Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daily Bible Reading


I thought I would share some verses from Philippians with you today. We are working to memorize Philippians right now so we go over it (so far just the first 2 chapters) about every day. It is neat when you go over a passage a bunch of times the new things you will notice about it. Here are some of the verses that I have especially been enjoying:

What has caused me to worship God more?
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:5-11

What Jesus was willing to go through for us is far beyond amazing! He is certainly worthy of all our worship and praise.

What scripture touched me?
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." Phil. 1:12-14

That really touches me that when the other Christians saw the persecution that Paul was going through it didn't make them run away and hide, instead the were more courageous. That is pretty cool! I hope that I can be like that too.

What prompted me to action?
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." Phil. 2:14-16

Do you ever complain? Oh dear, I have done that. Do you ever argue? Guilty again. We need to seek the Holy Spirit's help and use self control so that isn't part of our life anymore.

What interesting fact did I find?
We have enjoyed becoming more familiar with Epaphroditus who was a worker for the Lord. Verses 25-30 tell of his service and how he almost died in the work of Christ. He risked his life to help Paul. He is one of those rather unknown heros and it is fun to learn more about him.

What treasures did you find in God's word lately?


Friday, July 8, 2016

Our Country's Birthday and some Scripture from my Reading Last Week

My parents cut the many yummy desserts that we had at our party.
We made a bunch of pies and others also brought some super yummy desserts.
I had meant to post on Sunday, then Monday and so on... here I'm finally getting this written on Friday. Oh well - such is life!

I want to share with you some of the verses that I appreciated in my reading last week and then also a bunch of pictures from our Independence day party.

 A scripture that caused me to worship God more was: "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9 The realization that God truly cares about what is on our heart and He knows everything and every motive behind what we do is something that should make us pause and think and also worship. He wants us to know Him.

 This verse also ties in with my reflection on our country. We have a country that was founded on Godly principles. Men and Women sought to know God's will and to follow His leading as the Constitution was written and our country was formed. Certainly the weren't perfect people but study on many of them will show that they generally respected and honored God. We have a country now though that has for the most part forsaken God. As a whole our country allows and promotes the killing of babies. Our country encourages the Homosexual lifestyle that God very clearly says is wrong. The leadership in our country has ceased to believe in absolute truth. Our public schools teach a doctrine that is apposed to God and the Bible. I am so thankful for those who still stand strong for the truth and for our Constitution and other founding documents that honor our Creator but I do realize that over all our country has forsaken God. 

The table was rather over flowing with food.
You can see our party schedule and our guestbook at the table on the right.
  Independence day is a holiday that I have loved but does now leave me feeling somewhat torn. I continue to celebrate our roots and the freedoms that we do still have and I pray with sorrow but in hope and faith for our country and the direction it is headed.

  We did invite quite a few friends over to celebrate our country's birthday with us. We are so blessed to have wonderful friends and family.
Thinking of our blessings reminds me of a verse that touched me this past week in my reading: "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You." 1 Chronicles 29:14

We have so very much. Why are we so blessed? Everything has come from God and to Him I give thanks!

Supper was a pretty easy thing to pull off as Ken grilled Hamburgers, Brats and Hotdogs. I had made potato salad, baked beans and pies ahead of time and our guests also brought a side dish (chips, salads, desserts, fruit, etc) to share. We had far more than enough! We also made Mint Iced Tea and Lemonade.

Before supper my Dad prayed for our meal and also took time to pray for our country. Our country needs a lot of prayer right now. Are you praying? That reminds me of another verse that was in my reading last week: "If my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 That was true for the Isrealites. I believe it will also hold true for us. If we want healing then we need to turn to God. This is a call to action: Pray for our Country and her people. Let's go beyond that and pray that people everywhere will humble themselves and pray and seek God's forgiveness!

Some of the excitement of the evening came from rescuing a baby bunny from Kitchi (our dog). Kitchi has been good at finding rabbits nests this Spring. He had this one in his mouth but hadn't really harmed it. The kids got it away from him and Megan and her cousin Jaten gave him a good scolding.
My sister-in-law Holly is great at any animal rescues that are needed (Baby goats that need extra attention, baby pigs, turtles, chicks, you name it) and so she volunteered to care for this baby too. They went to work at feeding it right away. I believe it is named either Romeo or Juliet.

