In Today’s World, Is Jesus Enough?

It’s the year 2019. Two-thousand years plus some since a man named Jesus walked on this Earth. He was born of a virgin in a small town in the Middle East. He was raised as a blue-collar carpenter, had a weird locust eating cousin, and started walking around telling people he was God.

The funny thing is, some people believed him. He developed a pretty big following, too. At first it was great! He healed people of their diseases, made the blind see…and he even raised one of his friends from the dead. Talk about some ground breaking, head turning stuff. He had multitudes of people following him around just to hear what he had to say. Some of them knew that if they touched even his robe, they would be healed.

The huge throngs of people literally ate up the miracles and the free food. This guy was great. He argued with the Pharisees and Sadducees…made them look like fools. He knew his Old Testament for sure. Then he started claiming some pretty outlandish things. It started rubbing people the wrong way, it made them uncomfortable.

This Jesus started claiming he was greater than Moses. Of all things! Moses, the one who God entrusted to give his people the Law. This man was claiming he was here to fulfill that very Law.

He even had the gall to say David, great King David, would call him—Jesus, Lord.

He looked at the temple where the center of Jewish culture dwelt and said it would be destroyed.

He said “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

He called himself water, bread, shepherd, light, vine, and life.

Slowly, the popular man was becoming not so popular.

He started to seem a little extreme. It was so great at first because he was giving the people free stuff and pumping them up to see amazing things. Then they started to think people might affiliate them with this extremist, who was now claiming he would be going away soon. Some of his followers expected him to raise up an army to fight the powers that held them down. Well, that didn’t happen.

The 12 guys that were left, along with a few stragglers and some women, kept on following him.

It was Passover Week, and Jesus was still saying some strange things about his death. Until one night, after an uncomfortable stay in a Garden, some Roman soldiers came for him.

I can just imagine his friends’ horror and shock that one of their own had betrayed their leader.

So they took him away to the higher-ups to be questioned. He was passed around the High priests, and magistrates until they, the people who had thought he was so great at first, demanded he die. They said he claimed to be God. He made himself a King. So for this, they wanted rid of him for good.

He was put in the place of a thief named Barabbas, and carried a heavy wooden cross up a hill. He was beaten and scourged. He was spit on and made fun of. They hated him so much, they had finally gotten rid of this man who had applied their old testament prophecies to himself.

Finally, they watched as he was nailed to the cross. His friends stood around, hardly believing what was happening.

He died. The ground shook, the sky got dark, and one of the Roman soldiers said, “Surely this man was innocent.” The veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom. The end had come and his friends buried him in a new tomb.

Then three days later, Jesus wasn’t in the tomb anymore. His friends couldn’t believe it and ran to see for themselves. Well, it was true, he wasn’t in the tomb, but who would have done such a horrible thing as taking his body?

They didn’t take his body. He was alive! He appeared again to his friends, the disciples, and even ate food with them. He told them so many wonderful things and now their eyes were opened to the mysteries he spoke to them just weeks before. It was all starting to make sense. Everything they knew from the Old Testament was fulfilled right before their eyes in this man—Jesus.

He stayed with them for a while, then went up in the sky right in front of them. He left them a commandment to tell the whole world what they had seen and heard. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of his Father, and we are waiting for him to come back to get us so we can be with him.

Is this story enough for us now? After all, it’s been 2,000 years and so much has changed. We are educated, independent American’s with so much going for us. We have money, talents, religion, and enough ingenuity to get us into heaven, why do we need Jesus?

Strip away your outer credentials, and what is left? We are all sinners from birth and if we think we do enough good to shift the scales in our favor, we are kidding ourselves. What hope is there for us? What can we do to not go to hell?

Here’s the thing. We can do nothing.

But Jesus is enough.

Jesus paid the penalty that we owed for just being sinful humans. On our own, no matter how hard we try, we can’t possible pay off that debt. We’re in it too deep. That sounds hopeless. But it’s not!

Jesus is enough.

