Monday, April 22, 2013

You Are His

    You have value and purpose, no matter what anyone in this world tells you. God made you and He loves you, even if no one else seems to at the moment.

    I really want my children to know that their worth comes from being children of God, from being created in His image for His purposes. Sometimes this world and the people in it are harsh and horrible. Life isn't always fair. But none of that has to change who you are because you are His!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bread, Detergent, Fabric Softener and More!

Busy day on the homestead! But I guess that's everyday, heehee :)

I came across this mouth-watering recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread yesterday and had to try it for breakfast this morning. We love banana muffins around here, so I thought this would be a great way to mix it up. The only changes I made to the recipe are pretty standard for me, the addition of some ground flax seed and using a mixture of all-purpose & whole wheat flour. It is even more delicious than it looks!

Find the recipe here.
Next it was off to try out some of the things I learned in an all-natural cleaning class last night. So many great recipes for homemade all-natural cleaners out there!!! They are much cheaper and definitely better for your health. We even made a glass cleaner out of water, vinegar, borax and all-natural dish soap during class. I tried it out today on some adorable smudgy fingerprints (because I was skeptical) and I LOVED it! The past month or so, I have also been making an all-purpose cleaner with orange peels and vinegar. It is awesome! Send me a message if you want the recipe, super easy and cheap. We always have orange peels around here.
This morning, I set out to try three things, more to come in the future I'm sure. First, I made dishwasher detergent pods. I found the recipe at Louises Country Closet.

Here's the link to the recipe.
They are currently drying out, so I haven't tried them yet, but I will update the page when I try them. They were very easy and cheap to make, so I'm hoping they work great! Dishwasher detergent is expensive! 
****UPDATE 5/2/2013: After using this for a few weeks, and trying different rinse agents and such, I have come to realize that it is not cleaning my dishes the way I would like it to. The first few times it seemed to work great, but after awhile it is just not working like it should. Not sure why, maybe I'm doing something wrong, but it is not working for us. :(
 Next up was homemade laundry detergent. I have wanted to do this for several years, and I'm not really sure why I've put it off for so long. I have many friends who use this recipe and love it, so I am confident that I will, too. I would make sure that you like the scent of the bar of soap you use. Here's a picture of it steaming away.

The recipe I used can be found here.
And last but not least, I really wanted to try a recipe I was given last night for homemade fabric softener. Again, very easy and cheap. After making all three, this is the one I am most excited about because it looks just like store-bought fabric softener and smells so good. Store-bought softener is outrageous, so I am excited to try this affordable alternative.
Simply mix together 6 cups of water, 3 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of conditioner. *Time-out for a proud Mommy moment. My kids helped me out today and my oldest was able to read "1 cup" on the measuring cup, so he was also able to fully grasp the idea that 2 cups was 1 cup filled up twice. Oh, the fun of homeschooling!*
I used a creamy Suave that I thought smelled great. You will need to use a whisk to get the conditioner combined well with the other ingredients. When fully combined, use a funnel and pour into a gallon jug for storage. In the wash, use the same amount that you would use if it was store-bought softener.
Again, I haven't tried this yet, so I will update you when I do, but it looks and smells great!
And now for some quiet time catching up on Bible reading, prayer and The Revolution for Women.
***UPDATE: Today, 4/11/13,  I tried the dishwasher tabs and I loved them! I did not use any rinse aid, just to see how it went, and my dishes cam out sparkly clean. I sat the tab on the bottom of the dishwasher and started the cycle. At this point, I'm well pleased and plan to discontinue buying store-bought dishwasher detergent. ***
***UPDATE 4/16/13: Upon looking further, I've discoverd that I would like some rinse aid, in addition to the homemade dishwasher detergent. It cleans well, but some dishes are left a little spotty. I will be trying some of the suggestions on the blog linked above and I'll let you know. Also, I have been using the laundry detergent and the fabric softener with great success! I LOVE the way my clothes smell!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Whew. What a week!

