Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Substitute for Borax?

Natural homemade cleaning recipes are all the rage on the internet right now! It's exciting to have so many options for natural cleaning products.  Unfortunately many of the recipes contain the natural product Borax.  Borax is natural (by the fact that it can be mined) but it is also toxic which is why I want to avoid it if possible.

Yes, I do love the Soap Nuts for use as laundry detergent.  However, I've heard from many people that making your own homemade laundry soap is even more cost effective than the Soap Nuts.   I've also heard that homemade laundry soap works just as well (if not better) than regular detergent.  I ended up finding a recipe on the Duggars website. It is what they use for their family of 20 (soon to be 21)!

This recipe includes water, washing soda, borax, and melted bars of soap. This recipe yields hundreds of loads for approximately $3.00. Sounds like a great deal to me! I want to try it, but it contains borax. I'm on a search to find a recipe that contains no harsh chemicals and that is also non-toxic.

These were some suggestions I found as Substitutes for Borax:

  • Arm & Hammar Washing Soda (for use in laundry or general household cleaning)

  • Baking Soda or Salt (for abrasive scrubbing)

Not a lot of solutions!  Have any of you readers out there (yeah, all 5 of you!)  heard of any other substitutions for Borax?

Homemaker's Job Description

Making a home is a commendable job, whether you are a full-time or part-time homemaker, managing your home is well worth your time.   Being a full-time homemaker I will occasionally get the "Do you work?" or the "What do you do all day?" questions.   Normally my response is cheerfully saying, "I am able to stay home full-time with my daughter!" or, "I do whatever my family needs me to do for them."

But what does this job entitle? Does staying home really constitute as work?   Of course it does! I'm always baffled by people who think that homemakers do not work.  Honestly, I believe working full-time job outside the home would be the easier route in many ways, as well as less rewarding.  Being a homemaker requires use of every skill that you have and then some!

Job Description of a Homemaker

Responsibilities: A homemaker must...

  • be willing to work 7 days a week, for the rest of your life.

  • understand that your family comes before yourself.

  • work diligently in the home for the benefit of the family and/or guests.

  • spend quality time with each child (if you are a mother)

  • maintain the laundry

  • keep the dishes clean

  • be willing to clean the entire home thoroughly and safely.

  • be willing to cook on a regular basis and provide nourishing foods.

  • be aware that you determine the atmosphere and character of the home.

  • practice thanksgiving at all times and in every situation.

  • maintain an organized and functional household, to the best of your ability.

  • educate yourself and seek out the most beneficial resources for the household.

  • be patient and able to shrug off any negative comments on your commendable work.

  • be able to maintain your work while in the midst of a difficult situation.

  • be a cook, home economist, nutritionist, dishwasher, interior decorator, organizer, writer, gardener, landscaper, teacher, housekeeper, and anything else your family may need.


  • Family - Time spent with your family is time well spent.   It is indispensable. Your bonds with each member of the family improves with every moment spent together.   Our culture wants you to believe that time spent bonding is no longer important - never listen to this lie.  Time with your family is essential and your family will benefit greatly from it.

  • Freedom -  To learn, to live, and to enjoy people!  Homemakers spend a great deal of time learning. One great benefit of being a homemaker is the opportunity to study anything and everything your heart desires! Homemakers also have more time spend developing their relationships with family and friends, time for hospitality, time for ministry, as well as more time to develop their skills and abilities.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Story

The Herrmann Family Story

Our Story

My husband Gage and I both grew up in San Diego, CA. We met through MySpace.com in August 2005. I know, I know... we met on Myspace? Yes, but there is more to this story - read on.

After the death of my Mom in July of that year I strongly desired to be in fellowship with other believers. It was time spent in the Word (the Bible) and time spent with other Christians that helped me get through that initial period of grief. I became involved in multiple Bible studies and I created a San Diego County Christians group on MySpace.com with the hope of meeting some new Christians in the area and providing a new way for Christians in the area to meet. I had never had a boyfriend before, in fact, for the first time in my life I wasn't looking for a boyfriend.

