Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Garden Tour

This is a long post of pictures. If you were here, I would hand you a homemade latte and stroll out the garden with you. In lieu of that, pictures will have to do. Enjoy your cyber stroll. ;-)

This is a shot of Brian's corn. He grew some last year and it was so good, so he planted a few more rows. We really could stand to have a ton more, but we didn't have the space tilled up this year.

Northwest corner of the big garden.

Rows and rows of potatoes. Last year we increased our potatoes and Brian misunderstood the 'hilling up' part and continued to plop shovel fulls of soil on the plants. The little plants finally just gave up trying to grow and we did not have ONE potato, not even one! We laugh about this now.

Big bushy tomato plants.

Southeast corner of the big garden.

More rows of tomatoes all caged up.

This garden is the children's garden which includes our broccoli (and the worms) and some pickle cucumbers.

Another shot of the dreaded broccoli.

This is another picture of the children's garden from the other side. Each of the little children have their own box to grow whatever they want. Although, truth be told, this year we sort of commandeered some of their space for bush beans and pepper plants. We simply ran out of room, well, maybe I overbought. ;-)

That there is Farmer Josiah by his garden.

This really cool thingy is a bean tower that my precious Luke made for me last year for Mother's Day. In a short time it will be covered in bean vines and beans. We got a late start this year, the first planting didn't come up.

Not so much a garden picture, but two adorable children, right?

This is 'my' garden. I call the big garden, Brian's, and this one is mine! I love my Square Foot Garden. Everything is so neat and tidy and rarely any weeds. More on that in another post.

This box is loaded with kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. Oh, one kohlrabi snuck in there. I have some really cool varieties of kale this year. I planted too many collard greens. How many plants do we really need if Brian and I are the only ones to eat them?

Beautiful Brussel Sprouts. These are so easy to grow, at least they have been the last couple of years. In the fall we will have huge stalks loaded with cute little baby cabbages all over them.

Here we have more pole beans with carrots and weeds in front and back of them.

This year we have our "U" full of cucumber plants.

Just look at my beautiful 'cabbage patch'. This here is another reason why I love Square Foot Gardening. Do you see how neat and tidy they look, and how much I can grow in a small space? Next year I am going to do some cool pattern with the purple and green cabbages. We will be making a ton of lacto-fermented sauerkraut this year, Lord willing.

So pretty!

Beautiful heads of Romaine lettuce, more kale and chard and lots of various kinds of leaf lettuces.

Tons of Arugula,I will be sharing a recipe in a future post. There is also little basil plants and cilantro in this box. Behind the chicken wire are strawberries. Next year this whole box will be strawberries.

This is my herb garden right out side the back slider, just off the deck. I usually fill this with basil, basil and more basil, which I did this year. Also, a rosemary plant, thyme, lemon thyme, Italian parsley and more cilantro. I also have lots of lavender in this bed.

Isn't is so pretty? Don't you just love the smell of fresh lavender?

I had to get creative this year because I overbought and I was stuffing basil plants and rosemary plants in with my potted flowers!
I hope you enjoyed your stroll through our gardens. If you have pictures of your garden, I'd love to come visit. Leave your link so others and myself can come 'visit'.
One thing I wanted to point out is that I was still very, very sick this Spring and our gardens are a perfect example of the Lord restoring what the locusts have eaten. Never in my 'have to have everything planned out and done in advance' mind would I have thought we would be so blessed to have gotten in such a wonderful garden. Thank you, Father, for caring for even the tiniest of details.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eeeeewwww! Broccoli Woes

(Innocent enough, looking little broccoli head, but what lies in the head?)

We have grown broccoli for a couple of years now, but this year we decided to get serious. It takes a lot of broccoli to feed our family just one meal, so I multiplied the amount of plants we planted by about 10!
(here are many of our broccoli plants)

I remember the very first year we planted broccoli. I was so excited to harvest and steam some for our meal. When I saw all the green worms I just about got sick. In a panic, I threw it all away. When I told a dear friend she couldn't stop laughing. She said, 'you just soak it in some salt water and they all die and float to the top.' I didn't care, if they were dead or alive, I was not going to eat broccoli, ever, ever again!

Well, I have grown some and if I harvest the broccoli and clean it and put it in the fridge for a couple of days, hopefully so I can get the image of squishy green worms out of my mind, then I might be able to eat it.

(These are the amount of worms I got out of a handful of broccoli heads!)

One way to look at it is that those little critters are added protein. Eeeeewwww!

Next year I will cover them with a special cloth that keeps the critters from laying eggs and therefore keeps the worms out. For now, I do my best to keep the worms a secret, soak in salt water and close my eyes and eat really fast.

