Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blessings of *Busy-ness*

The past few days have been just gorgeous! The yellow sun has been shining and temperatures have been very comfortable! There have been loads of clothes, quilts, sheets and towels basking in and drying out in the beautiful sunshine! The children and I have spent our mornings doing our schoolwork. After lunch, we have been in the garden picking and then snapping beans and shucking corn....which I then can.

A lady from church called me the other morning, she had an abundance in her garden and asked if we would want any of her bounty! I gladly accepted her offer and that afternoon, the children and I went to her house and joined her at picking. She gave us some Italian green beans, tomatoes, a zucchini, corn and a few peppers! Such a blessing!

I have never had Italian green beans before...they are so neat...just like green beans but flat and have a different flavor. I canned them the same way I do regular green beans.

All ready to be processed in the canner...

After they were canned, I set them out for 24 hours. Then the screw-tops were taken off, the lids were dated and they were given a good wash-down before heading down to the basement for storage! I have lovely rows of food arranged on the shelves! I have taken photos that I will share, next time, hopefully!

Yesterday, I kept busy with schooling, hanging out loads of laundry, grating and freezing zucchini, making zucchini bread, picking/canning more green beans and knitting! Then, around supper time, the children and I went down to the garden and picked tomatoes, then joined my mother-in-love to begin the juicing process! It was a long, tiring process. We didn't finish until close to 9pm! Now, though, we have the tomatoes juiced and ready to make sauce to can! 

During the juicing process, I was fretting about the dullness of my knife (it was squishing tomatoes more than cutting them) and Chris, to my joy, sharpened it. So...along I go, happily cutting tomatoes...chatting away, tomato juice everywhere...(can you picture it?) when all of a sudden, sheer pain went ripping through my finger. I had cut it...not a nice little slice, but a bit of a gauge. Mix it in with the acid from the tomatoes and I was one sore puppy! I will save you the horrid details...but to get an idea of it, let's just say that Chris has to make his own bandage for me using paper towels and duct tape (as the regular band-aids weren't good enough for this injury!). After putting on a plastic glove, I was ready to dive back in! (Don't tomatoes or juice were tainted in this process!) 

I was able to exchange the big bulky bandage, my Christopher crafted for me, with a regular band-aid this morning! It still hurts, but I will survive. Chris and Madelyn think I was overly-dramatic about the pain...but *really*, I wasn't! It stung and hurt terribly! They weren't too sympathetic....stinkers! ;) 

Here are a few photos, from around home...

This is a china cupboard, from my parents' house. They are doing a few renovations and ran out of room for it. They offered it to me and I gladly to find a place for it (as of now, it is sitting in our addition/mud room aka: our new living room/pantry someday).....

Thank-you for dropping by! I typed this all out once, and hadn't saved it all, and then lost internet connection. So, here I am, now later in the day, typing it up again! I have some jars of beans de-pressurizing in the canner, right now...and just finished knitting up a custom order! I have more custom orders to do, ever since posting THIS pumpkin hat in my etsy shop! It is such a blessing....but is keeping me busy! :) 

Have a great rest of the day! 

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 
1 Peter 1:2b

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"I believe it would be much better for everyone...

 ...if children were given their start in education at home. No one understands a child better as well as his mother, and children are so different that they need individual training and study. A teacher with a room full of pupils cannot do this. At home, too, they are in their mother's care. She can keep them from learning immoral things from other children." 
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

My position on public school (or even private school) vs. homeschooling is pretty apparent when reading my blog. Don't get me wrong....I have family and friends that are teachers. People I love and respect. It's not a personal issue with teachers (although I know a great many that are *not* teacher-material...I had a history teacher once that was tenured and all he did was assign reading and questions to answer while he sat with his newspaper at his desk most days....just awful, I tell you!). It's more of an issue with *what* is taught and the interaction with other children (in a classroom appointed by the school...aka: government).

