Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adoption Wants More Of Me

I feel like sometimes that this adoption process wants to take ALL of me! Like I am going to be on this never-ending process an I'll just be stuck here forever. One thing after another happens; we've had mishap after mishap. We've also had some awesome times as well but along with those times there has always been something that comes with it. Always something to try and come and steel my joy.

Here's where I'm at right now. We have found out that some more roadblocks have been thrown on the path that is our adoption. I have been weepy and cry-y all day. I am upset, frustrated, confused and not very fun to be around today. Then I picked up the book by Christine Caine called Undaunted. Wow!! I was reading in there today and was reminded how to get through these most trying times. Joy isn't happiness. Happiness is caused because of circumstances and it's okay that I'm not particularly happy about my circumstances. But I can't allow my circumstances to steal the joy the Lord always has for me! Joy comes despite my circumstances. Joy is knowing that God is good throughout and despite my circumstances. And that joy gives me strength. The joy in knowing that my Father is for me and not against me. That His plans for me are to prosper me and not to harm me. That what I feel is a test is just a lesson so that I can get through the next phase of life in abundance instead of hanging by a thread.

So here I sit, still weepy and sad that more crappola has been thrown at us, knowing that deep down I have joy. My joy comes from KNOWING that God is walking through this storm right beside me. His right hand is holding me up and giving me strength. Not just enough strength to barely get me through the situation but, if I ask Him for it, He will give me abundant strength to SOAR above my situation.

Adoption Funness (is that a word?)

I am sitting here on my couch, I should be teaching my kids since it's a home school day, but it's raining out and I'm in slow-mo mode. I'm going through pictures and realizing how much my kids have grown up, and then I came across a couple pics of me and I realized how much I had grown up.

We have been in the adoption process for 3 1/2 years now. We are adopting sisters ages 12 and 13. We never planned on adopting teenagers, when we started this process they were 9 and 10. But now everything has changed. I think of those ages and wonder first of all what am I going to do with teenagers.  I'm not ready for teenagers yet! And then I think about some of the hormonal challenges my 8 and 10 year old girls are facing, thank God the 6 year old hasn't hit that stage yet, although she has other things she likes to test me with.

Throughout these last 3 1/2 years I've screamed, cried, lost hope, given up, been excited, felt like I was on cloud 9 a couple of times, etc. It has been CRAZY!! And now we see light at the end of the tunnel. Like maybe this road may have an ending to it.

While we were praying for our girls to come home soon the other day my wonderful husband prays "Lord, we know that this is not really the end but just the beginning". What!? Just the beginning? We have waited 3 1/3 LONG years, when they get here it better be a piece of cake, and make mine red velvet please, with cream cheese icing. I kind of looked at him funny and he said "what? You know it's true". And I do know, I just didn't want it to be said out loud.

So I guess that's not the right thing to say if I'm trying to say I've grown up. These last few years Micah and I have had to do some serious growing and stretching and lengthening. I feel like I've been on a taffy puller! But the patience and perseverance that we've learned is undeniable. We know now how weak and fragile we really are. We know how easily swayed we can be if not firmly grounded in the truth. We've realized that in ALL things to find strength in God first is easier than trying to do it by yourself for so long that you are so tired you have no other choice than to give it to God.

These last 3 1/2 years have been a very hard test, but as we near the end of this journey and start the next one I'm realizing that it wasn't a test but more of a lesson in how to handle the next phase of our lives. Teaching on how to ALWAYS rely on the Lord, even in the celebrations, remembering who got you through. His truths will be the rock I build my hopes on!

Monday, August 26, 2013

What a Day!

 First Day Of School! 
I have a 1st grader, a 3rd grader, and a 5th grader!!!  We technically started in July so right now we have 4 weeks behind us... but, just like public schools around here, we decided to start again officially today!

My baby Natalie is now in 1st grade.  She is actually about 3/4 of the way through her 1st grade curriculum but we are still counting her as a first grader, especially since she doesn't turn 6 until this Thursday (August 29th).  I love her and am so excited to see her learn this year.  As I am sitting here typing this she is on the other computer learning (speaking) Spanish!

My Samara is now in 3rd Grade!  She turned 8 on August 15th.  She is so motivated to do her very best in everything that she does.  I love her and am so excited to see her learn this year.  As I'm sitting her she's doing a word search of, what I think, are pretty hard words for a 3rd grader.

