Wednesday, December 23

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/23

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen Today we're baking butternut squash, making mashed potatoes, and decorating sugar cookies. Bread and cranberry sauce are already prepared.

With our marriage It's all about money this week. Job is ending, unemployment is pending, and hubby keeps spending! But God's provision is unending.

With the children We're studying history (birth of Christ), cultures (various Christmas traditions), science (weather, cooking, and how babies develop [thanks, Lizzie, and congratulations!]), math (We received 5 photo cards. What is the probability that each would be from a family with three or more children of only one gender per family? Oh, and you ate HOW many cookies??), music (hymns and carols of all sorts), and of course reading various Christmas books we've collected. We're also trying to keep things low-key for the sake of the young man who tends to lose perspective when things get too exciting at certain times of the year.

Around the homestead… We're locating all the snow shovels in preparation for a Big Snow. I'm also hoping that certain people will take care of a certain issue about which I've instructed and pleaded and refuse to nag... at least for now.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the friends and neighbors who have our backs during this challenging time. I pray God will show me how and when I can pay it forward.

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.


I had been waiting to shoot the pistol for almost a month. I finally got to shoot it yesterday with Lynae... we had a ball. We set up a target out back and each fired ten shots at it... let's just say the target wasn't full of holes when we were done. For those of you who don't know, I bought a 22 handgun about six weeks ago, but because of the laws in MN, we had to get a special permit before we could pick it up. After we got it, things were pretty busy and I didn't have much time.

I have been waiting to get my driver's (apostrophe? EDITOR?) license for about six months. I could have gotten it long ago, and I've been driving for a year and a half now. I'm still waiting, because I can't pay for car insurance. One more summer of hard work ought to cure that though. But until that summer comes along, I'm waiting.

I will wait until January 2nd to start bragging to 2poor about my weasel. See, every year there is a Largest Weasel Contest on, and the amount of prizes involved... it's through the roof I'm telling you. Last year I was in the Kids' Division, and I won 1st place. This year I'm in the Adults' Division, and my biggest weasel is a full 2 inches longer than the one I had last year, so I'm beginning to think maybe 2poor was right... I do have a shot at 3rd place (behind the Jack Pine Savage, a phantom and weasel whisperer, and 2poor himself).

I know how much my readers like folklore, so here is your dose for a little while. It occured to me some time ago that in much of Europe there are tales of elves and fairies who played tricks on people and sometimes did good things too. I looked at African folklore and found the same was true there, although in possibly less abundance. I looked at "Native American" legend and found the same was true here. But what got on my nerves is that in the local newspaper, people are still today talking about the same kind of creature... only it has a different name: a nisse. Now something you must understand about this community; the town I live in was settled by a certain group of people from Poland, the town south of us a few miles was settled by Danes, and the town south of that was settled by Finns. Each town has a name in a different language. But the Danish town is still very, very Danish. The street signs are all in Danish, with the English name in parentheses. The Welcome signs are in Danish. And this town is responsible for the newspaper.

In this newspaper, I saw that there was much ado about a nisse sighting in town. Apparently there was a cash reward for anyone who caught or found the nisse. There was a suggestion in this last paper, that to deter any nisses while you were celebrating Christmas, you should carry an Æbleskiver pan around with you.

This information in a reputable paper got me worried. Go ahead, try and translate "nisse" from Danish into English. I tried it using several different translators and while I only got "certain" sometimes, most of the time I got "goblin." Now while this suggests something exciting in the language, I will not go there. The point is, this nisse is out and about. Look out.

All this to say, I am going to wait to drive to the Danish town to shoot a nisse with my pistol under the pretense of checking my weasel traps.

Don't worry folks. This is a joke. I have learned that most of the time, your local nisse will help you out unless you offend him. So I will not shoot an innocent, sweet little nisse.

Wednesday, December 16

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/16

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! Cookie baking has begun with the annual batch of Russian teacakes... when baking, seems like SO many and when eating, not nearly enough.

With our marriage We will be celebrating -- or at least acknowledging -- our 17th wedding anniversary this week.

