Friday, October 31, 2008

Comfort for Dreamer

Our Dreamer is a sick little girlie - she is taking antibiotics for a serious double ear infection and she is full of a cold which is aggravated by her asthma! She is taking Singular, Advair and albuterol every 4 hours. Yuck! Yesterday we comforted ourselves by watching 'Anne of Green Gables' together - she rested on the couch and I caught up the ironing! Yeah! This morning she slept until NOON! I don't think she has done that since she had bronchial pneumonia three winters ago.

When she finally woke up, I asked her if she would like some nice warm muffins - she asked for 'Muffins That Taste Like Donuts' - it's an old MuffinMania recipe that we've tweaked a bit for our family enjoyment! I hope your family likes it too!

Muffins That Taste Like Donuts

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. Mix together the oil, egg, vanilla, sugar and milk.
  4. Add to the dry mixture stirring until just combined.
  5. Spoon 1/2 of the mixture into 9 greased muffin tins.

Add 1 tsp. jam, jelly or apple butter to the center of each. Cover with remaining batter.

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
  3. Once muffins have cooled a little, dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Set on a tray and allow to cool.

I also made her some Butterscotch pudding - one of her other favorites! There are some Knox Blox, or 'jello jigglers' cooling in the fridge too. She'll be happy!

I wonder if you think I'm spoiling my girl just a wee bit, but honestly, I enjoy bringing our children comfort when they are unwell. Don't get me wrong, I would never wish for them to be sick, or cause their illness purposefully, but when they do get sick, I look at it as an opportunity to teach compassion and caring. I fondly remember my Mum caring for me during various childhood illnesses and more so in my teens when I suffered so terribly with migraines. I am frequently unwell myself (because of liver disease) and I often enjoy the tender care of my husband and children. I cherish the opportunity to repay their kindnesses. Our little ones are not so little any more, one day soon, they will be grown and gone! Even childhood illnesses can be a blessing if you make the choice to let them be!

Enjoy your day!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


You know your hands are severely dry when applying moisturizer to my face in the morning feels like microderm abrasion! Ouch! With all of the crafting and germ fighting I've been doing lately, my hands are a mess! I've tried my usual remedies, but nothing is helping! They are so sore, swollen and cracked! This usually works really well, but not this time!

Heather's Smooth Hands

sweet almond oil (or some other pure oil)
sugar (just plain white)
liquid hand soap
thick hand lotion (I'm a huge fan of Kiss My Face Ultra Moisturizer - Lavender and Shea)

Remove jewelery. Line up all your 'ingredients' and set aside 5 minutes for your self. Place a few drops of oil on each hand and rub all over. Place 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in the palm of one hand and rub all over both hands - this can be messy so I do it over the sink. Don't rub too hard - you'll want some skin left! Squeeze a few drops of liquid hand soap into your palm and rub all over - again - be gentle! Rinse your hands in warm water - pat dry. Apply lotion to your baby smooth hands. I do this Saturday night when I know I'll be shaking hands at church Sunday morning and don't want to rub folks the wrong way!

So, any suggestions? My bedside basket is full of natural lotions and potions, but my hands are as rough as sandpaper. 80 grit. I wear gloves for cleaning and try to wear cotton gloves at night after I lotion up, but they are still so sore and dry. If you have a sure fire cure and want to help put me out of my misery, I'd be much obliged!

I'd shake your hand, but I don't want to hurt you!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Comforts of Home

The season of illness is upon us, and I was reminded again of how blessed we are to have the simple resources to care for our family in times of illness. I've been making a basic list to remind me of the things I need to pick up or replenish in order to deal with the inevitable colds that are making the rounds at our house.

I often wonder why our children are so subject to colds, considering their excellent diet, abundant fresh air and good hygiene. They both take nutritional supplements and are with other children enough to be exposed to germs, but not so much that they are inundated. I keep hoping that they will develop some immunities, but until they do, we'll cope with sickness by offering all of the comforts of home. I am very thankful that they don't suffer from more serious illnesses, and even our Dreamer seems to be 'outgrowing' her asthma symptoms.

