Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hearts for Home

Cherished Hearts Blog Button 2

I am taking a challenge called "Hearts for Home" tonight.....it is to try to come up with 4-6 things that we can do each week to keep our thoughts, prayers and actions in our "hearts for home."

I thought this kind of appropriate since I am on the last few weeks of bedrest-all I want to do is have this baby so I can go to church or go shopping or even walk around without contractions starting!!!!

This weekend was so hot and we don't have central air in our house....Jason had to take apart our bedroom window air conditioner because the toddlers had dropped loose change that they found on his night stand in it....then it still didn't work right-it made loud screeching noises.....so, we put the two oldest in one room together and stole one of their air conditioners for now...the bedroom is just now starting to cool off....I have been so hot and irritable all weekend.....and the big kids too. We broke out the toddler pool for the kids to play in, but all I kept hearing about was how much they can't wait to go to the big pool in town.....all I kept thinking was I can't wait for that either-so stop complaining!!!!!!

So, for this week I want to focus more on my kids-trying to remember that they are kids and this six months of bedrest has probably seemed like an eternity to them. Just enjoying the time I have with them before there is a new baby consuming all my attention for awhile and before they go visit family in Wisconsin for a few weeks. We are going to complete our homeschool testing-both for the state and the MODG assessments...so I want to try to plan "something fun/reward" for them each day-even if it is just making homemade popsicles and/or icy drinks.

Being thankful for my husband who hasn't complained once about having to take care of me all these months....and he has done so much with the farm and business at the same time....he has also been making "extra" time to help me "nest" by starting to work on rearranging things in the house that I wanted done.

Trying to enjoy the our "toddler babies"-who move non-stop and are both trying to be big girls all the time.....We have been trying to potty train Katie who is almost three and the 20 month old Anna keeps pulling off her diaper as well to sit on the potty....plus they are both pulling out their toothbrushes all the time....Katie has been trying to dress/undress herself....all things that are good, but I keep wanting to say, "Not right now...after the baby is born..." Thinking to myself "diapers are easier, dressing them myself is easier, brushing their teeth can wait...." I want to try to be positive and focus on reinforcing to them how good all these things are that they are trying to do....plus maybe get better at enforcing a bedtime routine....

Last, but not least, thanking God for the past six months....He chose to make my "whole world" just this house....and I have had the "miracle of surviving what I didn't think I could survive" once again. If gas gets to the point that we really can't go anywhere except one day for shopping and church on Sundays, the kids and I will not only survive, but thrive.....in the end we have each other and that is what is most important in life....serving God right where we are!

So, what 4-6 things can you do in this week to focus on keeping your "heart for home"? In the end the truest sweetness of home will be when we hear God's voice saying to us, "Well done my good and faithful servant!!!"

Check out the website that I found this challenge from:


God's blessings to you all!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest column/The importance of celebrating Memorial Day - Steubenville, Wintersville, Toronto, Mingo, Weirton, Jefferson County | News, Sports, Jobs, HeraldStarOnline.com

Guest column/The importance of celebrating Memorial Day - Steubenville, Wintersville, Toronto, Mingo, Weirton, Jefferson County | News, Sports, Jobs, HeraldStarOnline.com

At a Hen's Pace-Second Try

I came across this timely blog while on bedrest.  It, of course, hit home with me since I feel like a brooding hen trying to take the time to "grow something sacred"-my baby Elizabeth Grace:

"Those seeking the life of the spirit should be cheerful and free, and not neglect recreation. Married people must act in conformity with their vocation--but their progress will of necessity be but the pace of a hen." --Teresa of Avila

"Some things God can teach us only very slowly, at the pace of walking, the speed of life." --Arthur Paul Boers, The Way Is Made by Walking

