Friday, August 31, 2012

The Necessity of an Enemy - Book Review

I've always believed and have even used some the the "normal" Christian sayings like, something good will come of anything bad, but I'm not sure I really thought through every aspect of that thought.  Ron Carpenter, Jr. brings new light to this cliche in Christianity and even takes it one step further, with the thought that not only will something good come from an enemy attack, but it is a necessity to have the enemy attack in order for God to do great things in our life.

This book really made me think about how really bad moments and even people in my life were necessary to bring me to a better person and develop my own witness to others.  It was a hard thought to swallow, the thought that an attack by the enemy was necessary to grow.  I like to think as a Christian that God won't allow the bad to come in, but the truth is, when the bad happens, we are often, just a step or moment away from a huge breakthrough or moment in my life.

After reading this book, I feel that it has caused me to think about struggles and attacks from the enemy in a new way.  Carpenter challenges the reader to not flee from the enemy, but to embrace it.  To use it as a step stool for something greater to come.  The bigger the attack by the enemy, you can take comfort in knowing that the win in the end will be that much greater.  And of course, even after a win over the enemy, we need to stay on our toes and not relax, because the enemy doesn't relax either.'

This book was so packed with spiritual guidance, that I read many sections twice, not because it wasn't understandable, but because I really wanted to soak it in and pray about each concept.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who takes their walk in Christ seriously - seriously enough to be attacked by the enemy. It has a ton of information and can even be read twice, to get the most out of it.  The study guide at the end, really adds to the organization and application of this practical life/personal growth book.

I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for this review of the book from Multnomah Waterbrook Press.  All opinions are my own. Please Rank my review HERE.

Back to School

Call me sick, but I love everything about the first day of school!  Even as an adult and homeschooling parent, I still love that first day of school.  When the first school supplies start to arrive in the stores, I just to go through the aisle and smell all the supplies and check them out! 

So, here we are again, at the beginning of the school year!  After I come down from the high of smelling all the supplies and new books, I have the business of getting that first day started.  Of course, I didn't get ready until the night before (by waiting until the night before, it prolongs the fact that summer is over already).
I have to say, as my oldest two children worked away at their computers and I was helping my two middle children with experiments for science class (pictured above), and the baby is running around trying to get everyone to play, it was a great moment in life!  I love to homeschool, mostly, because I love to be with my kids all day as they learn new things, and I love the fact that what they learn is up to me, not the school system.  But most of all, I love to see the adventure of it in their eyes.

Although, by day 3, everyone is tired of the whole experience of working at school all day and some are sick of homework and the new books don't have as much appeal of the first day, it's still all very rewarding to share together as a family, the growing and learning in life.

Oh, the experiment that made me snap this picture was drinking juice like a butterfly.  We are studying butterflies and learned by trying to sip juice through a straw (proboscis of the butterfly), pretending the ice is like sand that the butterfly sips water out of.  We measured the juice before putting in the ice and then measured how much they could sip out in the second cup.  Not the cleanest experiment, but the kids loved this one!  They wanted to dump it back in and try it again.  I love these kind of hands on activities (minus the mess.)  The kids always understand things better when the try things out.

What to you love most about the first day of school?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Local Harvest

I am so surprised at the amount of people who don't take advantage of local farmers and produce!  We heard about a place called "Tomato Toms" and just had to check it out. (Especially since it seems nearly impossible to grow tomatoes in our town.  I think it's something about the elevation)  We took a Sunday afternoon to drive to explore local produce and find Tomato Tom.

This drive, I thought for sure that no one could be possibly growing anything on such dry land (see the background to the first picture, below).  Then we drove up a scary driveway and look what we found:
Tomato Toms was a fantastic sizable garden of u-pick heaven!  We picked 60 pounds of tomatoes in 10 minutes.  Then took about twenty more minutes to figure out just what onions and peppers we needed to go with our tomatoes.

The tomatoes weren't store perfect, as in no blemishes or anything, but they were beautiful and tasted wonderful off the vine!  I don't normally  care for tomatoes fresh, so that's a huge compliment.  The best part, was that the tomatoes were only $.50/lb.

We canned 19 quarts of tomatoes.  I love the No Liquid Added recipe to can tomatoes.  I don't like my tomatoes to be runny, which seems to happen when you add the boiling water to it.  This recipe literally puts only lemon juice and salt in the bottom and fill with peeled tomatoes.  The downfall of this recipe is that it has to water boil 90 minutes.
Of course, one of the things we always make from tomatoes, is salsa!  The kids and I love a Zesty Salsa, but Mr. Right doesn't like spicy, so we made his salsa, too.  We ended up with eight pints of Zesty Salsa and five pints of Dad's Salsa.Don't they look beautiful in the jar!  I just love to look at the pictures of both the salsa all ready to cook down and the then in the jar.  Give me a sick satisfaction that it is a job well-done.

While we were out hunting for new food sources, locally, we did find a family orchard that we had heard about too.  Unfortunately,the father that used to run the orchard has passed away, and it has not been kept up or sprayed.  The good news is that they still have beautiful and delicious fruit, it just didn't get sprayed or watered as it should have. 
In a way, for us, this makes it almost organic - I know, not certified organic, but hey, this year it didn't get chemicals.  They were allowing a U-Pick in the orchards for only $.50/lb.

Santa Anna Plums - so yummy!
We found peaches and plums that were so yummy, we were eating and getting sweet, yummy juice all over ourselves as we picked!I decided to try a new recipe for Summer salsa, which included pears, peaches and tomatoes to make.  We made six pints of these to try this winter.

