Friday, May 29, 2009

Ground Beef batch cooking- large family style!

Next to planning for and teaching school to the children, menu planning and cooking is most definitely one of my most time consuming activities in our large family. Add to that several children who are Celiac and you can see why I love batch cooking!

When I had fewer children I would cook 2-3 months worth of main dishes over a two day period~ whew! That was tiring, but super-rewarding for me. As my family size grew, I found that it worked better to cook large quantities of one meal/day rather than to spend two whole days in the kitchen.

I like to choose the meat that I am going to use, for instance chicken main dishes or, in this instance, ground beef dishes, and then plan my cooking around the chosen meat.

Last fall I discovered that I could get good quality Black Angus ground beef at our local Sams Club for $1.66/lb. The catch? It needs to be purchased in an 80lb box. This meat is significantly better tasting than the ground beef that I used to purchase using loss leader ads at WalMart, so that has been my plan of late.

"What do you do with
80lb of ground beef," you ask? I had a feeling you'd ask that! Here's what we're making this time~ with recipes too!

Ground Beef Batch Cooking Plan- gluten free
  • 20 lb hamburger- used for gluten free meatballs
  • 20 lb hamburger ~used for taco meat (super yummy with taco salad!)
  • 20 lb hamburger~ used for sloppy joes
  • 10 lb hamburger~ used for spaghetti pies
  • 10 lb hamburger~ used for hamburgers (we don't usually make hamburgers, but this time we did for Memorial Day, etc.)

Meatballs~ gluten free!

*yield: 392 meatballs~ or so, but who's counting!
40 eggs, beaten
1 c. tomato paste
5 c. minced onion (or 1 1/2 c. dried minced)
5 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 1/2 c. parsley, dried
1/3 c. garlic powder
1/2 c. salt
15 c. dried gluten-free bread crumbs
20 lb. ground beef or turkey or a combo of both

Combine. Shape into meatballs. Bake on foil-covered cookie sheets at 350 degrees until done~ about 20 min. Cool then freeze in meal-sized portions in gallon freezer zipper bags.

Here are some pics for our recent meatball-making endeavor.... just 'cause. Photos are such fun!

First, a picture of the ingredients. I didn't like how moist the gluten free bread crumbs were, so I toasted them for a few minutes in a warm oven.
Here are my beautiful "assistants" (aka daughters) helping me and humoring me as I played with my camera. Abbie is the offical "goosher" (we like to use clean plastic kitchen gloves to "goosh.") Hannah is the parmesan cheese "pourer." Both very important jobs, don't you think?

And here is Miss Abbie~ "gooshing away!" The gloves really do help~ that meat is cold!

As usual, I got busy in the process and forgot to take any "after" pictures of the finished meatballs. Trust me... they are good!

Meatball Recipes

Spaghetti and meatballs (using gf spaghetti noodles, of course!)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs and rice
Meatball Sandwiches

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 14 oz pineapple tidbits or chunks, undrained
1/4 c. sucanat (or brown sugar, if you must!)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 family sized portion meatballs
1 5 oz. water chestnuts
1 green pepper, cut into strips

Drain pineapple, save juice. In saucepan, combine sucanat and cornstarch. Blend in pineapple juice, water, cider, vinegar and Bragg's. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.

Stir in meatballs, water chestnuts, green pepper strips and pineapple. Heat to boiling. Serve over hot cooked rice (we prefer long grain brown rice~ it's so yummy and good for you too!)

For our family, I would double this recipe. You can make even larger quantities and freeze it, without the meatballs, water chestnuts and green pepper strips.

Meatball Sandwiches

1 c. catsup
3/4 c. sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic power
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
1 family-sized portion meatballs
Sandwich rolls or hoagie buns (gluten free, if you have Celiacs!)

Combine all of the ingredients and add meatballs. Heat in Crock-pot for 2 hours on high. Serve on (gluten free) sandwich rolls or hoagie buns, split.

Taco Meat

3/4 c. dried minced onion
6 Tbsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. crushed dried red pepper
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 tsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. cumin, dried
2o lb. ground beef or turkey (or a combination), cooked and drained
5 c. water

First, cook and drain ground beef. Then place cooked ground beef in large dutch oven, add spiced and water and cook until water boils. Simmer for a until most of the water is absorbed, then cool and freeze in quart sized freezer bags.

