Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pendleton Underground Tours Field Trip

I put together (with the help of my mom) some free Pendleton Underground Tours for our local Christian homeschoolers group. We had so many families want to come that we asked the PUT if we could do two more tours next week. Mom took one tour and I took the other. I was a little rusty as I hadn't done a PUT tour in about 15 years, when I worked for them when I was going to college in Pendleton. It was the most fun job I've ever had! It was really amazing that PUT let us do these tours because normally they don't allow small children. Because Mom and I did the tours for free, they were willing to let us take the small kids. We also had the freedom of skipping the bordello and the opium den as these topics would be little much for the age group we had.
This first picture is of Mom kicking the tour off to a good start.

We know what to do with rowdy homeschooled children! Just kidding, they did great and asked lots of good questions. Here's my tour in the Chinese jail.

I got a picture of my group (the Fagers and the Rickers) standing in front of the Chinese living quarters. I love the picture of the Fager's oldest child giving Jenni a kiss. How sweet!

After the tour we had a picnic in one of the parks between PUT and Pendleton Woolen Mills. Thank goodness the weather held out. We let the kids play for a good hour then we were off to the Woolen Mills for another tour!

Not everyone was able to stay for the Pendleton Woolen Mill tour, but we still had a good group. Again, the kids did terrific and everyone learned more Pendleton history and why Pendleton wool blankets are so darned expensive. It was fascinating watching the machines make wool thread and weave the blankets. A great time was had by all and Mom and I are looking forward to doing it all over again next week with the second group!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hailey's First "Story Time" at the Library

I got brave last week and took Hailey and Josiah to "Story Time" at our local library. She did better than I thought she would. They always sing a couple of songs before they begin, just to get the wiggles out. She loved that part! She made it through one book and then started wandering. At least she was quiet. She was pretty possesive over her cushion though. She didn't want anyone touching it! That girl's got attitude!

Here Hailey found a comfy chair to hang out in while she looked at books. I can't believe how different girls are from boys. When Josiah was that age, I'd have been trying to keep him contained and quiet and off the rafters. We'll definitely be go back more often now that I know she'll do OK.

Well, it's raw dairy day, so I better get back to making queso fresco cheese, butter and ice cream. Oh, yummy!
P.S. We're lovin' the truck! Thanks to everyone for all your encouraging comments. We are still very excited about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gigantic Unexpected Blessing!

Michael has been wanting a good used, F250 diesel, crew cab Ford pickup for years. He loves his 1958 Chevy pickup, but we can't all fit in it. He's had it since high school and has restored it, even painting it himself. It has been a part of our family, but it is time to move on. Here's a picture of Michael and Hailey waving good-by for the last time just before Michael drove away in the Chevy to go pick up the Ford.

We traded in our little blue Chevy Cavalier and the '58 Chevy so we could afford to pay cash for this gorgeous red truck. I told Michael I thought he made sure it was red on purpose so I would have a hard time saying no, because he knows how much I love red. Well, it worked! I love it and it didn't take long for him to talk me into, especially since he got such a great deal on it. It is an 2002, automatic, F250 diesel, crew cab, short box. Everything we wanted between the two of us. It has tinted windows which is wonderful for our sensitive redheads (their skin and their eyes).
I'm so proud of Michael for waiting on God's timing to buy a pickup. I'm glad he avoided the temptation of buying one on credit. "Good things come to those who wait" and I truly believe God has chosen to bless Michael unexpectedly because he waited on God. As a result, the whole family has been blessed!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Visiting Glavey Ranch

A couple weeks ago the kids and I stayed at Glavey Ranch where my dad and step-mom live. The kids always have a wonderful time. It was sunny but cold, especially in the mornings. I saddled up Baker Man, one of their miniature horses. He's a sweetie and does great with the kids. This was Hailey's first time on a horse. She was OK until he snorted and that was it for her.

Hailey wanted to go on the tire swing so badly that I finally let her. She held on for dear life and was laughing and squealing the whole time. She's my adrenaline junky.

Josiah and I helped Papa feed the cows both mornings we were there. Papa always lets him steer the feed truck on the way back. Josiah thinks he's hot stuff!

Here's a picture of Dad and Josiah on the back of the flatbed feed truck. Josiah got to help Papa push the hay off, while I drove the truck. Growing up, we always fed with an old tractor and trailer. It was nice sitting in an enclosed pick-up cab those crisp mornings.

