Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Going on Around Here

Life has been full lately.  Some of the things we have been doing....

Bob has completed our third chicken coop.  We call it the Dawdi Haus because it is attached to Coop 2.  The oldest group of hens has moved in and seems to have settled in nicely.

It has 3 nest boxes and a nifty lid so that you can reach inside and get the eggs without going into the coop!
(He's so smart!)

He also has replaced our upstairs toilet, it broke!  So glad he is a handy fix-it man!!  I'll spare you the picture.....

Today he stained the back of the carport of our log home.  It was one of those jobs way down on the list.  But now it is done and looks great! 

Of course, he is puttering in what is left of the garden, considering the heat and excessive drought conditions. 

And, most importantly, Bob has had precious time to read the Bible.  God is teaching him more and more and he is soaking it up like a sponge! 

While reviewing some history books for the boys' schoolwork, he realized that his ancestors on his mother's side come down from the Pilgrims of 1620 and the Puritans that came over on the Winthrop Fleet in 1630! 
And that they wanted a godly life and religious freedom and were willing to put their lives on the line to get it!

The kids have all gotten new computers.  They were able to buy them with the money they earned from their businesses.  So far, Julia has gotten back into blogging, taught herself how to use Gimp and started a new site for free blog backgrounds.  (My new background is one of her free backgrounds!)  She is also my "right hand man-er-woman"!  She helps me so much around the house.

Mark has ramped up his schooling and is planning a new Lego movie with Steven. 

Steven has made a stop-motion animation movie about David and Goliath.  He is in the finishing stages and we are hoping for the premiere soon!  Then Mark and Steven plan to do a movie together. 

We are excited about some new places for the kids to sell their ebooks.  They are now "live" on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Ebook Store!  Yay!  Click on the link and then search in "companies" for Warfare by Duct Tape and Jewels by Julia.  We have a couple other places in the works, more info on that later. 

They are also kept busy caring for our 26 new little chicks that I posted about last time.

Me, well, I have learned to continental knit.  I am basically a crocheter that dabbles in knitting.  But I find knitting to be very slow for me.  I watched this knitting video after someone suggested the continental style and I really like it!  It will take some practice to get really fast but I have it down now.  I love learning new skills even at my age! 

It has been a whole month that I have been trying a new way of eating.  A friend of mine has Fibromyalgia and she was greatly helped by eating this way.  I don't have Fibro, but I deal with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Basically it is no sugar, no high fructose corn syrup and no hydrogenated oils or lard.  Do you know how many foods this cuts out?  The kind in a can or already processed?  Quite a bit.  So I have learned how to make my own refried beans, my own tortilla shells with whole wheat and ones from corn.  I have made muffins with honey instead of sugar.  I dragged out my old Sue Gregg cookbooks and voila!  it was all in there!  She has some great recipes if you want to keep it simple, from scratch and whole wheat, etc. 

I have been working hard to promote the kids's ebooks, fixing up websites and finding another convention for next year.  As well as plan and begin another school year with the boys. 

Dealing with our garden produce has been a learning curve for me this year!

It has been a great problem to have, pumpkins and squash, tomatoes and peppers.  Bob planted cayennes this year as well as jalapenos and green peppers and they have been prolific!!  So I will learn how to dry the cayennes and make a powder out of them.  They are too hot to eat fresh!  But I use the powder all the time to make our hotsie-totsie sauce (like Taco Bell sauce).  We've made lots of fresh salsa, too!

Today I washed about 5 dozen jars that were given to me.  I plan to can chicken soup when we butcher 3 old hens whose time has come. 

It is also time to buy groceries this week.  I plan menus for a month and grocery shop once a month.  I inventory all that I have in the pantry and freezer and then make out the grocery list.   Tomorrow is the big day to hit the stores.  I absolutely love doing it this way.  I save about 9 hours of my time every month by only shopping once in the month.  Occasionally, I'll stop in the store if there is a great BOGO sale or we need more produce. 

