Monday, March 28, 2011


Homemaking is the most honorable profession in the world.
A place of beauty, rest and comfort
A place of security, peace and protection
A place for learning and instruction
But it is not to be taken for granted... it takes diligence, persistence and consistency to build a home.
With the foundation of the solid rock of Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring cleanout

Ah, the air is warming, the sun shines more, the smell of things turning green, SPRING! I find this the best time to clean out everything. My closets, my herbs, old seeds, my pantry, the cobwebs hanging in my living room, the bathroom, etc. This is a great time to take a weekend to clean out all those expired products. I make my family a full breakfast and then we get to work checking labels and cleaning out anything we know we won't use or that looks funny. If it is natural we empty, rinse, and recycle.
Herbs... well I try to only buy what I think I will use in a year. Leaves and flowers are really most potent their first year. Roots and bark are good for two to three years. Tinctures made and kept in a cool place can keep for many years. I store my herbs in tightly lidded glass jars away from direct sunlight. If I purchased them for a blend then I make sure I mix it up and label it well as soon I get them. Make sure you date anything you make at home... even culinary herbs. A helpful tip that I am finding invaluable is to write recipes for items I know I use often on index cards or recipe cards, laminate them, and put on a ring. This way I don't have to go searching through a bunch of books for the recipes that really worked for our family. The same can go for food recipes, culinary mixes you like, cleaning supplies, beauty recipes, crafts directions, cleaning lists, stain removal ideas, anything with a shorter list that needs to be kept on hand. I find it saves a lot of time.
Happy Spring cleaning!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you a slave to your stuff?

I often think of Jesus and His time here in an earthly body. It was simple. Sandals, clothes, friends, family, shared home and food... simple but wonderful. He has me in a bit of a different place... but am I not supposed to still look to Him for HOW I should live. I have been asking Him what do I need to fulfill the plan in which He has me and not the latest magazine or tv show to tell me.
After cleaning out stuff more than once... like pealing back an onion I still find things in my home that I am not sure why I still keep them. This may not be the case for you.. obviously the Lord is doing a work in me that I am aware of at this time in my life. I know He has the bigger plan. But really; I think everyone can look at their stuff and ask themselves "do I really need this in my home?" When you own an item it needs to be maintained, cleaned, take up some space in your home, and hopefully used. After a while though if you feel like your things are closing in on you, you don't have a place for everything you have kept, or you make comments like "I may need it someday" then maybe you need to start to let go to. Are you a slave to your possessions? I like the quote below. I try to keep that in mind every time I clean a room.
”Have nothing in your house that you do not 
know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.“ 
William Morris
The Lord's response to me is- you need love, patience, kindness, joy, peace, consistency, fellowship... you need to nourish your children with good food, warm clothes, and a safe place to sleep and play, teach them all day, train them up in My Word! So as you can see from that list that not many of the items are actual things after all. 
Here are some things we do to keep stuff under control in our nest-

  • All items must fit in the room in which we use them and that includes toys which must fit in their rooms and have a home to go back to after they are done playing with them
  • Most homeschool books are only purchased if they will be used for many years, with multiple children, and used for many weeks... we try to get other books at the library
  • We try to use the rule if something comes in then something must go out
  • Remember just because society says you have to own an item doesn't mean you have to listen... I know some folks that don't own a tv, a microwave, or a dishwasher and are just fine without them
We are a family of 4 that live comfortably in 1000 sq. ft. home with a basement. In that space we make meals, create, learn, play, rest and flourish. 

If you need a little focus(not to clutter space with more books) the book From Clutter to Clarity by Nancy Twigg or check her out at

This book helps you to refocus on Christ and not on stuff or bad attitudes. 
Blessings from my nest to yours

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A good Irish-american tradition

Is there anything you only cook once a year but it is so good you are not sure why you save it for a once a year feast??? That meal for us is corned beef and cabbage with a side of traditional soda bread. Celebrating St Patrick's Day is really an Irish-american thing. Next year I hope to cure my own beef using this site.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!(tomorrow)
1-4 pound or so corned beef, 5 carrots cut in rounds, 5 potatoes cut in chunks, 1 medium onion chopped, 1/2 cabbage chopped, salt/pepper, and some water to cover half way. Add meat to crock pot. Then add carrots, potatoes, onion, salt/pepper, and last top with cabbage. Cook on low most of the day. Traditional soda bread and/or brown bread can be found here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful dirt

I think of connecting with God's creation as a spiritual experience. I get excited when spring comes and I can get in the garden to plant those first seeds. After what seems to be a long winter... and I love winter; you start to see the hope in the green shoots springing up from the ground. Beautiful colors are not too far behind. What is the best though is to see the earthworms a plenty in the vegetable garden.

This year we amended the soil with compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. Last year we had dumped the compost into the garden and it took almost a year to break down which affected the poor plants we tried to plant in it too soon. So today according to the farmer's almanac is the perfect day to plant some peas! So we are putting in peas, spring onions, and broccoli. We are in zone 6b.
Some helpful sites for planting your garden-
Growveg planner
Square foot gardening
Farmer's Almanac

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring a season of hope and renewal

Psalm 23      A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness  For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  For You are with me;  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;  And I will dwell in the house of the LORD  Forever.

A lamb from last spring at Shepherd Valley Farm

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting kids to eat healthy

One of the ways we get our kids to eat healthier is by joining the CSA(Community Supported Agriculture). You could also just go to the farmers market to buy what is in season and use the cookbook "Simply in Season" by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind. I show them the variety and ask them what should we make with all this pretty food. Below is a picture of dinner tonight. I had more salad but ate it before I thought to take a photo.
Red Russian Kale with vinaigrette, steak with cremini mushrooms sautéed with onions,
and grilled fingerling sweet potatoes
 Ok, you may not think your kids would eat such a meal but they need to be trying new and healthy foods all the time so they can experience new tastes. I know my children get stuck on certain foods if we don't change with the seasons.  I didn't make my son eat mushrooms and onions but he ate the rest. Later he had an apple with crispy walnuts for a snack. For kids to be getting all their vitamins and minerals they should be eating many colors. Greens are essential for balancing out all the other foods that are more acidic in nature. We also try to eat all the different foods that are in our growing season because they are beneficial to our bodies in that season. So as a family decide to eat healthier, eat a rainbow of colors, cook together and try new recipes... It may just surprise you what your children will eat when they get involved.
If they still give you guff about eating greens try adding zucchini finely chopped to meatloaf, pasta sauce, and casseroles. Oh there are many wonderful ways to get those vegetables in our diet.
Need to learn more about nutrition yourself to nourish your family well, then checkout these links below.
Real Food Nutrition Book (great homeschool nutrition book)
Nourished Kitchen
GNOWFGLINS(Embracing "God's Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season"