Thursday, June 23, 2016

prayer /prer/ noun: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God

Ray teaching Levin to pray

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .

I have heard and said thousands of prayers. I remember one night when Ande was a teenager and came to crawl in bed with me for a few minutes before Calvin came to bed. We both kneeled to say our prayers. When I finished I whispered, “Ande. Are you done yet?”

She whispered back, “No.”

Remembering something I hadn’t said, I asked, “Would you tell Him something for me?”

She whispered louder, “I think He’s probably heard enough from you today.”  She was probably right.

Sometimes our children, before they had children, considered me an over-pray-er. Now they know for themselves that prayer is a powerful alliance in parenting and you can’t overdo it.

I remember one of Cali’s prayers when she was a little girl. She was only three and I had asked her to go to the deep, dark, damp basement to get some oranges. Pretty soon I heard her talking in the other room,

“Heavenly Father . . . I’m not sayin’ my prayers, I’m just askin’ you somethin’ . . . could you help me go downstairs and get some oranges for my mom? Thank you for helping me.”

Cali went down into the basement and brought back several oranges into the kitchen. She gave them to me and then went down for another load. After she gave me the second batch she said, “Heavenly Father’s tired now,” but not before she had learned that she could count on Him. That’s one of the things that mothers pray for, that their children will know and understand that there is a Father in Heaven who hears and answers prayers.

Thirty years later Cali was fretting about the stress of keeping her own little boys safe from harm.  Ande wrote a note, "I finally turned it over.  I prayed and said, 'You want them to explore and learn AND be adults, and you want me to be sane?  Send angels."

God answers prayers.  All of them.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." -- Psalm 33

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Homemaking Tip - Frugal Accomplishments

Each week Brandy at the writes a post on her frugal accomplishments. She is inspiring and I love to read her posts.  I have learned new ways to cut expenses. She has built a wonderful readership that also share their ideas and frugal accomplishments in the comments section. Taking inspiration from her post, I'm recording our frugal accomplishments for the week in hope that someday it might help a reader of mine, too.

Here are some of our frugal accomplishments this week:


Calvin's Father's Day blackberry pie with berries from the garden/freezer

a triple batch of granola bars  (recipe found here)

22 trays of raspberry-apple leather (raspberries from the garden/freezer)

chicken and dumplings
we ate potatoes, carrots, and onions from the garden

I also made a crock-pot of refried beans (recipe here) and froze 20 bean and cheese burritos for future lunches.


the coyotes ate 25 of our laying hens, but a good friend gave us 5 hens to
keep us in stock until we get a new batch of chicks raised

cut flowers and lavender from the garden to put on the table as a centerpiece

a mouse for our cat to teach her to be a mouser

gathered eggs and fed the pigs scraps from the kitchen along with their grain

picked and froze two+ gallons of raspberries from the garden


We planted more basil so we can make a larger batch of pesto to freeze.  I got some books from the library, and returned an unread book for store credit.  Calvin and I used a gift card for a date to a nice restaurant and only paid $1.16 for the meal. 

We watched programs on Roku.

Canning & Freezing

We butchered between 40-50 chickens that we raised. After we bagged some whole and cut others up, we boiled the backs (as well as a few older chickens from the freezer) and canned the meat and broth. In addition to 20+ birds in the freezer, we canned about 30 pints of meat and 40 quarts of broth.

Phil, one of Calvin's friends and work associates asked us to raise some birds for him and wanted to help butcher them.  Having three of us really sped up the process.  Here are a few pictures from the butchering process.

1.  Catch the birds.

2.  Bleed them out and then dip them in scalding water to loosen the feathers.

3.  Drop them in the whizzbang chicken plucker.

4.  Eviscerate and clean them, and then cool them in cold running water.  After they are sufficiently cool, cut the birds into pieces or bag them whole and put them in the freezer.

6.  Put all the backs and too-small chickens in a big pot with onions and celery, salt and pepper.  Boil for several hours until the meat falls off the bone.

7.  Debone the chicken and fill jars.  Pressure cook the chicken and the broth.

I really like producing our meat.  Every time I hear a recall on chicken or beef or pork I can safely ignore it.

If you like reading frugal tips and seeing beautiful photography check out Brandy's blog and comment section.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sixteen (or more) Pictures for the Sixteenth of June Two Thousand Sixteen

We started this tradition (everyone taking a picture of themselves on the same day each month) over 5 years ago.  It's a simple little tradition, but I look forward to it each month.  We may be scattered all over the world, but for one day we remember we're all a part of the same family with the same heart and purpose -- to live the very best lives we can and return as a family to our Heavenly Father.

Ty: I am in China and went to the first showing of The Lion King in Mandarin! Ever!
 It was very well done with just the right amount of Chinese flavor.
 It was also the Grand opening of Disney Resort Shanghai today,
but I didn't go to that. I went to class.

Michelle: I'm enjoying cake, ice cream, and an episode of Psych
with my parents after the kids are in bed.
The girls and I are having a great time with family in Idaho while Ty is in China.

Afton:  I had a great time playing with the
Jaynes' family (Ty's cousins) tonight.

Eliza:  I like being silly with Grandma Kathy.

Kathryn:  Grandma Kathy (my namesake) won my heart with sugar!

Atlas:  Celebrating my 3rd birthday.

Levin:  Celebrating Atlas' birthday.

Cali:  Celebrating Atlas' birthday

Ray: Celebrating Atlas' birthday.

Calvin:  Butchering chickens with my friend Phil.

Jane:  I'll catch them, dip them in the hot water, cut and bag them,
even eviscerate them, but please don't make me chop their heads off;
I'm in a dress.

Abe:  Went to see friend Nathaniel's new baby boy.

Grace:  Friend Sarah with our babies.

Henry:  Wrestling with Dad and Hazel.

Hazel:  I love when Dad sings and reads to me.

Joe:  Zeph really wants a bearded dragon.
I  really want a bearded dragon.
Ande says, "No."

Ande:  3 pot bellies.

Zeph and Ezra:  Sometimes we hug.

Zeph and Ezra:  Sometimes we torment.