My Alyssa is now in 5th grade!  Her laugh is so contagious!  I love her and am excited to see her learn this year.  As I'm sitting her she's logging her book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which has 870 pages in it!  She is an avid reader!!

My goofy girls!  They are such goof balls!  I love that they can have fun but they are serious and focused when they need to be... well, a lot of the time.  I am honored to be their mother and teacher!

For school this year we are using the Core Curriculum from My Father's World called Creation to the Greeks.  This includes our Bible/History/Geography, Science, Vocabulary, Art and Music.  For English we are doing Bob Jones workbooks and for Writing we are using Writing Strands.  Then comes Math, we will be using Math U See and Rapid Recall for memorization.  They girls will also be learning Spanish from the Rosetta Stone series.  (I have been informed by Samara that she would rather take French so I may have to invest in that next year.  It will be good for our Haitian girls to learn French as well.)  For Spelling we will be using Spelling Power.  We have added another more in depth Science to our line up called Apologia:  Exploring Creation with Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures.  For phonics we will continue to use Explode the Code.  We will have a full schedule but not much outside of the home since we will hopefully be adding to more members to our family sometime in the near future.  (If you didn't know we are in the process of adopting the two beautiful girls to the right (Guerline, age 12 and Fafane, age 13) from Haiti.)

So it kind of goes like this:
Bible/History/Geography, Science, Vocabulary, Art and Music:  My Father's World, Creation to the Greeks
 English:  Bob Jones workbooks
Writing:  Writing Strands
Math:  Math U See and Rapid Recall
Spanish:  Rosetta Stone
Spelling:  Spelling Power
Science:  Apologia:  Exploring Creation with Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures.
Phonics:  Explode the Code

For Bible/History/Geography we will be learning about some of the Jewish feasts, learn some Old Testament stories in depth, and study history of other civilizations such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Greece.  

For Science we will be learning about the six days of creation, science related to pyramids, and ancient Greek science.

For Art we will be doing some art lessons that include Egyptian and Greek themes, and the Music includes the baroque (and I don't mean broke, well, actually I can't say that for certain) composers Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel. 

Well, there you have it.  Maybe someday I'll post my schedule so you all can see it.  As for now I'm going to go make sure my girls are getting their chores done!  Yep, first day of school and home ec is an essential!

Friday, August 23, 2013


I wish I could write while I run. When I'm running I come up with the coolest things to write about. I have the coolest revelations and I know exactly how I want them to be put on paper. Then I get home and forget exactly what I wanted to write and the profound thoughts I had while running seem to be hard to get out. Maybe if I had a scribe so that while I am running someone can be in a car next to me listening to my every word and writing it down as I say it. Although it would be better if they could just read my mind so I don't have to talk while I'm running.  But sometimes I think some weird, awkward things so I wouldn't want them to write those things down. So I guess I'm to the point where I'll just have to come home from running and try to rememeber the thoughts I thought while I was running.

By the way... while I was running this morning I realized another thing I do when I feel "depression knock at my door". I run. I don't run away from my problems and issues (well, sometimes I do that too) but I literally run. Or I workout in some way. But mainly I run. I picked this up in high school. As long as I'm not replacing God with running (if I'm focused on running more than God then I need to reprioritize) but there's nothing wrong with running until the good drugs (endorphines) in your body kick in and it makes you feel good. Like I said in my depression post however, this is what works for me. Working out is all around satisfying and beneficial for your mind, body, and soul so I recommend it, but find what works for you and do it!

My goal this week and throughout this school year will be to find a time at least 5 days a week to work out. It's not too much, it's just enough for me. This week I've been watching a couple girls (2 or 3 extra at a time, it's been a lot of fun!) so I've had to get up at 6:00AM to run so I could be ready when they came. Even though it's really hard for me to get up in the morning once I do and get a lot of stuff done before the girls wake up I feel so much calmer throughout the day. It's also super hot here, even at 6AM it's 70 degrees and super humid.

So here I go with goal in mind. No matter how I FEEL the truth is I NEED to get out and run!

Monday, August 12, 2013


The last couple of months in our household have been HARD.  The girls haven't been cleaning up when asked to, we've had more than 1 "family meeting" per day, they love to yell at each other and make each other cry (if they didn't love it so much it wouldn't happen so much!), they've ignored their momma more than once, etc, etc, etc.

