Farm Fresh Eggs: A Move Toward Buying Local Food
For a long time, I have been buying white, homogenized, mass-produced eggs from the supermarket. I had forgotten the pleasure of seeing each unique, free-range, farm-fresh egg...This week, in an attempt to move toward buying more local food...I found a friend willing to sell me these beautiful farm-fresh eggs on a weekly basis!
Freezer Ready Lasagna Rolls
I am always on the lookout for quick fix dinners! You know… for those crazy evenings when the family is pushed for time, or for those occasions when I just do not want to expend a lot of time and energy on dinner preparation, but I still want to feed my family a home cooked meal. Lasagna Rolls are the perfect quick fix freezer meals!
A Tale of Frugal Intentions Gone Awry
A few weeks ago, I visited a store that had a lot of yarn marked for clearance...so of course I bought a skein of lovely, mint green for only a dollar! I looked around for another skein to match it, but it seemed to be the only one. So, I bought it anyway, and left the store with my selection in hand. I congratulated myself for my frugal purchase, and I envisioned the baby cap that I would make for my youngest daughter for only $1.00!
What Money Is Good For: Teaching Your Children About Money’s Place In Life
Money doesn't make you happy. Money doesn't make you a success. Money doesn't make you a better person.
And, yet...why do people place such great importance on money? Because they don't understand its place in life. Money is simply the grease that allows the world to work the way it does.That's all.
5 Inalienable Truths About Clutter
This week, my husband and I have attempted to reclaim our home from the clutter…In an effort to increase storage capacity and organization, we recently purchased pre-fabricated wardrobe cabinets for each daughter. The three cabinets came in boxes with paper instructions...and required assembly.
Three Simple Strategies for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions
Don't allow yourself to become defeated by the bad rap that New Year's resolutions usually get. You will never change, if you never try. Sure you may have setbacks, but set your sights on the goal, and push forward in 2010! By using these three simple strategies, you can reach your goals!
Save Money on Your Grocery Budget – Tip #2: Eat Whole and Fresh
Do you want to save money on your grocery budget? Purchase or grow foods that are whole and healthy for you. Most of the time, they cost less and are better for you. Avoid highly-processed and highly-packaged items that cost an arm and a leg and are not nearly as conducive to optimal health.
Save Money on Your Food Budget – Tip #5: Waste Not
One of the simplest ways to save money on your grocery budget is to avoid wasting food. Making the most of every dollar is a great way to stretch your pocketbook, and it’s as simple as using what you have.
Memorize Bible Verses With Ease!
I have often heard that an effective way to memorize information is through repetition, repetition, repetition! Use this method of learning to memorize Scripture, facts, and verses of all kinds. It's easy and fun and can be adapted to master all sorts of information.
A Thrifty Sewing Project: Placemat Purses and Totes
I had been shopping one day in the Dollar Tree, and I had purchased some placemats to make purses out of...The placemat cost a dollar, and I lined the interior of the purse with remnants of an old shirt that my sister-in-law was going to send to Goodwill. A little bit of orange ribbon, some orange silk flower petals, and a bit of blue yarn from grandmother’s yarn stash (for the crocheted flower center)…and the purse was a thrifty masterpiece at less than three dollars!
Arrows in the Hand of a Mighty Man
...the influence that a man has extends far into the future through the lives of his children. He is not limited by time and space to the area that surrounds him…to the lives of the people he can physically touch. Rather, a man’s power to impact the world can travel far into the distance…farther than he has the power to see or perhaps even comprehend.
Don’t Flush Those Dollar Bills!
As, I pondered the three piles of roasted chicken bones…I remembered a life lesson that I learned as a teen from an older, wiser friend who had successfully raised seven children to adulthood. “What would you think if I were to flush a dollar bill down the toilet?” she asked. “You would think I was very foolish, wouldn’t you?”
Save Money on Your Grocery Budget – Tip #3: Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on your grocery bill! Purchase foods in large quantities and store the items until you need them. Often, the price per unit is cheaper in larger quantities, and you can take advantage of sale prices and specials. Also, you will have these items on hand when you need them, and aren’t tempted to make impulse buys.