Gage was a new Christian with no believing friends. He joined with the hope that he would meet some new friends. I was thrilled when I heard his story because that was the exact reason I decided to start that group! I invited him to join my friends and I at a bible study and we met in person at Calvary Chapel Hidden Valley on September 8, 2005. Little did we know at the time that God was orchestrating his plan to bring us together in marriage. Two months after we met we were a couple and a little over one year after we met we married on September 16, 2006. Our first kiss was on our Wedding day!

Zoe - October 2008

On March 12, 2008 we welcomed our first child into the world! A baby girl named Zoe Kimberly (named after her Grandma Kimberly, my mother, who passed away in 2005). She is the most incredible blessing God has granted us with. She is such a joy to have and we look forward watching her grow and learn.

Right now Gage is attending school at Southeast Technical Institute (STI). He has already received a diploma as a Software Support Specialist, and is continuing his work to earn an A.A.S. in Computer Programming. I am a stay-at-home-Mom now and I absolutely love it! I couldn't ask for a better job than this! What a blessing and privilege it is to not need to work outside of the home. My days right now are spent hanging out with my baby girl and working on whatever needs to be done around the house. In the summertime we enjoy going for walks and going to various parks in town. I have a passion for learning. If I could, I would go to school all my life. This is probably why the idea of homeschooling is so exciting to me! I love studying, reading, planning, organizing, resourcefulness, and creativity. I also enjoy writing and photography. I have just earned a Diploma in Photography and hope to one day earn some extra money for our family through my photography.

Beginning a Natural and Healthy Lifestyle

Here you will find a compilation of articles written by me and other valuable resources that have been a huge help to me in establishing a more natural lifestyle.   This section of the site will expand as I discover new and exciting things to share!

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. " -- 3 John 1:2.

My Journey to Natural Living - Self explanatory! :)

Natural Living Archive - All my blog posts pertaining to a natural and healthy life.

Nutritional Eating on a Budget - Lindsay (from Passionate Homemaking) has listed her step-by-step journey to eating nutritionally.

Nutritional Eating: What is Most Important? - This is another article written by Lindsay on the deceitfulness of the word "natural" in the majority of food marketing and where to begin your search for the most nutritious foods.

Weston A. Price Foundation -  Basically any nutritional information you are seeking can be found on this website. Each article is well researched and studied.  The amount of information on this site can be a bit overwhelming, I recommend picking one topic to study at a time.

Soap Nuts - Laundry soap is one of the easiest things to change which is why I believe Soap Nuts are a great place to start!  This is my review of this frugal and 100% natural way to do your laundry! I highly recommend these. Click here to order a 5 load sample for less than $3!

Urban Homemaker -  This is a family run business that promotes "old fashioned skills for contemporary people." It is an excellent resource for homemakers.  They even provide a free catalog that can be sent to your home that includes tons of useful information.

Natural Living from a Biblical Perspective

The Bible is silent on the issue of genetically modified foods and toxic cleaning agents and such, but it is not silent on these two things:

Our Bodies: Health / Nutrition: 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20  says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” As a Christian wife and mother, it is my duty to make sure my family well fed and safe (Proverbs 31: 10-31). One way of honoring God with our bodies is to be careful and wise about what we are putting into our bodies. I believe it is important to be well educated on the foods that we eat. So much of what we have been taught about food in this country is misleading.  Foods in their original form contain all of the nutrients God created them with.

God’s Creation – Our Environment: The natural resources that God created have sustained the lives of billions of people, animals, and plants from the very beginning of the Earth’s existence. God expects us to care for his creation, not to destroy it. While I’m not a huge fan of the social “Green” movement (as I do not believe in a global warming crisis), but I do believe in good stewardship over the land that God has given to us.

God's Call to Christian Women

Sisters in Christ,

Be encouraged in knowing that your serve's an incredible purpose - that is to glorify and serve our sovereign God!   In all that you do, do it to serve the Lord.   Whether you are single or married, that is God's call to his people - men and women alike - to serve Him!  God is glorified when we obey his commands and when we are willing to serve Him through our actions.  When we look to the scriptures, we see that God has specifically designed women to be the loving nurturers of the family.

How can we honor God in our homes?

  • Establish a reverence for God in your home.  There is nothing more important than this.  Do this by studying God's word, not just reading it.  Know the Bible.  Really know Jesus Christ, don't just call Him your Lord if he isn't (Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 7:21-23).  He wants your heart, not your good intentions.

