Good Bacteria?

That’s right, I’m gonna talk about bacteria. Unlike the ones the world at present is madly trying to kill with hand sanitizer, wipes and washing your hands. But about GOOD bacteria. Think of it as like some distant cousin…. but very much still family. Only using its powers of take-over for good. The warrior ninja who hugs.

Yogurt.

Milk meets friendly bacteria, Lactic Acid, whom feeds on the lactose sugar in milk. And the beautiful result- Thick white creamy spoonfuls of wonder. Yogurt.

So I figure, now with more home time for many of you with a world virus going on- what better time to learn how to make your own friendly bacteria- yogurt? You will also be helping your immune system, as yogurt is so good for you! There are MANY benefits, but one is when you have good gut flora it can help you fight off bad bacteria and make your illness go quicker.

Reason number 2….. it’s way cheaper to make it yourself. It only costs me $5.12 for milk that makes 4 yogurt containers 1kg each.

I freeze the two little ones for starter for my next batch

Reason number 3, the kids love it more! I make mine not as sour, but you can adjust its sourness by how long you leave it incubating. Look here’s my kids having it as an outdoor snack with no sweetener- only bananas!

So one of my biggest hurdles of getting behind making yogurt was that I’m a one pot kind of girl. I talk about my efficiency problems in All About Beans …. but basically I’m looking to shorten as many steps as I can, and getting-er done. So here’s how you do that.

These are the things you will need.

  • 3.25% 4L Milk (Homogenized)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (first time you will need to buy some, I used Astro Balkan style)
  • Large pot with thick bottom to it
  • Towel
  • Cookie Tray
  • Food Thermometer (I use my meat one)
  • Ladle
  • Spatula

Homemade Yogurt

  1. Take out your 1 cup of yogurt so it’s at room temp for when you use it later.
  2. Pour all your milk into the big pot on the stove at medium heat. Stir with spatula every now and then till the temperature of the milk reaches 180*F (do not skip this step).
  3. Then with the lid off, transfer pot to a sink with cold water in it. Stir the water around the pot to cool the milk. Stir the milk in the pot till it reaches 110*F- then quickly take it out. The temp drops way faster than heating it up- so pay attention!
  4. Flick your oven on for a couple mins just so it’s not cold.
  5. Ladle some of the milk out of the pot into your 1 cup of yogurt and mix them together. Then pour the mixture back into your pot of milk adding them together.
  6. Don’t stir the milk in circles. You want to mix them together with back and forth movements with your spatula. But don’t take too long, you don’t want your temp to drop below 105*F.
  7. Put the lid on. Wrap with a towel and place on a cookie tray.
  8. Slide tray in warmed oven. You can turn your oven light on if you wish. I’ve done both and found no difference.
  9. Put a note over your oven ON or BAKE button that there is yogurt in there! And wait 8 hrs. (More if you want it sourer)
  10. Take it out after 8hrs and see if it’s thick! There might be a tiny bit of whey. Don’t mix it, throw it in the fridge to cool. Then take it out cooled, ladle it into jars and enjoy!

It should be creamy and thick. If it’s not however, you could strain it in a colander with a cotton sheet square (my version of cheese cloth) in the bottom. Who knows, you might nail it the next batch😉

If you want to up the probiotics in your yogurt, you can empty a probiotic capsule and mix it in with your yogurt starter in step 4. I found this made my yogurt even thicker!

The reason the tray and the note are a good idea: No matter how much you think you will not forget that yogurt setting in the oven, one day you just might. It happened to me 😬 My hubby offered to grab my daughter from her gymnastics class and I ended up with an extra half hour before dinner. What could go better with my stove top soup but hot fresh scones? I cranked the oven to 425*F. It’s only by the grace of God and his kindness to my scattered Mom brain that I didn’t cause an oven fire. I think the oven was on for 10mins before I remembered. The tray worked as a barrier and kept the towel from flaming. The towel has a dark pot size circle to it now. Anyways, I never left myself a note because my day was going to have been too busy for baking. Just goes to show your day can change- leave a note!