What an amazing love and grace that has been extended toward us. That we would get an offer of a free gift. Totally free. There’s no way we could earn it. We can’t pay for it. We can’t give enough money to the church, volunteer enough time, walk down 100 aisles, be good enough…but Jesus is enough. The perfect, sinless, Son of God died our death and gave us a chance to not only live with him; but gave us the right to become children of God.

If you’re 21st century mind isn’t blown, what will impress you?

Do you realize how far we are separated from God on our own? The only way to bridge that humongous gap is through Jesus.

He is so much more than enough. Our minds can’t comprehend what he has done for us. But one day, if you believe he is enough, we will see him and understand completely.

He is the same today as he was yesterday, and will be forever. Jesus is enough.

Winter Garden Kale Chips

I know you can type in kale chips on Google and probably get 1000+ recipes.

We have a winter garden where our Siberian kale still grows even after a frost. That’s some hardy stuff, so it must be good for ya!

My husband picked us a bag and set it in the fridge. There’s a lot you can do with kale, including freezing it to save it for later. I was in a pinch about another side dish for our dinner, so I just decided to make kale chips to go with some sweet potatoes and pork ribs. (Yum.)

Here’s a super easy way to make kale chips.

Preheat oven to 380 degrees.

Wash kale and de-stem. I tear the leaves in smaller chip sized pieces. Place the all on a cookie sheet.

I spritz the kale with coconut oil spray; you could coat them in olive oil, butter, or plain coconut oil. But spraying was a lot easier. I use Trader Joe’s Coconut oil spray! (I get commission from Amazon if you buy it from this link! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BYNIMRU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00BYNIMRU&linkCode=as2&tag=jandrfarms-20&linkId=bc97fe8fd31fccbb9a361904bf313ae4) I sprinkled some salt over the kale. Then sprinkled some nutritional yeast.

I mushed it all together with my hands to make sure every piece of kale had seasoning and oil on it.

Put it in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Just keep a check on it, because some pieces might start to get too done. When they crisp up nicely take them out of the oven. I always sample one to make sure they are crunchy and chip-y enough.

My oldest son caught on to the green kaleness of the chips, but my middle boy gobbled them up!

My Version of Whole Baked Chicken

I’ve mentioned in other posts that every year we butcher our own chickens. We get about 30 Cornish rock chickens, raise them for a few months, and then butcher them a few at a time. My husband has really became the chicken expert and can butcher up a chicken very quickly. He even invented and made his own plucker. We’ve evolved the process over the years so that we’ve streamlined it to be as quick as possible. From the initial cut and bleeding out, to the freezer bag–he’s got it down.

I tell him that he is in charge of the butchering. I’ll just make the finished product taste good. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

I fixed a whole chicken today. Our chickens are a tad bit bigger than the grocery store’s. Mine was about 5 pounds. I let it thaw in the fridge the day before cooking. This will be an all day affair.

To prepare the chicken:

Place breast down in a roasting pan. I used my stoneware with a cover.

First, I rub a little olive oil all over the chicken. Then, I’ll sprinkle a good layer of both salt and pepper.

Sprinkle on some onion and garlic powder.

Then cover with paprika.

Now I’ll squirt mustard in zig-zags over the top and the sides. It doesn’t look so pretty at first, but it will! When John smokes a whole chicken in our outdoor smoker, he’ll inject the breast with melted butter and spices. That would also work with a baked chicken, but I didn’t do that in today’s version.

I cook our chicken on 200 degrees, for about 6 hours. Low and slow makes it tender on the inside! For the last minute or two, I’ll take off the stoneware cover and crisp up the skin a little bit more with the oven on broil.

It’s much prettier when it’s done! I’m so sorry I don’t have a picture of the finished product. Someone flew into it with a knife and carved it quicker than I could snap a photo.

Now, we’ll have chicken for dinner, leftover chicken for soup in a few days, and bones to make broth! I love how one chicken will make several different meals—money saving and time saving for me!

