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Monday, June 30, 2008

They Came, They Saw, They Bought

So the first official Sweet Pea Home Sale has come and gone, and I am happy to say was a success! Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came! I hope you went away with a treasure or two. I was even blessed with a visit from Becky who lives in Virginia! She has a lovely blog called On A Wing And A Prayer so please check her out here. I am planning another sale in the fall so please keep an eye on the blog for the date.

Until next time....


Pregnancy is Like Engagement, and other random musings for pregnant moms...

Whenever people ask what they should be reading or doing while pregnant, it always makes me think of the engagement time before a wedding. During the engagement period, most women are planning their weddings (a one day event), and very few are reading, learning, and being mentored in the ways of marriage. Is it any wonder our marriages are weak and falling apart?

In the same way, most pregnant women read 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' (I did too, I'm not bashing it at all!)... and the shelves of the pregnancy section at bookstores are full of journals, books full of advice, funny stories, and magazines focused on learning about the time leading up to a one-day event (labor/delivery). But very few 1st-time pregnant women are reading, learning, and being mentored in the ways of parenting.

I think it's great to have a developmental book or website where you can keep up to date on the growth of that sweet baby. It's so fun to know which parts are developing and how big they are! And that's a special part of pregnancy.

And I would recommend that you either sit down with a well-educated midwife or mom of many and learn about the phases of labor and what your body will do-- OR read a great book about it/watch a good video about it. Because, to make a long story short: It hurts. And you can do it. Knowing about it, though, makes it less stressful and empowers you to feel more confident throughout the process.

But the main thing I wanted to share, though, is this: In my life, I try to learn about the next thing. Not that I'm not satisfied in or enjoying what's going on NOW-- I am! But I try to learn about what's coming up next.

Like, right now, I'm watching and learning about the adolescent years and watching families going through those last few years of having a child in the home. Which may sound crazy. But the fact of the matter is that I have less than 5 years before I'm the mom of a pre-teen. And then, before I know it, I'll have a high schooler, and then I'll blink my eyes, and we'll have raised a young man. He'll turn 6 next week, but he's not going to stop having those birthdays. And if the "teen" years are as difficult to wade through as so many say, then I need to be gleaning all the wisdom I can--now.

When I was pregnant, I was asking questions about breastfeeding and sleeping habits. When I was nursing, I was asking questions about potty training and tantrums. When I was raising a 2 year old, I was starting to look into homeschooling. And now that I've got an early elementary aged kid, I'm reading about adolescence, about the transition from boyhood to manhood, and asking as many questions as I can from parents around us and the men that I know (mostly, my husband).

I'll be honest- I don't really get the mentality of only muddling through or bracing myself for each phase. I don't just want to muddle through-- I want to do it WELL! As well as I can, anyhow. And you probably feel the same way. I want to learn from others' mistakes and not think I have it all together... if others have a well-behaved toddler and I'm just snuggling with a newborn, then that is a great opportunity to try to "peek" into their lives and ask about and watch what they've done. If I'm just teaching my Kindergartner how to read, I can be reading about how to disciple teenagers. No matter what age my kids are, I can always be learning from parents who have "successfully" raised young adults who love Jesus and live godly lives.

If you don't already do this, I'd encourage you to learn from those who are slightly ahead of you on the road. Ask about the hows and whys of their parenting and family relationships.

So, to the pregnant women out there (several of you have written lately to ask for book recommendations or ideas), I'd encourage you to read about parenting in the early years. And don't just take someone's advice because it sounds good or right-- look at how their parenting lines up with the Bible, and look at their children's countenance, behavior, and attitudes. There's a lot of advice and opinions out there to be had, but plenty of it is not only unbiblical but will produce miserable children who are miserable to be around. Give yourself enough time to really think, research, and pray about the options and methods you see around you and read about.

Don't wait until your daughter or son falls on the floor screaming and flailing around before you think through how you'll deal with a tantrum. Don't wait until your child slaps you in the face and screams "NO!" in the middle of a shopping trip to sort out your thoughts about discipline. Don't solely parent by reacting... do some pro-active thinking now about your general philosophies and approaches to various parenting scenarios. Start getting "on the same page" with your husband now, so that when these things start happening, you all can approach parenting as a team rather than at odds with one another.

