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Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Son's Journal Entry

I'm not trying to brag, but I just have to share my son's journal entry with you all! He journals every day for school, and wrote this very sweet poem! I'm not so sure that it's true of me, but I sure am delighted with his sitting down and writing it!

Mothers
Mom's are sweet and very neat and love you all life long
And when the moon is up and the sun is down they sing you a lovely song.
They'll make your favorite food
And put you in your favorite mood.
I'd love mine back if I were you
Because kids take for granted the miraculous things that they can do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pole Bending!

I'm attempting to upload videos for the first time. Hope it works! This one is of Molly participating in the pole bending event with the Sawtooth Mountain Riders during the Cook County Fair this past weekend. It was so much fun for both of us! She's been having lessons for about 2 months this summer. It's been so much fun developing a friendship with her around our mutual love for horses. The horse is named Klu. He's a sweet little Arabian gelding whom Molly is quickly falling in love with. I'm enjoying watching them progress together!


video

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Molly's Riding Lessons

Molly's had the opportunity this summer to take riding lessons with a good friend of ours, "The Artist" from The Artist's Wife blog that I follow. I am just so pleased that she has this opportunity, and thankful to Joel for using his time and skills this way.
Molly backing up with Clue

Molly & Clue



I love that Molly gets to ride a great horse like Clue. He's a beautiful gray Arabian. He's also gentle and calm, but still athletic enough and seems to want to please his rider. I'm praying for a long partnership for the two of them! I'm also praying for safety!

When I was a girl about Molly's age, it was my fondest wish to have a horse of my own. I even did for a while. I have to say, though, that it's even more fun to see Molly enjoying this experience! God is so very good!

As a post script, please continue to think about helping me with my research report (see the last post). Send the link to anyone you feel might be interested in sharing their stories with me. I can't wait to start reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do you want to help me with a research report?

To all mothers and expectant mothers,

I am doing a research report on the Significance of Birth to the Mother for a course I'm working on. I'm studying to become a Certified Labor Doula. A labor doula is a person who is specially trained to provide support to a woman and her partner during labor and delivery, and immediately postpartum. She stays with her clients throughout the birth, helping them to have a birth experience that is as close to what they desire as possible. The answers I receive will help me to form a better understanding of what is important to a woman during her labor and delivery, what women have found helpful in enhancing the birth experience, and what has been harmful. In answering these questions, think about what has been helpful and harmful to you and or your baby physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and how birth affected you in these areas. Thank you very much for any information that you can share with me. Please skip any questions that you don't wish to answer. Any information that you choose to share with me will remain completely anonymous.
Please copy the body of this post into a new email, and send your answers to mybirthexperience@gmail.com or send your answers by mail to:
My Birth Experience
c/o P. Meyer
P.O. Box 101
Hovland, MN 55606

Or, if you wish, please make any comments directly to this blog post.


Please choose your age category;
19 or younger, 20-25, 25-30, 35-40, 40-45, 45-50, over 50 _________

The age category you were in at the time of your first birth was: _________

How many times have you given birth? ________

Are you currently expecting? ________

Thinking back to the time you were expecting each baby, use this space to explain how you hoped birth would affect you, what you envisioned for yourself, partner and baby. There are no wrong answers. I want to hear whatever you thought about how it might affect you positively. Also, share any especially positive things that occurred during your pregnancy. Maybe someone did or said something that had a positive impact on you during that time.

Next, thinking back to the time you were expecting each baby, please describe any negative thoughts or feelings you had about birth. Also, share any especially uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences that occurred during your pregnancy, and the negative affect they had on you. Maybe someone said or did something that you perceived in a very negative way at the time.

Use this space to share as much about each birth story as you'd like to. Be as detailed as you wish. Please include information about each of the following and how these things affected you; the support you had during each birth, where each birth occurred (not specifically, but hospital, home, car, etc...), how you felt about the treatment you received by any doctors, nurses, or labor support people who were present, including your spouse, how you felt about pain medications and what you were encouraged to do about any pain that you experienced, and your postpartum experience, nursing experiences, and absolutely anything else you wish to share with me. Every detail you want to share will be helpful to me. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with me! I appreciate your participation.
P. Meyer
Doula in Training

Monday, May 18, 2009

Eli Saylor

Hi everyone! I have still been really busy and had no time to post, but I have some praises and requests to share again.

Praise to God who knows all our needs, and is really showing His faithfulness in my sister's marriage. He is really working in His wonderful ways. Please continue to pray.