Fried Green Beans

I love using weird ingredients. Maybe some of you already incorporate ghee into your cooking. I’ve been using it for years and I love it. Ghee is just clarified butter. I’m not sure of the exact science behind it, but from what I’ve seen, even folks with dairy intolerances can use this in place of butter. It’s cooked down and shelf stable. It also tastes like movie theater butter to me, so WIN! (I get commission from Amazon if you want to try ghee from this link! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G12Z36W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G12Z36W&linkCode=as2&tag=jandrfarms-20&linkId=e7938c0f49416bb565a838184ee37434

Here’s one way I use a strange ingredient like ghee:

Melt about two tablespoons ghee into a skillet. Let it heat up.

Pour a bag of thinly sliced green beans into the melted ghee. I add my bag frozen. I like to buy the little skinny frozen green beans from Trader Joe’s. But these are French cut green beans from Kroger. They cook up very quickly even from frozen.

I add salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder to the beans.

Cook on medium heat and stir every few minutes. I let them cook until they start to crisp up. They are delicious when they’re a little crispy! Just be careful that they don’t burn.

My little boys love these! Before long I will have to fix two bags of beans, they disappear so fast!

Preschool That Works for Us

Last year, I was researching preschool options for my little boy. He was three at the time, but I felt like he was ready for a more structured preschool program. I wanted to do it at home so I researched homeschool curriculums. Some people may not think it’s a big deal to find a curriculum for Pre-K, but I needed structure and a plan if I was going to succeed!

Somehow, I don’t remember exactly how, I ran across Erin from Life, Abundantly. She offered a free Preschool curriculum called The Gentle + Classical Preschool, Level 1 for ages 2-4. I downloaded all I could from her site, and started reading. I loved her approach!

(I even read the books she recommended for further reading, like The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer, and Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow. These were super helpful in building my framework for what I wanted our preschool to look like.)

The first thing that drew me to Erin’s program was the importance placed on Jesus. Each unit includes a Bible verse and catechism or character. She provided planning sheets so I could plan our days, and on the planning page included some space to write out a Scripture memory verse for me for the week! This was very helpful in keeping my focus and remembering why I want to teach my children at home. On the bottom of our Weekly plan, she included “Jesus in, Joy out.” This was immensely encouraging.

We started our curriculum in May last year. I will admit, when I get into something, I go all out. I tend to obsess and that’s all I think about. So, the first few weeks we really dove into preschool! It was so much fun! I love Pre-K!

Each Unit correlates to a letter of the alphabet. (To go a bit deeper into Phonics and letters, I also bought The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise.) I love how Erin has encouraged Mama’s to take it as slow as you need to, and not to be too hard on yourself when things don’t go perfectly. My boy was catching on super quickly. He really loves one on one attention and loves learning. I noticed his attention span was improving. His behavior was improving. All from being intentional in teaching him a few simple things every day. See, Erin’s program encourages to teach all throughout the day. Counting cheerios, jumping up and down, playing outside…this was perfect for our family of two, soon to be three, rowdy boys.

Another big help in our preschool was the resources and planners I found from Tauna’s Proverbial Homemaker site. Especially her Relaxed Mom Homeschool Planner. It included a scripture and prayer guide for each day that we used. There are tons of helpful resources from Proverbial Homemaker! I structured our preschool portfolio binder from Richelle & Lindsey Productions. I merged several things into our portfolio that best fit our style. I loved being able to customize from different sources. Variety but similarity was great for us.

We did the program for two months straight. I decided to do official “school” on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We would do story time at our local library on Tuesdays, and stock up with about 15 or so books for our unit that week. It was so much fun bringing home books about science, social studies, and then something that my son wanted to read for fun, like superhero books. We would set aside a reading time and try to hit 20 minutes a day. The summer reading program at the library helped us with this because there were prizes involved when you completed the little chart! I never would have became so involved in reading with my son or going to the library with him if not for the Gentle+Classical Preschool. Science subjects were particularly fun because we did projects and crafts. (Thanks, Pinterest!) I could take any subject as far as I wanted, or not focus so much on it because of my boy’s age. (Like learning our address…that just wasn’t sticking with him. Numbers don’t come natural to my firstborn.) But he loves painting, gluing, running around, and a good story. He’s a natural at memorizing facts so the statements in each unit were really good for him. We had so much fun with bees, caterpillars, spiders, learning about plants and the ocean…we got children’s science videos for some of these. We found out that you can make any craft ever with a paper plate and googly eyes!

