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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Growing Time..

As much as we love the snowy winters here in Colorado, there is something equally exciting about our "growing season." Yesterday we were officially able to start our garden! We are starting most of our seeds inside, rather than outside like we did last year. Last year really was dry and most of our seeds either didn't sprout, or dried up soon after sprouting. It really was a sad harvest, and we greatly missed our usually bountiful harvest of Zucchini!

I loved the sprouting trays we used! They were the big trays of peat pellets that blow up when you pour water over them. I thought they were much better than just using a big tray of dirt. It allowed us to start lots of different seeds all in one tray without worrying about the sprouts getting mixed up. Quite neat, like a mini-greenhouse. We are still using the big trays of course, but only for one kind of seed per tray, such as our cucumbers. I'm hoping we get lots and lots of cucumbers this year, it would be nice to have enough at one time to make pickles!

After we got home today from our little family outing, I was surprised to find the radishes already poking their little green shoots out of the dirt..

Here's what's growin' in the garden so far for this year: radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins (including White Casper pumpkins!), sweet corn (our first try with corn!), green onions, chives, peas, and green beans, basil, oregano, sage, cilantro, and dill. The only things we haven't planted yet would be the tomatoes and peppers. But, we normally buy plants instead of starting seeds for those.. for this climate, we've found it's easier.

Hoping to be able to post pictures of a lovely harvest of vegetables and herbs this year! What's growing at your house? :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Will the Real Gentlemen Please Stand Up..

and give your seat to the lady standing...

I'm going to blog a little about about common courtesy in men. Where is it? I'm training my boys to know that ladies are first. Ladies first! It's terrible when my 22-year-old daughter understands this concept, but a 70-year-old man in the grocery store doesn't. As they both walk up to the deli counter at the same time, the heat is on to see if this gentleman, is a gentleman. Well, sad to say he wasn't. "He was here first."

(I'm getting my neo board out to steam one off for the summer issue.)

Boys need to understand the basic concept of ladies first in order to be become real men. They need to pause to let a lady pass, they need to open doors, they need to let their sisters go first. They should be the first to lug heavy items for any mother, get a ladder to accomplish something that girls need not do like get the dust off of high shelves. They need to humble themselves to do the "dirtier" work in the home; clean the vacuum container, fix the screens, clean the fireplace, take out the trash, kill that nasty spider. Ladies first.

Let me say that a man will not be a man if he is not given the opportunity to know that his soul was made to lead, protect, go last, and serve as a gentleman. Ladies first.

I promise that if you teach your boys (don't worry if some are older.. start now) the one small concept of "ladies first" it will be like a flood gate opening to let the real man stand up in your boys and open the path to integrity. Ladies first.

On a personal note, if we don't expect this, be prepared for women to overrun our men. Be prepared for less men to lead and more women to want charge. I could go on.. and on.

Blessings, Theresa

Monday, May 18, 2009

Granola

Granola is one of those recipes that's been practically beaten to death, but it's also one of the staples our family makes the most of. It kills me when I walk through the store looking at the assembly of prices of pre-made, frozen and boxed foods; most of them things that could be easily made at home. There are so many isles in the grocery store I can breeze right past, because they are filled with things we make ourselves! I like to add up in my head how much money we save as I walk through everything. Don't need that (saves $8.00), don't need this (saves $13.00).. it really is incredible the amount of money we save by making it ourselves. This goes for everything from canned soups, jarred spaghetti sauce, frozen pizza, side dishes and appetizers. We literally go to the checkout with meat, cheese and produce!

Cereal, especially granola, is one of the many goodies best made at home! The way we buy our oats itself is a big money-saver, we don't buy that so-called "family size" at the store for $12.00 a box, we buy whole oat groats.. in 50lb. bags. As far as making real "cereal", you know.. the flaky sugar-coated corn flakes and the like, I haven't had a lot of success. I used Barley flour with the hopes of making a better-than-Kelloggs flaked cereal.. but the outcome was more of a crunched up breakfast cracker. Yick. Not impressed in the slightest!


As of now, this is our favorite granola recipe.. the one the kids say "yay!!" to :)

Granola

In a saucepan melt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, add 1 cups crushed pecans (or any other kind of nut!) and toast the nuts over medium heat until the nuts are fragrant. Add:
2/3 cup honey or real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla


Set aside. In a large bowl combine the following:
10 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup brown sugar, or sucanat (raw brown sugar)


Stir all is mixed in well. Pour the nut/honey mixture over the dry oat mixture and stir until until all is very well incorporated, busting up any lumps as you go. Pour out onto lined baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes.


Yummy! And this makes just enough for one breakfast for our family. So if you have a small family, you will have leftovers to store.. if you are a large family, you can double it. Just make sure you have your Navy-size bowl out!

Blessings on your day, ~*~Jessica~*~

Don't forget to enter our May Magazine Giveaway!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May Online Conference.. and Blueberry Pie

Yes! Our next Joyous~Homemaking and Wise Guy online conferences are at the end of this month. May 29th marks the start! We have Jennie Chancey from Sense & Sensibility joining us again to teach her new Gathered Dress Pattern. She mentioned the new dress in the last conference she did with us, and it was too sweet not to do a class on it! I'm seeing some new little dresses for the girls this summer.. don't you? :) Such a pretty dress, and so simple to make!

