Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Seeds to Harvest

This looks like a fun blogging world challenge and one I have already started. Check it out here, From Seeds to Harvest.

As I mentioned Monday, I am trying the Square Foot Gardening this year. My wonderful and handy husband built me a couple 4x4 boxes already. We are waiting for the vermiculite, one of the Square Foot Garden ingredients and then we will be ready to fill the boxes and plant away.

I am still not 100% sure what we are planting. I am thinking of flowers, herbs and vegetables though. I thought I might start with some of what Mikah gets in his "blends" everyday and expand from there. Carrots, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, chard, other lettuces. Maybe some basic herbs, basil, thyme, parsley, sage. Some marigolds, I love how they smell and they remind of when I was a little girl and my mom and dad had a fairly large (it seemed large anyway) vegetable garden. Zinnias and sunflowers. I guess just a mix.

I am planning on trying the Square Foot Gardening method of growing any vine plants, cucumbers, squash, melons, tomatoes, vertically instead of horizontally by putting a trellis in at least one of the beds. I also have a Clematis vine that we tried to kill last year and guess what! It didn't die! I will transplant it and put it in a corner of one of the boxes next to our deck.

Ellie seems to be excited and she has already asked what she can grow. She wants to grow marigolds and she has helped me start a compost pile. She loves running food scraps, napkins and toilet paper rolls to the compost pile. Actually, she found it quite amusing that toilet paper rolls could be added to the compost pile :) Now I just need a little compost bin or bucket for adding scraps to throughout the day in the house so we aren't making a trip outback every 5 minutes.

This year we are following the directions for Mel's Mix for ease of getting started. Next year though I would like to try the Lasagna Gardening method of layering with stuff found in our backyard. These authors both wrote wonderful books on their methods which will be some of my next purchases for my own personal library.

I also read in the No Greater Joy magazine recently that Mama Pearl has her own Heirloom Seed collection through the Bulk Herb Store. Something I have yet to look into but definitely peeked my interest for seeds to buy.

Happy gardening!

A Sense of Urgency

How to instill a sense of urgency in my 4 y.o. ???

I am frustrated...She has a chorepack. We have been using it for several months now. Simple things I know she knows how to do and is very capable of doing. I have witnessed her accomplish them in a timely and efficient manner on several occasions without my help, except maybe to brush her hair and teeth. She is to put her pajamas away, get dressed, brush her hair and teeth, make her bed, pick up her room and feed the dogs. Like I said, she has done all of these things independently multiple times and very joyfully.

This morning, and this is not an isolated occurrence, I was finishing feeding Mikah and then feeding myself and cleaning up breakfast, changing Mikah's diaper and a couple other odds and ends. All of which took about 20 minutes. Ellie was to go and start her chorepack, the first thing being to put her pajamas away and get dressed. So, 20 minutes later when I finished all my breakfast stuff I went down the hallway to start on my after breakfast chores and walked past Ellie's room to see her NAKED body dancing around her room! Naked! Nothing even close to being on her body. How long does it take to get dressed?

So how do I instill in her a do it now and dance around the room after I am clothed attitude? If I am not right there with her every second, which I can't possibly be, she seems to become distracted so easily. I know some may say she is so young. My response is that she CAN do it. I have been witness to this.

Is it an obedience issue?

Just some Wednesday morning musings...Any thoughts?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook~ April 27, 2009

For Today April 27, 2009...

Outside my window beautiful green grass, flowering trees, daffodils drooping to make way for more of God's amazing flowers, breezy and sunny...

I am thinking what a peaceful day so far and how good it is to hear from friends...

From the learning rooms we started The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading..Ellie is loving it and now she wants to know when we are going to start learning how to that daddy has a new job maybe we can buy the program we want...

I am thankful for God's providence...for His grace He has bestowed on us with the blessing of my husband's new job that he started today...he was only laid off for 12 weeks, we know of many who have been laid off for 6 months and longer...

From the kitchen tomato basil chicken breasts, little red potatoes, broccoli and maybe some brownies...

I am wearing a pink shirt, capris and barefeet...

I am reading a couple juicing and fasting books, also Created To Be His Helpmeet...

I am hoping to create a peaceful and relaxing enviroment for my husband to come home to this evening/next several weeks...

I am creating organization with my digital pictures on my computer...

I am praying for a peaceful transition as daddy starts working again...

Around the house laundry to hang up outside and children resting quietly...

