7.31.2013

Cloth Diaper Review - Luvin' Them!

Here we are with a long-ago promised review of cloth diapering. This is reward number seven and our seventh try at using cloth diapers. After six failed attempts, we are more than happy to report that try number seven is a huge success!!!

Disposable diapers are used at night and when traveling. To be honest, with the use of a wet bag we could easily reserve disposables for nighttime use only without any inconvenience. The only reason we haven't yet is because I just haven't done it. No valid reasons or excuses available.

What made the difference this go round? The style of cover we used. Without a doubt the style of cover has made try number seven the success it is. Instead of using traditional pull on style plastic pants we are using covers that snap. There is little difference between the putting on and taking off of disposable diapers and cloth now.

What about washing? We use a covered trash that can be opened by stepping on a lever. It is a small can. Because the can fills so rapidly, we are able to use the dry pail method. This eliminates any
smelly soak water mess in the diaper pail. That soaking water is just so gross!

Sorry, about the washing...when our pail is full, we dump the pail diapers, covers, and all into the washing machine run through without soap on cold and then again with soap on hot. So far no stripping or bleach has been necessary. Granted, we are still breastfeeding so no big boy messes from table food have been experienced yet. That will be a future test in our cloth diapering try number seven.

We usually line or hang dry the diapers and covers but have dried them all in the dryer once. Both methods worked fine. I will try to avoid using the dryer on the covers to help preserve the elastic longer.

Now that we are using a style of cover that is more user friendly, I am beginning to see why cloth diaper uses are so thrilled with their diapering experience. I wouldn't want to tell someone else what to diaper their baby with. This is merely a personal review along with a shout out for the snap style cover. I am also starting to catch myself thinking about how much cuter a boy print cover would look instead of the plain white ones we have. Can't you just see a cute little camouflage bum wiggling back and forth as the baby crawls around? Me too. I also had to stop myself from using cute little boy print flannel to make diapers out of. Seriously, noone can see the diaper. It's inside of the cover.

Oh yes, flannel diapers. That reminds me. If you are wanting to try cloth diapering or already do but want to know about other diaper styles, we have also used a square of flannel. We folded it using diaper origami, and viola! a very effective, efficient diaper. The folds were easy enough for a 40 something mother to do and very quick to put on. They also looked super cute on baby's bottom. It was tempting to go coverless just so we could see how cute. Don't worry. We didn't. Interested in diaper origami? The instructions with pictures are available online - FOR FREE.

Cloth diapering review?  Positive Plus!!!

7.25.2013

A Day for Baby

Birds

It is a snuggling sort of day, a day for babies, babies of all kinds. Baby birds and rabbits are sweet but none as dear as this human baby snuggled in close to my heart. Victorious Man of God will be five months old tomorrow. Five months! How long, and short, those five months have seemed. To think that one year ago he was growing in my womb, and I didn't even know. All the summer long this sweet Man of God was growing and developing yet it wasn't until the summer had past and fall almost gone that his mama knew he was there. Such a miracle he is this darling bundle of wiggles and smiles.

He was born screaming mad. That scream escapes his lips some days still. Following six other children, all but two of them mostly grown, one would think Victorious Man wouldn't have anything unpleasant to scream about. As young as he is, there are moments when his world isn't just exactly as he would like it. It is at those times I remember the chewing out that rang throughout the delivery room upon his arrival. I laughed with gladness that he was healthy enough to scream then. Those screams don't bring such joy now. No, these days mama finds herself praying with fervor for her Victorious Man of God to have peace, calm, and quiet strength. Dear God, may he possess Your understanding instead of frustration. May he desire Your will and not his own.

Yes indeed, this child's coming has brought change to Abundance House. Because his coming was discovered so far into pregnancy, there wasn't time to work through surprises gradually. We had work to do. There was a baby coming. Truly? A baby? Can it really be? Is it true Father? Do You truly have another reward for me to hold? Another wee miracle to love and kiss? Truly? For reals? Mine? Another sweet baby? The news of babies number five and six found me shocked. Baby number seven? There really wasn't time to be anything. Ready or not this sweet boy was coming, and come he did.

This dear man child has been a surprise from the beginning, a surprise and the first. Victorious Man may be on the tail end of seven children, but he is a first in so very many ways. The first child of seven to break his mother's water at home naturally, the first to scream in rage when born, the first to snuggle in and cuddle, the first to like mobiles, contrasting colors, and other typical baby things. Successfully wearing cloth diapers hasn't been experienced by any of his siblings. Neither have the previous two slept in a traditional crib. They slept by mama's bed in a play 'n pak yet none of them slept the whole night through by four months as this one has. He is also the first to experience the bliss of being worn close to his mama's heart in a baby wrap.

