Monday, June 29, 2015

Micro Farm Fun

One of the Micro Farm critter additions we have most enjoyed are Blossom2's ducks.  She worked hard at the end of the school year and pushed through her end of the school year distractions. 

She was rewarded with this delightful pair of Khaki Campbells (a dual purpose breed).  Right now, Pongo & Perdita's sole purpose is prime entertainment. 

On one particularly hot Sunday, the Blossoms enjoyed swimming with the duckies. 

Mama propped up her feet and laughed out loud at their antics!!

Neato wings!

Don't get offended; let it roll off of you, like water off a duck's back!

Now, THAT'S country girl fun!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Herb Hack

Hello friends!

Long ago, when I actually had cable, I liked to fold clothes and watch the Food Network.  I learned how to chop veggies chef-style AND I learned to incorporate more fresh herbs into our menu.  Considering that the clean clothing got folded at the same time, I call that a good situation. 

(Jake is not impressed with fresh herbs.  Bread or meat, on the other hand, he finds quite appealing.)

While I have incorporated more herbs into our menu, I still don't use a boatload of fresh herbs every day.  They always say to put them in a jar of water in the fridge.  Have you seen how gross the herbs get???

I have a better solution.  #mamalifehacks

1. Wash your fresh herbs.  I love to use my el cheapo Walmart Salad Spinner to get the excess water off. 
2. Drob your herbs, stems and all, in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Place in an easy to find location of your freezer.  (I may or may not know this from experience.  You'll use more herbs, when you can actually find the herbs.)
3. When you're cooking, whip out your bag.  Lop of a chunk, chop it and toss it in your dish.  If you see big stems, just grab 'em and pitch 'em. 
That's it.  My sister was the one that taught me this trick.  It works with Parsley, Cilantro (pictured), Dill, Basil, Mint and Oregano... maybe even others. 
Now, go on, rock out your best Giada impression. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Real fruit, not fruity fruit

Seems to me that the quiet (single) guys get the "shaft," the Christian shaft.  I mean, a Christian guy who is quiet gets underestimated and undervalued.  He's the guy that has no drama in his life.  His loves his Mom, his brother (or sister) and his Dad.  He doesn't switch jobs.  He's faithful.  He gets along with his co-workers and occasionally has conversations uncovering the lack of logic in atheism and defending Christianity.  No one ever knows that because he doesn't rattle his jaws about it to everyone.  He helps out when somebody needs a hand.  He's generous.  He probably isn't a deacon in the church he attends.  In fact, it likely takes years for him to say more than a few words to folks in the church foyer.  And some folks assume (that's the key right there) that he isn't a Christian.  If you asked him, he'd tell you he was a believer.  (Ahem, your profession of faith matters. See Romans 12:9) You all know I'm married.  I've just basically described my husband before we were dating/courting and then married.  He's the most faithful and Godly man I know. 

I've also just illustrated the plight of some quiet single guys who are faithfully serving God.  (I'm aware that this is not always the case.  My statements are not meant to be blanket, but to unveil a sad misunderstanding within some churches today.)  A few zealous Christians think that because a young man doesn't subscribe to their particular pet convictions, he isn't saved!  And we know from Matthew 7:17 that we can tell by their fruit.  That's what says if people are serving our Lord. 

Matthew 7:17
"Every good tree bears good fruit,
but every bad tree bears bad fruit."

What I'm trying to point out is that some people's definition of fruit is off.

Fruit doesn't mean that someone testifies in church every week.  It doesn't mean that they agree with all your pet convictions.  It doesn't mean that (gasp) they are at the church building every time it's open.  It doesn't mean that they shout amen or dance in front of folks.  The best description of fruit is found in Galatians 5:22-23,

"The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control"...

The true fruit of the Spirit happens in your private life, quietly, day after day. 