Yogurt is one of those things that’s simple, but ohh so good. I find in the last few weeks of crazy (with the Corona virus) God has been reminding me to look not at the seemingly gigantic problems, but at the simple good things all around me. That when I feel my boat is being rocked, to stop looking at the waves and the storm… but realized who’s in the boat with me- Jesus. It’s so easy for me to let my eyes drift back to those waves, but I can find peace if I only keep my eyes on Him. His love never changes, He is my steadfast.

So don’t get so wrapped up in killing bad bacteria, you forget about the good 😉 And go on and try making your own.

The Story of an Unfortunate Grouse, Clever Cat, Skilled Boy, and Brave Mother

I realize my title to this story sounds somewhat like a legend. But then again, who’s to say it won’t be? Well perhaps at least one around our family table.

I also fully realize I labeled myself as “Brave” in these headlines, and that to some my awarding of this title may be misplaced. But being brave isn’t having no fear at all- it’s having a fear and yet doing it anyways. Overcoming. Or so I’ve been told. With this out of the way, I will begin my tale.

It was a bright morning. December 3rd. Snow had finally come covering all in its perfect white. The air had settled from its deep cold temper tantrum- and was pleasantly calm around -1.

The kids plodded in their boots through the fresh snow towards the chicken coop for morning chores. Elise’s nighty poking out of her winter coat, the boys hair standing every-which way from a long sleep, and our sandy-white cat bounding along the trail ahead of them.

Pails swinging, they neared the spot where the youngest had spilt a bucket of feed the week before- covered up as if the accident had never happened. They creaked open the coop and disappeared inside.

They could barely shovel their breakfasts down fast enough that morning. They were outside in their snow suits before I could even suggest school work was waiting. The morning was so charged with their excitement over the snow, I grinned and let them think they were “getting away with it”.

The house was filled with the outsides muffled laughter, kid noises and caring-ons. The yard transformed into sledding runs, snow angels, shovelled trails going every-which way and men made of snow.

Then disrupting the peace came a pounding on the glass and the kids muffled excited voices as they tried to talk to me though the window. One finally got the pane to open, ” Mom! Gus caught a grouse! You HAVE to come see!”

I tromped out to the excited boys, my daughter giving distance behind them, and my proud little fur baby (cat) rubbing between legs all proud of what he brought home.

Upon closer inspection of the bird I realized the cat had only killed it from the neck up. I honestly don’t know what gave me the idea, but out of my mouth popped “Maybe we should ask Dad if we could eat it?”

The boys had been trying to hunt grouse with their slingshots this past summer/ fall but were as of yet unsuccessful. That cat was showing them boys up if you ask me. We all knew how tasty grouse was, and here was a fresh plump one brought right to our door step.

After messaging my husband with the question “so the cat brought us a big decapitated grouse…. can we pluck and eat it?” To which replied “For sure” the next big thought came to mind. How does one pluck a grouse?

Well folks, in this day and age we are blessed with the wisdom and directions of many seasoned hunters.

On YouTube.

School for the morning took a slight survivalist turn. Turns out there is an incredible alternative to plucking grouse called Field dressing a Grouse. In a nut shell- you gab it by the feet, stand on its wings as close to its body as you can…. and pull on the feet with a steady pressure. Everything just pops off.

There is no way it’s gonna be that easy. Jonas, my 11 year old who was going to do the “field dressing”, agreed- but 100% wanted to try. It was decided to give it our best effort. By we, I mean mostly him. Im an Overcoming Squeamish Person. (Like I once was a screamer, seek cover, don’t you dare show me its DEAD- person, but….. life in the country married to a hunter doesn’t really allow for such things.)

As Jonas was yanking backwards we both thought the legs would just detach and he would end up lying in the snow on his back holding rubbery bird feet. At some point I was behind him trying to help yank his arms up without touching the bird as he gripped the feet. But he eventually got it all on his own. With a cracky sound the body slipped away and we stared in shock at the breast meat laying in the snow.

We cheered in our triumph, and my daughter shouted from the other end of the yard “did you do it?!”

Now that it LOOKED like meat, some how I was fine to touch it. I made myself fine. It’s meat woman. I helped with the cutting off of the wings. So proud of my boy and his knife skills. We thought our cat Gus might want some of his bird, so I tossed him the heart and some innards. He sniffed and walked away. The kids called him back to it, pointing and making the kissing sound we make for when we call him for treats. Gus felt like we weren’t quite understanding him, so he proceeded to bury it like a cat turd. I don’t want these stinking guts OK? And the hunter wandered off.

