Monday, July 25, 2011

Potato Harvest

Well the potato harvest is in! We didn't end up with very many but I think it's because they were close together and the soil was hard. We also dug up some sweet potatoes just to "see" how they were doing. They definitely need more time. I think next year I will plant more and maybe do the newspaper and straw method. Has any one tried this before?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In the Garden

The blossom end rot was only on the first few of my tomatoes so now I have plenty to go around! I've given away several bags of them and today I made three pints of salsa:
And I still have this many left plus a dozen that will be ready to pick tomorrow:
 Also, here are the only flowers that I managed to grow from seed:
 I think zinnias are so beautiful! 

I have to ask, what do you do with all your tomatoes? Can 'em? Give 'em away? Freeze 'em?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Without Facebook

My husband and I deleted our Facebook accounts around the holidays last year and let me tell you I've hardly missed it. It was easy for Mike to delete his account because he never really wanted it in the first place, but it was a little more difficult for me to decide to pull the plug since I checked it so many times every day!! Once I did though it was smooth sailing! So here are my top five reasons for deleting my Facebook account:

1. I was uncomfortable with so much information about myself being on the Internet.
2. I was annoyed with how many times per day I checked it, just to see if anyone had updated anything.
3. I was constantly comparing my life to my Facebook friends (where they usually only post the positive things anyway)
4. I could see it as a potential hazard to my marriage because its so easy to contact anyone day or night without your spouse knowing. 
(Note: I wasn't tempted to do this, but I could see how it could easily happen to anyone who wasn't carefully guarding who they were friends with or contacting especially if they were unhappy in their own marriage. I recently read a statistic that 20% of divorces today cite Facebook for at least part of the cause.)
5. I couldn't see anyway that I was glorifying God in my time spent on Facebook.

Now I'm not saying that Facebook is a bad thing, but for me it's been very beneficial to be rid of it. I know there are many positive aspects to Facebook such as keeping in contact with far away family and friends, but for me the bad outweighed the good. 

What positive and negatives do you see with Facebook?
Do you have an account? Why or why not?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extending Grace in Marriage

Remember that time you undercooked the rice for the third time in a row and your husband extended you grace when you had to go out to eat yet again? Or maybe he didn't extend any grace and made you feel like a failure. (Or maybe I'm the only one who's ever been in this situation)

Grace: unmerited pardon or favor (my definition)

Grace. We all hope to receive it when we mess up, but we're kinda stingy when extending it towards others, right? But why is that? Hasn't God extended us massive amounts of grace by sacrificing His son to die so that we might have eternal life? And doesn't he continue to extend us grace on a daily basis when we mess up or refuse to put Him first in our lives? We don't deserve to have a personal relationship with our perfect God, but He grants us the grace to do so because He loves us. Scripture says:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
-Ephesians 2:8

God extends us His grace as a gift. We haven't earned it and we certainly don't deserve it. Don't you think this is a good model in how to treat our spouses? We should be happy for the chance to extend grace to our spouse simply because we are filled with the joy and thankfulness of knowing that God has first extended grace to us. Yes we should be extending grace towards our spouses (and other people as well) any chance we get, but its not that simple because our sinful selfish selves get in the way don't they? So how do we begin to shut out our selfishness and show grace? 

The only way to do this is through prayer and Christ working in you. Pick a verse and pray it over yourself. Pray to be convicted when you react in anger instead of grace and love. If you continue to pray these things then they will be fresh in your mind and God will begin to convict you when you are reacting wrongfully. Its not an easy thing to extend grace, but with the help and grace of God all things are possible. The two verses that I'm praying over myself are:

"A soft answer turns away wrath, 
but a harsh word stirs up anger."
 - Proverbs 15:1

"Let every person be quick to hear, 
slow to speak, and slow to anger; 
for the anger of man does not produce
 the righteousness that God requires." 
- James 1:19-20

If reacting in anger and withholding grace is something that you struggle with then I suggest getting into the word and letting the Holy Spirit show you a verse or two to memorize. Then repeat your verse throughout the days and weeks ahead and pray it over yourself daily. "For God is working in you giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." - Philippians 2:13 

Remember no one this side of heaven is perfect, but that is no excuse to show harshness and anger towards our spouses. Next time you find yourself irritated or angry towards your spouse just repeat your memory verse and remember that Christ has extended you grace. No they don't deserve it, but neither do you. It won't be easy, but with God it is possible!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap - Round 2

I just made a new batch of laundry soap. This time I used Fels-Naptha and washing soda because I couldn't find Zote or a big container of baking soda. So far I like the Zote variety better because the Fels-Naptha scent gave me a headache and it's a smaller bar so I had to buy two. PLUS the Zote is hot pink which is way prettier than the yellow. :) We'll see how it cleans. I really need to try and find soap flakes which would make this process much easier. Does anyone know where you can find them?

I made my first batch of laundry soap in March so it lasted me four months. That's pretty good considering I only spent around $3 to make it. I do 3-4 loads of laundry per week and I've been using 1 tbsp for small loads and 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp for larger and/or dirtier loads. It seems to work pretty well. My clothes seem clean so I'm happy. Here's my recipe:

Laundry Soap

2 parts soap (Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Ivory can be used), grated
1 part borax
1 part baking soda or washing soda

Mix and store in air tight container.
Use 1-2 tbsp per load.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Problems in the Garden

I noticed yesterday that some of my tomatoes were finally turning red and I got so excited!! Until I took a good look at them and realized they were being eaten and they were were molding. All but one of the red ones were rotted. Grrr. I picked the halfway decent red one and I'm letting it ripen on my window sill. Anyway, I need advice on how to prevent this from happening!! Here're pictures of my fruit (Sorry they're blurry but my camera was not focusing right):

Okay experienced gardeners what's my problem and how do I fix it? I need your help!!!

Also I've kinda been at a loss as to when to pick my corn. Everyone says when the silk dies and the kernels are milky. Well mine have been like that but they just didn't seem ready to pick to me for some reason. But when I looked out the window today and a bunch of black birds were eating them I figured they were ready! I'm about to shuck them and see if I was right. Ha. I'm learning through all of this trial and error and I'll be more knowledgeable next year. 
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