Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Nations Die

(I'd like to present another thought-provoking post from my dear husband.)

One of the most eye-opening topics that I discuss in my law enforcement courses deals with the downfall of great empires and nations. We study the social control systems used by the Babylonian Empire, Hebrews, Egyptians, Greek, Roman Empire, French and the British Empire. All of these nations once dominated most of the world. As with all world superpowers, they eventually collapsed.

In 1994, John Nelson Black wrote a book entitled “When Nations Die: The Warning Signs of a Culture in Crisis.” In this book, Black examines the history of the world’s former dominate nations and identifies common features that signaled their eminent doom. The following 10 problems began to plague each of these nations just prior to their collapse: (my comments follow each)

1. A Crisis in Lawlessness

While many may point to the lawless behavior of citizens, I would point out the lawless behavior of our elected officials and judges. Too many bureaucrats operate with complete disregard for the Constitutional limitations placed upon them by our Founding Fathers. Our court system freely legislates from the bench, with a single judge overturning the majority of voters in a state. State sovereignty is for all practical purposes a thing of the past and we allow the government to do things that would never be tolerated if committed by the average citizen. Instead of respecting our Constitution, too many in our government view the Constitution as an out-dated obstacle that must be ignored for the sake of a progressive agenda.

2. Loss of Economic Discipline

Our government continues to accumulate an alarming amount of debt. In less than 2 years, the Obama Administration has raised our national debt to over 13 trillion dollars. Obama racked up more debt in 421 days than the Bush Administration did in 4 years following the start of 2 wars. CBS News has reported that our national debt will surpass our total national economy in 2012. In other words, it is becoming impossible for our nation to ever get out of debt. It doesn’t require an economics degree to see that our growing debt, combined with new expenses such as national health care, has become unsustainable. Social security is already paying out more than it brings in. Our government’s addiction to spending other people’s money has caused our nation’s economy to become the largest pyramid scheme ever devised, and we’re watching it collapse like a house of cards.

3. Rising Bureaucracy

The government gets bigger and bigger each year, continuing to encroach on our freedoms. Congress and state legislatures pass thousands of new laws each year, almost never repealing old laws. We are living in an increasingly legislated society. EVERYTHING is regulated in some way. Prior nations could not comprehend the amount of bureaucracy we live under today. Author and radio host Mark Levin refers to those promoting this rising level of bureaucracy as “statists.” Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm said it best with the title of his 2007 book “Everything I Want To So Is Illegal.”

4. Decline of Education

While we continue to spend more and more money on public education each year, our country continues to have high drop-out rates, violence in schools, “dumbing down” of curriculum and high school graduates who are illiterate. As a college instructor, I am horrified at the lack of basic fundamentals (reading, math, history, writing) expressed by my students. Many public schools have become nothing more than social clubs and politically correct recruitment centers. Students can’t read, do math or understand our nation’s history, but they are experts on the topics of global warming, sexual liberation, web-surfing, and who’s who among Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes.

5. Weakening of Culture Foundations

A major issue within the weakening of culture foundations is the loss of a common language. As a society becomes multi-lingual, cultural divisions grow. This is further harmed as those within a nation begin rejecting a common national bond, instead seeking identification with outside cultures. Instead of calling oneself an “American”, it is now trendy to be identified as a hyphenated-American. Multi-culturalism has replaced the melting-pot philosophy. Immigrants are no longer encouraged to assimilate, but rather to hold on to the values of their former homeland. We are a nation divided by various cultures who have no desire to respect the founding principles that made this country strong.

6. Loss of Respect for Tradition

While there are many examples of this, let’s use an issue important to our family.. natural foods. Not only have most people lost respect for the way food was grown, raised and prepared just a few decades ago, but they support efforts to prohibit traditional farming and ranching. There are organic farmers being sued by chemical companies for planting crops that have been contaminated by a neighbor’s “big ag” farm. Dairy farmers are even being arrested by health departments and the USDA for selling unadulterated pure milk. People are laughed at if they refuse to soak their garden in every poisonous substance known to man. Modern cattle farmers actually believe that cows are supposed to eat corn feed and not grass. How in the world were crops grown and livestock raised before the big chemical companies came about? Oh how soon we forget the traditions of our past.

7. Increase in Materialism

One of the primary reasons Americans are in so much debt is our obsession to own the newest electronic gadgets and latest clothing fashions. It is like we are in a contest to see who owns the most toys before we die. How many Americans struggle to make their mortgage, grocery and utility payments, yet seem to have every entertainment and communications gadget. Only in America do we have people considered below the poverty line who own 2 vehicles, multiple flat-screen TVs, Blackberries, lap-top computer with Internet, satellite channel service, video game units and closets full of clothes.