This has been an incredible time of learning to walk by faith.  In all areas of my life, I have to live by faith.  My health, my children, our finances, our businesses, everything is out of my control and firmly in God's hands.  I can't do anything to change these things except believe that God will make a way, show us the way to go and provide everything we need in the right time and the right way.  We are not just sitting on our hands, as they say, but doing all we can do.  But in reality, we can only trust.  God is faithful and true.  He will never leave us nor forsake us. 

So this is what has been going on in our lives.  What's new with you?
Leave a comment and tell me what new in your life.  I'd love to hear from you. 

Gotta run, Bob is patiently waiting for me to cut his hair! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

They're Here!

They have finally arrived!  They came on Friday morning early.  The phone rang and we knew it was time!!

 Here they are!  Twenty-six of the cutest, fluffiest little chicks you have ever seen!

 Freedom Ranger is their breed and they are meat chickens.  This is the first time we have gotten chickens solely for the purpose of meat. 

They are so adorable right now that it is hard to think of butchering them but we must, in about 10 weeks!  So no getting attached to them and naming them like pets.....unless the names are Crispy, Original, Nugget, Baked and Fried! 

We got them from some Mennonites in PA who raise these as their business.  The Freedom Ranger Hatchery is a very reputable business.  Our chickens came right on time and they are vigorous and healthy!  All of them lived and they even gave us a free one in case one died.  Now we have 26!

This is what they will look like when they are full grown.  The Rangers are not a hybrid breed.  They are real chickens unlike the Jumbo Cornish X chickens.  If you are looking for meat chickens, I would highly recommend this breed and these breeders.  You can find them HERE at Freedom Ranger Hatchery.

Gotta go check on the little ones,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Giveaway and Free Blog Backgrounds!!

Julia is hosting a giveaway of her jewelry! 

She is giving away 5 pairs of earrings!

Five, yes, 5 blessed people will win a pair of her handmade earrings!

This giveaway is to announce her new "I Love It!" Blog Designs website!

Go to Julia's blog to get all the details and to leave comments to enter to win.

All of the adorable blog backgrounds are free!!  She has some really pretty ones there and is busy designing new ones! 

Here are the beautiful earrings that she is giving away.....

You can get all of the details of the giveaway here at Julia's Journal.  You can also read her story of how she learned to do the backgrounds. 

The blog backgrounds can be seen HERE at "I Love It!" Blog Designs.

I am so proud of her.  It is important to let our children know they are doing a good job and that we are proud of them.  They need to hear it.  We need to say it.  It builds confidence in them and affirms our love for them. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Free Homeschool Planner

We all love a bargain, especially if it is free! 

I am an email subscriber to the Homeschool Freebie of the Day.  Daily they offer some sort of freebie, usually homeschool related.  I highly recommend it.

This FREE Homeschool Planner was a recent freebie on the Homeschool Freebie of the Day.  It is not actually free because you have to print it yourself.  But I loved the clear directions and multitude of forms that you can customize to fit your desires.  Check out the site if you haven't gotten a planner yet.  This might be just what you need! 


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Well Educated

It's that time of year.  Time to make plans for the current school year, what to study and what not to study.

It is a daunting thing to be a homeschool mom.  After all, the education of my child is on my (and my husband's) shoulders.  What if we do it wrong?  What if we don't teach them something they need to know?!?  (Some might feel this way, actually we don't, keep reading....)

Well Educated.  What parent doesn't want their child to be Well Educated?  Of course we do.  But what defines Well Educated?

I guess that depends on your worldview.  What are your beliefs as a parent based on?  What kind of person are you seeking to be and therefore what kind of person do you want your child to be?

The pressure to be like the world and to think like the world is very strong.  It (thinking like the world) is probably the way we were raised especially if we attended public school (or even Christian school).