My Photo
What does a hen do all day? Nothing but walk about in endless circles, pecking at this or that--yet she is one of the most creative and productive of God's creatures. Though my days may take me in circles, I pray for the daily fruitfulness of a hen as I nurture the four boys and two girls God has given us.
So, I originally posted a meditation/blog on this around ten days ago and my post ended up being one of the "corrupted files" that never got reposted by blogger.  This is a second attempt, but I know that it is not going to be as elegant as the first one was. When I posted this the first time we only had one duck hen nesting.  Now we have two duck hens nesting and Duck Maul is trying to get the third and final hen nesting as well....Jessie calls the mating act "getting married."  She saw Duck Maul and the third hen "getting married" tonight and asked Jason, "Why do they get married more than once?"  His reply, "They just do.":) Well, not only are the nesting duck hens standoffish, but so is Duck Maul!  Jason has had two "alpha encounters" with him just this week-of course Jason won.  I feel for the mama hens though.  One of them is sitting on approximately ten eggs.  This bedrest nesting can get quite tiresome and make one very cranky.  The last three days have been absolutely gorgeous weather wise in our little valley and I would much rather be outside than in....I have sat on my deck each night, but in some ways it makes me crankier.  I want to be up and moving!  I want to be planting flowers and "nesting" my own house for the baby that is due in a month.  We are planning on "flipping" a couple of our rooms around in the house and I was so frustrated today that I could only sit and watch my husband prep for the move.   In my mind I had a timeline that I realized was based on me being able to actively help with the room flipping.  So this mama hen is having to develop even more patience than I ever thought was possible....and learning to let go of all my expectations and plans for God's plans. I have to admit that many times I much prefer working at our business and teaching Creighton Model FertilityCare to being a homeschooling stay-at-home mom....I think maybe it's the "type A" in me that likes the feeling of accomplishment I get from actually finishing a project or client appointment.  One has to have more of a "long term outlook" when it comes to homeschooling and raising kids.  It will now be a relief though (at least for a little while) to be able to provide for my family-to be able to stand and cook meals, to complete laundry, bathe children, school them downstairs instead of in my bedroom....to be able to spend my days pacing around those seemingly endless circles....with all their frustrations and challenges. For all of you who are racing around in circles with all of the end of the school year activities and for those of you who are busy planting your gardens, may you all experience the peace of a hen-know that God is blessing your work with your family in abundance, especially on those days when you can least see it!  May you experience the sweetness of home when you return from all your running around (or at least the sweetness of your bed after a long day of working around your house/garden!) God's blessings to all! Always, Stephanie

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Domestic Bliss: A giveaway where everybody wins!!

Domestic Bliss: A giveaway where everybody wins!!

My friend Jodi from Sew Fearless has entered to try to win a sewing room makeover. Well her friend Karen from Domestic Bliss has created a giveaway to help promote Jodi's chances at winning the popular vote for this room makeover. Please see the above link to find out how to enter the giveaway where everyone wins:)!

Let's help Jodi win that room makeover!!!:)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Be Fruitful and Multiply BLOG HOP: 10 Reasons by Sweetnessofhome

Ten Reasons to be Fruitful and Multiply

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints Blog Hop

1. It's in the Bible: Be Fruitful and Multiply (Gen 1:28),
 Quiver Full (Psalm 127:5) and the Proverbs 31 Woman just to name a few.

2. Vocations: most vocations come from larger families-a statistical fact,
whether it is priestly, diaconate or religious life.

3.  To give your sons sisters and your daughters brothers
(or in our case still working on giving our oldest son a brother or two
before he leaves for college since he has four sisters.)

4.  To stay ahead of the Muslims: 8.1 fertility rate/family.

5.   Retirement Plan:  One of them is bound to take care of us in our old age.

6.  We cannot imagine life without all the children and are baffled by those who don't want them.

7. While each child requires more giving on our part,
they bring to our home more love,
joy and laughter then we could begin to count.

8.   Because 2.1 is a stupid number. 
As of 2008 the US averages 1.8 kids/family and only reaches 2.1
because of Latino immigration.
(See above youtube link listed in #4!)

9.  "We should make love recklessly... The enemy isn't reproducing!"
Take that culture of death! 
(Plus they are just so much fun to make.)
(The above quote is from a Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville professor.)

10.  Because the Sweetness of Home is just not as sweet without them.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bees, Bunnies and Microbursts

Holy week this year was a very eventful one in our house.  We started Holy Wednesday out with severe storms and high winds during the middle of the night.  Apparently the winds developed into a micro-burst and took out the kids trampoline.  They finally stopped complaining about it when they saw the devastation caused by the southern tornados that unfortunately killed so many people.

Also on Holy Wednesday Jason brought home 10, 000 bees for our bee hive.  We managed to get them installed in their new home with only two bee stings on Jason.  This was truly a miracle because Jason forgot to spray the bees down with sugar water the first time he tried to dump them into the hive-needless to say the two of us got attacked.  You can see edited video of our first bee hive dump on youtube and/or our farm's facebook page.  Someday Jason will make a "blooper reel" that shows the attack.  On Easter Sunday he removed the cork from around the queen so the other bees would eat her out of the comb box.  He's checked on her one more time and thankfully the bees have accepted her as their queen and didn't kill her.  We are on our way to having honey and a pollinated garden if the rain ever stops long enough to get one planted.

