Trusting an unknown future to a well known God

ID 1002549991 300x220 Trusting an unknown future to a well known Godphoto attribution jump by luigi diamanti freedigitalphotos.net

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

–Corrie Ten Boom

Do you lie in bed at night thinking about the unknown?  Question how you are ever going to make your finances meet?  Wonder why there are people in your life that only hurt you? Live in a state of anxiety because you don’t know what your future holds?

As Christians we are called to a life of faith.  What is a life of faith?
Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. It literally means a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to do.
We can  make the best plans for our life and try to carry them out in our own strengths.  Or we can make “safe,” careful plans and ask God to bless what we do in hopes that He will listen.  Yet another way of working is to begin with God.  We can ask Him, His plans and to offer ourselves to Him to carry out His purposes.
Not knowing our future and what it holds is a scary thing.  I think especially for us mothers who like to “control” things.  We feel like if we plan and get things all set up just right then life will work out.
A few weeks ago I wrote about where does your security lie?  Little did I know that God would use my own blog post to speak to me about my own security of the future.
Shortly after I wrote that post, I had found out that we would need to be leaving our home.  This was fine as we have been talking of purchasing a home later on next year so we just thought God was moving us a little quicker in the process.  Well we started the process and got the ball rolling and it seemed comfortable and the logical safe thing to proceed with.  A few days later my husband had received a phone call from a potential employer in a state 700 miles away from us.
If you know my husband, then you would know that  it has been his dream ever since we were married to move us down south to enjoy a life of warmth year round.  He does not enjoy being cooped up for the long winter months of the north.  He would enjoy nothing better than to be able to take his family out in nature and do things together for most of the year instead of just through the summer months.  Part of me agrees.
I, as the supportive wife, just always said, well if the Lord wants us to do it, then He will make it work out.  Never really thinking that the Lord would interrupt my cozy life of friends and comfortableness that I have grown to love.  I mean I have just finished filling my freezer full of food from this years harvest, surely He wouldn’t move me across the country???!?!
Well nothing is ever set in stone.  As of now, we wait.  We wait on a application pending to go through for a home.  Then we see where we go from here.  Living a life of the unknown can be frightening.  So what are we to do?
We prepare our field.  I don’t know if everything is going to fall into place for us to move down south—even though it seems to be so I have to do everything to get ready and then wait on God.  For now, I sell.  I sell off things that we don’t need.  I find homes for our pets.  I weed out and throw away junk knowing that if I make the move down south, I will be fully prepared.  But if the Lord decides to close a door and we end up staying here and getting a home, I will be able to move without all the “stuff” I thought I needed but really it is just extra junk.
Deep down I know that my heart yearns for new possibilities and experiences. My life, like most people of the modern world, has become comfortable and quite easy. We work hard trying to build this fake sense of security in our lives.  We plan, buy, and set up this “perfect” little thought of what we believe our life SHOULD be like.  For those of us that aren’t able to get what we want out of life—financial security, life insurance, debt free living,  or stability in relationships continously search for this facid of security which can only be found in the known and comfortable.
The problem with the known is that after a while it becomes monotonous, than miserable. People know they are miserable but don’t change because at least being miserable is something they know is comfortable. The thing you have to understand is that life is not secure, life is dynamic not mechanical.  It is meant to be lived as a life of faith.

I have these word plaques on my stairwell that I could see each day while sitting in my living room.  One of the words was FAITH.  I was continually reminded when things were going crazy in my life that I must have FAITH and trust God to see me through my problems.    Another word was HOPE.  HOPE was something I would see every night as I nursed my baby a few years ago.  It was during those lonely times I would cry out to God as I was struggling with trying to make everything work being a Mom of many little ones.  The word HOPE gave me strength to keep going.
Something rather comical is that my word plaque of HOPE got broken and I had to throw it away shortly after my little one stopped his late night nursings.  Guess what?  I had worked through my need for HOPE and had no need to be reminded of that promise from God.   Months later my plaque of FAITH had gotten broken as well and I had to throw it away.  My need for FAITH had been embedded in my heart and I KNOW that God is in control and I don’t fear.
I was packing up the last two word plaques that I have left and while packing them, God reminded me what my next step of life is to have…COURAGE and FAMILY.  God wants me to be courageous in my new chapter of life with my family.  Being courageous instead of fearful of the unknown. You will need courage to go into the unknown. In the beginning all your fears will come to the surface, the only way to move ahead and accept your fears is through courage. To be a courageous person you will need to leave your analytical mind and live with faith.
People might think your crazy. They may question what it is your doing  and want you to look at life more seriously.    Having faith will transform us by transforming and encouraging the world around us.  Opposition and the “unknown” become a great motivating challenge and when adversity is turned into opportunity it reveals a greater personal resource.  When things work out and we become successful, because it is Gods plan than it makes us become more than we were before.
When we encourage and share with others through testimony of the trials and faith that we had to go through our  world becomes a better place because of it.
“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries it shall be done.” ~ Charles Wesley

An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

Okay, you have all heard the songs……Let it go……….let it go……..and of course Do you want to build a snowman?…..I am not an advocate of the Frozen movie as it has some things that I am prone to wanting to deter my children from but my children still know what it is.