8. A Rise in Immorality

With many of these lost nations, sexual perversion was prevalent just before their collapse. Multiple sexual partners, homosexuality and pedophilia were common practice. Today, it seems everything is dominated by sex, homosexuality is now considered trendy and cool, sodomy is now a civil right and the courts are ruling in favor of gay marriages.

9. Decay of Traditional Religious Beliefs and Rise in Alien Religions

Since the 9/11 attacks just 9 years ago, I have witnessed what I consider to be one of the most bizarre religious transformations in the history of the world. Instead of “mainstream” Americans becoming more cautious of Islam, it is instead being embraced and defended. The number of Americans identifying themselves as Muslim is skyrocketing. In addition to traditional Islam, the radical “Liberation Theology” religions of pastors such as Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan (which are closely associated with Islam) are spreading out of the urban areas and prisons and throughout the country. Our own President has stated we are no longer a Christian nation and has described the United States as one of the largest Muslim nations in the world. The media and politicians are constantly telling us that Islam is a “religion of peace” and we must be tolerant of the growing influence of Muslims in our country. I’m sorry, but following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, if FDR would have gotten on the radio and described Japanese Shinto as a religion of peace and called for tolerance, he would have be hauled off to a mental hospital. I would suggest everyone start familiarizing yourself with Islamic Sharia law now so you’ll be ahead of the game when you’re living under it.

10. A Decline in Values and Loss of Respect for Human Life

This loss of respect begins with the most vulnerable, the very young and the very old. Euthanasia, infant abandonment, and primitive forms of abortion were becoming common with these nations. When someone becomes inconvenient, just get rid of them. Grandma is getting old, just pull the plug. Have an unwanted pregnancy, just get an abortion. With stem cell research, you can even get paid to have an abortion.

In Conclusion:
Needless to say, it doesn’t require a degree in history or political science to quickly recognize that we suffer from all 10 symptoms. Is it too late to divert from this doomed path? If we resign to the belief that most people have no interest in changing our direction, then what do we do in the meantime? Not a pleasant issue to ponder, but I assure you, ignoring this issue will not make it go away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Weekend On The Homestead

First off, I guess I should start by showcasing the two newest members of the farm. Apparently, someone decided to gift us with (otherwise known as "dump") these two cute little kittens. Fortunately, we didn't have any and could use a couple of mouse-cats in the barn, so we're going to go ahead and keep them. The kids, or course, are in love with them. So, we now have an orange little boy kitten and a black/white little girl names yet. They're slowly getting used to us and getting braver, wandering out from their hiding spot more and more. Shawn's even gotten to touch both of them.

This week Shawn's manly new manual saw came in. I say it's manly because, wow, it looks big and "beefy" (that's a word my brother made know "beefy," big and stout, makes a man grunt like a caveman when he sees it). Shawn went down to the woods to get some firewood, and the kids just had to go, which meant that I had to go because Shawn can't watch 3 kids and cut firewood at the same time. So, we all trekked down to the woods.

Shawn got to work on the firewood

The kids and I took off for the trails in the woods

We made it to the Mule Pond, and the kids found the "Look Momma, the most huge leaves in all the world!" They were proud of them. Of course, after the picture, they got dropped to the ground.

This is how they came running out of the woods, hand in hand. Sam being the big brother and helping them find their way out.

Andrew and I were walking on the paths later, and we heard Sarah saying to Sam, "Momma's coming Sam! Hurry, hide!"

Apprently, if they can't see us, then it's a good hiding spot!

Oh, how many times a day do I see this image?

Shawn's woodpile is growing. You can see the small bow saw he was using compared to the big manly saw he has now. He says the new saw is so much more efficient.

Here are my country kids on Sunday. Sarah's eating an apple she picked from one of our apple trees and Drew is giving her a leisurely ride around the yard while she eats. See their jackets? It was downright chilly on Sunday. I spent a large part of the day pulling out the kids' fall/winter clothes and putting away summer things.

So, there you go, our weekend on the homestead. It was uneventful and productive...just the way I like it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why You Should Avoid Artificial Food

PLEASE open up the link below.

It's a link to a blog that I view on a regular basis. The post goes over a science experiment that a teenager did. The teen took wheat berries and soaked them in different mixtures before planting them. She used different food colorings, aspartame, and finally a control group in water. Then she planted the wheat and monitored the growth progress of each. It's amazing to see in the photograghs how food colorings and aspartame effected the growth of the wheat.

