Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby Countdown...Cloth Diapers and Infant Potty Training

One week to go!! I believe I can say that I am just about ready. I would like a few more days to put up some food and allow Keith to get a good week of work in. My body is about to that point, though. I can't imagine my stomach getting any bigger and I have lots of uncomfortable pressure at times. I am still doing my exercises and taking my iron infusion, drinking lots of good raw milk, eating my eggs (my mom and dad just brought us 8 dozen from the chickens we had before we moved!) and kale. We are excited to meet this little boy or girl :).

When we had our sixth baby, Stephen, I began to seriously consider using cloth diapers. I didn't know much about them. I just thought it might save us some money. I began doing it the old fashioned way. Using the diapers with diaper pins and a plastic cover. I would go back and forth between cloth and disposable.

Also, before having Stephen I read an article on Infant Potty Training and wondered if I could do that as well. I am always up for a challenge and at that point people thought I was weird already, so this would just add to the list, and I was ok with that. I did hesitate to ask Keith. I just knew he was going to tell me to just forget it. He wondered why I would want to do such a thing, but he supported my decision.

We waited a few months before beginning. It was a success from the start. We also practiced IPT on and off. Sometimes forgetting to take him. Sometimes consistently taking him. He was probably a little confused baby.

When Maleah came along I knew I wanted to do cloth diapers (without the pins) and I knew I wanted to implement IPT consistently. We were given enough money to purchase 9 Bum Genius all-in-one cloth diapers. We also began to train her to potty from the beginning.

Our experience with both has been good. I will do cloth diapers again with the new baby. The snaps and the velcro make it easy for everyone to change the baby. I enjoy the look and feel of a cloth diaper. I like that I am saving money and waste. I even enjoyed hanging them out to dry and letting the sun continue to clean and disinfect them naturally. I also learned how to properly diaper them at night so they would not get a diaper rash. If we did not do IPT then I would have cleaned out a whole lot more poo diapers, but since we did, that reduced it significantly.

I will do infant potty training again as well (I think). It does take time, but about the same amount as changing a diaper. The time it gets a little frustrating is when we are out and about. When Maleah was just born I had her with me all the time nursing. I could tell when she went to pee or poo. She would grunt a little. I would make a psssss... sound every time. When she turned a month old I put her little bottom on the potty and made the psss sound several times and sure enough she had connected the sound with the action and she peed!! We continued to take her about every 30 minutes and eventually that worked itself out to every 45 min to an hour. We would miss a lot of pee, but we almost always got the poo in the potty :). It was team work for us. Once she was big enough the girls began to help me.

I wondered about 3 months ago if it was all worth it. You really want them communicating to you around a year old that they need to go. Maleah, who is very vocal, never did. We just kept taking her. After cleaning several very nasty diapers when we moved here, I had gotten tired of it. I knew she was smart, could communicate, and she knew what she was doing. We put away the cloth diapers and bought about 5 pair of little girl panties. She wet two nights in a row on herself and had just an accident or two through the day. After those two days she has been fantastic. I knew, as her mom, that she was putting this thing off and I should have done this a long time ago. We are very proud of her and it makes me want to try again and hopefully have a little more success next time.

I did read that if doing this brings about frustration and bad attitudes, then please don't even try it. But, if you would like to lovingly give this a whirl, then I say go for it! 

I know this is not detailed enough for anyone wanting to try either, so leave me a comment and I will try my best to answer any question that you may have.

Thankful for my little tots,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good Times

My niece, Devin Williams

My new dumpling maker :)

Blake holding the ball for Stephen

Stephen holding the ball for Blake

We were surprised this week with an unexpected visit from my youngest brother, Randy, and his wife, Jodi. Along with them came my little niece, Devin. She just turned 4 years old. She is a sweet heart and our kids love to see her. Sometimes I wonder if all of our kids overwhelm her since she is an only child, but she always fits right in. They stayed for two days and we enjoyed every minute.

Before they left,  Maleah and I sent them off with a home cooked meal of chicken and dumplings. This is about the only time that I do use white flour in the house. I have tried wheat dumplings before and let's just say that they did not go over very well! I thought Maleah did well for her first time baking. She did end up eating most of her dough. Yuck! But, she seemed to like it :).

We also had a great Thanksgiving over at Larry (Keith's older brother) and Rhonda's house. They have two very sweet children as well. Blake and Leah. Blake is a teenager and Leah is 11 years old. I was so thankful for the time that Blake took up with our boys. They played football and wrestled and played hard outside. Joshua and Stephen love him to death. Leah also made all of our girls feel very welcome and they all played together for hours. We had fantastic food and it just turned out to be a very relaxing day. Later we all talked about the gift that it was for us. I told the kids before bed to please be sure to thank the Father for such a blessed day.

Yesterday, we worked and worked in the house. All of us together. We are getting ready for Papa and Granna to come in tonight. Papa will spend the night and go to church before leaving to go home tomorrow. The good part is that he is leaving Granna behind! She will stay until the baby is born. It will be a blessing to have her here. She is so good with the kids and they all love her so much.

