Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Left Over Oatmeal? No Problem.

We have come to love steel-cut oats and many days I will make more than enough.  Is anyone wondering what I do with all the left-over oatmeal?  Make baked oatmeal, oatmeal peanut butter balls, use it in breads or muffins, or make granola with all of it.

Basic Baked Oatmeal Recipe

After I have made oats from the previous day, I use all the left over oats (usually about 4-6 cups)
4 eggs, mixed well
2 cups yogurt, Kefir, or milk
1/2-1 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar or preferred sweetener
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2-1 cup chopped nuts
optional: fruit (this morning I added frozen diced peaches)

Mix all of the above ingredients and place in a 9x13 in. baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday

This is what I woke up to this morning.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nothing Like Fast

Our old washing machine has been on it's last leg for a while now, not spinning out clothes.  I found an add in the paper today for a washer for $75 in the next town over, 2 miles away.  I waited till hubby came home and asked him if we could purchase it.  He said yes.  I called and they need us to pick it up right now because they are moving out.  So, I had to find someone to help with a pick-up truck.  It all worked out and now the kids and I are doing a quick clean up while they are picking up our new used washing machine.  Plus, God provided the money!  That is the best part of it all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Christian Home

O give us homes built firm upon the Savior, Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide; Where every child is taught His love and favor and gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified:  How sweet to know that, tho' his footsteps waver, His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers, Who always place their hope and trust in Him;  Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers, Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;  A home where each finds joy in serving others,  And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,  The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;  Where pray'r comes first in peace or in disaster, And praise is natural speech to every tongue;  Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster,  And Christ sufficient is for old  and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!  We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;  Their bonds of love no enemy can sever  If Thou art always Lord and Master there:  Be Thou the center of our least endeavor-  Be Thou our guest, our hearts and homes to share.

Barbara B. Hart  1965

Hymns are a vital part of our daily life and I could not resist posting this hymn that we sang tonight during family worship.  The theology is rich.  The words are powerful.  This is my prayer and I hope that it will be your prayer too.

It has become a pattern of ours to sing our way through the hymnal that our church is using, focusing on learning one hymn a week.  Then on Sunday evenings, since we do not have evening services, we have an extended time of family worship in which we pray, read our Bible, review catechism and memory verses from our TAG books, and have a hymn sing.  Everyone gets an opportunity to choose their favorite hymn and we all sing along.  Even our youngest, 19 months, sings along.  We have come across many songs in which we did not know, so Cyber Hymnal has become our friend.  If you go to the site, you can just type in the song and it is played for you with out the words.  So, if you wanted you could all gather around the computer and sing along as the words are written out on the site.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Sun Is Shinning Today

Yesterday and today have been a much better day.  Thank you all for your prayers recently.    I took the children to Moss Lake hiking trails today and they had a blast playing in the water and in the woods.  Also, we thoroughly enjoyed outside time today.  The sun is out and we soak in every little bit of it that we can.  It does not shine often, and when it does it makes for a glorious day outside.  Right now we are enjoying a highly recommended movie:  Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Movie.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Mommy Hits A Brick Wall

Ladies, I am sure that many of you can relate.  You reach the point of total exhaustion and feel that you can handle no more.  You either start yelling at those around you, fall into depression, cry, sleep, or all of the above.  I have hit that brick wall in my life today.  Life around me seems to be happening so fast.  There are financial struggles within the church that sometimes cause me to stress, children who argue and pick on each other all day long, many new things to learn as we have began a new journey in making all things from scratch (which I love doing), learning to be frugal, stress over having to prevent getting pregnancy due to health concerns (even though I feel strongly against doing things to prevent pregnancy, but trust my doctor), and trying to be a happy homemaker who is immersed in the Scriptures.  Today I fell in utter defeat.  I napped twice and still feel exhausted!  I feel lazy when I take a nap.  I feel like I am not using my time wisely.  However, in order to be a better mommy, I need to be refreshed and take a break every once in a while.  Since we do not have family nearby, my husband and I must rely upon each other to help take care of each other.  He sees my weakness and gives me a break when I need one.    I am  rejoicing that the Lord was my strength today.  The Holy Spirit carried me through the day today.  Tomorrow will be a new day and the Lord's mercies are made new each and every day.