Then we had a little setback because of a mid-July emergency with my youngest boy. (Second degree burns…not a fun month.) So we took a break, which was ok, because the program was “Gentle” we didn’t feel like we had to play catch up and be at a certain place. We have plenty of time. I had my third son in September, so we also had an extended “fall break”.

When we started back at the end of October, I incorporated a great Bible program for both the boys. It’s called “He Established A Testimony, Old Testament Stories for Young Children” by Sally Michael. Children Desiring God publishes this. I love it because it has one coloring page per story, and while I am reading or telling the story, they are coloring and actually pay attention while they’re coloring. Each lesson has wonderful questions for kids. And there are recurring themes such as “God is sovereign” and other truths that run through Scripture. Instead of focusing on the Bible “characters”, the lessons focus on how great God is, and ultimately that the stories all lead to Jesus and our need for a redeemer.

Now, we are on Unit 20 in the Gentle+Classical Preschool. I’m really pumped about the emphasis on American history right now because it’s so fun to me. He’s on the letter T, almost through with the whole alphabet!

Other resources that’s helped me out greatly is signing up for Homeschool Giveaways. Then from there, I’ve subscribed to several sites that have free downloads for preschool. Every Monday I use a few free downloads of Alphabet recognition that I print off for the boys. They’re just simple coloring sheets with the letter we’re working on. He really looks forward to these. Freebies are plentiful if you know where to look. I made the mistake of buying an alphabet activity book two years ago, but instead of spending money on stuff like that, just do a simple Pinterest search and it will lead to all sorts of goodies.

One thing I’ve also discovered is the discount books at places like Ollie’s. (We have one right next to the Kroger, so it’s a convenient and tempting stop.) I can buy a classic book for .99! This is the best discovery ever and our bookshelf is well stocked with classics and fun books. No need to pay $5 for the same book at another store when some digging will give you the same book for dollars cheaper. They also have cheap construction paper and flashcards. Speaking of flashcards, Target offers them for a dollar, too. That’s a great deal. Note: If you hadn’t noticed, all the stuff I like to use is “real” books and paper. I’m not really into the electronics at this stage in my kids’ school life. It may come in handy one day, but they’re not going into the workforce tomorrow–so we’ll save the screens for later!

I was always worried that my firstborn in particular would be hard to teach on account of stubbornness. My two older boys couldn’t be more different. My firstborn catches on lightening quick and spouts facts back at me with precision. My middle boy takes his time and has just started forming sentences. His learning style is different. He retains the info well, but takes his time on the output. I was afraid it would be hard to teach both. But when there is such an excellent resource as the Gentle+Classical Preschool, I am doing it easily! If you are interested in a preschool program that you want to do at home, please look into this! It changed our lives, it really did!

Historical Re-enacting Completes My Life

When I was eight years old, I read Little House on the Prairie. For several years after that, I became Laura Ingalls. I had the dresses, the bonnets, and I collected any Little House book I could find. By nature I am kind of obsessive, so when I get into something I go full force. I can’t help it. So at home, I was a pioneer girl. (My family will attest to this! It was pretty funny.) Fast forward a few years, I am eleven years old, and somehow my daddy found a group of buddies that was into French and Indian War reenacting. As a family, my parents, brother, and I first went as visitors to Martin’s Station. It was a really neat reenactment, they even had a little building that they caught on fire to add to the realness of their battle reenactment. This is pretty cool, I thought. Well, while we were there, we met two men named Carroll and Alan. They were playing some music and cracking jokes and it was really fun. Only a few months later, my daddy and I went together to Fort Loudoun in Vonore to start dressing out with these guys, these reenactors.

