Monday, June 22, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

Today we are headed off to youth camp. Most of all, please pray that God moves in the hearts of our teens who are attending. Please also pray for my safety as I am due in about 9 weeks and for our family as we are temporarily separated. Every year when we leave for youth camp, I wonder how it is that mothers can leave their children day in and day out under the constant care of others and think nothing of it. It is completely unnatural. Especially remember my kids as they were taking it pretty hard last night. I'm still looking for that youth camp that will allow your kids to come with you (without having to pay the typical $150-$200 camp price tag per kid).

I'll be back as quickly as I can manage with a few pictures. But it may take a while. I'll have gobs of stuff to do when I make it back!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where Did That Come From?!

Don't ask how this one got into my brain. Don't ask me why I decided to look up Screaming Yellow Zonkers on Wikipedia. But I did. I was so sad to learn that they're no longer able to be bought. Screaming Yellow Zonkers was way better than Fiddle Faddle and Crunch n' Much put together.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

North Korean Missionaries

The Associated Press reports that, in response to UN sanctions, it will seek to "weaponize" all its plutonium. As a Christian, I am not at all worried about the current North Korea news. If they drop a bomb on northwest Florida I am fully persuaded that I and my family will be taken care of.

My thoughts and prayers at this time to a missionary family that I know. I will not post their names on the internet for their safety. They have been called to North Korea and are currently serving in North Korea. Of course, they must work very discreetly and "undercover." With North Korea flexing its muscle, this family if discovered, could be in very grave danger. I want to keep as many details as possible about this family unpublished, but they would surely be found guilty of espionage.

Surely this family is not the only missionaries to North Korea. Every time I read a story on North Korea, my heart has been burdened for this family and others who are secretly working in the communist nation. I, as an American, cannot completely comprehend the gravity of this situation. Freedom of speech, religion, etc are things that I unknowingly take for granted. As our world sees more political unrest, please remember to pray for missionaries.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - June 13, 2009

Outside my window...

it is clear, maybe a little hazy. Boy, it's hot! A forecast high today of 96 and a heat index of about 102. Happy summer in Florida.

I am thinking...
how blessed I am to have a complete copy of the Word of God.

I am thankful for...
my family. I am thankful for John, who on Wednesday night, went to the altar. That, in itself is not at all unusual. But this time, he spoke with Pastor for a long time after church. He knows that he's not saved and that his heart is empty. But he doesn't understand yet that he personally needs his sins forgiven. Please pray that the Holy Spirit enlightens his heart soon. Also, I am thankful for the daily chore charts I finally finished ... finally.

From the learning rooms...
still working toward getting school ready. We'll be starting back shortly after our return from camp. There is some laundry over there that needs to be folded!

From the kitchen...
I've let us run out of bread again, so I'll be baking bread today. Lots of hard work from the garden as our first corn planting is in.

I am wearing...
a denim shirt and a lighter denim skirt that my mom made for me when I was pregnant with Ethan. No shoes yet as I am still battling my septendecillionth case of athlete's foot. I spoke with the lady who's helping us with Ethan's medicine. Hopefully this will be my last case of the evil fungus.

I am creating...
a generously sized nightgown to take to camp with me. The one I'm wearing at home is not maternity. It's quite a sight! I plan to make a weekly chore chart to work with the daily chore chart also.

I am going...
no where today that I plan. Possibly to pick up my kitchen knives from our local butcher shop, who volunteered to sharpen them for free on their professional wetrock.

I am reading...
Acts, Romans, Proverbs, Psalms. Unfortunately, no other books. I hope to start some as soon as we get back from camp. This is just such a crazy-busy time of year for us.

I am hoping (praying)...
that the Lord speaks to our teens during camp, that the Lord takes care of our children while we're gone, that the very hard Braxton-Hicks contractions I've been having the past several days are not going to interfere with camp.

I am hearing...
Lydia singing, making up the words as she goes and Ethan cleaning the kitchen. I don't hear John as he is making his bed and getting dressed.

