Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's Sing!

"After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" (found in both Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26)

 Do you have as much fun imagining this as I do?

 I absolutely love music (with singing being one of my very favorite forms) and I love the sound of men singing together. Here we have Jesus and His disciples singing together during a very challenging time.

I wonder....
Did they sing in harmony? Was somebody of key? What was the song like?

Those questions aren't that important but I do find them fun to think about.

  What I am realizing though and really noticing is that this happens right at the time that Judas is off betraying Jesus. This is (or at least could have been) a very stressful time for Jesus especially and all of them to some degree. Yet they stopped to sing.

 Did they find singing encouraging and uplifting? I know when I am stressed, tired or in some way feeling emotional (sad, angry, joyful, etc) music is always good!

 For me this is a very neat thing to notice about Jesus' life. If you haven't been the type to enjoy singing - I hope you will give it a try!  It is so fun to sing songs about how great God is, or songs that can encourage us to live more like we should.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Enjoying holiday times!

 One thing that I find very fun about holidays is how we will often set aside some of the things that keep us busy (schoolwork, going to work, having work come to us and housework) and we spend more time just having fun doing things together. Now don't get me wrong - I really like to work and I think it is good to spend a lot of time doing that but a break is also good (God even set that up that the Israelites would have a break each 7th year and then also on the 50th as well as the various festivals and Sabbaths).

  We have been enjoying a little different schedule this past week. Here are a few photos that capture a bit of what we have been doing....

Making doughnuts for breakfast.

 Going over to some friends for broom ball, fellowship and food.
 Enjoying the simple and pretty decorations that our friends had like candles in the windows.
 Getting apple braids ready to take and share at church.
 Having company over for lunch a couple of different times. Using pretty winter napkins that a friend gave us.
 Attempting to ice skate on the swamp- it was pretty low this year though so the report is that ice skating isn't very good.
 Working on a new rag rug. It is wool and I am really having fun with it!
 Finishing up some last minute gifts.
 Playing games a lot. We are enjoying a lot of Settlers of Catan.
Taking pictures. A friend gave Mara a new camera so the kids have been very much enjoying using it.

I didn't take a picture but I have also been enjoying reading. My sister Martha sent me some new books and I am enjoying one of them.

I hope you are enjoying the change of pace at your house as well!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scripture on our tongues

 As we read in the Bible about Jesus, something that is easy to notice is that He knew the Bible. When I read in Matthew chapter 22 (check out verses 23-46) He is questioned by the Sadducees and then a Lawyer of the Pharisees and each time He was able to anwer their question by using scripture. 

I love this part:

"But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God." Matt. 22:29

In my journey to try to walk like Jesus I want to study God's word so that I will know the answers to the questions that come my way too.

MyMemories Suite v4 {Review and Giveaway}

   Well, Hello again! It seems like forever since I last blogged. I know I had posts come up this week but I pre-wrote them and so I actually haven't written on here for over a week and that is a long time for me. Currently we have been doing so many other things ( a trip and then lots of at home fun activities) and I haven't even missed blogging but I am glad to be back and have a bunch of ideas for series to write this coming year. Sometimes a break is rather good for the brain I think!

 But anyway, Let's talk about a fun product and a giveaway of that product....

MyMemories Suite v4 is a scrapbooking software, but software that can do even more than create fun scrapbook pages. There are many ways you can use this fun software. The options for working with your photos (or you can even make lots of fun things without photos.

Here are some things I had fun creating recently using the MyMemories Suite v4:

A scrapbook page of our recent trip out to Reno, NV to attend Ken's Grandmother's memorial service. This page was used with a pre-made photo layout but I chose my own back ground paper and embellishments.

Above is another scrapbook page that I put together from our trip. This one was using a pre-made layout where I just added the photos and text.
Here is another scrapbook page that I made of some flowers that I recently put together for a wedding. For this page I designed completely myself and had fun find colors that I thought complemented the flowers and some embellishments to go with it.