"If Psalm 1 is to be believed, we must not allow our children to stand, sit or walk with those who deny biblical truth and morality. Instead, we must place them in situations that will aid them in meditating on the law of the Lord 'day and night.' Surely this involves how and where they are to be educated." 
~Voddie Baucham

"Many object to homeschooling or private Christian schools based on the fact that God has called us to be “salt” and “light” and to evangelize the world. Ironically, this is precisely why we chose homeschooling. The Great Commission states: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I command you” (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis added). How is this likely apart from Christian education? . . . Let me be clear–I applaud men and women whom God has called to teach in government schools. These people are front-line warriors, and they need to be right where they are. However, there is a big difference between sending fully trained disciples into enemy territory and sending recruits [children] to our enemy’s training camp. If we do the latter, we shouldn’t be surprised when they come home wearing the enemy’s uniform and charging the hill of our home waving the enemy flag."
~Voddie Baucham (bold, mine)

For us, we feel that the best place for our children to grow and learn is at home, under the guidance and protection of their parents. I am so thankful we still have this freedom. Our first day went well...we actually got through our day quicker than I had anticipated, as the children were eager to learn and very cooperative! It was nice! Of course, there will be difficult days to come. Everyone isn't always "eager" and "cheerful" each day. But, through prayer, I am confident that God will give me the wisdom and strength I need to handle each situation, as they come!

Some photos from our day...

I just finished up (last night) this sweet little pumpkin hat! I am so pleased with how it turned out! It is now in my shop! I have now received some custom orders already! I need to get busy knitting!

Thank you for visiting! I hope you, whether homeschooling or not, have a *great* year! My best wishes sent out to *each* of you!!
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 
1 Peter 1:2b

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another year begins...

We are starting our home-school year today! This is our fourth year of educating at I am much less anxious this year, than other years....but I *still* have that bit of excitment that comes when starting the new year! :)

Why, hello...Jack-the-Cat!

Today, Madelyn starts 4th grade, Xavier 2nd and Jaxson begins his Kindergarten year (Oh, where has the time gone!?). I am really looking forward to it! I haven't time to go on and on (like I usually do) though...for the clock is ticking and I need to pack Chris's lunch and get him sent off to work...and then get the children breakfast, do devotions with them and then begin our day's routine! 

Quickly...I wanted to let you know, that new in my shop, I have a hat I knit in the round! If interested, you can find it HERE!

And I am now working on knitting a pumpkin hat, in the round. I'll give it a stem and leaf too! :)

I hope your schooling goes well for you today (if you have started!). Thank you for visiting and a great-big thank you *in advance* for all the well-wishes that I know I am bound to get from you kind-hearted folks! I really appreciate all your encouragement, friends!
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2b

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chris's Gift to Me...

A Surprise Birthday Party!

Of course, since it was a *surprise*, I didn't have my camera along with me to take pictures! Thankfully, my sister, Devon, took the picture of our birthday cake and emailed it to me! (The cake was made by my aunt! Her frosting is my favorite!) My friend, Heather, and I both celebrated our 30th birthdays this month. Both of our husbands are named the pair of Chris' have been conniving and planning this all out! They also had the help of other friends (who held it at their house). They have been so sneaky about it all (in a good way) was so thoughtful! Many of our friends and family were there! It was so nice. Despite the fact that I felt quite duped...I was over-whelmingly blessed! 

Unfortunately, I have been fighting a bit of a headache as we pulled up our friends driveway, I was under the assumption that we wouldn't be staying long. When I saw some cars I recognized (that wouldn't normally be at this house) the little gears in my mind began turning. As Chris and I walked up to the house...I could hear a round of *Surprise!*. I truly felt loved and special. It was such a kind thing for them to do. I am still battling a bit of a headache and need to go rest...but I wanted to, quickly, share this with you....I was so excited to tell about it. It isn't every day you turn 30 and get a surprise party! :)

Thank you for all the birthday wishes, from each of you, as well! 

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 
1 Peter 1:2b

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Foretaste of Heaven

"I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion."  

~Jani Ortlund
"When a woman says she is a housewife she should say it with the utmost pride, for there is nothing higher on this planet to which she could aspire." 
~John Seymour

If you have been reading here for a while, you simply must know my love for *home* and all things home-making! So needless to say, as the garden produces it's crops...I get canning! (Even on my birthday!)

Snap, snap, snapping beans is, although time-consuming, an enjoyable task. It's not difficult and is a great way for the children to help. It's also something that can be done while have a great conversation with your children or watching a movie!

Wednesday, I enjoyed my 30th birthday. The morning was spent snapping and canning green beans, doing housework and working on some knitting projects. In the afternoon, the children and I made the trip, an hour away, to their dentist for a cleaning. (Back when I had scheduled the appointment, Madelyn heard them suggest August 24th and when I agreed, she cried out "No! Mama, that's your birthday!" I smiled for her sweet thought...but told her that it was just another day!)

