Monday, May 30, 2011

Resting on the Lord's Day

Yesterday after church our family went on a picnic. We knew that a picnic on Memorial Day wouldn't be happening as my husband has to work today, so we took advantage of the first nice day in a while, and met family at a local park. It was so nice to relax, feel the breeze, and just take a deep breath and slow down.

Life has a way of becoming hectic, crazy, and tension filled. Every day life brings lots of work to do, daily problems to solve, and a laundry pile that never ends. :)

I'm always grateful for Sundays, a day where we are actually told to stop working, and to rest and worship the Lord. God planned every detail of our life so perfect, including a day of rest!

Our family -May 2011.

Carrianna and I enjoying the view of the lake

Best friends and brothers - my two oldest!

Carrianna - my daughter in who I can relate to so easily.
She is very much like I was as a child!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Modest Swimwear Survival Guide!

Today I'm guest posting over at Happily Domestic Blog on modest swimwear! Below is part of what I read, but click through to her blog to read all of it!

Summer brings to mind popsicles, sweaty children playing late into the evening, cookouts with friends, and of course....swimming! Most people enjoy swimming a lot, but it can prove to be a bit of a challenge when you go swimsuit shopping.

It seems common for ladies to rationalize that, somehow, when they go swimming they can "bare all" and basically go swimming in their underwear. When you think about, that's all a bikini is - it's a bra and underwear! We would be mortified to walk around our male friends with nothing on but our underclothes. Yet, somehow when it comes to swimming many ladies think nothing of it.

I would like to suggest that you don't have to compromise your standards of modesty when you want to take a plunge in the pool. There are actually many different options when it comes to modest swimwear. There are companies that specialize in making modest swimwear - yes, I used those two words in the same sentence. While not cheap, these swimsuits are designed to hold up for quite a few years. They generally look like a fitted dress that comes to right above your knee, and the top comes up quite high. You also have the option of having sleeves or not.

Go here to read the rest of the article!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

She Wears Skirts- Swimming

No, this isn't a post about the easy transition your favorite everyday skirt can make from doing chores around the house to taking a plunge in the pool : ) And this isn't going to be a post lining out exactly what to wear while swimming. That comes tomorrow as I'm guest posting on a different blog, and I've given lots of links and ideas as to what you could wear! I'll be sure to post the link here and you all can read it tomorrow. But this deals more with the actual issue of "To swim or not to swim?"

I received an email yesterday that made me stop and think about this all over again. A mom wrote to me and expressed how she is starting to dress in skirts all the time, and while she bought some modest swimwear she is concerned about the pool parties because of what other people might be wearing. That is certainly a valid concern, and one worthy of our consideration.

We mothers are jealous (or should be) about guarding our children's hearts and keeping them pure. I don't know about you, but the thought of sending my son to a pool party where there are girls swimming in bikinis or skimpy one piece suits is no where near to my idea of keeping his heart pure. Likewise, sending my daughter somewhere that has a group of young men swimming with their shirts off is quite out of the question.

So what do we do about swimming? For our family, we have chosen not to go to public pools or water parks. It is a sacrifice, but one we feel is necessary. Likewise, if we were invited to a pool party, we would probably not attend. A family from our church has done "men and boys only" pool party for a birthday event, and I've attended a "girls only" swimming party before where everyone was dressed modestly. We know two families who own swimming pools, and so we have been able to go swimming there as a family on occasion.

What do you do if you live by the beach? That is a hard decision to make. My grandparents lived in Florida, and every summer during my teenage years I would be there for a few weeks visiting. What we ended up doing was going to the beaches that were not so popular. They were not very crowded, so we were able to swim without a lot of people around us.

It's almost impossible in states like Florida to avoid scantily clad people. That's why it is so important to not just try to avoid situations that will place you around bikinis and such, but you must train your children to look away. I don't believe in sheltering our children so much from the world that when they finally see a glimpse of it that they cave in and all is lost. Your young men especially will see immodest ladies - jogging, biking, swimming, (shopping even!) etc. and while you can avoid the worst of it at water parks and public pools, the most important part of your job is to talk openly with your children about why it is not modest to dress that way, and how to respond when they see it. We had many such talks with our mother about it. She taught my sister and I that it was wrong to see a man without his shirt on and to look away when we did see it.

This is not something to be fearful of, or become paranoid about. It's just another area we need to be watchful, prayerful, and on guard for our children - and ourselves if we are honest.

Don't forget to go visit Raising Arrows today for a great post on Makeup, Jewelry and Hair written by Amy and I!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Letting Go Of Mothering Under Guilt

Playing the piano with my weeks old daughter!

Becoming a mother has been the hardest job I've ever experienced. You have a little person with you all day long that has the potential to be crying on account of their being hungry, tired, dirty, or hurt. :) And before they start talking you have to figure out which one of those it is yourself!

When I entered motherhood, I knew it was going to be a big job and that I would fail many times. But no one prepared me for what would become one of my greatest struggles - guilt.

