Jan 25, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside!

BrrrrrrER!!!  It has been so cold here lately!! I'm pretty sure it got to MINUS 10 FAHRENHEIT two days ago!!!  That's C.O.L.D.!!!!!  But it's been so sunny too - so it feels kinda strange!  The sun makes me think Spring is just around the corner but the fact that I'm loading wood into the furnace almost hourly says otherwise!

So we stay indoors.

Photo credit - my hubby ;)
Doing what we can to keep warm and praying for those that might not have a safe warm place to be!  Praying for those that have to go out in this weather and thanking God for providing a well insulated home and plenty of wood!

another photo by my hubby :D

The days are getting longer...I know, we are a ways off from the long days of summer but I see it changing already!   I'm feeling a bit "off" lately - I think it's par for the season - the longing for Spring and renewal mixed with the end of a decade for me in a week and knowing what the week following that brings....

My husband's work still has not payed him for the time that he was suppose to be at work when they had 'forgot' he was coming back from parental leave.  They are giving us the run-around and my patience is wearing thin!  *SIGH* And I sigh because I know God is teaching me about patience and trust and well...I'm just not in the mood for it! *with crossed arms and a three year old pout* HUMPH!  And what drives me crazy is that we are trying so hard with the budgeting and actually taking some real responsibility with our finances.  But the silver lining in all of this is that it's real easy to have a 'no spend January' where there is no money to spend! :P 

Regardless of how I am feeling, I am getting up each morning to spend time with the Lord. This is truly by God's grace because I am up between 5:00am and 6:00am and at this hour of the day I really thank God for an automatic coffee maker!  Both my husband and I get up then - so we can have our quite times alone with God, before hubby goes to work and my day here begins.

I have to say I am enjoying it greatly.  I do look forward to that time of quiet with the Creator.  It's not always easy to get out of bed before the sun and while the house is still cold but He is doing it and I am thankful!  I can't say I'm gaining great truths or have oodles of wisdom to share with you from this time.  But the diligence is important - I'm focusing on not just doing this out of duty but because I want to, long to, meet with my Creator.  I need to be in his presence and I need to rest in Him.

Sunrise this morning.

And in all honestly I'm feeling a bit lost as of late....but what I think it comes down to is trust!  Do I trust Him?  Do I place ALL my concerns in His lap?  Do I TRULY give it ALL over to Him? 

No way!

Why not?  That's the question!  I often do this, take hold of my concerns, I push Him aside and say, "I've got this!"  But I don't, do I!?!  I'm worried about my husband's job, I'm worried about our finances, I'm worried about what tomorrow will bring.....and I'm too worried to trust in God...

But He is working in me!  Oh is He ever!  It's been a long road - a constant uphill climb these last couple of years...with last year being a complete vertical rock face!  God has been changing me - refining me - at least that's what I think.  I see how He is molding me more and more and changing my heart.  But I still falter, I still cling to my way - wanting to do things on my own strength and you'd think after last year I would have figured it out by now. Figured out that I need Him, each and every moment of each and every day!

So I am placing my cares in the lap of our God.  I'm giving over my concerns and laying my worries aside.  I'm going to cling to Matthew 6:25-34, which my BFF just called to share with me while I typed out this post.  She's claimed it for her 2013 motto and I think I need to as well! 

And so, I am going to leave you with a song - I think it sums up how I'm feeling quite well.  I received this CD a couple of weeks ago and I love it and God is so using it to speak to me!

Praying you too find rest and comfort in our Lord.

 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3


Jan 18, 2013

This Little Piggy...

...went to market!!

Though they weren't so little any more....and they didn't actually go to market.....but to the butcher.

Here are some size comparisons of the pigs from the beginning to end.  The picture to the left was taken just a few days after they got here - they were about six weeks old.  The picture on the right was taken two days before they left - about four and a half months old.

I can't believe how fast they grew!  They were all close to 200lbs when they went to...uh market.

We had to have someone come to take them - our little car would not have fit them too well.  A man from our church is retired but will haul livestock for a very small fee.  He arrived early one morning to take our pigs away.

The girls were excited - they spied on the whole event.  And yes, with age appropriate information we informed them what was happening.  The girls just kept liking the idea that the pigs were leaving and coming back as bacon!

