Monday, August 25, 2014

We Have Moved to Our New Garage

Well our house sold as of 12:30 pm, last Friday. Yeah! On to the new chapter in our lives! Ken jokes that we are homeless - but we aren't really. We don't have a house right now (though the work has begun) but we do have a home - it just happens to be in our garage. We also have an address so homeless we are not!

   Above is our temporary home - and a cozy one it is turning out to be -though a little chilly on nights like this one where the temps are going down into the 40's. That's all right - we have lots of blankets!

  Here are a few photos from the last few days - a little peak of life at our new place. Lord willing I will give you a full tour (showing how exactly we are living in the garage) next week.
 The outdoor kitchen- right outside the door. We are working to figure out ways to keep the mud and dirt (which there is plenty of with all the house digging going on) out. Mulch, stepping "stones" (really tree slices) and mats have helped.
 An outdoor shower was one of our recent projects. I still have a few minor adjustments but it is functional and I am pleased with it. (The photo above is not the finished product!)
 Jonathan put up a rope ladder today which they seem to think has turned them all into circus performers. Much fun has been had.
 My big rag rug has found a new home and made our "living room" much cozier.
 Aaron loves to keep the fire going. Supper of stew (made up of whatever could be found in the fridge) and fried biscuits was very, very yummy on this chilly evening!

The outside door into Megan's attic room (our garage is in a hillside so the back of it is largely buried in dirt). Jonathan installed the door and made the new ladder today. He is such a handy guy to have around!

  Oh we are so glad to have the moving over. Life feels so much more relaxed with the whole camping feel to it and the stress of getting things packed up and the house cleaned up all over. We are so thankful for all the help that we had moving. My parents were (are) amazing and I am so very thankful for them! (Hauling loads, cleaning, unpacking, doing our laundry, feeding us, taking care of our birds and the list goes on and on.) We also continue to be so thankful for our great new neighbors who are so interested in us and let us get water from their place, offer us firewood, storage space, etc. We are beyond blessed! God is SO good!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Paul's Prayer - My Prayer

Picture taken by Mara
I would like to share with you today a beautiful prayer that Paul prayed for the Gentile Ephesians.....

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,that He would grant you,according to the riches of His glory,to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is thebreadthand lengthand heightand depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantlybeyond all that we ask or think,according to the power that works within us,to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesusto all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3:14-21

This is my prayer too, for my family, for the church,for all of you and for me too. Oh for everyone to have Christ dwelling in their hearts and to be filled up to all the fullness of God! We often feel so week but that doesn't matter because we have a wonderful, powerful God!

A Garage Becomes a Home

  1. Photo: Look at this pretty garage door Gaslin installed for us this week
 Next week (this week in 8 minutes) we close on the sale or our house. So it is moving time! The garage is not truly done but there is a roof to go over our heads, 2 windows in (2 more small ones should arrive for the attic on Monday and then we can put them in too), and the main doors are in. It seems like we could use days that are twice as long as normal in order to get everything done but I think it will work out just fine.

We are not waiting until the day before closing to actually move stuff but rather have been working on it gradually over a period of time and now have been doing it much more heavily. Our house is beginning to look rather empty. Above is one of the rooms at Ken's office that we are using for storage.
 Here is one of our pretty windows. Do you know how much I love windows???
 Last night Ken and My Dad got the Sheetrock put up in my future honey room/ Bedroom for now. That was after the kids and I tried to put it up on our own on Tuesday. Holding Sheetrock up on 10 foot ceilings and screwing it in proved to be a little to much for the kids and I to handle. We did manage to mangle a piece of Sheetrock pretty badly and bang ourselves up a little bit before we gave up. Ken and Dad did it so quickly and smoothly - it was lovely to watch! The kids and I did manage to do much of the framing of that room so that at least was something.
 Jonathan put up a bunch of shelves today to store a bunch of stuff.
 I cooked our first meal in our new home - with all the doors open since I was using the camp stove. We are going to make a counter top outside for the use of the camp-stove in the future and indoor cooking will be on electric griddle, etc.
 We had stashed our deck furniture off in the woods to be out of the way of the excavators who will be working soon. Megan thought we should use it there. It went fine for some of us but others (the two oldest males) ended up falling over in their chairs because the chair legs sunk into the ground. It caused for some amusement and chaos at the lunch table. :-)
 BLTs were enjoyed by all. Meals have had to be simpler and not always quite so homemade with the busyness of this summer. Hopefully that can change soon.
 The 3 youngest kids are having attic bedrooms and they have been having a blast fixing them up. It feels rather like working on a fort but one that you get to really live in. We have been letting them do nearly whatever they want (they can pound nails, improve and decorate to their hearts content) and they love it. Above is Jonathan's closet that he fixed up with dowel rods. Later Aaron made a closet using a stick he had whittled and Jonathan thought that looked better (we like our homemade, rustic things) and so he switched it out so he didn't have boughten rods for his clothes either.
 Part of the boys room.
 Megan especially loves the decorating. She requested a plant to add to her area.
She pounded many a nail and has things hanging up all over.

I will plan on giving a full tour after we move in but this is a little taste of the adventure we are beginning.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life {A Book Review}

 Don't you think it is fun to take something that is old and seems rather worn out and then figure out a new purpose for it - to make it new? I love doing that with stuff but there is one far greater than I, Jesus Christ, who loves to do that with people. How cool is that?