I feel guilty because I'm not a good enough mother. I feel guilty because I'm not spending enough time when them. I feel guilty because I want to read to them for two hours in the afternoon but I fall asleep from exhaustion...and the list could go on. I know I experience guilt because I love my children so much. I want the very best for them, and I know that often I am incapable of giving it to them.

One area in my life I used to feel guilty about was crafts. Yes, you read that right. While I can sew, any other form of crafting is like Latin to me. I am terrible at actual crafting, and dread when we do crafts at church! I'll confess, something as simple as folding a paper airplane for my seven year old son taxes the crafting part of my brain :) Ask me to sew a dress up outfit? I can do that. Help me design a paper helmet Mom? Ummm, I'm busy right now.

This used to bother me a lot, until I recently discovered something.

I have talents to pass on to my children besides crafting.

It's a simple thought, but it hit me as I was playing the piano one day. While I'm not as good as I used to be, I love to play classical music. I tell my children what songs I am playing, and when they are in the room I look for lively fun songs that they will want to dance around the living room to. One such song is The Happy Farmer by Robert Schumann. I've created a whole story about a man on a tractor plowing his field and tell it to the children as I play the song. They love it!

Sometimes I play quiet music as they are looking at books, or doing building blocks in the living room. I don't even think they are listening until I stop playing, and they look up and ask me to play some more. And that's when it hit me.

While I can't craft, I am pouring the love of music into my children. The crafting mother may desperately long to be doing just what I'm doing, teaching her children about music, but she may not even know who classical composers are. And while I'm busy raising little music lovers who can't craft, she is busy raising the future artists!

This reminded me of the scriptures in 1 Corinthians that talk about the different gifts that are given to people. We all are blessed with different gifts, and as mothers we will have our areas of strength and weakness when it comes to the different gifts.

If you do your very best the Lord will fill in where you lack. I received my non - crafting skills honestly - my own mother couldn't craft or sew very well at all. But you know what? I adored her, and could have cared less growing up if she crafted with me or not!

Let's mother our children today under the love of Christ, and choose to let go of guilt.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

DaySpring $35 Gift Card Giveaway!

I recently discovered that DaySpring makes more than cards! If you are looking for lovely, inspiring Christian Home Decor, look no further than DaySpring. I have a whole list of items that I would love to get from them!

I was sent the above picture, which says "Ask, Seek, Knock" on it. This picture was inspired from the scripture Luke 11:9-10 which says,

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

This is a wonderful scripture to remember daily, and what better way to remind ourselves than through beautiful wall hangings?

DaySpring makes lovely kitchen sets, aprons, wall plaques, gifts, jewelry, stationary, and more! If you have a gift to buy, I would check out their selection first. Father's Day is coming up! They have a whole selection of gifts just for men.

Would you like to go shopping at DaySpring? Wouldn't a $35 gift certificate be lovely to use? DaySpring is generously offering to give a gift certificate away to one of you!

To enter, go to DaySpring and tell me one item that you like.

For extra entries: Blog, Tweet, Facebook, Follow this blog, Follow on Facebook, etc....Leave a separate comment for each entry, and be sure to leave a way to contact you if you win!!

This giveaway will end May 26th at Midnight.

Please note: DaySpring did provide me with the above item to review for free. All thoughts expressed here are my own though, and I was not paid to write this review. Thank you to DaySpring!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

She Wears Skirts-Learning To Dress Modestly

Today I'm in bed trying to recover from a nasty bout of strep throat. :( I just don't have the energy to write a post for this week's series of She Wears Skirts, so I pulled an article from the archive. Many of my newer readers have probably never read this. This post is written by my sister, Jennifer. I appreciate her thoughts, as she is honest with the struggles that went on in her heart as she wrestled with dressing modestly.

What does it mean to dress modestly? As a teenager I was made aware of a desire in some Christian circles to return to the modest dress. Modesty means different things to different people. There are those who feel certain colors are okay to wear but others are not being considered too flashy. Some only wears skirts and jumpers at all times, while other ladies feel they can wear shorts, jeans, and swimming suits. In the midst of all this can come a judgment in the hearts of women looking at each other. “Can you believe so and so showed up in jeans today?” “How legalistic to think you shouldn’t wear shorts on a hot day like today!”

I have seen this backbiting and hardness of hearts and it’s not pretty. My own heart needs to be submitted to the love of Christ in this matter as it says in Galations 5:“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another…” Our prayer for each other should be that God would give each of us a modest heart. If we have a heart that desires modesty this will be reflected in the outward appearance of our clothing and in the spirit that we carry with us. Someone won’t have to stand over us with a list of do’s and don’ts.

