I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I have taken a couple of money management classes or classes in personal finance and after listening to this book on CD I think I would recommend it to everyone.  Granted he is writing to a 20 something audience and so sometimes his language is less than desirable, but if you can get past that... you could learn a lot.  I will make this a must read for each of my kids when they graduate high school.

I can do everything, but not all at once!

We go through seasons of life where we are able to engage in different things; right now I'm mothering through the teenage and young child years. 

"It's busy, exhausting, and rewarding. I constantly have to remind myself not to compare my Chapter 1 to someone else's Chapter 100. I'm not Martha Stewart. She can keep an immaculate home, tend glorious gardens, and grow every vegetable perfectly because she is at a different stage of life and her priorities are different than mine. She does not have three children, nor does she homeschool. Of course she isn't any less of a person for that, but it would be silly of me to measure myself against her.

I'm responsible for using 24 hours wisely everyday. I use 7-8 of them for sleeping. That leaves me with 16 to manage well. Managing them well means learning how to prioritize and giving the most important things the most attention. In our house, that order looks like this:
  1. God
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. House
I start everyday in the Word. I can't make it through the rest of the list with out God's help so it only makes sense to give Him the #1 place in my life.

My husband prefers a good meal to a clean house or an empty laundry basket, so if I have to choose between making dinner or cleaning the shower, the former takes priority.

We believe our primary purpose as parents is to raise our children in the fear of the Lord. It's a hard exhortation to remember when there are dishes piled high in the sink, loads of laundry to wash, and dust everywhere, but if it seems the only thing I accomplish in a day is giving instruction, administering correction, breaking up squabbles, reminding our children of the necessity of their salvation, and teaching them to pray for a clean heart that hates evil and wants to do good, then the most important things have been given the most attention."  

These early years are where true character is formed.  While our children are in elementary school we have the ability to give them a relationship with God and mold their character and thinking according to His Word like we will never ever have again.  It is like an open window to their soul.  As a homeschooling mom, it is easy to feel pressure to push the academics and neglect teaching the Word of God. 

"To help keep my priorities aligned properly, there are several good things that I just don't do. One day I'd like to do them, but right now I don't have enough time or attention to give them."  

Right now, is the only time I will ever have to raise my young children.  I can always go back to school.  I can always get a job.  I can always write a book or start a business, but my kids will never again be as impressionable as they are right now.  This is the only season I will ever have to teach them how to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength and love their neighbor as themselves.  Never again will I be able to mold their world-view or impact the state of their heart as I can right now.  I would be stupid of me not to take this once in a lifetime opportunity.  My prayer for myself is that I would treat this time as a gift from God and treasure it.  This is truly my biggest daily struggle.  I believe there is great spiritual warfare over this issue in my life because Satan knows true discipleship of my children will impact and change the world FOREVER!

Parts of this post are direct quotes from: http://www.growinghomeblog.com/2013/10/keeping-growing-home-making-priorities.html?m=1#.UlhkUtJI-Sp

Marriage Advice - for when you get MAD

10 Sane Steps For When He Makes You Crazy

1.  Wait until you cool down. Before saying or doing anything. A really good first step.

2.  Pray about it. Yes, I really mean that. Prayer can settle your soul and clarify your thinking. Pray for him and pray for yourself.

3.  Determine whether it's worth "fighting" for. It might simply be an offense you can overlook. Or maybe not. 

If not....

4.  Clearly identify the issue. Maybe it was only a "small" thing, but it's significant to you for your own reasons. Be ready to explain those reasons the best you can.

5.  Approach him in love. This means not coming after him with eyes blazing (see #1).

6.  Be prepared to listen. He might - just might - have his own side to the story. Hear him out too.

7.  Give him time. He could need to think about it (and keep praying while he's thinkin'!).

8.  Be ready to forgive. Not necessarily because he deserves it. Or that it's easy. But because you've been forgiven much too.

9.  Let it go. Don't hold on and let bitterness take root. And don't throw it in his face the next time it happens (Did I say "next time"...? Ugh.).

10. Choose to love him. All over again. And then again. 
From: http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/2013/10/10-sane-steps-for-when-he-makes-you.html

Animal Control

Steve with Colvin's Animal Control 434-996-6067  http://www.colvinsadc.com/
did a wonderful job getting bats out of our attic and birds out of our chimney.
If anyone ever needs help with animal removal, I highly recommend this company.
And no, I get nothing to say this!