Upon returning home, from the dentist, my sister arrived (with Eloise) with lasagna (that she pre-made) to put in the oven for supper! (Her husband, Cory, couldn't be here, unfortunately...but sent birthday wishes my way!) Chris came home from work...his parents and my parents joined us for supper. My mom brought all the fixin's for salad too! So we had a lovely supper and time of fellowship!

Look! I even got balloons...

My sister, creative and thoughtful as she is, gave me a 30 for 30 type of gift! **30 gifts for 30 years**! It was so fun to open them! She made cute, little gift tags for each package!

I got all kinds of fun things...yarn, lotion, softlips (pearl), Toms of Maine toothpaste (the good stuff), and so much more! It was so exciting! I enjoyed it all! **Now I need to come up with something good to match that for *her* 30th birthday (in 2 yrs.)! :)

I have debated telling you what my parents got me...I thought maybe I should wait till I have the actual pictures...but I'm just not good with *waiting* I'll tell you now and then be sure to update you when I get photos!! My parents bought me a kid! A newborn, nigerian pygmy baby goat!!! I am so, so excited! Now, the baby is too young to leave it's mama yet...but I just can't wait! They bought it from a friend of mine who raises goats (and mini-ponies and lots of other wonderful animals)! We were hoping for a girl...but a Mennonite couple already had dibs on the two female kids that were born. One of the mama goats is due to deliver any day we are hoping she will have a girl. If not, there is a buck available, as well. :)

Chris has a gift for me too...but says it isn't here yet...and he won't tell me what it is. I have no idea if it is another goat to keep the other one company or what it is! (I also have my heart set on a dairy cow...but I really don't think he will let me have one of those!) So, I have been waiting...ever so patiently (ok, truthfully, *patient* wouldn't be an accurate way to describe me......but I *am* trying!). When can I consider my home a farm? Two dogs, a cat, chickens and now a goat (or two)....does that qualify? ;)

For my birthday mom brought an icecream cake! It was such a delicious treat! They are my favorite and something I only, usually, get to enjoy once a year! That makes it even more special! Healthy?...Not even close! Delicious?....Absolutely!

I, emotional gal that I am, ended the evening in tears. I was just overwhelmed with the love and kindness of my loved ones...and also the fact that I am now *thirty* years old. It's absolutely shocking to me that I have passed into that age group....I remember when my parents were 30! It's quite bittersweet. I don't really feel it to be a negative thing (goodness, I definitely wouldn't want to be 16 again!). It's just sort-of surreal, I suppose. 

"Aging is an inevitable process. I surely wouldn't want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer."
~William Holden

I have been keeping busy with knitting projects! 

I just finished a hat in the round...

Although it's's going to be a little girl's hat...I need to finish embellishing it! :)

We are starting our school-year on Monday. I am looking forward to the rhythm and routine of our days. If you haven't...but would like to, you can see how I plan our homeschooling days HERE

Well, I have things to do today...none of which is accomplished while I am on the computer! I hope you have been enjoying your week. Thank you, for all the birthday wishes and kind emails! I appreciate you taking the time to visit! Have a great weekend! 

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:2b

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Excellent Wife

"God's will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband (Genesis 2:18). After a wife's own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing else should have greater priority. Her husband should be the primary benefactor of his wife's time and energy, not the recipient of what may be left over at the end of the day."
  ~Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife p. 4

This may seem quite bold of me to say...but I am going to do so anyway. If you are a Christian wife (no matter what your age or how long you have been married)...if you haven't read The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, you *need* to! I have been reading it and gleaning sooo much incredible wisdom. Some things I knew already....but reading it really puts it in my heart anew! I have been going through, underlining as I go. There is so much I don't want to forget! I will probably re-read it when I finish through this first time. I find that I can pick up even more that way!

"Because God gave me the heart to obey God's Word and will for my life, I am becoming the godly wife that He wants me to be." 
~Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife p. 4

There are so, so many things I have been underlining (and I am sure, many more to come!)...I am sharing just a few of them, here, for you...but please, if you can, buy the book or see if the library has it! You will be so glad you did!

Although I don't *mean* to be selfish...upon closer examination...I find that I *am* terribly selfish. It's embarrassing to admit, but true. I try to fulfill all my roles as wife...but, for example, I find myself "reminding" Chris that the trash needs changed. Usually, I just sound like a nag and I end up doing it myself (begrudgingly) anyway. *Instead*, it would be better to just do it myself from the start (with a cheerful attitude) isn't difficult and it leaves one less thing for Chris to have to do. As his helpmeet...that's my job. I shouldn't view it as a thorn in my side...but with joy. I am needed. There is such a gift in that.

