Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Blog Site @

Have you made it over to our new blog? If not, go and check it out at! We have some neat articles and recipes over there. Please subscribe to our new site if you haven't already done so.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Our Exciting News!

A big thank you to all who have been thinking and praying for us over the last few days. We didn't get this out by March 1st (sorry), but we wanted everything in place just as we felt it should be before announcing.

Some of you may already know, some of you have been suspicious for quite some time, and some of you wish I would get on with it! Well, you can read all about it at our new website:

We will be blogging over there from now on. It has a different look to it, but we feel like it incorporates more of what we are and will be doing. If you subscribe, then every time we post it will send you an email. We would love for you to join us, so if you didn't subscribe here, please do over there! If you just check in every now and then, then you will have to go the Blog button to get to our latest and most recent posts.

We will be writing and sharing fresh new things, along with bringing out some of our favorite posts from this blog. We have been blogging for about 2 years now and pray that we will be able to continue to share all that our family life entails. The ups and downs, the ins and outs, and some great recipes.

This new website was a part of our exciting news, but it doesn't near state it all.  You will find a heartfelt explanation of what is going on over there.

Thank you for being faithful readers and great supporters.

Thankful for the path God has lead and is leading us down,

Keith and Nichole, Madison, Morgan, Mallory, Meghan, Joshua, Stephen, Maleah, and Mercy

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Warm, safe, and secure in daddy's arms

Last night we took the kids to a big field behind part of the neighborhood that we live in now. You realize how little our yard is when you try to organize a game of kickball for a family of 10! When we found out about this field, we could have slapped ourselves for not going out there earlier. It has become a meeting place for a couple of other families as well. The kids can run free. They have played kickball, soccer, cops and robbers, and freeze tag to name a few.

I am very thankful for it and feel like it is a blessing from the Lord. The fact that we don't have to use gas to get there makes it even better!

Mercy had been fussing while I was trying to get my exercise in and so Keith stood and gently swayed her. We began to have conversation with some friends of ours and she got a picture just as Mercy fell asleep. She was warm, safe, and secure in her daddy's arms. No better place to be.

Thankful for a husband who loves his children loud and gentle,


Monday, February 27, 2012

My New Drying Rack!

We had a good week last week. We had very little appointments and reasons to get out of the house, so we were able to really concentrate on school with no interruptions. Keith was able to work from home. A new friend brought supper to us and it was enough for two meals! Keith and I went on two dates last week! They were short, but we had a great time. One was at a coffee shop and I enjoyed my first cup of chai. The other was at a Thai restaurant and I had my first cashew-crusted chicken. It was great! While we were eating I told Keith that it might not have been the best idea with the nut allergies that some of our kids have, and the fact that I am nursing Mercy. Well, I should have paid attention to that intuition, because the next morning Mercy was red and splotchy and trying to scratch her neck where she was the most broke out! That was a lesson learned.

The couple who kept our children also surprised me with a birthday party when we got home. She brought the decorations and let the kids do the decorating. It is still up today. We thought we might keep it up and use it for Stephen and Keith's bday, which is right around the corner. It was very sweet and we will never forget it.

Earlier that day we all had a family meeting and laid out the plan for the day. Housecleaning!! Everyone was excited, as you can imagine. Keith and boys tackled the bathrooms and mopping. The girls and I did all the other rooms, including dusting and vacuuming, along with preparing lunch. It took us a few hours, but the final product was so refreshing. I think that is the first time we have all done it together. It was fun and rewarding.

What does this possibly have to do with my new drying rack?? Nothing really....except I was able to wash little Mercy's diapers and hang them on our new rack last week as well. I have done several loads on it already. Mostly they have had to dry inside. The picture of them outside with the sun looks a little deceiving. We haven't gotten many of those kind of days here lately. When we did,  I loaded that rack down the steps and out the door. It is light weight and very portable. 

I am excited about the rack for two reasons. One, I love the family that is now selling them. We have their homesteading videos. Though we have never met in person, we feel like we know them. They have five children. Several years ago they bought land out in the country and began to learn homesteading skills to become more self-sufficient. This intrigues me, so we bought the videos when they were on sale and have been following their website ever since.

They have gone through some health trials in the last few years, but always remained faithful to their Savior.

Two, I wanted to let the diapers air-dry. Particularly, outside. The sun acts as a disinfectant and bleaches out a lot of stains that most people put chemicals on to get out.