What should have taken ten minutes to load up the three pigs turned into 2 hours!  Problem being our barns are down a large slope and it had snowed over 2 feet (or more) just a week prior!  We have amazing and wonderful neighbours, who graciously came and plowed out the driveway to the pigs - but the man with the truck got stuck on his way back up the hill.

My poor hubby, the man with the truck and a friend from church kept trying to dig it out.  They worked at it and got it most of the way up the hill until the truck stuck again - this time for good!!  Thankfully we live just down the road from a big truck company - one that hauls all kinds of things and so hubby was off to ask them for a bit of help.

They sent this:

And well that big ole front end loader (I'm pretty sure that's what you call it) got that truck out lickety split!  Then off to the butchers.  By the end of the week we had our piggies back and packed away nicely into our stand up freezer.*

*side note here:  Just because I love to give credit to God when He loves us in those intimate ways- but this freezer was left behind by the previous owners - and guess exactly how much meat it can hold....

...THREE PIGS WORTH!!!  That's right, that is what three pigs look like when they come weee weee wee all the way home! ;) 
And of course that night I cooked up a couple of pork chops!

I'm sorry, I meant to take a better picture, one from when they were finished cooking - but I didn't and actually it's amazing I even got this one because when those babies hit the plate they were gone!  And I'll tell you I've never tasted anything quite like it!  It was amazing!  Flavourful, not watered down, melt in your mouth amazing!

Sooo I'm thinking we're liking this farming thing! OH and just so you know, not ALL that meat is for us - we did sell off a pig and a half - we had plans to sell at least another half pig...but after those chops...I'm not sure we're going to!



Jan 16, 2013

Wheat Free Wednesday

It is Wednesday, right??  Okay - so I have been meaning to do this for a while - but again, I don't like committing to regular posts, accountability is not my strong point! But I'm going to try!  I posted just before Christmas about the launch of my second blog! (how in the world I figure I'll find the time to keep up on two blogs is beyond me - but accountability is also good motivation, right?!)

Now, not everyone is into gluten free cooking and baking, which is partially why I moved that to a second blog.  BUT I think many people might be surprised how easy and delicious it can be.  So for those that do not want to be bombarded with recipes they may never use, I am introducing Wheat Free Wednesday here on Homemaker Design.  I'll link up to one of my posts - something to tantalize you and entice you over to Pot of Flours.  There you can take a gander at what gluten free eating can look like and see that it isn't as obscure or sad as it may sound at first! ;)  Also, it might help you out if you are ever in need of a gluten free recipe for lets say, entertaining, a potluck or just for the fun of it.

So each (okay, let's be real) most Wednesdays, I will have a little something for you here, it won't always be my most recent post from Pot of Flours - but I'll try and pick a variety of things for your foodie enjoyment!

Today's feature:

Gluten Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So go on - check em out - they're fantastic and trust me - you'll have no clue they're gluten free!!

Jan 15, 2013

The Buck Stops Here

For anyone who has read my blog for a while should know all about how my hubby and I are NOT good with money.  I think I have mentioned a number of times how we have worked, reworked and reworked some more on our budget.

Budget, what a word!

Truthfully in my home I think it's about the most factitious word we could get around here!  All those times I have mentioned budgeting in the past...well basically it just meant sitting down, putting a bunch of numbers on paper and hoping for the best!

For the past few years I have asked my husband to 'get more on board' with our financial mess concerns.  With neither of us being good with money, (myself being slightly so teeny weenie slightly better at it) I have had the bulk of the responsibility for some time now.  Which basically translates to  "I'm the one who pays the bills on time."

Yup, that basically sums up budgeting in our home.

Obviously a sad state of affairs!  But God has been very gracious to us! Oh has He ever!!!  Don't get me wrong, my husband and I have made many, many mistakes and have a terrible heart attitude when it comes to money - but Gad has graciously helped us out and has been extremely patient with us.  Twice now, we have incurred a large amount of debt by either way of credit cards or line of credit.  And twice now we have sold our home and took a heavy chunk out of our profit to pay off those debts.

But our hearts never changed. 

