September 12, 2013

It's Time

Dear friends ~ it's time.
Time for some time away from this space.
Sometimes it's necessary.

Lord-willing, I will return to blogging after a few weeks.
Please understand that this means I will
not be publishing comments until I'm back in the saddle.
However, I do *love* to hear from you ~ 
it would be lovely if you would let me know you were here.
Your comments will appear upon my return.  :)
I will also have to forgo the pleasure of visiting with you 
at your place for the next little while.

It is my plan to catch up with y'all in October.
Those are my plans, the Lord's may be different.
What a blessing it is to rest in Him.

Thank you for extending grace to me over
and over and over again.
Each one of you is a precious gift.
I am thankful to the Lord for your kind friendship ~
It truly is a blessing to my heart.

"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace."
~ Numbers 6:24-26 ~

 With Love,

September 10, 2013

Comforting the Grieving

**Please know that this post is not a plea for further kindness to be
shown to us ~ We have been abundantly loved through this journey!
We are not lacking in anything.  Nothing at all.

A friend of a friend shared another grieving Mom's
blog with me ~ as you might imagine, I visited.
Many of the things she has written have blessed my heart.
I only visited briefly, however, and do not personally know this lady.
As with anything I share, please read with discernment.

Having said that, I'd like to share the links 
to two of her posts here today.  Perhaps they will bless your heart as well.
is a practical list of how those grieving may be feeling.
Each individual grieves differently, but,
I do believe that we all desire to be loved through the process.
This list may help define the ways in which 
we might come along side a grieving friend or loved one.

~ Austin at about age seven ~

The Wrong Thing to Say is the second post that spoke to my heart.
In it, an idea was shared that puts legs to
the ways in which we may comfort those dealing with great loss.
I found it to be a thought-provoking measure
by which I can temper my words when seeking to be an encouragement
to others who are going through a distressingly difficult time.

Loss takes many shapes and forms.
We will each deal with some sort of loss at 
one point or another in our lives.  Perhaps multiple times.
I found these two articles to be very helpful
in formulating my own ideas on how to be a blessing to others.

Again, please let me state that this post is in no way meant
to draw attention to any deficit we are experiencing in our own grief journey.

We have not been neglected.  Quite the contrary, actually.
We continue to be blessed by loving people who are
seeking to uphold us through this deep valley.
We have been blessed beyond measure with the love and kindness
of those the Lord has put into our lives.

Thank you to each of you who is walking this path with us ~

We praise the Lord for you.

Many Blessings,

September 9, 2013

Soaking and Drying Nuts

Did you know that nuts, oats and beans
This is a relatively new concept to me.

I first wrote on some of the changes I'd made in my 
kitchen back in my early days of blogging ~ 
It includes many links to the *whys* and *hows* behind soaking.
That post may be found by clicking here.

At the time I didn't know about the benefits of soaking and drying nuts ~
just goes to show we are always learning something new, doesn't it?
I certainly do not have it all together in this area,
and I have been known to completely change my mind on some 
things after further research.
It's a good thing to be flexible ~ another thing I've been learning.  :)

Soaking may seem like such a lot of extra work, but, it really isn't.
It just requires a little advance planning,
and the end product is so much better for you.

I cannot help but take notice of the references to soaking beans
in the "Little House" books when I consider what we do as cooks today.
There seemed to be a general knowledge about these things passed
down from one generation to the next back in those days.
We often are hurried and harried in this day and age ~
sometimes food preparation suffers in the process of day to day living.

Soaking and drying nuts is my most recent kitchen upgrade.

I buy pecans and almonds raw.
Then, I soak in salted filtered water for about twelve hours ~
I use 1/2 Tbsp sea salt to 1 lb nuts in about six cups water.

For a specific guideline on how long to soak 
for the type of nut you are working with ~ Click Here.
Sea salt is added to the bottom of a large glass bowl ~
then one variety of nut is added and covered with plenty of fresh water.
Soak only one type of nut per bowl of water.  Stir to dissolve the salt.
Set a lid or large plate over the bowl to cover it ~
some people use a tea towel so it can *breathe*.

