock on hand (it freezes really well).  There's no better comfort food when you're sick than homemade chicken noodle soup.  I try to make homemade soup several times a week. Reheated, it's a quick and nutritious lunch.

7.  Bathe.  Haha.  I'm sure you're thinking, "Why does this even need to be mentioned?"  But I'm mostly talking about kids.  We've become very aware of the need for constant handwashing, but are our hands the only part that collect germs?  And did you know that when people started bathing on a regular basis, they started to see a drop in illnesses?  Keep yourself, and your kids, clean.  :)  My kids take baths every other day in the winter (they outdoor-obsessed, so in summer it's almost every day).

8.  Wash your sheets on a regular basis, in hot water.  Especially if you take your shower in the morning (which means you don't go to bed freshly bathed)  Don't forget your kids beds, either!  As a bonus, you'll sleep much better on super clean sheets.  I'm obsessive about washing our every 7 days.  I'm weird.  I already said it.

9.  Wash the less obvious things.  Coats, lunch bags, throw blankets you use on a regular basis.  These things collect bacteria over time, too.  Keep them clean.

10.  Keep surfaces in your home, car, desk, etc. freshly wiped down.  Doorknobs and light switches count, too.  You don't even need sanitizing wipes.  Soap and water kills most germs, along with regular cleaning.  I bought a small spray bottle in the travel section of Target for $1, and I keep water and a squirt of Ivory dishsoap in it.  I can clean almost anything with it.

11.  Drink water.  Apparently, these are not in any particular order.  And I probably don't need to explain this one.  Water is good for so many things.  My personal trainer, father-of-my-children, tells his clients to drink a gallon a day.  That's a lot!!  I say start with at least one glass a day, and work up from there.

12.  I've already given you 11!!  At this point, I think I've said more than enough.  :)  If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The latest in our house...

Andrew decided to skateboard in the house.  He fell, and caught the skateboard (and it's sandpaper like surface) with his face.  THIS is what having a boy is like.

He also has his first loose tooth, which the silly boy is absolutely terrified of losing.  He won't let anything touch it, lest it actually fall out.  Even the promise of $1 won't persuade him to wiggle it.




And Amerie, who wants to be like her "big brodder" is insisting, "Yesaday, I gotta bwack eye but it got all better lass nite.  And I has foured loose tooses!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alexis Katelyn

This little girl...



has stolen my heart.



She's my baby.  Number 4.

 

The one who screamed her head off in the delivery room for over an hour.  :)


Sometimes, she still screams.



And cries.




And throws tantrums.  It's how she voices her opinion, apparently.  She IS number 4.  You can't survive being number 4 without some spunk.



She's also goofy.  Like when she insists on wearing her winter hat during church.  (This is her with my best friend Bethany's daughter, Kennady.)

Right now, it seems like everyone is pregnant.


Like my sister Emma, the aforementioned Bethany, and every other married woman my age.  Or so it seems.  Me?  I'm adjusting to life without an infant!!  ;-)

I look at my baby girl quite often and pray, "Lord...thank you.  THANK YOU.  You knew how much i would need her."  She has been a balm during so much hurt.  My sweet little girl.  My number 4.  My "baby" while I rejoice in everyone else having their babies.


And don't get me wrong...I love all my babies.





Every single one of them.



They are such a joy in my life.

But today, I've just happened to be thinking about this one...


And thanking the Lord for blessing me with her life.  As I type this, she's laying her head on my arm and singing along to Carrie Underwood.  I could kiss her face all day.  Sometimes, it seems like I do.  And she lets me.  :)  If I'm really lucky, she kisses me back.




I love her.



I can't help it.


She's my baby.  :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why I use cloth diapers.

I have been blessed with four beautiful babies. 



Those babies, precious and cute as they are, came with four little butts.  And a LOT of diaper changes.  Not including the 2-3 church services per week that I'm on diaper duty in the nursery, or the 5 years I was a nanny, I would say that I have changed at least 14,000 diapers (that's 365 days X 2 years X 4 kids X an average of 5 diapers per day).  So when you factor in the nanny + nursery duty, the estimate is pretty low.

That's a LOT of diapers!!!  I wish I could tell you that I have used cloth from the beginning, or that I'm an avid environmentalist trying to reduce my carbon footprint.  I'm not.  I tried cloth diapers when my third was born.  It was pitiful.  I bought Gerber diapers with the cheap Gerber plastic covers.  And pins. 

:::shudder::: 

I gave up about a month in, much to the dismay of my husband, who had reluctantly handed over the $100 we didn't have so I could purchase everything.