My children and I like to watch all the youtube videos of people that have done parodies to the different songs. The princess is one that my daughter likes to dress up as.  She is just like any normal little girl who likes to play dress up with frilly capes and crowns.

We decided to do a Frozen themed birthday party and we did it rather inexpensively.

For the birthday girl, we let her help make cupcakes and then decorate all by herself.   IMG 20141003 140644 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

This was the highlight of her day.  Ooey, gooey frosting and sprinkles yes definitely made a mess…..but she loved every moment of it.IMG 20141003 163619 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

For her birthday lunch we kept it light.  We were going to be enjoying a big dinner later on and I didn’t want to fill them up too full.

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Pinterest had tons of ideas for Frozen foods, we took one of the ideas and made the snowman on string cheese. I served whole wheat pretzel sticks, apple slices, and homemade peanut butter.  Easy but nutritious.IMG 20141004 114143 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

Then of course, what birthday lunch wouldn’t be complete without letting your children eat in the living room!! A forbidden thing in our home. IMG 20141004 115356 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party Just make sure to put the messiest child on the floor.  Here he was sitting on some party decorations.   IMG 20141004 115405 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party We had simple decorations.  I bought a pack of coffee filters and made them into snowflakes.  We hung them with fishing line.  We decorated with Christmas lights and pink balloons.  It was a request from the birthday girl.

IMG 20141004 152725 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party For the menu, we went with the Swedish theme as that is where the movie is taken from. –or so I think?!?!IMG 20141004 1527401 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party We made Sven’s Swedish Meatballs–he is a character in the movie.

IMG 20141004 133821 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party We also had an Olaf cheeseball.  This has been one of our favorite snacks to make for parties.  Again, a character in the movie.

IMG 20141004 133949 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party We served Olaf’s nose—carrots and Elsa’s snow dipping sauce—ranch dressing.IMG 20141004 152734 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party For the Swedish theme–I thought of sauerkraut and sausage.  I think I can link Swedish and German foods together??!?!  Maybe not, but I was dying to try out my new homemade sauerkraut and this was a perfect time.  It was DELICIOUS!!  We put mini sausages inside, making this a new favorite.

We also served macaroni and cheese.  It didn’t have any correlation to the movie, but it was the #1 requested food by the birthday girl.

IMG 20141004 155832 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party I haven’t made any play dough since last winter, so this was a treat for my children.  I made white “snow” play dough and the children enjoyed making snowmen with googly eyes and sequin pieces that I got from the Dollar store.

IMG 20141004 132531 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party     I also made a new recipe with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil–much healthier results. IMG 20141004 141421 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party       We made a pin the nose on Olaf.   IMG 20141004 165749 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

Of course, it is REQUIRED that all family members participate.  Here is our oldest daughter.IMG 20141004 170202 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party And our eldest son. IMG 20141004 170253 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

We also played simple games like throw the snowball (cotton balls) into the bucket.  We played Elsa, Elsa, Olaf—her version of Duck, duck, goose.

Simple games, the little ones focuses are not long.  We keep them short, and don’t focus on the winning or losing aspect.  Just a fun time.

Gifts:

IMG 20141002 233400 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party I made these wooden people based on the movie characters.

Next, I wanted to make her some sort of princess item.  I am not big on sewing but came across this DIY no sew cape from makeit-loveit.

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Here is what my pattern looked like when I cut it out.IMG 20141002 233616 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

I then took and “burned” the edges so that they wouldn’t fray.  This was neat and left them with a wavy edge.  Looks neat.IMG 20141003 0005341 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

I then painted snowflakes on the cape.  I put paper plates underneath while it was drying.  I used acrylic paint.

For the enclosure to the neck, I used velcro with sticky backs.  No sewing needed just stick it on.

 

 

IMG 20141004 164727 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

This cost me about $5 to make.  Very simple.  I actually had some satin material that I have since made capes for the other girls and one Larry Boy cape for my son.IMG 20141004 171451 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party Her nickname is “Posie”  so Lauren our birthday decorator made the sign on the wall with the help of other sisters.  It is a tradition that when the little ones wake up the house is decorated with streamers, balloons, and a sign.  It has been done by Lauren every since they were little.  When I had so many little ones, it was just enough to get through my days, who had time to blow up balloons and decorate?  Not me, so thankfully my daughter enjoys doing that as a surprise.  Each child puts in their request for decoration colors or themes and then Lauren decorates.

