Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cilantro Cream Chicken

My Mom asked me for this recipe a long time ago and I feel bad that I am just now posting it, but here it is! Sorry about that Mom! When my parents came to stay with us they offered to watch the kids while Daniel and I went out on a date. I set this recipe out along with the ingredients for my mom to make for them and the kids to eat while we were gone. She really enjoyed it!

Cilantro Cream Chicken

2 T. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (organic is best)
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
2 T. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Brown chicken in oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Remove chicken from skillet. Add cream cheese, whipping cream, lime juice and cilantro to skillet; whisk. Return chicken to skillet. Cover; cook 
on low, heat 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add salt and pepper. 

Banana Surprise Muffins

(James' Favorite)

Yesterday, James and I enjoyed making his favorite muffins together. He just loves these! 

Banana Surprise Muffins
(Makes approximately 36 muffins)

5 c. freshly milled wheat flour 
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 c. olive oil
1/4 c. melted butter
1 c. honey
6 ripe bananas
1 pkg. dark chocolate fun size hershey bars (optional)

Measure dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Add liquids and mix just until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls into greased muffin tins.  Break one square off each hershey bar and drop into each muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. 

* The pieces of dark chocolate will disappear into muffins creating a little surprise for those who bite into them:-). Most of you may want to half this recipe. There are lots of muffin eaters in our family and I like to have enough leftover to put in the fridge for a snack or another breakfast. 

Friday, September 09, 2011

Ever feel that your dreams are just falling apart?

Today is a beautiful, cool day. Just the kind of day I would love nothing more than to sit on my front porch and watch my children run here, there and everywhere exploring the land that we just can't have. Our finances won't allow for it. Our finances won't allow for lots of things... like family vacations. Don't get me wrong. We own a lot of real estate and when we are in our fifties we will cash out and probably be very comfortable.
However, our children will be grown and it will be too late to raise them on a mini-farm and do family vacations because of all their different schedules. At least... maybe we will have enough money to give our children so that they can afford to do things while their children are young! Sometimes it seems that those who work the hardest have  less than people who never did and never will. Daniel worked so hard to get a masters degree in Engineering only to find that it pays very little adn is very difficult to find a job in. He works all the time now, only to have to spend every dime he makes just on living and fixing rental properties. We don't save anything because we can't.  I don't go shopping for clothes, because I can't. No matter how frugal I try to be, it makes no difference. Not exactly the life we dreamed of before we got married! We dreamed of living on a mini-farm in a farmhouse with our 8 kids, having a home business that they could be part of and pouring our lives into our family and serving others on mission trips with our kids. There is no money for any of it. To be honest, We can't even afford to have anymore kids. These were all of my thoughts earlier today, and all of it may very well be true, but here is what I do have!

4 Healthy kids
An adequate house (interior anyway)
A cute kitten
great extended family
The ability to homeschool
Great friends
the ability for my 3 oldest kids to swim.
A God who loves me beyond measure!

And the List could go on........

Thank You God for all that you HAVE given me!

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Rich Brothers are Growing Up but not Apart...

Lauren's Banana Pudding

       I mentioned in an earlier post that our family looks forward to having dessert every Friday night. This is a favorite though certainly not healthy! This is much easier for Grace to make than traditional banana pudding. My younger sister Lauren gave us this recipe. She makes it for her family.
Pictured: Lauren's Banana Pudding made by Grace and I.

You will need:
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 bananas
1 c. sour cream
1 (8oz.) container of cool whip
1 box of vanilla wafers 
3 c. cold milk

       Mix together pudding mix and 3 cups of milk. Add sour cream and then fold in the 
container of cool whip. Layer 1/3 of vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding mixture in glass
dish. Repeat layers twice. Refrigerate several hours.

 *Lauren made this for my Dad's 55th birthday this summer, it is one of his favorites. As you can see in the photo, Grace and I sometimes add a thin layer of extra cool whip on top. 

Lauren and Husband Michael with their kids,  Joseph and Taylor.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Homeschooling with 4 Small Children ~ Part 1

      People ask me all the time  "How in the world can you possibly homeschool with 4 small children?" How can you get anything done?  The answer is... I can't homeschool 4 small children but God can homeschool them through me, when I am willing! I do not believe that everyone needs to homeschool, but I believe with all my heart that this is what God has called ME to do!  I am learning to stand on this promise:
2 Cor. 2:19 ~ But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. so that Christ's power may rest on me."
     I have also learned that when I am in the flesh, I cannot do it and it is better for me to just stop the school day then and there, lest I teach my children the opposite of what am trying my hardest to teach them... how to have Godly Character! I often have to remind myself that I would rather raise children with Godly character than college graduates are who lacking in this area, and if that means I have to cut the school day short and let them play, so be it! 1 John 2:17 says this: "The world and it's desires will pass away, whoever does the will of God lives forever". Children who grow up to have Godly character will lead happy, fulfilled lives. God has shown me that I am more prone to homeschooling in the flesh when I put teaching academics at a higher priority than Godly character. If teaching Godly character is my highest priority, then I will consider the children watching my responses to adversity...when things don't go as planned, the toddler has a meltdown, or their failure to grasp a very simple concept etc. as part of their school and seize the opportunity to model Godly character for their education. I am so thankful that my mother had me memorize 1 Cor. 13 back when I was homeschooled. I sometimes have to mentally repeat verses 4-7 several times a day!

