Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Ethan post


mmm...supper!

Many of my posts, since we took him off his "medicine" and started using alternative healing (the Adventures in Homeopathy series), have revolved around Ethan. It's amazing to see how two boys so close in age can have such different personalities. John is inquisitive about everything. It's gotten to where even in church, Pastor will say something in his message and John will ask what it means. "How is Jesus like a rock?" "What does propitiation mean?" And so many more. Salvation is a whole different conversation with him. He is still dealing with it. He knows the Scriptures, but he doesn't really see himself as a sinner yet.

Ethan is the opposite, it seems. It has been very infrequently that Ethan has asked a spiritual question. It's been a burden to my heart. When I pray for him, I ask the Lord that He would "turn his spiritual light on," if you get my meaning. But you really never know what's going on in the heart of someone else, whether good or bad.

Yesterday we had a ... "situation" that needing taking care of. The boys decided it would be great fun to poke a hole in the trampoline they got for Christmas with a broken garden tool. They punctured it. They know not to have toys, other than a bouncy ball or something, on the trampoline. They know to take care of their toys. They knew the minute I caught them that they had done wrong. Out came the tears and the apologies. I took them in for discussion and discipline and training.

Just a few hours later they were at it again, except with the back of a claw hammer! Same story again: in the house for more rigorous training, if you take my meaning. This time, as the three of us prayed together, Ethan became completely hysterical as I was praying. The kind of cry that either tells you something is terribly wrong or that it's way past bedtime. As I was consoling him, I asked what was wrong. After he finally caught his breath he said, "Momma, when you were praying I asked Jesus to get me saved."

I am so excited, but sort of apprehensive too. When I pray for my kids' salvation, I always, always, always add that the Lord give them confidence in their salvation, not doubting or question, but knowing. At least outwardly, Ethan has shown nothing outwardly that he's even thought about salvation. But he certainly knows how to be saved; we've tried to raise all of them by 2 Timothy 3:15. I hope that I'm being clear on how I feel. I mean, if he really did get saved that's wonderful. But just being sorry for sin isn't being saved. I'll keep praying that the Lord speak to him and make everything clear...saved or lost.

Anyone have a similar situation with their kids?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Invitation

I wanted to send a quick invite anyone who stops by to a new blog. The blog is The Baptist Pastor's Page and is written by Pastor Phillip Blackwell. Bro. Phillip and Mrs. Jamie are our very dearest earthly friends and have been for many years. Bro. Phillip began pastoring Salem Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2006. The blog is written as a devotional and will be a blessing and a challenge to anyone who reads.

If you're a long-time reader, you may remember Phillip and Jamie that so graciously let us stay at their house for several days before youth camp last year. That was crazy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - May 20, 2009

It's been a long time since I've made a Daybook post!



Outside my window ...

it is so very cold out. I mean, for the end of May in Florida. The windows are all open and it's about 65 degrees out, and very windy with only 55% humidity. Yesterday we got down to an amazing 52 degrees! It feels like October.

I am thinking ...
of organizing the many projects that I allowed to build up during the school year and deciding which ones will be completed today.

I am thankful for ...
God's grace and why it is that He's chosen to bless me in so many different ways.

From the learning rooms ...
there isn't much learning going on in the learning rooms, but learning is a continual process. John is learning to tie his shoes, which is so cute. I find myself feeling his frustrations as he tries and fails time and time over. With that, also rejoicing with his successes.

From the kitchen ...
the kitchen is the place where the excitement is this time of year. Yesterday I canned some peaches and tried a new recipe (which I'll probably be sharing later). Then my Mr. Wonderful and I put up some green beans and summer squash. There is still plenty to do today, including bake bread.

I am wearing ...
denim skirt and a short sleeved, blue and gray striped knit shirt. One the feet we have some very comfortable flip-flops, which will soon be substituted for my tennis shoes. My pregnant feet can't wear anything except tennis shoes for long.

I am creating ...
a dress for Lydia made in the typical "little girl" style and made of yellow seersucker.

I am going ...
to the Lord's house tonight! Other than that, I plan to be home where I love to be!

I am reading ...
Proverbs, Acts, 2 Kings. I've been meaning to pick out a new book, but just haven't yet. Shame, shame!

I am hoping (praying) ...
for the Lord to speak to my oldest son about salvation. He's really put an urgency in my heart for him lately. Also, praying for strength as my blood sugar and iron levels have been low through this pregnancy.