Around the house...
I am so glad that we have finally started with the chore charts. My home is not perfectly clean, but there is no clutter. Which means that we can start cleaning it instead of de-cluttering it. We (me or one of the boys) will be working with Lydia on how to do her new chores.

One of my favorite things...
the giggles of my kids playing together.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
finish my nightgown, begin a new dress for Lydia and maybe a skirt for her out of the scraps, put up corn, beans, potatoes and whatever else may be out in the garden. I've been learning how to freeze potatoes. It's something I've never done before or heard of anyone else doing. I found some pretty helpful articles online though. We'll be having our last camp fundraiser for this year. I'm also praying that goes well. The devil always tries to mess up anything and he's trying very hard to mess this up too!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This a blast from the past I found on the computer this morning. Here's is John at about 9 or 10 months old. It's the first time he let go tried to stand on his own two feet!

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. --Psalm 33:8

Friday, June 12, 2009

One of the World Wonders

As I clean my home today, I wonder how it's possible...

How does toothpaste get over the bathroom door?

You'll probably have to click to enlarge, but it is there in all of its minty radiance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We Never Saw It on This Fashion

I was reading my Bible today from the book of Acts. Paul was told by the Holy Spirit that he would be going to Jerusalem. As he was speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he testified this and it has stuck with me today:

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. --Acts 20:26

Which, then, I thought back to Ezekiel's words:
When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. --Ezekiel 33:8

Then Paul goes on to say: the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. --Acts 20:31

So what exactly am I getting at? I live in the "Bible Belt." I grew up around the corner from Pensacola Christian College ... literally. And I still live within driving distance of it. I can't even count the number of fundamental churches in the area. It seems to me, and I see it in myself, that we Bible Belt dwellers think that everyone's heard the gospel. As I wonder how many people will not be raptured and I wonder how many of those people, who live here in the Bible Belt have never heard the gospel. How many could say honestly to the Lord, "I just didn't know." Of course, they would still be without excuse...Romans 1 explains that.

If you've read my salvation testimony, you'll know that it was not until I was 16 that I heard the gospel. I knew people who had never heard the gospel. I was not the exception. Most of my friends at that time had never been to church before. I mean never...not even for a Vacation Bible School. It seemed like the church kids were friends and the non-church kids were friends, only talking enough to be polite. Once I started working people would give me tracts, but all the ones that I can remember were teaching works-based "salvation." I grew up never hearing the gospel.

I'm speaking to myself first in all this. But how can this be? We live in probably the most gospel saturated place in the world. Here is some of what I've observed. We encourage people to bring your friends to church. Bring your co-workers (if that applies). Bring your family. That's all fine and good. I'm willing to bet, though, that most of the people who fall into these categories have heard the gospel. After all, people who are not saved live and act like people who are not saved. Saved people are not ... at least they shouldn't be ... completely comfortable around lost people. The one who swears like the proverbial sailor, the woman who has 4 children by 4 different men and isn't with any of the fathers, the one who is telling the dirty jokes ... these are not the people we're sharing the gospel with. I think of, with the teens, we'll encourage them to bring their friends to special activities or to Sunday School. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. The teens that are the friends of our youth typically already go to church somewhere or they have at least been saved. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But why not bring in the guy you know spends all weekend partying or the girl who has the "reputation?" Is it that we don't want to get our hands dirty? When did inviting people to church take the place of door-to-door soul winning?

Well, they'll probably say that they wouldn't come to church. Or they wouldn't talk to me again if I try to share the gospel with them. Maybe so. But I look back at my life. When I was invited to church for the very first time at 16, I was no angel. I don't talk about my life before salvation because I'm not proud of it and I won't give place to the devil. But I was not hardened toward God. Going to church for youth night sounded like fun to me. I went. I heard the gospel. I was under Holy Ghost conviction and I flatly denied the gospel and Jesus Christ. But my blood was not on that girl's hands.