There are some things however he will never know. It is indeed a fact this boy will never experience what his oldest four siblings have. Multiple moves, various school experiences, none of those adventures will he live. He will never know the youthfulness of parents who are in their 20s, nor 30s. Thankfully, he won't have to experience the same mistakes of our youthful ignorance either. Neither will he understand the bond being born only two years apart creates between brothers and sisters.  
Unlike Giggles and Mighty Man born so close together, Victorious Man stands alone. He alone will be at home when the others have left the proverbial nest.

This is the man who will know his parents best when they are mature, at least I hope we are maturing. It is this man who I pray benefits from the parenting experience My Beloved and I have gained throughout the past 21+ years. Already it is he who makes us laugh on those days we want to cry. And the snuggles, oh those dear sweet snuggles, how they heal. And mama can't forget the smiles. Those smiles. Those ear to ear grins accompanied by entire body wiggles, those make the very hardest times bearable. Yes, God knew. He knew. We need this man baby. We need him so very much. When an oldest son struggles to be his own man and forgets to speak soft, there is a baby to cuddle away the hurt. The stinging sarcasm and moods of teenage daughters drip away on the sloppy kiss that tries to suck the chin off of this mama's face. And an entire house of hot, tired big people housing muscles tight with stress relax into contented harmony when baby's giggles rise to the rafters. Four-year-olds and six-year-olds too revel in the role of being big enough to take care of instead of being cared for. Baby was needed by all.

I read in the Bible of a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all I can ask, think, dream, or even imagine (Eph. 3:20), and I know it is true. Not only is God able to do this. He does it. The babe sleeping on my heart is living proof. Exceeding abundantly above all I can ask, think, dream, or even imagine, that's Victorious Man of God. There was another verse I read that said God's ways are not mine. They are higher (Isaiah 55:9). That too is true. Victorious Man proves it is so. Every day I marvel with wonder that there is another baby for My Beloved and I to love for God. I was thinking future grandchildren someday not children of my own. This was God's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23). For this I am glad, exceedingly glad. I wouldn't have begun to think of this, but I'm glad He did. I'm glad God knows and that He is good, ALL of the time. Victorious Man of God proves that too.

Well, baby is waking. He's ready to eat. We're going to go spend time getting to know each other some more. It's our favorite time during each day this time Victorious spends nursing. I am so glad it comes often. He looks straight into my heart with those intensely blue eyes of his never blinking or wavering. Straight inside me his gaze penetrates to my very core. When I look back into his eyes I see that he knows. He knows mama wasn't completely sure she was ready to be a 40+ year-old mama. He also knows that ready or not his mama loves him. He knows too of his destiny. He, as are we all,  is created by God to do something no one else on earth can do. There is a knowing and understanding in this little man, an intensity that will bring victory by tearing out and uprooting. His name says it all.

While Victorious and I sway in the rocker speaking with our eyes and smiles, know we are praying too. We are praying for each of you. You are loved. You were created by God to do and be something no one else on earth could ever be or do. You have a destiny. Will you, like Victorious Man of God, snuggle in with God, look Him straight in His eye, and know His love for you, feel the warmth of His smile? Will you? In His name we pray that you do. Amen. May it be so.
Rabbits

7.24.2013

I Would Like To...More to Share

...I would like to share with others the wondrous joy of love, marriage, and sex. There is a passion in me that fellow believers would be free to enjoy physical intimacy to the full. So many are hesitant or even resistant to the mention of sex. How sad. Physical intimacy between man and wife is one of the best marital aids and enhancers;it is a physical act of worship. Not only that, the more often we enjoy marital intimacy, the healthier we are physically and mentally. Our spiritual health is also enhanced, at least I am fully convinced it is. I feel that Song of Solomon supports my thoughts on this completely. It seems as if the church as a whole is in much bondage when it comes to the most intimate aspects of the marriage relationship. How I would love to teach truth so that people could be set free to enjoy each other fully in their marital covenant with God. That is my "I Would Like To..." dream. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

7.23.2013

Thank You!

