Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Harvest from the Garden

Guess what? We harvested all of our carrots today! I think they've been ready for awhile, but being the inexperienced gardener that I am it didn't dawn on my to dig them up until today. They are little finger carrots and only suppose to be around 3 inches long, but many of them were much longer. I tried a couple raw and they were a little more bitter than sweet, but I'm hoping they taste better when cooked. Either way, its my first harvest!! (Besides our peas which were so few I couldn't do anything with them.) 

What are you harvesting in your garden right now?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wisdom from Charles and Caroline Ingalls

If you haven't read the Little House Series as an adult, I highly recommend doing so. They're full of wisdom and they give a fascinating glimpse into the life of the American pioneer. The Long Winter was especially fascinating to me as they had to endure seven months of blizzards with no supplies coming. This is so far from the life we live today. We're incredibly spoiled and blessed, but you never know what will happen in the future and this quote from the book really struck me:

"If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."

"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves- they're good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em."

Its crazy that they thought kerosene and coal were too progressive. I mean what would they think of our culture today? Would they consider us fools for depending basically 100% on everyone else for our livelihood? Are you prepared to survive without electricity, running water, and the grocery store? It kind of chills me to think of what would happen if we all had to fend for ourselves in this country all of a sudden. I know people would pull through as best as they could, but don't you think they had a better chance of survival back then when people actually had the knowledge and skills to make it on their own? 

Our ancestors had to deal with lots of obstacles, grief, and heartache. In the Little House Series it seems like they suffered one loss and setback after another, but their fighting spirit and unbreakable endurance kept them going. This quote from Little Town on the Prairie has stayed with me:

"The prairie looks so beautiful and gentle," she said. "But I wonder what it will do next. Seems like we have to fight it all the time."

"This earthly life is a battle," said Ma. "If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures. Now Mary, I'm ready to fit the bodice."

I mean could there be any more relevant advice than that? We all have troubles in this world and we always will so it's better to accept them and be thankful for your blessings. Amen Mrs. Ingalls! 

Like I said before I highly recommend reading these books as adults. They're so full of wisdom!

Have you read The Little House Series lately?
 If so, what wisdom have you found in them?

Linked at the Homestead Barn Hop

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden Update

Lots of exciting things are happening in the garden! It's been about 2-3 weeks since I last updated and a lot has happened since then. I've had to deal with pests and we have produce on the vine! Here's a look:
 Here's our massive amount of tomato plants. I had a dream last night that they were all turning red! I guess you can say I'm ready for my home grown tomatoes. 
 Our corn is pollinating:
 We have lots and lots of tomatoes on the vine. This one is beefsteak, but mostly we have Roma's growing so far. 
 Here are our bell peppers. Salsa here we come!

I know I say this a lot, but gardening and growing most of my plants from seed has been such an awesome and rewarding experience for me.

 We're getting close to harvest and canning season! Yay!
How is your garden growing?

Join us for the Homestead Barn Hop

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Continue On

I found this  in the Duggar's new book
A Love That Multiplies and it really struck a cord with me. 

Continue On
by Roy Lessin

A woman fretted about the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her 
potential being a devoted wife and mother.
She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her 
husband and children would make a difference.
At times she got discouraged because so much of what
 she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
"Is it worth it?" she often wondered. "Is there something 
better that I could be doing with my time?"
It was during one of these moments of 
questioning that she heard the still, 
small voice of her Heavenly Father speak to her heart.
"You are a wife and mother because 
that is what I have called you to be.
Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye, but I notice. 
Most of what you give is done without remuneration.
But I am your reward.
Your husband cannot be the man I have called 
him to be without your support.
Your influence upon him is greater than you think 
and more powerful than you will ever know.
I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.
Your children are precious to me.
Even more precious than they are to you. 
I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me.
What you invest in them is an offering to Me.
You may never be in the public spotlight, 
but your obedience shines as a bright light before Me.
Continue on. Remember you are my servant.
Do all to please me. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How I Menu Plan

 I thought I might share with you how I do my menu planning. I'm no expert, but just in case someone needed help getting started I decided to share my system. I go grocery shopping twice a month, therefore I need to have two weeks worth of meals planned before going to the store. Here's what the planning process looks like for me:

1. Gather supplies - Blank paper and pen for grocery list, family recipes, and monthly menu plan sheet.

 2. Fill in holidays, birthdays, trips, and planned events that include meals on menu calendar - This time I have Fathers Day, a birthday dinner, a book club dinner, and a trip to see Mike's parents. (Note: I only plan my dinners, but it might work better for your family to plan all your meals. Do what works best for you.) Also at this point you need to add to your grocery list whatever ingredients you need to buy for those events if you are bringing a dish or hosting the meal.

