Friday, December 26, 2008

Cooking Together

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a bit of a health foodie. :-) I love to read about healthy cooking and how to make things homemade that are healthier and more economical for us. I am also quite an old fashioned lady. These are a few of my favorite things ( can you hear Maria singing??) ...a homemade quilt, cast iron pots and pans, a marbled, rustic bar of homemade soap, a batch of freshly baked bread, candlelight, woodstoves, knitted wool mittens/socks/sweaters/hats, little rustic log cabins, campfires, washing dishes by hand, shelves filled with home canned goods, freshly made cheese, milking goats, a walk in the thick woods, carrying babies in slings or packs, homebirth, freshly churned (or shaken) butter, cooking over an open fire, homemade skirts and dresses, homemade corn brooms, and gardens bursting with health giving life. Mmmmm what wonderful things God made! He also created work and how good it feels to create good and beautiful things with our hands. One Sunday morning, before church, the children and I made a big pot (this is my cast iron dutch oven) of beef stew. Here are the onions and stew beef browning. My two faithful potato washers, peelers and choppers. They help me in the kitchen so much. Sunshine was trying to make her hair curly by doing the 'rag curl' method. :-) I think they did this in 'Little House and The Prairie'.
Above is a picture of all the carrots that Sunshine sliced for the stew. They are waiting to go in. The pot on the front left is our breakfast of steel cut oats. They had been soaking on the stove overnight and we are just starting to cook them here. We really enjoy them...even more so than oatmeal.
And the delicious, finished stew. I have always loved stew. One of my most sentimental memories of growing up involves beef stew. It was a snowy, beautiful Michigan winter day. The snow was falling beautifully and we were outside shoveling the driveway. Meanwhile my mother was inside making homemade buns and beef stew. The house smelled heavenly and we couldn't wait to enjoy her efforts. After we finished the shoveling we all went in and ate and ate of Mom's wonderful meal. Yummm! I love that memory.
A misc. picture of my daughter and I playing music together. Thank you Lord for music and the chance to worship you with our voices and instruments.

Hodge Podge...:-)

Hello everyone! I so enjoy putting up pictures and posts for you all...I hope you enjoy the peek into our life too. :-) Here is the local concert hall. We went to a string quartet concert here. It was quite amazing. There were 4 male players, all professionals from New York. I wish I could have taken a picture of them playing but it was forbidden. We sat right in the center front row so we got to see them playing up close. With two violins, one violia, and one cello, the music was just beautiful. This was the first time we had ever heard a violia being played. This was also our first classical concert that we have ever been to and we enjoyed the experience. Here is the outside of the music building. This picture does not do the real sight justice.
Here is our beautiful Sunshine playing with her little brother. How they all enjoy each other.
Here I am holding my sleepy baby. He is such a snuggler when it is time for sleep. Snuggling sleeping babies has always been one of my favorite things.
Here we are all ready for the day. Beloved is such a GIFT from the Lord to our family. How my arms love to hold arms do get tired at times though since he weighs 24 lbs! That is one reason why I LOVE my Ergo!! I carry him in it almost daily at some time or another.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Newspaper Route

About 3.5 weeks ago our family started a new job...all 5 of us! We are doing a paper route here in our small town. When we first started our alarm was going off at 2:30 a.m. and we did not get back home until 7:00 a.m. . We were soooo slow at it. Finding all of the house numbers in the dark and looking at a map doesn't make for quick progress. :-) We are now getting up at 4:00 and getting back home by 6:00 a.m. . Much better!! Six days a week we deliver around 125 papers. On Sunday we deliver 160. Most of these are delivered by us running up to a person's porch and tossing it by their door. Some people have us put them in newspaper tubes by their mailbox. We have had so many, many laughs doing this all together. Imagine with me for a is 4:15 in the morning, quite cold, everyone has froggy voices and puffy eyes that make you not want to smile since you know you look like a big puff, we are all munching away on a small snack for energy to do the route, and we are as stiff as can be. After a few minutes have passed we are pulling up to our first houses. As we each in turn get out to run up to the house, our bodies protest and we look like hobbling elderly people trying to run as fast as we can but our bodies just do not obey our commands to 'RUN FAST'. It is hilarious!! Almost every day we have to laugh at ourselves and at/with each other. Papa likes to make squeaky noises as we all run and that of course just makes us laugh harder. Thankfully our joints and muscles do warm up after a bit and we are moving like normal people. We also have spent quite a bit of time singing in the car as we are trying to soothe Beloved. He loves singing and almost always goes back to sleep if we will just sing to him. Here is Papa this morning picking up our 125 papers. This is the drop location and where we pick up our papers each day.
Here are the troops ready to go in the car. Vision is munching on a snack of nuts and fruit.
Each paper has to be rolled and rubberbanded. That is what Papa is doing here. We all do parts of the rolling and dh and I take turns driving. On days that there is rain in the forcast we have to put all of the papers in plastic bags too.
Here is Vision sprinting back from putting the paper on someone's porch. He does such a great job and wears a headlamp around his head so that he can see in the dark. Sunshine uses our flashlight. We are so proud of our children and their hard work to help get the job done. We are really glad that we are doing this as we can see the benefit of teaching us all responsibility and hard work. Thank you children for such diligence and for being so cheerful while doing the job. We are making memories as a family that we will be able to talk and laugh about for years to come.

