One down, one to go! Because, apparently, building a house must be governed by as much bureaucracy as possible, we needed to get two separate permits; one for the house and one for the septic system. Well, the county called us yesterday to say the septic permit is completed. Hooray! Now we just have to wait for the house permit. We’re hoping it goes through quickly and without problems just like the septic permit did. Then we’ll be all set to start!
In other news, Big Man played lumberjack this week and removed a few of the dead trees on our lot. Bad weather prevented him from going up yesterday to finish the tree removal, but he’s planning on going up next week to get the rest of them. At least we’ll have quite a bit of firewood!
I’ll post another update when we have the house permit. Until then, we’re hoping to get the bids back from the excavation contractors we’re thinking of hiring. You’d think people that want our business would return a phone call occasionally…
One step forward – Big Man submitted all the paperwork for our building permit! He drove up to the county offices yesterday and turned everything in, so now we are just hoping it all goes through quickly with no issues. The turn-around time is supposedly a couple weeks, but that’s if everything gets approved the first time by all the departments involved.
We’re trying to have reasonable expectations and understand that they may come back with things we need to change or additional paperwork we need to submit. This whole process so far seems to require a lot of flexibility and loosely-help expectations. But we are learning a lot and moving forward.
I hope to post again in a couple weeks with the good news of our permit, but we’ll see…
We’ve been on a journey toward eating less processed food and more “real food.” Part of that journey is about deciding which processed foods to re-create from scratch and which to eliminate entirely. Our whole family enjoys peanut butter (and it’s one of the things both kids consistently eat) so it’s definitely on the list of things to make at home. Fortunately, peanut butter is ridiculously easy to make with a food processor. Seriously, we’re talking 3 ingredients and 5 minutes. And it tastes amazingly good! I had no idea peanut butter could taste so much like actual peanuts. We’ll never to back to the “Choosy Brand” we were buying before.
If you’re looking for a gentle introduction to DIY-ing pantry staples, I hope you’ll try peanut butter. It doesn’t take long, there are no crazy ingredients, and the result is fantastic. I finally understand the appeal of eating peanut butter by the spoonful!
Homemade Peanut Butter
- Peanuts (I use roasted and salted)
- Olive oil (I use extra virgin because it’s what I keep on hand)
- ~2 tablespoons honey, optional and to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread your peanuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. I do about 2-4 cups of peanuts per batch of peanut butter because that’s a good fit for my baking sheet, but you can easily use more or less. If your peanuts aren’t roasted, it will take about 10-15 minutes to roast them. I keep my roasted peanuts in the freezer so I pop them in the oven to warm them up and help release the natural oils. They’re ready when they are a nice golden color and have a good aroma.
2. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Then, add the to your food processor fitted with the normal blade. Pulse for about 5 seconds at a time until the nuts are finely ground. Then, just turn the processor on and let it go. In few minutes, you should be able to see a thick paste forming. Scrape down the sides if necessary. Once you have a homogeneous paste, add in the honey (if desired). Then with the processor going, slowly drizzle the oil in through the top until your peanut butter reaches the desired consistency. I usually have to add in a decent amount of oil to get a spreadable texture, but you may have different results.
3. Taste test, and add more honey or salt if desired. Store peanut butter in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, or refrigerate for longer storage. Enjoy!
A.k.a. Patience. Between snow, and work schedules, and waiting on contractor bids, and just general life, it seems like the house project is going at a snail’s pace. I know it feels slower than it actually is, but sometimes I have to fight the frustration of wanting to do things NOW. It’s difficult when all the progress is still in the paperwork stage and there isn’t anything physical to point to yet. Big Man and I talk about the possibility of moving in a year from now and it still seems like a fantasy to me.
There are some new developments: we have nearly all the paperwork ready to submit for our permit, the logs for the house have a cut/ship date, and weather permitting Big Man should start the tree-removal in a couple weeks. We’ve got a good start on the kitchen design, thanks to Big Man’s dad, and we’re making some decisions in details like flooring and interior wall finishing. Little Man even gets involved by telling us what color he wants to paint his room (current choice is orange).
So things are moving along, even if I don’t appreciate the pace. Hopefully I’ll have another update in a few weeks. Until then, thanks for following along.
