Monthly Archives: January 2013

Missin’ my boys…

Kristin brought out some old pics of Mike & the boys… Makin’ this lady a little homesick!





Thank You, Lord, for film that captures moments in time and helps us remember seasons of the past. What a blessing to watch this family grow. As we worship separately today, it is such a comfort to know that though many miles are between us, we are united through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Another adventure…

For the 3rd time in 2 years, I am waking up on the other side of this country. God keeps sending me on trips I would never have imagined…

2 years ago in February, I was gifted a surprise trip to see my Mom, Dad, brother, and niece in Arizona. Then, November of that same year, my Mom had emergency surgery because her colon burst, and due to generous donations from family & friends, I was able to be by her side in ICU and watch her miraculous recovery from being on a ventilator to rehab in a nursing home. And Thursday, I was flown to Nebraska – where I am for 6 days to help my sister-in-law with the kids while Mike’s brother attends job training out-of-state. Mike has graciously taken over the main schoolteacher role in addition to his regular farm chores, and everyone is being well-fed by Grandma next door… πŸ™‚

How do I know this is God sending me? Because I know how much money we have in our accounts. And it’s not enough to buy plane tickets!

Thank You, Lord, for opening doors I don’t even know are there… Thank You for the gentle nudge to walk through those doors. Thank You for providing for our every need each day, and for forgiving us when we allow anxiety to settle in and forget to give our burdens to you. Thank You for surrounding us with a supportive and giving family. May our children see a real-life example of Your Words in James as he talks about Abraham’s obedience: …that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (James 2:22, 24 NIV84) And, Lord, I humbly pray that this family have many generations who seek to walk with You. Amen.

Apple trees – major trim Jan 2013

Last week, Mike began our first attempt to take care of the 25+ year old apple trees in our back yard.

Funny how our opinion of this tiny orchard has changed over the years!

Mike’s parents have been taking care of them before now – and honestly, I really didn’t like them – I saw them as old, ugly trees…

BUT NOW, lol – we have a new appreciation for the trees because of what their fruit can provide for our family, namely applesauce and the thought of our very own raw apple cider vinegar… (Until then, we hope to try some of Alander’s Acres’ ACV!) πŸ™‚

So, herein begins our journey with these trees. If they survive this major trim, we’ll be on to the next step. No doubt, future posts will follow… πŸ™‚





Christmas reflections 2012

What a whirlwind of a season! Started preparing this post weeks ago – and am thankful I’m finally getting it posted! πŸ™‚

Enjoyed a wonderful time of preparation for Christmas, and despite some challenges during the actual week of Christmas, had a great time visiting with family and cherishing T-I-M-E. That would be “time” for building relationships, “time” for leaning on the Lord for strength, “time” for creating memories, “time” for resting, “time” for practicing thanksgiving, and “time” for adoration of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – the REAL reason for this season. πŸ™‚

I took a lot of pictures as our homemade gifts came into fruition, and hopefully I can get them posted before January is over…

Christmas Eve began with our tiny service in the barn next door. This year we read through the familiar passages in Luke & Matthew, plus some from Genesis & Hebrews. We chose “The Message” translation to read from, and I so loved the sentence from Hebrews 10:14… (regarding Jesus Christ’s SINGLE sacrifice for sins) “It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” πŸ™‚ We sang Christmas hymns as the cats harmonized with their purring, lol… It was a simple, but beautiful time of worship. πŸ™‚

A funny story about Christmas morning… one of my gifts to the boys was for them to wake up to the smell of “fresh bread”. Since all our bread is sourdough, and requires a 2-day process to complete it, that meant I had to begin the “end phase” before bed, get up at 3am to separate the dough into loaves, and bake it around 5:30am. Not too big of a deal for the 5:30 part, because that’s about when Mike & I roll out of bed anyway… All worked without a hitch – UNTIL I REMEMBERED I HAD TOLD MIKE’S DAD I WOULD COOK THE SHRIMP HE PURCHASED for the “appetizer brunch” planned at his house for Christmas Day… LESSON LEARNED: the smell of shrimp boiling TRUMPS any fresh-bread smell, lol! Fortunately some friends had made us a lovely scented candle for a gift – it worked well to at least get rid of the “fishy” smell! (Thanks Ben & Brittany!) πŸ™‚


After enjoying Christmas morning here, mid-day next door and then the afternoon/evening up in Cleveland with my side of the family, we looked forward to picking up Mike’s brother & his wife, our 2 nieces + new nephew at the Cleveland Airport at 10:19pm. Well 10:19pm actually turned into 3 something am… It was a very stressful night as we watched a terrible winter storm creeping up from the south & our Nebraska family was stuck in Chicago! Thankfully, they all landed in Cleveland ok and made it back down here around 5am – about four hours before the storm hit!! Praise the Lord… πŸ™‚

