Friday, March 25, 2011

The Chicken Auction Pictures!!!!

Crisis or Christ-in-us?

One thing I have always noticed about the story of Job is that it doesn't talk about how happy Job was during his whole crisis (Maybe our emotionally happy crazy society should take note)! It did however state that he maintained his integrity!

The story of Job always amazed me! When you hear the fluffy story as a child you learn that the "devil" was horrible awful and came in with a plan of attack to take the integrity of Job. But scripture is quick to tell us that God pointed Job out to Satan in fact He even stated his proud views of Jobs level of integrity!

To get a better idea of what really happened to Job, let's consider the following story!

There was a large family who wanted to be safe and prosper in life, they were a great family kind and generous. To safe guard the home, the father goes out and through his hard work and careful attention he hires the best security company to secure his property and his family. He is very faithful, he pays on time, participates in the charity events they sponsor and even adhere to all the rules and requirements faithfully. He is the most dedicated and integrity filled consumer they have had in a very long time! One day unknown to the man, a group of people come to the company to present their ideas to them, most of them have ideas that have the consumers safety and protection in mind, but one of them does not. Rather than discuss the safety and protection ideas, the CEO of the security company turns to the individual and says " have you seen this man? He is the best customer I have, he is always paying on time, he never argues about his bill and he is very happy and prosperous!" By this time the individual pipes up and says "DUH! It's because your keeping his home safe! Take all your safety features out and see if he pays his bill then, see if he sings praises concerning your wonderfulness!" And this is exactly what they CEO did, he took away all the things that protected the mans house, family and possessions. Even though everything was destroyed and the children were killed, the crops and farmhands demolished, the man still paid his bill and was faithful to the CEO.

Is that really a human response?

When we endure a crisis do people see our crisis, or do they see the Christ in us? Job has long been a favorite of mine because he was wholly surrendered to the sovereignty of a God, be in in the presence of prosperity or the presences of evil.

Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Elephant in the Room.....

A philosophical epiphany about the elephants we have in the room.

We all know about the elephant in the room, the stuff under the carpet or the issue that just won't go away and we have long lived under the idea that we should confront the elephant and that is by far the "correct way" to go about removing it. While it sounds like a wonderful idea, let me offer you a picture, you come to the room with the elephant, you yank back the carpet and exclaim "AH HA" as though no one else their could see it until you did that and then you go about trying to SHOVE the elephant through a super tiny door hole (the door represents a closed mind). The reality is to get the elephant out of the room one of two things MUST HAPPEN. Either you reach a point where the door is big enough for elephant to get through or the elephant has to shrink!!

The reality stands that very rarely do the parties involved not know about the elephant but this idea that we must throw back the carpet and expose the issues, defend them and then attempt to shove the elephant through a mind that is closed is crazy!

I vote we starve the elephant, if you don't feed it, it will shrink and once it has shrunk enough, it will die.

This method is easily accomplished by statements of "I'm sorry you feel that way, but it isn't true" or "I can see your perception about this issue is negative so I am choosing not to address it with you anymore" and choosing to simply not allow others to take advantage of you mentally, physically or verbally. Once you have set these boundaries, then LEAVE THE ELEPHANT ALONE....... DO NOT FEED IT!!!! Don't return to it's pen, don't discuss it's habits, don't even sit by it's cage to see who else may be feeding it!!! When the issue isn't fed, it will die. Many times we have heard it said, "if you don't address the issue it will never go away" and that may be true but you must also understand that shoving an elephant issue through a small door is impossible. You can't make that door bigger only the individual who owns the door, and sometimes we need to examine the size of our door! If we have an elephant issue, we need to starve the thing or allow for a wider door in our mind so the elephant can exit uninhibited. Either way you must remember that you can't make another persons door wider, and by revealing the elephant and shoving it towards a tiny door you will get way too much resistance.....


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Liquid Laundry Detergent ( Thxs Mom)

So in a bid to cost less and accomplish more we are trying the Duggar's recipe for laundry detergent! Last night I grated a bar of soap and proceeded to make the detergent! Here is the soap I used ( it smells like clean laundry!)

The package boasts it is 99.9% natural.

Here is the recipe and directions!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

The Washing Soda/Sodium Carbonate issue...... to make the search less scary go to a local pool supply store!!!! Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash is a pH balancing product. It is typically called a pH upper or pH Plus (HTH brand can be found at Walmart in the summer!!) I looked throughout the stores in our area and found NO Washing Soda..... :( After some internet research I discovered that it was a pH balancing element and was able to get it off the shelf at Walmart, ahh the power of knowledge!

Checked the detergent this morning and it was set up and ready to go!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jesus DIDN'T make the road.