From personal experience I can share the workings of God upon my heart. As a little girl and teenager I was considered a tomboy. I wasn’t some rough and tumble little girl, but I enjoyed playing with boys more than girls. I didn’t like playing dolls all morning long. I wanted to be out riding my bike, playing soccer, or touch football with the boys on my street. After moving to the country I learned to enjoy our huge trampoline, horseback riding, climbing trees, hiking, and caring for our animals. Through this all I wore shorts or jeans exclusively. I couldn’t stand to wear a dress. My parents made me wear a dress to church but as soon as church was over I would change back into my jeans.

As I moved into my teen years I kept this up. I noticed other girls started to dress in certain ways and heard them talking about trying to attract some guy’s attention. I wasn’t interested in such behavior. I just wanted my clothes to be clean and comfortable. Otherwise, I didn’t think much about it. As for modesty itself, I didn’t consider myself immodest at all. My parents were pretty strict about how long my shorts had to be, no tight tank tops, and so on. In the youth group I was in for a short time the other girls were feeling sorry for me because I had to dress so conservatively. My parents wouldn’t let me wear my Sunday dress above my knees. Poor Jennifer!

When I was 16 my Mom came across writing about modesty and came to believe it was best for my younger sister and I to wear dresses and skirts for everyday life. The issue of modesty really struck a cord with my Mom. Before she became a Christian she spent her youth wearing clothes to gain the attention of the men around her. She knew first hand how important it was in God’s plan to dress in such a way that you do not cause your brother to stumble, let alone trying to make him stumble on purpose!

As I was asked to wear the dresses and skirts I was horrified. Give up my jeans? No way would this work! We lived next to a horse farm at the time and I would go into the stalls, climb up to the top of the stalls, and walk on top of the stall edges to the end of the barn. Do that in a dress? I listened to my Mom and changed my clothing selections but inwardly my heart was stewing. I was mad and feeling rebellious. This nonsense would end someday!

In the next few months I decided to pray about this whole modesty and clothing thing. Surely God would be fair to me! What did he expect of me? I started looking for scriptures about clothing and modesty. I began in Genesis with Adam and Eve sinning and realizing they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to make aprons for themselves. I thought, “just like all the pictures I have seen in our Bible story books.” Several verses later I read that God himself came along and saw those aprons. He decided to clothe Adam and Eve himself and replaced the aprons with coats of skins. That sure impressed me! God really cared how they were dressed? I had never thought about God himself wanting me to dress in a certain way.

I read in Isaiah 47 about God’s judgment upon Babylon and Chaldea. As part of the curse upon them He would “make bare the leg, and uncover the thigh”. I went on to the New Testament to read that God asked women to adorn themselves in modest apparel and wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. As I continued searching and found more verses that spoke of the need for a modest outward appearance and spirit, I began to be convicted in my heart. God used a situation from a few years previous to this to help me understand my need to protect my brother from stumbling. Sometimes I would wear pretty tight jeans (looking back on it I realized that) and didn’t think anything of it. One day I turned around to see a man looking at me and I knew in my heart I didn’t want to wear this pair of jeans around him again! As I prayed God brought that moment back to my mind. The study and prayer became a time to ask God to help me have a modest heart.

From that day I have continued to pray and strive to have a spirit of modesty in my heart. God never gave me a “thou shalt not” list that showed me down to the dotted i and crossed t what I should and should not wear. He didn’t give me a list of colors I could or couldn’t wear. He didn’t tell me to look like a picture right out of the 1800’s, or the 1700’s, or 1950. I never found I could only wear a denim jean jumper to be a modest woman, or only calico fabric for that matter. What God did do was change my heart.

I went from a teenager bent on living out what I thought was best to having a desire for righteousness and holiness. My spirit changed as I strove to have a meek and quiet spirit. That spirit within me changed the clothes I desired to wear. I decided I wouldn’t be involved in a sport if it required me to dress immodestly. I wouldn’t try to dress in a way that stoked lust in the men about me, but in a way that showed them I was a lady and above all, a Christian. I would try on certain clothes and feel uncomfortable with how a shirt gaped or a how tight a skirt was when I bent over.

I questioned my swimsuit habits. Did I really want to walk down the beach or go to the pool in a suit that covered less than my underclothes? Why was I willing to wear a “modest” swimsuit with a little skirt attached that was shorter than a tiny mini skirt and feel it was okay because men would see me at a pool instead of the pew at church? What was God’s definition of nakedness? Did I desire to wear expensive clothes that would cause pride in my hearts and others to stumble as they coveted what I was wearing? As I was striving to walk with God my clothing wasn’t really an issue of “me” anymore because my desire had changed. The desire of my heart was now, “God I want to be a woman after your own heart. I am willing to wear your coat of skins instead of the aprons I wanted for myself.” That’s what God wants, our hearts.

When your heart is in the right place it won’t be about you, it will be about God, a modest heart, and the brethren around you. With that spirit of God within you will become a Christian women who others see as chaste, meek, and loving. We are called to be a peculiar people. That means you are to be a peculiar woman, full of love.“For they will know you are Christian’s by their love.” Do you love your God and your brother? Your outward appearance will reflect the love that is in your heart. God delights in the woman with a modest heart.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.


Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertained unto a man, neither shall a man put on a women’s garment; for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God,”

1 Timothy 2:9,10 “ In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

1 Peter 3:3 “Let your adorning be not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, or wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Definitions of words I strive for in spirit and dress

Modest-2887 Greek says: orderly, of good behavior.

Neat- very clean, pure, well adjusted

Comely-decent, suitable, proper, becoming, suited to time, place, circumstances, or persons.

Sober-pure, chaste, temperate

Plain-void of ornament, simple.

~Jennifer Allen is my older sister, and dearest friend. She is also married to my husband's brother, making us sister in law's as well as sisters. :) They are waiting on the Lord for children, and in the meantime she is kept busy being the seamstress for The Modest Mom! She does a fantastic job sewing the skirt orders that come in!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Need Thee Every Hour

I cannot even begin to recall the many times we sang this song to my Mom as she would lie in bed terribly weak and sick, suffering with her Lupus. Our hymnal is well worn at this spot. My Mom changed the words during her darkest hours to "I need thee every minute" and I can still hear her weak voice softly singing these words for strength.

There is a verse that is not commonly sung, which is the following:

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.


I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

My prayer for all the mothers who are struggling, who feel tired, discouraged and battle worn, is that they will keep this song in their hearts. We truly do need the Lord every hour, every minute, and every second. Whether you suffer from a serious illness, or you have simply had a bad day with household cares, cling to the Lord who is mightier than us all! He alone is able to deliver, refresh, and carry us through.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Shaklee Giveaway!

This giveaway is closed. The winners of the Shaklee Giveaway are: Sandra (sandrad600@) and Jennifer ( jilpgunter@) Congratulations!

I had heard of Shaklee for years, but only recently did I look into their company more. I was impressed when I heard that Crystal from Money Saving Mom used the Basic H2 cleaner. That caused me to look into the company more.
Shaklee is a nutritional company that focuses on selling products designed to make you stronger, prettier, healthier, and cleaner!

The line products they sell are:
Beauty Products (skin care)
Healthy Home-my personal favorite part of Shaklee which includes the cleaning products!

I've always been curious to try the Basic H2 product as my husband's grandma used it, and my mother in law has used it also. Natural cleaning products are important to me, but it's hard to find natural cleaning products that are cost effective, and that actually work. When I saw that Shaklee was running a special on cleaning supplies- $90 worth of products for $30 PLUS the usual $19.99 membership fee waived I jumped on it! It's called the Earth Day Healthy Home Kit, but it's only available until Saturday! When you purchase the kit, you get a 16 oz bottle of Basic H2, a container of Laundry Detergent, a bottle of dishwashing liquid, 2 spray containers for basic cleaning and windows, a microfiber cleaning cloth, a window cleaning cloth, and 10 energy chews. You also get a lifetime membership to Shaklee for FREE!
So what makes the Basic H2 such a good deal? It's because you only use 1/4 tsp to fill up a spray bottle! A 16 oz bottle of the concentrate makes 48 gallons of healthy, all purpose cleaner!
I used the Basic H2 to scrub my old dingy table, along with the microfiber cleaning cloth. I think combining the cleaner with the cloth made such a difference, and I got my table cleaner than it's been in a long time!
After receiving my box of new cleaning goodies, I went and cleaned out my cleaning supplies, and promptly got rid of a huge box of cleaning supplies! Two simple bottles replaces about 8 bottles, making a lot more space in my cleaning closet!
If you only purchase one thing from Shaklee, I would suggest the Basic H2!
Stephen and Rhoda Kindred started selling Shaklee, after it dramatically helped their daughter feel better. You can read more about them and their story here.
Would you like to try the Basic H2? Stephen and Rhoda would like to send two people samples of the Basic H2 to try. You will get enough to make 2 16 oz bottles.
To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know a product you would like to try from Shaklee. Leave a way to contact you please.
If you want extra entries, blog, facebook, twitter, follow us, etc. Just leave separate comments letting me know what you have done!
The giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 17th at Midnight.
Please note, these thoughts are strictly my own. While I did receive a free product to try, I was not paid for my thoughts!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She Wears Skirts: A Meek And Quiet Spirt

UPDATE: The following article has been one of the most popular articles we have ever written. It is also becoming quite unpopular with some. We have decided to delete the more controversial comments in the article. Though our personal opinions have not changed on the issues discussed, The Modest Mom Blog is not intended as a forum for political or religious debate. Please accept our apology for allowing it to become so. Though much could be said in response to a number of comments which followed, The Modest Mom blog is not known as a debate forum, thus, we will refrain from responding but we will also be deleting any current or future comments on this post which would lead down that road. Thank-you :)

This is the sequel to the previous post my husband wrote for the She Wears Skirts series.