After I did finally get saved, I learned that the same girl and her mother had prayed for my salvation nearly daily. They wept for me. They were burdened for me. I wasn't one of the "clean" kids, but they still wanted to reach me. I did eventually get saved, but I firmly believe that it can be attributed for them praying for me. As far as I know, no one ever cared about my soul except them.

Paul began his ministry in the "Bible Belt" of his time. His hands, by his testimony, were clean. How many people out there are like me when I was growing up? How many would come to the Lord if someone would only pray?

I don't make posts like this often, but it's really been on my heart this morning. Hope it all made sense.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Scare Me...

I received this from the American Family Association today. It's simple and to the point. If you haven't read it yet I hope you enjoy. The author sent it to the New York Times, but it was never published. Instead, it showed up circulating on the internet.

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett
There is no better time than now to pray for our nation.

Homeschool Prayer Answered

It may seem like a small thing, but I wanted to blog my praise for the Lord providing textbooks for next year. I (finally) made the trip down to Roland's yesterday, a local homeschool consignment shop. I got all of the first grade teacher books that I needed for a great rate. The Phonics and Reading text was in fantastic shape, although it was very much written in. I don't know if it's because I love books so much, or if it's the old public schooler in me, but a super pet peeve of mine is writing in books. Anyway, I got it for $9 off retail, but it was the only one they had in stock, which explains the higher price. The Spelling book was $5 (retails $14.25) and the Arithmetic book was $10 (retails $24). Another great blessing was this set of 175 arithmetic flashcards I wanted. Yes, I could have made them if I had an idea of what they looked like. One of the problems was that they have been out of stock forever at I did make a trip to the campus bookstore to get the kid's workbooks, but I simply was NOT going to pay the retail price of $27.25!! Rolands had one set in stock marked $10!! In really great shape too. Unfortunately, I didn't find any student workbooks with pages missing. As long as I have a majority of the student book, I don't mind making my own worksheets. We also got the History Curriculum for $5 (retail $11.25). Then sort of an extra: I really like A Beka's Primary Bible, but it takes excerpts that are passages that a kindergartener or first grader can actually read. The words that may be a bit harder are hyphened out to make sounding out easier. It's a Bible that they can read independently. I bought all of John's readers for dirt cheap on eBay a while back, including the Bible Reader, but it's not in great shape. Furthermore, I have two readers in the house. If they can read, what better for them to read than the Word of God?

We're hoping to start school back either Tuesday July 7 or Tuesday July 14. Unfortunately, that will coincide with VBS, but I just can't start any later than that. Yes, it's a bit early, but the reason why (I may have mentioned this) is that I plan on taking plenty of time off in August when our next blessing arrives. With camp coming fast upon us at June 22nd, I really am glad to get this out of the way. One thing that I don't care for is waiting until the last minute to do ANYTHING!! It's just not my style. Here's a picture of what I got from Roland's, but I didn't get Lydia's hand from Rolands!

Then she wanted me to take a picture of her with the stuff. You can tell from the hairdo that she's been outside!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What Is Our Country Coming To?

Frog's Lilypad: What Is Our Country Coming To?

I wanted to quickly share Lori's post. It truly saddens my heart to see the anti-Bible direction our nation is taking.

Next weekend we'll be having our last fundraiser for this year's camp. I'll be taking a little while out this week to work out details and organize it. But it is great to have some fantastic youth parents and church members who get in there and really make these fundraisers happen! Sitting down with a paper and etching out the details is the easy part (unless you've never done it before! *thinking back to the first time we did this* ha!).

It seems like I haven't often posted what's been going on in the youth department. Jeremy's been teaching this series that I really enjoy. I like it so much because it's direct and to-the-point, but not elementary if you know what I mean. I'm pretty sure it's entitled "Why Should I?" Why is a question that gets so tiresome to parents when it's coming out of your two-year-old's mouth every time you speak to her. Teens ask "why" often also, they just as more specifically. The series is done in a worksheet style with fill-in-the-blanks.