I know, I am such a wimp. I am in good company though, when I was reading about a natural insecticide that said it gets nearly all of the worms, my son said, 'nearly' is not good enough!

What about you? Do you grow broccoli? Do you have worms too? What do you do about them?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden Week!

This week I plan to post a bunch of random tips, ideas and pictures from the garden. Let me make this disclaimer first, though. I am in no way a professional gardener! To be honest, sometimes it is hard for me to keep things alive ;-) I have learned a lot over the years, but trust me when I say, I am NO professional and am still learning.

Lord willing, some of the things I hope to include are:

How to Harvest Basil (with a link to my pesto recipe)

A tour of our newly expanded garden

Broccoli Woes (Eeeewww!)

Easy to grow Spring Greens and an Easy Arugula Salad

Why I like Square Foot Gardening

I would love to hear from you and see pictures of your garden and any tips and ideas you have over the coming week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Emergency Mayo Update

I have had a few people share with me that when they did the stick blender version of my mayo it did not work. I too had several failed batches after a ton of successful batches.
I set out to discover why! Well, I began to lift my blender too soon, before the mixture had a chance to emulsify.
You need to keep the stick blender on the bottom of the jar! Until about 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture emulsifies. Then you can begin to lift it up and down a little to get all the oil mixed in.
Let me know if you try this and you have problems. I had to throw away $11.00 of good oil, so I know how frustrating it can be. I want you to succeed, so get back to me if you have problems, okay?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Are Going THROUGH!

I had a hard time believing and hanging on to this truth in the middle of my 'valley', (actually, valleys ;-) but it is true. Maybe you are having a hard time believing it too.

You are simple going THROUGH this valley. There is light on the other side. There will be morning. There will be joy and laughter. There will be light. He WILL take you through, never leaving your side. It might not feel like it. You might think you don't see Him, but He is there.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. (Ps. 23:4)

Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca) . . . (Ps. 84:6)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. (Is. 43:2)
Do you see the reoccurring theme in these verses?

I don't know what your 'valley' is, but I can tell you, you are going THROUGH it. You can trust His word. You don't need my testimony, but I will give it anyway. He has brought me THROUGH every single valley I have been in. Every single one! Some of those valleys have lasted for months and a few of them lasted for years. It doesn't matter how long, how dark, how deep, how hopeless, HE will take you THROUGH!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Do They See?

. . .and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

This literally popped off the page today and stirred in my heart an increased desire for others to recognize that I have been with Jesus!

When I come out of my room in the morning, after meeting with Jesus, do my children recognize that I have been with Jesus?

What about when I am out, do others, even strangers, recognize something different about me? Do they see Jesus in me?

I am reminded that I am part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, that I may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light! Also, that I may live my life in such a way the others may witness my good deeds and come to glorify God. (taken from 1 Pt. 2:9-12)

I am not suggesting some outward behavior that we think will 'show Jesus' to others. No, I am simply talking about being in His Word, renewing our minds, meditating on it day and night. As we do this, we are changed. We become more like Him. The more of Him (the Word) that goes in the more we will display the wonders of Him.

Father God, draw me to you, to Your Word. Create in me such a hunger and passion for Jesus, the living Word. Let me be a living epistle, Lord, read by all men. I love you, Father. In Jesus Holy Name!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Challenge For the Day

This verse gets me every time! Especially in the Amplified version. I'm thinking of my mothering today, but it surely can apply to ALL of life and ALL relationships. Read through it and see if you are not challenged too.

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it. (Eph. 4:29)

The word EVER pops off the screen to me. EVER?! Seriously? Seems clear, no foul, polluting or evil word, nothing unwholesome or worthless? How many 'worthless' things come out of my mouth on any given day?

Can I imagine my home today with only good and beneficial words coming out of my mouth? Only words that are beneficial to the spiritual progress of my children? Or husband? Or others?

I told you it would be a challenge!

Let me know what you think of this verse. Is it a challenge for you too?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dark Corners or Soul Sculpting

Today I have a post up over At the Well, Dark Corners or Soul Sculpting. It's a post on parenting that just might challenge you to realign your perspective. I know it did mine. Plus, you get to see 'never before seen' photos of some 'dark corners' of my home! Eeeeek! Please take a stroll on over . . . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Family Fun

This precious little guy is Levi, our grandson. We love him so much! When I was sick we hardly got to see him. Now that I am healed we have made every effort to see him more. The last two Saturdays he has spent the whole day with our family!! Both times I got to rock him to sleep, I know, woe is me ;-) He sleeps with his little monkey, it is too precious. His aunts and uncles simple ADORE him. He is getting so comfortable with us.
Here is Levi by the pool. We make our little ones have 'swimmies' on when they are on the deck, whether they are swimming or not. This way, if they fall in, we can just scoop them up. With so many children by the pool, this had been so helpful. No swimmies, no deck.

