Monday, April 30, 2012

The bees are here!!

 Yesterday I went and picked up two 4 frame nucs of Italian honey bees. I was actually feeling a little nervous - would I remember how to do everything. Though the man that mentored me last year is still willing for me to call with questions I know that he is also helping out 16 1st year beekeepers so I think I will try to do the best I can without bothering him much.
  Also I am planning on veering a bit from his style of beekeeping as I would like to be a more natural beekeeper (basically no medication though using some natural methods of keeping pests and diseases away- I am still learning on this!) and I want to try overwintering the bees this year.

After getting the bees I started feeling much more at ease. I do really enjoy watching them and marveling and God's wonderful creation!

  I will study and learn to the best of my ability, pray hard, do my best and then be content with the results.
 This afternoon I checked on them and I did give them some sugar water in the feeder as well as a pollen patty. I am doubtful that they need any feeding at all as we have had an early spring and their is both pollen and nectar available but I am trying to stay on the safe side.

 This year I tried making my own pollen patties. I am curious to see if they like them. I found the recipe here but I made a much smaller batch for my two hives.

There is brood. It will be fun to see how fast these colonies grow!

I am linking up with:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What about widows?

 Last week I was reading aloud to the kids our of 1 Timothy and we read this section:

1 Timothy 5:3-16
"Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed."

  When I was reading this I was stuck by how many problems would be solved in our country if everybody would just follow this.

Basically the concepts are:
  • If you are physically able (not old) work hard and take care of yourself.
  • If someone does need help then their family should take care of them.
  • If their is no family available then the church should help (though this scripture says that the person receiving help should have and continue to live a good life- obviously this does leave people falling through the cracks- but if everybody was living right that sure would be wonderful!).
  • No mention is made of suggesting that the government should step in and do something.
It was just something I was thinking on so I thought I would share.

 My more personal applications for my life were this:

~I want to be ready and prepared to take care of Ken's and my parents when and if they should need that. We should also be discussing that (which we have some) so they know that they don't need to go into a nursing home to live off of government money (by the way, I do know that not everybody in the nursing home is living on government money but I do know that many are as nursing homes are so expensive so they often quickly use up their life savings and then the government steps in to help).

~I want to live my life in such a way now so that whenever I am old and perhaps a widow it can be said about me that I have a reputation for good works, that I raised my children well, that I have shown hospitality to strangers, that I have served the saints, helped those in distress and just generally lived a godly life. I also hope to continue until my dyeing day to do everything that I can (even if it just is praying) to serve my God.

 Those are some of the things that I got our of this passage.

What are your thoughts?

Bringing Beauty into our Home

I said on Sunday that I was going to work on cleaning and making our home more beautiful this week. I did try to work on it and we made progress during the first part of this week but the end up getting quite busy and the house kind of took a back seat.

Here is some beauty that was added however:
 On Sunday I added my newly done rug to our entry way. I like the way it looks.

 On Monday I rearranged things on my little shelf to add things that were more springy and move out the stuff that still looked a bit wintry. I found some sweet little violets to pick and display. I think they are beautiful but the certainly make a teeny tiny flower arrangement!
 On Tuesday Megan and I found this table runner and some doilies to add to our table along with candles.
 On Wednesday Mara went on a walk early before breakfast and brought in some sweet little flowers that are blooming. We do love this season!

On Thursday we worked on getting things ready for May baskets and we made some flowers out of egg cartons. We plan on giving them away on May day but for now we are enjoying their beauty.

On Friday we were quite busy. I didn't add anything to make our home more beautiful but I did get rid of some clutter by taking books to a homeschool book sale (and having a table there- unfortunately we didn't sell much as not a lot of people came but I will try to get rid of the books and things that I decluttered in another way now.

Today was again quite busy as I was at the book sale this morning, we went to sing at a home for elderly at 1 and then I had to drive (50 minutes each way) and pick up my bees. We are excited that another year of beekeeping has begun!

Friday, April 27, 2012

I don't buy..... Envelopes

For quite a while now I have not bought envelopes for personal use though I do still use purchased ones for my business and sometimes to give away with card sets that I have made.

For letters that I send I think it is much more fun to use envelopes that I make using magazine and calendar pages. I know people enjoy receiving these envelopes too.
When we make these envelopes we also save a little money (not a lot as envelopes aren't generally that expensive - but still every bit counts- and since card sized envelopes do cost more- the savings is more significant since I make my envelopes bit enough to hold the cards that I make), we reuse something that would otherwise be discarded, we have a fun time making a craft and we bring a smile to the face of others when we use them.
 To make the envelopes I made a pattern by folding a paper around a card and then cut it so that there would be flaps on each side. Next I use my pattern and trace around it. Next I cut it out. Then I fold in the edge flaps and then the top and bottom flaps. I generally seal it with tape and then use address labels to write the address on.