Well we fried that dinner up with butter, garlic and salt and had a small mouth watering feast that night as a family. We were all so pleased with the days turn of events.

One clever cat,

Skilled boy, and

Delicious grouse.

And about that brave mother?…. she later in the winter had to hold a sick rooster while he lost his head/life. And is learning that sometimes it’s not about things being gross or unpleasant. It about having the courage to do what’s necessary.

I want to be more like that. Overcome silly fears, learn new skills, be more capable, and be willing to try.

More like my adventurous go getter son.

Run!

I don’t peticularly love running, or anything. But I do feel strongly that it is one of those things your body should not forget how to do. Meaning, I need to remind my body that it CAN run.

Ways to achieve this without “going for a run”:

Run to check the mail.

Forget something on your list, then run through the store before all your items are scanned at the checkout and people start spitting at you.

Give your kids squirt guns.

Put your toddler on a bike and point him down a hill.

Climb tall hills and remember you have dinner in the oven- run home.

Race the kids to the driveway.

Run for shelter in a storm.

Run after your spouse/ child with their forgotten lunch.

Never walk up your stairs, always jog.

Play tag at the park.

Be late.

There’s others, but you get the gist.

Don’t confuse these ways with WHY you need to know how to run. I’m getting to that.

If movies have taught us anything, we all know it’s the person at the back of the pack (the one that can’t run) that dies.

Let’s do a quick memory refresher incase you haven’t watched many films as of late.

Reasons to be sure you know how to run:

The big wave. That scene where the people all stand up at the beach holding their hands shielding their eyes looking at the massive wall of water in the distance. Then comes the yell, “RUN!” Sand is kicked up, people are screaming, umbrellas are being thrown into the air, and the water wall blocks out the sun. You better know how to run. Grab a kid or two and put your practice into action.

Or Dinosaurs. Why people in those movies feel safe with them in massive cages is beyond me. They always get out. And they always eat that dispensable character… who usually sucks at… you guessed it… running.

A great deal of time was once spent watching The Walking Dead. Do I recommend this? No, probably not. I fully blame my husband, and the catchy plot. But I still feel nervous when I see cars lined up in big lines in the summer with their belongings strapped here and there. I start thinking of exits. I start thinking zombies. Everyone knows if your unable to run, you’re zombie food, then… we’ll… a zombie- who can only ever walk fast. So yes, RUNNING is more important than speed walking. It’s life or death… and then a life of death stuck walking. So just work on that run.

“BOMB!” Is always closely followed by “RUN!” If you value limbs, which I do, you best know how to move it at a moments notice.

Wolves. There is a movie “The Grey” I unrecommend. But if you’ve seen it; well you don’t wanna be the weak runner at the back. With any predators for that matter.

Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, fires, birds chasing you from the sky (Alfred Hitchcock), alien abductions (Alien series, X Files…), invasions, massive man eating worms that swallow you whole (Tremor videos), burning meteors, galloping bandits… oh the examples are endless!

But seriously, haven’t you found yourself on the edge of your seat begging that character to run faster?

And the danger always comes unexpectedly. You could start workin on your run ya know.

Something worth considering, just sayin.

Well, if the only thing I’ve convinced you of in all this- is the indeedly strange things I ponder and prepare for, or the odd movies I’ve seen- then here’s a practical reason to know how to run,

“Mom, I gotta go poop NOW!”

An Age of Beauty

This may surprise you. But I have been chosen many-a-time as the subject for portraits. I think it’s my daringly romantic life style. No perhaps my authentic charm? I clearly cannot be the judge in the matter, I fear my pride may be more outspoken than my humble imperturbable self.

But I say, let the art speak for me.

Upon hearing I, their star subject, was nearing a new age (er…hem, my birthday) I found myself (yet again) attracting fine Artists in the area.

The first portrait shows not only my exquisite choice in clothing and fashionable hair accessories, but my athletic abilities as well. Specificity my balance and natural climbing dexterity.

You will notice how the above artist portrayed my hair. It’s actually quite a common occurrence that artists relish in my roof top straight cocoa hair.

Look here

And here

Do I lie? Also here…

I think I’m most often penciled in my triangular wardrobe. It brings out my figure.