Tea with Michelle Duggar

From Tea with Michelle Duggar
I just finished listening to this DVD and here are the notes I wrote down... the things that pricked my heart and I want to remember.

The person that praises your child will have their heart.

If you are a perfectionist lay it aside because children grow when they are praised.

Overlook mistakes and find something to praise (for example when a toilet is half clean, praise the part that is clean).

Say to your children, “there is no one else in the world that I would rather be with than you.”

Question: How do you encourage a lazy child?
Answer: Praise them for not being lazy… praise them for being diligent and point our ways they are diligent.

Thank your kids constantly for the things they do well and the ways they help around the house.
Hug them.
Praise them.

Take one child with you when you run errands to get time alone with that child.  While they are with you ask them:
  1. How are you really doing?
  2. What is going on in your life?
  3. What is on your heart?
  4. Is there something in your mind or on your heart that has been bothering you that you haven’t had time to tell me yet?
  5. Is there a secret / something that you need to tell me that you haven’t had time to tell me yet?
  6. Thank you for telling me that!  Praise them in thanks… I know that wasn’t easy, but I am really thankful you shared that with me.
  7. How can I pray for you?

Check her website for character traits: http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/character_qualities

Tick Removal

Yes, it is tick season again and time to tell you about the absolutely easiest way to remove ticks... even the tiny deer ticks.  THE TICK NIPPER:  http://www.amazon.com/Tick-Nipper/dp/B007XTD0OE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1366338048&sr=8-3&keywords=tick+nipper.  I love it because the ENTIRE tick comes off easily, the first time, without pain, and even on moving kids or dogs!  No more digging tick heads out of small children.  It is so very easy to use and inexpensive.  I even carry one around in my purse.
Here is the Amazon description:
"The Tick Nipper is the only tick remover for pets and humans that is simple, clean and safe. The patented tick-removing pliers handle any size tick, without squeezing or cutting, and come equipped with a built in 20X lens to help identify ticks on skin or clothes."

Chip & John

Well... John has been asking for a brother.... and I have been praying a dog will do the trick!

These are photos from today, Chip's first full day home.  I think they are already the best of friends.

Chip comes home!

God has blessed our family once again!
Chip, a 1 year old border collie from Everona Dairy in Orange, Virginia, came to live with us today.  Lets just say everyone is more than thrilled to have Chip join the farm.  Chip has a very sweet and gentle personality and is great with the kids.




Redmond Products

I have recently been enjoying a few Redmond Products...

Earthpaste - a natural toothpaste  http://www.earthpaste.com/

Redmond Clay  http://www.redmondclay.com/
videos here: http://www.redmondclay.com/about/redmond-clay-video-library/
free download of info: http://www.redmondclay.com/2011/free-download-we-eat-clay/

RealSalt  http://www.realsalt.com/

Here are some websites that I have ordered these products from.... before ordering, check for a coupon by doing a google search.
http://www.swansonvitamins.com
http://www.vitacost.com/
http://nutricity.com/



Eating whole foods without going broke

http://ablossominghomestead.blogspot.com/2012/10/guest-post-6-tip-to-eating-whole-foods.html

I thought this was a good article with some interesting ideas.  What I liked most was her idea that this is not an all or nothing venture and to take little steps is better than taking no steps at all.


47 Questions I Should Have Asked My Midwife


from: http://www.growingslower.com/2012/09/47-questions-i-should-have-asked-my.html
I just loved this list, so here it is!

Interview Questions...


Experience

1.   What is your philosophy regarding pregnancy and birth and your role in it?
2.   How many births have you attended?
3.   What percentage of women successfully have a natural birth under your care?
4.   What percentage of women need to transfer to the hospital (if planning a home birth or birth center birth)? What is the typical reason? 
5.   What percentage of moms end up with a C-section? 
6.   What percentage of moms end up with an epidural?
7.   What percentage of babies are transferred to NICU?
8.   What is the mortality rate for moms? For babies?
9.   Do you have hospital privileges? At what hospitals?
10. If you have children, what were your birth experiences like? 
11. How many midwives or obstetricians are on the team? Who are your assistants? Will I get to meet all of them? What is their experience? Can I be sure that you will attend my birth?
12. Do you deliver breech babies naturally? VBACs? Twins?
13. How many births do you attend per month?

