Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Snow Finally Came...

It was wonderful to have peaceful,  heavy, wet lake effect snow today.  We got a lot of snow and the kids had fun outside all day building tunnels, snowmen, and shoveling.  The temperature was warm enough that even I enjoyed playing outside with the kids some of the day.  My husband commented just how beautiful it was.

How To Can Fresh Veggies and Fruits When Having A Garden Is Impossible

I live in an area that is full of wildlife, especially deer and black bear, making it very hard to have a garden.  In addition, we have little sunlight because of the many pine trees on our property, little land because our parsonage and the church building are on the same property, no spicket, and very short growing seasons (due to long winters).  Put all of this together in addition to a husband who says no and the answer is no to gardening.  So, I ask the question, "how do I feed my family fresh fruits and veggies year round while maintaining to be a frugal mom?"  After talking to a dear lady in our congregation who owned her own farm for many years in central NY (2 and a half hours away),  she suggested that I could still can and freeze fresh fruits and veggies with out having a garden.  She said to find a local farmer (even if I must drive a little ways a way) and support him or her and buy large quantities from them.  So now, my plan is to find a local farmer and support them, pick wild berries in the summer (our favorite summer activity), try and learn how to hunt or find a farmer who will sell us meat, buy local maple syrup (in about a month it will be tree tapping time), and just be thankful that God has placed us here to bloom.

What Came In The Mail And Why We Were Excited

The day our mail arrived it was like receiving Christmas presents when Dad walked in the door with this letter and 2 small packages.

A year ago, our oldest son wrote a letter to the President of the United States about why they let the bomber of the U.S.S. Cole go free.  This letter made his day!

My husband, being a pastor, loves to read books.  He recently has been preaching through Titus and has covered the roles of deacons and elders.  Hence, the thought these two books would be helpful to him in his studies.  His favorite company to order through is Reformation Heritage Books.
I have been looking at Sonlight curriculum for a while and could never justify ordering it because of the price.  We are a family who loves to read.  In my journey to find a supplemental curriculum, I have discovered a blog in which she uses Five In A Row and highly recommends it.   After much examination, I decided to take the plunge and order this curriculum.  It was only $35, so I figured I could be happy with that.  Most of the books are available through the library and I can also purchase them through used book sellers.  I also found a book crossing site that enables me to basically swap books like paperback swap with just the cost of postage.  The basic concept behind FIAR is to use a book a week and to teach through literature, art, science, social studies, and math while reading the same book every day for the entire week.  Heather over at says that the main difference between the two curriculums (she has used both) is that Sonlight devours through books (creating a love for many books with quick reading), while FIAR savors the books the children read (creating a love for great books and teaching them how to deeply read a book).  Needless to say, I am very excited to get started in FIAR with my 5 year old.  If there are any other FIAR mommies, I would love to hear your feedback as I am brand new to FIAR.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursdays: From Scratch

This week I took on a challenge from Sarah over at to make as many things from scratch as I am able and then post about my progress every Thursday.  For the first time ever this week I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns.  My family liked them so much that I made them 3 times this week.  I also made whole wheat buttery pan rolls (with the little bit of butter I had left), whole wheat tortillas, and navy bean and ham soup.  My sewing machine was also brought out this week.  I decided that it would be a fun thing to make aprons for all of my children.  The only apron that I was able to finish this week was for my oldest daughter.  I used material that I had left over from the curtains that I made for the girls room several years ago.  I am still planning on stitching on her name.  This is my favorite material.   Lastly, I am learning how to patch jeans.

I've Got Helpers, Yes I Do! I've Got Helpers! How About You?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Having A Grateful Heart

This week my husband was scheduled to go on a missions trip to Mississippi for construction work with most of the other men in our congregation, but one of our members who has cancer has been in and out of the hospital.  After spending much time in prayer and talking with the other men the decision was made that it would be best for him to stay.  It ended up being a very wise decision because our sweet member is back in the hospital again and my husband may be driving to the hospital to see her.  He is currently taking care of their home while they are away.  I am very thankful that I have a husband who spends much time in prayer before making decisions and that he is home.