Of course, this last week, has been canning like crazy.  All in all, we ended up with:

  • 19 quarts Tomatoes
  • 8 pints Zesty Salsa
  • 5 pints Dad's Salsa
  • 6 pints Summer Salsa
  • 9 quarts Peaches
  • 14 half-pints peach jam
  • 32 half-pints plum jam
  • 4 pints Peach Salsa (which is also a new recipe for us and has no tomatoes in it!)

Whew!  It's been a busy week for us, but for less than $100 in fruit and vegetables we got a total of 97 jars of food for the year!  That's about a $1 a jar of yummy goodness: PRICELESS!

Here's the cookbook that we exclusively used for all of these recipes: 
If you'd like me to post specific recipes, please comment below, which ones you'd like and I'll post them this next week for you.

Please check out those blogs I love to link up to in the right column.  I love to hear what you think.  Do you can local produce? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

End of Summer Sale

Let’s send summer out in style with a sensational sale!
Nearly everything in our Creative Memories catalog is on sale now through 10 p.m. CST on Aug. 27 – at savings up to 40 percent off.

Go Here to Order Right Away!  I would greatly appreciate your support and orders!

Here's the list of what's on sale:

40% off
• Album Refills (all sizes of Pages, Page Protectors and Side-Loading Sleeves)
• 12x12 Paper, Cardstock Packs, and Stack Packs
• StoryBook Creator 4.0 and StoryBook Creator 4.0 upgrade (includes DVD and download versions)
• Wall Print Posters (including product credits)

30% off
• Albums (including 12x12, 8x8, and Album Sets)
• Custom Albums (including product credits)
• Digital Artwork Downloads and CDs

20% off
• Power Palette Systems and Sets
• Specialty Paper and Embellishments (12x12 Additions, Specialty Paper Packs, Scrapbook Kits, Album Accents
and Storyboxes, Paper Embellishments, Embellishment Packs, Decorative Stickers, Title and ABC Stickers,
Vellum Expressions, Card Sets and TalkingTag™ Memory Labels)
• Displays and Display Accents
• Trimmers, Makers, Adhesives, Pens, Cutting Systems and Stamper System
• Simply Said Books
• Photo and Fine Stationery Cards Paper (including product credits)

10% off
• PicFolio® Albums
• Quick Albums
• Organizers
• Cricut Cartridges
• Photo Gifts and Calendars (including product credits)
• Custom Album Pages (including product credits)
• Page Prints (including product credits)

I have never seen these prices for Creative Memories.  I am an Independent Consultant for Creative Memories and would appreciate your purchases to support our family.  Thanks in advance!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Huckleberry Hunting

I love the fact we have so much National Forest here in Northern Idaho.  It's been wonderful to find and harvest wild morel mushrooms, and now we have finally found the huckleberries!  It seems that everyone here is picking them, but most don't know exactly where they are.
 We finally found them, thanks to our new friends!  After 45 minutes of picking with eight of us picking, this is what we got, about a third of an ice cream pail full of huckleberries!  Yummy!  Keep in mind that everyone also did some eating, too.
Better yet, we now have 7 very precious jars of Huckleberry jam!  We gave one jar as a gift to our exchange student to take back to her family and will probably part with one more jar for a gift for someone special (can't mention who!).  The best part, this was free and full of memories for everyone!

Do you have local finds in the woods that you hunt down?  We will definitely be checking this spot out first thing next year for huckleberry season!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waffle Iron Hash browns

Do you spend countless hours on Pinterest looking at all the great ideas?  Well, I do and have heard so many comment on how much there is to try, but never get around to it.  Of course, I can't do it all, but hey, I had to try this one.  Cooking hash browns in my waffle iron - what a concept?  I thought it was a brilliant use for a waffle iron.  You see, I have a few issues with my waffle iron.  

First, I like crispy waffles, not rubbery, and I can't find a recipe in my waffle iron that doesn't turn out rubbery.  Second, once I have rubber waffles, I can't eat them again for about 6 months!  So my third issue with my waffle iron is that since it takes me 6 months to recover, it doesn't ever get used, and I wonder if I should get rid of it.

So this Pinterest idea, I thought I would try.  Genius!   My hash browns were crispy and cooked through in no time in my waffle iron.  My poor waffle iron will not have to wait for six months for another use, either!  My advice to you if you try cooking your hash browns with the waffle iron, is to cook it longer than the timer on the iron.  It went through two cycles on my iron.  Also, this was low fat compared to frying since it just needed the iron to be sprayed.

Do you spend oogles of time on Pinterest?  How about other uses for your waffle iron?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Burlap and Ticking

I found a queen size bed ruffle with  a ticking ruffle on it.  Immediately, I picked it up (for only $1!) at our local thrift store.  I knew that I would combine it with my find of burlap bags.  ( I picked up 200 of them for only $10!  Yes, that's right, they were only $.05 each! I overindulged in them, and could take no less than 200 because of the price.)  One of the problems with my new bags is that they are a little smaller than the printed ones that I have.  I personally like really long table runners because I have a really big table, but I decided to get over my own feelings and make this runner as long as I could (the ruffle really helped, too).
 So here is the runner.  I think the ticking and the burlap really look great together.
 I know how to make ruffles and have ticking, but for $1 I thought that this really was worth using from a different source!
You could have it in the middle of a big table like above, or you could have the ruffle hang down the edge of the table.  Not bad for only $1.05!  (I have tons of the ticking left, too)

This is getting listed in my Etsy Shop.  Please consider checking this out and many other items that we have made.  We use our Etsy Shop to save for 4-H trips for our kids.

Please let me know what you think and check out the blogs on the right-hand column that I love to link up to.