Nothing Profound, Just Pigs & Chickens

Back when I was a little girl and was given the task of taking out the kitchen slop (or “compost” if we’re sticking with nice terms) to the farm animals, I never would have guessed that as a thirty-something woman, wife, mom to five, and mompreneur, that this small, menial task would become a favorite~even one of the looked-forward to moments of my day! Because that’s exactly me these past several weeks! I think it can be logically explained though…without assuming that I have gone off the deep end. :) It’s probably has something to do with the constant chatter of little humans around me. Maybe even more, the constant use of technology and social media for communication and business. There’s something so wonderful about leaving the kitchen behind, walking out the door with my little boy in tow, and taking all the scraps from dinner out to those hungry ladies and boys. Everybody needs an escape, quiet moments in the day, right?….and why not escape to the pigs and the chickens!? :)

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The chickens always arrive first. We call for them, and they seem to be most in-tune with their surroundings. They come clucking and picking daintily at the juicy scraps we’ve thrown on the ground. The beautiful rooster with his deep jewel tones, the less-colorful rooster that hatched from a nest full of eggs late last winter, and the hens who keep us supplied with dozens of brown speckled eggs. We lean in over the fence and watch them as they peck and scratch.
If they’re lucky, those chickens may get a few minutes to themselves, but usually, like clockwork, the big Idaho Pasture pigs come without invitation, grunting and barreling their way through to what is *obviously* a snack meant for them. The chickens scatter at first while the pigs eat like, well, pigs. The make all the undesirable noises as they slobber and slurp down everything in their path. The hens eventually settle back in among them, picking daintily at what’s left.

It’s prime teaching time for children of all sizes on why it’s better to be like a chicken than a pig when it comes to table manners and all types of relational interactions. :) Chamberlain and I watch till every piece is gone, and then the show is over. Everyone scatters off into the yard off to the shade of the trees, going back to whatever they were doing before we showed up. We amble back into the house, looking forward to tomorrow and this new-found task. It’s a simple, grounding, uncomplicated part of our day. And there you have it, for the first time in my life, though I was raised as a farm girl till I was ten, I’m officially loving the farm chore of taking out the slop. Funny how life often comes full-circle in the simplest ways.

Apples & Coconut Muesli

Last September Phil and I were gifted with a beautiful weekend at the Terranea Resort in California by Plexus. We had never stayed at anything so gorgeous on mainland USA in our entire lives! Absolutely stunning terrain and ocean views, beautiful weather, amazing food, and with wonderful people too! We were served several delicious meals during our stay, but on one of our free mornings, Phil discovered that the cafe downstairs was serving Bircher Muesli! He was so excited and came back with rave reviews, so the next morning we both got a bowl and enjoyed from our ocean-view veranda.

Now I’m sure the ocean breezes made this breakfast taste even more amazing, but I think it’s safe to say that my duplication of this recipe as best I could has brought rave reviews from our children and others back home too.

So without further adieu…..Musli Terranea // That’s the fancy name we’re giving this simple and delicious variety of muesli. Food like this isn’t easy to find in East Coast Amish country, but we’ve suggested it to our local coffee shop/cafe a few times! I’m pretty sure there are others who would love it as we do! Maybe soon we’ll see it on their menu!?

Now really, there isn’t much you can do to “mess up” muesli. Just add the following ingredients into a bowl and play around with it! For our family of six I usually start with four generous cups of oats. If making for one or two people, I start with one cup of oats.

Almond or coconut milk
Shredded Coconut
Apples finely diced (tart green apples are great, but any on hand will do!)
Favorite Sweetener ~ Honey is amazing, maple syrup is great . . . I usually do a little of either of one of those and then add extra stevia just because my family loves the sweet!
A few drops of coconut extract make this dish taste exactly as it should!

If using regular oats, you can soak at least an hour (or overnight in the refrigerator)… We sometimes use quick oats too because we enjoy the texture and eating immediately. Of course, adjust the amount of milk according to your preference. More milk added as the oats soak of course, and all depending on how “sloppy” you prefer to eat cooked oats or regular cereal.

Let me know how you like it~and if you think a local cafe would be able to see this by the pans-full as the cafe in California does! 😀

Oh, and if you are wondering just WHAT in the world muesli is, THIS ARTICLE some interesting history and recipe ideas as well!

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Trading in My “Somedays” for Today.

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Today I’m jotting down a few thoughts on perfection…and of the letting go enough to live the life I truly want for me and my family. I pray it will encourage you in some way. To live today. The days literally fly by my friends! With five sweet children born to me and my handsome man in ten years, with him making a career change and me starting a business all within the past five years, with homeschooling and picking up after babies and toddlers all day…things I always dreamt of keeping up with and the ideals I wanted to live out..well you can imagine, some things just take a back seat, the back burner, controlled by the tyranny of the urgent!