I was only a little girl then. These were my formative years, I guess you could say, and some of my fondest memories were at the Fort.

Every month, there was one weekend where we would “dress up” in period clothing and go hang out without electricity or TV for a whole day, sometimes a whole weekend. Just me and my daddy for the first few years. This sounds totally crazy and boring to most people. I was ok with that, being a pre-teenager. I never did care what others really thought about my hobbies. My daddy was really good at blacksmithing, so he did that. I pretty much walked around, talked, and played.

I was surrounded by these people who would argue over the historical correctness of a pair of shoes or a gun. I learned so much as a young’un about history! I loved it! Not long after my daddy and I started coming to the fort regularly, the guys I mentioned earlier, Carroll and Alan, became dear friends. Charlie, Steve, John, Kelly, Jeff, Will, Eric and Krista…I know I’m missing some names and I wish I could think of them all. Sorry if I’m missing important names. There was a sort of camaraderie between reenactors, I guess you have to be one to know what I mean! (We always dressed as civilians, not the soldiers. But we were friends with those guys, too.)

I’ll never forget sitting by the lake listening to hilarious stories from these guys. I came to the realization at the fort that it was such a blessing to be able to sit with someone for hours at a time and just talk. Just to enjoy someone’s company without being distracted by electronics or the busyness of our “real” lives. A year or two after we started reenacting, Bethany and Anna came onto the scene. They also came with their dad. (I think it’s a great father/daughter thing!) We became fast friends. Like I said, learning how to entertain each other while being without anything modern all day was great fun.

The highlight of my year was the annual Trade Fair at Fort Loudoun. This was where vendors from pretty much all over the US would come and sell their goods. Just like it might look in 1765-1767. I saved my money all year to buy 18th century stuff. One of my favorite topics to learn about was how women dressed and the work they did, so I would buy books or little trinkets to go in my collection. I loved early American life and wished I could live 18th century every day! (Well, if you know the history of Fort Loudoun, it may not have been such a hot idea to live there exactly…)

By the time I was in high school, we had made even more lifelong friends. Frank, Carol (Maggie)…and also lost one, Kelly.

When I was 18, I slowly got out of reenacting. Not that I hated it. I just didn’t have time anymore. My mama started coming, too, so she and my daddy still went. I came as a visitor a few times. But like I said, I just got busy with other things. This part of my life got put on the back burner…way in the back. When I was a little girl, I would dream of coming to the fort with my children one day. I loved the way little boys would play all day with their little wooden swords and guns and chase each other and never get tired! I thought to myself all those years ago, how nice it would be to raise boys that loved playing at the fort.

I got married and always made my husband come with me to the Trade Fair. Sometimes I dressed in my period clothes, sometimes I came as a visitor. Every time we went, I always wanted to start reenacting again!

Well, seven years of marriage, three sons, and almost 10 years later, we went back to the fort. I, my daddy and mama, and my three little boys! (My husband will come with me to the Trade Fair, but he won’t dress out with us! What a shame, haha!) My boys loved it. I held my three-month-old little baby in my lap the whole time, while my three and two year old boys were with my parents and our friends. I was thinking to myself that this is just what I had pictured when I was little…

And this is how reenacting completed my life. My dreams I had when I was so young actually came true. I thought this was pretty neat, to see something like this come full circle. And so many of my friends are still at the fort. They, unlike myself, stuck with it for all these years. There are so many new faces to me but it’s still kind of the same, too. We miss seeing Charlie. (My friends who may be reading this will understand the void without Trader Benn.)

It’s fun to look back and it’s fun to start doing something old again.

One Cozy Winter Supper

It is the middle of February. We have no fresh veggies coming in this time of year, but I still used our produce from the summertime! I love this part about living and working on our farm. We can use our garden even in the dead of winter. So for this meal, I just felt all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Not to mention very satisfied because it was delicious. My husband was happy because he has declared himself a “meat and two sides” type of man. If you’re wondering what type he’s NOT…he’s not a soup or a fish taco guy. Meat and two sides was the request for the evening. I also hadn’t really been to the grocery store in over a week, so this whole week I just decided to cook from what I had on hand.