We use this with taco salad.

Taco Salad

Here's what we generally use for taco salad
cooked long grain brown rice
cooked pinto beans
taco meat
diced garden-fresh tomatoes (I can hardly wait!)
shredded jack cheese
yogurt or sour cream
Gluten free taco chips

There are, of course, many other things that you could use (homemade guacamole comes to mind~ yum!), but those are the easiest and cheapest.

Sloppy Joes

20 lb. ground beef or turkey
5 onions, chopped
1/2 c. mustard
1 1/4 c. Worchestershire sauce
1 1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. paprika
5 c. catsup
2 1/2c. apple cider vinegar
1/8 c. liquid smoke

Brown and drain ground beef and chopped onions. Add remaining ingredients and either simmer in large dutch oven or in crock pot on high.

Cool and freeze in quart zipper freezer bags.

Serve on gluten free hamburger buns with your favorite condiments~ dill pickles are my fav, but dh Tom just likes additional mustard.

I like to serve these with oven fries and baby carrots. Simple and good.

Spaghetti Pie

*please note: the following recipe yields 6 9x13 pans of spaghetti pie!

54 oz. spaghetti (gluten free for celiacs)
1 c. butter
3 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
18 eggs, well beaten
9 c. cottage cheese (or ricotta)
10 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
4 1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 c. green pepper, chopped
72 oz. diced tomatoes
54 oz. tomato paste
1/2 c. honey
3 Tbsp. oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
4 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook and drain spaghetti. Add butter, parmesan cheese and beaten eggs to spaghetti. Form into crusts in oiled 9x13" pans.

Spread cottage cheese on top of crust.

Brown ground beef, onion and peppers. Drain well.

Stir tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, oregano and garlic salt into cooked ground beef. Pour over cottage cheese. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.


To cook: Bake defrosted spaghetti pie in 350 oven for 30 min. If frozen (cause you didn't plan ahead enough to defrost it~ this is usually how I cook it~ honestly!) Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hour. Still tastes great!

There you have it! There are quite possibly typos in the recipes~ I keep starting and stopping on this post to, well, live here! So let me know if you find any errors. I promise I won't be offended! ; )

Hope this is helpful for someone~ let me know, k?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trust and Obey....

Elizabeth Eliot, a master of distilling truth wrote the following:

Title: How to Know God The order of the Christian's assignment is: hear, do, know. If we hear the commandments and obey them, the Father will make Himself known to us. It is no use trying to know Him without doing what He says. To listen to one word and go out and obey it is better than having the most exalted "religious experience," for it puts us in touch with God Himself--it is a willed response. "If you really love me you will keep the commandments I have given you." It is perilously easy to imagine that we love God because we like the idea of God, or because we feel drawn to Him. The only valid test of love is obedience. Take one thing commanded and start doing it. Take one thing forbidden and stop doing it. Then we are on the sure road to knowing God. There is no other. "You are my friends, if you do what I command you" (Jn 15:14 NEB). "The man who has received my commands and obeys them--he it is who loves me: and he who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I will love him and disclose myself to him" (Jn 14:21). There is the order: hear, do, know. _________

Hear, do, know. It's the faithful plodding, isn't it?

Aren't you grateful for godly examples who go before us? Did you know that you can sign up with Back to the Bible to receive Elizabeth Eliot's daily devotional in your email inbox each morning? Click here to sign up.

Praying that you'll have a wonderful day, joyfully plodding!

*In the works: our ground beef batch cooking plan~ gluten free! Planning to post it later this afternoon or perhaps tomorrow, Lord willing. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Having fun with Color (with lots of pics!)

Today I'm participating in "Metamorphasis Monday" at Between Naps on the Porch. Check out Mr. Linky there to see lots of fun decorating before and after pics!

I've been having lots of fun with color this spring.

I think it all started when we decided to remodel and add on to our kitchen. As I saved pictures in my "kitchen idea notebook" I initially gravitated toward white cabinets. Almost all of my favorite photos that I saved had lots of beautiful white cabinets.