In my last post I described how I went from being completely oblivious to the issue of modesty to completely awestruck with how significant of a principle it is. I was "awestruck" for a number of reasons. First of all, I wondered how I could have lived 21 years of my life without once considering whether or not there was a right and wrong when it came to dress. Secondly, I was amazed by the beauty of it all. As you may recall, in my last post I recounted my first encounter with my future wife and her sister sitting across the room from me at a scripture study and what my initial reaction was to their appearance. In my ignorance, I could not conceive of any rational reason that would drive two young ladies to show up to a college scripture study in ankle length, floral pattern jumpers. Not only had I never seen anyone don such apparel, I honestly didn't know if I ever cared to see it again - not because it was displeasing to my eye, but because it was displeasing to my heart. Why you ask? Seeing them "set apart" in their dress made me uncomfortable - more uncomfortable that I cared to admit at the time. I was used to the short shorts, the tight tops, and the form fitting everything else. I had become much too well acquainted with this sort of revealing dress and if I would have been honest with myself, I would have confessed that it had done nothing but aid in the development of many of the vile affections that then abided in my heart. Scanning the room that night, my eyes came into contact with something that absolutely shook the foundations of my pitiable understanding concerning the issue of dress. As it was, however, I quickly took shelter in counsel of my heart (not the safest place to be) and reemerged from this cellar like nothing had ever happened. To be sure, I could not deny that there had been an earthquake, but it hadn't phased me. Strange that it even shook me at all. And so, I settled myself by allowing a single word to characterize what I had seen - weird. Case closed. Back to the real world.

Fast forward almost a year later and I was to discover that this earthquake had aftershocks like you wouldn't believe. Passing through the room of this same scripture study, I spotted one of these young ladies (Caroline in this instance) sitting meekly in the corner and the words came to my mind so clearly, "That is the sort of woman you ought to marry." I had come a looooong way - from "weird" to to wedlock. Now, what I would have you to understand is that I wasn't contemplating marriage on account of what Caroline was wearing, but how she wore it. Her clothing was modest, yes, but more importantly, she was modest. This was what I had but dimly apprehended at the first. My wife was not wearing jumpers because she liked them (she didn't and still does not) or because she believed them to be particularly fashionable (they passed out of vogue, oh, some 30 years ago), but because she felt that they were accessory to a modest spirit (that, and they were all her mother could sew at the time, it being very difficult to find anything in the department store agreeable to modest deportment.)

After meeting Caroline and her family, I was introduced to quite a few other ladies who were careful and considerate of their appearance - not too be revealing with the clothing they wore. Not all of them were modest. The one's that were the most modest in their dress were, in many instances, the least modest, if you follow me. I could go on and on about why I think this is, but I shan't, for the Modest Mom says I should draw this post to a close. I hope you will not take my comments as license to dress like everyone else for they are in no way intended to encourage such a course, for although it is possible to be truly immodest while modestly dressed, it is impossible to be immodestly dressed and truly modest. No, my post is intended to encourage the cultivation of a modest spirit and all that it implies - and yes, this process involves taking a good hard look at your standards of dress and adjusting them if necessary (whether you dress modestly or not). In the end, modest clothing does not the Modest Mom make, but they are an appendage unto her. If it were merely modest clothing that adorned my wife when first I met her, I would have dismissed her taste in clothes as sadly misinformed by some obscure, puritanical interpretation of scripture. As it was, however, she wore a meek and quiet spirit which was, and is, of great price in the sight of God, and it had the blessed effect of drawing me nearer to my Savior.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Making Freezer Meals!

I decided earlier in the week to make Saturday a freezer meal's day. It is so nice when there are meals in the freezer that you can pull out at the end of a homeschooling day. While it is a lot of work, with some planning it can go fairly smoothly.

I made up a list of what I was going to fix Thursday night. Friday was Family Fellowship at our church, but it was a mom's night off so only the dad's and children went. I took that time to go shopping! I went to Costco, our local health food store (for herbs), and Walmart. When I came home it was pretty late and I was exhausted. The only prep work I did that night was put my pinto beans in a pan of water to soak overnight.

When I woke up Saturday morning, my kitchen was a mess, but I just jumped in and started working around everything. The children eventually came and swept the floors, and my Mother In Law stopped by and stayed for several hours to help. She made one of the meals, and kept the dishes under control, which was really helpful.

Here is a list of what I made:

Refried Beans -these work out to be a lot cheaper than what I can buy them in the store for! Plus, if you do a big batch at once it really doesn't take a lot of time.

Homemade Bread - I finally found a recipe I really like, and I'll share it below!

Burritos - I made four pans of burritos. I loosely followed this recipe but I used beef instead of chicken. I also wanted some sort of sauce in them, so I made the pioneer woman's enchilada sauce recipe. Yummy! Her recipe calls for a can of enchilada sauce to begin with, and I did not have that. So I first made a basic enchilada sauce recipe I found, then I made the pioneer woman's recipe. :)

Quiche- I made three quiche's (or rather my mother in law did!). I'll share the recipe below. They freeze really well!