There are basically two worldviews:
1. Man-centered
2. God-centered

Our current culture is based on the man-centered worldview.  It is basically Greek in nature.  Man's thinking and logic are the ultimate goal and authority.  Man's wisdom is sought out and made the standard for living.  The classics like Plato, Socrates, Homer, Aristotle and Shakespeare are studied and glorified.  They become the center of our educational choices.  You might be considered not Well Educated if you don't study these teachings.   

As a Christian should I have a God-centered worldview or a man-centered worldview?  Is the Bible, God's Word, my guide and my authority?  Am I seeking to make God's thinking my thinking, and God's ways, my ways?  Do I desire to become more like God daily in my beliefs and how I live my life? 

The God-centered worldview does just that.  It places the Bible as the authority and guide for life.  The ways of God are sought after and taught to the children.  It may mean not being like the world, but choosing to be like Christ in all things.  So as parents, if we have been educated in a traditional school setting, we must be very careful to weigh our every action against the truth of the Bible to see if it is a Biblical way or a man-centered way. 

In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 it says,"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

God calls us to holiness and godliness.  Filling our minds and those of our children with humanistic thinking is not beneficial and will not point us to holiness. 

Our goal should be as 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

And, verse 22, "Flee youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

And in 2 Timothy 3:15, "And that from a child thou hast know the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

1 Timothy 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

I am not suggesting that anyone be ignorant of classics or historical figures.  I am saying they should not hold the place of prominence.  A general knowledge of these things is sufficient.  I am also saying that just because a work is considered a classic does not mean that is should automatically be read or studied.  All information should be weighed and carefully selected which means some classics are not fit to be read!

Our goal, as a family, is to have a Biblical worldview.  We seek to be more like Christ daily in word and in deed.  We choose our educational materials to reflect that worldview.  We teach our children all the educational basics and concentrate on materials that reflect Biblical morals and character.  Our goal is not that they "get ahead in life and have jobs that make a lot of money" but that they fulfill the calling of God on their lives, to be all that God intended for them to be.

As my husband said just the other day, "If a man was well versed in all the teachings of men, science, and literature but that man was ignorant of the Bible and the ways of God, that man would not be Well Educated!"

So our definition of Well Educated is knowing the Bible and living it out as a child of God first and foremost.  Then the other things of reading well, speaking well, writing well and having knowledge of the subjects of life come second.

Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

These definitions and goals help guide us as we choose what to study and not to study with our children, along with prayer.

Praying for a blessed new school year,

P.S. Please forgive me for capitalizing Well Educated.  I am emphasizing the words to make a point.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Free DIY Fruit Fly Trap

This time of year fruit flies can be a nuisance.  If you have your garden produce laying around or those bananas from the store, they can attract fruit flies.  What do you do???

This trap is a no fail solution!!

You need:
Tall glass or jar, preferably clear so you can see when you have trapped the little guys.
Tape, scotch or masking will work.
Some kind of bait, like ripe banana or fruit.
Piece of paper, I used 8 1/2 x 11.

Form the paper into a cone using the long side of the paper.  Keep the hole really small, like 1/8 of an inch.  So the flies will crawl through but not be able to fly out.  Tape.

 Now tape the whole length of the cone on the inside and out so they can't get out.

 Place the "bait" in the jar.  Place the cone in the jar.  The cone should not be touching the bait. 
Tape securely around the edge of the glass.  Make sure there are no gaps. 
 Trim down the cone so it is easy for the flies to go in.
 Leave it where you see the most fruit flies.  Believe me, if you build it, they will come.  It fills up overnight and does a great job of catching the flies.
My sons dispose of the flies by taking the jar outside and filling it with water.  Then they throw out the paper and the bait. 

So no need to go crazy over fruit flies.  You could mke it a homeschool project!  ;-)  (wink)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seven (days) of Skirts

Here are my last two modest skirt samples. 

 Skirt: Handmade pink and white gingham check.  This is a basic A line skirt with an elastic waist. 

