My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cool Nights

My goodness it's cold in here! The temp was supposed to be down to 34 last night... I'm not sure it got that cold but it's a frosty 51 in here right now. We have to talk to our financer and ask for an extension on our mortgage so we can buy the rest of the insulation for the room and hook up our pellet stove this weekend. It will probably be fine, if not then we will have to go another week like this.
I am about halfway finished with my knit shawl. It is turning out pretty! I tried my hand at a fancy pattern only to get it wrong and have to pull it all out. So I stuck with the tried and true stripe pattern I came up with knit 5, purl 5, then purling every other row. It makes for a nice pattern and vertical stripes are always a favorite for me! :-) I laid that project aside for a bit this week though to knit up an absolutely delicious little baby hat for a friend. (Hi Lu!) I'm trying to figure out the booties to match now. So I switch between the shawl and the booties. :-)
The children put a couple of things in the fair yesterday. Joshua made his famous chocolate chip cookies for the baking contest, and Abby & Luke entered our Nature Walk collection in the art contest. Austin and Shawn will be singing in the talent show Friday night. I'm so excited for them. Austin isn't nervous at all - I think Shawn is more than he is. I was going to put my bread in (at everyone's insistence) but it was hectic enough trying to get everyone else's thing to the fair on time, in one piece, etc. I barely got supper cooked!
I have alot of work that the garden needs before frost. But I hesitate to work out there with so much to do on the house. So I end up doing nothing. Grrr... I have had errands to run every day this week. Every day! School was bare-bones all week so far, and the laundry is still on the sofa, though folded now. Sigh... not enough hours in my day. We have a dozen laying hens waitin for us so the chicken hosue HAS to be finished soon. It's up, standing there like a skeleton in the backyard waiting for siding.
Update: Austin took 2nd place out of 7 at the Talent Show, Abby & Luke gt a 3rd place ribbon for the Nature Collection, and Joshua didn't place with his cookies. The competition was fierce though and he is practicing for next year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

4 Nails, A Rock and a Pocket Knife

That's what I found in the bottom of my washing machine today! I am training Joshua to do laundry - he is loving it by the way - and I guess we need a lesson in checking pockets. I think I forgot that part! He is doing fabulous-ly at the job and enjoying being a part of the working of the household. I am constantly amazed at the difference it makes when I assign a child a chore and then PRAISE them for it, making sure they know how important it is, etc. The difference in the quality of work, how often I have to remind them is amazing.

On this note, Abby is learning the kitchen cleanup while at the same time getting some much needed one-on-one with me. She is so lonely some days. I remember the feeling. Wishing I could be in the kitchen with my Mother - working with her, talking to her. She was a Wonder-Woman mother. Never asked for or needed our help in the kitchen. Abby is doing very well, and again with me appreciating her work as part of the greater good here at home she is proving both diligent and happy at her work.
A list of things to do today so I will sign off. It's a Car Day, which means I have a thousand miles to go before dinner time. Ugh. I hate them and would much rather be here puttering around, making bread or cookies, amnswering emails, reading to the children, knitting.... ahhhh . . . . maybe this evening.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dreamy Days

I know Shawn gets tired of seeing me so worn out - so tired from working on the hosue all day +taking care of the children + laundry/housekeeping/cooking + schoolwork. I generally appear as a wet dishcloth at the door to greet him. I sometimes gt a glance of myself in a mirror, in a window's reflection and wonder who this old worn out woman is!

And so yesterday I made an exception to my hasty days and made a bit of time just for me. I ran the children outdoors. I didn't use bubbles of course, the old horse trough just makes them stick to the sides. :-) but I had already heated up lots of boiling water on the stovetop so it was just right when I had everything set for my first hot bath since we moved in. As I lay back and closed my eyes to relax a bit I wondered if the old fashioned mothers did the same once in a while, putting out the children while she soaked in a tub just by herself after an especially hard days work. I imagined myself a pioneer mother, out on the plains with no one in sight other than the children and I tucked in an old sheet across all the openings that don't have curtains yet.

