Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Year in Pictures ~ 2012

Our year in pictures.  

This picture is technically December of 2011 but I found it just today.  This is my Grandma and Naomi on Christmas day.  My Grandma passed away at the beginning of December 2012.  What a wonderful picture to find!


There was snow!

and snowball fights.

Friday, November 2, 2012


"When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks

we stop thinking there are reasons to live

 ~ Ann Voskamp

I set out this morning to share some of my favorite things.  Things I am grateful for, things that bring me joy.  I was joining Rachel at Finding Joy in her link up and instead this is what came bubbling out of me.


I went to a women's conference last Saturday.  I went into it expecting a to do list on "how" to counsel women.  How to help them, how to make sense of the things that are said to me that I don't know how to deal with.  

"I don't love my husband anymore, I am filing for divorce." 
"I don't know who I am, what am I here for?"
"Why does this hurt so bad, where is God in this?"

I wanted 12 easy steps to counseling women, twelve easy steps to get them from A to Z, 12 easy steps to me knowing what to say, what to do, and how to deal with the pain I see in their eyes.  The pain that makes me ache inside and want to grab them and yell "You are more, YOU are loved!"

I didn't get that.  There is no magic formula, I knew that, deep down inside I knew, but I wanted that.

What did I get?  
I got a lesson in identity that grew me closer to the one who matters.   
I received the blessing of a lesson in the gospel.  
A lesson I knew but needed to hear again.  
A lesson that I will never fully comprehend because how can a mother understand sending her child to die for others.  
A lesson on what really matters.  

The truth, the oh so wonderful truth, that we are forgiven.  That Jesus took all my sins, all my worry, all my guilt, all my deception, all my pride, all my unbelief and He put that on and died for me.  He put on a crown of thorns, walked in shame, and died for me.  

Did I know this?  Yes
Do I believe it?  Sometimes
Do I live it?  No

I am full of pride and worry and fear and the list goes on...  

My gratitude to what He gives is filled with sin.  Filled with my pride and my imperfections.  And you know what?  God doesn't expect me to be perfect.  I am forgiven.  How wonderful is that.  

That when I am reaching for the things I do not have HE is really what I am looking for.  That my wanting is really disbelief that He has provided enough for me.  That He provides not only material needs but the words, His words are enough!  What He offers is so much more than what I could imagine.  I need to look for it, I need to be grateful for it, I need to grasp what He has given me so that I can find Him in what I am looking at.  

Today I am thankful for that.  Thankful for God's word that speaks to me and shows me that I am ungrateful yet I am loved.  Prideful yet His daughter.  A sinner yet I am forgiven.  That He has given me so much and that I need Him to see that.

How about you.  Can you believe that God chose you to be His?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Skamania County Fair 2012

This was our fourth year at Skamania County Fair.  With three kids in 4-H it is very busy but we love it!  This year Madeline in her 4th 4-H year showed poultry, Michael in his 3rd 4-H year showed rabbits, and Marah in her 2nd 4-H year showed rabbits and poultry.  Naomi will join them next year and we are all ready jokingly calling her the chicken whisperer.

Rabbit Breed Judging ~ Silver Fox

Rabbit Breed Judgin ~ Mini Rex

Primary Rabbit Showmanship

I always love seeing all the little girls all dressed up for showmanship.  Their hair is so cute!

Junior Rabbit Showmanship

Primary Poultry Showmanship

There is always one group of primaries that are chatting away.  The
little girl on the very end was so cute and her chicken was
large fowl and she handled it so well considering her size.  

Junior Poultry Showmanship.  Madeline is showing a
Mille Fleur Belgian Bearded  D'Uccle Bantam Hen.  She has been
her showmanship bird for a while now.   Maddy has trained her well.

Champion Junior Showman

Showmanship for Master Poultry Showman

Master Poultry Showman!!!!!  She cried, I cried!

Small Animal Round Robin.  All the winners of each small animal
come together and compete for  Small Animal Round Robin
Master Showman.  Animals include poultry, pigeons, rabbits, cavies, and novelty goats.

Small Animal Round Robin.  Madeline placed third.

Small Animal Round Robin

Showing Novelty Goats

There was cage cleaning every morning

Primary Poster Champion

Junior Poster Champion

Watching her siblings

Madeline's poster

Michael's Mini Rex rabbit Thunder took Reserve in breed judging.

Madeline's showmanship bird

The kids all did a ton of projects in the exhibit hall.  They did
Garden boxes, entered eggs, made jams and jellies, bread, did LEGO crafts,
and other art projects!  This is Marah with her garden box project, she also did a
poster that went with it titled "Parts of a Plant"

Michael made a LEGO model of the fairgrounds.  Unfortunately I can't find a picture of it!  He worked so hard for well over a month and studied the fairgrounds on google maps so he got everything just right!  He got a Judge's Choice award and was really excited.

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Homemade Hamburger Buns Recipe 
I just did my monthly meal plan and a facebook friend asked me to share it.  In an attempt to not have to buy groceries this month I went through and inventoried everything I had in the house.  I did not inventory the flours, baking supplies, spices etc as those are staples and I usually always have those in my pantry.

