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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for my family and friends, I'm thankful that I am healthy and loved. I'm thankful for all my blessings and for forgiveness and mercy. I'm thankful that God loves me and that He is still in control. I am so thankful for America, for freedom and for our great history. I'm thankful for the human race, I see so much selfishness and hate, pettiness, hypocrisy and racism. But I also see so much love, goodness, courage and resilience  I see hope and true honor, humility and acceptance. I'm thankful I'm part of humanity. So to all my friends, family and fellow humans- Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pecans! Pecans! Pecans!

We are over loaded with pecans! Me and the kids went to my sisters house and picked up about 5 1/2 gallons of pecans. Now I gotta figure out what to do with them all. I thought I would shell them and freeze them but after shelling pecans for 3 hours I had less than 4 cups of pecans and that was me, Shane and Kyle shelling them! I really want to put a bunch in the freezer but man I'll be shelling pecans for the next 9 months at this rate. I read a suggestion that said to boil them for about 15 minutes before you shell them and that did seem to go faster. So if ANYONE knows a better way please, please let me know. It seems a shame to let them go to waste. I read that you could freeze them unshelled, I may end up doing that. Next year I want to buy a pecan sheller!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Things Work Out- by Edgar Albert Guest


Because it rains when we wish it wouldn't,
Because men do what they often shouldn't,
Because crops fail, and plans go wrong-
Some of us grumble all day long.
But somehow, in spite of the care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.

Because we lose where we hoped to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we'd like to play-
Some of us whimper along life's way.
But somehow, as day always follows the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.

Because we cannot forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust awhile,
Because we think that the way is long-
Some of us whimper that life's all wrong.
But somehow we live and our sky grows bright,
And everything seems to work out all right.

So bend to your trouble and meet your care,
For the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair.
Let the rain come down, as it must and will,
But keep on working and hoping still.
For in spite of the grumblers who stand about,
Somehow, it seems, all things work out.

Edgar Albert Guest

I have to admit I've been a little down this week, finances are tight, war in Israel, companies closing, more people out of work and on and on and on. I know God is in control. His grace is sufficient.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Frugal Friday-Update

Whew! This has not been a great week! Shane got another pay cut, several people were laid off at his job and his hours were cut as well! We are trying so hard to stay on budget and get out of debt so this is really aggravating and frustrating  I'm glad that we have our budget in place, this pay was really tight but everything was paid. I had to really tighten up our grocery budget so I bought another 10 pound bag of chicken and got 5 meals out of it! Plus I have an almost endless supply of eggs, so we are eating a lot of eggs lately, egg salad, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and omelets. I'm getting about a quart of milk a day from Mandy so all this is helping our grocery budget. I know everything will work out but, I'm glad we are pretty much done with Christmas. I spend a lot of time looking for ways to lower our bills, I cancelled our family text plan so that saved us $30 a month and I cancelled Lily's Pre-K which saved us $15 a month. That's really all I could think to cut. I know I could get a job (maybe I could?) but I don't want to have to do that right now. I have some clothes and books I'm going to try to sell on eBay. I gotta say this though, We went to an animal auction yesterday and i seriously almost bought a horse! They sold a pretty little brown mare for $20!!! And sold her baby for $10!!! That is crazy ridiculous and it was all I could do not to buy them! Afterwards though I thought I should of gone ahead and got them I'm pretty sure I could of sold them on Craigslist for a profit. Anyway that's my report this week, hopefully next week will be better.  If anyone has any ideas how to live a little more frugal please let me know.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Donna!

Today Donna is 19! How am I old enough to have a 19 year old daughter? 

She recently got engaged. This is her fiance Stephen.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I decided to name the goat Mandy. Right now we only milk her once a day on one side and we get about a quart a day. Pretty soon we will be able to take her baby off of her then we will get more milk. Here are some pictures of her.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Show Me! by Edgar Albert Guest (Great Homeschool Poem)

Ha! When  I read this poem the first time it just made me think so much about homeschooling, especially unschooling. Then I was rereading it and I thought it also makes me think of  teaching kids morals and values by how I live. I pray the lessons they are learning from me is what my Heavenly Father would have me teach.
I love it and had to post it. By the way can you tell that I really like Edgar Albert Guests' poetry?