My Father’s Grapes
My father takes great care in cultivating his grape vines. They are his pride and joy, and when harvest time comes…well, the reward is worth the effort! His grapes are of the highest quality. We make juice and jelly, sometimes preserves, and of course…we eat them fresh from the stem. They are a beauty to behold, and a joyful wonder to eat!
Aunt Mary’s Legacy
Aunt Mary made so many of my clothes and the clothes of many, many others...She taught me so many things about sewing. She took me to fabric stores on Saturdays when I was a little girl to buy fabric. She showed me how to lay a pattern on a fold. She showed me how to pick out the very best looking buttons. She showed me how to put in a zipper. And, she showed me how to use a seam ripper to take out my mistakes…oh, my many mistakes!
Working With Daddy
Friday evening, my two oldest daughters worked on a project with their Daddy... They each used their hammers and nails. They helped as he instructed. They spent the evening together...It was a poignant reminder of how important it is to invest time in our children, for there are many things that my children will remember long into their adulthood.
Reflections of Kindness
Kindness is something that brings joy to the one who gives it as well as the one who receives it. Kindness is reflected back upon the giver. And, the reflections often reverberate to others like the ripples in a pool when the first object is dropped into the water.
Depression Era Memories: The Autograph Book
When I was about ten or twelve years old, one of my special gifts was an autograph book. I think it was one of my most precious treasures. I am sure people got tired of me going around saying, “Would you please sign my autograph book?”
Chicken and Dumplings for Pa-Pa
The girls and I made chicken and dumplings for “Pa-Pa” for his birthday. I like the more traditional Southern version of stewing a chicken and simply adding the dumplings to the broth after picking the bones clean. This is the way good Southern folks do it without all the fancy stuff.
A Sunshine Yellow Chest
I love a great bargain! This past weekend I found a fantastic deal while out yard-sale hopping with my family. A bright yellow three-drawer chest became mine for only five dollars!
I recently ran across a great idea for quick fix waffle mix! I love fresh waffles for breakfast, but hadn’t made them in a very long time. Recently, I have been making them quite a bit thanks to this great tip from Real Simple Magazine. The concept is very simple…
Recycle that old ketchup bottle when the ketchup is all gone. Simply wash it out with soap and water and allow it to dry completely.
Clean Ketchup Bottle
Mix up your favorite waffle batter and pour in the bottle using a funnel.
Filling the Bottle with Waffle Mix
Use the quick-fix waffle mix dispenser to squirt the perfect amount of batter onto a hot waffle iron.
Dispensing the Perfect Amount of Batter Without Drips
Fully Loaded Quick-Fix Waffle Mix Dispenser...Ready for a Hot Griddle!
Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. This allows you to make waffles quickly and easily on a rush-around morning just by preheating the waffle iron and squeezing some on! What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Right?! Fresh waffles right off the iron definitely beat a frozen, boxed waffle any day!
Hot, Fresh Breakfast Waffles with Mandarin Slices, Coffee, and Syrup
LOOK what we have in our kitchen! Baby chicks!
Six Little Babies
We purchased 6 little chicks from the local Farmers’ CO-OP and have been tending them for a few weeks now. We will be receiving 25 more on April 8th, because my eldest daughter is planning to participate in the 4-H “Chick Chain” this year.
A Rhode Island Red and Two Auracanas
I took these pictures soon after we got them a few weeks ago. I have been so busy lately, so I am just now getting these pictures posted. As you probably know, baby chicks…just like baby children…grow too fast , so these babies of ours are already very different looking. They have lost a lot of their fluff and have beautiful variegated feathers that they are very quick to flap if flustered with one another.
"Brownie" the Baby Chick Watches Me Closely
This year, March has had very cold temperatures outdoors, and they are just too fragile to be outside in the barn until it warms up and they are a little older. Keeping them in the kitchen is not the ideal location; however, their close proximity allows us to be able to closely monitor their temperature and their food and water. Also, some of them have become very used to us, and little “Red” will even hop into my husband’s hand when he holds it down into their box. This sweetie will perch on his finger and look around peacefully. I am hopeful that working with them a little every day will help them feel much more comfortable with us when they become laying hens.
