Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy Times

Yes!!  Those are eggs from our very own chickens.  We are now getting about 8-9 eggs per day from our flock of Americanas, Buff Orpingtons, Cuckoo Marins and a breed we are not sure of....I don't think the cuckoos are actually laying yet, and as there are about 26 hens out there we should be getting lots more, but right now we are thrilled and, if the ladies keep doing their job, we can take eggs off the grocery list!

We've been eating salads from the garden and even had some turnip greens last week.  We've harvested all the sage and thyme and must get our sage made into wreaths and the thyme spread out to dry this week.  I've got several plants of chives that I want to cut and put in the dehydrator.  Jordan dug up two rosemary plants and potted them to keep in the house over the winter.

I still have applesauce to can and my countertops are covered in habenero and jalapeno peppers.  This morning we'll be making up some Cowboy Candy and pineapple habanero jelly.  
And then there's the 16 or so pounds of black seedless grapes to take care of, the baskets of apples, the onions that need to be dehydrated and a box of sweet potatoes that needs something.

Oh, and then we have the school work to do, the laundry, the cleaning and the regular cooking and baking to take care of as well.  Which means I better get up from this chair and get some of the sleepy heads out of the bed!  Hope you all have a great week!

linking up at

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Menu Plan for October 31-November 6

Love the beautiful blue of a fall sky!  What glorious wonders we can see right out our front doors!

We have another crazy week around here with Jeff and Aaron gone for the first part of the week and then more traveling later.  I'll just plan out our evening meals and let breakfasts and lunches go unplanned.

Monday-  leftover pork loin with roasted vegetables, green beans and dinner rolls

Tuesday-  spaghetti with garden salad and garlic bread

Wednesday-  potato soup or broccoli soup, salad and bread

Thursday-  dinner with extended family will include chicken enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, refried beans, Army Man Rice, chips and salsa

Friday-  Jordan's birthday....I need to see what he would like to have

Saturday--  take out

Sunday--vegetable soup from the freezer, homemade bread, salad and dessert

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

photo courtesy of Kaelan
My life as a wife and homeschooling mom to seven children has challenged me, strengthened me, broadened me, educated me and blessed me.  There has never been a time in the last 27 years of mothering that I have wanted to do anything else.  I am so very thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, blessed me with a man who also believes that my "job" at home is the only career I need.

photo by Kaelan

“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the rule of three, 

and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be 

broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? 

No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is 

minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for 

its smallness.”

G.K Chesterton

photo by Kaelan

I wasn't raised to be a stay-at-home mom.  In fact, I began working when I was only 14 years old.  My parents were divorced and my mom worked two jobs to make ends meet.  Am I resentful?  No.  I can see how God was working in my life...even then when I was running the drive-thru at our local McD's.

photo by Kaelan

I went on to college, majoring in music which was never really a huge desire in my life, but was something that interested me.  It was there that Jeff and I met....married, and had the first two of our large family.  I even went on to get a master's degree....but God had other plans for me....for us.

photo by me

We had heard a radio interview with Raymond and Dorothy Moore, modern-day grandparents of the homeschooling movement.  We listened.   We took notes.  We thought that would be something nice to do if we ever found the opportunity, but we were headed to Texas  where Jeff would be a full- time seminary student for three years.  I would have to work to support the family.  Or so we thought.

photo by me

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

But then God.....  (isn't that the way it goes.... we make our plans and then....God)  God, in His infinite wisdom, closed every door for me to work.  We finally saw that not only would it cost us financially for me to work outside the home, but would also be more difficult for our young children.  So God provided... support from our home church and several job opportunities for Jeff.  And I stayed at home with our daughters, taught a few piano lessons and babysat a few other children from time to time.  God has been faithful to provide and we have never been in want.

photo by me
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  Psalm 23:  1

photo by me

Not only has God provided us with every thing we need, but has blessed us abundantly with a home in the woods where our wonderfully talented children can be free to explore, learn, create and grow....where they can develop their own strengths and talents and become the men and women that God would have them to be.

photo by Kaelan

Unexpected blessings have come....this one was the best!  This child I felt too old and too stressed to have has blessed my heart and soul so very much.  I can't imagine NOT having this little man to snuggle with, to sing with, to watch him dance and play.  

photo by Kaelan

Or to see the world through the camera lens as some of my children do.  What beautiful sights they see and share with me.  And this is all just right outside our front door.  Our cups runneth over indeed!

photo by Kaelan
I thought I would share a few words written by C. H. Spurgeon on Hearth and Home.