I encourage you young lades to look for fruit, not boastful, loud fruit, but the quiet steady kind that happens daily.  It will be the best clue to what life with that young man will be like, day in, day out, year after year. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

KD (Kitchen Duty)

I do love an orderly kitchen.  And, I'm training the Blossoms to love it too.  They've taken over all of the post-supper clean up.  That's mostly a good thing.  I usually retire to the adjoining living room, exhausted, to drop on the floor and play with Blossom4 and chat with Daddy.  It just seemed like they didn't quite know what to tackle first.  I'll admit that sometimes I don't either!  I typed this up and posted it on the fridge. 


1. Clear table.  (Push in chairs.)

2. Pack Daddy’s lunch.

3. Put away leftovers.

4. Load dishwasher.

5. Wash dishes.

6. Wipe table, counters and stove.

7. Sweep floor.

8. Turn off lights.

The Blossoms seem to be referencing it often.  Blossom1 and Blossom2 use it to direct Blossom3 more accurately so she doesn't suddenly disappear into the living room or stand in the middle of the kitchen floor daydreaming.  It's funny how something so simple can help young children work more efficiently. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

King's Redemption

"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." 

We arrived home last night to a neighbor's dog, harassing our chickens.  Our whole family joined in a rapid chase to rescue our precious "eggies" (egg-layers).  Although "King" has become slightly less beloved lately because of his propensity of taking advantage of small children, he proved his worth and mettle. 

When the flock panicked, King voluntarily became the decoy, leading the dog on a high-speed chase... and almost losing his life.  The dog had him, until King was able to wriggle free and find protective cover.  What an amazing display of self-sacrifice.  I had to eat my previous insults of "coward" (for intimidating small children) and "worthless."  He'd led the flock's greatest enemy far away from them, so they could live. 

With all hands on deck, we were finally able to catch the perpetrator and return him home safely. 

Then, (after some cuddles and praise from Blossom1 and the whole Blossom Bunch) King returned to the original spot of the chase and clucked and called to gather the thoroughly scattered hens.  Each one was eventually present and accounted for. 

What an amazing reminder of how God cares for us!  Jesus' life was sacrificed for our freedom from sin and its awful penalty.  And, then, when the flock (God's children) gets scattered, He has great compassion on us and gathers us to Himself. 

Nature, once again, reminds us of the Gospel - the Good News to us. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

With Your Words

I remember losing a baby a few years back.  It was, by far, the hardest time of my life.  But, when I'd open up and talk about what we were going through, I realized, just how much other people are struggling with their own very real trials.  One friend was having some heavy-duty parent-child struggles.  Another family member couldn't conceive.  Another friend was having breadwinner job troubles.  You don't realize the struggles, because most folks look fine on the outside. My own struggles made me look with a new compassion on the people around me.

It reminded me of the power of our words.  So many times our words bite and devour each other.  Why don't we realize the power of our words in the opposite direction?  Powerful words can build up a sister in the Lord.  Encouraging conversations can help the people around us have the strength for the next hour.  Uplifting and timely words can be the very answer that our friends need in their darkest hours.

Our words have the power to destroy a soul as delicate as a rosebud, or cause it to blossom and grow and keep standing tall in the storm.  The Sun will indeed shine again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

If you like Fancy Nancy...

Since we're pretty big Fancy Nancy fans around here, we thought we'd share some more fun books that fellow Fancy Nancy fans might like. 

Image result for fancy nancy

You might also like,

Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
It's illustrated by Fancy Nancy's illustrator.  Ruby learns an important lesson about manners and courtesy.  I think I've got this book memorized and I don't even mind (most days) when I have to read it repeatedly.

 Image result for tea for ruby
The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Blossom3 just discovered this book from our library.  It looks like there are several more in the series.  Being that Mommy (and most of the Blossoms) like anything related to Julie Andrews (does Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music ring a bell?), I can't wait to read more of these to the Blossoms.  This book has been on Blossom3's naptime pile of books for weeks now, right along with a Frozen book.  That's sayin' something.

