Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 3- silent prayer

You are God alone by: Phillips,Craig & Dean

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependent on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is


That's what You are

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 1-silent prayer

Today will mark the first of seven days where I will offer up my silent prayers in the form of music. There is an issue that reoccurs with one of our African children and it requires intense prayer. So, in the land of Blogger I will offer up a 7 day 'fast' of words and share with you the songs God speaks into my heart during these days. The issue requires more than just 7 days of intense prayer...but on the blog, it will just last a week. Strongholds can creep up on any of us and it requires work and commitment and break them and keep them at bay. If you feel so inclined to pray with us, we appreciate any prayers you offer on our family's behalf. Have a blessed week!

Fragile Breath-Todd Agnew

I searched the world for a song that I could sing
Praise to my King A gift that I could bring
But no music I found could compare to you
Not one could do Justice to your glory
What are my songs compared to yours
You speak with thunder and lightning
Your voice shakes the mountains
The foundations of the earth
All I can offer is this fragile breath
With each one I'll praise You
With each one I'll praise You more
I searched the world for a poem I could read
A rhyme that would bring Glory to my King
But no writing I found was worthy of
This God high above All other gods
What are my words compared to yours
Speak to me, speak to me please
Won't You speak to me

Come to Jesus by Chris Rice

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The music speaks- again

I heard this song again this morning...and boy, is it ringing true lately. I thank God that of the many ways he speaks to my heart, music is one of them. I'm just in love with this song right now and its truths. It pretty much sums up my day, week and month. During a rough patch, there's always hope and a ray of sunshine! Praise God!

So, if you take a look at this YouTube video I hope the music/lyrics can speak to your heart. The song gets going about a minute into the video- this is a live version, she must have been on a radio show during the making of this video. Enjoy!

Free To Be Me (by Francesca Battistelli) - Lyrics:

At twenty years of age I'm still looking for a dream
A war's already waged for my destiny
But You've already won the battle
And You've got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

When I was just a girl I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right, and I'd make it here somehow
But things don't always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt

And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me
That I've got all You seek
And it’s easy to believe
Even though


Monday, February 16, 2009

To Clean Or Not To Clean- That Is The Question

I've been thinking about and working on this post for the last week. I was at our homeschool co-op mom's meeting last Monday night and we got talking about my post about homemade laundry soap. Well, that turned into a 'how do you do this' and 'how do you do that' conversation. Some things I've done for years, other things I've just started to do. Being that everyone is talking about 'the economy' and cutting back- I thought some of these ideas might be appropriate. I certainly didn't start here, we've 'evolved' to this spot and it's working great for our family! I hope some of these ideas can help save money for other families who struggle to make ends meet...just like us.

I've been contemplating lately about the things I always seem to run out of. What am I spending the most money on and what am I always running out to the store to buy? I thought I would keep this post to non-food related items. Maybe I can post later on 'all about babies.' If there's something, my faithful readers, you'd like to know about or ask- I'd be glad to try and answer!

One of our biggies is toilet paper. Sorry, can't help you there. I have no other alternatives except using leaves- and I'm not that desperate. I did, however, switch to Angel Soft (is that the name?) awhile ago because it's still soft and not so paper-like, and a lot cheaper than Charmin.

Another biggie was paper towels. We do a LOT of cleaning around here! A few months ago I read an idea about taking old socks and turning them into rags. My husband happened to have a ton of thread bare socks...his drawer was badly over run with them. His mom buys him socks every year for Christmas so he was in need of a clean-out. He loves the calf height socks so I had good size rags when I was done. I simply cut off the toe and cut off the elastic part that keeps the sock up on the calf. I was then left with a 'tube' that was open on either end. I just made one cut down the side and then I had a big rectangle. I cut that rectangle in half and was left with 2 perfect size rags. I did this with all his old socks and we love them as rags. I took a yellow bin (from the Dollar Tree) and placed it on the kitchen counter by the sink. We use them for spills, to clean bathrooms, to clean floors, to clean walls/ get the idea. If all the wash cloths are dirty, the kids also use these for dishes. I use the soft side of the terry cloth to even wipe mirrors and they don't leave little fuzzies. There you go, paper towel alternative. I put another one of those yellow bucket/bins on the top of my dryer and wrote with a sharpie: Dirty rags only. My kids know to put those rags in there and I wash them when the bin is full. That way the wet/dirty rags aren't sitting on our clothes for a day or two...