  • Married women, love your husband (Titus 2) and submit to him as Jesus submits to God (the Father).

  • Mothers, love your children (Titus 2), teach the ways of God to your children, shepherd their hearts, and be an example that will influence them to always put Jesus first.

  • Working mothers (outside the home), maintain a proper balance so that your family never suffers.  Read Provebers 31.  Ask God for wisdom in making decisions regarding this balance of family and career.

  • Single women, don't rule out any preparation for future homemaking responsibilities.  If you have a desire to be married one day, prepare your hearts and minds for marriage and ministry in the home.  If you do not desire to be married, you have the wonderful gift of singleness! You can devote even more of your time to the Lord and you can use your home to practice hospitality.

  • Joyfully accept every single task and doing it all for the glory of God!

  • Serve your family and others before yourself.

  • Being an encouragement to your family.

  • Exercise the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control.

  • Pursue a joyful, pure, and humble heart.

  • Be a proverbs 31 woman!  Proverbs 31:10-31.

  • A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!

  • Expect persecution, be slow to anger, gracefully accept criticism.

  • Keep watch over all that goes on within the home; see to it that God is glorified in your home.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autumn has Arrived!

Things I am looking forward to this season...

  • Leaves changing and falling to the ground.

  • The cooler weather!

  • Breaking out the sweaters and long sleeved shirts.

  • Raking leaves: I've actually never done it before so I'm excited to try something new.

  • Picking apples the Apple Orchard!

  • Apple cider.

  • Picking out pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch.

  • Cooking and pureeing a pumpkin to use in a few recipes.

  • Baking pumpkin seeds.

  • Zoe's second attempt at coloring. I printed out a picture of a pumpkin. I plan to give her some orange crayons and have at it! :) Her first attempt was in a restaurant, she tried to eat the crayons.

  • Tons of beautiful photographing opportunities!

  • Getting out my autumn decorations for the house!

  • Candles!

  • Our first Garage Sale since we've lived in Sioux Falls.

  • Finding a cute little costume for Zoe for Halloween.

  • Fall into Reading Challenge - this year I will set a lower goal than I did last year and only include books I own already. Last year I made it through half a book! haha.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesday was a wonderful day!
That morning I babysat my friend Anna's daughter Kjersten for about an hour and a half. Later that day I went for a much needed walk. It was a beautiful day! At about 5:30ish Anna and her husband came over to pick up Zoe, as we were in need of a babysitter that day too!

Gage's Dad bought us tickets to go see the Wizard of Oz in HD at our theater here in town. We met up with Mike (Gage's Dad) at about 6:30 at the theater. It was showing for one night only, in celebration of it's 70th Anniversary (available on DVD on Sept 29th!). This was also my first time ever seeing the movie in its entirety! I know I had seen bits and pieces of it over the years but I had never watched the whole thing.

After the movie, we got some Cold Stone ice cream... and we all ended up getting a "Like It" size of Coffee Lovers. I had never had that before (usually I just get coffee with heath). Having that extra caramel and almonds in there made it extra delicious :)

Wednesday was a much needed day of relaxation. Even though the previous Wednesday was our Anniversary and we were able to get away for a full 24 hrs (which was *amazing*), we went through quite an ordeal last Sat night and the whole week we had been tense, worried, and completely stressed over all that had happened and what was to come. After Wednesday I started to believe that things really are going to get back to normal around here. We still have no idea where Rachel and her kids are, or if they are safe, so we continue to pray for them. But now it is time for us to let it go and see what Lord is going to do with the situation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zoe at 18 Months Old!

Her Favorite Words/Sayings:

"I sit down."


"Gink?" (Drink)


"Guck." (Stuck)

"Daaeee" (Daddy)

"Baff?" (Bath)

"Bie" (Bite)

"Err Go" (There we go.)

"Peee" (Penny, our dog.)

"Sooeee" (Zoe)

"Cheeos?" (Cheerios.)

"Aaaww Done"

As soon as we finish putting her shoes on, she says, "Ahh Go!!" As in, "Let's Go!" If it actually is time to go, she continues with saying "Keys?", "Cars!", "Go!" "Buh-Bye!"

Words Learned this Week:

"Mouse." (As in, computer mouse...of course. Hehe. She was calling it a car so we had to teach her the proper term.)