  When I was having fun working on scrapbook pages Megan (age 6) was having fun watching me and thought that it looked like a lot of fun and wondered if she could do a page too. I did let her and that ended up being a very fun activity for her. She loved choosing colors, shapes and embellishments to work with. I did have to help her some but she was getting the hang of using it pretty well.
We both could stand some improvement in our digital scrapbooking skills but we had fun! :-)

Another way that I have found MyMemories Suite to be quite helpful is in making graphics for this blog. I did this one quickly the other night for a series that I am planning on starting in 2013. It isn't my greatest graphic ever (and I might make a different one) but the problem was with my skill and inspiration at the time not the software!
Most of my current blog series graphics were made using MyMemories Suite. This software could also be used to make blog headers too.
This software is also a great way to design your own cards, postcards and calendars. When I ordered photos this year to send out with our Christmas letter some of them (I ordered a few different ones) ended up coming back blurry so I didn't want to use them - consequintly I ran out before I had send to many of our local friends. I decided to make some simple postcards instead to send/give out locally. Our printer in only black and white but with the addition of a little red and green markers I think they look rather cute.

MyMemories is also very nice in that they have a lot of ideas in their gallery and blog and on Youtube. Here are a couple of their Youtube videos that help you to see ways you can use MyMemories Suite software.


 Something that I found really neat about whether you buy or win the MyMemories Suite v4 and that is that you also get a free 6" x 6" 20 page printed andbound soft-cover photobook.  

 The MyMemories Suite v4 generally costs $39.97 but if you use my coupon code:
you will get $10 off that price. Included in that price you also get the free photo book and $10 to use on buying digital scrapbook kits, papers and such (they do also have a lot availabe for free)

 If you would like to try to win a MyMemories Suite v4 Software please visit

 This giveaway will go through December 29th.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this review our my own. I was not paid anything for this post but I was provided the software for purposes of reviewing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Handmade Christmas- Week 11 {Ski Hats}

 Well here we are at the last week before Christmas. We are still busily creating - in fact we are taking the week off from school for that purpose.

I thought I would share a very quick gift idea that I made for Ken and then since the first one seemed a bit small I now have a matching one too.

I made fleece hats to wear skiing under our helmets.
 First you cut out a shape like this (for the woman's I made it 11 inches across and 17 inches long, Ken's was 12 inches wide and actually a little shorter.).

Then you sew the seam up the back.
 Next I zig-zagged over the seam to make it flat.

Then I hemmed all the edges. It is done! Very fast and easy.
They aren't all that attractive but they should work.

Have you been making anything I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jesus understood the Scripture

Now the title to this post may have left you saying "Well yes of course" or "That's rather obvious". And I would agree, as Jesus is God and all scripture is inspired by God it stands to reason that He would know it pretty well. But my point is this: It is our responsibility as Christians to walk in Jesus steps - I need to be noticing what He did and strive to do that too.
Let's read some scriptures that point out how Jesus knew and used the scriptures:
Matthew 22:23-46

23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

  It is in God's word that we will find the answers to all of life's questions. Let's get busy and study and learn to know the scriptures!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Handmade Christmas- Week 9 {A Hodge Podge of Ideas}

We have been doing a lot of creating around here. I still have a lot I would like to do (not just for our family gifts but other things as well) but I am fine with the fact that we have been having fun making things and we have done a lot and whatever else gets done or doesn't get done is okay.

  This post is a whole collection of various handmade things that are around our house right now.

A recent fun project that got made here was a gourd snowman. A friend of mine who knows I love to make things out of whatever I have on hand, called and wanted to know if I wanted a bunch of gourds that they had leftover from fall decorations. I wasn't quite sure what I would do with them but I thought they might possibly dry and then I could try making rattles, bird houses, bowls and what have you with them so I said "yes".
Some of the gourds didn't look like they were going to keep so they went out to the compost pile but some of the smooth skinned ones we thought might dry so we have them up on top of our cupboard waiting to do just that. And then there were a few funny, bumpy cream ones. What would they be good for? How about a snowman?

  Megan thought the project sounded fun so I put her in charge of it. I helped a bit but she was very excited that she was able to use the glue gun (it is something you do have to be very careful with because it can burn you badly) on her own.


  We glued the gourds together, added twig arms and button eyes and buttons. We used part of an old sock for a hat and some wool for a scarf and a nose. We think it turned out cute and it was quite free. I don't think it will make it to another year but we are enjoying it for this one.