3. Begin filling in the blanks - You can look at your previous meal plan to see if there is any meal that didn't get made to transfer to this weeks plan. Also it's cost effective to try and make as many meals as you can from ingredients you already have on hand. As you're adding meals you need to be simultaneously adding the ingredients that you need for those meals to your grocery list. I keep my recipe box on hand to help fill in the blanks. It's also useful to look back over your old menu plans for ideas.

4. Look through pantry - When my meal plan is complete I go through my pantry to see what staples, snacks, breakfast items, cleanings supplies, etc I need to add to my list. It's also useful to keep a blank pad in the kitchen so you can add supplies as you run out of them throughout the weeks.

5. Go shopping! At this point your menu plan and grocery list should be complete so it's time to start shopping! We budget $130 for two weeks worth of groceries and toiletries. Also I always use cash because it's easier for me to stay on budget that way.

This is the system that I've found to work best for me right now. I hope you can find what works best for you and your family! Happy menu planning!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Parable of the Pencil

I received this in an e-mail and thought it was important enough to pass along. Enjoy!

A pencil maker told his pencils 5 important lessons 
before putting them in their box:

1. Everything you do will leave a mark.
2. You can correct the mistakes you make.
3. What's on the inside is what's important.
4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpening, 
which will only make you better.
5. To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself
 to be guided by the hand that holds you.

We all need constant sharpening. You're a special person with unique God-give talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose for which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to be discouraged and feel that your life doesn't matter, like the pencil the most important part of who you are is what's inside of you. Always allow yourself to be guided by the hand of God. 

I hope this encourages you in some way today! May God bless you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Caring for Orphans

Nothing can make me break down and cry faster than seeing, meeting, praying for, or thinking about the orphans in this world. They've always held a special place in my heart and I think God placed it their because they hold a special place in His heart as well. He says this:

"Religion that is pure and undefiled
 before God, the Father, is this:
 to visit orphans and widows in their affliction
 and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
-James 1:27

"Father to the fatherless, defender of the widow- 
this is God, whose dwelling is holy. 
God places the lonely in families."
-Psalm 68:5-6

"Learn to do good; 
seek justice, correct oppression;
 bring justice to the fatherless,
 plead the widow's cause."
-Isaiah 1:17

"O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart;
you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may
strike terror no more."
-Psalm 10:17-18

Clearly God cares about the orphan. He commands us to visit them, defend them, and work to end their oppression. With an estimated 143 million orphans in the world today it can seem like an impossible task, but God has a plan and that plan includes you and me reaching out to care for them. If we all woke up to the plight of the orphan and did what was in our power to do, can you imagine how many more happy and joyous children there would be in this world? Can you imagine the impact it would make? 

  Here are some practical suggestions that you can do to impact the lives of orphans:

Pray For Them: Intercede to God on their behalf. Pray for their well being. Pray that God would move more people to adopt. Pray that more people would visit them and show them the love of God. Pray that they would come to know Him and have hope for the future. Pray whatever you feel moved to, just talk to God about it. 

Give Financially: With the care of children comes lots of monetary needs. There are several organizations that deal specifically with orphans. Do your research and find one that you are confident is making an impact and consider making a contribution. Here is one such ministry: Show Hope

Use Your Skills: God has given us all a specific set of skills. How can you use what he's given you to make a difference in the lives of orphans? Watch this video to see how six woman are doing just that:

Visit Them: Consider going on a trip (long or short term) to visit, volunteer or work for an orphanage. (This could also include a children's shelter in your area.) Many churches and non profit organizations do this on a regular basis. Find one that interests you and take the plunge! I promise you will never be the same!

Consider Adoption: Pray and see if God is calling you to adopt. This is a life long commitment that should be thought through carefully, but if you feel God is calling you to do it then you should go for it!

I think we can all do something to help alleviate the pain of the fatherless. What will you do?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are You A Trader?

Are you using your time, money, and skills intentionally for Christ? Are you a trader?

