Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Oil Cleansing Method, pt. 1

I've always had acne, badly. When I was a teenager my mother took me to the dermatologist who put me on Retin-A. I honestly don't remember if it worked well or not, actually I don't think I was on it long enough to see the results. You see, when I went to my dad's house one summer for our yearly visitation, my younger brothers took the Retin-A cream out of my suitcase and smeared it all over the carpet. My mother was none too happy about that one! We couldn't afford any more since it was so expensive, so I just faithfully used whatever face soap my mom bought me (I think it was usually Oxy-something.)
After I graduated high school it finally started clearing up a bit. Then I got married and starting having many babies (6 in 8 years!). Let's just say my hormones went wild. I had enormous cystic acne most of the time, and since I was either pregnant or nursing medication was out of the question. I did try Proactive for several weeks too, I broke out so bad my face ached all the time, even when I wasn't touching it. The directions told me to give it 3 weeks for my face to adjust, but after 6 weeks of pain it just became too unbearable, so I quit.
When I finally weaned my last baby I went to the dermatologist again to see if I could get on Acutane. A couple adults in my family had used it with great results so I thought it would help me too. I nearly passed out when I found out it would be A COUPLE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!
The doctor did suggest that I use Clean and Clear face wash, the one that has both sayalic acid and benzoil peroxide in it, followed by a light moisturizer. Well, I've been faithful to use it for a couple years now, and I must say it has done it's job very well.
But lately I've been leaning towards more natural products. My friend Angela told me about something she's been doing, the Oil Method. I liked it because there's nothing gimmicky about it. It's not a product sold by some company trying to make money off of me. I was really put off at first when she was trying to explain it to me, putting MORE oil on an already oily face?!?! Just the idea made me feel like one giant zit! She finally just told me to google it if I wanted to know more. So I did, and it makes a whole lot of sense. Another good thing? It's cheap!
I've been doing it off and on for about 3 weeks now. I use a ratio of 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 olive oil, (it was what I have on hand, I might try sunflower oil later), rubbing it in for about 5 min. every other evening. It's so cool, I can actually feel the little grainy plugs come out of my pores! I am breaking out a bit now as my face is adjusting, but nothing like it did with Proactive. I'll give it a few more weeks to see what'll happen, I'll let you know, but so far it's looking pretty good.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the Middle

My sweet middle daughter Abigail now has her very own blog. She's been watching her big sisters have so much fun with theirs that she wanted in on the action too! Check it out!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Freecycle is Rad

I like free stuff and I like to do needlework. A lot. So do my girls. So when there was a freecycle post offering needlepoint kits we jumped on them! They were oldish, like from the 70's, with the orangeish, brownish, greenish colored thick acrylic yarns. But ya know, they are perfect for beginners! Fat yarn, fat needles, thick cloth... Beggars can't be choosers, and if we're content with what we have then we'll realize that God really does give us good things even though they might not be as bright shiny new as we would like. We are learning to be happy with whatever we're given and to do the best we can with it. And who know? We might even come to appreciate the not so polished things in life!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Fair is NOT Cheap!

I'm a little late with this post, as with everything! But I had to share some of these cute pics of my kids at the fair. First though, let me elaborate on the title if you please. I was going to make a list of all the things that we put money out for, but that is a little too tedious for lazy ol' me. Let's just say that for 3 adults and 5 kids, admission, food and rides (a couple dollars per ride per kid!), it was easily a couple hundred dollars. Again, NOT cheap! We haven't gone to the fair for a couple years, but my dad loves to take the kids and he loves to spoil them, rotten. He can't say no. But if it floats his boat I'm willing to let him. The only bad part of the day was that I didn't get a pic of Grandpa with the kids. Bummer.
Oh! Our friends Chuck and Elizabeth with their 3 cuties stayed the weekend with us and went to the fair with us too, fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pea Trellis

I forgot to put this in the last post, but here's a pea trellis you can make if all you have is a couple long poles and some twine. I don't think it would hold anything too heavy, but at least it gets the peas up off the ground.

It's Hot Already

May's mostly over and I haven't gotten much done around here. It's been getting hot here already and I really don't do well in hot weather, so I have to try to get work done in the mornings. I finished the raised beds in my vegetable garden. Originally I had planned to do an H pattern in the middle, but decided to go with a C instead. Now I have to work on the sprinkler system, the old hose is cracked and some of the heads are missing.

I don't have the money to buy mulch, so I'm using grass clippings in the pathways instead. I hope it works. I figure if you pile it deep enough it'll keep anything from growing.

