Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off the Grid!

Well, we are going to head out camping in a few days so I just wanted to let you know that I will be off the grid for a while!  My greatest hope is that I will be able to 1.) find my camera and 2.) that Blogger will start allowing me to upload pictures again so that I can share our adventure when I get back!

Until then, for anyone interested, I just did a BIG post about my plans for homeschool preschool this fall over on R-Man's blog: The World According to R-Man.  So hop on over there and let me know what you think!

Make your bread with Bosch!

Alright- I have SERIOUSLY been wanting to get a Bosch mixer for 2 1/2 years now so that I can start making our own bread for my family.  I received a grain mill for Christmas but have yet to get the mixer and let's face it, with young kids I NEED the mixer to make this goal a reality- I simply can't do it by hand every week!  With a Bosch though- I think it is totally possible! 

Bosch mixers are the go-to mixers in the homemade bread making world because they have a large mixing bowl to accommodate enough dough to make multiple loaves AND they have the most heavy-duty motor so they don't burn out quickly with the stress of mixing dense dough.

Well, guess what- Deals to Meals is giving one away!!  I want NEED this mixer!  It would make such a difference in the way our family eats, thus making me feel like a better wife and mom!  See- it isn't just about bread- this mixer would change my life!  Okay, maybe that is a little overboard, regardless, I want this mixer!

If you haven't heard about Deals to Meals yet you should go check them out!  It is a pretty cool blog where they not only blog about current deals of food, but they create a menu out of them so that you can actually use the food you purchase!  I love anything that takes a little of the work of being frugal and meal planning for me!  Head on over and give them a gander!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stupid Blogger- Photo problems!

So, are any of you experiencing problems uploading photos in blogger with Firefox?  I am having serious issues (I can't see the photos to upload them!) and it is putting a serious kink in my blogging progress!  Erg!!  I was using Safari to add my photos, but with that being down as well, I am pretty much dead in the water!  And there are SO many posts I want to finish!!  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

**Update- a upgrade was launched tonight for Firefox and it finally works again!!  AND I found my camera!  Double plus!  Yeah- photos to come!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Have you heard of Tumblr?  I was just turned on to it by Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and I gotta say, I think I'm going to love it!  You know me, always making all these crazy posts of things that I love and want to share with you guys (and remember for myself!).  Well, now I can do that even more easily with tumblr and you guys can get an instant visual on what it is I want to show you!  Carisa does a great job of explaining it, so I will let you hop over to her post to get more details on what tumblr is, but if you want to check out my tumblr page directly here it is:

Granted- there isn't much to look at yet, but oh baby- just you wait!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Hidden Flame- Review

Oh, where do I even begin with this book?  Well, for starters, I finished it in a matter of days and am now sitting at my computer in the middle of the night having just stayed up far later than I intended in order to finish it, and was simply too moved to go to sleep!  I had to come tell you all to go get this book- right now!  Go on!  It was fabulous- trust me!

What was so fabulous?  It was beautifully written, for one.  The language Janette Oke uses and the cadence with which she weaves her words was spell-binding.  Beyond that, the story, which follows believers of the newly formed"sect" called The Way directly following Jesus' death, was so incredibly personal for, I believe, any believer.  The very real and true account which we have come to know in Acts is suddenly given new feet, but ones that follow the scripture ever so closely.

It was compelling and convicting to read of how the believers so fervently supported and encouraged one another in life and in following the Lord's direction.  They constantly turn to prayer for every need and question.  This book, though fiction, rocked my world and really made me look at how I handle my own faith.  The diligence and ongoing sense of following accurate priorities was humbling to read.

The only regret I have about reading this book is not having read the first book in the trilogy, The Centurion's Wife, first, since I am sure it would have been equally as wonderful!

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for honest review.  All reviews are my honest opinions!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day Babe!

Gotta brag on the Hubs for a while!  He loves these boys more than life itself!

He is a regular jungle-jim these days and he just lets them climb ALL over him!

Sometimes even when he is working in his office!

I love to see how much he completely enjoys and adores them!  The pride and love in his eyes is unbeatable!

And that love and pride goes both ways!  The boys (especially R-Man) LOVE to learn from him and work right alongside him and I love to sit back and witness it!

