Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

While in Boise this weekend, we took in a bunch of museums. Besides the Basque Museum, and Idaho Historical Museum, we walked through the old Idaho State Penitentiary. This was by far the most interesting of all the museums. It was incredible to us that this state pen. was closed in 1973. It was rustic, let me tell you. The cell Michael is standing in, had only a bucket to go in and no running water. It was in the oldest part of the prison. It was built in the late 1800's.
Here is an example of one of the "newer" cells. They had straw bedding with a toilet and sink. Still very primitive. I'll tell you, if this is what prisoners today had to live in, I think there would be a whole lot less prisons. It looked like these buildings would be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. They had a few radiator heaters in the walk ways.

Here is a picture of one of the guard towers. The brown sand area by the wall was called "No Man's Land". If you stepped into, you could be shot. The walls and the buildings were all made by the prisoners and the sandstone was brought from a nearby quarry.

Here is a picture of the burned-out dining hall and I believe chapel. They were burned in a riot in the early 1970's, that eventually led to the closure of that state pen. They moved the prisoners to a newer, modern one.

Here's a picture of a cell in solitary confinement. It was called "Little Siberia". They would give you a couple of blankets and some wool slippers, a bucket to go in, and no cot. There was one small hole in the ceiling that would let some light in. A lot of times they wouldn't tell the prisoners how long they would be in there. Some would go nuts. It was really creepy, but I'll bet it was effective.

I didn't take a picture of it, but there was also a death row and gallows. In all the years this prison was open, only one prisoner was actually hung from it. I get creeped out by that kind of thing, so I didn't take any pictures of the gallows, drop room, or viewing room.
The women's ward was interesting. I wish I would have taken a few pictures of it. It had stories on the walls of many of the women and their crimes. It was very interesting. If you every have a chance to visit this place, I'd highly recommend it.

Reality Check

Here's my sis' latest devotion. It is quite timely if you check out her "Nail Polish Nightmare" post on her blog at You'll totally see God's sense of humor!

Reality Check
Dear Mothers,
A few years ago, I received a HUGE reality check. I had been having a very hard time with my two-year old, Andrew. He kept making these gigantic messes every time I would turn around. I was getting more and more frustrated by the day and found myself getting very angry and being unkind to him. To make a long story as short as possible, we found him hanging one morning by his head on the outside of the top bunkbed rail. He had been that way for hours. When my oldest son found him and brought him to me, his jaw was flattened and his head deformed. I thought to myself as I was calling for help, “Our lives will never be the same again”. I thought maybe he had had a stroke or something. God was already working by the time I got up to the hospital. His eye was back in the right place and his jaw was starting to fill out again. The doctor said it was a miracle that he didn’t crush his windpipe. He had his head turned sideways just enough to where his jaw took the brunt of his body weight. Praise the Lord! After all of this had happened I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I prayed and asked to receive what He wanted to teach me. I felt him saying, “Messes are no big deal. Don’t take one moment for granted with these precious gifts I have given to you. In a second they could be gone.” REALITY CHECK! God spared Andrew’s life and answered our prayers and given him a full recovery.
My husband is a firefighter/paramedic. When he comes home in the morning and I sometimes tell him some of the annoying things the kids do, or have a list of complaints ready to fire off of how bad my day was, sometimes he just looks at me and says, “Are the kids breathing? Are they hurt? No? Well, it’s a good day then.” Then he will proceed to tell me of a horrible call he went on. Again, REALITY CHECK!Are your kids warm in the beds? Do they have shelter? Do they have food in their tummies? Yes? Well, then it’s a good day! Think of all the mothers around the world who don’t know what they are going to feed their children for the next meal. Think of the orphans that are sifting through garbage just to survive! We do not have it bad at all, do we? God has blessed this nation, but we grow complacent until we have a reality check!
Stop and thank God right now, for all that you have. Be content with it. Be thankful that God has given you the gift of your children. Do not wait for Him to shake you out of your complacency! It’s not fun, trust me! Ask Him to teach you to “number your days correctly.”
God loves you so very much! He is so merciful! He is worthy of praise!
From One Mom to Another,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ice Cave Room

We stayed in the "Fire and Ice" room the second night we were at the Anniversary Inn. It was so cute! It was like walking into an ice cave. The bed was gel-filled and super comfy, with lots of gorgeous pillows. There was even a faux polar bear rug on the bed.
The is the view from the bed, looking back towards the door. They had the cutest faux flame lanterns and "fire" pit with a huge bean bag. The pictures don't do it justice. The lighting in these rooms is amazing! Very romantic, with awesome music playing in the background.

