Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snack ideas

The question arose at Crystal's blog about healthy snack ideas. Evidently ours are not the only littles that graze all day ...

My 3 yr. old twins are the same - always hungry, even just an hour after a meal ... go figure. It has been this way since they began on solid food at six months.

We use much of what Crystal has mentioned and the apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon too, but here are some other ideas we use:

- pretzels
- nuts & bolts - which is really just a mix of pretzels, peanuts, organic squares (like Shreddies), cherrios, raisins etc. - whatever you have on hand.
- homemade croutons - Check out my earlier post. I rarely make a batch that lasts until the salad it was intended for. I always use wholegrain bread and toss with extra virgin olive oil.

- a glass of water will sometimes satisfy temporarily (if I need just a few minutes till a meal time)
- frozen cherries, thawed (frozen fruit "pops" go over anytime with our guys, but are especially nice in summer ... cherries, grapes, cantaloupe, mangos - use some discount bin finds for this purpose)
- Quaker granola bars that have been B1G1 for a long while now - though not totally healthy ... it's been processed!
Check out more ideas at Crystal's blog.

Do you, my faithful readers, have anything to add to the list?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snug as a bug...

We are so thankful to be snug in our home these cold, cold January days.

When the temperature dips to -50 degrees with wind chills it sure is nice to be able to stay at home.

Life goes on though. We can still take care of the animals, clean the eggs, do all the regular school lessons (and more in some cases - yahoo, maybe we'll get done early and be able to spend more quality time outdoors in spring).

Such is the life of a farmer - seasonal - and we are enjoying the blessing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Inventive Gift

A while ago we discussed the best toys for boys are often the least expensive ...

My seven-year-old son has just made birthday gifts for his soon-to-be four-year-old twin brothers.

Frisbees. Boomerangs. Helicopter rotors. Call them what you like ... the twins discovered the treasure before the hunt (drawing tears of dismay from their benevolent brother)- but they enjoyed their new toys.

Big brother was consoled when I asked him if I could share his resourceful invention with the blog world. Here it is:

All you need:
- a cereal box or piece of card board
- a ruler
- a pencil
- a scissor

Creativity & resourcefulness from a box.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To the Farm!

For those who are wanna be farmers to those who have already gotten their piece of paradise, the film "Inherit the Land: Adventures on the Agrarian Journey" serves up a good dose of encouragment.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christmas Cards in January

If you sent a card to us this year ... or a picture ... or a letter, you can consider yourself on our prayer list. Each evening when we gather for Family Worship, all eight of us take a card and pray for the sender(s).

I've also re-used Christmas cards by:
1. making gift tags from them for next year (not from pictures though)
2. used one as a wall plaque - the words are timeless "He's really all there is, and all that really matters" - two sparrows looking towards Bethlehem.

What do you do with Christmas cards once Christmas is over?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Timesaver Tip

Most often, when we print or copy a page we need it with the three holes in it so that we can file it in a binder.

Solution: Buy the paper with the holes already punched!

Last time I purchased a case of blank white paper, I mistakenly grabbed a box with the three holes already punched. It has proven to be a welcome mistake, saving us from reaching for the three-hole punch each time we've printed a page.

Oh, there are those occasions when an unpunched page is preferable, but those are not nearly as many. A quick fill with the page or two that I need is quite a bit easier than all the punching we used to do.

Time saved at no extra cost. Whoo hoo!

I think this qualifies as a "2 for 1" Deal because not only are you buying the paper, you've also basically gotten the 3-hole-punch for "free" PLUS you've saved time (eventually a punch would wear out right? smile).

One little way to become a better steward ... of our time!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Memorize in Minutes

Back in August '07, I read an article by Ruth Beechick called "Family Scripture Memorizing". The content peeked our interest.

These last four months, as a family we've been doing an experiment, memorizing Romans chapter six. We started by reading the whole chapter out loud together at the beginning of our daily family worship - every day. Just reading through the chapter once each day. It just takes a few minutes.

