Thursday, December 30, 2010

Warm Fragrances

My husband loves it when he walks in the door and is greeted with smells that delight his senses and make him feel relaxed and cozy. Most of the time, the smell of dinner greets his arrival, but in the winter I have another thing that pleases his (and our) senses. :-) I put these things in a little pot on the stove, add water until full, and simmer all day long:
  • cinnamon sticks
  • nutmeg slivers
  • whole cloves
  • orange, lemon, or lime peels that were going to be composted
  • a few drops of orange oil
  • a sprinkling of ground cinnamon
  • water

As this simmers on the stove, it makes the house smell warm and delicious. An extra bonus in the dry winter months is the moisture that is added to the air. You can get creative and really add anything that you think would smell good. I love making our home clean and smelling wonderful. Enjoy making your home a delight! :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Proverbs 24:30-34

This morning I read this passage and it hit me once again the spiritual implications of it.
"I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense. And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles and it's surface was covered with nettles. It's stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it. I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest. Then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man." ~Proverbs 24:30-34
What hit me was how similar this physical reality is to our spiritual life. If we don't diligently tend our hearts, speak and listen to Jesus, and feed on the 'nourishing' Word of God, thistles, nettles, and broken down walls will result in our life. Spiritual poverty. How many times does the Word say to be sober, to watch, to be vigilant? I often fall into the lull of life and forget the seriousness of the battle we are in. If some of us took care of our homes and family like we do our relationship with the Lord, it would be so sad. Well, how much more of a grief it is to neglect the Lover of our souls. Father, give me the strength to be faithful in the spiritual as well as the physical. Let me seek after You above all, as first priority. Help me to deny my flesh, take up my cross, and follow You. You are worth our all!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Laundry Soap

If you would like a cheap, fairly non-toxic way to make your own laundry soap, here is a simple recipe.
  • 1 bar of natural soap
  • 3/4 cup borax
  • 3/4 cup washing soda (not baking)
  • 1 teaspoon of orange or lemon oil
  • water

Finely grate soap into a large pot. Add 6 cups of water and put over med-low heat. Stir until soap is dissolved. Add the borax, soda, and 3 quarts of water. Stir until dissolved again. Remove from the heat and add the essential oil and 6 more cups of water. Let sit for 30 minutes or so and let thicken. After it has turned into a gel, use a wire whisk and whip the mixture to make it more uniform and smooth. Use 1/2 cup for a top loading washer and 1/4 cup for he washers. I think that you could make at least a years worth of soap for the same price as one might spend on Tide for a month. It is a very frugal and healthier way to get clean laundry. I have been told that to use this type of soap just costs a few pennies per load! Yay for another way to be a good steward. ~Blessings~