Another thing for which I am thankful for is our well stocked freezer and pantry.  Because the Lord has blessed us with an abundance of food that I was able to stock up on this past summer and fall, I only needed to spend $17 on groceries this week for our family of 7.  It is my goal to not spend more than $25 a week at the grocery store over the next four weeks.

I am thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be able to purchase our I-Mac.  We had our hopes set on purchasing the Flip this week, but because of bills that needed to be payed we were unable to purchase it.  However, I am okay with this.  I am learning to be grateful for the things that I do have.  The Lord is supplying our needs and I am grateful for this.

So many times, we see things that are around us and desire them above all other things.  We should treasure Christ above all other things.  Our thankfulness should flow from a heart that is overflowing with Christ's love.  What really matters in life?  Is it that we get the latest technology available or is it that we love Christ more and more?  Are we making the most out of the things that we do have or are we complaining about the things that we do not have?  This week, I could have spent time complaining that I did not have butter, but instead I was thankful that I had shortening.  In fact, I was thankful that I have been reading, By The Shores Of Silver Lake, to my children during oral reading time.  I just read about how that  the Ingals family had surprise visitors for Christmas and how that they made due with what they had and ended up having a grand time and had more than enough.  Mrs. Boast had just asked Laura how she managed to make such good sour dough biscuits when she had no butter and very little milk.  Laura went on to explain that she took a little flour and a little warm water and put it in a bowl and covered it with a cloth and then placed a plate on top of the bowl.  When the dough was sour, it was ready to use.  She then proceeded to take out a little sour dough, soda, salt, and flour and roll them out on a board to make sour dough biscuits.  She places the scraps of dough back in the bowl with the extra flour and the starter continues.  The Little House books are full of ways to use what you have and always have a grateful heart no matter what trial comes your way.

How are you handling the trials that are coming your way?  Are you secretly angry at God that he has given you more responsibility than you think that you can handle?  Do you think that by living in a certain part of the country things will better for you and you will be content?  If so, your contentment is based upon outside circumstances and not upon the finished work of Christ.  Delight in Christ!  Make Him your true joy and contentment.  Whatever trial is in your life right now that you do not feel as though you can handle, ask God for wisdom.  He gives wisdom liberally to all who genuinely ask of Him without exception.  Just as He gave my husband wisdom on whether or not to go to Mississippi, He will give you wisdom in your trial that you may be going through now.  He is the God of all wisdom and knowledge, look to Him today and rejoice.  Be thankful for this day today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Granola Bars, Yogurt, and Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Today, I decide to search and see if I could find a healthy recipe for granola bars using steel cut oats.  Steel cut oats have become a favorite around our house lately since I bought 50 lbs. and we eat them most morning for breakfast since I can cook them in the crock pot.  Anyhow, I found a recipe that is very versatile.  It is also tasty, healthy, and economical (using only ingredients that I already had).

Granola Bars

21/2 cups rolled or steel-cut oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (I used the whole egg)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together everything except vanilla, eggs, water, and peanut butter.
  2. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Mix well.
  3. Add water a little at a time until mixture is just moist.  Be careful not to make the mixture too moist as it will not bake correctly.

While I was busy cooking, I decide to use my yogurt maker.  It was very easy.  I brought 7 jars of milk to boil on the stove top and then cooled it to 95 degrees and mixed in 5 Tbs. warmed home made jam with 5 Tbs. plain yogurt.  Then, I poured it all back in the individual yogurt cups and let it warm for about 10 hours and placed it in the refrigerator.  We will enjoy yogurt with blueberries for breakfast in the morning.