Although one artist choose to draw attention to my other superb fashion choice- my shoes. And so for clarity and accentuate-ability they forgo my clothing in order to draw the viewers eyes to my feet… and my shoe like nose.

This was titled “Wearing Shoes to the Garden” with my son also wearing… shoes. I think this one shows an aspect of true living, in that my morning hair has perhaps a bit less of its normal peak.

But I’m not drawn only for my famed beauty. I’m also quite a sight to behold in action (Were you even surprised?).

You may have difficulties spotting me as battle tactics required me to use caution in standing out from my fellow comrades. Allow my acclaimed hand at a canon and renowned aim be your clue.

And so dear reader, I leave it to you to be the judge as to the WHY of my appearance in so many Art pieces.

But I find myself truly honoured, to be so loved that I am drawn, that I’m quite unaffected by your opinion.

I write this to you, the evening of my birthday were upon I find my self so incredibly blessed.

Artists, Elise D, Samuel D, Silas D, Jonas D, Pearl C.

To the Cabin

The kids and I drove out last minute, after an appointment, right around dinner time, to meet my parents at our recently purchased family cabin. Only to stay one night and drive home the next evening. We concluded some time was better than none at all.

There was so much forest, as we drove deeper into it you could feel the worlds social grip sliding away. At the cabin there was no running water or electricity- which is deliciously rustic, and puts outdated candles in their glory. Wax dripping over the edge of bottles and candle light flickering on the wall. A lantern hanging over the kitchen table that we all played a game of dominoes under in its light. We were cozy and warm with the little pot belly stove burning bright in the middle of the main room. So warm we cracked open the porch door, and took turns dancing on the deck putting on a good show for the kitchen onlookers. The wind howled and it poured rain that night. Our only night. But we were as warm as toast, the boys even threw off their pj shirts and squirmed excitedly in the bunks. And I loved sleeping next to a fire.

The next day was full of simple adventures that were beautiful and relaxing. A burn pile, discoveries, walks, lunch on the dock, and naps. The kids adored the time with their Grandparents. So even tho it was quite a bit of driving for one night and one day- that in its self was completely worth it.

The lake was still frozen, but it’s shores roared with vibrant green coniferous trees, and the sun beat down. I could picture summer. I could hear the kids jumping off the dock and floating about in inner-tubes. I settled in my mind to try to swim the lake to the other side. Standing there with dreams of summer, I felt peace. Tinged with excitement for the days to come. I found the forest and vast spaces of the wilderness and lake gave me perspective. Sometimes I get caught up in all the conversations of life, the worries of friends, and all the things I’m trying to do. But then I get away, even for a day, where it’s so quite the groans and creaks of the bony old trees fill the woods with sound. Where everything is coming back alive after seemingly dead all winter. And I remember how powerful my God of hope is. How the caretaker of the wood and water thawing and coming to life is- GOOD. That his love for us is vast, wide and deep. More so than the heights of the treed mountains or the depths of the cool lakes floor.

He’s got this.

Everything.

Life.

Lets rest in his capable care, and open our eyes to all the good things He’s doing. And even if it’s only an hour, (doesn’t have to be a day away!) maybe you can find some woods and get a fresh perspective.

Tracks

IMG_4203

We’d just finished a “Containers of Leftovers” buffet and were amid the kayos of trying to do the morning chores (that were abandoned for leaving for church early), unloading the groceries, cleaning up the lunch, finding the coat room, and as always putting those sneaky toys back where they belong. When Sam popped in from outside and asked, “you guys wanna go to Claymine?”

Aka snow wheeling through a pass near our place.

Somehow, like a puzzle- beginning in grand disorder but piece by piece transforming into a picture- the house returned (mostly) to the home we all know and love. The kids all had two mitts, matching boots and snow gear relatively fastened, and were loaded into the Toyota. I had time to grab a mug of tea, and joined them.

Turns out we had beat the family we were meeting, so we drove out to meet them at the pass itself. Parked at the start, we were just in time to see the golden sun sinking behind the horizon. I hopped out into the foot deep snow, tried to catch a couple shots of it’s disappearing glory with my canon, and breathed in the sharp winter air. The sun’s glow lit up the trees just right, and with the little snow drifts tucked near their feet- the forest looked friendly.