If we used a lot of paper towels,
can you imagine the napkins we used? 10 people in one meal alone- and with the little ones, they just grabbed a handful! So, I went to Walmart and bought some flour sack towels (I couldn't spare any from my kitchen). I cut the towels into good size napkins and used my zig-zag stitch to finish the edges. I used yellow thread to match another one of those yellow bins. I have one in the middle of our table to hold the napkins and a second on top the dryer that reads (in sharpie): Dirty napkins only. I wash whites every day so these go in with our clothes and come out sparkly clean. There you go, napkin alternative.

I make our baby wipes too- I'll save that for the 'all about baby' post...

Since adding 4 more children to our family, we have more than doubled in the amount of cleaning supplies we use/need. The cost started to become outrageous and I was tired of running out of things so quickly. Our house is only so big, we don't have tons of room to store EVERTHING. And if I forgot to buy it when I was in town, I certainly didn't want to load everyone back up just to go to town for dish soap! So, I started making some cleaning products and we've been pleased (so has our pocketbook!). And I usually don't run out of these ingredients so I can make up a new batch in a quick hurry. ** Also, I was worried about chemicals with the small children and the fact that our African children have never cleaned with any type of chemical before. I was worried they would mix something they weren't supposed to mix or that they would somehow hurt themselves or their skin while cleaning. Everything is a learning process here so we try to go as non-caustic as possible.

If you feel so inclined, give some of these a try and see what you think. Our 3 year old loves to clean so now she can grab our kitchen spray bottle (filled with vinegar and water) and go around the house and 'clean.' She cleans doors, windows, trim, walls, etc.

Mix water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. You can use anywhere from one Tbsp. vinegar per cup of water to a solution of half vinegar and half water. Add a few drops of blue or green food coloring if you miss the tint. Try using newspaper as a ling-free 'cloth' to wipe windows clean- it works! (If you have a scratch on window or glass, try rubbing a little toothpaste into it and polish).

For general heavy-duty cleaning around the home, try this solution: Into a warm gallon of water, stir one Tbsp. borax and one Tbsp. of liquid soap (not detergent). For grease cutting purposes, also include a Tbsp. or more of vinegar. For all purpose cleaning, mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon of warm water.

Don't use poisonous disinfectants to wash your child's things. Mix a little baking soda into a cup of warm water and wipe down crib railings, car seats, playpens, toys, etc. Also, plain white vinegar can be used as a mild disinfectant. Mix with water and clean baby's things, but first test on an inconspicuous spot for color fastness and to prevent other possible damage. Plain hot water will wash away and kill some of the germs.

Clean stuffed toys by sprinkling liberally with baking soda or cornstarch (put in a large plastic bag first for less mess). Let remain for atleast 15 minutes and then shake it off or vacuum or brush it off.

Sprinkle baking soda into plastic storage bags along with the summer toys before storing to keep mildew from forming: pool toys, beach toys, small blow-up children's pools (sprinkle inside before rolling up), canteens, picnic coolers, etc.

Equal parts borax and baking soda. Use about a quarter cup of this mixture (two Tbsp. borax plus two Tbsp. baking soda) per dishwasher load. I put one Tbsp. of each in both the open and closed detergent compartments. **We use this a lot- our dishwasher runs twice a day, atleast!

Use plain white vinegar to clean your bathroom- it disinfects and gets rid of soap scum buildup. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts vinegar and water and use to clean fixtures, floor, tub, tile and shower curtain. Rinse with water. To remove soap scum, mildew and tub grime, wipe with undiluted white vinegar and then scrub with baking soda on a damp sponge. Rinse with water.

Clean the toilet bowl by pouring in one cup of white vinegar, let soak for 5 minutes, brush and flush. A sprinkle of baking soda can be used in combination with the vinegar to remove a stubborn toilet bowl ring.


