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Friday, July 22, 2011

From "Big Fat Chicken" to "Little Red Hen"

I finally ordered my grain mill.  Finally. 

I've only had my hard white wheat berries since January.  Don't even start to count the months! 

I researched and procrastinated...
...and researched some more...
...and procrastinated even more. 


I tend to do that (the research and procrastinate part...oh, who am I kidding?  I do the sighing thing, too.) when I'm not sure what to do about something.  I recognize it as a flaw.  That's the first step to recovery, right, admitting you have a problem?

I got the WonderMill grain mill.  Love it!  It cost the same at every reputable dealer I checked, and because we have Amazon Prime (which I got for free!  I need to do a post on that one!), shipping was free. 


Side note --  If I'm going to order something online, Amazon's one of my go-to places because we have free shipping, and their return policy is great!  (No, they have no idea I'm writing about them right now.)

So I got the grain mill on a Saturday determined to open the box and start grinding that wheat. 

Monday...Tuesday...Wednesday.....nothing happened.  Are you sensing a pattern here?

Thursday...Friday...Saturday...Seriously?  Oh for heaven's sake!  Just grind the darn wheat!...

Sunday...Monday...Like the title says -- "Big Fat Chicken!"  I certainly qualified. 

What in the world did I think was going to happen? 
Was I afraid it would explode?
burn down the house?
spray flour everywhere? (not a completely unfounded concern)

I was unsure, so I procrastinated. 

I really don't like that about myself.

So, the Monday 9 days (yes, 9 days!) after I got my grain mill, I finally ground my first batch of wheat to make my bread (hence "The Little Red Hen"). 

And nothing bad happened.  No wheat spewed; there was no fire or explosion; it actually was over relatively quickly.  It didn't even make the baby cry.  Huh. 

Then I made my first loaves of whole wheat bread. with wheat I had ground.
What an accomplishment!
And...since I had some over ripe bananas, and once I get my  booty in gear I tend to be an over achiever I made two loaves of walnut banana bread and two loaves of craisin applesauce bread. 

It rocked.  This week, I actually made whole wheat bread...twice. 

Oh my.  This could get dangerous.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Do I Do This?

The tagline on this blog is about moving into a healthier, more frugal lifestyle. 
That's all well and good, but why? 
What is the point? 

We live in a society of "eat, drink & be merry"
with no thought to the consequences. 
As a family, we refuse to live with that mentality.

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 

How does being frugal and healthier play into that? 
All we have and are comes from God, Yahweh, Maker of heaven and earth.
We are merely stewards.

For a long time, I lived my life out of obligation -- doing what was right because it was the right thing to do.  To be accepted.  That was a hard place to live. 
It gives rise to pride and to resentment.
Neither is very pretty nor very comfortable.

Then one day, something clicked.

What a beautiful click that was! 
I finally felt in the core of my being that Jesus truly and actually loved me. 

I had heard it all my life. 
Known it in my head. 
Had a conversion experience where I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Somewhere in there, though, I never really got that He loved me.


And that changed everything. 
I do what I do because I love Him
For real.
Not because I feel I have to in order to be accepted.
I love Him because He first loved me.

So...living frugally and getting healthy is a way that I can show Him
that I value what He's given me.
I want to do the best I can for Him because I love Him,
and I want to make Him smile.

And I know that I do, because He loves me, too.   :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Being a "Grunt" is Not So Bad

One of the descriptors of this blog refers to leading a healthier life. 
What's healthier than working hard in the great outdoors? 

A week ago, a storm came through town and took out a huge sycamore tree.  Sadly, it was the only shade on the east side of the house, and it took out the fence on the south side of the house.  Also, one-third of a tree tore off on the west side of the house and took out the west fence.  Obviously, it was not a night of straightline winds.

Thank the Lord for sweet friends!  The lovely C family (Dad, Mom & 4 munchkins) came over and helped make short work of the sycamore mess.  There's still a bare tree trunk down on the fence  (and propped up by two logs; safety issues will surely be another post!), but at least all the branches have been disposed of, and we can actually use the driveway again.

The fence going down on the west was not so bad because Daddy (Yes, I am from the South and will probably call my Daddy "Daddy" til the day I die.) was planning on moving the fence further west anyway.  I think it just moved that job higher in priority on his list.  The last couple of days he's been taking down the fence, marking off the new area for the fence, and figuring out what he needs to make this happen.  One other thing that has to be moved is the wood pile.

Aah...the wood pile.  Growing up, we heated pretty exclusively with wood.  There was a small gas heater in the bathroom to keep the pipes from freezing, but other than that, we had no heat upstairs.  Downstairs, we had our wood stove, and to make that lovely heat that you could back up to, we had to have wood.  Lots of wood.  Being poor as we were (I didn't know we were poor til I went to college.), buying wood wasn't an option.  Thankfully, my Grandpa had timber on some of his land, so there was wood for the taking chopping and hauling. 

I had two sisters, so it wasn't a matter of sending out the guys to get the wood.  This was a family affair!  I couldn't even begin to count the ricks of wood I've chucked and stacked.  We worked hard.  My Mama had this wonderful knack of making work a game as well as appealing to our competitive nature.  If we could get the truck full in such & such amount of time we could do...and the carrot was placed before us.  We worked hard, but it was good work, and we are strong and confident women in no small part due to the work we did as a family.

All of that brings me back to tonight.  Since Daddy's moving the fence, the wood pile needed to be moved.  I took on the job, and it felt so good.  There is something so very therapeutic about physical labor.  A job this simple -- take these logs & put them there -- is uncomplicated and yet very satisfying to accomplish. 

The sweat ran down my face, off the tip of my nose, and stung my eyes.  My arms are scratched up from carrying armfuls of wood.  And yet, I had a peaceful time being a "pile-it" this evening.

It's not so bad being a "Grunt" from time to time, and that's the honest truth.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kid-Friendly Sticky Oatmeal -- For You, Gina! :-)

My dear, sweet friend, Gina, asked me for my sticky oatmeal recipe.  I like my oatmeal nearly sliceable.  It's thick and on the sticky side, which is great when you have toddlers learning to use a spoon on their own!  Too, it's easy to make & you know exactly what goes into it.  The only sweetener?  Unsweetened, all natural applesauce.  Good stuff!

1/2 c. quick cooking oats (I use rolled oats when I make it for myself.)
pinch of salt
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves to taste
1/3 c.-ish applesauce
optional -- raisins, craisins, nuts
a few Tbsps of milk
1 tsp - 1Tbsp peanut butter

When I started off with my kids, they ate about 1/4 cup of the oats. 
Now?  They're easily eating 2/3 of a cup.  How time flies and tummies grow!

So...the amounts are going to stay in proportion...and it's a "til it looks right" kind of recipe.

In a small kid-friendly dish stir oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves.  (For kid friendly dishes, I love the ones from IKEA.  They're inexpensive, dishwasher safe, and the perfect size for little ones!)  Add the applesauce and combine well.  If you want to add any optional ingredients, now would be the time.  :-)  Microwave for 45 seconds - 1 minutes.  Then just cover the surface with milk (to help cool it down) and stir in the peanut butter. 

May you enjoy, & may it help your little ones with their spoon skills!  :-)