1 Corinthians 13 ~ 

The Greatest Gift
 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there aretongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

     The passage above says it all. I know that without living out the definition of love described for me in verses 4-7, that homeschooling my children is worth nothing. It even says in verse 8 that knowledge will vanish away! It is amazing the joy that homeschooling with 4 small children brings... when I choose to make Godly character and loving one another the primary goals of my children's education!

Psalm 16:11 ~ You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand! 

Summer Swimming 2011

Our Little Swimmers!
           In August of 2010,  The Christiansburg Aquatic Center had it's grand opening here in the New River Valley, boasting an olympic sized, indoor competition pool only 5 mins from our house! We watched (rather impatiently) as the town took about 2 years building the place. Everytime we drove by, the boys begged for swimming lessons. We kept telling them, "no we aren't going to drive to Blacksburg for swimming lessons. You will have to wait until they open the new Aquatic Center".  The place finally opened and Daniel and I quickly got the boys involved in swimming. We loved the fact that swimming was a very useful, individual sport that would teach the boys discipline and hard work! Both were qualities we felt we were struggling to teach them since we lived in the middle of town and didn't have much of yard. They took lessons for several months before joining the H2okie Swim Club last Fall.  
         In addition, the boys greatly enjoyed swimming for the "Christiansburg Aquatic Center - Blue Fins" in the Southwest VA swim league this summer. They had practice 5 mornings a week and worked so hard to place in the Championship at the end of the season. Their hard work paid off. Isaac placed 2nd in the 25 yd. backstroke for the U8 boys division and James placed 2nd in the 25 yd Freestyle for the U6 boys. James also got 1st place by a long shot in the 25 yd. backstroke. However, much to his disappointment, the officials disqualified him for turning his shoulders just before he touched the wall:-(.  He was so excited about his big accomplishment and then we had to break the news to him that he was "DQ'ed".  I was so sad for him! I knew just how hard he had worked! Regardless, The boys had a blast swimming for the Blue Fins and that is all that matters. The team placed 3rd overall at the championship which was huge since this was the first season for the Christiansburg Aquatic Center to even have a team in the SWVSL. I really enjoyed taking the boys to all the practices and so did the girls. Grace got to swim with her friend Charis every morning while Charis' mom and I took turns working out in the gym and watching the girls. I loved how tired all my babies were when we returned home from swim practice:-)

Christiansburg Aquatic Center Blue Fin's Team Picture

Isaac and James were blessed to have Bill Beecher as their Head
coach. Coach Beecher has more than 30 yrs. experience coaching
swimming in the New River Valley. He was a great example
to the boys and taught them to work hard! They were also
coached by a young new swim coach "Seth Donnelly"
(not pictured) who they really liked. 

The boy's good friend Annalia (Charis' big sister) from our church
was also on the team. She and Isaac are
only 2 wks apart and they made friends very quickly
 after we moved back to C-burg in 2008.

The boys got to compete at an outdoor meet for the first time,
I thought it was really neat! 

Pre-Pregnancy Planning

     I have no idea when Daniel and I will be ready for another baby. There are things in our lives we'd like to get in order first (like building or purchasing a home with space inside and outside for gardening, dog breeding and home-educating lots of children:-). In the meantime, I am thanking God for giving me a young head start on birthing our children and I am currently using this time to prepare my body. By God's Grace, I intend to follow this plan on eating and supplementation in hopes of reducing the chance of miscarrying again when the time comes. If you are considering a pregnancy in the future, I highly recommend reading the following 2 articles.

Pre-Pregnancy Preparation

Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

      When I evaluate the diet and supplementation habits that I had leading up to pregnancies #4 and #5,  I find it very easy to see how I miscarried both those babies. We were struggling to jump start our business and diet/nutrition was just something we thought had to go during that season.  I certainly couldn't afford any supplements or raw milk. My doctor also confirmed that my progesterone was low following my last miscarriage and had contributed to the problem. Leading up to pregnancy #6 (Mercy), I tried hard to eat an all organic diet and was prescribed daily high dose vaginal progesterone suppositories.  Needless to say, Mercy was healthy and perfect! However, the amount of time between pregnancy #5 and pregnancy #6 was only 2 months! I see now that I should have changed my diet and prepared my body much further in advance.  I had always cared about nutrition and was already grinding wheat and making real bread, but after having 2 miscarriages, I decided to learn more! I began to read any articles and books I could find and spent time talking to health conscious friends. A few months ago, Daniel and I purchased a share in a cow so we could have access to raw milk. If you are interested in educating yourself about the health benefits of raw milk. You can read about it Here. We are getting 3-4 dozen fresh organic eggs from a farm weekly and I am being careful to eat 2 per day. You can read about the advantages of fresh eggs Here.  I also purchased some natural progesterone cream which I am applying daily and am getting in the groove of a daily supplement regimen which includes:  Supermom Vitamins , Cod Liver Oil, Coconut Oil, and Folic Acid.