You'll be so glad later that you took the time now to look a few steps in front of you, in an effort to try to avoid missteps there, even while enjoying the view right where you are. That's my general advice to you moms-to-be out there. :) I'll list some specific book titles I personally have learned a lot from in the comments section. Any other thoughts or questions from moms-to-be?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Make a Lavender Wand

By the beginning of summer, you should have enough lavender up and ready to make lavender wands. Lavender wands are always popular gifts for birthdays and around the holidays. I make a big batch during the summer, and tie them into my Christmas gift bows. These wands are an aromatic addition to a lingerie or linen drawer, closet, or laundry room. Lavender permeates the area in which a wand is

Because I'm a mom and this is my blog and they are just so doggone cute. :-)

Sometimes I just wanna share pictures of the sweetest little people in my life.
I love seeing my kiddos laughing together.

Ethan is now not only a Settlers of Catan player-- he is an addict. And he's good. What I want to know is, who does this before they're even 6 years old???

We sometimes call her "Princess Crazy Hair" because of how wispy her hair is these days. But this pigtailstravaganza puts a whole new spin on "crazy". :-)

And then there's my smiley little Silas. What a precious little guy.

Every now and then, I just have to break into all the discussions and heavy topics and share stuff like this so you'll have a visual picture of what motivates me to do this home and family thing with passion. :-) Thanks for indulging me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Food For Thought

Cartoon courtesy of Nearing Zero.Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2006-2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let's Talk House Cleaning...

So I've heard/read a few sayings lately about housecleaning, and I wanted to share them and see if you had any thoughts or responses to them. I think they are all interesting, though decidedly different, perspectives on housekeeping.

"If the shelves are dusty and the pots don't shine,
it's because I have better things to do with my time."

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing
is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

~Phyllis Diller

"Keep your home clean enough to be healthy,
and dirty enough to be happy."

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."
~Agatha Christie

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
~The evil stepmother on Everafter, among other sources

So, pick one or two and share how it either supports or flies in the face of your "philosophy" of house cleaning, eh?

(And if you're a really great housekeeper, share a few tips as well, so those of us who are, ahem, less "gifted" in that particular area can learn from you!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bearded Iris

Bearded IrisIris germanicaJune 2, 2008Iris is the genus (recall the nomenclature post earlier) of 200 to 300 flowering plants. They are herbaceous perennials that grow from rhizomes or in drier climates bulbs. The have long, erect flowering stems that in our zone bloom from late May to early June. Despite being an herb they are mainly grown as an ornamental plant in the garden. The flowers

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Reading?

So, I've just started reading "Women Helping Women"-- a great collection of specifics about "how to" do biblical counseling (by women, for women). I get a fair amount of ladies who come to me personally over e-mail after visiting Making Home with questions-- asking for help, advice, or prayer, so I felt this may be a good way to continue growing in this area of biblical counseling (until such time that I might be able to pursue a Masters in this area... which is something I've been mulling for some time).

I'm really excited about this book and about learning about counseling in areas that are less familiar to me (like post-abortion counseling, eating disorders, medical conditions, and singleness).

So, that's what I'M reading... what are YOU reading this summer (or planning to read)? Feel free to sell me on it and tell me why it's such a great book/topic. I do love a good book and you just might highlight something that someone else needs to read!

So tell me, what's on your summer reading list?

Christmas Gift Ideas: Seed Packets with Markers

Christmas is coming. . . really. I'm sorry to remind you, but it is. One of the many great things about herb gardening is that you have the raw material for some wonderful gifts. If you plan ahead, you can make unique herb offerings quickly and inexpensively. For the next couple of months, I'll be giving you some examples.Here's one: Fabric Wrapped Herb Seeds with Popsicle MarkersThis fall,

Saturday's The Day!

Only 5 days until the first Sweet Pea garden sale! I have been working fast and furiously to make it extra special and to provide an awesome selection for all! There will be antiques, accessories, and fun and funky garden decor as well as some great bargains on stuff that needs to find a new home. We will also have a bargain basement area where you will get great stuff for a steal! See you Saturday!

Sweet Pea
5200 Ardmore Dr
Winter Park FL 32792

Saturday June 28th
9am til 3pm
No Early Buyers
Cash or Check Only

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors

Many herbs are well suited to domestic life and thrive indoors. With some attention to their special needs, you can keep an indoor herb garden that will give you fresh herbs year round.

