Monday, December 31, 2012

December Thirty-First, 2012

I haven't written a contemplative post in awhile.
Since I'm sitting here by myself on New Year's Eve, now seems like a good time.

I have only one thought that is (barely) worth sharing.  The rest are either too controversial, too personal, or too time consuming to explain right now.

So here it is:
While in town today, Nathaniel and I drove past the grocery store on who's sign read the words
Happy New Years

Nathaniel spoke just as I was going to voice the same thought:
The 's' is unnecessary.

Let's wish someone a Happy New Year or a Happy New Year's Eve/Day but refrain from saying  Happy New Years.  

Thank you.

P.S.  I love that I have a child with whom I can laugh over grammatical errors that occur in advertising, that we can point it out and not have to explain ourselves.

P.P.S.  Nathaniel and I did a concert at a nursing home health care center today.  My favorite moment(s)?  When the 92 year old lady in the front row woke up to sing the choruses of "God Will Take Care of You" & "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" along with me.  Her sweet, clear voice was a blessing to me.

Happy New Year from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twelve Months Old on 12-12-12

'Member how I said I was gonna post pictures of Elizabeth on her birthday?
And then remember how I didn't?
Yeah, me too.

I'm more dependable in real life.
It's a good thing, 'cause, like, if I said I was going to pick you up at 4:00 and then I didn't show up until a week later, that would be bad.
If I said I was going to pick you up at 4:00, I'd most likely be late, but not that late.

So back to my baby's birthday.
She woke up with a yucky nose (I think it was her first) just in time for her "big" day.
Our brand-new one year old!

We had 4-H that morning and a couple quick errands to do while we were in town
so we couldn't do her little party until we got back home.
Here she is after her wardrobe consultant Linnea got her dressed.

She loved the lighting of her candle
and enjoyed the pink frosting even more.

When we moved into the living room to open her gifts,
she was willing to do one of her few "tricks"--
She makes sure to get her arms WAY up there.

After many times being told "no" about the gifts under the Christmas tree,
she was understandably a bit wary of ripping into her birthday wrapping paper.
She seemed to think that using her teeth was a good option, though.

She finally decided to rip the paper after much encouragement from me and the children.

On the Saturday following her birthday,
this girlie got to have another little party with Grandmas and Grandpas.
The candle was equally mesmerizing and she was equally clueless as to what to do when all her siblings were saying "blow out the candle, LittleBit!!!"

She was much more interested in the m&m's on her bar. :)

She loved the stuffed puppy from one set of grandparents

 and tried putting on her pretty new shirt from the other set.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Day Before LittleBit

If you've read my blog for awhile, you might know I have a thing for "the day before" an event.
It's not the anticipation, though--it's not knowing it was going to be the day before something big or life changing.

And if you know that about me, you probably also know that I was past my "due date" with Elizabeth one year ago.  (You can read about that if you click here or over on the right hand side the link that says "Number 9".  You'll need to scroll down a bit, but it's only a few posts down.)

LittleBit's birthday is tomorrow so today marks her Day Before.

I wrote down some of the texts I sent Dennis in the days leading up to her birth.
Dec. 7     Me:  Why won't this baby be born?
               Him:  It will
               Me:  That was a good answer.

and a bit later that morning    
             I just wanna shut myself in my room and not come out all day.
(I didn't do it, though, just so you know.)

Dec. 8     Clothespins on my pinky toes don't even hurt.
(I had done some research on google about pressure points for labor; clamping clothespins on your pinky toes was one suggestion.  If I tried it now, it would hurt like the dickens; days away from delivery it felt kind of good actually.)

Dec. 10    Thanks for letting me sleep.
(That message was written at 9:21 am; the latest I have slept since I was 15.)

and later that evening
                I would like the option to stay home from church tomorrow, depending on how I feel.

Dec. 11    I'm not going to church but I have kids all ready.  Baby feels so low down.  I'm just not up to facing all the people.

