Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Doll clothes!

 It is Mara's Birthday today and one of her requests had been for doll clothes. She has two 18 inch dolls and enjoys new clothes for them. A while back I had found a bunch of American Girl Doll clothing patterns available for free printing and so I decided to try out one of them.

 I decided to try one of Felicity's dresses. Felicity is from the colonial time period. We had studied in depth and have again been reading about the colonial times and so I thought that would be fun. I chose a pretty green piece of fabric (That my niece Margaret had actually given to me). I had fun working on it and I like how it turned out but I will admit that it was a bit of work. Doll clothes go fast because the seams are so short but this one had a fair amount of detail with many pleats, separate pieces, underskirt and all.

 I also made shifts for both her dolls. (I didn't end up having enough time to make fancy dresses for both of them.) I also made a simple skirt and some mob caps. I made up my own easy patterns for each of those. I had thought I would share them with you today but my scanner seems to be having some issues so I guess I will have to do it later.

 If you have any girls that like American Girl stuff, using the free patterns is a fun way to make them happy. It takes a little time but very little money as even if you have to buy fabric (and bear in mind that you can recycle old clothes that you don't care for into doll clothes very nicely!) with such a small amount it won't cost that much. Much cheaper than buying the ready made clothes!


Monday, September 27, 2010

holy experience

"Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His miracles." 1 Chron. 16:8 & 9

 Today is one of those beautiful fall days that seems to be just made for saying "Thanks!".

So I will.


#713 Saying thank you to God for beautiful blue skies.
 
#714 For warm sunshine.
 
#715 For beautiful colored leaves.
 
#716 Soft breezes to dry my clothes.
 
#717 Herbs.
 
#718 Herb books found at the library that leave me in awe of all the healing power God put into plants.
 
#717 Schoolwork done in good time.
 
#718 Feeling refreshed and energetic when I woke up this morning.
 
#719 Having fun reading early American history with my kids.

#720 Schoolwork done in a timely manner.


#721 Abundance of good things to eat and put up for later.

#722 A hug from my child.

#723 Prayer. Being able to communicate with God at any time.

#724 A washer and dryer and clothesline.

#725 God's grace.

What are you thank-ful for today?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Speaks to me Sunday

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-15 

  I really like this passage. It has so much "meat" in it! I am so glad that God has given us grace which brings salvation, not just for you and me but for everybody! But I really like the way this passage says what comes next. We don't just recieve God's grace and say "Thank- you very much" but rather it prompts us to do something.

  God's grace in our lives will cause us to say "No!" to ungodliness. If we let it, it will train our minds so that we don't have any interest in ungodly living. Wordly passions/desires will be treated the same way. That is not what is important anymore.

  Instead we will live in a way that is self-controlled, upright and godly. Maybe a little easier said than done, but through God's grace we will learn.

 I have been thinking about self-control a lot lately. Currently I am doing a cleanse in which I am not to eat any form (no honey or maple syrup either) of sugar and pretty much no carbs. To be very honest this is not easy for me. I defenitely have a sweet tooth and I am finding out how much I like carbs too. This has been a test in self-control to be sure! With God's help I will make it through these 2 weeks and I hope this process will help me to grow stronger in this fruit of the Spirit. There are even more important areas than health that I need to practice self-control in!

 It is my goal to fully follow this passage; Be eager for Christ's coming and excited about working for Him! I hope you are too! What do you gain from this passage?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bringing in the Harvest {Freezing Broccoli}

The last few weeks we have been busy with putting stuff up for winter. Making salsa, canning tomatoes, making pesto and canning applesauce and more have been done to ready us for the next few months.

  I am excited to have all of this done even though sometimes I grow weary in the process. The job is not over yet either. We still have stuff in our garden and we are still working.

  I am very blessed to have parents that taught me how to get stuff ready for the winter (You should see their freezers!) but I know that isn't the case with everybody so I thought it might be helpful to share how the putting up is done.

 I am going to try to share as many as possible of the things we do in simple step by step instructions. Today we will start with broccoli but stay tuned for more later!

