We Betray Ourselves

actions don't always depict true feelings.

actions don’t always depict true feelings.

This last year I read Lies Women Believe, a book I’d recommend to any christian lady (or fellow!), addressing the many things we tell ourselves both consciously and subconsciously that are stumbling blocks and not true, productive, or good.  On the same subject, I am shamelessly typing out and sharing with you the handout I have from last years ladies conference at our church.  Below is part was what speaker Wendy offered on the subject, hitting straight into my heart as feelings used to control me more than I wish they did, and can be a real threat to ones faith, relationships and life – I hope it blesses you!

Obstacles to believing God’s promises:

  • As women, we are weaker (emotionally). 1 Peter 3:7
  • As women, we are more easily deceived. 1 Timothy 2:11-14
  • We tend to place too much weight on our experiences. (rather than the Word of God)
  • Often our afflictions feel heavy and eternal
  • God says our afflictions are light and monetary.
  • Our afflictions are working for us an exceeding and eternal weight o glory! 2 Cor. 4:17

Prescription for pain: The promises of God

  • God promises all things work together for our good.  (Rom. 8:28)
  • God promises nothing happens outside of God’s will.  (Matt. 10:29-30)

Putting it into Practice

  • We must put forth the effort to truly believe.
  • To receive help from God’s promises we must believe (1 Peter 1:1-4)
  • We must learn the habit of preaching to ourselves.  (Ps. 42:5)

Selfdeception is the surest way to self-destruction.
Reality has a way of catching up with us. – Sam Erwin

May we always remember to keep our mind & heart in the safe place of the Cross.  Giving up ourselves (or our wayward thoughts) and believing Him, trusting always.  Not puffing ourselves up to combat our loss with equal lies, but to rely on Him as our everything.


You can listen to Wendy’s entire message by clicking here.  Also, it’s been a year now since that conference, and is time for another!  I’d encourage you to join us tomorrow for the 5th Annual Ladies Conference.  More details here.

Without A Grocer

With all of this silly red cup nonsense going around, a great discussion came out of the zillions of posts that I didn’t bother reading.  A friend made the stronger argument that she could care less about the red cup itself, but that there are several other larger reasons why their family doesn’t support the folks who started the red cup movement (if you will).

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start if you want to make a difference with your dollar.  It’s easy to start feeling the struggle of wanting to remove support for most companies if we pick them apart to meet our standards.

Ultimately, tho’, we can’t boycott everything, especially things like, say, a grocery store… Or can we?  Below I’ve listed the places that we usually supply our family’s food needs (disclaimer: we have definitely slacked on in the last year and a half big time).  Because they are not all viable for you to put on your own table (tho’ we do sell many of the things we produce), I will follow up with a list of farms that you can purchase similar products from.


Our pork, chicken, duck, goose come from our homestead.  Salmon & tuna from fisherman out of Astoria, as well as some friends & family, when we’re so lucky.  We buy beef “on the hoof” from friends who raise beef.  We’ve always bought rabbit from our good friend up north, but will need to find someone else when we need more as he has moved.

Dairy & Eggs

We milked 2 of our ewes for 7 months last year (more next).  They supply us with enough milk during those months.  We sacrifice only enough freezer space for an additional month of milk.  We made our cultured dairy when our girls were “fresh”, including ricotta, mozarella, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and feta to last us a year.  Our poultry lay enough for us to enjoy quail, duck, goose & chicken eggs most of the year, otherwise we buy from friends.  We buy cheddar & butter in bulk through a cooperative group that works together locally.

Vegetables & Fruits & Berries

In the past, we grew a lot ourselves and preserved for winter.  We heavily supplement with other local farmers’ goods, as well as nearby small markets.  We also forage for many greens.  This is one area that I anticipate doing better with next year since we’ve fallen a little off the wagon since last spring.  We buy many varieties of mushrooms straight from wild foragers.  We pick a lot of our fruits & berries nearby.  But never enough.

Grains & Legumes

We purchase most of our grains & legumes from Washington & Oregon farmers, both directly and cooperatively.  We make bread, but also purchase from local bakeries (and on the fly from the grocer or outlet).  We make noodles, but like different kinds that we haven’t mastered.  Hey!  Did you read my recent post about turning cattail into flour?!


We use a lot of butter & lard.
We purchase our coconut oil from a small company online in 5 gallon buckets.


We grow minimal amounts of stevia.  We purchase local raw honey by the gallon from our dear friends that are beekeepers.  We buy maple syrup by the 6-gallon bucket from a third generational farmer in Maine.  We do purchase cane sugars still.

Coffee & Tea & Spices

We blend our own teas from wild-foraged, locally grown, or ingredients from a company in Oregon that carefully source their items.  We also obtain most of our dried herbs & spices from there.  Our fresh herbs from ours and others’ gardens.  We buy green or already-roasted coffee beans in bulk from a company in Portland, the owner who works diligently to buy directly (travels) from farmers who are using high quality practices both for the production, and the labor of their coffee.  More often than not, we’ll buy bag by bag from stands because we don’t make it into Portland for this purchase often, etc.  Over the years, we have bought several bags from a girlfriend who has a coffee tree in her back yard in Battle Ground!