Meat:

Pork Chops. No recipe required. Here’s what I did. I just melted some butter in a skillet (iron, of course) and sprinkled salt and pepper over each side of the pork chop. Cooked them until done. Easy. Delicious. Butter.

Side One:

Butternut squash. Leftover from the summer garden, our butternut squash have held up for at least six months in a basket in my kitchen. (I have no root cellar, but I would LOVE one.) Butternut squash has picked up popularity here lately. I’ve seen many different recipes that take so many different twists with this versatile squash! I’ve cooked it in my skillet, with different spices sprinkled on top, I’ve roasted it, I’ve served it with chutney, blended it into soup…there are a lot of different ways I tell you. But the way I fixed it tonight is my family’s favorite.

Mashed Butternut Squash

I peeled two small butternuts for this meal. Cube them up, and boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain them. I keep them in my saucepan, and add a spoonful of sour cream, about 3 tbsp butter, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, coriander, smoked paprika. Blend with a stick blender, this is easy than dirtying up a whole blender! That’s it! Taste and add more spices if needed.

Side Two:

Beets.

“I hate beets.” Wait!! So many times I’ve heard this, and I used to say it too…until I tasted these beets. Usually, in the summertime when my beets are fresh, I will just chop some up and use them, well, fresh. But it is February and I have no fresh beets. I actually canned some beets. This was pretty brilliant, because when you can beets, you have to pressure can them for a long time, about 50 minutes. So during all that time, the beets become very tender. Therefore, summertime beets will take longer to cook because they have to tender up, but my canned beets are already very tender. All I do is cook them until they’re brown.

Beet haters, please at least hear me out on this recipe. My two year old and four year old literally gobbled these up.

Balsamic Beets

Heat bacon grease in iron skillet until hot. Pour in canned beets, with the water drained off. Add salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Stir around until they are all coated well. Add a dash of white cooking wine (or chicken broth). Let this evaporate pretty well, and by then, the beets will start browning, and that’s good.

When this happens, pour some balsamic vinegar over all the beets, and it should sizzle really good. Cook for a few minutes more, and then they’re done.

I could tell this meal made everyone very happy and comfy on a dreary winter evening. The boys ate without too much arguing. I have a fussy eater that complains about everything. And also, all the skillets and saucepan were scraped clean. Then everyone happily made their way into the living room to rest/play quietly with toys. This was great. I cherish such comfy moments with my family– made possible by a yummy meal.

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

Four years ago, I was a new mother. I (along with my own mother) thought cloth diapers sounded like a wonderful idea for my new baby! I got a book. I read the book. I am an avid researcher, and I’ll read and obsess over something until I know all the facts! After I did my research, I decided that I wanted to be as economical as I could if I was going to do cloth diapers. For those of you who have no clue about such a subject, there are many different types of cloth diapers. To make a long story short, I won’t go through all the different types of cloth diapers because then I would end up writing a book. So, I chose the pre-folds. This is pretty much a thick piece of cloth with three sections which will be folded into the diaper. With the pre-fold, I needed a cute little Snappi. This is the modern replacement for diaper pins. It’s a single stretchy diaper holder that attaches to the diaper by three little prongs with sharp teeth on the ends. The Snappi attaches to the diaper to hold it in place without sticking the baby. I also needed to buy diaper covers to go over the cloth. You know, to prevent wetness on baby clothes. I started out with four covers. They came in all sorts of cute little designs. I had about 12 pre-fold diapers in a small size for ages newborn to around 3 or 4 months. I was ready to go.

The idea of cloth diapers was much more appealing than the actual process for me. I got lazy very quickly. I am so impressed by mama’s who continue to do cloth. (Yay for you!!) I did them from about 3 weeks to about 4 months with my first son.

Reasons I quit so soon the first time vs. Reasons to Venture On:

-Laundry.