So we are now in our (Lord willing) forever home - and again we have some debt under our belts.  And I stare at our bank accounts and wonder when it will end.  I do NOT want to sell this house, especially for something as utterly stupid as debt!


Two weeks into the new year and I have had some revelations!

ONE:  That my husband does not need to be apart of the financial day to day bits.  There is no biblical mandate for him to have that responsibility.  He is to be the leader and obviously I go to him with any major decisions - or even minor ones for that matter.  But as for the daily managing of the money, I finally realize that it is part of my 'keeping of our home' duties.  It is my responsibility and I have to take the time and sit down and manage our money.  Now this is what will work in our house - some homes the husband may be more apt at handling money - so this is not an across the board statement, it's what works for us.

TWO:  We don't HAVE to spend money! I know it sounds obvious but in our culture; not so much.  I decided to copy be inspired by my sister-in-law with a month of no spending.  I have never done that!  We are two weeks in and so far so good.  I mean I have my moments of weakness - but God is getting me through it.  I no longer leisurely look through the weekend flyers, nope - I pull out the grocery ones so I can price match and toss the rest in the burn pile.  I wear 'blinders' when I'm grocery shopping - avoiding as much temptation as possible.  It's still a challenge but it's becoming slightly second nature too.

And all this no spending is actually easier for the budgeting bit - less to enter into our expenses categories! ;) haha!

We have some pretty lofty dreams, my hubby and I, pay off our debt, more farming, living off our land, him working from home some day, paying off our mortgage as fast as possible, home renovations, a van for our family, running a antique/curious shop, maybe a B&B one day and lots of giving - oh how we love to give!  We need to get our finances in order to be able to even attempt to attain any of these.  We also need to get our finances in order so that we will someday be able to help our children.  We don't want them to have to learn so much the hard way when we have done it ourselves and would like to offer them more then just "Don't do what we do!" as a financial solution.

I haven't really touched much on this subject before but the Lord is changing my heart and I think I can help others by being more open, more honest...more real! 

I'd like to be an inspiration to other one-income families - real one income families!  The ones where that one income is not as much as two in most families.  But one-income living under God and all that He can do with that!

I will try to offer more frugal and practical living tips.  Sharing our journey of getting out of debt, learning to live debt free and working towards attaining some of our goals.  I know God is working on me and I think this accountability will be helpful!

I'm obviously not perfect at any of this and I am open to ides, suggestions and PRAYER from you!  I am excited on this working in my heart that the Lord is doing and I am excited at the possibilities - I'm also a bit overwhelmed, uncertain and at times a little lost.  But I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So look for THE BUCK STOPS HERE post to appear more regularly - ooooh I don't know if I like typing that....that means I actually have to do it...but I do want to.... I want to keep striving to live a life that pleases the Lord - in all areas!

I'll continue to pray and have the Lord change my heart and I'll pray that He guides me in what to post and how I can be an encouragement to all of you!  And pray for me too please- because I'm sure going to need it!



Jan 7, 2013

Solid Food and Baby Cubes

A few weeks ago we introduced regular samplings of solid food for our little man.  Let me tell you, he was more then eager to go at it!

I can't believe how big and yet how small he seems in his high chair there!  Ooooh how fast these months have slipped by!

 I had to sorta jump in with the solids a bit more full time then I had originally anticipated.  I hadn't exactly planned on when we would start full time with solid food but after Joseph lost weight, almost two pounds, and began to loose interest in nursing - we decided it would be best to get him on some regular food. He's such a skinny and long bean boy - he can't afford to lose any weight!

My milk supply doesn't take long to adjust, so with his lack of interest (basically he is just too interested in the world around him to sit and nurse for very long) it has decreased significantly, so we have introduced supplementary bottles with an organic formula.  Meanwhile I am taking the herb fenugreek to try and increase my supply.  I nurse him first thing in the morning and right before bed - so I'm hoping it will help keep things going.

I know breast is best and so that's why I hope to get back on to it full time.  It's also so convenient!  I didn't nurse this long with either of my girls and so always figured bottles were pretty easy - but I really see now how easy breastfeeding can be. (Once you're over the initial hurdles!)  But I had hoped from the beginning to at least make it to the six months mark and we did - so I'm very happy about that.  I'll put the rest to prayer and really if Joe has decided to wean himself, that's okay with me - though I will miss our bed time snuggles.