"Fie" (High Five)

"Hom" (Home)

"Anna" (My friend)

"Fum" (Fun)


"Bow" (Ball)

"Oww" (When she gets hurt)


"Wuss" (Uncle Russ)
"Judah" (one of her friends from church)

"Noah" from the Bible

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trusting the Lord in a Difficult Time

I was right when I talked about this being a time I will never forget. Things we witnessed this week will stay with us for many years, if not the rest of our lives. My heart is aching, I feel so sad and so betrayed.

The people that we welcomed into our home a week and a half ago turned out to be in more trouble than they initially let on. Ever since they arrived here there had been tension, non-stop stress, anxiety, and confusion. From the moment they arrived they were secretive, treated us with disrespect, they took advantage of our willingness to help them, they mistreated our home, they lied to us, and they hid very important information from us. They also expected far more from us than we were able to give, which is difficult to understand given that they were the ones in need of help to begin with. The more we tried to show them kindness, the worse things seemed to get.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shopping Days

Gage works at our local grocery store and because of this we receive a small rebate at around Christmas according to how much we spent in the store during the year. Honestly I think if we shopped at Wal Mart all the time we'd save the same amount or more...but even so, I think it is better to do more local shopping and it'll be nice to get an extra small paycheck around Christmas. They have set aside 3 days out of each month for us to buy our groceries (usually the 3rd weekend of the month). Today was one of the days. Grocery shopping used to be something I loved to do, but now it involves so much more than just go, grab a few things for the week, pay, and leave.

Now we must:

1) Create a list of meals for the month. Then create a list of the ingredients needed to make those meals - writing them down in groups that go somewhat in the same way the store aisles go (vegetables, canned foods, deli, dairy, etc). Using the local grocery ad, check to see if any of those ingredients are on sale (or plan meals according to whatever is on sale!), check the pantry to see if there are any items that are not needed at the store. Make a seperate list of non-food items needed.

2) Remember to bring the re-usable bags. They are so easy to forget, even if they are in the trunk...I forget to bring them in.

3) Remember to bring the WIC pouch with the WIC checks in it.

4) Remember to bring any coupons we may have for items we regularly buy (this is one I forgot to do today)
5) Remember to go to the customer service counter to get our "Employee certificate" thing before we shop.

6) Keep Zoe settled down (We LOVE those kid carts shaped as busses and whatnot. Even though they are a huge pain to push around, she loves to "drive" them and it keeps her occupied for a while.)
7) Find *everything* on the list. I try my hardest to plan our list according to the aisles but I can't always remember which isle things are in. I hate to backtrack, especially when pushing one of those huge kid carts around.


8) Examine the ingredients of every little thing we buy.
9) At the checkout, remember to separate our WIC items from our regular items because they run as a separate transaction.

10) At the checkout, remember to give them the re-usable bags, coupons, WIC checks, employee certificate, etc.

Going grocery shopping has become such a huge process, which is another reason why I love to just do one main trip each month. However, since circumstances have changed around here with 7 people in the house rather than 3, I've decided to do a big trip every 2 weeks for the time being. Though that does mean that half of what we spend next month will not be part of our Christmas rebate...oh well. Shopping for 7 people for a month seems to be a little too much for me at the moment.

God-Centered Ministries and Resources

For the Family:

Discussion and Learning about God:

Theological Discussion and Encouragement for Women:




  • Waiting for the One -  A beautiful ministry that was founded by my childhood friend Nicole and her husband Dan.

Personal Favorites:

What We Believe

We are Evangelical Christian, born-again believers who hold to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone.

The Bible teaches that all it takes is one sin to separate us from God forever.  This is because God is holy and perfect and no evil can reside with Him. It is sin that separates humans from God.  The only way for man to reconcile sin was to pay for it in blood.  That is why God sent Jesus Christ to this earth -to reconcile the sins of all who would believe.  Jesus taught that only through Him can anyone have hope for Heaven.  He died and He rose again 3 days later, having paid the price of sin for all who would believe in  Him!  Jesus deserves nothing less than everything we have to give because He gave everything He had for us.

Statement of Faith:  We believe,

  1. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

  2. In one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

  4. That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.

  5. That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

  6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.

  7. That water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.

  8. That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.

  9. That only those who are, thus, members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church.

  10. That Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.

  11. In the personal and premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

  12. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.