Actually, I am not sure who said these words....I found them attributed to Spurgeon, but he died around 1894...before the 20th century!

Two of the most significant events of the twentieth century were women leaving the  home en masse for corporate America, and the subsequent transformation of the home from a bastion of Christian family life, domesticity and culture; to a mere flop-house of individuals co-existing under one roof.  For six thousand years, the home was the nerve center of society.  Men fought and died on foreign battlefields--not just for abstract--but to secure the living, ever-present memory of blessed family life, typified by the phrase "hearth and home."

In the Scriptural model, we see the home as an incubator for leadership and dominion, as a grand instrument for education and discipleship, as the first expression of Godly cutlure, as a place of industry and economic self-sufficiency, as the primary outlet for hospitality and even evangelism--not to mention its significance as the first law-enforcing institution to which man is exposed on his journey from childhood to maturity.

It is to the mother--as the vice-regent of the home--that the responsibility is delegated by the husband for cultivating its aesthetic beauties and virtues.  In the hands of noble womanhood, we can yet see--rising from the ashes of a broken culture--the glories of hearth and home, so that future generations will arise and declare its virtues once again.

Hip Homeschool Hop Button 
Raising Homemakers

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Resources---Again

We've been blessed and busy with extended family this week, but I just hate to miss out on a visit with everyone!  Thought I would repost this bit on our favorite Thanksgiving resources.  I am finding it hard to believe that November will be here in just a few days!  That also means our final birthday of the year...Jordan turns 19 on Friday!  Oh, my!  I would love it if you would share some of our family's favorite Thanksgiving resources or traditions in the comments!

I wanted to share with you all a few of our family's favorite Thanksgiving resources.  I am not an Amazon affiliate (don't think I want to be) and don't have time today to link up to, but some of these books are available from and if you decide to purchase I would appreciate it if you went through the little button on the right of my blog page.

--I found the ThanksLiving Treasures box years ago on a clearance table in a Christian bookstore.  It has been the best investment.  The box contains:

 a 56-page booklet containing six biblically-based lessons on thankfulness form the Pilgrims'        exciting adventures along with creative ideas on family celebrations for Thanksgiving

A tablet of My Treasures pages to record and preserve your family's expressions of thankfulness from year to year

Five historically symbolic objects including a miniature Bible, replicas of the Mayflower and Mayflower Compact, a stone cross and a cluster of Indian corn

Five full-color 5 x 7 reprints of historic paintings depicting scenes from the Pilgrims' journey to the New World

A keepsake treasure box to store these contents and other cherished family photos or mementos

We have enjoyed this so much over the years and the children look forward to our time remembering the Pilgrims and how God led them to settle here in the New World.

--Another resource, again from Family Life, written by Barbara Rainey is Thanksgiving;  A Time to Remember.    This book is beautifully illustrated, has pages for  your own Thanksgiving journal entries and comes with a CD of beautiful Thanksgiving hymns and praises.

--A sweet book that was discarded from our local library:  Autumn Harvest by Alvin Tresselt.  With the exception of one page about Halloween this book is a treasure from another time, describing fall and harvest time in a country setting.

-Another library discard;  The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh.  This is a classic Thanksgiving story retelling.  It is simply written and simply illustrated.  A perfect book for an introduction about Thanksgiving to younger children.

-One of my precious Thanksgiving memories is reading Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving to my children as we were driving to my mother's home for Thanksgiving one year.  What a precious story of children being resourceful and working together to bless their parents.  A couple of years ago I found a picture book version illustrated by James Bernardin that is just beautiful and includes Miss Alcott's recipe for apple slump!

-Still another library discard:  Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? by Jean Fritz.  Like her other books this one has illustrations that tend to be a bit comical, but not disrespectfully so.  This book tells what happened to the actual Plymouth Rock in the centuries after the landing of the Pilgrims.