Here is the list of what I had on hand and the quantities to work with in random order.  Well actually it is order of small freezer to garage pantry to large freezer but only I would know that.
Bacon 3- half packages (I cut these in half and we only eat a half at a time)
Pasta Sauce-7 meals worth
Rice- Brown
Beans- Red, Pinto, White, Black
Pasta- 6 packages
Tomato soup- 1
Hamburger- 15 (these are small little frozen rounds, 1 is a less meat meal and 2 is a large meat meal)
Cken breasts- 3
Rabbit- 1 whole
Chicken- 6 whole
Salmon- 4 meals worth
Applesauce and apple butter
Pears and pear butter and pear sauce
Frozen- strawberries, grn beans, corn, chicken broth 1, ham broth 1

My Go To Break Recipe for Loaf, Rolls, or Cinnamon Rolls

These will be the same 7 meals on a weekly rotation.  Sides will be whatever fruit, etc happens to be there.  I can all summer long so there is a lot of pear sauce, apple sauce, canned pears, and frozen fruits for smoothies, etc.

Oatmeal and Pears
Scrambled Eggs with toast
Pancakes and applesauce
Smoothies and Toast
Cream of Wheat or Oatmeal
Eggs and biscuits (eggs will be either flat eggs, scrambled, or omelets)
Leftover Pancakes (I make a quadruple batch and freeze the leftovers)

Carmel Pecan Sticky Rolls Recipe
These will also be the same 7 meals on a weekly rotation.  Side will be vegis and dip, hummus.  Also I only make these if there are no dinner leftovers!

Sandwiches- PBJ, PBH, egg salad, tuna, whatever we have that week.
Potatoes with ranch, cheese, toppings
Noodles (with butter and garlic, or with meatless sauce)
Leftover Day- This is all the leftovers in the fridge
Leftover Soup or Chili- If I make a large pot once a week there will be lunch for all 6 of us as well

Pressure Canned Pinto Beans
I write out my dinners on a blank monthly calendar I printed off in word.  I fill my meals in making sure to note what days we are out late, Joe is not home, or we are out all morning/afternoon so I can use the crock pot.  I also do not pick a specific way to cook some items so that I can choose depening on what we feel like when the day comes.  For example a whole chicken will just say "whole chicken" and day of I may choose to crock pot it, bbq it, or roast it in the oven.  Sides for dinner are decided when that day depending on what I have on hand.  If I plan it right all breads, rolls, buns, etc will be made day before or that morning.  Meatless meals are marked with an *

Week 1
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Soup*
Whole Chicken
Taco Pie
Black Bean Chili*

Week 2
Bean Burgers*
White Bean Soup (made with Ham stock from the freezer)
Chicken Pot Pie (in place of crust I put dumplings on top)
Sloppy Joes
Spicy Rice and Beans*
Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice*

Week 3
Chili and Cornbread
Chili on Potatoes
Taco Pie
Chili Casserole

Week 4
Whole Chicken
Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken Pot Pie
Waffles and Bacon
Black Beans and Rice*
Lentil Sloppy Joes*

Week 5
Lentil Soup with bacon
Breakfast Burritos*
Polenta and Spicy Beans*

Want to see another meal planning post?  Check out "A Month of Meals"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken Butchering Day (Warning- Graphic)

Warning this post contains pictures of our butchering day.  There are detailed photos of the process from start to finish.  If you do not want to see blood, guts, and dead chickens please stop reading now.

We spent Sunday afternoon at a friend's house for chicken butchering.  She has quite the set-up and a group came together to butcher.  A morning group butchered 50 birds and the afternoon group butchered 35.  We brought the 10 we have been raising up for the afternoon group.  Joe has butchered chickens, turkeys, and rabbits before but we've never done it as a group.  Was so much more fun and we really learned a lot by seeing how Lisa sets everything up!

Her set-up outside their garage.  It did not rain at all, lucky us.

Some of our birds after transport.  We drive a mini-van so the 
smell on the drive was not pleasant.  

They would hold the birds upside down until they were calm and 
then put them into the killing cone.

 Quickly done.  Blood drains into the 
containers of pine shavings below.

Water at just the right temp.  170 degrees was just right.

Dipping the birds for 20 seconds.

 Into the wizzbang.  This machine takes almost all the feathers out.  We have hand plucked both chickens and turkeys and this was amazing.  So fast and easy.  If you are local to me her husband builds and sells them.  They run about $1,000.  Her website is here and they also make awesome chick brooders!

Nice and clean!

Our view from the butchering stations.  

Picking out the last of the pin feathers.

We started about 2pm.  The clock was set-up so you could easily count how long the birds were submerged in the hot water.  A table for cleaning supplies.  All tables had bleach buckets and everything was cleaned regularly through out the process.

Taking out the insides. 

This is what NOT to do.  The bile needs to be washed away 
and care taken not to get it on any of the meat.  This only happened once all day!

Inside the tents.  Pin feather station, butcher station, clean station.

Another woman was there to help and she was awesome at this.  
So fast and she really knew what she was doing.  I was just 
fascinated with these gut photos.  Sorry!  I took several more that 
I didn't post.  lol

 Saving the chicken feet for yet another person.

Clean water buckets for belly scrubbing.

Yep all clean.

 Almost done!

Finished birds go into clean buckets full of cold water.

Out of the bucket and onto trays to drip.  Look just like the store!

Double bagged and ready to weigh.

 Weigh table.  Biggest bird of the day 6.65!

There was more than just butchering, photos from the rest of the day.

The kids played in the woods most of the day.  After we were all done the girls got to collect 
eggs and see all of Lisa's chickens.  

The fields around her chicken coops were full of these full of these flowers.  

So how did you spend your Memorial Day Weekend?