Our time together as a family has been something that I do not ever want to take for granted. Even when our sour attitudes try to get in the way and spoil everything... my prayer is that we can all overcome our selfish natures and learn to love and serve each other. These are precious memories and I am very thankful for them.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baby Countdown and The Word

Today marks 2 weeks left until the due date!      Our hope is not on a certain date, but it does give an idea of when to expect this little one. Did I mention that typically we go over the due date? Like 10 days to 2 weeks over. I am praying that doesn't happen, but also trying to trust in God's perfect timing...even if it means 4 more weeks of this condition!

I met with the midwife this morning and everything is looking great. Baby is in perfect position. My iron had gone up almost an entire point!! Yay for Iron Infusion!! I was so hoping to see results other than just feeling better, so I could say that it really works. I am so thankful for God's creation and the knowledge that people have to steer us toward healing and nourishing herbs.

I have felt some anxiety and nervousness over the last few weeks about the labor and delivery with this child. Fear too. I know that by choosing to go natural again, that it will bring with it discomfort and pain. Along with that, is just the simple "unknown" of every birth. I needed to distinguish if this was fear from the enemy or was this something from the Lord. I have asked many to pray with me about the situation. It seemed that all the outside circumstances had unfolded for us to plan a home birth in a positive way. But yet,  the feelings that I was experiencing was stripping away all confidence.

I know that the Bible teaches that when our hope is placed in Christ and our mind is fixed on Him, that we can experience His peace that passes all understanding. I have been purposefully reading scripture in light of our upcoming situation. And with that, the Lord has been faithful to help me prepare spiritually for the birth of this precious gift. This will in no doubt be the most important preparation of all. I know that I need His strength and provision. I am so thankful that I can call on Him. So, I want to share just a few of those passages that I plan to have on hand with me. I want to acknowledge the One who breathes life into us and sustains us until the day He calls us home. I know this child has a purpose and His plan is for him or her is to glorify Him.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"...he sent me... to grant them....the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit....that he may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:1-3

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Luke 11:13

These are just a few that I have benefited from reading and applying. My prayer is to have several written down and taken with me during the labor. I want to meditate on His Word. That is how I pray this baby will enter into the world....with his/her mother speaking God's truth over him.

Thankful for the peace that has come in knowing I am walking hand in hand with the Father,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Eatin'....whole wheat dinner rolls, sweet potato soufflé, and fried turkey

I can't wait until Thursday to finish off this Thanksgiving menu. So, today I want to complete the meal by giving you the recipes for whole wheat dinner rolls drenched in an extra virgin olive oil and butter mixture topped with chopped garlic that simmered on low for about 5 minutes. Also, a sweet potato souffle that I was introduced to when I was only 19 years old and visiting the state of Virginia! Last, but not least, there is nothing like a good, fried turkey that has been rubbed with some butter and Keith's special seasoning. We don't like to fry too much around here, but you just about can't mess up a turkey that has been fried and it tastes delicious.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups of hot water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw honey
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon Real salt
3-4 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup freshly ground flax seed
1 tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoons of rice bran (optional)

Mix first 5 ingredients well. Add a couple of cups of flour and then all the flax seed along with yeast and rice bran. Begin to mix and knead. Continue to add flour until the dough is workable. Knead for 5-10 minutes.  Put into lightly greased bowl. Cover. Let rise until double in size. Punch down and lay onto floured surface. Roll into a really long snake-looking dough. Pinch off small pieces and roll around in greased palm and lay onto greased baking pan. Let these rise until double and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden on top.

Oil and Butter Mixture with Chopped Garlic

4 tablespoons of real butter
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves of chopped garlic

Melt butter in saucepan on low heat. Add EVOO and chopped garlic. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Once the rolls are finished baking and still warm, pour the butter and evoo mixture over the tops of the dinner rolls.

Keith has never been a big fan of garlic, but when we had these recently at an Italian restaurant, he asked if I could try and make them. I was surprised. We load it with garlic and since we all eat it, then we all have lovely breath for the next day or two :).

Sweet Potato Souffle

3 cups of mashed sweet potato
1 cup of sucanat or sucanat with honey
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients well and put in small casserole dish (or you could do cute individual dishes).


1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/2 stick butter

Mix together with hands and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
This is really one of my favorite dishes. It is sweet, but not too sweet and the topping with the pecans makes it fantastic. I am not a big marshmallow fan and if I see a souffle with those on top, I will normally bypass it. This topping however, is the best. To me :).

Fried Turkey

One big ol' turkey
Stick of butter
Any of your favorite season mixes or just salt and pepper
2-3 gallons peanut oil

We did not have a little injector thingy, nor did I want to buy the stuff that they sell for you to inject turkeys with (most are loaded with preservatives). So, Keith rubbed the butter all around and under the skin. He then liberally sprinkled with our own mix of different spices all over the skin and under the skin. Once the oil in the deep fryer reached 350 degrees, he carefully put the turkey in and fried it for 3 minutes per pound. Our turkey was done in less than an hour. He took it out and covered it with tin foil. The turkey rested for 15 minutes or so and then he carved it for us. It was moist, well-seasoned, and delicious. As always.

Honestly, you could roast the turkey preparing it this same way, with great results as well.

brushing the skin with melted butter

got to get under that skin with the butter and seasoning

having a handsome husband do it for you is extra nice

and into the fryer it goes...always protect the little ones from getting around this

Our prayer is that this Thanksgiving will be about more than the great food, but also a time of personal and corporate reflection on the goodness of God and all that we have to be thankful for. For some, this is a very hard time and to even think of something to be thankful for will be difficult. My prayer is that God in His grace will reveal to you the things that you still have to be thankful for and that your heart will become of heart of praise that will lift you above your circumstances.

Thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus paid so that me and my family can benefit from His forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Monday, November 21, 2011

We tried...we will try again

Last week was one of the busiest weeks we have had in a while. Seemed like non-stop activity. Keith has found a job!! He will be doing some construction-type stuff and not sure what all else yet. It will definitely help out with the finances. God has been so good to provide for us. I already miss him being around so much, though. With that, it means he has to take the van (our only vehicle), which makes our days interesting if I need it as well.

Thursday night we were privileged to eat with a couple of the families from This Hope. A singing group that are members of FBCW. We had them at the last church we were a part of and have also heard them sing at different conferences. They are very talented and they all came from Alaska! Stephen (our 3 year old) has one of them and his sweet wife as his cubbies teacher on Wednesday night. He was super excited to get to eat with them. He loves his class and I love to see his big smile when I mention their names. We had a fantastic time. Such sweet-spirited people.

After that evening I asked Keith to please not make any plans to go anywhere Friday and Saturday, unless he really felt like we needed to. I was exhausted and needed to catch up with things here around the house. So, that is what we did. And, it was a good and refreshing time just hanging out here with everyone kind of  doing their own thing and then coming together and playing games and romping around in the woods, frying a turkey, watching GA beat Kentucky and that super-duper long kiss that Coach Richt gave his wife (ha!). I could read his lips right after the game as the camera was up close on his face. He said, "Where is my wife?" That is the first person he wanted to see and celebrate with. It was special, I thought.

Of course, we had great services yesterday. Keith and I said several times how thankful we are for a healthy body of believers and the presence of God that we feel during the worship time and also our Sunday School classes. Our prayer is that more churches will become this for all those people out there who desperately need it. Because really, it is Christ reaching out to those He loves.

Well, I will end with a few pics of Saturday. Our kids wanted a fire in the fireplace so bad that they got up early, put on a coat, scarf, and mittens, and headed outside to the woods. They had to climb a steep hill and together they collected a big box of sticks and also a few logs that they found. It took them quite a while and they were very proud of all their hard work. You can imagine the disappointment that night when their daddy told them it was too warm to build a fire.

This is where I had to step in. I pulled him to the side and asked him to please start one. Even if we had to open the windows and doors. Even if we had to get in shorts. Even if it would make us sweat. These kids had worked hard! The pictures should speak of themselves.

Such a good daddy

Where did the fire go?

Maybe if we all blow on it, it will start back up?

Needless to say, we did not get a fire. The wood was too wet. Keith tried. The kids were satisfied with his effort. We will try again :).

Thankful for the rich mercy of God that allows us to be a part of special moments like these,


Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Eatin'...whole grain dressing, sauteed kale with bits of turkey bacon, and cranberry sauce

I promised that I would get on with this Thanksgiving meal with something other than dessert,  so I decided to give 3 great side dishes that would compliment that great Turkey that we are all anticipating. We will start with whole grain dressing, which is made with homemade whole wheat bread (made with freshly ground whole wheat flour), homemade cornbread (made with freshly ground cornmeal), kale (my new best friend in the greens department) with turkey bacon bits and red pepper flakes, and a homemade cranberry sauce (made with fresh cranberries and sucanat with honey).

Whole Grain Dressing 

4-6 slices of whole wheat bread
1 pan of corn bread
1/2 cup of finely diced and sauteed onions and celery
4 cups of chicken broth
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble the breads into a small rectangular casserole dish. Beat the egg and mix in the chicken broth. I like to make our own chicken broth. It makes for a much tastier dressing.  Pour over bread. Sprinkle sage, salt, and pepper and mix it in the bread mixture very well. It will be a little soupy, but will hold together with the help of the egg once it is finished baking. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for atleast 45 minutes. It should look slightly golden on the top.

Simple gravy

4 tablespoons of real butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in saute pan on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir with a whisk. Let this cook for about a minute to get the "flour" taste to go away. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking all the while. It should be a good gravy consistency. You will know exactly how thick it is once it begins to bubble. I would add broth slowly and let it bubble a couple of times. You can always add more broth to make it thinner, but it is much harder to get it thicker if it has become too runny.

Kale with Turkey Bacon Bits

One bunch of fresh kale separated from middle stem and chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons or so of sauteed turkey bacon chopped into bits
salt and pepper to taste
butter and olive oil

In a large saute pan, melt about a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped kale and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Saute this for about 5-8 minutes, turning every minute or so. The last minute add in the turkey bacon bits (you will want to have already cooked these up in a pan until crispy. I like to use Applegate's turkey bacon that is uncured and has no preservatives) and toss.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sucanat with honey

Boil the water and sucanat with honey on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Once it begins to boil, add the cranberries and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat a little and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and pour into strainer with a bowl underneath. Using a spoon strain as much of the sauce out as possible. The only thing remaining should be a little pulp. Place in the refrigerator and it is ready to serve in an hour. It will keep for several days, so you could definitely make this ahead of time.

These are great dishes that are really pretty simple with few ingredients. The key to great taste is trying to do some of these ingredients yourself. It will be worth it!

Thankful that the great tastes of Thanksgiving can be enjoyed any day of the year. Even today.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baby Countdown and the Brewer Diet

3 weeks until our due date!

