The Changing of Seasons…Spring gives way to Summer


While spending the majority of my life growing up and living in New England, I never cease to be amazed at the changing of the seasons. I am in awe at the awesomeness of God in seeing the beauty of His Creation and watching it change from one season to the next. Spring is a time of new life and hope as buds burst open, leaves grow on trees and flowers bloom into bright beautiful colors. The pace of life quickens as well with the spring rush of preparing the ground for planting and planting the seeds. The cold days slowly warm until you almost forget what it was like to be freezing as your skins grows warm with the warming sunshine. Now, as we slip into summer, that warmth deepens as the heat intensifies. The little seedlings are now growing fast and giving way to flowers and even small tomatoes growing. The sugar snap peas came, and went almost as fast as they came, wilting and dying in the deep heat of summer. And so did the lettuces…they started out so tender and sweet and now are downright bitter from the deep heat of the summer. So, maybe that is why the old Italians would have cucumber and tomato salads, as lettuce is not often able to be had when the tomatoes and cucumbers are ripe at the end of summer. There is just so much to learn with gardening. So many lessons that extend far beyond companion planting or crop rotation. Lessons of planting little tiny seeds on cold spring days with great hope in your hearts of brighter, warmer, and happier days to come. As those little pea seeds grew into beautiful plants filled with many sweet sugar snap peas, that even my picky four year old would snap off the plant and eat, then those moments of realization came of just why all of those efforts to attempt to grow our own food is just so worthwhile, even when others discourage you from even trying. We have to remember to embrace the little moments in this life as they certainly lead to much joy and fulfillment as we journey on towards our destination.

After a beautiful First Friday spent attending Holy Mass and visiting with friends, my little ones and I spent the afternoon planting sweet potato plants in our garden while a cool rain came down and cooled us off. As the rain began to intensify and poured down on us, we raced to get the rest of the ground turned over with the shovel and dug the holes and planted the plants. Thankfully, it was just a lovely rain storm that God sent us to water the gardens and there was no thunder or lightning to threaten our safety.

The other morning last week, my fourteen year old daughter was inspired to start a batch of yogurt in the Instant Pot. We then decided it was necessary to make homemade granola to go with that yogurt. As that busy day progressed, she proceeded to make lemon cheese, and then went raspberry picking outside our home. We both agreed we needed to turn it into jam and even can it. Although it only made just over two little half pints of raspberry jam, it was worth every minute of that time spent. Seeing my oldest daughter find such joy in creating these simple, but delicious foods that one would ordinarily purchase at a store and make them from scratch, was just priceless! It brought me back in my heart to simpler times, such as the beautiful stories of Ma and Pa, and Laura and Mary and baby Carrie out on the prairie. They knew how to appreciate the changing of the seasons and to cherish each moment that we are all so blessed to have.

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After many weeks of silence, I thought it is due time to write a post. First of all, my love and prayers go out to all of you who are sick, suffering, or mourning the loss of your loved ones. Your suffering and pain are deep right now, and I pray that God may shower you with His Healing, Grace, Joy, and Peace. With all that is happening in the world during this time of great uncertainty and fear, I thought it would be good to gently remind us all, including myself, of the even greater need to trust ever so deeply in Our Heavenly Father, the way a little baby does, completely helpless and utterly reliant on its mother and father for nourishment, nurturing, care, love, and protection. As I was just recently reminded in a beautiful video put on by Jack Beers of Dynamic Catholic, we need to sink deep roots into the ground and connect them to Our Father’s Love. Just the way a tree needs to sink deep roots into the ground to obtain the water and nutrients that it needs to grow. We need to completely, totally, and utterly place our deep faith and trust in God, and in His Love, Mercy, Peace, and Protection from all of the sickness, dangers, and evil that surround us. We need to remember that God is All-Powerful, and He alone has the Power and Ability to change all that is happening around us, and to alleviate all of the suffering around us, and turn it into a time of peace, hope, and healing. So, rather than getting pulled down into the latest statistics of sickness and death, let us remember to lift up our hearts with faith, joy, and peace, knowing that God is in control and that everything will be okay in the end. As my dear friend reminds me, God will bring good out of this time of suffering. He always does. We are not called to be a people of fear, worry, and anxiety, but rather, to be a people of great Hope in Our Dear Savior who suffered and died on the Cross, and then rose again, opening the Gates of Heaven for all those who know Him, love Him, and serve Him. So my friend, be not afraid! Do not fear! Be at Peace, and dig your roots ever so deep into the nourishing soil and life-giving waters of God’s Grace, Love, and Peace. Allow Our Blessed Mother’s Love and Comfort to surround you as She is the Mother of God and the loving, nurturing Mother of us all.

May God Bless you and your families with a Joyful, Grace-filled, Peaceful, and Blessed Easter Season!