Megan and Ephraim (my nephew) were happy party attendees. You might notice that Megan's face looks a little different. She was dealing with allergies for a couple of days and her face got rather swollen. Poor girl!

   Our party schedule included Supper, Float decorating (getting people that came to decorate our canoes and a Johnboat), A Parade, a Canoe Race and Music with a little bit of visiting and horseshoes thrown in.
Here are some of the floats in the process of getting decorated.
Some riders for the floats getting ready.
Molly Bea, Katy and crew (Katy's little girl) had a float decorated with pinwheels and balloons.
Aaron and Kitchi had a boat with sparklers, flags and a couple of balloons. Unfortunately the sparklers wouldn't stay lit.

 A passing boat really enjoyed our little (disorganized) parade.

Unfortunately these two pictures are rather blurry but they show some of the shape and detail put into some of the floats.
Mara dressed up in a gown and they had flower wreaths for their hair and Keren paddled while Mara played her Ocarina. Megan and Jaten waved at the audience.
Truett and I had a float decorated with balloons. It could have been much fancier but the balloons kept popping on me and I ran out of time. We had made balloon hats too (after much popping) but mine ended up to small and blew away mid parade.

We had judges for our parade. A couple of our neighbors (who came to the party too) Dennis and Merle were in charge of judging. We had some truffles for the winning float which was done by the Kliensasser family.
After the parade we had a canoe race.
Here they were getting lined up. Mara's canoe with herself and Megan in it were the only females that participated.
Here come JJ and Jonathan in for the win!
The fastest canoe is my blue canoe - the Bonnie Mae. Because it is the fastest we decided it needed a handicap. After going canoeing one evening last week with Ken and Kitchi in that canoe I decided that Kitchi would make a perfect handicap. That canoe is already tippy and with Kitchi in it it becomes even more so. He loves to go from side to side and doesn't like to sit down. In the middle of the race he decided to more from his position in the middle to a better vantage point in the front so he had to climb over Aaron to do so. Aaron and Peter took that canoe figuring that Kitchi would be no big deal but they found out differently. Even with Kitchi they did come in second.
We had requested that people bring along musical instruments if they had them. We played and sang some patriotic songs and a few hymns. It was fun.
I am so thankful for music!
My love of music made me find 2 Chronicles 5:12 -14 pretty interesting in my reading. It says: "And all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and Kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the alter, and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting, then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God."
May our music always glorify God as well!

We completed our day by going into town and sitting on the edge of the lake and watching the fireworks display. It was a fun day.

Did you have a fun 4th of July? What did you do?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Frugal Activities Lately

 I have gone shopping quite a few times lately and we have eaten at a restaurant in the last week too so party of me wants to say - we haven't been frugal lately. I least I don't feel very frugal. But even during times where some money is spent there is still a lot of money saving that goes on. Here are a few of those that we have done lately.