  Here are some more creations that I thought you might be able to get ideas from.
 The boys have carved walking sticks this fall. Perhaps someone you know would like a gift like that.
 Jonathan has been impressing us lately with his inventing abilities. By carving and using the drill he has been turning bits of poplar we have around here into toy guns. He rigged it up with a trigger and a spring inside so that it can actually shoot a "bullet" that he carved. He made the one above for himself but has been working on another one as a gift for Aaron. It will be appreciated.
 I have been having fun doing some of my normal decorating with lots of evergreens and pine cones. I showed a bunch of homeschool kids how to make the vertical swags at our gathering last week. I sure ended up with sticky, sappy hands but they smelled good! Swags are pretty easy to make - simply take pieces of greenery and lay then so you have some going up and some going down with the ends meeting in the middle where you can securely wire them together. Then cover up the area you wire with a bow and add in pine cones or other decorations.

For a horizontal swag simply lay them out so they are evenly divided on both sides and wire them together in the middle and add a bow and pine cones. I don't worry about perfection - it is supposed to be natural.

  Something else I made this fall was a unique set of candle holders/ vases. I used a sparkling water bottle that was green and then I hot glued the red and clear flat marbles all over it.  They are kind of pretty but maybe not quite my style - oh well I am enjoying them this year and maybe I will pass them on to somebody else later. I don't know that hot glue was the best choice for adhering the marbles as a few have popped off and I have had to re-glue them.
  The cute little wreath above was a gift to us from my Sister-in-law's little sisters. It is a fun way to recycle old wool sweaters or clothes. They are cut in squares and then threaded to make a wreath.
Today we celebrated my niece Jaten's 3rd birthday. We had fun making some homemade gifts for her. She had seen the flower wand that we made for Megan's Operation Christmas Child Shoebox and she really liked it so we made her one as well (though a different style). She liked this one pretty well too.  I also made her a felt reversible crown and the kids made her jewelry and then we gave her a book about a bride that wore a crown and carried flowers with streamers.
 To make our flower wand Megan painted a stick and we tied on ribbons (and glued them for good measure). Then we cut out 10 felt flowers.
 I folded the flowers in half and then rolled them like above and then I started gluing them all on the end of the wand. I glued them together so there weren't any cracks.
Above is a picture of Megan trying the things out last night. I got a picture of Jaten with them today but it was on my phone and I don't know how to upload those pictures. :-)

 So that is a few of the things that we have been working on. What have you been making at your house? I would still love to hear any homemade gift, decoration or goody ideas! If you have blogged about it please leave a link in the comments so we can go check it out!

Preparing for the Future {Food}

 In our family food storage has just become part of our life. We have started to live a bit more like our ancestors did, living in a large part according to the season and local that we are in(though we do eat our tropical fruits like bananas now and then too!).

  For us that means that when summer and fall are here we often mention the phrase "getting ready for winter". That also means that we put up or buy things according to the time that they are ready. That leaves us with generally having quite a lot of food on hand.

Here is a peak at how the calendar of stocking up looks at our house:

:: SPRING ::

~ We usually help my parents tap maple trees and then boil down the sap to make syrup. This year was not a good year for syrup and so we are missing having that stocked up but I am extra thankful for the honey that we have instead.

~ We often buy a lot of winter wheat from the grain elevator in the Spring. When we buy I usually get around 300 lbs.

~ We pick strawberries and rhubarb which we use for jam and freeze.

~ When we can find them we pick mushrooms and freeze them if we have extra.

~If my parents have a lot of extra (goat's) milk then we will make an easy cheese and freeze both it and the whey for future use.

:: Summer ::

~This is berry picking time. We pick blueberries (wild) and raspberries (tame) as well as Juneberries and Chokecherries if we can find them. These are made into jam or frozen for winter use besides of course all that we eat while picking or shortly there after.

~ We also do a lot of harvesting from our garden and we can or freeze just as much as we possibly can. The last couple of years we have been able to put up enough for the year on several items and made it so we don't buy much in the way of canned or frozen veggies or fruit.

~ We dry a lot of herbs to be used for cooking and for tea.

:: Autumn ::

~ We help my parents with butchering chickens (and they share with us) as well as cleaning a bunch of fish from a pond that gets emptied out each fall - both of which help us to have meat for the year.

~ We pick apples and make them into applesauce, freeze apple pie filling and this year we dried quite a bit. We have been so very blessed to be able to get enough to keep us through the year.

~ We harvest honey - which has been able to be our primary sweetener now that we have bees.

~ We buy our 1/2 beef for the year. This provide us with all the beef we need for the year. (Next up is to somehow get quality local pork! )

~ We buy more Wheat, Corn or Beans from the grain elevator if we are running low.