I'm still trying to fine tune the watering system in my greenhouse. When I first set it up in March there was so much water that the seedlings molded. Now all my rhubarb seedlings died from lack of water. I think the battery in the timer died so it wasn't turning on. This is what happens when I get lazy and don't check on them for 2 days. Grrrrrr!

Here's a little advice for those of you who have goats: make sure your children latch the gate of their pen properly, goats really like roses and strawberries. This bush had big beautiful clusters of roses on it, and the strawberries were lush and overflowing the top of the barrell. Another grrrrrr!

At least my peas, lettuce, and artichokes are doing well. I don't know how long they'll last though in this heat. I almost lost all 20 of my Roma tomato seedlings because I forgot to water them during the same 2 days I lost the rhubarb. They popped back up after a good soaking, but some of the leaves didn't make it. I still need to get those in the ground.

The goats are enjoying their new sun shade. Unfortunately the flies are too.

I've lost almost half of our 30 meat chicks that I got a few weeks ago. Some died from lack of water, some escaped their cage and were caught by Augie the dog to be shaken to death. Now I only have 17. Bummer. But seeing as how this is my first year raising meat chickens, I figured it would be a learning experience, and it has been.

Well, let's not end with too much disappointing news. Here's Hopie and her new clothespin hairdo. She could start a new trend with this.

And here she is preparing for her new show "Cooking With Chicken Feed."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Homemaking, pt. 2

The second part to Why Modern Motherhood Is So Much Harder Than It Ought To Be has been posted At The Well and it does have some good, practical help.

First she says that we need to recognize the two lies that homemakers live under: 1) that homemaking is easy, and 2) it's boring. I would add, 3) the lie that homemaking is of little value. But I think she nailed it on the head here, homemaking is NOT easy or boring in the least. If anything, there is so much stuff to be done that you could work 24 hrs a day and still not do everything on your list! And boring? The variety of things to do is overwhelming. Every job has repetitive work of course, so repetitive that we can do it in our sleep if need be, and we do! But really, the challenge comes in being able to organize and balance all of these tasks, some of which take an amazing amount of creative genius to conquer. (Like being told you are having guests stopping by in 1/2 an hour, a very messy house, 5 kids to direct, and dinner to cook when there's nothing in the pantry!) Yes, this is a common occurrence in our home.

For step 2 she would have you "Renew Your Mind" by reading good homemaking books. I am a little discouraged here. Reading Christian homemaking books are a great thing to do, very helpful, I've read a few myself. But she doesn't even once mention Scripture. Yes, homemaking really isn't mentioned in Scripture a whole lot, but there are many verses pertaining to how we ought to live in general as people of God, no matter our vocation.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16

For step 2 I would probably call it "Changing Your Attitude," having a Godly perspective of homemaking. Seeing it as an invaluable God-given duty for women. If our home isn't peaceful and joyful, (notice I didn't write perfectly clean and organized!) then it reflects poorly on the glory of the God we claim to serve.

Thirdly, she encourages us to find fellowship whether in real life or on the internet. This I do believe is very needful, but I would look for a real life friend first. Internet friends are very helpful, but they don't have warm, strong arms to wrap around you. And when you are alone at home it's easy to feel even more isolated sitting in front of the computer. Find an older woman in your church who's been where you are and who is willing to listen and encourage you in the Word of God. This can mean the difference between a joyful life, or a bitterly hard heart. Avoid someone who gripes about her husband and children. You want someone to help pull you out of the pit of discontentment, not drag you down.

Lastly she tells you to tackle your problem areas with a ton of research. Whether it is cleaning, organizing, cooking, teaching your children, etc. Read up on everything you can, pull ideas and tips from every source possible. This is good advice as well. How can we cook a meal if we don't know how? This comes easy to me as I love to read and learn about things. I have many books telling me how to do this or that. The problem for me is actually getting around to doing them, I would rather read!

So all in all this was a helpful article, even if I think she missed the main point of why we're doing this homemaking thing at all. For the glory of God, not for our own personal fulfillment. If we are only doing this because we're told it's supposed to be the right thing to do, because it's better for the children if a mother stays home, then we're missing out on the peace and contentment that God has for us. We're doing this because it's what God has created us for. To be helpers to our husbands so they can do what God has called them to do. To raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that the next generation knows and loves Him.