This year I actually forgot to plant broccoli but as usual my parents grew a lot and as they do so very often they shared with us. The 5 gallon bucket they sent over actually had a mixture of cauliflower and broccoli. They can be done the exact same way so I just mixed them together.
 Step 1. Clean your broccoli. Wash it well in cold water and if you desire you can soak it in salt water a while too. Broccoli is often plagued by worms and so you do want to watch carefully for them. Though if you miss one or two you will just get some added protein. :-)

Step 2. Cut up your broccoli into the size pieces you want.
 Step 3. Dump it into boiling water and blanch it for 3 minutes. (Blanch is just a term used for quickly cooking veggies like this.)
Step 4. Take it out. I use a big slotted spoon or you can use some other sort of strainer.
 Step 5. Place it in a bowl full of cold water (you might like to add ice) to get it cool quickly.
Step 6. Drain it and place it in containers or bags, label it and but it in the freezer.


We use a lot of recycled containers.

 Step 7. I highly recommend some cheerful helpers!

(by the way, sorry for my photos that are tipped the wrong angle. Every so often blogger decides they need to be turned and I can't seem to correct that.)

Broccoli is very easy to put up, though of course it takes time, and it is very nice to pull out later to use. We love eating it with cheese on top. That has been a favorite for several of my kids (Currently Megan really loves it).

For those of you that have done broccoli too, is this how you do it? Do you have any more tips? I would love to hear your thoughts too. If any one has questions feel free to ask and I will try to answer.

I am linking this to Frugal Friday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jackpine Retreat {with tips for dealing with cold weather}


Keren and Jaten, sitting around the campfire for church
 This past weekend we were out of town for the 3rd week in a row. (Going has been fun but now I am going to be very happy to stay home now!) This past weekend we were up north (almost to Canada) and camping at a Rustic Family camp that I have gone to since I was a baby.

  This post is dedicated to my sister Martha who we missed having with us. She was the only one of we siblings (there are six of us) who was missing this year. She was wanting to see some pictures, so here we go!

Kent and Christy and boys. Cody (wrapped in the blanket) was the youngest there at only 6 weeks old.

The boys, listening to the sermon and keeping their hands busy at the same time.


Megan eating her hot dog straight off of the roasting stick.

Some of the men cut down some dead trees. They had lots of helpers to haul the wood over to the campfire to burn.


More hauling.

Our "Kitchen"

Cody and Irindee
Some of the kids having fun riding on the riding lawn mower.

  Camping this year was pretty chilly. One night it dipped below freezing I believe and most of the time it was breezy and pretty cool. Thankfully we were expecting that and prepared. I thought I would share some of the things that worked for us to keep us from freezing. :-)

Staying warm while sleeping....
  • Put on clean dry clothes (especially socks!) before going to bed. You don't want to wear things that are damp from sweat, even if you don't feel like you have been sweating. It is okay to wear those things over dry clothes.
  • Layer up. At least 2 pairs of socks! I think I wore 3 shirts to bed every night too.
  • The more the merrier- and warmer! I certainly missed Ken this year (he wasn't able to go as he had other things going on in the cities) but was glad to at least have Megan for company in the tent. I had planned on sharing a tent with more of my children but they went off to share tents with cousins.
  • Mats or blankets underneath really help to keep you warmer too. However air mattresses or cots make you colder than even sleeping on the plain ground as they allow the cold air to circulate.
  • Wear a hat or hood to bed to keep the warmth in.
  • Of course extra blankets and sleeping bags always helps!
Staying warm during the day:
  • Wear lots of layers. Long underwear, turtle necks + t-shirts + sweatshirts + jackets will help you to keep warm.
  • Pull out those hats and gloves/mittens even if it isn't winter yet or even fall.
  • Eat warm food. We were certainly happy we had oatmeal to eat for breakfast instead of cold cereal and the next day Luke and Keren warmed up the cinnamon rolls and applesauce too which made them much more appealing. Chili soup is always a favorite for us to take to Jackpine Retreat.
  • Have hot drinks. We go through a lot of hot chocolate there.
  • Keep active. The more you do the warmer you will be. I didn't follow this real well, I would try to sit by a fire instead.
  • Enjoy a warm fire.
  • Laugh and sing!
Do you have any tips to add? Cold weather camping can really be a lot of fun as long as you are prepared. There is this feeling of accomplishment you gain when you "make it through" a cold night. It is a fun bonding time with family and friends.

video
  I thought some of you might enjoy this video clip of some of the afternoon music making.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A giveaway! {Die cut business cards from UPrinting}

Do you have something that you would like to promote? Your business? Your blog? Your ministry? Or maybe would you just like something quick and easy to hand to people when you want to give them contact information.

