Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Like It Hot

Sometimes the solution to a problem is right under your nose, or in this case in your pantry cupboard.

  I mentioned yesterday that I had a bad cold. 

 In the afternoon it started moving to my chest and I became very congested.  I remembered that Cayenne Pepper is a natural expectorant and so I took some. 

Almost immediately I was able to cough up some of my congestion.  I'm not completely over the cold yet, but I slept a lot better last night.

You need to have a tolerance for spicy foods to use this remedy.

Put about 1 inch of very cold water in a drinking glass. 

Add about 1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper and drink in one quick gulp.

You will feel a very hot burn on your throat initially, but this dissipates quickly, and your throat will feel much less sore.

Within about 10-20 minutes you will begin to cough up some of your congestion.

You can repeat this every several hours.  I even got up during the night and drank some.

I would not recommend this remedy be used for babies or children, and remember that Cayenne Pepper burns--DO NOT get it in your eyes.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To Cure a Cold

I'm sick.

My throat is raw from drainage, and my head is pounding.

I'm trying to take care of myself and get better, but I'm so tired I can't think what will help.

I'm taking extra Vitamin C.

I'm drinking lots of fluids.

I'm trying to get extra sleep.

Got any other suggestions?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Week--Small List

      Dog Tired Framed Art Print

I've had a few comments about wanting to see my lists again--so here goes.

 Our lives pretty much turned upside down over the weekend. 

Due to doubling our family size overnight, and sleep deprivation my list will be short.

Cut up and freeze chickens. ( The grower chickens are going in to be butchered on Thursday.)

Sort through a LOT of clothes and store the unused ones in totes.

Finish weeding my corn patch.

Oh yes......and survive. :)  ( I'd almost forgotten what survival mode feels like.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Am Weak--He is Strong

Today starts a new chapter in our family's life. 

We've spent the last six months trying to prepare for this day.  

We've prayed about it, and cried about it, and generally worked our tails off getting ready.

 Now that I'm here though-I feel completely and totally unprepared for the task.

Somehow I've always thought that when God called me to do something I would feel equal to the job.

However, in my experience that hasn't been true.

I'm so aware of my own weaknesses and inadequacies.

All I have left is to lean on the One who is strong when I am weak.

Today we begin our journey as foster parents.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amish Peanut Butter


This is not a particularly healthy recipe, but it is VERY yummy. ( In case you are wondering I'm not Amish, and I've tweaked this recipe to suit our family.)

This is commonly served in Amish circles for Sunday dinner along with pickles, and pickled beets.  We like it on sandwiches or as a snack on crackers.

It works best to mix this in a mixer although I have done it by hand. 

Place in mixing bowl-

2 cups peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

13 ounces marshmallow cream

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

Mix well. scraping bowl frequently.   I usually store it in the marshmallow cream container.  It does not need to be refrigerated.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Compost Pile Tomato Plants

This is a current picture of my tomato plants that I planted on the compost pile.

 Several weeks later they are looking lush and several inches taller than the plants in the garden.

 Sadly, one of the plants got stepped on by a little boy who was tearing past, but the remaining two look beautiful.

 The lush green foliage in the background is baby lilac bushes trying to take over.  The little things are EVERYWHERE!

Now go check out Smockity Frocks post on the importance of composting.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vacation Bible School

I'm currently in the middle of Vacation Bible School at church and this year I'm teaching third grade. 

It doesn't take very long until you recognize the class clown in the group.  He's not really naughty he just likes to cut up, and enjoys every bit of attention he receives.

 Sometimes it can feel a little like you pour yourself into the task of teaching without ever seeing any results, but last night I got a question that took me off guard and almost took my breath away. 

I was in the middle of an explanation of why Jesus came to earth, and out of the corner of my eye I saw his hand shoot up.  This child has asked me pretty much every question you could think of, and rarely are they relevant to the lesson, but this time was different. 

"How do I get rid of my sin?"

I replied you tell Jesus you are sorry and He takes it away.

"That's it, I don't have to DO anything?"

"No, you just tell him you are sorry for your sin and He cleans your heart."