Last week I probably gave out too much info. for a blog post on preparing for labor and delivery using the Bradley Method. That really only skimmed the surface.

This week I wanted to post a little (maybe :) ) on the diet recommended by Dr. Bradley and also my midwife, the Brewer's Diet. I was first introduced to this diet when we were expecting our 7th baby, Maleah, by our midwife. It really was not that different than how I normally ate, except the increase in dairy and protein.

I am sure there are some of you out there who cannot tolerate dairy, and so you would have to tweak this some.  I knew that if I had to increase dairy then I needed to try and find the best products out there. We, after some research, decided to go to raw milk.  We also tried to buy raw cheese or atleast organic as much as possible.

Good nutrition is advised by most, I know. But, the emphasis of good nutrition, I fear, is not pushed near like it should be in a normal prenatal care setting. Our midwife knew that proper nutrition could and would prevent many complications that so many women face during their pregnancy and also during labor. It also makes for a healthier baby!

A good diet can prevent toxemia, anemia, abruption of the placenta, severe infections of the lungs, kidneys, and liver, miscarriage, etc...

So, what does Dr. Brewer, an OB who practiced for 40 years, recommend as a good, nutritious, balanced diet?

Every day of the week the expecting mother and baby needs:

1 quart (4 cups!) of milk. If concerned with calories, you can drink skim or 1 percent (yuck!). (I drink whole milk) You could also substitute cheese and yogurt.

2 eggs

1-2 servings of fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, veal, lamb, pork, liver, or kidney.
alternatives include: Rice with beans, cheese or milk/cornmeal with beans, cheese, tofu or milk/beans with rice, bulgur, cornmeal, whole wheat noodles, sesame seeds or milk/peanuts with sunflower seeds and milk/whole wheat bread or noodles with beans, cheese, peanut butter, milk or tofu.
Cheese- 6 oz. cottage cheese, 3 oz. cheddar, 3 oz, swiss, 4 oz. monterey jack.

5 servings of whole grain breads, rolls, cereals or pancakes, 100 percent bran flakes, granola, shredded wheat, wheat germ, oatmeal, buckwheat or whole wheat pancakes, corn bread, tortillas, corn, bran or whole wheat muffins, waffles, brown rice.

One or two servings of fresh, green leafy vegetables; mustard, beet, collard, dandelion or turnip greens, spinach, leafy lettuce (not iceberg), cabbage, broccoli, kale, swiss chard.

2 choices from these that supply Vit. C; 1 whole potato, large green or red bell pepper, grapefruit, lemon, lime, papaya, tomato, kiwi, strawberries.

3 pats of real butter

In addition, include in your diet:
A yellow or orange colored vegetable or fruit 5x a week.

Liver once a week (if you like it!)

Table salt (Real Salt) to taste

Water: drink to thirst (don't get dehydrated)

It is important for the mother and baby not to go even 24 hours without good food!

Whew, that is a lot of food. I really thought that I would get as big as a cow eating like this. I gained around 25 pounds with the last baby and looks like it will be close to that this time. I feel good and Maleah was and is still a very healthy little girl.

I do happen to be a firm believer that good nutrition would cut out a lot of health problems that we see in our nation. From little ones to the older generation. We will not ever be perfect, but let's try to do what we can to make the quality of our life better by eating foods as close as possible to the way God created them.

Thankful that all of these foods are within reach when so many struggle to find enough food to stay alive,


Monday, November 14, 2011

Investing in the Next Generation

Yesterday we were asked to bring our family in at the end of a Sunday School class that consisted of senior adults. They were all wanting to meet us and present us with a gift. Keith is friend's with the Sunday School teacher. He came to the first church that Keith pastored and did some deacon training for him. He is almost twice Keith's age, but very dear to him. Keith has always enjoyed being around men who are older than him. I think it is because he loves to learn and be mentored by men who are living out their faith.

At first, I will have to be honest, I felt silly walking in to this big class and standing in the front of all these people. I felt like we were the Duggar family :)! Even though, we are only half in size.  Was it pride that I was feeling? I felt like our family was on display and it was very awkward.  So this was the family that some had seen walking around the church. This was the family that all sat together during service. This was the family that had toddlers in tow and a mama about to pop! I stuffed down those feelings and walked inside the doors to the front of the class with all the children and Keith.

As the teacher introduced us and had Keith tell a little about where we have been and where we feel like we may be going, all those thoughts vanished and I had an overwhelming feeling of the Lord's presence. We were not a family on display and this was not for show. The class gave us an offering and told us how much they wanted to help us while we were here. They said that they knew they only had a short window of time with us and their desire was to invest in our family. These were adults who are in their last chapter of life. The last quarter. The last inning. Adults who know that their time with Jesus is drawing near. Although none of us know exactly when our time is, it is without question that when we near 70 we will be so much closer than when we were 30.  They showered us with encouragement. Even to the point to encourage the children by telling them that many have noticed them in the service and how well-behaved they are. Telling them that they are an example to so many others. ( Now, I have to tell you before you feel like I am implying our kids are perfect, when we got into the service early I looked up to see Joshua and Stephen fighting. Joshua would not let Stephen pass by and Stephen bent down and was soon to apply teeth to the leg when I firmly told them to stop. Keith had to take them to the bathroom and I thought, "wonder if they saw that"?!).