I have not blogged much this week and will hopefully get back on schedule next week.  The week started with the absence of my husband.  He was away in South Carolina preaching.  We drove him to the airport on Friday and then picked him up on Monday.  The airport is about a little over 2 and a half hours from our home.  Then on Tuesday, we traveled to Utica for a doctor's appointment and a few errands.  So, my reason for not blogging has been well justified.  Also, yesterday, I posted about the struggles many pastor's wives face and received a great comment from Celee.  However, after my husband read the post he felt that it was a good post (but a little too personal) and that it could offend others, so I needed to delete it.  I appreciate all my readers and their comments.  It is never my goal to offend others in what I write.  I want to be an encouragement to others and to be real.  I am not super-mom and cannot handle it all.  It is entirely the Lord who enables me to do the things that I do.  I am thankful for the Lord and His mercies.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Feeling A Little Discouraged

We make our plans but the Lord directs our steps.  No matter how hard we wish for, hope for, pray for, and desire certain things to happen if it is not in the Lord's will it will not happen.  The Lord is teaching me to place my confidence in Him alone and not in my circumstances.  He is to be my contentment and nothing else.  But the reality is that every time I get my hopes up about certain desires being fulfilled they seem to just get deflated and the more discouraged I become.  I truly desire the Lord's will and not my own, so I will just rest in Him knowing that He always does what is best.  Right now I just feel like a child who desires candy and cannot have it because it is not what is best for me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Canning Peach Jam

In order to make fresh jam all you need is 4 cups fresh or frozen fruit, sugar-free sure gel pectin, 3/4 cup cold water or 12 oz apple juice concentrate, and 1/2 cup sugar substitute.  In a sauce pan bring the fruit to a boil and then add the pectin and boil for 1 minute with either the water or juice concentrate.  After it has reached a full boil for 1 minute add the sugar substitute and boil an additional minute.  Pour into hot and steralized canning jars.  Let it sit for at least 24 hours.  Enjoy!

This is a picture of mushrooms, ketchup, peach jam, and pinto beans!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Frugal Friday

Tip for today:  Shop for great used children's books at library sales.  Plan to take some time, money, and a box.  Look up the libraries in your area and ask when their book sales are scheduled.  Often, they will also keep a cart or a room in which they will keep the books until the sale.  I have found that if you just ask, they will let you in to see the books and purchase any that you may find.  My son came home a few weeks ago with a large stack of books that he purchased for only $5!  Usually they will only charge 25 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardbacks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guest Post From Sandy: Read To Me, Mommy #1 Biographies

 I asked my dear friend Sandy, who owns more than 9000 books in her library to write a few posts for me about books for children.  Enjoy!

Ride along on Hudson Taylor’s first voyage to China...trek through the virgin forests with George Washington, the young surveyor....painstakingly sew a flag with Betsy Ross....suffer the grief of a mother dying with Abraham Lincoln....brave the dangers of going to a remote tribe with David Livingstone.

All of these adventures and more will be yours and your children’s as you read biographies aloud. But this isn’t the only benefit to reading biographies to your children. The true story of a great man or woman will set before your sons and daughters a wonderful example for them to follow. Most of the heroes of today’s society are not fit to be copied. But godly men and women of the past and present as well as the great statesmen and patriots of our American heritage are worthy of presenting to our children. Reading biographies helps us understand the backgrounds of these people’s lives that lead to the great feats they did usually in their later lives. Let’s raise our children’s dreams to those thing that are noble and good, that are unselfish and of pure motive, that are full of worthy character. All of this can be done by reading aloud biographies to them.

Reading the tales of great people also indirectly teaches history to your children. This is so much more effective than a straight historical account in a textbook. The people of history “come alive”. After all, what is history? God’s work in the lives of people involves in the circumstances of life.

Many series of biographies are available today at reasonable costs. Not everything you can sign out of libraries will be good for your children to read. Choose carefully. Remember that most of the public library books will not be written from a Christian perspective. So a great American who was a Christian will be presented without that important part of his life being portrayed. Those who opposed Christianity throughout history will be presented as worthy role models. So be careful when you are picking biographies. Listed below are some good sets of biographies and some good publishers, as well as some sources for finding these for your family. Grade levels listed are approximate and for your child reading the book for himself. Of course, these books can be read aloud to children younger or older than listed.