Of course the best part was the huge jacuzzi tub, with another shower head coming right out of the ceiling. You really felt like you were in an ice cave.

This is the view from the door. You can't see it, but right in front of the bed is a big screen TV with a faux fireplace below it, tucked away in the "ice"

Here is the sink, and the toilet is hidden behind the door. There was a penguin in the "cave" to the left sitting on top of a fridge containing cheesecake. We had breakfast in bed the next morning. What a life!
If we ever get to go back we are going to try the "Hollywood Romance" room, "Sleeping Beauty's Castle" or the "Caribbean Island" room.
It was such a blessing! Just what we needed. The kids did great with Michael's mom and we were able to go to a ton of museums around Boise, which is so much more relaxing without little ones. Although, we were scouting out fun things to do with the kids should get the opportunity to take a mini-vacation with them sometime.

"Where Art Thou, Romeo?"

We just got back from a very romantic weekend at the Anniversary Inn in Boise, ID. Wow! I was amazed at the hotel. They are all themed rooms and just so much fun. We got a great deal on two nights stay. The first night was in the Romeo and Juliet room. Michael surprised me and ordered rose petals to be scattered up the staircase to the balcony where the bed was located. It was so sweet! I love all things Renaissance!

Here I am calling for my love!

The steps came down to this beautiful sight! You can't see it in the picture very well but there is a "waterfall" shower coming out of the ceiling, big enough for two people to stand under it. The water filled a hug jacuzzi tub. There was cheesecake and iced sparkling cider in the room as well as breakfast served in your room in the morning. Wow, did I feel spoiled! Michael and I haven't had a weekend away without the kids since he came home on leave when he was serving in Iraq (2005).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet Lil' Lily Marie

Here is a picture of my newest niece, Lily Marie. She was 7 lbs, 20 inches. Born Sunday, March 22nd at 9:46pm. She is less than 24 hours old in this picture. My sister and Lily will be coming home from the hospital today, so hopefully Stacie will be able to get a bunch of pictures on her blog soon. We are all thrilled that she was a girl as this is only the second girl out of the six children they've had. Due to Stacie's increasingly difficult pregnancies, they are thinking this will be their last one. Now, we only have a month to wait for my brother's wife, Sonya, to have her first! Will it be a boy or a girl? I love that they are keeping it a surprise, too. I have to wait two weeks to meet Lily. Thank God for web cams! I decided I'm going to visit on our birthday weekend so Stacie and I can go to tea and I can really help her deep clean her house since she got behind when she was pregnant. Anyway, hope you all enjoy this picture of my sweet niece.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

Once you've had one of these, you'll never want to go back to store bought!

Homemade Graham Crackers:

2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 c regular whole wheat or graham flour
3/4 c sucanat
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter or coconut oil, cut into 1/2 pieces
2 Tbl honey
2 Tbl molasses
1/4 c cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. In food processor or by hand, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Add the cold butter and process or blend with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the honey, molasses, water and vanilla. Mix until dough starts to come together into a ball. Split dough into two balls. Place a dough ball on two stoneware bar pans or cookie sheets. Roll out dough until it is an 1/8 of an inch thick. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2 inch squares and prick several holes into each square with a toothpick (optional). Bake 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on edges. You want them to be crispy but not burned! They burn easily, so watch them closely. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Break them up and store in tightly sealed container. If you are wanting to make a pie crust, just roll dough out it a pie dish instead of a bar pan.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I got this amazing recipe from a former pastor of ours. I never liked corned beef until I had it cooked this way.

Orpha's Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe:
Boil corned beef in roasting pan (fat side up) for 3 or 4 hours in oven at 375 degrees, making sure it is submerged or floating in water. Then add potatoes wedges and carrots to roasting pan. Cook for another 30 minutes (can add spice pack if desired). Then add 1/2 cabbage, sliced into wedges, cook another 30 minutes. Remove corned beef and slice. Keeping it all together (fat side up), place into smaller pan and cook 10 minutes in oven next to the other pan full of veggies. Remove from oven and serve.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome To Toddlerhood!