I am linking this post to Life as MOM.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

May Baskets - A Paper Project

 Today we had some fun making May baskets. May baskets are something I have long found fun to make. They are a Spring sort of thing to do, they allow me to get crafty with my kids and then we have a lot of fun delivering them when we are done.

 This year I thought it would be fun to take them to a couple of apartment buildings one where an older lady from church lives and another where some handicapped people from church live. We thought that perhaps they would enjoy a May basket hanging on their door.

 Today our friend Emily from church came over and helped us make some baskets. She is hoping to deliver some baskets to an apartment building where an older man from church lives. Hopefully we can all spread a lot of sunshine and God's love!

  We had a lot of fun creating. We made some easy baskets like this one....
 A cone made out of some old music (leftover from a wreath I made) adorned with a simple paper flower and trimmed with lace.

 Another easy "basket" that we made was to add a handle and some decorations to an old pocket from some jeans.

  We also had fun making some time consuming baskets like this one....
We rolled paper and glued them around a base which is from a milk carton.

What a lot of fun we had recycling!

We are also working on making flowers. We made a bunch out of egg cartons- Jonathan and I cut a bunch to the proper shape and then Mara painted them and glued them on some stems that I had saved when I was putting together some silk wedding flowers (there is a lot of stem cut off when you make a corsage or boutonniere). I then punched out little yellow centers (using a snowflake punch) and glued them in place. I think they are very pretty. We will be putting flowers in our baskets and then adding a tag that says "Happy May Day" and has a Bible verse on it.
Have you ever made May Day baskets?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It is biking time again!!

 It has been warm for a while and I have been wanting to do some biking but we had some bike issues- Megan had basically outgrown the trailer (at least she and Ken thought so) and Mara and Aaron's bikes were both having troubles.

   We ordered a Wee-ride for Megan off of Amazon and it arrived last week and we have been putting it to work this week. She likes it quite well and it works well. I have her attached behind my bike (though Mara is with her in the pictures above) and I hardly notice that I have her on behind except for a little sway, some singing (smile) and a request every so often to not pedal so that she can do all the pedaling.

  Yesterday morning Ken left for work forgetting the lunch I had packed for him. Thinking it might be fun I suggested to the kids that if they worked hard and fast on their school books and got done by 11:30 then we could ride into town and deliver the lunch and go to the library. They suggested that we also have a picnic which did sound fun.
  A little motivation can certainly make children work! Jonathan is especially inspired by this sort of motivation. He generally takes the longest to do his work but yesterday he was fast! He was the first one done and then got all the bikes out and got them ready to go. (Mara was able to ride Ken's bike and Aaron made do using Mara's- we do have a new bike ordered for Mara now - a Forge- I am hoping it works well, and we are figuring out how to get Aaron's fixed.)
 After dropping of Ken's lunch we went down by the lake to picnic and have a little fun.
 Jonathan even decided to do a little reading while out on the dock.
 A goofy picture of Mara and I.

As we were riding to the library we happened to pass by the Art Center (an old and historic Carnegie Library) and noticed it was open and since we had never been in there we decided to check it out.
 There were a lot of pictures and other artwork by highschoolers as well as some other artists. It added some fun variety to our day.
 Jonathan is really enjoying the Hardy Boy books lately. He has been quite the bookworm since we got home with more books. Once he gets them read then we will see a little more of him again.

 The kids that it was a fabulous day to be able to go biking, on a picnic and to the library. They have been requesting to daddy that he will forget his lunch more often. :-)

Here are a couple more odds and ends of pictures:
 Megan and Aaron had fun making caves and castles in the sandbox.
We have a stair step family (minus me!). I guess we missed the point in time when I could fit in this picture- though I am a little higher on Ken than Mara is.

How is your Spring going? Have you been biking lately?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paper Projects ~ Paul and Babe and Fairies

 The girls and I have been having fun playing with paper lately.
I had thought it might be fun to make some Paul Bunyan and Babe (they are a big thing in our town) cards by cutting out the shapes of them from magazine pictures (of things like tomatoes, tulips, sky, etc.) and then glue them together. Mara and I did have fun with it but it was a little time consuming and we were having issues with modge podge streaks so we gave it up after making 4 cards.

Instead Mara thought it would be fun to make fairies:
So Mara, Megan and I have been finding pictures of people, flowers and butterflies and have been having fun combining them. These will be used for cards (or in Megan's case- creative play) as well.