My girls aren't perfect!  Neither is my husband!  He says things that hurt my feelings, for some reason sometimes he disagrees with me (what's up with that!?), he has different ideas on how to bring up our girls, he's super gentle (what's up with that too!?), we are two different people with the same goal trying to live a happy, fun, full life with disagreements and kids that don't quite do what they're supposed to.  What am I supposed to do with that!?

The TRUTH is that I have an amazing family!  My girls, even though they are in the kitchen egging each other on and screaming and fighting right this very minute, are amazing!  They love, they help, they have so much joy in them, they are truly a BLESSING FROM THE LORD!  The TRUTH is that I would be lost without them.  I don't know what my life would be like without them and I really don't want to know (even though sometimes I wonder).  The lie would tell me that I don't have an amazing family because they aren't perfect.  Because they make mistakes they are only mediocre not amazing... But the TRUTH is they are!

Even when hard times come and you hear screaming from the other room; when you're at your wit's end with your spouse or your kids the TRUTH is that they are AMAZING!  You may be thinking to yourself, "well you don't know my circumstances!".  I say the same thing sometimes to those who are trying to help me.  So I offer these questions, "who made your spouse?, who made your kids?  who made your friends? who put them into your life?"  GOD.  And to say something that He created isn't amazing is only saying something about this God that created them.  Now people aren't perfect.  We make mistakes, and God didn't create the mistakes we make... we did that.  We don't have to be perfect to be amazing.  But when I get upset I want to remember that God not only CREATED my children and my husband but He entrusted them to my care here on earth knowing that He has everything I need for every situation I go through, especially the ones I feel I can't handle.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

When Depression Knocks

I'm going to get really open today.  I know I haven't kept on track and written in a while which is probably why I have been having a hard time lately. 

I have been depressed for about the last month.  It is one of the things that I struggle with more than most other things.  I have a tendency to fall into a state of laziness and wondering why in the world I'm really here and whether or not my being here is really beneficial to anybody.   I do not think about taking my own life.  When I was in high school I struggled with those thoughts and even attempted suicide a couple of times and my life got saved repeatedly, so I know that I'm here for a reason.  Just sometimes I feel like I'm not doing anything that's really impacting anybody else.

I recognize a couple things that help me through these times.  When I was younger I was put in a mental health facility.  I am not ashamed of it because I had a lot of issues and this place helped me quite a bit.  Me along with the teenagers that were in there had a lot of crap that had happened and things that they had done that added up to a LOT of hurt.  I saw how they coped with it and realized it wasn't the depression that was ultimately damaging me.  It was how I handled it.  It was how I reacted when some of those feelings first started showing their ugly heads. 

One of the things is what I'm doing now.  I would start to write.  My feelings, thoughts, poems, stories, whatever came to me.  I know I am not an elegant writer and I don't know big words but that wasn't the point.  To me it was about getting all that out on paper.  It would help so much.  I know have a journal, a prayer journal, and a notes journal (all on my computer now that I can access it from my phone and take notes). 

Okay so the two basic answers for everything when you were a kid were…  "read your Bible and pray".  I don't want to be so basic but I have to ask myself when I get in times of prolonged depression, depression lasting more than a couple days for me, have I been reading my Bible?  I'm not talking about reading it just for the sake of reading it.  I'm talking about asking God to speak to me through it.  Reading it with the intent to learn something, to get something out of it.  God didn't give us His word so that we could have another box on our list to mark off, He gave it to us for "correcting, teaching, rebuking, and training in righteousness".  2 Timothy 3:16  The word of God is breathed by Him so every time I read it I get the breath of God on my face.  It's amazing.  It is a great discipline to have but never make it just a discipline.  It is an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE to be able to have the God of the universe speak directly to you through a book that speaks different things to different people.

Prayer.  This is the most important offensive and defensive stance to take when it comes to depression.  I say that it's both because no matter what state I'm in I should be communicating with the Lord.  Talking to Him like He's right there, because He is.  When communication is flowing freely it's much harder for depression to seep in.  When communication is flowing freely and depression somehow does manage to snake it's way in, it's much easier to stand on God's promises and to remind myself of who I am.  Not who I am on my own but who I am in Christ.  Who HE sees me to be.  It's much easier to say to my circumstances that they are lying because I have the truth and I talk to Him all the time! 