It was way too quiet. I finally went to investigate. To my horror, Hailey had gotten into my large box of tampons on a "Search, Chew and Destroy Mission". That is when I realized it was time to say good-bye to babyhood and hello to toddlerhood. Let the games begin!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cooking From Scratch Saves You Money$$$!!!

How Can Cooking From Scratch Save You Money?

With food prices going through the roof, cooking from scratch is becoming more of an interest to people. You really can save an enormous amount of money! As I'm sure you've guess, healthy ingredients can cost more. Guess what? By cooking from scratch I can afford to buy better quality food and still save money. I'm going to discuss some practical ways to save you some big $$$.

1.) Shop from a weekly menu. This is the biggest money saving tip of all! If you have a weekly menu, you have a plan, therefore you aren't going to be caught one night, saying "what's for dinner?" In fact, on the rare occasion that we do go out, I have to write it on the menu so I don't forget and thaw something out!
2.) Stock up on staples! If you have a well stocked pantry, then you don't have an excuse for not cooking! I try to buy things in bulk when I'm able. I don't have a lot of room to store bulk items, so I find friends who will go in with me on these items. For example, I'll buy a 50 lb bag of sucanat, and split it out among friends.
3.) Pay wholesale prices! Take advantage of your local food co-op. If you don't have one, start asking around or search for one on the Internet. We don't have a local food co-op, but we do have Azure Standard ( where we place our order on-line and once a month, a truck comes through our area and delivers our items to a "drop-point". We go pick it up. If we order at least $50, shipping is free. I save an enormous amount on health food and other products through this company. I can get raw honey for $23 a gallon. You can't touch it for that price locally. They operate all over the west. They sell in smaller increments as well as bulk.
4.) Avoid going to the stores as much as possible. Not only will you avoid impulse buying (something I'm bad about), you will also save money on gas and time. Yes, time is valuable! My only exception to impulse buying is when staples are sale (if you have the money), I stock up!
5.) Buy meat farm-direct. This is another huge money saver. Yes, it takes some budget planning, but it is worth it. Not only will you be saving a lot of money, you will be get way better meat. For our family, we try to buy a 1/4 of a beef, 1/2 a pig, whole lamb and a dozen chickens every year. By doing this, we have a variety of meats to choose from in our freezer. If my husband gets lucky hunting, then we save even more!
6.) Gleaning: I confess! I don't have a garden. The water bill alone wouldn't make it worth it. During gardening season, I have so many friends and family who are gardening, that I can take advantage of their excess fruits and vegetables. During this time I chop and freeze as much as I can to get me through the rest of the year. How can you beat free?
7.) Invest in another freezer if you need to. You will recoup the savings if you can get a freezer where you can store your extra meals, gleaned fruits and veggies, meat, jams, apple sauce, condiments, ground pumpkin, etc. I freeze almost everything now (the only thing I can are pickles). It is much easier and healthier as the enzymes are still intact.
8.) Everyone has things they like to make and things they hate to make. If you are good at making something, start asking around. Trade with others for food, ingredients, other handmade items like lotion, soap, whatever! Since making cheese is the thing I like to do, I've had people want to trade cheese for everything from raw milk, homegrown garlic, homemade lotion, eggs, music lessons and odd jobs. I've also been known to trade my homemade frozen meals for babysitting.
In conclusion, there is no doubt, cooking from scratch is less expensive. My husband and I used to spend at least $600 a month on groceries (mostly processed foods) and eating out for just the two of us. Now that I'm cooking from scratch (taking in mind, we have two more mouths to feed and grocery prices are a lot higher), we spend approximately $400 a month on groceries when averaged out over a one year period (this includes our farm-direct meats). We aren't eating cheap foods, devoid of nutrition. We use the best ingredients and we eat very well. If I can do it, so can you!
I know many of you are wondering where the time factor comes in. My next "Cooking from Scratch" post will be on practical ways to make it happen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Turkish Pasta with Beef Sauce

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary but tasty, keep reading! I found this recipe in "Eatin' Well" magazine, but tweaked it quite a bit to get it to our tastes. It was so yummy and easy! It took me about an hour to prepare and cook this meal. I think you could use any ground meat for this recipe and it would turn out good. I know the ingredient list looks long, but it is mostly stuff you would probably have on hand.