When my fourth child came along, I had been desperately trying to potty train my 3 year old son.  There was no way I was having 3 kids in diapers.  But he just wasn't ready.  Which meant that I had 2 girls in diapers, and a son in pull-ups.  Money was tight.  So I put my girls back in cloth, pins, and the loud, plastic covers.

At the time, I knew NO ONE who used cloth.  Anyone who found out I made the switch thought I was a complete nut.  I am.  But not just because of cloth diapers. 

Thankfully, I met my friend Ellisa, who came to my rescue a few months into the journey.  She introduced me first to Snappi's.



  No longer did I risk poking my girls in the hip, and my husband was a little more willing to change diapers.  A little while later, she went back to work, put her son in disposables, and sold me her Fuzzibunz and Knickernappies pocket diapers.



I was in LOVE!!!  They were as easy to change as a disposable!!  And they were so CUTE, even if I had purchased mostly boy colors.

I was content with my new purchase.  I loved cloth diapering, loved saving money, and would talk to anyone who was interested about cloth diapers.  I even convinced some friends to try it for their own children.  Those friends are still using cloth, so it's not just my wonderful powers of persuasion! 

A year later, after potty training Amerie and wishing I had some girly dipes, I bought some covers and switched back to my Gerber diapers with Snappi's, only now I had velcro covers (they make diapers changes SO much easier!!) in some pretty fun colors. 



Honestly, I love cloth diapers.  I think they make something mundane but neccessary a little bit more interesting.  We even have a local cloth diaper store, No Pins Required.  It's so much fun to look at all of the diapers, covers, and accessories!  Who knew diapering could be so much FUN?!?

I will admit that cloth diapering is not for everyone.  It adds a load or two to your weekly laundry.  You have to change diapers more frequently, becuase they're not ultra-absorbant like diposables.  And the start-up cost is much more than a pack or two of diapers and wipes (but overall, it ends up a fraction of the cost you would incur with disposables).  And sometimes, it's a little gross. 

But you get over it.  Just like you get over everything gross that comes with being a mom. 


'Cuz they're worth it.  :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Immanuel...God With Us

I was listening to the radio yesterday.  Listening to K*Love, to be exact.  And a song came on that I have heard many times.  I've probably even sang along with the lyrics (I tend to sing to the radio a lot.  My mom once saw me stopped at a red light, singing my heart out to the radio.  She found it quite funny.  Thanks mom.)  But somehow, the lyrics caught my attention in a new way.  I couldn't get them out of my head the rest of the day.

"Such a tiny offering,
Compared to Calvery
Nevertheless, we lay it at your feet"

I feel that way so many times!!  My heart feels like it will burst with love and devotion for our Lord, and yet I wish I could give Him so much more.  All I have is my very life, my future, and my children, and I have completely laid those at His feet.  It seems so small, and yet He takes it with Joy, knowing that although our gifts can never compare to the gift He so freely gave us, we give Him all we have.  He doesn't ask for any more.  I am so amazed at the God we serve. 

I ended up purchasing the song from Itunes, and listening to the entire thing.  I could swear that the songwriter looked deep into my heart when they wrote the lyrics!  I'll share them here...

God With Us – Mercy Me

Who are we, that You would be mindful of us?
What do You see, that's worth looking our way?
We are free, in ways that we never should be.
Sweet release, from the grip of these chains.
Like hinges straining from the weight, my heart no longer can keep from singing!!

[chorus]
All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified!
 Emmanuel, God with us!
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Lord You know, our hearts don't deserve Your glory.
Still You show, a love we cannot afford.
Like hinges straining from the weight, my heart no longer can keep from singing.

[chorus]
All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified!
Emmanuel, God with us!
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us!

Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary,
Nevertheless, we lay it at your feet.
Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary,
Nevertheless, we lay this at your feet.

[chorus]
All that is within me cries.
For You alone be glorified
Emmanuel, God with us.
My heart sings a brand new song.
My debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.


Good song!!!  :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some things I've learned...

1.  Blogging is fun, hard if you're busy.  I give the Pioneer Woman a big thumbs up.

2.  Dr. Bronner's  soaps are amazing.  I'm particularly fond of the lavender scent.  Just don't use them as shampoo.  Although my hair smelled wonderful, it felt like straw and left a funky residue, despite rinsing really well.

3.  If you purchase eggs from a local farmer, be prepared to be surprised.

4.  Soaking grains before cooking is just not for me.  This disappoints me, but I'm getting over it.  I believe the theory behind the benefits, but I haven't gotten a single recipe to work.  And baking is something I am good at and really enjoy.  I'm taking that hobby back, for myself and my kids (who love my cooking).

