One Of Our New Meals--a Favorite!

No pictures, sadly. The food did not last that long! This was super easy, fast and delicious!

Fried Salmon Croquettes
Wasabi Dipping Sauce (mayo, sour cream. wasabi, soy sauce)
Fresh Avocado
Carrots and purple onions sauteed in coconut oil with a drizzle of sesame oil

My one-handed typing skills are improving. I might even write that book, soon!


Time Was Once a Friend to Me

What is getting done:
baby and childcare
sparse quiet time
our bed made
occasional naps
laundry washed, then washed again because I never put it in the dryer
approximately one chore per day

What needs to be done:
More deliberate quiet time
Hair brushed
Laundry completed and put away
bathrooms cleaned
floor mopped
more time with big kids ("school")
Fridge and freezer cleaned out
Thank you notes

What I Really Want to Do:
Massage/body scrub at Aqua
Baby holding
Read Practical Religion
Sew curtains and Aubrey clothes and cute bibs
Go running
Sleep all night, wake up and go right back to sleep
Breakfast at Broad Street with Tuan
thrift store hopping
Re-arrange furniture
Be Outside
Do "school" with J


Notes on the Pork Belly

Some time back I wrote of Tuan's aspirations for making his own bacon. I am pleased to report success! We watched Alton Brown make bacon, then consulted several sources online. Tuan decided a warm smoking method was what he wanted to use. Using a gift card and some extra funds, we purchased a smoker, then went in pursuit of a source for pork belly.

Fortunately, Crystal Springs has a slaughterhouse/butcher market called Wilson's. It was a fun trip for the boys and I let them go without Aubrey and I. Even a clean butcher shop would have offended my then 35/36 week preggo sensibilities! Over seven days, Tuan carefully rubbed the pork with salt and finally smoked it.

The results: pretty good! It was a bit saltier than we would have chosen, but the saltiness actually keeps us from overindulging. It's a fantastic complement to grits, eggs, pimiento cheese and the like. Knowing that it is free of "other" stuff like sodium nitrate is wonderful! We also had plenty of salt pork and "cracklins" to stock our freezer with. I've been adding the salt pork to the purple hull peas Tuan also picked up at Wilson's and made some cracklin' bread a few times. Also, because the pork was smoked using heat, it is cooked through and I don't have to panic and fastidiously wash my hands when cooking with it. I am OCD about kitchen germs and not much else. : )

We are reading through Little House in the Big Woods and I have to say I felt a certain kinship with the Ingalls family as I read about their own salting and smoking of meat.


Something Tells Me We are Gonna be Friends . . . . (Or, I Wish We Were!)

So . . . these "crazy" newborn days have been very interesting as of late. Not so much the newborn part, but a side effect of having a newborn is that six to eight times a day, I find myself sitting for a good hour, taking care of infant feeding needs. Since much of this time has been in the night, during naptimes or when the two older tots are in the care of others, I have spent a lot of time reading blogs. Not so strange in itself, but I wanted to share how God has used this time to meet two strong needs/longings I've had lately:

1. Although we live at a place where so many go to "retreat", we don't "retreat" here. This is where we live, parent, work--yes, we do LOVE being out here, but it's not the same sort of experience that our guests enjoy. There have been many times when I sort of wistfully gaze at groups (particularly PCA women's groups) and wish that I could go on a "retreat", too! I long for that time away to saturate in the Word, and be encouraged through fellowship.

2. I have also been missing the close mentorship of several friends I've had through the years. You know, those families who you just admire so much and enjoy being with their families and seeing how they do things? I've also been missing the fellowship and wisdom of older women (Titus 2) that I have had in the past. Some time back, I was at Gracie's house for a shindig and her mother and mother-in-law were there. I could have sat for hours and listened to them talk and share about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! I realized then, how hungry I was for that.