Turkish Pasta with Beef Sauce:

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finally chopped celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 Tbl minced garlic
2 Tbl olive oil
1 lb ground beef (or any ground meat)
2 Tbl paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 to 2 tsps Celtic Sea Salt
1/4 to 1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 pomegranate juice or 1/2 plum jam
2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh, frozen, canned)
1/2 to 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 lb whole wheat pasta (fettucine, or penne)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1.) Put pot of water on to boil.

2.) I used my grater blade on my food processor and ran a carrot, a stalk of celery and 1 1/2 onions through it (could also finely chop all with a knife).

3.) Heat 2 Tbl olive oil using medium heat, add ground beef and all the veggies, including mushrooms and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring frequently until meat is brown and veggies are softened (add a little water to keep from sticking if you need to).

4.) Add all the spices, jam or pomegranate juice, lemon juice, tomatoes and cilantro. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and cook uncovered, maintaining a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. If sauce gets to thick, add water, if too thin, boil for a few minutes.

5.) In the meantime, cook pasta until just tender. Drain.

6.) Divide pasta into bowls, spoon sauce over pasta, add a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt, with freshly snipped cilantro if desired.

(Makes 8 servings, can easily freeze leftover pasta and sauce for another meal later.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Love My Life!

Looking at these pictures, I'm just overwhelmed once again by what a wonderful, blessed life I'm living. Do I have it all together? No! Am I, my marriage or my kids perfect? No! What is perfect in my life? God's grace! Praise God I don't have to be perfect or expect perfection from the ones I love. As you can see from the following pictures, we can have so much fun together despite our imperfections and everyday irritations.
Hailey's hair is just getting long enough for me to put it in a pig tail. It usually doesn't stay in for long, but I'm hoping she'll get used to it because she seriously has some wild, crazy hair that needs a little tamin'. I think she looks like "Pebbles: in this shirt.

We wanted to see what Hailey would look like with longer pig tails, so I put my braids on either side of her head and had Michael take a picture. We thought she looked adorable!
Hailey is officially in a toddler bed which is making our nights and nap times a little more interesting. Overall, she's doing pretty good with it though. She was launching herself out of the crib, so into a toddler bed she went. This is a picture of her first night in it. She thought she was hot stuff!

My friend, Leslie, made this hat for me. What a sweet surprise. It is from an American Girls craft book from the early 1900's. It is so warm and soft, I just love it! Thanks, Leslie!

This is Valentine's Day at our house. I started a new tradition last year and the kids love it! One of the local churches does a fundraiser every year where they sell "Cookie Grams" for Valentine's Day. They deliver a dozen different cookies, all wrapped up pretty with a personalized Valentine, right to your door! It makes the kids feel so special. I got them each one this year. Josiah (or should I say, Capt. Redbeard) already had his unwrapped before I could snap the picture. I love holidays because it gives me an excuse to spoil the ones I love. Humm, what should I do for St. Patick's Day for them? We always do corned beef and cabbage. I don't use food coloring, so I can't make anything green. Any ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good and Angry - My Testimony