Josiah is having a conversation with "Hamburger". He's telling him his fate and what Papa has planned for him. Luckily, Hamburger seemed pretty unaware of what is going to happen to him. He absolutely insisted on wearing his cowboy hat, like Papa, even though he had a stocking cap on underneath. It was funny looking, but he was warm!
As always, we have a great time when we're out there. The kids just love to roam, explore and get dirty! My parents have really carved out a lovely life for themselves at Glavey Ranch.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Nephew!

Here is a picture of my newest nephew. I'm so excited for my little brother. We finally have a grandson in the family who can pass on the family name. Yeah! His name is Noah James. I just love it! He was nearly 8 lbs and almost 21 inches long. It was a long labor for my SIL, Sonya, but she managed to have him completely naturally. She's a better woman than I!

Here's a picture of Jerry holding Noah. He's in deep smitt! I'm really excited that they had a boy because now Stacie and I have someone to pass all our boy clothes on to. Noah makes the 9th grandchild for my Dad and step-mom, and the 22nd great-grandchild for my grandpa. How cool is that?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

We had a fun, busy Easter yesterday. Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the fun traditions. It is such a wonderful time to reinforce to our children the wonderful gift of eternal life Christ has given us.
I got this really cute dress from a resale shop in town. It was only $6.98 and still had the tags on on. I think she looks like a pink confection. I just want to eat her up!

Josiah looked handsome, too. He's doing the weird smiling thing now that he's 5 years old. I wish he would just give me a normal smile for the pictures.

What a couple of hams!

Our church decided to visit another church in town for Easter service. It was really great worshipping with other believers on such a special day. New Hope was very kid friendly and there was lots of dancing during worship. They even waved flags and banners. The kids loved it!

When the kids (and Michael) woke up Easter morning, this is what was sitting on the table. My parents used to give us an Easter basket even when we were teenagers. I always loved it and I carry on the same tradition. I love getting my family little presents I know they'll love.

I'm sorry if this offends any cat lovers out there. I got this gag gift for Michael. I thought it was hilarious! Michael isn't a big fan of cats since getting ring worm as a kid from some barn kittens. It kind of soured him against cats.

We had a break in the weather that was just long enough to have an Easter Egg hunt in the backyard. I helped Josiah dye the eggs the day before. We got half way through the dyeing process when Josiah broke one and I realized I'd forgotten to boil them first! We don't eat our Easter Eggs because the dyes get on the eggs, so Josiah had already decided he wanted to use them for target practice. He thought they would explode better if we didn't boil them, so I left them alone. It actually worked out well, because I had a bunch of plastic eggs for Hailey to pick up. So Josiah left hers alone and went after the unboiled eggs and carefully put them in his bucket for target practice later.

Here's Josiah with his BB gun shooting his Easter Eggs. He just loved it! I think we started a new, unorthodox Easter tradition. Easter, redneck style!

Easy Raw Soured Cream Cheese Dip Recipe

Easy Raw Soured Cream Cheese Dip Recipe:
1 1/2 cups raw soured cream cheese (or however much you want to make)
1 garlic clove pressed 2 tsp fresh chopped basil or 1 tsp dried basil
Celtic Sea Salt to taste
Put this out with some homemade sesame crackers and your guests will love it!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fun Day Shopping Along the Old Oregon Trail

We had a great time in Baker City today as a family. It was neat to get out of town for the day and just do things as a family. No, I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to scrapbook them. I'm getting so behind! It sure is fun taking Josiah to museums now because he's actually asking what things are and how they work. We love history and every chance we get, we impart that passion to him. I've always especially loved Oregon Trail history, and we live right along the Oregon Trail so we've had many opportunities to walk down the actual ruts created by hundreds of thousands of pioneers.

We also did some shopping there. I bought a new Dutch oven cookbook and a bunch of scrap booking items and some Easter presents for the family. I also found this wonderful book called "The Frugal Housewife". It is full of old-time cleaning and medicinal tips as well as economical tips such as the cheapest cuts of meat that go the farthest. Some things in it are purely historical, others comical and still others practical. It is a great book and very inexpensive. The other wonderful find was a book (geared towards children) that has a whole bunch of old-time songs with the music and lyrics (all the verses). Each song has a history behind it and many of the verses are hilarious. There are old stories and jokes thrown in all over the place. Josiah's favorite joke so far is "What did the surprised hen say when she laid a square egg?" Answer: "Ouch!" He thought that was so funny! We thought it was cute, too.
Anyway, we managed to fit in two large museums, do a little shopping and walk on the Old Oregon Trail for a bit. It always gives me chills to walk in those wagon ruts. I just can't imagine what those pioneers when through to get out West. They must have been such hardy people. We can all learn a lot from their stories.