General prevention:

  1. When we are sick, we stay home! We like to share, but not our germs!
  2. Hand washing - frequently.
  3. Cleaning - especially the forgotten areas - phone, keyboard, mouse, piano keys and door knobs.
  4. Healthy diet, fresh air, exercise and vitamins. Plenty of pure water to drink.

Chills and aches:
  1. Soother Sac's to keep everyone warm and cozy.
  2. The 'sick' quilt - a special cover for when someone isn't feeling very well.
  3. Tiger Balm or Arnica Gel to rub on achy muscles.
  4. Tylenol or Motrin as needed.

For upset stomach:

  1. Ginger Ale
  2. Crystallized ginger to nibble on
  3. Ginger Snaps (we like Nabisco or Anna's)
  4. Soda Crackers
  5. Toast and tea

For stuffy heads:

  1. Kiss My Face Cold and Flu Bath - really clears the sinus
  2. Kiss My Face Cold and Flu Room Spray
  3. Saltwater nasal spray
  4. Vick's Vapo Rub - creamy for sensitive skin, applied to chest and forehead
  5. Vick's Cool Mist Humidifier

For general colds:
  1. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  2. Puffs soft tissues
  3. Kiss My Face or Burt's Bees Lip Balm
  4. Vitamin E oil to rub on sore noses
  5. Warm salt water to gargle for sore throat
  6. Juice Popsicles
  7. Fresh squeezed orange juice
  8. Tea - a wide variety
  9. Extra Vitamin C with Zinc

On the road to recovery:
  1. Fruit - bananas, frozen blueberries and grapes are always a favorite here
  2. Yogurt - with the live cultures
  3. Pudding and Rice Pudding
  4. Mild meats - chicken or turkey, scrambled eggs
  5. Toast and tea

Keeping occupied:
  1. Whenever possible we keep up with our school work, but at a slower pace and with breaks for rest.
  2. This is the time when we use videos to help ward off the boredom! Since they only see one video per week and they don't watch t.v., this is a real treat. The best part of being sick if you ask our Storyteller!!!
  3. Audio books - Boxcar Children, Adventures in Odyssey, The Little House Series, A Visit With Mrs. G
  4. Puzzles and games.
  5. Craft projects.
  6. List making - hopes, dreams and gift ideas are often fun to list and makes us think of better things to come!
  7. Catalog shopping and dream collages - we raid the recycle bins and see what we can come up with!
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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook as I am able.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, October 27, 2008

Outside My Window...
Dull, grey and cold outside - lots of wind during the day yesterday and strong winds during the night. There are a few pretty leaves still hanging on for dear life, but most of them blew away!
Thankfully it is warm and cozy inside our home.

I am thinking...
of what a blessing it is to be so tenderly loved by my family

From the learning rooms...
We did really well last week despite the colds and I hope to keep on task this week! Next week we have a 'scheduled' week off and we are all looking forward to that.

I am thankful for...
Something wonderful to look forward to - my Mum and Dad are coming in less than a week!
Mum is planning to stay for November! What fun we'll have!
Also, the children are over their colds - they were very short lived, so I am beginning to wonder if it was really allergies to all of the combining dust around us.

I am praying for ...
wisdom and direction for our family.
We are looking for a new church to fellowship with, and it is a difficult decision.
The church we visited yesterday was warm and welcoming,
but our children were the only ones there!

From the kitchen...
I have got to find my counter tops today! The 'Tidy-Up Fairy' did not visit our home over the weekend like I'd hoped!

I am wearing...
My old long denim skirt, thick soft tights, an oatmeal colored sweater with a matching mock turtle neck under. I have on my favorite broach on and my hair is down.

I am creating...
Many more things for the upcoming Craft Fair - two weeks! Yikes!
Tassels, woolen purses, soother sacs and woolen flower pins are all piling up.
Yesterday I decoupaged my old Judy with pages from a moth eaten McGuffy Speller, I plan to hang a scarf on her and pin the flower broaches to it for display.

I am going...
The Historian took Dreamer to piano, and we will be going out this evening for ballet - other then that, I hope to be home today!

I am reading...
just my Bible during quiet time this morning
and I am finishing up my current Bible Study Book

I am hoping...
that we hear something from immigration soon.

I am hearing...
The Storyteller has taken up the habit of whistling. Thankfully he is a quiet whistler and for the most part, in tune!