Depression is something a lot of us struggle with.  We aren't sure of our place here in this world.  We aren't made to stay in this world forever so our souls long for something more, because there is something more.  Our spirits are eternal, everlasting beings so they constantly long for heaven.  This thing that comes on strong can be fought.  Remember God's promises, you have the mind of Christ, you do not have the spirit of fear but of sound mind.  Remember God has promised to walk on the water in the storm with you, the WHOLE way!  He will never leave us our forsake us.  God is a GOOD God, even when depression has it's grip on us.

By the way, this is me.  I write, read my Bible, pray, and listen to things that are uplifting (Not necessarily Christian music, just uplifting, songs that make me happy.)  Find what works for you and do it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Homeschool blogging

I have been posting in two separate blogs, a homeschool blog and a family blog.  I am now going to be posting my homeschool blog (www.jonesfam02homeschool.blogspot.com) to this blog.  Hopefully it will be easier for my friends and family and for myself.  ;-)

Budgeting Time

 Something that my husband said today was so profound I have to share it with all of you.  He said, "We have been budgeting our finances and are making some much needed changes in that area of our lives but what about budgeting our time?".  Wow.  This statement rocks my world.  We are a family of 5, soon to be 7.  (adoption)  We really need to be careful we spend time doing the right things.  If you know anything about me you know that I homeschool my girls.  If you've ever been to my house you'll know that it's a huge part of what we do here.  When you walk in the front door, there is the schoolroom.  The biggest room in the house.  I LOVE it!  But even though we've made the decision to homeschool (which causes me to be with them all day) am I budgeting my time like I shouldI don't purposely budget my time so that I am not just teaching them but actually spending great quality time with them.  I teach them and lead them but do I take time to listen to their hopes and dreams and their view points on different situations.  If I did I could probably learn a lot from them.

I feel like we are such a FAMILY oriented family.  We homeschool and most of the stuff we do outside of the home is as a family, but our time is still not BUDGETED EFFICIENTLY.  I want to share with you some of the things that we want to purposely start to pursue from now on in our lives...  (These are just some of the things that we are going to do, please don't feel like you have to copy the list exactly in your family.  Find out what works for your family, the idea is to just live purposely and budget your time so that the most important things in life aren't left out.)

1.  More praise and worship.  Worship is so much more than just the songs we sing but right now that is what I'm talking about. We want to worship more as a family.  Whenever your 7 year old is complaining that we don't worship and pray as a family enough then you know that maybe it is lacking a little in your life.

2.  Playing games as a family.  Board games, PlayStation games, card games, Hide and Seek, etc.  Not super spirtitual but something that is necessary in our house because it shows our girls that we value them and that we want to be around them.

3.  More quality time with the love of my life.  Less movies at night after the kids go to bed.  Okay, so most of the time the kids go to bed and that's relax time so on goes a movie or TV show and off goes my brain.  This is okay, but I know that Micah and I could get to know each other better if this wasn't what happened every night.  It's good sometimes, not always.

4.  Discipline differently and explain things.  Take time to explain to my girls what they did wrong and relate it to something they'll need to know that information for outside of our house.  I don't know how many times I just want my girls to be obedient so I tell them to do something and they ask why and I say because this is just how it is.  When I am more patient and gentle with them and I teach them and show them scripturally why they need to remember this specific thing, it sticks and they'll hopefully want to do it for life, instead of JUST to please Mama while they live here.  Also instead of just putting them in timeout, actually giving them a creative consequence that fits what they've done.  Again this takes more time to do but if I know that I won't budge when I'm teaching my girls these life lessons then I know I'll have time for it.

5.  Get relax time.  This is one that I've implemented for our family (those of us that don't go out of the house to a job) since we started homeschooling.  Every day that we are not out and about (doing homeschool activities or the like) we have an hour or more of quiet time a day.  Everyone goes to a room and is quiet and reading.  Natalie (5 years old) reads, Samara (7 years old) has to read 1 chapter in her assigned book during this time and Alyssa (9 years old) has to read 2.  After they do that they can continue to read, sleep, do a craft (loom loops, cross stitch, crochet, etc.), or just sit and stare at the wall, as long as they do it quietly.  For me this is time to pray, read the Word, read a good book, do a Bible study, sleep, stare off into space, write a blog, etc.  This time is not a time to get my to do list done or the chores.  It's time for me to get some rest as well.  I have had so much success with this time that it has been unreal.