My cousin is home, and the baby (a BOY, not a girl, who's name is Christopher Martin) is still tucked away and growing! She is doing much better, and I've had the opportunity to learn to change the dressing in her incision. It is healing fast, and she is feeling well. I am also going to be with her at the birth of Christopher (Lord willing) as her doula. This will be my first "official" experience as a doula. I am in the process of earning my certification, and this is one of the 3 births I must attend and have evaluated to qualify for certification. Please also pray about this! Thanks!

Those who have followed Kayleigh's Story since my last posting know that she was ushered into the arms of the Great Physician, and her healing is now complete. Please pray for her family as they cope with their loss. You can still find her story in my blog list.

And now, please pray for Eli Saylor, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/elisaylor/guestbook/ He is one year old, and suffering complications from an e-coli infection. His kidney's are holding on to toxins that are causing them to kill his red blood cells. Please pray, and feel free to leave encouragement in his guest book! His family attends the same church as my sister and her husband. He also has a 3 year old brother who is being cared for by another church family.

Thank you so much for your prayers. There has been so much going on in my life lately, and I appreciate knowing that you all are praying with me. In Jesus!
-Patty

PS one last thing- My little sister (17) is going to be living with my family for the summer. Please keep us all in your prayers as we live together. Please pray that God will give grace and wisdom as Dan and I life out our faith with her, and incorporate her into our family life. We love having her with us, and she really blesses us a lot. We want it to still be true after 3 months! :)

THANKS!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prayer requests

This is going to be a quick post. I've been pretty busy lately, but I have a few prayer requests to share with you.

My sister and her husband are struggling right now. Please pray for God's healing in their marriage, and financial provision.

My cousin (who is around 33 weeks pregnant with a baby girl) is in the hospital recovering from a ruptured appendix, and hoping to keep the little princess safely tucked inside for a few more weeks at least.

Also, please see the blogs I follow and check out Kayleigh's story. Pray for the Freeman's and another miracle for little Kayleigh!

Thank you so much. Hopefully things will simmer down here soon, and I can post again! I really appreciate all your prayers and friendship!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter at Grandma and Grandpa's

I have no idea why I never finished this post, but here are a few pics of last Easter. I stuffed plastic Easter eggs full of candy, and Stef and I hid them. The kids had a blast searching for them. It was a lot of fun, especially since the Mollhoff family was able to make it. My kids enoy so much the time they get to spend with their Mollhoff cousins. Now that it's almost Easter again, I have no idea what else I was going to say about this! :) Blessed Easter 2010 to you all! HE IS RISEN!!









The Weather Today...

Okay, okay. So, I was a little hasty... Joel P. doesn't have to miss winter for so long, I guess!
It is beautiful, I must say! I guess I'll go get all the winter clothes again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unexpected, But I Should Have Known!

Just a quick update - remember how I told you I'd put away all the winter clothing? Well, there are at least 3 inches of brand new fluffy stuff outside. It's been snowing all day. There could be 6 inches by morning. A woman's heart plans her way, but the Lord directs her steps. It's in Proverb's some place, I think. Yep. How true it is...
The kids are having fun, though! I'm glad the winter things had only made it as far as the laundry room! I'm back at square one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mud Season

These are old pictures, but some of my favorites of Sam as a little guy. It sure enough is mud season! Until today, I've had 6 pairs of winter boots, 6 pairs of tennis shoes, 6 pairs of mud boots, about 30 odd hats and the same number of mittens, at least 6 winter coats, at least a dozen jackets and sweaters....all this in my 5 x 5 entry way!!! Today I decided enough was enough. No more winter coats, boots, mittens or hats. Hopefully I won't have to take them out of storage until next November. Ahh...5 clutter free months! Is that too much to ask???
Well, maybe...







Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Learning To Write a Sentence


This is Hattie's "sentence story". She's at the point where she's ready to learn to write sentences. To help her along, I told her that she was going to write a sentence story. That seemed somehow more exciting than writing a sentence. She made up her story and drew the picture. I wrote the sentence, and she is in the process of copying it. I thought her picture was so cute, I had to share it. It's so exciting to see your children learning. I love this stage, when they learn to read and write. Fun fun!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cardboard Box Fun

I haven't come up with anything stupendous to write about lately, so I thought I'd share a few pictures of the kids playing with cardboard boxes. This kept them busy for half a day, at least! They did all sorts of creative things. Puppet shows, race cars, campers, forts...It was great fun!










Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our Vacation

We had a really great vacation, with no trouble at all. Thank you, God! We had a wonderful visit with my Dad and step Mom, and brothers. We stayed at their house, and Jason and Hannah stayed there too. For the most part, it all went really well. The only negative aspect was the 5+ lbs. I gained eating my step Mom's good food! She's from the Philippines, and food plays a very important role in her culture. If you love her, you'll eat!! So, I did, and now I've got 5 more extra, extra pounds to loose. Too bad what took a week to put on will take so much longer to get off! But it was real good, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sweet rice, fried rice, rice noodle stir fry...Mmm! We enjoyed wonderful warm weather, and a hike in Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge. It was great! We heard frogs singing, crickets chirping and birds singing. We saw beautiful vistas, birds building nests, flowers of all kinds, blooming fruit tees, and GREEN! Ahh, it was a treat!

This is one of the "robot/statue thingy's" that we saw at the Westward Expansion Museum at the base of the St. Louis Arch. We spent a day in St. Louis with the whole family. The museum was fun, and these talking, moving statues are cool, but a little creepy. They seem so real sometimes!
Here's something you'll want to know before you visit the Arch! When you go into the building, you go through security just like you would at the airport. You have to empty pockets, remove jackets and belts, jewelry, etc. and put these things along with any bags, cameras, cell phones...you name it, into a box, then go through the detectors. Wow! That was a little crazy with all 5 of the kids (my little brother Shane, who is 5, was with us).
After all that, if you want to ride the tram up to the top of the Arch, you have to buy tickets and wait until your turn comes. For us, the wait was 2 hours when we got the tickets. Then if the tram doesn't break down before your turn, you take it to the top about 20 minutes after you get into the first line. If it breaks down, though, you will wait so long that at least a couple of kids will be in tears, and you'll all be crabby and hungry. The adults will be trying to act like they're having fun waiting in line, but one look in those wildly dilated eyes will tell the truth!
It was worth it though, to say we've been up in the Arch now. The view is pretty amazing, as well as the structure itself.

This is what the tram car that you ride in looks like. These are the 5 little crazies that were with us.



Here's the Arch. WOW!
Also in St. Louis is the museum of science and technology, which has an omni-theatre. We watched the Grand Canyon Adventure. WOW! I jumped nearly out of my skin a couple of times, and so did Dani! But by the end, she was just to pooped and fell asleep in my arms. That's one of the sweetest experiences of all! I LOVE it when she falls asleep on my lap! It's so rare, since she's been moving as fast as she can ever since she was born.



This is grandpa playing with his grand kids (and his son, Shane).


Here's the fam at a rest stop on the way down to Dad's. We were in central Illinois somewhere, and it was SPRING! It was 65 degrees, and we were all thrilled, and thinking it was hot! There were crocus blooming, and some other flowers we didn't know. Dan thought maybe Trillium. We thought we were in paradise! There was GREEN! And fruit trees blooming in white, pink and purple. Oh! And I won't ever forget the magnolias! They were so beautiful! All in all, we had a wonderful time!
We also stayed at a water park on the way home (in Owanana, MN at the Holiday Inn). I didn't take any pictures (batteries were dead, and I just didn't have the energy to find any more). It was a blast though, so if you're ever traveling through Owatana, check it out! That's about all I can think of for now!

Winter again?

We're back from vacation! I thought I'd share a couple pictures of the weather that greeted us upon our arrival. We came from 60 and 70 degree weather to this! This was totally unexpected since when we left home spring really seemed to be around the corner. I guess it's a little farther around the corner than we thought. The kids are enjoying it though, and I am trying to make the best of it. I put on some Christmas music this morning, and I'm making soup now!





Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grinding Your Own Grain for Fresh Bulgars, Meals and Flours

Hi all! I thought I'd share some pictures of my grain mill attachment at work. I have a professional series Kitchen Aid mixer with the grain mill attachment. It works wonderfully. I grind my own wheat, soy, rice, quinoa, barley, corn, flax, rye...any grain I want to cook or bake with. I grind an ice cream pail size bucket of wheat, rye and corn at a time and keep it in the freezer. This helps ensure that the vitamins and minerals are still in the grain when I use it.


wheat berries in the mill


fresh ground wheat


It takes about 20 minutes to fill the bucket with fresh flour.
We'll be heading out on a vacation soon, and I'm taking a vacation from the computer as well! Please check back the beginning of April. I hope to post some fun family vacation pictures.
We've received Hattie's butterfly house, and in April I hope to order the Painted Lady larva. I'll be sharing some pictures of that project as well. Hopefully you'll be able to participate virtually in this project!
Molly has stated that she intends to raise some praying mantises. I'm still thinking about that, but we'll probably end up with some eventually. It does seem like a truly fascinating project.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Word About Gluten Free Cooking