Show Me!

I would rather see a Mason, than hear one any day,
I would rather one would walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear.
And the best of all the Masons are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it if you'll let me see it done,
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Edgar Albert Guest

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday at our house

Today is such a beautiful, peaceful day. It started the same as usual with me saying my prayers and reading the Bible. I started a load of clothes and went outside to milk the goat, which I found out doesn't have a name! So I gotta think of a name for her. Any ideas or suggestions? She's a black and white Nubian  Anyway, I am getting better at milking her, but Pap still had to finish her out for me. Then I strained and pasteurized the milk. Here is a really good post that explains how to pasteurize milk. It is so nice to have fresh milk everyday. I cleaned the house and even mopped the floors! Then I lit a few candles, opened all the doors and windows and sat down to enjoy the lovely breeze. All this by 11:30. Not bad.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Cry Over Burnt Milk

Well, my first attempt at pasteurizing the goat milk was a big fail! I read the thermometer wrong and cooked it at about 200 for a good 10 minutes. Blah! So it was super burnt. Oh well, at least I get to try it again tomorrow.

Updated: 9:17 P.M. Shane just tasted it and said it didn't taste at all burned! Yeah! I did filter it twice after I burned it. I don't know maybe it helped?

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Frugal Friday- Christmas update

Well, we are still staying on our budget. Yeah! I bought Ashley's big present. I'm super glad to have that done and out of the way. I'll probably buy her 2 more super small $10 gifts just so she will have more to open Christmas morning. I paid on our layaway. We are really hoping Shane will get his safety bonus soon, every three months his company gives a $300.00 safety bonus. He is due for another one in November. We plan to use $150.00 to pretty much finish up our lay-a-ways and the other $150.00 to help out with the bills. I didn't shop ahead for Thanksgiving as much as I should of so Thanksgiving dinner will be a bit of a crunch. I do NOT plan on repeating that mistake for Christmas dinner. So starting this week I am going to add at least two items a week to my grocery list for Christmas dinner. It's much easier coming our 5 or 10 dollars a week as opposed to an extra 60 dollars one pay for one meal! I am kicking the idea around of getting a job through the holidays but I REALLY don't want to do that. My mom was nice enough to have me do some housework for her last month and I used that money to buy the girls each a really cute pair of boots and a pair of black dress shoes from one of our local resell stores. I also bought Kyle two pairs of jeans ( for $3 a piece!) and Lily a skirt. All three of them just really needed more clothes so bad, I hated to spend the money that I was hoping to put on Christmas but Lacey had no shoes at all. Her summer sandals  are no where to be found and besides it will be too cold for sandals soon. And Lily's one pair of sandals were about wore out. But at least the money didn't have to come out of the family budget. I'm really struggling staying with my goal of not buying any extra gifts for the kids. I went to Hobby Lobby the other day and saw so many cool craft projects. I have visions of teaching the girls to cross stitch, sew, knit, and crochet. But I resisted the urge and didn't buy anything! Yeah! I'm already so excite about Christmas I was seriously considering getting my decorations out of storage and decorating the house. I didn't do it but the day after Thanksgiving the decorations are going up! :)

*Update* Shane did get his safety bonus but it was a little less than we expected. We ended up using it all on Christmas.
Lacey found her sandals. Yeah! They were in the church lost and found.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Learning Real Life Practical Skills