IMG_0008 (2)

I climbed back in the cab. The old rattle trap truck hummed and shook two kids asleep. Sam’s travel mug that rested in the curve of his steering wheel spun from the trucks vibrations, and the stick shifts numbers and letters blurred as they danced about in idle. My three year old breathed softly, asleep, cuddled against me.

And all 6 of us just sat. Together.

Our friends ended up coming and we enjoyed venturing (further than planned) with them. Even got out and rolled about in the snow with all the kids.

Back in the truck, we laughed at the chattering coming from our youngest

“There’s baby bearses in the fields”,

“I’ll tell you when I see the horses tiny feets in the snow, OK Dad?”

We kept a look out for tracks. We tried to guess the animals from their unique prints left in the perfect canvas of fresh snow. And laughed when the “probably a cow” tracks clearly WEREN’T- As they had started bounding.

As we bumped along together through a tangle of forest on a white fluffy carpet rolled out before us. I felt so wonderfully content. I reached over and squeezed Sam’s hand.

Then suddenly I found myself reflecting on something profound I had heard earlier that morning. That I had never heard before. From someone wise and has 43 some-odd-years of marriage under her belt.

That quality couple time for some couples can just be

Time together. Without even talking.

I realized sometimes I try to fit our relationship in with what I hear your supposed to do to have a great marriage. With what works for other marriages.

But what this lady said was SO true for us. But I’d never heard was ok. Cause were not that “long walks and heart to heart talks” couple.

And I got thinking. Just as every person is different, so is every marriage. And so are the ways we show our love. Looking for love in a way it isn’t shown is frustrating and leaves hurt. But looking for loves footsteps, finding its tracks, recognizing its patterns- takes

time

and isn’t going to look like other people’s…

But it’s there. So beautifully there. And when not bombarded by the worlds comparisons-

You wouldn’t choose it any other way.

It can be easy to slip into wondering why your spouse doesn’t do what so and so’s does, and allow the question “does that mean they don’t love me as much?” slide to mind.

But ACK! Don’t.

Instead search for loves tracks, they’re probably in places you haven’t been looking. They might not be words, but actions. Or choices, or helps. Perhaps a look or touch. Maybe even a correction or a shove in a tricky direction. Sometimes maybe you hear it, sometimes maybe you see it, sometimes maybe you feel it, and other times you just need to know it. Remind yourself.

And while your looking for loves tracks on the canvas of a life together- leave some behind.

Small Town Rednecks

We were invited by friends to go see some fireworks Saturday night. There was an add with a little picture of stacked unlit firecrackers in a row, and a small blurb about the MacLeese fire department putting it on.

NOTHING led on to what we were about to see.

As we drove what turned out to be an hour out of town, I even wondered if these little town fireworks would be worth the drive.

Then from the dark stretch of highway we saw a line of vehicles pulling off onto a little dirt road. We followed. The road literally took us into what felt like the middle of no where. When the dust of all the cars we followed cleared, we saw what looked like a snake of vehicles heading to a lit bridge. Or so we thought. As we drew near we saw it was no bridge, but a road made of beacons, torches with flames leaping from them set out in a field. A firefighter with a boot for donations told us to be sure to park and get out to the fire pits “for the full experience.”

Crossing through harvested corn we reached a large crowd of people. The night was cat black and held a suspenseful slight breeze. I grew excited as I saw the size of the fire pits groups of people were standing around. This is crazy! I thought. But boy oh boy- I hadn’t seen anything yet.

With some loud cracks the fireworks began.

But then the cracks came from behind us. I whirled around as more came from my other side. Fireworks lit the sky in explosions- they were flying over head! We were surrounded! Through burst of light we could see people circling us in the field. We roared with excitement.

Then shouts and cheers alert us of a guy on the hill. He’s dousing a burning trail with gasoline. Big circles of golden flames burn in the grass… but he keeps walking closer. Not to us, but to a boat parked ontop of the hill. It’s filled with cardboard boxes. Like Santa’s water sleigh. The flames reach the boat, billowing and swelling, reaching for the trees. Everyone around us is simply ecstatic. I feel like a kid that sees their first crash- to- pass. I can’t stop saying what I’m seeing, “did you see that!?” As though everyone around me wasn’t watching the same thing. Then fireworks exploded from the boat and people behind it start having a war with Roman candles.