Indoor Herb Lighting

The biggest challenge to the indoor herb gardener is light. Lighting is critically important to all plants, but herbs seem to be especially sensitive to the right light conditions. If

How to Make a Basic Tea Rub (Oh, and Some Variations)

Chef Ming Tsai has quite a presence on the web, and he uses rubs to create some wonderful recipes. One of his signature rub ingredients is tea. Other cooks have picked up the practice of using tea as a flavor base in rubs, artfully incorporating them in anything from mouthwatering BBQ to sea scallops. I don't know where the practice started, but I'm glad it did.If you'd like your next seared tuna

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Growing Bay Leaf (Bay Laurel)

 Bay or sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) is the leaf from a tree in the Laurel family. It's an evergreen that originated in the Mediterranean, where it grows to a height of 40 feet. Bay laurel is beautifully appointed with medium sized, glossy, green leaves. It is not winter hardy in areas that experience freezing weather.

Luckily, bay can be cultivated in a container and brought indoors to

Make Your Own Old Bay Seasoning Blend

One of the most well known of the crab seasoning blends, Old Bay Seasoning sold by McCormick & Company (and others), is a household staple in many parts of the United States.

It is less dependent on salt than some other popular seasonings – but delivers good flavor. Prepare a shaker full of goodness by creating your own Old Bay Seasoning mixture. Here's how.

Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

6 bay

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Want an Herbal Teeth Whitener?

Try Sage and StrawberrySage has been used as means of whitening discolored teeth for centuries, and it still works today. Together with strawberry, it's a natural solution for treating a yellowed and dingy smile.Make a paste of one large sage leaf, one strawberry, and one teaspoon of baking soda. I blend the ingredients in a mini-food processor. Apply the paste to your teeth for five to ten

Home Sale Preview

In hopes of tempting those of you who are local to attend my sale on the 28th, I present the Sweet Pea Cottage. This garden cottage is a collaberation between myself and Mr. Sweet Pea using antique elements like porch posts, corbels, a French zinc dormer, windows and a fab old door with wavy glass. For those of you who can't attend it's a look at my latest endeavor. In a later post I will give a peek inside as well. The sale will be on Saturday the 28th from 9am til 3pm. No early buying will be permitted to ensure a great selection for all. Hope to see you all!

Make Your Own Garlic Juice or Powdered Garlic

Make your own garlic juice and garlic powder. The process takes some time because it involved peeling lots of garlic cloves. You may decide afterward that buying prepared garlic products is easier and just as tasty, but every herb fanatic should try it once.Here's how.Instructions for Making Garlic Juice1 bulb of garlicMesh strainerCoffee FilterPeel one bulb of garlic (this will give you a

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Recipe for Bechamel Sauce With Herbs

Bechamel sauce, white sauce, is one of the most basic sauces used in cooking. It's an easy sauce to make if you remember to keep stirring the ingredients throughout. Never stop stirring, use medium heat, and pick a thick pan that will evenly distribute the heat.Some béchamel recipes call for heavy cream, while others make due with whole milk. Some will even cheat and use milk, but up the butter

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thoughts on Sheltering

Someone recently asked if I'd expand on my thoughts about rules/relationship and sheltering parenting. [Honestly, the subject has been better tackled elsewhere (Parenting with Love & Logic deals with teaching our children to make wise choices and allowing "affordable mistakes" while they're in our home... and other individuals have tackled these things online in terms of homeschooling far better than I could.). ]

Nevertheless, since I was asked to share, I'll share some from my personal perspective.

Growing up, my parents were not repressive and judgmental, but my surroundings were. We were in a fundamentalist church circuit where virtually no pastor/church was "sound" enough for my dogmatic grandfather. Though I was saved at a young age, this environment smothered out the true love for Jesus that can grow in the heart of a child.

Long story short, I went along with my surroundings until I hit age 13, and then I rebelled against it until I was about 16. My parents felt convicted about things and intentionally left the hypocritical environment we had been in (a dying church which they'd been threatened by my grandpa to stay a part of), and sought out a vibrant Christian fellowship. After looking for months, they found it, and though at the time I didn't know why, but I no longer felt the need to rebel. I was drawn to the grace and truth I found among my peers and the families we encountered at this new church.

All that to say, when I was surrounded by rules, I rebelled big time, seeing no need to follow them because in my mind, there were absolutely no *benefits* to following the rules. The people around me all seemed grossly unhappy, personally dreary, and spiritually bored (or even dead). But when I was shown true fellowship, true joy among believers, and a pursuit of holiness-- not for self-righteousness, but out of a true desire to please God-- well, my heart fell in line with that really quickly. "Sign me up!"

What I learned in a nutshell: Christian joy flourishing in faith built on a strong foundation draws the soul toward Christ. An outward focus on rules and "perfection" kill the Spirit, focusing too strongly on the law.