"Red" the Chick Stands Tall
We had many chickens on our farm when I was a little girl. I liked to go to the hen house every day to check the nesting boxes for eggs. I also enjoyed shelling whole kernel corn and scattering it on the ground for them. They would scamper to the corn crib from all over the farm whenever I called, “Here…chick, chick, chickie!”
My parents and my Grandmother mostly cared for the chickens when I was a young child, and in my older years, we no longer raised chickens because we moved to a new house. It has been a number of years since we have successfully raised chickens. It will be a learning experience, but, the local extension agency has provided a class for us to attend to help the young people who are participating in the chicken raising project. Hopefully, we are off to a good start!
"Red" Likes to Dive Headfirst
Here are a few facts about raising chickens that we have learned in taking the “Chick Chain” class:
Space (about 8’ x 8’ for 25 pullets)
Feeders and Waterers
Bedding Material (we are using cedar shavings)
Ventilation (fresh air)
Tender Loving Care
1 day – 1 week…95 degrees F
1 week – 2 weeks…90 degrees F
2 weeks – 3 weeks…85 degrees F
3 weeks – 4 weeks…80 degrees F
4 weeks – 5 weeks…75 degrees F
5 weeks – 6 weeks…70 degrees F
A 100-Watt bulb will provide enough heat.
Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature in the brooder.
Poultry Management Basics
- Have your brooder set up a few days before the chicks arrive.
- Set up your heat lamp, and become familiar with the optimal temperature schedule.
- Watch the chicks closely for the first few days.
- Provide fresh water and feed at all times.
- On the first day, give chicks 8% sugar water to drink (1 ½ cups of sugar per gallon of water).
- Sugar serves as a quick and easy energy source, because chicks will be tired and stressed from travel.
- Three hours after the chicks have water, give them feed.
- Provide food and water continually as the chicks grow in the brooder.
- Provide only a complete ration feed.*
- If fed properly, each pullet will eat about 20 pounds of feed in 20 weeks.
For Further Information About How to Care for Baby Chicks:
| I know many of you have much more experience raising chickens than we do. We would love to hear your advice and anecdotes about taking care of your baby chicks…
Yesterday, I saw this little sea of grape hyacinths peeping out of the green grasses. I remember that when I was a child, my Father always brought in a few tiny grape hyacinths to put on our dinner table with the daffodils. We had these little flowers along our front walk, and I remember my Grandmother bending over to tend them. We also had larger pink and purple hyacinths. Isn’t is funny how the sight of such a little thing can transport you back to the days of your youth?
Here comes the spring…
“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that–warm things, kind things, sweet things–help and comfort and laughter–and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”
FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT, A Little Princess
I love things that are free! I enjoy finding new uses for old things. I like collecting things. I relish nature and the circle of life. I delight in the earth that the Lord has made. These are a few of my favorite things!
So…it would stand to reason that one of my favorite projects of recent effort combines all of these elements!
Building a Compost Bin From FREE Recycled Pallets
A few months ago, as we were driving through town, the sign at our local hardware store attracted my attention. I remember pointing out the sign to my husband. The sign advertised FREE USED WOODEN PALLETS!
My husband mumbled something non-committal like “Hmmmmm” and kept on driving. Little did I know that later on that week after work, he had stopped and picked up a few to bring home!
A couple of weeks ago (before the snow), I began clearing out the dead grasses and old, decomposing straw to prepare the ground for planting spinach and kale. I began to accumulate quite a pile of debris that would be wonderful for composting. In fact, I had multiple wheelbarrows full! Imagine my surprise and amusement when my husband revealed a pile of wooden pallets in the edge of the woods that he had picked up for free and brought home unbeknownst to me!
Dead Straw and Grass, Perfect for Composting
My husband and I constructed this compost bin to hold all of my rubble, and the wonderful thing about it…it is a terrific combination of my favorite things!
New Compost Bin Made From Recycled Pallets
TIPS FOR COMPOSTING:
There are two types of compost piles: “cold” compost piles and “hot” compost piles. Our compost bin will be considered a cold compost pile.
