Friday, August 31, 2012

We Have the Right to Bear Arms (Even if "They" Don't Want Us to)

It's not secret there is something fishy going on in the Capitol about gun laws. Washington has already disreguarded one part of the Constitution, why not disreguard the part that protects our rights to protect ourselves? Guns are evil!!! They kill people!!! Waaaaah!!!!

Ok, so if someone in these desparate (soon to be more desparate) times decides they are going to break into your home where your children are and steal your property, maybe harm/ kill you while they are at it, what are you going to do? 911, sure, that might help... if they get there in a nano second. Grab a kitchen knife? Pretty sure that puts you close enough for them to grab you! I am not paranoid by any means... but lets think logically here!

I own a gun. I own the gun pictured above. It was a gift to me from my husband and he taught me to use it and clean it, load it and store it. I do not take it out much but if I had the need, it's there. I am at home with my children alone much of the time and along with a dog a gun makes me feel just a little bit safer and gives me peace of mind. Our rifels are one of the things we see as a practical and necessary investment in the homesteading lifestyle.

Starting to look a little low!

This is just part of what we have done and are going to do to prepare ourselves for what is ahead of us. When we have settled in a permenant home we will complete our "emergency" preparations. Right now I keep about 2 months worth of food stock in my pantry. Eventually we will increase that to a years supply as well as becoming proficient at producing our own food (garden, animals and such).

I do not have faith in people, I have faith in God. I believe that He makes it our job to protect our own family and not rely on others to do it for us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Make Your Home a Haven: Working Joyfully

Last week went well about 50% of the time! Oh, young children make "me time" so challenging! How did yours go?

This week I was thinking about how often I feel grudgingly about my everyday work and become weary from the tediousness. Children and a house and animals all are very demanding and the work is never "finished". Clothes are always in the process of becoming dirty, meals being digested and floors becoming cluttered or hairy with each minute that passes. Somedays the infinity of this situation overwhelms me! It is so hard after a long week not to feel a little down or self pittying, double this feeling if it was a rainy week as well! My heart has cried out to the Lord to give me strength when I want to be weak and to help me be joyful in the everyday work He has set before me. Most of this week I felt better than I have been, He has shown me how great He is! Here are somethings I do to make me enjoy my work and adjust my attitude if I need to!

First, pray. Only Jesus can change my heart.

Second, put on some rockin' tunes! Music is my souls delight and it is the best way I comfort myself when I don't want to throw up my emotions on a human (usually my mother :-/).

Third, take 10 minutes and read an article on a subject I enjoy and then ponder it for as long as I care to. My brain needs stimulation!

Fourth, cook a meal someone else is going to really enjoy! I have to cook either way, I may as well get the satisfaction of pleasing a loved one at the same time.

This is not rocket science, if you have made the commitment to your family and the Lord to raise your children at home and be a good wife to your husband is is not practical to grudge it for the rest of your life! God calls us women to stay in the home (as un-glamourous as that is), and also teach our younger women to do the same. Homemaking is an art, you must learn how to do it not only well but with a joyful heart!

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled".
- Titis 2:3-5

Proverbs 31:10-31 are also an excellent picture of what God calls a wife and mother to be, I read it when I am in need of inspiration.

How do you make your work more enjoyable/ tolerable? When you are overwhelmed with your home and children how do you cope?

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 1

I got this idea from one of my favorite blogs Tammy's Recipes. She did this series a while back and I was inspired by her diligence and am inspired by her honesty about being a wife and mother to 5 children. Her blog is so much more than recipes and it is worth a stop by her site. I will be following some of her challenges but also throwing in some of my own. I have not gotten much feed back on my posts although I know there are people reading it... So! I am challenging you other mommys and wives to join me in this path of self improvement and encourage each other!

This week I am going to start, as Tammy did, with a morning routine. Nothing lengthy, just 5 things. I am not a morning person and I will openly admit that I "waste" a good part of my day and energy on selfish and fruitless activities. I have had a bad case of the "burnt" grumps and I need to let God use me to the best of my ability even if I am not where I want to be right now. Let's see if I can get my mornings to start like this!:

1. Make bed at 6:30... a.m.

2. Make a pot of green tea, not coffee.

3. Eat. Oatmeal.

4. Take vitamins.

5. Bible time with Puzzel Boy.

Seems simple doesn't it? Shocked I picked these things, I mean, how could this be an improvement? Let me share what I am currently doing.

Drag my butt out of bed when I here PB trying to open his door, usually around 7-7:30.
Get him in the bathroom to pee and then direct him to get dressed.
Get him breakfast, and I put a movie on for him... (I am horrible!).
I make a pot of coffee and attempt to drink 1/2 a cup before Mini gets up.
Change and dress Mini, then nurse while drinking the rest of my coffee... (yet more horribleness).
Put Mini in her exesaucer to play while I hop online to see whatevery one else is doing on facebook or I will stay sitting after nursing to watch the rest of PB's movie. (Have I dug my hole yet?)
Maybe I will ferret out something to pop in my mouth that doesn't even begin to qualify as breakfast.
Get dressed.
More coffee.
Make bed... maybe.
Laundry if need be.
Get Puzzel Boy playing with something, usually play dough at the moment.

This is everyday. No wonder I feel dumpy and sad. But I can change, through Christ I can change and He has given me a heart to want to. But what does this have to do with make your home a haven? Well, if I am productive and content then it creates a certain atmosphere in my house that makes others comfortable. We are in uncomfortable and challenging times and we need to be thankful for what we do have not what we want.

