Monday, January 23, 2012

Multitude Monday

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
Proverbs 14:4
I need to remember this verse often. I like things to be clean, though I'm not naturally the tidiest person around. Still, to put in the effort to pick up and put away, just to find another mess can be very frustrating. It is then that I must give thanks for these mess-makers, knowing that in them and through them, a harvest of righteousness will be reaped.
 I am thankful for:
  • Abigail, my beautiful, bossy eldest child
  • Anna, the competitive "spit fire"
  • Noah, who will have a better understanding of women because of all these girls
  • Eleanor, the passionate little mommy
  • Daniel, who makes everyone happy and crazy in equal measure
  • the next one, who we're all looking forward to meeting this summer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Loving the Little Years

Loving the Little Years is a little book about loving little people in the midst of all the "little" trials of the every day. Very sweet and encouraging (and rather funny), it doesn't take long to read and the kids like the messy kid on the cover. I liked and needed the reminders that while I am called to lovingly and faithfully parent my children, my own efforts along are insufficient for the task and I will consistently mess up and come up short if I try to do this on my own. Only the truth of the Gospel and the power of God will be enough to go beyond raising well-behaved Pharisees and instead move young hearts to want to love and serve Christ. And while I'd be lying if I said I didn't care if they behaved well in public, it's much more important to me that their hearts are bent toward worshipping the living God rather than the opinions of man. I just need to remember that during the next toddler meltdown - remind me, would you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If Jospeh had been a girl...

...I think his father would have given him this shawl, instead of the coat...
Made from one ball - yes, one ball - of Noro Kureyon (Japanese for "crayon", apparently) sock yarn. All the details you'll need to make your own (it really is quite easy) can be found on my ravelry page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What they love

They love coloring, preferably together...
...and camping out in the study in their new sleeping bags...

 ...and building Lego creations...

 ...and eating - always eating...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Multitude Monday

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples
1 Chronicles 16:8
  • how excited kids get by little things
  • kids that clean
  • kids that forgive
  • enjoying movie night as a family
  • family story time
  • most excellent Lego creations!
  • my sweet husband bringing me tea and toast every morning to stave off morning sickness
  • my "morning sickness" is very mild indeed
  • getting along just fine on one car, while the other is in the shop
  • when Toby comes home early
  • the many things Toby is able to fix
  • new books
  • comfy shoes


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gadget love

Anyone who has tried to feed more than a couple of people knows it can get expensive. Most will also know that the less processed the product, the cheaper it's going to be (more often than not). So when my step-dad was talking about how useful and money-saving his Kitchen Aid Meat Grinder attachment was, I borrowed it to give it a shot.

 I bought about 3 joints of stewing beef weighing about 3lbs each. I can't remember how much they each cost, but bought at Aldi, I know they were almost $1 per pound cheaper than the ground beef. Once home, I chopped each joint into rough strips to feed through the processor, after trimming off as much fat as possible. This is another great bonus - I'm pretty sure that this ground beef turned out leaner than the supermarket "lean" for less money.
It feeds through the processor twice: once on the coarse blade, then on fine. It was supremely easy, kinda fun (even the kids could do it and enjoyed the process), and did I mention cheaper? It's also nice to know that my Kitchen Aid isn't just a one trick pony, but can actually do some real labor. I don't really have enough room in my kitchen for gadgets that don't pull their weight, and my Kitchen Aid has never let me down.
Has anyone else ever used any other attachments that have been excellent/a total waste of time? If you could get one, which attachment would you add and why?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Abigail needed a new hat. I needed to make this very cute hat with this very lovely yarn.
So it all worked out. Details here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Large Family Logistics

Well, I have now finished my first book of 2012. Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman took about 2-3 days to read, but to be fair, I did a bit of skimming at certain parts.
Overall, a good, helpful book - useful keeping the homemaking and keeping vision fresh as well as giving some great hints and tips on keeping the home running well. After reading through the kitchen section, I'll be giving my kitchen a good look over soon to determine if there are ways that I could be better organizing the way it all works. One area of particular interest, and one that many homemaking books neglect, is how to keep up through pregnancy and infancy. Wisdom says there are some essentials that need to be maintained: laundry and bathrooms being among them. Grace says not to worry about the dusting and other non-essentials - you'll catch up when you're feeling up to it. The point she repeatedly makes is to make a plan of how to keep up with things and practice self-discipline to do it. Some of the suggestions she makes and methods her family use wouldn't really work for this house, but that's okay - the point is to think through the needs and determine how you and your family will meet them.
I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's looking to reorganize or establish some order in their home, or to anyone who's family size is growing and they are looking for a new way to operate. And when I'm done feeling nauseous, I'll be casting my eye over a few areas that could use improvement. For now, it's the essentials only for me! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Multitude Monday

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

James 1:17
  • playing games with my children
  • picking up lots of requested library books
  • making a large book order with a generous Christmas gift
  • donating lots of stuff to Goodwill
  • access to good dental treatment and the money to pay for it
  • going out for a free breakfast as a family
  • Abigail cheerfully washing dishes
  • Anna reading to Eleanor
  • Noah helping Dan into his pajamas
  • Abigail's bravery at the orthodontist
  • all the new members at church
  • Sunday afternoon naps
  • lovely weather
  • praying with His saints

