Friday, August 9, 2013

Online Homeschool Recordkeeping Options


It's that time of year again ~ to begin a new recordkeeping system for the school year! I prefer keeping records on paper, but I also am looking into keeping records offsite (online) as well. This isn't mandatory or maybe even necessary, but the thought has crossed my mind over the past few years how frustrating and disappointing it would be if anything were to ever happen to the paper records we keep each year.

I've thought about just scanning in all of our paper records as .pdf files onto the computer and backing them up on CDs. I may do this still, but this would take quite a long time! I know I would be happy I did it, though, if I ever needed them in the future.

Apart from paper records and scanning paper records, I've learned of a few online recordkeeping services. Some are free, and some are for fee. All the ones I've looked into are completely different. Some are more user-friendly than others. The type of system we are looking for is something that will easily categorize and track hours.

Two free services I've looked deeper into so far are:
Homeschool Skedtrack

They both offer free web-based planners and walk you through different steps of entering in the information for your school. Homeschool Skedtrack has some very helpful video tutorials to watch before you begin using the system, and I like the reports of hours you can print out.

Have any of you tried any online tracking system for your homeschool records? Do you recommend either of the two above or a different one you've tried?  Please share!

"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." ~Psalm 143:5

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Precious in His Sight

Would you join me in prayer for those grieving from this tragic accident? I was just alerted to this from a friend's blog. As I read the news article, I was so touched by the response of the church...

"Thank you all for your tremendous outpouring of love and strength stated here and in numerous other ways. Through your prayers and the power of the Holy Spirit, the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be magnified as His people find Him to be sufficient even now."

May the Lord comfort these dear people, and may I realize the frailty of my own life and make every moment count for Christ. 

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." ~Psalm 116:15

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making Mealtime Safe: Knowing our Food


Maybe you've noticed a theme in my posts lately ~ meals? :)  Well, the Lord has been placing burdens on my heart and resources in my path regarding not only what we do during mealtimes but equally as important what we eat.

I've been trying to incorporate healthier choices into our meals for years now, but often times, any meal preparation or planning has also had various convenience or budgetary factors at play. We've been baking less, trying to cut sugars, eating out less, and so on. But the Lord has opened my eyes to some very important dangers I never even knew about. I had no idea the hidden dangers of genetically modified foods. Sure I had heard of GMOs but never really knew exactly what they were or what the risks were of eating them. After all, our government has allowed these foods into our food supply without notifying us or putting it on the labels as such, so it MUST be safe right? Hmmmm...the jury is still out, as I understand no human studies have been done to prove they are safe.

I feel it's my duty to feed my family nutritious meals. After some extremely eye-opening warnings were put in my path, I now realize we have a ways to go. At present, I feel very compelled to research, study, pray, and then do something about the food that we are consuming as led.

Little by little, our eyes have been opened to what it is we are eating. This year we started a small garden. Not only have we reaped a small harvest from it, but it was in preparing and managing the garden that it prompted me to want to learn about foods in the U.S. in general. I started learning about pesticides and chemicals and have begun doing my best to avoid them. I've learned about health dangers of high fructose corn syrup and how many things contain it! I recently learned about health benefits of using coconut and olive oils, and, at the same time, I learned about the dangers of other oils (vegetable/soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil). Last summer, I started looking into food co-ops or local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture farms). Over this summer, I started watching DVDs and reading books from the library on various foods. But most recently, I've been learning about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). I've seen this subject on various blogs, read excerpts about it here and there, but recently a physician who attends our church recommended a very well researched and produced documentary for us to watch on the subject. In one word, wow. I was clueless.

Instead of taking this on in a negative manner (it has been very discouraging, angering, and frightening to some extent), we are making this a family quest! We want to read labels and books and arm ourselves with knowledge, so we can know our food better. We want to be able to go to the grocery store or restaurant and know the right questions to ask or what to look for. I'm planning to type up worksheets that we will be taking to stores to research and price shop and find the best prices for pure/real foods. I'm busy researching the internet for local farms and CSAs. I'm busy asking people that already know about these things where they get their food. I've learned that even digging into one resource or asking one knowledgeable person opens up a world of contacts and resources to make this challenge more feasible. From peanut butter with soybean oil to pancake syrup with high fructose corn syrup, we are attempting with much prayer to cut out harmful foods and replace them with nutritious ones.