Theology, etc:

Theology is the intellectual, relational and spiritual act of knowing God through the disciplined and communal practice of understanding and applying His word to all areas of life. – A. Orendorff

  • Reformed Theology – A belief system that seeks to teach same doctrine that the Jesus and the apostles taught. Reformed theology holds to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through Christ, and the necessity of evangelism.

  • Calvinism – A major issue for Protestants is determining the degree to which Man contributes to his salvation. This is expressed usually in a Calvinistic or Armenian view, however sometimes the two views are combined. We definitely lean more towards the Calvinistic view than the Armenian view.  Both views can go too far and reach extremes that are both unbiblical.  I don't believe we are robots controlled by God and I don't believe we have full-control over our salvation.  I personally believe strongly in God’s sovereignty and believe it works together with "free-will".  Both truths are specifically addressed in the Bible, therefore I believe both are true.   Our finite minds will never fully grasp this.  This is a debate that will go on and on until people come to the conclusion that God is fully capable of allowing free will and his sovereignty to work together.

  • Evangelism –  Sharing the Gospel (good news) with others.  “…through the law comes to knowledge of sin.” - Romans 3:20.  If one does not understand their sin, they will never understand their need for a savior.   The Way of the Master uses the 10 Commandments (the mosaic law) to prove the existence of sin, which is an essential part of an accurate understanding of the Gospel.

Local Resources for Moms

[caption id="attachment_881" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD"]Falls Park in  Sioux Falls, SD[/caption]

Sioux Falls, South Dakota


Local Food Sources:

Resources for Moms:



Moms Like Me - Sioux Falls


Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Journey to Natural Living

For years I was turned off by anything labeled as natural or organic, I thought it was for the paranoid people afraid of pesticides and it also tied in with political environmental issues that I have never believed to be true.  I never thought of these (whole) foods as a source of good health and an excellent source of nutrition! In fact, I’ve never been much of a nutritionist.  My views of nutrition have been shaped by the media almost entirely.  If the commercial said it was healthy, I believed it.  If the cereal box said it had all the vitamins I needed, I believed it. I always just assumed that whatever the media had to say about nutrition must be true.

In the past couple of years the Lord has shown me that the media has been deceiving me in more ways than I can count. Food is definitely one of them.  The more I looked into nutritional facts, the more I came to realize that a large majority of the food I thought was perfectly normal had little or no nutrition value whatsoever.   No wonder why we have so many health problems and obesity issues these days!

I began to read a few blogs by other women who have found the same things to be true and have since changed their ways.  I have been inspired by these women and have now decided that it’s time to get serious about nutrition and health in our family.  Natural living is simply using the most natural resources available, that means avoiding harmful cleaning chemicals, avoiding highly processed and nutritionally deficient food, recycling, and being a good steward of the land God has provided us with.

I am very new at this so basically if you are a reader of this site,  we will be learning together one baby step at a time!  As I study I will continue to post beneficial links and resources on this page as I find them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our 3rd Anniversary!

3 Years ago on this day, I married the man of my dreams :)

Gage is without a doubt the most amazing person that I know. I'm not just saying this because I am married to him! He is kind, generous, trustworthy, intelligent, and so incredibly loving. He is a wonderful spiritual leader for our home, a spectacular husband and a wonderful father. I feel so blessed that God chose him to be my husband! I am honored to be his help meet and the mother of his child.

His entire life is devoted to glorifying God and providing for our family. He reads his Bible in the mornings, works two jobs (sometimes three), goes to school full time and manages to get A's in every class, he completes all his homework on time, he helps out in 2 different ministries at church, he spends quality time with me and our daughter Zoe and he still has some time to play computer games. I don't know how he does it!

Happy 3rd Anniversary Gage! Thank you so much for all that you do. I love you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank you, Dr. Laura!

Dr. Laura recently put out a book titled 'In Praise of Stay at Home Moms'. I am looking forward to reading it. I have heard only a little bit of Dr. Laura's radio program over the years, but I'm almost always impressed with what she has to say. I've always been a huge advocate of stay-at-home moms, but lately I've been noticing that I've been allowing the world to influence me in a way that has me thinking that I should be "doing more" outside of the home. The truth is, I am doing exaclty what I am supposed to be doing - staying home with my daughter. There is nothing more important than that. Tonight I came across this short video by Dr. Laura and was very encouraged!

