Archive | October, 2008

My Simple Living Prayer

“Two things I asked of You,
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say
“Who is the Lord?”
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God.”

-Proverbs 30:7-9

This has been my heart’s cry as of late with the strain of our economy and work slowing down for many, including my husband. Lord, keep me in a constant state of dependence upon the Soveriegn provision of my Lord in order that I might exalt His name! I want Christ as my portion! If I walk in Him, all my true needs will be provided for and I will not loose sight of the great gift of life that He has granted me in Christ Jesus!  Riches will not bring satisfaction, in fact in will gradually turn my heart away from the Lord. Ultimately, I want to mantain this middle state, one that avoids the two great tempations – to trust in riches or to steal from another! If I have too much that my heart is finding purpose in my possessions then some must be given away. I must maintain a simple life in order that I will always look to Christ Jesus as my constant source of provision!

For further simple living encouragement, visit Simple Living Saturday.
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Q & A: Pre-natals & Supplements

Lauren asked:

I was wondering what your view is on taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. I know that Sally Fallon and others like her do not recommend it.  But, I am still afraid of not getting all the nutrients needed. If you could let me know your thoughts, that would be great.

I have heard that the Nourishing Traditions diet does not recommend pre-natals due to the addition of synthetic vitamin A in many brands, which in overdose can led to birth defects (as described in brief here). I have chosen to take the advice of my midwife and she encourages the use of a quality pre-natal, especially for the folic acid and iron content which is so essential in early development. It is very difficult to get all the minerals and vitamins necessary for the proper development of a baby without a good supplement. She also mentioned that you will know if you have an overdose of Vitamin A – you will get sours in your mouth and around your lips and dry skin problems behind your ears!

Overall, make the decision that you feel most comfortable with and trust the Lord with the results. I highly recommend: Integrative Therapeutics Prenatal Forte. My midwife knows the Natropath that makes these vitamins and he has been doing it for some 30 years and is very knowledgeable. These prenatals can be taken throughout your child-bearing years in smaller quantities. My midwife recommended I take 4 a day while nursing and between pregnancies. She even takes them and recommends them for all women!

For an excellent article on the importance of prenatal vitamins and also addressing the vitamin A issue, visit here.

Lucy asked:

I am wondering what you have to say about taking daily supplements such as multivitamins and such. I would be grateful to know if you think supplements should be taken. THANKS!

I do think it is wise to take take a daily supplement if you can afford it, but I don’t believe it is the end of the world if you do not. I have not done a ton of research in this area, but I have been taking pre-natals for the last few years at my midwife’s recommendation as described above. This is pretty much all I personally take. My husband very rarely takes a daily multivitamin and I give a Children’s liquid multivitamin to my daughter from Fred Meyer nutrition.

Other more frugal means of adding further supplementation to our diet includes the addition of various seeds (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), cod liver oil, and apple cider vinegar to our diet. These are wonderful additions that increase overall health and boost your immune system! Overall, maintaining a balanced diet is key (quality whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors) to make sure you get the nutrients you need. I also believe that drinking a lot of fresh filtered water is one of the missing factors toward maintaining a healthy body.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home wrote a thoughtful series on supplements here.

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Simplifying the Holidays: Homemade Gifts

One reason I have greatly appreciated the Holiday Planner is the motivation it has provided to give me a little advanced encouragement to plan early in making homemade gifts. I have always desired to do so but the thought never crosses my mind until December hits. Homemade gifts are often less expensive and also more appreciated due to the thought and time we put into it. They keep the holidays simple by keeping you at home rather than rushing around in the holiday madness trying to find the perfect gift! It is also much more sustainable! Don’t choose huge projects! But also, take the time to begin now in thinking up ideas of what might be most appreciated by your family.

Evaluate where your skills are! I don’t want to get involved in a woodworking project, because I have no skills in that area. I can bake and I can sew to a reasonable level, so I began scheming up how I could use these skills to bless others.