Does this mean we can't do the things which we find pleasure in? God forbid! If God has put a desire in your heart to sing, then sing! If He gave you the ability to paint, then paint for goodness' sake! Just remember your priorities. Yes we may have to sacrifice our wants for a season. Did Christ want to be beaten and die? I use that strong analogy because sometimes we do feel as if we're being beaten by the demands that we face. But you know what? It's worth it knowing that we're allowing God to fulfill His purpose in our lives. Not that we have any righteousness of our own mind you, we must daily come to Him for the strength we need to meet our days. It's only by His grace that we can do what He's called us to. That's why we need the right perspective and attitude about our jobs as homemakers. Because without Him we can't do it, it's too hard.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5

"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?' 'Or who has given a gift to Him that he might be repaid?' For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen." Rom. 11:33-36

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Homemaking, pt. 1

When I first saw today's post on At the Well titled "Why Modern Motherhood Is So Much Harder Than It Ought To Be," I thought "Oh come on, women just need to quit their whining and do their job!" Now, I whine about my job too (although I'm trying to quit, it's an awful habit), but come on here, women have had very tough jobs all throughout history! What makes us so different? We have washing machines for goodness sakes! But the author brought up some very interesting points that I had never considered.

1. Pre-Industrial Revolution, throughout history, families worked together. Dad either farmed or had a shop close to home. He took the boys with him to work alongside him and learn a trade. Mothers worked in the home and taught their daughters how to cook and care for babies. Home was the center of their lives. This isn't to say life wasn't hard, sure it was. But they lived and worked, celebrated and grieved together.

2. Modern women grow up in a 2.1 child household with mom at work while the kids are plunked in school all day working with peers. After school you go to activities or day care. No one is teaching girls how to be home makers. Home is just an in-between landing place to eat meals, sleep, and watch T.V. Same thing when they enter college. Apart from the mindset that women staying at home is a waste of their life they are also taught how to conform to whichever work culture they choose. After college they jump into careers with bosses and deadlines and nasty co-workers. But that's just what you're supposed to do to feel fulfilled in life.

3. So when she does get married and have a baby all of a sudden she's home. Alone. All day. With a crying baby. She doesn't know how to cook or clean or do laundry or go grocery shopping or change a diaper. Her mother did it all for her out of working mother's guilt and didn't have the time to teach her. Now she's counting the days till her kid turns 3 and can go to preschool. She was never taught how to love her husband, her kids, or her home. In fact, she'd rather be working than be stuck at home all day changing poopy diapers and listening to her kids scream at her.

4. Does her husband help? No. He works all day, that's a woman's job, that's what a stay at home mom does after all. They're exhausted after working 60 hrs. a week and are a little jealous that they're wives get to stay home all day. While their wives are a little jealous that they're husbands don't have to listen to screaming babies all day and actually get to come home from work at the end of the day. There is no end of the day for mothers, they're on call 24 hrs.

5. Who can she turn to for help? Her own mother? No. She's busy back at work, she put in her time raising a family and never enjoyed it herself. Besides, she can't take the time off because she's going on vacation with some girl friends next week while father is gone camping with his buddies and she needs the overtime. Get a babysitter so you can have some alone time, she's told. Can she turn to her friends for help? Nope. They're in the same boat.

We do have some difficult challenges to face. If we deny that then we begin to think that we're worthless, just no good at this stay-at-home thing. The problem is that we were never taught properly and now we're hopelessly miserable. No we can't do it on our own, we must have help, someone to teach us what in the world to do. This Modern Motherhood post was just the first part outlining or problem. The second part will hopefully give us some kind of solution. I can think of a few things already, but I'd like to hear what she has to say before I post any more. So stay tuned and maybe we can figure this out together!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Dress Challenge, Pt. 2

I did it! Five dresses in one week! It really wasn't as hard as I had thought it would be. One dress a day for three days, then two dresses on the fourth day. I would have had time to make myself one too, but I got a little stomach bug and didn't feel up to it. (I wasn't really relishing the thought of measuring myself either ;) The coolest thing about this project was that I made all of these dresses ENTIRELY out of what I had on hand here at home, with the one exception of having to buy one spool of thread since I didn't have any that matched Faith's corral colored fabric. Here they are!

Moriah's was made out of satin, which made it a little slippery to sew, but it wasn't too bad. I did have to add a little ruffle around the neckline for modesty since it was a little too low cut, but the style of the dress suits her figure very well. I think this dress turned out the best.

Faith's dress was a lot easier being made out of cotton seersucker. I love the dropped waist on her so we accented it with a white satin ribbon. It turned out a little too short in my opinion, when she grows this summer she'll have to wear white tight pants underneath, she's always running around and playing hard with her friends at church.