Pregnancy & Prenatal Care

14. What usually happens at prenatal appointments? How many? When? How long are they?
15. Are you available by phone or email for questions?
16. What is your philosophy on weight gain, nutrition, prenatal supplements, and exercise?
17. What factors would risk me out of your practice? How will you help me prevent these? 
18. What child birth class do you recommend?
19. What prenatal testing to you encourage?
20. What type of gestational diabetes testing do you typically use?
21. Do you recommend ultrasounds? When? How many?
22. Do you typically do vaginal checks during prenatal appointments? When?
23. What happens if I go past my due date? How late can I be and still birth under your care (if a midwife)? 
24. What testing do you do for a late baby? Starting at how many weeks? 
25. Do you have any concerns about big babies being birthed naturally? 

Labor

26. When do you do vaginal checks during labor?
27. What type of monitoring do you do during labor? How often? For how long?
28. Do you routinely use an IV or hep-lock?
29. Are there birth tubs in each room in the birth center? What if one is not available when I'm in labor? 
30. Is a water birth available? If not, am I able to push in the tub at all?
31. How long do you recommend I stay in the water at one time? Do I need to get out for monitoring?
32. How many women are under the care of one midwife or doctor at a time? How much will you be with me throughout my labor? 
33. Are you comfortable working alongside a doula? Do you have particular doulas you recommend?
34. How long can I labor without induction?
35. When would you recommend induction? Do you use natural induction methods first? 
36. How long can I labor without intervention after my water breaks?
37. Who attends a birth? (Students, assistants, nurses, etc.)
38. When do you feel amniotomy is indicated?
39. Can I eat and drink during labor?
40. What's your process for implementing a family's birth plan?
41. What positions are available during labor? While pushing?
42. What are reasons you would initiate a transfer to a hospital (if a home birth or birth center birth)? 
43. How long do you allow for delivery of the placenta? When do you cut the cord? 

Postpartum & Newborn Care

44. What post-partum care do you provide? When? How many appointments? Where?
45. What does newborn care consist of? Under what circumstances would my newborn need to be taken away from me for treatment?
46. Are you comfortable with me declining bathing, vitamin K, heel poke, eye ointment, vaccinations? 
47. Can you help me initiate breastfeeding? 

Air Purifier - HEPA filter

We have had great luck with getting asthma under control using this air purifier...


Honeywell QuietCare™ 17000 HEPA Air Purifier

A Customer Favorite with a Permanent HEPA Filter and Quiet Operation

 

·                                 Popular air purifier at a great value
·                                 Long life permanent HEPA filter for cost effectiveness
·                                 Sound-reducing technology for quiet air cleaning
·                                 Soft-touch electronic control for 3-fan speed operation
·                                 Cleans small to medium sized rooms (14’ x 14’ or up to 200 sq ft):
·                                                         Dust CADR: 130
·                                                         Smoke CADR: 130
·                                                         Pollen CADR: 130


The Honeywell QuietCare 17000 has long been a customer favorite because of the great value it offers for highly effective air cleaning. The price cant be beat and since the QuietCare includes a long life permanent Universal HEPA filter, youll avoid costly filter replacements for even greater savings. Its SurroundSeal Technology minimizes air leaks so that the HEPA filter can effectively capture airborne particles and filter 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns from the air that trigger your symptoms. Place the QuietCare in any room without disruptive noise as the built in sound-reducing features make it 30% quieter on high speed than other air purifiers of similar performance. 

Top handle allows for convenient portability, and user-friendly operation means that you can switch between 3 fan speeds quickly with the soft-touch electronic controls. Intelli-Check
Filter Indicator Light displays when its time to change the filter. Easy access to the filter area makes maintenance a cinch. The Universal Pre-filter traps larger particles to protect the life of your HEPA filter and contains carbon to remove airborne odors. Replace pre-filter every 2-3 months and vacuum the HEPA filter twice a year. Honeywell recommends replacing the HEPA Filter (HRF-11) every 3-5 years (light usage), every 2-3 years (normal usage), or every year (heavy usage). 15H x 13W x 17D. 13 lbs. 5-Year Mfr Wty. 

I purchased here because they price match

Honeywell Universal Replacement Pre-Filters for $6 each… and look for 5% off coupon on-line
http://www.allergybegone.com/honeywell-38002-prefilter.html?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googlebase&cvsfa=3262&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=484f4e3338303032

Barn Raising

We hired some Amish folks from Lancaster, PA to come and build our barn.  There are three young men working on this 4 day project!
The End of Day 1 - they arrived on the site about 11:30 am having left PA this morning

End of Day 2
End of Day 3 - all the windows and doors are in along with the left wall and the back right wall!