~Hunting Camp~

This past weekend we traveled 2.5 hours southeast to Tim's brother's house for the Stagg Annual Deer Camp. We arrived at bedtime Friday evening full of anticipation for the hunting and time to be together with family. After visiting together for a bit, we all headed to bed. The hunters set their alarms for 5:15 a.m. and excitement from old to young was in the air. Our son Logan, who is 11, was so thrilled to be allowed to go and sit with one of the older hunters. At the last minute we had found out that Tim was not able to get a deer license since we don't have MI drivers licenses. They do sell out-of-state deer licenses, but they are outrageously expensive. So even though Tim couldn't hunt, we wanted to be a part as much as we could. The next morning, I barely heard the hunters go out through my sleep deadened ears. A couple of hours later, I got up and started fixing breakfast for the crew. When I heard the first hunter come in, I couldn't wait to find out if someone had shot a deer!! But, no, no one had even shot at a deer. Oh well, maybe this afternoon/evening. We all enjoyed a big brunch and just thoroughly enjoyed being together. My sweet sister-in-law, Tammy, and I went out grocery shopping in the afternoon and got to stop and visit an Amish family for a while. We each bought a bushel of apples and huge 50 lb. bags of potatoes. Tammy also got delicious, fresh apple cider for dinner and many jars to can. We had a great time together getting good deals on food and chatting together. That evening we all ate a warm hamburger soup but, alas, still no deer. The next morning was a replay of the previous, but our spirits were still so hopeful for the next hunting time. :-) Sunday, Tom and Heather's family arrived and that just added to the fun and excitement. Now, there were six bow hunters in the woods! While making dinner, I heard the hunters come in and Tim told me to come to the basement. Joe had shot a deer and they all wanted to know if I wanted to go track the deer with them!!!!!! How exciting!!!!! I had to work hard not to squeal and run around. :-)))) The men wanted to keep it a secret from all the children until we brought the deer to the barn. I ran upstairs, trying to be as discreet as I could, and grabbed my coat, hat, boots, and gloves. We all grabbed flashlights and started tromping through the woods. It was SOOOOO much fun looking for blood trails and then finding the deer laying dead in the woods. WHOOOHOOOO! Joe gave us the deer and so we headed back to the house. There, Tim gutted and rinsed the deer. Several of the young boys and a brother or two helped and watched as Tim did a great job! What excitement. As per tradition, Joe fried up the tenderloin close to midnight and we all ate pieces of it. It was deeee-licious!! I wish I could post the pictures on here for you. The next morning all of the hunters went out again. Our family started to prepare to process the deer. We had to wash the bone saw, sharpen knives, wash down tables, get freezer vacuum bags made and labeled, and Tim had to skin the deer. As we were working on this, the hunters came in and Tom whispered to me that he had just shot a deer!! Oh thank you Lord!!!! So, we got to replay the tracking scene of the previous night. Too fun! It was so neat to watch the men teach the younger men how to track and what to look for. It really touched me to see them taking the time to pass on something very valuable to the next generation. Once Tim got his deer skinned and brought in to the basement to cut the meat off the bones, Tom was able to start gutting his deer in the barn. We all worked all day and got our deer finished and Tom's partly finished. Late that evening, after supper, we loaded up our Suburban and drove home. The next day I canned part of the deer. In all, we froze 13.5 lbs. of ground venison and canned 14 quarts of stew meat. We are so thankful! This time we had with Tim's family was so very special to us. Each of us enjoyed it immensely and are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of treasured family memories.
Look for ways to pass on skills and traditions to your children. Enjoy those times of making memories with family, knowing that this time will never be again. Seize the moments God gives you. Blessings dear ones.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hello friends! There is something that has been on my heart much lately-failure. Sometimes I can get in a cloud of negativity over my failures/sins. As I look back over the past year, I can see failure LOOMING around so many memories. I can get myself into a dark pit of thoughts if I focus on my many sins and shortcomings. In this situation I wasn't patient with my child(ren), in this trial I wasn't filled with faith in my God, or in this conversation I said something that did not bring edification to the one(s) listening. Oh my, how heavy my heart can get. But, is that how He wants me to deal with my sins? How does He want me to respond? I am still a younger woman and have much to learn, but I want to share at least what I know of His heart and Word now. First I believe He wants us to repent fully and soberly. Sin IS serious and comes between us and our Saviour. Also, we need to repent to and ask for forgiveness from those that we hurt in our sin. But, then....THEN, we need to lift up our eyes off of ourselves and continue to run our race. We need to 'forget' what we did yesterday and rejoice in His love and grace today. My tendency is to wallow in my pit of condemnation, but is that going to get me to the finish line? I think not!! Having my eyes on myself is not going to bring His life into my life. My eyes need to be SEEING Jesus and then I will be running. So, dear ladies, if you fail/sin, and somehow I am pretty sure you do ;-), don't stay in the pit of bashing yourself over the head. Repent and then worship, obey, and love Him. Keep running rather than rolling in the dust on the side and being of no use in His kingdom. ~ Blessings, Andrea~
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand." ~Psalm 37:23 &24
"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again....." ~Proverbs 24:16a
"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!" ~Philippians 3:12-14

Monday, October 18, 2010

Simple Iron Remedies

It seems that we ladies often have trouble with our iron levels. Low iron makes for really tired mamas and can be a risk for hemorrhaging during birth. Here are a few simple ideas for increasing our iron levels.
  1. Saute ORGANIC chicken livers in a small amount of butter or coconut oil. I have never done this myself, but have heard that it really, really works.
  2. Take an herbal supplement called Floradix. Many midwives recommend this.
  3. Eat lots of greens.
  4. Take beet root powder capsules or drink freshly made beet/carrot/celery/parsley/apple juice. This is building as well as cleansing. This is like a super shot of body building nutrition. Beets are amazing!
  5. Drink liquid chlorophyll in water daily.
  6. Kelp capsules
  7. Green smoothies. I have been doing this every morning lately. I take about 1 cup of water, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 banana, 4 kale leaves, 1-2 T of orange juice concentrate, 1 T evening primrose oil or flax seed oil and liquefy all of this in a blender. You can vary the greens and the fruit to your liking. This is so nutritious and cleansing first thing in the morning. Wow!!
  8. Chickweed/parsley/nettle/yellowdock/peppermint infusion tea sweetened with honey.

