The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

31 January 2011

Who Knew?

Who knew Lemongrass Underarm Lotion could look so pretty?
Or be so popular?
Who knew that I would still have so many friends after declaring my own armpits aluminum free ?

All four samples have been spoken for - so cool. If I was unable to hand deliver yours then you can be watching for it from your friendly United States Post Office Mail Carrier this week.
Unless I am truly snowed in from the winter storm we are having. Then you'll need to allow a few extra days for delivery. Stay tuned. . .

28 January 2011

Scenes from my kitchen

It's Friday, the end of the week and I had a bit of time this morning to reflect on how our week went. God is so good! I was also thinking, as I put my sprouted wheat into my food processor this morning to make bread, about the different things that came out of my kitchen this week. Probably not what an 'average' kitchen produces, so I thought I'd share a bit.

First, though, this really was a scene I could see from my kitchen as I was tidying a bit. My two youngest looking at my second oldest from the window, as my second oldest refilled our bird feeder. So sweet! And this really is not a posed picture. This is the kind of fruit we get to enjoy when we, as Moms, roll up our sleeves and, with God's grace, commit ourselves to making relationships a priority in our homes, according to God's word.

This is a scene from my food processor- Sprouted Wheat. Generally I don't take the time {these sprouts are 3 days old} to sprout my wheat and I just throw the wheat berries in my Nutrimill and grind up fresh, hot, tasty flour. I decided to make the time this week to try out a new recipe for my family- especially since we have officially hit the doldrums of winter and the only decent produce available is. . .bananas. Ugh! The extra nutrients my family will gain by eating sprouted wheat should help us hang on until things come into season again.

Another scene from my kitchen this week- Homemade Elderberry Syrup. Elderberries are wonder-berries and so good for immune system support! Generally I buy an awesome syrup called Berrywell to keep our immune systems at peak awareness during these winter months, but last summer a friend gave us a TON of elderberries. The boys and I stemmed and cleaned them, then froze them. This week I made my own version of Berrywell and I must say that we can't tell a difference between our homemade version and what we were buying. Making this ourselves is much cheaper, but working with elderberries is very time consuming and I believe that the Berrywell we were buying is worth every.single.penny.

Another scene from our kitchen- the initiative of our helpful 3-year old! We made a Target run yesterday and Langston helped put groceries away. Maybe I had just never realized that penne rigate needs to be refrigerated?
{And, no, I haven't learned how to make my own pasta yet. . .but give me an afternoon when the laundry is all caught up and math papers are corrected and I can guarantee you I am going to do it!}

Perhaps the strangest thing to come out of my kitchen this week- Homemade Deodorant. Wait!Don't click the 'close window' button at the top of your screen until you hear me out! {Still there? Hello?}
I've been looking for a natural deodorant for years, knowing how dangerous the aluminum and other chemicals in regular deodorant is for me. After trying many store bought 'naturals' with no success, I had almost given up. Okay, I had given up. Then last week, I found a Homemade Deodorant recipe on one of my favorite blogs and decided to give it a try. Of course, I tweaked things a bit {I am an obsessive tweaker} by adding essential oils of tea tree, rosemary and lemongrass.
The result? I cannot believe how well this works. I repeat: How long have we been convinced that chemicals and companies can do better than natural and made at home?

I ended up with four sample size 'extras' because the container I used was a tad small. I was so excited about the success of this recipe that I told my husband I wanted to share the good news and extra containers of Natural Deodorant with everyone - and he promptly gave me one of those sweet if you do that you might not have any friends or family who will claim you any longer looks. Not that he would be one of those friends and family. I think. I hope.

Anyway, if you have made it this far and did not click 'close' when Homemade Deodorant first hit your eyes and if you would like to give this recipe a try. . .you can quietly and discreetly leave a comment at the bottom and let me know you are game. By the way, did you know that aluminum has been connected with breast cancer? And no wonder, when you consider the position of your arm pits on your body. { is a great place to start any research.} Am I trying to shame you into trying this recipe? Perhaps, but it is only because I care about your health.

Just leave the word 'Lemongrass' in your comment and NO ONE will even know what you are talking about. I'll figure out how to get one of these samples to you, along with the recipe I used.

Have a beautiful weekend!
P.S. Even if you are not interested in 'Lemongrass' and want to leave me a note to let me know that, despite my granola-ness, you are still my friend it would make me smile. :-)

25 January 2011

{family style} Math

{ONE} chilly winter evening
{TWO} cozy Daddy arms,

{ONE} fun book and {TWO} bare feet

{ONE} happy family.
Let's review: 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 = Happy
This is how we like math the best around here!

22 January 2011


From our week. Nothing spectacular- just the ordinary wonderfulness of living this life God has given us.
Watching little toes stretching for the faucet - and grasping it- as we have grown up so much we don't need to use a step stool any longer.

Celebrating being fully potty trained and proud of it. A little too well trained we are thinking- he comes into our room several times a night to let us know he has gone to the bathroom, or wants help to do so. Langston hit 3 and he seriously grew up overnight with all of the new things he has decided to do. Such as learning to read - but I'll save that for a different post.

Bob taught Ryland how to grind meat using the meat grinder my Grandparents gave us when we were out to Washington last winter. {Thanks!} They turned deer into burger for our tacos and chili this week.