"Our view of life is to be God-centered, not self-centered. We are here to serve Him, rather than Him being here to serve us. He alone is worthy to be praised." 
~Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife p.9

"It will help you to have the right attitude if you focus on what you are supposed to be doing, not on what your husband is supposed to be doing." 
~Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife p.12

Ouch! Did anyone else feel as though that quote above was meant for them (or is it just me?)? Oh how I desire to be an excellent wife...selfless, compassionate, kind, hard-working. I'm trying, daily. I want to be just the woman God wants me to be..don't you? I am sure, as I continue in reading this book...I will have more to post is just full of wonderful things. If you have read this book...I would *love* to hear your thoughts on it!!

I have to be quick....there are more beans to pick at the garden tonight. Then we'll be busy snapping and tomorrow morning, I will be busy canning. Then the children have a dentist appointment in the afternoon. Oh, *and* tomorrow is my 30th birthday. Yes...the big 3-0. Luckily for me, my sister and mom are coming over to make me supper tomorrow evening!! **Eloise is coming too...yippee!**

I have some things to share before I go, though! Here was a recipe I threw together last night...potatoes, eggs and cheese....all together in a casserole! I boiled the potatoes first and put them in a buttered dish then added beaten eggs and cheddar cheese! It tasted really good with ketchup! :)

Our favorite rolls, fresh from the oven...

A bit of excitement happened in our household last night...Jaxson (my baby) lost his first tooth! He was so excited...I tried not to cry (he's growing up!). We don't do the toothfairy...but it was just special in and of itself! It fell out in the bathtub while I was giving him a bath! I had to find it in the water! Here's my little guy...squeaky clean and minus a tooth...

Yesterday, the boys got quite picklie (is that a word?) with each other. Little arguments got bigger and bigger. I decided that it was time for them to give the kitchen floor a good scrubbing (if they have time to argue ~ they have time to clean). Unfortunately for me, they enjoyed it! It didn't work as much of a punishment if they are laughing while washing! Oh dear! ;)

I've been knitting in all my free time. Trying to work on projects to sell in my shop.

Here are a couple of the newest additions...

A white baby hat...

A brown baby hat...

The pottery in my shop is made by my mom and sister! They do lovely work! I hope you will check it out! 

Thanks so much for coming by! Until next time.....
Warmest wishes from this *still* (for a few more hours) 29-year-old,

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2b

Monday, August 22, 2011

Preserving the Harvest

Friday morning started out with some strong storms in our area! The pictures above and below were taken during daylight! It was that dark out! We had rain, thunder and lightning! I lit some oil lamps, did some housework and began snapping beans to can.

As soon as the lightning had passed I began washing jars. Since I do it by hand (and not dishwasher), after washing them, I put them in in a big stock pot with water and let them boil before using them to can with...just to make sure they are good and sterile! 

After the beans were snapped and washed, and the jars ready....I began canning beans! Quart jars were filled with beans and a tsp. of salt. Then I added hot water to them. After making sure air bubbles were out, I secured the seals and rings on....and then *into* the canner they went! 

After the green beans were processed in the canner, I set them out to *rest* for a bit. I loved hearing the sound of the jars sealing, randomly. They make this fantastic *POP* sound. It is wonderfully rewarding to hear that. 

The next day....after making sure all the jars had sealed properly, I wrote the year on top of the lid and washed off the jars. I also took off the rings.They, then, are taken to the basement and placed on shelves....awaiting a day we will eat them in the future! 

That same day, I had some corn from our garden that we had picked the previous night. Since I was on a *roll* (so to speak), I decided I would can it, as well!

I was able to get 7 pints of the corn canned. I have posted previously that our corn didn't do very well this year, so I am quite thrilled to get *any* at all! There is still more growing, so hopefully I will be able to get some more canned, as well!

Between housework and canning and homeschool prep (I have our first three weeks planned out, so far)...I have also been working on knitting projects! Here is the latest one to be added to my etsy shop...

Also, in my etsy shop, you will find pottery made by my mom and sister! I hope you will check it out HERE. :) 

Have you been doing any canning recently? I would love to hear about it! It sounds like a load of laundry is finished washing...time to get it hung out on the line! Enjoy your Monday! 

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 
1 Peter 1:2b