The lessons include:
Why Should I Come to Church?
Why Should I Pray?
Why Should I Read the Bible?
... Dress Right?
... Have the Right Kinds of Friends?
... Not Have the Wrong Kinds of Friends?
... Keep Myself Pure?
... Honor My Parents?
... Tell Others About Christ?
... Give My Life to Christ?

Yes, there are tons more very worthwhile things to teach teens, but I think that these things are the things that are asked about most frequently. What I like is that it isn't just telling them that they should, but teaching them why they should.

S. M. Davis said this, and I really like it:
Knowledge is learning what God wants me to do.
Wisdom is learning how to do what God wants me to do.
Understanding is learning why to do what God wants me to do.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In a Pinch

I made beef stroganoff yesterday for supper. The recipe that I used was a crockpot recipe that I made sometimes on Sundays to be ready when church is over. The recipe calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup. Now really, can of ________ soup recipes are usually not allowed in my kitchen because of additives and sodium (disodium phosphate? autolyzed yeast extract? monosodium glutamate? 870 mg sodium? That's okay, I'll pass). Honestly, they're really not that flavorful either. I will make an exception depending on why I'm making the recipe. What I mean is, it means more to me to have a homecooked meal on Sunday (verses eating out, which is majorly expensive), so we'll eat the yucky mystery soup instead.

Well, it seems that when I went to the grocery store I forgot to pick up a cream of mushroom soup. I had cream of chicken, which I debated on using instead. But beef in beef broth, and chicken soup?! That just won't do. I thought I could surely find a website that could tell me a substitute or how to make the stuff. I guess I've just never thought about making my own cream soup before. When I found out how easy it was, I decided that cream soups are no longer banned from my kitchen!

Make Your Own "Cream of..." Soup

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup milk

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over it and stir to incorporate. Cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk.

Cream of chicken

If you want to make a cream of chicken flavored sauce, use half broth and half milk. If you have troubles getting this to be smooth, try heating the milk or broth before adding to the flour and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, barely simmering, for a few minutes until thick.

Cream of celery or mushroom

To make a cream of something, saute 1/4 cup or so finely chopped celery, mushrooms, or onion in the butter before adding the flour and use half broth and half milk.

Now, to be honest I didn't use milk, as the recipe calls for. I had a 1-cup carton of whipping cream that was about to go bad, so I used it instead. It was so incredibly good! I don't think that I would buy whipping cream or heavy cream to sub the canned cream soup, because that would probably be more expensive. I didn't really want to use out milk because we drink skim and it's just not too tasty, especially in recipes. I'm betting that half and half would probably be a cheaper, thicker, and tastier milk item to use.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why So Busy?

Well, the garden is definitely in full swing. Here are some of our goodies!

Straight neck and crookneck yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, and cucumbers all in their "bath" waiting to be prepared for the freezer. Yes, I cannot believe that I'm voluntarily putting a picture of our laundry room (usually a sorely neglected room) on the internet.

Peppers: banana, jalapeño, and a green bell. My six year old went out the next day and picked about 3 dozen bells. He did such a great job that I don't think his daddy could have done better! He had a great teacher (his daddy).

What did we do with all those peppers? Well, I sliced up the jalapeños and canned them. Here they are soaking in pickling lime. I'll post the recipe at the bottom.

I sliced up the zucchini into zucchini fries and froze them out on a jelly roll pan and packed them into a gallon freezer bag.

Here I have the squash ready for the freezer and the bells and cukes next in line.

We also have a few tomatoes. We're having problems with something getting them. Something with big teeth. Rabbits? Field rats? Also having a little trouble with end rot. *sigh*

I work in a very limited kitchen space, so the Lord gave me this idea. Why not, instead of laying out the recipe on the countertop and using up precious space, just hang the recipes I'm using on the fridge? It worked perfectly...except I kept forgetting where I put it!

Here's everything set out for homemade granola bars. They are soooo good. The store-bought ones are okay, but they are so expensive. I made 16 of them for about $5! Not to mention they are so much better for you: completely free of words you have to sound out to say!