It may take awhile for your children to learn to really appreciate a good biography because this type of literature is rarely assigned in school work today. And when was the last time you read a biography? Perhaps I can challenge you to read at least one. I find the missionary biographies particularly interesting. When I read these, my problems become petty; my “sufferings” are meager; and my faith is found wanting. I need these giants of the faith to keep my life in perspective. We love biographies so much that our family has collected almost 2,000 of them! You are welcome to come by and borrow some for your spring and summer reading. We also have some excellent audio cassette and CD sets of great biographies. Wonderful for traveling time!

Biography Sets

Childhood of Famous Americans - This popular set was first published in the 1950's and some of the 200+ titles have been reprinted in paperback now. We have found almost 100 of the old edition at book sales. They are wonderful stories, telling about the childhood of famous American people. Our children loved them. Each book is close to 200 pages with black and white sketch drawings or silhouette illustrations. For grades 3-5. Not from a Christian perspective but do not mock these heroes for their beliefs and Christianity.

The Sower Series - Published by Mott Media, a Christian company, these biographies will tell of the true Christian character of many famous people such as Appleseed, Morse, Wesley, Handel, carver, Webster. For grades 5-8, about 150-200 pages.

Men & Women of Faith series - This set is mainly of men and women who were missionaries and portrays their faith in God including Carmichael, ten Book, Elliot, Stam, Muller, Kuhn, Slessor and Carey. Reading level is grade 6 through adult. Published by Bethany House.

Hero Tales - four volumes - by Dave & Neta Jackson. A family treasury of true stories from the lives of Christian heroes. Short biographical information and three stories that display the person’s character plus Scripture verses and thought provoking discussion questions. For all ages.

Biographies for girls by Tracy M. Leininger - Priscilla Mullins, Nan Harper, Sacagawea, and Dolley Madison. Available from Vision Forum. Other titles of biographies from this company as well for boys and adults.

Living Principles of America - Audio dramatizations of America’s Greatest Heroes. CD. Each set has 12 stories.

Your Story Hour recordings - Audio dramatizations of American heroes. CD.

Focus on the Family Radio Theater - They have produced many biographical audio dramas. For example: Squanto, Corrie ten Boom, William Wilberforce, John Newton, etc.

Voice of the Martyrs - Beautiful picture story books of famous people including St. Nicholas, St. Valentine, and others. Lovely!

The Reading Parent

I had a parent who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
Blackbirds stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a parent who read me plays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every child has a right to know.

I had a parent who read me
Tales of Gelert the Hound of the Hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness bent with his final breath.

I had a parent who read me the things
That wholesome life to the child heart brings -
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each parent of children were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a parent who read to me.

~Author unknown~

Frugal Friday Coming Soon...

Be on the watch out for money saving tips on Fridays.  I will be posting tips that I have been learning along the way on Fridays and hoping that others will join along and share your insights each week as I post a tip.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Canning Mushrooms

On our recent grocery trip, I ran across some great markdowns in the produce department.  Mushrooms were marked down to $1.05 per 10 oz. package and bananas were marked down to 29 cents a pound averaging a little over $1 per bag.  I bought 11 packs of mushrooms and 6 bags of bananas.  Once home, I figured that I could just can the mushrooms.  It was easy once I learned.  In order to can mushrooms all you do is clean your mushrooms and trim off the end of the stems.  Soak the mushrooms in cold water for 10 minutes and then rinse them well.  Place them in a pan of water and boil them for 15 minutes.  In the mean time, prepare your canning jars and lids in a pot of water.  Place the jars on the counter and fill them with mushrooms, the same water in which you boiled them in, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint jar filling them to 1/2 head space.  Screw on the lids.  Place the jars in a pressure canner and cook for 45 minutes.  I did not have a pressure canner, so I just placed a rack at the bottom of my water bath canner, filled the pot to about 2 inches above the jars, and boiled it for 45 minutes.  When finished, place the jars on the counter and let it sit still overnight.  In the morning, it is okay to remove the ring while making sure your jar is sealed and place them on the shelf for future use.

If you want to know more about canning, I would highly suggest buying Homestead Blessings:The Art of Canning.  I just purchased the complete set of Homestead Blessings through Vision Forum and received them yesterday.  I have since watched 2 and highly recommend them.  If you want to know more about Homestead Blessings here is their website:

Signs of Spring

Last week we took a hike twice around Moss Lake.  The first day it rained.  The next day, we hiked the entire 2 and a half miles and had a blast.  Our 3 year old ran almost the entire way!  I took lots and lots of pictures and had a hard time choosing which ones to post.