So, my question is...if simple wheat berries are effected this negatively by artificial dyes and sweeteners, what does that mean it is currently doing to your body?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fitting Two Pieces Together

Sometimes I feel like the blog is getting pulled in a multitude of directions. We discuss recipes, homesteading, autism, healthy eating, and preparedness/survival in addition to other odds and ends.

I mentioned in a previous post that we're gearing up to start the GAPS diet in October. Our primary reason for doing this is that (I pray) it will help Sam's autistic behaviors and Andrew's belly troubles. However, us doing the GAPS diet is also a preparedness measure. You see, the idea behind the GAPS diet is not that it's a permanent way of eating. The diet eliminates certain foods for a time in order to give the gut time to heal. After healing has occurred, then you can reintroduce the foods that were once offensive. Some might be saying at this point, " what's this have to do with preparedness?"

Well, so far our family has put away some foods that we can no longer eat. Wheat and even brown rice cause negative side effects for our boys. Imagine being in an emergency situation and having food available, but knowing that if you give that food to your children, they're going to suffer. Their bellies will be full, but then you'll be left dealing with humming, hand flapping, loud repetitive talk, and diarrhea. Not fun to deal with EVER, but DEFINITELY not wanted in an emergency situation. So, while our main goal in doing the GAPS diet is to heal our sons, another goal is to make life in an emergency situation easier.

I can attest that storing away food for an emergency is very difficult to do when you have special diets to work around. It's my hope that the GAPS diet will heal our boys and therefore make emergency food preparedness an easier task.

Is there any health-related issue in your family that is a hindrance to your emergency preparedness? Is there anything you can do about it now so that it's not a huge ordeal when times are not so easy?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

7 Basic Firearms That Every Freedom-Loving Self-Sufficient Prepper Should Own

Gun knowledge is not something that I'm very proficient at, however my husband loves the topic. Recently, some have expressed an interest in more hard-core emergency preparedness/survival topics, so I drafted Shawn to write a guest post for me. Even though this is a vast change from the normal SAHMville posts, I hope you enjoy it!

As a law enforcement and firearms instructor, I am often asked,
“What firearm(s) do you recommend for….” To cover every situation or need that may arise for a firearm, I recommend that everyone have at least these 7 firearms available:

1. .22 Caliber Pistol

With rising ammo prices, it is difficult to target practice often with centerfire weapons. A good .22 pistol and rifle (mentioned later) provides an affordable way to maintain your shooting skills. The .22 pistol can also be used for small game, finishing off a wounded larger animal or for use when the loud report of a larger caliber is not desired. While there are many options to choose from, here are my favorites:

Walther P-22
The best thing about the P-22 is that it is built to function and feel like a larger, full-size handgun. This helps maintain your skills in combat reloading since the magazine release, decocker and slide are set up like a full-size handgun.

Ruger MKII (and similar)
For over 50 years, Ruger has produced one of the most popular .22 caliber handguns. There are several models that have evolved over the years. All of them are high-quality, dependable and affordable rimfire handguns.

2. .357 Magnum Revolver

The primary handgun for law enforcement during the mid to late 20th century was the .357 magnum revolver. They are very dependable, accurate and easy to use. While a revolver has a limited capacity compared to a full-size semi-auto, there are some advantages with this old workhorse. Lighter and cheaper .38 special ammo can be fired in a .357 mag, shot-shells work well and there is no fear of malfunction or bad round bringing the weapon to a halt. If a round of ammo fails to fire, simply pull the trigger again for the next round. With a little practice, speed-loaders can be used quickly and are a must if you carry this gun for protection.

My personal favorites are the Smith & Wesson model 19 (blued) or model 66 (stainless) as well as the Ruger Security-Six and SP-101.

3. Full-Size Combat Pistol

If you only own one handgun, it should be a full-size combat pistol. By “full-size,” I mean a barrel length of 3 ½ to 5 inches with a capacity of no less than 11, preferably 15 or more. I would avoid “odd” calibers such as 10mm and .357 Sig which would prove difficult to find in a “hit the fan” situation. Stick with military and police calibers (9mm, .40 caliber, .45 ACP). These rounds are common and can be purchased in bulk from various suppliers. I would have no less than 6 magazines, keeping 3 loaded at all times, rotating the mags each month to avoid excessive wear on the springs. Don’t forget a variety of holsters including a military flap holster, shoulder holster and high-quality law enforcement grade belt holster so that the pistol can be carried in whatever manner is needed. Don’t forget magazine pouches and a sturdy belt.