Two big bags of breakfast burritos- I cooked up some hamburger I had and tried to season it like breakfast sausage. I scrambled eggs, cooked some diced potatoes, then mixed it all together. I put a big spoonful in a tortilla shell, then topped it with cheese, folded it up and placed in a bag. I'll just pull them out and warm them up in the oven for breakfast. We really like this recipe for homemade hot pockets but they take a lot more time to make.

I made three different chicken recipes, which are top secret and I can't share what they are! Jessica from Life As Mom blog is writing a freezer meal's cookbook right now and I offered to test three recipes for her. Let me just say, I definitely plan on getting this cookbook when it is published. The recipes I made look fantastic! Here are a few other chicken recipes from her good (cheap) eats blog that can also be frozen:

I was planning on making this fantastic looking Chicken Pot Pie recipe, but I ran out of time. It's on my list to make this week.

I figured it up and everything pictured above cost me around $40 to make. That's not bad for 12 dinner meals, plus breakfast and bread! I did buy the aluminium pans at Costco, making each pan cost .21 cents each. I like to have enough glass or stainless steel pans to use, but at this point I just don't have enough. A friend just gave me a tip that she lines her pans with aluminum foil, and freezes her food in her pans. When they are frozen she lifts the food out with the foil, and places it in a big freezer bag. That way her pans are available again! I think that's a great idea!

Here is the bread recipe.

Whole Wheat Bread

5 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey (I have put sugar in when I'm all out of honey and it worked fine)
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1/4 cup lecithin
1 egg
4 cups whole wheat flour (hard wheat, preferably Bronze Chief flour)
2 TBSP Instant yeast (preferably SAF yeast)
8 cups whole wheat flour (soft wheat, preferably Prairie Gold flour)
4 tsp salt

Instructions: Add the first 6 ingredients to mixer and mix until smooth (I use my Bosch for making bread). While continuing to mix add 1/2 of your soft wheat flour. Once that is mixed in, mix in your salt and mix for one minute. Turn mixer to medium and add remaining flour. Let this mix for 7 min. Let dough rise in mixer covering for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size. Do not let it over rise. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled counter and knead down gently. Divide dough into equal portions. Roll out and shape dough and place in oiled pans. Let rise again for 30 min. to 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake in the middle of your preheated oven on 350* for five minutes then turn oven to 325* and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and place on cooling rack. When completely cooled place in bag and seal.

Choose-a-Flavor Quiche

Pastry for single crust pie
3 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sliced green onions (2)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped cooked ham, chicken, or crabmeat (I always use chicken)
1/2 cups shredded swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Harvarti cheese
1 TBSP all purpose flour

Prepare pastry and line pie plate as directed. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Bake in a 450* oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or until pastry is nearly done. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325*.
Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together eggs, milk, green onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in meat of choice. Toss together the cheese and flour. Add to egg mixture; mix well. Pour egg mixture into hot pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of crust with foil. Bake in the 325* oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

To freeze: Cool completely, cover well with foil and and place in freezer. I normally just place it straight from the freezer into my oven, and bake for around 30 minutes or until done.

Here are a few freezer meals cookbooks.

Do you ever do freezer meal cooking? I'd love to see what your favorite recipes are!


Hot Dots and Nursing Camis!

This is a new nursing cami design! These camis are called Skinies, and have the opening cut in the cami! I've never used these, so I don't know how they would work. I do have to admit I've done this very thing to some of my own cheap undershirts! You can find more info about them here.

A favorite homeschooling blog I like to read raves about the Hot Dots. I was excited to see they are on Zulily for a good price, so I think I'm going to get the ABC one for my three year old to use!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Rise Up And Call Her Blessed: A Mother's Day Tribute

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her Children arise up and call her blessed...." Proverbs 31

As time goes on, I realize just what an incredible mother I had. Having children of my own has only had the effect of further amazing me as I think back and wonder, "How did my mother do it all?" I'm sure I am not alone in this process of growth of appreciation for our mothers.

My mother truly lived her life in service to others. She longed for children, and was blessed with my older sister, brother, and I. Due to her health she was not able to have more and I saw the sorrow that caused her.

I have never seen a mother more devoted to the raising of her children. She poured herself into bringing us up in light and truth. I was blessed to be home schooled all my life, and I have so many memories of time spent having devotions and singing hymns at the piano to start our day. She wanted so desperately for us to grow up truly knowing who God was, and having a personal relationship with Him.

I remember as a nine year old girl, coming in the house one beautiful spring day looking for my mom. I finally found her in our school room, sitting at her desk planning out school and logging hours for credit. I remember thinking to myself that it was sad she had to be inside on such a nice day! That stands out in my mind especially now that I am a homeschooling mom, and I realize just how devoted she was to homeschooling. She was always ready with a plan, and spent much of her free time reading books on homeschooling and searching for the best ways to teach us. It wasn't so much to achieve the highest academic scores, rather, she wanted us to love learning, to delight in it, and to strengthen our character through lesson times.