The final thing we made today was home made whole wheat flour tortillas.  I got this recipe from my friend Janelle over at  This was my first time to make tortillas and they were a big hit!  I just need to figure out how to roll them out thinner with out having a tortilla press.  If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to take them.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

These are pictures of how beautiful the homemade hamburger buns turned out.  I shared the recipe yesterday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On Saving Money And A Challenge For The Next Month

Last week, I took the time to write out a food inventory.  I wrote down everything that was in my refrigerator, freezer, and chest freezer.  I did not need to write down everything in my pantry because I visually see what is in the pantry daily.  It helps to keep things organized neatly inside the cabinets.  My list was very long and I showed it to my husband.  The conclusion was made that it was time to just eat from the stock that I had worked so hard at building all last summer, fall, and this winter.  I didn't want any of it to spoil because I simply did not use it.  I have a large variety of foods to chose from.  So, my challenge for the next month is to just eat from what I have and only spend no more than $25 a week at the grocery store for a family of 7.  Do you think that I can do it?  I started this challenge this week and only spend $17 today for our entire week.  I would love to hear from others out there who are willing to join me and see how little you can spend on groceries in the next four weeks.  My grand total last month was $320.  I chose to try freezer cooking the past 4 weeks and loved every minute.  I plan on doing more freezer cooking this time also.

Some tips that I would love to leave you with is: shop for items only if they are on sale, on sale with a coupon, buy your baking goods from a whole sale food supplier (it is much cheaper), eat more whole grains, make your own foods (such as salad dressings and breads), buy fruits and veggies in season if you do not have a garden, can and freeze your fruits and veggies (even if it must be purchased from the grocery store), and eat more frozen fruits in the winter months (I purchased 30lbs. of frozen blueberries for $29 from a whole sale food supplier and my kids LOVE to eat these for a snack).  Also, learn the art of making your own things.  Experiment and have fun!  You would be amazed at all the products that you could actually make from your own home.  The internet is a great resource for finding out how to make things in your own home.  If anyone else has other tips that they have learned along the way, I would be happy to know.

Just the other day, I found this amazing recipe for homemade hamburger buns.  I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out absolutely beautiful.  All the credit goes to a wonderful mom over at Please visit her website as she is very helpful.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt

1.  Mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups warm water.  Rest for 30 minutes.
2.  Mix 1/4 cup of water, 4 1/2 tsp. yeast, and 2 Tbs. honey.  Rest for 10 minutes.
3.  Melt 2 Tbs. butter, 1/2 cup milk, and 2 tsp. salt in a small pan on the stovetop. Do not let the temperature get above 120 degrees.
4.  Pour yeast mixture and milk mixture into flour mixture.  Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and knead for 10 minutes, until dough looks shiny.
5.  Put dough back in bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour.
6.  Knead dough to get bubbles out and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut in circles with a large mouth coffee cup.  Place in a well buttered baking dish, cover, and let it rise for 30 minutes.
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Another recipe that I am looking forward to trying is for whole wheat flour tortillas.  You can find this recipe over at my friend Janelle's website

I am looking forward to much feedback on your plan for being frugal on groceries.  One of my favorite blogs has a challenge to to make from scratch.  She is a frugal mom!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Follow Up...

The kids and I walked over to worship service and who did I find on my way over, but two visitors,  very welcome visitors who would change my day.  We live in a vacation community and never know who will show up on any given Sunday.  So, this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see some dear friends from Ballston Lake Baptist Church, the Reids.  You may not know them, but they are special to us and surprised us.  They stayed for the afternoon and enjoyed a nice meal while we had a wonderful time of fellowship with them.  The funny thing about all of this is that I had just tried a new recipe out yesterday from for homemade whole wheat hamburger buns.  They turned out picture perfect and I was thrilled to be able to get to serve them for lunch with some barbecue beef and salad to our unexpected, but very welcome, guests!  You never know what the Lord has already planned for your day, so be prepared.  Life is a journey!  Enjoy the ride.

