Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Sermon

Pornography & Technology

In sticking with their "Tell the Story" theme, our church and our pastor Scott Wakefield did a sermon on sexual sin/pornography. I encourage you to watch this video, but to also watch the sermon in its entirety.

Most incredible, as a parent, are the statistics surrounding YOUR children and technology and its connection to pornographic images.

1) 1 in 5 total web searches world-wide is for porn.
2) The single largest consumers of pornography is boys BELOW the age of 18!
3) Most teenagers view porn while they are doing their homework.
4) 80% of parents report they do not know how to monitor activity and only 23% have rules about the computer.

As parents, we HAVE to keep up with the times and prevent technology from hurting our children.

Our Daily Bread for Preschoolers: 90 Big Moments with God

I wanted to do a quick review for another one of Crystal Bowman's books: Our Daily Bread for Preschoolers: 90 Big Moments with God.

Each of the 90 devotions in this book includes a Bible verse, a short devotion, a practical question, and then a short rhyming prayer.

"I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go." Joshua 1:9 preludes a section on "God is With You."

After discussing the fact that God is with us everywhere we go, Bowman explains: "Where you go, whether it's daytime or nighttime, God is with you. Even though you can't see Him, He is there."

Then Bowman asks a question "Where do you like to go?" so that kids can discuss this with their parents before finishing with a short prayer: "If I'm at home or far away, You are with me everyday."

If you have little ones in your life then this book will be a fun way to introduce them to God. This is part of a kid-friendly new series based on the beloved Our Daily Bread devotional.

Review: Happy Harvest

Precious Moments: Happy Harvest by Jean Fisher (Published by Thomas Nelson) is one of those sweet books that makes you just feel happy. I look forward to snuggling up with my three-year-old and reading about the coziness of fall. With its plush cover and hard pages, it's size is perfect for little hands, and it offers a precious look at the season of fall.

Each page talks about different things associated with the months of September and October. Going to School, The Scarecrow, Apple Picking, Football Fun, Roasting Marshmallows, and Five Little Pumpkins are just some of the sweet poems in this 32-page book.

A Thanksgiving Dinner Prayer
I thank You, God, for turkey,
And stuffing and gravy too. 
But thanks most of all for the people who share
This day with me and You. Amen.

Down on the Farm
Down on the farm
The piggies race around.
They roll in the mud 
And they jump up and down.
Winter's coming soon.
It's just around the bend.
The all the piggies' splashing
In the mud will end.

Each page also includes a Bible verse like: "God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good." or "Your promises are so sweet to me. They are like honey to my mouth!" 

Full of beloved artwork and timeless messages of gratitude, Precious Moments: Happy Harvest is full of beloved artwork and timeless messages of gratitude. It is a sweet reminder to enjoy every season together. As the leaves change and fields yield their fruit, it is time to celebrate a Happy Harvest with all of God's creation!

I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Puppy VLOG

I have decided that I will be taking a ton of videos of our doggies playing. And I'm just going to put them all into one place. Here, you'll be able to follow the growth and playfulness of our two little blessings: Ritter and Arabelle.

July, 2016
I have taught both dogs "come", "Sit", "Down", "leave it" and "roll over." Of course, they are puppies so they don't always adhere, but it is fun to watch them learning. I am particularly working on "leave it" ever day when out with the chickens. I put them on a long lead and let them come out with me. Any time they approach a chicken, I say "Leave it" and they turn to me and get a treat. Slowly but surely. This video features their "sit, stay, roll over." I especially love Ritter who absolutely LOVES to lay on his back and get his tummy rubbed. He cannot get the idea that I am not asking to rub his tummy!

May 28, 2016
Arabelle figures out how to get out of her doggie playyard.

  May 21, 2016
Ritter loves laying on his back and letting you scratch his stomach. He is currently the most loving and Arabelle the most spirited.

May 2, 2016
Crazy pups playing with crazy kids.

April 27, 2016
Both pups have learned "sit." Ritter is the better student.

April 25, 2016
Showing off their morning excitement.

Day 3: April 17, 2016
Our current routine is to play with the pups about every 2.5 hours. We put them in their play yard, let them rest, then bombard them with love for about 30 minutes. They will then spend the next 2 hours completely zonked from all the kid love. Today we also took Arabelle on her first trip to meet the chickens. (She didn't seem phased by them at all.)

Day 1: April 15, 2016
Kids meet Ritter ("Knight" in German) and Arabelle ("Beautiful Eagle" in German); guest appearance by our current volunteer Daniel.

Friday Funnies

John heard banging upstairs so he checked on Hannah who was (supposed to be) napping. As he opened the door, she quickly said, "This was an accident. I didn't mean to do it." (She is standing inside the metal garbage can that holds their mardi gras play beads.)


Our Sidge is Mr. Literal. We went into a bathroom at a country restaurant near our home, and he busted back out of the bathroom. "I can't go in here," he said. "The sign on the wall says it's for duck hunters only."