It didn't take long and the young guys were saying verses from memory. Now we can all recite the chapter in a mere three minutes ... well, us older folks are still stumbling occasionally, but the young folk are ready with a prompt - even the three year old twins can fill the blanks right to the end of the chapter.

Amazing or what?

God's Word will not return void, it will accomplish His purposes:

Isaiah 55:11 "So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

Having planted these seeds in our hearts, we look forward confidently to repeated harvests.

We've memorized before, but rarely such a long passage at once and not with such relative ease. Passages committed to memory will accumulate over time if we remain faithful. A chapter every 3-4 months, even factoring in the time spent reviewing previous passages(3 minutes or so), really is not a huge chunk of the day, but the temporal & eternal benefits are ... oh so worth it!

Time to plant more seeds, new seeds. Next?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Time for Tea?

This past week our family fell ill with a flu bug. In a large household it takes time to make the rounds.

About a month ago, I tried making "Ginger Tea", steeping fresh pressed ginger for the flavor & health benefit. The adults and older sons enjoyed it sweetened with honey, but the littles found the taste unappealing and a bit too much on the "hot" side for their liking.

Even the standard gingerale was not to their liking this time around. I kept trying new liquids to offer them after each unpleasant episode, hoping that something would be palitable and stem the tide for them. Bland foods & water were not the answer either.

Finally, I tried:

Homemade "Sparkling Cheery Gell-o"
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp. gelatin
1 can frozen concentrate juice (I used McCain Raspberry)
3 cups gingerale
Mix the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold water and heat until dissolved, stirring constantly. Cool & add the juice concentrate then add the gingerale and place in fridge until set.

The sparkling gello settled stomachs, was palitable, and gave the necessary energy our littles needed to pull out of the slump.

Praise to God - Jehovah Rapha - God Who Heals!

As an after thought, some of my ginger tea was left over and cooled giving me a new idea to try ... using fresh ginger tea to add to the gell-o using mineral water as the "sparkle". Look for an edit to this post at a later date, after I've tried this out (the fresh ginger may impede the gelling of the gelatin - wait and see!)

How do you battle a flu bug?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Profound Truth

No fear...only faith.

No guilt...only grace.

No pride...only praise.

No claim...only Christ.

~ Laine's Letters

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another Praise ... the Light Works!

Another victory in the farming venture ... our best egg-candler is now working again. We are grateful for the ability to get a replacement bulb after doing a search on the internet.

Even after spending $25.00+ for one bulb, we're glad to have it. The time savings in candling the eggs is significant - we can candle two times as many eggs with this candler as with the old stand-by candler we the same amount of time!

Again, we give God the glory for guiding us to this victory over a minor little detail. Two times in one week, we see His hand of mercy on this venture.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Omnipotent Manager!

Grain prices are up - WAY up! Good for grain farmers, but for those of us feeding animals with those grains ... well, it hurts in the pocketbook!

Just before Christmas, DH was gathering feed supplies for his next batch of feed which needs to be made right now in the beginning of this new year. In December, the best price he could get from his supplier was $1300.00 for a large tote of feed-grade organic flax-cake - ouch, BIG OUCH! We've usually paid around $300-400 for that amount.

We put off the purchase then, prayed about it & discussed trusting God to supply our need. Now, we NEED to buy & get the feed mixed by the end of next week when the chickens will be out of the current feed supply.

So, today DH calls the company again and talks to a surprised manager that was just thinking of calling to let DH know they have not one, not two, but four tote bags of organic flax-cake for animal feed priced at only $150/metric tonne = approximately $100/large tote bag.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

It is a joy to serve the omnipotent God!

List with a Twist

Everyone knows about and has a "To Do" list right? Well, have you ever heard of it done backwards?

Laine from Laine's Letters wrote a letter about lists done this way - when you've completed a task you get to go write it down.

How cool is that? While the "To Do" list is daunting, the "Done" list would be a pleasure to document - how many times I can well recall having verbally listed my accomplishments to my dear husband or family. They do the same. It's a pleasure. It is truly accomplishment!

Give this a try. I will. Then please join me again and share a comment about your experiences using a list with a twist. We'll encourage each other.