Remove hard lime deposits around faucets by covering with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Let sit for an hour before cleaning. Chrome will be clean and shiny. Soak a clogged shower head in vinegar and water to remove deposits.

As with the bathroom, baking soda and vinegar can be used on kitchen sinks and faucets. To make your counter tops sparkle, pour club soda on them, clean with a wipe-up towel, rinse with water, and wipe dry. **As of now, our spray bottle just has a 1:4 ratio of vinegar to water. We use it to wipe counters, the stove, the fronts of our cupboards/fridge/dishwasher, and it cleans the table top great.

If you live up north and deal with a lot of ice and snow- this idea would be great! Sprinkle plain baking soda on your sidewalks to prevent slipping and to melt the ice. If the baking soda comes in on people's shoes, babies and animals will be safe with it. Soda will not damage your rugs, sidewalks or shoes. If you need more traction, you could always use sand from your child's sandbox (provided it's not frozen!).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I love you, garlic!

Garlic has been my friend for quite some time. I love to cook with it- I use it in just about as many dishes as possible. But, for the last few years I've been experimenting with using garlic medicinally. I've used it minced, chopped, 'squished', grated and squeezed to get the juice, etc. I've used it the most during winter times to help 'cure' colds, coughs, etc.

Angel Baby started with a cold on Friday. Yesterday she came down with a fever and last night we didn't sleep one bit. I sat with her in the chair, rocking and rocking the hours away. I would hum a lullabye and she would try to sleep but just couldn't. I knew something wasn't right. I kept giving her tylenol to help the fever but she just couldn't rest. There was a shrill sound to her restless baby number 4 I'm beginning to figure some things out.

Between my yawns and clouded thoughts, this morning I came around to thinking she may have an ear infection. This always shocks me because I exclusively nurse our babies, they don't go to daycare, they don't have lots of exposure to 'the public', but we do have a lot of people in our house and who knows what germs we carry home? So, I entertained the thoughts of a possible ear infection.

She wouldn't eat (she couldn't breathe anyway because her nose was so stuffy). I did everything I could think of with Vicks, the humidifier, nose suction (and saline solution), etc. The poor thing just couldn't rest although she was super exhausted! By nap time, I thought I would give some garlic a try on her ear (I suspected the left ear). I've used garlic in oil for infected ears before but I've never tried just a clove. I've read about this technique but never tried it- there's always a first time for everything.

So, I peeled a clove of garlic and cut it small so it would fit just inside her ear canal without going in too far. I squished it a little so the garlic oils/juice would come out and wrapped it in a single layer of kleenex. I trimmed it all very small and very carefully placed it just inside her ear canal. I waited the recommended 15 minutes to see if she would get any relief. I got the room ready for nap time and got Princess all snuggled down in her bed. I laid on DD#3's bed with Angel Baby and assumed the 'nap time' position. Angel Baby snuggled in to me and was able to breath enough through her nose that she could suck on her pacifier. She was out cold in no time!

I watched and watched her, wondering if the garlic would actually work. I made sure it stayed just inside the ear canal and didn't come out while she was laying down. We layed there for an entire hour and Angel Baby never fussed or moved- she slept peacefully! Well, garlic, you must have done your job because she was miserable before.

She woke up an hour later, ready to eat. She was a little fussy then because her fever had begun to climb again. I took her temp and it was 102.7. So, we headed to the doc to see if my suspicions of an ear infection were right- they were. She has a badly infected left ear and we came home with antibiotics and numbing drops. Although I like to do things as naturally as possible for meds, I did give her the first dose and used the numbing drops so she could hopefully get some sleep tonight.

We will go back to the garlic though. We love you, garlic. Thank you for being you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Award!!

This is my very first blog award! I've read so many other blogs and seen so many awards but I've never been blessed to receive one- until now! What a nice surprise to wake up this morning and see this waiting for me.... thank you, Ashlee!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day. The rules to follow are:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

1. Shelly
2. Kate
3. Rachel
4. Jocelyn
5. Crystal
6. Stacy
7. Christine
8. Nikki
9. Renee
10. Shelley
11. Chickadee
12. Sugar-n-Spice
13. The Zoo
14. Green Acres
15. Kelly

Have a great and HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!
~My husband is so sweet! He sneaked out this morning and bought flowers for all of us girls. He was waiting for each of us as we woke up this morning with a big smile, hug and an ' I love you!'