Newspaper Route continued...

Here is our dd running up to an older woman's porch and putting it in the little gray tote that the lady would like her newspaper in. The tote lid has a square cut out of it. Here is Papa running up a slippery deck this morning to toss the paper by the door.
Here I am doing 'my house' in a group of four houses. We each take one of the houses and run as fast as we can to see who can get back to our vehicle first.
Here is our little crew (minus the photographer ;-) ) just having gotten back from the route. We are all ready for a little nap...after our little snack of course.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Joy

We had the most wonderful gift for Thanksgiving...dear friends from our home state!!! Wow!! When you live so far away from all that is near and dear, a visit from friends is like precious gold. :-) Our friends, with their five children, were on their way home from Alaska and swung 700-800 miles out of their way to visit us. They arrived the day before Thanksgiving and we were excitedly waiting for them on the corner of the street. :-) We could barely contain our excitement....I had to refrain from jumping up and down and squealing like a five year old. We ate dinner together and sang a couple of songs together before we all headed to bed. We had to get up early so we forced ourselves to all go to bed before it got any later. Here are T & A eating dinner on Saturday. Thank you so much for all of your help A with the many dishes and all of the cooking. You helped to make all of the kitchen work so much fun. Thank you for being such a sweet, encouraging friend.
Here are all of the children eating at our table. They all had so much fun together and did just wonderful in a small house. We are so glad that our children had some time with others their age for a few days. Vision got so much exercise playing outside with them all and he loved it!
This picture was taken on Saturday evening...all of the children were drawing and it was just so sweet. They were having such a great time of it too.
This picture was taken Thanksgiving morning. The daddy's were making homemade butter from fresh farm cream. Us ladies were busy cooking up a feast in the kitchen. We had 20 people here for Thanksgiving, 12 of which were 11 years and under. We had a wonderful feast, lots of visiting, a 2.5 mile walk (just us ladies and the youngest babies) midday, and a lovely time of singing in the evening. T & A are very blessed with singing and piano playing talent and we were all blessed by it. They sang a song for us that is called 'Refiners Fire' sung by Steve Green many years ago. I had never heard it and it was a message straight from God to me. The gist of it is that we should actually long for trials and the refiners fire because it is what makes us into the image of God. Well, I didn't realize how much I dread and do not desire hard times. I am always so thankful for the growth that comes from those times, but I am almost always praying that we NEVER have to go through that again!! Maybe none of you are like that, but God really put the spotlight on my heart and I just repented and realized that I want to be willing to go through anything that will make me more like Jesus, no matter how hard and painful. Wow! Thank you so much for singing that song for me and others three times while you were here. I would recommend that all of you listen to the song online at least once. It is beautiful and the words are amazing.
On Friday we went and played volleyball after lunch and that was great to move around and get some blood flowing. :-) Then, Friday evening we all went over to some friends house and had dinner together. After cleaning up and visiting for a bit we ended the evening with rolling the piano to the living room and singing for a long while all together.
Saturday morning we all went to church together and then stayed for potluck. They left on Sunday after a pancake and peaches breakfast. We are so, so thankful that they were able to visit and felt so blessed by their stay in our home. I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving too!!