Wordless Wednesday

One of our sweet members at church came over just to read to my children today.  Priceless!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recipe Swap: Beef

I am getting ready to purchase a half of a cow and need to be inspired with lots of beef recipes.  We typically do not eat a lot of beef because of the price.  However, we have a friend who is an organic farmer and has given us an amazing deal on beef that we could not pass up so I am hoping that a lot of people will join with me and post a link for their favorite beef recipe.  If this all works out well, I would love to continue the recipe swap to include other foods on Saturdays.  I am thinking of calling it Recipe Swap Saturday.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Want to join me in meeting other mommy bloggers? Come on along and see what all the fun is about April 9-16th. There will be lots of great prizes and a chance to meet up with other moms who are on this same journey of motherhood. I think that it will be agreat time to expand your horizons and read new blogs.

Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Debbie, a wife to a wonderful man who is a pastor in Upstate NY. We have been blessed by the Lord to have 5 children here on earth and 1 precious little girl in Heaven. I home school our children and they are 9,7,5,3, and 1. We are reformed in our theology, see children as a blessing, and feel convicted that it is our duty to teach our own children. My husband pastors a small church in the Adirondack Mountains and our children stay with us during the worship service.

A few other things about myself that you may want to know is that being a pastor's family we make very little money so I am joyfully pursuing frugality! Any tip that I find I take note of and carefully consider it. I am learning how to make things from scratch and having fun. It is fun to see just how many things that you can actually make at home from very simple ingredients while saving money, teaching the children, and loving every minute. Recently, I have been making yogurt, breads, tomato paste, ketchup, dishcloths, and the list goes on. Frugality has been a journey for me since I did not grow up learning the art.  

Growing up, my Mom and Dad both worked, have been married several times, and sent my sister and I to day care and public school. My Mom did try and schedule her work so that she could be home when my sister and I arrived home from school on the bus as much as possible. My Mom and step-Dad took us to church. I grew up Independent Baptist. After finishing High School, I went to community college and then on to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO in order to meet a husband. I met him in my first year and we married after a year in February 1996. It was the second best decision of my life. My first best decision was when the Holy Spirit drew me to HImself in salvation (which was entirely a work of Him and not myself) September 2001.

I hope that you, too, will join me in this journey of motherhood as I blog about life regularly. Comments make my day :) I love meeting new people and getting to hear what the Lord is teaching them on this same journey. Please feel free to leave a comment anytime or e-mail me with any questions that you may have

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's A Woman To Do?

I know that this sound silly.  Being a wife and mom are the most important job in the world and many days I wake up and ask myself, "what am I suppose to be doing?"  Does anyone else struggle with this?  Just yesterday I installed a clothes line and I feel productive.  Earlier in the week I completed a crocheted wash cloth and I feel industrious.  When I make bread and yogurt I feel delighted.  Growing up, I did not learn many homemaking skills, so this is all still new to me.  However, I am loving every minute.  This is all a big learning process and very often I feel as if I do not know what it is that I am suppose to be doing.  Do any of you have these same struggles?  Who taught you to be a homemaker?  What books have most influenced you in homemaking skills?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Crane, A Hike, and a Very Tired Little Boy

This day started out with much excitement over getting to watch a crane being put together in our front yard driveway.  The bridge has been taken out and workers needed to put together a crane, so after asking us we graciously allowed them the use of the church's parking lot.  Yesterday, they promised us that after the crane was put together that the children could climb up into it and have their picture taken.  Everyone was thrilled and anxiously awaited the wonderful opportunity.  In the mean time, I decided to allow the children to play outside while I put up a clothes line.  They finished the job and the children never got the opportunity to get inside the crane.  However, we did get to see it up close and take pictures.

Later in the day, we got to take a hike around Moss Lake.  It started pouring and we were deep in the woods.  By the time we got back to the van we were all soaked.  Everyone seemed not to mind, but thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here are a few pictures that I was able to take.  Had it not been pouring, I would have taken much better pictures.  The hike was still fun and well worth every minute!

A very tired little boy

Wordless Wednesday- Signs of Spring (Week 5) No More Snow!!!