There is a lot of new skills being practiced around here. I'm learning to crochet. My Grandmother taught me how when I was about 12 but it's been many, many years since I've crocheted. She taught me the basics and I started a baby blanket but I never finished it. So I'm relearning? Or refreshing my skills? I started making a dishcloth but now I'm not sure why I chose a dishcloth. What am I gonna do with the thing? Anyway it's fun to learn something new. What I really want to learn though is to knit. It just looks so hard, I want to see if I can do it. Lacey has been watching me crochet and she wanted to learn so now I am teaching the little girls to crochet. Lacey is really enjoying it. She is doing pretty good. It's kinda hard for them to hold the hook and thread properly but they are patiently plodding along. Lacey about has the method down, she is working on making her loops even. Lily can't quite hold it herself and she wants me to sit by her holding the thread while she works the hook. I've been reading a good many blogs about homesteading and living frugally. I am so inspired to live more green, more off the land. We have about an acre of land and my parents have a little over three acres next door so between us we have over four acres. My dad already raises chickens, rabbits, goats and he has one horse. He always plants a garden. So I talked to him about teaching me to farm and garden. He asked where I wanted to start and I told him to teach me to milk the goat. HaHa! That was super fun. I'm so bad at it. But I will get better. It's harder than it looks! He has one goat that he milks, right now he just gives the milk to his puppies and kittens but we are going to start saving it to make butter and maybe some soap out of it. I also want to try to pasteurize it for drinking and cooking. I know a lot of people drink raw milk but I'm leery of that. I figure once I learn to milk it pretty well I'm going to try to get my own goat. I want to teach the kids and especially Kyle to milk the goat, if they are interested in learning. My dad, we all call him Pap, said he would start tilling me  garden of my own, so I have been researching what to plant and when to plant it. I figure that not only will this teach me all kinds of skills that I can pass to my kids it will also give me time with Pap. Now that he is working again we don't get to spend much time together. Kyle has been helping Pap to build cages and rabbit pens lately and I have been teaching him to cook. He likes the cooking. He made banana bread the other day. It was pretty good.  I've been having him work with me in the kitchen at dinner time, learning to peel potatoes and things like that. He helped me make the shepherd pie for our dinner last week. Actually, it's kinda nice having a second set of hands in the kitchen.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Unique And Meaningful Baby Dedication

Sunday a baby in our church was dedicated and it was the sweetest dedication I have ever been to. In every dedication I have been to the pastor called the family up to the front and talked about the importance of raising the baby in church and the responsibilities of the parents to live godly lifestyles and usually the pastor makes comments to the rest of the family about supporting the parents and being a godly influence in the child's life. This dedication had all that but the pastor asked the family to answer with a "We Do" after each question, then he charged the family to hold family prayer and devotion times, to bring the child to church etc. Then he had his wife come up and hold the baby while he prayed for him and said how they vowed to be good leaders in his life, to pray for him, etc. Then he talked to the church about the importance of having a strong, church with strong family like bonds with in the church, to create an atmosphere of faith and worship for the baby to grow up in and asked the church to answer with "We do". He charged the church to pray and worship, to be examples for the baby and to support the parents with prayer and encouraging words. It was really beautiful and it felt like we were all important in the life of this new, little, baby. After that the whole church prayed for God's blessings on the baby. Then the dad of the baby said a few words and the baby's Aunt read a poem she had written for the baby. Then the grandfather sang 'I want To Be Just Like You, Cause He Wants To Be Just Like Me' and there wasn't hardly a dry eye in the room. It ended with a slide show of the baby, family, and even the church members holding the baby. Afterwards they had cake  and punch in the back and invited everyone to come and hold the baby and if they felt led to to say a prayer for him. It was really sweet.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Reflection By Edgar Albert Guest- Poetry

I came across this poem the other day and immediately loved it. I don't know if it's from growing up in a military family or what but I can't help but cry when I hear The Star Spangled Banner and my heart beats faster when I see the flag being saluted. I love this country. I believe it's the greatest country in the world, not because Americans are better than anyone else but because it is my home.

You have given me riches and ease,
You have given me joys through the years,
I have sat in the shade of your trees,
With the song of your birds in my ears.
I have drunk of your bountiful wine
And done as I've chosen to do,
But, oh wonderful country of mine,
'How little have I done for you!

You have given me safe harbor from harm,
Untroubled I've slept through the nights
And have waked to the new morning's charm
And claimed as my own its delights.
I have taken the finest of fine
From your orchards and fields where it grew,
But, oh wonderful country of mine,
How little I've given to you!