Around the house...
Tidying up the Grammy Flat to get ready for Mum and Dad is high on the list, along with ironing and chasing a few dust bunnies! Oh - and I must find the counter tops ...

One of my favorite things...
Cuddling up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good book.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  1. Pray for the Lord's guidance with our search for a new church.
  2. Schoolwork and a field trip on Friday - fossil hunting!
  3. Finish preparing the yard for winter - one more bed to weed an trim back!
  4. Sew the 6 woolen purses that I got cut out yesterday.
  5. Finish the tassels for the craft show so that I can make room for Grammy.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

A little history was made in our area last week and our Historian got to be there in person!

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Cookie Jar was empty ....

This is great old recipe of my Mum's! We all love them - especially the crunchy nuts on the top! When our Storyteller sampled these after dinner he said, "Mama, you're the best cook ever!" and he gave me a big hug!

Unbaked - just to show you the thickness!

Joy's Almond Crisps

Cream together:

½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure almond extract

Sift together:
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt

Blend into creamed mixture until well combined. Shape dough into 1” balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Press down slightly with floured fork. Top with slivered almonds. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown lightly. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Yield 4 dozen crisp cookies.

"Mama! These go great with milk OR apple cider!"

Who knew? It's nice to have children who are so easily pleased. By the way, if you plan to have any to share, you might want to make a double batch!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

A perfect day to stay indoors

and catch up on life or just curl up and read! We are having our first rainy day in a long long time. It is dark, cool and pouring rain. I love it! I almost wish we didn't have to do any schoolwork, but we do!We also need to continue sorting through closets and toy bins and I think we will also consume great quantities of hot chocolate to ward off the chill ... maybe with some fresh baked cookies! I hope you are enjoying your day as much as we are!

A friend recently asked me for the Chicken in Phyllo recipe that I used when I did some freezer meals in July, so I thought I'd share it here, now that we have actually eaten it and it was so delicious!

Rosemary Chicken in Phyllo

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese - room temperature
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried chives
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t. dried rosemary
12 fresh chicken breast halves, skinned and boned, pounded flat
salt and pepper to taste
24 sheets phyllo dough - thawed ( keep covered)
1 cup melted butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese ( for the tops)

Combine first 6 ingredients to make cheese mixture - it will be thick so just mash it together with a fork until it is smooth. Lightly sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place two sheets of phyllo on working surface ( I dusted my cutting board very lightly with cornstarch to keep it from sticking since it was hot in the kitchen). Brush each sheet with melted butter and stack on top of each other. Place 1/12th of the cream cheese mixture in the at one end of the flattened chicken breast and roll. Place chicken roll in one corner of butter phyllo and roll, bringing sides over the middle to form a package. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with butter and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes.
To freeze - wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in heavy duty freezer bag
- remove air and freeze. Thaw before baking.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Craft fair this and that

Sweet woolen purses - made with recycled felted wool sweaters and these adorable metal handles that my friend Mrs. M found! She was the inspiration behind making this pattern!

Felted woolen flowers - just so fun to make!
Betz White is the inspiration here!

I love that these handles open up wide to give access to the insides of the bag
- this one has a fun zippered pocket!

I was playing with my embroidery options trying to pull out the pretty flecks of color
in this beautiful green sweater!

Go Buckeyes! This one is all ready to go as soon as the handles we ordered come in! It has a fun red lining and the flower is a pin, which can be exchanged for another if need be!

Can you tell I am having too much fun with all of this felted goodness?

This is recycling at it's prettiest and most practical, I think.

You are welcome to click on over to BeTasseled to see the

tassels I'm working on for the Craft Fair!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

A Marriage Saving Moment

Brought to you by your friend, Heather!

Here's how it goes pretty much every fall, as soon as the cooler nights begin. I lay in bed shivering under the cool cotton sheets and long for my cozy flannel (or flannelet if you are Canadian!). Since I generally wash all the sheets on Monday mornings (because those sweet embroidered tea towels can't be wrong) we usually have an October Sunday night conversation that goes something like this:

Me: "Say goodbye to the cotton sheets, Hon - when I remake the bed tomorrow, it's going to be flannel."