5.  Healthy eating is important, but it's way too easy to go overboard.  Life is about serving Jesus and loving people.  Not about food obsessions.  This is hard for me to admit.  But I love food, and I love cooking.  Trying to stick to the "rules" of a certain diet has stripped all the joy and relaxation out of something I love.  I have decided that taking it down a notch is still much better than typical American fare.

6.  Children are one of God's greatest blessings and joys.  I cannot imagine my life without my 4 babies.  Sometimes they drive me CRAZY, but when I wake up in the morning with two little hands on my cheeks, and a whispered, "I wus you, mommy," I couldn't ask for anything better.

7.  Sometimes, life is just plain HARD.  But the Lord is always faithful and He will provide strength, comfort, peace, and provision in the moments you need it.  We serve an awesome God.

8.  We serve an awesome God!!

9.  Having a heart to heart with one of your pastors every once in awhile is highly recommended.  It keeps you focused, keeps you in line.  You may not always like what they say, but if you pray about it, God usually shows you that they were right.  ;)

10.  Life is stressful...don't make it more stressful than it needs to be.  I'm a phlegmatic, which means I need downtime and little stress.  My life is h.a.r.d. right now, and I have been trying to be supermom and wonder woman during a time when I have every right to take it kinda easy.  My divorce is final on November 16.  Although I have peace over the whole affair (I laid it at the Lord's feet and I have complete faith it's in His care), I am stressed.  And sad.  And emotional. And at times, I have no brain because of everything I'm dealing with.  It's not the time to volunteer for 50 different activities and make a bunch of promises.  Unfortunately, I had to figure this out through trial.  And error.  :::sigh:::

11.  God is GOOD.  I cannot say it enough.

12.  Read your bible.  Your B.I.B.L.E.  Don't become distracted by Christian books, which are fine in and of themselves.  But there is no replacement for your bible.  And no companion as important.

13.  There is a lot to be said for routines and self-discipline.  I just have to figure out how to factor exhaustion into it.

14.  I am exhausted. 

15.  Never forget that life has "seasons," just like the weather.  This too shall pass. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm so excited!!!

I received a call tonight from my favorite Eastern Market vendor.  My name finally made it to the top of the list for a cow share!!!!  I will be heading to the market in the morning to discuss leasing details and monthly payments.  I have to admit, now that it's in my grasp I am a little nervous.  I believe in the benefits of raw milk whole heartedly, but the price is so much when I have so little.  I have recently started baby-sitting regularly for a friend, but i'm so far behind on so many bills...

BUT...I figured out a budget the other day, which allows for tithing, debts and bills, savings, and spending.  I underestimated my monthly budget, so I should be able to squeeze the money out somewhere.  I've just become so comfortable with being cheap!!  I break out in cold sweats when I spend money.  :-P 

The lease I am getting into is $75 per year (to "lease" the cow) and then I am paying "boarding fees" of $75 per month, which will allow me to get 2 1/2 gallons of milk per week.  Sounds pricey, huh?  But I have learned to give up so many "things," like new clothes, nights out, "fun money."  Now that I have a little bit of income, I should be able to budget $75 per month, if i am careful.  And like i said before, I feel that raw milk is an important part of a growing child's diet.  We've already given up regular sweets and processed foods, and switched to fruits and veges, whole dairy, and soaked grains (although I would like to add more soaked grains to our diet...).  My kids love to drink tea, water, and milk.  Raw dairy is our last step...

The woman I spoke with about the cow lease said that raw milk will take some getting used to, and to take it slow at first.  We shall see how it goes.  And of course, I'll be blogging about it.  :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Homeschooling and food. :)

Aimee still gives me a hard time when it comes to sitting down and doing schoolwork (if you know Aimee, you know that she loves to give me a hard time about everything, not just school!), but every morning i can't wait to get started!!  Sonlight is literature and history based, and I LOVE to read and I have considered a degree in history many times.  It's perfect!  My kids may never love reading or history like I do, but if I'm passionate about what we're learning, it will make learning seem more exciting.  That's my hope, anyway.  :)

As for the zucchini bread I made, it flopped.  It was wet on the inside and burning on the outside.  I looked up the success of the recipe with other foodies, and they have had the same results.  I was really bummed. :(  I have had much success with these biscuits, though.  My kids loved them and have been asking for more.  I have about 7 pie pumkins sitting on my counter top to try my hand at my own pumkin puree.  I love making pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes.  Here is a link for pumpkin muffins I will be trying soon.

I also have a friend who's mom has her own bees and spins her own honey.  I have been incredibly fortunate to receive some of the leftover comb, and this time I even got a jar of the honey!!