-Eating the Plates:  A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners is a great book for studying the customs and eating habits of the Pilgrims and early settlers.  It also includes a Pilgrim menu and recipes which include fresh corn soup, red pickled eggs, Hot Indian Pudding, Succotash Stew, Spicy Cucumber Catsup, Bannock Cakes, Whole Baked Pumpkin Stuffed with Apples, Bearberry Jelly (cranberry), Swizzle and Hot Nuts.  This is a very interesting book!

-Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is a book from my childhood.  This is a story about befriending those who may look and be different and takes place in New England.  A fun story for kids of all ages.

-The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern is a beautifully illustrated tale of the first Thanksgiving which "introduces children to the struggles of the Pilgrims during their first year at Plymouth Colony and the events leading to the historic occasion we celebrate today--THANKSGIVING."

-The Thanksgiving Primer is a "complete guide to re-creating the first harvest festival for your family, friends or church."  Includes primary sources, pictures from Plimoth Plantation, an order of service, music, a menu and recipes.  There are even drawings to use to design your own Pilgrim costumes.

-Of Plimouth Plantation by William Bradford is a bit heavy for the younger crowd, but a must-read for the older least portions of it!  We can only know what actually happened by reading first-hand accounts and you can't get more first-hand than this book written by the long-time governor of the Pilgrims.

-Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxes is another beautifully illustrated book that tells  how God prepared Squanto to be just a tremendous help to the First Comers.  A must read for the younger children, your older ones will enjoy it as well.

 -For years Jeff has read from Margaret Pumphrey's Pilgrim Stories (sometimes entitled Story of the Pilgrims) to the children each night during the month of November.  This is a highlight for the children and due to several church meetings this month it has been put off until this week.  Jeff was going to drop it for this year, but the children wouldn't let him.  It is so special to see big and little children gathered to hear daddy read!

While I know that it is too late for you to purchase these books for this year, perhaps you can find them for next year's Thanksgiving season.  Your time spent teaching your children about the true reason we celebrate Thanksgiving will be richly blessed.

Linking up at Learning to Live a Surrendered Life

Monday, October 24, 2011

Psalm 34

Photo courtesy of Jordan Chamblee

Psalm 34 
(Nahum Tate, 1652-1715 and Nicholas Brady, 1659-1726)

Through all the changing scenes of life, 
In trouble and in joy,
The praises of my God shall still
My heart and tongue employ.

Of His deliverance I will boast,
Till all that are distressed
From my example comfort take,
And charm their griefs to rest.

O magnify the Lord with me,
With me exalt His Name;
When in distress to Him I called, 
He to my rescue came.

The hosts of God encamp around
The dwellings of the just;
Deliverance He affords to all
Who on His succour trust.

O make but trial of His love, 
experience will decide
How blessed are they, and only they,
Who in His truth confide.

Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
Have nothing else to fear;
Make you His service your delight,
Your wants shall be His care.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Menu Plan for October 24-30

Cade's Cove in October, 2009

We are still in the middle of some renovations and are trying to get things cleaned up before my mom, brother and sister -in-law arrive tomorrow.  My brother and sister-in-law have been away from the states for the last 16 months, so I am planning on some meals with lots of garden vegetables and some old family favorites while they are here.  We have to be out this evening so I am not writing out plans for breakfasts or lunches due to time being short.  We'll have our usual muffins, baked oatmeal, breakfast meats, farm fresh eggs and grits throughout the week.  Lunches will be leftovers with some salads, popcorn and fruit as well. And can you believe it's the last full week of October!!  My lands, where does the time go!