The Beretta Model 92 (U.S. Military M-9) 15-round 9mm is built on the same frame as the Model 96 11-round .40 caliber

The Glock Model 17 17-round 9mm is build on the same frame as the Model 22 15-round .40 caliber and Model 21 13-round .45 ACP

There are more options available in this category than any other. Dozens of companies make high-quality combat pistols. My personal favorites are Glock and Beretta. Many may wonder why I have not listed the popular 1911 pistol……well, like it or not, it is out of date. The single-stack 7 or 8 round magazine, single action and excessive weight fail to meet today’s demands. The slight increase in knockdown of a .45 compared to a .40 does not outweigh the fact the 1911 has less than half the capacity of a full-size .40. I’ll take 15 rounds of .40 or 17 rounds of 9mm in a gun battle any day over a mere 7 rounds of .45. Most people under-estimate the number of rounds fired in actual combat and over-estimate their accuracy in such a situation. Trust me, you want a higher capacity. There is certainly nothing wrong with owning a 1911, but it should not be considered your primary combat handgun.

4. .22 Rifle

For most of us, our first firearm was a .22 rifle. I’m sure more .22 rifles are sold in this country each year than any other class of firearm. It is a must for every home. As with the .22 pistol, it is cheap and affordable to shoot on a regular basis. With today’s high velocity rounds (CCI Stinger/Velocitor), the .22 long rifle has surprising range and effectiveness compared to the low velocity rounds we grew up shooting. What other firearm can you still buy 1000 rounds for under $50? Also, hike 3 miles with 250 rounds of .22 long rifle in your pack, then hike that same distance with 250 rounds of .308; the ability to carry a greater amount of ammo becomes obvious.

Ruger 10/22 with Tapco stock and 30-round magazine

The German made GSG-5 with 22-round magazine (HK MP-5 Clone)

Henry Survival Rifle (AR-7) – 8-round magazine (15-round mags are available)

A good .22 rifle will cost between $200 and $500. I recommend you consider the most popular .22 on the market, the Ruger 10/22. This reliable semi-auto has every type of high-capacity magazine, stock and accessory imaginable. For a military-feel right out of the box, I would suggest the GSG-5, built on the frame of an H&K MP-5 sub-machine gun. The GSG-5 provides a less expensive means of training with a military-style rifle. Finally, the Henry Arms Survival Rifle (the latest version of the AR-7) is a unique rifle that disassebles into the stock and is so light weight it will actually float. Remember, if you are carrying a .22 rifle, be sure to have a larger caliber handgun with you.

5. 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun

I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of shotguns. Oh they have their purposes, especially for bird hunting, but they are very over- rated for self-protection. Despite that, I still recommend you include one in your collection. The versitility of the shotgun is its best feature. Switching from birdshot, to buckshot, then to slugs completely changes the purpose of the weapon. The limited range and limited capacity of a shotgun pushes it back to a secondary weapon in my book. I recommend a pump-action 12 gauge with no less than a 6-shot capacity.

Mossberg 500/590 series come in a variety of configurations, ranging from 6 to 9 shot.

The Remington 870 Police remains the most popular self-defense shotgun.

6. Military-Style Auto-Loading Rifle

The single most important firearm in your collection is the military-style auto-loading rifle. While at least one of these is vital, I would strongly recommend at least one per every person in your household capable of shooting. While a variety of calibers are available, stick with the primary military calibers (.223, .308, 7.62x39mm). These 3 calibers are sold by a variety of suppliers in 1000 round cases. (Cheaper Than Dirt, Sportman’s Guide) Popular military-style rifles include the AR-15, AK-47, Mini-14, Mini-30, HK-91/93 clones, M-14, M1A1, and M-1.

.223 and 7.62x39 rifles typically use a 30-round magazine, while the larger .308 will typically use a 20-round magazine. I would recommend no less than 8 spare magazines per rifle. Avoid keeping magazines loaded for extended periods of time, as this will weaken the spring. Parts kits for these type of rifles are readily available. Lets face it, we live in very uncertain times with a variety of possible threats. A good battle rifle with pleanty of ammo and magazines is the only weapon you could realistically defend your home and family with if faced with multiple, armed invaders. If you live in a state that prohibits these rifles, MOVE.

Don’t wait, these rifles could be banned at any time. With anti-Second Amendment types currently in control of our government, a semi-auto ban or 10-round capacity limit is no doubt on the horizon. These rifles truly represent what the Second Amendment is all about, an armed civilian population cabable of defending liberty from both foreign and domestic threats. They are the insurance that protect our other liberties. I see owning a military-style rifle as more than just my right, but my duty as an American citizen. I love this rifle’s ability to quickly identify those for liberty from those for tyranny. Those who hate freedom, hate these rifles and those who want tyrannical control want to ban them.