Ideas include:

Photo gifts – grandparents always love these! Updated pictures of the grand kids are always a great way to bless the grandparents and they can never get enough. Walmart & Costco offer an array of fun gifts with the use of photos (From photo mugs, calendars, photo albums, etc). You can do it all online!

Themed Basket Gifts -This is a fun way to go! Choose a theme that revolves around a favorite hobby and go for it! For a ton of great ideas, visit Homemade Gift Basket Ideas or TipNut’s Ultimate Guide. These work great for housewarming, bridal showers, and baby showers as well! You can find baskets for a great price at Goodwill or your local Thrift store. Baskets are the great alternative to wasting excess wrapping paper and still looking nice and attractive!

Baked Gifts/Gifts in A Jar – whether it be a mix in a jar or pre-baked goodies, I don’t think you can go wrong. Mix in a jar can be anything from a baked good ready to throw in the oven, seasoning mixes, beverage mixes, etc. For more ideas and recipes, visit Razzle Dazzler Recipes or Gifts from the Kitchen or TipNut’s Recipes & Resources. You could even adapt some of your favorite recipes for a jar! If you want to do some Christmas gift baking, get it done ahead of time – in November and freeze it! These are wonderful gifts for neighbors as a way to reach out and share Christ’s love during the holiday season. NO wrapping paper needed here either!

Sewing Gifts – There is an abundance of free patterns online for: aprons, quilted coasters, pillow cases, laptop sleeves & cases, etc.

For more ideas, visit Buy Nothing Christmas for a full list of alternative ideas! (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Autumn for the link!)

Care to join me in avoiding the use of wrapping paper this year? I want to be a good steward and thus have made it my goal to avoid it altogether! For a great list of alternative green wrapping ideas, visit here. Baskets and jars here we come!

Works for me!

What are your homemade frugal gift ideas?

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Mission of Motherhood: Gardeners

“If our gardens need cultivating to grow well, our children need that attention much more. Seeds of excellence and grace must be planted and tended. The weeds of selfishness and bad attitudes must be plucked. The plot must be protected so that the wild storms and prevailing winds of culture will not damage the fruit. In addition, wise food for thought and the finest of art, music, literature, hospitality, and creativity must be fed to fertilize the soul so that the child may grow fruitful and productive.”

So shares Sally Clarkson in chapter 8 of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity as we continue through our study and recaps of this wonderful inspiring book!

Sally’s encouragement this week is to provide a little fertilization in the souls of our children through cultivating real life skills, appropriate life experiences, manners and graciousness, and an appetite for excellence. I was inspired to prayerfully evaluate with my husband what important skills we wanted to pass on to our children that would be essential for life and their purpose to go forth and live out the Great Comission (Matt 28:18-20) in all aspects of life.

Continue Reading →

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7 Facts About Me

I have been tagged on multiple occasions this week to participate in this little game (thanks to Lorrie & Lisa)…aren’t you just eager to hear 7 things about me?

The Rules:
1. To link the tagger and provide the rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving names as well as links to their blogs
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

7 Facts about Me:

1) I love traveling and learning about the diverse cultures of the world! I have been around the entirety of the USA (besides the New England States) on two occasions, camping and exploring our history as a family growing up. I have also participated in mission trips to Dominican Republic twice, Russia once and Cambodia twice, since the age of 16. This has resulted in giving me a passion for world missions.

2) I have TMJ disorder since a serious car accident in January of 2004. I have experienced alot of neck and jaw pain as well as headaches as a result. My praise testimony is that I have a chiropractor in the family and am blessed to receive his services free of charge! This has been one of the biggest blessing!

3) I love being adventurous! I love jumping off waterfalls and riding roller coasters!

4) I was enrolled in ballet as a child but never made it past the entry door because I was freaked out!

5) My family and I are extremely competitive so be forewarned! I am not sure where it came from but it is definitely an inherited trait unfortunately…I beat my husband so many times playing cards on our honeymoon that he never wanted to play me again! I am hoping to change that…

6) My favorite pastimes are reading and simplifying my home and giving it all away!