Those are a few ideas that I know of. Do you have any great ideas for building iron supplies? If so, I would love to hear them. It is so important to take care of our bodies so that we can live for Jesus with energy and enthusiasm. Blessings to you ladies and your life-giving bodies. :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chai Tea

While we were still in Texas, a sweet friend taught me the basics of how to make a delicious, healthy chai tea. For those of you interested, I wanted to pass on the recipe so that you can enjoy it's warm yumminess. :-) Here is our recipe that you can adjust to your liking...
  • 8 cups water
  • 5 bags Lipton tea or 5 bags Red Rooibos tea
  • approx. 20 cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 T. fennel seeds
  • 5 c. milk
  • approx. 3/4 c raw sugar, maple syrup, or honey

Put the water, tea bags, cracked open cardamon pods (cracked open with the back of a spoon), cinnamon stick, and fennel seeds in a big pot. Bring it to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add the milk and your choice of sweetener. Let warm on low for 5-8 minutes. Take off heat and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Pull out your favorite tea cups or mugs, gather some friends, your family and ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Hi everyone! We are still alive and I am going to do everything I can to get a blog post up by this weekend. In the meantime, we are busy with school, making soap, brewing tea, reading, music, being with friends, trying to escape the heat :-), and making lip balm. Our home has been kind of messy lately because of all the projects-soap, sewing skirts, cooking, laundry, school, herbs for tea and infusions, books (I forever have a stack-or two-of books, papers, and magazines that I am reading), an old beat up chair that Haley salvaged from a trash pile(she is going to refinish it), and of course sticks. :-) Silas and Logan have really been into their sticks lately. Haley is looking into learning how to make pottery with a wheel and clay. Logan is researching dogs as he hopes to get one in the next year or two. He would like to breed, train, and sell them. In all of it, my desire remains and calls to my hearts to love and serve Jesus with all my being. So many moments I lose my focus, the focus of my heart. I won't give up though! I do fail daily in a small or large way, but He is always there to forgive and walk with me. He knows we are but sheep....He sees our hearts, wanting with everything that is in us, to please Him. Be blessed my friends and love, pursue hard, the Lover of our souls. He deserves our very lives.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

House Pics

~Our Home~
This is our main bathroom that the children and guests use. Tim picked out the shower curtain when we first moved here and we all really like it.
This is our very small, but very functional kitchen. We have already baked and cooked lots of yummy things. Our kitchens are places of togetherness, feeding the body and soul.
You can see the three Scrabble players at the dining room table. :-) The little blue table and chair are Haley's school 'desk'. The kitchen is at the very back left of this picture.
You can see our bedroom door and part of the living room. Also in that little hallway is the bathroom and the children's room.
Here I am standing at our bedroom door and taking a picture of the living room. Our books and instruments bring us so much joy!
Here is my dear husband working on a project in the other half of the living room. You can also see the front door. I hope you enjoyed seeing most of our little home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Mom's Visit

This is the new duplex we live in. It is a two bedroom, two bath with a big, fenced-in backyard. We are really enjoying our cozy little home and are so thankful to God for it. The trees behind it are a gift from the Lord to me. :-) Here I am with my two precious sons. I am blessed!!!
My Mom has been here for a 3.5 day visit and is has been so, so good to see her again. Haley, Logan, and Mom have played games for hours. We went to the zoo and celebrated Logan's birthday with a gift treasure hunt. It was great fun! Today my Mom took us to town for a fun outing. She gave Haley and Logan each $20 to spend at Hobby Lobby and boy did they have fun picking things out. Then she got us each a special coffee drink. I loved this picture of the four of them. We have loved having you Mom!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Servant???