To all of the readers still clicking in here at Abundance House, thank you! If only I could put into words how much your faithfulness means.  If you have any friends, family, aquaintances, neighbors, enemies, etc. who might enjoy following along, please feel free to send them on over. We're all here at http://abundancehouse.blogspot.com/ . Also, if you get tired of clicking in, you can freely subscribe in the subscription box. Thank you still, Blessed Mama

7.22.2013

Fast Licking Fun

Need, or want, something fast and fun? Try pudding pops! Pudding pops are made using whatever mold you use when making popsicles. We have three sets of popsicle molds so use those. Paper cups and ice cube trays with a handle stuck in work just fine too.

Using pudding flavor of choice, fill up the mold and plop in the freezer. Viola! As soon as the pudding is completely frozen, you have pudding pops to eat. If done the evening before, they would be ready for the next day.

Homemade pudding could be used, naturally. Sometimes, however, there simply isn’t enough time. That’s when instant pudding mixes are just the ticket. This afternoon we added small pieces of fresh peach to vanilla pudding. If the leftover pudding is any indication, these are going to be splendiferous! We have also made chocolate, vanilla and a choc/van combo. Quick, easy, and fun.

Yogurt and fruit would lend themselves nicely to a frozen creation for those watching what they eat. A bit of instant coffee crystals or espresso powder mixed in with chocolate pudding/yogurt would become a mocha freeze worth savoring. What flavor combinations do you love to lick at your house? Feel free to let us know in a comment or at
amothersrewards@gmail.com. Thank you and happy licking!

7.17.2013

I Would Like To...Do This Too

This was mentioned in last week's "I Would Like To..." post. I would like to have homes and/or cabins for guests to come refresh themselves in. I would like this land God has placed us on to be a place of peace, a place where people can experience resting in the Lord for real, in its purest form.

I would also like to have our home completed according to the vision God has placed inside of me. The vision I see in my heart is beyond comprehension. It is even more perfectly me than I could have imagined for myself. It must be from God Himself.

 I would like to open my heart along with my home to be a vessel of God, of Love (1 John 4:7,8). I would like to be so complete and full of the joy of the Lord that there would be no thought of the work such visions require, only of the delight serving and caring for others in the name of the Lord brings. This I would like to do...this too.

7.16.2013

Road Trip Savings

Having just returned from a five day roadtrip, here are few money-saving techniques discovered along the way.

  • Fill a cooler with bottled water and stock up on instant drink packages. This provides two drink options in one. Travelers can drink water or shake up another option if desired. Bringing with allows a person to avoid overpaying at quick stops en route.
  • Throw in some jerky and other healthy hand held snacks. Healthy snacks, don't forget the protein, make it possible to last longer between meals. This prevents excessive spending and eating of junk food too. Please notice I said excessive eating of junk food. Some junk food is just part of the fun in our family. Pass the cornuts and bugles anyone? Bringing snacks along also frees up more budget for other traveling fun. Note: if you make muffins for the trip, they work best in a rigid container such as a clean, empty ice cream bucket. Storage bags may not be your best choice for baked goods. Just saying...
  • If needing food stuffs while traveling, go to the grocery store instead of a gas station or quick stop. Prices will be much less.

Sandwich Spread

Summertime is a season of quickly thrown together meals here at Abundance House. While none of the meals I put together require much time to prepare, summer meals are quicker still. Here is a super easy recipe for sandwich spread. This spread can not only be used to put leftovers to good use, it is economical and fairly healthy besides. It lends itself beautifully to picnics and/or roadtrips too.

Sandwich Spread

  • cooked meat - chicken, beef, pork, whatever your preference
  • mayo - homemade or store boughten
  • relish - the style you like best
  • mustard - your favorite variety
  • nuts, seeds, dried fruit - optional

Grind or chop meat. I use a food processor. Use a light hand on this as overprocessing results in meat mush. Meat mush is NOT appetizing in the least. Mix mayo, mustard, and relish together then gently stir into meat. Add any other ingredients.
I use approx. 1 c. of mayo, 1 T. mustard, and 2 T. relish with 2-3 c. chopped meat. Amounts can be adjusted to personal preference. Sometimes a bit of salt and pepper are needed. If I were fixing only for myself, I would drop a couple more tablespoons of relish in. Different meats may need different amounts of each ingredient.
Spread can be stored in refrigerator and used at will. The above amounts fit perfectly in a one quart canning jar. Sandwich spread makes for quick snacks, lunches, and suppers and can be spread on crackers, tortillas, or bread. It could also be served atop a bed of greens with fresh veggies or fruit alongside. Might be nice mixed with cooked grains or pasta.

