Friday, February 27, 2009

Edible Landscaping

It seems as though I'm constantly researching something on the internet. Here are todays finds:

Edible Landscaping Primer
- A nifty site with information about planning an edible landscape including trees, shrubs, and vegetables. I really appreciated the information on this site because it talks about different plants to plant so that you constantly have some sort of fruit being harvested. It also talked about approximate yields for various shrubs which will be helpful in planning.

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance
- Pretty self explanatory title, huh. ;)

I learned that there are strawberries that don't put out runners and like shade. This could simplify the strawberry patch a bit. :D

Anyway, hope you enjoy some of these links. I've done a lot of reading today so my brain is a bit fried. Time to give it a rest.

"From there to here. From here to there. Funny things are everywhere." (from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thirteen Things

Okay, I'm shooting for my very first Thursday Thirteen. Since I said I'd let people know what I was planning on planting this year, I figured that'd make an easy thirteen. Here goes:

1) Provider Bush Green Bean
2) Jackson Wonder Bush Lima Bean
3) Golden Gopher Muskmelon (and Schoons Hardshell Muskmelon)
4) Verona Watermelon
5) Laurentian Rutabaga
6) White Egg Turnip
7) Bronze Mignonette Lettuce and Pablo Lettuce
8) Golden Acre Cabbage and Danish Ballhead Cabbage
9) Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage
10) Cajun Jewel Okra
11) Garden Peach Tomato, Soldacki Tomato, and Goldie Tomato
12) Be My Baby Gene Pool Cherry Tomato
13) Genovese Basil

I have seed leftover from previous years that I'll also be planting, but these are the newbies this year. (Yes, I know the viability of previous years seed is not as good, but I have had success with many of them sprouting anyhow ;)

Have you tried any of these varieties? If so, what did you think? If not, what are your favorite varieties?

For more Thursday Thirteen, check out: Happy to be at Home. Enjoy!

The Garden Adventure Begins

I have toyed with the idea of allowing each of the kids to have their own garden space this year. I asked each of them what they would be interested in growing. Here is the reply:

K (age 6):
Green beans

Me: Okay!

M (age 4):

Me: Hum...getting more creative here...still doable though...I think he'll be disappointed ;)

G (age 2):

Me: All smiles :D

I did place an order for my seeds already (probably post more on that later), but I guess I'll have to order the marshmallow and cereal seeds separately--lol. I wonder what type of cereal we should grow...oats, millet, amaranth...what grows best in small spaces? I bet he'd like the elephant head amaranth :P

What is your family growing this year? Do you give your kiddos their own space? Do you have any creative layout ideas?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Grace

We sang "It Was Your Grace" on Sunday morning. In case you are not familiar with the song, the lyrics are as follows:

It was Your grace that drew me to the cross
It was Your grace that gave me faith
It was Your grace that reconciled me to Yourself
Though I had sinned in every way
You disarmed me of everything that I would lean on
So I would lean on You
And You stripped me of everything I would depend on
So I’d depend on You

In You alone my strength is found
In You alone my hope abounds
In You alone my strength is found
My life is bound up in You

And in my weakness give me still more grace
Grace to cast myself on You
In every trial let me find Your peace and joy
And grace to humbly walk with You
O disarm me of everything that I would lean on
So I will lean on You
Jesus, strip me of everything I would depend on
So I’ll depend on You

Give me more grace
Give me more grace
And new mercies every morning
Give me new mercies

By Mark Altrogge

These lyrics accompany the song "It Was Your Grace" from the Valley of Vision

At some point I was struck by how much my heart really did not want what was coming out of my mouth..."disarm me of everything that I would lean on, so I will lean on You...Jesus, strip me of everything I would depend on, So I'll depend on You" -- that moment, the implication of what that disarming and stripping of me could mean was weighing heavily on my heart. For a moment, I forgot all about God's goodness and kindness towards me and truth be told, I was fearful. You see, I do not want those other things on which I lean to be taken away...things like my husband, my children, my health, my home, etc. I know God is good, but I don't want to have to rely on just Him; I like it when He provides through other things (like my husband). I had to quickly whisper, "Lord, I believe that you are good and that I can depend on you alone...please, please, please, help my unbelief!" I continued to sing and my heart was truly in it; "Give me more grace, give me more grace..." Oh Lord, You've given me so much grace already, but PLEASE, give me more because I just can't believe enough; I can't hope enough on my own; I can't hold on to the hope like I need to...please, please, please give me more grace. And then the comfort and peace overwhelm my soul as He tells me, "Yes, My child, I love you, and I will give you more of my grace. I have begun a good work in you, and I will be faithful to complete it." Thank You, Lord! My worship comes full His grace. My heart is not perfectly where it should be, but one day, it will His grace alone.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I told myself that I was going to have a super productive day today, but my two-year-old accidentally poked my eye this morning...hard. If you've ever experienced this, IT HURTS!!! All you want to do is keep your eye closed and go back to bed. But alas, four kids need my attention and direction so we can't do that. So...onward we to have a super productive day...with one eye :/ To God be the glory!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food Expenses

Lawanda has a paragraph towards the bottom of her blog highlighting a Time Magazine photo article on "What the World Eats". (Thanks for sharing, Lawanda!)The pictures are taken from the book, "Hungry Planet." I'd seen something similar to this before, but decided it might be enlightening to do a bit of number crunching. Here is what I discovered:

Country Family
Chad 6 $ 1.23 $ 0.21 $ 0.01
Bhutan 12 $ 5.03 $ 0.42 $ 0.02
Ecuador 9 $ 31.55 $ 3.51 $ 0.17
Egypt 12 $ 68.23 $ 5.69 $ 0.27
Mongolia 4 $ 40.02 $ 10.01 $ 0.48
Our Family 6 $ 75.00 $ 12.50 $ 0.60
Kuwait 8 $ 221.45 $ 27.68 $ 1.32
Poland 5 $ 151.27 $ 30.25 $ 1.44
Mexico 5 $ 189.09 $ 37.82 $ 1.80
China 4 $ 155.06 $ 38.77 $ 1.85
United States 4 $ 159.18 $ 39.80 $ 1.90
Italy 5 $ 260.11 $ 52.02 $ 2.48
Great Britain 4 $ 253.15 $ 63.29 $ 3.01
Japan 4 $ 317.25 $ 79.31 $ 3.78
United States 4 $ 341.98 $ 85.50 $ 4.07
Germany 4 $ 507.00 $ 126.75 $ 6.04

I thought the breakdown was very interesting. There are several things to keep in mind, some of which are:

1) Prices vary by region,

2) Each family depicted may or may not accurately represent their region (you can see this by doing a quick comparison of your family with your country),

3) Some governments subsidize food, offer free food, etc. (We even see food subsidizing in the U.S. even though we still spend a good deal more on food than other countries that do this. Ironically, most of the food that is subsidized in the U.S. is food that is used in processed foods which is why it is often cheaper to buy them than it is to buy "real" food.)

I think it is interesting that the larger families spend less money on food. I wonder if that would hold true within each of the "developed" countries.

When looking at the pictures and the cost breakdown simultaneously, I can see that our family, has room to grow. We fell in between Mongolia and Kuwait at $75 per week for a family of 6...just $12.50 a week per person and $0.60 for each meal. It doesn't break down quite like that for our meals or our food as much of our grocery budget is dedicated to diapers, paper products (including toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), and toiletries which the TIME photos didn't seem to include. Maybe our family is doing ever better (I think spending less would be better ;), but when I see the differences in food, I still see much room for improvement.

How about you? Do you see room for changes in what you eat? Do you set goals for growth in this area? How has your family cut costs in this area?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kid Questionaire

Here's something interesting that I saw on a blog the other day...thought I'd do it too, just out of curiosity. Let me know if you decide to do it too; I'd love to read yours :D

1. What is something Mom always says to you?

A: Smiles.
Me: Hum…I don’t think she’s ready for this yet…
G: Banging (Which is actually what she is doing right now ;)
M: I don’t know.
K: To read good books. I mean, to read the Bible every day.

2. What makes Mom happy?

G: God
M: Not to get into things.
K: Keeping the house clean.

3. What makes Mom sad?

G: Jeff
M: Getting into things.
K: When we disobey.

4. How does your Mom make you laugh?

G: Jeff (are we seeing a pattern here???) I think I’ve got another one that is too little for this one.
M: By tickling.
K: By tickling us.

5. What was your Mom like as a child?

M: Playing in the bathtub.
K: A little kid.

6. How old is your Mom?

M: 5
K: 26

7. How tall is your Mom?

M: *Stretches his arm up very tall and says, “This tall.”
K: 26

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

M: Playing in the bathbub.
K: Ummmmm…snuggle with your baby.

9. What does your Mom do when you're not around?

M: Get into trouble.
K: Get into junk.

10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

M: Junk. (Inspired by his sister.)
K: Junk.

11. What is your Mom really good at?

M: Taking the baby away from the scissors.
K: Junk.

12. What is your Mom not very good at?

M: I don’t know.
Me: Laughing, okay, it’s time to start answering again.
K: I know! You’re not very good at…um…watching your kids…
Me: A disappointed look on my face…
K: (seeing my face, continued to offer an explanation ;) …because they keep on getting into stuff.
Me: Let’s go back to the last one.
K: You’re very good at doing school with me.

13. What does your Mom do for a job?

M: Cutting things.
K: You clean the kitchen and do dishes and watch the kids and do school with me and stuff like that.

14.What is your Mom's favorite food?

M: Um…like…jelly beans.
K: Carrot casserole.

15.What makes you proud of your Mom?

M: Jelly beans.
K: When you read to me.

16. If your Mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

M: Jelly Beans.
Me: No, think of something else.
M: A helicopter.
K: Mommy.

17. What do you and your Mom do together?

M: I don’t know.
K: Cook together and stuff like that.

18. How are you and your Mom the same?

M: I don’t know.
K: Because we’re both girls.

19. How are you and your Mom different?

M: I don’t know. I don’t know about this stuff.
K: Because Mommy is big and I am little.

20. How do you know your Mom loves you?

M: Um…by um…by getting into junk one day.
K: Um…by you kissing me and hugging me.

21. What does your Mom like most about your dad?

M: By watching movies.
K: Ummmmm…you like kissing him and snuggling him and hugging him.

22. Where is your Mom's favorite place to go?

M: To care group.
K: Ummmmm…to the library. No, I mean, to the church.