Living Loving Learning

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Asparagus!

In Gardening on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Do you like to eat fresh asparagus?jersey-night

Did you know you can grow your own asparagus bed?

Well, you can!  And it’s fairly easy.  In fact, the hardest part is planting it.  After that, give it some water, keep it mulched a bit and you can enjoy fresh asparagus spears from March to June in central Oklahoma.  And the best part?  Your plants will live for about 30 years! 

Purchase asparagus roots (crowns) at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Farmer’s Grain (in Edmond), or your local nursery. Look for “all-male” varieties, as they will give you heavier production.   Each crown will produce about ½ pound per year, so consider how many plants you’d like to have.

Dig your trench about 6 inches down.  Lay your roots in the trench, about 1 foot apart.  Cover with soil, but don’t tamp down.  Water. 

200px-asperge_planten_asparagus_officinalisThis year you’re only going to establish the roots by allowing the spears to grow into pretty ferns that will reach about 3 feet tall.  When the ferns die back this fall remove the dead foliage.  Then next year when your asparagus stalks appear, harvest the stalks when they are about 5-8 inches tall, and tips are closed. (cut or break off at the soil line)  Don’t worry if you miss a few days harvesting.  The spears will turn into ferns again giving nutrients to the roots for more growth next year.

 

That’s it.  A little work for a reward that will last for years to come!

Do you like asparagus?  Ever considered growing it?

 

 

mom4

 

Robin

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The Only Thing That Matters

In Family on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 11:02 pm

For nearly 7 months now, Andrew and I have been planning our wedding (less than 100 days to go!). As a naturally creative person who LOVES planning parties and events, I have done several DIY projects and designed everything from the stationery to the bridesmaids’ gifts to the cake. I’ve stressed and I’ve cried (though only a little) over all these details that are Oh-So-Important. Poor, sweet Andrew has listened to me wax poetic about the differences in turquoise, cerulean, teal, and aquamarine and wonder aloud why everything immediately doubles in price the moment you say the word “wedding” to a vendor. ((Fact: the average cost of a wedding in the USA is $27,490!! Can you say R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S?!))

And the truth of the matter?

NONE of it matters, except one thing:  at the end of it all, Andrew and I will be married.

My gorgeous gown will be worn once. No matter how good the cake tastes, it’s still just a cake. The ceremony songs we’ve spent hours choosing will be forgotten the moment the reception starts. The beautiful flowers will eventually be torn apart and discarded. The copious amounts of catering will be devoured without a second thought. The thousands of dollars we’ve spent will be gone forever, invested in one magnificent party that lasted only a few hours but signaled the beginning of a whole new life.

And for that reason, the stress and the drama and the expense is worth it to me. By remembering the real reason Andrew and I are doing all this (because we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives growing and learning together), I have been able to keep things in perspective. I have grown to accept the fact that things won’t always go as planned, no matter how much time I put into planning them. When I’m even remotely tempted to spend a bunch of money on something extravagant, I tell myself “It’s only a party. Don’t worry too much about impressing your guests, they already love you.” After all, a fancy wedding does not a marriage make.

What do you remember about planning your wedding? Where did you splurge and where did you scrimp? What details mattered most to you?

abbi1

 

Abbi

We’re Gettin’ Many-er!

In Family on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Our family is growing! 

 

Erin, Jon, Kaden and Will will be welcoming a new precious blessing into our lives the end of October. 

 

Which will bring our ManyMeadows’ up to 20!

 

Mimi and Grandpa are quite proud! 🙂

 

Think pink!!

When Just Enough Hell Breaks Loose

In Homeschooling, Moms, Scripture Thoughts on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 12:01 am

Yesterday was one of those days when just enough hell broke loose to make me doubt just about everything I was doing. 

No need for details.  We home educate two teen boys….enough said?

After a hard day of trying to press through, I finally had time to do my Bible reading.  I know.  It’s supposed to be the first thing you do…but it didn’t happen.  And even if it had, I’m not sure I would have heard the same message that I heard later in the day. 