Dennis and the kids went to church and I was home ALL ALONE and loving it.  I can count on one hand the times that I have been all alone in my own house--and I wouldn't use all my fingers.
Moments after they arrived at church, he sent me this:

                You just wanted ME to have all the questions, didn't you!
To which I replied
                You caught me

I chomp ice incessantly in the last months of pregnancy.  I had asked Dennis to bring me some from town on their way home from church.
Worried that he'd forget, I texted him this, hoping I'd catch him in time in case he had indeed forgotten.
                Did you get ice?
His reply
                Did you have a baby?

Both questions had the same answer.

I had spent those precious two hours alone listening to a sermon on the radio and trying to catch up on some Christmas gifts I was making.  I couldn't sit long at the sewing machine, though, as my feet and legs kept swelling and going numb.
I made dinner for them all once they returned and spent the rest of the day trying to keep working on those gifts.  I think I took a nap later on, and then all the regular work of laundry, supper, bath time and putting kids to bed.
I experienced a lot of insomnia the last several weeks, and to tell the truth, I sort of looked forward to being awake in the dark and quiet while everyone else was asleep.  They were the most peaceful hours of my "days".  I sat with the Christmas tree lit, read a ton of stuff online, read books, had snacks all to myself...not sleeping had it's benefits.

Because she wasn't born until the evening of the next day, her birth day is almost like a Day Before in and of itself.
That morning, as was our agreement with my midwife, since I hadn't had the baby by Monday morning that I was to call her and talk it over, I dutifully called...but I waited until afternoon.  I'm spunky and defiant that way.
She asked us to be there by 3:00 and we were pretty close to that time.  You can read that story here.

So there you have it--Elizabeth's Day(s) Before.

And tomorrow, I hope to post some pictures of my birthday girl who will be 12 months old on 12-12-12!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Eureka--No More I Reek-a!!

I've tried just about every kind of deodorant there is with minimal-to-no success.

I feel strongly that aluminum in conventional deodorants is very dangerous,
especially for women because we shave our armpits (usually) and that makes the skin especially permeable and because of the proximity to sensitive breast tissue.
Breast cancer has risen exponentially since the advent of antiperspirant deodorants.

But what to do??
I used to sweat--a lot.  And when I sweat because I'm stressed or nervous, I STINK.
At this point, I'd like to thank my friends and family for not pulling me aside and telling me that I stink.
That said, maybe their silence on this sensitive topic wasn't all that noble...maybe they just didn't want to come near enough to pull me aside.  Hmmmmm.

I said I'd tried just about everything, right?

Before I made the switch to "healthy" deodorants,
I tried nearly every kind of conventional antiperspirants--even the "clinical" ones.
All of these just seemed to make the problem worse (to which I now say to myself DUH.)

I tried any "natural" deodorant at Wal-Mart/Target (ones that didn't contain aluminum)
and several from our local natural foods store, inlcuding Burt's Bees spray, Crystal rock spray, a few from Tom's of Maine, and one from Kiss My Face.
I tried the one from Norwex; no luck.
I tried some crystal salt powder that was ok, but still not great for me.
I tried apple cider vinegar and I tried rubbing alcohol; both of these worked for a short time but were very hard to take with me.
(That was where I was at--having to keep some form of deodorant with me whenever I went out.)
To be fair, I gave each one a good month or so of use to let my body get used to it--
just so you don't think I tried one for a day or two, decided it didn't work, and then ditched it for another.
Add all that time up, and that's a lot of lost money and a lot of stink.

That is, until--UNTIL--I stumbled upon this recipe from Crunchy Betty,
I thought, what's to lose except ingredients?
 Solving the World's Deodorant Crisis:  A New Soothing Recipe
I also think Crunchy Betty is hilariously funny, which somehow lends credibility in my book.
I know.

It was hard for me to wait the two weeks for the herbs to steep in the oil, but it was absolutely worth it.
Eureka--no more I reek-a!!

Seriously!  I take a sniff throughout the day and I don't stink.
Even when my stress response kicks in, I only sweat--no accompanying stink.
I only apply it once a day (in the morning) and by the next morning, still no stink, even after working out.

