Friday, November 30, 2012

A Rag Rug for November

 Well I just barely got this rug done in November - but I did it. Yea!

This month's rag rug was made using a tool made from an old toothbrush. Opal, an older lady from church (now deceased) had taught us how to make "toothbrush" rugs quite a few years back but I forgot how it was done and she had done the middle part for me so I never did learn how to start it. I wanted to figure it out again but everybody else that I knew of that had learned as well had also forgotten- so I started searching online for instructions.

   I found some that I think may be correct (here) and I gave it a go. However I had trouble following the instructions so I ended up following these instead and though it was different than Opal's rug it was quite easy to make and I think the result is very durable. As usual I love seeing something useful made from some old clothes and other strips of cloth that I had hanging around. A new rug that was completely free!
Have you ever made a rug using a toothbrush tool? Is your method like the one I followed or different?

I would love to hear about any rag rugs that you have made - I am always looking for new ideas!

I am linking this up to Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cloud Culture {Book Review and Giveaway}

I recently read the book "Cloud Culture" by Chuck Giacinto and Bryce Conlan. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it. It was also a very quick, easy and interesting book to read.

Chuck Giancinto
"Cloud Culture" addresses and issue that is a new but very major part of our society today and that issue is-  all the time we spend in the Social Media World - more specifically how we as Christians are spending that time. They are not condemning spending time online, they are encouraging us to use that time in a way that honors Christ and brings glory to Him.

 I found this book to be very encouraging. When I started it I was thinking I might find ideas for better sharing God's love on this blog - but it seemed to me that most of the discussion centered around facebook or tweeting (which I don't do and don't really plan to do). The principles certainly apply to blogging as well but that wasn't really their focus. Though it wasn't exactly what I expected I came away feeling very inspired to use my time on facebook (which can really vary in amount) in a way that I can share Christ's love and reach out to those that might be lonely or hurting.

Bryce Conlan
   Some of the things that made me think was their talking about the importance of not just filling the airspace but saying/typing things that will edify or help others. This really strikes a chord with me. I don't want to be just a clanging cymbal that doesn't help out in any way - that means that I probably won't tell everybody on facebook where I am shopping at or when I may be eating. That is always something that has bothered me about facebook so instead most of the time I don't say anything at all - but if I just lurk on there then I am not really shining God's light that way either. But after reading the book I have better ideas for things maybe I should say.
  Another thing that I found useful was the encouragement to really be a friend to those on there. When we see someone that always seems to be negative or talks about having a hard time then maybe give them a call, send them a private message - try to find a way to be a real live helping friend.
 They did discouraged the idea of just always putting a verse or some religious something up all the time as people would quite likely start tuning you out. This makes sense to me.
 Another thing that I made sense but I hadn't thought a lot about was being careful of others feelings and not just sharing everything you know and perhaps trying to be the first person to announce everything. They mentioned specifically about Deaths as they had seen people announcing somebody dying on facebook before the family had even had time to call all of the close family to let them know personally. This was especially interesting to me as two people that we are close to died this week and I thought about how I would have felt had we received the announcement of that via facebook instead of by being called. So basically just a reminder to use some common sense and basic politeness even when we are online.
I enjoyed this book and would encourage to anyone that spends much time in Cyber Space.
I do actually get the privilege of hosting a giveaway of this book - Would you care to win?
If you would like to win please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts about social media and how you can shine your light as a Christian while one there.
Please be sure to leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!
If you are a follower of my blog (by google friend connect and either new or old follower) you can have a second entry - just leave a 2nd comment telling me that you follow.
This giveaway will end on Saturday, Dec. 8th at 7 pm.
Disclaimer - I received this book for the purposes of reviewing but the thoughts in this post are my own.
You can find Cloud Culture on Amazon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Handmade Christmas - Week 7 {Button Snowflakes}

 This past week we got snow here at our place that I think will stay the winter. I am talking about real snow that Aaron has been diligently going skiing on every chance he can get (this morning he asked me if perhaps there might be a race he can enter)- inside however I have been having fun making some button snow. So this week I thought I would present to you two kinds of button snowflakes.
The first kind is very easy button ornaments for your tree or if you are like us and don't have a tree then you kind find all sorts of other ways to decorate with them. I haven't put them up yet at our house but I may hang them in windows, nestle them in greenery, have a bunch hanging from the light fixture over our table or hanging from the ceiling. You will have to check back later to find out. :-) They would also look very sweet attached to a gift.