Notice the green :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thankful Tuesday

Please join me each Tuesday as we seek to give thanks for 10 things to our glorious God.  It will be an amazing journey to look back upon if we list 10 things each week.  We will be cultivating a heart of gratitude.  Will you join me in this challenge this week?  Just copy and paste this button on your website and leave a reply in the comments.  I LOVE comments!

31.  Little girls who are big helpers.

32.  Big brothers who are brave.

33.  Helpers around my house when it comes to chores.

34.  Children who volunteer to prepare lunch and do a great job.

35.  Getting to rock my sweet baby (now toddler) before she went to sleep.

36.  A new laundry schedule that I think will work.

37.  A clothes line that will be installed tomorrow.

38.  Time to crochet a wash cloth and complete it!

39.  Getting the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and loving every minute!

40.  Hubby and I getting back on the treadmill after a few weeks of not being as faithful as we should have been and a plan to follow called  couch to 5K.

Concluding Thoughts On Holy Week

I want to take a few moments and quote from the Westminster Directory of Public Worship in regards to celebrating Holy Days.

There is no day in scripture commanded to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath.  Festive days, vulgarly (i.e.- commonly) called Holy-days, having no warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.
Nevertheless, it is lawful and necessary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving, as the several eminent and extraordinary dispensations of God's providence shall administer cause and opportunity to his people. 

What are your responses?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Do You Believe about Celebrating Holy Week

While the rest of the world is waking up this morning to celebrate Christ's resurrection, I am asking a question.  Why do we need Holy Week to reflect on Christ's death and resurrection?  I grew up in Texas.  When I was a child on Easter morning, I would wake up to new clothes, shoes, and a hat.   Later in the morning, my family and I would attend a traditional southern Easter service.    The choir would sing a special Easter cantata, and the pastor would preach on the resurrection.  After the service, we would have an Easter egg hunt for all the children.  People, who gave no thought of Christ throughout the year,  would pack the pews, wanting to punch their spiritual time clock in order to earn their way into heaven.

This week I reflected on why many professing evangelicals celebrate Holy Week.  It wasn't always the case.  In a distant past, evangelicals would have felt that such practice was catholic in conviction.   Why is Easter so special?  Don't we celebrate the resurrection of Christ every Sunday?  Why did the early church assemble on the first day of the week?  Was it because of their Lord's resurrection?  Isn't every Lord's day an Easter celebration?

 What do you believe about celebrating Holy Week?  Do you find it helpful?  Have you given it much thought as to why you observe these religious holidays?  Is it conviction or just tradition?  How do these religious holidays affect people's view of the Lord's day?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Question About Milk Powder

I am hoping that someone out there can help me.  I recently called Hillcrest Foods (the place where I order all of my bulk baking supplies) and asked about prices for dry milk powder.  They gave me the prices for both low heat and high heat milk powder.  They could not explain the differences.  I want to use it in making yogurt, baking bread, and in cooking.  Does anyone have a suggestion on which one I should purchase?  Also, could someone please explain to me the difference between the two.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursdays: From Scratch (Week 5)

This week I continued my from scratch journey in making everything I serve from scratch.  I tried 3 new things:  finger paint, tomato paste, and ketchup.

The finger paint was 1/3 cup corn starch or arrow root  and  2 cups water mixed and cooked on the stove top till thick like gel.  Then I add 1/3 cup dishwashing detergent and a few drops of food coloring.  Once finished enjoy with the children.

Tomato paste is made from 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes boiled down till thick with 1 tsp. of onion powder and 1 tsp. garlic powder.

Ketchup is made from 12 oz of tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup either maple syrup or honey, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder and onion powder if not using homemade tomato paste, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 4 Tbs. cider vinegar.  Combine and blend in blender till smooth.  Store in refrigerator or pour in canning jars and process.

Don't forget to join Sarah on her journey in making things from scratch and writing about it every Thursday.

The Best Thing Since Wheat Bread- Shadow Drawing

My children played outside for hours drawing shadows on our drive way.  They were happy to show off their art work.

Wordless Wednesday- Signs of Spring (Week 4)

Better late than never.  Wednesday is just so busy and I don't want to miss this post so it will probably be late often.  The snow is almost gone.  It is not till the end of the season that it turns dirty.  The rest of the year the snow is gloriously white and it is a winter wonderland around here.  I can't wait to show you all how green it gets in the summer.