7.10.2013

I Would Like To...

...write a book/magazine about homemaking. Something that covers every aspect of it from the decorating down to cleaning out the teeniest tiniest corners. This is of course a dream that right now wouldn't seem possible. However, I know that God is God of the impossible. Truly though, what benefit would  a book about homemaking, decorating, and cleaning be when there are already so very many of them in the world? Things are in a state of turmoil. People need encouragement on a grand level, and I want to write a book about the everyday? Does that even make sense?

Irregardless, I see in my mind a vintagy, classic twist on traditional with the barest hint of cottage lodge thrown in. Of course there are spots of French Country that keep popping up throughout the home too. I seriously think that our family needs cabins/homes for guests if for no other reason than so my daughters and I can decorate using all of the various styles we like but don't have enough rooms for in the main house. The magazine/book will simply be where we share the overflow of ideas we are even now acquiring.

There is even a name for this book/ministry, Abundance House. For now, Abundance House is
a dream in my imagination. Given time though, it may become a vision from God turned reality. Then my collection of items that whisper "let me stay" will have a purpose and a home. God is good. I am trusting Him for His direction and plan to manifest as He desires. When those cabins are built and ready for guests, I'll let you know. For it is you dear friends who should know first. It is you, after all, who invite these words of mine into your inbox. It is you who share your time with me. Therefore, it is you who must know first when the dream becomes real.

7.09.2013

Dreaming Out Loud

Every so often there will be a new type of post showing up. These are going to be called an "I Would Like To..." series. Having recently learned that writing down an idea/dream increases the likelihood of it coming true and already knowing that sharing one's heart dreams can be freeing, is how the "I Would Like To..." posts were born.

Not only am I going to share though, I am sending out a big loud request to all of you. Won't you join me? Won't you send in your "I Would Like To..." dreams? If your dreams are near and dear, they may feel a bit too precious to share. We all understand. Ours feel that way too. That's why I am making sure this is a safe place for us all to open up. No one has to include their name or any detail that is too fragile for sharing. We only have to share what we feel safest letting loose for others to see. Because remaining anonymous is available, everyone can share as much as they want without fear. I'll get things started tomorrow. Then, once a week or so, others will follow.

Am I opening this series up because I'm nosy? No. Not at all. I am opening the inbox up to offer the freedom of letting a dream out to breathe that I have found. So, please? Won't you send in your "I Would Like To..." dreams? The ones kept hidden inside? You know, those that seem so ridiculous and outlandish that you haven't told another soul? Thank You. I Love getting to know you all, and friendships are the richest treasures each one of us can possess. Friendships will result when sharing is done.

Thank You!
By God's Grace,
Blessed Mama

7.05.2013

Thrifty Tips and Other Randomness

What a week! Miss Mustard Seed arrived home from a mission trip to Peru just barely into Wednesday morning. The eleven days she was gone from home literally flew by with lightning speed. They haven't slowed down yet! It's summer, and we haven't gotten the opportunity to slow down and savor very many moments. That's ok. We're enjoying rare still spells whenever they happen.

For several weeks I have had the idea of sharing a few cleaning thoughts and tidbits. Since summer can be the host to a lot of sand, water, mud, and bugs, I thought it would be the perfect time. I also thought that any product or tip that works well for a ranching family of nine automatically earns special recognition. Don't you?

An earlier post shared that a rural family's bestus best friend is a mudroom. There is also another friend that is one of my very closest, the half bath by the back door. This tiny room keeps a lot of dirt, grime, and yuck from entering the main living area of the home. I do realize that a bathroom isn't something that can be casually picked up at the store. Due to the amount of housecleaning it saves, it still deserves a mention.

Another way to keep the home cleaner would be to have an outside shower or one in the garage/shop area. Those families whose work can get down and dirty would love this. Trust me. It would be so amazing. Installing a small washer and dryer in the shop/garage area for greasy, oily work clothes would also be a huge plus.

To keep those bathrooms and other areas clean, I rely on Bar Keeper's Friend. This is a gentle, inexpensive scouring powder found in most stores. It comes in a variety of sizes for all sizes of families and messes. It cleans without damaging delicate surfaces. Another product that I rely on to get rid of the orangey rusty ring left on our sinks, toilets, etc. is a pumic stone. This too is an inexpensive cleaning product found in most every store alongside the other cleaning products. It is virtually the only cleaning item that has eliminated the nasty iron/mineral ring in my commode.