For anyone else wanting to learn more about GMOs or where you can buy foods without them, here are a few sources:
{I have no affiliate links here. These are the sources I've just been learning from and looking into!}
  • Non-GMO Shopping Guide ~ I'm just now learning from this to guide us in our search for natural food.
  •  Institute for Responsible Technology ~ This website states it is the "the most comprehensive source of GMO health risk information on the web." I just signed up for their email newsletter and am beginning to explore their website. They also are the providers of the shopping guide above.
  • Local Harvest ~ A website which allows you to search out organic farmers, grocers, and providers by location.
  • Tropical Traditions ~ I've seen lots of blogs talking about their coconut oil, but they also sell organic foods and have information and recipes.
  • Frontier Co-op ~ A natural products co-op. I believe you can purchase things right online, but there are also coordinators spread throughout the U.S. that have bulk buying groups. A dear friend at our church happens to be a coordinator, so I'm currently looking into ordering through her at reduced prices.
Well, I'm certain there are many more sources of information and many more suppliers out there. I'm currently going to check our local farmers' market, our local grocers, our local Aldi (heard they were selling select organic items), our local Trader Joes, and anywhere I can find that will sell locally grown natural products. A little bit of research has gone a long way. I feel one of the most important battles has been conquered ~ educating ourselves and just knowing that this battle exists! Who knew?

Give me your feedback! What have you learned about GMOs? What resources do you know of to educate us in this journey to natural eating and learning more? Please share any resources or suppliers you recommend in the comments! THANKS!

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  ~John 8:32

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Making Mealtime Memories: Themed Tuesdays


In addition to devotions, we've been making our mealtimes a little more memorable around here. A few weeks ago, we decided to implement a themed dinner once a week. Tuesdays seemed the best fit for us.

The Lord has been working on my homemaker heart to make our family table more inviting, more engaging, and ultimately more pleasing to my family and the Lord. It's my heart's desire to make our dinner table one of the central gathering places in our home ~ a place where we can eat, share, laugh, pray, & discuss all that our Heavenly Father would have us to. The Lord put some very timely blessings in my path at our local library. I stumbled across some books and DVDs that revolutionized my mealtime plans. I want to highlight here one resource I found particularly inspiring. It's entitled, The Family Meal Table, with Nancy Campbell. Nancy Campbell is the director of Above Rubies Ministry. This particular production was such an encouraging program!

In The Family Meal Table, Nancy gave so many wonderful practical ideas to incorporate hospitality & creativity into mealtimes. She mentioned that mealtime at her house was something the whole family looked forward to. Her own children gave testimonies of how they never wanted to miss it. One thing she mentioned really struck a chord with me ~ having "themed" mealtimes. Yes!!! I love it! The Lord planted the idea in mind to try this out once a week to begin. I felt like that was a feasible and attainable place to begin. So far, we've had three themed Tuesday dinners, and I can't tell you what a blessing and joy they have been! ♥ Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Mrs. Campbell, for the help and inspiration!

Here's a glimpse of what we've done thus far...

Week 1 Theme: "Cowboy Dinner"

MENU: 
BBQ Chicken Sandwices 
Countryboy Roasted Taters
Garden Greenbeans
Katie's Homemade Apple Pie

DETAILS: We were all invited to come for a country dinner and to come in our 'finest country attire'. All the children were excited to dress up, and my husband did not disappoint! He made it so fun for the family. I believe this is one dinner the children will probably never forget in their lifetime. We started out very simple, but we were all blessed by the evening's events!

Week 2 Theme: "Mystery of History Dinner"

MENU: 
Roasted Chicken
Seasoned Potatoes
Homemade Wheat Bread
Corn
Dessert

DETAILS: We were all invited to come dressed as a person from history! However, we were NOT to disclose our identity. We were asked to study that person's life in preparation and bring 5-10 important facts to give out as clues. During dinner, we were to discuss and share information and try to guess who each other was. 

I can tell you this dinner was SO fun!!! My parents joined us as they came to town to visit us for the week, and it was such a treat to have them here and to participate. We all had fun asking each other questions to make some informed guesses. We all dressed up to represent the individuals we were claiming to be, and I think my whole family would agree that we learned some interesting facts we never knew before.

Here is who was in attendance at this meal: 
Benjamin Franklin, Anne Frank, James Benson Irwin, Betsy Ross, Daniel Boone, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and a 9/11 Firefighter Hero

I'm thinking it would be fun to have a repeat of this dinner in time to come!