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goat update- our SEXTUPLETS!

Well, we had originally planned on getting 4 baby pigmy goats but Hubby came home with 6 instead. The two extra girls we got are brand new (still with a small piece of remaining umbilical cord attached!). So, our days have been full of 'life stuff' and also working in 6 new babies whom we must bottle feed 4 times per day. Good thing I had a bin of bottles left over from baby#1- none of our babies since then have used them. So, we transformed 6 of our biggest Avent bottles into baby goat bottles. On Monday I went to our local feed store and bought some additional goat milk replacer, another big dish (that will be their feed dish), a big plastic scoop (for our bin of feed) and a 50# bag of goat pellets. We're still working on their big fencing and throwing around some ideas of what will be their shelter.

Hubby was raised on a farm, I however was not. I was pretty much a city girl until middle/highschool. Then we still lived in town but I had more exposure to farms and country living, etc. I have plenty of help though, my 'country know-how' books are coming in quite handy. Now all we need is a barn. Anyone want to come and donate the lumber and build us one?? That would be nice....just another dream for when money is 'no option.' Do you have those dreams?

Anyway, the kids are all enjoying having the baby goats. Even Princess, at 3 years old, is helping to feed them. The two smallest baby goats weren't 'trained' on the bottle so we're having to teach them. They're getting it pretty quickly though. They're all spunky little things! After they've eaten they go running around kicking their back legs in the air. They run behind the kids as they run laps in the driveway- giving the goats their 'exercise.'

So, we've been pleasantly busy. The beginning of our weeks are always crazy busy and it tends to slow down towards the end of the week. So far this week (among school) we've had dance practice, karate practice, and a 4H meeting. WHEW! I'm headed to the grocery store today to stock up for the rest of the week and weekend. Have a great day!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Baby goats

On a lighter note...I just wanted to share with you all that I just called a guy about some baby Pygmy goats (for us to use as milk goats). The ad says he has 4 left so we're hoping they are still all there! If so, we may be headed to go and get them tomorrow... How cute! A little love coming our way, just in time for Valentines Day!

Our 25 baby chicks will be on their way soon- we hope to have them in 6 weeks or so. Spring is right around the corner along with our new batch of animals. Now, if we can fence in our newly cleared area for some beef cattle. We're working on setting up a small farm. I guess we need it...nothing will go to waste!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Late night thoughts

I am very conflicted tonight. A large part of my heart grieves, the rest of me is wondering, "God, what is going on?" I haven't said a lot on this blog about my feelings and Africa. I shared a lot about our adoption process and my feelings as we went through everything. We're over a year now since the children have come home and I'm really unsure of how I feel more than ever. I KNOW that God has really blessed us. I KNOW that I love all of my children, regardless of how they came to our family. I KNOW that there is something grand and profound in raising up the next generation (a Christian generation). I KNOW we are all not perfect. I KNOW each family is unique. I KNOW my exhaustion is more than worth every second of what I give to my family. I KNOW I will be committed to my marriage and my family for ever and ever, without fail or without doubt. I KNOW God made me to do just this...I live the perfect life for me.

A short time ago, we 'heard' that Liberia is now closed to all adoptions. The main reason being that there is so much corruption happening that children are being adopted out of the country on false pretenses. It has been said that some families are being 'bribed' that if they give over their children they will receive something in the future or that the child will come back to them and help them. It has been said that 'Joe Schmoe' off the street has posed as a child's family member to get them a visa and out of the country to the USA. And so on and so on...When Hubby was in Liberia, he saw a very corrupt country. Something we cannot imagine. For the safety and welfare of the children and their rights, we can't help but feel relieved that the President of Liberia has shut down the adoptions for now until more 'safety measures' can be put into place.