"Wow, that's cool."

The look in this child's eyes told me that rarely is anything in his life that simple.  I know that some of these children come from hard situations, but his exuberance over the simplicity of salvation knocked me off my feet.

 He went on to say he was going to go home and pray that prayer, and exclaim several more times how easy it sounded.

I've experienced salvation personally and I don't know why, but I've lost sight of how simple and amazing it is.  It took a third grader to remind me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Am I Doing

Just in case you were wondering.....

What I'm doing today!  :)

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Fathers Day

In honor of Fathers Day I thought that I would share a little about the two fathers that I am closest to.

The first would obviously be my dad.

He is the first man that I ever admired. 

As a little girl I was sure that he could do no wrong. 

 Now that I'm older, and know that he isn't perfect I still love him just as much.

I think that I've inherited his love of words, both written and spoken. 

I grew up trusting him because he was a steady, dependable provider, and a man of few surprises.

My husband is the other man.  I first met him when I was fifteen.
The characteristic that first attracted me to him--is what continues to attract me eighteen years later. 

 He has a confidence about him that is steadying to me.

When I'm not sure about a decision I can trust him to give me a prayerful answer.

We waited a long time to be parents, and although I knew he loved children his love for his children took me by surprise. 

He is the perfect mixture of tough and tender for our two boys.

He expects much of them, but gives much in return, and they love him fiercely for it.

I feel immensely blessed to have these two men in my life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Butterscotch Oatmeal

We eat quite a bit of oatmeal at our house.  It's a cheap nutritious breakfast food, and there's not many other foods can you call cheap and nutritious.  I usually serve it at least once a week  My children LOVE it. 

Whisk together in a medium saucepan.

2 eggs

3 1/2 cups milk

2/3 cup brown sugar ( You can use more or less depending on how sweet you like it.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook over medium heat until boiling.

Add 2 cups Quick Oats, stir, bring back to a boil, and turn off heat immediately.

Let sit for 5 minutes and stir in 4 Tablespoons of Butter or Margarine.  Serve with a little cold milk.  This recipe serves 4-6 people depending on how much you eat for breakfast.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow

The garden is progressing along nicely.  So far the only things we've harvested have been a few tiny radishes and a couple green onions, but it won't be long now until we will have more produce than we can keep up with.
Last year was our first year of mulching our garden.  Previous to that we had always just tilled between the rows every couple of weeks, and tried to keep ahead of the weeds.  After reading about some of the benefits of mulching rather than constant tilling I decided I wanted to try it.
We bought straw bales and spread them thickly over the garden.  I was amazed that we hardly had to water last year.  Our garden has somewhat sandy soil, and watering is a huge chore, but with the mulch keeping the moisture in we had very little need to water.  The only down side to the straw mulch was that apparently there were some weed seeds in the straw, and so we had an abundant crop of weeds about halfway to harvest. 
This year my husband has a lawn mower with a bagger, and we decided to use grass clippings for our mulch.  I'm hoping to continue adding to them all year until I have a mulch depth of about 7-8 inches.  Mulching with grass is a little harder than straw because it's green and heavy when we put it on the garden, but so far I've been pleased with it.
I'm open to advice about mulching.  It's a fairly new idea for me and I would love to hear from some of you who have been doing it for a long time.
Now check out how Connie's garden is doing.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sensitive Subject

This year when I bought my plants for the garden at a local greenhouse they gave us a free gift.

A sensitive plant--pretty isn't it?

When you touch, bump, or blow gently on the leaves they fold up.

   Then a few minutes later they unfold again.   It's hard to resist touching it over and over and over. : )
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Sometimes I Have Sugar In My Coffee

A Steaming Cup of Coffee on Coffee Beans Photographic Print by Peter Sapper

I'm a routine person.  I like to do things the same way every day.

This drives my husband crazy.  He's a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of person. 

We've been good for each other to say the least.

He's helped me to loosen up.

I've helped him to straighten up. : )

Let me give you an example:

I drink my coffee with a little milk. ( My stomach can't handle black coffee very well )

On the rare occasion that he gets up before I do in the morning he would bring me a cup of coffee. ( He's sweet like that. )

But he ALWAYS put sugar in it with the milk.