For her cake, she wanted Superman ice cream.  I realized that this is something that you can ONLY get in Michigan.  Or so I was told.  We decided to make a “frozen” birthday cake.  I made a funfetti cake mix and baked it as usual then froze it.  I  topped it with partially thawed superman ice cream.  Froze that and then topped with whipped topping and added blue sprinkles. 

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It was yummy.  I wanted to make another kind in case not everyone liked superman ice cream, so we went with the chocolate theme.IMG 20141004 174549 300x168 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party

I did the same thing as the superman frozen cake.  I made everything in layers and froze it in between steps.  It had:

  • chocolate cake
  • chocolate ice cream
  • chocolate syrup drizzled
  • chocolate covered toffee bits
  • whipped topping
  • chocolate syrup drizzled

To top off the night we had some homemade hot chocolate to go with our frozen theme.  This is one recipe that we like to make many times during the winter months.

IMG 20141004 174639 168x300 An inexpensive frozen winter birthday party It was a happy day, full of fun, laughter, and memories.  It didn’t cost us an arm and a leg, but we were still able to do something special.

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Happy Birthday Autumn!

play dough made from coconut oil

I remember back in the day when I had only 4 children, I did crafts almost every day with my children.  We made many messes with markers, finger paints, play dough, glue, you name it we made it!!! I had a close friend who was staying with us while her husband was on deployment and she couldn’t believe that I would “allow”  my children to make such messes.  It stressed her out because she had little ones and mine were older and not as prone to making such a huge mess.  I laughed and thought it was funny, then my time came.

I slowly started having little ones and my craft cupboard got leaner and leaner as I had more children.  Today I still don’t “allow” markers, finger paints, and all those individual Oriental Trading crafts with sticker backs, aghhhh!!!  It grew out of a need because my little ones would mysteriously appear with a mural on my walls from markers.  Or I would find lovely stickers stuck to my wood floors in the bedrooms.  I decided to just get rid of anything that was too messy.

We do keep crayons, scissors, and glue but that is all.  I try and keep it up high on the shelf and we don’t have too many problems with crayon marks appearing on the walls all of a sudden.

One thing that we do make for the winter months is play dough.  Basically I just know that it is going to require a complete clean up of my dining room and I expect that.  I let them play and then we just clean everything up.

I usually make it with canola oil that we used to use.  Well I don’t buy that anymore and I didn’t want to waste the money buying something that I didn’t have, I wanted to try a recipe with coconut oil.

The results were excellent.  I noticed no difference in this kind from the canola oil I used to make.  I love the fact that my children are getting a healthy dose of coconut oil naturally rubbed into their skin, which is much better than vegetable oil.

Here is what we mixed up in a large pot:

  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp cream of tartar

I put it in the order above and turned the burner on low.  I stirred until it mixed up—in my opinion it mixed up better than my old recipe with vegetable oil.  I then kneaded it on my counter until it was smooth and pliable.

 

IMG 20141002 194951 300x168 play dough made from coconut oil

Sorry for the “glare” from the window. Here the children were having fun playing with it.  I bought some googly eyes and sequins from the Dollar store for them to make snowmen.  I know—messy!!  But they are having fun. IMG 20141004 1414211 300x168 play dough made from coconut oil

My table has a fluted table top and that can get annoying when your children are playing with play dough.  It likes to get stuck in the creases.  I just let it harden and then take a small screwdriver and scrape out the flutes.

Messy??? Yes, but fun memories for my children.  As  a mom, I like order but I also have to let my children enjoy things.  I like to call it organized chaos!! We can’t be so “stuck in the mud” and never let our children do anything because they might get messy or it takes too long to clean up.  It is better to have to clean up your little boy who has been crawling, yes you read that correctly, around in Daddy’s shop playing with wrenches and tools and his clothing covered in grease then to be the complaining, overbearing wife who likes to “control” things.  I don’t let my children run free and create messes always, but I do allow them lots of fun, free time, exploring and creating things that make a mess.  It helps foster creativity in your child and can be a little fun for mom too.

When is the last time you sat down and created a cupcake out of  play dough with your child?  Or have you sat and enjoyed dirt cakes with grass and flowers for tea?  How about playing with popcorn seeds in a small area for your little guy to scoop up in his mini front loaders and dump trucks?