Isaac plays a game on his iPad where he plays piano. One of the songs is "Thriller". He said to me, "There is a famous composer named Michael Jackson."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

135 chickens in 12 hours!

Today is one of two days on our farm where we process our chickens. We are doing approximately 150 in each batch. One batch fell today. The next will be in October. We will sell about 200 of these birds and keep about 100 for ourselves. By selling the 200, we eat our 100 for free. Is it worth it? On processing day, I always wonder if it is. It is a big job.

We were really proactive and thought ahead and learned a lot from our two previous processing days last year. We put up a good shade and had everyone assigned to their stations. 

So what does a day like this look like?

Well I should first tell you that my friend Claire and her three kiddos were in town. Jacob, who is 11, was a HUGE help to us. Yesterday, he went with JB and Sidge to get all 135 of our birds over onto this side of the property. (They also relocated the turkeys and new laying hens to where these broiler chickens had been.)

First up, Isaac or Sidge would catch the chickens. (They took turns throughout the day. Normally, Sidge wants to work a lot more, but we think he got really over-done the day before moving all the animals and having tennis lessons, and he kept needing a break.) You can see the chickens in the area right behind Jacob in the picture below:

After that, Grampa Kit. was in charge of processing the chicken. It is then dunked in a scalder to loosen all the feathers. From there, Jacob stepped in. He removed the chickens from the scalder and put them in our plucker (pictured above). We did four chickens at a time. Jacob was solely in charge of this step. After they were free of feathers (which takes about two minutes) he moved them to the table pictured below:

In the picture above, you can just see a chopping block off to the left. This is where I was stationed. The one thing I said I would prefer not to do this time was to be in charge of cutting off the heads, feet, and oil gland. However, honestly, it was really the best place for me. I didn't want to do what Dad was doing and Jacob couldn't do what I did. And JB's job is really hard. So there you have it. 

I actually do fine with this process. I try not to think about it. We also talk to the boys quite a bit about what we are doing and why. We do not make jokes about the animals, and when Sidge teared up a bit when we started processing, we explained to him that this was normal. We don't like killing animals, but we are proud to be processing and raising these chickens so properly and humanely.

The only time I had a hard time all day was when I grabbed a bit of quesadilla inside the house and then returned to the chickens outside. Eating while processing did not sit well with my stomach.

Once JB has finished evisceration of the bird, Jacob would put it in a big chill tank. I must say that I was very proud of this step. We do not make much money on these birds, and we really wanted to save money wherever we could. Because it was going to be so hot, we knew we would need a lot of ice, and we didn't want to buy it. So about a month ago, I started filling up old milk and juice jugs and water bottles with water and freezing them in the freezer the chickens would go into. We used these in the chill tank and had enough to not have to buy any ice -- even with a 90+ degree day.

While we were doing this part of the process, Maggie (our WWOOFer), Grama, and Claire, did kid duty. Maggie also had to keep up on other animal chores on the farm. She did not want to participate in the actual processing which we total respected. It isn't for everyone that's for sure!

Here's a picture of what Maggie accomplished with some of the kiddos:

After a lunch break, we moved into the garage where we do a quality control check (Mom and JB), bag the birds (Dad and me), and put them into hot water to shrink wrap (Dad). After that, Maggie was in charge of weighing and marking all the birds with their total cost. Here is Maggie doing her job:

I was then in charge of figuring out what freezer to put them in. You have to be very careful when putting them in the freezers because if you just put that many warm birds in a freezer, they may not freeze before they start going bad. So you have to layer them carefully. I used ice packs and other frozen foods to help with that.

Here is Dad with our last chicken! Hip hip horray! 

We started at 6am to beat the heat and finished at 6pm. It was a very solid day of work and went way faster than we could have hoped. We continue to get faster every single time.

Afterwards, it was time for some celebratory ice cream inside the house:

And then we said good bye to our friends who will leave very early tomorrow morning. Here are Bria and Hannah who were good buds. Bria is almost 4 and Hannah is almost 3, and we were amazed at how well they played together:

So proud of ourselves.

And exhausted!

The Interiorista: Bare Partitions

Walls represent the body of your home. They provide a sense of shelter and security. They divide the space in the house providing different living areas.
Walls are a blank creative canvas when it comes to decoration. They allow you to express your personality and decor style in multiple ways. They can evoke different visual effects and feelings, and are a great way for you to add charisma to your home.

Your home is full of walls, so how do you know what walls to decorate and how to decorate them? Follow these tips to guide you in your wall decorating process:

1. Find the room's focal point. A room's focal point is its most emphasized feature. It's the thing your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk into the room. This could be a fireplace, a bay window, a specific piece of furniture, etc.

You can also create your own focal point. Once you decide the purpose of the room,you can make a particular fixture be the focal point in the space. For example, if your goal is to have a library, the shelves in the room will become the focal point. The wall's focal point will be a good wall to decorate!

