Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why we LOVE cloth everything!

I love cloth things, I like the way they look, I like the way they work, I like that they are inexpensive, I like the way you never run out of them and I like the way they are green/earth friendly! In fact in our home almost anything you can buy as a paper product we use a cloth version.

Okay so confession time, when I was a young girl I used to think cloth hankies were so gross. It was one of those things that I told myself, "when I grow up I will NEVER be using one of those!" In my adult years, if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that I should "never say never!" Do you know why? Because most of the time when I do say it, I end up doing that very same thing. It is very humbling to face someone and admit you did a "never" who says, "I thought you said you would NEVER do that."

Anyway we are talking about my obsession with all things cloth. My mom made us, when we were first married, a huge set of cloth napkins. I can't tell you how many times when we have people over to eat they ask if they can use them or if they are for decoration! They are so pretty, and I find that it doesn't take as many to do the same job as a paper one so, less waste and I don't ever have to worry about running to the store because we have nothing to wipe our hands and faces on at dinner time.

Same for paper towels. We have microfiber towels that I use to wipe up messes on my counter. This one bothers my husband a little as he often uses them to see if seeds will germinate and I don't like doing that with the cloth because of molding. We have been using a mason jar sprouter which works okay for that purpose.

Yes, I do now use hankies instead of tissues. They are a big money saver and come in nice colors and patterns. Besides it is so cute to see my almost one year old son pick up a hankie and pretend to blow his nose, even if it is not runny. Funny kids :)

I have to say probably the biggest money saver we have in the cloth department is diapers. The average child goes through 8,000 diapers before they are fully potty-trained and according to the EPA all those diapers are estimated to take 550 years to decompose in a land fill! That is probably what most of our landfills are if you think of all the babies that are born in the US. So not only is it cheaper, and way more earth friendly, but they are so cute! All the bright colors and patterns that cloth diaper have now are just adorable on your baby's sweet bum. Honestly they are not really that hard to use either. I have used mainly two different kinds and and they are very simple, all Velcro and snaps, so no need to worry if you don't like the thought of pins.

We also use cloth wipes and they do a much better job than the ones that you buy in the store. Plus you don't have to worry about having harsh chemicals right against your babies bottom. It also happens to be a good character builder for my two year old, as it is her job to stack the clean wipes out of the dyer. She really enjoys having a job that really helps mommy and that she can do all by herself.

With all this cloth in our house you probably think I do a lot of extra laundry. Actually for our family of 4, with only one in diapers now, I do 1 load of napkins, towels and hankies and 2 loads of diapers a week. Not bad at all. I really don't notice it as it is a part our weekly routine now. I feel good about not spending the grocery money on napkins, paper towels, diapers and wipes. It just frees up my grocery list for more money toward good old fruits and veggies and more organic options. It lessens our impact on the earth, and hopefully leaves it a little better off for my children!

I hope to in the next couple weeks go into some of these cloth options a little more in depth.
                                                  Give cloth a chance and never say never :)
The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Time to Reconect and Remember What is Important

There are some things that I sometimes take for granted in life and one of those things is my spouse.  We live in the same house, share the same meals and enjoy our children but by the evening, after we put those little ones to bed and it is just us, we sometimes either end up either going to bed ourselves, or stay up and do the work that was pushed off during the day.  There is not much "us" time in a week and part of that, I hate to admit, is due to poor planning and lack of effort.

We were able to get away this Valentines Day weekend to spend it together at a Weekend to Remember conference in Hershey. It was a very needed time to reconnect with each other just talking, and not about our kids or work, but about us. Every marriage needs maintenance, now how that looks for you may be different than us, but we all need it the same. Just like you can't expect your car to run great forever if you never take the time to maintain it, eventually things breakdown.

Being young parents to two kids 2 and under with another one coming down the line and a business and home to run it is an extremely rewarding but exhausting life right now. We both have different things that bother us and different needs. This combined with not enough time spent praying together and studying God's word as a couple and the spiritual side of our relationship was causing us to need a tune up.

As a result of our discussions and quality time spent together we decided there are a few things that I/we are going to work on in order to make each other happier and keep our marriage healthy and vibrant.
  1. We need to pray with each other every day. Even if it is short, it is hard to stay mad at a person you are praying for.
  2. We need to spend time looking into God's word as a couple; maybe even keeping accountable by being in a study with a group of other couples. Learning together and growing together in grace.
  3. I need to stop using "you" statements and start using more "we" statements, and decide if the issue is even worth bringing up.
  4. I need to make a regular, daily habit of encouraging and praising my husband in the good he is doing.
  5. I need to relinquish my spirit of fear and desire to have control of my life and realize that God is the one in control, and he loves me and has great plans for me and my family.
It was such a blessing to talk and just spend time together as a couple, it reminds us why we started on this adventure in the first place. We both wanted to live a life that honored the Lord, we wanted a marriage that was a picture of the love Christ has for us, and family that loves each other and blesses those around them. I pray that we can live up to these high goals; with God all things are possible!

May the Lord richly bless and protect your marriages, as Satan wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy those things that the Lord takes delight in. Don't take your spouse for granted. Show love and grace to them even if you don't feel like they deserve it at the time. God loved us while we were unlovable, I need to show that kind of love to Joshua. Take the time to have real conversations about what is going on in your spirit with your spouse because the battle is not just with the flesh and blood but with the spirit realm as well.

1 John 4:7-10 
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

                                                               The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This Weekend is Valentines Day!