My sister called me up a few weeks ago just raving about this new book she was reading. My discipling was in a rut. Spankings and time outs just weren't reaching Josiah any more. He'd take his punishment and go on his merry way without any heart change whatsoever. So, I was all ears for any new suggestions. Stacie told me the premise of this book was to go after your child's heart instead of just behavior modification. She also promised this would help me get control of my anger which has a tendency to flare up way more often than I'd like.
Here's some great stuff I copied from my sister's blog. If you've already read her blog, skip to the end for my testimony.
I'll start with an amazing analogy that the authors had...You go into a showroom to buy a car. You are about ready to take it for a spin. You open the door and the door falls off! You are surprised and you get angry. "How dare they put this thing in car in the showroom! It should be a finished product!" Now, if you were working on the assembly line and the door fell off, what would you do? Would you get angry and upset or would you simply go get the tools to fix it? Too many parents (including me) are expecting a "showroom child" when in reality they are still on the "assembly line"! We are getting angry because kids are being kids. My goodness, I'm an adult and I still make stupid mistakes. How much more will our kids? And yes, it's frustrating when they do the same dumb things over and over and over. But we are training them and we have to remember that they are going to do those things. So stop losing our cool every time it happens.
The second major point that I have found to be the key to my child's heart is the "Break and Questions method". Say your child just hit his brother. Instead of getting angry and yelling at the child or spanking the child, you tell the child to go take a "Break". A Break is different then a time out. The child can come out as soon as he is ready to return to you and go over the "Questions". I have one kid that stays in for 20 minutes cooling off, I have another that is in laying on his bed for less then a minute and he is ready. Each child is different. The key is this: Their attitudes need to be teachable and all disrespect and blaming others must not be present or they return to "Break". This keeps you calm as well. When they return to you, this is what you ask: 1. What did you do wrong? This gives them the opportunity to confess and repent of their sin. 2. Why is that wrong? Sometimes they may not know and need help with it. This is your teaching time. I always bring up what the Bible says about the behavior they just displayed. For example; "Just because your brother took your toy doesn't give you the right to hit or scream at him. Two wrongs do not make it right." 3. What could you do differently next time? This makes them think! If they don't know, help give them the tools that they need to be successful with whatever problem is occurring. 4. Positive Conclusion: This is how God treats the human race throughout history. He chastens us, but when we repent, He always gives us hope! We need to be giving our kids hope that they can change. Most of the time I do this by saying, "Jessica, I know you can do better next time!" or "Your tone of voice has improved a lot in the last week, let's keep working on it, O.K.?" Many times there still needs to be consequences because of their behavior, but they accept them without getting so angry because I'm not angry. Instead I choose to be sad for them.
OK, so here's my testimony:
Not only have I been MUCH calmer using this method, I'm seeing amazing results in my child. I see him actually caring about what he's doing to others and himself. He's been so much more affectionate and loving lately. This is all in response to me and the way I'm handling him with respect, love and kindess. This does not mean I'm letting him get away with bad behavior. In fact he's getting way with way less than he was. If I tell him to go on break and he throws a fit or says something mean, after he's calm, we'll address the reason he had to go on break, but then I make him practice going on break until he can do it without saying anything. Honestly, it was a lot of work at first. But this "training period" is already starting to pay off. One time I had to send him on break probably 15 times, but I stuck with it and by the end, he was singing a different tune.
I have a great example of this of how this works even in public. We went to Walmart a couple of days ago. Josiah was really excited because he had earned some money and wanted to spend it. We decided to hit the toy section last, which as you can imagine, didn't go over well with Josiah. As we got near the toy section, Josiah decided to break ranks. We decided to let him. I watched him, just out of his sight for about 5 minutes. He really thought he was getting away with it. I let him have a little time to browse and pick out what he wanted. I walked up to him and asked him the three questions. Of course he wanted to tell me all about what he wanted to buy. I stuck to the three questions. After he had answered them to my satifaction, I calmly applied the consequences. I told him he wouldn't be allowed to spend his money at the store this time because of his disobedience. Of course, he threw a fit. He kept whining about it, so Michael took him out to the car for a break. On the way home, he was crying for little bit, but then I heard him say, "I should have obeyed"! In my heart, I was so thrilled to hear those words. I didn't have to tell him that, he figured it out on his own! Praise God!
This book has really given me another wonderful tool in my parenting tool box. I can't stop telling people about bit ecause it is changing the atmosphere of our home so much. When I get angry, I'm starting to put myself on break. When I feel myself losing it, I'm starting to catch myself and make my kids leave the room so I can calm down. It is working! Our home is so much more positive.
So check out the front cover of this book at the top of my post for more info. My sis said the authors also have their own website with testimonials.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why is Cooking from Scratch Healthier?