The "world" I had grown up in was dry soil. I had heard about rich soil. They talked as if "this" was it. But it was dry and dead and had almost no beauty growing in it.

The church we joined also had a HUGE contingency of quiver-full homeschoolers (a group of people which I'd never before encountered-- I'd never known ANYONE with more than 3 or at the most 4 children). Ironically, these homeschooled kids/teens weren't allowed to be in the youth group that was life-changing for me, drawing me deeper in faith. They were kept separate. I'd imagine their parents would have used terms like "wise sheltering" or given examples about greenhouses and flowers and how "until they're transplanted", they need to be "protected".

Problem is, those "plants" that had been completely sheltered didn't develop tough roots, and didn't learn how to feed themselves. Sure, they had knowledge... but they had never encountered others who saw the world differently. They'd never even been allowed to hang out with the incredibly godly public school kids I was challenged by in this youth group-- much less the worldly kids they would have encountered by taking jobs, or in some other way having intentional interaction with secular society. I'm sure their parents didn't mean to set their kids up for failure. Many of these parents are still baffled that their children didn't follow the "formula" they had tried to follow so carefully... and don't understand where things went wrong.

When these protected, secluded homeschooled young adults encountered the real world, with "real" sinners who seemed to be sinning and having a blast, they were fascinated. Without exception, they all fell prey to the appeal of the world, at least for a very long and painful season of adulthood. Many of them have never returned to faith.

Protection is a fine goal.

It's the goal of most people cultivating things. Of course you don't want hail to rain down on your newly growing seedlings. You don't want a bird to come and peck away at the plant you've worked so hard to grow. Yes, young plants need careful protection... but protection is NOT the ultimate goal of raising plants or crops or having a garden. And we homeschooling parents can sometimes forget this. While we may be honestly striving to do right by our kids, we could forget to transplant them until it's too late.

Once they're out of the house, whatever that looks like, we're going to be playing a far less significant role in their lives. So in my mind, the transplanting (for a plant, that means growing in REAL soil in the REAL open air rather than being in a potted plant in a greenhouse) needs to take place once we've given them a good start... probably in the early "teen" years.


Transplanting may look different for each family... but if we're going to do it successfully, I think we need to do it while we can still regularly offer up some water and fertilizer to encourage them towards godliness.

For example, one family in our youth group had 6 boys whom they homeschooled through 6th grade. From then on, they put the boys in public school. During that time, they played football (undoubtedly being exposed to all kinds of locker room talk) and kept up their studies while being discipled and mentored more deeply by their father. These last 6 or so years in their parents' home were devoted towards FAITH IN ACTION.

Another example: some families (like Voddie Baucham's) follow a three-part phase of raising children-- the obedience/training phase (teaching our young ones to heed our words), the catechism phase (teaching our children the deep doctrines and truths of scripture), and the discipleship phase (teaching our young adults how to put faith into action). So, the early years are devoted towards training in obedience ("Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord."), the elementary years are devoted towards teaching children truth about God, His Word, and faith (Deut 6:7), and the last years of parenting are spent with a focus on making disciples. Part of discipling is intentional life-on-life training. In the real world.

Jesus spent incredible amounts of TIME with His disciples-- but He didn't pull out to a cave to spend that time with them. He took them as He was going along in life-- talking to adulteresses, partying with tax collectors, going to weddings, mourning the dead, praying for the sick, pointing out the holiness and generosity of widows and the hypocrisy of the "religious". We can, I think, follow His example by not hiding from the world but doing our best as parents to use the world to continue our children's education.

That doesn't mean every homeschooled kid should end up in public or private school. It doesn't mean every parent ought to opt for youth group. Or that every kid should work at some secular place like Trader Joe's or Krispy Kreme. But we SHOULD be intentional about letting our kids learn what the world is really like, and even letting them foul up from time to time. (Love & Logic talks about this-- letting our kids make "affordable mistakes"-- mistakes that they can learn from and we can live with.) Essentially, though, our kids need to, for themselves, find God faithful and value Him above what the world offers. And my experience and observations tell me that this doesn't happen when our ultimate goal is protection and sheltering.

OK, so I've shared my perspective on this-- but it's not fully developed and I've certainly not raised teenagers, or even begun to enter that world. So what are your thoughts? Those of you who have raised your children into adulthood? Those of you who ARE raising young adults? Public school moms? Other homeschool moms? What say all of you?