The finished product right out of the oven. Recipe to follow

The children are all fighting colds. Of course, Ethan is taking the worst of it. Natural medicine is still working wonders for his asthma. He's only sounding wheezy from time to time, but acts like he feels great. On the kitchen front, I'm not posting a picture of my bread since that's not really out of the ordinary for me to make, but I did manage to work in making a loaf of bread this week too. My plans for today include cutting up a whole pork loin. A whole pork loin?! "Wait," you say, "that is expensive meat and you never buy pricey meat!" Typically, yes, it is pricey. But this loin was $1.88/lb (a pretty good deal where I live). Center cut pork chops at a local grocery store are priced at $4.89/lb. The loin is 20 inches long and weighs in at almost 10 pounds. If I cut them about 1/2 inch I'll get 40 very nice chops out of it! That comes to about .44 cents a chop! We'll be able to eat about 10 meals off of this one cut of meat. That sounds good to me.

~~Here are the recipes I promised~~

Granola Bars (recipe by Alton Brown and taken from

  • 8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, about 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, about 1/2 cup
  • 3 ounces sliced almonds, about 1 cup (Being a good southern girl, I used pecans from my mother-in-law's trees, chopped, not sliced)
  • 1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, about 1/2 cup
  • 6 ounces honey, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, about 1/4 cup packed
  • 1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries (I used what I had on hand: pineapple, cranberries, apricots and raisins.)

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Personal note: I accidentally left out the salt and it still tasted great. I'll leave it out when I make it and make the sodium content lower. I also didn't toast the sunflower seeds in the oven because the ones I bought were little pack from the convenience store that come pre-roasted.

Pickled Jalapeño Rings (recipe by jalapeñ

  • 3 pounds jalapeño peppers
  • 1½ cups pickling lime
  • 1½ gallons water
  • 7½ cups cider vinegar (5%)(I used white vinegar; I didn't have enough cider vinegar)
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 2½ tablespoons canning salt
  • 3 tablespoons celery seed
  • 6 tablespoons mustard seed

Yield: About 6 pint jars.

Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

1. Wash peppers well and slice into ¼" thick slices (a mandoline slicer works well). Discard stem end. Mix 1½ cups pickling lime with 1½ gallons water in a stainless steel, glass or food grade plastic container. Avoid inhaling lime dust while mixing the lime-water solution. Soak pepper slices in the lime water, in refrigerator, for 18 hours, stirring occasionally (12 to 24 hours may be used).

2. Drain lime solution from soaked pepper rings. Rinse peppers gently but thoroughly with water. Cover pepper rings with fresh cold water and soak, in refrigerator, 1 hour. Drain water from peppers.

3. Repeat the rinsing, soaking and draining steps two more times. Drain thoroughly at the end.

4. Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions

5. Place 1 tablespoon mustard seed and 1½ teaspoons celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar. Pack drained pepper rings into the jars, leaving ½-inch headspace.

6. Bring cider vinegar, 1¾ cups water and canning salt to a boil over high heat. Ladle boiling hot brine solution over pepper rings in jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Make sure pepper rings are covered with brine.

7. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

8. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Cut and wrapped granola bars and peppers in the can. Like my salt cellar? It's an official Alton Brown Sodium Chloride Containment Unit...a Christmas gift from my husband! Huzzah for edible rocks! Told you I was a big fan-girl!

And just for fun, here's yet another shot of my kiddies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just Dropping By

It has been forever, it seems, since I blogged. I just feel like I don't have a scrap of time right now. But I wanted to say hello and just let everyone know that I didn't fall off the face of the earth! We have been working on getting to youth camp in a few weeks (June 22nd - 26th), trying to keep the garden picked and the harvest put away, looking high and low for secondhand home school curriculum for next year, starting to make very small preparations for a new little one, not to mention my regular duties of being a keeper at home. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can sit down and have a proper post.

About 11 weeks until we have a new baby. Maybe I'll post a picture of my seven-month baby bump!