I'm telling you--this stuff is amazing.
Here's why I think that is:
coconut oil is a natural bacteria buster and body odor is caused by bacteria
the herbs (I cut open tea bags and measured out the herbs) are soothing to the skin
arrowroot powder is non-gmo so it won't irritate the skin like cornstarch
essential oils are AWESOME--antiviral, antibacterial, soothing, they are God's way of providing perfect medicine through nature (his creation).

I would highly, HIGHLY recommend trying this route whether you have stink issues or not.
Let me know if you do!
I mean, let me know if you try it and if you like it--not if you have stink issues.
Well, you could tell me that, too, because I understand what that's about.
So, either way I guess...

The essential oils I chose to use were lemon and orange; it has a very pleasant--and not over-powering--citrus scent.  I did this so that it was "gender-neutral" for our home. :)
I store mine in a small canning jar (I think it's a half-pint size) in the bathroom cabinet.
If I had to describe the consistency, the best I can come up with would be to compare it to a paste-y peanut butter.
It looks like this after months of use:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

She Makes Everything Pretty

"Look, Mama--I did my piggy's ears all pretty for Thanksgiving.
I put bobby pins in, just like Linnea does.
I think my piggy wants me to do this for her every day."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What I Wish My Bathroom Smelled Like


That's what I wish my bathroom smelled like--nothing.

Because if my bathroom smelled like nothing, then that would mean that it didn't smell like a dirty diaper left in the garbage.

And if it smelled like nothing, then it couldn't smell like a lit match
which means someone did something stinky.
(I won't buy commercial air fresheners--I call them cancer-in-a-can.)

If my bathroom smelled like nothing, then it wouldn't smell like wet towels left on the floor.
And it couldn't smell like someone should have lit a match, but didn't.

Sometimes my bathroom smells minty,
but that's only when Ivy's been extravagantly loading her toothbrush...and the counter...and the towel she used to wipe it all up...and then left on the counter.

I wish my bathroom smelled like nothing. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I just can't stop myself.
Here is yet another picture of Elizabeth.
You're welcome.

In Love

I'm seriously in love with this baby's cheeks.


Friday, November 16, 2012

To Catch Up (Along with Some Ketchup)

In typical middle-child fashion, Andrew and Elijah didn't get their very own birthday posts--
neither here on my blog nor on facebook.
At least in this family there are several other middle children with whom 
to share the cost of therapy when they're adults.

I'm finally getting a chance now to post some catch-up pictures.

We celebrated Andrew's 10th birthday earlier this month, see?

He was satisfied with the little tiny bar I cut for him.

We learned that day that LittleBit loves suckers

and that she insists on one for each hand.
Ivy shared hers with her baby sister.

We celebrated Elijah's that day, too, as he & Andrew have birthdays ten days apart.

Loaded cheeks for all those candles!

The one-and-only picture I got of any of my family deer hunting.
This was Andrew's first year--he was VERY excited.
Dennis, Nathaniel, Isaiah, and Linnea each got a doe.
Andrew will have to wait for another year. :)

Elijah actually did turn six, see?
It will help me in the future to remember how old they are in the picture so I have them hold up the correct number of fingers on their birthday morning.

Later on the day of his real birthday, we had a little party with "just us".
His favorite gift was his very own bottle of ketchup.
Look at his face!!

I took a picture of this baby belly at roughly 14 weeks, which was a couple weeks ago.
The children occasionally comment that the baby is growing!
I seriously don't know how other women take belly pictures--
either the flash was completely reflective in the mirror or I wasn't looking in the right direction at all
or you could see the toothpaste smeared on the counter or you get the idea.

There--I think I'm a bit caught up.
Now, back to that laundry...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Spaghetti Picture

I have a "spaghetti picture" for each of the kids.

Elizabeth's were especially fun because of how funny the older kids thought 
she was, making such a mess of her little face.

I love being her mommy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Working on--and for--Marriage

Dennis and I have been given an incredible gift for this weekend--a way to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage conference.
We head for Sioux Falls, SD today.

I can't even remember the last time we "went away" so this is new and exciting for us.

The younger kids will stay with my mom & dad; I'm so thankful for their willingness to watch them while we're gone.