"Look carefully then how you walk, 
not as unwise but at wise, 
making the best use of the time, 
because the days are evil. 
Therefore do not be foolish,
 but understand what the will of the Lord is."
-Ephesians 5:15-17

How Great Thou Art

Monday, June 6, 2011

Love and Serve Your Family

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to effectively fulfill my God given purpose in this world. As a Christian I'm called to love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31). I have a lot of room for growth in both of these areas, but growth in Christ is what this life is all about. I know God has a pretty specific plan and purpose for me (i.e. help this person, serve here, give money here), but in a more generalized sense in order for me to fulfill my purpose I need to lead a life full of love for God and for others.

I'm going to focus more today on the second part of the commandment which is to, "love your neighbor as yourself."(Mark 12:31) Let's assume the use of "neighbor" in this passage means everyone except yourself, therefore, your closest "neighbors" are your family or those that you live with. Are you glorifying God in the way that you treat your family? I've heard it said before that who you are at home is who you really are and everything else is fake. Ouch. It's easy to take advantage of the deep and unconditional love that our families give us. They'll always be there so we can treat them badly and get away with it, right? Not according to God. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves which means always extending patience, grace, love, respect and kindness to them.

It also means serving them out of love. This is a big one for women because a lot of the home and family oriented "service" falls on us. We generally are the ones who buy the food, cook the meals, clean the house, do the laundry, run the errands, pay the bills, buy the clothes, make the appointments, etc. This is a lot of work and its work that is cyclical and never ending. There's no day off and no retirement. It's literally a lifetime of service, therefore we have a huge opportunity in our day to day lives to glorify God by lovingly and joyfully serving our families. The bible says whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Are you reflecting Christ in the way that you serve your family to a watching world? Do you see the beauty and blessings that can come from serving our families? Christ entrusted these people to us and we are to love and serve them joyfully without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14).

Serving our families should be a joyful thing! It's a big part of our purpose as women and we are blessed to be able to have a family to serve in the first place not to mention the ability to get around and do so effectively. Are you lovingly and joyfully serving your family today? 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Easy Curls Without Heat!!

Watch this video and learn how to get curls without heat!

I tried this method last night and it worked pretty well. I had to pin some pieces in the back because I have long, thick hair. Next time I'll try to do it tighter with smaller sections all around.
Here's the end result! The front is curlier than the back and the top is kinda flat, but I'll fix that somehow! 

What do you think?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Goals

There's one week of school left around here which means summertime is getting close! I love this time of year with the swimming, vacations, BBQs, garage sales, homegrown tomatoes, flowers, sunshine, homegrown corn,  I could go on and on. Either way, I decided to make a list of summertime goals since it seems to fly by so fast each year.

Summertime Goals

Do daily devotional with my niece
Find somewhere to volunteer with her
Have two families over for dinner per month
Study the book of Psalms (3 chapters per day)
Be more intentional about giving and serving
Finish one dress, one skirt, and one shirt
Can stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa
Organize Office
Paint front door
Learn to crochet
Eat at Paula Deen's Restaurant in Savannah!!
Extend patience, kindness, and grace to others as Christ has to me

I'm sure I could list many more things I want to do this summer, but these are the main ones that come to mind. 

Do you have any goals for this time of year?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Garden Update

The garden is still growing like crazy! (Unfortunately so are the weeds.)  I staked a few of my tomato plants last week. Also, a lot of the tomatoes have blossoms on them! Yea baby!
 I ground some eggshells into powder and sprinkled it in this bed for a boost of calcium. Has anyone ever done this before?
 Our cabbage is getting huge:
 So is our corn:
 These are our potato plants. We only planted them about a month ago and they are as big as the corn! 

Well I guess that's all for now. Hopefully soon I'll have some baby produce to talk about! :)

Linked at the Homestead Barn Hop


Today marks a huge milestone in my life, I finished my one year bible reading plan! This is the first time I've read the bible cover to cover and I'm done! Although it did take me three and a half years to finish….

You read that right three and a half years. I started back in January of 2008! I wanted to leave that little  detail out and just celebrate my accomplishment, but I decided to tell you all in hopes of encouraging someone to press on with a goal of their own. There's someone out there who's encouraged by this right? Either way, I'm admitting to you that I'm not perfect. I struggle and stumble in my walk just like everyone else. It's easy to read a blog and think that the author has it all together, but in reality we all need the saving grace of Jesus every second of every day.

But today I'm celebrating! I can cross a big goal off of my list and move on to the next! Yay!
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