2. Make sure the room is balanced. if the space has decorations on three walls, leaving a blank wall might make the room feel unbalanced.If you chose a big, dramatic gallery wall in one of the partitions, you might want to have a statement piece of furniture on the opposite wall to equilibrate the space. You certainly don't need to have decorations in each wall but it is important to make sure you keep the room as a whole in balance.

3. Decide what design method you want to use. There are several methods you could follow to decorate your walls, from more intuitive and relax to more precise. Take a look at this guide and choose the one that works best with your space and your taste.

4. Get creative! You don't need to use only picture frames or pieces of art in your walls. There are so many other possibilities out there. Let me share with you some ideas!

Gallery walls are very popular right now! If this is something that goes with your style and you would like to give a try, follow these directions to get you started!

So, there you have it! Your walls don't need to look boring anymore! Go ahead and give them some pizzazz! Can't wait to see what your walls say about you! would you share some pictures with me?

Until next week,



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Piece Featured on "The Mighty"

I'm getting really, really, really excited about my writing, and that I am getting pieces published now pretty regularly. I am not exactly sure what this means for me, but I don't think it can be bad! To view a complete listing of all of my published pieces, please click here. 

Check out this piece published on THE MIGHTY:

What to Do (and Not to Do) for a Friend Dealing With Infertility

Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review
We had a fantastic opportunity to listen to Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions, and I can't wait to share how this worked for our family! If you have children in middle elementary and into high school grades, you are going to want to check out this (and their other!) audio presentations.

Featuring over two hours of incredible acting, this is a story of grace, sacrifice, and redemption. Take a look at the incredible list of individuals who worked on this audio production:
  • Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear)
  • Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity, Braveheart)
  • Tom Baker (Dr. Who)
  • Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle's War)
  • Cathy Sara (Downtown Abbey)
  • John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones)
So let me share how this worked for our family! Firstly, I decided to just sit my three oldest children (ages 4, 7, and 8) to listen to the production. I'll be honest. I didn't sit with them. I was busy cleaning up after dinner and giving my toddler a bath, and was just doing the busy-mom-thing. About thirty minutes in, all the kiddos told me that they didn't like it and couldn't follow what was going on.

I kept telling myself that I would sit down and listen with them, but I ended up running out of time as the date for my review neared. About the time I was stressing about finding the time to do this, my husband was taking a road trip with my 7-year-old, Sidge, and decided to take Beric the Briton with him on the road. 

And they loved it. I mean they absolutely had a blast! Here are two pictures of them listening to it on the road:

So while I am writing this review, it is my husband who is actually the "brains behind the operation." The website says that it is: "Designed for Kids 6-16 .... But loved by listeners of all ages." My husband feels that a better age range for this program is 10-99! Sidge is a pretty sharp kid, but he required John to do a lot of explaining. With the explaining, he absolutely loved listening to the play! If you had multiple kids, stopping to explain could be troubling if you, like me, have one child who asks a lot of questions and another child who gets very frustrated by a lot of questions.

This is a 2-CD "Active Listening" Audio Adventure which will captivate your child's imagination for over two hours. In addition, by purchasing this program ($27.97), you receive a ton of other exciting extras including:
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review
  • Beric the Briton E-book
  • Official MP3 Soundrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • Study Guide & Discussion
  • Inspirational Verse Poster
  • Live the Adventure Letter
  • Behind the Scenes Video
I wanted to take the opportunity to specifically talk about the Study Guide & Discussion. This is a 50-page document which features a question worksheet on every track, history-learning guides, and story-related Bible study. It was actually designed by Christian educators as a complete story curriculum to supplement Beric the Briton.

In my opinion this guide is a little too advanced for my boys to do by themselves, but they could definitely work through it with an adult. 

Please take a moment to check out this amazing program on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram (@HeirloomAudioOfficial).  You can also listen to a summary of the story here.

Jb has told me that I absolutely must sit down with my kiddos and listen. My husband is a voracious reader and a watcher of all kinds of movies, and he said that this one was incredibly well done and that he was amazingly impressed. 

Don't miss this opportunity!
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parents visit

It's always a special treat when my parents can spend time with us here on the farm. We've had a wonderful week just laying low here and celebrating Abigail's birthday, my parents 41st anniversary, and my mom's birthday (tomorrow). Here are a few pictures of our time:

Sidge reading Abigail her birthday card from Grama Kit. (They are out of town this week visiting Rob in California.)

My mom pitching to Abigail.

Isaac teaching my Dad how to collect eggs. I'm not sure where I got my "farming gene" but my parents readily admit -- they love visiting us but farming is NOT for them.

We took them to Amis Mill Eatery -- one of our favorite places to go -- for lunch.

The kiddos and grandparents!

The whole family (photo courtesy of our WWOOFer, Maggie).

Tuesday Truth