The boys will be home, manning the farm.  I wrote a menu plan for them so they know what they should cook and when, but that's the extent of what I had to do for them.  They would do fine as bachelors. :)  I'm proud of them that they are capable and trustworthy to handle the tasks necessary while Dennis is away.

I spent the evening doing multiple loads of laundry (after having been gone much of yesterday doing this and running several errands) but I think now, everyone will have clean clothes to wear.

Elizabeth will be coming with us, our friends are going to Sioux Falls to watch her while we attend the conference.

I'm just so incredibly thankful for this gift and for all the details falling in place so we could go.  I'm thankful for friends who reached out in this way.

I have several posts I need to write/publish, so hopefully next week, I can get some of that done since it's been a week of "nothing" here on my blog. :)

Now, I'd best head back to bed so I can get up in a few hours and start packing for myself, Dennis and Elizabeth.  (I fell asleep earlier while putting Little Bit to bed, then got up to do some more laundry, respond to some messages, and read some blogs.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Did It!

Today, I had to sing for a Christian Women's Club meeting in town.

Running late (shocking, I know), I noticed a few miles down the road that the "low oil" light was on.


Competent woman that I am, I called Dennis and said, "What should I do?"

He asked where I was and I told him; he said I should stop at the station in the town I was approaching and add oil.

Submissive Christian wife that I am, I whined said, "Do I have to?"

He said my other option was to sit at the station and wait for him to come put oil in the car.
Swiping a tear from my cheek at the gallant nature of this proposal, I politely declined and said I would figure it out.

Did you know that it's labeled and everything under the hood of a car?????  A bright yellow cap that says "add engine oil here."--whoa, this car was made for women like me.  (Afterthought:  Maybe there are no other women like me...)

I impressed myself with my mad hood opening skills.

The conclusion of this riveting little story?  I bought the oil, asked the nice station owner man for a paper funnel (which he had!), didn't spill any oil while using said funnel, put the oil in the right place, got back in the car and the oil light went off.
One small step for you, maybe--one giant leap for me!!!

Aaaaaaaaand, I was only about 7 minutes late for the gig at which I was supposed to sing.

Comparatively speaking, I would chose this kind of event over a carsick kid or diaper "malfunction" any day of the week.  Those are two other reasons I have been late for speaking/singing commitments.  In case you were wondering.  Which you probably weren't.

The end.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pain and Beauty

It's been one week since my friend's youngest daughter died.
It's been two weeks and a day since the accident that has left this family grieving the loss of Claire.

I watched as her family kept vigil, praying for her and for one another.  I got to be part of the small group that gathered in this 11 year old's PICU room to sing and pray over her.

My heart was breaking for my friend, her mama.
My heart was breaking for her siblings.

I prayed for God to show mercy as Marla had asked--for God to have mercy, whatever that would look like...even if that meant death.

As I stood there, tears clogging my throat and streaming down my face, petitioning God on behalf of this family, I saw clearly that He had indeed granted mercy--in that room were friends to hold them, cry with them, share the hurt, and help them face the road ahead.  Knowing we were all born-again believers made it such a safe place to be cry in our sorrow as we praised the Sovereign King.

The days passed in a blur of beeping monitors and vital numbers that were too high to maintain human hope, with doctors searching every corner of their minds for something they may have missed that might help this child recover.

The accident was on a Sunday morning and in the early hours of the following Monday, Claire met Jesus.

The cries of a mother who's child has died are some of the saddest you will ever hear.

That same afternoon, when the family arrived home from the hospital an hour-and-a-half away, Marla asked me to come over.

We sat in the living room and alternately stared at each other with nothing to say, intermittently thinking of things that needed to be done, ranging from the mundane to the pertinent.

The carpet needs to be vacuumed.
We need to choose an outfit for Claire.
The clothes (from having lived in a hospital for a week) need unpacking and washing.
We need to choose Scripture for the funeral.
Does the dog have fresh water?
We need to call the funeral director.
The floor needs to be swept.
We need to find the right picture so they will know how to do her hair...