7) I never was a gifted writer, speaker or social person…I am actually more of an introvert, but I do love being hospitable and reaching out to others just more on a one on one basis, although the Lord has given me the gift of leadership and administration, crazily enough!

Rather than linking to others as there are so many to choose from, I have decided that I would love to hear more about my readers! Consider yourself tagged! There are so many of you out there that have yet to introduce themselves…so please share one or more interesting facts about yourself here in the comments or provide a link from your blog! I would love it!

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Autumn Ladies Tea

“It’s not the tea that makes teatime special, it’s the spirit of the tea party. It’s what happens when women or men or children make a place in their life for the rituals of sharing. It’s what happens when we bother with the little extras that feed the soul and nurture the senses and make space for unhurried conversation. And when that happens, it doesn’t really matter what fills the cups or holds the liquid.”

~Emily Barnes

Serving tea is such a simple tool to bring people together to rest, relax and take time to encourage one another in the Lord. I have always enjoyed hosting teas since my early teens (Mother’s Day, Christmas teas, etc) with the simple desire to extend hospitality and love.

I have slowly collected a tea cup here and a tea pot there (many coming from Goodwill or ebay actually), but it wasn’t until I read Emily Barnes’ book, If Teacups Could Talk: Sharing a Cup of Kindness with Treasured Friends and selections from Practicing Hospitality and The Mission of Motherhood as I shared last week, that I realized that these tea cups were collected for a purpose and be used to extend warmth and hospitality on many more occasions than these larger gatherings. Why not consecrate these tea cups to the Lord’s use? Why not have a cup of tea with a friend that needs encouragement? Or share a cup of tea with a son or daughter to build your friendship? Tea and scones can make these occasions inviting for your guests.

Tea time is a forgotten art that I hope to stir back up as an opportunity and means through which to strengthen friendships, extend hospitality, and just share the love of Christ through opening my door and sharing my tea cups. It’s not about tea but rather the spirit that it stirs up.

For our Autumn tea, I prayed for a little inspiration, and the Lord faithfully assisted me in creating a fall theme and menu. It is so good to acknowledge my complete helplessness and lack of creativity before the Lord and see Him work! He grants the grace I need time and time again.

Autumn Tea Menu

Spiced Apple Tea (served with cinnamon sticks as stirrers)
Grapes & Oranges
Cucumber Sandwiches (layered cream cheese, sliced cucumber and a dash of white pepper)
Avacado, Bacon & Tomato Sandwiches
(these were fabulous! I used a simple pre-made pesto sauce to keep it simple!)
Egg Salad Sandwiches

Pumpkin Scones

Applesauce Bread

You want to join me for tea? My house is open and my friendship’s free! ;)

Whatever tools God has given you…whether it be tea cups or not…ask yourself, “how can I consecrate these for the Lord’s use?”

“O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalms 34:8)

For more tea and menu ideas, read about our Summer tea.

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Menu Plan – October 27-November 1

Prep: make butter, soak oatmeal, soak biscuits & lentils for Tuesday

Breakfast: Kefir Smoothies, Hard boiled eggs, applesauce bread
Lunch: Leftover Avacado/Tomato Sandwiches from Sat tea
Dinner: Peanut Stir Fry

Prep: cook lentils & biscuits

Breakfast: Soaked Oatmeal, apples, raisins, bananas
Lunch: Leftover chuck roast, mashed potatoes
Dinner: Curry Lentil Soup, Spelt Biscuits

Prep: soak oatmeal

Breakfast: Smoothies, toast, eggs
Lunch:  Baked Potato Bar (using leftover chili from last week)
Dinner: Ragout w/brown rice

Prep: soak brown rice

Breakfast: Oatmeal, apples, raisins, bananas
Lunch:  Tomato Soup & grilled cheese sandwiches, carrot & celery sticks
Dinner: Dinner at friends

Prep: soak pancake batter

Breakfast: Smoothie
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, carrot sticks
Dinner: Spaghetti & Meatballs w/brown rice pasta


Breakfast: Pancakes, oranges
Dinner: Mission Banquet

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Matching Cousins!