I am hearing ...
Lydia laying in the floor playing. Ethan decided that he was cold and plugged in a space heater. haha!! John is off fishing with Paw-paw and I feel terrible that I didn't send him a jacket. It's got to be cold on the lake!

Around the house ...
my love has been very busy around the house with our home TLC project we've talked about for so long. We are going slow and steady with it, paying cash for everything that we use to work on the house. There is a bit of tidying up to be done and several of my canning tools haven't been put away yet, but all in all, it looks pretty good!

One of my favorite things ...
is to feel my unborn "talk" to me with his little kicks and squirms. What a blessing to have a little one on the way!

A few plans for the rest of the week ...
there is always a lot to do when you have a garden. I hope to go through the deep freezer, organizing it, and throw out last year's green beans. It was the first year we planted them and they are just not good. Unless something terrible happens, we should have plenty for the year. I really need to finish Lydia's dress. Of course, we plan on going out to visitation/soul winning Thursday night.

Here is picture thought I am sharing ...

Just in case you're wondering, it's not a staged photo. :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Whole Wheat Honey Bread

If you poke around here too often, you know that I cook from scratch a lot. I have a lot of reasons for this, but the main reasons are because it's just FUN!!, because I don't like eating things I can't pronounce, living frugally, and for food allergies we have with son #2. Plenty of good reasons, right?

So I thought I'd start, from time to time, sharing some of my recipes that I love. Since I make all of our bread (unless I'm in a pinch), I'll start with my basic whole wheat bread recipe. I found it on allrecipes.com, listed as Whole Wheat Honey Bread. The recipe is modified from a bread maker recipe. I don't have a bread machine and wouldn't care to have one. They're expensive, huge, and all they do is bake bread. Hope you enjoy!

Whole Wheat Honey Bread
3 c whole wheat flour, divided (I prefer stone ground)
1 1/8 c milk
1/3 c honey (I opt for local honey...allergies)
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tbsp melted (but not hot) butter (the recipe calls for shortening, but I steer clear of trans fat)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Heat milk and honey together. Stir together and let it cool to (or heat to) 105 degrees (F) and sprinkle yeast on top of the milk. I like my thermometer, but you can drop a drip on your wrist and it should feel neither hot nor cold. Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes away from drafts (I just put mine back in the microwave). You'll know it's right when it looks frothy on top. Essentially, you're "waking up" your little gas producers.

Place 2 c (or if your a weight fan like me, 9 oz) of your flour in a very large mixing bowl. Add the frothy milk and stir until there is no more dry flour. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour or until approximately doubled in volume. It doesn't have to be precise. Some times it can be hard to get a good rise, so here are some things I do for a little insurance. Run a pot of water through your coffee maker. Place an 8x8 casserole dish on the bottom rack of your oven and fill it with half the water. Put the other half on the burner of your coffee maker and turn on the burner. Place the covered bowl of bread dough in the oven but don't turn it on, or even turn the light bulb on. One time I left on the light and it got up to 150 in my oven. That's way too hot for yeast.

After your first rise, take your remaining cup (or 4 1/2 oz) of flour and work it into the dough. Also work in the salt and butter. I seem to get it in easier if I do half the flour, add the salt and butter, then knead in the rest of the flour. You may have to add more flour depending on the weather and humidity where you live, but I've never used less. It should hold together, but not be excessively sticky. Then knead about 10 minutes. They way I check mine is by pinching off a little ball of dough and working it out into a sort of flat membrane thing. If I can get the dough so thin that I can see light through the dough, I've kneaded enough.

Then there's rolling it out. You certainly could just plop it onto some sort of baking sheet and it would be good. But we use ours for sandwiches, so I use a traditional loaf shape.

Place your dough on a floured surface. I like to place my loaf pan on one end. I don't want to roll it too big. Flour your rolling pin and roll into a rectangle. You can roll just as much as your need to lengthwise, but widthwise, try not to get much bigger than your loaf pan or you'll have to squish it to make it fit. If you see air pockets, open them up. Aim for about 1/4 in thickness. It doesn't have to be rocket science. Now to the actual shaping. Begin on one end and tuck and roll the dough up the way you would a jelly roll, being careful not to work in many air pockets. Once you've rolled it up pinch your seam together. Then grab the ends (where you would see the heels of a loaf of bread) and sort of stretch them down tucking them under. Then put all the seams down into your lightly sprayed loaf pan.

Take your 8x8 casserole out of the oven and discard the cold water. Refill the pan with the water on the coffee maker. Cover your loaf pan with the tea towel and rise again for 1 hour or until doubled.