The AR-15 has become the hottest selling rifle since the anti-gunners took control of this country in 2008. With every imaginable accessory widely-available, the rifle can be set up in hundreds of configurations. The standard .223 (5.56 mm) is a very effective round due to it’s high velocity. There are dozens of calibers available from a variety of manufacturers. In all my years in law enforcement, I was always conforted knowing I had an AR-15 within reach in my patrol car. If I could only have one firearm with me in a survival situation, it would be the AR-15.

AK-47 (7.62x39mm) – The rifle mentioned by name during Obama’s first speech following his election as a target of his desired gun bans. That alone should make anyone want to run out and purchase one just to prove we value freedom more than he opposes it. For those not familiar with the performance of the 7.62x39 mm, it is ballistically similar to the popular 30-30.

If you’re a history buff, the .30 caliber M-1 Carbine and .30-06 M-1 Garand are battle-proven. The M-1 carbine has a standard 15-round magazine (30-round mags are available) and is effective at up to 100 yards. The mighty M-1 Garand has an 8-round internal magazine and is effective at distances beyond most shooter’s ability or sight. At over 10 pounds, the M-1 Garand may not be your first choice for hiking long distances but will stop any living creature walking on Earth. The .308 caliber M-14 with it’s 20-round magazine is another historic military rifle that many shooters love.

7. Long-Range Bolt-Action Rifle with Scope

Every shooter needs the ability to reach out and strike targets at long distances when the need arises. This calls for a high-powered bolt-action rifle with a good quality scope. These rifles are also effective against large game and in situations where your assailant is wearing body armor or behind cover. While there are dozens of calibers to choose from, I strongly recommend that you stick with standard military and police rounds. The .308 and .30-06 are the most common high-powered ammo on the market and can be easily purchased in 1000 round cases, unlike other rounds such as the .243, .270 and .300 Win Mag that are only available in 20 rounds per box.

As with all rifles and shotguns, avoid wood stocks. Synthetic stocks are stronger, lighter weight, scratch resistant and come in black, green or camo. It is better to use a “tactical” rifle for hunting and target shooting than to use a “hunting” rifle for tactical operations. Plan ahead on how you are going to carry spare ammo, since most bolt-actions have internal magazines. A variety of looped shell holders are designed to carry on a web belt or even the stock of the rifle.

The Remington Model 700 is popular with law enforcement and hunters.

An inexpensive, yet very reliable and powerful rifle, is the 8mm Mauser. This was the primary battle rifle for the Germans during World War II. These old surplus rifles can be purchased at half the cost of current production bolt-action rifles. A case of 8mm ammo should last your lifetime.


Examine the firearms you currently own to determine where your deficits are. Start a firearms/ammo budget and begin building your collection. Don’t forget plenty of ammo, a gun without ammo is an expensive billy club. You may also want to purchase a gun safe. If you have young children in your home, make certain that all firearms are completely inaccessable to them. If you keep any firearm loaded for home defense, have a keyless entry gun box or an unchambered semi-auto in a secure location. Firearms are like automobiles and power tools, very useful and helpful , but potentially dangerous if not handled safely. Finally, under no circumstances should a firearm be available to a person who has recently consumed alcohol or any mind-altering drug.

I hope you found this information helpful. I plan to submit additional guest commentaries in the future assuming they are approved by the webmaster, who also determines my meals and ammo allowance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Blessing From A Friend

Tuesday morning I was able to visit with a friend that I hadn't seen in several months. We've spoken on the phone several times, but this was the first time I'd seen her in quite a while. This friend is also someone that we worshipped with prior to our move in December. She was actually Sam and Sarah's Sunday School teacher the majority of the time.

I was with all three of our children and she was with one of hers. She had been supervising the children and then walked over to talk to me. Early in the conversation she said, "Janice, Sam has really changed!" I smiled and told her that it has been amazing to see how much more social he is now. He actually talks TO us instead of AT us. I can ask him questions and he will answer the questions instead of simply repeating some line from a tv show or movie. My friend's eyes got teary and she said, "Janice I can remember back when I had him in Sunday School. A good day was when Sam would simply pace round and round the table humming and patting his chest. Look at him now! He's over there playing with the other children! I've only seen him flap his hands once the entire time. What are you doing differently?"

When we moved we were already avoiding all artificial additives in our food and she knew this. I explained that we had only omitted gluten a couple months ago and so many good changes have shown up since then. Then, she asked if we were still planning on trying the GAPS diet. I told her that we were committing to a 30-day trial in October. She replied, "Well, if just going gluten-free made this much of a difference, I can only imagine what the GAPS diet will do! I don't think you'll be able to distinguish him from any of the other children once you've switched over to that!"