Historian: "Oh man! You're kidding, right? I'm already dying here with the windows closed. Do you really need the flannel sheets? You've already got out your flannel nighties. Isn't that enough?"

Me: "I'm really cold - I need the flannel sheets. Maybe you can think of it as part of your weight loss routine - sweat off a pound while you sleep?"

Historian: "Hmmm. I don't think so. Couldn't we put it off another month or so?"

Me: "No - I'm seriously chilly. You'll survive the flannel sheets, won't you?"

Historian: "I'll survive - but don't expect me to be under them!"

Me: "Just throw them over on my side - that will work!"

So, tonight as I was gleefully remaking the bed with my wonderful soft thick flannel sheets, I remembered an inspiration that I had 17 years ago when we were first married and faced this self-same dilemma. I thought I'd share it for all you who live with very warm blooded husbands.

It involves a set of flannel sheets and a set of cotton, and a sewing machine. My idea was to cut both sets of sheets from top to bottom exactly up the middle and then sew them back together cotton to flannel, making two sets of sheets with one side cool crisp cotton and one side warm cozy flannel. The ultimate in compromise!

It might work for you - but only if you strictly stay on your own side of the bed and can stand sleeping on a seam. Even when I flat felled the seam, I still couldn't stand it. Not even for one night. I can't sleep if there are any wrinkles either - just ask my husband.

Rather then donate my crazy sheets to charity (and have some poor soul scratching their heads wondering why anyone would alter the sheets that way), we tore them into 5" strips and rolled them into bandages. Many many bandages for the White Cross ladies at our church to send to a missionary hospital.

Since we were newly married and had exactly 43 other sets of sheets along with 27 casserole dishes and 18 measuring cups, I didn't feel so badly.

The point was, I made an effort to find a happy medium and that truly is a marriage saver.

For the record, if it were just up to me, I'd use flannel 9 months of the year.

Ephesians 5:33

However, let each man of you without exception love his wife as being in a sense his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.

~ Amplified Bible

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Photo Credit - The Company Store - click on picture to view website

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook as I am able.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, October 20, 2008

Outside My Window...
Sunny and bright. Most of our pretty leaves are gone, but many trees are still green.
It's a crisp morning but I'm sure it will warm up some later.

I am thinking...
Of the length of my 'to-do' list! Oh my!

From the learning rooms...
We are plugging along with the basics.
I need to 'tweak' our schedule again to fit in more math facts practice for both children.

I am thankful for...

Something wonderful to look forward to - my Mum is coming in two weeks!

I am praying for ...
wisdom and direction for our family.
We are looking for a new church to fellowship with, and it is a difficult decision.

From the kitchen...
I plan to make pumpkin bread and beef barley soup today.

I am wearing...
Denim capri's and a cream colored sweater with a cream turtle neck under.

I am creating...
Many things for the upcoming Craft Fair!
Tassels, woolen purses, soother sacs and woolen flower pins!

I am going...
nowhere - it's a home sweet home day.
Both children are full of colds so we are not going anywhere today.

I am reading...
just my Bible during quiet time this morning
and my Bible Study Book

I am hoping...
that these colds are short lived!

I am hearing...
The Historian is in the kitchen making breakfast and juicing carrots, celery and apples.
Dreamer is sniffling and the Storyteller is still asleep - snoring with congestion.

Around the house...
Vacuuming is high on the list and bathrooms need attention too!

One of my favorite things...
the power of God's Word to speak to my heart in any given situation.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  1. Pray for the Lord's guidance with our search for a new church.
  2. Schoolwork and co-op.
  3. Finish preparing the yard for winter.
  4. Pull the last of the annuals and finish planting bulbs
  5. Finish the tassels for the craft show so that I can make room for Grammy.
  6. Finish cleaning out closets and pass on the hand me downs.
  7. Plan a play date for the children with some new friends from co-op.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Comfort food for those of us with colds!

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Amazing Quilt Giveaway!

Elizabeth Cranmer of PigTails and Snails is giving away a lovely quilt of her very own design. It is so pretty and so kind of her to be so generous! Rush right over and throw your hat in the ring! Perhaps you'll win! She has runner up prizes too and there are only 800 entries so far! It could happen!