One of my favorite things was having my husband home for 12 weeks...

A few plans for the rest of the week buying vermiculite, compost and peat moss, Mikah has an eye test/appointment tomorrow and the sleep clinic will be calling to set-up a time for his sleep study, cleaning out the kid's old clothes, just trying to get back into a new groove and schedule...

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

My first Square Foot Gardening box. I will post more pictures as it comes along...

For more Simple Woman Daybooks visit

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beautiful Words

Philippians 3:7-16

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ear tubes, Sleep & Noses

First I have to comment on the Oh So Gorgeous Day!! Isn't God so fabulous to allow us a little sunshine :)

Today Mikah had a follow-up to a follow-up to a follow-up to his ear tube/ptosis surgery from January of 2008. Each time we meet with his ENT doctor I like him more. He came off really bad the first time I met him and the second time. Maybe it is the location...we have been seeing him in Westerville now instead of the main Children's campus. It is a much calmer, quieter atmosphere. But I digress...

Ear Tubes: Mikah's right ear tube is still tucked neatly in his eardrum working it's little magic of draining junk. His left ear tube is (or was at 11:30am) laying comfortably inside Mikah's ear canal waiting to fall out without anyone noticing and disappearing into the vacuum cleaner the next it is in operation. His ear canals have grown to the point though that the doctor did not need to use his ultra fancy high powered microscope to look in Little Man's ears. This is a good thing.

What do you do about that?? We wondered the same thing. I guess we just wait and see if it matters. If we start to think he is having trouble hearing or if it becomes infected (he has to date never had an ear infection, the tubes were because he couldn't pass a hearing test) than we will explore the possibility of replacing the ear tube. For now we wait.

Sleep: Or should I say lack?... Okay, I am joking...sort of... Most of you know Mikah has never slept well, except when he was first born and we had trouble waking him. I guess then he slept well, a little too well. (Digressing again...) His ENT took one look in his throat this morning and immediately asked us how his sleeping was. We both mumbled and stumbled and basically came up with Ehhh...not too good. Actually it is better than it was which isn't saying much. Some nights you have to listen really close to hear him breathing and other nights you have to put the pillow over your head or just give up and get up (and the credit at this point should go to my wonderful husband, I love you sweetie :) ). The doc said they "grade" tonsils on a scale of 1-4(maybe 5) and Mikah's are a high 3. In a normal relaxed awake state they touch his uvula, the thing that hangs down in the back of your throat. How annoying! He is pretty sure that Mikah must have obstructive sleep apnea and has ordered a sleep study. If he does, the doc may want to remove his tonsils and adenoids to see if it helps...This is something that was brought up last year and was the last worry or test on the long growing list. SO it is not exactly a new idea just not one we could "deal" with at the time. Now is the time and I am surprisingly at peace with the whole thing. Last year I definitely was not peaceful when thinking about it.

Noses: Mikah's is gifting us with LOTS of thick nasty, yellowish-greenish junk. Speaking of sleep, that is not something he did last night. Please pray he is able to fight it and it doesn't become nastier, like chest nasty.

That's all for now. I am going to wake our Little Man now and we are going to enjoy a nice Starner Style walk!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009



We are so excited!!! It was beautiful to see. I wish everyone one of you could have been witness to this miracle! He did 5 perfect, patterning like swipes with his hands and feet on his belly, on the carpeted living room floor, head not all the way up but not all the way down like normal :) All this to get his drum. I was laying on the floor, on my belly right beside him (with Ellie sitting on my back, it appeared to be a team effort) and I just kept inching his drum away little bits at a time and he went after it. He was a little man on a mission and he succeeded!! He won!!

That is definitely what we call a VICTORY!!!

Mikah is really doing fabulous. He was "sick" twice this winter and conquered both colds without having to see his ped and receive antibiotics. He did take a little longer than Ellie would have to get over them but HE GOT OVER THEM ALL BY HIMSELF.

He has been on a totally blended vegan almost all raw diet since September and seems to be doing wonderfully. He is not doing much of anything with oral eating but we are happy nonetheless. Compared to last year he is thriving! I never understood that word until Mikah was born. There is a huge difference between living and thriving. And he is thriving.

