Archive | May, 2008

Our Family: May Update

Our favorite spot – the Vancouver waterfront! We have enjoyed many a family stroll here!

Oh the joys of summer are coming! This has been a full and yet exciting last month as we have enjoyed the celebration of both Karis’ first birthday and our anniversary (in addition to many other family member’s birthday this month – 6 all together)! With both families in the area (and both being rather large!), how do you possibly celebrate them all without running a little wild or else going broke? Even after two years of married life I still haven’t quite figured it out.

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And the winner is…

Congratulations to Eryn!

You are the winner of our $50 Christa Taylor giveaway! Have fun! Thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts! Very helpful for the future production over at Christa Taylor!

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Growing Tomatoes Q & A

I referred these questions that were asked in regards to my Tomato Tricks & Tips post to the farmer who grew my tomatoes from seed (Michael @ MiIlenium Farms in Ridgefield, WA), and he provided this helpful information:

Autumn asked:

I told a friend about your great ideas for the tomato plants and she advised me against the plastic water bottle because of trying to go organic, the plastic would release toxins into the soil. Is this a problem?

Coming from a long line of Mennonite farmers, I am quite concerned with the soil and will do nothing to harm it or the beneficial life which dwells in it. As such, I am not aware of immediate breakdown of the plastic used in 2 liter soda or water bottles. In fact, they are high-value targets for recycling because of their long half-lives, so any idea of immediate breakdown in the soil is really stretching, in my humble opinion. One could always use glass vessels, unless one fears their breakdown as well.

Amy asked: How often did the guy say to water them? The lady at Shorty’s said to water once a week…??

Tomatoes in the ground should be watered twice a week, to the equivalent of 1 inch per watering, until the end of July. Then, I would suggest eliminating watering to allow the plant to rely upon deeper sources of water to help minimize fruit cracking, as well as to accelerate fruit ripening and fruit flavor enhancment. I would remove the plastic wrap when the plant fills the cage, which will then allow the bees to pollinate and further stimulate the plant. If in containers, you will have to continue watering as recommended above, twice a week.

I thought this information to be very helpful!

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Input Request: Humidifier

Okay, I am in need of a good humidifier for colds, sickness and the like. We have been borrowing from friends and family in the past, but with the current ongoing cold my little one has, I am looking to break down and purchase our own. I just don’t know which one to buy! So many positive and negative reviews on all the ones I was checking out on amazon.

Do you have any recommendations to share? Is cool or warm mist better? It would be nice if it didn’t need filter replacements, but then again I do want some thing that will last many seasons. Thanks for sharing in advance!

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Holiness: A Heart God Purifies

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.” (Romans 6:12)

It all started out with a little thought of frustration at a friend, alongside a little bash at my pride in another situation, multiplying till my thoughts were filled with anger. Arriving home this anger was vented upon the poor hubby and baby, for no good reason except for the fact they made the volcano errupt…ever been there?

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Tomato Tips & Tricks

It was such a joy to start my own garden on Saturday! There is definitely something fulfilling in planting your own food. Since I was really nervous in the whole preparation process, I was surprised to find it so enjoyable to actually set to work and do it! Now I wish I had planted more than my four cute tomato plants, but then space is limited, and I am taking baby steps!

Okay, so I am no expert…let’s get that straight! In fact, this is the first year I am attempting to grow my own garden of sorts on my back deck, but I do have some tips and tricks to share from our local farmer. And he guarantees success! ;)

1. Get a good cage! Wherever you plant, you will want a solid metal cage to secure and uphold your load of tomatoes.

2. If planting in ground, put down mulch where you plant. Use black trash bags – it will trap more heat for the roots.

3. Strip off the bottom 4 inches of branches and plant the plant 4 inches deeper than it is in the pot (the disposable container a tomato start comes in). You want to plant it pretty deep, a lot deeper than you would naturally think.

4. At the bottom of your hold put a handful of sweet lime/calcium and a handful of fertilizer, then cover with a little dirt.

5. This is the biggest tip! Place two or more large 2 litter plastic containers (or as many small containers as you can scrounge up), and fill them with water. Seal them with the caps on and place them as close to the stem of the tomato plant as possible.

6. Wrap your cage with saran wrap! Yes, that’s right! Plastic wrap! (This is the one thing I decided to make an exception for to buy plastic wrap for the cause, as I honestly don’t use it anymore!) The whole idea is to create a green house effect, and keep your roots warm, especially at night. If you’re anything like me, I did a terrible job getting a tight rap around my cages, so I let my husband do it…his expertise came to the rescue! His advice: Start at the top and work down! Two layers is even better!

7. Make several ventilation holes on the top and around the side with a knife or something else.

8. Water your plants at night – avoid getting your leaves wet…for that is when they grow, and another reason why you want to keep them warm.

My plants have already grown quite a bit since Saturday! We’ll just have to stay in touch to see how successful these little tips are this year!

It’s not too late to plant tomatoes! At least around here they say you can plant them up through the first week of June!