One of the things that I find so crucial in our lives is to not compare ourselves to other families.  Ask God to show you what will work for your family.  Take advice from people and if it works great and if not that's okay too.  Every family is different.  I tried comparing my mothering skills to a friend of mine but she is task oriented and go, go, go all the time.  I am not!  I am scatter brained, somewhat task oriented, but I love to sit in silence for a little while every day, I don't like to be go, go, go all of the time.  So I took some advice from another friend of mine and that's when number 5 on my list started happening and I've found that when I do this I am much more happy and I'm able to tackle the day with new vigor after my rest.  Also, knowing that rest time is coming motivates me to get done what needs to get done before rest time.

I didn't mean to type so much!  Oh well, I can now look back on this later and see if I'm meeting some of the goals I have laid out for myself.  Happy BUDGETING!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Post Patitenly Awaited

A couple weeks ago I posted about an inventory system that I was doing and a new way to buy groceries.  Well, I have changed it so much it's a whole new system.  I also said that rarely anything came from me (I usually pinterest, google, ask people, look at blogs, etc.).  This inventory/food planning/meal planning system is semi my idea... exciting right!?  Okay so here's what I do. 

I have listed out in an excel spreadsheet all the items that I have in my fridge/freezer/pantry.  I wanted to see all the food I had so I wrote each item down with how many were in there.  The problem came when I used anything out of them.  I then had to go and change it either in the computer or a piece of paper that I had printed out (finally after getting sick of running to my computer every meal).  That really didn't work for us so I decided I will inventory our food at the end of each month right before we go and buy food.  I will make a list of all the items I need for the rest of that month.  Then, I will plan my meals for THE WHOLE MONTH!  What!?  Yes, the whole month.  I did this before and it works so well for our family.  I then go to the grocery store and buy all that is needed for the month!  Except for vegetables and dairy products.  Although we now get our chicken/eggs/milk/and beef from the local farmer's market, and we get a lot of our fruit and vegetables from Bountiful Baskets (just started doing this but it is definitely worth it).  A lot of our grains and other food comes from Azure Standard.    I also grind my own wheat so I get my wheat berries from there.  What I find when we go to the store once a month and then just for vegetables and dairy products once a week is that we end up saving money since we are not at the store for so long once a week.  I also love planning the menu out a month in advance because then if Micah wants to cook he knows he has all of the ingredients ready to go and can just jump in and do it without a lot of extra work (starting with going to the grocery store).  I love how this works for our family. 

I know that there is a lot of talk about grocery prices going up so what are you doing to keep your groceries within your budget?  I love suggestions!

Who God is

I am doing a Bible study right now called Lord, I Want To Know You by Kay Arthur.  I love Kay Arthur's teachings because she goes into depth and makes me think so much about whatever it is I'm studying.  She is amazing.  I love the way the Lord speaks through her.

At lifegroup last night (a group of friends from church come over and we discuss the sermon from the week) we were talking about changing our attitudes, I know I need an attitude adjustment a lot!  I have been learning a lot as I've been studying the Bible and reading this book, and talking to my friends about God.  I have learned that I don't just need to know what God does, but who He is.  God doesn't just love me… HE IS LOVE!  God doesn't just forgive me… HE IS FORGIVENESS!  God doesn't just give me hope… HE IS HOPE!  God doesn't just give me the way the truth and the life… HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE!  How encouraging that is to know.  That God doesn't just DO, He IS!  So whatever it is that He does He can also do through us because He lives in us and IS that characteristic.  WOW!!!  I needed to hear that from the Lord and I'll bet someone out there needs to hear it too. 

Until next time--

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gratituesday... Adoption Process

Here I am again... it is Gratituesday!  Technically this week we are on a media fast.  It's like when you do a fast from food only we are giving up media for this week.  That includes TV, PS3 games, Wii games, Games on our phones, zune, Nintendo DSi, etc.  Pretty much anything electronic.  BUT I decided that I wouldn't give up the opportunity to type a Gratituesday response here since really a fast is supposed to bring you closer to God and what better way to do that than to share with others what you are thankful for.  So here I am and here I go!

I am so thankful for the process of adoption!  If you don't know our family's story, we have been in the process of adopting two sisters from Haiti ages 11 and 12, about to turn 12 and 13.  We started this process March 2010.  We had a lot of doubts, a lot of fears, a lot of anxiety about the whole thing but every time we needed something to do with these adoptions God provided.  He provided peace, finances, wisdom, time off of work... the list goes on and on. 