Claire's sisters went to her closet to choose the dress she would be buried in.  Her oldest sister painstakingly ironed that for nearly an hour.  It was beautiful and so sad all at the same time.  She needed just a bit of a mom's input from me on a couple of hard spots, but I knew I should definitely not take over--this was something she wanted--needed--to do.

With such a front row seat to this, I've been doing a lot of thinking:

Death, not unlike birth, is horrifyingly painful and tenderly beautiful at the same time.

The pain of watching your child(ren) hurt.
The tender way a mama's presence can make it better--even if just a bit.
There is pain in loss.
There is beauty in watching a family hold one another up as they persevere.
There is pain in writing a little sister's obituary.
There is beauty in knowing it was lovingly written by her big sister and her mama.
There is pain in knowing they won't touch her face again this side of heaven.
There is beauty when a friend brings a gorgeous framed picture, taken just months earlier.  Because how can one not smile when you see her face?
There is pain in remembering again that though it feels like she's just away at camp, she's never coming home.
There is a tender beauty in knowing she really is home.

I sang for her funeral and it went really well--thank you for those who prayed for me.  It was really such a "God thing."  I made it through, and then I was absolutely spent.  Literally, as I put the microphone back in it's stand, I started to cry.

I keep thinking about this pain and this funeral you could hear the sobs of grief from those gathered.  Many, many, many tears were shed.
Yet I am confident that even though people came to show their love and support to this family, a vast majority left that day feeling blessed--that they had been ministered to by this family, their friends, and the pastors who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was painful and beautiful at the same time.

Today when I left her house, all I could do was look at my friend as tears welled in my eyes because I had no words to say.
She looked at me and we both just knew--nothing needed to be said.
'Cause this just plain hurts.
And so we said, "See ya." and "Bye."

It was enough.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In the Morning...

In the morning, I'm singing for the funeral of the little girl I mentioned in my earlier post.
Her mama asked me to sing the same song that I sang for her daddy's funeral nearly eleven years ago, "We Shall Behold Him."

If you are so inclined, I would covet your prayers for tomorrow.  I've sung for literally hundreds of funerals, but some are harder than others and this would definitely fall into that category.

Most importantly, I would ask you to please cover the Turner family with prayer--not just for tomorrow (an especially physically and emotionally taxing day) but in the weeks ahead, as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Recommend

  • Use olive oil as an eye-makeup remover.  It works--and it's good for you!
  • I also recommend that you check out  the Healthy Families for God facebook page.  "Like" their page and every day you will see her incredibly informative posts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I've been a bit quiet, partly due to a bit of writer’s block and partly due to the volume of work I need to accomplish this fall.  “Computer turns” are infrequent for Mom and fall among the lower end of my list of priorities.

There are many things I’d like to talk about on my blog, but they require more than a few minutes of time to write them in the way that I would like—and to write without a “Mom?”  “Mom???” every 17 seconds.


This past Saturday, I sang at a women’s meeting for our denomination.  The focus was on missions and the speaker was absolutely engaging.  I can’t remember the last time someone held my attention for that long.   The way he spoke about the work he has done as a missionary and the encouragement he gave that God is on His throne was captivating.

Sunday, Dennis wasn’t feeling well so it was just the kids and I who headed to church.  Having remembered to set my phone to vibrate, it buzzed.  Linnea heard it; she was sitting nearest my purse.  She looked at the screen and saw it was a friend of ours.  She discreetly showed it to me; we both exchanged looks, thinking it must be an “oops”—a pocket-dial by mistake.  Surely this friend would know we’d be in church at that time on a Sunday morning.

A minute later, my phone buzzed again.  She’d left a voicemail.


A few minutes after that, Dennis sent a text message.

And then another.

Typically, I don’t look at my phone during church.  Typically, my purse would most likely have been sitting on the floor and I don’t know that I would have even heard the vibration.
I decided to read the texts Dennis had sent me.  It wasn’t good news, nor did I think it would be if he was texting me during church.

Four of my friend’s children had been in a rollover accident and one was being airlifted to the hospital in the big city.

