Friday, February 27, 2009

Homemade Ginger Soda~

I was digging around in one of my many cookbooks and stumbled upon this old family recipe. Its a natural and refreshing ginger ale recipe without any of the high fructose corn syrups or added coloring.

Its a very simple recipe to make and I can just picture my Grandma making this for one (or more) of her 11 kiddos when they were sick!

Ginger is a spicy root that has a wonderful aroma and taste. It can help settle a upset tummy. Tis the Flu season!

When choosing ginger, remember that quality, fresh ginger should have smooth, light brown skin with a light sheen and white flesh. Pick the roots with the least number of knots and branching.

Ginger Simple Syrup:

1/2 cup *light agave nectar
1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup cold water

Place agave nectar, ginger, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until ginger aroma and flavor are strong—about one hour. Let cool. Strain and refrigerate for up to one week. To make the Ginger Soda, use 1/2 cup of the ginger syrup and combine it with 3 cups of sparkling water. Pour over ice to serve. Enjoy!

*Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener and can be found in the health food section of REG. grocery store next to the honey! Or at your local Whole Foods store!

Have a blessed Sabbath~


Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

Go over to Saving Money Mom and Enter to win!

24-Hour Giveaway: 2 sets of 3 Bottombumper cloth diapers

Are you interested in trying out some cloth diapers?

Well, here's your chance to win a set of three Bottombumpers cloth diapers!

Bottombumpers are All-in-One cloth diapers made of organic materials by moms in the USA. These trim-fitting absorbent diapers come in four different sizes and a variety of colors.

The outer layer of these diapers is constructed of water PUL knit materials. The inner lining is certified 100% Organic cotton and snap-in soaker material. The soakers are also topped with a very soft Bamboo Velour.

And did I mention how absorbent these diapers are? They've been tested and a well-used diaper will withstand over 16 oz. before leaking!

You can also go here to read some of my back posts on Natual Mothering!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Journey In The Desert~

I am Catholic and Lent is here. So what does that really mean?

Some people think Lent is just rules,rules and more rules! It really is not that at all. Its a time for a spiritual walk with the Lord. A journey of sorts with the Lord as he walked in the desert.

Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days until Easter. That is when Jesus died for our sins on the cross. During the 40 days of Lent its a time to let God transform us...mold us into something new. (Yes, we ask God to change us all through out the year but Lent is a time to really scale things back and simplify.)

Lent is a time to draw yourself closer to God. During Lent we are called to add time for QUIET PRAYER in a society that is always on the go.

We are called to FAST and ABSTAIN.
FASTING from meat on Friday and to eat only 1 full meal and the rest of Friday eating only lightly. This is meant to have us relate to those with less food. (We already eat vegetarian once a week and have a soup day to cut our food budget.) Its also about doing more activities that draw us closer to God and ABSTAINING from things that take time away from what the Lord wants us to be doing. Its slowing down things in your life just a bit. Its a SPIRITUAL WALK with our Lord.

Our church also offers "Stations of the Cross" and a simple soup supper with fellowship every Friday during Lent.
There are placks with scenes (visual reminders) of Jesus walk to Calvary.
We say prayers and read scripture stopping in front of each scene (I think there are 12)along the way. Jesus was scared and treated terrible. He was nailed to the cross. He did it for us. WOW! Very Powerful.

We are also called during Lent to ALMS GIVING.
That is simply giving MORE money than you already give. Give to those Brothers and Sisters that are really in need and are hungry. In our church we call it the Rice Bowl collection. The children of the church love to give their money(coins) and help the ushers pass the burlap bags around for this special collection during the Sundays of Lent!

God is not looking for perfection. In fact HE already knows we will not be perfect. We will stumble,fail to a degree. He wants us to lean on HIM to seek his face. We are nothing without HIM. If you journey with Christ you really never grow spiritually into someone new!

Jesus gave HIS life for us.
I will be taking time to walk even more closely with HIM.
I will be quieting my life and be extra mindful of the things I choose to do.

Regardless if you are Catholic you can still take these next 40 days until Easter to Journey closer with Christ. HE walked alone in the desert and asks YOU to walk with HIM!