It was full of all the "good stuff" floating around!!  (Read about the benefits of raw honey here.)  The comb I packed into a quart size mason jar for when my sweet tooth needs to be indulged.  :) 



Lexi absolutely loves the stuff, so much that I have to hide it from her sight.  My older kids have been "spoiled" as far as junk food goes, but she's not even two yet.  She doesn't know about ice cream, fruit snacks, or candy.  I'm hoping that I can retrain the older kids, and I know she'll never remember a time that mom gave them the processed junk.  Things like raw honey comb, or fresh berries with raw (homemade) whipped cream will be sweets of choice.  :)  Someday, I hope to own an ice cream maker...

Tomorrow is the Farmer's Market again.  I cannot express how much I love going to Detroit's Eastern Market.  I ran out to our local fruit and vege market yesterday, and left with only a bag of apples and a couple more pumpkins.  All I could think, as I walked around, is, "I can get that at Market.  That, too.  Oh, they'll probably have that, also."  And I can almost always get my produce, eggs, grains, etc. from the farmer himself.  There's nothing better! 

I also picked a few things from our community garden (the Hope Garden.  Read more about it in this post).


 I filled a gallon sized bag with green beans, another with kale, and picked a few eggplants.  I'm going to hunt down a recipe for eggplant lasagna for tonight.  Mmmm...

That's a little bit of our life right now.  Before I go, I'll leave you with one last pic.  As I was trying to take a picture of the Hope Garden veges, my girls were stealing green beans to munch on.  I may not cook them at all, and just leave them as snack foods!!



Have an awesome day!  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday morning...

It's Monday.  I stayed up way too late going over lesson plans for the week, plus I'm still feeling sick.  :-P  Half my kids are still in their jammies, and we're a couple hours later on school work than I had meant for today.

Those are my confessions.

I have been slightly productive, though.  I pulled out the zucchini I bought last week, made sure it was still good (I have a bad habit of letting food go bad.  I am working on this), and soaked some flour to make homemade zucchini bread tomorrow.  Today, I will be making the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook recipe for regular zucchini bread, and tomorrow I will make the recipe for Nourishing Traditions soaked grain zucchini bread.  I have to compare them, because I am a little afraid that the soaked version will be...well, a little weird.  We shall see.  I agree with the science behind soaking grains.  The forethought and waiting are something that I need to get used to.  Friday night, I mixed flour and yogurt to soak, covered them with a plastic plate, and left it in the oven for the next day.  I then spent Saturday running around metro Detroit, and came home exhausted and not feeling much like baking.  But I forgot to take the bowl out of the oven.  Sunday evening, my mom lit the oven for pizza.  Needless to say, she was not happy and we are down one Sesame Street plate.  :-/

This time will be different.  And I will blog the results, along with mine and my family's opinions about the two different baked goods.  I'm crossing my fingers for the soaked version.

While we're all on pins and needles waiting, I thought I would share with you links to two of my favorite food blogs.  Most recipes that involve baking include directions for soaking or unsoaking, depending on your preference.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!

Passionate Homemaking's Recipe Index   This is a good blog.  Period.  Natural, Christian, Nourishing.

The Nourishing Gourmet

I also wanted to add, before I go, that I may have a cow lease soon!!  We shall see.  The vendor at the farmers market who provides me with my (very freshly ground and organic) grains and pastured eggs is opening up some cow leases soon.  I am #4 on a list of about 25, but when I asked (again) about the progress of the new leases, this time with my four children standing around me, the owner's heart clearly flip flopped and said, "For them?  Wow...we need to get you a lease very soon!"  And he put a star by my name and said he'd see what he can do!  So within the next month or so, we should be drinking fresh (raw) cow's milk!!  For the benefits of raw cow's milk, click here . For more information, I encourage you to purchase or borrow a copy of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, or learn more about Weston A. Price and the incredible research he did in the early 20th century.  The link to the Weston A. Price Foundation is here.  Click on "health topics" for a ton of information.

That's it for now!  I have schoolwork to do.  ;-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's been a year...

I cannot believe the changes that have taken place in our lives this past year.  And I say wholeheartedly that there is no way we could have made it through without the Lord holding our hands, and at times carrying us through (yes, like in the "Footprints" poem...). I didn't realize how dark and scary it was until I made it out and was able to look back.  I know I'm stronger for it.