I took bids from a number of local cabinet companies. We ended up choosing British Traditions~ I highly recommend them, especially if you live in the Kansas City area. Their prices are wholesale if you live nearby!

Once I began working with their designer I realized that I could choose several different colors for my cabinets! What a revelation! I began to consider doing something "brave" with color in my kitchen. To my great surprise, my husband agreed.

Up until that point in our marriage, we had both been very conservative in color choices for our home. We used an old Sherwin Williams color "Limonge Cream" on everything! It was nice, warm and "safe"~ I thought it would be good if we ever needed to sell our home.

Here's what I ended up with in our new kitchen though!
(note: lots of pictures follow... you can click on each one for a larger view, if you'd like)

Yellow lower cabinets, terra cotta center island, sage green cooktop cabinet and, yes, white upper cabinets!

Here's a view of the south side of the kitchen...

I chose a buttery yellow for the walls, which in these photos doesn't look very bright at all, but when I initially painted the room (before the cabinets were in), I was convinced that I had made a terrible mistake. I remember calling my mother and asking her to come over and console me! She liked the color though and I chose to leave it alone and live with the color, at least until the cabinets were installed.

I figured that I could always go back a repaint later. Let's face it, in a family with 10 children still at home, it will need repainting again! ; )

The more I lived with the colors that I chose, the more I loved them though.

The rest of the home was due for repainting, but I was still pretty sure that I would repaint the (safe-and-I'm-used-to-it) Sherwin Williams Limonge Cream again. Then I had one of those homeschooling days where it seemed that everything went wrong. (I don't even remember now exactly what had transpired)

Tom arrived home that afternoon to me saying, "Hi honey! I'm so glad you're home! I've called in an order for green paint to Sherwin Williams. I'm leaving now to go pick it up and start painting (if that's ok with you). smile

After our "color success" in the kitchen, I think he was feeling brave, and glad that I wanted to tackle a new room in our house, so he agreed!

Here's a "before" picture of our front room.

When we purchased our home it was a little 3 bedroom farmhouse (we had nine children then). I was thrilled to have 6 acres for animals, etc, so I didn't mind being "snug." But once we could add on, we did.

This was originally the living/dining room. Now it is my office/homeschooling/sewing/scrapbooking/craft area. The other half of the room has our woodburning stove in it. We heat exclusively with wood in the winter~ I love it!

And here's what we have now with the new sage green walls!

Still basking in my success with our newest color choice, I decided to tackle our living/dining room.

Here the "before."

In this room I was super brave (for me!) and actually painted one wall terra-cotta red. Sherwin Williams did a great job of matching the color from our kitchen island for me.

Here's what it looks like now! (the table is turned at a 90 degree angle to where it was in the first picture~ just so I don't confuse you too badly!)

I am planning to hang either a gathering of black and white family photos on that wall or a quilt~ not sure yet. But that's ok with me. It's a process. And I'm really enjoying it!

Lastly, and I know this has been a super-long post, but if you've hung in there this long, you've got to see what I did most recently with our doors! I've really had fun with this one. (although the children have told me that they feel like they're living in the movie "Monsters Inc.")

This yellow door leads from our new kitchen downstairs to our laundry room.

The red door here is Abbie's and the yellow one is Jake and Gabe's room.

Oh, I almost forgot! We also redid our (very, very worn out) main bathroom downstairs. Sorry, no "before" pic~ I hate it when I forget to do that. But trust me, in a house with nine boys, it was really, really in need of renovation!

Tom, the older boys and I did it ourselves and here's how it ended up. (The cabinet was actually meant to be a kitchen island. It was returned to British Traditions and they resold it to us very inexpensively~ and painted it the color I chose to boot!)

I used the same sage green as we did in the front room. I was a little unsure of how the "blueberry blue" that I chose for the cabinet and matched for the door, would look with the green, but I really am happy with it.

Oh, one very last thing on my little home "color" tour (I really mean it this time!), our new pantry! The pantry is now in what was once our original kitchen. It's funny, but it didn't really seem that small when I was using it, but now it does look a little "snug" for all of us to be cooking in.

Anywho... here's my new pantry with it's terra-cotta red screen door! I planned to put a fork on the door for a handle, but we haven't yet figured out how to do that in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Through the doorway to the right you can see into our sage green front room and the blue door that you can see through the doorway to the left leads down to our old basement.