The house was gloriously dim and quiet. I could hear the children playing and laughing outside - that was enough "mood music" for me and instantly put a smile on my face. I lay back my head and prayed for renewed strength, for grace for another day, for mercy and forgiveness. Then I prayed for a new vigor in my homemaking and homeschooling. For a new love for my husband that I would reverence and honor him, for everything good and praiseworthy that I have yet to accomplish.
Then I jumped out, dressed in a new crisp skirt and blouse fresh from the clothesline, and finished up the supper fixin's. We had:
sausage patties
baked potatoes
Spanish rice (brown rice with tace seasoning)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Muffins in the Oven

HEY all! :-) Guess what? No really - go ahead! Guess! I have an oven! My awesome God showed my awesome husband how to fix our electrical problem so now I have a cook stove and a dryer again! And hot water is only a day away! Woohoo!

Shawn was at work yesterday (he's a barber) and told me last night that he yelled at God. He said, "No Kelly. I yelled. I said, Where are you at? I am desperate here! I can't figure this out on my own! I had to say I was sorry but I really cried out to God." Later that afternoon (very soon after) a guy comes in for a haircut and they do the whole, "What do you do?" conversation. Gues what HE does? He's an electrician! So within about 10 minutes he had figured out our problem and told how to fix it. Within 20 minutes of being home he had the problem fixed and now I have muffins in the oven! :-)

Here is the recipe and a link to an AWESOME selection of muffin recipes. And I have these pans that make them look like donuts when they are baked. Its amaing how many more get eaten when they look like donuts. LOL

Recipe By : Posted on Prodigy by Susan Argyelan.
Serving Size : 12
Categories : Muffins

1 cup Old-fashioned oats
1 cup Whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 large Eggs
3/4 cup Packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Butter -- melted
Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400. Grease muffin cups, or use foil or paper baking cups. Thoroughly mix oats, flours, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in another bowl. When smooth, whisk in milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients. Fold in with a rubber spatula, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Scoop the batter into muffin cups. Bake 15 to 25 min., or until springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mother of 12

A Day In the Life of My Best Friend Sherry
Now even though that's the title to this little entry, it is really a bit misleading. I didn't get anywhere near to as much done in a day as she does! Thank the Lord He sends one baby at a time. With hers and mine together I had an even dozen to train up. Whoa... make no mistakes. I "HERDED" them. NO training was implemented!
First of all Sherry, let me just say that while you are waiting for your children and husband to "rise up and call you blessed" I want to do it. You are quite a woman. I knew that but now I KNOW that! :-) Your older children are bearing much fruit. I put the boys on vacation mode when I got here and tried to do their chores (HA!) and take care of the baby. I think they got about 12 hours of vacation before I had to cry out for HELP!!! lol They were great - all asking if there was anything they could do to help before they headed outdoors to play or into the family room to play a video. It was awesome.
Ladies from Sherry and Don's church called and bragged on her children - I said, "I know!" They then asked me, "How are you managing?" I answered, "I'm fine. Sherry taught me the good stuff about child training."
Before Sherry I had never heard of Michael Pearl, tomato staking, or discipling children. I heard her talk about "having her children's hearts" and I was clueless. I hadn't heard the term "train up" outside of Bible devotions and I had no idea how to implement nor what blessing were to be had if I would obey. I didn't know God was really in control of conception, childbirth and postpartum healing, I didn't know any of this! I had a love for herbal medicine but didn't realize you could really USE it sans the "emergency" stuff that comes up. I didn't know! I had never met anyone who handed out tracts at the grocery store nor anyone who taught their children to do the same. I had never heard of courtship or alternatives to dating. I had a surface knowledge of submission but not a working one.
It's amazing hwo much ignorance I was living in before the Lord sent Sherry to our friend Don. I often think, "God sent Sherry to Missouri for me as much as He sent her here for Don!"
And so being here for her while she went in for surgery to remove a tumor on her thyroid has been SUCH a blessing. And I mean that. I have heard the Lord speak despite being busier than I have ever been with children. He has renewed my love for my children, encouraged me to "redeem the time" and make my house (physically and spiritually) ready to receive more blessings when He sends them.
I had better stop, not because she will get a big head over my gushing, but because I'm tearing up and there is still laundry to do. :-) I love you much sister. Thank you for all you are in my life and every life you touch. Your light shines bright my friend.
P.S. Sherry's tumor was benign and they were able to leave enough of her thyroid to maintain normal functioning. God is So good.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bright Spots in My Day

A Tiger brought me a flower for my hair today. :-)

"It's for your hair." Luke says, so here it is:

Then later "Look Mom! The clothesline attacked us!" lol Gotta love it.