Yesterday marked a clear level of understanding in Elijah's path to biblical understanding! Just a few hours after church had dismissed, he came barreling out of his bedroom with an exclamation " MOM, Jesus didn't make the road. Did he?" Like a good parent I needed some explanation before I could begin to digest the issue, so I asked him what he meant. He carefully explained that his Sunday school teacher had said that Jesus makes the road and while he knew that this wasn't right he didn't say anything. But, he emphatically explained to me that "Jesus made the stuff, the construction workers made the road. People were saying lots of stuff Mom, like Jesus makes the hamburgers, the french fries, and lots of stuff. They weren't saying Jesus made the grass, flowers, trees or the whole world. That's not right Mom, it's just not right. And the teacher was agreeing with everyone."

I must confess that as a child he is exercising an amazing amount of understanding that I would never have expected from my seven year old but then again maybe we just fail to teach our children these important things because we have lowered our expectations below their abilities.

I think sometimes we should evaluate the construction zone within our child's heart, it is an amazing place and if we fail to be productive construction workers, faithful to create a road in their heart than we may fail to show them the path to God.

Back to the Cereal.......

It's amazing how when you take something away ANYTHING similar is satisfying to a boy!

This morning the boys were greeted with a small yet interesting cup full of cereal bits (sort-of LOL) they didn't complain though Jeremiah did say "are you sure this is cereal mom?" LMAO...... The consensus was that the cereal tasted good however it was too crunch and had a very not so good after taste. I think this was mostly due to the corn meal.

So to off set the tragedy I have set out on a new venture and this time I think we are closer to an acceptable version of cold cereal!

The recipe

1 1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of bread flour
1/2 cup of sugar ( I use Zulka cane sugar)
1 tsp of baking powder ( non aluminum)
3/4 cup of water

Mix these ingredients and then piped out stars, placed them on parchment paper in a 500 degree oven for about 5 minutes until I could see that the dough was cooked but not browned. At this point I cut the heat completely and allowed the stars to remain in the oven for appx 1 hour. This resulted in 2 1/2 cups of cereal bits. Not to bad for the second experimental session :)

Here are the results ( I tested them myself :) )

Crunch Factor - High
Absorbing Rate - Low ( it didn't get soggy quick)
Taste - High

All in all I'd like to see a larger rise in the dough but I think that with a few tweaks it may be perfect!

Silly Bands at the Sink!!!

What started out as a practical joke has now become a staple in my kitchen! You won't believe how handy those things are.

Elijah wanted to trick his dad by wrapping silly bands on the handle of the spray nozzle so that when he got up in the morning the morning coffee routine would be a little more exciting! Sure enough he did a great job of securing it and true to Eric's lack of attention in the morning he was met with a fairly steady stream of water in the chest!!! We all got a good laugh out of it and then moved on, but the silly bands just got slid down the spray handle instead of being removed.

This is where the practicality began. From time to time I need something that can close a bag or hold a cover in place and frankly those silly bands can stretch to crazy lengths! I have used them to put something in the fridge or close the bag of rice. All in all I'd say "silly bands" aren't a kids toy their a kitchen necessity and far cuter than that rubber band that will crack, get old and seems to be whole worthless after just a few uses!

So when you find a silly band lying around snatch it up and put in your kitchen, I'll make a bet you'll use it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling Guilty about Cereal

If there ever was a thing to feel guilty over, I would never have guessed the word cereal would be my biggest hurdle in healthy eating. Darn those big companies with there sugar filled, color splashed puffs of heaven only knows what kind of preservatives and such. Yesterday marked the start of my online quest for cold cereal recipes and much to my despair there really weren't many that didn't involve, corn or bran flakes!

All the boys LOVED the cereal in the morning, we could easily take on two boxes or half a family bag on a heavy consumption day so why on earth am I so surprised that our healthy eating clause has affected their idea of a "good" breakfast.

In a desperate attempt to provide a "cold cereal" I have begun experimenting with different ideas on how to create a corn puffish/cherrioish type cereal that can be made with or without cocoa powder to create the ideal, not too hard, not too soggy healthy alternative to store bought cold cereals. I will definitely post the results once they are out but right now I am sitting on the couch hoping in all sincerity that there is some contraption out there that will replace all the hand piped little bits of "could be" cereal that are just now baking slowly in my oven.....

I know that what I make may be absolutely inedible but hopefully despite this possibility I can fuel the boys future with the idea that mom tried her darn-est to make them some cereal, and hopefully they won't hold the diet change as a tragedy for too long.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


We didn't get make it to see the moon crest the horizon, but we did get out to take a picture just to commemorate the night! The boys seemed to think mom had lost her marbles but the image is cute and worth sharing!