The Lord's Mercies Are New Each Morning And I Will Chose To Not Be Crabby Today

Do you ever wake up on a Sunday morning and suddenly realize, after walking down stairs, that you don't have things all together?  Your kitchen floor was not swept or mopped the night before, kids do not have clean socks, a shoe is lost, your husband's socks are not clean, you decided that because the day before your body was hurting to stay in bed for an extra few minutes and you missed your Bible reading time, you forgot to turn on the crock pot last night (which was your breakfast), you wake up grouchy because you stayed in bed a few extra minutes  and now it is the Lord's day and you are unprepared?  Well, fear not!  The Lord's mercies are new each and every day!  It is your decision as to whether or not to continue with a bad attitude, therefore putting everyone else in a bad mood.  Put on some cheery Sunday music, pray asking the Lord to change your heart and attitude and ask Him to help you to rejoice because this IS the day the LORD has made, I will chose to rejoice today!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Plans Are Not Necessarily The Lord's Plans

This morning I woke up and literally could not stand up and walk to the bathroom.  I had to crawl.  The lower right half of my back hurt so bad that I could not put any weight on my leg as I tried to walk.  It is funny how much we fully depend upon our bodies to do their jobs.  It is just suppose to work right all the time.  Didn't my body know that I had plans to read my Bible and run on the treadmill before getting the kids up and starting our day off great and that my plans did not include a hurt back?  My husband also had plans to prepare for the sermon tomorrow, not to care for his hurt wife.  Well, the Lord sure has a way to show us our dependance upon Him and not in our bodies or our plans!

After crawling to the bathroom and back I humbly ask my husband for help and he so graciously helped me and recommended that I take an advil and go to the chiropractor when he opened.  I followed his advice and am now able to walk and carry on with my day, just slowly.   The chiropractor adjusted my back and said that I needed to be taking calcium and that this was not just something that happened, but that it had been building up for a while and just manifested itself when I got up out of bed this morning.  My husband decided to stay at home and help me as I needed it.  I have come to the conclusion that just because there may be detours in the road, motherhood does not stop or even slow down.  It is still just as demanding and I just have to work at it at a slower pace today.  For now, I will just be thankful for the Lord, my husband, my body, and the chiropractor.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Successful Mom Is Genuinely Loving

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gang or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."  I Corinthians 13:1-3

What is the definition of love?  Many people have tried to define it, but upon reading I Corinthians 13, Paul tells us what love is and what it is not.  It is not rude, envious, boastful, arrogant, selfish, easily irritable, resentful, does not rejoice in wrong doing.  Love is patient, kind,  and rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and it never ends.  True love is from God and is genuine.  Love acts in self sacrifice.  Love is totally giving of myself to meet the needs of the other person without expecting anything in return.

Moms, do you genuinely love those children that God has placed in your life?  How about your husband?  Is what you do motivated out of a heart of genuine love or self praise.  Do you clean your house so that others will say, "Wow, she has a clean house and she has it all together."  Do you teach your children at home so that others will praise you for doing a good job?  Do you chose to be quiver full so that others will look at you and say, "she must be a godly woman because she is choosing to obey scripture."?  Do you submit to your husband so that others will look at you and want to follow your good example?  Do you read your Bible, pray, and memorize scripture because it is your christian duty and you want others to think that you are a godly mom?

All of these are good and godly things to be doing, but we must examine our motives behind the things that we do.  Do we do all of these things mentioned above because it is our job as mothers?  Are we doing them out of genuine love?  If not, then we are noisy, clanging symbols that amount to no good.  Today as we go about our day, let us hold one another accountable.  Let us pray for one another and encourage one another because without love our life is meaningless.  Let's check in on each other and encourage each other as the scriptures teach us to follow in godliness and to do everything we do in genuine love which comes from God alone.  Let us ask Him for help today to love our families and to have much joy in the sometimes mundane tasks of life.

Love will mourn over sin.  Love will speak well of others around us.  Love will be willing to absorb the wrongs done around us with out wanting to get even.  Love will be willing to give of yourself to your husband even when you are tired.  Love will build each other up.  Love will yield certain behaviors if it causes others to fall into sin.  Love will seek the best interest of others.  Do you have a child who easily irritates you?  Genuinely love him today!  Ask God to give you the grace to do be filled with genuine love.

