Sunday, May 31, 2009

This verse was in my Bible reading this morning:
Matthew 18:10
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see
the face of my Father in heaven."

I don't know about you but I don't think that often about there being Angels around us. But isn't that verse a neat reminder? I love the concept that each of my children have an angel watching over them. Those that spend time with God are also deeply concerned about my children. I looked up some other verses on this topic and thought I would share them too.

Psalm 34:7
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
and delivers them."
Angels aren't just for kids. They are watching over all of us who fear the Lord. That is so cool to think about. That is something I want to be more aware of throughout each day.
Hebrews 1:14
"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

Lilies I am really enjoying.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happenings around here.

We had a full week. We were working at getting the garden in, working around the house and all the many things that come with Spring. A lot of progress also was made at the church building. The outside of the church building was still pretty unfinished but this weekend my brother-in-law, Travis, His Dad (David) and his Brother-in-law (Joel) all came up north and put on the block which goes 1/2 the way up the building. David also brought limestone up from Indiana to lay across the top. (Above all of that will be siding.) They are all brick masons (though Travis currently drives a train) and they did a very fast and good job. They got it all done and were here less then 24 hours. Those of us from church helped as much as possible with setting blocks out where they needed to be, carrying hod and so forth. Some of us also worked at clearing out brush and dead trees and cleaning up the property.

Here is my sweet nephew Gregory. He and his brother Harrison and cousin Jeffrey got to come up with the men as well.
I wasn't able to help as much as I would have liked to because I also had wedding flowers to do this weekend. Here is the Bride's bouquet. This is the third wedding in a row that they have had red roses and white flowers. They are very pretty put I am looking forward to next weekend's purple and white wedding (where I get to work with Irises!) and then the following weekend there will be orange flowers for the wedding.
One of the bridesmaid's bouquets.
I spent all of this morning decorating at the church building. It was rather fun and turned out pretty (I though). This is one of the Candelabras. After I got home and had a quick lunch we went over to work at the church building some more.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pudding pops (homemade) for warm days!

We are very blessed to get an abundance of yummy and nutritious farm fresh milk and eggs from my parents during the summer. Sometimes we even get more than we can use in just the regular ways. Pudding is a great way to use up both items and my kids absolutely love it.
For the warmer days we have been having recently I thought it might be fun to go a step beyond pudding and make pudding pops. The kids thought it was a good idea too and we all like them!
They are pretty fun to make and not very hard. First I made pudding from this recipe:
Chocolate Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup cold milk
3 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
Combine dry ingredients, then stir in the beaten eggs yolks and cold milk. Beat it into the hot milk and stir it over medium heat until it thickens. Add the vanilla and butter. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
(For vanilla pudding just leave out the cocoa)
Then we put them in little dixie cups, that we happened to have on hand, stuck and popsicle stick in the middle and stuck them in the freezer. You can be creative with what you freeze them in, and if you don't have sticks then use plastic spoons or something like that.
I actually made a double batch of pudding so we could eat some warm and still freeze some.
We finished them off tonight and enjoyed them. I have a bunch more milk in the fridge right now, I think tomorrow I will try to make some more pudding. I am wanting to try out different flavors too and also planning on possibly trying a sugar free (think natural sweeteners) recipe too.
What cool treats does your family enjoy in the summer?

For more Frugal Friday tips visit Life as MOM.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A picnic packed by Aaron ~ Truly a finer thing

We had a simply beautiful day! The weather was warm and deliciously comfortable. We had fun working in the garden this morning (and I am almost done putting it in!) and then the kids thought that a picnic in the yard would be fun.
When I decided that it would be okay to do that only Aaron and Megan were around and I suggested that Aaron go ask the older two to get some popcorn popped and then I would come in to get everything else together. Aaron (my sweet 5 year old) pleaded, "can't I do it Mom? I can get the picnic ready all by myself." Knowing that he did know how to run the air popper, I gave him the go ahead and busily got back to work on the garden.
After a little while out came Aaron (the older two had joined him at this point and were helping him carry things) and he loaded the wagon with the lunch and headed down by the garden to have our picnic. Above is the lunch in the wagon.
He had made peanut butter and jam sandwiches and packed them individually in sandwich bags (that is something we pretty much never do, so it was special). They were simply oozing with jam! The older two had talked him into letting them make their own sandwiches but he made his, mine and Megans. He made a 1/2 a sandwich each for Megan and I (I think he was putting me on a diet! ) and a small one for him as well. He had the popcorn neatly in a bowl but no butter or salt were added. They did also bring a table cloth, paper towels, a pitcher of water and cups.
We had a lovely time eating our lunch but after a bit Jonathan decided he needed to make us some more sandwiches so he headed off to the house. Aaron at this point decided we really did need something on our popcorn so he headed off with that, later calling Mara to come and help.
Megan and I were left to our own devises so I decided some picture taking might be in order. Above is my sweet 3 year old.

And our house. You can't tell so well from here but the phlox is making beautiful pink pillows in the flower bed.
Spring days shared with my 4 lovely children and a picnic and some gardening thrown in, truly a finer thing!