I had to wash them about every other day. The baby will go through about 6-10 diapers in a day. This number fluctuates, obviously, but at first, this was what I was up against. So that meant if I wanted to do cloth all the time, I had to wash my diapers every day or every other day.

VS

Doing a load of laundry does save money in the long run. Laundry is pennies compared to the cost of a bag of diapers. Even the cheapest ones add up.

-To wash the diapers, you have to first put them on a cold water rinse. Then, with my homemade laundry soap, I would wash them in hot water. Then either dry them on the clothesline (for sun-bleaching purposes) or dry them in the dryer.

VS

Regardless, I’d still save money on cloth.

-Ew factor.

When the babies poopied, you have to literally get the poop out of the diaper and flush it. Enough said.

VS

It’s my own baby’s poop. I’m really not that grossed out by it. Some people are! And that’s ok. But it really isn’t that much of a hardship to scrape a mess out of the diaper. It takes all of 10 seconds in my laundry sink.

-Frequency.

As soon as the baby is wet, I’d change the cloth diaper because I could feel it. Sometimes with disposable diapers, I think we can just forget about them for a few hours and not change as frequently.

VS

I suppose it is better to change more often though! Less incidence of diaper rash with a clean, dry hiney!

-Convenience.

Boy am I lazy. It just became easier to throw a diaper away and get a new one then to think about going through the rigamarole of cloth.

VS

If I had a plan in place, cloth would really be just as easy. Just throw in the designated diaper laundry bag, and do laundry! I’m doing 100 loads of laundry a day anyway, so what’s one more really?

With my second son, I had so many diapers from my baby showers that I didn’t even have to think about cloth. I did a few weeks here and there, but nothing for very long. I feel kind of bad about that, sorry buddy.

Fast forward to third son. He is currently 5 months old. I was at a postpartum mommy meeting with my midwifery group last week, (Roots and Wings Midwifery woohoo!) and was inspired to start cloth again with my baby. I was motivated by these lovely ladies to start back again. Thanks, girls!

Each Mama did a different version of cloth that worked for her. I think that’s just great. Just like anything, you have to find your own rhythm and discover what works for you.

Give me your feedback “cloth” Mamas! I’d love to hear your experiences. In the meanwhile, I’m going to carry on and try to push through to my goal of cloth diapering full time.

How To Make Bone Broth

It seems to me that in recent times, bone broth has become a buzzword in health circles. People are realizing how amazing it is for our bodies. It’s chocked full of good stuff, like collagen. You can probably do a simple Google search and find thousands of articles on the benefits of bone broth. I won’t go into that here. But there are a few things I know for sure about bone broth. It is delicious. It is easy to make. It takes recipes to the next level. It is a magical sleep aid. No joke! Grandma’s chicken soup was healing for a reason. And that reason was the bones and the broth.

To make my bone broth/chicken broth/stock, I start out with chicken bones that were butchered on our farm. We actually freeze the carcasses so I can have broth all year, not just during butchering season. (And it would be insane to make broth out of fresh chicken—we butcher about 30 in the matter of a few days. I would need like 10 crock pots.) These are already cleaned, gutted, and plucked chicken carcasses. My husband has already cut the valuable pieces of meat off. (Wings, thighs, breast, legs.)

Put two or three chickens in the crock pot. (I fit two in this picture.) I heard one time that putting the feet in the broth adds more gelatin, therefore more collagen. I tried it once, but the feet are very hard to clean and there’s a weird shell that you have to scale off and it’s kind of nasty. So I don’t like the chicken feet very much!

Next step after putting the chicken bones in: snap two or three carrots in two and throw them in. Break a stick of celery, chop up an onion– I quartered a whole onion. Chop two cloves of garlic in two and add them. That’s the basics, and then I’ll either grab a handful of fresh or frozen spinach, fresh kale, fresh herbs, or plantain from my yard. That sounds weird, but plantain is really a great plant! And it’s very accessible because it grows everywhere. I should have used fresh kale from our winter garden in the picture, but I forgot to. So, I used some spinach from the store.