Moussaka Recipe with Aubergine (Eggplant)

My friend Emily's grandmother was Greek and taught her some great Greek dishes which she's shared with me over the years. She's actually partly responsible for my interest in herbs and spices. One of her best recipes is for Moussaka. I've updated some things, grilling the eggplant and using sun dried tomatoes instead of tomato paste, but otherwise it's pretty close to her grandmother's

Peonies (Paeonia)

When the peonies bloom it pours. That has been so true this year with a cold and very wet spring. We had two lovely peony bushes at my childhood home. I loved the beautiful showy flowers so when we bought out first house I really wanted to plant peonies. What stopped me was remembering the ants that liked to gather on the peony buds. An old wives tale says that peonies need ants for the

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Greek Herbs and Spices

Greece has an ancient, almost mystical culinary tradition. Whether you are interested in making a nice moussaka, Greek salad, or stuffed grape leaves, you'll want to know something about the signature herbs of this sun kissed Mediterranean country. So, get out your olive oil, phyllo dough, feta cheese and kalamata olives, tune up your bouzouki, and lets explore Greek flavor. Follow the links to

Dittany of Crete

I am a devoted Harry Potter fan. I don't know what it is about the wizarding world, but it makes me happy just thinking about it.In rereading the final book in the series, The Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends get themselves in quite a few scrapes. It's interesting that Hermione, a young female wizard, is the one who performs most of the first aid. Often she's the only girl-woman around.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Vermiculite is heat expanded mica. It is often used as a starting medium for seeds and cuttings. Sometimes referred to as a soilless medium, a feature that makes it free of disease, vermiculite has no nutritional value, so some sort of liquid fertilizer should be used when propagating plants with using this method.As a additive to potting soil, vermiculite helps create a friable, light, mixture


Drawing moisture upward through capillary action. Potted plants that need to be watered often respond well to wicking. Fill a dish under the plant's pot with marbles or small stones, and then with water just short of the top of the stones. Thread twine from the top of the plant's pot, through the root ball of the plant, and out the drainage hole. Trail the twine into the reservoir under the


The process in which a plant releases water through pores on its leaves.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


The temporary placement of plants in an interim medium until they can be planted in their permanent containers.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


A typically warm and humid growing region that doesn't experience freezing temperatures.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


A warm and often humid growing region that experiences infrequent temperature drops below freezing.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


A plant that is grown for its visual appeal.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Successful" Parenting

We might all have different ideas about what successful parenting actually looks like in practice. Some do so-called "gentle" or attachment parenting... some follow particular books, authors, or methods for the "meat" of their parenting... some choose public schools... some make other choices.

Undoubtedly though, for Christian parents, the most important thing is getting the good news of Christ as the Savior of the world into the hearts and minds of our children. So we may all differ in one way or another on externals, but the most important thing is the delivery of the message of Jesus Christ. But if we're only mimicking the "success" of others, and don't truly "own" the plan ourselves, our hope that our children will have faith in Christ may come to nothing. In fact, if we deliver faith in something OTHER than Christ (perhaps money, beauty, or even something "good" like a Christian author, parenting method, or book), we may set them up for life-long rejection of the gospel.

It reminds me of the French castle scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail... where the knights of the round table want to get inside of the castle, so Sir Bedevere declares to King Arthur, "Sir... I have a plan... ." Soon, a giant wooden rabbit is being noisily wheeled by the soldiers towards the front gate of the castle (modeled after the Trojan horse, of course). They then run away to hide in the woods and see what happens next.

After the French soldiers have stealthily examined and approved the rabbit, they wheel it inside the castle. Just behind a little hill, we see the "knights of the round table" giddily hiding, and we hear:
Arthur: "What happens now?"
Bedevere: "Well, now, uh, Lancelot, Gallahad, and I, uh, wait until nightfall, and leap out of the rabbit, taking the French by surprise. Not only by surprise, but totally unarmed!"
Arthur: "*Who* leaps out of the rabbit?"
Bedevere: (pointing to each knight as he names them) "Uh, Lancelot, Gallahad, and I, uh... leap out of the rabbit, uh.... and uh..."
Lancelot: (groans)
Bedevere: "Oh, um, look, if we built this large wooden badger..."

And Arthur rightly knocks Bedevere on his head.
My point is this: Bedevere wasn't coming up with his own plan. He was simply trying to mimic what worked for someone else. We don't need to put our hopes on "what works". And we don't need to look at what some other parents did as our ultimate goal. Should we learn from others? Absolutely!