Then there's Abby - always making something pretty. Here you have Mrs. Thistlehead and Mr. Thistlehead with their children all dressed for church. :-)

1st Corinthians 10:13

My country quest here has been fabulous for my hair. (Can you tell I'm trying to find the good in this situation? LOL) No hot water or heating elements on it since May. Wowzer what shine I have. Unbelievable. I have a few split ends that I"m going to snip off today if I get a chance. This is the healthiest my hair has ever been. I wash it about once a week now and NO heat of any kind has touched it. That's all I can attribute it to. I've been crocheting little thingys for Abby and mine's hair. A little flower is my favorite then I chain stitched onto both sides on the back so it would tie around a ponytail. Cute. On Abby anyway. I probably look like Mama Cass in it. :-P

I need to start walking. The boys measured and mowed a path for me in the back "yard" (2 acres). I have to go around X many times to make a mile. I just can't take any time for myself! I'm a nut lately. Just can't make myself take any time to take care of me. Shawn finally commented on my hairy legs... I knew that was coming but who has the time or inclination to linger in a cold tub of water long enough to shave one's legs??? LOL Outside?

We brought the tub inside last night and used it that way. I had syrupy dreams of soaking in a hot tub last night while Shawn watched the news... NOT. I finally quit pouring in boiling tubs of water at 10:30 and gave up. It was not even TEPID. Disappointing but oh well.
We got the news from the county about our sewer system. The overflow pond has been dug 27 feet too close to the road and we have to move it. That means another $400 for the dozer man. Then because it has to be moved UPHILL we will have to PUMP our sewage into the pond and that pump costs $1200. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon. The guy knows we are dumping our gray water (tub, kitchen sink, etc) on the yard and he's fine with that for now so we are considering a real-live outhouse for winter and hooking up the shower, hot water, etc. inside the house and letting it drain to the east side of the yard. I have planted trees there in my mind so it would be good for them! LOL

We honestly don't know what to do. We have made a committment not to go into anymore debt but this seems to be bigger than our meager finances can handle. If our NERVES can then we could wait until spring to do it, saving bits here and there and using some of our income tax refund to cover it. Then there is the min-van. It broke down again. THis time it's the transmission and something else, plus the oil pan is leaking. It never ends! My life verse lately has become,

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is
common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer
you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the
temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
1 Corinthians 10:13

The [it] here being rather extreme it seems to me. But then, I've always been the type to get into scrapes of one kind or another based on convictions. *sigh* And I'm not sure if composting toilets and cold outdoors baths are "common" to any men or women I have personally known but oh well. I get the point. :-) God has proven Himself faithful time and time again. Why should I worry? I ask myself this question on a daily basis now:
What impact does this present "trial" have on eternity?
Then if it doesn't, and most of them don't... I hit the "I Don't Care" button that my friend Cindy M. gave me and shrug it off. That's getting down to brass tacks as my Grandma would put it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

HomeMakers Manual

I named it this because, well... I have to admit that I don't know exactly what I'm doing in the homemaking department. I need a manual!! With babies around I had that for an excuse (not!) but now well. I have to face the music. I'm a terrible housekeeper. Since we moved in here it just seems like the place is ALWAYS messy. I forgot how much dirtier it is to live in the country. UGH...

I did get the notebook put together though! It looks so pretty!

There are several verses on the front to remind me of what my goal is, what I'm shooting for. They include Proverbs 31:26-30, Proverbs 29:15, Hebrews 13:5, Proverbs 31:11, and on the spine is my LIFE verse: Isaiah 58:11,12.

In my "Good Wife" section I have printed this from Charity Gospel Ministry. This was the most concise, condensed, straight forward description of a godly wife that I have ever ran across. It doesn't take a whole book to get the idea. I love it! I've included it here in hopes of it ministering to another wife who struggles. If you DON'T struggle then please, EMAIL ME! lol

The Hidden Woman
by Bro.Denny Kenaston
A transcribed

Many times women write me letters. They hear the tapes and they say, "Oh Brother Denny, I want this. How can I help my husband? He´s not tuned into the responsibilities of all these things." I want to take some time and answer that question. If you want to change your husband, that is probably a selfish motive. Sometimes ladies do write me letters and I can sense it when I read between the lines. That´s really what they´re after. They are thinking, I´m sick
of this guy and please help me get him changed. No, I cannot tell you how you can get him changed. But if you want to know how you can be an encouragement to that man in the way that he needs to go - that I can tell you. God does not bless sanctified manipulation, sisters. Write that one down.