On Holy Thursday we had two big stray dogs begin to attack our ducks.  Luckily Jessie saw them from the sliding glass door so I was able to run out and try to scare them off.  I sent Jessie to tell Jason what was happening.  Jason came outside with shaving cream all over his face and just a towel tied around his waist carrying his shotgun....one of those occassions where you wish that you had a camera on you!!!  Unfortunately he seeems to have missed the dogs because we didn't find a blood trail, but thankfully we haven't seen them since.

We started out Good Friday by taking Jason's mom up to Dover, OH to see the premanufactured home that we are buying for her to live in.  On the way home Jason decided to stop and buy six rabbits to raise for meat rabbits.  We tried sexing them at the feed store, but still have to double check with one of our farming books-we're not actually sure if we got any bucks or not.  We might have to trade rabbits via Craigslist or Facebook.  Thankfully Jason had already picked up a rabbit hutch for free from another family that was getting out of the rabbit raising enterprise....so for once the animal's home was completed!  It does need some tweeking here and there, but they got to go straight into their new home without a set-up delay!  Jason got to end Lent with a case of food poisoning that began when he got home from church on Good Friday and lasted into Holy Saturday.

Since we are Byzantine the week after Easter is called "Bright Week" and it's a non-fasting week-you can eat meat on Friday!  (The ironic thing was that we actually ate fish leftovers for supper on Friday.)  Anyways on this past Bright Monday, Jason brought home a puppy for the kids.  Princess Cupcake is a half sheltie collie and half cocker spaniel.  Holly the lab doesn't want to have anything to do with her yet.  The kids all adore her, though the dog potty training shall be interesting since I am stuck on bedrest and now Joey and Jessie have one more "chore" to do each day....for some reason Jessie hasn't complained about it yet....I think it's because she is dying to be allowed to have a dog to sleep in her bed.  Anna is excited to have an animal that is actually smaller than her.  Katie likes her for the most part-though she is half scared of the puppy nipping/playing and she calls the puppy "Eddie," which is the name of Jason's mom's black poodle.  Joey seems to have gotten over having yet one more female being added to the house.  We may end up with a schizo dog since Jessie calls her "princess" and Joey calls her "cupcake" on top of Katie's "Eddie."

Jason was able to confirm that we have four baby kittens: three white and one black.  Their eyes are now open, so hopefully the kids will be able to pet them soon.

Last night Jason killed one of our five roosters for Sunday dinner since we really only need two of them right now.  Katie was quite distraught when Joey told her and Jessie what daddy was going to do.  She actually ran across the farm yelling, "Stop Daddy Stop!"  Jessie gave Jason twenty questions about why he was doing it and then informed him that he should at least kill the mean rooster and not the one he grabbed.  Jason asked her, "How can you tell it's not the mean one?"  She replied, "It's not big enough."  She was correct: the mean one is still alive for now.  Joey helped hold the rope around the rooster's neck to keep it pulled long and straight while Jason chopped off the head and then let it "flop around" like a chicken with it's head cut off....that is when Katie cried, "Daddy broke it.....Daddy broke the chicken!"  Unfortunately Jason forgot to plug in the crock pot early enough this morning, so I had to put the chicken in the oven to roast for my luncheon company-the breast cooked up fine, but the wings didn't, so the dogs will enjoy them.  I am looking forward to rooster #2 being sacrificed soon for my crock pot.  I do have to mention that this breed of chickens is really docile.  Jason tucked that rooster under his arm and was able to answer a cell phone call from our business while carrying it across the yard.  He looked like he's been farming all his life while that was going on.

We managed to pick up two more Peking ducks today from a friend in town to add to our flock.  Right now they are in the chicken pen with the latest batch of baby chickens since the other older ducks were not too accepting.  (Chickens are nice because you can add new birds after dark and when they see them the next morning they accept them as if they have always been around....not the brightest of birds but they are yummy and make eggs.)  Since Holy Week began our Muscovy ducks are laying eggs.  We were excited because it seems as if one of them was nesting, but after Jason moved the younger Peking ducks into the Muscovy duck pen yesterday from the chicken coop she abandoned the nest.  She was sitting on eight eggs!  We are hoping to build a few nesting a-frame boxes in the tree line since the Muskovy's are wood ducks....Hopefully we will have more baby ducks waddling around soon that came the au naturale way!

I was going to add more pictures of all the new additions to the farm, but the computer doesn't want to cooperate in adding them to this post.  I will try to post them later in the week.  This was a rather exciting/busy ten days on the farm, but I have to admit that it has helped me to fight off my bedrest depression....along with the scary realization that in less than six weeks our new baby will arrive-so much to do to prepare-so little time!

Wishing all of you the sweetest of blessings from God!