The Chicken Auction!!!

Friday night fun around Eclectic, Alabama seems to be the local chicken auction.  Yes, you heard me a chicken auction! The following is an account of our reason for joining the local folks in a riveting night of chickens!

We have had a small coup of chickens since November which has resulted in 7 hens and 9 roosters (8 of them are in the freezer!), however they haven't started laying yet so we decided to brave the chicken auction in our Mazda CX9 (definitely a city SUV) in hopes to acquire some hens that were already laying! But before I can go into that I must give you directions to the local chicken auction!

First you've gotta know where 9 is, once you find 9 then you just go down a ways till you see the tractor repair place. It's before the flashing light ( never mind that there are MANY flashing lights on 9) your gonna turn right at the tractor place, can't really say what the name of the road is.... but it's a right. You go down that road till you see a Mad-ex (it was actually Madix) sign, then you wanna take a left, now make sure it's the first sign cause that's a highway if you turn left at the second sign it goes to the parkin lot for the factory.... now, once you take a left you'll be on this windin road, but you just go down till you see a mobile home park, it's a nice one, isn't trashy you know, real nice and there's a sign right in front of it that says chicken auction, you just turn right there and follow that dirt road till you get to the auction. (Thanks for the directions Mike, I only had to turn around 2 times!!!)

After much laughter Eric has begun to understand what I mean when I say country directions!

Now that we have found the chicken auction, it is very clear that we are two things.

1. Out of our normal environment
2. Way OVER dressed! ( We did not have enough holes in all of our cloths to meet the requirements!)

No need to worry though this it isn't like the city where people give you dirty looks for coming to the event not quite in the right attire. We walked up to a building that was less than uniformed, I'd say they put it together with absolutely anything they could find, kids were running all over outside and trucks were parked all over in a field just across the way. The boys were in awe at the crazy appearance of all the busy people, animals were in a line at one end of the building, chickens mostly with a few goats, geese and ducks. We walked into the building where a stand held a sign;

"you must sign in with a VALID drivers license and
2 Phone #'s to bid or sell"

Eric signed us in and we received our number #429! There were a bunch of places to sit, old couches, used bus benches, recliners, and a few other unique seats that I really couldn't begin to describe. We chose the bus benches as the leather looked like a smarter and perhaps lice free choice (no, I am not a germaphobic but you know chickens can carry lice....) Once seated the auction still had a few minutes to start so we had a moment to get to know the people we were sitting next to and also asked a few questions as to how the even went down.....

The auction was fun, the auctioneer wasn't too fast which is nice for my sluggish ears and once the auction started the first item was a drill, it worked and the guy couldn't even get a buck for it. We should have bought it, could have gotten $5 for it at the pawn shop, but were weren't here for a drill, we needed chickens! The second item, well Eric just couldn't resist and in a few short seconds we became the proud owners of a who knows how old Skillsaw brand skill saw. It cost us $10 dollars!

The next item in the auction was eggs, fertile of course for those people who care to brave a 21 day wait for baby chicks that may or may not be born. Those eggs went for a great price, well over 5 dollars a dozen for most of them. Then there were some duck and turkey eggs, no good for incubation but they sold for $1.75 a dozen, we got two.
Bigger eggs for a smaller price! I have NO problem with that!

Only 10 minutes into the auction and we already have spent $13.50 and we have NO LAYING HENS to show for it. By this time I have realized that Eric did not need to hold the bidding card EVER AGAIN as he seemed a bit more bid happy than I care to deal with, it's like trying to tie down all eight limbs on an octopus.

When we finally got to the chickens there were all sorts to be sold, many different breeds and while the process went fairly quickly the kids were still a bit restless.
Some of the cages were sold directly after the chickens were sold out of them. There goes Eric again and we are also now proud owners of a cage that will hold about 6 hens, for a total of $5.75, no complaints but this guy needs to give up the bidding card before I kill him.

We had our eyes on two sets of hens, one had already laid an egg while in the cage, as the hens came to auction, the bidding went fast and the first pair, bid on by Eric cost us $13 dollars each, as Eric got the pair and took them out to the car the second set were auctioned. I won them for $11 dollars each, yes, I did get the better bid.

Either way, we would walk out of the auction spending $67.50

Total tally, 1 skill saw, 2 dozen eggs (Turkey and Duck), one cage, and 4 laying hens! Not too bad for being new to this local auction thing!

Today has resulted in a turkey and duck egg breakfast, with homemade Amish white bread toast and eggs being laid in our chicken nests. The kids are so excited about the fact that we can now "collect" the eggs!!!