Once an hour has expired, take out the dough leaving it covered and set your oven to 400 degrees (F). I leave the water in the over because I think the crust is better. When you're reached temp, stick your pan back in and bake for about 20 minutes or until your crust is as dark as your like. Then cover with foil and bake for at least 20 minutes more. Sometimes the bake time can drastically vary. If you have a thermometer, you're looking for an internal temperature of about 200 degrees.

I let mine cool completely before I slice. I know hot bread is really good, but squashed bread is not. If you cut it when it's hot, it's more likely to squish.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, I know this sounds like a lot of instructions, but I didn't want there to be too many questions. Bread making is really not that daunting of a task, really. In fact, I can finish my bread sometimes in under 3 hours including rising time. The rise time depends on how many motherly duties I have, of course.

The finished product

Friday, May 15, 2009

Garden Update!

It's amazing what 3 weeks can do to a garden. I posted a while back about our wonderful garden. Now we are starting to reap a little bit. The pictures are actually a week old, so there's even more growth now. :-) Here is the garden now!


Not quite ready yet, but it won't be long!


Remember my poor basil? He's looking much better.


The potatoes are well ready!


Little squash and zucchini!




And peppers a-plenty!


The boys and I need to pick some berries for jelly.


It won't be too long before beans are ready.


Still no chickens though, but that's okay.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Here and There

Well, I had said that I had tons to blog about, and that is quite true. I just haven't had the time to sit down and blog, ya' know?

Our church has seen a few of its members go home to Glory lately. It is a bittersweet time, to be sure. You may have read over at Donya's blog that her husband's aunt (our pastor's aunt also) passed away about two weeks ago. We got a call early yesterday morning saying that their grandmother (the mother of the mentioned aunt) also passed away. Very much of Pastor's family go to church with us. The temporary separation is of course hard, but it hits a lot of people very close to home.

Pastor's mother is usually the one who heads up funeral food arrangements, but since she is grieving along with the rest of her family, a lot of people have been getting in there and helping with the arrangements. It's also a time that I've been particularly thankful to be a homeschooling parent, where I can decide with the direction of the Lord, what they need in their education. What an opportunity for character building! It's been a good time for my little ones to help out, to see others working together for the Lord, and to teach them about servanthood. We try to teach these things daily, but these circumstances have allowed the children to use these skills in a way they've not used them yet.

Please pray for Pastor's family during this time.

On a more chipper note, here's a shot of my two clowns with fake mustaches. Big sillies!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Miniature Graduate

I'm honestly of the opinion that, really, kindergarten graduations are pretty silly. Sorry if you disagree, but that's just how I feel. Our homeschool fellowship group said that they would be holding a graduation ceremony for high school and kindergarten graduates. So, we decided to participate. The ceremony will commence Friday night. Until then, here are a few shots of my oldest in his pee-wee sized cap and gown.





Today I take John for his annual evaluation, a requirement in my state. It's the first one that we've done, so I'm rather nervous. Our evaluator (a friend of a friend) seems pretty relaxed about everything, it's just a first time thing for us. I'm not sure what to expect. I'm completely confident that he'll do just fine. It's my end that I'm worried about. Homeschooling in Florida is pretty regulated and I hope that his lesson plan book and work portfolio are what she had in mind.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Technical Stuff

I posted earlier that a few people were having trouble when they came to visit my blog. For now I changed to a more basic Blogger template. There are third-party templates that are so much more cute, but let's see if this is the problem. If not, I can't think of what it could be. If you were having trouble before, please let me know if things are better. Thanks everyone!

End of the Year Party!

After breaking over a week of silence, I have so much to blog about. We've certainly been a busy group of folks! As any other busy mom, I still have plenty to do. What I think I'll do is break up last week's events into a few posts. That way I don't take up too much time with one big post and I have plenty of things to blog about!

Monday began our last week of school. We kicked off the week with a field trip of sorts. We took the kids to a bowling alley during the day. (Not a place we enjoy at night) The kids had a great time!

Lydia needed some help from Dad to learn how to push the bowling ball down the ramp.


Ethan added some "style" to every frame he bowled.


John wasn't too sure what bowling style he would use, but he was sure that he was far too big to use the ramp that the younger ones were using.




Dad works every day...even his days off.


Now honestly, I don't usually feel to comfortable in a bowling alley. They can get to being pretty rough places, especially at night. Even when we take the teenagers we go in the early afternoon. We took the kids right after an early lunch, and we were pretty comfortable.

We had the whole place to ourselves!

Patiently waiting our own turns.