  You may, like I, have seen this idea before using Popsicle sticks. I made one like that but realized we were nearly out of Popsicle sticks (we don't buy Popsicles and I have bought the sticks before - a couple of times in my lifetime- but Jonathan majorly depleted our stash when he was into making planes from Popsicle sticks ) so I worked at thinking outside to box to figure out what would work from what we already had on hand.

  For us that ended up being strapping that we had saved when it came on flower boxes. We simply cut it to the appropriate length and glued them together.

Basically to make the snowflake you need 3 strips, a ribbon or lace or something to hang it with and buttons and glue. Glue your strips together, glue the lace onto one tip and then cover it all with buttons. A very simple project that can be done with kids.
 The other thing that I thought would be fun to do is to make a snowflake with button art. I have been seeing neat button art - Initials, trees, cupcakes, etc- all over the Internet but I haven't seen a snowflake so I decided to give it a try.

 Though I think this design could definitely be improved on it was fun to try and I have it hanging up in the living room now.
 The project was a nice one because it used various items that I already had on hand.
 I used:
  • An old frame missing its glass
  • A piece of cardboard/poster board (repurposed from an old folder)
  • Fabric
  • Buttons - many of them coming off of old dress shirts of Ken's that I will use to make something else.
  • Hot glue.
 My fabric was thin enough that I was able to draw the basic snowflake shape onto the poster board with a black marker and then be able to see it faintly through the fabric.
 I covered the poster board with fabric securing it in the back with glue.
 I just started gluing on buttons.
 After I got the basic shape done I still wasn't real satisfied (above) so then I started adding in more buttons - some on top of others for more dimension and I liked it quite a bit better.
 We enjoy snow outside and decorating with snowflakes inside here at our house. I am sure we will be doing a lot more of that before long (through the end of November the fall decorations will stay up however). We will be cutting paper snowflakes, quite likely making 3D paper snowflakes and I also think it would be fun to make some snowflake gift tags. You might be seeing more snowflakes around here before the year is over.

Have you been working on anything - gifts, decorations, etc at your house? I would love to hear!
Please tell me all about it in the comments! If you have posted on your blog about your projects I would love it if you would leave a link so that I and others could come visit your blog and see what you are doing!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Preparing for the Future {Taking care of our health}

One of the things that I think is important to think about when planning and preparing for the future (whatever it may hold) is knowing how to take care of you and your family's health. This wasn't the topic I planned to write about today but after being sick for the weekend with an ear infection/fever, etc and having successfully treated it at home I decided that I was already thinking about this topic- I might as well write on it too.

 I personally think it is quite wise to know as much as you are able concerning taking care of your health whether it be preventive care, dealing with sickness or accidents. Though I do feel exceedingly blessed to live in a day in age where doctors and surgeons have learned a whole lot about many things and know how to do all sorts of surgeries and such if needed - I would prefer to use them rarely, when they are truly needed and not just run to them with every runny nose or sore throat.
 Here are some of the reasons why I would like to be as informed as possible and not just rely on professional medical personnel and the drugs they can provide:
  • Clinics and hospitals are full of germs. With that I am not saying that the places are dirty or the people that work there are- I think they are generally just as careful as they can be but still any place that takes care of sick people is going to have germs- there is no way around that. Many people get staff infections from being in the hospital.
  • Generally natural treatments have far less side affects that antibiotics and other drugs. It is still wise to use caution though as some herbs are pretty powerful.
  • In an emergency situation (hiking in a remote place, a huge storm that makes medical help unavailable, etc...) I may need to handle the situation on my own- I would like to know how if at all possible - and not be completely freaked out by that idea.
  • Going to the doctor, hospital and especially the emergency room is very expensive. It is worth it if the going will save your life but if I can handle it on my own (and probably come out healthier/without drugs) instead- I would much prefer to save a bit of money. With our family we do have health insurance but we have a high deductible and a health savings account- it actually works out quite nicely and we are provided for in case anything happens but sense we will have to replace any money we use out of the health savings account I really pay attention to not using it needlessly.
So what are ways that we strive to take care of our health?