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Suspiciously well ....

Don't you hate it when people ask for your advice but don't take it? I really appreciated all of your good advice about painting our free furnace room cabinets! I think I am going to go with an off white and side with the majority! However - I had to make a decision against my better judgment and your excellent advice and just get those cabinets hung! They were beginning to drive me crazy in our sun room - and they were hazardous as well. I have a few scratches and two ripped tops to prove it!

I know cabinets are really hard to hang and they can be really tricky, so I bathed this project in prayer. We will never learn to do things if we don't give it a go, right? I planned the layout and measured. We needed a stud finder to find the studs and wires to avoid.

As my Uncle Larry would say things went 'suspiciously well' and they are up! Praise God! It was wonderful how they went up and they are on the walls quite solidly too. My Historian and I actually had some fun doing it!

There is nothing like working together in a very tight corner at a job you have very little experience with! We made some mistakes, but learned quickly to pre-drill every hole since these are 41 year old cabinets and the wood is quite dry. We should have had some shims since the walls and ceiling were not square, but this is just a storage area and function was the goal!

These pictures are the 'before' of a good scrubbing! Yucky black grease came off and they are considerably brighter now. We hung another cabinet underneath the ugly white pipe! Did I mention that the furnace is smack dab in the middle of the room? Most inconvenient! I am planning on painting the doors and frames of the cabinets next spring, since our school work and other projects will keep me busy for the next few months.

I am sharing a table at a craft fair in November and plan to sell my tassels along with a friend who is making lovely woolen purses. Our Dreamer is planning to make some of her sweet little mice to sell, and since Mum will be here, she just might whip up some of her famous shortbread cookies to package up for sale! It's quite a fun undertaking .... but leaves little time for utility room painting right now!

The cabinets are full of various and sundry things that might go in a garage if we had one. Hand tools and automotive odds and sorts! Garden paraphernalia, and electrical bits and pieces. Seasonal toys and even an extra blow up bed. I had an idea to use my paint pen to write the French words for each category of items on the doors just for the fun of it and to help the children with their French! We'll see.

The best part is that we now have our sun room back and we have a utility room that is tidy and handy. We are also thanking God for His provision in the timing of this project, since while we were working away, we noticed moisture under the water softener - which lead to a little investigation, the result of which is a new pressure gauge for the well tank.
It could have gone on for weeks unnoticed if we had not been clearing everything out to work in there - which could have been quite a mess!

I kind of like it when things go suspiciously well ... it's quite a novelty for us!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Relections

I am sorry I have been so quiet this week, but I've been suffering with a wickedly sore throat and exhaustion all week. I told my husband that I think I have gargled the equivalent of the Dead Sea in trying to soothe this discomfort. I might have raised my blood pressure a notch or two also, since some warm salt water definitely went down the wrong way! Yuck! We missed out on our much anticipated 'date night' Friday because I was just not up to going out. We are hoping to reschedule soon though! My creative projects were put on hold and I didn't even get my hair cut! I am grateful to be better today. I'm not sure if the children are happy I can speak out more now or not ....!

I hope that this has been a perfect fall day for you all, as it has for us here in the Midwest! Warm, sunny and plenty of beautiful fall color to speak of the majesty of God. I was thinking much about another autumn day 17 years ago today when God joined my dear Historian and I in marriage. It was a beautiful fall day as well - some say it was very cloudy and even rainy later that day ... but all that I remember is driving to the church in the beautiful autumn sunshine and taking a huge step of faith with the man I love.

I am so blessed to be loved by my quietly faithful Historian. He is just so dear to me. I am quite certain that my life has been enriched by the love of my godly husband, and I am grateful that God chose him just for me.

To quietly celebrate our special day, we went to church as a family this morning, and took another huge step of faith - but I'll expand on that in a bit! After church we actually took a nice long drive - out of state in fact! My Historian has wonderful memories of an old stopping place that he and his Mother and sister enjoyed during his teen years and college days. This past summer, when the Historian and Storyteller took our missionary guests from India to their next destination, they 'checked out' this old favorite to see if it lived up to The Historian's good memories. Thankfully, they were very favorably impressed and so the Historian chose to share the 'Back 40 Junction' with all of us for our celebration lunch ... or should I say, fashionably early dinner? It was quite nice and a real treat to have such a yummy lunch in an old time setting.

