Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Last week, we were learning about the letter and sound B and one of the activities was to make butter. I actually remember making butter when I was in first grade. They had all 6 classes of first graders sit in a huge circle and we passed around the jar of cream with each child giving a shake or two.

Making it with the boys went much faster than I remembered--only about 10 minutes from start to finish. It was fun to watch the cream go from liquid to smoothie consistency and finally to butter and butter milk. Just as we were finishing up, Joseph dropped the mason jar on our brick kitchen floor and it shattered, of course. I scooped up what I could and we ate it anyway (very carefully).

Here are a few pictures of the boys before the drop.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adventures in elderberries

About a month ago, someone pointed out 2 large bushes in my side yard as elderberries. I had thought they were a weed and was surprised to hear her tell me that elderberries make a delicious dark jelly. And by doing a little research online I found out that elderberries are very good for you--high in antioxidants and clinically proven to prevent and treat colds and the flu. I also found a website with very detailed instructions and pictures to tell me what to do--just what I needed.

The berries were ripe and weighing down the boughs when I ventured out to pick them on Saturday. Picking elderberries is easy. You simple snip the head of berries from the branch. Getting the berries off of the stems, however, is another matter. Joe and I sat on the back porch for hours on Saturday pulling the berries off. When we finished we had a huge pot of berries, which when cooked down and strained made 28 cups of juice.

We made both elderberry jelly and elderberry syrup and were up until 11 canning. But it all turned out so well! The cans all sealed and the jelly and syrup are strong, but good. The robust flavor complements the strong flavors of the whole wheat pancakes, breads, and waffles and the natural peanut butter that we eat.

All in all, a very successful project. And as I told my mom, that is pretty rare. Usually when I try something new, it flops and I have to learn and readjust several times before it turns out.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ready, set.....

I had three conversations yesterday (wow, 3 adult conversations in one day--that must be a record!) that have given me food for thought today. On Monday, the boys and I will jump into homeschooling. They are literally counting down the days while I am approaching them with apprehension and feelings of inadequacy. I already feel snowed under just in my day to day mothering....and now I am going to add academics?

As I talked about my worries and fears, I realized much of my problem lies in the fact that I am not understanding the Gospel correctly. I am feeling inadequate as a mother because daily I am confronted with more than I can handle on my own and I react with anger and selfishness. Then, instead of repenting of these sins to my children and my God and moving on in the joy of forgiveness through Christ, I wallow in my sin and worry (rightly) that I am not a good mom.

I have skewed the message of the Gospel by doing this. I have changed it to "Being a Christian is doing things right." I act like I think that my boys will be Christians by me being a good enough example for them so that they will be good too. That, however, is NOT the Gospel, but that is the way I have been living.

The glorious truth of the Gospel is that I am a sinner who has been saved by God's riches in Christ. God has taken me--short temper, selfishness, yelling, and all--and loved me as His child. He sees Christ's spotless righteousness in the place of my sin and has freely traded my rags for Christ's spotlessness.

I am not a good mother. I am not a good wife. But I am loved with an everlasting love by a God who graciously gave His Son to pay for my sin. This is what I need to preach to myself as I am overwhelmed by life, as I feel like I can't do it all. The truth is I can't do it all! But I don't have to. Christ has done it all for me on the cross and I can't do anything to add to it.

So, as I face next week, it is my prayer that my Lord will use this new season to teach me the Gospel again. To show my boys that loving Jesus isn't about being good. It is about Him being good and trusting in His finished work on my behalf.