After all these veggies, just fill the crockpot up with water. Mine fit about 2 quarts. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Now just turn the crock pot to low, and cook for 24 hours. That seems like a really long time. But at least the house smells like chicken soup all day! I always start my broth at night, that way it cooks through the night, through the next day, and I’ll turn it off, let it cool, and store in the fridge the next night. (I’m a productive night person.) Whenever I get a chance, I’ll either use the broth up in a few days. The best way to do it is freeze it in 2 cup portions, so you can use it later. Last time I made this broth, I used half of it in soup the next day. Homemade broth really takes soup, or other recipes that call for broth, to the next level.

Earlier, I mentioned bone broth was also a sleep aid. Again, I’m not a health professional, just a wife and mama. We love to drink bone broth (there’s a great THM recipe called Purist Primer for this drink. Yes, drink!) It puts us to sleep! It is like drinking comfort! I love it so much, that I think I’m going to make some right now.

The Most Common Egg Questions–Q&A with The Farmer

My husband doesn’t like the internet very much. I hardly ever let him know what I’m writing because he is set in his ways and hates technology. But today, I wanted to secretly interview him and put his voice up on the blog, too. Now it’s not just me talking! (But he doesn’t have to know.)

True or False? White eggs in the store are bleached.

That is true. They bleach eggs for cleanliness. That’s what I’ve always heard. But they’re already white from the type of chicken that lays white eggs. You can’t turn a brown egg white with bleach.

Do you need a rooster in the flock to produce eggs?

No. Hens always have eggs in their body. The only reason for a rooster is to fertilize the egg to make baby chickens. Some people believe if you have a rooster in the coop they’ll lay better but that’s not true.

What are the chances that a fertilized egg (baby chick) ends up in my carton?

Very good chance if there is a rooster in the coop. But it doesn’t matter as long as the eggs are taken out of the nest. The egg has to be under the mother chicken, with a temperature of 98.8 in order for the fertilized egg to grow into a chick. It takes a chick 21 days to hatch.

Do you have to refrigerate eggs?

No. They’ll last longer if you keep them cool, but you don’t have to. They’ll still last weeks out on the counter. Some people never refrigerate their eggs and they’re fine. The ones from the store you have to keep in the fridge because they’re probably older anyways.

How long do eggs last before they go bad?

They last several weeks in the fridge, probably two to three months until they go bad. From my experience.

How can you tell if an egg has gone bad?

The smell. Or you can put them in water, and if they float they’re bad.

What makes an egg double-yolked?

I don’t know. What makes twins?

Do different chickens lay different colored eggs?

Yes. White leghorns lay white eggs, Auricana’s lay blue eggs, Cuco maran’s lay dark brown eggs. Different breeds have different colors.

What makes a “rotten egg”?

I guess just the temperature. And how long it’s been sitting out.

Does what the chickens eat really matter when it comes to their eggs?

Yes. If they are free ranged, and if they eat a lot of leaves and grass and bugs, the egg yolk will be a lot thicker and richer in color. It’ll be almost a dark orange. The yolk will be thick. Grass is the big thing on the color. If you keep them in a pin and just feed them scratch, the yolk will be more runny and lighter yellow.

We feed our chickens different minerals in their feed. It makes a difference in how much they lay. Calcium makes the shell hard. Soft shelled eggs have a calcium deficiency.

What’s the differences between free range, cage free, and organic?

Free range means that the chickens are left out to scratch and run through the yard or the woods. They have an open lot where they can get to grass and bugs.

Cage free just means that they aren’t in a tiny single cage. They’re not in a confined space, they’re just loose with other chickens in a coop. A caged chicken, like a production chicken, is in a tiny cage and all they do is eat and poop an egg out on a conveyer belt. Our chickens are cage free.

Organic means they’re probably free range and what grains they’re fed is supposed to be organic. The organic market goes by certain guidelines to be qualified and labeled “organic”.

Don’t take my word for it, do your own research.