  • Mara and I needed good shoes for our backpacking trip. The shoes that we had simply were not going to work (getting tight for Mara, wearing out for me). So a lot of our shopping lately involved going to shoe stores. We went to almost every place in our town (and the places we missed I had good reason to believe wouldn't have worked either. We needing hiking shoes/boots and we want them to be good quality. We never did find any shoes that fit Mara (she is a size 10 1/2 and I guess that is just not commonly sold) and most places didn't have hiking shoes that fit me either (size 9 1/2 ).  But we were able to try on some that were close in size at some stores and figure out what brand/style we liked then we were able to order some that were in our size (and were cheaper than the stores- We saved around 70 dollars between the 2 pairs.) on Amazon. We both ended up getting Keen shoes and are pretty happy with them so far. We ended up only getting them the day before we left on our hiking trip but we didn't have any problems and they are pretty comfortable.
  • I bought food for our hiking trips. I bought packages of pasta dishes and rice dishes. It is something that I wouldn't normally buy as it isn't as healthy as cooking from scratch - also it is more expensive with the packages (serving 4 - so we use 2 of them) costing around $3 each to make food for our family like that normally but when I compared them with typical backpacking food (the meals where you just add boiling water - which is the same as the stuff I was buying) we saved a lot of money by buying these packages at Mernards and the Bread store. The backpacking packages generally come in single servings and the ones I was looking at were around $7 each. That gets pretty expensive when you are going on a week longing backpacking trip with a family of 6. I also bought some summer sausage for our backpacking trip. I was able to get it for $3 a pound which is pretty decent price on meat anyway and since this can go without refrigeration that works well.
  • At the day old bread store I was able to use a $5 coupon of as I stocked up on sandwich bread and the food for our camping trip.
  • When I went into Sports Authority to check on shoes I discovered that they were going out of business. They didn't have any shoes in our size (at least not hiking shoes) but I got the fuel we needed for our backpacking stove for 20% off which made it a very good deal. I stocked up since it was 1/2 the price of what Ken had found it for on Amazon. I also got Jerky for 20% off and they gave my a nice cloth shopping bag to take my purchases home in.
  • We did end up having to buy new sleeping bags for most of us as we had issues with most of ours being way to bulky and heavy for backpacking or not warm enough. We did have one mummy sleeping bag on hand thought that would work - it just needed mended. Megan liked it and claimed it (it was one that belonged to my parents when they were first married!) and she helped me to mend it. $50 saved!
  • We only had to buy one backpack for the trip - Ken already had one, a friend that was moving had given us one which worked fine for Mara, My brother-in-law loaned us one that worked for Jonathan, I was able to use my dads, We found a good deal on one for Aaron and I fixed up one for Megan. 
  • We avoided having to buy any new tents by instead buying waterproofing spray and I sprayed the tent the had been mine as a teenager. It is a nice light tent and worked well for the girls. I was also able to use the spray on Jonathan and my raincoats to make sure that they would work and on the backpack that I was using.

 Jonathan was able to get the rabbit hutch to usable conditions (it does still need to be finished) before we left on our trip. He was able to do it using only things that we had on hand already.
 One side is also a temporary home for the chicks.
 The purslane is growing like a weed in our garden. Oh wait, it is a weed! But it happens to be a weed that I like so it very rarely gets weeded out. We use it in salad and stir-fries. It has such a nice mild flavor. I have been mulching most of my pathways in the garden but there is one area of the pathway (partly pictured above) that is growing thickly with purslane and so I will let it be and not mulch it.
Speaking of mulch... that is a nice frugal activity that makes my garden look nicer and saves me a ton of work in the long run. I lay cardboard done in my paths and then I am covering it with leaves that the kids raked and put on our drain field this past fall. It is a fun and satisfying job I think.

This is what the pathways look like after adding the leaves. We just till this whole pathway in come next Spring. We have not had any trouble doing that and it helps our soil out.
 I have still been working at doing landscaping around our house. I did by one plant for $6 this week but otherwise I am just using things that I have been able to think out of our neighbors flower beds. That has blessed us so much in being able to landscape economically. This Astilbe from my neighbor is looking very lovely blooming. I moved a bunch of hostas, some iris and some more Astilbe today.


 This past week I was invited to a surprise birthday party for a friend. I was able to put together a handmade gift of notecards and potholders. She liked it and I enjoyed being able to give something that was hand-made.

I have been teaching Wednesday evening class at church. It is always a fun challenge for me to see if I can have a fun craft using things that I already have on hand. We were talking about binding wisdom around our neck, etc. and I thought it would be fun to make necklaces. I wanted to put the word wisdom on it so I decided we would make our own shrinky beads.
It is pretty easy to do (though it gets more challenging when you are preparing for a large class full of ages 2-7). You simply take containers made from #6 plastic. I had a bunch as I had been saving them whenever I notice something like that going in the trash after a potluck or something. It is very rare for our family to buy anything in #6 plastic but other people we know do.

 Then cut them into shapes (don't have any pointy edges) and then color with permanent marker. I let the kids do that. That was a little scary turning them loose with permanent markers but they did pretty good.
Then your put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for around 2 minutes. They shrink up fast. You should do this with your windows open. We had used the paper punch to put holes in them before we shrunk them. They are so cute and tiny after they get shrunk.