Image result for the very fairy princess

Nancy Clancy books by Jane O'Connor
Now that my Blossoms are getting older, we appreciate that Jane O'Connor has ventured into chapter books.  We don't have to leave Fancy Nancy behind.  She's just growing up too - with her most recent book out earlier this year!
Image result for nancy clancy

I love what good reading can do for children.  It's character formation where you least expect it!

Monday, June 8, 2015


Sometimes, in my own fatigue, the cares of life, the pressures, the concerns, the burdens and the heavy things of this world all come together.  I feel bowed low, driven to a time of humble pleading.  In these times, the prayer I pray most often is simple, child-like even. 

Like the prayer prayed by the lepers in my daughters' Bible Story book, I cry out,

"Jesus, help us."

Prayed fervently,

"Jesus, help us!"

This prayer never goes unanswered.  Ever. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Being Neighborly

You've heard the saying, "They just don't make things like they used to."  I've said it myself. 

The Rugged Mountain Man was chatting with our neighbor, mentioning that he'd been fighting off sickness and was getting behind on the grass.  He was concerned our Cub Cadet would be in over its head very soon.

Half an hour later, a vintage John Deere, as old as my Dad, came chugging up over the hill to tackle our thick green foliage. 

The Blossoms LOVED it.  We had our own private tractor parade.  (Country girls like tractor parades.)

Yes, they just don't make tractors like they used to.  It was a beautiful thing!

But also, you just don't usually find people willing to lend a hand at a moments' notice.  My Dad always said,

"It's rarely convenient to help someone." 

Maybe what you've got can be a blessing to others.  Why not chug it on over to help somebody out?

PS - Happy Birthday, Dad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Sorta Kinda Schedule

We were floundering in the well-loved flexibility and freedom that summer break brings to our lives.  Only the most pressing tasks were getting done.  No one knew what to expect in a morning or day.  Mommy had that nagging feeling in the back of her head that I might be forgetting something... Since it is light out longer, the girlies were up later and sleeping in later, getting us off to an off-kilter start virtually every day.  We just needed a little structure, not a lot, just a little.  Behold, a wonder, the "Sorta Kinda Schedule!"

7:30 Rise
8:00 Read Bibles/Devotions
8:30 Chores
9:00 Breakfast
9:30 Flash cards
10:00 Daily house cleaning chores together
10:30 Piano practice/4-H book work
12:30 Lunch

1:00-2:30 Nap
5:00 Supper
8:30 Bedtime Prep
9:00 Bedtime

I breathed a sigh of relief.  Finally, everybody knew where to go and what to do.  Some things may not take up the full time I allocated, so we just move on to the next thing.  The order is what we desperately needed.  And, as you can see, there are still larger blocks of open time for fun childhood memory making.  Like tonight, when they were rolling down the hill with their pals.  Now THAT'S being a kid in summer!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Measure of a Woman

I love my little cocoon in the Hollow.  My husband cherishes me.  My children love me.  For the most part, it's a peaceful life with honest work.  No part of it reaks of isolation.  The sheer simplicity helps keep the Main Thing front and center.  Occasionally when I venture out I see how flip-flopped the world is.  I mean, the Word says that evil will be called good and vice versa.  But then, you experience it afresh.

That's what propelled me to ask, "What is the measure of a woman?" 

Amidst my physical imperfections, I pondered about all I live for and the convictions I strive after.  I thought about all the times I pray, "Let me do what pleases You today" or "Let me glorify You today."  Yes, I'll never be on a magazine cover.  I'm not a poster girl, trophy wife or glamour girl. 

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
Proverbs 31:10
What is the measure of a woman?  Virtue.  The price of me is FAR above rubies.  That's how valuable I am, and it's because of what's inside me.  Something that's been formed and worked out and practiced, year in and year out, day after day. 
Virtue.  That's the measure of a woman.