-peas, corn, squash casserole, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, cornbread, biscuits, apple cake and blueberry cobbler

-lasagna, chicken-spinach alfredo over pasta, salad, pesto bread and chocolate chess pie

-hot roast beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, salad

-chicken and dumplings, green beans, glazed carrots, corn bread

-homemade pizzas, salad, cookies

-pork loin, green beans, creamed corn, roasted potatoes, dinner rolls

-vegetable soup, corn bread, rolls, cookies and peach cobbler’t-panic-meal-planning-challenge-week-5-and-7-ways-to-use-those-leftovers.html

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Preparing for the Holidays

We are crazy busy here the last few days working hard on some decluttering, getting ready for a yard sale in a few weeks, preparing for a visit from my mom and my brother and his wife who have been away from the states for the last 15 months or so, dehydrating, canning, cooking, laundry closet makeover, painting, schooling and well, just life!!  I thought I would repost this from two years ago.  These are some of our favorite all-tiime holiday recipes and will be on the menu again for this season.  


When we were poor college students and Jeff was minister of music and youth at our first church a dear friend made this pie several times and shared the recipe with me when we left for seminary in Texas.  It has become a favorite and is much requested by my chocolate-loving children.  (Thanks for sharing ALL those many years ago, Debby P.!)  Jeff even won a men's baking contest with this pie at one of our churches.

Chocolate Chess Pie

4 whole eggs
3 cups sugar
one stick melted butter
4 T cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz can evaporated milk

Mix all in the blender and pour into 2 unbaked pie shells.  Place a cookie sheet on the lower rack of your oven to catch any drips.  Place the pies on the middle rack (or mid-oven) and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Remove and let cool.  These pies freeze well.

My mother-in-law introduced me to this recipe many years ago and it has become a must for me at all turkey and dressing meals.  I do omit the pecans as we have allergy issues with nuts!  This exact recipe is also from a former church member.  Church folks sure know how to cook!!

Cranberry Casserole

1 c. peeled raw apples, chopped
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 c. uncooked oatmeal
2 c. fresh or thawed from frozen cranberries
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Butter a loaf-shaped glass dish. Put a layer of apples, half of each sugar, half of oatmeal, and half of nuts.  Repeat layers.  (Oatmeal is next to top layer and nuts the very last top layer.)  Pour melted butter over all and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Serves 8-10 people.
I use a little less sugar and you can par-bake this and freeze so make your Thanksgiving morning a little less stressful!

I cannot remember a time that we have not had this pie at any holiday meal.  My mom made this pie when I was growing up and I gladly carry on the tradition.  It is simple and oh, so delicious.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pies

2 baked pie shells
2 blocks of softened cream cheese
powdered sugar
1 can blueberry pie filling
chopped pecans
whipped topping

Mix some powdered sugar into the cream cheese until it is sweet enough to your taste.  Yes, you get to taste it!!  When satisfied, spread the cream cheese mixture into both pie shells.  You may then put on a layer of chopped pecans, if desired.  I do not unless my mom is coming!  Pour the blueberry pie filling over the nuts, dividing evenly.  Top all with whipped topping  and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Simple and so yummy!!  It is even great for breakfast the next day if you can eat it without your children seeing you eat pie for breakfast.  I can't wait!!

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

This is another recipe that I grew up with and it is so good!!  This recipe can be multiplied and you probably will need to if you are having a crowd or have a big family like me.

2 14.5 cans of cut green beans
8 bacon strips
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar

Fry the bacon in a skillet (iron works better).  Remove bacon, but leave grease.  Let cool slightly and add sugar and vinegar.  Stir until sugar melts.  Add DRAINED beans.  Cook until the beans are slightly shriveled.  Crumble bacon on top (if there is any left at this point!  My kids always sneak bites off it while my back is turned!!)  This is not a recipe for every day, but it is so good.  Perfect for a holiday meal!

Last night we had a simple turkey casserole that I pulled from the freezer.  Most of the children really liked it and Kaelan insisted that she MUST have the recipe for when she gets married.  I will share it with you now so that you can use it for your turkey leftovers.  As you can tell a lot of my recipes are not exact.  This is one of those.

Jalapeno Turkey Noodle Casserole
You will need 2-4 cups of chopped turkey or chicken.  Prepare 6 or so cups of macaroni.  Drain.  Mix turkey and noodles with 1-2 cans of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup.  Add some chopped jalapeno peppers, salt and black pepper to taste.  Pour into greased casserole dishes.  Top with grated cheese and a layer of buttered Ritz crackers.  Cover and freeze or bake at 350 until bubbly.  Instead of adding cheese to the top you can mix it in with the noodles and meat mixture.  Simple and easy!!