And this wasn't even everybody!! With such a large family it is always a party. We have such great memories of summer days spent by the pool. A full pool is a happy pool!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Did It!

I did it! I finally succeeded at making a nice soft sourdough sandwich bread! I mastered the art of soft and fluffy non-soaked whole wheat bread years ago. I make a wonderful ciabatta and some artisan style breads, but, soft sourdough sandwich bread has eluded me. I cannot count the amount of bricks I have made in the last several weeks. Sour tasting bricks! Barely even good enough for French Toast! Now that is bad.

Pictured here are one of the bricks I made today and one of the dreamy loaves I made. I literally jumped up and down with excitement. I don’t like to fail and was determined to keep going. Just this morning, my son questioned why I just don’t give up.

This is why!! Sweet success! He was not questioning anymore after trying a slice slathered with butter!

This is the recipe that finally worked for me, though I am pretty sure it was me, not the recipes ;-) I was trying to make it by hand and continued to fail. I found a recipe that uses a Kitchen-Aid, so I new I could make it in my Bosch.

I did it, Cindy! Yeah!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Earnestly Remembering

I was reading Deuteronomy 7, 8, and 9 yesterday and was soaking it up! I shared it with Brian and the children last night. We were in awe of what the Lord has done in our family, but more dramatically in my health. (here are the links about my healing)

These verses so struck me.

"You shall not be afraid of them, but remember [earnestly] what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt,

The great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you . . ." (Deut. 7:18-19)

It was with signs and wonders and the mighty outstretched arm that the Lord brought me out of my illness and darkness. My enemies were too big for me. There was nothing 'I' could do to bring healing to my body and mind. No diet. No amount of green smoothies. None of the thousands of supplements I took. Not one of the well over $10,000 could bring healing.

Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations (Deut. 7:9)

We marvelled at all He has done. We recounted how He delivered the Israelites with an awesome display of His power and how He did the same in my life. We joked about how He could have snuck the Israelites out one by one, but instead it was a miraculous deliverance. He also could have chosen to heal me slowly, over time, (which, by the way, is no less awesome and powerful) but for some reason He chose to heal and deliver me with an awesome display of His power and might, and with an outstretched arm.

We marvel, we revel, we praise and most of all we earnestly remember!

We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed. (Ps. 78:4)

(We had lots of errands to run last night, so we were going to miss our devotion time when we remembered we have a bible in the van! I highly suggest you have bible in your vehicle, you don't ever have to miss devotions again. And, they are all tied down, I mean buckled;-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Some Wonderful Links for Your Weekend

No real reason for these picture, beside the fact that these two men are among my most favorite people!! And isn't that little, curly haired thing adorable!!?

I was able to spend some lovely time with a true 'kindred spirit' yesterday. Her family is the sweetest! They will be the first to assure they are not perfect, but oh, how sweet their hearts are! The mama's name is Kathy and they are the Regan Family. Check out their blog, they are having an awesome give-away right now.

Kathy's daughter, Jenna, is a sweet spirited, Godly young woman who also has a blog. It is called Feminine Farmgirl. I think the name suits her perfectly. I believe if you have young ladies in your home they would be greatly encouraged at her blog.

Kathy's son, Josh also has a blog called, While I'm Waiting. This young man's tender and discerning heart is a treasure in this day and age. Just visiting with him I was wowed by the depth of his love for God and desire to be and do all God wants him to. If you have older sons who would like to connect with a 'like-minded' Godly young man, check out Josh's blog.

My dear friend Jenn, from a Country Girl's Rambling has an awesome post that reflects a struggle I have had over the years. I think I am finally free from this struggle, (I think ;-) You should check it out, maybe it will set you free.

A wonderful young and very insightful mama named, Angela had an awesome post this week that really spoke to my heart. Since the Lord had healed me and I have reflected back on the last 10 months and even years leading up to my illness, I have no desire to waste time and not realize the brevity of life. I just told my son last week that, "I have no idea how long I have on this earth and I want to be telling everyone I meet Who Jesus is and what He has done for me" Go read her post, you will see why it blessed me.

Another dear friend, Linda, from Prairie Flower Farms is having a wonderful party. She is the dearest woman. I have gone to her for prayer many times. She is the real deal. I think if she could hug on and love on, in person, all of the ladies who come to her, she would. I think she would fly around all over the country just to hug on a hurting one! You will love her!

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction, You have taken note of my life's distresses, and You have not given me into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a broad place.

(Psalm 31:7-8)

Friday, June 4, 2010

NO EXCUSES Mayonnaise!

I have put together a series of videos showing you just how easy it is to make your own mayonnaise without all the bad oils and chemicals that are in store bought mayonnaise.