So there you have it. In a nutshell, if it doesn't move, there is a great possibility that I'll slap a coat of paint on it~ and probably a bright color, at that!

There were many years when we couldn't even afford to paint without scrimping and saving, which I think may have partially contributed to my fear of trying something bold. I was afraid of wasting our money. It is good to be content, decorating with what you have and can afford.

If paint is in your budget~ for the money invested, I think you get a fabulous return!

So. my advice? Don't be afraid of color. Color is your friend! : )

Enjoy making your house a welcoming home!

Memorial Day 2009

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

As many of you are aware, we now have a son who is faithfully serving his country in the Army.

As a result, I find myself keenly aware, in a new way, of the sacrifices that so many have made for our great country~ a country unashamedly founded on Christian principles. I praise God for the godly heritage that we have and pray for His mercy on our country in spite of our wanderings.

To read the story behind the poem "In Flanders Field," click here.

Enjoy your day, all the while gratefully remembering....


Friday, May 22, 2009

Some random thoughts on grace....

I've been sick in bed today. The children all have had the dreaded stomach flu ~ gradually working its way through our family for the past five days or so. I, who very rarely get sick, am. A temperature too. Yuck. Do you feel sorry for me? : )

I am so rarely sick that I believe the children were concerned about me. I had a steady stream of little and not-so-little ones come up to my bedroom to check on me. So sweet.

Yesterday was a rotten stinkin' day for me. It seemed that I had too many arguments to settle, children, both little and not-so-little who weren't acting as they should, etc, etc. I kept telling myself, "This too will pass," and reminding myself that actually very few days are like that for me.

Then I realized that I was getting sick last night as I got ready for bed. Ah the need to extend grace~ both to myself (I can be so hard on myself) and to my children. I sometimes forget that there can be physical reasons behind family friction. If I had yesterday to live over, I would have been much more generous with the hugs and the smiles. This too will pass; it will pass.

Today, in between running to the bathroom and sleeping I chose to spend some time reading Steven and Terri Maxwell's book Managers of Their Schools. I can highly recommend this book. Many of the ways that they run their homeschool are also employed by us. I have gleaned some excellent additional ideas that Tom and I will prayerfully consider for the coming school year.

Unfortunately, it can be my tendency to compare myself to others though. Certainly Steve and Terri and honest about their failures and shortcomings and write in an encouraging way~ sharing simply what the Lord has led them to do, not claiming that their methods are the "only God-given methods" for homeschooling success. Still though, I found myself critically evaluating myself and our homeschooling process through the years. {sigh} Probably being sick has played into that as well, as I am characteristically an optomistic person.

Then I took a minute this evening to check out Ann V.'s blog Holy Experience. Her guest blogger yesterday was L.L. Barkat, author of Stone Crossings, (which looks excellent and has been added to my Amazon wish list).

She shares of an experience she had when she showed up for a speaking engagement only to find that she had a large wrinkle in her blouse....

"This is just like me to show up with a wrinkle when I’m trying to look nice. But I thought, “No, it’s exactly the thing, and I’m going to say something about it.” So I drew attention to the wrinkle and asked everybody to get a good look. Then I said I was glad it was there, because don’t we often look at one another’s “perfect” lives and think, “I wish my life was like hers.” But we all have our wrinkles. We speak to one another from broken places. I sometimes forget that and begin to feel that I can’t share wisdom or beauty when I know my life is wrinkled. Still, if I waited for the day of perfection to share, I’d never write another word, speak on another platform."
~L.L. Barkat

So here's my post with a few of my personal "wrinkles." I too, have doubts and failures and can feel totally inadequate to write anything here. But, because of God's grace in my life, I will share with you with the intention of pointing your eyes to Him "who is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think," (Eph 3:20).

So I share grace with you, my fiends.

Have a wonderful weekend!
*to read all of L.L. Barkat's post (and be enouraged), click here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remembering the persecuted church

There are some things in life that are very hard for me to deal with. The persecuted church is one of them. My life, in so many ways, is totally "charmed." I live in a house that is certainly more than adequate (I'm sure it would be considered a mansion in most parts of the world), a husband who loves me and is very committed to following the Lord, and twelve beautiful children (plus a son-in-law now as well!).

