Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 2015 "Happenings on the Homestead"

Where did January go? In fact, where did my first and second trimester go? I'm already at 25+ weeks. Feeling good, but starting to slow down as ligaments are loosening up in preparation for the big day (still a few months off).  My friend, Kay, took this pic of me at the Burns Night Supper put on by the Celtic Society of Eastern Oregon. I can't fit into my tartan anymore on account of my swallowing a soccer ball, but I still managed to wear our clan colors.  It was wonderful to have a date night with my sweetie and hang out with old friends. 
We became official members of Pendleton Baptist Church this month! We are so happy to have found such a God-honoring church who preaches the Word straight and whose members are truly striving to live out what it means to be a Christian. We are thrilled to be a part of this local body of believers. Hailey is going to get baptized in March and we are all looking forward to that special day.

This month has been filled with vintage double-wide trailer woes, but we are getting through one problem at a time. So thankful for my handy-man hubby! Michael fixed the kids' peeling shower surround around the first of the month, just in time for the grout to have come loose around the master bathroom shower (not shown). We've been working on master bathroom for over a week now. We've removed the carpet and are now dealing with the mold problems before we lay new linoleum.
This is the kid's shower after we got the new surround in. We were blessed to have been given this brand new shower surround by a contractor-friend at church. Michael was able to cut it down to fit into our smaller than average shower/tub combo. So thankful we got this done before we had to tear apart the master bathroom.
This Highland Barbarian (Josiah) was posing for a portrait his friend, Gracia, was drawing of him. He and his dad tanned the sheep hides themselves naturally.  

We started having the kids each take a night where they get to pick and prepare a meal (with a little help from Mom). I try very hard to just let them create and enjoy cooking. They both love it when it is their night to cook because that means they don't have to do the dishes! So far Hailey has made taco salads and a potato bar. She's making Italian breaded pork chops tonight. I try to suggest really simple things for her to make to get her confidence up.
Josiah continues to surprise me. He uses recipes as guides, but does a lot of his alterations that have turned out delicious. He made this cheesy, smoked sausage, fusilli with a basic Italian red sauce the other night. We all loved it. He completed the meal with our home-steamed grape juice, to really give it an Italian feel. We've also been getting lots of milk lately to make cheese. We had homemade feta on our salad. Yummy night! One of my favorite meals he has made was breaded and pan-friend salmon. We were given a bunch of salmon and he smoked the rest. It all turned out great!
A couple weeks ago, the main electrical line to our house shorted out, so we had to "camp" in the trailer for a weekend while Michael worked on getting it fixed himself (big job). For once, a major malfunction happened when Michael was actually home!
We were praising God we put in a wood stove this year because we used it not just for heat, but for heating water and even cooking. Hailey is stirring the soup in this pic I took on my phone.

We were praising God we put in a wood stove this year because we used it not just for heat, but for heating water and even cooking. Hailey is stirring the soup in this pic I took on my phone.
Unfortunately, when you come out of this place, you turn into a chocolate snob. No other chocolate tastes as good. The field trip also provided a glimpse into the entrepreneurial world of a small business.
I know my camera phone stinks, but here is a parting pic of all my sister's kids and mine, all stair stepped, waiting in line for dinner at my mom's house. We had such a good time with them over New Years. Just think there's going to be one more soon! 

I've really been struggling this week as we found out both kids need braces. We've had house troubles, vehicle problems and a the reality of a new baby on the way. God is stretching my faith. He is bringing me once again to a place where I need to just purely trust Him even though I can't possibly see how it will all work out. A friend on Facebook posted a wonderful article that describes my feelings perfectly called, "Complicated Peace" by Sarah Bessy.  When I read this article, I determined that I'm not going to feel guilty anymore over my vacillating feelings between sheer joy and panic over the life changes ahead. I need to deal with these feelings instead of always pushing them down. It's been a rough week, but I finally feel like I'm being honest with myself and God. He's ripping that band aid off and cleaning my wounds so I can heal and be ready for this precious blessing when it gets here. If you feel led, please keep me in your prayers this week. 

God Bless, 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homemade Raw, Healthy Nutella-like Recipe

I've been meaning to try making homemade Nutella for awhile, but never could find a recipe that sounded very good, so I decided to try to make my own using some basic ingredients. The kids loved it, and the more cocoa powder I put in the happy they were. This can easily be made into a vegan recipe. It is raw, gluten free, has no refined sugars or fats and is super yummy!