If you can get a decent source of eggs, it really is so easy and tastes delicious. I would NOT recommend using regular, run-of-the mill store bought eggs. Most stores have organic eggs and some even have free-range eggs.

The basic recipe that I used for each of the videos is as follows.

Homemade Mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. white wine, rice or champagne vinegar

1. t. Dijon mustard

1 t. sea salt

dash of garlic powder, onion powder and sugar

1 1/2 cup of oil of your choice (I use a combination of sunflower and olive oil)

Just find the 'tool' you have in your home and watch that video. I now exclusively make my mayonnaise with my stick blender. I can have it mixed in as little as 28 seconds. I even make it in the jar I store it in. Super easy clean-up. I have made it several times in the blender and food processor. Both work equally as well. I have only made it by hand once, and it would not be my first choice as it is a little bit of work, but it can be done.

So, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES to not make your own mayonnaise and make this simple healthy change. Okay, you know I am kidding right? I am not putting pressure on you, just trying to make it fun and easy. If you are knee deep in toddlers, pregnant, sick and/or overwhelmed, please, by all means go buy the mayonnaise from the store! I will still love you, and actually, find you very wise ;-)

The first two videos have my sweet two year old in them helping me. So cute. And the last video features my second oldest son doing all the work!

If you choose to make your mayo in a blender, this one is for you.

Blender Mayo

For food processor instructions, watch this one.

Food Processor Mayo

If you are so blessed enough to have a 'stick blender', watch this one.

Stick Blender Mayo (a.k.a. Immersion Blender)
Make sure you keep the stick blender down on the bottom of the jar until you get about 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture emulsified. If you don't do this, it will not work. Ask me how I know!

If you are crazy or don't have a blender, food processor, stick blender, or live without electricity (which might qualify you for crazy ;-) watch this one.

Mayo Made by Hand

Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Little Battle at a Time

It is the funniest thing. The Lord seems to know just what battles I am going to have in any given day and He seems to equip me with His Word, my sword, that very morning. Hmmmm. (wink)

In the battle to take back my life, my mind, the Lord seems to be training me. As a new day unfolds, old lies try to resurface. I believe so I can deal with them and have victory over them, hopefully once and for all. That would be nice, wouldn't it? ;-)

I read this scripture yesterday and chose to meditate on it throughout the day. When I do that I write it out on a large note card and put it on the kitchen cabinet and read it throughout the day.

I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. (Ps. 32:8)

Little did I know that an old familiar lie would surface and need to be struck down with this truth that very day! I am having a little bit of a hard time navigating stepping back into my role here at home. It is so awesome to feel so good and so normal, but I feel as though I have been away for ten months. It is like having been gone for a long time and needing to step right back into the game. Trying to remember where we were, where we are now, what needs done, what takes priority, on the list goes. This could and has thrown me in the past.

Here are the lies. "I 'feel' so lost!"
And, "I don't know what to do, and I need to know right now!"
(we will get back to that 'need to know' in another post ;-)

Do you see how He prepared me? Read the verse again. I am NOT lost. The LORD will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go! He counsels me with His eye upon me! Do I need to 'feel' lost? NO!! I am not lost and the lost 'feeling' is a lie from the enemy trying to disturb my peace. This type of thinking would have sent me down a huge spiral in the past. This lie promotes anxiety and fear, two things that wreak havoc on the body. Not to mention, they are SIN!

There you have it, one little lesson in the bazillion the Lord is teaching me! Can you imagine if we did not have Him or His Word? I shudder at the thought.

For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the Rock save our God,

The God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect?

He makes my feet like hinds' feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.

He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
(Ps. 18:31-34)
Have you been meditating on lies? Do you take your thoughts captive? Do you know the Word of God says to take EVERY thought captive? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which lies you might be listening to. You might be surprised, I know I was blown away by all the lies I have bought into. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Marching Orders For Mama

My marching orders for today!

"Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:20)

I want my fruit to show Jesus!

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. (John 13:34-35)

How has Jesus loved me? How can I love the people (my children and husband) in my world that same way? What does loving one another like Jesus love me look like? He laid down His life. He sacrificed. He served.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Pt. 4:8)

How can I cover the multitude of sins I will surely face today with love?

BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. (Gal. 6:1)

If I am to be the Spirit led mama today, how shall I correct and restore those in my life today? With humility and gentleness. With intense love. Without attitude.

(This verse convicts me just now as I found myself scolding in a very harsh tone my daughter who was scolding a sibling in a very harsh tone. Hmmm, wherever did she get the idea to handle a situation like that?! I laughed out loud when I realized I was doing the exact thing I was rebuking her for! I repented.)

Off to be a 'doer of the Word', Lord helping me! I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, right?