I have finally found a substitute teacher for our school! All joking aside, it has been a win-win situation to have the older brothers teach Literature to our pre-schoolers. For the 20-minutes preceding the official start of our school day, Braden and Tarver read books and Bible lessons to Ryland and Langston and will have them answer questions {quiz time!} and narrate back what they have learned. This is also a great time for puzzles or short games. Not only are relationships being strengthened, but Braden and Tarver are getting experience teaching and Ryland and Langston are being filled with wonderful words and stories. During this time I am able to start laundry and make sure any frozen ingredients for supper are out and thawing.

This week the focus of our studies has been Russia. This week I also learned that Ryland can write a lot more than I thought he could, as he sat next to Tarver and did his Eastern Hemisphere Explorer {or his own version of it}. I was surprised to peek over his shoulder and find the word Russia at the top of his paper. Along with a picture of St. Basil's Cathedral in St. Petersburg. And some bad guys rushing out of the cathedral with swords drawn. . .and by the time he was finished with his paper there was an entire battle scene drawn. So fun!

The Homeschool version of the Study Buddies program.

This week I also tried to find opportunities to snap a 3-year old photo of Langston. Why is this task of taking a serious picture so hard for our family?

I think this one may be a keeper, though I'm worried about the lack of space on the left side. We'll see what happens when I have to crop it for an 8 x 10!

Though we were in Russia this week, our lessons from Mongolia last week have carried over somewhat. Tarver constructed a yurt in our basement and has slept in it the past few nights. Ryland and Tarver have been playing khans together and having a great time.

I spent some time thinking about what our school year will look like next year. This was probably the easiest session of lesson planning I have had in all the years we have been home educating- perhaps I've finally got the swing of things? We use Sonlight for the spine of our studies, but I always evaluate what is best for our family and find different things to study accordingly. Bible Study, Science and Language Arts are where I tend to stray from Sonlight, hence the need to do some planning and shopping around.

This is also the time of year for garden planning and I am so excited to start working outside and planting this Spring. I inventoried our seeds - that was quite a project - and figured out what seed we should order.

If you are looking for some good gardening books, these are a few of my favorites which I have used for several years and highly recommend.
Of course, there was a lot more that went on around here that I don't have pictures for. Everyday things such as laundry and meals and correcting math papers. Fun things like laughing hysterically with Ryland and Langston while watching Gus-Gus and Jack in Cinderella. Having an evening out with dear friends and fellow homeschooling moms Amy, Joan and Fran. Talking about raising little boys with another sweet friend, Melissa. Finding a recipe for homemade deodorant {no kidding!} Eating coffee ice cream with my husband after the kids have gone to bed.
I have so much to be thankful for, and I am.

19 January 2011

First Real Snow

We've been enjoying our first real snow for a week now- and it is snowing more as I type this.

{Look at the perfect little flake on my glove!}

{Empty nest}

18 January 2011


{Otherwise known as the episode in which I lost my invitation to decorate the guys' workshop. Oh, wait. . .I wasn't invited in the first place. Yes, the night I interfered with the excitement of getting a new bandsaw for the workshop!}
Tarver, practicing his sarcasm skills. Also his 'freak-mom-out-'cause-she's-sure-we'll-cut-our-fingers-off' skills. {Psst. . .fake blood would help, Tarver!}

I'm not exactly sure why my husband wasn't excited when I crashed the new bandsaw party and announced I had something for them to hang up in the shop. Sweet of him to put up the housewarming, or shopwarming, gift I made for my guys anyway. {I haven't checked back to see if it still hangs. . .}

I have to admit, though, I am warming up to the idea of more finger-threatening power tools around here as I hear plans for garden benches, book shelves and various kitchen blocks.

The Mom in me will always be a bit protective over these fingers, though. I had to leave my influence in the workshop or it just wouldn't have felt very mom-ish of me!

17 January 2011

A Date With. . .

My craft corner. Sometimes, I just need to go and put paper with paper and make something pretty. It happens a lot in the winter.

A steaming cup of tea and my favorite slippers are necessary companions. Quietness is a rare treat in this home. I love the bustle and blessing of energy that unfolds within the walls of our home every minute of every day- but sometimes my head and heart yearn for the thinking kind of quiet.

Withdrawing to the quiet of my craft corner is how I can re-energize and find focus again. Creation always needs a purpose, and the other night I just had to make something for a dear friend. After years of praying for another baby to grace her arms, she has just found out that she will be Momma, for the third time, this summer.

Wall art and bookmark for her Bible seemed appropriate. And these words from the book of Samuel were the first to pop into my heart when she shared the news.

This week my Mom will celebrate a birthday and so I also set to work creating some sewing themed items for her. If you know of my Mom, you will know how appropriate the sewing theme is for her.

These little sewing machine tags should be perfect for her to attach to her sewing projects when she offers them for sale.

I'm so thankful for my husband who understands this need for me to get away and create and plugs in my electric foot heater so I don't freeze in my craft corner. He also puts my little guys to bed {bath and all!} and keeps the older boys safe in the workshop as they spend time working on their crafts. I guess we all have a bit of creating to get out in this family!
How are you spending these long, cold winter days?