Certainly we have had "difficulties" in our life ~ things that the Lord has used to draw me closer to Him ~ a baby born 13 weeks early, several drive-by shootings of our home (I hope to share that story at some point in the future here), etc, but nothing even remotely akin to what so many Christians in the world deal with on a daily basis.

"Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body." Heb. 13:3

Perhaps you are familiar with Voice of the Martyrs. VOM is a ministry that we wholeheartedly endorse. Not only does VOM tangibly meet the needs of families around the world who are enduring persecution, but they also play a vital role in getting information out about the atrocities that are taking place right now.

Gao Zhisheng is a Chinese Christian attorney who is currently inprisoned and almost certainly being tortured. I am going to put a YouTube video at the bottom of my post for any to watch who are interested.

Click here to go to ChinaAid's web site and there you can read the open letter that Gao wrote to the US Congress. In addition, you can sign a petition, obtain email addresses to email Chinese officials and even donate to help ChinaAid and VOM.

This has so much been on my heart this week. What can I, a very average homeschooling mom with a large family and limited finances actually do to make a difference? I can pray~ certainly that is vital~ and I will continue to do that, but I wanted to do more.

Then the Lord gave me this great idea! I am sharing it here only in hopes that it might give someone else an idea of a way to help.

Idea #1: The children and I will sell extra fresh eggs and homemade whole wheat bread at a local farmer's market this summer~ proceeds to be donated to VOM and ChinaAid.

Idea #2: Perhaps I will start an etsy shop with the girls. I have considered selling there for some time, but this, I think would really be fun, if all proceeds could be donated from that venture as well.

I desire for my children to have a vision for not only reaching the world for Christ, but also for meeting the needs of the body around the world. These ideas just might help!

Serving alongside you,

Here's the YouTube video that I mentioned earlier.
*please note: the video contains Gao's testimony in his own words and is dramatized. It is very, very graphic. I cried. Please be discerning about who you allow to watch this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Two of our children have moved on, as adults now. Our oldest daughter Micah is married (and living in New Orleans, LA~which is way too far away for my liking!), and our oldest son Nate is in the army, stationed in Ft. Drum, NY. Oh how I miss them!

Yesterday Nate called home as we were preparing dinner (gorilla pizzas! Click here for our recipe and here for the Gluten Free pizza recipe that we love) and I was able to snap this memory of our youngest, Timmy, as he talked and talked and talked (it is especially cute because only about 2% of what he says can be understood~ he mostly uses sign language to communicate) with his biggest brother Nate.

I love seeing our children interact~ especially when the interaction does not involve some form of bickering! We, like most families, have "our moments," but the Lord has been so gracious to us as our older children love their siblings and continue to invest in relationships with them~ calling frequently to talk with both Tom and I and the other children. This I love. My heart is full.

To participate in Tuesdays Unwrapped (and be blessed by noticing God's goodness in your everyday life), go to Chatting at the Sky.

Rejoicing in the everyday blessings,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Inspired by....

Periodically, I will post interesting or inspiring links here~

Have fun with these when you have opportunity!

  • My good friend Lisa's post on how she has a "summer art school" with her children~ love this idea!
  • Kathy shows pics here of an adorable apron made from jeans! Super cute!
  • Ali Edwards has an excellent post about working through creative fear here~ she has some excellent insights.
  • In addition, Ali encourages you in this blog post to document your weekend~ a great way to rejoice in the everyday and choose to praise God for all things given.
  • Go here to read Ann's post and interview with Leslie Leyland Fields, author of Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt Check out this post as well for some additional insights from the author. I have not read the book yet, but it looks very good.
  • so glad to see Jewels posting again at Eyes of Wonder.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend! We'll be "processing" our chickens today~ should be lots of fun! Anyone in the area here is welcome to come by and help or just observe and learn, if you prefer!

I thought about posting pictures here~ a tutorial on chicken butchering anyone?

Just joking (sort of!)

ps-Feel free to post in the "comments" section below any questions you might have and I will consider them for blog topics. If you would prefer, you can always email me if you would prefer that. I really look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Homeschool Rally in Jefferson City, MO

We were able to travel to Jefferson City, Mo yesterday for an "emergency" homeschool rally. What a privilege for me to be able to take the children to such an event.