Homemade Raw, Healthy Nutella-like Recipe:

2 cups raw hazelnuts

1 cup sucanat (can start with less and add more to taste)

1/2 maple syrup or mock maple syrup made from sucanat

3/4 cup of raw cream or milk (can use almond or oat milk milk, etc for a vegan recipe)

1 cup cocoa powder (we like a dark chocolate flavor)

2 Tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt (Celtic Sea Salt)

Throw it all into a food processor and blend until smooth. If it is getting too thick for the processor, add a little more milk or water. Adjust ingredients to your family's tastes. This recipe makes about 3 cups.

I wouldn't feel bad about letting my kids eat this on their toast in the mornings. Awesome, protein packed snack. Instead of peanut butter, you can use this as the filling for homemade chocolate cups.

Love it when I find a way to save money and keep the kids happy and healthy!

God Bless,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas on the Homestead: December 2014 Recap

I know December is gone, but for our own family's posterity's sake, I thought I'd go ahead and blog about it since I actually had the time because we had to stay home from church due to a sick kidlet. We had a wonderful December complete with many fun traditions. I let the kids do all the decorating by themselves, with exception of the tree (although I did let them help). Since this was the last Christmas we will have for quite a while without a little one in the house, I thought I do my very breakable "Thomas Kincade" themed tree. I enjoyed it so much and deemed it my favorite tree to date.  

I was also blessed to be able to go to a couple of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) craft nights and even half a meeting in the month of December. We made these super cute ornaments out of old dictionary pages and some dry snow globes. I look forward to getting to know more of these wonderful ladies in the future :) I still can't get over the fact that I qualify to go to MOPS again!

 One of our favorite new traditions we added to the December docket is caroling with the local homeschool group to three of the nursing homes. It brings such joy to the residents. The kids recognized this sweet man whom they connected with last year. He didn't remember them, but he gave them the same warm smile and hugs as last year. So precious! I sing with a gospel group and we are going to start singing at a nearby assisted living home in January and Feb, when things are the quietest and they could really use some joy in their lives. I can't wait!
 We celebrated Larry Pop's birthday with "made from scratch" vanilla cupcakes with homemade lemon curd filling and frosting, courtesy of Hailey. The kids had a lot of fun making them and it blessed Larry Pop immensely. Fun to live so close to Mom and Larry so we can more easily celebrate these milestones together.
 We even got to go to a community contra dance that night and danced the night away with old friends.
We had lots of company during the Christmas Break. Dad and Diana managed to slip away from the ranch for a day of fun. The kids got to open their presents (Diana made this cute hat for Hailey) from them and we even got to watch my nephew's basketball game together. We had a great time. 

 Christmas morning was spent at our house opening gifts and eating Brie, Bacon and Roasted Garlic on Toast. My Aunt Deb and cousin, Nathan were able to stay with my mom for a few days, so it was fun catching up with them. Hailey was thrilled to get all things "Frozen"!
 Josiah loves Jonathan Park Adventures (CD Creation-based adventure stories) and was happy to get the next series.
 All I wanted was for my badly torn retro kitchen chairs to be reupholstered. Michael taught himself how to do it and managed to get them done just in time for Christmas. I absolutely love them and they still look retro and even though they are now blue, they still go with my retro table. Very comfy, too! So happy he did that for me! I didn't manage to get a picture of it, but I got Michael a good used planar so he can start a wood floor made of pallets this spring. Want to get all the nasty carpet out of the house before the baby gets here.
 A friend of ours gave Josiah a metal detector and he's been having a great time with it.
 Auntie April got Josiah this very appropriate T-shirt. So him!
Last but not least, we made sure we went to the Living Nativity put together by a whole bunch of churches in our town. It is very well done and tells the entire gospel story. Keeping Jesus at the center of our holiday celebrations is very important to us. We are so grateful for His birth, life and ministry, ultimate sacrifice and then resurrection so that we can all have eternal life if we believe. Praise Him, praise our wonderful Savior, Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! 

My sister and her six kiddos came up during the week of New Years and we had great time. So busy, that I didn't have time to take pictures. We had a cold snap, so we spent a lot of time huddled around the fireplace together. It was so fun though and more memories were made on Mission Road Homestead. The weather has warmed up a bit, so we are now comfortable and toasty warm in our vintage trailer. Now if this inversion would only lift! 

Our family wishes you the best possible 2015! May we each keep growing in the Lord, seeking His will for our lives despite the mad world swirling around us. 

God Bless,


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