Abi's dress was fun to make because I had never done a bodice like this before with rouching vertically on the top center and horizontally on the waist. I also liked the fact that it needed neither zipper nor buttons, but used elastic in the back instead, much easier! I had to make the bodice small and add a couple inches of ruffle at the bottom as she is tall and thin.

Lily's and Hope's dresses were very simple. I had used this pattern several times already to make all of their flower girl dresses. Lily is very small so the pattern turned out to be too big for her. I didn't want to waste the fabric, so I put two pleats in the middle front of the bodice to take it in a bit and covered it with two cute buttons. The wide sash helps to reign in the rest of the looseness. She'll be able to wear it for a long time, I can take out the pleats and loosen the sash as she grows.

Hope's was the easiest by far. It's a yellow striped seersucker. I had just barely enough fabric for this one so I had to measure twice, cut once! Fortunately it fits her perfectly. For both Lily's and Hope's dresses the pattern called for a zipper, but I didn't have any more after Moriah's and Faith's dresses so I extended the backs an inch on each side and put in buttons instead. You can't see it so well, but I found a little daisy button in my stash and put it just under Hope's strap. So cute!

Here's a pretty pic of all the girls together with cousin Ava. She looks like a little baby doll!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Dress Challenge, Pt. 1

My girls need new Easter dresses, their old ones are falling apart. The problem is I don't have the cold hard cash necessary to buy 5 new dresses from the store. What I do have though is a craft room full of miscellaneous fabric, a few old patterns, and a week to work on them. Let's see what happens shall we?

Monday, April 6, 2009

At the Well, Older Woman

So here's the questions for this week:

How are you doing as an older woman?
Do you live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord?
How is your speech, your attitude?
Are you producing the fruits of the Spirit in your life?

Well, I guess I am an older woman to some, but I know others who'd slap me silly for considering myself in that category as I'm only..... shoot! me out here.....anyone?..... 31? 32? Let's go with 31. Wait, I have guilt now. I was born in Sept. of '77, you can do the math if you care, I was never good at it (math and/or caring). But I am in the position of an older woman. I am a pastors wife, and mother of 5 girls. So here's my answers to the best of my limited abilities.

How am I doing as an older woman?
Um... I taught a Bible study once or twice. Does that count? I try to be nice and gracious when people come to me with issues, and give them Scripture. That's the important part, directing women to the Word, that's the only thing we have to direct us as believers. (Of course we have the Holy Spirit within us to guide us as well. But some people can't tell the difference between the Spirit leading them to do something and the pizza they had the other night for dinner that's not agreeing with them. So I'd rather stick with Scripture for most people. The Holy Spirit isn't going to direct us against God's Word anyway.)

Do you live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord?
For the most part. I love and serve my husband, care for and teach my children (I must admit there is some yelling involved though). I don't watch T.V. more than say, 2 hrs. a week. I don't smoke, or drink. Well, only when things get a little crazy around here... kidding! (mostly). I do listen to ABBA, but hey, they're good. And I've even taken our churches' resident elderly woman to the grocery store. Can't beat that!

How is your speech, your attitude?
Dang! You got me there! I might as well quit now. Especially after yesterday. Let's just say that I shot daggers at my husband while he was preaching. NOT GOOD! But hey, we're keeping it real here. The only thing about my speech is that sometimes things pop out of my mouth before I have time to consider them. That can be pretty embarrassing at times, more for my husband than me. As for the attitude, well, I'm not a very nice person. I don't like to go outside of my comfort zone much. I will if I don't have a choice, but it's not a pretty sight, Patrick is the only one who has to deal with that side though, (God forgive me!) For everyone else I can smile my way through pretty much everything, but I know the Lord isn't pleased with that. I'm working on it.

Are you producing the fruits of the Spirit in your life?
As for the fruits, well, self-control is probably the only one I can manage at this point having come from a church where only the outside matters. But it only works with other people, not myself (as my extra 80 lbs. can testify to). The rest of the fruits either don't exist for me, or are hard, shriveled up little things. And no, I'm not making myself sound worse than I really am. Remember my bad attitude about everything? Yeah, let's leave it at that shall we?

So all in all, God really could have picked a more qualified person for my position. I don't understand why He did what He did. The only thing I can do at this point is to keep on trucking and trust that He will will enable me to do all He's called me to do. All He needs is a willing heart, but though I don't even have that most of the time, I can pray that He'll supply me with one and know without a doubt that He'll accomplish His will in my life regardless of all I do to sabotage it. Isn't He good? I am oftentimes completely overwhelmed to the point of tears over His grace towards me.

"Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
spotless Lamb of God was he;
full atonement! can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!"
Man of Sorrows! What a Name
-Philip P. Bliss