We were able to park only a few blocks from the capitol building.

Here are the children, dwarfed by the huge capitol building.

We all loved seeing the statues.

Thankfully, our homeschool lobbiest caught what appears to have been an oversight in committee and the legislators who were contacted about the problem in wording were happy to propose a favorible ammendment to S.B. 291.

I found myself humbled by the opportunity to be a part of such a large and passionate community of parents. In so many ways, I am reaping the fruit of huge sacrifices of parents who were committed to homeschooling before it was legal and accepted. While I have been home educating for 20ish years (If you count preschool! And I do count it) it is those who were committed to home schooling their children way back in the late 70s and early 80s who really fought the battles necessary for me to enjoy the educational and parenting freedoms that I do today.

About 2,000 of us cheered and prayed, hearts grateful for the Lord's mercy and thankful for the privilege to invest in our children in such ways~ not having to hide during the day or fear inprisonment. We are free to raise our children as the Lord leads us, to seek His best for each one of them, to care for them as no one else can (or should).

One item addressed by the ammendment was to define what a "high school credit" is. Public schools are required to provide 125 hours of instruction to equal 1 credit. Interestingly, even the NEA (National Education Association) agreed that the ammendment should clarify that only 100 hours would equal one credit for homeschoolers "because homeschooling is so much more effective." (!!!!)

The amended bill passed both the House and the Senate yesterday, on the 14th and is now on its way to the govenor's desk. A number of lesislators remarked that this was the largest group they had ever seen~ and capitol police remarked that it was an unusually polite group as well!

Tom was unable to get off work, so I took the children by myself (yep, all 10). I know that it is silly, but I am a little intimidated to take all of the children by myself and travel several hours away. But, I was brave (my good friend Justine also drove down in her car with her sweet children), the Lord was gracious and I (we) did it!

I didn't run out of gas, have a flat tire, get lost or have a desperate toddler wet himself either! We had fun on our little adventure.

Humbly serving,

*to read an article on FHE's website about the rally yesterday, click here and scroll down the home page.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missouri Home Educators - Emergency Rally!

I need to make this quick, but if you are a Missouri Home Educator, please read the following information sent to me by HSLDA. This last minute legislation is serious indeed.

I plan to make the trip to Jefferson City tomorrow. If you can't attend, please pray.

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

Missouri--Emergency Rally Tomorrow, May 14 in Jefferson City--Urgent!

HSLDA Members and Friends,

We urgently need your attendance at a rally tomorrow on the steps of the Capitol in Jefferson City at 1 p.m. to stop an extremely serious threat that has emerged with literally no warning. There is no time for phone calls or emails to be effective. We need thousands of homeschoolers physically present tomorrow!

This dramatic threat would massively increase government control over homeschooling. Every homeschooled child (except those in St. Louis City)--whether 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20-- would be subject to compulsory school attendance until they could prove to the state's satisfaction that they had completed "sixteen credits towards high school graduation."

This would suddenly give the state power to control and define what a homeschool "credit" is. It would immediately give the state power to control what is required for homeschool graduation. This would destroy liberty for homeschoolers in Missouri on an unprecedented scale and cause unimaginable problems.


We need 5,000 homeschoolers tomorrow at 1 p.m. on the steps of the Capitol in Jefferson City to send a message: VOTE NO ON S.B. 291. Car pool if possible to make parking easier for others. Forward this to other homeschoolers.


The legislature closes this Friday. This bill could be voted on late Thursday or Friday. S.B. 291 posed no threat to homeschoolers until it was very recently amended to add the credit and graduation provision. Immediate action is required. Families for Home Education (FHE) joins HSLDA in calling for this rally. Brad Haines of FHE will lead the rally.

This is our hour of need. Can you set everything else aside for freedom and be ready in a minute, like the minutemen of old?

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Scott Woodruff

The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Life has been full, full, full here. Saturday Tom graduated with his M. DIV. I can't even begin to tell you how very, very proud I am of him. He accomplished this while working full-time as a sergeant in our local (largish city) police department, and faithfully training and mentoring his dozen children. (He graduated with honors too!) We, as a family, reap the fruit of his labors. I can't even begin to tell you how very rich our family devotion times are as he opens God's Word and instructs and leads us in worship.