So, back to this past week, I somehow stumbled across this blog called, "Preschoolers and Peace" it's a combination blog and ministry of this mother of eight who home schools her kids ages 1-16. She shares their life as well as how she runs her home, teaches her kids, trains them and handles being a mom of eight. I cannot tell you all how encouraging it was to read her blog through the archives (yes, I read almost every post--but I read very, very fast). It was like having that intense time of fellowship and observation I'd been longing for. I wasn't far into her blog before I began to have the inkling that, "these people have got to be Presbyterian/reformed--but not in a crazy way"--and I was right! As I was reading, I found that her dentist-husband has a blog and he is a HOOT to read. Reading them side-by-side has been so fun. His blog is called the Mango Times.

So, I highly recommend these blogs for those of you who are struggling with toddlers and preschoolers or home schooling or in need of a belly laugh (the Husband's blog is cracking me up!) I have been so refreshed and motivated with ideas that I need to implement with Johnny and Aubrey, but I've also been terribly encouraged to spend more time in the word and pursue a gospel-oriented life rather than a lifestyle-motivated one. I so wish these folks lived in Mississippi rather than California, because I would cease to be a blog stalker/lurker and probably show up at their house the next time they had a shindig--I wish we were friends! If you do begin reading it let me know what you think.


Update on Owen

Thank you all so much for your prayers for Owen. We had our appointment with the neurologist yesterday. He said 99.9% of the time this is more of a skeletal issue than a brain issue and is fairly certain that Owen falls into the 99.9%. His particular condition was described as "moderate". While his brain can develop fine with this, he would have an odd-shaped head. This makes the procedure cosmetic, but we feel like proceeding with the surgery is the wise decision, especially with him being a boy and (Lord-willing!) having short hair.

Dr. Hanigan said that the the most common complication with the surgery is blood loss, requiring transfusion, but that recovery was swift. He hopes to do the surgery between 2 and 3 months. We are scheduled to to a CAT scan next Monday and meet with him again the next week. We really like Dr. Hanigan and felt very comfortable talking things over with him. I am nervous about putting our baby under anesthesia, but know that in ALL things God is sovereign--and trustworthy! We'd appreciate your continued prayers as we move forward with this.


quotes to remember

From this article:http://triviumpursuit.com/articles/ten_to_do_before_ten.php

Reading aloud is my favorite part of homeschooling. How many others have had this experience: I am sitting on the couch (a chair would never do) reading a good book, such as Men of Iron by Howard Pyle. One child sits on my right, and one child sits on my left, and one child sits on the back of the couch behind my neck, and one child sits on my lap. The fifth child has to make do. Everyone must to be situated, just so, in order to see all of the pictures — which must be examined minutely before the page is turned. This is one of the ways God taught me patience. Let them look at the pictures and ask their questions. We will eventually find out who wins the joust. Last year, my oldest daughter, Johannah, painted this cosy scene for us, collaging photos from long ago, putting us all into one memorable picture. I was wearing braids and sitting on that old brown couch which long ago met the rubbish pile after much good use. If I could have just an hour of that time again, right now, I would gladly read Corduroy fifteen times in a row and not complain.


In families where peace reigns, we notice that the children have respect for Father and Mother. You can see it in their faces. The children want to please their parents. They know Father is in charge, and they look to him for answers. Father knows what is best. They know that their mother controls the household to serve their father, and they understand that father rules the family to serve the Lord. When children are made to understand the order and purpose of things, and they live out their role in that order and purpose — that is peace. Of course, wise parents rule and control their family and household with kindness and gentleness and tender loving care. They are fallen creatures themselves, and are not always wise. But the more the family matches the ideal, the more peace reigns.

In families where peace does not reign, we notice that the children lack respect for the Father and Mother. They know that their parents are intent on pleasing them, and they use this as a manipulative tool. The household revolves around the child and his likes or dislikes, his moods, his desires. When the child is displeased, uncomfortable, or inconvenienced, the parents consistently go out of their way to please the child. They think their little child is so smart, or cute, or witty. In other words, the order and purpose and roles of this family are inverted, and anything which might resemble peace for a moment is just a temporary lapse in the ongoing war over who is in charge.



Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.

"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:
"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth."

The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.