But somewhere in the middle of these fun, full, beautiful, crazy, colorful days, I keep thinking….We have to DO the things NOW that are going to define our family, build a legacy. We have to do them now, every year, every day, little by little. It’s the little things that add up to make a life. I don’t want to spend my days thinking “someday” and miss being the person I dreamt of being, building the traditions and memories with my family. It doesn’t mean “doing all the things”….but it does mean deciding on a few things that are important to us, letting go of the perfect time to get started with them, and living them now!

First of all, I *adore* this woman as one of my mentors through her books, blog posts and podcasts: Her admonition for Taking Time for a One Woman Retreat and a follow up to that post called How Are You Doing Caring For Yourself? are the perfect reminders to establish little moments into your yearly, weekly, and daily routines to keep your own soul refreshed and alive!!

It’s so important to take moments for rest, dreaming, and appreciating beauty~even in small ways! Sometimes I am able to do this alone (definitely needed!) and sometimes it’s good for me to draw my sons and daughters into those moments. (I’m trusting that this will become easier and more meaningful to them the older they get because honestly sometimes at this age and stage, if there’s more than one of them sharing these “moments” with me, it can be a little chaotic. 😀 ) So, for me currently, this looks like taking just 15 minutes to sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon with a book. Not an hour, not two hours. FIFTEEN MINUTES! See! Letting go of the perfect “someday I’ll have hours of time to read…” and instead taking, yes TAKING, fifteen minutes to rest and refresh! It’s adding value to our lives NOW.

I wanted to share a recent example of how letting go of the perfect has worked out for me. I have had years of perfect scrapbook layouts, printing them off at the end of each year, to record our family “history”. I have also made baby albums for several of the children. But suddenly with “all the babies” and the business and another child entering kindergarten. All of those lovely albums came to a screeching halt. For over two years I’ve been thinking….SOMEDAY I’ll get back to those perfect layouts and make more albums! Someday. Someday. But right now I feel a little overwhelmed with the thought of first organizing all those years of photos taken in the meantime!! And I’ve been frozen into inactivity!

A couple of weeks ago the children pulled out the albums from the past and poured over them for nearly a week. Every waking moment in the family room or in their bedrooms was spent laughing at “how cute we were”, asking questions about faith and why we do certain things (prompted by pictures of my sister’s baptism), and remembering good times and even important people in our lives who have passed away! I decided then and there that I was going to stop waiting for SOMEDAY to print their “perfect” photo books. I’m still planning to make those someday, yes! But in the meantime, I want each of them to have a personal little albums of their baby and toddler years. I decided to do it TODAY.

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The easiest way for me to do that was to print little ChatBooks from my Instagram account! The amazing ChatBooks app allows you to do almost anything you need to do~to print photos from your phone or computer, from Instagram, pull in a few from your computer that aren’t on IG, edit your text, take it off completely, print the date or not….I mean it’s so quick and wonderful!! Not every cute picture that I want to print “someday” is on my IG account, but I decided that with the exception of one birthday photo and another family photo, I wasn’t going to allow myself to add extra photos from my computer….because then I would go down that whole I-need-to-make-this-perfect road and it would take me too long to complete and therefore it wouldn’t get done, defeating the whole purpose….

SO, I did it. Within the space of a few days I had designed and ordered a little album with approximately 100 pictures each for each of my four older children. Imperfect, but FINISHED. (This is a HUGE step for me!! Especially when it comes to photos and words and documentation!!)

BTW, have you watched the HILARIOUS Chatbook mom youtube videos??? I laugh every.single.time. Like~die laughing!! They’ve gone virial~over 50 million views~so I imagine you have!


My quality-time daughter was pouring over her book a couple of days ago and asked if we could snuggle in my bed that night and look through her book together. If you know me, my bed and bedroom are *nearly* holy ground and I don’t share them easily! But oh my goodness. I couldn’t turn her down. So that’s what we did. Flipping through those pages, admiring her as a baby and younger girl, she showed me her favorite pictures, and I got a little glimpse into her heart and a few of her current hopes and dreams! Priceless.

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Oh, and now the other children are each requesting “a night to snuggle in your bed, Momma, and look at my book.” I’m so glad I chose TODAY and not “someday” on that task! That I decided to be OK with imperfect for the joy of sharing these moments with them NOW.

I have other long-time dreams and ideals that I’m circling back around to this year. It’s been pressed upon my heart so strongly that these.are.the.days. to do them! So we’re just getting started on some of those. Maybe in the future I can share! For now, it’s going to take *daily* determination to make these dreams a reality!

Praying for you, my friends! Especially you mothers! May we take the time to choose the BEST dreams God has placed in our hearts, make room for them to grow and bloom…to live the life He has given us. Letting go of perfection and living TODAY!


** The Chatbooks link HERE is an affiliate link. Use it and further my album cause~or not. :) I think you might get a free one out of the deal!? But don’t hesitate to print those pictures TODAY if that’s one of those thing you’ve been meaning to do SOMEDAY. xoxo

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