This is a special time of year for me as Valentine's Day four years ago started a whole new chapter in my life. Josh and I had been courting for a little over a year, and while we had our ups and downs things were going good and we were getting to know each other better through life and the situations that pop up with it. This is often the best way to see what a persons true character is; being with them during a trying or difficult time.

At any rate this was to be a special day for us as Josh had made plans and this was going to be one of the rare times that we were going to go on a date without other people or family with. Part of our courtship was that we wanted to be held accountable by other believers and family, so we could maintain a relationship that wouldn't defraud the other person emotionally or physically. If we decided our future together was not fitting in with God's will we would have minimal heartbreak to carry on to future relationships.

He had told me we were going to go out for breakfast, as that is our favorite meal of the day, and there would be some other surprises along the way. Little did he know that there were more surprises than he planed!

The bad news started when my Dad, who owns his a cleaning business, had his employee call off sick. I was working for him at the time so guess who was going to have to fill the slot? Surprise, you guessed it me! So I called Josh to let him know that breakfast was not going to happen as the job was in the morning and at a farm 40 min away. His reply was not frustration just," Ok can I come with? All farmers like to talk to other farmers." This is such a true statement. I didn't even know then but boy I do now! So Josh called the farmer and asked if it was alright if he came with and talked to him about farming. Turned out when my Dad and I finished cleaning we had cut the farm tour short so we could get on the road and finally go for our special day. Never underestimate that farming bond!

When we got back to my house I started to get ready and while I was doing my hair Josh came in to tell me that the surprise was we were going to fly in a private airplane to go to breakfast! I had never been in a "little" airplane before so this was going to be really neat. However we got a call from the pilot and he informed Josh that the weather was so windy that I may never want to go flying again. So surprise! We decided to drive instead.

After getting lost on the way to our resort breakfast/brunch we finally arrive at 3:30 in the afternoon. We go in and everything is dark and the employee is sweeping up the floor. Not really what we were expecting, then we found out that the restaurant closed at 3pm. Surprise! We had to switch gears again and go to a different place for our lunch/dinner at this point. You would think with basically everything NOT going as planned Josh would have been really frazzled at this point, maybe upset or dicouraged, but nope he was just rolling with the punches and I was watching.

I took a break to fix my hair in the bathroom and while I was busy Josh discovered a gorgeous ballroom that was completely empty except for the fountain, soft music and skylight roof with the stars just comeing out. He went to the front desk and asked if it would be ok for us to be in there because the last thing he wanted at this point was to get dragged out by our collars and told to go home. They said yes and when I came out he showed me the amazing space that was just ours to spend this special moment together. We went down to the fountain and sat down and talked for a little then I asked, "so now what?" That is when he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! I knew that beyond a doubt, no matter what happened in our lives after this, I was going to be with a man who didn't sweat the small stuff and just let the Lord have His way.

So while things didn't go the way we planned God had better things in mind. If we would have come in the morning that whole beautiful room would have been packed with people eating breakfast, the stars wouldn't have been out, and I would not have gotten to see how calm my then future husband is in difficult circumstances when things just don't go our way. It is one of the many traits that I treasure in him. The best surprises are orchestrated by God, we just have to trust Him and go along for the ride!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Baby is Turning One, How Did That Happen?

It is so crazy how time goes so slow with your first child, you always seem to be waiting. First of all waiting for them to arrive, waiting for them to talk, waiting for them to roll, then crawl, then walk. I was always checking to make sure that she was keeping up with all the other children her age with developmental milestones. We were always taking pictures and video of all these "firsts" and documenting them for posterity.
Then I had my second child and suddenly everything is coming way too fast. I was almost caught off guard, because I had my sweet angel first child to keep me so busy and occupied that I lost track of time. He was even born before we were really ready, I had him 20 min after arriving at the midwife. We would have had him in the truck if we didn't drive so fast. That is really part of his personality too. When he is ready for something (like food or a nap) he wants it fast! I am developing my patience as he develops his.
It really hit me yesterday as it was February the first that my baby was going to turn one in just one month exactly! How did that even happen, he just learned to crawl a month ago and is learning new words and signs every day but he can't be turning one?
Well with only a month to go we have to get ready to party because we love to celebrate birthdays!
For Boaz's first birthday we are going to do a music theme because my little boy loves to jam! Every time he hears a tune he starts rocking and smiling; and if he can make a noise with something he is playing with then it is even better!
We have started making his pinata because as my daughter says, "we need a pinata for a birthday momma!" Plus what is more fun then getting to play with paste and ripping up daddy's old Lancaster Farmer news paper? I think she was feeling a little guilty about ripping up daddy's paper so she told him as soon as he came in the door from work, he of course didn't mind :)

We decided on making a guitar pinata so first thing we needed to do was trace out the shape on 2 pieces of cardboard and cut them out.

Then we taped some little balloons in between the two cardboard cut outs and put some tape on the sides to keep it from wobbling.

Next is the fun part, making paste I used 2 parts water to one part flour to make the glue. Then we ripped up an "old" Lancaster Farmer into strips and started to cover our guitar. We did about 4 layers then I cut a little hole in the side to pop the balloons and make a place for the strings to hang it up with.

We did about 3 more layers then put some colored tissue paper around the sides and decorated the front with colored paper and voila!

A pinata that I didn't have pay an arm and a leg for that can also be used as a party decoration. I like to put the money into the goodies to stuff it with, like boxes of raisins or crasins, squeezable fruit packs, granola bars and some fun toys. I try to keep away from having too much candy and we found things like goldfish crackers do not fare well in pinatas.

It is really hard for me to realize that my little "Boss" is turning one soon, so I am enjoying all the snuggles and cuddle time now while I still can!