Jer- thank you for loving our crazy boys so much!  Thank you for so deeply caring about keeping their hearts and taking the time to teach them things.  Thank you for teaching them the meaning of hard work and showing them through actions just how much you love them!  You are a wonderful dad and I hope you have a wonderful day!  Most of all- thank you for giving these boys to me!
I love you and Happy Father's Day!

PS- Your gift will be arriving in a few days (Pagan Christianity? By Frank Viola)- I hope you like it!

PPS- I truly love each and every one of these pictures- they really show your love and joy with these boys! However, if there are any you want me to take down, please let me know!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bible in 90 Days- July- October edition!

Many of you may remember that I participated in the Bible in 90 Days Challenge hosted by Mom's Toolbox this past January- March. It was an amazing experience and gave me such a fresh perspective on the Word.  I had read almost the entire Bible before (all but a few chapters in Ezekiel!) but never cover-to-cover.  While I know that cover-to-cover isn't chronological, it still made things so much clearer and helped me gain my bearings a little bit better when reading- as in how people are related to each other, where they were and why certain things were happening.

It was such a profound experience for me that I of course can't help but highly recommend ALL OF YOU to get involved in the next ediiton of the challenge beginning on July 5!  By all of you- I really mean that!  I was so amazed with the last go around to see how many people who not only had never read the whole Bible before, but actually any of it, decided to participate.  In fact, the man who started the Bible in 90 Days, Ted Cooper, actually started reading the Bible in 90 days originally so that he could say he did it and move on, quite sure that it was a ridiculous book.  Half way through the Old Testament, however, his life had been changed!  So, even if you aren't "into it," just consider it!

Even more exciting, I will be a mentor for this go around!  I am very excited about this and have to admit that I feel a bit like a summer camp counselor!  I will have 5-10 readers that I am supporting and praying for, and while I am not planning on doing the full challenge again this time, I will be trying to follow along and looking more deeply into the verses I marked in my Bible with the first go around.

If you want to find out more info about the challenge hop on over to this post on Mom's Toolbox and get the details!  I really hope to see you around the challenge!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Unexpected Lessons in Hospitality

This evening, as we were preparing a later than normal dinner, a single friend of my husband's unexpectedly showed up at our door. 

My first reaction- surprise mixed with a tinge of annoyance. 

My house was far from tidy. 

Then, my shock mounted as my generous 4-year-old proceeded to invite our guest for dinner!  "Come on in Jeff!  Would you like to have dinner with us?  Mom, clear your computer off that side of table- he can sit right there!  Dad, we need another hotdog!  Jeff, do you like corn?"

I further swallowed my pride.

Dinner was a combination of left-overs and Hebrew National franks.

We only had three ears of corn, but now there were five of us (Lion Cub was just going to have a little of mine).

I took a step back and a deep breath.

How could I really be mad?  If anything I should be greatly humbled and exceedingly proud!  My four-year-old was instantly more hospitable than I ever thought to be.  When my thoughts would have jumped to how I could cleverly, but kindly, hint that we were about to eat dinner and our surprise guest should make his exit, R-Man quickly showed me just how easy my plans were to alter and that we did, indeed, have enough to share. 

More than that, it was simply the right and hospitable thing to do.  This man is not a believer and lives alone- the cliche stands, What Would Jesus Do?  He would do what my four-year-old did.  He would do more than speak to Him about the Lord- He would invite him in and serve Him a meal.

In the end, R-Man did manage to completely talk our guest's ears off (so he actually may have regretted accepting the invitation!  haha!), but his enthusiasm and joy really only seemed to bring a smile to Jeff's face.

Oh the lessons I learn from my four-year-old!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Down on the Farm!

This past weekend we finally decided to visit a local farm (Spokane Family Farm) that produces the BEST milk you will ever taste!  Their emphasis on quality, sustainability and genuine care for their animals in unmatched!  This farm has been up and running for about a year and a half and this amazing couple does all the work (or very nearly!!) themselves!  The husband (Mike) milks their 30 cows (all of whom have actual names) twice a day, and bottles 500 gallons of milk every other day, while the wife (Trish) mucks pens, cares for the calves and all the other animals, AND takes care of the two little boys they still have at home (they have 7 kids in total).  Talk about AMAZING!  (I know I am using a lot of exclamation points here, but bear with me because each one of them is deserved!)