The type of bacteria that thrive and decompose organic materials in relatively mild conditions will be useful to break down kitchen vegetable scraps, weeds, grass clippings, farm manure, and other types of organic matter in the compost bin that my husband and I built out of recycled wooden pallets. As these bacteria work to break down the organic matter, they create heat within the pile. For this reason, air flow through the spaces in the pallets helps maintain optimal temperatures for the bacteria to remain at a comfortable temperature of approximately 70-90 degrees F. A slow steady method of composting in which temperatures do not get much over 90 degrees F is called “cold” composting. Cold composting is ideal for backyard gardeners like us who grow a garden to feed our family and hopefully have enough to share with our friends, but do not need to generate enormous volumes of compost for large scale organic farm production.
A different type of bacteria that can live and work actively within a “hot” compost pile can break down organic materials at a much faster rate. “Hot” composting is a process that occurs when temperatures within a composting pile rise above 90 degrees F. However, a hot compost pile must be aerated quite often. (We have a compost tumbler for a “hot” pile that provides us with a more rapidly composted product that I may discuss in another post.)
In order for the decomposition process to occur, a balance of carbon and nitrogen must be present. The items that are added to the pile must provide a combination of both brown items which provide carbon and green items which supply nitrogen to the compost. Microorganisms that facilitate the decomposition process need both of these elements to survive.
A Balance of Green and Brown Materials
(Add Carbon to the Compost Pile)
(Add Nitrogen to the Compost Pile)
- Dead and dry grasses
- Fallen leaves
- Shredded Paper (Newspaper, not glossy and shiny print like coupons, etc.)
- Hay (may contain seeds of weeds that may not get hot enough to become sterilized)
- Wood shavings or sawdust (these materials are slower to decompose)
- Organic mulch (not treated with chemicals or sewage sludge)
- Old Topsoil or Garden Soil
- Dead Weeds (without seedheads and seedpods)
- Kitchen scraps and vegetable peels
- Coffee Grounds and Filters
- Green Leaves
- Fresh grass clippings (free from pesticides)
- Green Plant Materials
- Alfalfa Hay (not actually green, but rich in nitrogen so this is included in this category
- Horse, Rabbit, Chicken, and Cow Manure (herbivore manures)
- Egg Shells
- Fruit peels and pulp from cider and juice making
- Tea Bags and Leaves
- Chicken Feathers
- Seaweed or Kelp
- Juicer Pulp
DO NOT COMPOST:
- Diseased Plants
- Chemically Treated Wood Chips or Mulches
- Grass Clippings Treated with Pesticides
- Seedpods and Seedheads
- Coal Ashes (These can be toxic to your garden plants)
- Wood Ashes (These are better used to directly amend soil that needs the pH altered)
- Dog and Cat Litter/Manure (may have harmful parasites)
- Meat and Dairy Products (these may attract other animals looking for food)
- Coal or Charcoal
- Any Materials Treated with Pesticides or Herbicides
- Oils, Fats, Lard, Grease
- Plastic or Metal
- Waxed Paper/Cardboard
- Plant Clippings or Roots from the Brassica Family, i.e. Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli (These plants may foster some soilborne diseases)
Layering the various materials for composting just as you would layer a lasagna casserole is an excellent way of ensuring that a green/brown balance is maintained…
Layering the Compost: A Layer of Dead/Dry Grasses Covered by a Layer of Horse Manure
The Compost Pile is Growing...Layer By Layer
Today, I picked up this special edition of Mother Earth News on Organic Gardening. I have really been enjoying the reading. And, what a surprise to discover a very nice article on Composting.
Compost Article in Mother Earth News currently on the newstands
For Further Information About Composting:
I am always on the lookout for quick fix dinners! You know… for those crazy evenings when the family is pushed for time, or for those occasions when I just do not want to expend a lot of time and energy on dinner preparation, but I still want to feed my family a home cooked meal.
My family loves lasagna, but I do not often have time to make it, because the preparation and layering that goes into this dish is time consuming. In the past, I have reserved lasagna for those special, lazy days when I have lots of time to cook and plenty of time enjoy the fruits of my labor.
In the past, I have typically boiled the entire box of lasagna noodles and made two casserole dishes of lasagna, one for dinner and one for the freezer. However, I recently stumbled upon this wonderful post at SkinnyTaste.com entitled “How To Make Your Favorite Meals Freezer Ready”. What a wonderful idea to make Lasagna Rolls for the freezer! The idea of freezing Lasagna Rolls individually and being able to remove just one or enough for an entire family struck me as revolutionary! I loved it!