Why is Cooking from Scratch Healthier?
Honestly, the healthy aspect is what really got me into cooking from scratch because there are so few processed foods out there that don't have bad stuff in them. I found the only way I could make some things healthy was simply to make it myself. After doing some experimenting and getting my confidence up, I began to realize it wasn't as hard as it seemed.
Most processed foods are full of things that aren't good for you such as additives, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, dyes, refined sugars and refined flours are a few of these "bad boys". Also, processed food is "dead" because most of it has been super heated to kill any bacteria or germs. However, when you eat things that are raw, the enzymes are still intact. Enzymes help tremendously with digestion. That is why many people who've been diagnosed as lactose intolerant are able to drink raw milk and eat raw cheese and other raw dairy products. Raw milk isn't heated, thereby it isn't killing precious enzymes need to aid in digestion. I've also gotten away from canning and even blanching my vegetables and fruits before freezing to ensure the enzymes aren't killed. It also saves me a lot of time! My jams are all no-cook freezer jams sweetened with raw honey. I use an all-natural pectin called, Pamona's Pectin to thicken it. I know some of you are going to freak out when I say I don't blanch before I freeze, but truly, I've been doing it for years and we've never gotten sick from it.
When cooking from scratch, it is easy to tweak recipes to make them healthier. At first I thought I would have to throw away all those wonderful recipes I've accumulated over the years. But I decided, I wasn't willing to do that. Instead, I started experimenting and I decided to give those recipes a healthy makeover. We get to eat many of our favorite dishes, only now they are good for us!
I think one of the greatest advantages of cooking from scratch are that our kids will likely make healthier eating decisions. I've found that the less snacks you have around the house, the better because a piece of fruit or a carrot start to look really attractive when they don't have other sugary snacks around to tempt them.
I need to make it clear that we eat this way in our own home. When we go out to eat or we are at friends' or families' houses, we eat whatever is put in front of us. I figure that we are at home most of the time eating what I consider to be healthy, so it won't kill us to go somewhere and have an unhealthy meal every now and then. I even have a few "emergency rations" from Schwans or Costco in the freezer (Shh! Smile). The key is to only use them in emergencies. I used to eat that stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I now keep my pantry stocked with only healthy ingredients so that it isn't even a temptation for me to make something with the "bad stuff".
Here is a list of some of the healthy items I keep in my pantry at all times:
whole wheat pastry flour
hard red winter whole wheat flour
regular whole wheat flour
whole grain corn meal
steel cut oats (great in hot cereals and healthier than rolled)
rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
rolled barley
pearled barley (great in soups)
olive oil -first cold pressed (I use for anything that would call for vegetable oil, even my desserts)
coconut oil - unrefined and expeller-presssed (great substitute for butter or shortening; has a high cooking point so wonderful for popping corn)
sucanat - unrefined sugar (substitute for brown sugar, or sometimes white)
raw honey (substitute for sugar)
tapioca flour (instead of corn starch)
organic chicken and beef bouillon
variety of whole wheat pastas, beans, whole-grained rice and raw nuts
aluminum-free baking powder
Celtic sea salt
There are more, but these are the basics. When you use up of the stuff that you already have you could slowly replace it with these ingredients. You'll be off to a great start!
Stay tuned for my next "Cooking from Scratch" post because it will be all about how to to save you money. Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, March 6, 2009

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Stacie and I made a point to take some pictures of each other this weekend since usually we are the ones behind the camera. This is me after I got my hair done by Stacie's hair dresser. I'm really happy with it. I found a comfortable headband and I've experimenting with it.

I've been in the mood for braids lately. I haven't worn them since I was a little girl, but I'm really liking them now, especially when I'm cooking. I got this shirt for $10 brand new at little shop in Pendleton. I love this color!

Here is a picture of my gorgeous, very pregnant, sister. Isn't she just glowing? She is due April Fools Day, so it won't be long. Our birthday is on the 4th, so we're hoping she'll hold out so the baby can share our birthday. I think she looks fabulous, especially since this is her sixth baby! I got Stace to wear a headband, too, and I think it looks so cute on her. We had such fun time together last weekend. Although I think our kids probably hate it when we are together because they have two moms and can't get away with anything. We are very comfortable disciplining each other's kids. Very soon we'll have 8 kids (between the two of us) to discipline when we are together!

Stacie's Devotion for March

Here is my sister's lastest devotion for the month of March. I'm so proud of my sis. I think her devotions just keep getting better and better. Enjoy!

We recently decided to refinance our home. Part of the process is that you must have an appraiser come and check your home out to see what it is worth. I had no idea how God was going to use such a simple thing as our home to bring glory to Him.