~We glean potatoes - Between my parents and us we pick up over 1,000 lbs (sometimes double that) which we store in a root cellar at their place. We bring 50-100 lb bags to our place when needed.

~ I make apple cider vinegar.

 All through the year I watch for sales on things that we haven't figured out how to produce like oil, butter, most cheeses, peanut butter, tuna and such and if there is a really good sale I will try to buy a years supply.

  I also order large quantities of things like oatmeal, cocoa powder, baking powder, yeast and rice from Azure standard as I need them.

  When we work on stocking up throughout the year (though pretty much taking a break in the winter) in this way we pretty much always have a lot on hand and the labor and money needed is manageable. It is also nice to know that we pretty much always have enough food on hand that if something should happen (and unforeseen financial issue, whatever...) we could most likely eat of of what we have without buying anything (though we might miss some things) for months or even a year.

   That is my basic food preparedness plan which would cover things such as financial hardship and snow storms or stores disappearing (that was sarcastic) but I do have a couple of other thoughts on other food preparedness.

  I also like the idea of being prepared should we have to evacuate quickly due to a wild fire or something like that and so to that end I have some food kept stored away in our van . This is food that doesn't need much preparation and I was sure to have some protein and other needed things in it.

  We could also face the possibility of being without electricity so I have tried to be sure that we have things on hand that are fairly easily prepared and don't need a lot of water. We also have camp stoves, a fire pit and grill so we could still cook without electricity and we have practiced using all of them as well.

Here is a verse that I find encouraging concerning this:

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)
Here is a post of mine that talks more about preparing and addresses the issue of balance.

  Those are some of the ways we try to be prepared concerning food. What are you thoughts on this?

I am linking up with:

Sunday, December 9, 2012


 I find the verses about Jesus that we are going to look at today to be quite neat. In them we  find people that didn't like Jesus and wanted to trap him still giving Him a complement.

   Please read it with me....

  "Then the Pharisees went and plotten together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do you think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus perceieved their malice, and said, "Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to HIm, "Caeser's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caeser the things that are Caeser's; and to God the things that are God's" And hearing this, they were amazed and leaving HIm, they went away." Matthew 22:15-22 

Truth is something that is despearately needed in our world and it is something that Jesus brings. I think it is pretty cool that the Pharisees recognized it even though they weren't willing to accept it.

In my goal of walking like Jesus I need to love and speak truth. I think I will be able to do that best if I know God's word to the best of my ability. I hope and pray that I will always be able to courageously tell the truth!

Here are some more neat verses about Jesus and Truth:

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Making Pierogi

 This week I made pierogi, a dish that I hadn't made for quite some time (in fact none of my family remembered it). It really tasted good to me so I thought I would share the recipe with you too.

I just checked and Pierogi is a polish dish. I think I found the recipe in some old magazine years ago. I of course always tweak recipes a bit to either make them healthier, cheaper, easier or to use what I have on hand. :-)

Making pierogi wasn't to labor intensive for me because I already had some leftover mashed potatoes and some leftover browned hamburger AND I found a little lumberjack to help me.
First step is making the dough. Here is the recipe:

3 cups of flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup of white flour)
1/2 teaspoon of salt.
1 egg (slightly beaten)
3/4 cup water (more or less)

Mix ingredients together to make a stiff dough, using only as much water as needed. Roll out to 1/8 -1/16 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch squares or circles (approximately).

Next you need to make the filling. There are different options available for that.

I used:
Mashed potatoes, cheese, onion, salt, pepper and hamburger (the hamburger is not traditional but my husband loves his meat.)

Another option:
Cottage cheese, egg and salt and pepper.

Third option:
Sauer Kraut, onion, mushrooms, sour cream, salt and pepper.

We put a spoonful of filling on each square of dough and then folded the square in half and sealed the edges.

 Next step is to put a few at a time in a pot of boiling water. When they come up and float really well then they are done and you remove them with a slotted spoon. (At this point they can be frozen if you like.)

Next step is to saute them in a pan with butter.
And then you get to eat them! Serve with sour cream or yogurt.

 We all ate them up pretty well at supper but I think I liked them best - the others didn't fight me for them when we had leftovers.

Have you ever made or eaten Pierogi? (or any other pasta?) I would love to hear about your experiences!


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