I want to show you how you can encourage your husband so that God will make
him a godly man. Let´s look at the power of reverence. Reverence is one of the
most powerful, most motivating, most effectual qualities in human relationships there are, when it flows from a woman to a man, or even when it flows from a man to a man. Let´s look at the word reverence. I´m going to give you the definition from Webster´s 1828 Dictionary which is a bit shocking. The first word, which is usually the most definitive, is the word fear. That causes the modern woman to cry out in opposition, "Fear? I´m not going to fear my husband!" Fear, mingled with respect and affection. I´m going to go down the list and look at all the definitions for the word reverence. What I have done is drawn out words out of the Amplified (paraphrased) Bible. Then I went to the Webster´s 1828 Dictionary, and looked up each one of those words. So, how can I reverence my husband? Ephesians 5:22 says, "See that the wife reverence her husband." Now, this is what reverence means. 1) To yield or surrender to the power, will, or authority of another. The word is deeper than the work "obey." The command to obey can be done as an outward thing. The word submit requires an inward attitude of surrender with obedience. And that´s what God is after. Submit to him.

Next, notice him. It means to observe with the eye, and consider with the mind. The act by which we gain knowledge of somebody - in other words, real interested focus. Dear sisters, turn your eyes upon your husband with attentive
interest in what he is doing. He should feel your interested eyes looking at him while he is around. Notice him, regard him - it means to give a focused attention to consider seriously. That view of mind that springs from high value.
Regard him. This is so important, sisters, in reference to when your husband speaks. Do you want him to be a leader? Quiet down, look attentively with a genuine value in what he says. He will talk more, he will lead more, he will rise up to his responsibilities and do.

The next one . . . honor him. To honor is, any expression of respect, or high estimation by words or actions; to adorn, ornament, or decorate. It is the same word used when referring to honoring the king. Dear sisters, adorn your husband with expressions of respect by word and action. You will never be sorry that you did.

Next, prefer him. The word prefer means to bear or carry in advance; to consider one to better than you are. In practical language it means to place his desires, his opinions, and his ideas ahead of yours. You can´t imagine the confidence that this builds in a man. When he senses from the depth of your heart that you are more interested in what he thinks than what you think. Man . . . let him go. He´ll be so fired up for what he´s suppose to do! If he senses that coming out of your heart . . . prefer him.

Venerate him - to give him much worth; to respect and to worship. I know you´re not suppose to worship your husbands (because only God deserves this). But when a man senses that his wife values him and what he does and what he says, this affects his leadership ability tremendously. Tremendously, you can´t imagine!

Esteem him - to prize, to set a high value on someone, to have a high opinion of someone, to give a high place of honor - that´s esteem.
Defer to him - it means to yield to another´s opinion or judgement because of respect and honor. This is the most beautiful quality of character for a wife to have. She can display this confidence builder often as there are lots of opinions in marriage, aren´t there.

The next one - praise him; to prize or value with words; to lift another with praise, and words of gratitude. This word is a good practical outward expression of many of the attitudes I´ve already listed here. Praise is fuel on the fire of your husband´s heart! Don´t doubt it, sisters! That guy will do things he never dreamed he would do.

Love him - it means to love him. This means a prompt, free, willing desire for somebody; to be pleased with and regard with strong affection; ardent fellowship springing from high esteem; and a word of endearment. The love of a woman, without question, is the strongest motivation in a man´s life. It can cause him to do and be way beyond whatever thought he would do or be. If you question that, you just look at the love of a man for a woman who he is seeking
her (and desiring to marry her), look at what that fellow will go through. He´ll go through anything! Don´t forget that, dear sister. He´ll go through anything for her.

And lastly, admire him exceedingly. Reverence means to admire him exceedingly; to hold up, to stop and behold with wonder; to regard with strong affection; a pleasant respect with wonder. That´s what that word means. Ephesians 5:33 say, "And see that the wife reverence her husband."