If you said yes to any of those questions then would you like to be able to fulfil that need in a special, one of a kind way?

 Would you like some business cards that are unique, stand out and make people look twice at them?

If so, check these out!
                  
UPrinting makes die cut business cards in a number of shapes.. Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded One-Corner, Half-Circle Side and Circle.Square and slim cards are other possibilities. Check out all the options! Much more interesting than plain rectangular cards. They attract way more attention too!

 Would you like to win some?

One reader will win 250 die cut business cards.

The cards are available in full color on both sides if you want or you can have the back be blank or black.

You can get them in gloss, matte or high gloss or 14 pt cardstock or on 13 pt cardstock, uncoated.

How to win....

1st entry: Leave a comment telling me your favorite way of marketing your business or your blog OR tell me what sort of marketing (advertising) you notice and pay attention too. What has made you want to buy something?

An additional entry is allowed for those that follow my blog via google friend connect, e-mail subscription or a blog reader. Please leave a second comment telling my how you subscribe to my blog.

UPrinting is limiting this giveaway to US residents ages 18 and over. Please make sure to leave contact information (e-mail or blog address)

Full disclosure: I will be receiving 250 die cut business cards as a thank you for hosting this giveaway.

The first person to make a comment Wins!!


                   

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Being a blessing

"To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted,
and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult,
but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose
 that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8 & 9

This past week at ladies bible study we were discussing the idea of being a blessing. This is something that has seemed a little obscure to me. I am quite familiar with God blessing me. I see it happen over and over and over again! He gives to me abundantly in so many ways: love, salvation, family and friends, beauty around me, health, all that I need physically (plus way more!) and so much more.

 The idea of me being a blessing to others is not one that I have thought about as much however. I thought it might help if I looked up the word in the dictionary. Here is some of what is said under "blessing":  Approval, encouragement. A thing conducive to happiness or welfare. So I am getting the idea of bringing happiness, encouragement and help to others.

   The next step is to think about how I can practically do that. And who I really need to work at blessing. So on to the practical steps:
I can be a blessing by:
  • My attitude. A good, sweet and loving attitude is certainly going to be a blessing to others especially compared to being grumpy, uptight or angry.
  • My actions. I can bless others by helping them in however they need to be helped. I want to be on the lookout for little or big ways that I can serve others. This can be done for my husband, for my kids or even just opening a door for somebody at a store that has their hands full.
  • My words. Our words have a lot of strength in them. With them we can easily tear down or buildup. Encourage or discourage. I want to have words that bring others a blessing.
Who do I need to bless?
  • My husband. Ken has high priority in one that I need to bless.
  • My children.
  • My church family.
  • Friends and family.
  • Strangers.
Sometimes it can be just a smile or a kind word. Other times it can be a bit more involved and sometimes it is a life long project. But one thing I know it is a "project" that I want to work on. I truly do want to be a blessing in others lives. How about you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Frugalizing of a recipe {Hip hugger bars}

Okay, so I rather doubt that frugalizing is a word (I just checked- no it isn't in the dictionary) but I like the way it sounds so I thought I would use it.

 My definition: To make something more frugal.

One thing that I often like to make more frugal is recipes. Often times cookbooks like to call for expensive ingredients, ones that I prefer not to buy. So I find things that I can substitute for them. I look for cheaper things, thereby frugalizing it. :-)

One bar recipe that I really like are Chocolate Revel Bars or as we like to call them (as they are called by the lady that first made them for us): Hip huggers. I will share the original recipe and then I will share how I substituted to make it less expensive.

   Hip Hugger Bars
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups flour (I use mostly whole wheat flour)
2 cups brown sugar (actually I use more like 1 1/4 cups)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces (This is one of the things I substitute)
1 14 ounce can (1 1/4 cups) Sweetened condensed milk (another one that I use a sub for)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cups walnuts (these can by omitted- or forgotten like I did today- but they are yummy!)
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large mixing bowl beat 1 cup margarine until soft. Add about half of the flour and mix. Then add brown sugar, eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla and baking soda. Beat well. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in the oats. Set this mixture aside.

For the filling: This is where I really change things. If you follow the recipe as written  you would heat the chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk  along with the 2 T. butter over low heat until the chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts and 2 t. vanilla.