I am now a homeschooling mom.  :-D  I homeschooled Aimee for the first half of 2nd grade, but we put her in school shortly after Lex was born, because I had postpartum depression, four kids, a developmentally delayed 3 year old, and a stubborn "I don't feel like doing school" second grader.  It was too much for me at the time.  But things are different now.  For starters, the Lord blessed me with the use of my FAVORITE curriculum!!!  I have spent HOURS pouring over the Sonlight catalog and website, hoping one day I could homeschool (again) and at the very least, try to follow their curriculum.  About 6 months ago, before I even considered homeschooling again, I prayed, "Lord, You know how much I want this curriculum.  I need to let it go, but if it is within Your will for me to homeschool, and there is a way for me to get this curriculum, would You please provide it?"  About a month or so ago, my bestest friend and I decided to homeschool our preschoolers, along with a mutual friend of ours, and we were in line discussing curricula.  A woman behind us spoke up and asked if we homeschool.  I told her we were starting this year.  She said she was new to the church, had four children, and had been homeschooling for about 8 years.  I asked her which curriculum she uses, and she told me Sonlight!  I told her how much I love Sonlight, even though I've never used it, and asked how she liked it.  She said she had been using it for years.  We continued chatting and she asked me what grades my children were going into. When I told her, she said that she had the years I needed just sitting in her basement and I was welcome to them if I wanted!!!  Can you believe it?!  I still can't!!  This was our first week of school, and the books are everything I thought they would be and more.  My kids really do sit and pour over the books, even when we're not doing school.  And on our first day, my (now fourth grade) "I hate homeschooling" daughter said, "That's it?!  I love Sonlight!!"  She hasn't changed her opinion yet!  :)

I am also baby-sitting for my friend Ellisa a few days a week.  Her son, Max, is Amerie's age.  My sister Emma and I have made our own preschool curriculum (which I will share later if she's okay with it and I remember.  ;-)  I'm using it for Andrew, Amerie and Max, and incorporating some of the Sonlight P4/5 into it (which is what I went with for my boy). Andrew will also do Kindergarten math (his math workbook has a train on the front.  He is now permanently sold on math!) in the afternoon, during Amerie's naptime.

I am so excited about homeschooling!!  I have felt for years that i am supposed to be a homeschooling mother, and when God provided Sonlight for me, it was such a confirmation.  And no, I'm not getting paid for this advertisment by Sonlight.  :)  There are many, many different choices for homeschooling, and lots of them are incredibly good curriculums.  But I am a researcher, and research I did, even when I had given up the dream of homeschooling (I should have known then that it was something I should be doing, seeing as how I thought about it many times and researched it even after giving up).  After looking at many of my choices, I knew that Sonlight was the best for our family. Apparently so did the Lord!!  :-D

I am also trying to get back into eating a traditional diet.  I was so stressed with the changes going on in my life, especially after Phil filed for divorce in May, that I stopped eating.  I also stopped drinking pop like I used to.  Between the pop and the lack of food, I lost 25 lbs in just a couple of months.  My hair is falling out at such an incredible rate that it is worrying me, and I am sure it's because I'm undernourished.  So I spent this week planning out meals and snacks, grocery shopping, and collecting a ton of recipes.  Today, I made a roast for dinner (I am also anemic, surprise surprise, and want to try and build my iron supply through my diet, so I am incorporating lots of red meat and dark greens) and made a fresh batch of chiclen stock.  I haven't made chicken stock in months, but now that the air has a Fall chill to it, i'm craving some soup!!  I also have some pastry flour soaking in some yogurt to make this recipe for zucchini bread.  I have never made soaked grain zucchini bread before, but I'm excited to try it.  To read about the benefits of soaking grains, visit here or here.  Soaking grains allows our body to actually absorb the nutrients found in the grain, instead of passing them right through our bodies (think about this...most grain-fed animals have four stomachs, to allow the grains to properly break down and be absorbed in the stomach.  We have one stomach, so we need a little work done beforehand...).  In the morning, I am contemplating taking my four babies to Eastern Market.  It's a crazy place, in the middle of Detroit, so I might wait for the afternoon and drag my mom along to help me.  But I am almost out of raw honey, I need eggs and finally found a source of pastured eggs (whoo-hoo!!), and I'm looking forward to introducing my children to farmer's market shopping.  :)  It will be crazy, but fun!

That's it for now.  This mommy needs to get to bed...   :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank You, Mom

I received a thank you note from my 8 year old daughter, Aimee, today.  It was taped to my bedroom wall, from a pack of simple thank-you note cards she found while cleaning her bedroom. Inside, in red Crayola marker, she had written, "I love you so much Mom, thank you for having me."  I chuckled when I read it, and thought about how cute it was and how much I love her.  And then I thought about what she had written.  Simple words, with so much weight behind them.  Weight she is completely unaware of, and couldn't possibly have thought of when she wrote it.  I'm sure she was trying to think of something loving and "grown up" to write.  But those words took me back...

