An Autumn Celebration!

Strewn toys, sweet drawings on my refrigerator, empty treat trays, decorations (that aren’t placed just so anymore), and frosting bowls with finger trails in them. Signs of a day well spent.

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Micaiah wanted to celebrate this beautiful harvest season. “A fall party!!” he kept saying.

He planned games, made decorations and wrote his own invitations complete with a handprint turkey.

He was kind enough to let Adriel choose and make treat recipes (with help from Grandma of course).

We practiced welcoming guests, taking coats and offering beverages.

I am one proud mama. I set out one decoration and helped a few mothers understand what the mysterious turkey card meant that their child brought home. Grandmas helped with the cookies. Other than that, this was a kid-thrown fling. How cool is that?!

It was a time of enjoying friends and showing love.

Blessed, I feel. (How Yoda was that? Sorry)

How To Know If He’s a Keeper

This is for all you single ladies, aspiring/new dairy cow owners and anyone else who might want to chuckle at my misery.

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Milking – Thank you Cow Can’t Kick contraption!

Sunday evening I had my new dairy cow “home” for 24 hours. Lambda expressed her discontent at my milking technique by kicking the bucket and dancing around. Finally, for whatever reason (probably something I did wrong because let’s face it: I’m a nube.) she kicked me. We’re not talking about kicking the bucket over and nicking my hand. This was a carefully aimed karate chop that got me in the forehead, the arm and the thigh all in one foul swoop.

I proceeded to holler at my husband, who is currently nearing deaf old man status due to a couple of ear infections. After 5 yells, or something like that, he saunters over holding the baby and asks how it’s going. I don’t even remember what I said, but it was something like, “It’s not going! I just got kicked in the fricking head!!”

I turned into a soppy puddle of emotions. I apologized over and over because I thought for sure I couldn’t possibly milk that monster. He asked if we just needed to get a milk machine. That is after all what she’s used to. My response, “We need a freaking craigslist add, that’s what we need!”

Apparently my colorful language is lacking.

All evening Nic kept telling me I can do this. You need to know that I have a massive propensity to romanticize things. My romanticized version of dairying didn’t really have a kicking cow in it. But even when I told myself it might not be quite that smooth, I pictured a little spilt milk here and there. Go ahead, shake your head. But the Bessie I imagined was much more…friendly

In actuality, I can count more sore spots on my body that the times I’ve spilt milk. (Although I do occasionally have to milk one teat onto the ground when I can’t get the bucket right under her udder.) So I cried on and off all night long. Here I had hunted down a milk cow, dragged my whole family 3+ hours away to get her and she was such a poop!

I was rolling all of these things in my brain-the inadequacy, the bumps & bruises, I felt like I heaped a burden on Nic because I was being a wimp and on top of it we had to get up at the crack of dawn to do it again.

I’m so so so so sorry.

That’s when Nic put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You need to know that I’m not frustrated with you. At all. I would do this by myself everyday for my family.

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And that ladies, is how you know you have a good one.

Just when I thought I was irresponsible, irrational and wussy (Ok, maybe a little on that last one) in swoops my super-husband to rescue me. He reminded me that we made a decision that we felt this was best for our family’s health and he was going to make sure it happened.

God made men and women equal but different. Both in his image, but with different gifts. Even though I smell like cow half the time, I feel like quite the tea cup these days: feminine, fragile, even pretty somedays (you know under the snot and…stuff). But ladies, you know you’ve got a good one when he makes decisions according to what is true and good and stands for them. I’m so thankful for my sturdy thermos and God’s grace which has given us nine beautiful years.

Two vessels, both filled with the Spirit of God, but oh so different in form and function. 

The Why: Food Edition

I’ve been thinking a lot about why we do the things we do. Why do we eat a certain way? Why do we homeschool? Why do we spend our time the way we do?

Some of this stems from comments made by others implying that they don’t approve of the way I spend my time and energy. Other times friends and family give us confused looks about our eating choices. I’m definitely not what you’d call a people pleaser. Like most people, however, I want people to think I’m making wise choices. I mean, if they have a valid reason I should do something differently, it would be silly to ignore their advice, right?

So, being an over thinker (my friends in high school used to say I was overanalyticalizationing, just to make me twitch), it’s helpful for me to have gone through all of the reasons I believe I’ve made the best Biblical and healthy choice. This way, when someone makes a comment or gives a look I don’t feel tossed to and fro. It’s easier to evaluate whether their differing opinion is helpful or not if I know exactly why I made mine.