So he is doing really well, gaining some weight again, and one happy little man!!

 He has really taken to food - so far he enjoys carrots, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, bananas, mashed potatoes, onion and avocado.

He hates cauliflower and turnip!

I make all my own (well except for the rice cereal), it's so easy and the only real 'special' equipment I have is a immersion blender, which I already owned because I use it to make soups and other things.  I'm not a fan of one use devices or kitchen gadgets!  Though I do have these great Baby Cubes to store all my prepared food in.  They were given to my by a friend when I had my eldest and I have hung on to them since.  I just think they are fantastic and super convenient!  I did start with the whole ice cube tray thing waaay back but after these Baby Cubes were given to me I was hooked!

So things are well, we are all over the flu now and feeling fine.  Life is gaining some normalcy as the new year marches along.  Hubby is still not back at work but hopefully they'll get that all figured out soon!

Meanwhile we're just trying to keep focused on all God has placed before us.....

....no matter what it may be!



Jan 6, 2013

Christmas, New Years and the Flu of it!

So Christmas has come and gone and the New Year is here - and well, what a time of it we have had!  Oh, it was nice - busy, so busy - but it was nice.  Different in some ways...as I'm sure you all understand, but still it was nice.

That is until the week after Christmas...when the FLU took over our house!


So I thought I'd be real here, if you don't mind, and tell you the truth of our holidays, the whole messy truth of it.  Because I just want to be real - lay it out - no hiding behind perfection here people! Oh and I'll keep most of the details PG - just because that's how I am and if you're like me you might be doing your blog reading while eating breakfast or a snack or something.


Okay - so this whole post is not about the flu - but seriously after that week, I kinda feel like my life is just a whole mess of....well anyways to keep the whole thing lite, lets also enjoy cute kids and Christmassy fun!

See! Cute kids!

That was them all dressed up - we were busy with four Christmas'  that we had to pack into three days!  This was the day before Christmas eve - Sunday...I think...yeah - they were all cute-ified for Church.  We then gave them their Christmas eve gift - so yes, like I said it was the day before Christmas eve but we had family coming over on Christmas eve so we wanted to do it before then. 

And of course what is the perfect gift before Christmas???

New pajamas!! (of course!?!)  And footed jammies no less! :D

AAaaaaa - I just love them in sleepers!  I think I'm notorious for dressing my kids in sleepers as long as possible!  So when I found these I couldn't resist buying them for the girl's Christmas pajamas! 

Christmas morning was a lot of fun!  The girls slept in - (who's three and five year old sleep in on Christmas morning??) but don't worry, the baby had my hubby and I up early.  So at least we were awake and with a cup of coffee under our belts before the girls were ready to go.

I had figured Joseph would sleep through all of the present opening - because both my girls did for their first Christmas' but I should know better by now that each kid is unique!  And so no, our little man was ready and raring to go and open gifts!


Some new books, always a favourite gift...


And can I tell you how much that boy LOVED unwrapping gifts??  Did you see his face in that picture with him opening his Christmas Eve gift??  I mean, I have never seen a kid so excited to open gifts so young!
Here's a little visual of how the morning went for him:

What a kid!  Six months and having way too much fun at it...what will next year bring???? 

So Christmas was enjoyable - no flu then!


I even (found/made/scavenged together) time to make two homemade gifts for my sweet nephews.

I'd love to tell you they are my original creations but you all know by now that I'm a scavenger of ideas and I found these sweet ones here at Make It and Love It.  I'm not sure when, how, or where I came across her blog - but I LOVE it!! She has such sweet and easy to make ideas - I really adore so MANY of her projects!  So I just might be making a few more things from her site!  (click under tutorials at the top of the page to scout around for some great ideas!!)
First up was the adorable Monster Pillow, for my sister's boy.  My finished piece is a little different then what I found at Make It and Love It but obviously it is totally inspired by her design. 

