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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping Calm and Consistent

We try to be quite consistent with our parenting. The kids do a lot better when they know what we expect and know what consequences will be if they misbehave. I have found the big issues are sometimes easiest to deal with. There is need for a definite consequence, it usually needs to be handled right away, and it is usually not to hard too figure out what that consequence will be.

What was a struggle for me for quite awhile was the "little" things. Things like whining, scowling, not following or ignoring instructions, things that didn't make me drop everything I was doing to handle the problem but made me start repeating myself: "Don't whine.", "Did you hear me?", etc. I also noticed that these were the things that started getting me frustrated to where one time I would not give any consequences and then all of the sudden I was fed up and gave a big one. Not very consistent.

So, here is what I came up with for some of those "little" things. The Magnet.

I took a recipe card, wrote each kid's name on the card, and, drew a line across the middle. I then cut small pieces of magnet off of a craft strip of sticky magnets and stuck it on the back of each card so the card would stick to the fridge. Next, I let the kids choose a special shapes from their little foam sticker collection. (The number can depend on the maturity of your children.) I also stuck little pieces of sticky magnets on the back of the foam stickers. The sticker magnets would then be able to stick to the fridge over the card.

Here's how it works. When something goes on that is not a character trait I want my children to have, but really doesn't require a big consequence, I tell them that they have lost a magnet. They then go over to the fridge and move a magnet under the line. If they don't do this, or do it with a poor attitude, I inform them that they have just lost 2 magnets, which can turn in to 3, etc. When they run out of magnets, they have earned a consequence. Sometimes this is no desert, sometimes it's time in their room - it really depends on what their magnets were being dropped for. At the end of the day, all of their magnets are reset.

I feel that this allows me to be consistent to where the kids know what they are doing isn't appropriate, it gives them chances to revise their behavior, and it allows me to give a significant consequence for a "little" thing to help them learn while remaining consistent in how I react.

Here is one of my favorite verses for parenting. A lot of times it is quoted to the children, but I think that if it was studied by parents more (including myself), children wouldn't have such a hard time with the first part of it.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-5

I'd love to hear some of the things you do to keep your parenting sanity. :)


Friday, October 22, 2010

A Raspberry Patch: Free and Simple

Here's what you need:
~ A spot to plant raspberries
~ An established raspberry patch (and permission)
~ Heavy gloves
~ Pruners
~ A bucket of water

Here's what you do:
~ Find canes that have arched over into the ground. Look for brown stems at the bottom which turn green at the opposite end. The green end, if in the ground, will have just started to shoot roots.
~ Clip the vines about 2-3 feet from where the green end goes into the ground first. (This will allow the old cane to not be damaged.) Then pull steadily on the cane with the green end until you pull the roots out of the ground. This will work best when the soil is wet or there isn't a lot of weed cover at the base of the vines.
~ Put the root ends of the cane immediately into water.
~ You may then take them home and plant them with a small trowel or you can allow them to soak a bit more in water to establish more roots before planting.

For the planners:
If you take the arching canes in late summer and place them in a bucket of water before they reach the ground, they will sprout roots and you won't even need to pull them. :)

Here are some pictures of some black raspberries I cut and pulled from my parents last week. My transplanted berries from last year all root rotted with the rains mid summer, so I am trying again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail asking if we used cloth diapers. We have actually been using them for the last 6 1/2 years, since our oldest son was born. I have recovered a lot of my prefolds, made a few more diaper covers, and added in some washable wipes, but other than that I am still using everything I started in with Caleb. I wish I knew just how much we have saved over our 3 kids who have used these, and soon to be 4.

Well, this week I opened a package to find these great diapers sent from Sarah, who is the owner of Wallypop in Des Moines, IA. Not only are they cute, but they are well constructed and very soft! I've never used diapers like this before, although I have admired them and wondered about them - so I am very excited to give them a try!I encourage you to head on over to Sarah's website,, and check out not only her diapers, but also her other products for natural living.

Thanks so much for the great gift, Sarah!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lentil Soup

Things have been wild here, to say the least. With around 2 1/2 months left in my pregnancy, I'm really trying hard to make an effort to keep a good varied diet - something that I have slacked on for awhile with the busyness. The things that I have put up in the pantry during less crazy times have been so helpful. Earlier this week I pulled out some ham hock broth and meat that I had canned earlier, along with some home canned stewed tomatoes to make lentil soup. I changed my recipe a bit to match what I had on hand, and I think I am going to keep it like this now. Even though I have not become fond of its appearance yet, it is delicious, very nutritious, and one of my fall/winter favorites!

Crooked Gap Lentil Soup

6 cups ham hock broth and meat (see recipe for Crooked Gap Ham Broth in CGF Pork and Pork Recipes photos - Facebook page)
1 pint (2 c) stew/diced tomatoes
2 c dried lentils
2 c chopped celery
2 c chopped carrots
2 c chopped onion
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)

Slow cook until lentils are tender or simmer 35-45 minutes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Get in or Get out

We have had a change in plans around here. Originally, when we started up on our land in 2008, we had hoped for it to have the capability of providing somewhat part time for our farm after 5 years, if we would chose to have it do so. After the first year, we realized that at the risk level we wanted to jump in, 5 years might be a bit early.

If you have followed along, this year has brought some unexpected changes for us. One of which, Ethan's full time job of 6+ years at the church became a 20 hour a week job. In order to fill in the financial gap, he took on an additional 40 hours at the NAPA department at the farm store. This gave him 60 hours of town work plus the work on the farm. This has been his schedule for the last 2 months.

It recently became evident that there would have to be some changes on the farm. Either we would step out for awhile or just jump in. If you have been following Ethan's blog, you will probably guess that the decision was made to jump in - and that is what we are doing.

We hadn't really ever planned on jumping in at the risk level that we are now taking, but we are. The next year will be our judge as to if the farm is able to provide a decent enough portion of our income to lighten the in town work load that Ethan has, providing for a balance in our family, ministry, and farm.

So here is our request to you - if you enjoy our meat and would like to see us continue to provide healthy, local food to the communities around us, spread the word. :) Although we have a nice balance of products and customers right now, we are planning on having a significant amount more meat next year compared to this year.

Stay tuned as we continue to discover where we are heading . . . here we go!

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