The reason I am sharing this is because, in the prayer that the teacher prayed over our family he said, "Lord, I know that by the time these kids are grown and you are using them for the advancement of your kingdom, most of us will be on the other side." They are eternity minded! Realizing that the investment they make in our family in different ways will outlive them. I have no doubt that we will be in their prayers and I am sooooo thankful for that. They see beyond themselves to me and Keith. They see beyond me and Keith to these children of ours. And, I believe they see beyond these children, to those who will come behind them. It reminds me of the words of a song...

"May all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave,
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful."

Are you eternity minded? Do you see beyond this life? And, are you sacrificing to invest in the lives of those who come behind us?

Thankful for senior adults who are making a difference for the cause of Christ,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beauty for the Battered

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning ,the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:1-3 (see also Luke 4:17-19)

May you find, on this special day of worship corporately with the body of Believers, an exchange for whatever you are facing in the daily living of life. May your ashes become a headdress of beauty that speaks of the glory of the One we serve.


Pictured above:
Morgan with a scarf she knitted and finished not too long ago wrapped around her head. It was a cold and rainy day. She is beginning the making of something new. To us, it is beauty, because she made it with her hands. Taught by a woman of godly beauty as well, Mrs. Sharon Moore.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankgiving Eatin'...pumpkin pie.

Last year at this time we were harvesting our own heirloom pumpkins from our garden. I was amazed that we actually had some grow and then ended up with 5 or 6 large pumpkins. They were beautiful and tasty. I was able to give a couple away and cook up the rest to put in the freezer. The amount that we put up lasted until this year! We made plenty of pies and pumpkin muffins with all of it.

Well, we were not able to grow pumpkins this year, but we picked up some really cool ones at a pumpkin patch up near Ellijay. Our kids love pumpkin pie. They will eat it for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. The two youngest aren't as crazy about them as the older children, but needless to say, they don't last long at all in our house (the pies, not the children. The children have lasted for quite some time now :) ).

I posted a recipe before on pumpkin pie and I am going to post it again. The only difference in the recipe that I will give and what you see pictured above is that I chose to use all pumpkin in the pie above. The recipe calls for some sweet potato. If you have the time, it is worth it. Both ways will make a great pie!

You will need pie crusts for two pies. We use a recipe using freshly ground soft white wheat.

Double-Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups of freshly ground soft white wheat flour (or 2 cups of all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cups and 2 Tbs. butter (12 Tbs.)
4-7 Tbs. cold water
*2 Tablespoons of sucanat with honey
Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter. Add water and mix. If the dough is too wet add a little flour. Divide dough in half and roll out on floured surface. Makes 2 pie crusts.
*I am thinking of adding a little sucanat with honey  (2 Tbs.) to this crust because this particular pumpkin pie recipe is not super sweet (which I like).  *I did this with the pie above. Liked it. You can also find this available at the Bread Becker's website.


2 cups of half and half
3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or 1 3/4 cup of fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup of drained pureed sweet potatoes (from can or fresh)
3/4 cup of sucanat (or sugar)
     go checkout to find out what sucanat is
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (yum!)
2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger or 2 teaspoons of dried powdered ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon of salt

*With the pie above, I increased all the spices to double from the original recipe. We enjoy it with a little more spice. It works well both ways, though.
While the pie shell is baking for about 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, whisk cream, eggs, yolks,and vanilla together in bowl. Combine the rest of the filling ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a sputtering simmer over medium heat (takes a few minutes). Continue to do this, stirring, for about 10 minutes allowing the extra water to evaporate and the spices to incorporate. Remove pan from heat and whisk into the bowl with the cream mixture. Stain through a fine mesh strainer to get out  lumps and the stringy ginger. Pour even amounts into the two warm pie crusts. Cook on 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn down to 300 degrees and finish cooking until the middle looks a little "jiggly", which could be anywhere from 30- 45 minutes. The pie will need to cool and set for atleast 2-3 hours. It is soooo worth the wait. It is so pretty and shiny. Just like a picture.

Adding the sweet potato will give it a more orange color and shinier surface.

Soon, I hope to give you a pecan pie recipe made with maple syrup (no corn syrup!!). I have already made one and it turned out good. We are going to play around with the ingredients a little before I post. But, I will tell you that the maple syrup did fantastic and it held together just as if I had used the corn syrup.

And yes, the "real" food (if you ask our kids, the pies are "real" food :) ) will be coming soon to help round out this Thanksgiving feast. We are starting from the bottom up! Desserts, side dishes, and finally the turkey!

Happy Baking and Eating.

Thankful for children who delight in the simplicity of a homemade pie,


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Countdown...a Nine Month Marathon.

4 weeks to go!!

When I contemplated going natural again with the birth of this little one, I knew there were going to have to be some changes for me to gain confidence and hopefully make the end process somewhat easier. Could my birthing experience be any easier? Was it possible to prepare yourself in such a way that labor could be better? shorter? less painful? less complicated?

It wasn't very comforting to read this past weekend,  "To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childrearing; in pain you shall bring forth children." Genesis 3:16a. Well, pain is obviously inevitable. BUT, I haven't lost hope in doing my part to make it the least amount of pain as possible.

This is not my only motivation. I also want an uncomplicated birth and a healthy, strong baby.