We make kombucha, water kefir… and are on a decent binge of making a lot of homemade (medicinal – with herbs – like root beer & rosehip!) sodas.  We have a plethora of locally wineries to patronize if we are needing most types of spirits.  In reality, our family mostly drinks water and tea when there’s not fresh milk (our #1 when there is!).


These are the things we have have struggled to get away from a big box store (tho’ some can be purchased through cooperatives, we just haven’t well): juice, tortillas, favorite cold cereals, nuts, off/distant season veggies, chips, chartucherie, chocolate, shapely noodles…  I’m sure I’m missing several items, as we tend to drop into a grocer weekly for “needs.”  Tho’ in reality, we could easily eat off of our regional production most of the year.  It just might not look like we all have come to expect.  It’s where people go wrong when they argue there’s “not enough food” to sustain everyone.  Perhaps not the way you’ve been accustomed to.  But perhaps in a much healthier way (seasonally, wild, etc).  Chew on that.

I think the most important part is moderation.  In theory, we do the best we can do, but not at the expense of our marbles, our family, or God.  We eat fast food sometimes.  We love white bread and sugar.  We don’t judge others.  But we also know what’s better.  And try to make consistent and decent choices most of the time.

To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin.  James 4:17

Ultimately, though, as a friend said – and I agree with completely – “I believe God will call us to account for our stewardship of His resources.”  That could go for a lot of areas of our life – not just our bodies – and is the reason we farm/live the way we do.  Leave everything better than you started with it.

Replace Herbs

In a quest to learn more ways to strengthen my internal girlie parts, I purchased two new herbal books last week about women’s health.  It sent me on multiple quests – one of which I’ll share in my depth in my next post.  I’ll start here…

I tend to get very overwhelmed very quickly when it comes to herbs.  There are so many.  And they’re all “magical” and important and necessary and exciting.  I get a little lost.  In reading, I get way ahead of myself and learn too much, leaving little to actually be absorbed and remembered.  And I make things that our family may never need or use.  Then I heard someone say this fantastic line that kept me on point:

Replace store-bought items with homemade as you run out.

That’s it.  That’s all I needed to step back and focus.  Instead of putting all of these awesome sounding herbal recipes into hibernation at my house, we’re trying to make herbs a living part of our lives.

We are nearing the end of our aerosol can of “First Aid Spray” that we use for cuts & scratches.  A perfect opportunity to put the above guidelines to work.  I pulled out a pint of rubbing alcohol and have started a 6-week process of macerating herbs to create an anti-bacterial, pain relieving spray.

I like this.

Meow Eats

We school year round with a goal of 3-4 active days per week.  That gives us the flexibility to take days off – or even weeks – when things come up.  This summer we took a little more time off than that, and so we’re playing a bit of catch up.  After company was gone for the summer, I sat down and we formulated some goals to accomplish by Christmas, the first two being the biggest:

  • 50 math lessons each
  • 16 (week) Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLTA) Lessons
  • Complete current spelling book (approx 60 lessons)
  • Complete current science program (approx 8 week lessons)

In the first 10 days, they had barrelled through 23 math lessons and 7 LLTA each.  Whoa.  Here’s the thing: We’re not even losing sleep over this right now.  We’re still maintaining and working the homestead, playing to our heart contents outdoors & in, reading any of box of new books we just got for them (not to mention the bigger box Grandma Chris brought!), and baking like there’s no tomorrow.  Oh, and did I mention arts & crafting, making messes and cleaning up constantly?  Imagine if we were doing only school 8 hours a day… They’d have graduated at this rate!

I don’t want to push the kids so hard that they don’t retain what they learn or get stressed, but you have to keep in mind: I didn’t set the pace.  They are self-motivated, resourceful littles who soak up the world like a sponge.  Why would I discourage them?  I suspect the next few years will bring continued accelerated learning if it’s up to them.

In order to combat my concerns that they’re learning too much too fast (ha!), I’m trying to shake things up with extra activity and projects that will stimulate creativity and fun.  Yesterday, we studied cats.  No, not the furry purr-y kind.  The wild eats kind.  We are studying Cattail & Cat’s Ear. We watched videos, hiked and collected, drew pictures and made cards.

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We didn’t accumulate a lot of information on Cats Ear (or often called “false dandelion”), as we’re pretty familiar with it.  We learned a few techniques to decipher it against a true dandelion.  For one, Cats Ear does not have a hollow stem like Dandelion.  They’re similar nutritionally, and can be used the same, tho’ their stems steamed make yummier eats because of their heartiness.  They’re are rich in antioxidants and minerals, vitamin A & K and iron.