I was reminded again tonight, by my sweet Lord, that our lives are to be a broken and spilled out life. I was washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen tonight and just praying and thinking about how I want even that act to be a sacrifice of love to my Savior. With all the tasks that a mother must do every day, we have countless chances to either do with an attitude of complaining or serve with a heart filled with love for Jesus and those we are serving. I do not always have the heart of loving service, but that is my desire and His desire for me. I repent when the Lord shows me that I am being a grumbling Israelite. Our service for each other is the true gospel being lived out moment by moment in the daily mundane. Help me Father to see the eternal in the dirty toilet, the pile of laundry, the fussy toddler, another meal to be made, the seemingly endless math to grade, the back to massage, the game to play, and the pile of clothes to be ironed.
"Your God has commanded your strength..." ~Psalm 68:28a
If you have never heard the song, 'Broken and Spilled Out' I would encourage you to do so. It is excellent and full of truth. It makes me want to fall on my knees and surrender all over again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cleaning P.S.

I wanted to mention that this can be a very cheap way to clean too. That is always a big plus. :-) To make it the most cost effective here are a couple of tips. I buy a huge bag of baking soda at Walmart-I think it is 12lbs. of soda. It was a little under $7.00 which it quite a bit cheaper than the little boxes in the baking isle. I believe you can also get these big bags at Sam's or Costco. I buy the store brand vinegar in the huge gallon size. The biggest cost is the essential oils. I do not buy the expensive little bottles in the health food stores anymore. There are many online places where you can order larger quantities of an essential oil. The last time I ordered I purchased oils from New Directions. This is a much cheaper way to go and the bottles last me 1-2 years. Also, when I make our homemade bar soap I can use the oils in our soaps too. We often put a few drops of lavender oil in our baths as this oil is a very soothing, relaxing oil. Ooooo, I can smell the lovely smell now. :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Clean, Chemical-Free Home

For those of you who have asked about natural cleaning... Several years ago I purchased a book titled, 'The Naturally Clean Home'. This book is where I have gotten most of my ideas. I use baking soda as a natural abrasive-an alternative to Comet. When I clean bathroom or kitchen sinks I sprinkle baking soda, drip a few drops of essential oil, and spray with my vinegar cleaner. Then I scrub, scrub, scrub. :-) From what I have read, distilled vinegar kills germs as do certain essential oils. I currently use orange oil or lavender oil. In the past I have used lemon, tea tree, and oregano. Lemon and lavender are my favorite aroma wise and I only use oils to clean with that have antibacterial properties. To clean the toilet I put around 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet. Then I add 1-2 cups of vinegar and watch it fizz. I let this sit while I clean the sink and mirror. When I am ready to scrub out the bowl I add 10 or so drops of essential oil and scrub until shiny. To mop floors I put about 2 cups of vinegar into the mop bucket, a small drizzle of dish soap (optional), 10 drops of oil and fill to 2/3 with hot water. The house smells wonderful when I am finished mopping. My all-purpose vinegar spray is 1/2 a spray bottle of water and 1/2 vinegar. I add 10-15 drops of oil to the spray bottle and always shake it before I use it. I use this for counters, mirrors, windows, dusting, and anything else that needs wiping up. I also frequently make my own laundry soap that is free of all the chemicals in regular detergents. All of this gives me peace of mind as we play on the floor, wear our clothes, eat off our dishes, and just breath the air in our home. There are no worries when my children use the cleaning supplies too. I never have to worry about Silas getting into the 'scary' things under the sink either. I love creating a home that is clean, peaceful, and healthy. Blessings dear ones. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free To Love

Weeks ago the Lord gave me a song after He set me free from some things. As people were surrounding me and praying for my freedom these words kept running through my mind, 'Free To Love'. I heard the Lord whisper to me that He is setting me and others free so that we can freely love others with His love. Here are the words...

  1. Jesus I come to You, I hear You calling. I give you my chains and you've set me free, so free.
  2. CHORUS: Free to love, free to give, and let the oppressed go free. Free to break chains of sin and release heavy burdens. Free to break every yoke and take care of the needy. Then Your light will shine forth as the morning. Hallelujah, hallelujah. We are free to love...set free to free to love.
  3. Jesus I need You, I know my weakness. You're my deliverer and my heart is free, so free.