Ps. 94:18-19

I cried out, “I am slipping!”
  but your unfailing love, O Lord , supported me.
 When doubts filled my mind,
  your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

 

My doubts didn’t go away, and my feelings didn’t exactly change, but I’m hanging on to His Truth….His unfailing Love will support me.  I can have renewed hope and cheer, because

 

HE IS IN CONTROL

mom4

 

 

Robin

Stay Home….Do Family

In Homeschooling, Moms on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

For many years I have been very protective of my time.   I rarely plan things on Saturday, especially, because that’s my day with my husband.  Even if we’re not together all day because of our tasks, I still make myself available to him.  I think he notices it.  I know he appreciates it.

 

I am protective of our school hours too.  The myriad of activities, opportunities, and requests has to be sifted through, and carefully considered, or our time could be spent doing everything and anything else besides education.

 

Now, our last children at home, boys, are 16 and 14.  Our time together is running short before they head out on their own.   I’m making sure that I don’t fill my days and weekends with extra activities, even though my guys are perfectly capable of caring for themselves.  I want to be available to them and to the many friends they have coming to our home. 

 

So, if you don’t see me at functions, or if I turn you down when you ask me to keep your children, or if I ask to meet with you another time, it’s probably because I’m at home, doing life and family. 

 

It’s my calling…it’s what I do.

 

Maybe your life is different.

 

Are you protective of your time? 

 

Is it difficult for you to turn down requests and activity opportunities? 

mom4

 

Robin

Dear Robin…I Want to Plant a Garden

In Dear Robin, Gardening on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Dear Robin, 

 

I want to start a vegetable garden this year.  Where do I start? 

 

My advice:

Start small.  Find a plot that receives at least 6 hours of full sun a day.  It also needs to be a fairly level space.

 

Next, begin digging out the sod.  (This is the hardest part!)  Remove as many of the roots as possible.  At this point you may choose to add plenty of a good quality garden-blend soil (either bags or have a load delivered), or take your chances with the soil that is there.  You can also have your soil tested at your county extension office to determine if anything needs to be added to improve it. 

 

Rake smooth ready to receive seeds or plants. 

 

Your bed can be edged with rocks, bricks, landscape timbers, etc. 

 

Next, determine what you want to plant.  I’d suggest starting with lettuce, radishes, a couple of tomato and pepper plants and maybe a couple of herbs. We’ll talk about planting lettuce and radishes soon.

Read up on gardening at:

 Square Foot Gardening

Organic Gardening

Garden Web Forums

5-08-08-deck-garden-036

Keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy some fresh vegetables this summer!

Do you have more gardening questions?  Ask away.

mom4

 

Robin

The Abs Diet for Women…a book review

In Lifestyle on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I’m currently reading The Abs Diet for Women by David Zinczenko (Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health Magazine, as well as the author of several other books including “Eat This, Not That”). One of the main focuses of the book is the health risks associated with belly fat and how to lose it if you’ve got it. But for me, the book has really solidified this fact in my mind: Getting fit is 80% what you eat (or DON’T eat), and 20% how much you exercise. 80/20, I promise you. The more books I read, the more facts I have to support that claim. From a personal standpoint, I don’t exercise any more than I did the last 10 times I belonged to a gym, but this time the pounds are melting off. The difference? The way I eat. I could work out all day long and not lose weight if I am still choosing to fill my plate (and mouth) with garbage!

The book centers around the idea that our bodies are machines and food=fuel. Your body will function at optimal levels only if it gets good fuel! That means lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy. Zinczenko shares the 12 “Powerfoods” as well as dozens of recipes that include them. While the book title does include the word “diet”, Zinczenko himself expresses his dislike for the word and its connotations. Rather, the Abs Diet Power plan is an eating plan, a way of life that can be sustained because it is realistic. For that other 20%, the book also offers suggested workouts that target your core (translated: abs and back muscles) and other muscles.