Since Dave lost his job our whole daily schedule and home program have kind of flown out the window, odd since I thought that daddy being home would help and make it easier to accomplish all of our scheduled tasks...however we are enjoying the time we have all had together. It is fun having breakfast together in the mornings and daddy has definitely had more playtime with both Ellie and Mikah individually. We have slowly been able to tackle little jobs around the house that have been hanging around and we have had more time together just to talk about life.

The week Dave lost his job we had actually been planning on submitting our paperwork to the Institutes for a Home Consultation with tentative plans to return to the Institutes in March or April and take Mikah with us to begin their Aspirant Program. When Dave lost his job all spending was immediately put on hold indefinitely, including Mikah's program. Since then we have received a couple miracles from God, financially, a generous gift from friends and other financial blessings that can only be attributed to the Handiwork of God. Because of these blessings it looks like we will be able to proceed with working with the Institutes more closely on Mikah's program and not necessarily have to wait until God opens the door to a new job.

On the topic of a new help your prayers be more specific, Dave has several leads right now. He has actually had an interview every other week that he has been laid off which is huge in his field of work. Many others he knows have been laid off longer and have not had one interview. He has four different companies that could make an offer any day. He has an interview the end of this week and is scheduling a second interview with a firm for this week or next. Please pray for God's leading and wisdom. That He would direct our paths and make it abundantly clear where Dave is supposed to go for that next position.

I will try to get video of Mikah crawling to post for all his friends to watch :)

Have a blessed day!!! And thank you to all of our wonderful helpers and friends and prayer warriors!! Without your servant hands and hearts we would have had to wait a lot longer to see Mikah move so beautifully.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Praying for Stellan

A fellow blogger friend told me about this family and their 5 month baby. I have been following their story and thought some of you might be interested in praying for Stellan too.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook~ April 6, 2009

FOR TODAY April 6, 2009...

Outside my window God's creation is dripping with the fresh rain from last night, the grass seems to be greener every time I glance outside...

I am thinking that today will be a blessing...

I am thankful for God's peace that surpasseth all understanding, that guards my heart and mind...

From the learning rooms we are in need of a makeover, a do-over...

From the kitchen hmmm, I don't know, I forgot to look at the menu on my way in to the office...

I am wearing my pajamas...

I am creating a life that trusts God in all ways...or at least that is my goal...

I am going to stay home today...

I am reading Created to be His Helpmeet, the book of 1 Samuel and Luke in my Life Application Study Bible...

I am hoping to finish decluttering the office this week...

Around the house all is still quiet...

One of my favorite things spending quiet time with my husband...

A few plans for the rest of the week: Mikah's early intervention teacher is supposed to come, I would like to find a pattern for a simple jean skirt, creating a new menu, a couple interviews for my husband :) ...

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
We made a wonderful discovery during Ellie's birthday party...Mikah LOVES balloons!!
For more Simple Woman Daybooks visit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Maple Syrup Recipe

We have a problem in our house every Saturday and Sunday morning...Pancakes!! Daddy and Ellie make a stack of Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes every weekend and the extras go in the freezer for a lazy morning when mommy can't get her body to cooperate with her head and get up on time :)

Along with these pancakes we of course need syrup. Has anyone priced decent yummy maple syrup recently?!? I know prices overall are going up and this is reflected in the syrup aisle. Again in my effort to maintain a frugal household I thought, "Why can't I make the syrup?". I think this thought first took root in my brain as I was watching our maple tree drip sap. It was running with so much sap that the branches had sap "icicles". It was amazing and I am kicking myself for not getting a picture. The squirrels and birds would just sit on the branches and nibble away. I joked with a friend about tapping the tree and setting up a big pot over a fire in the front yard to boil down our own maple syrup...Watch out, I just might try it next year :)

Second best to tapping the tree is the recipe I found for Maple Syrup. It is super easy, takes all of 5 minutes to make and has passed the Starner taste test. Let me know what you think.

Maple Syrup

Combine in saucepan:
1 3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat stirring often, cover and cook 1 minute. (I have found you need to play around with how long to cook it, this depends on how thick or thin you prefer you syrup)Cool slightly.
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t maple flavoring
Cover saucepan for a few minutes as syrup cooks to melt down crystals; helps prevent syrup from crystallizing later in storage. Allow to cool and store in covered container in refrigerator.

From the Starner house to yours. Enjoy!


I have come to really enjoy and appreciate the many varieties of soup during this time of Dave transitioning to a new job. We have found it to be an extremely healthful and frugal way to stretch our food supply and our balance in the checking account.