  When I heard about "The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life - When God Turns Trash to Treasure" by Michelle Rayburn I was pretty excited about getting to read and review it. This was a concept that I had thought about many times and I was looking forward to reading someone else's take on the subject. The book did not disappoint my expectations.

  Michelle has a very fun and interesting writing style but she is able to also write in a way that encourages you and makes you think. Besides getting to read her thoughts in chapters with titles like "Junk in the Trunk", "Silver Hairs, Chin Fuzz and Fringe Benefits" and "Only You Can Prevent Frustration Fires" she also has a section at the end off each chapter called "Getting Personal" where she might share some scripture references that she encourages you to read, she may ask some pointed questions for you to think on and answer and she might propose an activity to go along with the lesson that she was trying to share.

  It was really good for me to think more on how God can use us - not just in spite of the problems we have but he can also use the bad things, the struggles, the trials in our life and make something beautiful out of them. As Michelle shares: "One of the most precious things to come out of a difficult experience is a beautiful testimony."

  Have you let God work in your life to Re-purpose and Upcycle it? Have you come through your trials stronger and more like what God wants you to be? Wherever you are at I think you would enjoy "The Re-purposed and Upcycled Life."

"Disclaimer - I did receive this book free for purposes of reviewing but the thoughts expressed are my own and I received no other compensation."


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Re-purposing Bed Sheets Week 2 (Menstrual Pads)

 Menstrual pads. What an exciting topic, don't you think?!?

It may not be exciting but it is part of life and I have found that cloth pads (which I use as well as a Diva cup) are more comfortable, cost less and produce much less waste than a regular throwaway pad. I have also heard that they are better for your health.

 After planning to make them for several years I finally got it done this year and was disgusted with myself for putting off such an easy project for so long.

I choose to use all re-purposed stuff in my pads which made them free. Flannel (which is where the old sheet comes in!) is a very nice top layer. Absorbent terry cloth is good for the middle - old wash clothes and towels were put to work there and then I read that fleece would work good to work as a barrier cloth on the bottom - I used old pajamas for this. I works good to have Velcro or a snap or something to hold it in place. I used some old Velcro from some pants we had made into rugs.

  Cut your terry cloth into the size you like your pads to be. Layer it up as thick as you think you want. Zig-zag the layers together. Then sandwich the terry cloth in between the flannel and fleece that was cut a little bigger and with wings on it. Zig-zag around the edges to hold all that together and then sew again around to hold the terry cloth in place. The last step is to add the Velcro and then you are all done. It is truly very simple and you can make a bunch of them in an afternoon. After use just wash well in hot water.
Here is a link to another person's method of making them. You can find many instructions online.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The County Fair ~ A Neat Thing for Homesteaders

 We recently had our county fair. Like normal, the kids and I entered various things in the open class. We love taking things to the fair but I started asking myself why I am so committed to the fair even during a super busy Summer. Well there are quite a few reasons......



  •  We enjoy making things and making things is something that I like encouraging my children to do and so this is a fun way to showcase some of the things we have made. 
  • The fair motivates us to complete projects. I sometimes have the tendency to start a lot of things and forget about finishing them and the fair helps me to get things in order and get them finished (so that I can enter them of course!)
  • Entering things in the fair has prompted us to try different kinds of crafts. For instance my girls are right now enjoying using knitting looms because I bought them when I noticed there was a category for things made on knitting looms at the fair. That is just one example.
  • The fair is a neat place to be inspired by what others in our community are making. This year I saw some beautiful knitted projects that made me want to get out my knitting needles and give Fair Isle knitting a try. We also have some opportunities to connect with others that love to create too. I remember one memorable time at the grocery store when Mara complimented a lady on her handmade coat and then we got to visiting and we said who we were and she so sweetly said that she had wanted to meet us after seeing our name on things at the fair. 
  •  We earn money. For the kids this is a big motivator. I also find it pretty fun. It isn't like you get tons of money per ribbon a first usually only wins from $3 to $8 per item and seconds and thirds are even less but when you enter quite a few things and get ribbons of some color on most of them you will end up with a nice check. This year I received $88, Mara $45, Jonathan $5, Aaron $9 and Megan $17. This year was a kind of disappointing one for the boys (that happens sometimes) but they have had other years when they have gotten quite a bit more.


 The kids enjoy getting the premiums so that they can have more spending money or sometimes they have given it away to missions. For me it is my little personal fundraiser for South Sudan African Mission.

    I have thought though if you were struggling to make ends meet how helpful the fair premiums could be. For instance in the horticulture department I entered very little this year - only a few herbs and some hollyhocks which were perennials that I could quickly and easily pick. They still won $14. That would have been enough to pay for 1/2 of my seeds that I bought this year. With a little more effort I think I could easily win enough money to pay for my seeds each year. Also the money could go to help pay for things that you want to make. This summer the kids and I made some pottery projects (we had been given the clay). We took them in town to a little shop to fire them and glaze them so that we could use them for eating on. I paid $15 to have that done. We entered several of them at the fair and the winnings from our pottery was just barely short of paying for what we had done - and of course we still have the things that we made for using.

 Anyway - those are a few thoughts on why we like entering things in the fair. I would love to hear your fair experiences!

A boat that Jonathan made and entered this year.

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