Another Homemade Ketchup Recipe

I got this recipe off of the Aspiring Homemaker's Blog. It looks similar to mine, but doesn't require whey.

Homemade Ketchup

4 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste
2 cups water
3/4 cup vinegar
7 Tbsp sucanat
3 garlic cloves
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp onion powder
Warm the paste in a large saucepan, then you add the water a little at a time. Dump in the rest of the ingredients, and you've made BETTER-than-store bought Ketchup!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Old Firehouse Museum

The local Christian homeschooling group got together and toured the Old Firehouse Museum. Mike and Patty were our guides (in the blue shirts). Mike is a retired Volunteer Captain and Patty is his wife. The museum was small, but impressive. We loaded up all the kids in the back of one of the old firetrucks. They barely fit! There must have been twenty kids in there. They were all well behaved and inquisitive.

This is a 1920's fire truck that was used out at Hot Lake. The seat was made of woven wood. Not very comfortable! All the trucks in the museum are kept fully operational. They even had a Smoke Jumper hanging from the ceiling.
Why do fire buckets have round bottoms? According to Patty, people would steal the flat bottomed metal buckets because they were handy to have around the farm. They made the bottoms round and nobody wanted them.

This isn't a very good picture, but Josiah is trying to move an hose hand cart.

Josiah's favorite part of the museum was the brass pole. He kept climbing up it as far as he could then sliding down again. These are rarely used in modern day fire departments because they are so expensive.

A great time was had by all and we really enjoyed our first field trip with the group of homeschoolers. I hope our whole family will develop some good relationships from this group.

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

I like to quadruple this recipe and freeze it. You can make it as sweet, sour, spicy, salty, thick or thin as you like it, using this basic recipe. You can use this recipe on any shredded meat to make bbq sandwiches.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce:
Mix together in a slow-cooker:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup (see my ketchup recipe - labels-> recipes - condiments)
2 TBl whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1/3 to 1 tsp pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
3 Tbl honey or sucanat
3 minced garlic cloves (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbl minced onion or very finely chopped (or 1 tsp onion powder)
Put it in a slow cooker and cook on low and let it "cook" all day long, stirring occasionally. If it is too runny for you, mix some whole wheat pastry flour in a cup of cold water and then add.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Alpine Pasta Recipe

This is so wonderful. The family loved it! It took me less than an hour to make and serve, using my food processor to help me with the chopping, slicing and shredding.

Alpine Pasta Recipe:
14 oz whole wheat fettuccine or linguine
2 tsps olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 lb sliced smoked sausage, any kind (I used Italian)
1 small head (or about 6 cups) shredded Savoy or Green cabbage
large handful of fresh spinach (if on hand)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh chopped sage or 1/2 tsp dried
1 cup diced smoked cheese, any kind (I used smoked Gouda)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Boil water and cook pasta. In the meantime, heat oil in a very large saute or cast iron pan and saute onion, garlic and sausage all together. Then add cabbage, mushrooms and spinach. Saute until veggies are soft, but not mushy. Sprinkle with flour and mix in well. Then add wine, salt, pepper, sage, and diced cheese. Add the tomatoes just before serving. Serve on top of pasta or mix it all together and serve. This is wonderful served with salad and whole wheat french bread.

Creativity - Ya Gotta Love It!