This conversation was such a blessing to me. Shawn and I see positive changes in Sam's behavior, but to have someone else notice it is such a huge deal to us. I can remember a day, back in February or March I believe, when Sarah and Drew were napping and it was just Sam and I in the living room. Sam was lying in the floor staring out the living room window. I sat next to him and asked, "Sam, how old are you?" I received no answer. I asked again, but again, no answer. The third time I asked him how old he was and held his chin so he would look at me. He replied, "Sam." I said, "No Sam, how old are you?" He replied, "Sam." I said, "Sam, look at" He said, "Sam."

There was NO getting through to him back then. He knew I was speaking to him, but I don't think he understood what I was saying. Now I can ask him how old he is and he will look at me, hold his hand up and say "Five years old."

So, Jill, I want to thank you so, so much for being a wonderful blessing to me Tuesday. I really do appreciate your kind words, they meant a lot to Shawn and I.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Odds & Ends

I took some photos over the weekend...there's really no good theme to lump them all together, that's why I titled the post "Odds & Ends." I just wanted to share some pictures, so here they are:

Here is Sam, Sunday morning after Shawn "camped" out in the back yard with the kids. I think they had a good time with Daddy.

I don't think I've ever shown this before, but this is the woodshed that Shawn built earlier this year. Shawn doesn't own a chainsaw, so everything that's in the shed was cut by him by hand. I know it's not enough for this winter, but he's continuing to work on that. There are enough trees on our property that were downed by the ice storm to give us several winter's worth of wood, it's just a matter of getting them cut up. I joke that if the house collapses from an earthquake, we could always go live in the woodshed for a while!

This weekend Shawn set up a tent back in the new orchard part of our property. He and the kids went "camping" overnight. They loved it. Shawn also finally set up the outdoor cooking set that we purchased recently to make sure all the pieces were there. This is the set we'll use for camping, but also in case of emergency if we don't have access to electricity for an extended period of time.

The set has bars of differing lengths so that pots can be placed close to the fire for quick cooking or further away from the fire to be kept warm. On the left, it has a lifter and a rack for hanging cooking utensils. We also purchased the rotisserie attachment as well as an elevated grill. The grill is set up so that it can swing over the fire and then be pulled back off the fire if you need to fiddle with the food. I'm really pleased with it and can't wait to try it out!

This weekend Shawn mowed some additional paths on our property. These paths now give us access to parts of the property that we'd never been able to walk on before. These last two photos were taken at one of the highest points of our land. You may be able to make out the house near the center-left and the pond off to the right.

So, that's our weekend in a nutshell..nothing too exciting, but thought I'd share anyway!

Our Favorite Chili Recipe

A while back a good friend shared her chili recipe with me. Ever since then, it's been our family's favorite. Those of you that know my husband, know that he's a picky eater. There are several things that he doesn't like to eat and soup is one of them. He likes his chili to be nice and thick, definitely NOT soup-like. This recipe even gets Shawn's approval!

Here's our favorite chili recipe:

2/3 c. dry pinto beans
2/3 c. dry red beans or kidney beans
2 lbs. ground beef
1 c. onion, diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 c. green pepper, diced
1/3 c. chili powder
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. shredded spinach

The night before, sort dry beans, place in pot, and cover with warm water. Let soak for 12-24 hours. The next day, after soaking period has lapsed, drain, rinse, place back in pot and add water to cover beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately two hours or until beans are soft.

After beans are cooked, begin browning ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain if necessary. Combine all ingredients together and simmer until done.

The addition of the shredded spinach thows some extra nutrition into the dish, plus I think it makes it looks prettier with the flecks of green in there! If you like your chili to be "soupier" than we do, then you could simply add in more tomato sauce. However, Shawn loves this chili because it makes the best Frito Chili Pies. This is the way he prefers his chili: Fritos covered with chili, then topped with shredded grassfed raw cheddar cheese.

This was the perfect meal for the small-scale camping trip he had with the kids this past weekend.

This post is proud to be part of Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wonderful Monotony

Today I made a trip to the big city. It had been six days since I left our property. I think some people's jaws may have just dropped to the floor at the fact that I just spent nearly a week at home. However that's really not all that uncommon. We live far enough out now that it is a decent undertaking to go into town. If I'm going to load up all three kids and drive 35 minutes into town, then I need a pretty good reason. Also, I'm going to make real sure that the trip into town is worthwhile. I plan my stops and try to get everything done in one trip. I think it's a little funny that the kids now know which shoes are their "town shoes" and which outfits are their "going to town clothes."