My sister's son is exactly one year and six days older then my boy and she has been so gracious to give me ALL of her clothes and such for Joseph! (I love you Kristen! ♥)  Anyways- so I had a bag of things that either we didn't need or Joe had out grown and so I used those as material to make the pillow.  An old blanket, bunting bag and towel - oh and scarf that belonged to one of my girls - so other then time, love and stuffing this gift cost very little!  And in the end, well I was quite smitten with the thing!

And when I first found that Make It and Love It blog I totally fell in love with these stuffed turtles and knew I had to make them!  The other things I LOVE about Make It and Love It, is she also includes the pattern for many of the projects - just print it and cut it out - FANTASTIC - absolutely no measuring...and need I remind you all how I hate measuring???

They are adorable and actually pretty easy to make, like make it in one evening kind of easy - my kind of easy!


I made this little fella for our newest nephew and added a little personal touch to the bottom. ♥

So after the festivities of family and business my husband and I planned a 'date night at home' kind of New Years.  Simple but sweet, as a welcome to the new year and an end to his six months of parental leave.  We bought all these fantastic cheeses, brie, Swiss, Havarti, this amazing one with chocolate and orange (strange but I just had to try it!), fancy smancy (gluten free) crackers, delicious Salomi and pate and well, it was just going to be lovely.....or not!
Because the flu set in before hand and I only ate about three bites before I told him, forget it - I was done and then I was in bed by 9:30!  How sad is that!  Then we all took turns being ill for the next few days.  The kids were so sick - and I think I have washed about every sheet and pajama's they own at least twice!  Well I did say, just last week, that I would work hard to be more diligent on doing laundry...
So that's how we rang in the new year.  Hardly the way I wanted to start it off, *sigh* but oh well!  And hubby - well he's home just a little longer as his work forgot he was suppose to return and haven't got all the paper work in order??? Whatever - I'm just happy to have him home a little longer!


And as I stated in my previous post - I am facing this new year with a emphatic yes to all that the Lord has for me.  I know it won't always be easy - and already I have some apprehensions as to what lays ahead but I know He's got it.  I lay my trust, my life, my hope in Him.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24


Jan 3, 2013

Emphatic Yes!

I just finished writing a post, summing up all that had transpired over the Christmas and New Year holidays....but as I came to a close I remembered how much I wanted to share a Sara Groves song with all of you.

So I have cut that post in two - I'll share cute kids opening gifts with you soon and tell you the joys of the flu that ravaged our home this past weekend - but it got too long - and seeing as the New Year is here I want to focus on that just now.

And well, time marched on and so the New Year is upon us....

....I just took a glance back on last year's New Year post - it's funny - I talk there about being more open here on my blog, more personal, wanting to share all my joys, pains, struggles, faith, family and whatever else came my way - and wow what a year to do that eh?!

So I want to say "Thank you!" - thank you for reading with me through all the ups and downs last year brought me - I know that 'talking' about grief can make people uncomfortable but I appreciate you letting me get it all out here. I do know that I have a bit more to talk through and much more to work through but I appreciate your support - and sometimes really the best things is just knowing you are there - even if you don' t know what to say, just letting me know you are there is comfort enough!


The year starts with some pretty big highs and lows of it's own - in a month from today I turn - THIRTY!! Say what???? Yup - crazy - twenty ten is almost upon me! ;) lol! Ah, nooo I'm not one of those age scared people - I just think it's crazy to leave my twenty's .....and then ....just over a week later will be one year since the passing of my dad...still not fully real...I hate to say it....and these are just the things I know about!


So friends I thank you for reading - because also each new year marks another year of blogging for me - this is year four, whoa! But thank you for your lovely, supportive and encouraging comments!  Thank you for sticking through my ramblings and what have yous and thank you for the blessings you bring to my life!

And once again - I place the year before me, squarely in the hands of my Lord. Knowing He will carry me through it - no matter what! I have hopes for what this year will bring, in terms of spiritual and personal growth, directions for our family and how I spend the time He has given me.

And I know my Lord is good...no, He is GREAT! And He holds my hand and walks me day by day - and I pray the same for each of you! I'll take all that the Lord offers me and I will give back to Him all that I can.

I leave you now with this song - it says so much.....

and I think it really speaks about all I pray for in this coming year....




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