Mom and I are doing a quilting lesson with our project, "Summer Days" quilted table runner. I love all of the blues with this pattern, I think it's going to make a lovely runner! We are making this into a good beginners quilting class, with an added challenge of using triangles for those of you who have prior experience with all square block quilts.


May 30th is The Wise Guy. Lots of good stuff for the men this time! In Auto Talk, John Powers is going to be teaching the men how to service their own transmission. Following that is going to be a lesson in woodworking, making something that Mom's like: a Kitchen Pantry Cabinet.



Visit our website for more details! We are so looking forward to another weekend of teaching with everyone! Hope to see you there.. :)

Now for a recipe.. Mom made this scrumptious pie for Easter.


Blueberry Pie

For this recipe you need two 10" pie crusts (your favorite pie crust recipe!). In a small bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar and 6 Tbsp. potato starch. In a large bowl combine:

6 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
potato starch/sugar mixture
juice from 1/2 large lemon

Stir together until all of the berries are well coated with the sugar mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until a thick syrup has formed. Pour pie filling into crust. Cut 2 Tbsp. cold butter into small pieces and scatter across of the top of filling. Cover with second crust.

Make a light egg wash by whisking together one egg white and 2 Tbsp. half & half. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, brush once more with the egg wash. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut four slits in the top of the crust.

Bake pie for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake pie for an additional 40 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the juice is bubbling. Mmmm... yummy!!


Happy Friday! ~*~Jessica~*~

Friday, May 8, 2009

May Magazine Giveaway!

The May Magazine giveaway begins now! Rules on how to enter here!
Remember, all entering comments must be posted here! Have a wonderful weekend!
~*~Jessica~*~
YES! You post the May entry comments to this post!!

Freedom in The Kitchen, Finally!

The last few days have been a little trying for our family with the renovation on the floors and the lack of furniture. It really makes you realize how much a chair means to you! We have been blessed however, we have our kitchen back. Difficulty cooking in the kitchen, or no cooking at all, for a family of our size means trouble! Monday night's dinner of pizza was conducted in my parent's not quite-so-roomy master bathroom. With a few wanderers like myself preferring the hallway or my own room. Needless to say, we are very happy to be able to get back to baking and cooking our own food, and in the right place :)

Wednesday morning I made a bee-line for the kitchen to make a coffeecake.. yummy!

Buttermilk Crumb Coffee Cake

In the Bosch mixer with the cookie paddles
(we usually use the cookie paddles for cake batters)
2 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. Real Salt (sea salt)
4 1/2 cups freshly ground soft wheat flour

Mix until crumbly. Remove 1 cup of crumbs and set aside. Add:
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk

Beat for about a minute. Pour into a greased 13"x9" baking dish. Mix in 1/2 cup crushed pecans to the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle over the top of cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!





Many blessings, ~*~Jessica~*~
Stay tuned for the giveaway to start! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prayer Ignites Action

I'm sorely tempted each time I pray to wonder where it went. As the day passes, I recall my pleadings to the Lord and say, "Remember this morning Father?"

The past few days my devotionals from Elisabeth Elliot have been direct answers to my daily questions. This morning I was reminded that prayer sets forth motion. My encouragement for you today is to pray! Pray about that person, the circumstance, the schedule, the bills, whatever is on your mind, pray. There are many verses that the Lord hears but another verse came to mind also, a favorite, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughtout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." 2 Chronicles 16:9

It is comforting to know that my sincere prayers are delivered right to our heavenly Father, and swifter than we think.

Speaking about Daniel who "turned to God in earnest prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes," confessing Israel's sins and beseeching God for forgiveness and restoration. The angel Gabriel came close to him in the hour of evening sacrifice, "flying swiftly." This is an excerpt from A Lamp For My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot:

As Soon As You Begin to Pray

Prayer sets spiritual forces in motion, although the effect is often invisible, perhaps for a long time. "As you were beginning your supplications a word went forth" (Dn 9:23 NEB), he said. The answer was already beginning to be processed when the prayer was offered. It took a very long time. Periods of weeks and years for the nation, and times of mourning, solitude, weakness, and fear on Daniel's part were required before the answer could come to pass.

We should take heart from Gabriel's message. Though our prayers seem feeble and sometimes appear to have gone unheard, a word has gone forth. Spiritual agents from the throne room of the King of kings are mobilized against spiritual forces from the headquarters of evil, and there will be ultimate victory.
"Tremendous power is made available through a good man's earnest prayer" (Jas 5:16 JBP).

Glory to God, Theresa

Monday, May 4, 2009

Floors

Our Front Living Room


We are just about done with the floors. I don't know what we are thinking when we decide to do a little renovating with 10 children in the house. Our floors were a colonial dark color, we just couldn't keep them shiny with the traffic. Plus we had used a water based urethane which was a mistake for our crowd walking on floors. We are using the oil based on the refinish.

We could have keep them light to begin with but just had to try the darker floors. Never again. I would have taken a picture of the sanding process but the dust was unbearable and I didn't want my camera in it!

Sanding a darker color off is a beast of a job, but my wise guy is very talented. : ) Here are a few pictures before we put the oil on.


From the Kitchen



One Coat on the Front Room



In some of our other pictures you may be able to see how dark our floors were. These are a much nicer shade.
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