With the children School is still in session. Also, lots of letters are being written, plays enacted, and snow forts begun.

Around the homestead… Parts of the house are looking clean and decluttered for the season. The guys purchased and installed a new heating element for the hot water heater, which I hope is the last repair we need to do on it for a long time. We're back to wondering if we can get the chickens to go outside, or if it would be better to not even open their little door during the day and let in the cold breezes. (Input and experiences welcome.)

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… As I talk to my children about being prideful and ignorant, I am reminded of my own tendencies and pitfalls. I am also reminded of my own role in teaching these children, and see that while we're ALL sinners in our own right, there may be ways I need to do better at teaching these children to overcome their own obstacles. My toes hurt!

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Monday, December 14


We have had a pretty rough year. With Dad in and out of work since July, we've been cutting down on our wants so we can focus on our needs, but when there are seven people to take care of, it can be tough to cover all of the needs.

It's incredible to me how God can bless us though. In August, Dad was able to see his family and some friends in Maine, and I was able to attend a friend's wedding in Oregon. How? My Dad's Aunt paid for my Dad's trip, and when she heard that I had paid for my trip entirely out of my own pocket, she gave me a check that more than covered the cost of my trip! When I found out, I was astounded. God was using her to bless us, and she was happy to do it for us.

Another way he has blessed us is through our church family. Recently, I was looking in the freezer and thinking about how bare it was. We had no frozen dinners, and absolutely no ground beef. "Well," I thought, "God will provide for our needs.". Well, guess what a family from church gave us? 17 pounds of homegrown ground beef! Why? They said that they had more than they could use, and weren't sure if their freezer was going to keep working until they could use it all. Shortly after that, we got about two boxes of peppers from our churches' food distribution program. So guess what we were able to make in abundance? Stuffed peppers! By this time, our freezers were almost all full. To top all that off, last night, another family from church offered us some more homegrown ground beef! As I was lying in bed last night, I thought, "where are we going to put all that ground beef? We'll be overflowing with blessings!".

God has certainly blessed us through our hardships, and my faith in Him has really grown. So next time you are in need, just put your trust in God, and He will bless you.

Thursday, December 10


I didn't want to write about hardship, because all the hardships I've been through sucked. But I suppose that's kinda the point, and because it's been assigned I guess I can't really skip it.

Scanning hardship files...

Hardship: a condition that is difficult to endure; suffering; deprivation; oppression

God is good. In fact, he's really awesome. He actually broke a sea into two parts so people could walk through it without getting wet, and then he put it back together, drowning the bad guys. I don't know about you guys, but I would have trouble doing that. Even Eragon wouldn't be able to do that very well, and he's a fictional character. God is so awesome, he can't be copied. But that's beside the point, this blog post is supposed to be about hardship, not a fictional character.

But maybe it's not beside the point at all. Maybe God's greatness has everything to do with hardship. I'll let you figure that one out on your own, but I'll warn you, if you figure anything out, it's only by the grace of God.

Let me help you out. The Hebrews were stuck in Egypt for 400 years. I don't care who you are, 400 years is a long time to be stuck someplace, even if you're not a slave. And I'll remind you, this was after the flood, and after the flood God shortened the lifespan of humans to a limit of 120 years. There are scientific arguments for how this could have happened, related to scientific arguments about how the flood could have covered the whole earth, how earth could have never had seasons before the flood, and how earth survived for 1500 years before rain was even imagined. But once again, I'm getting sidetracked. I'm a pro at that. I feel like the gal in the Progressive commercials. ANYWAY...

So the Hebrews were stuck in Egypt. This was tough for them. Think of the founding fathers. They rebelled against England simply because they weren't being represented well enough and were being treated unfairly. The slaves in Egypt had it even worse. They had no representation at all, and they were also being treated unfairly. But skip ahead a few pages, or chapters, if you will. See that God led them out of Egypt, and even though they were not very appreciative, he led them to the promised land. And he did this through a fellow who had once been more Egyptian than Hebrew, and had married a woman who worshiped false gods. (She was converted, I'm sure.)