When budgetarily possible, I also use Swiffer brand products. They are the cat's meow for every dusting job in the house. Floors and furniture look so much better when dusted with these disposable dusters. Children like helping more if they can use them too.

Now if I can just figure out how to get rid of spiders...you'll hear my happy cries when that is taken care of. Gotta run! It's an afternoon of only the baby and I. He's sleeping. I'm off to scramble around as fast as I can getting as much housework done as is humanly possible before he wakes up. It's the mama marathon! Love you all! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to spend with me. It's a true honor, one I deeply appreciate. Blessed Mama

The Flag Still Flies


Can you see the flag at the right side of the picture? Just barely? Me too. I love it though. The American flag caught in the light of the exploding fireworks last night. Takes my thoughts to a song.
 
"O say can you see
by the dawn's early light
what so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming
whose broad stripes and bright stars
 through the perilous fight
 o'er the ramparts we watched
 were so gallantly streaming
 and the rockets red glare
 the bombs bursting in air
 gave proof through the night
 that our flag was still there
 O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
 o'er the land of the free
 and the home of the brave."
 
There are more stanzas to the song, more words that speak loud and clear. The words we rarely hear sung are every bit as powerful and strong as those we cheer for at events throughout each year. Let's look them up. Together, let's each of us look up all the words to our nation's anthem. Once we find them, let's sing them. Sing them loud and strong for all to hear.
Better yet, let's sing them like we mean them, from our hearts, with our whole selves. Let's pledge our devotion anew to our country and the One who has guided and protected all along.
 
Happy Day After the Fourth of July!!! 
 
God Bless America
for it is the
Land That We Love

7.04.2013

Enjoying Freedom Fully

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
 
Are you enjoying this fourth of July fully? Freedom is a dear and precious gift. One not to be taken lightly, especially now. As we remember our nation with heartfelt prayers and love, Abundance House extends warmest holiday greetings to you and yours!
 
Love with lots of Snaps and Bangs,
Blessed Mama

7.03.2013

Living Large in Him Freely

Living large in Jesus. It's a concept that has been going through my mind so often lately. What does it mean? How is it accomplished? Can it really be done?

Yes. Yes, it can be done. There is a 24-year-old woman in Uganda doing so. She has adopted 13 girls there and lives there. Formerly from America, she left her "normal" life here to go over there and live supernaturally in Jesus. He lives large in her, reaches out through her, speaks through her, and smiles big out of her.

Yes. Living large in Jesus is possible. But what does it look like through me? How do I live large in Jesus? How do I do what that girl mother of 13 in Uganda does here in the middle of America? I know there are hurting here. How do I love them large in Jesus? How do I open my door and heart? How do I get past the cautions about being "safe" screaming loudly in the background?

Oh, that's right. I look to Him, the One living large through me. I look to Jesus. It isn't me living large. It's Jesus. Everything is good. He knows how. He knows how to take me past what I "know" right into the midst of what is known only through Him.

On the Fourth of July our family celebrates with food and fireworks. That day is jokingly called Colonel Redeemed's national holiday. Freedom is worth celebrating, and we do. Recently, however, we found out that we are not the only ones enjoying our fireworks.There are neighbors sitting on top of hills so that they can see the fireworks bursting bright from our yard. The thought of them sitting out there hurts my heart. It makes me want to cry. There is someone sitting out there all alone watching from a far. My heart cries. I want to draw them in and love on them. That's Jesus. in me. I want to open my arms and door as wide as my heart.

So really, the question isn't whether or not living large in Jesus is possible, nor is it how do I do it. The true question is will I do so? Will I let God the Son out of the box I so often place Him in? Will I open up the box, take off the lid, and throw it away so that Jesus is free to flow through me and out of me as He wills? Will I? That is the question, the one that needs answering. For if I dare, if I do, life may never be the same. Will I? Will you?

7.01.2013

Christmas In July

Did you read this last year? If you missed it then, here it is again this year! It's so good, it might become a Christmas in July tradition. God, who is love, is a marvelous tradition, anytime of the year.
Because of Christ,
Blessed Mama

Here is an excellent way to begin our Holy Days aka holiday season. I came across this last year after Christmas had past, but couldn't leave without sharing. So, here it is, during Christmas in July. This gem has been politely waiting until its scheduled time to appear. Everyone reading this will be challenged. I know I was. My plans are to print it out and hang it where I can see it best, maybe more than one place. Please click on and enjoy I Corinthians 13: The Christmas Version...