It’s pure madness.

How is this even allowed? My cheeks ached with all their grinning. And every time we thought it was over

it would start up again.

Then it grew quiet. But it was like that grand moment of suspense before the crescendo of the finale. Fingers began to point. “Look!”

Like the Trojan horse of the Romans there stood a massive towering statue of boxes. He was the height of a two story building looming in the darkness.

The BOX MAN.

“He’s like a robot!” One of my kids breathed.

“They’re lighting him on fire!”

Burning boxes broke off the statue and fell to the ground like chunks of a volcano.

The kids giggled as it looked like he was left in only his underwear.

With a sudden BANG! The Box Mans hands shot forth spears of light.

“He’s shooting lasers!” The boys shouted over the roaring crowds.

Then it was done. The Box Man’s head still burned and the boxes at his feet. We all talked at once. Awed and thrilled by the spectacular experience.

Like the short circuits in a real robot, random fireworks wizzed sporadically from the box mans can head, and we could only guess there were some crackers buried in the tin of wax. The crowds began to pull away. With a few last glances, we headed towards the vehicles, where a snaking train of lights formed from vehicles winding their way back out.

Out from this place,

where guys dreams are a reality,

And somehow allowed to take place.

The kids excitedly talked in the back seat claiming the could have watched the show till morning and never even feel the least bit tired. “Box Man” and “boat” rolled off their lips… and then only the sound of tires on pavement could be heard.

I squeezed Sams hand, “guess they’re all asleep.” And we drove home.

When the Well Ain’t so Well

I don’t think we even realize how much water we use in a day. I know I didn’t. And I didn’t find out by going on some Save-the-earth, Think-of-the-water, Minimalistic, “What would it be like??” kick.

Our property’s Well stopped working.

I was pleasantly surprised when our plummer friend, Rob, pulled up in the driveway shortly after I’d phoned Sam at work explaining the situation. That was fast…

Sadly though, it wasn’t gonna be a quick fix. He had to give me the report that nothing INSIDE was broken… meaning something deep down in the Well was.

A nearly 300 feet deep Well.

So while we waited for the Well guys to call us back, the kids and I carried water from the neighbors. The first few days. Till my kind neighbor suggested hooking our garden hoses together and basically saved my poor body from elongated arms.

Before said idea, however, (when we were still carrying/ pulling in the wagon buckets of water… ) I’d managed to carry two 5 gallon buckets down the road in one go and help the kids with theirs in the wagons. Then lifted all 5 pails and a Rubbermaid bin of water up onto the porch.

The kids had left a doozy in the toilet, so I slugged one pail through the house and into the washroom. I began pouring it quickly into the back of the toilet as my arms were really done. The satisfaction from a job well done however, drained from my face as I watched the water drain away…

the toilet handle was stuck down.

Really??

I dropped the pail to the floor and groaned… It’s bad enough ONE flush is half a bucket, but there goes a good two.

I instantly felt for people in less fortunate countries who carry water daily as a way of everyday life.

The other struggle I was faced with was when I reminded the kids to not flush for just pee as they’d head into the bathroom.
“I won’t!” They call as they pass you, crazed by your ridiculous reminding.

Then WOOSHhhhhhh!!!!!!

and a head pops out the door.
I squint- eyes narrowing.

“Oooopppppps! Sorry Mom! I didn’t mean too!”

And I slug in another bucket.
(It’s the years of drilling “did you flush?” into their little minds- it’s like an animal instinct now; right up there with migrating. Except for the youngest, of course, pretty much still just working on general AIM with that one.)

If my career as a Homeschool Mom doesn’t pan out- I could always take up Pun-comics right?

I recently came back from a 5 day camping trip, which I felt had prepared me for this situation. You know- stinking and living unhygienic.
No actually, for washing dishes in minimal amounts of water, using paper towels for grease, leaving things in the rain, and capitalizing on baby wipes (what? I told you it wasn’t a save-the-earth kick).

Things camping didn’t prepare me for, was cooking meals like homemade pizza and the insane amounts of dishes that dinner requires . Or two kids puking, a bed wetting, and having to see actual CLEAN people in my “camp” state.