So long, 2013! You’ve been good to us: a place for our future home, lots of family events, new friends, and many adventures in cooking and homekeeping. But I have to say, as great as 2013 was, I am highly anticipating 2014! Lord willing, we’ll begin construction of our house, enjoy our first family vacation, and celebrate Big Man completing his second bachelor’s degree. Little Man will turn 4 in a couple weeks and Little Lady will turn 3 this year. God truly has blessed us, and I hope to spend this year learning how to be grateful and pass on that blessing to others.
I also have a few goals (I don’t do resolutions) for 2014.
- Complete a cross-stitched Christmas stocking for Little Lady (I just barely finished Little Man’s before Christmas this year)
- Learn how to crochet, and make at least 1 project
- Research homeschooling methods/curriculum and have a plan to “officially” start school in the fall, whatever that looks like
- Pick a few recipes off my “too scared to attempt” list and actually try them.
- Exercise at least once a week in January and February, twice a week in March through June, and 3 times per week from July onward.
- Complete my Bible Study reading and questions daily, instead of playing catch-up the day before the group meeting.
We have big things on the horizon this year, and I’m excited. I hope you are excited about the new year as well. Happy 2014!
“Um, what Baby?” This is the question Little Man asks every time we talk about how Christmas is a birthday party for Baby Jesus. Little Man is really into Christmas this year. Bouncing-off-the-walls-excited about lights, trees, ornaments, and more lights. He’s not focused too much on gifts yet, but I am sure that will come.
I love seeing his enthusiasm. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and while I have many fond memories of my childhood Christmases, nothing compares to seeing Christmas through your children’s excitement. It’s amazing the amount of joy Little Man has seeing the lights, or discussing with Little Lady the color of every single ornament. I hope and pray that, as they grow, they will both have as much passion for knowing and following the Lord.
It’s a difficult thing, explaining the true meaning of Christmas to a 3 year old. You tell him the lights and trees and gifts are fun and nice, but the most important part of Christmas is something he can’t see. Little Man knows his baby cousin, and younger siblings of his friends, but he hasn’t met Baby Jesus. So we have the “what Baby?” conversation every time. And every time I tell him Jesus came to be born a baby because he loves us. He loves you, he loves me. He loves everyone so much he came to earth as a little Baby. And we celebrate that at Christmas. “Oh, OK!” Little Man responds every time. “It’s a birthday for Baby Jesus.”
I know he doesn’t fully understand yet. Really, does anyone truly comprehend the miracle of a human Baby, who is also fully God? The mighty Ruler of the universe, contained in a helpless newborn? The Word becoming flesh to dwell among us? I know my human brain cannot fathom such a miracle. I believe it, but I will never be able to fully wrap my mind around it. So I’m OK with having the “What Baby?” conversation over and over again. It gives me an opportunity to share the most important Truth with my little ones. It compels me to pray for them, that they would come to saving faith in Jesus and walk with Him always. And it reminds me to pause and consider the indescribable love of my Savior, who gave up Heaven for a time to dwell here on earth, all so we can be restored to perfect fellowship with Him.
May you have a blessed Christmas season, full of love and His peace.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Today’s tip is a reminder, and one I need as much as anyone else: remember Who owns everything. It’s all His. God has blessed our family generously and continues to provide for us. But we don’t really own any of it. He does. And He calls us to be good stewards of what he’s given us. That means that Big Man and I are accountable to Him for how we use His gifts. We are to honor Him with our spending, saving, and giving.
I’m not going to tell you how much to tithe or how to manage your bank account. It isn’t any of my business, and I don’t believe there is only one “Christian” way to manage money. The important thing is to follow where God leads. Sometimes He may lead us to a place that is uncomfortable, or unpopular among other people (Christian or non-Christian). He may lead us to make decisions that aren’t “financially sound” and don’t follow the common wisdom. They may even conflict with the ever-present Health and Wealth Gospel. But it isn’t about following the popular wisdom or the latest get-rich-quick scheme. It is about following His leading for your family. It’s about caring what He wants, not what the “financial experts” say. It’s about choosing to surrender all to Him, and believing His way is always best.
What do you think?