I have been reading a book called "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Dr. Bradley. I have gotten a reaction of, "you have done this 7 times, and now you think you need a book to tell you how to do this?" YES!

If his theory and teachings are right on, then all of my earlier questions are answered with a "yes".

I love Dr. Bradley's view that the upcoming labor and birth is seen as an athletic event. I played sports in high school and college. I have tried to remain active since then. It resonates with me. I am familiar with the importance of discipline and consistency, although I have never trained for a marathon. I have only ran a 5K! Having a baby is definitely no 5K :) It is hard work. It requires energy of an athlete, conditioning of an athlete, and the nourishment of an athlete. I personally believe the emotional and spiritual conditioning involved throughout will play just as big of a role as the physical training.

So, if there are any males out there who may be reading this and want to check out at this point, please do. I am going to respectfully list a few things that Dr. Bradley recommends for the expectant mother desiring to prepare her body for labor and birth.

1. Nourishment
     This involves Sleep and healthy Food.
SLEEP- Needs proper sleep and rest. Trying her best to keep stress out of her life (really?) or atleast coping properly with the stress that enters her life.
FOOD- he is a big advocate of the Brewer's Diet, which I hope to write of in detail next week and give reasons why. It really consists of things we should be eating already, with an emphasis on possibly increasing good protein.

2. Prenatal Exercises
     These exercises will involve the muscles in the three B's- Back, Belly, and Bottom. They need to be strengthened and flexible.

TAILOR SITTING- or what is also called "Indian style" sitting. This is really not hard to do, atleast for me. I have recently met someone who said this is very uncomfortable because of how stiff  and unflexible she is. I was surprised. This may be more difficult for some than others. Do this as much as possible. It helps the enlarging uterus to fall freely forward instead of tipping backwards.  Crossing our legs is a big no-no. It causes varicose veins, hemorrhoids, uterine prolapses, etc... It is actually the natural way to sit in Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and other parts of the world. Now, I know I can't sit this way in the middle of church or Sunday School and for some of you working moms, in the workplace. But, do this as much as you can.

SQUATTING- for those women who don't have little ones yet, this exercise will have to be more intentional. For those of us who do, you will find yourself not purposely squatting many times a day. Take advantage of this. And, pay attention to how you bend over to pick up things. I was amazed how I usually bent the back and not the legs to retrieve something or someone off the ground. The proper way is to squat with your legs bent and rise up- tail first! Funny, I know. It will increase the outlet diameter of the pelvis and reduces the chance of needing a cesarean section. It is the most effective pushing position in second stage.  Do atleast 100 a day.

PELVIC ROCKING- This one was a little harder to envision, so I recommend you try to look up a demo on You Tube to see the proper positioning and exercise. It is a lifting (not arching) and relaxing your lower back rhythmically while on hands and knees. You are on all fours and you feel like a dog wagging it's tail up and down, not back and forth. It actively exercises the lower-back and abdominal muscles, which need to be strengthened to support the increasing weight of the offspring growing in her uterus. This helps to prevent varicose veins, chronic back strain, fallen womb, toxemia of pregnancy from decreased kidney circulation.
Do twenty or so midmorning, after lunch, midafternoon, and increase this to 40 before bedtime.

BUTTERFLY EXERCISE- This exercise is to strengthen the "abductor" or legs-apart muscles. Lean back against a firm support with your knees together and feet flat on the floor. Have someone place their hand on the outer surface of each of your knees and exert mild pressure to help you hold your knees together as you use  your thigh muscles to push them apart. It should take no more than 3 seconds for you to get your legs down as far as comfortable. We will need to be able to do this comfortable so that we can open that baby door when it is time! Do this about 3 to 10 times a day.

KEGEL OR PUBOCOCCYGEAL EXERCISE- Most of us who have had children have heard of these exercises. No longer can one cough, sneeze, laugh, run, jump on the trampoline, etc....without proper protection. It just isn't like it used to be. And, I know you know what I am talking about :). This exercise will strengthen the muscle of the vaginal opening through which the baby actually passes by. Weak muscles in this area can make for a longer second stage and perhaps a cesarean if the baby does not keep its chin on its chest. It is a tightening and loosening of this muscles. Similar to the muscle action of stopping and starting urination.  It will help during pushing the baby out and also encouraging the baby to keep its chin on its chest.
Do this as often as you can throughout the day. Good thing about this, is you can be with anyone, anywhere.

RELAXATION PRACTICE- Very important. This is where I lose it during the pushing stage. Because, for one's body to be relaxed, so must the mind. This is where a support team will help to keep you focused and relaxed as they speak words of encouragement and do things to help keep you relaxed. I will also touch on this next week along with nutrition as to what I am hoping to use to help me intentionally prepare to become more relaxed during the whole experience.

Sorry for this being so long. It may have been more for me than you!! I would recommend getting the book if you are interested for yourself or for someone you love. If there are things that we can do that will decrease the likelihood of a c-section, toxemia, preeclampsia, etc...then I think we need to not only inform ourselves, but other women as well. It can only empower us and give us confidence as we embrace motherhood.

Thankful for and praying for a fast and easy delivery,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Secret Church

This past Friday night, Keith and I were able to attend Secret Church that David Platt and the church he pastors organizes a couple of times a year. We had a sweet friend come and sit with the children, put them to bed, and then wait, wait, wait for us to come home. It started at 7 and we got home at 2 in the morning!!