As the man walked around the inside of our house he first noticed the “21 Rules of the House” that are posted above the breakfast bar. He started reading them to himself, and then he asked the first older kid that passed by about them. He wanted to know if this helped them obey. He said that they were “neat” and continued on with his appraisal.
Next, he overheard me giving instructions to Marcus about mailing an international letter. He asked Marcus whom he was sending his letter, too. I told Marcus to show him our little board in the homeschool room that has our list of Voice of the Martyr Prisoners on it. He had all kinds of questions about them and Marcus did a great job explaining them.
After he was done, he came into the kitchen and asked me why we write the letters to the prisoners. He asked if they were missionaries from America. I told him that we write them because they are natives of their homeland that are persecuted terribly, thrown in prison, tortured and sometimes killed because they are Christians. He just couldn’t believe it! He thought it was awesome that we were encouraging our kids to write to them. I also spoke about the fact that when we write letters to these prisoners it makes them a celebrity in the eyes of the guards and wardens. They know the West is watching and they sometimes treat them a bit better or give them an early release because of the political pressure.
He then asked if we homeschooled. He had his own opinions about it, some good and some not so good. He was concerned that children would not have the same opportunities that public school kids have. I told him that it wasn’t true. We get to go and do a ton of field trips as a family and that everything we do in life is learning. I basically told him that it was important for us that our children followed God’s Will for their lives and it is our job to try to help facilitate those opportunities. He then said that he was “not a religious man”. He went on to tell me about his beliefs and his family.
I listened for quite awhile and would respectfully put my two-cents in when I felt I could. Before the man left, he thanked me for talking with him and said to me, “Thank you for raising such great kids for our society. You are doing an amazing job!”Wow, I certainly wasn’t expecting that! After he left, I just kept praying for him and thinking about our conversation. Who knows what seeds were planted in his heart? I was extremely moved by his “appraisal” of our family and our home.
It made me think of how God might “appraise” our homes? Does He see the love, consistency in disciplining, the teaching of His truths and the time spent investing in young lives? You bet He does.You keep mothering and trust that your “Great Appraiser” is watching you and is taking notes on all those eternal things that will not perish in the fire.
From One Mom to Another,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crazy, Fun, Meaningful Weekend

Last weekend was crazy, fun and meaningful. I wish I had pictures, but I forgot my camera. So, clip art will have to do. On Friday, I dropped the kids off with my mom in Pendleton on my way to The Dalles. Michael didn't come with me because he couldn't miss that much school. So I had two whole days to be responsible for only myself. It was so weird! Believe me, I took advantage of it. The first thing I did when I got to The Dalles was go to my sister's hair dresser. I'm now a blonde again. Michael loves it! Went back to Stacie's for dinner, then we talked really late into the night.

Saturday morning I picked up my dad and brother, Jerry, SIL, Sonya, and we drove to Dallas for Grandpa Jeske's wedding. It was the first senior citizen wedding I've ever been to and it was wonderfully done. Very simple but elegant and full of blessings. Both Grandpa and Pat are widowed and had great marriages before meeting. The pastor did a wonderful job of making a point that their wedding wasn't erasing the past, but was an unexpected blessing for their future. I hope they have many more years to enjoy each other's company. Instead of attendants, their kids stood up in support of them. It was really special. I was shocked to see my very private grandfather lay an unbelievable long lip-lock on Pat. After seeing that, I wasn't worried about the wedding night! LOL!
On the way back from Dallas, I took Jerry and Sonya to a restaurant in Clackamas called Gustav's. It has the must delicious German food. I had a wonderful time getting know my SIL better. It was great to catch up with them both since I don't get to see them very often. Drove back to Stacie's and spent the night. Once again, no sleep, we stayed up talking for hours.
Sunday morning I was bad and skipped church so I could get ready for a double baby blessing shower for Stacie and Sonya. Both are due in April and very pregnant. Both were having contractions throughout the shower. I was getting a little worried. Both my moms helped out and we managed to throw quite a nice party for them. They were pampered, showered, blessed and prayed over by approximately 30 people! I was just thrilled with how many people came to support them. I got pictures with Stacie's camera, but I'm waiting until she gets her new modem so she can send them to me, then I can post them.
Went back to Stacie's and spent the night. Yet again, we stayed up pretty much the whole night talking. OK. This is three in a row. But why sleep when you have a chance to talk with your twin sis?
Monday I topped the weekend off with a massage from John Combe before heading home. I was completely exhausted, but it sure was a great weekend. I'm so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. I've been playing catch up all week and just now able to post. I'll be putting together another post on cooking from scratch this weekend. Speaking of that, I better get off here and gets some cookie bars made for our Healthy Families Network meeting tonight. The topic is homeschooling. I can't wait to get more ideas. Have good day everyone!


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