#1- Live a healthy lifestyle.
As most of us should know- we need to think of our health when we are healthy- not just when we get sick. We try to:
  •  Eat healthy homegrown foods as much as possible
  • Eat whole grains
  • Avoid buying processed foods
  • Use hormone free meat (and milk as much as possible)
  • Eat low sugar- our own raw honey instead and more)
  • Live an active lifestyle (working hard, biking, skiing, daily stretches and other exercise)
  • Get plenty of rest (generally 8 or more hours a night for everybody and a power nap (for me) in the afternoon)
  • I try to steer away from stressful situations when possible
  • And I do feel strongly that having a close relationship with God and a good prayer life is vital too. 

#2- Educate Ourselves.

No matter what the situation that we are faced with we will be able to handle it better if we have studied on that matter before hand and have an idea of what we should do. We aren't ever going to know everything - but if we know something that should help and if we have books or some other source of knowledge available that will help as well.

A book that I bought this year and have found to be extremely useful in handling illness and other various health issues has been "Be Your Own Doctor" by Rachel Weaver. She shares a ton of natural remedies in a very fun and readable way. This past weekend I tried all sorts of remedies from teas, to topical applications, to drops in ears, etc. Most of the remedies recommended use very simple ingredients that if you don't have at home you could probably find easily at a store in your town.

I also have tried to read up on herbs from a variety of other herb books as well as online (though I am pretty careful to double check things I find online if I think it could be at all dangerous - it does only make sense to be careful!).

Another way we did some educating was by Mara, Jonathan and I taking a CPR and First Aid class (through the Red Cross) this year. A bunch of information I hope to never need but I am glad to have it just in case. We have tried to get supplies to go along with all the things we learned as well so that we are ready for any emergency.

Mara practicing CPR

 We have also read a few survival books as I thought the skills taught in them would be good for us to know as we enjoy spending time camping and doing other remote area activities (and as the kids get older we will probably only do more of that sort of thing and we do enjoy it).

Lately something we have been talking about is for Mara to possibly try to become a Master Herbalist as she loves learning about plants and has a great memory and it could be very useful in whatever she does later in life (and I would have fun learning along with her).

#3- Stock up on supplies

If you have an emergency it is best to have what you need on hand if at all possible and not have to go to the store or anywhere else to try to find stuff. This is something I am still working at but we have made quite a lot of progress this year in getting to be more prepared.

I keep most of our supplies in a tote in the bathroom, some more remedy stuff in the kitchen and medicine cabinets (which at our house don't really have much in the way of medicine) and some stuff in the van.

Here is a list of what Mayo Clinic recommends for a family first aid kit.
In "Be your own Doctor" Rachel Weaver has a list in the back of what she thinks everybody should keep on hand.
As you study and learn how to deal with certain situations make sure you have what is needed to go along with your studies.

 Some of our supplies we have bought (well quite a lot of them) but we also have been working to grow and gather (and gather from the wild) many herbs as well that are useful for treating medical problems.

This is an area that we have been trying to learn a lot about and prepare for but it is also an area where I realize there is an immense amount of information still to be learned. I see that as a challenge! I am looking forward to learning more- meanwhile I am very aware that I don't know everything, I will do my best to care for my family naturally but will appreciate counsel from others and am not willing to take unnecessary chances.

What do you do to prepare for taking care of the health of your family?

I am linking up with
Disclaimer - I am not a doctor or in any way medically trained - any advice you follow from my blog is at your own risk.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Don't offend

Thanks for joining me once again as I study the Bible and try to notice how Jesus walked/lived and learn to be like Him.