You have given me a home and a place
Where in safety my babies may play;
Health blooms on each bright dimpled face
And laughter is theirs every day.
You have guarded from danger the shrine
Where I worship when toiling is through,
But, oh wonderful country of mine,
How little have I done for you!

I have taken your gifts without thought,
I have revelled in joys that you gave,
That I see now with blood had been bought,
The blood of your earlier braves.
I have lived without making one sign
That the source of my riches I knew,
Now, oh wonderful country of mine,
I'm here to do something for you!

Edgar Albert Guest

Dedicated to our great country! I hope everyone is going to vote tomorrow, If you haven't already done so. Let's keep America great!

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Frugal Friday-Stretching The Grocery Dollar

Feeding a family of 7 on a budget can be tricky. Our grocery budget is $150.00 for two weeks so I really have to shop smart and plan ahead. Some of the ways we stay on budget is by making a grocery list and a meal plan and not buying many sweets, sodas, chips or snacks. I buy all my groceries for 2 weeks at a time to keep me out of the grocery store between paychecks. I mentioned this in a previous post but it bears repeating. The WORST thing on a budget is a quick trip into a store especially when you are hungry and tired. I stick to the grocery list! When I find a really good deal I buy extra to put in the freezer, this sounds like a contradiction to the last statement but sometimes I run across pork chops or chicken super cheap, when I do I buy a few extra and put them in the freezer. Even if it means I have to adjust our menu for the week or take the money from somewhere else, it really helps to have a little extra in the freezer for those short pays. My sister gave me this tip- add ground turkey to the ground beef. It stretches the meat, it's healthier and cheaper. Ground turkey is a dollar a pound I can add it to 2 pounds of beef and make a really good sized meatloaf or patty them out to make some tasty Salisbury steaks. Another thing I do is use less meat for recipes that are casseroles and add more of the other ingredients. So for recipes like tatortot casserole I'd use 3/4 of a pound of ground beef and add extra tatortots. It stretches the meat and tastes just as good. I usually buy 10 pounds of hamburger meat a pay and divide it into 8 bags. I put about 3/4 a pound in 2 bags and divide the rest into the remaining 6 bags. I can also buy a 10 pound bag of chicken legs and thighs for about 6 dollars a bag. I boil it all up and pull the meat off the bones. With that I can make 3-4 meals! I just boiled up a bag yesterday. I had 2 legs and 2 thighs left over that wouldn't fit in my pan. I will boil them another day. I divided the cooked chicken in half and with one half I made an Indonesian rice dish, which is basically rice, vegetables, chicken and sauce and a chicken salad. Today I used the other half and made 4 chicken pot pies. I gave 1 to my mom and dad for their dinner, froze 1 and had 2 for our dinner. And I still have the 2 legs and thighs leftover! I am thinking maybe a chicken stew. Not bad for a six dollar bag of chicken. I'm always searching for ways to stretch our groceries here are a few blogs I've come across that have really good tips. The Mooberry Farm Homesteading Journal and Little Farm in the Big City both have some really great frugal living tips.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

How We Teach Civics During Election Time

Right now the elections are at the center of our home and our conversations. All of the kids (yes, even Lily) know at least something about the election, the candidates, who we support and why. The older girls watched the debates and keep up with the news. There are daily discussions about the polls, who's ahead, what the liberal news is saying and what the conservative news is saying. Sometimes it's just me and Shane discussing with the kids listening in and asking questions. Donna is registered and ready to vote for the first time this year. It's a big deal to us. I'm excited for her and she is excited. Me and Shane already early voted. We usually take the kids with us when we vote. This is just one of the reasons why we homeschool. When would we have time for these kinds of talks if the kids were in school all day? And if they were in school they wouldn't be hearing our beliefs and values they would be hearing the teachers beliefs, the teachers values. I don't mind them hearing other points of views, in fact I encourage it, but on the other hand I don't want that to be the only view they hear either. I love homeschooling, the relationships that I have with my kids are priceless. How could I of had this kind of relationship with them if they had been gone all day?

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