So, here is my recipe for Lasagna Rolls…
Lasagna Roll Ingredients
1 box lasagna noodles
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese (or Ricotta)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 8 oz. box cream cheese, softened (not pictured, because it was in the microwave when I snapped the picture)
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (I squeeze the excess moisture out)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Loaded Noodles...Ready to Roll
TOPPING FOR BAKING:
1 regular jar Prego spaghetti sauce or your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese
Lasagna Rolls Ready to Bake (These rolls were actually baked on a layer of meat sauce. But, after trying the rolls with just the sauce and cheese, we decided we liked it better without meat sauce.)
Boil lasagna noodles until soft and pliable. Drain and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix other lasagna roll ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Spread each noodle with a liberal amount of the cheesy spinach mixture. Roll each loaded noodle up and place in a plastic freezer bag, or into a baking dish. When ready to bake, top the rolls with a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce (or your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce) and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese. (I like a little of both.) Bake at 350 degrees F until the sauce is bubbling, the rolls are cooked thoroughly in the center, and the cheese on top is bubbly and browned.
Extra Lasagna Rolls to Freeze
Tip: If you are baking frozen rolls, top the rolls with the jar of spaghetti sauce and bake for a while covered with aluminum foil until the rolls are thawed completely. Then, remove the foil and add the cheese. Bake some more until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
Next time I make these Lasagna Rolls, I plan to double or even triple the recipe so that I can have plenty of rolls to freeze. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
The weather in Middle Tennessee is so unpredictable in late winter and early spring! One day will be bright and sunny and we are able to wear short sleeves outside. In only a matter of hours, the weather can bring a cold front that showers us with snow and ice or freezing rain.
Daffodils in Snow
For a few days, we had beautiful blue skies and moderate temperatures, and we were able to get some early cool-weather crop seeds planted. I have been watching the ground closely to see if there is any germination…but I guess the ground is just too cold yet for the little seeds to sprout and the tiny seedlings to rear their heads. Much to my disappointment, there have been no signs of spring growth popping up from the dark, damp earth.
No signs of sprouting spring
I guess it is just as well…because today we awoke to a very wet, snowy second day of March. Yesterday was also filled with light snow showers …a good day for a warm fire in the woodstove, a good pot of soup, a cup of tea and Bible study with friends. So, this is just what we did.
Snow Covered Pines
The Bird Feeder Out My Kitchen Window
As I was growing up, I often heard my elders repeat the old saying, “If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion!” But, this year my father said, “Well, it appears that March is going to come in like a lion. Maybe, that means that it will go out like a lamb.”
Snowy Day in March
So, for today, I guess we will return to wintery activities like building snowmen and having snowball fights, making waffles and hot chocolate, taking a winter afternoon nap, and sewing on a few quilt pieces.
Snowballs on a Fallen Log...Ready for Launching
Double Wedding Ring Pieces
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
| I have been sewing on some double wedding ring quilt pieces to help my Mother-in-Law with a quilt top that she is piecing. I find that I am having some difficulty with puckering at the points. Do you have any advice about piecing curves? I would love to hear from you about tips and tricks!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…
This day in February brought crisp, bold sunbeams and bright, blue skies. Each vibrant ray of late winter sunlight conveyed encouragement, enlightenment of spirit, and hope for the renewal that will come with spring.
According to regional recommendations(University of Tennessee planting guide for cool weather crops PDF), mid-February is the time in Middle Tennessee for planting early, cold-weather crops. It is a time when gardeners build anticipation for those first tender shoots that will emerge from the damp, dark earth as seedlings raise their heads to the sun after a long winter’s dormancy.
Red Lettuce and Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Seeds
Because the day was so beautiful, and I could not contain my enthusiasm for sowing the first seeds of the season, I enlisted the help of my daughters to clear away the dead weeds and grasses from the garden trellis. Remnants of last year’s cucumber vines were detached, and a rotted mat of straw and mulch was removed to uncover the lush, verdant soil beneath.