     I am still working on our families diet. I do ok providing organic fruits, raw vegetables, fresh ground wheat, raw milk and fresh eggs. However, I am having a harder time making super healthy main entree's for dinner that the kids like and are quick to make. I use only Laura's beef and organic chicken but due to the expense of feeding 6 people (3 are competitive swimmers), that good meat has to be made into some sort of casserole or crock pot dish most of the time and I may add ingredients to those main dishes that our bodies could do without. So, If you have any great, kid friendly, quick, organic main dish recipes you would like to send my way, have at it! We eat dessert when we go to other peoples houses and every Friday night at our house is "Family Night" so I usually make a dessert or we all walk down to Custards Corner for ice cream. I am not going to ask my family give up their Friday night desserts they greatly anticipate, but I am praying for the discipline to eat smaller portions of the dessert myself.  It is hard for me to tell myself no to desserts without having the need to lose weight. Not to mention how much I love Reese Peanut Butter Cups and Ice Cream! However, the heartbreak of miscarriage is not something I ever want to experience again. If you think of it, please pray for me to have the discipline to put the education and knowledge that God has given me into practice! I memorized the following verse to help me on my journey to the best "Pre-Pregnancy Health".

James 4:17 ~ To him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

  That said, I know that God is the one who ultimately controls the womb and how many children I have, but I plan to do my part!

1 Cor. 6:19 ~ 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. 

Recommended  Resources:  Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, The Makers Diet and all other books by Jordan Rubin. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

First Day of School 2011!

 Rich Academy now has 3 students!

Isaac William, Grade 2

Isaac's curriculum overview:

Character ~ (most important subject!) A Childs book of Character Building, IBLP Character sketches,
Phonics ~ A beka, Explode the Code Book
Language ~ A beka
 Spelling ~A beka
Math ~ A beka
Handwriting ~ A Reason for Handwriting
Spanish ~ Muzzy Spanish DVD's
History ~ KONOS, Veritas Press Timeline cards
Science ~ KONOS
Bible ~ KONOS, Miller Books, God made all things strange and slimy, Little visits with God, Awana Sparks

James Daniel, Grade 1

James' Curriculum Overview:

Character ~ (most important subject!) A Childs book of Character Building, IBLP Character sketches, 
Phonics ~ Abeka, Explode the Code
Language ~ A beka 
 Spelling ~A beka 
Math ~ Abeka
Handwriting ~ A Reason for Handwriting 
Spanish ~ Muzzy Spanish DVD's 
History ~ KONOS, Veritas Press Timeline cards
Science ~ KONOS 
Bible ~ KONOS, Miller Books, God made all things strange and slimy, Little visits with God, Awana Sparks

Grace Angela, Grade K4

Grace's Curriculum Overview:

Character ~ (Most important Subject!) A Childs Book of Character Building
Phonics and Numbers ~ A beka K4
Handwriting ~ A Reason for Handwriting K
Spanish ~ Muzzy DVD's
Science ~ KONOS
History ~ KONOS, Veritas Press Timeline Cards
Bible ~ Konos, Miller Books, God made all things Strange and Slimy, Little visits with God, Awana Cubbies

*Note about our curriculum choices, I do not use everything listed at one time. We like to finish as early in the day as possible! 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ben and Shelley Harris' Wedding Reception

 These photo's were taken at Ben and Shelley Harris's wedding reception earlier this summer. It was so beautiful! Ben and Shelley rode in on a horse to the barn their reception was held at and gave their testimony about how God brought them together a little later in life, rather than sooner. They have such a great story! As you can see, Our kids had a blast! Grace was starry eyed and kept telling everyone that Shelley was a princess (wondering if I might have a little girl as excited about marriage and family as I was:-).

 Unbeknownst to us, Isaac had brought his cell phone (my old one) to show his friends:-)

 Grace with Timothy Phlegar
  Daniel and I were part of a house church for the first 3 years of our marriage called "Trading Church" that Ben's family was also a part of. Ben was a little older than Daniel and Bethany about a year younger than me. We always greatly admired their family and the others in the home fellowship. We were able to establish some lifelong friends during that 3 years! Below are some of the old "Trading Church Girls" Left to right: Myself, Kimmy Bears, Bev Taylor and Bethany Harris. I love these 3 girls dearly!

Daniel and I with our sweet little Mercy

 The lovely Bride and Groom of the Evening! Ben and Shelley