Since I wrote last, we found out that my oldest had a double ear infection...then a ruptured ear drum. My youngest is getting her two year molars and is in obvious pain. And my husband (and some awesome helpers) built a really cool swing-set from the ground up.

And today I had several cavities filled. Just for added fun.

But spring has finally sprung here! We've grilled out twice already, built a swing-set, been able to go to the park, and we planted the potatoes in the garden.

It has been a busy few days.

Tonight, though, my heart is hurting for a local family who suffered unimaginable violence. I don't know them at all, but it doesn't matter. Their story has been all over the news and all over facebook. Yet I know from experience, most of these types of things go without notice. The majority of the population walks around everyday unaware of the horrors that are happening to children in their community. But those who work for children's service agencies don't. They know it all too well. They live it every single day, no escape. They have to read about it, hear about it, see it first-hand, and testify about it in court. They watch abuse and neglect tear apart families, and drugs cause people to do things you couldn't force your mind to imagine.

I still remember my first day at children's services. Fresh out of college, no kids of my own. I had been a CASA before, so I had a good idea of what I was getting into. But really, nothing could've prepared me for that life.

I started as a temp, so I was just doing busy work to help out the over-worked and exhausted caseworkers. My first assignment seemed simple...pull a kid's file, copy it and send it to his psychologist before his first appointment.

But to do that, I had to read it to make sure I pulled the needed information. I sat in the file room, embarrassed and broken, trying to hide my tears reading that child's file. I truly couldn't believe the disgusting, life-altering things on those pages. How could a child ever come back from that? What must he be like now? Is he permanently emotionally scarred? Will he ever be happy again?

Does he have anyone who loves him?

Has he ever known unconditional love?

A few days later, several of those questions were answered when I drove him to his appointment. Not by his words. There were none of those. As much as I tried to engage him, he literally said nothing. When I looked into his eyes, all I saw was emptiness. A shell of a boy. It hurt my heart so deeply that I've never forgotten it.

I wish I could rescue them all. Still, to this day, I can't forget the things I saw in my time as a caseworker. And I can't forget that there are countless caseworkers all over this country. Many of them working right now, as we're tucking our children in and preparing to go to bed. I couldn't adequately describe all the things they see and do in a day. But know this: It is dangerous work. Not for the faint of heart, it is physically and emotionally draining, with low pay and seemingly never-ending hours...

They see pure evil in one of its most horrific forms. And even when they're not working, it never really leaves them. They carry an enormous weight.

As hard as the job was for me and as much as I LOVE being here with my beautiful babies everyday, there is a part of me that misses it. Maybe someday when my kids are grown I'll go back. For now, though, I'm looking forward to the day when we as a family open our home...

God put adoption on our hearts long ago, and the time is creeping closer. It's not here yet, but we're getting there. And I so look forward to growing our family in that way.

But for now, I plan to fully enjoy the two blessings God has given me. I will hold them tighter tomorrow. And I will be praying for God's peace to overwhelm that local family in this most tragic of times.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Know Those Days...

You know those days...the days when you feel like you're in the trenches? The days when you feel like you've failed in every possible way as a Momma/Wife/Friend?

That's kind of what we've got going on here today. Sick kiddos, who are also tired from a jam packed weekend. Cranky, snotty noses everywhere, lots of frustration, and way too much arguing and disobeying. And a messy house. Ugh. Although, my oldest did finally sleep through the night last night for the first time in almost a week.

Unfortunately his sister didn't.

But, alas, it is naptime. The golden hour when, if my kids actually sleep (and they are today), Mommy gets to rejuvinate. Make ready to try again. Change the atmosphere of my home for the better. So I'm gonna clean, plan something for dinner and spend some time in the Word and prayer. I expect a turn-around here!

Hope your day is blessed! If it is a little out of sorts like mine, get to praying/worshipping/reading the Bible. You'll be amazed at how the atmosphere will change. You set the tone, Momma!