I stepped out of the sanctuary and called my friend.
She answered, crying.

“Where are you.” I asked.
“On my way to _____________.”  She said.
“Who is there.”  (I’m purposely leaving out the question marks here to convey the tone in which I spoke.  My friend and I are very frank with one another and I knew that direct questions requiring only direct answers were what was needed at that moment.)
“Claire.” She answered. “She’s unconscious with head injuries.  She was ejected.”

I cried.  She cried.  We spoke about the other kids and some other details about the accident.

Fast forward to now—this little 11 year old girl is fighting to survive.  Her brain has suffered terrible injury.  She lies in a coma and the outlook is bleak.

Would you please pray for my friend Marla?  Her heart is breaking as she watches her baby girl hurt so badly.  Claire is the youngest of 10 children and her daddy died of cancer when she was 10 months old.  Her older siblings are scattered a bit around the country, even the world—one of her brothers should be arriving today from Israel.  Would you pray for peace for them all?  For rest and for strength…for a sweet time of togetherness in the midst of this terrible storm?

I’m burdened also to pray for her siblings in the accident, that they would recover physically and that the emotional and physical scars would heal with time.  Also, please pray for the sister who was driving.  I can’t help but think that she has replayed every. single. moment. of that accident.

They are a strong, Christian family who would greatly covet your prayers for their youngest member.

I know people always say this, but seriously—hug your kids. Be thankful that even if your day was crummy, it (most likely) wasn’t life-changing.  Embrace ordinary days.  Cherish those moments to brush your little girl’s hair, to wash your son’s smelly football uniform, to shake your head at their messy room.

I’m being reminded constantly of how many things really don’t matter.  Like really don’t matter.  Because that could just as easily have been my family.
Or your family.

But it wasn't.  They've been set on this road and it is theirs to walk.
We have the opportunity now to walk beside them and to pray for each step they must take.

Now, if I could ask another favor.
If your family has dealt with a tragedy or you have some insight into this kind of thing, would you please share about something that was particularly helpful?  Maybe even something that someone did with good intentions, but that was actually just not helpful?  Certainly not as a way to embarrass anyone, it’s just that I think oftentimes we simply don’t know what to do when someone goes through something like this.
Too much “help” can be overwhelming, but if everyone stayed away because they were afraid of being in the way, that would be terrible, too!

If you would, please share some ideas of ways to help a family in this situation.  They may not apply in every situation, but suggestions might spark other ideas.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Looking at It This Way

I was reading on the Jeub family's blog and came across the following, regarding his wife's 14th pregnancy:

Now don’t put us up on a super-saint pedestal. We struggle. We’re not immune to the same moments of doubts as you. There have been countless times we have wrestled with the obvious questions:
Can Wendy's health keep up with this many children?
Can Chris's income keep up with providing for them all?
How can we spread the love to so many in our household?
Can we really give the individual attention to each child?

Then, in the comments, a reader posted this:

They seem like strange questions, don't they? I would phrase those four questions this way:

"Does using your body the way it was meant to keep it in good shape?"
"Can God provide when we trust Him with our finances..and family size?"
"Can love be a thing that grows and multiplies as one walks in faith and abides in Christ?"
"Are we always able to do anything (like spend individual time with children, husbands, eat a meal) that we put our heart to, and that is a priority?"

And then I would say 'Yes to all'!

Me, too--yes to all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bee Hinds

At 4-H today, the kids learned about bees, honey, and bee hives. 
When I asked Elijah what he learned about, 
he told me, "Bees, honey and be-hinds." 

THAT was a hard one to keep a straight face for!!!

Wordless Wednesday: Some Days are Just Like That...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fridays on the Farm: Colors

It's Friday!  In OCTOBER--is the year flying by for you all, too?
For some families, Fridays are a great day because it kicks off the weekend;
done with work, done with school, maybe a date night/family fun night.

On a dairy farm, every day is the same.
A dairy farm has the same basic chores every day of the year--
365 days, whether that be your anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas or the birth of a new baby,
the cows must be milked twice a day (some farms do three times a day, as we have done in the past, too.).