Today I wanted to share a lesson that I learned from Matthew 17:24-27, It says:

 "When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does you teacher not pay the two-drachma tax? He said, "Yes". And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? from whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."

 This instance is interesting because Jesus had a far bigger perspective than the tax-collector. He could see the whole picture and he knew he wasn't doing something wrong by not paying it but because someone pointed it out and would have though less of Him and Peter - he chose not to do something that would offend them (or cause them to stumble).

   This can happen today to. Right at the moment I can't think of a real good example (I have been having an ear-ache that has left my head a little foggy) but I know there have been times that I or others have felt that it was perfectly fine to do (or not do) something but others have come along and questioned it - the things is we may have seen the bigger picture and realized that the action was fine (not sinful) but because it may cause that person that questioned you to stumble sometimes it might be better to just go along with what they say (and sometimes maybe it is better to educate them).

So mainly the lesson I am learning is: Seek God's wisdom, seek to know the truth and try not to offend others needlessly. Be willing to go out of your way so that you do not cause someone to stumble.

What are you thoughts on these verses?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Dreams and Visions" by Tom Doyle {A Review}

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?  -     
        By: Tom Doyle
A while back I was asked if I would like to do a book review on the book
DREAMS AND VISIONS: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? by Tom Doyle. As world missions are of great interest to me and this book sounded intriguing, I said yes.

  I will admit I went in to this book with some scepticism. I believe that we have an incredibly powerful God that can work in any way that He chooses but I also believe that for the most part in our time He chooses to communicate through His written word - The Bible and that he chooses to work through His people - Christians. But with that said I do think that God is able to work through Dreams and Visions as well if that is what He wants to do.

 The writer of this book to me understanding has thought much the same way that I did and so when he started hearing stories of Dreams and Visions being had by Muslims in the middle east - He also was sceptical until he started researching it for himself.

   The book is an incredibly interesting compilation of stories about Muslims who have been introduced to Jesus through a dream or vision. That dream or vision has then caused them to search farther either online, through radio programs or even finding Christians in their area so that they can learn more.

  It is so interesting and inspiring to read about these Muslim people who are willing to seek to find out more about Jesus even though the result could quite likely be (and has been in many cases) death for them should somebody find out. The Middle East is a very challenging place for missionaries to go and maybe that is why Jesus is visiting people in dreams and visions. He does truly desire for all people to be saved.

  This book wakes us up to the realization of how hungry those people are for Love and Truth. Many of them might fight against it but many of them realize just how empty their lives are now and long for something more.

 I want to share with you something that Tom wrote in the book. He says:

"Muslims have a seriously bad image among the world's non-Muslims. Just about every night you can watch national news coverage of the latest terrorist attack, usually at the hands of "Islamic extremists". Muslims see these news reports, too, and know what the majority of the world thinks of them. But I think it's exactly in keeping with the character of God to reach out especially to those who seem hard to love or are the despised of society."

Tom does also point out that he (and other missionaries that work with the Muslims) are not in any way promoting the idea that they don't need God's word to spread the gospel to Muslims or that a Muslims goes to sleep a Muslim and then has a dream of Jesus and wakes up a Christian- It doesn't work that way. The fact is however that 80% of Muslims cannot read or write and perhaps that is why God is coming to them more often in dreams and visions to wake up their desire to know Him more. Also they point out that conversions with Muslims (even with those that have dreams) is generally a long process, but the dreams do help to remove many of their doubts.