End of Day 4
The Barn is UP!!  They finished about 10 am this morning

John David, Isaac, and Tino did a great job.

1 Day Old Goats

It is so fun to see pure bliss on your children's faces!
Brianna and Chloe



Brianna and Snowflake


Hobbes

Hobbes

John holding Chloe

Jen and Lucy holding Chloe

The Twins - Hobbes on the left and Snowflake on the right

See you later!

Our Goats Were Born Today!

Chloe
Chloe


Chloe and her mom Sasha






 The birth of Hobbes



 Hobbes with his mom, Serena, right after birth



 Snowflake right after birth

 Snowflake and Hobbes (twins) with mom right after birth
 On right: Sasha with her daughter Chloe (black)
On Left: Serena with her daughter Snowflake (white) and her son Hobbes (gray)
Sasha and Serena are sisters.

They will come live with us on Pebble Creek Farm in May, when they are 2 months old.


We look forward to many long visits with them before then at our dear friends farm just 4 miles down the road.

Rabbit Stew with Coconut Milk

Rabbit Stew with Coconut Milk ~ Jen’s changes of an Allrecipe.com recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oil for frying (I used canola)
  • 1 (2 pound) rabbit, cleaned and cut into pieces (see: http://honest-food.net/2010/05/19/how-to-cut-up-a-rabbit/ for instructions)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red hot pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 cups chicken stock (I added 1 tsp of Better than Bouillon chicken stock paste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the rabbit pieces until browned on the outside. Transfer to a soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, red pepper and hot pepper to the skillet; cook and stir until onion is transparent. Transfer to the saucepan.
  2. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours. Remove the rabbit pieces and pick the meat off the bones and cut into bite size chunks.
  3. Return the rabbit pieces to the soup, and stir in the coconut milk. Cook, stirring gently, until heated through. Serve.

Lets Find a Deal on a New Car Battery

I absolutely love saving money.  My car battery died and I called the company that does all our car maintenance to find out the cost of a new battery.  I found out that it might be the alternator or the starter or the battery and to make sure I needed a new battery they needed to run this $37 test.  If it was a new battery the cost would be $96 for a 75 month Nappa battery.  Total: $133 + tax = $139.65.  Note: if it is not the battery, but it is the alternator, you could kill a new battery in 2-3 days and need to start all over again, so the test is a good idea.

Armed with this information, I called Advance Auto Parts and told them my car was not starting and asked why I should purchase a new battery from them.  They said they will test the system (battery vs alternator vs starter) for free and the 84 month battery would cost me $89.99+ tax ($94.49) and this battery has a 3 year warranty (the replace it for free it it dies in the first 3 years) and then if it dies before 84 months but after 3 years they will pro-rate it towards a new battery purchase.  Great!  Now here is the best part, right before going to the store I googled “Advance Auto Parts Coupon” which always brings up my favorite coupon finding website “retailmenot.com” which had listed a $35 off coupon for a purchase over $85 (code BIG35).  Then I also checked the Advance Auto Parts online store to check on the battery price and their website had a 20% off coupon code for online orders only (code OPTION).  So armed with these online coupons I headed to Advance Auto knowing even if they wouldn’t honor an ONLINE only coupon I would already be saving money buying the battery from them.  So, at the store I told the man that my car wasn’t starting without being jumped and he said it needed a new battery.  I asked him if he would run the tests for the battery, alternator, and starter (the info I learned from the repair shop) and he said yes.  This required him to test my battery, then put in a store battery and run another test, then put in my new battery after determining it indeed was the battery that was the problem.  While he was doing this I spoke with the store manager and just asked politely if they would honor an online coupon.  He and I got on the web together, put the right battery in the online store cart and entered the BIG35 coupon code and WOW $35 savings instantly.  He said he couldn’t sell me the battery that cheap, but that I could order it online and do a site to store free shipping and it was a done deal.  He would give me the battery now and would replace his inventory with the battery being shipped to his store.  No waiting for me to get a new battery.  So, after getting behind the counter and using their computer to place my order, my total cost: was $66.99!  Yes, it took me about 30 minutes more to save  $72.66, but hey that is $145.32 an hour!  Not bad for a nights work.  Can you tell I love a good deal J