Week 3 Theme: "Green Gathering"

MENU:
Green Enchiladas
Green Grapes & Limes
Green Veggie Assortment
Green Jello
 


DETAILS: We were all invited to come dressed in green to the table. (Mrs. Campbell suggested having a "green" night on her DVD, so I thought up a few ideas and ran with it!) We encouraged everyone to try every green on the table. We also instructed all to bring two tips to the table in which we could "go green" (be better stewards of the resources God has given us). We also challenged each person to bring at least one Scripture with the word "green" in it. 

Well, this proved to be one successful way to get our children to at least try some vegetables they might otherwise turn away! We all had a fun discussion of ways to save energy, time, or money in our home, and I loved some of the ideas that were brought forth. I particularly liked the idea about catching rainwater for our garden! I'm not sure solar-panel shingles will happen anytime soon, but I appreciated the ingenuity brought forth nonetheless. :) 

I gathered some facts about the color green ahead of time to present during dinner, such as: statistics about U.S. cities with "Green" in the name, green foods, green animals, facts about green-eyed people, and just general facts about green. We played a game with this and I would ask questions to see if they could guess the answers. For instance, do you know how many times "green" is mentioned in the Bible (KJV)? 44. My husband came prepared with his own list of green trivia, and it was quite educational! For bonus fun in preparation for this meal, the children and I played "I SPY GREEN" in the store, as we walked around and pointed out all things green as we gathered a few items for this meal. 

Our 6 year old daughter knew just what Scripture to bring to the table. Her Sunday School memory verse cards made it easy for her. :)

I'm already planning next Tuesday's themed dinner, and the children are asking when they can plan the theme for the week.  Lord willing, we've begun a new tradition that will bless all in attendance around our table and will carry on in the generations to come. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Any of you care to share any creative ideas for future themed dinners? I would love to hear your input!

"Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord."     ~Psalm 128:1-4

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Growing Hearts: Mealtime Bible Devotions


One of my greatest privileges as a mother is to open up, teach from, and reverence God's Word with my children. What riches God's Word has to offer us all! Absolute truth, genuine comfort, chastening conviction, flawless guidance....it's all right there.

Our family has been working on mealtime devotions. We've found that consistently having dinner as a family every night when my husband walks in the door is such a blessing. It's an even larger blessing when we commit ourselves to open up the Word of God together at this time. We've used various books to guide our devotions at times. Recently, I stumbled upon a gem at a used book sale. I found this:

Principles Under Scrutiny: A Scriptural Approach to Personal Finances by Larry Burkett, c 1985.

The picture and title drew me to this book. Seeing the family with the open Bible and then reading the bold words above it, I just knew this was a must read. As my concern for the direction our nation is heading grows daily, I want to waste no time helping our family to be grounded in the Scriptures in all areas of life. Learning as much as we can about how to steward all that God has entrusted to us monetarily or otherwise in a way that is pleasing to Him is especially important to my husband and I. We want to pass on these principles to our children with the hopes that they'll do the same.

Once I noted the author, it solidified my decision to purchase this book. I remember listening to Larry Burkett's radio show, "Money Matters", before he passed away a decade ago. I so appreciated his love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his love of helping others to learn what God's Word teaches about finances. Just from the testimony I heard on the radio of his devotion to God and His Word, I have a great deal of respect for him.

While I wasn't sure if this book would be material that would be fitting quite yet for our three young children, it only took a couple of suppers to realize this is just right. Mr. Burkett presents the information so clearly that the concept he is trying to teach becomes quite easy to understand. He uses many wonderful illustrations to reinforce the concept he is teaching, but, best of all, he references lots and lots of Scripture. Our children have asked some good questions as a result of listening to these teachings, and it has been a blessing to our family to explain and talk through the reasons for why we make the decisions we do regarding certain aspects of finances, giving, saving, and more. But beyond the financial lesson being taught, the spiritual truth being conveyed is an even larger blessing. Mr. Burkett certainly was gifted in using such a practical area of life to draw one's attention to his/her heart on the matter and what God teaches about what he/she ought to do or think about first.

I'm not certain that this book was meant to be a "devotional guide", but we've found it to work just as that. If I counted correctly, there are 60 devotionals included in this book. Each devotional is the front and back of a page. There are seven categories: (1) Attitude, (2) Church & Sharing, (3) Insurance & Investing, (4) Borrowing & Lending, (5) Business, (6) Family, and (7) Ministries & Scriptural Highlights. While we've only made it part way through the devotionals on "Attitude", each one has been excellent thus far. A couple of my favorites so far are "Being Content" and "Suffering for Christ vs. Living Like a King". I don't know if each one will capture the attention and interest of our children, but I have no doubt the Lord will guide us and help us to use this book to navigate the Scriptures on the topics being discussed.