Now, I am off to get busy with the laundry and then to the kitchen where the girls and I will get some more of our cooking done and in the freezer.  I am so very thankful for my helpers.

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving meal in your home?  Do you go all out with table settings and decorations?  If you are posting about your Thanksgiving traditions leave a comment to let us know what you are doing!

Linking up with Mary Joy at Learning to Live a Surrendered Life.  Check it out for some wonderful Thanksgiving ideas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Dress Up Day

We are so blessed that our married daughter and family live near enough to come visit frequently.  This past Saturday Lauren and the grands came for the day.  They had a great time playing in the dress up box and one of the older kids had a fun time with the camera.

Grandson Eli is a combination frontiersman/cowboy.

Grandson Chase is a sad looking cowboy here!

Penquin Caedmon

Caedmon has recently watched March of the least once a week for the last few weeks.  Penquins are really "cool" right now!

Apparently Eli thinks the powder horn is a musical instrument.

A cheesy grin from Chase

Cowboys must wear Polo shirts and be very strong!

I think this is Jackson's eye!

How many of you were blessed to have Captain America, two handsome cowboys and a penguin in your home this weekend?  Thankful for a house full of little boys!!

Raising Homemakers

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

McGuffey: On Diligence

If you are not diligent in the improvement of your time, it is one of the surest evidences that your heart is not right with God.  You are placed in this world to use your time well.  In youth you must be preparing for future usefulness.  If you do not improve the advantages you enjoy, you sin against your Maker.

"With books, or work, or healthful play,
Let your first years be past,
That you may give, for every day,
Some good account at last."

-McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader

We are using our McGuffey Readers again for our language lessons and it is so nice having such Godly wisdom to glean from as we are learning language skills.   Copywork, dictation, spelling, vocabulary and oral reading as well as some grammar instruction are all included in our weekly lessons, but even more important are these "extras"....Biblical wisdom that is often neglected in modern curriculum.  This week's lesson is on punctuality...another wonderful lesson to learn early in life!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Looking Around

Harvesting sweet potatoes
We experiemented with planting sweet potato peels and wound up actually growing some.  We planted them in a little bed made from a wooden gate off of our front porch.  Just using what we find!

However, this is how one of the potatoes grew!!  Now we know we can do it, so we will take better care next year.

The picture of the lettuce bed is from over a week ago.  The lettuce is much larger now and salads are on the menu for almost every day.

The turnip greens are also much bigger than this now.  We'll have turnip greens on the menu next week.

Our peppers didn't do much this summer, but are now putting out.  

As are the hot peppers...pepper jelly is on the agenda!

Hoping to have some cabbage later.

And we have eggs....We have one americauna that gives one egg a day.  The cuckoo marans and buff orpingtons have not begun laying yet, but we did add 10 other layers to our flock last week.  They are giving us about 7 eggs a day.  We think they are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns.  We now have 26 hens and 8 roosters.  The roosters have now been moved to the chicken tractor and will soon be arriving at their final destination.

Late last week I went produce shopping and got great deals on apples, russet potatoes, sweet onions and sweet potatoes.  The dehydrator has been running this weekend with onions and I also want to do the russet potatoes.  Apples will be made into cakes, pies and applesauce and just eaten plain.  We also ordered a hog to be slaughtered!!  Can't wait to have that meat in the freezer!  Now to find a grass-fed cow...

Jeff and the boys have been working on my laundry closet has been cleared out, cleaned up, painted, a new cabinet put in and organized with miscellaneous items, and tile has been laid.  Tonight the washer and dryer will be put back in and I will have a gazillion loads of laundry to do.   We still have to get a new hot water heater installed, but I am thrilled so far with the progress.  Painting the mud room this week and then laying tile there and in the kitchen as well.  We are on a roll!!  Painting the rest of our tongue and groove unpainted wooden walls and ceilings in the kitchen, dining room and hallway are on the agenda for the next month as well as painting the wood walls in the boys room and painting some furniture.  And then there is the cooking, the cleaning and the schooling to do as well!  Always busy!  Always blessed!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...