But the verse in Proverbs says, "Train up a child in the way he should go"... and too many teachers have claimed that for their own method. Truth is, the verse is talking about knowing your child and training them up according to the way God built them-- their aptitudes, interests, personality, and maturity. We're not to parent every child in a factory-like manner. It shouldn't be a cookie-cutter approach. And the funny thing is-- we know that when it comes to our own children-- we know that our second child is nothing like our first, and that the discipline methods/teaching methods/etc. that "work" with our first child often don't work with our second or third in the exact same way. BUT-- we sometimes forget that when we look around at other families-- we see God at work in other families and may unscrupulously try to copy what they're doing instead of inquiring what HE would do in our family, with our unique family DNA.

If another family is doing something that you ought to be doing-- intentional discipling of their children, or training their children in biblical obedience-- then you SHOULD find a way to bring that into your own family life. But we shouldn't be blindly following any method, family, or parenting philosophy without checking it against Scripture and against the God-given vision He's given us as parents for our families.

God made us each as individuals... and we are all different. And yet, we have His unchanging Word. So, we each as individuals need to look at the scriptures, look at what they say about parenting, about wisdom, about children, about teaching, about families... and implement them in that unique way that God built our family to do.

Some fathers may like theology and that may be a regular dinner table topic... other fathers may be better at teaching about God as they go about life-- on the baseball field and on the drive to the lake, etc. But all Christian fathers ought to be teaching.

Same thing for us as Christian mothers... one mother's approach may look different externally from other mothers' approaches, but we are all trying to do what Bedevere was trying to do: safely deliver something (or more specifically, Someone) into a place that is, for all practical purposes, out of our control. Now, we differ from those knights in that we are not trying to do it stealthily, or for ill purposes... but we DO need to get the pure, Biblical gospel into the hands, hearts, and minds of the children God has given us.

Funny thing, though, because they built it poorly the first time, the knights' chances of success for any future attempt (like building a wooden "badger") were probably close to nil. They were so busy focused on getting the outside "right" that they forgot to focus on what was INSIDE the large, wooden rabbit.

If we spend our time making the outside *look* right, but we aren't actively stoking true faith, we are setting our children up for spiritual disaster. They KNOW when we are faking it. They KNOW whether or not we really believe God answers prayer. They KNOW whether or not Christ is permeating every part of our homes or just something we "do" on Sundays. They KNOW if our hearts are set towards eternal things or towards storing up our treasures here on earth. We have to let Christ do His work inside of us rather than focusing on getting all the outside things "right".

We need not sit around fretting about if our home looks or doesn't look like someone else's home. We don't have to have the same amount of children, or have the same bedtime routine, or do "school" in the same way, or have the same philosophy about discipline in order to be unified in our goal of honoring Jesus Christ in our family, and teaching our children to trust Him for all of their lives. We don't have to build a large wooden rabbit (or a badger!) just because someone else "succeeded" by building a large wooden structure.

Prayer and obedience should be the keystones of our parenting "method"... and learning from others is great, but should not take precedence over the importance of the Word. Seek to know Jesus and to make Him known in your home... and do it in a way that is natural for how God built you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Harvesting Herbs

The process of harvesting the herbs you've cultivated is one of the most satisfying aspects of growing them. The fragrance of cut herbs fills the air around you, permeates the skin of your hands, and makes you feel blessed. Your basket is full of different textures and shades of the most peaceful green, and all of your harvest can be useful.In the fall, I've made a workbench for myself on our

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Show & Tell: Everything AND the Kitchen Sink

I'm gonna quit apologizing for the length of these posts and just revel in it. Confession time: Hello, my name is Jessica, and I am a link junkie. I LOVE passing on good links and it really lights my fire to see a bunch of out clicks on my sitemeter. So, here we go again. Show & Tell #50 gazillion. ;-)


  • CUT DOWN YOUR BLOG READING by learning how to use a "feed reader". DG takes you step by step, so even non-techies can use this!
  • A solution for those of you wanting a new blog design! BLOGS FOR A CAUSE - Nikki does blog designs and donates part of the proceeds to charities-- Woohoo!
  • Sorting books-- deciding which to keep and which to pitch
  • Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: This series looks GREAT for teaching basic doctrine to young children!
  • Librivox: Listen to public-domain books in audiobook format for FREE! (Especially helpful for homeschoolers-- you could listen to a classic work while doing other things around the home. Also available as a free podcast.)
  • Puritan Library: Challenging Puritan works in e-book format in their entirety online.

  • a daily serving of Engrish/Chinglish-- this is what happens to the English language when put on shirts, signs, store windows, and more in China. Having lived in China for a year, I find this particularly hilarious... but you might too. :-) [Note: very occasionally there are off-color items featured... but most of the time, it is both tame and hysterical.]
  • What does "crunchy" look like?