And if that's not cool enough, God did the same kind of thing 3800 years later, and now slavery is considered the signature of a savage nation. Now we have people saying we can't even use animals like slaves. I think they took it too far there, I mean, the same God who freed the slaves also gave men the right to use the animals wisely, but I think you get my point.

Hardship really does suck, but it looks like it's a lot easier to handle when God is on your side. I mean, if God be for us, who can be against us? Who would really want to be?

I didn't cite any references here, but if you'd like to learn more, check my information, find inconsistencies in my text, or whatever, I would recommend you purchase a Bible and read it... the story about the Hebrews is in the end of Genesis, beginning of Exodus.

Wednesday, December 9

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/9

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen we'll be making dozens of stuffed peppers and freezing them today. For supper, we'll have baked tilapia with pineapple mango salsa.

With our marriage I hope to surprise Loren later today with a new pair of his favorite work boots. He'll be out delivering packages in the snow the rest of this month, and these will help keep him safe.

With the children we're digging into the school work this week. There's no telling how long we'll go before we start Christmas break, but for now, school is definitely in session in spite of the snow.

Around the homestead… it's cold and snowy out there! We're getting back into the routine of tending the fire to keep the house cozy. It's so much easier to stoke a fire than to start a fire

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… honestly, my inner man is a little hungry this week. Despite my gratitude for God's provision, my focus has been inappropriate these last few days. It's having such a negative effect on me, I really must change it ASAP.

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 8



  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • garlic
  • cauliflower
  • curry powder
  • garam masala
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • salt
  • cayenne
  • diced tomato
Simmered while cooking:
  • lentils
  • basmati rice
Added lentils to curry mix, served over basmati rice, topped with plain yogurt, with warmed tortillas on the side.

The verdict:
  • "This is great."
  • "Especially with the tortillas. I give it a 10."
  • "Mmmm! Great!"
  • "It's a very strange dish, but it's good."
  • "It's not really my thing."

Wednesday, December 2

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/2

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen we are rising to the challenge of seeing how little we can spend on groceries this week. We've got plenty of food, so it's just a matter of using what we've got. We were recently blessed with a fellow church member's "extra" beef. I'm about to break out the soap making tools again.

With our marriage I'm very thankful for a hard-working husband. He just finished working for a very challenging employer, and I'm praying God will continue to refine Loren while showing Himself faithful as Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

With the children the younger set is looking forward to Christmas shopping, crafts, and tasty holiday treats. But for now, they'll have to be content playing outside (supervised!) while Mom works. Toby is busy with trapping and taxidermy, and Lynae is making jewelry and working as my right-hand chica as I send out soap orders.

Around the homestead… the basementhas been refilled with firewood. We still need to gather and store hoses before they are covered in snow. We have one or two hens laying, but most of them are taking a break despite the fancy light set up I provided for them. Christmas cards are sent, and delightful smelling packages are being mailed each day.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… I have rediscovered Stormie Omartian's The Power of a Praying Wife and am working each day to live Proverbs 3:5-6:

5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 1


The other day while I was on the computer, Mom gave me a link to a peanut butter cookie recipe and asked me to make a batch. I looked at the recipe, and thought it was a total rip-off. I mean, it only called for 3 ingredients! Well, I started getting supplies out and thought, "If this is as easy as it sounds, I could blog about it!" so I rushed upstairs and got my trusty camera.

I then preheated the oven to 350* and mixed up the 3 magic ingredients. I also added chocolate chips (they aren't in the recipe, but I didn't care). Soon I was staring at this lovely mixture:

I started rolling out some of this lovely dough and soon had a cookie sheet filled. I then made some smaller cookies because varied cookie size works well for us.

I baked them for 10 long minutes, and put them on a cooling rack.

Well, after eating a cookie, I realized this was no rip-off recipe. It was perfect. Quick, easy, and so delightful, I think we'll start making these on a weekly basis!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 and mix all ingredients. Feel free to add nuts, chocolate chips, or anything small and yummy. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Press with a fork to make that cool design. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Take out and cool. Or eat them right away. It doesn't matter, but make sure they get eaten at some point.