So this week, make a list of 5 things you would like to start your day with! Let me know how you liked the results and what your 5 things are :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Family Update: Operation Relocation

We are moving to and area of Maine called the Downeast. This is ironic because although it is east about as much as you can go in this country, it is not down. It is middle. But, since the Middle East nick name was already taken we fast thinking Mainers have improvised.

I have a confession to make on this subject... Montana Man and I have moved 5 times since meeting in Montana (romantic right?!) just under 4 years ago. Our first place was really Montana Man's place that he was living in when I met him. It was a SHACK. But it was $300 a month! When our/his son came to live with us we moved to the most adorable log cabin 10 miles out of town. It was quiet and beautiful, I loved that house! It too was a low rent at $425 a month and our electric bill was about $11-15 a month! But we came back to Maine. We lived with my parents (gulp) for a year until our wedding and then we moved into a little apartment with 2 bedrooms. I loved it. But it was next to smokers so when the identical unit came available next door and next to my cousin, we moved across the yard. This apartment was $900/month. YIKES. Bit of a difference right?? So when I got to the end of my pregnancy and realized after I stopped work we could not pay this rape rent we moved back in with my parents with the grand plan that we would cohabitate until the built their dream home and then we would rent their house. This did not happen. We knew we needed to move out but we felt a little stuck and not sure where to turn. But God made it very clear in a matter of days that we were going to be relocating soon. After prayer and an official job offer along with an offer of ideal housing (horse too!) we made the final decision. So here were go again. I have my doubts and anxieties but I have to trust that God will provide for us.

That said, I hate moving. I am not a good packer and with kids it is hellatious. My mom has packed the majority of my stuff because she actually enjoys it. Now what I enjoy is setting up a house! I love moving in. I am very excited about this house, it is in a crazy beautiful location with tons of yard for the kids and a large field for our horse. The kitchen is abit of a black hole (i.e. dark) but I have some great ideas on how to improve it when I have some spare money. I am a firm believer in making what ever space you are in your home even if it is temporary. I can not wait until we are moved, I will be taking before and after pictures of the space so you can see how I set up a new house and give you some tips on making any space work for you. I might have some experience!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Cloth Diapers: Part 2

Instruction time! Get your note pad kids, here we go!

You need:
PUL fabric, 16"X16" per diaper
fleece fabric, ditto
velcro or snaps
1/4 inch woven elastic, avoid the stiff stuff
sewing machine
fabric sissors
a weight of some kind
a pattern like this one: Diaper Revolution

Step 1: Trace your pattern on both of your fabric pieces as the pattern instructs using a weight to keep the pattern in place. I do this with a permenant marker but you can do it with a washable one, it doesn't show on the final product. Cut out the tracing.

Step 2: Following your specific instructions, place and sew elastic and then pin as close to the edge as possible your fleece and PUL right sides together. Mine was a pocket style diaper so this is what I had to do for the back...

Step 3: After you have sewn the pieces right sides together mark where your pattern says to put the leg elastic. Sew your uncut strip of elastic to one end and then stretch it as taught as you can to the next mark along the seam of the leg. Sew in place and trim. Make sure you go over it several times because if it lets go after you are finished you are going to be ripping seams. Not fun.

Step 4: After you have tacked both leg elastic in place, turn your diaper taking care to get your corners really well, I use a crochet hook in the points. Now top stitch a 1/4 inch all the way around jutting in at the elastic while holding it stretched straight to encase it with in the seam. DO NOT stitch on the elastic or it won't gather right.

Step 5: Place your velcro and sew in place or place your snaps. You're done! Go diaper that baby!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Laundry (Soap) Day

This is another one of those 'I'm a cheapy' things. Nearly two years ago we were just moved into our new house as a married couple and when I went to buy a new bottle of laundry detergent I just shook my head at the gastly price. Geez! Nearly $20 for a bottle to last us a month. I had seen homemade laundry detergent recipes here and there on the web but I just never thought it would be worth it. But I changed my mind. The next time I was low on detergent I went out and invested a whole $10 on supplies to make soap. A four pack of Ivory soap bars (on sale), a box of washing soda, and a box of Borax. Then I made my first batch and here goes nothing. Well, I was a changed girl. Two years later I am only on my third bar of soap from my supplies and have 2/3 full boxes of soda and Borax. I have spent less than $5 a year on laundry soap. YOU can too. It takes 10 minutes. Can you say no brainer?

I use just a very generic recipe you will find pretty much everywhere on the internet. A little tip though, if you have really hard water add more washing soda to your mix and it will help the soap rinse out better (it softens the water), reverse that if you have really soft water.

1 bar of Ivory soap, finely grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
2 gallons of water
3-5 gallon bucket, whatever you have.

First, grate your soap... like this:

Then measure 8 cups of the water and microwave until VERY hot. You can do it on the stove top in a pot but it's a pain, this is easier!

Add grated soap to the water... like this:

After you have added all the soap, do it slowly to avoid lumps, and it is dissolved you can add the borax and washing soda. The mixture will get thick very quickly but just keep stiring!

Pour the mixture into your bucket and make your first addition of water warm. Mix well, then, to speed up the process and make the soap not separate as bad, make the rest cold water for a total of 2 gallon (or 32 cups) of water used. I put a fill line on my bucket to take out the measuring step. Whisk (yes, with a whisk, silly) the final mixture for about a minute and then let it finish cooling, whisking it now and a again until completely cool. When it is, pour it in your bottle of choice and use about 1/2 cup per load, more if you are washing boy/man clothes, about half that for cloth diapers.

This is unscented soap. If you love scent, essential or fragrance oils can be added.

Please give this a try, let me know how you like it!