I believe this concept of Secret Church birthed from his experience with meeting with many around the world who were desperate for teaching in God's Word and they would meet secretly, for fear of being caught and punished, for hours. It is dangerous for them to meet. We take so much for granted. 

It was an intense six-hour Bible study. We also prayed for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. The intent for those listening is to take what we learned and pass it along, making disciples in all nations.

Honestly, I wondered if I could hang the whole time. That is a lot of focus and attention given to teaching. I am pleased to tell you, it was not difficult at all. Of course, David spoke on marriage, family, sex, and the gospel. I love to hear teachings on the family. I love to be challenged in my relationship with the Lord, which will affect my relationship with my husband and children. If I can allow God to work in these areas, then I know He will branch that out to others. And, that is when we see our families reaching those around us for Christ TOGETHER.

A couple things I would like to leave with you that God used to prick my own heart and remind me of the importance of  gladly embracing God's role for my life.

My marriage to Keith is a picture of the gospel of Christ to this world. Well, a lot of my world has to do with my children right now. How convicting was it to think that when I get in a bad mood and forget to smile and serve Keith in love and I speak unkind, I am not displaying the gospel. When I argue with Keith in front of the children and show my rebellious spirit, I am not displaying the gospel. When I undermine him and go against him and manipulate him or hide things from him, all while the children are looking on, then they are NOT seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  May my love for Jesus rise me above my own selfishness. May my desire to see our children come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ keep me aware of my desperate need for Him to make me the wife that shows clearly the mystery of this gospel that changes lives.

Secondly, a statement that David made cut right to the heart. It was directed to our intent and purpose in the rearing of the children God has given us. "Jesus expects them to leave us behind to fulfill His great commission."

It would be nice to know that we could purchase a hundred acres of land and make it home to all of our children and their little ones in the future. I can't say that God doesn't ever do that. Whether He does or not, my goal should always be to raise these children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord all while praying for a heart to "do whatever and go wherever" for His glory. To know that there is a possibility that I will never experience time like I have with them now ever again as they grow and go in different directions in life, motivates me. It also helps me to see them and this season of life with different eyes. No, they are not little long. Yes, they will grow up fast. How am I spending my time with them?

Madison and I are able to spend our Wednesday nights together. Through this teaching I thought of this precious time that I have and how I need to use it wisely. Pray for me, as I feel led to disciple her one-on-one. She is 12 years old and I am thinking of leading us both through a study on purity.  It will be a time we will never forget.

Lets keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus. The world has soooo many distractions. We need the church and God's people to encourage us and remind us and enable us to keep our focus and our heart set on the Lord and His Word.

".....which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast...." Psalm 78

A verse that I am asking the Lord to help me minister to my family with, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

Thankful to be reminded to gladly embrace God's role for my life,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Eatin'...Apple Dumplings

Yesterday I posted about doing a Baby Countdown, well today I would like to kick-off a recipe that will be the first of several that will make any holiday meal complete with the taste of buttery apples wrapped in whole grain crust with a cinnamony sweet syrup made with sucanat. Of course, we topped ours with a scoop (or two or three) of vanilla ice cream that began to melt quickly over the piping hot dumpling. It really is heavenly.

I will take you either from the top to the bottom, meaning dessert all the way up to the turkey, or I may just skip all around until we get to the turkey. Yesterday we made a pan of dressing that I have been craving for a few weeks now, so that may be next. Just know, that when all is said and done, I hope to have you a complete meal of ideas for you to serve for your family this coming Thanksgiving...or before...and definitely afterwards :)

When our family visited an apple orchard several weeks ago in Tennessee, Keith got this out-of-this-world apple dumpling. We had to come home and try it. But, it had to be made with healthier ingredients or I knew it would only be a one time deal. So, out came my Bread Beckers Recipe Collection book and I began to google apple dumplings. This is the result.

Apple Dumplings

1 recipe for a double-crust pie
6 medium to large Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup sucanat
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups water
2 cups of sucanat with honey or plain sucanat will do
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon and nutmeg

double pie crust
taken from Bread Beckers Recipe Collection

2 cups of freshly milled flour (hard white) or
  2 1/2 cups of freshly milled flour (soft white)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups and 2 Tablespoons butter (12 T.)
4-7 Tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter. Add water and mix. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. If it is too dry, add a little more water. Divide dough in half and roll out on floured surface.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9x13 inch pan.

On lightly floured surface, roll pie crust into large rectangle about 24x16 inches. Cut into 6 squares pieces. Place an apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward. Cutter butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each apple. Reserve remaining butter for the sauce.. Put a heaping tablespoon of sucanat inside the opening of apple letting some fall around the base of the apple. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the apples.

With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to top of apple, then bring opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal. Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal the apple. Place in prepared dish.

In a saucepan, combine water, sucanat, vanilla, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg (to your liking sprinkle it in there)  on medium heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, or until sucanat is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Cooking and Preparation Tips:

Unless you have an apple core, gently core the apples with a small knife to keep from splitting them apart.

Make sure the pastry is not stuck to surface before placing apples on them or you will have a mess on your hands. It may require a little more flour on the surface. You can always brush it off before placing in the dish.