I was able to use money that friends or family had given to Mercy to buy this rack for her diapers. It is really reasonable. It is handcrafted and they use wood that doesn't rot.  You will see their button on the ride side of the blog. Take a look over there and check out all their racks. They have 3 different sizes. I hope to one day purchase the large one for our larger loads of laundry!

Thankful for my new drying rack and the ability to become more self-sufficient in baby steps,


Friday, February 24, 2012

Pan-Grilled Chicken with Plum Salsa

We are trying out some new dishes at our house. I was ready for something new and different. I didn't want anything super complicated, and honestly I didn't want another casserole dish.

Thanks to my Southern Living magazine, I have tried two dishes with two more to go that calls for chicken cutlets. You could also use pork or turkey cutlets for a change of meat. I like the idea of the cutlet because the breasts are cut thinly, so they cook up quickly. I think if you properly prep for these meals, then they are very doable and cook quickly.

I will be posting them as we try them, but only if they are a success.

So far I have loved cooking these dishes, because they call for ingredients that I either don't use a lot or combinations of ingredients that I would have never thought to put together. Don't be afraid or intimidated by that and give these dishes a try. It was a lot of fun. As a matter of fact, if you have children in the house that you trust can safely use a chopping knife, then get them busy helping you prep and it will be special memories for all of you as you make this meal together. They may even decide to like it because they helped to fix it :)

Pan-Grilled Chicken with Plum Salsa
1 cup of chopped ripe plums (about 2 plums)
1 small jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and diced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. chopped red onion
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp. of salt, divided
2 tbsp. of brown sugar (I used sucanat)
1/2 tsp. of ground cumin
4 (4oz.) chicken breast cutlets
2 tsp. olive oil

Stir together plum, next 4 ingredients, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Stir together brown sugar, cumin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Rub chicken with brown sugar mixture. Cook chicken in hot oil in a grill pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with plum mixture.

Some cooking tips: Pat chicken dry before rubbing with brown sugar mixture and make sure pan is hot enough to give that nice brown caramelization on both sides of the chicken, but not so hot to burn it.
I also steamed some broccoli as our side vegetable, but the you could add anything you liked as a side.

It was very good and we will be doing it again.

Thankful for new meal ideas that are a success,


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I am not a calorie counter

But,  I used to be.

To the point of obsession. It caused me to have a few very difficult years in my past. Although I am thankful for deliverance, I am very sad for the time wasted on being so self-absorbed that I missed out on serving and loving others.

Since that time  I have been able to lean upon the learning of calorie intake from those difficult years to my advantage without ever really thinking too much about it.  It has helped me to keep food in proper perspective. Enjoying it, but not too much of it. I don't ever want to be bound to it again. It is misery and bondage. I have been able to exercise and eat pretty much what I want in moderation and be able to stay the size that I am comfortable with.

Because of my past, I try to be very careful with my own children in how we talk about food and exercise. I have caught myself talking negatively about my own body in front of them. I was immediately convicted. That is not what they need to hear coming from my mouth. Sometimes we say things so flippantly and take no regard for those that are listening and how it might influence them toward a negative mindset and behavior.  So, I try to help them see that they are all different physically, but very beautiful. I want the girls to embrace their femininity and the boys their masculinity.  I want them to have a healthy perspective when it comes to viewing themselves and also their eating habits. I want them to know that their mother is very thankful for how God made me and that I want to take care of myself to the best of my ability. I also pray for them. There is great comfort when I place them in the hands of the Father.   Who could love them more?

I have been pregnant 10 times over the last 14 years. I have nursed 8 children. I have had an increased appetite for quite some time now! I think, though, that I am at a stage in my life that it is going to take a little more concentrated effort to drop a few pounds and keep it off. I want to be very careful. I want to honor the Lord in everything I do....even exercise and weight loss. Just as food consumes some to the point of gluttony, food can also consume some to the point of starvation. The devil loves it when we go in either direction, because something else becomes our god and takes the one true God out of His rightful place. Let me tell you, I do NOT want to go back there.

So, here is my plan (so far). I plan to increase physical activity by walking/running 3-4 times a week and also some strength training with hand weights a couple of times a week. This can only make me feel better. As a matter of fact, I am already feeling better. And, instead of counting calories, I am going to try to cut back on snacking in between meals. My goal is to give this a try for 8 weeks and see if it makes a difference before making any other changes.  I am just hoping to get back into my clothes :) I am on week 3 now.

I believe that setting healthy goals is a good thing. I think what I am doing is setting a healthy goal. It may seem more of a physical goal, but I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the life of a Christian that can be separated from being spiritual as well. He wants me to honor Him even in this.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him," Colossians 3:17