It was a lovely drive! We are back to listening to 'The Luke Reports - The Life of Jesus', another wonderful radio theater presentation from Focus on the Family as we travel about in the van these days. We listened today as we journeyed through beautiful golden farm country. We loved listening to them this past March, and I had planned on listening to them again to prepare our hearts for our celebration of Resurrection Sunday (Easter) in the spring, but we just could not wait! They are soooo good - not for very young listeners since they are very well dramatized and very realistically depict the turbulent times of Roman rule during and after the life of Christ, but they are certainly faith building. All in all it was a wonderful day, and I am so glad to have had it free to spend with our little family!

I should tell you more about this morning, yet, I am hesitant to share our 'step of faith' here simply because I understand that my readers come from various backgrounds and there are those of you who do not share my faith in Jesus Christ. I am so happy to have a diverse group of blogging friends, and would never seek to offend any of you! I pray every time I write that my heart would be seen clearly and that I would be a blessing or encouragement. Since this blog is about my life and a record of sorts of God's working in our day to day lives, I feel like I must include this step in our journey. I pray that it will not discourage you in your journey of faith or cause you to stumble in anyway.

First, I need to make it clear that we are not having a crisis of faith, we are stepping out in faith.

Earlier this past summer, both my husband and I began to feel the Lord leading us to seek out a different church family to fellowship with. This isn't our standard practice. We are not church hoppers or church shoppers - we are not 'looking for a perfect church and won't stop looking until we find one'. We are stable and committed, through the ups and downs of church life, we are there faithfully. Truthfully, the rest of the family is more faithful then I am since my health issues sometimes keep me home resting, but my point is, we are not inherently restless souls.

I also want to make it clear that we are not leaving because of any one person or event. We are not upset or wanting to upset anyone. We have a great deal of fondness and affection for our church family and the leadership there. In a sense, this makes our move even more difficult, as I think we might have listened to God's direction a bit sooner if things at our church were stressful or compromising in some way. It is often easier to make a move when you are called to something new or have a documentable reason for making a change. Not that sensing the call of God isn't definitive enough! Since this is something God laid on both of our hearts and has confirmed through His Word, we are certain of His moving ... we are just still in need of some specific direction.

My Historian began the research. He has spent countless hours examining doctrine and practice and has figured out which churches in our community support our theological beliefs. It's been eye opening to say the least. I guess I wasn't paying much attention in Church History when we discussed denominational differences. Since we have, in our ministry years, been involved in Baptist and conservative non-denominational church fellowships, I have had a lot to learn. We have prayed and sought direction. We have visited a few other churches and in the meantime, fulfilled our present commitments whole heartedly.

With everything else going on with my health, immigration frustrations, large and small home repair issues, our Pastor's family's loss of their son, and just the regular ebb and flow of life on this planet, we sort of set the call of God aside and didn't make it first priority. Gasp.

We continued to pray and seek direction, and shared our quest with the children to prepare them for the coming changes, but we didn't make a move until we felt it was a calmer time. The Historian took the lead in speaking with the leadership and our Pastor, and this morning he let the class he was teaching know. We also spoke with close friends about the move. It wasn't an easy morning, but thankfully the Lord was leading and gave us the words to say.

Hopefully, prayerfully, those who want to question us or have something to say on the topic will treat us with the love of Christ when they do so.

I've heard many young missionaries who are looking to narrow down God's call for their specific area of ministry say that it is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one parked on the side of the road. In this way they are encouraged to move forward in the direction that they feel God is leading until such a time as God changes their direction or confirms it.

I guess we are now out of 'park' and are a 'slowly moving' vehicle.

So far, the ride is peaceful. There is great relief in making the choice to follow God's leading, even though we don't have a specific destination set. Any kind of change is decidedly difficult, and this one is especially hard. It would have perhaps been easier for a time just to stay parked a little longer, but we know well the blessings of obedience, so we made the hard choice.

Once again, we are trusting God fully to lead. We'll be doing a great deal of praying, reading God's Word and seeking to visit other church congregations to see where we might fit.