Let me assure you though- things really didn’t go so bad. In fact, I never got to feeling “crazed”or “desperate”. My kind neighbors beside us we so compassionate, they graciously lent us buckets, hoses, a hand, and their water whenever we wanted. A friend a street over let me use her shower one night, while other friends prayed. And running water really wasn’t too life changing, where as electricity, or heat, would have been so much harder. SOooo thankful it didn’t happen in the winter too.

Also, 3 of our off-road friends came over Friday and Saturday to help Sam yard up the cables and pipe with his truck, winch, and engine hoist. Because those well guys Sam kept calling?- never had time. And as fun as camping is and not doing laundry for a week, the time had come.

Getting the pump above ground and back into it was stressful with just Sam and I. But actually pretty fun with friends. At one point Sams magnetic beer holder fell in the well and Sam’s head came up drinking the last of it. His friend Alex was also flung over the well when the hoist took a lunge from some tape getting wedged into the spinning spool. And when we reached really inconvenient knots in the rope being winched up, before we knew it Robs volunteered. He’s the tie-down supporting the whole works with his body while Sam un-clips, switches, ties new knots, and loops. Our friend Teela worked and rewound the winch, and her and I both drove the truck.

Of course the very best was the purr of that new motor,

and water reaching me “un-carried”.

And knowing God takes REALLY good care of us. Not just blessing us with running water, but with awesome friends and neighbors. And per usual

So many things to be thankful for.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of just how good we’ve got it.

Butter

With all the fire evacuation alerts going on in Quesnel area right now, I figured I better sus out some of my valuables.

Ok so your looking at it.

Have I ever told u about my butter dish?

Besides the given gem (it holds BUTTER) this baby holds a whole 1lb brick of BUTTER. Please don’t rob me- but I basically found (at winners) the lost ark from Indiana Jones… in a dainty blue kinda way.

I even have strict kid handling rules. “TWO HANDS!” and they know to not even mess with the lid. The lid NEVER leaves the counter.

I’ve cut chunks of butter into all shapes and squished and squeezed it into all kinds of containers in my long life. But this one here. Unwrap. Drop. Place on the lid.

There are disadvantages to so much beautiful butter being poised and vulnerable before a world of small people though.

1. Random Eating/ licking

2. They never start at one end and work their way to the other- it’s an all out bloody skewer death.

3. While they skewer the poor brick they leave large deposits of their eatings for the next user to navigate around. Contamination! All in all p-r-e-t-t-y serious. Who wants P.B. and J chillin with their boild potatoes and fish? Or vice versa 😫

4. They take bigger helpings of butter. Then scrape the excess ON THE RIM. Oh why oh why? I go through tutorials on how to avoid this… and yet like our toilets, the rim is abused.

5. Cob spinners. 👐🏻 ok ok I see both sides of the coin on this one. I actually had a good discussion on this with a group of people at camp the other week. On one side, fresh steaming hot peaches and cream corn on the cob is dressed perfectly when spun through a brick of butter. It caresses the cob on both sides as it slowly melts and well, it’s practically a match made in heaven.

However (the other side), your committing the butter to a single life event.

One cannot tell me hairy butter is just fine on toast. Corn hairs are par for the course.

In the morning after your backyard shin-dig you may, (or perhaps not) regret not cutting off a section of butter for spinning corn.

As jaw dropping as my butter dish is though, I suppose I really could live without it. And when I think long and hard about it- same with all my other possessions as well. (Although, my pictures and journals which I hope to pass on, would be very sad to loose).

There is this really neat verse in the neatest book ever written. The Bible.

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Where moths and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mathew 6:20

My kids are this, my husband, family is this. My friends are this- PEOPLE are this. Building into THESE things- People. Spending time and money on them, investing into them- is storing up the greatest treasure.

Historically Pharos were buried with all their earthly treasures sealed deeply underground in a secure room by their tomb. So that when they died they would carry these things into the after life with them. Sadly, you can ask the archeologists how well this panned out for them.

Those treasures stayed put.

Like my dish (if it even makes it through my children’s childhood).

But souls? Jesus tells us his Father has a house with many many rooms for us, in the kingdom of heaven, and “that if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 13:2)

So me taking time to love on, teach and build character into my babes? Treasures not wasted. Because like all the people I have in my life- I hope to see them in heaven. (I hope you know your valuable to me, and I hope I’ve shown u in some way.)