Ten years ago, if you had told me that I needed to spend six days at home, I probably would've balked. What in the world would I do at home for six days? Well, I guess what I do now could be considered monotonous. However, I really enjoy the monotony. I don't like drama. I enjoy life rolling along at a nice, even pace. Doing the mundane is a joy for me.

Living in this rural area gives me a chance to stay home and live a wonderfully monotonous life. I while back I made up a schedule that fit our family. I have it up on the refrigerator. Momma and Daddy's chores are printed in black and the children's duties are printed in red. If the kids ever fuss over doing something, I point to the list and say, "See what time it is...It's time for (whatever they're fussing about.)" It works for my kids and makes life easier for me. Anyhow, here's our daily schedule:

Children: Computer time
Momma: Bible study, then fix breakfast

Eat Breakfast at 8:00
Children: Clean off table, get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, then play with toys
Momma: Get dressed, make bed, wash dishes

Children: Movie time
Momma: Morning chores, feed chickens, start laundry, meal prep

Snack time at 10:00 then take honey medicine
School time – read books, play games, study outside

Children: Play with toys
Momma: Prepare lunch, check email

Eat lunch at 12:00
Children: Clean off table, clean up toys
Momma: Wash dishes

Children: Quiet time in bedrooms
Momma: Afternoon/outdoor chores then computer time

Snack time, then outside play time

Momma: Prepare supper
Children: Daddy time/School time

Eat supper at 5:30
Children: Clean off table then play outside
Momma: Wash dishes, sweep floor
Daddy: Put chickens to bed

Children: Bath time then play with toys
Momma: Tomorrow’s meal prep

Family time, then clean up toys

Every family's list will look different, but this one is working for us right now. It really has been helpful in keeping our monotony productive!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Living Off The Land

If you get a chance, I really recommend that you watch the video on the link below. The video is less than 7 minutes long. It's all about a family in California that grows all its food on 1/5 of an acre. ONE-FIFTH!! It's a very inspiring story and I wanted to share it with you.


Here is the family's website:

According to the website, their property is 1/5 of an acre, but they grow over 350 different vegetables, fruits, herbs, and berries on only 1/10 of an acre. That's over 6,000 pounds of food. WOW!

I do read that they are vegetarian, so I obviously don't agree with their entire lifestyle, but what they've managed to achieved in their garden is phenomenal.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Becoming A One-Income Family

(Below is our story of how we became a one-income family. It's my hope that those that are questioning whether or not they're able to do it will be able to read our story and see that it is definitely possible.)

I'm sure that I am not the only SAHM that's ever heard the phrase, "Some people just aren't as lucky as YOU are. We don't all get to stay at home like you do." I have bolded the words "get to" because those are the words that irk me the most. You see, I was not handed my life as a SAHM on a silver platter. A lot of hard work and sacrifice has gone into attaining the lifestyle we now have.

Shawn and I married in 2003. He worked a full-time job. I worked a full-time job. We had no children. We had a mortgage, two vehicle payments, and credit card payments. We went to the movies at least once a week. We went out to eat at least once a day. We went away on week-long vacations. I got a pedicure once a month, fake nails put on twice a month, and highlights done about every three months. I even OWNED a tanning bed. (Yeah, I looked good back then!)

In 2004, after one year of marriage, Shawn and I moved for his job. We moved to a town that was an hour and a half away from our previous home. Even though I didn't have a job lined up yet, we purchased a home and moved in. I put in a few job applications. Two weeks after moving, I found out I was pregnant with Sam. Now, it seemed a little wrong for me to apply for jobs only to tell my possible employer that I would be taking maternity leave in nine months. So, Shawn and I made the decision that I would not be going back to work. However, we had just taken out a new mortgage expecting two incomes to be coming in. We still had two vehicle payments and credit card bills. They had to be paid somehow...SO, we had to make some changes.

Some changes were immediate and others were more gradual. We immediately had to stop all eating out and going out to the movies. We immediately cancelled everything except dial tone on our home caller ID, no call waiting, not even long distance. We purchased calling cards from Sam's Club for long-distance coverage or else I just used my cell phone. We could no longer afford for me to get all "beautified" on a regular basis. No more pedicures, no more fake nails..I was still able to keep my highlights, but I ended up going to the local cosmetology school to get those done. I had to give up the Clinique make-up and instead bought the cheaper stuff at Wal-Mart. I learned to coupon and got really, really good at it. I went for a while without health insurance. When it comes down to health insurance versus food/ and utilities win out. Shawn had always had a membership to the shooting range before our financial situation changed. He had to give that up. He was a hard-core Dr. Pepper drinker. While I still purchased soda on occasion back then, Shawn had to learn to like the generic versions of his favorite soda. When his boots got a hole in the bottom, we didn't go out and purchase a new pair for him. We found a local man that repaired boots and we got them repaired. Our clothing started coming from yard sales or Goodwill or we received them as gifts. Shawn and I stopped buying each other Christmas, birthday, and anniversary presents as well. In addition to all that, Shawn took on a part-time job teaching night classes for another college.