And listening for that still small voice to confirm or redirect.

We would love to be involved in the church family that has some other homeschool families with which we have common interests. We have our list of Biblical principles that are unchanging. We have prayed for understanding into our children's needs, both now and in the future. We've always had a heart for small churches where we can know one another and be involved in caring relationships. We would like to be involved in a church family that will allow us to serve in our areas of giftedness after a time.

So often in Scripture, God tells His people to get moving and wait on Him to show the way. I feel like that just about sums it up - get moving and wait. Well, we are finally moving.

For those of you who love the Lord and care about this part of our journey of faith, I'd appreciate your prayer support. The Lord is faithful, and so we trust in Him.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Economy

We are crazy for all things pumpkin-y at this time of year! Are you? Have you recently purchased any canned pumpkin? Did you suffer 'sticker shock'?

When I went to my pantry just before our Dreamer's birthday, I was dismayed to find no tins of pumpkin. I remembered then that I had used my last making my Mum's Pumpkin Crunch Muffins. A quick check of the food ads revealed no great specials on pumpkin - so I bit the bullet and bought a tin full price - Libby's large 24 ounce - for $2.89!!!!! For pumpkin?

The next weekend we were at the fruit farm and those sweet little sugar or pie pumpkins were $1 each. Today I finally got around to processing them to freeze. It took me about 1/2 hour to wash, cut, scoop and arrange them skins up on my largest roasting pan. I added two cups of water and covered them tightly with foil. After baking them at 300F for two hours they were soft and ready to scrape from the skins and puree. This took about another 1/2 hour.

Here's my summary for your consideration:

3 pie pumpkins - $3

2 hours of electricity for the oven at 300F

1 hour of my time

Yield: 16 full cups of pure pumpkin puree for our freezer!!!!

Bonus - 2 pints of plump pumpkin seeds for either saving or roasting! We roasted ours with olive oil and sea salt and they are quite yummy - and pretty good for you, as far as snack foods go!

Worth it? I'd say so!

Remember that because pumpkin is such a low acid food, it is not considered a good candidate for home canning, but it does freeze well. Only use the true sugar pie pumpkins - Jack-O-Lantern style pumpkins make for tasteless and watery baked goods, in my experience. If, when you thaw your first container of pumpkin, you find it is watery and not thick enough for your liking, just strain the water that floats to the top when you thaw subsequent containers!

I've been sort of lazy just buying the canned pumpkin lately, but I think I'll go back to making our own puree when I am able. I know I'll likely buy the cans again when I see them on sale - of course, simply because I have to budget my energy carefully.

Fresh pureed pumpkin certainly tastes much nicer than canned and it is bright and wholesome - something I feel good about feeding our family!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Simple Autumn Joys - Our Idea Jar

I mentioned our 'Simple Autumn Joys' idea jar in my earlier post, but have forgotten to share this simple idea with you all! I often wonder where I've left my brain!

Simply put, it is a jar filled with ideas that help us celebrate God's precious gift of Autumn with simplicity and joy. I find that we look forward to the seasonal changes with great expectation, but often get so busy we let the season pass and are into the next one without enjoying it's own unique gifts. This is our attempt to keep the season well- to intentionally make memories that will last!

First, we made a list of of our family's 'Autumn Joys' - we found that many of our joys involve special treats - so they have replaced all of the desserts that we usually enjoy.

  1. make pumpkin cookies
  2. press some leaves in waxed paper
  3. make caramel sauce for apples
  4. visit the old grist mill
  5. explore the Vietnam Vet's memorial
  6. make apple crisp
  7. visit the apple orchard - pick apples
  8. make gingerbread cookies in leaf shapes
  9. gather buckeyes
  10. wander through the cemetery and look for those who have left a testimony of faith
  11. have a campfire in the backyard - roast hot dogs
  12. make cider slushies
  13. go for a walk at the nature center
  14. make caramel corn and give some to friends
  15. plant fall mums
  16. make s'mores
  17. go for a walk to look for pretty leaves
  18. make apple butter sandwiches with fresh homemade bread for lunch
  19. visit a farm and watch the harvest
  20. go for a family bike ride
  21. make a batch of maple cream fudge
  22. rake a big pile of leaves and jump in them
  23. make apple sauce and can it for winter (the children pealing the apples)
  24. gather a bouquet of autumn wild flowers
  25. pick out some pumpkins
  26. plant fall bulbs
  27. make apple fritters or cider donuts
I think you get the idea! The jar is quite full and there are extra slips of paper awaiting new inspirations!