And as blessed as I am to own so many useful wonderful things, they’re only things after all.

And I ain’t no King Tut.

Hope you know your treasured. Not just by me but by your creator. I also hope you don’t spend your whole life working, saving and storing for things, when your surrounded by true treasures waiting to be noticed.

Ok, so tell me your butter pet peeves. Or am I really the only one who has them?

Good Kids

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I was making dinner and it was almost ready. The baby was in the high chair and the other children were happily building with duplo in the playroom. I needed the table set while I finished up dinner on the stove. I knew if I called Elise or Jonas to come, they would say “OK” and quickly come get the job done. They would also ask before they went back to playing, “Is there anything else?”
Because I got crazy lucky with being given such well mannered children. Right?
Well let me finish my table setting tale.
I’d asked Jonas and Elise a lot lately and I knew all too well it was Sammy’s turn. I’d been putting it off… It’s the truth. I knew exactly what I was getting into.
“Sammy, I’d like you to come set the table tonight.”
I hear loud truck noises but no response.
I repeat, and he says “in a minute”.
I say “Now.” And give a consequence.
He’s in the kitchen.
With a whine so bad he might as well be a distant chainsaw- that just won’t quit.
“I want you to set the table with a good attitude.” I say over the whine.
Then I lay it out. “You can set the table with a good attitude. OR you can have a spank and THEN set the table. Either way your setting the table, you decide.”
The whine gets more desperate. His legs turn to jello. He’s having troubles standing. His legs become like alien tentacles wriggling around the sides of his body. His feet, flop like he’s wearing flippers in the house, with loud sluggish steps. Panting he reaches the table and tries to lift the first plate. But with a sputtering moan gravity pulls the burdensome weight back down on the the stack. He’s gasping. Now there is quick sand! sucking his body downward! his chin hits the table and is being dragged to the edge, he’s…

Made his choice.

The baby is fussing, the dinner needs to be watched or it could burn, and it’s so tempting to just throw my warning on repeat, “remember I said…”.
It’s tempting, and I’ve done it. But it will almost guarantee  a repeat on this kind of help the next time I ask him.
I shut off the stove and discipline him. Enough that he’s not going to choose it a second time (hopefully). And I tell him I love him.
Because I do.
I love him enough to discipline him, to show him right from wrong. To help him to be a good person. To help him to honor authority and to do tasks with a happy heart. To train him in what is right.
My children know as I hug and forgive them for their sin that It’s because I love them that I discipline them.
Because I tell them.
I ask them, “would it be very loving of me to let you get away with [thing they did], and be a naughty child that grows up to be a bad person?”
They always say No. They don’t particularly like being around naughty kids themselves.
“I love you, so I’m going to train you and show you how to be good.” Sometimes I have to say, “I told you how to be good, but you didn’t listen.”
And they say, “but I forgot that’s what you said!”
and I tell them, “I know that’s why I showed you, to help you remember.”

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrew 12:11

God, our Father, out of love gives us consequences for our wrong to train and teach us for our well being. Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.~ Proverbs 3:12
So we discipline our children as well.
And because we’re Christians we believe Jesus forgives us for our sins when we ask. So we also teach the children that.
It’s dealt with, they don’t need to feel guilty. They are forgiven. This is such a precious moment for both me and the child- the set it right button if you will. (If I hadn’t gone through with disciplining them properly I would still hold annoyed feelings for them and not have this re-set, leaving things unsettled between us).
It’s a long process and a lot of diligence and hard work. I often become frustrated, lazy, and take “shortcuts” that I pay for. But the beauty of having 4 kids, is by the time you hit the third your starting to see the fruit of your labor in the first and second child- and its encouraging.
My husband Sam, and God, with his book of wisdom, are always training, equipping and helping me. So even if I may think it, I’m not doing it alone.

So Sammy did set the table, and did a good job.
He wasn’t angelic and completely reformed.
But slightly sputtering and ever so quietly moaning.
His behavior is still a work in progress.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

My children may try my patience and sometimes it feels like too much of the same lessons over and over and over again till i want to just hit my head on a wall, and cry for sweet mercy.
But they bless me.
They are SUCH  wonderful blessings.
And
I really enjoy
being around them.

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