Karis (17 months) and cousin Eva (14 months) in their matching jammies! Too cute!

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Q & A: Coconut Oil

Caroline asked:

I was wondering about coconut oil. I bought some and cooked an egg in it and the egg tasted like the oil. After that I just can’t bring myself to use it to cook with again. Is there a certain kind that you use that doesn’t make the food taste like the oil?

With a small item like a single egg, you will probably notice the taste, so I would recommend using butter in that occasion. When I have prepared a larger quantity of eggs or anything else, the taste will naturally just blend in. I use either coconut oil or butter most frequently now depending upon the item I am preparing as they are the best options nutritionally for cooking (read more about healthy oils here & here). Also, you don’t need very much for it to go a long ways! A little dab will do you for all your stir-frying and cooking needs (approximately 1/2 tsp is about right!).

Coconut oil is best for all stir-frying, sauteing, and also works great in baking. I will often use butter and coconut oil in combination in my baking with great results. Butter also works great for sauteing and baking. For butter, homemade from raw milk is great, or else kerrygold butter (read more here) is another wonderful option.

For the best coconut oil, choose extra virgin organic coconut oil. The best price available that I have found is through Mountain Rose Herbs. It is worth every penny!

Beyond cooking, coconut oil gets a lot of use at my house! Read more about it’s health benefits here. I also use it as a conditioner, deodorant, in combination with other ingredients for toothpaste, and in replacement for lotion, aftershave, etc.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

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Trick or Treat?

Taking a pause from my simplifying series due to my child’s needs at our house…

Curious as to the history behind Halloween? For an very interesting read, sit down with your family and discuss this article. It started out as a pagan festival by the Celts of Ireland, and progressed to be a holiday to remember the dead by the Roman Catholic Church.

Halloween has become a time that encompasses darkness and fear. The Bible tells us that God is light and therefore we are let our “light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Although our family has concluded not to “celebrate” Halloween in the traditional way, we still want to let our lights shine from our doorstep or by going out together and distribute the truth. Whether or not you decide to celebrate this holiday is a decision you need to prayerfully make as a family, but overall there are souls to be saved that are flooding out in force on this one evening of the year.

Rather than just turning out all the lights and closing the doors, have you considered how you might minister the love of Christ to the children in your neighborhood?

What if I live out in the country and no one comes to my door? Have you considered going to them? I honestly have never lived in large housing developments to have children come to our doorstep, so have ignored the holiday for the most part, but I am asking myself this year, why could we not go to them? Find a lively neighborhood, dress up in biblical characters if desired, or simply go and hand out treats and tracts and share Christ’s love.

Gospel Resources

Free Tract – check out this free printable tract to go with lifesavers! This is a great idea!
Make your Own Scarecrow lollipop and tract – a fun family activity and devotional. Make your own candy gifts to distribute.

Other Halloween tracts that you could purchase:
American Tract Society
Living Waters – this company provides a wealth of fun tracts for all ages. Throw in a 10 commandment coin with the candy!

“Healthier” Candy Options

When choosing candy, check out some more nutritional “healthier” options. Spare them the overload of artificial colors, dyes, and replace with a more healthy naturally sweetened alternative

Yummy Earth
Pure Fun


You can get a 100 piece PureFun Halloween assortment candy pack for just $20 here.

Read this encouraging story of a godly woman who did not “celebrate” Halloween but took advantage of the opportunity to share the truth by handing out candy, tracts, and showing a large outdoor presentation of a Veggie tales movie. What a witness!

Will you join us? Gather some friends together and let’s make this a fun Christ-glorifying evening!

Do you have any creative ideas of sharing the gospel during Halloween?

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