Now, it's not that I don't like sugar in my coffee--I do.

But I know that it's not good for me (sugar that is) and I don't need the extra calories.

So, I would get annoyed with him--for messing up my "perfect" coffee.

But he didn't let a little thing like my annoyance stop him.

He kept bringing me sugary coffee.

And ya know what happened?

I started to realize that variety is good.

Sometimes it's fun to break the routine.

It makes you feel adventurous. : )

So, now, sometimes I drink sugar in my coffee.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicken Update

These are our chicken coops.  We actually have two right now. The green one houses our 9 laying hens and Goliath.  The white one has the 30 Isa Brown Chicks that will start laying sometime in the early fall.
This is a view from the back of the coops.  There are two separate chicken runs.  Once the young layers are a little older we will put both batches together, but to eliminate excess fighting it's best to wait until they are almost full grown.

Here is my current laying flock with Goliath watching over them.

These are our meat chickens.  If they appear fat and somewhat clumsy its because they are.  We have 34 of these this year.  This will supply all the chicken we need as a family for the year.  There is something very satisfying about raising some of your own meat.

This is our chicken tractor.  My husband designed it from a truck topper.  Normally we raise the meat chickens in this and move it around the yard.  However this year we attached it to an existing chicken run, which made the chores much easier because we don't have to haul water and feed quite as far.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Supper

We've been having unseasonably warm weather lately, which makes cooking a challenge.  Although we have central air conditioning I still try to not use my oven more than I have to.  This was what I made last night.
Tortillas (usually I use flour, but last night I only had corn) spread with homemade pizza sauce and topped with mushrooms, black olives, green pepper.....

.....crushed pineapple, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.  I baked them at 350 degrees for ten minutes.

While they baked I talked to the dog.  Doesn't she look like she understands perfectly?  She didn't have much to say in response, but she is an excellent listener.

I popped them out of the oven and we enjoyed them.  A simple supper that doesn't use the oven very much, but is very tasty nonetheless.

What does your family eat when it's hot?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Answers

I've been a mother for a little over seven years, and in that time I've learned there are some questions that have no answers. Thought that I would share a few with you.

How can a child be in a bathtub or shower for twenty minutes and still have dirty ears?

Why is it that when mom is in the shower there are suddenly all kinds of questions that need answers now?

Why is there currently a Lego man in my aloe plant? ( He has been there for a week--I'm waiting to see how long it takes them to notice he is gone. )

How can my six year old eat a full meal and be hungry half an hour later?

What is it about grocery shopping that brings out the worst behaviour in my children?

Why can my children try my patience to the breaking point all day, but at bedtime they suddenly become irresistibly sweet?

When I am having a rough day as a parent why do I confide in the dog? (Ok, that question probably has more to do with my own weirdness rather than my children.)

Do you have any questions that don't have answers?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


                         Poppies Grace I Art Print            

There's a dark place within me that can think the most hateful thoughts.

When someone crosses me it rises up in anger and spits out a response that makes it past my lips more often than I would like.

  One of my favorite verses is Romans 7:19.  "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not that I do."  It reminds me that the battle against a sin nature is an age old problem.

The good news is we don't have to fight this battle alone.  Christ has gone ahead of us and paid the price for the sins we haven't even committed yet.

So, today I'm thankful for God's grace.  A grace that has given me a second chance many times over.  A grace that is greater than anything that I have done, or am capable of doing.  A grace that is greater than all my sin!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Seeing Red

