Friday, January 21, 2011

Company Girl Coffee 01/21

Brrrrrrrrrr!  Come in out of the cold!  Isn't the sunshine a blessing today?  It looks so pretty bouncing off the snow!  Our yard is full of diamonds! It's very very cold today - it has warmed up to -10 C or about 10 F - much warmer than it was when I got out of the shower!  I am hoping we don't have any problems with frozen water pipes in our crawl space, but usually that only happens when the cold sticks around for a while! 

 It's been a long while since I had the Company Girls over for coffee - too long! We made a batch of homemade marshmallows last night and they are so  yummy!  I'll just throw a few into a nice hot cup of cocoa if you'd like!  I just had a cup myself and it was wonderful!

We've had a lot of visitors lately - of the fine feathered friend variety.  This winter has been  hard on the birds I think, but they are enjoying daily meals at our feeders.  Word has gotten around and the feeders are always busy.  Dreamer is filling them - sometimes twice a day! I love having the feeders in just the right spot to see them from the kitchen window this winter!  I know we'll have to move them back to their usual  spot in the spring unless we want our cars to be 'bombed' daily, but for now it is so much fun!

We are keeping busy with lots of good schoolwork, daily minimum maintenance around the house and we have a few other home projects on the go.   Every week we have piano, ballet, basketball practice, AWANA, Youth, Homeschool Gym at the YMCA and church on Sunday.  Tomorrow basketball games are starting and our Storyteller is very very very excited!  Dreamer is preparing for a piano competition so she is filling our home with music - she has never competed before so she is a bit nervous, but excited!  She is stretching out - she has grown more than an inch over the last month and she is slimming down too - we thrifted some smaller jeans for her a few weeks ago and they are already too big. 
She is doing Wii Fit everyday and loving it!

The Historian has had a huge project at work and he is really enjoying it, though he is coming home very tired.   The Local History Library received a sizable gift as well as a grant and they were able to purchase much needed equipment, as well as enough heavy duty  steel shelving to organize the whole archived collection in the basement!  He is putting together the shelves on his own time since the library is short of help, but he's enjoying seeing his plans come together.  He also just finished  another online university course and is starting another one in just over a week!  Always lots to do!

This week I had a lovely young bride from church come to the house for a half day of freezer cooking - at the end of the day I was  extremely tired, but so glad to have had her come.  She was struggling with meal planning and preparation - and burning almost every meal. We made oodles of Mama Joy's Meatballs, a huge pot of Minestrone Soup , three big meat pies using an old French Canadian Tortiere recipe, and three beef noodle casseroles for the freezer.  Can you tell the lean ground beef was on sale?  We used 12 pounds all together! We sent her home with enough to feed her and her hubby for at least a week with leftovers for lunches since they both work full time.  
I shared with her how I plan menus and do mini freezer cooking days, and also how to make healthier  choices at the grocery store and save a bit of $$$.  I shared how helpful C.O.S.T. cooking is to me (cook once, serve twice), how planned leftovers save us about $1500 per year on the Historian's lunches, and how to prepare meals in minutes by pre-cooking or marinating meats before freezing them.  It was fun!  I hope she'll come again when chicken is on sale and learn about bread making basics and maybe make noodles with us! 
I had all my favorite recipes with pictures and all of my 'tips' written out for her, but for some reason the document became 'corrupted' while I was trying to save it on a flash drive and it is gone! I'll have to start again and re-write my thoughts.  Hopefully they will be a help!

Well, we've got a lot to do today!  Keeping warm is first on the list and this isn't the warmest room in the house! We're just doing the basics as far as school is concerned and I hope to get to Home Depot for some on sale containers to organize the ever  growing Playmobil collection! The Storyteller is struggling with some hard verses in his AWANA book, so I'd better go give him a hand. Dreamer has out the white board and she's trying to help him!  
Such a good big sister!

Can you tell what else has been on my mind - it's almost time to start my seeds under the grow lights! Do you think they will have the starting trays and seed display out at Home Depot yet? I hope so!  I don't need any trays, but I could start a few herbs ...

Thank you so much for dropping by for a visit today - it's always fun to have the Company Girls for a visit!  Keep warm and well!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

By every word

Our children know I love words, but do they 
know that I love The Word? 
Too often days stretch into weeks between the times they see me
reaching for the Word just for my own nourishment.
  Not for school, not for AWANA, not for correction, not for copywork, but just for me.
My Bible is always handy, but it isn't always open. 

I want to change that.

We chose a phrase to inspire our family this year.
by every word

It speaks to so many issues for all of us.

Believing the Word
Living the Word
Knowing the Word
Sharing the Word

We're starting with learning  Ephesians 4 because that's what's been speaking to our hearts. It's a good place to start memorizing the Word as a family. 
There are 32 verses - the perfect length to establish a right habit. 
Memorizing short portions of God's Word has been a part of our family life from the beginning, but it is time to go deeper and develop this habit as a daily life skill.

We teach the children to make their beds, bring their laundry, brush their teeth, tidy their rooms, read good books, get along with others, help around the house, take care of pets, go to church, love God, respect their elders, save money, study their lessons, and live by the Golden Rule.

Perhaps we've assumed they will pick up a meaningful prayer life and a  love for learning God's Word on their own just because they are being raised in a believing home.