For a more frugal recipe I use 1/3 cup cocoa. 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup oil in place of the chocolate pieces and instead of the sweetened condensed milk I use 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water and then mixed with 1 cup = 2 T. dry milk beaten well. I still cook it a little together. It works just fine.

The you take the oats mixture and press two thirds of the dough into an ungreased 10 x 15 inch pan. (though tonight I used 2 cake pans instead.) Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the crust. Drop the remaining oat mixture on top of the chocolate layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or till top is light golden (chocolate will look slightly moist). Cut into bars. Makes 64. These are really yummy and moist.


I hope you enjoy these!
Do you have any favorite substitutions that save you money? I would love to hear about them! Here are some other substitutions for cooking and baking.

For more frugal tips visit Life as MOM.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traveling to a TEA party and other things that keep me busy

It is Wednesday night and it has been days since I last blogged. I have some pretty good reasons including a very cuddly and kissable little niece that has been to visit along with her Mom and Dad and big brother, home improvement projects going on (Thanks to my brother being here- but I have helped a little) and a trip out to Washington DC to go to a big TEA party there.

  Ken and I drove down to the cities and stayed at my sister's on Friday evening so we could head to the airport at 4 am on Saturday. We got to DC before lunch and had fun doing a bit of sight seeing the rest of that day.

 The last time we were in DC we didn't visit the Smithsonian Castle so I wanted go there this time. We enjoyed looking around a bit but didn't spend much time there.
We ended up spending most of our afternoon at the Postal museum. There was a lot of fun history there and we truly enjoyed it.

Then we went to a hotel where they were holding a sign making party for the TEA party the next day. We had fun making our signs and visiting with some others there. After that we headed to the Natural History Museum to see a documentary on Mt Everest (and one of its' first climbers, George Mallory) in the IMAX theater. When we got there we were carrying our signs as we hadn't been back to our hotel yet. The guards wouldn't let us in with them and told Ken to just throw them away. Ken thought maybe we would just leave but we decided to stick them in the bushes outside and they were still fine after the movie (which was pretty cool by the way.)

  On the 12th we woke up to a rather grey and rainy morning. We headed over to the Washington Monument where they had a church service of sorts. There was a lot of neat scripture reading and many prayers for our nation. We also sang "God bless America".

   We had fun meeting some people there and looking at everybody's signs and outfits. We weren't able to take a flag pole on the plane so Ken decided to wear his "Don't tread on me" flag as a cape. We soon discovered that he wasn't the only one with that plan. I got a picture of him with this man but later saw quite a few more people doing the same thing.
At noon we started marching down the roads from the monument to the Capitol. We certainly caused some traffic jams as they had to wait an hour or so for us to all get by. I felt kind of bad for the long lines waiting but I hope we were able to share our message in a friendly way.
The crowd was quite a bit smaller than last year when Ken and his dad went (in 2009 there were anywhere from several hundred thousand to a million people there) but there were still thousands and thousands of people. It was fun to see so many others who also feel passionately about our country going back to our founding principles where we honor God and have a limited government.
This was a group from Indiana. Indiana had a very good showing there.
I thought this sign was pretty creative. It was actually a bunch of signs put together and they were trying their best to stay straight.

There were a lot of people dressing in clothes of the time period of the Boston Tea Party. I enjoyed seeing all the costumes.
This lady had her own special Sam I am sign. She had found the poem online and then her husband drew the picture. I think this is what she had: ( I found it here)

I do not like it Uncle Sam, I do not like it Sam I am.



I do not like these dirty crooks, Neither how they cook the books.


I do not like when Congress steals, I do not like their secret deals.


I do not like this Speaker Nan, I do not like this "YES WE CAN!".


I do not like this kind of hope, I do not like it, nope, Nope, NOPE!






So you do not like this Uncle Sam?


Would you, could you for free health care?


Would you, could you here or there?


He’ll sweeten the deal and buy you a boat. Anything it takes to steal your vote.


Just pay your taxes higher, higher, higher while our Constitution is set on fire.


Now Uncle Sam knows what’s best for you, knows more than you think you do.


So just hush up and pay and everything will be okay.

Ken and I.
This was probably the most creative sign we saw. Ken thought I should post it on here.
There was a rally on the Capitol lawn. It was fun to listen to people (most just ordinary citizens from across the country) speak on the importance of sticking with our values and holding our elected officials to following the constitution and if they don't, we will not elect them again!
 