  I know there are other ways that we have been frugal but this post is plenty long and it is really time for me to go to bed.

Goodnight!

p.s. I would love to hear how you have been frugal lately!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It is Salad Season!

 Summer is the time for lots of salads. They taste so cool and yummy, they are good for you and they can be made from things you can easily grow in your garden and potentially forage from your woods.

I planted a lot of different greens this year: Chinese Cabbage, Kale, 3 types of Lettuce, Tatsoi and Purple Mustard and possibly more that I am not remembering at the moment. My goal is to be able to make salad every day for supper throughout the remainder of the growing season. Not only will that be good for us but it will help us save money on our food budget as I will not need to buy so many fresh fruits and veggies.
Besides greens there are a lot of ways to make your salad fun and interesting. By adding some protien you can also turn it into a whole meal. Our family really enjoys Cobb Salad with all sorts of toppings.

Here are some ideas of things you can add to your salads:

  • Chick peas (easy and economical to cook up yourself.
  • Cheese- any variety shredded or even chunked. Our homemade cheese from Goat milk is yummy crumbled on salad.
  • Boiled eggs (this works well for us right now since our birds are producing nicely.)
  • Homemade croutons
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sprouts
  • Black eyed Beans
  • Cooked up Chicken Breasts
  • Cooked up pieces of steak
  • Many other veggies such as radishes, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
  • Black Olives
  • and much more...
I would love to hear how you like to eat your salads. Do you grow salad stuff in your garden?

If you are looking for some homemade salad dressing recipes or want to know how to make croutons then visit this old post of mine.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Backpacking Trip on the Superior Hiking Trail

  Our family is planning on going on a backpacking trip in late August out in Glacier National park. Backpacking is something Ken and his family have done a lot of but I have only gone once and the kids haven't at all. So this is a new adventure for us though we have done a lot of other camping. Since we are doing a six day trip out there we thought it would be good to get a little practice in first. So this past week (Thursday through Saturday) we went over on the North Shore of Lake Superior on the Superior Hiking Trail. Kitchi (our dog) got to go with us too which he very much enjoyed!

The picture above shows the kids and Kitchi ready to head down the trail. I have lots of pictures to share so here we go....
 We started out by climbing up. Our starting place was at Castle Danger for those familiar with the area. It was really pretty.
 The packs did feel a bit heavy at first. Mine wasn't to bad but Jonathan and Aaron struggled with theirs some.
 Ken tried to help them with a lot of adjusting and they finally did get them to feel okay. But no matter what you do it is work to carry a pack.
 Some of the rocks that we were climbing on. It was pretty fun.
 Then we left the rocks behind and were going through the woods and nearly the whole trail was covered with mud. There was standing water in many, many places. We weren't quite expecting that. We did the best we could to stay on (or very near) the trail without getting a total mud bath. Megan and Jonathan kind of gave up and just tromped straight through. Kitchi didn't see any reason for avoiding the mud either.

  We saw a lot of pretty trees, hills and flowers while we walked.