We need to be more intentional, and I need to be a better example.
They've seen Daddy with his Bible open most mornings, though he's getting up earlier these days and is often finished before they are up.  They've seen us open the Word together after dinner  several nights each week. They've seen me do my homework for ladies Bible study.

Now we'll strive side by side to learn

by every word

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soup love

Almost every Tuesday during the winter months I make a nice pot of homemade soup.  Today I made 'Looking for Mr. Good Barley' from a recipe my friend Laura gave to me!  We all love it! Mr. Neighbor is always happy to get a jar full as well, so that makes it perfect.

  As I was preparing the soup, I had a huge pan of $1.88/ lb. natural boneless chicken breasts in the oven sprinkled with herbs from last summer's garden.  I cubed it all and froze it for future fast suppers - poppy seed chicken casserole, wraps, chicken salad, and of course - more soup! I hope to go back later in the week for more since it is such a good deal for drug free chicken.

While the oven was hot I slipped in some yams that needed to be used - Dreamer requested Sweet Potato Bread, so I cooked them all.  I also made two big loaves of Banana Bread since the oven was on anyway!  My poor Storyteller was so enticed by all of the good smells he could hardly focus on his work, but work he did!  Since God was blessing us with a wonderful bounty of snow, he wanted to be done with school and get outside - by 1:45 he was out!


The Historian thoughtfully put the bird feeders at the side of the driveway this fall where I can see the goings on while I wash dishes and prepare meals.  Today we were treated to the 'Puffed Up Dove Convention' and later the Blue Jays joined, along with a number of Cardinals and smaller birds.  They looked so very cold.  Dreamer kept the feeders filled and they  feasted quite well.


Storyteller took these pictures of the convention for me - he is learning that he takes better pictures when he holds still! So hard for a naturally caffeinated 10 year old boy!

 Do you see those feet?  They are never  still!

Speaking of our Storyteller, did I tell you all that he has started Upward Basketball?  He is so excited!  He is loving that he is the tallest boy on the team.  He is learning a lot and has decided to supplement his coach's training with 20 books about basketball from the library.  Just like his total immersion into baseball last spring and summer, he is now absorbing everything he can about his new favorite sport.  Of course since we don't have t.v., books are his only source of information.  I recently learned that though he is reading very well, we need to work on his 'sounding out' skills a little bit more ...

Together we were running an errand yesterday while Dreamer was at lessons - this is how the conversation unfolded:

'Mommy there's a basketball player that sounds more like a soup than a man!'
'Um. O.K.  What do you mean Bud?'
'His name is Cream of Badulajar!'
'Cream of Bad-ula-jar???'
'Yup!  What was his Mama thinking when she named him? What kind of name is Cream of Bad-ula-jar? Doesn't it sound like a soup to you?"
'When  did he play basketball and who did he play for?'
'The Lakers in the 70's - He was in my library book!'
'Ahhh! (lightbulb moment for Mama) Wait a minute Chum - was his name (slowly) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?'
'Yeah - that's what I said!'
'Oh Bud -  His name is Ka-reem Ab-dul Jab-bar and his Mama named him Lew - he chose Kareem.'
'He musta really liked soup!'
He really should NOT tickle my funny bone when I'm driving!  I almost had to pull over I was laughing so hard! 

That boy does love his soup - and it's a very good thing since he is over 5' at 10 years old and I will likely need to pour vast quantities of homemade soup into him to fill him up when he reaches or surpasses the 6' mark!

Keep warm and well, dear friends!
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Company Girl Small Thing: Homekeeping Mission Statement

Today Rachel Anne Ridge challenged the Company Girls to write a simple Homekeeping Mission Statement to start the year with a measurable target. I'm not so good at keeping things simple, but it was a good exercise for me to organize my thoughts and come up with a simple plan of action. I thought I'd share my thoughts here and invite you to join the Company Girls in making our homes a sanctuary, one 'Small Thing' at a time!

Heather's Homekeeping Mission Statement

While a breathtaking field of wildflowers may at first appear to be a thoughtless riot of spectacular colors, we know that God has a plan even for the lilies of the field. He has ordered their blooms to bring glory to Himself. In our home our intention is to reflect our love for God and for one another, and to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. My experience proves that dirt, clutter and chaos impede our ability to run our home in a relaxed and happy manner.

To combat  the inevitable smudges and dust bunnies I will strive to continue daily Minimum Maintenance. I will do as much as I am able on each of my 'good health' days, without feeling the pressure to 'do it all'. Together the children and I will continue to do a weekly deep clean on Friday afternoons when our school work is completed for the week. I will work to bring a sense of order and beauty to our home by providing a place for everything and re-training the whole family to put things in their place. That includes me!

I will continue to share my vision for sanctuary, beauty and order with our children by engaging them in helping willingly with the daily tasks required to make our home healthfully clean,  comfortably cozy and genuinely welcoming. I will encourage their efforts and work to instill in them the satisfaction of a doing their daily work with cheerfulness. We will laugh together as we work and look for blessings behind every life lesson.
My prayer is that when our children are grown they will remember our home as a safe haven of peace filled with music and laughter. They will fondly recall a place where they were loved unconditionally and where God's presence was felt in the everyday business of family life.

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