I play it in the key of A but I don't think that is very helpful. Anyhow, I hope the words at least bless you and may we be totally free to love Him and others.

His Painful Love

Our short life here in Texas has been filled with so many blessings. We sense His love and His presence so much. But, sometimes His great love for us seems painful. The Lord has been calling us higher and to a deeper level of brokeness and that is painful at times. We are being pruned and we want to fully yield to His hands so that in the coming days and years, we can yield abundant, life giving, beautiful fruit. It has continually come to my thoughts about being faithful each day. Do I FAITHFULLY do all of the things He has called me to each day? Or do I flop on the couch with a huff and wonder where a good book and chocolate are? I realize more than ever how much I need Him and how I can do nothing without Him. I am hopeless without Him, but I have everything with Him. With Him I can love unconditionally, I can reach my children's hearts as I train them, I can smile at my husband no matter what is happening in our life, I can sing with a heart of worship, I can serve our home and those in it all day long with joy, I can say no to things I shouldn't eat, I can get up with the birds and exercise, and so much more. But only if I stay broken at His feet. I can do none of this without Him. Our families' heart cry is to be like a city on a hill that shines it's light so that it cannot be hidden. But, more than ever, we are realizing that to be that it takes being faithful in the teeniest details of life. And that is what we want. O Lord, please continue this painful but so needed process. As someone sang to us recently, "He who began a good work in you, He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it, will be faithful to complete it. He who started the work will be faithful to complete it in you." Thank you Father for Your undeserving love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I just recently found a lovely blog that I wanted to pass on to you all. I have been very encouraged and challenged as I have read Lauren's posts. Fix a cup of tea, maybe grab some kleenex, and have an open heart. Blessings!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homemade, authentic salsa!

There is a dear sister here that taught me how to make real salsa. Did you ever know that salsa can be so good that you crave it?? Well, I am here to testify that it can. :-) This sister grew up as a missionaries daughter in Mexico, so her recipe is the real deal. I wanted to share it will you all so that you can enjoy it too. Here is what you do: Take several tomatoes and a couple of jalapenos and steam them in a pot with a small amount of water for a few minutes. Drain off any remaining water and put them into the blender. Add a couple of cloves of garlic and a good amount of salt (sorry for the vagueness, you will probably have to experiment). Puree. Put this into a bowl and add finely chopped onions, cilantro, and lime juice to taste. This isn't a picky recipe, so relax and just do however much garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos, limes, salt, cilantro, and onions you think your family would like. I will give you a rough estimate of what I do. About 8 medium tomatoes, 2-3 jalapenos, a fist full of chopped cilantro, one medium onion, 4-5 limes, 2 cloves of garlic, and maybe 2-3 teaspoons of salt. Oooooo, yummy!! So very healthy and deliciously good! Enjoy~

The Texans :-)

As most of you know, we have moved to the BIG state of Texas. We feel overwhelmingly blessed with all the Lord has done since we arrived 7ish weeks ago. Our family moved here because we felt that the Lord put Texas on our hearts. We had no job, no house, and only knew of one family here. This past summer, Haley had started being pen-pals with their 12 year old daughter, but we didn't really know them. We had never spoken to them or met them. Even so, we just knew that we were supposed to move to Texas. Was it scary at times? Was it a big step of faith? Yes to both. But the Lord has been so very, very faithful. As we stepped out in obedience to what He told us, He has provided every step of the way. Since we have been here the Lord provided a home, a few jobs, gifts, and, most important, dear brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with. The people we have connected hearts with here are by far the biggest blessing from the Lord. How we already love them all. Also, the Lord is already doing some of what He brought us here for. From the day we arrived He has been digging deep into our hearts and setting all of us free from different things. One thing I can share about from my heart is the idea of being open, warm-hearted, and soft as a woman of God. I have had walls of protection around my heart, not letting myself be totally vulnerable and transparent with people. This affects how I can truly show God's love to others. I hope this makes some sense. :-) When you see these things, openness, warmness, transparency, in a woman of God, it is beautiful. More importantly, it surrounds you with the love of God. This area is a place where the Lord is setting me free and breaking down those walls. It is so wonderful to see what He is doing in our family and we pray He doesn't stop. We want to be transformed into His image, ready to show His love to anyone whom we may meet. How exciting!! The Lord is so good. ~ We love you all, Andrea