I love yard sales.  There is something so invigorating about buying something that you need for so much less than what it retails for in the store.  I have bought clothes, furniture, dishes, linens, and even Christmas and birthday gifts at yard sales. 
If you think it's weird or disgusting to buy gifts at a yard sale let me ask you one question.  What is the difference between new Lego's and yard sale Lego's?  This was what got me thinking about whether it really mattered if some of my children's gifts were second hand.  Besides, I don't want my children to only value things that come in shiny new wrappers. 
I've also noticed that I can often find higher quality items that I could never afford new at garage and yard sales.  Many of my yard sale bargains have outlasted things that I bought new.
This is my latest yard sale purchase.  (No, I'm not talking about the dog.)  I bought eight red cloth napkins for 50 cents a piece.  My kitchen is red and these napkins look perfect there.  They don't look too bad on my clothesline either with all the green grass in the background.
  I also purchased a couple of pillow slips that are striped and match my boys sheets.  For some reason they are extra hard on pillow slips and they wear out before the sheets.  Possibly because they get used for impromptu sack races across the family room.
Last, but not least I bought a Jenga game.  This game retails for around $15.00 new, and I paid $1.50.
The best part about it is I didn't make a special trip to save all this money.  I was on my way home from running some errands, saw the yard sale and stopped.  So, I didn't spend any extra money in gas. 
 That's why I'm seeing red or maybe I should say green. :)
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Friday, June 3, 2011

What Sunday Looks Like


Here's a little glimpse of what Sunday looks like at our house.

The day starts with coffee--of course.

Hubby usually makes breakfast--scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes.

I throw together something for lunch.

While making sure the children know their memory verses for Sunday School.

We scurry off to church while dinner bakes in the oven--often a roast or whole chicken.

Come home and after devouring our yummy lunch we collapse in our beds or on the couch for a nap.

When we wake up we usually have popcorn as an afternoon snack.

Then it's back to church for the evening service.

Home again for an after-church-snack.......leftovers, tacos, or burgers on the grill.

While we listen to Sunday night stories on the radio.

All-in-all it's one of the most relaxing days of the week.

What does Sunday look like at your house?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cheesy Asparagus Soup

I've been thinking about asparagus a lot lately--maybe because I've spent the last two days freezing it and pickling it.

Mostly I've been marveling over how much I love it, considering that as a child I despised its flavor.  I can still remember gagging down the required mouthfuls, and trying to think if there was anything I hated more.

Somewhere along the years I decided it was actually tolerable, and then good, and then I started craving it's green springy flavor.  As soon as the first signs of spring appear I start dreaming about asparagus dishes.  A good incentive to clean out the last of it from the freezer.

This recipe is excellent for those cold winter days when you are hungry for soup.  Usually I make it with frozen asparagus.  The creamy base makes it a dish that will sometimes appeal to those who aren't as fond of asparagus. 

10 ounces fresh or frozen asparagus

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

8 ounces cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

Cook asparagus, and onion in 3 cups of water with bouillon until tender-approximately 5-10 minutes. ( you don't want it mushy--just tender ) Do not drain.  Meanwhile make a white sauce with butter, flour, and milk.  After it is thickened add salt, pepper, and cheese stirring until melted.  Combine white sauce with cooked asparagus and onion and serve.  Yield 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cleaning Blinds


Even tho they are not my favorite window treatment I have quite a few venetian blinds throughout my house.  Probably my main reason for disliking them is their tendency to collect dust and how difficult they are to clean.  In the past I cleaned them by swishing them in a bathtub of warm water with dish soap and ammonia in it.  The problem was they didn't seem to get all that clean.  Somehow the dirt and dust seems to cement itself onto those little blind slats, and it won't let go.

If you remember my list for last week included cleaning the blinds in our master bedroom.  These were especially dusty because we had done some drywall work in the master bathroom and the drywall dust was thick on the blinds.

I was filling the tub with hot water when I realized that I didn't have any ammonia in the house.  I frantically searched my mind for an alternative to wash the blinds in and on a whim I squirted a tablespoon or two of laundry detergent into my water.

Amazingly, the laundry soap seemed to work better than anything else I've ever used-including ammonia.  The blinds came out looking shiny and clean.

I thought that I would pass on the tip to all you blind owners out there.  I used Tide laundry soap, and I made the water as hot as I could.  I let the blinds soak about 5 minutes, and then sloshed them around a little-pulled them out and drained them on a couple bath towels on the floor and hung them while still damp. 

When you hang them make sure all the slats are separated and the blind is open otherwise they will not dry fully, and depending on the moisture level in your home they might mildew.