Hailey decided to become a tattoo artist today. I think she'd gave "Miami Ink" a run for their money. I immediately gave her a bath but apparently ballpoint pen ink has to wear off. Just in time for Easter! That'll look classy with her pink dress. LOL! Biker chick in the making.
Josiah recently put his culinary skills to work. He created this healthy snack all by himself. He took a whole wheat hot dog bun, put a banana in it instead of a hot dog, and added a dollop of peanut butter and jam. Sounds weird to me, but as you can see from the picture, he loved it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Different Stage of Life

I'm excitedly moving into a different stage of life this week. As most of you know, I'm a SAHM, but I'm also a soil scientist. Since having children, I have a home office and I work part-time. The situation has been ideal since Michael went back to school full-time and we really needed the extra income.
As you can imagine, adding homeschooling to the mix, and with Josiah getting involved in more things, it has been pretty tough to get my hours in everyday. However, God's timing is perfect in our lives. With Michael graduating soon, it is taking some pressure off. Things have been slowing down in my job, so I called my boss (he's the greatest boss and such a blessing) and asked if I could work on an as needed basis. That worked out great for him, too. He doesn't have to give me busy work, just to keep me working and I don't have to work unless I'm needed. He said when he did have work for me, I could work it into my schedule however I wanted. PTL!
For the last two days, I've enjoyed working in the yard, doing a few crafts with my son, really focusing on some new homeschooling concepts, and playing soccer in the backyard. It has been wonderful! I've even folded laundry in the middle of the afternoon instead of in the evening. It was so weird, but I can get used to it. I know we are going to have to be even more careful with our finances, but it will be worth it. God will work out the kinks if we are faithful with what he's given us. Just had to share my good news.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Restored T-Bucket Frame

Michael has had some time to work on the T-Bucket lately. He got the frame completely done. Here is the frame before he started. It was really rusted and had some damage.

This is the front end attached to the frame after Michael restored it. He put it all together with new parts and bolts for optimum safety and better handling on the freeway.

Here is the completed frame. Michael is currently working on the body now and still trying to find a Flathead Ford V8 motor. He'll get new tires on it someday, too. He's having a great time teaching himself how to restore and old car. I'll post more pictures when he gets more of the body work done.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jackie's Healthy Lekvar Bars

Everyone seems to love these and they are sooooo easy! They can easily be made dairy-free. Lekvar is a thick, chunky fruit jam made in the Balkans. I use my n0-cook freezer jam (sweetened with honey) and it is wonderful. Great to take to a potluck.

Jackie's Healthy Lekvar Bars:
1 cup sucanat
1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil), melted
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 to 2 cups lekvar (plum jam) or any jam you'd like

Preheat over 350. Mix first five ingredients together, press or roll in the bottom of a stoneware bar pan or cookie sheet. Cook 15 minutes in oven. Take out, carefully spread 1 to 2 cups of jam over the crust. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes (jam should be cooked into the bars). Let cool all the way, cut into bars and serve.

Pictures From This Weekend

I stole these off my sister's blog, so if you've already seen them, sorry! This first picture is of me getting to meet my new niece, Lily, for the first time. You just forget how small newborns are! She was so tiny and of course, she was just adorable. I was so happy to finally get to meet her.

My 5 year old niece, Jessica, took this picture of Stacie and and I on our 34th birthday. We were just heading out the door to go to the ANZAC Tea Parlor for high tea. We both got gift certificates. It was really special.
This is our one and only tea parlor picture. We were so busy, keeping Lily happy, chatting, pouring tea and stuffing of faces with cucumber sandwiches, scones and other delicacies, that we forgot to take any pictures!
It was a great birthday weekend. I'm so glad I didn't have to spend it by myself since Michael had drill this weekend. The kids had a great time playing at the ranch and riding Baker Man one of my parents' miniature horses. I've got pictures of them I'll post later.

When I got home, I discovered a dozen red roses hidden all over the house, from my sweet husband. It was really sweet. The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Searching For Significance

Here is a picture of my sweet sis with her precious Lily along with her latest devotion. Enjoy!

Searching For Significance
Dear Mothers,
Many days it’s hard to feel significant when you are deep in the trenches of mothering. When I became a mom nearly 11 years ago, I stopped working. I was honestly lost without any hope of receiving accolades. I wasn’t striving to do better so I could receive a raise or a promotion. I was “just” a mom. I didn’t feel significant anymore.I had this burning desire to be significant, so I started overcompensating by volunteering for every church activity I could think of. The Lord has given me a gift for singing. I thought maybe that was what I was supposed to be doing. I volunteered for choir, praise team and often sang solos on Sunday. I would also lead worship at women’s retreats and was involved in any special musical program that might come up for holidays and such. It seemed like I was at some kind of practice at least twice a week. When this became overwhelming (I was always trying to find someone to watch the kids for the practices) I thought maybe I would find significance in women’s ministries. I volunteered to help organize retreats and social functions. I would attend women’s Bible studies and the women’s Sunday school class. Don’t get me wrong, these are all good things! My problem was, I was searching for significance through these activities. I thought I was pleasing God by striving to serve my church.