Lastly, since the book was published in 1985, I find it fascinating to learn of the principles Mr. Burkett emphasized in the book that were under scrutiny at that time. It's probably no surprise that those same principles are still absolutely under scrutiny today, only amplified now many fold, which reaffirms my desire to pass on these important teachings to our children all the more.

Whether it be Larry Burkett's book or another as a supplement to our mealtime devotion or simply the Bible alone, it is my prayer that my husband and I will be consistent with opening the Word of God at the dinner hour and at any hour together as a family. Growing in understanding and appreciation of God's Word together ~ I can't think of a better investment than that!

Do you have mealtime Bible devotions? What devotional resources have you found beneficial for your family?

"I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways." ~Psalm 119:14-15

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Garden Goodies


Lots of veggies are beginning to ripen in our garden! :-)  

We've been enjoying lettuce for quite some time now, but other than that, we've only taken in a couple of cucumbers, some grape tomatoes, and a few peppers. Now, lots more are beginning to ripen ~ yay!

Grape Tomatoes


Tomatoes

Jalapenos

Bell Peppers

Squash

Cucumber

We've also been able to harvest a couple of our herbs for several weeks. We've been picking cilantro and basil and drying them out and storing them in mason jars. Both of these plants are growing monstrously huge! The rosemary is not growing as well as those two, and the oregano is not receiving much sunlight because of where it was planted. It's being covered up by the squash & cucumber leaves. They are growing, nonetheless, and we'll harvest what we are able to.  I might try to transplant the oregano to a different spot.

Beautiful Basil

Creeping Cilantro

The garden is starting to look like a jungle! Praise God for rain, sunshine, and fruitful plants!

Praying that I am connected to The Vine, the Lord Jesus, so that my life can be as spiritually fruitful as these plants! Love how the Scriptures give such beautiful pictures to understand important truths.

Are any of you picking veggies or herbs from the garden?

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."  ~John 15:5

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Growing Hearts: Fruit in Season



Two divine appointments occurred yesterday that blessed my heart as a mother and as a follower of Christ. I just want to take a moment to document them here. Just when my mama heart was growing a bit weary, the Lord gave me a glimpse of His working in my children's lives and once again reminded me that He is so faithful, so completely trustworthy, and so deserving of all praise for any breakthroughs in child rearing. Sometimes, I feel like a broken record in our home. I like to call it consistency, but I know my flesh sometimes turns it into moments of nagging and discouragement rather than teachable moments filled with encouragement. I was reminded yesterday that just as I take opportunities to encourage my children, our Heavenly Father makes opportunities to encourage His children as well. What an amazing, loving God we serve!

Appointment #1: We received a knock on the door right after breakfast time. It was a person of a different faith handing out invitations to come to an event they were hosting. I politely thanked the person for taking the time to stop but immediately let them know that I am a Bible-believing, born-again Christian. She pointed out to me that this event is Bible-based, and they just would like us to come and visit. As 1 John Chapter 4 and 2 John instructs us to do in such situations, I then simply asked, "Who do you believe Jesus Christ is?" She replied that He is the Son of God. I agreed with her, and then further asked,  "Do you also believe He is God?" She replied, "No, I do not believe He is Almighty God." I confirmed for her that I wholeheartedly believe that Jesus Christ is Almighty God, and I encouraged her to study the Scriptures concerning this. The lady brought up John 17:3 as support for her position on this, and right then, our 6 year old daughter walked up to the door by my side. In her hands was her stack of Bible memory verses she reviews at breakfast time. She held up a verse to show this lady, and it just happened to be John 3:17. It states, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." How timely and precious! Only a perfectly timed orchestration of the Holy Spirit! The lady then said that she just wanted to comment that she is happy to see the children learning the Bible as there are so many families out there in which this is not the case. She left our doorstep, and my heart leaped for joy that maybe, just maybe, a seed was planted in this lady's heart that would be watered after another knock. To God be the glory!