After about twelve hours, the water will be brown and murky ~
 pour it off and rinse the nuts well with fresh water.
I use my dehydrator to dry the nuts.
This could also be done in the oven if it will allow you to set it
for a low enough temperature ~ it needs to be about 115-120 degrees F.

Whichever method you choose to use,

it's beneficial to spread the nuts onto parchment paper
for the drying time ~ I do this even in the dehydrator.
If you are using your oven a parchment lined cookie sheet works well.
It's best to try to evenly distribute the nuts in a single layer.

This next step takes a good 24 hours for pecans,
and closer to 36 hours for almonds.
The nuts need to be kept in the oven or dehydrator for the 
appropriate length of time and turned every so often.
Keep checking them for *doneness* ~ this is the fun part!
The goal is to remove all that water and get them
toasty and crunchy ~ They are kinder on your tummy,
and, in my opinion, actually taste better than when they were *raw*.

Once you have a batch of nuts ready to go,

put them into a freezer container and keep them
frozen until needed ~ they will be kept fresher that way.

What about you?  
Do you prepare raw nuts in this way?
Oh, and if you don't and aren't ever planning to,
know that there are seasons for everything ~
It's okay if you never ever do this!  *Smile*

Happy snacking!  :)


**Update ~ I have found that my pecans have turned out too salty

in recent days and have modified the instructions to reflect this.
Make sure you use lots of soaking water and 
rinse very well prior to the dehydration process.  

September 7, 2013

Caught Between

Life is full.  It doesn't wait for us to catch up.
Time marches on.  And, we are caught between two worlds.
The here and now and the eternal.
It's a strange place to be.  It's a normal place to be.

The other evening, Howie and I were at a meeting.
We met some people there for the first time.
Of course, the number of children we have came up.
The simple answer?  Four.  We still have four children.
Three boys and a girl.

What is Heaven like?

I'm caught between two worlds ~ here and there.
We think and talk and read more about Heaven
than we ever have before.
In the past, it was a distant faraway place that 
was in our future.  We were happy about it ~ absolutely.
However, it didn't occupy many of our thoughts.

I was happily caught up with the things of now.
Now, it's more difficult to navigate the now.
But, these are the things that shape us and fit us for eternity.
It's in these things that we learn and grow and are stretched.

Most of all, we learn more of our Great God.

These days, we remember Austin and speak of him freely.
We cry easily and laugh easily ~ it's all part of the process.
This journey is far from over.  And, that's okay.
We don't really want it to end.  We don't want to forget.

The children are diligently doing school and I am trying to catch up.
Part of me doesn't want to catch up.  But, it's the right thing to do.
So, I go through the day ~ step by step.
The children are a step ahead.  And, it is good.

The boys are quite independent in their studies.
They rarely need help any more.
And, when they do require assistance, they tend to go to Howie.

I find myself mostly needed by Emma in the academic things.
Our school life has come full circle.

In the early days of home educating our children, Emma was a tag along.
She was just four and joined in with us in all that were doing.
She sat with us as we read history and explored science.
She came along on the field trips we took.
Emma was included in everything.

She is serious about her studies.
One of her courses is online this year ~
goodness me!  She is growing up, too.

Why can't we just bottle them up and keep them small
for a little while longer?  It's not possible.  
But, wouldn't it be good to slow things down just a bit?

So, these days are full.  They are colour-full.
And, that's how life is, wouldn't you agree?

We need the black and grey colours in our lives
just as much as we need the bright ones. 
It's how it is.  And, it is good.

So, yes.  We have four children.
Austin still lives.  Just not here.

We seek to live these days as the Lord gives them.
Entering in to each moment and enjoying the gift of now.
By His grace and for His glory.  For now and for eternity.
Because nothing else really matters.