This book does cause me to want to do more. Here are some of the things that I have been thinking about:

  • Supporting Financially "Key Communications" a group that I know to be careful to teach the truth of the bible and their passion is to reach the Muslim world for Christ. They have been concentrating on Pakistan but also reach out to other countries as well. They have been using Radio broadcasts as well as other means to spread the gospel.
  • Finding ways to reach out to the Muslims that may be around me. Though our area doesn't have many Muslims there are usually some that come over as students to attend the university here. Our family has had contact with quite a few over the years and have attempted to share Jesus love with them but lately we have not been as involved with international students and haven't really spent time with any Muslims ones for quite a while. I am considering becoming more involved with international university students again. While over in the US these students would have much better opportunity to hear the gospel and then hopefully they can eventually share that message with their family at home as well.
  • Pray for Muslims! This is something I have done but I now feel much more passionately about doing that and doing it often. Please join me in praying for the Muslims that they would find Jesus!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this book or the idea of sharing the gospel with the Muslim world!

Disclaimer- I received this book free of charge for purposes of reviewing. All thoughts are my own. The link to the book above is an affiliate link at Amazon- if you purchase something then I will receive a percentage.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to you! May you give Thanks to the One who made everything.

I hope you have are having a wonderful day and that you are reminded over and over of how much God has done for you and that you tell Him thank you.

 I just wanted to share some verses that were in the Psalm that we read today. I found them very fitting for the holiday.

Psalm 65
1 Praise awaits You, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
God has blessed us so very much- let's give Him the glory and honor and thanks that He deserves!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Handmade Christmas Week 6 {Filling Shoeboxes}

Oh boy, am I ever running late at getting this posted today! Between trying to get extra cleaning done and a couple of trips to the hospital today to see a very dear friend I just didn't manage to get online very early.

This past week we had quite a lot of fun (and I admit some stress when I had 3 or 4 children all wanting my help with their particular project at the same time) working on things to send in our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. Each child got to send a box to a child of their age and gender.

We enjoy doing these boxes as it gives us a chance to help out someone that has far less than we do and it is an opportunity to spread God's love across the world. I love seeing my children getting excited about sharing with some child they have never seen and I love hearing them talk about "My girl" or "My boy" as they plan what to send, write or just think about what they might be like.
My mom also got in on the action this year, first by finding us shoe boxes (we just don't buy new shoes very often around here) and then looking through her gift storage too and finding t-shirts for the two older children and some other things and then one morning last week we went over there so the kids could play with cousins and the boys could help Grandpa with the sawmill and Mom and I did some sewing for the boxes too.
 Here is Mara with her box and its contents. She decided to have a purple theme this year. It was very pretty - we hope the girl that gets it likes purple!

 Here are some of the things we made for it: A braided headband, a fabric flower clip and a jumper to go along with the cream t-shirt. Mara also made a purple notebook.
 Mara sent her one of her very pretty beaded flowers. She found the instructions online it is called a Russian Beaded Netted Flower (I think that link has the correct instructions). She has made quite a few of these- she has more patience than I do for intricate work like that.
 Mara's purple box all packed up.

Here is Jonathan with the stuff for his box:
 The stuff we made for it were: A tote bag, a notebook, a washcloth (out of some textured t-shirt fabric, double layered) and a jump rope.
 Here is Aaron and the stuff for his box:
 Things that we made to go in his box were: A tote bag, a little leather bag (totally made by Aaron) , a tic-tac-toe game and a washcloth. I also appliqued a car picture on the front of the plain white t-shirt that I had on hand.

 Here is the stuff for Megan's box: (She was away from home when I was taking pictures)
 Some of the things we made were: A braided headband, a beaded gecko, necklace and bracelet,
 An elastic waist skirt and a t-shirt that I decorated with lace and a fabric flower,
 A Fairy/Princess wand and a crown
 and some Paper dolls. With the paper dolls we printed two dolls, each with two outfits. Megan colored one set (something that she could do to contribute to the box) and the other one we left for the other girl to color. Here is the link to where you can print these off it you like.

My goal is to have my kids be as involved as possible in the creations of the gifts, here are things that Megan did to work on the box: She colored paper dolls, she painted the stick for the wand, she picked out the ribbons for the wand and sewed the flower in place, she glued jewels on the wand and the crown, she made a gecko and necklace, she wrote a letter, she packaged things up and decorated the box.