When I was 17, I started dating a guy that was two years older, and had lived across the street from me since I moved in my 6th grade year.  We had never been friends.  Too be honest, I was always a little afraid of him.  I was a "good little Christian girl" who had been sheltered most of my years, and he was a drinker and a party-er, had been on the high school football team, and belonged to a world in which I knew nothing about.  Looking back, I'm still not sure why he was interested in me.  I can only assume I was incredibly boring to him.  But he paid attention to me (no one ever had), which made me feel very special.  He even went so far as to make sure his friends didn't swear in front of me or do anything that might offend me because, as he told them, "Liz isn't like that."

Four months after we were officially "dating," he left for Parris Island, S.C. to join the USMC.  My mom has said that she thinks I fell in love with him while he was gone, through the letters we would write back and forth.  Looking back, she was right.  But it was "love" all the same.  He arrived home just days before my high school graduation.  I remember walking into his kitchen, seeing him tan and fit and transformed the way only Marine Corps bootcamp and MCI can do.  If I hadn't fallen in love over letters, I did right then.

It didn't take long for our relationship to change.  He was still a party-er, and since i was 18 and had graduated high school, he thought it was time I "grew up" and left my old, boring ways behind.  I wasn't willing to do that.  But I really liked him and didn't want to disappoint him.  I was really torn.  We settled for "middle ground."  He came to church with me and hung out with me solo, and I never questioned his activities when he was with his friends.  After a month or so, we started talking marriage.

I'll summarize the rest.  We talked marriage.  I was in some pretty deep puppy love.  He wanted to move our relationship "forward" but I wanted to wait until we were married.  I gave in after a while.  I was going to marry him anyway, right?  After a couple months, my guilt was too much and I tried ending the physical part of our relationship.  It wasn't as simple and easy as I naively thought it would be.  I tried scaring him with the possibility of a baby, but his response was always that we'd be a family then and would get married.

It went on for several months.  I'm sure you can even guess the rest.  I finally ended things with him, as hard as it was.  I knew in my heart that we were different, and that I really did want to marry a Christian (which he was not interested in becoming).  We tried to remain friends, because we still loved eachother, but it was hard not to then want the relationship back.  A few weeks after my 19th birthday, a close friend came to me in tears.  She thought she might be pregnant.  My heart dropped in that moment when I realized i might be, too.

I went to him and told him my suspicions.  I didn't even have the money for a pregnancy test and had to get it from him.  I was so unbelievably scared (how would I tell my parents?  What would people say at church?  How would I not die of mortification?).  I will never in my life forget telling him.  All those months of him telling me we'd be a family were comforting me as I crossed the street to his house.  He met me at the door and greeted me with, "Well?"  i told him I was, and hope swelled up inside of me.  Hope that he'd take a breath, process what I said, and then we would get through it together.

He didn't.

He sat down and put his head in his hands.  After a moment, he looked up at me and said, "I can't have a kid, Liz.  I'll give you the money to go get an abortion."

Looking back, I should have expected that response.  But I didn't.  I honestly thought we would get through it together, no matter how scary and huge it was going to be.  I felt so heart broken and alone.

I understand the fear and desperation of that moment.  I understand the intense need to make life what it was only days before.  And I can tell you that God never makes a mistake when He creates a child, no matter the circumstances surrounding the child"s conception or birth.

She's 8 now.  Phil officially adopted her when she was 5.  She is sassy and beautiful and I cannot imagine my life without her daily presence.  And Phil, even though we will soon be divorced, loves her more than anything.  She is his princess.

So to her, it was a simple "thank you" she wrote to feel grown up and show her love.  But it was something even more meaningful to me.  And from a woman, who was once a scared teenager, alone and facing some pretty big decisions...it will be okay. And you will never regret having the baby.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It has been way too long. I'm so sorry!!

So...if you have read my previous posts (or even read my blog title), you know that I am a country girl at heart.  :)  I want a farm, I want some land (like, 80+ acres.  Someday...).  I love to learn the old ways, and I am pretty conservative.  Well...we have had quite a few changes around here, but I am fully confident that it is all the Lord's doing, and I am so excited!!

I want a farm.  This is one of my dreams.  I want to grow my own crops, preserve them, and eventually be able to say that all our food was grown or raised by our own hands (yes, this means I want a cow or two, chickens, goats, etc).  I don't have my own land yet (don't even have my own house), but i have a garden.  A huge one.  It is the very first garden in what will be a community garden program in the city of Warren, and I have the privelage of being a part of it all.  The first garden is on an acre or so of empty land behind my church, and we have converted it into a vegetable garden and what will soon be a certified monarch station / butterfly garden.  :)

I will not bore you with details.  I wouldn't even know where to start, anyway.  SO much has happened so fast, but it is all by the Lord's Hand, so I know it is Blessed.  This garden, the Hope Garden, will donate a portion of it's produce to Hope Center, which is a local food bank that allows it's clients to choose their own groceries (as opposed to bags filled with food they might not use).  Some of the produce will also go to places where we see a need for free, fresh produce.  And some of it will come home with those who have helped work the land.  We use organic methods, and so far have recieved almost every plant or tool through donations (God never fails us.  Sometimes He gives in abundance).
I'll stop describing, and start adding pics.  They say it all so much better anyway.  :)


Lexi, sitting in between two rows of tomatoes.