Mike comes from three generations of dairy farmers and is so skilled and knowledgeable at what he does that he has actual taught the inspectors of their farm a few things along the way!  Mike is so knowledgeable, in fact, that he very consciously made the decision to not certify his farm as organic.  Being such a small farm, he understood that they simply would not be able to survive if they were forced to sit by and watch as sick cow die instead of treating her with antibiotics.  Instead, he is able to avoid many problems by quickly recognizing issues at their onset since he and his wife have such a close relationship with their cows, thus allowing them to make necessary changes and focus on prevention, then if need be, administer antibiotics.  Any cow treated with antibiotics is kept out of rotation until they are completely free of the drugs, but their life is graciously spared.  These cows are genuinely a part of the family!

In reality the product this farm is turning out is actually higher in quality and purity than organic milk anyway!  Right off the line the milk is immediately chilled to halt the growth of bacteria and then put through a pasturization process that only heats the milk 45 additional degrees above what it is when it is pumped from the cows- thus allowing the bad bacteria to be eliminated but the good bacteria and cultures to remain.

Mike and Trish also only sell their milk in its whole, non-homogenized form.  As Trish put it, milk only comes out of the cow in two forms- cream and skim, anything else is just computerized.  Mike and Trish suggest that if you would rather not drink the milk whole you can put it into a jar with a spigot (such as an iced-tea jar), which allows you to drink the skim milk and save the cream for making things like butter and ice-cream!  I typically drink it whole (since it's so darn delicious and I need the fat!) but would also love to start making things from the cream as they suggest!

Another cool thing is that the water they use to clean the holding tank is also the water they use to heat the pasturization machine (sorry- forgot the name!) and it is then passed into the barrel (I know there is a different and better word for it- forgive me!) that the cows drink from!  Talk about sustainable!  These people have thought of everything!

This family was truly inspirational to be around and talk to!  In fact, our family and the other family that we toured with actually ended up staying at the farm till 8:30pm (the tour was at 5:00pm) just talking, sharing and learning from the remarkable people!  Trish is passionate and full of knowledge herself on a whole plethora of topics.  I just want to apprentice under her to get a real crash course in good, old-fashioned homemaking!  She makes nearly everything from scratch (I am hoping to take a yogurt and cheese making class from her this summer!), homeschools her kids, seems to truly have her feet on the ground and her priorities in order, and so much more!

Being with this family on their precious little farm has only deepened my desire to move to the country- especially after seeing how much R-Man LOVED the experience!  The next day he kept asking if we were going back to the farm!  Which brings me to the really fun part- check out the rest of our pictures!

The "Wanna-be-Country" version of me, feeding a calf!  Woohoo!

Jer and Lion Cub

R-Man and his very good friend L- He thinks he is going to marry her someday... I'm okay with that! (Her mama is one of my best friends and my doula- so, I know she would have my grandbabies naturally!  Hehe!)

R-Man, L & N- checking out the cows- this one was only a week and a half old!!

R-Man trying to ride a donkey with the help of our friend Mr. C!

He was soon bucked off!

Cute donkeys just walk freely around the farm!

Tried to let Lion Cub take a ride too, but he freaked!

What R-Man really wanted to do was ride one of their horses!  Someday we'll have some buddy!

Collecting eggs from the hen house (I really want one of these!  Fresh eggs daily- sounds great!  Now I just have to convince the hubs!)!

Petting the bunny!

Hmmm... can you tell he's from the city?  L was actually the first one to do this and R-Man quickly followed suit!  So funny!

Mike and Trish have recently signed with a distributor which is taking their milk farther than they were able to themselves.  So, if you live in Washington, Idaho or Montana (maybe Oregon too- I can't remember!) you should seriously be on the look-out for it on your grocery store shelves!  It is the one with the black top and is typically found in the natural foods section.  It costs $4.99 a gallon (which is actually cheaper than organic even though its better!), or $3.50 (or 3 for $10) if you live locally and are able to pick it up from the farm.  (Speaking of which, I am working on putting together a small co-op of families to purchase the milk directly from the farm with. So, if you are local, shoot me an e-mail and I can give you more specifics!)

You can find this amazing farm online here and also on Facebook.  I truly believe that you can't find better milk, probably in this whole country (and I'm not exaggerating!), so if you come across it, be sure to pick up a gallon to not only support this amazing family but to also nourish your family the best way possible!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lamps at Farm Chicks!