Appointment #2: Our oldest son received a call from a friend of his. We moved a little over a year ago, and he has come to play with this friend pretty often. This particular friend's family does not believe that Jesus Christ was/is the true Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. I've heard my son witnessing to this friend on occasion, but it had been quite a while. As I was going about some tasks, out of the blue I overheard my son talking about the Lord with this friend. I don't think I could have ever put so beautifully into words what my son managed to so eloquently and easily explain to his young friend in a few statements. Again, all credit to the Holy Spirit for giving the words to speak at the appointed time. I could only hear my son's half of the conversation, but the part I remember most is when I heard him say something like this... "Have you ever heard Jesus called the Lamb of God? And you know how lambs were sacrificed in the Old Testament as an offering for the sins of the people? Well, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was the offering for our sins and that He is the Lamb of God, the Messiah who saves us." I was overjoyed!!! After some hard days around here dealing with less-than-desirable attitudes, this was a breakthrough moment that opened my eyes, convicted my own heart, and humbled me all over again. I thanked the Lord for this encouragement and refreshment to my heart to continue on through all days (easy or hard) and to take this responsibility as mother to its fullest potential. I haven't a moment to lose to help point these children to the Lord Jesus Christ and to help grow their hearts in love and service toward Him.

Both of these divine appointments challenged me greatly, rekindled the fire to be a bold and loving witness for our Lord Jesus Christ, and blessed my heart as an imperfect and sometimes weary mother. Any fruit of His working in our lives will come in His timing as we allow Him to work in us. How faithful is our God! It is my prayer that I will be the faithful mother God has called and equipped me to be, and that the Lord will continue to work mightily in and through our family.

Lastly, these happenings brought to remembrance how before we moved I used to have Bible tracts readily available at our front door to hand out to those who stopped by for such occasions. I'm off to create a supply for our new home!

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season..." ~Psalm 1:3a

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Teaching This Generation our Nation's Heritage



As we approach Independence Day, my mind is filled with a mixture of emotions and thoughts. The last few years' Independence Day celebrations, in particular, have left me with quite a burdened heart, and this year is no exception.

I'm afraid our nation is losing sight of its very own heritage, its very own meaning, and, ultimately, its very own freedom & liberty. My sentiments are unchanged from a couple of years ago and, in fact, my concerns have only grown exponentially deeper. In my lifetime, I've never felt so burdened to voice my concerns and to contact our representatives about the issues of our day. Even more importantly, I've never felt more eager to teach my children the importance, value, and cost of liberty. My heart is burdened to pray for the Lord to intervene and to move upon the hearts of our nation's people and leadership. This country was founded by God's grace and for His glory. My heart sincerely breaks with every deliberate act, petition, and order to remove God's Holy Name and influence from the pillars and corners of America. It seems at every turn, someone somewhere is trying to teach our nation's children there is no God, there is no gratitude due His Name, there is no biblical standard or authority, there is no consequence for sin, there is no eternal judgment. How much more will our nation have to endure before her people are moved to action and to prayer? It is my fervent prayer that America will regain her freedom and will desire to glorify her Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. God's people musn't be silent, and we must take every opportunity, with His help and wisdom, to pass on a godly legacy to the next generation. If we don't seize the day to point our children toward God, the world certainly will aim to pull them away from Him.

This week, our family is taking the time to learn about the founding of our nation. We're studying our founding fathers, the Second Continental Congress, the American Revolutionary War, the biblical principles that framed our Declaration and Constitution, the faith and courage required to rid the colonies of tyranny, and the sacrifice and blood that was shed to provide us the freedom we've known and been blessed with for centuries. I honestly believe our nation has grown and is growing generations of citizens who don't know and/or don't respect our nation's history and the sacrifices that created this country. So many of our government schoolbooks have attempted to literally rewrite the account of our history, giving absolutely no acknowledgement of our Heavenly Father's hand in it, and I think we all are witnessing the evidence of reaping what has been sewn. As long as the Lord grants me breath, I am adamantly of the opinion that it is my duty as an American citizen to teach my children the godly legacy they behold and to train them to stand up for what's right, to do their duty to protect and participate in America's freedoms, and to humbly seek God's wisdom and guidance to live daily in accordance with what is pleasing to Him. Just sing a few American "patriotic" songs, and no American citizen can deny the acknowledgement of gratitude offered to God ~ the true Founding Father of this nation and of us all ~ throughout the lyrics. I would encourage each parent stopping by here to print out the lyrics to just a few patriotic songs throughout the next week and share them with your children. The lyrics alone will declare the glory of God and give credit to His Name for the birth of our nation and as the Author of our liberty. Take a look at these lyrics:
Even though our family is carving out time in our schedule to study and truly appreciate our nation's history and God's providential care concerning it, my heart is genuinely unsettled with the current status of this great land. So many words and concerns are overwhelming my mind, but my heart is longing for quiet, comfort, and peace. I wanted to express some of my thoughts here, but I think I need to just stop right now and go to the One ~ the only One ~ who can truly bring any peace and solace ~ my Heavenly Father. I'm reminded that He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. To that end, I will continue in prayer for our nation and for the generations of tomorrow. I draw so much comfort knowing that He is in control, He is completely trustworthy and sovereign, and He will someday send His Son again to redeem His children. If I didn't have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal salvation through Him, this nation and world we are living in would indeed be a very scary and dark place. I'm thankful I've been adopted into His family by asking the Lord Jesus to save me. I'm thankful God's people are waking up to the reality we are living in and seeking His guidance and mercy. I'm mostly thankful this world is not the believer's final destination but instead someday all who have called upon His Holy Name will be in His Presence singing praises to His Name in a place His Son is preparing at this very moment. Praise be to the mighty Name of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."   ~Colossians 1:16-17