Aimee and a friend, planting onions


This is the front of the garden, in the back you can see the start of our vegetable beds (some pics are a couple weeks old)


Another view of the property, although it's hard to tell how deep the land really goes.  My kids love running all over when we are there.  :)


Just a few of the MANY flowers, fruit and vegetable plants we have received.  We even have two fruit trees!!


This is the crew that has been out in the 90+ degree heat, planting, tilling, digging, and sweating simply out of love and dedication.  :)  I'm in blue, in the middle.  On the left are my best friend Bethany, holding her daughter Kennady, and her husband Rob. On my immediate right is Ralph (Bethany's oldest brother), who dreamed this all up 2 years ago.  To the right of him is Rob's brother Alex, holding Rob and Bethany's daughter Anabeth, and his girlfriend Amy.  We have had many other volunteers, also.  And yes, down in front are my babies hanging out in the wheelbarrow.  :) 


First butterfly garden bed, although I have to add that it is much more developed now.


A closer view of the butterfly bed.


Bethany helping the kids in the children's garden.  We didn't think to have a children's garden until our kids, and the several pastors' kids, who all live behind the garden, wanted to help without an adult monitoring their every move.  Alas, the Children's Garden.  :)


Amerie "helping" in what is now strawberry beds.


A view from the back of the property.  I'm realizing now how badly I need to take more pictures.  :-/


Andrew "helping" hang the Hope Garden sign.  He was quite thrilled when Rob and Ralph pulled out the power tools and he got to watch and "help." :)


A row of volunteers, planting tomatoes.  Thank you!!

And I conclude with my favorite photo...


Andrew, who loves his guitar and making up his own songs, decided to sit in the middle of all the action, right beside the tomatoes.  He played us all some country tunes while we worked in the sun.  I loved every second of it.  :)

That's it for now.  Hopefully you can see why I haven't had time to blog!!  I will take more pictures and post them soon.  I love this garden, and everything that is happening through it and with it.  And I LOVE when God is in control!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Worship

I just posted one of my absolute favorite worship songs.  It gives me chills when I think about all the song is describing.  I can't wait until I'm spending eternity worshiping my Maker, and being free from pain, sadness, etc.

I used to spend all week looking forward to Sunday morning worship.  We're blessed with an awesome praise and worship pastor at our church, and every Sunday is incredible.  But it just recently dawned on me that I don't have to be in church to sing praise and worship songs, lifting my hands to the heavens (I know, I'm slow at thinking outside of the box).  We live in a world of "one-click" access to all kinds of media.  So YouTube now holds a new importance in my life.  It opens up a world of music that moves me, even if i don't have the resources to purchase it and download it to my Itunes.

I have a few recommendations,  but I'm sure you each have your own favorites.  I'd love to hear what songs speak to your heart and bring you to worship.  And I suggest taking a few minutes out of your day to raise your hands to the Heavens and sing praise to our Father.  :)

Have a blessed day!

Hillsong United - You Hold Me Now

ready now - desperation band

How He Loves lyrics by David Crowder Band

Revelation Song -Philips Craig and Dean- (with lyrics)

Monday, June 14, 2010

:)

I am happy.  :)  My life is super crazy right now, but God is doing amazing things that I have the privilege of being a part of.  I cannot describe the joy that comes to your life when you surrender your whole self and let the Spirit have control.  My life will never be the same again.  :)

And i will try and post very soon some of the incredible things that He is doing!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Changes

If you've read some of my blog, you know that I am going through a lot of changes in my life.  One such change is the way my family eats, although I haven't been as diligent in this as i would have liked.  I have taken steps in the right direction, though.  I found a farmer's market that accepts foodstamps (right now, I am only able to feed my children by the grace of foodstamps.  Since I am coming to loathe supermarkets, I have been looking for better places to spend my food dollars).  Detroit's Eastern Market exchanges foodstamp dollars for coins, which do not expire and can be used at many of the market's vendors.  I recently purchased raw honey and a few interesting types of potatoes.  This Saturday, I will be making my way back downtown in search of farm fresh eggs, more fruits and veges, and maybe even some meat, if I can find the right vendor.  I have also officially given up Coca-Cola, which is huge for me.  I have had a bottle of kombucha each day instead, and since kombucha cleanses the liver, i felt it necessary to up my daily intake of water.  It's been three days and I have already lost three pounds (water weight, I am sure, but still nice). 