So after TWO NIGHTS of sleep deprivation for me, it was quite the challenge to complete the last minute gift wrapping/assembling. Emotions for me were very quick to surface – be it a snappy tongue or tears… Not exactly how I had envisioned that day to be. 😦

My morning devotions were such a blessing during this time – led to lots of journalling that I am slowly adding to my “raw ramble page”… πŸ™‚ It was so wonderful to finally get to meet our nephew, Sawyer! And bless his heart – he was so patient with his Aunt Dawn…after MONTHS of waiting (& whining) about being able to hold him, I didn’t do a thing but PASS OUT when we sat down together, lol…


Fortunately, I caught up on my sleep after that, so I had other opportunities to make up for my heavy eyes… πŸ™‚


It was great to spend time with our nieces, too – always fun watching the boys entertaining their cousins!




Played “bring-every-stuffed-animal-we-have-to-see-Baby-Jesus-in-the manger” over here, at our house…



The winter storm brought over 6 inches of snow, so sled-riding made the agenda…


With some snowballs being thrown, of course! Paul got Uncle Ben pretty good, lol… (Fortunately, his glasses were not broken!) πŸ™‚


Got up to the “big hill”, and Michael & Paul had fun blazing trails.


And this pic hurts my knees just looking at it! Here’s Paul getting a running/jumping start…


And of course, a time outside wouldn’t be complete without Michael on the ground… At his request, he got buried in the snow, lol… πŸ™‚




Another day, more family made the couple hour drive up, so our crew had fun playing with more cousins!


The “younger” ones went sled-riding between our two houses. I took these pics from the comfort of a nice, warm kitchen, lol… πŸ™‚


Funny how little boys naturally gravitate toward a snowball fight! If you squint, you’ll see cousin Joe aiming for Ben… πŸ™‚



Alyssa found time to work on a craft she got as a gift…




Uncle Mike with Sawyer…



Addi & Sawyer both got some cuddle time with Grandma…




Aunt Jenny with Sawyer…



And Michael with Sawyer…





And then the poor guy had to put up with his crazy aunts dressing him up…



Thought this pic was hilarious with his fist up – boys think he looks like Thor, lol! πŸ™‚


Sadly, we were not immune to sickness during the week. It hit Grandma first, then Paul, then Mike… Nothing major, just annoying. They were all pretty tired for a good 4-5 days, and Mike’s seemed to end up as soreness in his back. Again, for us it was more spiritual warfare – an open door for the devil to attempt to steal some joy, and it led me to more “<a href="http://“>journal rambles“…

On January 4th, I was led to 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 from one of my devotions. It went along perfectly with my reflections of Christmas – where we battled exhaustion, prolonged sickness, irritations, hurting bodies, and even boredom in recovery. It’s fascinating to witness how evil can work on our physical bodies to affect (attempt to affect) our Light! Father, strengthen us to battle these circumstances today – each our own hurdle… As these bodies heal, keep the memories fresh in our minds so we can’t help but to overflow with thanksgiving as we speak of Your amazing love and provisions. Thank You for fresh perspectives and encouraging passages from Your Living Word! Amen.

Chicken broth yield 2013


Last week was beef broth, this week is chicken broth! Both are a scrumptious smell to wake up to – but the boys both think chicken broth smells the best… πŸ™‚

We bought 4 pasture-ranged meat chickens, and are making 4 roasters full of broth. All the meat will be shared between our two houses & we’ll freeze most of it for future soups/casseroles.

Here’s our recipe for each roaster:

One 4-5 pound chicken (whole or pieces).

3 lg. onions, chunked
1 head organic celery, chunked
8 organic carrots, chunked
4 bay leaves
1/3c raw apple cider vinegar
And fill roaster to top w/ water

Let sit 1 hour (no lid).

Add lid and bring to boil on high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to keep it at a low simmer. We let it simmer 12-18 hours. (May need to add more water towards the end to keep it full.)

I add a bundle of fresh parsley for the last hour of simmering…


Allow it to cool for a bit. Strain it. What’s left is a beautiful, healthy, broth! πŸ™‚

We place the broth in large bowls with lids & let them sit a day in the fridge. The next day, it’s easy to remove the fat layer & begin pressure canning the broth.

Our yield is about 12 quarts per roaster.

I’ll come back and add final yields for this year to this post.



Beef broth yield 2013


Mmmm – nothing like waking up to the smell of beef broth cooking! πŸ™‚

Marathon beef broth making week here – 4 roasters in 2 days & Mike’s mom will take a couple days to pressure can it all next. So thankful for “team efforts”! πŸ™‚

Our yield should be about 41 quarts… (If it’s any different, I’ll come back and edit this post.) This amount of broth should last both our homes about 6 months. Any future batches we make this year, I’ll come back and record on this post. πŸ™‚

Final tally 1-16-13: almost 40 quarts

For 2012’s yield + recipe, click here. πŸ™‚