Upon getting to camp (after going 5 miles) we were tired, hot and dirty and we were hoping that the river that we were next to would work for swimming. That was not to be. The current was to fast and getting in and out of the water would have caused us to get super muddy all over again, we struggled enough to get water out to filter without getting super muddy and then we had to walk up a slippery, muddy hill to the campsite. Megan was ready to go home to a hot bath. I helped her to wipe up a little bit and get some clean clothes on and then she felt quite a bit better about life.
 We had fun that night anyway even if things weren't quite like we had imagined they would be. Our supper was good though not as filling as we had hoped as when we were using the tiny backpacking stove and Mara stirred the potatoes into the boiling water it fell off and spilled much of it out. Kitchi enjoyed our loss and we still had enough to eat so it was fine. I had brought along a pudding mix for dessert which everybody enjoyed and that filled up any leftover hungry places. Megan had Kitchi do the first step in the dishwashing. :-) We did wash them more afterwards!
 The next day as we hiked along we did find a place where it worked to wade in the river. Aaron was happy about that. We were also able to filter some more water. In that same area we found some wild strawberries to pick. Yummy!
 We stopped for lunch near some cedar trees. Some looked like they had swings. The girls tried them out. Megan had been missing her swing.
 The boys were more interested in eating lunch.
 The bark on the trees was cool.
 There were a bunch of butterflies around.
 Later that day Megan and Kitchi found a spot to rest along the trail.
 That day we came to Fifth falls which was quite lovely.
 The cool water felt good on our feet!
 Mara and Jonathan had fun exploring some little caves in the cliffs.
 On the trail again!
 Then we discovered that part of the trail was closed - we would have to go on a detour! This took us to the bike trail near Gooseberry falls and the Lake. It wasn't nearly so shaded and we got pretty hot.
 The kids were pretty tired and a little discouraged. How long was this hike going to be after all? Would we have enough water? We ended up stopping at a business to fill up our water so we could stay hydrated.
 We did see some beautiful flowers! We so loved being able to see all the Lupines blooming.
 We finally found an access to the Lake from off of the bike trail. It was so much cooler down by the lake. It was a beautiful place to rest and cool off! We found quite a few agates and other fun rocks too.
 Kitchi did some swimming.

Then it was back to hiking again.  We finally left the hot bike trail (after a couple of miles or so there) and walked on a dirt road for a mile and a half. Then we were back on the trail for just a bit and there was the campsite. But oh no! There was somebody already there. Would there still be room for us? Would we need to walk another 4+ miles to the next campsite? We were tired after our 8.5 miles of hiking and it was already 5:30 pm.

Thankfully there was still room for us! The young couple that was there (we thought there were more at first as they had a tent up, a hammock and a tarp hung up with stuff under it) were more than happy to share. They were really sweet and fun to visit with.
 I got supper cooking. Both evenings I had picked wild greens and added them to our supper. Cleavers was the main green that I used. It was fun to add that big of extra nutrition and flavor. Supper was a pasta mix that I found inexpensively at our bread store. I added the cleavers, some chicken that can in a packet from Wal-mart and some cheese that was already quite melted from our trip. It ended up being super yummy and everybody enjoyed it. We had plenty so there was even some for Kitchi. He liked that much better than his dog food.
 The next morning we packed up again.
 We were able to hike up on the ridge looking out over a big stretch of woods and then the lake. It was beautiful! We would have loved to take more time to enjoy it but there was a thunderstorm that was coming and we didn't want to be caught up on the ridge during that. Ken kept us marching. :-)

 A little note on my pack above. I was able to use my Dad's pack that he got before he was married and he took to Jamaica and to the Yukon Territory. It worked very well for me too.
 While up on the ridge we did find quite a few delicious strawberries. I would have loved to have had more time to pick as that was the best patch of wild strawberries that I have ever seen. I would also love to be back there for blueberry and juneberry season! They weren't ripe yet but there was a lot of nice green berries.
 We came by Split rock falls. It was really pretty from either the top view or the bottom. The weather was still looking very threatening though so Ken kept us going.
 We made it to our destination down by the lake where there was a tunnel under the road that we could keep safe and dry in if necessary and where Ken would need to meet the shuttle driver later that afternoon. We had made it over 3 miles in less than 2 hours.

We looked around at the lake (which was really chilly as the storm threatened overhead) and we found some fun rocks. Mara found a cute rock that looked like a tug boat.

We ate our lunch as the weather started to clear (before it had even dumped anything). After eating we had a couple of hours to spare before the shuttle would come so we decided it might be fun to go back up to the falls to look at them better. It was 1/2 mile hike so we didn't really want to take our packs if we didn't have to. So we hid them in some bushes with a tarp over them.
 Up to the falls we went.
 How pretty! All the water looks red/muddy because of all the iron in that area.
 Mara climbed up a mossy cliff and made a little fairy house.
 Aaron had fun climbing too. Megan is the green and red dot over on the other side.
 Here I zoomed in on her. It looks like she is practically in the falls but she isn't really.
 Another picture of the falls.
Then back to the lake again. It was nice to just rest a while. Kitchi took some long naps too.

It was a fun trip. There were challenges to be sure but I would do it again in a heart beat!

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