So, though Fridays hold no special significance on our farm,
Friday does begin with 'F' and so does the word 'farm',
hence my title Fridays on the Farm.

When you read the title of this particular post,
you may have assumed this would be a post about autumnal beauty.
While autumn in MN is colorful,
I wanted to show you some of the colors on our farm.

Farmers usually stand on one side or the other when it comes to the color of their tractors:
RED (International) or GREEN (John Deere).
Dennis drives a red tractor.  This has caused my green-loving father some consternation.
Dennis hasn't planted himself on one side or the other,
he just uses what he has or what has become available.
He has this red International, an orange Allis Chalmers, and a cream-colored Case.
We joke that we are teaching the children a tolerance for all colors. :)

I grew up on a black and white farm.  My dad had black and white holsteins.  He occasionally did have a red and white, but all in all, it was rather monochromatic. 
We know a farmer who has only red and white holsteins--and insists on keeping it that way.
He wants no variations. :)

On our farm here,
we have black and white holsteins, red and white holsteins, 

Brown Swiss (Nathaniel's favorite!)
and seriously--just about every combination thereof.
Dennis has put the boys in charge of heat detection (when cows are ready to be bred) and making sure our reproduction specialist gets called. 
Isaiah and Nathaniel make their recommendations to the technician as to what they'd like the animal bred to and Isaiah has a particular interest in cross-breeding.
We've got Ho-Jo's (Holstein-Jersey cross), Brown Swiss/Holstein/Guernsey crosses,
Swedish Red/Shorthorn/Holsteins, etc.
It makes for some interesting colors, but the real reason for this process is greater hardiness of the animal, improved calving ease, and, well ok--the colors are pretty fun, too.  :)

Now--just for fun, what colors are on your farm?
If you don't have a farm, what's your favorite color cow?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Recommend

For this week's I Recommend, I've listed three links.  One is a good reminder for moms, the other is a humorous read with good information particularly for home educators and the last is a yummy recipe.

1.  The Mom Stays in the Picture     I never like being in pictures.  I wish I did.  I try hard.  I think, "smile...not too wide....careful not to do that thing with your your eyes a bit more, but not bug-like...turn so they can't see your big upper arms...put the baby in front of your belly..." etc. etc.  And when I actually see the picture?  Yuck.  That's what I look like???  Oh man...
BUT--whenever I've attended a funeral and watched the video photo collage and looked at the neat displays of pictures I think, "if I died, my family wouldn't have any pictures to even make one of these!"
The post above gave me much food for thought.  What I think I look like and what the camera captures are two different things.  However, what the camera captures IS what everyone else sees--so why do I hide?  It doesn't change what really is.  My friend Dawn posted the article on facebook and mentioned that years from now we will look back and think how great we looked--which is the very same thing I do when looking back at pictures of myself as a teen.  I thought I was so not
I look at my senior pictures now and wish I could weigh what I did then!  So, I'm deciding to get in the picture---and stay there.

2.  10 Lessons I've Learned from Thirty Years of Homeschooling     Though I haven't been at this homeschooling gig for 30 years, this year marks our eighth year of home-based Christian discipleship.  (That's what homeschooling is for me--it's not about the "school-ing".)  I read Vicky Farris' book, "A Mom Just Like You", I was intimidated.  At first.  About two paragraphs in, I was tearing up because she is SO real.  This article was written by her husband and is real, as well.  And funny--two of my favorite things!

3.  Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe     Fall has me wishing for the tastes of anything apple or pumpkin.  I tried this recipe last week. YUM.
I opened a can of pumpkin, used the 2 T. and portioned out the rest in small little containers to freeze.  I also brewed more coffee than I needed and froze that, too, so now I have a stash of pumpkin lattes waiting!  I live very rurally, so "treat coffee" is rare, indeed.  Now, I make it at home (usually in the afternoon, during my "break" time) and it really tastes the same!  And costs SIGNIFICANTLY less!  Try it and see!
P.S.  I wouldn't set the crockpot on high like she suggests.  I tried that once and the milk curdled.  I actually just whisk it up on the stovetop.

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