The roots and tender stems can be eaten, as well as the pollen and young flower heads – all prepared different ways.  They say cattail contains 4x’ more vitamin C than an orange (weight for weight?).  It’s high in iron.  It contains phosphorus, vitamin K, B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese.  One of the cool parts about cattail is that you can use the pollen as a flour alternative, or use the flowers picked off.  It takes a lot of pollen to get a little flour, but if you use the flower, it adds up quick!  Check out this video and you’ll see what I mean.  Gonna do it.  And make something.  Just to see what it’s like!

Plans were underway to feed American soldiers with that starch when WWII stopped… One acre of cattails can produce 6,475 pounds of flour per year on average (Harrington 1972).” – from this link.  Why do we raise GMO-infested, genetically altered high gluten wheat? “To feed the word” you say?  I beg to differ.  Alright.  Rant = over.
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Sending Letters

Some time ago (and I mean a long time ago) I started a “quiet book” for Flynn.  It was a new concept to me, and Pinterest did a great job about getting me overly-excited about something I thought I wouldn’t attempt to try.  It was Etsy’s price tags per page (some upwards of $90) that changed my mind and made me crack down and make our own.  The trouble is, I’m not good at doing a hodge podge job.  I was either going to do this 100%, or not at all.  Because what’s the point of something homemade if it’s not quality and smart and interesting and as awesome as possible, right?  Yeah, it sounds good, but it’s what also keeps me from finishing a lot of projects.

This summer while my step-Mom was here, she asked if she could work on some pages.  Of course she could!  She didn’t over-think it.  She didn’t pine over what to do.  She didn’t throw it to the side because she needed particular supplies.  She made it happen.  And (of course), they were fantastic.  Her artistically inclined motivation encouraged me me to finish the ones I’d started, and to make a couple more while she was pumping them out.


She left with what she needed to make more that she’ll send home for Flynn.  I finished up the ones above.  Colby was so excited that he started one on his own.  I haven’t helped him an ounce.  So proud of his creativity and care!  His is the mailbox below.  It’s not finished, you may have noticed.  He’s laminating “cards” that Flynn can “send” and adding a fastener & red flag once he hand-sews on the mailbox door.  His stitching looks fabulous; his attention to detail noted!

Flynn may be getting older – and tho’ I worried he may outgrow this quiet book before it makes it to his hands (it’s now in his bag for quiet times), I am certain he’ll cherish it for a long time!

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The house has been full of art lately.  The two older boys are constantly at the piano, filling the house with music.  Kendra has just started her first art lessons outside of our homeschool cooperative.  She’s shown a heavy interest and clear talent for a while now – we’re excited to see where this takes her!

Needless to say, there are oil and french pastels all over our plastic-covered table, as that was the medium used this past week at Kendra’s art class and we had 50% off coupons at the art shop.  If you get a card from us in the next month or so (until ???), it’ll likely be hand-made with an artistic cover.  Because we can’t seem to stop ourselves.  And it’s a good excuse to get an old-fashioned (snail mail) concept back into our modern day world.

come by to see her revolving art gallery in our home

at class

Come by to see Kendra’s revolving mini (wall) art gallery.

Greek Honey Candy

This weekend is the umpteeth Greek festival in Portland. With that in mnd, and having been inspired by a counter side enticement last week, we made sesame seed candy today. Only we mixed nuts in it, mainly chia (it’s what we had). That’s how we roll.


Here’s how we did it:

  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 T. water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 t. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. seeds and/or nuts of choice

Mix honey, sugar, salt and water while heating for 5-10 minutes, until amber colored (or 300 f if using a candy thermometer). Pull of heat and add butter and vanilla. Once butter is melted, stir in baking soda (will get foamy) then add seeds and nuts. Pour onto a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Cover with additional mat or paper and use rolling pin and roll it to desired thinness.  Cool.  Break.  Enjoy!

Be creative.  Shake it up by adding herbs, berries and flowers!  Use different extracts.  Lots of variations to be had here.

Here Fishy Fishy!

I got a little more tuna than I had originally planned, since I’ve all but conquered pressure canning.  I bought 5 pounds of loin, and a whole 25 pound fishy.  I put the loin straight into the freezer for a later use, and went to work breaking down this big guy.  He cost me $52.50.  And here’s what I got:


  • 13 full pints (each with pepper and a bay leaf, canned at 10# pressure for 100 minutes – in theory*)
  • a 3# loin
  • 8 pints of gelatinous stock
  • almost a gallon ground up animal food

A typical small can of tuna is 3 ounces.  A pint is 16 ounces, and held almost exactly a pound of fish.  So if I break it down in “cost” (not including jars), I have this:

  • Pints = $1/each (equivillant to a 3oz can costing me approximately 20 cents)
  • Loin = $3.00 for entire loin (14″ long)
  • Stock = $1/pint
  • Ground animal food = free

Not shabby at all.

Flynn wanted you to gain some perspective on the size of the fish.


*so I didn’t conquer the canner, it turns out.  These ended up in the freezer.  And I learned that I need a different seal, which is on order.


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