Menu Plan Monday... on Tuesday

With recent events in our household, we've switched to eating whatever food we have been given! Last year I did quite a bit of menu planning and it worked out wonderfully. I even had an 8 week menu plan a couple times and that was *awesome*. For now, as things are a bit hectic around here I'm going to try and stick with a weekly menu plan.

Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Mushroom Macaroni, Salad
Wednesday - Our 3rd Anniversary! Dinner out!
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Hot Dogs, Salad, and Corn
Saturday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Soup
Sunday - Chili (Thaw chicken for next week's meals)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rejoicing in God's Provision!

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I am going to tell you a story. In this story you will see God's incredible willingness to provide! I am so stunned by the generosity of so many people in Sioux Falls, and I'm so grateful to God for his answer to my prayers from Wednesday.

Yesterday I was supposed to attend Bible Study in the morning, but seeing as I had a few unexpected guests I decided to pass this week and tend to the needs of my guests. My friend (and neighbor) came by to pick me and Zoe up for Bible Study at about 9:00 am. I explained to her all that was going on and she went on her way to Bible Study without us.

I had made plans prior to Wednesday to meet up with a friend at the mall on Thursday. At 11am I took Alyssa and Zoe to the mall with me to meet up with my friend BJ and her son. We had a good time playing in the play place, chatting, and then eating lunch together.

And the blessings begin...
  1. Once we returned home I was informed by my husband that the same friend was going to bring us to Bible Study that morning had stopped by with a phone number for us to call - a woman whose church provides food for families in need. A couple hours later that same friend brought us over canned goods and some pickles, salsa, and tomadoes that she canned herself!
  2. An hour later, a woman from my church stopped by! She had heard about our little situation at Bible Study that morning. She provided us with some grocery money and 4 loaves of bread!
  3. At the same time that woman arrived, my friend Anna arrived with her daughter. They were coming over just to hang out and have a snack with us. Anna lives just a few blocks from us so we tend to be at each others homes often. Anna brought with her a gift from someone I had taken photos for, guess what it was? A gift card for the grocery store.
  4. Anna also brought over a snack for everyone! She brought grapes and a container full of delicious mint brownies that she had made.
  5. Another friend from church stops by to return a swing we loaned her for her baby boy. She offers to help me figure out some frugal and healthy ways to cook for this many people and she even went home and wrote out a list of meals and e-mailed them to me.
  6. At about 5pm a woman from the church that provides food for families in need came over and brought us 3 boxes full of food and essential items.
  7. About an hour after that my in-laws neighbor, who has recently has become one of my own freinds, stopped by with a box full of fresh garden vegetables and a gift card for the grocery store!
Honestly, words cannot express how grateful we are to every single one of you who showed up here yesterday. Thank you SO much for your help. On Wednesday, even though I knew the Lord was in complete control, I was still in tears because I was so ovewhelmed with worries and concerns that we would not be able to feed everyone this month. I knew God would provide for us in some way, I just never expected Him to do so much for us in just one day. To everyone who has prayed for us and helped provide...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Your prayers and generocity has provided us with enough to get through an entire month, maybe even longer if we can learn how to stretch the dollars even more.

I read something here that encouraged me when I was worried about how this was all going to turn out and I wanted to share it:

The Lord reveals to us through His Word, the Bible, that we can be of good "cheer," that we can

rejoice in our problems because God will use them to our benefit. "Knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4);

2) see our "worries" as an opportunity to practice
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths";

3) counteract our anger by obeying
Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you"; and

4) deal with any sinful feelings by believing and acting upon the truth of
1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

All of our problems can be dealt with through simple faith in God's Word.

What wonderful encouragement those verses are. This unexpected trial can and will be a blessing to both our family and theirs. After talking with my best friend Amanda over the phone yesterday and sharing all the blessings we'd received throughout the day she said, "Well, God sure must want them to be there!"

I believe she's absolutely right.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09/09/09 A Day I Will Definitely Remember

Today was a day just like any other day...until about 1pm. The phone rang, I picked it up.

"Hey! Did you get my message?"
"No" (I had no idea who I was talking to at this point.)
"Me, my boyfriend, and the kids are in your little town here.. we're over by Empire Mall."