Here is one we sampled recently that all of us thoroughly enjoyed. Even the other non-soup loving individuals in the house :)

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb bulk sausage (I actually bought a smoked sausage and diced it, it was delicious)
1 cup lentils
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 potato (we were out of white potatoes so I used a sweet potato, highly recommended)
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
3-4 sprigs thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves shredded

Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat with one turn of the pot of EVOO. Once hot, add the sausage and saute for 3-4 minutes, breaking into small pieces as it cooks and browns.
While sausage is browning, pour lentils out and sift thru for small stones.
To the browned sausage, add onion, garlic, potato, mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes.
Add the stock and 2 cups of water, turn the heat up to high and bring to a bubble. Add the lentils and the kale. Stir until the kale wilts in then turn heat down to medium and simmer 30-45 minutes until lentils are tender.

Next time we have this soup I am going to try it as a vegan dish. I think it will be just as lovely and filling.

Post your comments and let me know if you and your family enjoy this for a meal. Let me know any of your personal alterations.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Homebirth Questionnare

I usually ignore the questionnares on Facebook but this one was on Homebirth. I couldn't resist.

For Ellie's birth...homebirth #1....
1. What was your due date? Feb. 25,2005
2. When was your baby born? Feb. 25,2005
3. Did you know from the beginning that you would birth at home? No
4. Were you born at home? No
5. Was your home birth a VBAC? No
6. Midwife or UC (unassisted childbirth)? 2 Midwives and an Apprentice
7. If assisted, how long did you wait before calling your midwife? My husband called them after I had been having contractions for about 3-4 hours, he also waited until a more reasonable hour of the morning, I think neither of us was really convinced I was in labor
8. Was there a Doula present? No
9. Did you have any cravings? Throughout my pregnancy I craved quesadillas like a mad women During labor? No
10. Did you have an ultrasound? Yes at 8 weeks
11. Did you have other children at the birth? No
12. Was it a water birth? No. I wanted it it to be and I actually labored in the tub for a really long time. I couldn't get a good position for pushing in the tub though
13. How long was your labor? 18 hours
14. Red raspberry leaf tea? yes
15. What did you eat during labor? A Subway club sub and juice boxes, I also baked a birthday cake for the baby, we ate that when she was 24 hours old
16. What room did you give birth in? The bedroom
17. How big was your baby? 7 lbs 5 oz
18. What did you name your baby? Eliana Grace
19. What did you do with your placenta? Looked at it, it was heart shaped and then the midwives got rid of it
20. How old were you when your child was born? ?? I am too old to figure that out :)
21. What was your favorite part of pregnancy? the whole thing!! the back rubs and yoga class, I really enjoyed the actual giving birth part too
22. First thing you did after your baby was born? passed out on the midwives :)
23. How old is your baby today? 4 years old
24. Is your child still nursing? no

For Mikah's birth...homebirth #2...
1. What was your due date? Feb. 6 2007
2. When was your baby born? Jan. 23, 2007
3. Did you know from the beginning that you would birth at home? Yes
4.We're you born at home? No
5. Was your home birth a VBAC? No
6. Midwife or UC (unassisted childbirth)? 2 Midwives and 1 Apprentice
7. If assisted, how long did you wait before calling your midwife? About 1/2 hour, I went immediately into transition and had Mikah 3 hours after labor started, there was no honeymoon phase :)
8. Was there a Doula present?No
9. Did you have any cravings? Yes, I am too embarassed to say what it was... During labor? No
10. Did you have an ultrasound? Yes, at 7 weeks. I was having nightmares that the baby had dies. We found out there had been twins and now there was only one baby.
11. Did you have other children at the birth? No, my grandmother picked Ellie up 30 minutes before Mikah was born
12. Was it a water birth? No, I didn't want to get in the tub
13. How long was your labor? 3 hours
14. Red raspberry leaf tea? yes
15. What did you eat during labor? Nothing.
16. What room did you give birth in? the bedroom
17. How big was your baby? 6 lbs 8 oz
18. What did you name your baby? Mikah Alexander
19. What did you do with your placenta? The midwives took it
20. How old were you when your child was born? still too old (all right, and lazy) to figure it out
21. What was your favorite part of pregnancy? All my talks with God during my pregnancy with Mikah
22. First thing you did after your baby was born? Eat!
23. How old is your baby today? 2 years old
24. Is your child still nursing? no