My mother's name was Deborah, which means Busy Bee. She truly did stay busy, that is, as far as her health would permit. She was diagnosed with Lupus in 1994 and so many of my memories from the age of 11 on include her being on the couch extremely sick, many, many doctor visits, and singing hymns to her during moments of discouragement. Through it all she longed to be up and working, and whenever her health permitted she would be up tidying the house, cooking, rearranging furniture, etc. She absolutely loved being a homemaker. She exemplified to me what a diligent, joyous homemaker should be.

Mother passed away last July, so this will be my first Mother's Day without her. I have to admit, while I knew that her illness was considered terminal (there currently is no cure for Lupus), I never thought it would actually take her life so soon. We had always planned that she would help me home school, teach my children piano, do nature studies with them, etc. She was always quick to help me do laundry, dishes, or whatever she perceived that needed to be done when she was over. Some days I feel dreadfully inept and alone without her here, but I "draw form my memories rich treasure store" and try to think how my Mother would handle a situation.

My mom, Sister and I at my Sister's wedding

Words cannot express how grateful I am to have a mother who sacrificed so much to raise me. I never doubted her love for me and was always quick to find a hug and kiss waiting for me. I could not have picked a better mom had I tried, and I thank God for her. "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

This is the end of a poem I gave my Mom for one of her Birthday's. I don't know who wrote it...

The things in my life that are worthy

Were born in my mother's breast

And breathed into mine by the magic

Of the love her life expressed.

The years that have brought me to womanhood,

Makes me realize how much more

My life was shaped by her own special touch.

God, make me the woman of her vision

And purge me from selfishness!

God, keep me true to her standards

And help me to live to bless!

God, make me a woman, brave, strong, and true,

One that my own dear Mother,

Would be proud to claim as her own.

If you are blessed to still have your mother, please take the time this coming Mother's Day to let her know how much you care about her. You never know if this is the last Mother's Day you have to spend with her. We had a feeling last Mother's Day that it would be our last with our mom, and it was such a bittersweet day...


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Winners Announced!

I love announcing winners!

The winner of the Thirsty Diaper and Wrap is:

SondraMama (muloove@)

And the winner of the $20 Gift Card to Joyfully Sewn Designs is:

Angela ((angwells79@)

Congratulations! I will be sending you emails with further details.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

She Wears SKirts- What Happened?

So sorry everyone! Today was supposed to be another post from my husband for the "She Wears Skirts" series. He was going to come home last night and write it, but I ended up getting a flat tire on our van while I was gone. Thankfully I was at my Mother In Law's house, so I wasn't stranded somewhere. Sean had to come and change it, but it took forever to get the spare tire off the van, something has broke on it that makes it difficult to remove. We finally got it changed, but by the time we got home, had dinner and got to bed it was midnight. I knew there was no way he could get up in the morning to write it, so I just decided to skip this week's post. Sorry about that! Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes. :)

Over at Raising Arrows Amy has a great post up on colors. I'd suggest reading it, I loved what she had to say!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Adorable Aprons on Groupon!

Today, the Flirty Apron company is on Groupon! While I dislike the name a lot, the aprons themselves are adorable!!

You can get a $30 voucher to use at the website, for only $15! This is an online deal at the New York Groupon Site, the above link should take you right to it though.

Also, you can get 40% off of Marilyn Style Aprons when you use the code MARILYN40 at checkout. Or you can get 20% off any apron with the code 20M2011.

Aprons are wonderful to use over dresses, and I have several I wear a lot!

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Mission Statement for Keeping My House Clean

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Today is the start of the homemaker's challenge which is based on "31 Days To Clean: Having a Martha House The Mary Way". I wasn't sure if I could start as I've been in bed all weekend with a horrible cold, but after looking at the challenge I knew I was up to it! Some may have started yesterday as that was May 1, but I will not be doing this on the weekends, and was relieved to discover that Sarah Mae said she wouldn't be planning on it either! :)

Today she challenged us to discover why exactly we want a clean house. She says in the book:

"If you do not own your reasons, you will be unmotivated and quite frankly, bored with the whole idea of persevering in cleaning."

For the Mary Challenge in the book, we are supposed to come up with a mission statement for why we want a clean house. This wasn't hard for me to do at all!

1. To bless my husband as he appreciates a clean house.

2. To show my children what order and harmony looks like and be a good example to them.

3. To have the house ready for company to drop by and not be embarrassed over how it looks.

4. To have more time to pursue playing with my children, hobbies, fun baking projects, etc.

For the Martha Challenge, I am supposed to take inventory of all my cleaning supplies.

I went and cleaned out the cabinet under my kitchen sink where I keep everything. I just invested in some new Shaklee cleaning products (check out this fantastic deal here under promotions) and so I was able to get rid of quite a few bottles, and really condense my cleaning supplies. Hurray! I have all the basics, the only thing I want to get is some more microfiber cleaning cloths. They work so well!