  I think a couple of the most moving speeches of the day were from a couple of immigrants (citizens now) that told why they had left the socialist countries that they were born in and why they want to see America stay away from Socialism.
As we were leaving the rally we saw these quotes on a nearby monument. They totally went along with the theme of the day and so I thought I would share them here with you.


We came home on Monday night to face another busy week of homeschooling, home fixing, website working, church and more politics (its a busy time for that right now!). I will try not to have to much in the way of politics on here very often, but this rally was a pretty big event in our lives this year and I wanted to share. I guess we were even shown on Fox News on Sunday but unfortunately we didn't think to record the news, so we didn't see it.
 
  I am curious, are any of you politically involved? Have you ever attended a TEA party?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mesabi Trail Bike Trip

 Wow, this week sure has flown by!

 Over the Labor Day Weekend we went on a biking trip on the Mesabi Trail in north eastern MN. We had a fun time but came home very tired and then this week has been busy with other things as well so I haven't had much online time.

 I did have fun taking pictures on our trip though and so be prepared, here is one long post.....

Saturday morning we left home. After driving (including a detour) we started riding sometime after 1pm.
Away they go!
We were needing to haul stuff for 2 nights of camping (and three days of eating) this trip and so I was looking for every possible way to haul stuff. Aaron ended up riding with a little suitcase on the front of his bike.

 I do wonder if people laugh as they look at us and our interesting get up, but I figure it doesn't matter much. We have fun and figure out ways to use what we have rather than spending a lot of money to get proper gear.
And we are out to make a fashion statement! Just kidding! I don't like sun in my eyes and the baseball hat fit just fine under the helmet. Mighty cute too!

Ken and I did wear special t-shirts. Chip Cravaak is running for Congress in the area we were biking in and we would really love to see him win. We can't vote for him but decided to do a little advertising by wearing t-shirts while we rode.

There were lots of hills. We enjoyed the down hills a bunch and were glad to take a breather at the top of the uphills.
I do so love seeing just a little bit of the beauty that God has made.
We went through a lot of iron mining areas. There was a lot of neat rocks and old mining areas that are now beautiful little (and deep!) lakes.
We thought it was fun walking out into this little "cage" where we could see the old mining pit better.
Such beautiful blue water..
Jonathan who is normally our Mr. Energy. He was on the first day but kind of wore out on the next two days.
On Sunday we road hard to make it 15 miles in order to go to church. We were a little late, but still in time for most of the singing and all of communion and the sermon. I am glad I don't always have to break down camp and ride a loaded bike 15 miles to go to church. It was fun to find out we could do it though.

  Afterwards we had a yummy lunch at Pizza Ranch (other than that meal we packed all our food). I amused myself by taking pictures while waiting for my turn in the bathroom. :-)

A field of beautiful flowers. Purple Loosestrife.
The only one that got to nap as we went along. She had to deal with some pretty cramped quarters though.
The kids had fun getting a little wet in Lake Kelly. We had some beautiful weather for our trip. It thankfully was not super hot, but it wasn't to cold either.
Mara, from my reclining view.
Riding through the very wooded areas was always fun.
Ken taking a well deserved break at the top of a hill.
There is nothing like flowing water to distract kids from what they were doing. In the tiny town of Marble they had a fire tank open and spraying water full blast ( I would guess to flush out the system). It was going down a hill next to where we had to go up. Going up isn't that fun and they kids were easily distracted.
Monday afternoon I caught a shuttle to ride back and pick up our van and Ken and the kids waited for me in a park. This picture is of Aaron at the top of a jungle gym.

Observations from our biking trip:
  • Some extra padding on the bike seat would be very nice. Next time I want either a cushier seat or padded biking shorts (which I will wear under something else!).
  • My family gets very hungry when they have been biking all day out in cool fresh air! Main course dishes that I thought I had brought way more than enough of got gobbled up pretty fast. However I should have done more figuring on the snacks because I brought quite a bit more than needed which was just extra weight to haul around.
  • When I call to check on campsites in the future I want to make sure and ask if they at least have an outhouse. I didn't think that question was necessary but we found out otherwise in the city campground in Nashwauk, MN.
  • My children were very happy I packed gloves for the cool evenings and mornings.
  • God certainly outdid Himself in making a beautiful world! 

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