I wanted to put up this link for my gluten free friends. I'm really into the whole grains, and thankful that I don't have any food sensitivities to deal with here at my house. I can not imagine all that I would have to change if I were in their shoes. Just about everything about the way we eat, I guess. The Gluten Free Girl would be one of my starting points, for sure. She and her chef husband make eating gluten free into an adventure of the best kind! It's also one of the only (in fact the only so far) places I've found recipes that aren't entirely based on pricey mixes.
Deanna and Renee, I admire what you're doing for your families. You two are a couple of my favorite moms! Hang in there! My prayers go up for you! Through Christ you can do all things! About Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl .

Clara's Depression Bread

I made Clara's depression white bread (see yesterday's post, and follow the link), with the addition of salt. Since I was experimenting I made only one loaf. I used about 3 1/2 cups of flour (white unbleached) and 1 1/2 t. each of salt and active dry yeast. I added the salt to the flour, and did the rest of the recipe as Clara did. The dough was very fun to work with, and the bread was delicious. Sort of reminiscent of Italian or French bread. This is a real treat. For myself, I can't get over the fact that it offers so little in the form of nutritive value, so I plan on doing some further experimentation with adding whole grains to this recipe.
The finished dough (I always forget to take pictures during the process, but you can watch Clara's video).

I pushed the air bubbles out of the dough with my hands...


...rolled it into a loaf...


...and let it rise covered in the bread pan. I saw that Clara didn't grease the pans, so I didn't either. That was a first for me, but it came out perfectly!


Here's the finished product! Enjoy!




Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meet the Hillbilly Housewife

You can meet the Hillbilly Housewife here Cook Some Depression Era Meals - Frugal Challenge Monday Hillbilly Housewife Blog. I highly recommend it! She's put together some wonderful material, and has a great website. You can get lots of great frugal living tips here, like this post, giving some great bread ideas. I'm always looking for ideas on using stale bread. The one drawback to making homemade bread is its relatively short shelf life. Sometimes it gets stale before we're through with the loaf. Maybe this cooked bread idea will help!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Best Pancakes Ever (according to Sam)

Yay! I think I figured out how to put the text at the top!

We just ate what my family (especially Sam) says are the best EVER pancakes. Thought I'd share the recipe with you all. It is only found here, folks. It was an original creation. This is enough to feed a family of 6 with some left over.





Buttermilk Apple Sauce Pancakes


3 3/4 cups flour (I used unbleached white)

2 T wheat germ

2 T flax seed meal

4 T. brown sugar

4 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

2 t. salt

4 eggs, beaten

4 c. buttermilk

3/4 c. unsweetened apple sauce


In large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the buttermilk and applesauce. Mix thoroughly. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add to liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly, but don't over mix. Just until lumps are removed. Fry as you would for any pancakes. No fat is needed on a non-stick surface.

We used buttermilk that was left over from our butter making process a few days ago (that I talked about in a previous post). I'm not sure if that was the secret ingredient or not, but they were wonderful pancakes! You can substitute for the buttermilk by adding a few tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and allowing it to curdle slightly.





Here's a pic of the wonderful pancakes.




The family enjoying their pancakes!



Yes, hubby needs a haircut. The frugal woman of the house will get right on that, and I'm sure it will look like all the other frugal haircuts in the family. Here, frugal can read cheap, because we're really NOT living more on less here. I need to learn to give a haircut! Does anyone know of a good blog to learn from? :)



Be sure and tell us how you like the pancakes!

Lentil Chili

The Hillbilly Housewife has a great recipe for a truly inexpensive (I think I'm going to wear out the word frugal, so I'm looking for a replacement) and delicious recipe. Here is where you find it Lentil Chili. Enjoy!

Meet April

If you haven't yet, you have just GOT to be introduced to April. She's a laugh a minute, and has the greatest sense of humor. Plus, she has some good frugal living advice, and some excellent recipes. I highly advise trying Bierrocks. They're wonderful, with or without mustard! Here's some great coupon information. I admit that for a frugal stay at home mom of 4, I've really neglected looking into the coupon thing. Maybe this will get me started! April Showers: Let's figure out this coupon thing. Enjoy meeting April and her family, and I'm sure you'll thank me for introducing you!