Works for me!

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No-Yeast Spelt Bread

So simple! Requires no yeast, or rising. Dough will be wet and is baked like any other pastry. Results in a moist but higher density than yeasted breads, but the flavor, simplicity and quick baking process makes it a keeper! You will love having fresh baked bread so quickly without taking all day! Beware that this tends to spoil between 4-6 days (due to the milk content, I believe), so I would store it in the refrigerator to preserve it, or freeze in smaller quantities. This is a great place to start if you are a newbie at bread making too!

Spelt is a wonderfully nutritious grain. According to Sue Gregg, “Spelt dates back to Old Testament times (see Exodus 9:31, 32; Isaiah 28:25; Ezekiel 4:0). Spelt contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, spelt is easily digested and has considered beneficial for indigestion, gas, and nausea. It is rich in essential fatty acids and higher in fiber than wheat. With a higher fat and protein content than common wheat, spelt is a high energy food.”

As I love exploring with different grains to get a wider rarity of nutrients, I have been exploring with this grain in bread…so here you are!

  • 8 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup seeds (sesame, flax, sunflower, or combination)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/4 cups milk (half and half with buttermilk or kefir)

Soaking Step, optional (to break down the phytates): Soak 8 cups of flour with liquids for 12-24 hours. This last time I used 1 cup raw milk, 3 cups buttermilk and 1/4 cup kefir (as my acid medium, because my buttermilk comes from a powder, and therefore not cultured). I left covered on the counter. After soaking, add remaining ingredients and bake.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, seeds, salt, honey, baking soda and milk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Placing a tin of the same size over the top of the loaf while baking gives it a lovely crust.]
Visit Tammy’s Recipes for more kitchen tips!
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The True Woman: Chapter 8 – Purity

Welcome to our recap of chapter 8 of the True Woman by Susan Hunt, which I have been reading through with several other ladies in the blogosphere. I have compiled a few thoughts from Marliss Bombardier and myself to emphasize the importance of purity in the pursuit of true biblical womanhood.

Positional Purity

The first part of the chapter sets up how we are positionally pure in Christ. “Christianity can demand a life of purity because the Christian faith makes provision for purification.” Pg. 170 We have been declared pure in God’s sight because the purity of Jesus has been transfered to us. This is a glorious truth, for though we were completely impure, God counted and declared us as pure and holy before Him!

Practical Purity

But God requires of us practical purity as well, and this is where the rubber meets the road, this is the day by day denying to ourselves and putting off the old man and his desires. Susan Hunt continues by declaring that God “expects those living in a covenant relationship with Him to reflect His character in the practical affairs of life.”

We must not take lightly the importance of active battle against sin and impurity in our lives!

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Welcoming New Neighbors

Gift basket included: Milano cookies, chocolates, popcorn & a candle -all for around $7 dollars!

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

God calls us to be salt and light to those He has placed in our lives! I believe he places each of his children in a specific community and neighborhood to be an ambassador for Him. However long or short the season we have as neighbors, our desire has been to seek to invest in a relationship as much as possible, while praying and trusting that God will allow us to plant the seed of the gospel into their lives. However little it might seem in our eyes, each thought and care can be a seed that may eventually bear much fruit.

One thing that we have sought to do is to compile a small gift basket of goodies to welcome any new neighbor that comes into our neighborhood. Since we live in a condo community this happens more frequently than most, and does make friendship building a bit more difficult, but all the same, we desire to be purposeful and make little investments. This week I sought to take advantage of the opportunity as we have recently had two new units occupied in the past few weeks (one with a family, the other a single lady).

How can you seek to make an eternal investment in the lives of those living in such close proximity to you? It doesn’t have to be limited to new neighbors, you can bring over a basket of goodies any time, even if they have been living there awhile and you just haven’t introduced yourselves yet. It doesn’t take much. Baking goods is a fun way to minister as a family, if you have little munckins to include.

Other ideas to include in a welcoming basket: Sparkling cider, tract, homemade goodies (always the best and more frugal, as time and energy allows -unfortunately, not this week for me), small loaves of sweet breads, card, etc. Find great gift baskets at goodwill or a garage sale (these were found for 25 cents at a garage sale last week). I purchased the candles at the Dollar store.

We are planning on delivering our goodie welcome baskets tomorrow, that is, if our neighbors are home!

Same items as the first, just arranged differently

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

I would love to hear of any other ideas you might have for ministering in your neighborhood!

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Family Photo

Here is a recent family photo from my side of the family! This was taken at our family trip to the beach a few weeks back. Thought you all might enjoy seeing us all!

L-R: Aaron, Karis & I, Kelly (18), Papa, Mom, Brandon & Brooke (in front, 10), Christa (20), Sam (16), Dan (14), Larissa, our sister-in-law (holding Micah, almost 3), my brother Stephen (25) (holding Trinity, 11 months). Micah & Trinity are Stephen & Larissa’s children.

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