 These are kind of unique yet simple projects and we have been having fun with them.

 What do you make from old magazines or other scrap paper?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Rug for April

  This year I set a goal of making a rag rug every month- preferably each one by a different method. Well I am not sure if I will be able to follow through with doing all the different methods as I think I have found a new method that I really, really like! I think I want to make more rugs like this!

  This latest rug I made using an old worn out sheet (We had gotten it when we were first married and it had gotten very thin with some actual holes worn through in places) and 4 old dress shirts. the method of making it involves multi strand braiding. It may look a little complicated but it is really pretty easy and quite fun!

 Here is the link to  Homestead Weaver where they have great instructions (with pictures!) that I followed to make this rug. I didn't ever go beyond a 6 strand braid however (they suggest going up to 8 strands) as I thought that seemed like more strands than I wanted to keep track of.
  This rug needs no crochet hook or any other tools. You simply need strips of cloth and your very versatile hands!
The rug lies nice and flat and has found a spot to "rest" down in our entry way.

Here are the other rugs that I have made so far:

January's rug
February's rug
March's rug
I am linking up for the Homestead Barn Hop with:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making our world a little more beautiful

 God has given us a beautiful world! He made beautiful people, plants, music, animals, lakes, sky.... the list goes on and on!

   Though I can't improve on the beauty that God made, I can help to clean up things that are messy, I can share some of the beauty that I have with others, I can help others to see the beauty.

  The kids and I were talking today and we decided that for the month of May we are going to see if we can do something every day to help our world look a little more beautiful. Whether it be picking up the trash in the ditches, giving somebody a bouquet of flowers, weeding our garden, sharing music at the nursing home or even sending a pretty card in a pretty envelope (so the postman can get in on the beauty too!) off in the mail, we are going to try to do something every day to spread some beauty beyond the walls of our home.
  I thought it would be fun to take pictures every day of whatever we do and then on Saturdays (probably in the evening) I will share pictures from the week. I also thought it would be lots of fun if any of you would like to join us in spreading beauty around. I don't plan on have a linky but I would love it if you would blog about what you are doing and then come and leave a link in the comments of my posts or just tell about what you are doing in the comment section.
  Meanwhile before May gets started we are going to work at making our home beautiful- through some good cleaning and hopefully adding a special touch of beauty each day. I will try to report on that at the end of this week too.

  Do you appreciate beauty? Do have suggestions for fun ways that I and my children can share beauty with others?

Help for the time those anxious thoughts seem to multiply

I have been reading from the book of Psalms lately in my morning devotions. A day or so ago I was reading the 94th chapter and I really enjoyed these verses:

  "If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Your loving kindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul." Psalm 94:18 & 19

Don't you just love how poetic those words are?

More than that- don't you love how true they are and the comfort they give?!

We do have times that we slip in life (figuratively and literally) and how comforting it is to have a God that helps us in those situations.

And who hasn't had times when anxious thoughts just seem to multiply? I know that I have. Thanks be to God for the help He gives in those situations!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Don't Buy.....Hamburger Buns

   We enjoy hamburgers here at our house. My family didn't have them much growing up but they were something Ken's family ate regularly. We have them fairly regularly too.

 When I originally tried making hamburger buns we didn't like them- they were to dry, crumbly and big. All we tasted was bun- not all the yummy things inside.

  For many years I just gave up on making buns and I bought them instead. I am glad I tried again however as I have been able to find a recipe that works well, that we like and it is ever so much more healthy than the buns that I would buy.

Hamburger Buns

4 to 41/2 cups flour (I generally use all whole wheat flour anymore- you can do a mixture if you like and you could also use oatmeal for part of this if desired.)
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar or honey
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup squash puree (or 1/4 cup more milk if you don't have this)
1/3 cup oil (Or a little less and a little more squash)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Mix 2 cups flour, yeast and sugar. Heat all the liquids(except egg) to 120-130 degrees and then mix in with the flour and yeast mixture. Stir well and then add the egg and salt. Mix well. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible. Then on a floured surface knead in the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Place in a bowl and cover. Let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down and make the dough into the shape and size of hamburger patties (make sure that you make them fairly flat so that even after they have risen they won't be to large) and place on a greased baking sheet. Let rise until nearly double. Then bake for around 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Slice each bun in half and enjoy with your hamburgers.

Do you buy hamburger buns? Do you like to make bread? I love to hear your tips and ideas!

Making Hamburger buns instead of buying them not only saves us money in the short term but also every time that we can eat healthier foods we are caring for our body so hopefully we will have less medical bills to pay in the future as well.

I am linking this up to Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.


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