On the other hand, I look at my children and wonder about the others. I wonder about our children's friends. I wonder about all the families who are in process, just waiting for their child(ren) to come home. I wonder about all the sleepless nights and the financial sacrifices these familes have made- just like us. But, we got a happy ending. We got to see our kids get off that airplane and plant their feet on U.S. soil.

Our girls got 'word' tonight that the orphanage they came from is virtually empty. There has been very little food there for quite some time. I can't help but think where all the children have gone to and how bad it got before they left or were put out. My mind goes back to the day our kids came home and I got a real close look at their physical wellbeing. I've mentioned before that our youngest Liberian child was in very rough condition. All joking aside, it was like the commercials you see on tv...of the starving kids in Africa. He had oozing sores on his head, he had missing patches of hair, his eyes were dull, he had fluid leaking from his ears, he had sores on the rest of his skin, his stomach was distended, he had very stiff joints, he was full of parisites and had e. coli growing in his intestines from bad water, and he ate like a ravenous animal. Looking at him one year later you would never know.

I think about the fact that I heard somewhere that most of the Liberian adoptions were coming from the U.S. I think about now that it's closed down, what's going to happen to all those precious little children. There's no one to feed them there. Bad things happen in the street, bad things happen in broad daylight. The kind of stuff we shield our kids from on TV...and it's happening in real life- every day! I think about other countries in Africa where horrific things are happening.

I think about the kids that 'got out.' I think about their lives here and how they've changed so. The culture is so different and the way of life is so different. Some struggle more than others, but they're alive! That's got to count for something doesn't it?? During this waiting time in Liberia, those weak and sick little bodies will get worse and airplane rides for them to cozy beds and full refrigerators.

So, what do we do with this? How do we pray and how do we respond to our kids' comments and/or questions. There are people they love there...friends who didn't make it out. Family members who have little hope at being 'prosperous.' They have got to feel so helpless. I feel helpless.

And so we pray. Pray some more that God will show us the way. Pray that He will show us how to pray for the continent of Africa and show us what it is that the people there really need. I know they need Jesus. It seems only Jesus can help them now...praise God for that. Where there is God and Jesus, there is hope.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy 'Half' Birthday~ Angel Baby

This weekend we celebrated Angel Baby's 'half' birthday. She's officially now 6 months old! Wow, how time has flown by! I started celebrating half birthdays with our first born- I don't even remember why...but I thought it was a neat idea. When I look at Angel Baby, I see her growing up before my very eyes. She's getting so big now, no little baby anymore. She's sitting up on her own, eating solid foods and she has her very own personality (a VERY happy personality). She's such a joy to be around and we know without a doubt we are very blessed that God has given this sweet girl to be a part of our family!! We love you Angel girl!

Just hours before she was born...

The day after she was born...

Now look at her!

Below are the lyrics to a song I just love and a poem I ran across about babies/children. I so love being a mama and I love all of my babies with all my heart! My cup overflows...


Tiny fingers hold my own,
Tiny toes and a button nose,
Cherub cheeks flush with sleep,
We cuddle close, this is the most
Wonderful thing to do,
I'm rocking the baby so brand new,
You know your big sister
Will always love you.

I have an angel in my arms,
A little angel in my arms,
So sweet to hold, so soft to kiss,
So heaven sent that I know this,
I have an angel in my arms,
A little angel.

Baby hair like silk to stroke,
Lashes closed we rock to and fro,
A baby sigh from little lips,
A lovely sound I know I've found,
My favorite place to be,
Just the baby and me rocking happily,
I thank God that He gave you
To our family.

My precious child of innocent grace,
You make this world a better place,
Our lives have never been the same
Since the long awaited day you came.

We thought our hearts knew how to love,
But what you've brought is from above,
A special gift that knows no bounds,
The love of a parent for their child.

It's that of a father
With his fierce, loving pride
In this child he created
And his wonder can't hide.

It's that of a mother
And her fierce, gentle love,
So protective she'd die
For this child of her love.

And it's all but a shadow
Of our Father above
Who gave up His Son.
So great was His love.

And so my sweet child
With your quaint little ways,
May God keep you safely
Through the passing days.