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cherry Pie in a Skillet in 5 Easy Steps

 
 
Have any of you ever baked a pie in a cast iron skillet? If not, you ought to try it! I have an entire post coming up soon devoted to cast iron skillet recipes, but I just wanted to share this fun recipe now. 

Last week, we were delighted to have my hubby's grandmother out for a visit. I decided to make some cherry pie...in a skillet. Very easy & delicious!

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

EASY PEASY CHERRY PIE IN A SKILLET

1. Grease your skillet.


2. Make some good old fashioned pie crust using flour, cold butter (or shortening), and cold water. Roll out the dough and divide in half. Shape & roll one half into a circle large enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Place in skillet & shape edges.


3. Fill with cherry goodness {or the fruit of your liking}.


  
4. Roll out the other half of pie dough into a circle to cover the pie filling. Cut into strips and make a simple lattice, or cover it fully and make a few decorative slits if you prefer. Sprinkle some cinnamon & sugar liberally on top of pie.



5. Bake until top crust is golden, and it's ready to be served!


 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We love our pie with some vanilla bean ice cream. Homemade would be even better. Yummy!

What's your favorite pie to make?

"And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul."                  
                                                ~Deuteronomy 30: 9-10

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Garden Update

Greetings!

I can't believe I haven't found anytime to post for so long, but I just had to journal a bit of our gardening progress. My handsome and handy hubby built me a  5' x 10' raised garden bed in April, and I couldn't be more thrilled! We would love to have a much larger-scale garden, but until the Lord wants us to live on a homestead, we are content with using our space as best we can. :-) We figure we could add a few more of these, but we wanted to start out and see how just one goes first.


My hubby found a supplier with a special mix of compost/soil and filled it up. Then he marked each board off at each foot, and we tied on pink string to make square foot sections.


I had an idea of a few things I wanted to plant, so I quickly drew up a 50 square grid and started penciling different plants in. My Uncle Jim warned us that certain plants didn't like to be planted next to one another, and I was very grateful he told us that. So, I did a little bit of research and think we came up with a nice plan. I started planting lettuce, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and canteloupe according to the grid one by one. I also planted a few herbs ~ basil, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary. Fun! We used nursery plants this time around. We had a lot going on during the early spring months and didn't have time to start germinating any seeds. Lord willing, next year, with the help of all your generous advice, we just might be able to do that. Here is what the garden looked like freshly planted.

A few days after we planted this, we had to go north for a couple of weeks. We asked our kind neighbors to keep an eye on the garden for us and to water it when necessary. Upon our arrival home, we learned from our neighbors that we had so much rain while we were away, that the good Lord above watered it all that it needed! We were so pleased to find very few weeds, no pests, and the plants looked like this:

We've been checking the garden everyday and watering it well. Just this morning, I snapped a couple of photos of its growth:

A view from the opposite end:

There are a few plants that are hard to see from these views.  Here are some close-ups. Each plant is so unique and beautiful!








I'm so thankful for a handy and creative hubby. I'm so thankful for my thoughtful parents who gave me some birthday money. I decided to use it for this garden. With the combination of his talent and skills and their generosity, Lord willing, this is a gift that will keep giving and giving!

Even though I haven't had time to blog much lately, I try to check in on friends. For some true gardening inspiration, check out: 

Anyone else been planting anything? Anyone part of any local co-ops?

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."  ~Genesis 1:29