On the weight-loss note...I am not a fan of dieting and working out.  But I am a fan of healthy living, and i have been way too quick to use my life's stress as an excuse to be unhealthy.  I am in no way overweight, but i have had four children, and have thus incurred an extra 20 lbs.  I have lost 3, simply by exchanging soda for water.  We shall see if my dietary changes have any effect on my permanent weight.

I know that the changes i am making are quite big, and I'm prepared for the time it may take.  But i have "goals" in my mind, and by keeping these goals in mind, i have slowly been making steps in the right direction.

My goals are:

To give up pasteurized, homogenized milk, in exchange for raw, fresh milk

To grind my own grains for consuming, and to always soak or sprout them before using them

To give up almost all prepackaged, store bought foods

Consume 1-2 eggs per day, from healthy chickens (most likely from a small farm)

Eat more raw fruits and veges

Finally get in the habit of sleeping a full night, every night (it's 10:30 right now...)

Spend every morning in prayer, before my children awake, and consume more of my bible

Get all my recipes on 4x6 cards, organized and in one place!!!!

Learn more about natural cures and remedies, especially for my children

Learn to make all my own bath and beauty products, and some household products  (laundry soap???)

Get in the habit of taking my kids for a walk every day, for exercise and quality time  :)

Figure out schooling and money, so i can release some stress and start making a future farm a goal with a plan, not just a dream...


Those are my goals for now.  It's really nice to say that I have been getting better at making them habits, not just goals.  But it's definitely still a work in progress.  I have finally come to a place where I call on the Lord in everything, big and little, and I know that it's only by His grace and guidance that I am finally becoming who I've always wanted to be.  :)


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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Feeding Babies

I was reading up on nutrition and some new recipes at one of my favorite blogs, Meg's Fave Recipes.  I highly recommend the nutritional guidelines set by Weston Price, which is the basis for the book "Nourishing Traditions."  If you haven't read 'Nourishing Traditions,'  I am strongly encouraging you to run to the bookstore and buy a copy RIGHT NOW.  If you want to know why, refer back to this post.

Meg posted a link on her blog to a general guideline on feeding babies.  I think the info is so important, I am sharing it myself.  The doctors and food companies are wrong, wrong, WRONG.  A baby's stomach is not ready for any type of grain until after the first birthday, and we are taught to start an infant on cereal sometimes as early as 3 months.  If you have children, or are planning to have children, PLEASE read this post.  You very well may be (unknowingly) leading your infant down the road that leads to obesity, allergies, asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.  The link is here.

Again, I am not here to tell anyone how to do anything.  "To each, his own, I say."  But I feel very strongly about several topics, and traditional nutrition is one of them.  I wouldn't feel right about keeping the information to myself.

I will post more information soon.  I recently purchased my own grains and am going to experiment with grinding them myself before soaking and using them in baking recipes.  The info on why I soak my grains before baking or cooking them is here.  I will keep you posted on how they turn out.

My mom and i are also experimenting with homemade lotion recipes.  We've already tried making our own almond oil lotion, and grapeseed oil lotion.  We've both been using the grapeseed oil lotion for over a month.  It's pretty good stuff!  :)  I also want to try making toothpaste, deodorant, and various other health and beauty staples.  I'm loving the cost savings and control over what is in the products I'm using every day.  Especially in things my kids use, like toothpaste and lotion.  I will post the recipes after I have tried them, just in case anyone is interested.

Lastly, I bought some kombucha at a nearby health food store.  Kombucha is a chinese tea (it's actually a by-product of fermenting tea and sugar that is full of lacto-bacilli).  I read that it's hard to find store-bought kombucha that is worth drinking, but home brewing is hard, dangerous, and time-consuming.  The brand I tried was GT's Raw Organic, and it is definitely potent!!  From what I've read, true kombucha should give you a "buzz' after drinking it.  Try a bottle of GT's!!  I tried almost all the flavors, and I recommend the ginger.  Good stuff.  :)  According to the bottle (and many sources I've read) kombucha supports digestion, metabolism, the immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, body alkalinity, anti-aging, cell integrity, and healthy skin and hair.  I don't know if it can really accomplish all of those claims, but I've heard it's very good for cleansing the body of toxins.  FYI...you shouldn't drink kombucha if you are pregnant or nursing, since your body may dispose of toxins in your breastmilk, and a baby may receive them through your bloodstream.  I waited until I knew Lex was through nursing before I tried it.  I'm hooked for now.  :)