Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Man

How do I love my husband? Let me count the ways.
  • He is intentional about relationships. He loves with his whole heart. He rejoices with his friends and weeps with them, too. He isn't afraid to say "I love you" from one man to another. (top pic, J and Uncle Copas with the big boy at ten months old. bottom pic, the big boy and one of J's best friends, Matt)

  • He doesn't lose it when our kids lose it. He doesn't lose it when I lose it. He stays cool, calm, and collected. He delights in our children. Sometimes, we laugh when they cry. See below.

  • He loves me unselfishly. My husband is a servant. It is not uncommon for me to come home from running errands and find the house straightened and kitchen cleaned. He knows I love order and cleanliness, but I'm busy with our three babes and the house is not my top priority. :) He used to do this same thing for his Mom when he lived at home. And, I have to mention, my husband has great parents. The selflessness was learned by the example his parents set before him. He always puts me and the kids before himself. J with the parentals at his 30th birthday part-ay.
  • He lets me talk his dang ears off. I can talk the paint off a wall and my sweet, somewhat introverted husband asks the best questions and listens to my 30 minute long answers.
  • He gives great hugs.
  • He still opens my car door when we go on dates.
  • He tells me I look good almost every single day.
  • He likes the way I dress.
  • He lets me decorate our house the way I like it with few exceptions.
  • Even when we didn't have much extra cash, he still let me spend a little mulah on things to make our home beautiful because he knew that mattered to me.
  • He will sit and play with the big boy for hours.
  • He won't let our baby girls wear two piece bathing suits. Ever. When I was pregnant with the twins, I brought home two 6 month sized mini skirts. My man thought they were a little too short. :)
  • He is a man of courage. He doesn't shrink back at a challenge.
  • He prayerfully makes decisions and moves in faith.
  • He constantly reminds me to look at the bigger picture. That Jesus is our hope, our life, our love.
  • He doesn't talk bad about people and he won't let me either.
  • He reminds me to have hope, even when my prayers seemingly go unanswered.
  • His biggest fear is not following Jesus.
  • He is not materialistic.
  • He is committed to being in community with other believers.
I could go on and on and I already have a bit.

Thank you, J, for being a wonderful husband and selfless father. Thank you for following Jesus. The more I know you, the more I love you. You are a dream.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ice Cream Cones and Cupcakes

Last week sometime, I heard our little guy yelling in distress, "Mommy! Help me! Waaawwaaawaaa....." over and over. Our son rarely cries from pain, so I knew he was either mad, scared or hurt. I found him the pantry.

He had climbed up the shelves to get this out of the box.

I found him like this. He was stuck.

I made some yummalicious cupcakes last week. They were quite good...fresh orange cake with whipped cream/buttered rum frosting. Found the recipe in my newest cookbook...thanks, Ma, for the Southern Living Cookbook circa 1989. My Mom has fed my addiction to cookbooks by purchasing me the Southern Living cookbooks year by year as she finds them at estate sales.

I also repurposed my cookie scoop...two scoops make the perfect cupcake. Check it out. I love kitchen tools that save time and create more fun for moi.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Like Buttah

At long last, here's my post about how I churn my own butter. Let me start this by saying that if you know how to turn on a blender, you can make/churn butter. It is super simple and easy. Here's how:

First off, I start with some yummy raw milk. By raw, I mean, unpasteurized, nonhomogenized, straight from the cow's teat milk. Why would I drink raw milk? There are many great reasons. You can go here if you'd like to read them. Our fam has been drinking raw milk for about three months now. I wasn't a believer at first, but now I am. This is the longest period in the girl's lives that we have not been to the doctor for any sick child visits. Our big boy no longer says that his tummy hurts after he drinks a glass of milk. Anyhow, you can make butter from heavy cream bought at K-Roger or any other local grocer, but I've only done it with raw milk. First, I skim the cream off the top of the milk. Forgive me for not having a picture of the milk with the cream separated at the top. I grab a soup ladle and get out as much yummy cream as I can and put it in my trusty blender. Then, I plug my blender in, turn it on high and let it run for 3-5 minutes or until the cream looks like this:

You can see the butter is kind of spongey and it has separated from the buttermilk. Then, I pour the contents of the blender over a fine mesh strainer and give it a few minutes to drain. Next, I take the butter and form it into a ball (or two) using my hands and immerse it in a bowl of ice water. I let it sit there for just a minute till it hardens (this makes it easier to work with) and then I squeeze it till I get out as much of the buttermilk as I can. This takes just a couple minutes. I usually divide the butter in half so that I can squeeze more buttermilk out of each piece more effectively. Here is the result:

Note I've already generously salted my butter pieces with coarsely ground sea salt. I am a huge fan of sea salt. It's all we have around here. It's salt that tastes great and it is actually good for you (loaded with trace minerals and doesn't dehydrate your bod). Then, I stirred the butter and salt together. For this post, I decided to pipe my butter through a pastry bag to make it pretty. It turned out not so pretty and kind of snakey:

On the left is my homemade butter made from free-grazing, mostly grass and grain fed cows. On the right is my regular ole great value butter. Note the difference in the color. The butter I made is more yellow because the cows were eating lots of new, green grass, which is another nutritious benefit. Oh, and are you wondering why butter is better than margarine? Just read this.

Since I am not one to waste anything, I save my buttermilk.

This buttermilk is great in fruit smoothies, recipes that call for buttermilk, or as an agent used to soak grains. I'll get into grain-soaking later. I don't want overwhelm you all with grain-soaking, butter and raw milk all in one post. :)

So, that's how I make butter. We eat it and it's good. It's real good. Don't forget the salt. This kid likes butter, too. He wouldn't eat it till I started making it. :)

If you are wondering where I get my raw milk, leave me a comment and your email address.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Contest Winner

Sorry so late, peops.

Leslie Smittle wins the Millionaire Next Door! YAY, Leslie!

Email me your address and I'll send the book your way!

Posts to come:
tutorial on butter making
family pictures
fresh orange chiffon cupcakes with whipped cream/buttered rum icing (delish)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I heart Dave Ramsey

It is with great joy that I post the following:

We're DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!

After two years of enveloping it month after month and counting our pennies we no longer have any debt aside from our house. Thanks to my wonderful pal, Mar, I read the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey a couple years ago. I told my baby-dad all about it and being the frugal nerds that we are, we jumped right on board. The Lord has completely provided every single dime it took to get us out of debt. We have always tried to see the money in our bank account as His money and to hold onto that money with open hands. Our main debt was my student loan...after four years of being a mom, five years of having a Bachelor's Degree and a mere three months of using my degree in the work force, I am so glad to be rid of that dang student loan. It followed me around like a dark cloud and now it's gone, baby, gone! So, to celebrate this wonderful, bless-ed event, I am giving away a copy of the Total Money Makeover to a randomly selected commenter. If you already own a copy of TMM, I will be happy to give you another book that spurred me on over the last two years: The Millionaire Next Door. These two books, (along with the B-i-b-l-e) really kept me on track financially during our debt payoff. I have a picture of me clicking the mouse to pay off our debt electronically that I planned on posting, but like a dork, I am holding up the statement from my student loan that includes all kinds of personal information that does not need to be broadcast via blogger. If you want to know how we did all this debt paying off business, leave me a question in the comments or shoot me an email.

Winners will be announced sometime Thursday. No entries accepted after midnight Wednesday. Peace.