Today, I am joining Emily at Chatting at the Sky for

Here's a little glimpse of my today.

The view out my east-facing window this morning as I had my quiet time with the Lord.

How could I help but be inspired?

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?"

Chives blooming with great abandon in my herb garden.

Rain was forecasted for this afternoon, so the children and I worked quite hard to repair my herb garden and get it ready for some new plants. The girls and I are also excited to be putting in a new garden which will be entirely flowers! Ok, the veggies are good~ I love having the fresh organic produce, but I *really* love having the herbs and flowers! Not very practical (I suppose the herbs are sort of practical), but so, so pretty. It is our desire to have such a great abundance of flowers to cut this summer that we can have fresh flowers in every room, with lots to share as well!

So the boys were helping haul compost from our goats and chickens and run the you-gotta-have-man-muscles-to-run-it tiller for me. If you don't have big boys at your house, you're *really* missing out! They also hauled rocks to border my garden beds~ we have a super-good crop of rocks 'round here. Love using what I have.... I've got rocks, so I'll use rocks!

Our day, some glimpses of my life, condensed into one blog post. I feel very, very blessed.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

For such a time as this....

Today, in America, we bring our great nation before the Lord in the National Day of Prayer. In many ways we need to pray as never before. I am deeply sobered and concerned about many things on a national level right now.

There are not many things I can do on a large scale to affect the direction that our nation is headed, but I can pray. Believers, who knows but that you (like queen Esther) have been placed here and now "for such a time as this." To pray.

Pray as though your life and your childrens' lives depended upon it. They do.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A call to action

I haven't forgotten my promise to show kitchen/color pictures! I have even taken the pictures and can hardly wait to show them here, but I don't think I'll have time to post them today.

I do, however, want to post the following video for you to watch. These are sobering statistics, indeed. As Christians, we simply must wake up and reproduce.... both by having children and raising them for Christ and by reaching out evangelistically to the lost world (which is quickly becoming Muslim) around us.

Watch, pray and consider....


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Today I'm joining others at chatting at the sky for

It's an opportunity to delight in the "everyday" and slow down enough to enjoy what has been given.

Boys, boys boys.... with nine of them, I'm pretty used to seeing them in trees. Actually, I try not to look most of the time. It's better on my heart that way.

I do choose to look though, and cheer them on and rejoice with them as they strive to be
men and conquer their world. From the older,

to middle-sized,

to aspiring toddlers....

They all climb and I learn more about praying as each day goes by~ and I'm not only referring to praying for their safety!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Around our house... and a fabulous G. Mueller quote

My oh my have we been busy here!

It all started with our kitchen remodel which we began this time last year. After years of neutral color choices (you know, we'll-have-to-sell-this-house-someday kinda safe color choices), I decided to be brave and chose kitchen cabinets painted with not one, not two, but three different colors!

Here are some pictures taken last fall. It's too dark now for good pictures, but I'll try to take additional ones tomorrow and post here so you can see my crazy color inspiration!

Tom graduates this Saturday with his M. DIV. ! We are so proud of him and will be hosting an open house this weekend for him~ yay! I love having friends over.

Of course, having a group of people over is always great motivation to complete household projects that we have need to get done. So....... Tom and I (with the help of our older boys) have remodeled our downstairs bathroom (I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow as well) and I have been painting, painting, painting~ with lots of color! Walls, baseboards, bedroom doors, nothing is safe now! : ) If it doesn't move, it is fair game for a fresh coat of paint!

So, check back tomorrow for some pictures!

For now, I simply must leave you with the following fabulous quote by George Mueller about feasting our souls on the Lord. Read on to be challenged and blessed.

"While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost though now. . .more than forty years have since passed away.

"The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.

"Before this time my practice had been, at least ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning. Now I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning.

"The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

"The difference between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer. . .But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.

"I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

"It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man.

"As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. What is the food for the inner man: not prayer, but the Word of God, so that it not only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts. . .

"I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials in various ways than I had ever had before; and after having now above forty years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it. How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials and the temptations of the day come upon one!"