God knew me better than I knew myself. What did He do? He started stripping me of all my ministries one by one. Nothing was working out the way I wanted it to. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Didn’t He want me to serve Him? Didn’t He need me anymore?Little did I know that He was teaching me to say the word “No”. I started to learn to pray then ask my husband’s opinion (and to actually listened to him) about whether I should take on something new or whether I should stop doing something I was already doing. The result was this; I wasn’t just “doing” ministry anymore. I was doing what God wanted me to do.

After a painful season of God taking ministry after ministry away, I was able to focus on what God wanted me to focus on the most at this season of my life and that was my growing family. I started to realize that the most important ministry I was involved in was the one under my very nose. Being available to my husband and children started becoming my first priority. I needed to have time to teach my children the things of the Lord.
After awhile I started to realize God was showing me new ways to minister to people outside of my home, from within my home. He began to put things on my heart that He wanted me to do for His Kingdom. . I started writing devotions for our women’s church newsletter. I felt the Lord prompting me to send some of these devotions to a small family magazine called, “Above Rubies”. Through that avenue, I received an email from a Kenyan pastor’s wife who wanted encouragement for her women. I then started to send my devotions by email to Kenya where they are being printed off and passed around to encourage women to be godly wives and mothers. From there, the Lord laid on my heart to start sending Bibles, devotions and Christian books to these precious Brothers and Sister’s in Christ. The pastor and his wife are now trying to start a Christian library for all the Christians in Webuye, Kenya. This is so exciting! When God provides the money our family packs a box and we send it to Africa. It has been incredible to watch my children develop a heart for missions through our ministry to these people. The best thing about these ministries is that I don’t have to leave my home much to do them.
Now in saying this, I’m not condemning anyone who has ministries outside the home. This is MY journey and God’s plan for my life is going to look very different from yours.I love that I have found significance again. It’s not in my job or my ministries; it is in serving God by doing exactly what He wants me to be doing. What is that? I’ll tell you, it’s serving Him by serving my family. Sharing with you the lessons that I have learned along the way has been the backbone of my “outside” ministry.
I can say “No” now, without feeling guilty! I’m starting to know my limits and what causes me stress. My husband knows me better than anyone and tells me if he thinks a ministry would bring added stress on our family. I have learned to trust in his wisdom, rather than resenting the fact that he might be telling me “No”.
Mothers, if you struggle with this, write a list of all you are doing for God and for your family. Pray over each item and ask God if this is what He wants you to be doing. Remember God does not want you to be harried and stressed out, resulting in a lack of peace in your home. If God is leading you to stop a particular activity or ministry and you think “But if I don’t do it, no one else will”, trust in the fact that He will raise that new person up or He might not want that ministry to continue (maybe only for a season). The key here is that you are obedient to God’s leading. He knows what is best for you and your family.
A word to you “older” women out there who might be longing to find a ministry; now might be your time to be the Titus 2 woman that God has called you to be. Now that your children are grown and gone you have the time and energy to pour yourself out in service to these young Christian moms as they attempt to raise their children for the Lord. Pray and ask God what He wants you to do. He will show you and fill you with immeasurable blessings during this season of your life.
Let this settle in your soul and I will pray that you will find significance in the Lord your God! You are His child and He has such a special plan for you. May God bless you as you continue on this path set before you!
From One Mom to Another,
Stacie Brown

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Warhawk WWII Museum

On our way home from Boise, we stopped at one more museum in Nampa, ID, called the the Warhawk WWII Museum. It was absolutely amazing! We could have spent a lot more time in there reading all the stories of individual soldiers and their families' WWII experiences. There weren't that many planes, but there was a ton of WWII memorabilia. Lots of different uniforms. Even a wedding dress made out of a Japanese silk parachute that a soldier brought back for his soon-to-be bride. Lots of pictures and "souvenirs" brought back by soldiers. This first picture is of a plane like they flew in the "Flying Tigers" movie.

This is a German tri-plane, one used by German pilots (like the Red Baron) during WWI

This was an interesting piece of history. It is a WWII flight simulator.


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