Beloved sisters in Jesus Christ, this is quite a list of words to consider. There are three ways you can respond to this list you have been given. Let me give them to you: Number one - you can be careless and indifferent and just pass it off with little interest. Number two - you can be overwhelmed by it a give up in discouragement. And number three - you can be stirred and motivated and convicted by it, and rise up in faith with a will to do what God has said. And I pray that you will do the latter, with vision and with purpose in your heart and in your life from this day forward.

(This message is not copyrighted. If you would like to hear the complete series on "The Godly Home" please go to their website at ( If you would like a catalog of other tapes, please call 1-800-227-7902. Or write to Charity Gospel Tape Ministry, 400 W. Main Street Suite #1, Ephrata, PA 17522. These tapes are offered by freewill offering to all of God´s people.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Home Management Binder

I honestly kept thinking that the house would be done by now (HA!!!) and I could easily pick up my old schedule/rountine where I left it off this spring when we moved in. REality has since taken residence in my mind and I have accepted the fact that my "Summer Project List" would be more amptly called, "The Coming Decade To-Do List". With that in mind I've decided to re-do my Home Management Binder which is sadly out of date anyway and work with what I've got.

I keep thinking of "Managers of Their Homes" by the Maxwell's (
and how wonderful that would be. The children are BEGGING for me to get a schedule going again. And this time, daily exercise WILL be included in the schedule AND actually DONE. lol So that's my project for the week. The boys are off fishing in the church pond and I'm here with Abby happily printing out my favorite things for the binder.

More later.

The Smell of School

I kept smelling something awful when I'd walk into my kitchen for the last afternoon but I could NOT for the life of me, figure out what it was. The fridge was clean, we don't have mice... wait a minute. It smells just like a dead mouse. (Do NOT ask me how I know this.) Oh NO! How did a mouse get in my house?!?! And why is it dead? I don't have traps or bait or anything out!

So I set out to figure out where the smell was coming from, if it was indeed a deceased vermin, and then to dispose of it's carcass. Well... and I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I found the dead mouse. Half of it. In a bag on the top of the counter.

You see, a couple of days ago Abby and Joshua were taking thier daily walk and saw a falcon swoop down in front of them and de-capitate a field mouse. Thinking this would be an excellent afternoon project (disecting it that is) they grabbed a paper bag and ran back to scoop it up for further inspection. I said they could of course, then promptly forgot all about it.

So did they.

Until it began to smell.

3 days later.

Ugghhhhh... one of the "perks" of homeschooling. LOL

Friday, September 01, 2006

School Time

School time this year began "officiallly" 2 weeks ago but I made it easy on the children (and myself) by adding one subject at a time rather than trying to dive into the whole thing at once. We took the summer off starting back in March and it has roven to be almost FATAL to our efforts! My most important piece of advice to new homeschoolers is:


WE had our hours in by then and wanted to devote time to the house and moving in. Plus SHawn thought it would be too much for me to school while hanging sheetrock, etc. etc. He was right but still.... NEVER TAKE THE SUMMER OFF! lol

So I find myself re-training the children since when we don't do school work they tend to do their own thing as a group and I'm doing my own things and we come togethr for only meals and Bible time, etc. This leaves a lot of "little foxes" un-checked and they spoil our vines of careful child training.

So we are back to work on "Yes ma'am." "No ma'am." Don't hit your brother, don't throw things, pick up after yourself. Ugh.... basics. THis morning, BEFORE 8 AM I had to take up an idea from our friend Christine and assign this as copywork before they could have their breakfast.

I will show love to my brother.

I will keep kindness on my lips.

I will rule my own temple and no one else's.

Each sentence 10 times. THey seem very repentant... and hungry... LOL I've not tried this since AUstin was little so we will see if it works for us.

Sweet Treats

Here is a really horrible, unhealthy, but extrememly tasty recipe for cookie should you ever find yourself without an oven. I make these VERY sparingly. The recipe doesn't make too many so they don't hang around long to tempt me, but on the days when we're wanting a treat and can't run to the store I make these. Maybe once a month? There is just nothing better than the memory of your mother in her apron making these on a rainy afternoon. Anyhow, enjoy... but not too often. ;-)


2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Pet milk (but I use powdered milk mixed up to this amount)
1 teaspoon vanilla (don't absolutely have to have this either)
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oats

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except peanut butter and oats and cook over medium heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and oats.

Spoon out quickly onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Cookies will harden as they set.

Submitted by: Hilary