Here is a picture of my husband and I and Guerline (girl ene) on the right and Fafane (faw fawn) on the middle of us.  They are such precious little getting older, girls.   
 Even though we've been in the process of adoption for 3 frustrating trying years, it has been an awesome growing experience for our whole family.  We have gotten to know the heart of God so much more.  We know that all we can do is PRAY!  There is nothing more that we can do, so we've had to really rely on God for everything!  I am thankful for the PROCESS because the process tells me that these girls, and some others in the orphanage are going to be able to have a chance at a much different life than they would ever dream of.  As time goes on every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year is one more closer to the time GOD has decided that these girls will be with us!  I am PRAYING and VERY HOPEFUL that they will be coming home this year.  Please if you get a chance pray with me!  There is so much POWER in prayer especially "where two or more are gathered"!! 

Here is Fafane.  She is more serious than Guerline, she's the older one.  I just love that sweet face.  I have trouble typing this even now... missing them both!  I have been to Haiti 3 times and my husband has been twice so we know these girls.  I feel like I know them more than I should for someone who is in America and they are in Haiti!  God is good like that.

This is our Guerline.  She is super outgoing!  She loves getting her picture taken and loves to make faces for said pictures.  Here is a great example of that!

Guerline is the one two in from the right.  She's wearing the same outfit that she's wearing in the picture above.  
One thing that we get asked a lot is "why are you adopting from Haiti when we have so many kids in America that also need homes?".  The answer is simple, God asked us too.  But other than that we don't know.  Never in a million years would I have thought that we would be adopting from Haiti!  I have thought about adopting but kind of as "it would be really cool to adopt" not "Hey, let's adopt from Haiti, spend a bunch of money, and wait 3 years for some kids".  We are just trying to be obedient to what God has for us. 

I don't believe that everyone is called to adopt but we are all called to help orphans (and widows) in their time of need.  (James)  So ask God what you should do for orphans, whether in America, Africa, China, etc... 

I am so thankful for this process!!!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Being Grateful

I read a blog that I've mentioned quite a bit in my posts.  Heavenly Homemakers  Every Tuesday she writes a post about things she's thankful for.  I LOVE this idea.  I am not very structured in life let alone my blog but I want to try and do this every Tuesday.  It's not a commitment or anything just a goal.  Maybe if I set an alarm on my phone I will remember.  I think writing these posts will do a couple of things.

1. Remind me to count my blessings instead of staring at the hard times.
2. Remind me that God is ultimately in control and that He is caring for me in the big things and in the little things.
3. My girls ask me what I'm typing when I'm on the computer, so what an awesome witness to them to remind them to be grateful.
4. Hopefully others will be inspired to also write about what they are grateful for and be lifted by it.

I believe so much that praising and worshiping the Lord will lift me.  When we praise Him despite our circumstances our focus changes to be all about HIM instead of about our situation.  There are some really tough things we go through as humans and they aren't to be discounted, they are hard!  But in the midst of all of this remember that GOD is ALWAYS GOOD!  We should praise Him.

Today, I am so grateful for my family.  I love being able to be a stay at home, homeschooling mom to my girls.  I am ever so grateful that I have that choice. I love their hugs and loves all throughout the day.  I am so grateful that I get to spend that special time with them.

So often I think of the things that they've done wrong throughout the day.  But I know that they are amazing girls!  They have issues like any other flawed human being but I am truly grateful for all the love that they have in them.  They have an understanding of the Lord and want to please Him.  I love that!

I was reading a blog, Confessions of a Homeschooler, and she wrote about a Christmas idea that she does every year.  I am excited about making this an annual Christmas event for our family.  If you'd like to read about what she does you can click the link, but here's what we didWe told our girls to get ready for bed while Daddy went to their beds and put papers on their bed that said "Get up, get your shoes on, grab a blanket and a pillow and get in the car".  Mommy got hot chocolate ready in their water bottles.  Then we went and looked at Christmas lights.  You can use this same idea for a lot of different things.  You could go to a movie or to go out to eat or to o to ice cream... if you live in a warm area.  I want to print out the tickets to the mini van express next year like the blog Confessions has on her site.  I'm already excited to do this next year!

What are you grateful for?