With Love,

September 5, 2013

Forever Altered

The new me is here to stay.
The new me is living without part of the old me.
I will never again be who I was before Austin
went Home to Heaven.  Never again.

I'm forever altered.

It's not a bad thing, though.
This new me is more weaned from this world.
My eternal perspective has been sharpened.
I long for Heaven more.  I love the Lord more.

I'm dead to me more.

Austin is not the same, either.

He is perfect and free from his body of death.
One day, I will be too.  One day.

Until then, I must live and follow and serve.

I must put aside the things that weigh me down.
I must abandon all my hopes and dreams to my Saviour.
His ways.  His purposes.  His plans.

All for Him.  Surrendered.

By His grace.  For His glory.  Alone.

With Love,

**Photo courtesy of our friend Rick ~

Thank you so very much!  

September 4, 2013

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Cayenne Pepper in chocolate ice cream?
What do you think?  Ever tried it before?
It's good.  Really good.

Now, if you ask the children, they will tell

you that their favourite chocolate ice cream is not this one.
But, I like it.  And, they eat it.  So, I'm not sure what to think.
Don't you think the proof is in the eating?  I do.  :)

This ice cream is of the no cook variety
and it churns up nicely.
If you serve it right away, it will be soft serve.
If you pop it into the deep freeze for a few hours,
it will harden up and be more scoop-able.  

Either way, it's yummy.

I used whole milk in this recipe.
When I made it, I didn't have almond extract in the house ~
So, I mixed it up was very good.
Next time, I plan to have the extract on hand.
I also ventured slowly into the *hot* side of things and 
only used the smaller amount of cayenne ~
Next time, I will go with the full 1/2 tsp.

I think the cinnamon flavour came through a bit overpowering

since I used the smaller amount of the cayenne and none of the extract.
Next time, I will use the full amounts of everything.

Intrigued?  Ready to give it a try?  Click here!  

**Update ~ Since writing this post I made it again

with the extract and the larger amount of cayenne.
The verdict?  I think it's much better with the extract,
but, the cayenne was a bit overpowering.
I suppose this means I will have to make it one more time
with all the ingredients *corrected*, don't you think?
What a shame.  ;-)

Many Blessings,

September 3, 2013

Year Eight Begins

Year eight begins ~ how time has flown!
were beginning grades six, four, and two.
Emma was four years old at the time.

It felt as though I had been thrown into the deep end.
Sometimes it still does.  :)
But, I am so thankful that we have been called
to this path ~ SO thankful!

After morning devotions and breakfast,
we went on our beach walk.
It's good to get back into these routines of life.
They do, however, produce bittersweet memories of days gone by.
It's a path we must tread.  The Lord is Faithful.
He is with us each moment of each day.

His ways are perfect and He lead us so gently along.
How precious it is to belong to Him!

The day began with rain.
We got soaked, so the clothes required drying time.
I *love* my mud room!

Calvin got Emma set up with some things she
needed online for school.
It warmed my heart to see and hear
them interacting at the kitchen table.

Fraser was so happy to crack open the computer
and begin his studies this year ~ 
doesn't he look excited about it all?  
(He really is excited...I'm not joking).

I've mentioned before how much I *love* these books ~
It's a blessing to have access to such wonderful resources!

Who can complain when roses are still in bloom and
making their way indoors?  So fragrant and lovely.
These blooms are from our hybrid tea rose tree
a gift from our neighbours in memory of Austin...
wasn't that just the sweetest thing to do?

See Emma in the background of this photo?  :)

At this moment, the children are out getting the papers
sorted and delivered ~ It's a blessing, too.
When they come indoors, it will nearly be time for dinner,
and then our night-time routine will be underway.
The first day of year eight is coming to a close.

Thankful this day that the Lord's promises
are sure and that He will keep us until the day 
we are taken Home to be with Him.
May we be found to be faithful to follow wherever He may lead.
May each of you find that His loving Hand is upon you as well.
He is Good.  He is Faithful.  His ways are always best.

Many Blessings,