Do you have a vision of why you clean your house?


Letting God Plan Our Family

Olivia Pearl - our youngest daughter

When young people get married, the common trend these days is to wait several years before they think about having children. They build up their careers, make sure they have a nice house, and all the other material accoutrements that modern day Americans supposedly need, and then think about possibly bringing a child into the world. All that time, the couple is careful to religiously use the method of birth control they have chosen to ensure that an "accident" does not happen.

My husband and I have been married for eight years, and have four children seven and under. Obviously we have not adhered to this trend for newly married couples. We married young - I was 19 and my husband was 21. About a month before getting married we attended Natural Family Planning Classes which were being offered at a local hospital, thinking that to be the morally acceptable way to control the number of children we had. We kept attending the classes after we were married, trying to faithfully follow the method they taught us. About a month after we were married, we sat down and had a long talk. We asked ourselves why we were trying to prevent children? I was already staying at home, we both wanted a large family, so what why were we trying to prevent? Most importantly, we asked ourselves if there were any scriptural principles which would support a decision for child prevention. There were and are none to be found. After praying and discussing it some more, we decided to stop any form of birth control, and to entrust the "planning" of our family to the Lord. He graciously scheduled our first arrival a few months later!

Since that time, our conviction in this has been tested. My health has not always been the best, and at times my struggles with my adrenal glands have been quite severe. I very nearly miscarried my second child at 13 weeks, and was put on bed rest for a week as I lay there bleeding. I cried out to God many times, begging Him to save the life of my baby. Miraculously, the miscarriage stopped, and after that I thought all would be well. However, I went into pre-term labour with him at 32 weeks. Again, by God's grace, it was not until 37 weeks that he was born healthy and at home.

I struggle with terrible morning sickness while pregnant, being worn out, fatigued, discouraged because of my own failures in keeping my home, etc. My husband has to sacrifice having his wife to himself as I go through periods of morning sickness, giving birth and healing from that, fatigue while pregnant, and fatigue while being up all night nursing.

So why do we continue in not using birth control?

Simply because we feel that children are a blessing from God and that we have no place in meddling with his design in this thing.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Psalms 127: 3-5

In spite of all the difficulties and discomforts that happen while pregnant, as soon as the baby is born and I gaze into it's eyes and at that moment I know it is all worth it. After my birth with our third child, (which was a fantastic birth) I exclaimed minutes after "I can do this again!" The Lord gives me strength when I need it.

I always nurse for at least a year after giving birth, and so far that has prevented me from getting pregnant before our baby is a year. The shortest space of time between two of our children in order is 21 months. The longest is 29 months. The Lord seems to know when I'm ready for another baby. Many times I make comments while my baby is still little about really hoping I don't get pregnant again soon. Then my baby hits a year old, and I'm longing for another one!

Many of the questions we have been asked are, "how can you afford it," "how do you handle so many children," "how do you have the time?" And the list goes on and on.

My answer to these questions sounds trite, but it's true.

The Lord provides.

We have never know starvation, our children know that we love them, and we have time for our children because we make the time. Right now, the only activities we are involved in take place at our church. We are not involved in very many outside activities. My husband comes home from work and spends time wrestling with the boys, reading to them (right now they are reading "Swiss Family Robinson"together), talking with our three year old daughter, and holding our 16 month old daughter. He does not have hobbies (though he will admit to really liking Apple products!), rather he sacrifices his time and interests to raise his children. Also, we home school, so I'm at home with the children all day.

Is it a sacrifice? You bet it is.

Is it worth it? Ever so much.

At the end of my life I'm excited that I will be surrounded by children and grandchildren, not merely achievements and wealth to show for my life. My legacy will be passed on into that of my children, and our family name will be continued, and I pray it will be passed on to the glory of God.

Admittedly, there are lots of questions and what ifs when you choose to trust God with your family. I don't have all the answers. This is something you have to agree on and receive conviction in as husband and wife. The current climate in our society, in large part, is anything but friendly towards having and raising a large family. Be prepared to receive derogatory comments from nearly everyone - strangers, friends (including many church friends) and yes, family.

Here are some resources that my family has been encouraged from.

Babies, Adoption, and Large Family Logistics - While we don't agree with every philosophy in this set, many of the thoughts presented are convicting and encouraging. I especially loved the panel talks that were given for ladies on the logistics of handling a large family! You can purchase it cheaper from Amazon right now, or you can purchase the MP3 version at Vision Forum.

Start Your Family: Inspiration For Having Babies - This book encourages young couples to not wait once they get married to have babies. They address all the common questions presented to young people. I highly recommend this book!

Be Fruitful And Multiply - Written by Nancy Campbell, this book presents many scriptures to back up the concept of letting God plan your family.

Pregnancy Test Strips - I know many ladies who have large families use lots of pregnancy test strips! It can be quite expensive if you use the ones at the store. These strips are very affordable, and work great!

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