Clearing Soil for Planting
Remnants of Last Year's Cucumber Vines
After all the debris was raked away, I made small holes in which to drop tiny English peas into. Little helping hands nestled a seed into each hole. And then, the peas were covered over with a light blanket of loam.
Little Helping Hands Pinching a Pea to Plant
Tiny Pink Pea in a Small Earthen Hole
We mixed ashes from the woodstove, aged manure, and composted soil to make a rich planting medium to fill a small raised bed for planting lettuce. (The stoneware flower pot covers a tarragon plant that has successfully overwintered. I did not want little helping hands disturbing the tiny tendrils that are emerging from the roots to peek at the sun. So, I covered it with this pot until the planting was done. )
Small Raised Bed for Lettuce
After the seeds were planted, I began gathering my tools. The girls had skipped off to gather little winter blossoms and leaves and pine cones, which they gathered into the stoneware flowerpot that had sheltered my tarragon as we planted. I was greatly surprised at the beauty of their sweet little weed bouquet! We brought it in the house to grace our dinner table. Even in the dead of late winter, there is abundant life and beauty if you will just look for it!
Gathering My Tools
Winter Bouquet to Grace Our Dinner Table
There are still packets of spinach and kale to plant on another day…
Still to Plant
and of course onions, and turnip greens, and potatoes to buy and plant…
Oh, joy! Oh, joy!
|With the coming of spring, I am reminded that we must be transformed by renewing the spirit of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23-32) Just as my daughters and I cleared away the dead grasses and leaves in order for new growth to emerge, so we must clear away those things in our lives that choke out life…
This morning, I awoke with a feeling of joy at what possibilities the day would bring. Little seeds of happiness began to unfurl within me as I realized that this day had no expectations placed upon it yet.
I love a summer day that begins early and bright with no plans or obligations, no hustle and bustle, no demands to hurry at break-neck speed toward a nebulous goal. I love the peace of a morning that begins soon after sunrise when the children are still abed, the birds are chirping amid gently blowing leaves, and there is nothing that calls but a puttering trip to see how much the garden has grown in the night.
Basil growing in the sun
Harvesting a basket full of herbs
Ripening red raspberries
Climbing cucumbers on a wire trellis
Figs growing in the shade of their own large leaves
A Table full of herbs ready to hang and dry
This morning, I rejoiced in the opportunity to savor each moment…
to hover lovingly over my growing herbs,
to see how many raspberries had deepened to red while we were away at church yesterday,
to smile at that first ripe cherry tomato of the season that I will leave for chubby two-year old fingers to pluck from the vine,
to thump off the Japanese beetles from the blueberry bushes that I am reluctant to spray because little hands are ever ready to harvest them straight into an expectant mouth,
to gently pick off the few yellowing leaves from healthy tomato plants adorned with yellow blooms,
to wrap delicate tendrils of each climbing cucumber vine around a rung on the fence,
to peek at the figs growing under the shade of giant, bushy leaves,
to stand in the early morning shade of the sugar maple trees and feel my hair blow in the balmy breeze before the day turns hot,
to pray in thankfulness over a cup of warm coffee and two slices of buttered toast…
Oh, what a day this will be…
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
I recently constructed these soft, felt manipulatives for use in my youngest daughter’s Bible class. Each letter of the word BIBLE is made by stitching together two layers of felt that have been cut into alphabet shapes using pinking shears. Each letter is stuffed with cotton balls to create a three-dimensional effect.
The children are ages one to two years old. They love holding the letters while we sing:
Oh…the B – I - B - L - E…
That’s the book for me…
I read and study, and then obey…
The B – I - B - L - E…
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
This morning, my daughters and I were saddened to discover our once frisky little black goldfishy hidden in the weeds of the aquarium. Yesterday, we had been keeping a vigil beside the tank in hopes that our tiny friend would pull through. But, in the night…he slipped away, and this morning we were moved to conduct a simple farewell burial in the compost pile.
“Can we bury him?” my 5 year old daughter inquired.
And so, we said a simple prayer of thanks for the happiness that he brought while he was alive. Our nine-year old constructed a grave stone, and each one of us placed a flower upon the mound…
Oh the sweetness and sincerity of youth! May I ever be mindful of blessings and creatures great and small.