Second, we wrote these on scraps of pretty fall scrapbook papers and put them in our jar.

Third, we take take one out at a time and have something to look forward to when our schoolwork is completed for the day. This works best on Tuesday, Fridays and Saturdays with our current schedule! Sometime we take them out at the beginning of school if I think we need something to look forward to, and sometimes we draw at the end of the day as a reward for diligent work!

That's all there is to it, and it works well for us! I hope that our little idea inspires you to find beauty in the simplicity of autumn too!

So far we have made Kelli's apple fritters, Brenda's fine pumpkin cookies - substituting the shorting with butter, visited the grist mill and three apple orchards, made apple butter, made apple cider slushies (more then once), taken a picnic lunch, gone for a few nice walks and gathered bouquets of fall flowers.

To think that fall has just begun!

Of course, our most favorite Autumn Joy is our daughter who turned 11 on October 1st!!!

Would it surprise you to know that Dreamer's middle names are Autumn Joy?

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The Simple Woman's Daybook

I enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook as I am able.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, October 6, 2008

Outside My Window...
Sun and clouds, more clouds now than earlier.
Everything is still surprisingly green, but there are some leaves changing too!
With such a dry summer and then the winds of Ike,
we don't think it's going to be as lovely as usual, but there should be some color soon.

I am thinking...
We'll need sweaters this morning, but by afternoon we'll be warm.
Today we will pick a 'Simple Autumn Joy' slip from our jar of ideas and do whatever it says!

From the learning rooms...
Mondays are full with Piano and Ballet for Dreamer, and our regular schoolwork.

I am thankful for...

My new stove - installed and working just fine, thank you very much!!!
Also, the simple beauty of the changing seasons.

I am praying for ...
wisdom and direction for our family
- we need to make a big decision soon and it is very difficult.

From the kitchen...
Yesterday I made a batch of Chicken Noodle Soup and a batch of Pumpkin cookies
- they seem to be really popular around here!
We bought more apples this weekend - this time for apple sauce and eating!
Perhaps another batch of apple butter and apple pie filling too.
I have pumpkins to cook and freeze also.

I am wearing...
Denim capri's and a rust colored sweater - my hair is down.

I am creating...
A beautiful tray from a wreck I found at Goodwill, some new-to-me lamps that need a face lift, two cloches out of old lamp parts, recycling some shutters for our fall decor, revamping a fake floral arrangement that has seen better days, making a chalkboard out of some old doors that I found for $1, creating a new door wreath for fall, helping to get the furnace room cabinets up and out of our sun room, and more tassels - naturally!

I am going...
Crazy with the room by room de-cluttering! We have already divested ourselves of several boxes of things we are no longer using! So nice to do this fall purge and lighten the load.

I am reading...
just my Bible during quiet time this morning
and my Bible Study Book

I am hoping...
To make good headway with the projects on my list, and to get the fall nesting finished.
Next week I plan to sew for our growing children -
they need p.j.'s and warmer pants for Storyteller/skirts for Dreamer.

I am hearing...
The sound of the washer finishing it's cycle.
Dreamer humming as she works on her schoolwork.
She is waiting for a cookie and some cider for her mid morning snack!

Around the house...
These piles of things we are getting rid of need to be moved out the door! Usually they would wait in the sun room for the next trip to Goodwill, but the sun room is otherwise occupied!

One of my favorite things...
just being a homeschooling momma!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • On the 12th, my Historian and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary!
  • We are planning a date night on the 10th and I am really looking forward to spending some time with my sweet husband.
  • I still really need a cut and color - before our date night!
  • some shopping - maybe a new outfit for the occasion?
  • cleaning - bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming
  • apple sauce making

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Dreamer is not fond of cake, but she loves Pumpkin Pie - so this is her 'Birthday Pie'.
Not as good as Grammy's, but it passed!

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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