Issue number one: Food.

We eat mostly organic (or foods produces in a similar manner). The goal is basically not to eat it unless it grows. Out of the ground, walking, swimming: grows. Not something that did grow but has been put in a box or a bag or a can. Not something modified to grow kind of like a super hero food. Because a super hero is really mutant (except batman of course!) And mutant food doesn’t really sound appetizing to me!

Of course this isn’t always how it works out. For instance, I don’t have the resources, time or energy to make all my own tomato sauce. Another one for us is tortilla chips, and tortillas for that matter. I have made our own tortillas, but I have a hard time getting a corn shell right and with two glutards in the house that’s an absolute must. We eat quesadillas, nachos, chips and salsa, tacos (you get the idea) almost daily. They’re all so easy that they make perfect go-to quick lunches! Obviously there are good things that don’t fall into the “grow”category such as minerals, but it’s been a helpful way to explain it to people.

I try to bake all of our own gluten free bread, but my husband likes to buy a good sprouted loaf for himself. We also prefer raw dairy products to pasteurized, homogenized “milk” that half of my family can barely drink (hence the dairy cow).

So the why: I didn’t jump on the organic fad when it started. It actually began with my celiac diagnosis. When I started paying very close attention to what I ate, I began to notice exactly what made me feel well and not-so-well. It obviously began with glutenful items as well as dairy while I was still healing. Then, because it takes a good chunk of time to figure out how to eat out when you have Celiac disease, I noticed when I returned to restaurants that I didn’t feel so well. Add a move that put us a 20 minute drive to the nearest restaurant and 30 to the nearest fast-food joint and let’s just say my menu planning skills got a work-out.

By this time, it wasn’t just me. The rest of my family had aching tummies, weird gas and let’s not mention the cranky kiddos. That’s when I became fixed on the issue: Our bodies were not made to process all of this “stuff” in our food. Stuff that’s not food. Stuff we can barely pronounce. Stuff that the FDA has deemed “safe”. Our digestive system has the amazing ability to break down organic (living) material and other things that God has given to keep us healthy and moving. But I believe that it doesn’t have the ability to break down pesticides, preservatives and other things that takes a laboratory to get into our food without negative repercussions on the body. Also by the time many great foods get to the shelf, much of the nutrient content has been either destroyed or made unavailable for our bodies to absorb.

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I started with this one because it’s easy for me. We eat “naturally” (as if that word has much meaning anymore) because we’ve experienced both sides of that fence. The grass is totally greener over here. :) I also think that the long term benefits will be great as well. I recognize that maybe everyone doesn’t agree with me or think it’s worth the effort. I don’t expect to convince any one of anything. (Although sometimes it does get difficult to listen to other people’s list of maladies while they slather margarine on their bread. I just pray for grace while they talk and ask God to help by brain-mouth filter to work properly.)

Anyways, I’ll leave you with one last video my husband found on hydrogenized oil. Whenever we wonder about something, I try to say, “look it up”. This one comes to mind every time I look at an ingredient and wonder what it is. I think about this video and just figure that it might have been engineered to taste good but I’m sure it won’t slide down my arteries nice and smooth. I’ll pass!

Some Moments

I’m a dreamer. I’ve made so many plans in my life! From music to medicine and far away places, I can romanticize anything. But in reality, my heart swells when I look around at the way I get use the gifts God has given me (and some things that I’m just plain terrible at) to serve my family and my community.

I find so much more joy in brewing a mean cup of coffee or a pot of tea for a neighbor than if I were working as a barista in the best coffee house in town.
…singing praises as my children all asleep…on any stage big or small.
…teaching my children all day every day…paid to teach other groups with vague hope that God’s Word would penetrate their hearts.
…making handmade things for my family and home…making an income with my craftiness.
…raising plants and animals to feed my family fresh ingredients…farming for an income.
…making fun fresh meals that my kids actually enjoy…on the Food Network ;)
…creating a peaceful environment by keeping an organized home…designing the best scandinavian cabins in the world.
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No matter what I could be doing with my time and energy, the opportunity to serve husband and children seems like the most beautiful thing in the world.

There is nothing else I would rather do.