A "REAL" (reel) mower for us!

As a teen I enjoyed using a reel mower sometimes to mow the yard. I really enjoyed that and have wanted one. Well when I happen to mention that desire when my Dad was around the other day his response was "We have one you can use". They brought it over this week and produced quite a bit of excitement in this household.
The kids are excited as they can use it. (Though we talked a lot about safety with the blades! And actually only the older two can manage mowing with it.)
I am excited because it is fun to use, I don't have to spend a half hour working to get it started and it doesn't take any smelly gasoline! Yea! My only concern is that it seems to cut the grass very, very short. We have yet to see if we really have the energy to do our whole yard that way but I really think it will be a great exercise program. :-)
Having no gasoline is also better for the environment and for our pocket book. I think that works for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cleaning vases with Vinegar

Not long ago I got a bunch of vases from Freecycle. Because I work with flowers for a home business (doing wedding flowers), vases often come in handy. I also like to have them to stick flowers from my garden in and give to a friend as a just for fun gift.

Two of the vases that came (she did offer to just throw them away but I said, "oh just leave them, I'll see if I can clean them") were pretty yucky looking. They had been sitting under a sink (I think it must have been drippy) for years and had a major calcium (I think) build-up as well as who knows what else.

I decided to try soaking them in some Vinegar water (about a cup of white vinegar in a sink half full) overnight and guess what? By morning everything scrubbed off very, very easily!

They aren't quite perfect but they are good enough for me. And they are ever so much better then they were!

For more works for me Wednesday tips visit We are THAT family.

Experimenting with painting!

Last week I had fun working in the Boy's room. They have had just plain cream walls and we had some Noah's Ark stuff up in there. Well the cream walls were having some issues (like not being able to get all of Megan's former drawings off them!), one wall being especially bad and also the boys were wanting something different and more exciting and we were ready for something besides "Noah's Ark".
This is the wall that was. (I had already taken the Noah's Ark quilt down though.)
And this is a portion of the wall afterwards. I decided I just wanted to do one accent wall for now (I am thinking about doing one more though). We have also decided to decorate with maps and such. (I am looking for good ideas if you have any.)
The wall was quite fun to do. To prepare I watched this short video clip. Then as usual I didn't really follow instructions but used what I had on hand and made it adapt. We had light blue and dark blue paint sitting around so I used them on top of the cream wall. Then I used cut up old t-shirts to do the marbleizing as shown on the video. I skipped the glaze that she recommended because I didn't have it. I don't think it looks as professional as hers but we are all quite happy with it (even Ken, I wasn't sure if it would be his style). While I was doing it Megan kept coming in and saying "Nice, mommy!".
So do you have any ideas for decorating? So far we have some big maps hung up. I am also planning on adding framed photos from all over the world. We think we need to have a globe in there too. Our color scheme is blue, red, green, brown and tan. I am trying to think of a fun idea for a valance. Once we get it done I will be sure to post about it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to Oregon

We very much enjoyed studying about the state of Oregon. Ken spent part of his growing up years in Oregon but the kids and I have just visited it in 2007 for Ken's sister Beth's wedding and his other sister, Luann's wedding celebration. We really enjoyed our visit there though it was terribly quick and busy!!

Oregon first got populated because of stories of how well things grew. That caused many in the 1840's to travel west to look for an easier life. We found the stories of their journey very interesting. We watched the movie "7 Alone" and Mara read the book about a family on the Oregon trail. When we went to visit we also were impressed with everything that was growing so largely. The trees are enormous! And the Hydrangeas were huge. My sister-in law Beth was married in a beautiful park and Mara had a great time finding what looked like Maple leaves, that were far bigger than a dinner plate.

Oregon has a very diverse agriculture and they are first in Christmas trees, hazelnuts, peppermint, raspberries, blackberries, logan berries and grass seed.

Oregon became a state on February 14, 1859 and it is the 33rd state.

The capital is Salem but the largest city is Portland. The state bird is the Western Meadowlark and the state flower is the Oregon grape.

Did you know that beneath the streets of Pendleton, Oregon, you can tour a labyrinth of tunnels built between 1870 and 1930 by Chinese laborers who went underground to escape discrimination. There has been a Chinese Laundry, ice house and butcher shop restored. I think it sounds like a very interesting place to visit!

For one meal we enjoyed "Oregon Salmon Patties", Apples (often grown in Oregon) and other stuff. :-)

We also enjoyed "Raspberry *Almond Coffee Cake" (*except I substituted pecans as I didn't have almonds.) Oregon has lots of berries. My husband tells stories of great blackberry picking when he was a child.

A fellow blogger had recommended her family food blog for Oregon recipes as their family had been there for generations. We enjoyed "Doug and Sue's Raisin Bread" from that blog.