Some may wonder how these tiny little changes could've possibly made a difference. Well, I can tell you that they did. Not only did we manage to survive on one income by saving a penny here and a penny there, but these changes caused us to completely reevaluate the way we handled money. Suddenly I had a bright spotlight shining on our budget and I had to pay attention to it at all times. Living this lifestyle forced me to view our budget in minute detail. I had to plan out gifts and oil changes and even stamps. Everything was figured into the budget. By making these small changes not only were we able to survive on one income, we were able to survive while we paid off both vehicles and all of our credit card debt (which got up to over $11,000 at one time.) It did take several years for us to wipe out all of that debt, but we were finally able to do it. We are in a better financial situation now than we ever hoped to be while we both had jobs. Now, our only debt is our property and we are trying to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

We became a one-income family very suddenly and it has turned out to be a great blessing for our family. We find value in small things now and (I feel) have our priorities in a better place. Having to stick to a very strict budget causes you to really consider what is and is not important in your life. When you have to search to find enough money to cover food and utilities, suddenly television, movies, and the latest electronic gadgets don't seem quite so important.

What really amazes me is that Shawn and I now tend to choose the less expensive option even when we could afford a more expensive one. For instance, we could probably afford for me to start getting fake nails again. However, at this point I would feel silly wearing fake nails. Please, if you are reading this and wearing fake nails..please don't be offended. It's just that now I would rather give up a fake nails budget and put that money aside for an extra mortgage payment or to add more insulation to the house. Our financial situation has now improved but the lessons and priorities that we were forced to submit to have now become our preference.

So, I guess all of this is why I get a little irked when someone comments that I "get to" stay home. No...I don't "get to" stay home...I'm able to stay home because we've worked hard at it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shawn's Favorite Meal

Last night I made Shawn's favorite meal for supper. I figured I'd share it with you all today since it's such a big hit at our house. I enjoy serving this to my family since it employs so many aspects of a healthy, traditional diet: grassfed beef, animal fat, soaked rice, soaked beans, organic vegetables, etc.

Shawn's favorite meal consists of Spanish rice, refried beans, and guacamole with tortilla chips. A disclaimer on the Guacamole recipe though...I don't use a recipe to make the dip. I just throw everything into a bowl, so my measurements on the recipe are just estimates where I "eyeballed" what I seemed to be putting in the bowl.

Spanish Rice

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. acidic medium (whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk)
2 Tbsp. lard or tallow
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 cup frozen corn
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2-3/4 cups water
Chili powder, salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Place rice, 2 cups warm water, and acidic medium in covered dish and leave in warm place for at least 7 hours.

Later, after soaking time has finished:
In large skillet over medium heat, heat fat until melted and hot. Strain rice from acidic water. Add rice, onion, green pepper, and garlic to hot fat. Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Add corn, tomatoes, and water. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until rice is cooked. Season with chili powder, salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. Add freshly chopped cilantro and stir.

Crockpot Refried Beans

3 cups pinto beans
8-1/2 cups water
1 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

The night before, place 3 cups dry pinto beans in a pot. Cover beans with warm water and allow to soak 12-24 hours. After soaking, drain water, rinse, and place in crockpot. Add all other ingredients and cook on high for 8 hours. Drain out most of the water. Mash beans, adding some liquid back in if needed. Can be portioned out and frozen for later use.


4 ripe avocados
1 lemon or lime, juiced
1 tsp. sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. onion, minced
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, minced

Combine avocados, lemon/lime juice, and sea salt. Mash together with potato masher. Add other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate one hour for flavors to blend.

We add good, pastured, raw cheddar cheese to the crockpot refried beans. We do eat our guacamole with tortilla chips purchased from the store. The best that we are able to find are organic, non-GMO chips that are fried in sunflower, safflower and/or canola oil. I'm not to the point of making my own tortilla chips yet, so this is what we use now!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family does!

This post is proud to be a part of Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Summer Recap: Part 2

I had so many photos of our trip this Summer to Oklahoma that I thought I'd just give it a post in and of itself. We had such a fun time visiting Grandma Colette and Shawn's grandparents.

Summer Recap: Part 1

Since I officially feel like Fall is here, I guess I ought to go back and post the Summer photos that I never got around to. Grandma Colette should really enjoy this one!