A hot, cozy chili on a cold Saturday night…


This past Saturday night, after a long busy day of cleaning, I decided to make one of our family’s favorite dinners. A nice, big pot of cozy, hot chili. Because my oldest children were out visiting at our friends’ home, I decided to implore my next eldest daughter for assistance with this chili. She happily chopped the peppers and carrots, while I sautéed the lean ground beef. I also took on the task of chopping the onions for fear of them making my daughter cry. She reminded me of her Granny’s advice to chew bread while chopping them as it is supposed to lessen the tears, though I didn’t try it this time. After sautéing the ground beef, I added the chopped peppers, carrots, onion, and minced garlic. Once the veggies were soft, I added sea salt, 1 tsp. of chili powder (my nursing baby would likely protest at more), and two teaspoons of cumin powder. Next, I added two cans of Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes, and simmered it all in my favorite Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven. I then cooked up a pot of organic brown rice for a side dish to help fill hungry bellies and round out the meal. Once the chili was done cooking, I added a can of organic cannellini beans and half a bag of frozen corn and cooked it a few more minutes until it simmered nicely and the corn was hot. We served it up with some shredded cheddar cheese and it was a hit, though it was eaten in a quiet house as we all were missing our two oldest children. It’s amazing how empty a home could feel when two children are not there. Thankfully, Our Dear Lord returned them home safely, thanks be to God, and they, too, enjoyed a nice hot bowl of chili each and the life and loudness joyfully returned back to our home.

The Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven, Organic Brown Jasmine Rice, Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes, and Organic Cannellini Beans can all be purchased from As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchasesThank you.

For when you forget your nicely filled water bottles at home…

Interestingly enough, the Sunday after I wrote the last post, our family left behind the bag of nicely filled water bottles while heading out the door for Church. For a nursing mother, being without water is a very difficult thing. Knowing there is no safe, drinkable water, somehow, makes you feel extremely thirsty and in desperate need of water to quench your thirst. Here is where Life Straw bottles enter the picture. We usually try and keep this Life Straw bottle in the back of the van for times when up you need to drink water and you don’t know if the water source is safe. The Life Straw filters out harmful bacteria, parasites, microplastics, dirt and other forms of turbidity, leaving you behind fresh, potable, drinking water. It filters out 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% of parasites, and  99.999% of microplastics. The filtering membrane uses hollow fiber membrane technology in which the microscopic pores are 0.2 microns in diameter. This means, when you drink water, contaminants will be left behind the membrane and only fresh, pure drinking water will pass through. My husband made a quick trip down to the Church Hall that morning, and filled up our Life Straw with tap water from the basement of our Church. Thankfully, it took care of quenching my thirst and my little one’s as well. However, I don’t recommend using it during Mass as it is awfully LOUD when you drink from it. It would be great to have on camping or hiking trips, or for any other outdoor activities that you may need to fill a water bottle with water that may be less pure. I would highly recommend keeping one in the back of your van for times like this.

And speaking of hiking…if you are an avid hiker, I’d highly recommend a brand new book that just came out called “The Seven Strengths of Summiting” by Mark Santino. This book will help you to attain the necessary knowledge of the seven interconnected strengths that will equip hikers with the skills and preparation they need to have a successful trek, whether it’s up Cadillac Mountain or Mount Kilimanjaro. This book, along with the Life Straw, can be purchased from As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

Our Family’s Favorite Water Bottles

I never realized, as I am contemplating it now, just how important a good water bottle is, until I became a Mother. Soon after learning I was blessed with my first born child, it all of the sudden became important to have a good water bottle to drink water from to nourish my body and my growing baby inside. In those early days, with the knowledge I had, Nalgene was the brand I drank from. It was durable, easily portable, and most importantly, non-breakable. I pretty much stuck with my Nalgene until I became aware of the dangers of BPA in plastics and how this and other dangerous chemicals could leach into my precious drinking water, and thus into our bodies. My love for the stainless steel bottle was then born. Even with my little ones, we made the switch from those cute and colorful, inexpensive plastic sippy cups to the Thermos Foogo Brand, which sometimes seemed to break the bank when needing to buy several of these or replace their parts. Thankfully, I do remember Thermos being so good about selling and sending replacement parts for their cups. Although it seemed to cost a fortune, I knew our choice of stainless bottles would be the best option for my children’s health, as well as for keeping plastics out of land fills and contaminating our environment.  As the years went on and the need for more and more sippy cups grew, so did the size of my little ones and their need for bigger and bigger water bottles. We then moved on to another trusted Thermos product, the nice big stainless steel bottles. They lasted for years, not too offended by their many bumps and dents on them. They were a safe container to carry my husband and my daily water as well as my older children’s. But then came a new worry…Just how do you identify whose water bottle was whose? We would be off on a road trip down to the hospital for a midwife visit almost two hours away, and when someone was thirsty, I’d have to just guess whose bottle was whose. I used to just hand them out and try and let the children keep track of their own bottle. I even attempted to write on the broken bottoms with a Sharpy. But alas, that would disappear after a run or two through the dishwasher. And then another concern, the bottles were just plain….well, PLAIN. They just didn’t look pretty, didn’t brighten a room, and I certainly couldn’t tell them apart when they were sitting on the kitchen table and trying to figure out who they belonged to. Now, enter my dear, favorite water bottle….Well, first let me tell you how I was first introduced to it. During a trip to TJMaxx, while looking through the cooking aisles, my eyes saw a lovely sight, a bright, cheerful pink silicone covered glass water bottle. The brand name was Life Factory and it was actually made in France, not another country known for its less than top-quality products which tend to break or fall apart soon after purchasing them. Hmm, I thought to my self. I could really use another water bottle. So, that was how it all began. Thanks to, I have since purchased a different color of these beautiful Life Factory water bottles for each member of my dear family. Gone are the days of not knowing whose water bottle was whose and starring at those drab, dented stainless bottles (though they did get the job done, so I can understand if you’re still a fan of them). Hello are the days where my table is graced with the beauty of the lovely, colorful silicone covered glass bottles that Life Factory so carefully produces. Now, carefully, that is a word that reminds me of one bit of sage advice…You must handle these bottles CAREFULLY. You shouldn’t drop them on your hardwood floors, or worse, the asphalt driveway. You shouldn’t wrench them into or out of your dishwasher without expecting the need to replace them. Oh, and you shouldn’t fill them with delicious, ice-cold well water when they just came out of a piping hot dishwasher, okay? And lastly, you shouldn’t leave them in your van when the temperatures are expected to drop below freezing. Otherwise, you could expect to replace yet another of them on Amazon, which, trust me, I’ve had to do more times than I’d like to admit. So, there you have it, our family’s favorite water bottles that can be color-coded to each child. No longer will you have to hear, “Which glass is mine on the table?” Your children will be able to look from a distance and see their happy, brightly-colored water bottle and quench their thirst with life-giving water. And as for the benefits of drinking water, well, that’s for another post.