The Butterfly Princess (and, help! I want the text to appear above the photos, but I can't figure out how to get it there!)

the butterfly hair barrette

the butterfly pin

the butterfly nose ring


butterfly wonder


We'd heated up our garage for a few days, and must have confused a butterfly, causing it to hatch. Dan gave it to Hattie, who absolutely loves it. She's done nothing but carry it around for 2 days now. She used her birthday money to buy a butterfly house online from Insect Lore (http://www.insectlore.com/). It will come with a certificate for some caterpillars to raise and observe. We'll request those when the weather in warm again, so we can let them go after observing them for a while.
I didn't realize that she thought we'd push the order button, and suddenly there would be a knock at the door and someone would hand her her butterfly house. She's had 3 major episodes of tears because her beautiful butterfly will be dead before it gets a butterfly house! Children are resilient, though, and she's looking forward to the day when she will have some painted ladies to enjoy. I thought this would also make a good home school project. Maybe my older children can write some reports on what they observe, and Hattie can draw some pictures and add some captions. Look for the results in a couple of months!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Homemade Bread and Fresh Churned Butter!

Today the kids and I baked bread (honey whole wheat) and made fresh butter! It was so much fun to watch their faces as the butter began to form and float in the butter milk. I wish I'd have been thinking of this blog when I was doing the project. I hope to have step by step photos if we do this again. We decided to make butter because we had been reading Little House in the Big Woods, by Laure Ingalls Wilder. When I was a girl my mother did the same thing with us. I have warn memories of time spent with Mom as she read through the entire set of Little House books, as well as the James Herriot series. Not until I was grown did I realize how much editing Mom must have done with those Herriot stories to make wholesome reading for us!
We make at least 4 loaves of bread each week, and I haven't bought a store loaf for about 3 months now. I'm pretty sure I'm saving money this way, but it's well worth it even if I'm not. I love making bread! There's just something about it...maybe it's the way I feel connected to the pioneer women of our country, or the good feeling I have providing something wholesome and satisfying for my family, or the comfort I find in the process. I LOVE touching dough. Kneading, rolling, and shaping is so relaxing to me. I plan to add some recipes and photos of bread baking soon, and possibly I'll also document some butter churning. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Birthday Season!

We entered into birthday season after New Years. We're 2 down and 2 to go! Strangely, we have a really fun birth order/birthday order pattern in our family. The first born was born in April, the second in March, the third in February, and the fourth in January. Pretty cool, I think! Here are a few birthday photos of the youngest on their special days.


Danielle, 4 yrs. with the cake Mom made, and the cake her 10 (almost 11) yr. old sister made.

Hattie, 6 yrs. with the cake Mom made, and the cake she made herself!

2 more birthdays to go, 2 more cakes, 2 more special days! We usually give the birthday child the day off from school (Isn't home school great!), and let them choose the dinner we have. They also get the day off from chores. This year is going to be tough, because I'll be loosing my "right hand girl" for a whole day!! Molly's gotten to be a real help around here!

What makes your children feel special on their birthdays? Let us know about it! Your good ideas are always welcome!

Homemade Laundry Detergent, 3 cents a load!

Some of my friends have expressed interest in the homemade laundry detergent recipe that I use, so here it is. My sister gave it to me, and I've been using it for a few months now. It costs about 3 cents a load to use, and seems to work just fine for my family. It creates very little suds, but cleans well, making it ideal for front loading machines as well. Enjoy!

The ingredients!

First, save yourself a couple of clean gallon milk jugs. They work well to hold your prepared laundry detergent.

To make a batch, you will need;

1/3 bar of fels-naptha, grated
1/2 c. super washing soda
1/2 c. borax

(I was able to find all of these at Super One, but not at Walmart.)

Fill your gallon jugs with warm water. In a stock pot that will hold at least 2 gallons, pour about 6 cups of the warm water from one of the jugs. Add the grated Fels-Naptha and heat until the soap is melted. Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved and remove from heat. Add the rest of the warm water. Stir and allow to cool to luke warm. Pour your detergent into the gallon jugs. You're ready to wash! When cool, the ingredients will separate slightly. Simply shake your jug before using and all will be well! Use 1/2 cup for an average size load of laundry.


Here's one more money saving tip I've been trying out. It's for homemade dishwasher detergent. I found it at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com . Mix equal parts borax and baking soda. Use 2 tablespoons per load in your dish washer. I've actually only done 3 loads, and I'm not quite decided about it. I like that it's a safer, greener, CHEAPER alternative, but I'm not sure how well it works yet.

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you if you try these recipes. Leave a "review" in my comments, and I'll be sure to publish it so people know what you think. Also, I'd be happy if you'd share any of your "frugal" tips with all of us! I'm hoping to share some frugal food tips/recipes with all of you soon! Happy laundry day to you all!