Don't get all worried if your dumpling looks like one blobby mess once covering your apples, just try to work the dough evenly over the apple. They will come out great anyway.

To me it was important to add some extra cinnamon and nutmeg to the sauce. It not only made your house smell wonderful, it gave it that extra flavor that it needed to round out this fall dessert. Less nutmeg than cinnamon. Nutmeg is very strong.

It took a full 60 minutes to do mine. You need to try your best to make sure crust is evenly distributed around that apple or one part will get more done than another. You are looking for a crispiness to the dumpling that will hold up to the sauce being poured over it.

When ready to serve, use a flat spatula to dip it out into a bowl. Spoon a generous portion of sauce over the dumpling. If you like, add a little whipped cream or all-natural ice cream on the side. Delicious!!

So thankful that God allows us to find pleasure in the foods that He has created and we can enjoy them in moderation,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baby Countdown...Iron Infusion

Today marks a five week countdown until the due date of our new little one. Now, all those who know me and know how my usual pregnancies go, know that we go about 10 days to 2 weeks past that date. BUT, I am praying and hoping that will not take place this time :) However, if it does, by the grace of God we will trust in His perfect timing. In the meantime I will be posting once a week on some of the things that I have done during this pregnancy to prepare me for the birth of our eighth child.

I can remember with the very first pregnancy, Dr. Malmborg from Waycross, Ga, had to prescribe me iron to take. My hemoglobin was low even back then...a young 22 year old. That seems ages ago! I have always struggled with that. So, you can imagine that when we had Maleah and I lost so much blood, it really sent me for a loop. I was very weak for almost a month. I can't say that this will not take place again, but I want to do my part of preventing it.  Hence, the introduction to Iron Infusion.

I am taking an over the counter iron pill. I am still mildly anemic. I am taking folic acid and vitamin c to help it absorb into my body. I am still mildly anemic. When the Bulk Herb Store sent out an e-mail a few weeks ago with this Iron Infusion recipe on it, I decided to jump on board. It is very similar to the Mama's Red Raspberry Brew that I have been drinking. This is a pleasant tea, but I needed to drink 3-4 cups a day to get in the recommended dosage. That has been a little difficult to keep up with. This new infusion is much more concentrated and I only had to "sip" on it through the day.

Never once did it occur to me the taste would not be very pleasant. I followed directions and strained that stuff into a cup and took a sip. Oh my word...I didn't know if I could do it. I was determined. I sweetened it with some honey and refrigerated it. 2-3 times a day I go to the fridge and take several gulps, all while holding my nose and having something else to drink to follow. It is the only way I can do it. I will go for an appointment with my midwife on Monday and she will test my hemoglobin. I am praying to report good results to all of you.

I can say this, my energy level is great. A good sign of the iron taking affect. I know this is a little blunt, but any of us who have had to take iron before know that it can cause constipation, which is so frustrating. This actually has the opposite effect. I have NO problems in that area. I love that it is immediately going into my system and I can almost feel the immediate difference. Well worth the unpleasant taste. This may make for a long post, but for those of you out there interested, I wanted to give a brief overview of all of these herbs and the directions for making your own Iron Infusion :))

Iron Infusion
1/2 cup Nettle Leaf
1/2 cup Dandelion Root
1/2 cup Alfalfa
1/2 cup Yellow Dock
1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf
Water, Simmering

1. Place all herbs into a glass quart jar and pour simmering water over them until the jar is full.
2. Screw the lid on the jar and let it sit until it becomes cool. Strain off the herbs.
3. You can sweeten it at this point if you want and then refrigerate it.
4. Sip on it throughout the day.

Nettle Leaf- blood purifier. Contains bitter compounds that increase the flow of urine, are antiseptic, and relieves pain. It also contains astringent compounds that shrink inflamed tissues and stop bleeding. Nettle has been used to treat urinary tract infections, inflammatory skin infections, diarrhea, and asthma.

Dandelion Leaf- aids digestion, relieves liver distress, and treats all manner of ills from dropsy, jaundice, and kidney stones to warts and psoriasis. One of the best blood purifiers and builders available. High in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. Restores and balances the blood so that anemia that is caused by a deficiency of nutritive salts disappear. It is the herb for low blood pressure (which I have) and helps build energy and endurance.

Alfalfa- means "Father of all Foods". It has been called the king of plants because it is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace elements. A good source of carotene (Vitamin A) and Vitamin K. It has eight of the essential amino acids and highest chlorophyll content of any plant. Permits rapid assimilation of any plant elements.

Yellow Dock- Contains bitter compounds that laxative, increase the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, especially bile, and increase the flow of urine. It also contains astringent compounds that shrink inflamed tissues. Yellow Dock is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Selenium. It has been used to treat liver congestion, constipation, arthritis, rheumatism, inflammatory bowel disorders, and inflammatory skin conditions.

Red Raspberry Leaf- Contains astringent compounds that relieve pain and shrink inflamed tissues, especially in the female reproductive system. It also contains bitter compounds that relieve smooth muscle spasms. Red Raspberry is an excellent herb source of manganese. It has been used to treat morning sickness, nausea, dysmenorrhea, false labor, colds, flu, and fevers.

Please visit for more information on these herbs and what they can do.

Thankful for the knowledge that has been backed by science in the "world of herbs",


*I am obviously not a doctor, so please only proceed with herbal alternatives after much research and consideration on your part.