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Book Post

Well, the new book list feels a little overdue. It's taken some time to put together, but with recommendations from various places and a perusal of what's already on my shelves, I think I've got a good collection for the year ahead.
Photo by 
I've been asked how I choose my books for the year, and how structured my plan is. Well, there's no major method or grand plan it all. I've taken a few recommendations from World magazine to broaden my horizons. If a friend whose opinion I trust raves about a book, I'll probably add it in. I also know my needs and try to make sure they are represented; for instance, I need to stay envisioned for the different tasks and roles in my life, namely homeschooling and mothering, so I try to make sure a couple good books on those subjects are in there (in addition to making sure that I'm reading my Bible - no other book is better!). If I'm trying to grow in a particular area, say Bible memorization, I'll make sure I read a book on it (and try to implement what I read). I've learned that I really benefit from reading good biographies, so I tend to have one or two of them, particularly to read before bed. Reading something heavy or that requires a lot of thought is not great for me to get into before bed - I start doing "the Nod" and end up missing stuff! Same with fiction - that's relaxing/sleepy reading. I also make sure I check our bookshelves, since we invariably add a few pieces to our collection throughout the year.
As for the plan...there really isn't any. I basically read what I want to, what I feel I need to, and occasionally, what I've been told to. :) The book list is mainly just a tool to keep me from wandering aimlessly and bored in between books, and to make sure I read some of those excellent books that make a flash on my radar without forgetting about them. I occasionally veer from the path and pick up something not on the list; maybe I'll add it in, maybe not. I think this past year I've added about 4 books that weren't on there at the beginning of the year, plus probably another half a dozen or so that never made it to the list for one reason or another.
Photo by
So, with all that said, it would probably be good to share a few things about the books I read this year. Of them all, there was one I didn't read - Overcoming Sin & Temptation - though it was not for lack of trying. It's supposed to be an updated reworking of John Owen's Mortification of Sin, but I couldn't really get ahold of what had been updated for modern readers. Now granted, I am not the brightest bulb around (a childhood of reading The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High will do that to a mind), but I couldn't really...get it. I could read the words and understand most of them but putting it all together made my brain ache. There are others, though, that found it excellent and were really blessed by it, so don't let my experience put you off. I'll probably go back to it another time when I'm feeling more mentally capable.
Photo by
I really enjoyed reading A Mother's Heart, by Jean Fleming. The first half was so encouraging and convicting, and is probably something I'll be coming back to on a regular basis. The later portion of the book seemed to be more practical memory-making tips, which was less helpful, but still good stuff. I'd definitely recommend this to any mother - brand new or at it a while.
I picked up The Book Thief  on recommendation of a friend, and it was pretty good. Written from the point of view Death during World War 2 in Germany, it was definitely well written and an interesting perspective, but just didn't really grab me. I read to the end, put it down and thought "Okay, what's next?", rather than "Oh, wow!" I'd be interested to see what anyone else thought?
The Help was excellent, of course. Like everyone else this year, I read the book in a couple of days and enjoyed the movie. I'll be reading anything else Kathryn Stockett writes.
My biggest recommendation is, without question, Bonhoeffer. It's big and intimidating, but don't let that stop you - it gives you plenty of time to get to know this amazing man of faith. Based on the title, you kind of already know the ending (Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy), but the path he takes from privileged child of an influential family to a prisoner at the end of a piano wire is worth the investment it takes to read.
So, there we are. So many books, so little time. I guess it's time to get started...:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Multitude Mondays, a day late

I have been deliberately quiet in the blog-o-sphere last week, as I wanted to enjoy this break from the norm as much as possible. It does mean, however, that catching up can take a while...
So thankful for:
  • finding out on Christmas Eve that we are expecting a new little Gayner (watch out world!)
  • finishing all Christmas gifts in time
  • a lovely family walk
  • going to church on Christmas morning
  • even though we had a water leak, it wasn't messy or overly horrible
  • even though I burnt part of our Christmas ham, it was still salvageable and edible
  • even though our water problems meant we couldn't go visit some of our favorite people, we enjoyed spending time together at home:
  • Toby and I saw Sherlock Holmes and had Chick Fil A for dinner (a real treat!)
  • we received a free pull-out couch for our study, and helpful neighbors helped to move it in
  • we received free bunk beds to replace the boys' worn out ones
  • we took the kids to the Walter's Art Museum
  • we spent time organizing our study
  • we went out to breakfast
  • we spent time with my parents and the "Christmas, Round 2" they brought with them!
  • I went shopping with my mom - and found men's pants for $4! I still can't quite get over that one...
  • Her Majesty kindly refunded us money we hadn't known she borrowed - always a nice surprise!
  • In all the joys and blessings of our holiday, I am so thankful that He came - our Emmanuel came to be with us, with me.