All those creative, messy things can be fun memories for your child.  My children still like the feed corn pool that we had in our basement.  What a mess it could be!!!  But it was okay, it was out of sight in the basement and was a fun treat to go play in when it was cold.

It’s good to be the “free-living” individual every once in a while. Make up a batch of this “good for your skin” play dough.   Let down your guard and “allow” some mess!!

swedish meatballs

If you need a great dish to bring for a potluck or if you just want to WOW your family with your culinary skills, then this is one to consider!!  Swedish meatballs homemade are amazingly simple and taste wonderful.  I normally do not make them with ground pork but opted to for this recipe and the results were delicious.

You can serve these plain right out of your serving bowl or cook up some egg noodles to serve them over.  Either way, they are delicious.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1-16 ounce container of sour cream
  • thickening agent– choose what is in your pantry
    • 1/2 cup potato flakes
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 2 T cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
    • 2 T flour mixed with 1/4 cup water

 

IMG 20141003 141104 300x168 swedish meatballsPlace all your ingredients into your mixing bowl.  I just love my purple plastic bowls from the Dollar store, thank goodness for fall colors.

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Mix all of your ingredients together and shape them into balls.  I used a cookie scooper to get the same shape.  I then put them in my glass baking dish and froze them.  I wasn’t going to make them that day and wanted them to stay firm.  The next day, I took them out of the freezer and put them into my oven uncovered at 400 for 30 minutes until browned.IMG 20141004 1157371 300x168 swedish meatballs

I poured my beef broth in the baking pan and let that cook for another 20 minutes. I checked my meatballs to be sure they were cooked and then finished off the sauce.IMG 20141004 152740 300x168 swedish meatballs

I whisked in sour cream and potato flakes.  Covered it with tin foil and let it cook at 325 to blend all the flavors for 15 minutes and then served it.  Delicious!!

Serve plain or over top of egg noodles.  Make this ahead of time and freeze the meatballs in plastic baggies.  Then when you want to make them, just pour it into your baking dish and cook.  Takes less time.  Enjoy!!

Fall book list updated

There was a time in my homeschooling “career” that I DID NOT read any books to my little children.  I know *gasp*  horrible, horrible homeschooling mom:)  It was during a time in my life that just getting through our daily routine was enough for me.  But now, my life has become much easier.

My children enjoy our reading time and my older ones that didn’t get the reading time when they were little are beginning to read at a young age and quiet well.  So I know that they didn’t miss out. To the moms of many little ones out there, stop worrying that  your older ones will be “less smart” because you are not able to devote early age schooling.  They will turn out fine.

We usually sit during lunch time or after and read about 5-7 books at a time.  These have been fine to read to our preschooler on up to the 9 year old.  Even the 14 year old will sit and listen some of the time.

Here are some we have enjoyed…….

too many pumpkins Fall book list updatedToo many pumpkins by Linda White

**please note, there is a jack o lantern reference in this book.  My children do not partake in Halloween to any extent, in this book the woman carves pumpkins and places a light in them, to light a path to her home.  My children didn’t really ask or think much about the carved pumpkins except that the woman used them as a lighted path to find the “party.”  Wanted to note this so that maybe you would view the book before you read it to your children to see if that is something your family would like to be exposed to.

51qtIKEh0zL. SX258 BO1,204,203,200  Fall book list updatedFall leaves fall

 Fall book list updatedWhy do leaves change color by Betsey Maestro

This is a good informational book to explain about the leaf process.

 Fall book list updatedThe Pumpkin Runner

scarecrowbook Fall book list updatedHello Mr. Scarecrow

leaf man 1f5ylex Fall book list updatedLeaf Man

14973 Fall book list updatedLeaf Jumpers

 Fall book list updatedApple Cider Making Days

 Fall book list updatedThe apple Pie tree

Applesauce Season Fall book list updated Applesauce Season

A Friend for All Seasons Fall book list updatedA Friend for all Seasons

 Fall book list updatedBear has a story to tell

51zsocaQAFL. SY344 BO1,204,203,200  Fall book list updatedEarl the squirrel
51NX8999esL. SL500 AA300  Fall book list updatedfall mixed up

**note some halloween reference pages, we just skipped them

 Fall book list updatedHello, squirrel

 Fall book list updatedHooray for fall

hqdefault Fall book list updatedLeaves

 Fall book list updatedMaple syrup season

 Fall book list updatedNuts to you

 Fall book list updatedRed leaf, yellow leaf
 Fall book list updatedTen red apples
 Fall book list updatedThe scarecrow dance

**this is a great book that references God in it:)

 Fall book list updatedTuckers apple dandy day

 Fall book list updatedThe stranger

 Fall book list updatedApples, apples, apples

Do you have any other fall related books to add to the list?