To be honest, sometimes I forget. When a handful of people are all asking for something or there’s a whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet (again!) I forget how truly blessed I am. It’s so easy to forget about the vast realities of God’s faithfulness. Maybe telling all of you will be a good reminder for next time I have to break out the plunger.

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1

 

Happy New Year!

I don’t make resolutions. Even as a child, I thought they were pretty silly. ‘Why now?’ I used to think. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, quit as soon as you realize it. If you get lazy and give up, start again! If you think you should be doing something, chances are Jan 1st isn’t the first time you thought of it.

Well, I was a different kid. An old soul they used to call me. It’s ironic considering how much of my life revolves around the very young: children of my own, teaching within the church, oh and that youth pastor I’m married to keeps my house perfectly populated with young people.

Here are some things I’ll be working on this year, but for the record most of them have been in the works for several months:

  • My husband and I have been trying writing in cursive. PenMANship he calls it. Pending him making the first move, I think we’re going to write letters to each other, thereby improving our penmanship AND our relationship!
  • I’ve trying to be diligent about making my own bread, yogurt and kimchi regularly. Maybe the “resolution” spirit running around will even inspire me to add meats and cheeses to the mix. We’ll see :)
  • A thought occurred to me today that it might be helpful for me to record each day. This way, I can remain accountable to myself for what I accomplished each day, keeping me from idleness or simply doing things that are not worth my time. I doubt I could keep up with food to, but maybe recording what I ate would help prevent the accidental gluten exposure that keeps ruining several days at a time.

So there you have it, resolutions from someone who hates resolutions.

What bandwagon(s) are you jumping on? Anti-resolution? I want to hear about that too!

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you had a wonderful day with friends and family, in blood or even better, in Spirit.

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My husband and I hosted Thanksgiving for some of our dear ones. With our children we discussed the Puritan pilgrims and their quest to live a Biblical lifestyle in all things. As they gave thanks for God’s provision, so we discussed what we are grateful for. It turns out my son is mostly just thankful that God made animals.

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Feel free to post links to your table setting pictures or other thanksgiving inspirations , I’d live to hear about your holiday!

Potato Chowder (Dairy-Free Option!)

This is the kind of soup that warms you in and out on a dreary day. I don’t share much when I make a single batch.

For a small batch you will need:
3 medium sized potatoes
1 carrot (diced)
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Milk (I used Almond Milk and it’s delicious!)
1-2 tsp Oregano
1-2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp fresh Garlic
1 pinch Turmeric
Salt
Pepper
+/- 3 TBSP cornstarch

To Cook: Quarter potatoes and boil in a large saucepan. Boil until water has reduced to only a bit standing (1/2 inch or so) in the bottom. Mash potatoes until they’re “chunky” and add stock and seasoning. My seasoning measurements (as usual) are approximate, season to your liking! Use a whisk to combine potatoes and seasonings. Your potatoes ad stock will slowly become creamy mixture. While stirring, add milk. Add diced carrots and thicken with corn starch. Simmer for a while for better flavor!

Mummum Elli’s Nursing (or breakfast) Cookies (Gluten, dairy, egg and soy free)

For whatever reason, I struggle to keep my milk supply up. In my search for nursing or lactation cookies, I found myself frustrated with my options. I have Celiac disease (so grains are out the window) and my baby is sensitive to dairy and soy (bye-bye chocolate chips). The only one I found was VERY coconutty, not m fave. So, here’s my own recipe! These are much like one of my local bakeries “breakfast cookies” except they are heaped full of galactagogues. They turned out delicious. In fact, I ate quite a bit more than the recommended 1-2 per day. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c gluten free flour of your choice
  • 1 1/2 c gluten free oats
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 T brewer’s yeast
  • 1 tsp crushed anise or fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • 1 c raw sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 T natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs (or egg replacer if needed)
  • 1 1/4 c warm water

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Combine all dry ingredients and stir well
  • Add coconut oil, vanilla, peanut butter and eggs
  • Mix on med-low speed for 1-2 minutes
  • Continuing on low speed, slowly add water. Batter should be wet: not crumbly but not really gooey either
  • Line a baking sheet with tinfoil
  • Scoop one heaping tablespoon per cookie and squish down with a fork
  • Bake for 12 minutes, remove and let cool
  • Enjoy! This are a great treat or a quick breakfast, whether or not you have a milk supply to increase!