 We do try to keep our boxes quite economical - this year we only used things that we already had on hand or made with things that we had on hand. I do pick up things throughout the year (flashlights for example) when they are on sale so that I can have them in my gift cupboard and ready for things such as this. My opinion is that it doesn't require a lot of money to show someone you and Jesus love them.

Do you pack shoe boxes or do anything similar to this? Do you have any handmade ideas to share? I would love to hear them!

I would love to hear about any Christmas/gift projects that you have going on at your house. Please leave your ideas and links in the comments!

Monday, November 19, 2012

We are cleaning the house!

 Lately I have found myself better able (after the business of summer and harvest) to keep up with the housework, cooking and such but I was still noticing a bunch of different details that needed attended too. Light fixtures were dirty, the were some cobwebs up in the corners, cupboards that needed to be cleaned out. walls needed to be washed and stuff of that nature.

 I decided it would be pretty nice to get it all cleaned up by Thanksgiving as we will be having company over and that just seemed like a nice deadline. I came up with that thought on Saturday morning and thought it might be nice to "attack" one room and a time and get it really clean.

What would be the best way to get the kids involved and interested?......

 I decided to write out all the rooms (we have 13) and then under each one I wrote a list of things that needed to be done in the room. Now which room to do first?

That is when I got my good idea. Beside each room I wrote an estimated time and then I cut apart all the rooms and stuck the papers in a basket and announced that we would take turns drawing which room we would do, we would all work hard and fast at it and try to get it done before the timer beeped (I set the timer for the estimated time).

 Megan drew first and the Laundry room was the first trial of my idea. It went pretty well and we were done cleaning it quite quickly (I think I allotted 20 minutes for that one).

In between each cleaning (which last from 10-40 minutes) we take a break of at least 1/2 hour. We did 4 rooms on Saturday, took a break on Sunday and we were planning on doing 3 rooms a day today, tomorrow and Wednesday but got the hardest one this afternoon (the kitchen) and then we played a game as a family this evening (so no time for cleaning) so we only did two rooms today. We have mostly easy ones left now so tomorrow we will try to do 4 rooms again.

 This method isn't all fun and games but it is going pretty smoothly and our house it getting a pretty good deep cleaning so I am feeling pretty happy about it!

 How do you get your cleaning done for the holidays?

Preparing for the Future {Water}


 Something I have been thinking about lately is the need for water and how to be prepared to have that should we face some sort of emergency when electricity (which powers our pump) is not available. Thankfully so far we have never lost electricity for any extended period (beyond a few hours) of time but many others in our nation have. This summer even in our area after a storm went through many people were without electricity for days. Of course just recently many in the East that were hit by Hurricane Sandy lost their electricity. I have also heard talk of blackouts possible for other reasons besides storms - I think it would be great to be prepared!

  I have in the past worked and doing somethings to make sure we had some water. Here how we are prepared so far:

  • I have some cleaned out milk jugs filled with water and stored.
  • We have a water filter. The type that you use when backpacking. This is only good for a limited number of gallons and you are supposed to filter the water from a swift moving place like a river. Thankfully we live in MN where there are a lot of lakes and rivers but still the only water we are really close to is a swamp (not so good for drinking water!) and so we would have to travel (car or bike) to get to water to filter.
  • We have water purification tablets. (Stored in our van- in case we need water when out and about.)
  • We have activated charcoal which though it makes a rather yucky looking drink it works to make it safe from bad stuff. We have this in both the van and house.
Here are some things I am planning on doing:

  • Filling my canning jars as I empty them of food with hot water and seal them before place on the shelves again. I have seen this idea elsewhere but haven't put it into practice yet.
  • Buying a hand pump. This is something I have been doing a lot of research on lately. I am leaning towards getting a pump that will fit on our current well along with our electric pump. We would be able to use both at the same time but of course if the electric one quit working we can fall back on the hand pump. Another possibility is buying a cheaper hand pump that needs to be on its own well. I believe that could work in our area because the water may be fairly shallow. We could possibly dig our own well -but there might be codes against this - I haven't really checked that option out.
The hand pumps that I am looking at are:
deep well hand pump
~The Simple Pump. This will probably run over $1,500. I think it would work well. This is probably my top choice right now. But we haven't made a decision yet.