This book has changed the way I view both food and exercise. I’ve revamped my workouts and started eating 6 small meals a day, rather than 3 big ones. I can already feel a change in my energy levels and focus. I’m never stuffed or starving. And, in terms of exercise, my workouts are shorter and more intentional, and I’m still seeing amazing results.

Get this book. If you’re like me, reading it will result in many ‘aha’ moments that will lead to better health for you and your family!

Have you read any health and fitness books that have changed your life?

abbi1

Abbi

Make No Mistake

In Uncategorized on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Observing my kids through the years in their academic education I noticed they hated to make mistakes. Many times some of them would go off in a huff because of missing a math problem or not spelling something correctly. In fact, you could almost be assured that they would be affected for a little while after making a mistake.

 

In the business world I think it is just the same. A business makes a mistake in buying or selling or maybe making a hiring mistake. It affects that business.

 

Why do I bring this up? The pressure to be right and the self-imposed disposition for everything to go smoothly and easily has caused us as a society to become fearful of taking risks. But, I’ve found that those mistakes are some of the greatest lessons in my life. My favorite reading is self help books and character quality building books and without exception making mistakes and learning from those mistakes and overcoming the fear of risk is common in all of them.

 

Personally has fear or failure ever caused you to withdraw from an activity that might have grown you?  Overcoming our fears and being willing to make mistakes can either push us forward or hold us back. I want to move forward.

 

Are you a risk taker? Does the fear of risk freeze your progress? What are some ideas and methods you have found to overcome fear?

dirk

 

 

Dirk

Cake for Dinner!

In Recipes on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm

 Oh yes, we have cake for dinner at least twice a month.  What, you say?  Has Erin finally fallen off the wagon of healthy eating?  No worries!  These cakes are loaded with fiber, vegetables and are  well-rounded in nutrition to allow you the pleasure of cake for dinner.

 

For meat based cakes I use about 1 lb. of raw meat with some shredded or chopped veggies (done in the food processor).  For veggie based,  about 3 – 4 cups veggies.

february-013           

You use two add-ins:

 1.  Dump in a handful of oatmeal or a slice or two of double-the-fiber bread in the food processor along with the veggies and/or meat.  Or add whole grain flour to the mix until you reach desired consistency. 

 

2.  Mix with a couple of eggs

february200141

You want to scoop out a large dollop on griddle or skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Flatten to about a ½” and lightly fry on each side.  (About 3 min. each side – or ’til cooked through, as in the case of meat).

february200161

Cheese is an optional add-in and can even be added on top after flipping (this is what we do here on part of the batch of cakes since cheese is usually not an indulgence I allow myself, but all my guys love.)

 

Our favorite cakes are zucchini (just shredded zucchini w/ a little onion mixed with the egg and flour), confetti veggie cakes (pictured) (shredded potato, carrots, squash, onion, peppers – whatever else I have on hand! with egg and flour), tuna cakes (canned, drained tuna with various veggies, bread crumbs and eggs), and turkey cakes (ground turkey, various veggies, bread crumbs and eggs).  (The turkey ones are great on the grill as well! – Form into patties as you would a hamburger).

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Have you ever made cakes for dinner?  I think your kids would like the sound of it at least!  They may even ask for syrup on them like our little Will!  😉

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Erin

When Life is Hard

In Scripture Thoughts on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Is. 43:2  

 When you go through deep waters,
      I will be with you.
   When you go through rivers of difficulty,
      you will not drown.
   When you walk through the fire of oppression,
      you will not be burned up;
      the flames will not consume you.

 

We’ve all been in this place-the circumstances of life are overwhelming.  The water is over our head.  Life is hard and difficult; it’s like walking through fire.

In this place I’ve found that God only opens the path right in front of us.  His light doesn’t shine down the road, and He doesn’t remove life’s obstacles from our way before we reach them.  But, He always meets us at the edge of our need and sometimes, it’s at the very last moment. 

He asks that we trust Him. He wants us to want Him.  Otherwise, we won’t need faith to take that next step.  And then, who is in control?

Today, may you willingly grasp His hand and take that next step.  He’s there.

mom4

 

Robin