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Welcome to Our Farm


The cast iron bread pans we use are Camp Chef Home Seasoned Cast Iron Bread Pans. They are not only beautiful to look at, but they are solid, durable, and made to last a lifetime. You won’t need to worry about where you are going to put down your piping hot glass loaf pan that you just took out of the oven for fear of it shattering if an ounce of moisture touches the glass. Cast iron beats glass for baking any day! The cast iron skillet we use is Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. They both can be purchased from As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

Making Bread with a Bread Maker

Part of living this Homesteading life, is learning how to create things with your hands made from scratch. Years ago, when my children were quite young and I was very conscious of what foods we were consuming and reading labels to avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, I sought out recipes and various cook books to try to make nutritious, made from scratch foods to create child-friendly dishes with maximum nutritional value. One of my early ventures as a young mother was learning to master the art of making bread. For a long time, I used an old recipe that I found from a Cooking Light Magazine that my sister passed along to me. I still remember the title of the recipe. It was called “Marion’s Baguettes”. I used that recipe so much that I had it taped to the wall behind my Kitchen Aid Mixer, so that I could make it with ease. If any of you know of this recipe, please send it to me as I would love to make this beloved recipe again that has been misplaced after all these years. That was the beginning of my bread making venture. Since then, after having more babies and as free time began to gradually lesson, I turned to getting an electric bread maker to help make this Mama’s life easier. I used the Cuisinart Bread Maker for a while until I somehow misplaced its dough hook, for the second time. Why is it that those important kitchen tool accessory pieces often seem to disappear? Anyhow, I took a break in bread making for a while, only to have to purchase loads of loafs a week to feed my hungry growing family. After our grocery bills began to steadily increase, I once again realized the need to start baking from scratch again. That, and the fact that store bought whole wheat bread just tasted plain awful. In fact, the only way to make it taste better was to slather it with butter and make grilled cheese, something which I just couldn’t do every single day. Especially since a couple of my children were allergic to cheese and other milk products at the time. Store bought whole wheat bread fried in coconut oil and a few slices of ham, just didn’t cut it for a yummy lunch for my growing boys. After a while of doing more research and reading more cook books, I finally landed upon the famous, “Artisan Bread in Five” recipe by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. I simply loved the ease of which to create delicious artisan bread from scratch with just a few simple ingredients. My children loved enjoying hot, homemade bread from the oven again. The biggest test was that my husband actually ate it and even enjoyed it, which to me was a huge success. But, as life for a Mama of a busy, growing family continues to change in each season, the need for a new bread maker became apparent just before having my seventh baby. A dear friend of mine recommended the Zoijrushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus. Though the price tag was hefty, the amount of money we’d be saving by not having to buy store bought bread was tremendous. So, a new adventure of simplified bread making began. This time, though, I finally had help. I trained my eldest daughter how to add the ingredients and set the bread machine controls. Low and behold, after a busy morning of household chores, mountains of laundry, and loads of school work, we were pleasantly overcome with the delicious smell of homemade bread that was ready, usually, in time for lunch. Rather than the “What’s for lunch, Mommy”, and me trying to dig in our over crowded fridge and try and find an edible left over that hasn’t gotten hidden in the back for weeks and identified more like a science experiment, I was able to confidently say with a smile, “Homemade bread, my dear, with butter, homegrown eggs or cheese and fruit.” So this, my friend, can be a great lifesaver if you are in the busy season of life with many little ones to care for, mountains of laundry and dishes to do, and very little time for anything else. Because there is nothing like homemade hot bread and butter at home, no matter how it was made.

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