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bagels, Soup, and French Bread

I have been really inspired to really make most of my food from home.  I had already ground my own wheat and made a lot of things from scratch but I wanted to take it a step further so I am!  It's so exciting!!!  I am so glad that I have support, from my husband and my girls, the most important people in my life, but also from friends, blogs and search engines.  I love that my family will try new things and like most of it.  Here is the recipe for the bagels I made.  You can find the post I got the recipe from here:  WHOLE WHEAT BAGELS

Honey Whole Wheat Bagels      Time: 1 hour 30 mins       By: Heavenly Homemakers Yield:  12 bagels

4-4 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground flour from hard white wheat)
1 pkg yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
1 ½ cups warm water (if you put your finger in and it hurts, it’s too hot and will kill your yeast)
3 Tbsp honey + 1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp sea salt

1. Stir together 2 cups flour, the salt and the yeast. Add in the warm water and 3 Tbsp honey. Gradually add in the remaining flour.

2. Dump it out and knead te flour in until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover thedough and let it take a nap for about 10 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into twelve equal parts.

4. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Begin shaping each piece of dough into a nice ball. Stick your finger in the middle of the ball and pull it apart to create about a 2 inch hole.

5. Lay it onto a buttered cookie sheet or baking stone. Continue until all the bagels are formed. Let them sit until your timer goes off.

6. After your 20 minute timer goes off, turn the broiler on in your oven. Broil your bagels for 2 minutes on each side.

7. Meanwhile… bring a big pot of water to a boil. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp honey.

8. Put 4-6 bagels into the waer, turn down the heat and simmer for 7 minutes turning the bagels over once during that time. (I am going to try and only boil them 30 seconds on each side next time. They turned out kind of shriveled the first time I made them.)

9. Continue to boil your bagels until they are all done. Let them drain on a towel for 1-2 minutes.

10. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

11. Slice these, toast them, then slater them with butter or cream cheese (you can even make your own cream cheese). See previous post.

I had no idea that you BOILED bagels!!!  You do!

I decided to also share with you what we had for dinner tonight.  It is absolutely yummy!!!

Cheesy Potato and Corn Chowder Time: 1 hour Makes: 7 servings


2 Tbsp margarine 1 (15 oz)                    can whole kernel corn  (I use frozen corn)

1 cup chopped celery 1 (4 oz)               can diced green chilis

1 cup chopped onion                               1 (2.5 oz) pkg country style gravy mix  (I just use flour and
                                                                         pepper not gravy mix.)
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth                 2 cups milk

3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes             1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

I also added ham to mine


1. In large saucepan, melt margarine over medium high heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until tender, about 5 mins.

2. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; cook over low heat for 20-25 mins or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in corn and chilis; return to boiling. Dissolve gravy mix in milk; stir into boiling mixture. Add cheese; cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted.

My girls had two bowls each.  It's absolutely AMAZING!  Especially on a day like today.  It's nice and rainy outside.

Whole Wheat French Bread          Yield: 1 loaf          Time: 4 ½ hours

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (or 1 pkg)                      1 Tbsp cornmeal

1 ¼ cups warm water                                          1 egg white

1 Tbsp sugar                                                        2 Tbsp cold water

1 tsp salt                                                                cooking spray

3 cups whole wheat flour (divided 2 cups and 1 cup)


1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bow or bowl of mixer with dough hook inserted.

2. Stir in sugar, salt and 2 cups flour.

3. Beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour.

4. Run mixer on low to knead dough for 6-8 minutes or turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes by hand.

5. Place the dough in bowl spraye with cooking spray, turn greased side up.

6. Cover with a damp flour sack cloth or dish towel.

7. Let rise in warm place until double - 1 ½ – 2 hours. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)

8. Punch down the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.

9. Grease cookie sheet or jellyroll pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.

10. Either roll dough out into rectangle and roll up tightly, seal edges or just mold into desired shape (French bread shape) and place on cookie sheet.

11. Make 1 lengthwise slash down center or ¼ inch slashes at 2 inch intervals.

12. Mist lightly with cold water (or brush over loaf) let rise uncovered until double again -1 ½ hours.

13. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush loaf with cold water or mist again with cold water. Bake 20 minutes.

14. Mix the egg white and water and brush over loaf. Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped (about 5 minutes).

Oh my gosh!  This bread is so amazing!  I WILL be making this again and again.  Yummmmmmmmmm!!