Simple Pump
~Bison Pump. A lovely pump but still more expensive.

~An EZ water do-it-yourself kit for much less. We think it would work okay just not as easily. (around $250 cost). This is the other option that we are thinking about.

Have any of your bought hand pumps for your place? What have you purchased? I would love any advice that you might have!!!

What do you do at your home to be prepared concerning water?

monday's homestead barn hop I am linking up with Amy from Homestead Revival, Jill from The Prairie Homestead and Kendra at New Life on a Homestead

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Do you pray?

Thanks for joining me and I read about Jesus time here on earth and think about how I can follow in His steps!

Something that we see over and over in the gospels is Jesus praying. Has it ever crossed your mind as to "Why?" I mean after all He is God, He knows everything, Why did Jesus feel the need to pray?

 Jesus had chosen to come to earth for our sakes as a human but He still desired that close relationship with His Father (Of Course!). That is what praying is about - Have a close relationship with the Father- we should want that too!

 Here are some examples of Jesus taking the time to pray.....

Mark 1:35
"In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there."

Matthew 14:23
"After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone."

Matthew 26:36-46
"Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will but as You will." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
  He went away again a second time and prayed saving, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"

Some observations from these scriptures:
  • I don't think it was always easy for Jesus with so many people so constantly around Him to always find time to pray- He MADE time to pray. We have to do that too.
  • Jesus was willing to get up early or stay up late in order to have that time of prayer.
  • He prayed with others and all by Himself.
  • He prayed for strength.
Do you set aside time to pray? This is something I do but I certainly could do more of. I hope to grow in my prayer life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let's go outside!

I very much love the outdoors, I love seeing so many different things that God has created and I enjoy different activities like gardening, biking and camping (and much more!) that are done outdoors. I also like many different inside activities like crafting, reading, homemaking (and much more!) - nobody could ever accuse me of not being well rounded in my interests. :-)

    I spend quite a lot of time outside in the summer but when cold weather appears and I have just been busy outside doing all sorts of harvesting and such and I am totally ready to spend some time inside. And that is what I have been doing lately - I have been making things, cleaning, organizing and homeschooling my children and it has been fun.

I have been lacking a little bit of fresh air. So today after our rest time it was beautifully sunny and I decided everybody could clear out of the house for a while. Some fresh air would be good for all of us!

It was so lovely! It reminded me of the importance of going outside even if it is chilly (and you are "cold blooded" like me). We cut some wood up (The boys and Megan were all quite busy at that with hatchets and saws and then I helped with it some later) that had fallen in the summer storm and I checked my bees. The bees are still alive (we shall see if that lasts!) and even they were getting some fresh air today.

I was so glad that I spend part of my afternoon outside - I want to do it again soon!

So if you are feeling sluggish and you have been holing up in your house - I encourage you to go outside!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Handmade Christmas Week 5 {Hats!}

Anybody that knows me very well knows that I like to wear hats fairly frequently. There are various reasons for this but one reason is I think they are rather fun. They add character to your outfit.

 This year we have made some hats around here and as I think that hats make great gifts (I have some in mind to make for that purpose but haven't gotten it done yet) and so I thought I would tell you about them.
A hat that I made for myself that I find comfortable and practical is a denim (lined with cotton) beret.

 I kept mine hat pretty simple but you could add more excitement to it if you want. Here is where I found the idea and instructions.
Another hat that I made was a wool one for Jonathan to wear while he played Orville Wright. He is quite adorable (don't tell him that- he wouldn't be to happy with that term) when he wears it with a bow tie and suspenders.
This hat was also quite simple to make. I found the idea and instructions here.
Have you been working on any projects lately or have any great homemade gift ideas? I would love to hear about them! If you have projects written about in a post or other homemade hat ideas would you please leave a link in your comment so we can come see them too? Thanks!

I Support a Thoughtful Christmas I linked up at Common Sense Homesteading.


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