I found so many cool lamps at Farm Chicks!  While I didn't buy any, I did gather some much needed inspiration for the future-especially if we end up building in the next couple of years!

Aren't these amazing?!

Check out the shade on this one!  It is just strips of lace, white fabric and different types of fringe!  So cool and would be sooo easy to make!  The base is also beautiful!

THis one, if I had bought it, would have been so cool spray painted and adorned with a different shade!

This one was just... pretty!  I could see it with a cute, girly shade!

So, yes, I know all this is coming about a week after I had intended, but as you will soon see, we had a busy week with Lion Cub's birthday last week and this is as soon as I could fit it in!  More to come!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lion Cub is 1!!!

Ok- please forgive me!  I meant to publish this post on Wednesday (his actual birthday!) but it just didn't work out!  I kept it written the same way though because it just reads better that way!  Sorry about that!

A year ago today, I was 15 days "overdue.". 

A year ago today, I woke up at 6:45am with consistent contractions.

(Yup- that was me in labor!)

A year ago today, I rocked through 4 hours of labor (if I do say so myself), walked into my bedroom, climbed into a tub and pushed out a baby in 4 contractions!

In other words, a year ago today, at 11:04am Lion Cub was born!

I don't know where the last year has gone!  It was filled with many long days and yet it flew by!  Now Lion Cub is walking, climbing, destroying everything, laughing, starting to use the big boy potty and showing us new aspects of his silly personality every day!  It is difficult to remember what life was really like before he was here- when we were a family of three and R-Man was an only child.  We went through so much to add another little person to our family and now the fact that he has been in our lives for a whole year just feels surreal!

Happy 1st Birthday Lion Cub!  We love you so much and are so proud of you! all he needs is a little sister!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

iPhone, Therefore I Am

It happened again- Lion Cub managed to get ahold of my already damaged iPhone and use it as a chew toy... again.  So, what had been a chunk of unusable touchscreen through the middle became the entire bottom half of the screen, thus preventing me from even being able to unlock it.


No iPhone = one lost mama!

Granted, having an entirely too large nonworking strip straight throuh the middle was less than ideal, but I had found ways to work around it.  I had managed to figure out how to access nearly everything on my phone (aside from the "V," "G," and "?" keys and a few apps that just didn't run right with that much missing).  With a little clever manipulation of the icons via my computer link and using my keyboard in landscape mode (which, admitedly, required a generous amount of phone flipping since his method only allowed me to access half the keyboard at a time) I was able to get by.  It was difficult, but I managed.  I was still able to check my google reader and e-mail, although I rarely responded due to the extra helping of energy it required.  Texting was possible if not tedious, and required my friends and family to understand that I hadn't become a gangsta' since I was suddenly dropping all the "g"s off the ends of my words and often spelled words that normally require "v"s with "f"s.

Yes, it was frustrating, but I committed to wait out my dilema and push through until the new 4g, 4OS model was released this summer.  Then, 3 1/2 months into my ordeal (and no, I'm not being mellow dramatic! ;-l ) the second attack of Lion Cub left me utterly helpless and enitrely without a phone! 

So, we ventured into the AT&T store to see what they could do for me.  The salesgirl assured me that even with purchasing a 3G S I have 30 days to return it, and likely within that time the newer version will be released and I can either trade in my phone for an upgrade or, most likely, get a rebate on the 3G S we were about to purchase since it's price would likely drop.  So, even if the next phone is released in a mere few weeks, my long months of iPhone battle were still worth the wait. 


And moreover, her upsales abilities were so keen that she tapped into my girlish sensibilties and picked out the perfect pink plaid cover and mirrored screen protector (see how you can see the perfect reflection of my camera on the screen?), just to make sure she had me hook, line and sinker.  Oooo- she was good!

Now, I must say, it has been so refreshing to have a fully functioning iPhone back in my hands!  I feel more free from my computer, more connected to my social outlets (be they Online or IRL via online or text), and more productive since I can even blog from the comfort of my bed, getting out all my racing thoughts just before I finally drift to sleep (as I am now)!

Somehow, life with iPhone is just... better!  (once again, I have no idea why you think I'm being overly dramtic!)

And now, I wait with bated breath to see what tomorrow's Mac press conference has in store.  I may or may not get the newer version (there is that darn money issue again and my husband's phone is in need of being replaced as well), but by golly I can't wait to find out just what brand of spectacular wonderment Mac has in store this time!  One thing's for certain, you know you'll be hearing about it from me!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Farm Chicks Bliss!