  • In case you are a young wife/mother/person who has NOT heard about this, it may be helpful. Flylady is a great online resource for cleaning or keeping your house clean. [Now, I should admit: I do not actually use Flylady. I am a Flylady failure... but that is partly because I was not motivated to keep it up when I DID use it, partly because I've lived in more places than I can count in the last few years and have just had to do whatever I could to "make it", and partly because I'm more of a clean-as-you-go and clean-as-the-Spirit-hits-you sort of gal. ;-) But many, MANY of my friends find it helpful. So maybe you will too. Plus I had to include a link that had something to do with the kitchen sink, OK?!?]

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lavender Salt

My friend Eric was interested in making lavender salt to sprinkle on asparagus and wilted spinach salad. It's tasty and easy to make. Here's how.Recipe for Lavender Salt4 tbsp. dried lavender flowers1 c. fine salt (Coarse salt doesn't work as well.)Glass jar with a tight fitting lidMuslin fabricFirst ProcedurePlace two tablespoons of lavender flowers in a length of muslin and wrap securely with

Friday, June 6, 2008

Make Your Own Portuguese Linguica Sausage

Linguica is a robust Portuguese sausage that receives far less attention than it deserves. Unlike its cousin, chorizo, linguica is more flavorful than hot, and takes full advantage of its signature ingredient, paprika. Linguica works as well with egg and fish dishes as it does with beef in hearty stews. If you are having trouble finding a local source for this under-appreciated delicacy, try

Homeschoolers & Socialization

[For those readers whose children go to public schools, please don't read this unless you have a sense of humor . One of the reasons it's funny to me is because of how much it mirrors mine and my husband's public school experiences. It's not intended by me to be a "slam" against people making different educational choices, OK? You know your own threshold for being able to take a joke. So, seriously, if you're going to be offended, don't read any further.]

A friend of mine, Leanne, found this in an Austrailian homeschooling journal, --"In the Kolbe Little Home Journal (Fall 2005), "Homeschooling Family Finds Ways to Adapt to a Public School 'Socialization' Program", and it cracked me up. Just wanted to pass it along for your amusement:
"When my wife and I mention we are strongly considering home schooling our children, we are without fail asked, 'But what about socialization?--' Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the 'in' crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities.

Fridays will be 'Fad and Peer Pressure Day.' We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, the most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car.

Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hall and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality..--.. And we have asked them to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring up morals and values."
Simple enough! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What I Love~Part Three

Okay if you thought you saw this post and then all of a sudden it wasn't there, your eyes aren't failing you. Somehow when I posted my pics and then moved some of them around I caused a problem with the blog in general. My profile and links and everything else that is normally on the right side of the blog were somehow moved to the bottom of the page. I dunno! Look, when it comes to this kind of stuff I'm not exactly the sharpest pencil in the box. I admit it. So I deleted the post and here goes another try. Wish me luck.

I love grain sacks! The thick chunky linen ones, the ones with stripes, the ones with great graphics, I never met one I didn't like! I use them as bolsters on the beds and couch. I stack them under a table in the dining room. I even upholstered an old $5 stool I found at an estate sale. My most recent one has RP on it~Mr. Sweet Pea's initials! He thinks that one's his... He would be incorrect. Sorry but these are my personal collection and are not for sale.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Soil texture that is evenly loose, light, and crumbly.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


A plant with soft tissues. Not woody.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.

What Is a Plant Cultivar

Grape tomatoes next to a standard cherry tomato.

A blending of the terms "cultivate" and "variety", a cultivar is a cultivated plant rather than one occurring in nature. The term refers to "new" strains of existing plants which are produced by breeders or enthusiasts. Some examples are peach colored pansies, grape tomatoes, or chives that don't set seed. (This last is a bit alarming.)

Dampening Off

A disease in young plants in which the stems are attacked at the soil line by fungus.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.


A plant container that does not come equipped with a drainage hole.

Complete Fertilizer

Fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are considered complete because they provide the three minerals absolutely necessary for plant growth.

10-10-10 Fertilizer - By the Numbers

This is usually represented on the front of the fertilizer container with three numbers separated by hyphens. Like: 12-10-5. The first number is the nitrogen content, then phosphorous and

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Best Use of the Time

This verse has been kicking my tail lately-- Ephesians 5:15-16:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Specifically, the bolded part.

The verse makes me ask these three questions: How can I carefully walk in the time I'm given? How can I be wise with the time I'm given? How can I best use the time I'm given?