Shirts: Cherokee brand t-shirt from Target in pink and the white shirt is an Liz Claiborne eyelet blouse that I cut the sleeves off of.  I just love this blouse!  It is one of my favorites.

Hairstyle: Braid, done by Julia my wonderful hairstylist! (again!)  This is a better picture of it so you can see the top part.

 I really like pink so I often wear it.  I tend toward pastels as a rule anyway.

The other outfit:

Skirt: Handmade basic A line skirt with a cute ruffle. 

Shirts:  Jones of New York blue blouse and a white Land's End t-shirt.

Coming soon: The fashion industry's way to crush the innocence of our girls.....

Stay tuned,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Seven (days) of Skirts! Day 2 & 3

The days are flying by!  We went as a family to the river yesterday for some sun and fun.  It was a great time and we even saw some friends there.  Needless to say, after being gone for 4 hours I spent the rest of the day catching up so yesterday and today's skirts are here in one post. 

Day 2:

Skirt: Handmade culottes, split skirt or gauchos, whatever you want to call them.  Pattern online, see below.

Shirts: Cherokee brand t-shirt from Target in lavendar and the white shirt is an Izod from a thrift store about 6 years ago.

Hairstyle: Braid, done by Julia my wonderful hairstylist!

Shoes: Velcro sandals, Wal-mart.

The overshirt idea came from some Mennonite friends that I met recently.  They often wear a sleeveless blouse over their dress.  I love the idea because sometime I feel just a t-shirt is not exactly what I want to wear alone and the over blouse makes it feel just right!

I actually cut the sleeves off of this blouse right before we left.  Here are the steps if you want to make a sleeveless blouse for yourself.

 First, cut off the sleeve leaving about 3/4 inch from the seam.  Turn the shirt inside out so you see the inside of the shirt.  Turn under the edge and then turn under again.
 Stitch close to the fold.  It should look like the sleeve hole was top-stitched when you look at the outside (right side of the shirt).
The culottes I made from a pattern that I drafted to fit my measurements.  It was pretty easy and didn't take too much math!  ;-)  I bought the pattern online from Patterns That Fit You.  It is included in the Skirts patterns.  I just love this pattern.  I have used it many times. 

Day 3:

Skirt: Liz Claiborne, found at a thrift store for $8

Shirts:  Plaid white and lavendar Land's End, thrift store $1.25 and a sleeveless white t-shirt Liz Claiborne also a thrift store find for $1.50 (which you can't see).
Hairstyle:  Basic ponytail
Shoes: Comfy sandals, same as yesterday!

Bob and I headed into Civilization to do some errands and meet someone for business.  I love this denim skirt because it is so comfortable.  I love the style of the skirt, it is fitted not gathered at the waist, but not tight.  As you can probably tell, lavendar is one of my favorite colors. 

So there you have it. Until next time,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seven (days) of Skirts!

SOS! Calling all girls, ladies, feminas, and women!

Our culture has almost seen the extinction of a very rare breed of person. Nearly nowhere to be seen, this type of human is very close to being wiped out completely. So difficult is a sighting that when one does catch a glimps of this unusual specimen of humanity, the stares and comments like "So, are you mormon or something?" or "You must be a homeschooler." from bystanders nearly drive it back into hiding.

This disappearing person is a woman.

A womanly woman. A feminine, chaste, discreet, modest woman! A godly woman who cares about obeying the commands of the word of God and the minds of her brothers in Christ more than the pressures of the world that try to influence her to dress seductively and immodestly, following after the trends in Hollywood's movies and New York's runways.

The above comes straight from Julia, my daughter's blog.  She is doing Seven (days) of Skirts and I decided to join her.  I will be posting as I can as my life is pretty busy! 

So here is DAY 1:

This is the work-at-home style of modesty. 

Skirt: Repurposed from an Eddie Bauer jumper that was about 10 years old.