It was my childhood friend Rachel! I was so excited to hear that she was in Sioux Falls, but sooo confused at the same time. Why in the world was she in Sioux Falls? She lives in CA and as far as I knew she wasn't going on any vacations.

Well, 5 minutes later they showed up at the house.

It's a long and very complicated story but after about 10 minutes of them being here... we ended up with 4 additional people living in this house for an indefinite period of time.

I've been thinking about ways we are actually going to do this. We barely get by with just the 3 of us since Gage works one part-time job. I am trusting the Lord though. The Lord always provides. It is a challenge I was not expecting when I woke up today, but I will praise the Lord through this. God has a plan for this whole situation.

There is so much more I am leaving out of this story. Just know that we are in desperate need of your prayers. This is not going to be easy by any means.

God brought them to our doorstep today. We intend to see them through this difficult period of life every step of the way.
(In the photo: JJ, AJ, and Zoe)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

9000 Days Old!

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Today is the 9000th Day of my Life!

My husband came across a website that had a little gadget to figure out how many days old you are. I was pretty close to 9000 so I figured out the day and wrote it on my calendar. Today is that day! 9000 days... that is quite a long time. I was thinking, wouldn't it be facinating if we could remember every moment of our lives? Of course there are many things I would like to forget about, but overall I would love to be able to recall anything at any given time. Especially now that my Mom is gone. I'm finding that my memories of her are starting to disappear. It's a little scary... it's only been 4 years and I can hardly remember what she was like.


We had a late night last night at Lifelight (which I will write about later) so we are pretty tired today. With this being Labor Day, Gage is out of school today. We're spending the day hanging out at home enjoying this free time.

Today is also day 10 of my Amish Friendship Bread making, which means that today is baking day! I made 4 "loaves" of bread.... 3 were disasters, 1 turned out pretty well. I'll post pictures of my bread disaster/accomplishment soon. I'm beginning to wonder what could be causing all of my bread disasters. I have attempted to make various breads over the past few years and they always turn out the same - crumbly, sticky on the outsides, chewy and hard as rock edges.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soap Nuts: A Natural Laundry Detergent

I know what you're thinking. Soap nuts??

Yes, laundry soap that grows on trees.  Love it!

Soap Nuts are the fruits of soapberry trees and they contain saponin, a natural cleanser that's been used to centuries for laundering.

It is (obviously) a 100% natural product and chemical free.  It costs about the same or a little less than other detergents, depending on if they are on sale or not.  It is great for people with allergies and they work great with cloth diapers!
"Soap Nuts are a 100% natural alternative to harsh chemical detergents & household cleaners. Eco-friendly, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, unscented, highly effective, yet very gentle. No more softeners & dryer sheets! " - NaturOli Website

They have a 5 load sample you can buy for $2.95! I decided that if nothing else came out of this it would at least be a fun thing to try. So I bought it and within a couple days my little bag filled with 5 soap nuts arrived.

To my absolute surprise, they worked! Our clothes are fresh, soft, and clean! I didn't even have to use any fabric softener or dryer sheets. I have done 2 loads with them so far and I can probably do about 2-3 more loads with these 5 nuts. The only "problems" I have:

1) Since I didn't use a dryer sheet my clothes were staticy, which really has nothing to do with the soap nuts. I think I'll continue to use dryer sheets until I find a new solution.

2) I LOVE the smell of regular laundry soaps. Especially the one I regularly buy. I know, I'm weird. I have always adored the smell of laundry rooms. The NaturOli company suggests adding a few drops of an essential oil to a cloth in the dryer if we want a frangrance but I'm doubting there is an essential oil out there that will resemble that of laundry soap, haha.

In addition to the raw soap nuts you can also purchase a liquid version, and an all-purpose cleaner. When you order the raw soap nuts you are also given instructions on how to make your own liquid soap and other household cleaners.

How to use the raw Soap Nuts:

It is very simple. Just throw 4-5 soap nuts into the little bag they send you. Close the bag, place in the wash before you put in your clothes. They work best in warm water. They send detailed instructions when you buy them, but that is basically it! Super simple!

Click here to find out about the Sampler!

For more information:

Soap Nuts FAQ's

Soap Nuts Pro

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