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Friday, December 28, 2012

My Favorite Blog Posts from 2012

Everyday,  my email box fills with several blogs I read and glean knowledge and inspiration from.

Today, I want to share some of them with you. I'll break them down by category.

Light a few candles, brew some tea or coffee, curl up on your sofa with a blanket and your laptop and be inspired!

51 Things You Can Do That Will Bless Your Kids - Finding Joy
5 Ways to be More Present Today - Finding Joy
Kids and Electronics - What Age and How Much is Too Much? - Smockity Frocks
I Gave Myself Away Because of a Dare Wanting to be Loved - Mom's Mustard Seeds
7 Ways to Invest in Your Kids - Finding Joy
Ten Commandments of Courtesy for Kids (and Adults) - Smockity Frocks
Keeping Kids Safe on the Homestead - New Life on a Homestead
Preparing Our Children For Marriage - Renewing Housewives
A Tearful, Joyful, Hopeful Letter to My Teenage Self - Inspired to Action
20 (more) Motherhood Tips - Finding Joy
Hope Chests 101 - A Practical Check List - Raising Homemakers
22 Activities for the Country Toddler and Preschooler  - The Prairie Homestead
How to Instill a Strong Work Ethic in Children from a Young Age  - Keeper of the Home
How Do Large Family Moms Manage Everything?  - Smockity Frocks

Save Money by Purchasing White Linens and Towels - Being Frugal
Fun Fund: Saving Money for Entertainment and Travel - Being Frugal
How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income (Part 1)  - The Prairie Homestead
How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income (Part 2) - The Prairie Homestead
10 Ways to Live More Sustainably - DIY Natural
Analyzing the Family Budget - Homestead Revival
On Producing Rather Than Saving - Nourishing Days
50 Ways to Make Money  - Bible Money Matters

Make Your Own Cough Syrup - Raising Arrows
10+ Natural Cold Remedies - Keeper of the Home
Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu Season - Little Natural Cottage
Allergy Relief for Ragweed Season (or any Allergy Season) - Sprittibee
How I Healed My Son's Skin Infection (Without Antibiotics) - Keeper of the Home
How to Treat Bug Bites Naturally - Keeper of the Home

Will I Ever Change? - Sarah Mae
The Rushing Mom Embraces Today - Finding Joy
Why It Is OK to Take a Mom Break - Finding Joy

Your Lips But Better - The Small Things Blog
Tips for an Easy Fall Wardrobe  - Simple Design

country living
Our Journey to Agrarianism - Nourishing Days
Homesteading Wherever You Are - New Life on a Homestead
Pioneer Homes - Little Homestead on a Hill
Roundup of Homesteading How-To's  - Smockity Frocks
Is It Easier? - Simply Living For Him
The Garden Plan - Homestead Revival

Household Cleaning with Vinegar - Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling
My (Simple, Natural, Frugal) Cleaning Cabinet - The Prairie Homestead
Quick Homemaking Tips - Raising Homemakers
Clothesline Options - Homestead Revival

Just Add Water - Lemonade Makin' Mama
Extending the Family Table - Plan To Eat
Real Food Substitutions - Keeper of the Home
10 Things You Should Make Homemade - Gricefully Homeschooling
Managing Your Kitchen - Raising Arrows
Scenes from the Kitchen - Nourishing Days
Preserving Food - Raising Olives
Stocking Your Freezer - Gricefully Homeschooling
A Plan for Stretching the Meat Budget - Plan to Eat
4 Cheap Healthy Meal Plans for Families - Christian PF (Personal Finance)
Reducing Food Waste at Home...and a Meal Plan - Blissfully Content
Ultimate List of Easy Slow Cooker Recipes - Hodgepodge
Buying Meat in Bulk - Homestead Revival

Friday, December 21, 2012

26 Acts for Newtown Victims

My heart is still heavy for the tragic events that took place a week ago today.

I have two boys the ages of those children who were killed last week.

I can only imagine how scared they would have been in those circumstances.

My heart is also grieved over the troubled young man who committed these acts - a boy who obviously needed more help than he received in life. This article gripped me: I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.

This Sunday, we will be challenging our church family to join in the worldwide 26 Acts Movement. If you haven't heard about it, you can learn more by visiting Twitter's #26acts page or Facebook's 26 Acts of Kindness page.

We will be inserting one sheet of instructions along with one sheet of stickers in each bulletin we hand out at all three services this Sunday.

To join the challenge with our church family, and others around this nation and the world, you can read my instructions here.

If you'd like to print out the stickers I created with a picture of each of the 26 victims, please follow these instructions:
1. Click on this link: It will not appear correctly in the Google screen.
2. In the top left-hand corner, click the DOWN ARROW which allows you to "download the current version."
3. Open the document with Microsoft Word.
4. Print the document in Microsoft Word on Avery label template 5160.

Will you turn your grief into action? Performing 26 acts of kindness gives us the power to create change in the midst of an evil situation.

On a lighter note...
Baby Rabbits
The baby rabbits will be two weeks old tomorrow. They just opened their eyes yesterday. With fur, they are much cuter than they were a week ago.
These are all five babies on day one. They look like mice.

My 9yo son will be selling these babies January 26. They will range in price from $30 to $50. We can't yet tell how many are does and how many are bucks.

One Rooster Down
We discovered this week that we have two roosters - which is not good. One in particular was getting somewhat aggressive. We decided to process him for the good of the flock.

Our friend Joe came to help with the deed, as this was our first time.

I'll spare you the gory pictures and skip right to the removing of feathers after his dip in boiling water.

Joe was a pro! Does that look great or what? Now he's aging in my fridge for a few days before we roast him.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Our Family Is Focusing Outward This Christmas

I have been so compelled to focus our family on giving instead of getting this Christmas. My Pastor-Husband and I really want Jesus to get the attention in our family. We've been asking our kids, "What would Jesus want for His birthday?"

We've started this TOTALLY AWESOME Journey of Wonder Advent Calendar, and are seeing the wonderful fruit of it in our children's lives. It only takes maybe 10 minutes each day, and we perform the object lesson included. Sometimes, our conversations go longer just because the kids have questions or want to talk more about a certain topic. I'm enjoying it so much!

In addition to the Advent calendar, we've decided, as a family, to really reach out to others. We've been using ideas from The Grateful Christmas Project, and we're having so much fun. My children have given thank you cards with chocolate bars to the postman, trash collector, taco truck server (no joke), policemen, firemen, ambulance worker, and there's more still to deliver. They feel really good about themselves when they hand a card to someone they appreciate.

We're still adding items to our Gifts We Already Have list on the back of our front door. We do a great job of making Christmas wish lists, but this list is a "count your blessings" activity. We've enjoyed watching our children focus on what God has already blessed them with.

A few other wonderful resources full of ideas for reaching out this holiday season:
Enjoy teaching your children to serve and bless others this Christmas, and watch them grow in new ways you've never seen before. Everyone knows, when you bless someone else, you're truly the one who gets blessed!