Shirt: Cherokee brand t-shirt from Target

Hairstyle: Pulled back into a scrunchie and then up in a clip

Shoes: Super comfy slippers, Family Dollar for only $4.

Here is the back.  This hairstyle keeps the long hair out of the way for cooking and cleaning!

I am dressed this way because I am not leaving the house!  No one but my family will see me.  My shirt and skirt already have stains on them so if I get messy working around the house it won't matter!  I didn't even iron my skirt! *Gasp*

My sweetie had to get in on the fun while Julia was taking my picture!!  He is just so good to me!
The slippers are my standard footwear around the house.  These are in need of a good washing with drips and splotches on them. 

The nice thing about this outfit is the comfort.  And the pockets!  It helps to have pockets for stashing little things I pick up as I move around. 

I really like what Julia said on her Day 1 post:
I happen to believe that you can also be modest in pants, capris, and knee-length shorts (like bermuda shorts) as long as they are not tight (Tight clothing is NOT modest. I get so sick and tired of seeing girls wear tight-tight-TIGHT clothing and still claim they are 'modest' because they aren't showing any cleavage or their belly button.) But that's a different topic. :D Anyway... I chose to do this project and wear only skirts with my outfits.

Modesty is a lost art these days.  Yes, tight is the norm as well as low-cut and short.  I believe a good standard for tightness is the 1 inch pinch.  What I mean is, where the clothes cover the hips, grab a piece at the hips.  If I can pinch about an inch of fabric away from my body (that really comes out to be about 2 inches of width), without stretching it, I am  probably close to being not too tight.  If I can do this on both sides at one time, even better.  I definitely don't want my clothes to look painted on.  Actually, this needs to be done at the waist for t-shirts and legs in pants as jeans these days are sooooo tight.  Also the shirt should not be snug, but relaxed fitting and not see-through.   Keep undergarments, like bra straps and lacy camis undercover.  I could go into more details but I will leave it like this.  

The Bible is very clear on modesty.  I Timothy 2:9-10 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

I also believe that as a Christian woman, I have a great responsibility to the men around me to not be a stumbling-block.  I don't need to make it any harder for a man to keep his mind pure by dressing carelessly.  Do we even think of this anymore?  Am I or are you so focused on what I want, to be stylish or have my freedom to dress as I please, that I totally disregard those around me?  God help us.

I am not a skirt-only advocate.  I do wear pants and capris at home.  But lately, I have felt led to wear skirts or loose culottes when I am out in public.  I usually wear some kind of blouse with a higher neckline, too.  Interestingly enough, people are so respectful of me when I am dressed this way.  They open doors and smile more.

Now for the REAL ME part,  I almost didn't post these pictures.  When I reviewed them, I thought, "Oh man, I look so fat!  I can't post these!"  Now wait a minute!  Fat, fat??  Compared to whom?  And who says?? 

Our culture today is obsessed with skinny.  Before the days of Twiggy and Barbie, women were considered normal if they had a little body fat.  Strong, robust women worked hard for their families on farms and in the home.  Paintings of past eras show women with volumptuous curves and feminine figures.  Not to mention my ancestry.  I am 100% Dutch.  Dutch people are big boned, tall and robust.  It is not healthy to be as skinny as your bone structure will allow. 

It is NOT NORMAL to be so thin!  It may be popular but it is NOT NORMAL.  I for one, am taking back my body type and being totally content right where I am and not conforming to what the world and culture say I should look like.  I love me, even the way I look!  Perfection does not have to rule in how much I weigh.  I would not be "prettier" if I was thinnner.  So I am going to just be myself.  How about you just be yourself, too?

BTW, I have purposely tried to not "preach" here.  I am not going to use my blog to be a woman preacher.  So if I use the personal tense, please forgive me for sounding self centered.  I am trying to avoid finger-pointing,  OK? 

Well, there you have it.  I hope that when people see me, they see my heart's desire for holiness and godliness, and the way I dress doesn't come in the way of that, but rather enhances it.