This morning I woke up, slipped into the cutest outfit I could throw together (which my husband said made me look like a farm chick!), grabbed my camera, dropped my boys off with my mom and headed off for Farm Chicks- a local antique fair that has grown to seismic proportions in recent years!  I have been looking forward to this show for a number of weeks, especially in light of my recent obsession with Sarah's House on HGTV (if you haven't seen it, you need to!)  along with crafting & decorating blogs! 

I have always loved good design, and at one point was even on the road to getting my bachelors in interior design (then I met my husband which derailed that train and I ended up getting my MRS degree instead! Ha!).

Anyhoo!  I have wanted for sometime to redecorate my house to make it truly reflect who I am now (not who I was when I was 19 and moved in here!) and the atmosphere I want to raise my family in.  My mom finds my change in style pretty much hilarious (as I do hers).  Essentially we have undergone a total role reversal!  Growing up I was always into the modern-eclectic stuff and she was all country, decorating with chickens and pears!  Now I'm the one who is in love with all things vintage and she is the one with the square backed chairs and sleek lines!  Who'd a thunk!?

Back to the show, however (today seems to be a day of rabbit trails)!  Although we still aren't rolling in the cash, I figure I can at least start to add a few sweet touches to our home in order to start down that road of creating the space I desire and think really speaks of who I am (oh, and my family :-D).  Aside from the whole money thing, I also have a reserve about making any big changes or putting too many holes in the walls since we sincerely hope to sell this place and move out onto property in the next year or two.  We take drives through the country whenever we can (a favorite family pasttime for us) and have had our eyes on a particular piece of land for a few months now.  

But more about all that later!  This post is supposed to be about the fantastic time I had at Farm Chicks!  And oh boy, did I ever!!  I met up with a few friends and met some new ones (all of which happen to be bloggers! Heh!  Small world!) and we began our mission to unearth the best deals and best find of the show!  Granted, none of us came with wads of cash to purchase the big ticket items, but it seems to me that we all walked away with a few special finds to make the day a success!  

This being my first time at any sort of antique fair, I was mostly in awe and wonderment for the first the first 1/2 hour or so, just taking it all in and trying to figure out just how to go about this whole new shopping experience.  I decided to peruse first and buy later, unless something seriously spoke to me!  This process seemed to work quite well, and ya know what?  It taught me some things about myself!  here is what I learned today:

  • In addition to my current love affair with fabric flowers, I also seem to have an obsession with trunks, blue glass, vintage dining-ware, and anything blue, turquoise or aqua (with splashes of orange and yellow)!
  • I really do want to add far more color to my home than I ever dreamed I would!
  • I have much greater tendencies toward retro & vintage than I ever formerly realized!  In all honesty, I think I am an eclectic mix of retro, vintage and shabby chic with a slight country flair at times (but not Americana- as my friend from Tales of a Crafty Mama so eloquently put it!)!
  • I could make a lot of the things I saw so I just need to be better at garage and thrift-saling to find the pieces for cheap and spruce them up myself!  (I feel lots of projects and paint coming on this summer!)
I ended up walking away with a set of 7 of these beautiful melamine dinner plates for $8!!!

I also bought a smaller version of one of these blue glass Ball Mason Jars for just $3 and plan to use it to hold our big spoons and spatulas next to my stove.  I loved walking away from the show knowing what I was going to do with each thing I bought- it made my purchases feel worth it and not frivolous.

There was so much good stuff to be inspired by that I simply cannot fit it all into one post.  So I have decided to spread out my posts with all the photo goodness on this show throughout the following week.  You can be expecting to see and hear much more about the finds I made in lighting, trunks (surprise, surprise!), furniture, and the small things that add that final touch to your decor and really make your house feel like a home.  I will be featuring highlights of my favorite booths with links to their blogs and tell you the couple of items I now wish I would have bought!

And of course, this is only the beginning!  Farm Chicks now has me hopelessly hooked!  I seem to be planning my summer around the other antique shows that are coming up throughout the summer in my general vicinity!  Plus, now that I know what I am in for and can get past the shock and awe of such a show, I believe I will be much better prepared and have a more narrowed-down idea of just what it is I am looking for!

Now I'm off to bed with visions of blue glass Ball Mason Jars dancing through my head!