I've been trying to examine where I spend my time-- in the home-- how am I using my time? While out in the community, how am I using my time? While online, how am I using my time? When my husband's home, how am I using that time? It's hard to do this kind of evaluation, because it (at least in my case) reveals an inefficiency that is easier left alone than dealt with.

Just this morning, I was listening to an Alistair Begg sermon (I love him by the way-- his Scottish accent is just like the icing on the cake of his great teaching!) called "Laziness". He talked about how laziness is a character quality that only snowballs in our lives. We are highly unlikely to one day get up and begin being productive and efficient in our every day lives if we have cultivated an attitude of laziness, sloth, and convenience. He compared it (overcoming laziness) to a mountain we have to climb in life-- only it's a growing mountain. The longer we wait, the higher it gets and more difficult it is to climb it and overcome that weakness in our lives.

Now, in comparison to where I was five years ago, I am a much more efficient homemaker, cook, mother, and wife. But I still waste time on the internet, still spend too much time "playing" and end up "playing" catch-up on household duties because I slacked, and still find that I'm not as efficient and hard-working as I ought to be. So I have things I need to be more careful about... for example, being sure I start the day with a hard-working attitude (because I've found that so much more gets done when I start the day that way). And I need to spend more time on the floor with my kiddos, playing and spending time with them in a way that is meaningful for them.

More specifically though, on this question of using my time, the verse talks not just about carefully using the time, but WISELY using the time. To me that implies making the most Christ-honoring choices with how I'm using my time. Sometimes, that will mean efficiency but sometimes that will mean setting aside the chores and intentionally "playing" with my children with love and building our relationships at the forefront of my mind. Additionally, it will undoubtedly mean saying "no" to some very, VERY good things.

For example, I've been a part of an online parenting forum for a while. But it's taking my time. Time with my family. It's a lovely place to go to talk with other women-- interesting, funny, godly women-- and yet, it's taking my time. I have other places online that I'd prefer to go with the stint of "free" time I have online... so aside from specific questions I might have or issues that might arise, I've decided not to go back there. It's a hard decision-- my arrow often wants to point on that bookmark. But I'm not going back there to just "kill" time.

But I should specifically say this: in the last year of our lives, going through culture shock, pregnancy hormones and all the rest, that place was a good place for me-- a place of fellowship and encouragement-- so don't hear me wrong on this-- I'm not dissing online friendships or forums or saying it's evil or that everyone else needs to quit or anything else. What I am saying is this: for me, at this time, this is the wise choice for me-- to quit "killing time" at that particular online "place".

How can I make the best use of the time? It's a hard question to answer. And the more demands there are on our time, the more clear our priorities must be in our minds so that we can choose wisely how to use these moments we're given. But even if we're not always sure of the "best" use of our time, I'm sure for each of us, there is at least something we can do to make better use of the time...

I'd love to hear from each of you. Is this a struggle for you? Perhaps your struggle is the opposite-- maybe you are too rigid and need to deviate from your schedule occasionally in order to be flexible to what God asks of you throughout the day. But I'd be interested to hear how this verse may have specific implications for your life.

[Incidentally, the first day that I recently came across this verse, I went to my bloglines account and found that Randy Alcorn had written an article about it as well. His is VERY challenging and very well worth your time. It's called, "Planned Neglect: Saying No to the Good Things So We Can Say Yes to the Best". You'll not regret having read his thought-provoking article, even if it does take your time. ;-) ]

Monday, June 2, 2008

Air Layering

Propagation by slicing a section of woody stem and securing the open cut with a damp medium like peat moss. After roots form, the new plant is removed from the parent.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a vocabulary; most specialized areas of learning do. Pick up one new term a day, and in no time you'll be a pro.

Make Lavender Sugar Cookies

You might think it's a little too hot to be baking, but it's not too hot to start harvesting your lavender buds. Once you've made lavender sugar, you can make some very tasty lavender sugar cookies. They are buttery and have that added lavender zing. You might even want to pair them up with some refreshing lavender ice cream. Start making your lavender sugar now: Lavender Sugar Cookies.Sometimes

Sunday, June 1, 2008


An acidifier is any soil amendment that decreases the soil's pH. This would include:Substances That Increase Soil Acidity SawdustPeat mossSulphurWood chipsCottonseed mealLeaf moldCoffee grounds (Be sure to compost them first.)Herbs and Plants That Love Acidic SoilSorrel (French), blueberry, honeysuckle and dandelionThis is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better.

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