So...What do you love about Oregon? Do you have any places that you think are just wonderful? Any recipes or foods that say Oregon to you?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


"And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak,
they shall render account for it in the day of judgement.
For by your words you shall be justified,
and by your words will be condemned."
Matthew 12:36-37

This verse really spoke to me because I have a tendency to talk to much. Words come to me quickly and they aren't always the right ones. With God's help I am trying to watch what comes out of my mouth (as well I my pen and keyboard) so that the words will not be careless but rather ones that will edify and build others up. May God guide all of our words!

~We are really enjoying the pretty phlox that is blooming a bunch!~

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Federal Buildings in Washington DC

The Capitol Building from the doorway of the Supreme Court
While we were in Washington DC something that was really neat for us was seeing all those spots that we had heard about all our lives. Places that where things with a lot of impact on our country happen. It was neat for us to go in or just see places and realize that we were in the same place where our leaders have been working for the last 200 plus years.
So here is another bunch of pictures!

Me on the Supreme Court Steps

The Courtroom

Ken and I on the plaza of the Supreme Court, in front of the Capitol

The Capitol Building
We were able to take a tour of the Capitol Building but were disappointed to find out that the tour did not include the Galleries so we were not able to see the House or Senate in action. Those passes have to be gotten from your Senator or Representative and we did not think to do that ahead of time.
The ceiling in the Rotunda.
There is so much pretty artwork above your heads in the capitol building. I was constantly looking up. (It was a good thing I didn't trip and fall!)
President Ronald Regan was the only president that was sworn into office in this room. (I believe for his second term.) On that day the weather was extremely cold with windchill of something like -20 degrees.
The sides of the dome has paintings all around that are like a timeline of history.

Another Ceiling
In Statuary Hall

I stood where John Quincy Adams once sat. Statuary hall used to be where they House met.
I believe J.Q. Adams was the only President to afterwards become a US Representative.
The Crypt
The intention had been to busy George Washington in the floor here. However the family decided that wouldn't be fitting.
In the Library of Congress.
This was an extremely beautiful building!
On Capitol hill are the office buildings for all of the Representatives and Senators. We went in two of the Representative buildings to lobby for the Big "I". (Independent Insurance Agents organization.)

At the convention there were Insurance Agents (around 1500) from all over the country but they divided us up in groups according to where we were from. We were with some of the other Minnesotans and we visited Representatives from here.
Ken next to Colin Peterson's door.
We actually didn't see the Representatives themselves but rather their staff. But we were briefed to not feel upset about that but go ahead and speak to them as if we were speaking to the representative themselves. Most of the Staff members are young (early 20's) but they do a lot of advising to the Reps as there is no way that the Representatives can keep up to date on every issue.

The IRS building

The White House
Seeing that was pretty neat. I wished I would have worked harder to try to arrange a tour though. Someday I would really like to see inside.

Me on the other side.

The Department of Treasury
(it is next to the White House)

The Ronald Regan Building.
This is a huge complex with all sorts of Federal organizations in it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WFMW ~ A pet for our family

I am not an "animal/pet person". It is not that I haven't been around them, I have. Growing up we lived on a hobby farm with a whole menagerie of animals (though I will admit, thanks to my mom, we never had any in the house). It isn't that I disliked them, I just had no desire to hold or cuddle or spend to much time with any of them. I loved babies, real live human babies and I held and cuddled them as much as possible.

For the first couple of years of married life Ken and I didn't have any pets. After we bought our first house which was out in the country and
we had one girl and one boy we figured the next necessary addition was a dog. Ken picked him out (I said it needed to be a "him" so we wouldn't have to worry about puppies) and he got the most adorable puppy that you have ever seen, a grey and white, blue eyed husky. We were a little naive in our choice of dogs however. Huskies grow quite big (and pretty fast) and they are extremely high energy. I also naively thought that we had 5 nice acres for him to roam on and that he would automatically stay close to home. Well we learned he didn't (after some visits from some neighbors) and so we had to tie him up. That didn't work so well either as he got very good about chewing through and working his way out of any sort of tie-up. I was busy being a mom and didn't have the time to give him the attention needed so we found another home for him. (Even when we watched a low energy Beagle -who also like to roam- I didn't have the time to give to him that he needed either.

We also tried having a cat. That wasn't too successful either. First of all I have allergies so we can't have cats in the house. We decided it could have it's main home in the garage but for some reason it preferred to go the bathroom in every place but the kitty litter. (And at that time I didn't have the Internet to quickly find information on how to train it.) Also the dog scared it badly and after a couple of weeks it disappeared.

We have also tried fish, the worked okay but weren't very exciting.

What we have found to really work for us is a Rabbit! Here is why we like having a pet rabbit.
  • It is soft and cuddly and easy for the kids to hold.
  • It is quiet. (So it doesn't bother any neighbors)
  • It doesn't run away (And even if it did I don't think we would have any neighbors calling us to curse us out when it came into the yard).
  • Cages for rabbits are much easier and less extensive then for say a dog. (We were actually blessed because my dad had some he just gave to us.)
  • The are pretty inexpensive to feed. The rabbit food probably costs less than $30 a year. We also give it grass, weeds and various kitchen scraps.
  • The manure it creates is great for our garden.

So that is the reason that our pet Clover works for us.


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