If we can speak great truths to others around us, teach home school with eloquence, teach other ladies with out love it is a noisy symbol.  There were two prophets in scripture who were sent to proclaim God's Word who are a great example of teaching in love and teaching without love, Jonah and Jeremiah.  Jeremiah had genuine love.  Jonah did not really love the people.  He was just doing duty.  Amy Carmichael said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.  Love involves much sacrifice.  What motivates this sacrifice that you make daily?  Is it genuine love?  Love is not only the act, but the heart of the matter.  If I do good to others around me, with out love, it profits me nothing. No matter what "good" we do, if it is not done in love, it profits us nothing.  Follow God in love.  Ask Him to give you the grace necessary to genuinely love today without expecting anything in return.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, & Oral a multi-sensory approach.

AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, & Oral
a multi-sensory approach.

I wrote this to be connected to my previous post but could not figure out how to combine the two posts.  Sorry for the confusion!

Do You Have A Child Who Struggles With Dyslexia?

If you are like many parents who have children who struggle with dyslexia, many subjects will give you fits.  I have found spelling to be the biggest problem for us.  We have tried many different spelling curricula  all to no avail.  One day we stumbled upon something that finally made sense.  The approach it took was through using a multi-sensory approach, teaching students to recognize patterns of spelling based on the rules of the English language, but without all the complicated explanations.  It is called Sequential Spelling and is available through a very helpful website  This organization was developed by a man named Don McCabe.  He also sends out helpful newsletters.

I like this approach because it is level based.  Not long ago, we made the change in our teaching to level based and not grade based.  I feel that this is important because if you have a child who is not making much progress, he or she does not feel bad when they see that their level is based upon mastery of the subject and not upon grade level advancement.  There are seven progressive levels of difficulty.  The students take tests daily and as they recognize more and more patterns and begin to spell words correctly they become more and more confident- all without studying- and their confidence and spelling skills soar like never before.

I highly recommend this website and this curriculum!  One last thing, to those of you who love Sonlight curriculum, this is a spelling core.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pictures From The High Peaks

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary by loading all 5 kids in the van and driving up to the high peaks.  While we were there we toured an ice castle in Saranac Lake, drove over to Whiteface Mountain, drove over to Gore Mountain, and went to see a few of the places that the Olympians train (such as the ski jump).  For lunch we had bologna sandwiches and chips (my suggestion).  It was such  an enjoyable day as normally Monday's are our shopping day in the city.  We decided to forgo our weekly shopping trip so that we could take a ride all through the Adirondacks.  The last time we did this was about 3 years ago, so this was a TRUE treat!  It reminds us of the beauty of where we live!  So, here a few of the pictures.  I will post all the pictures on my facebook account if you care to see them all.  Just add me as your friend and you can then view them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Determines A Successful Mom?

Just yesterday my husband was asked the question, "what does a successful pastor look like?"  He gave a very thoughtful and Biblical answer.  It got me to thinking, "what does a successful mom look like?"  I have a few thoughts that I would like to share with you on this topic, but first I am going to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary with my husband and our children.  We are going to the ice castle and to hopefully tour the Olympic training center.  I would first like to hear my readers response.  I will write on this topic soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Lost Tooth, A New Fascination, Lego Building, and Red Rover Playing All In A Day

After much wait, the tooth finally comes out!!!  Our sweet daughter does not want any one touching her tooth when it is loose.  We must literally wait till the tooth is hanging by a thread.  However, in the past two weeks she has lost two teeth and now has that precious toothless grin that most seven year olds get.
Another thing that is taking place in our busy household is a new fascination for shoes and hats.  We have taught our children how to sign using Signing Time videos and sweet, Emily, goes around the house signing shoes and hats.  She also puts them on all the time and loves having her picture taken.

During rest time the favorite activity of my oldest child is building legos while listening to Jonathan Park.  I found this army set up after rest time.

The very last thing that I am going to share with you is the children playing a game of Red Rover.  I just taught them this game today and they loved it!  It was funny, by the end of the game little Emily was even saying, "Red Rover".

We concluded our afternoon play with learning how to break dance.  Every one performed their dance and I recorded it, but I will not bore you any more.  It was a great memory maker.  Kids are wonderful!!!