Lent is simply:

Fast and Abstain
Alms giving

I will still be posting during Lent but will not be spending as much time at the computer.. among other things, I will be spending more time with my kiddos teaching them about our Lord,cooking and baking,reading their favorite story "just one more time!" and enjoying more fully the precious gifts in my life! (Given to me from the Lord.)

I will be quieting my mind so I can more fully hear the Lord!

Even the best of Christians can get comfortable with there walk with Christ. Its human nature to become complacent with things. So comfortable we take what we have for granite. Lent is a time to take a spiritual cleansing of sorts. Renew yourself in Christ!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Waste Not!

Have you ever gone to the store to buy produce? Some times get the big Costco size bags? We all feel so good throwing all those veggies into the cart do we not? Our kiddos are going to be eating healthy! Right?

In theory that is what we plan to do but in most cases the reality is,all our expensive produce sits buried in the crisper drawer. Our veggies never see the light of day until we decide to clean out the fridge in a few weeks. Throwing away hard earned money!

We vow next time will be different....we are going to serve up those veggies to our family... but some how we repeat the cycle over and over. We are good people trying to do the right thing! We want to do well for our family!

That used to be me! I asked myself "Why do I keep repeating the same cycle?

I figured out the obvious....dinner time at our house with 6 kiddos and a Husband was very busy! The thought of taking 5 various bags of veggies out of the fridge....then trying to wash them in a sink that was full of the days dishes was something I would avoid at all cost. Oh and then there was the issue of finding a spot on the clutter filled counter to chop them! EEEKKK!!!

It didn't help that Hubby would say
"What is your problem with serving up the veggies!"

I guess the disarray of my kitchen by the end of a long day was causing the nightly dance of the veggies!
More like me doing a solo break dance (and you better not get in my way!)while the veggies stayed hidden in the crisper drawer! LOL

I have since made a few simple changes...I clean and prep ALL my veggies the day I bring them home! (my back was starting to hurt from many nights of break dancing. LOL) My house is now a happy home and we now eat our veggies! (And I leave the break dancing moves to my kiddos!)

I use my V slicer to quickly do the work. I got my slicer at the fair for $40.00 it came with many blades and a safety handle. This is one of the most used gadgets in my kitchen. It makes quick easy work of slicing veggies for sandwiches,salads and party platters. It usually only takes me 20 minutes or less to have all my veggies cleaned,chopped and stored.

I use my V slicer on cucumbers,lettuce,onions,peppers,carrots,celery,tomatoes,cabbage,zucchini and the list goes on! The rest of my veggies I just radishes,broccoli,cauliflower and green onions.

I use clear plastic bins with lids made for storing shoes. They are big and stack easily in the fridge.

I put the clean,dried and chopped lettuce in its own bin to keep it from getting soggy.
I put all the other veggies in a large bowel or a different bin.

Now salads and sandwich makings are just a grab away! Having all the prep done comes in handy when you are famished after a long day and are tempted to grab for the unhealthy carbs! Healthy eats for the kids are ready to go! Your veggies are now convenient!

I wish you all many healthy eats! Now take your kiddos and a bag of fresh veggies to the park! Let them see the light of day!

And my Hubby says,
"the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". So ladies it time for a change!

Prayers and Blessings,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

There Is A Givaway!

Sherri over at SnapzShotzis having a great giveaway! She is giving one "lucky" (blessed as I like to say) person this really awesome DVD of INHERIT THE LAND!
Go over and check it have until Before Midnight on Feb.28,2009. So hurry up and join in the fun!

Spring is just around the corner and its time to get the seedling started indoors and figuring out your garden plan!
God gave us the land and seeds to grow food! He tells us to work with our hands!

We should all do more not have to rely on stores for our food! We should support our local farmers and grow things our self! So lets get diggin'

You can go here to see some of my back post on gardening and homesteading!

Don't forget to go check out the DVD giveaway over at Shari's blog!

Blessings to all and happy gardening!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


What a great helper my little one is in the kitchen! She had an awesome time dipping strawberries in chocolate and eatting them! Mom had a fun time taking pictures!

What a great reward after a long day...boy this is yummy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Look Who Going To Be On TV!

I wanted to let everyone know the Crockpot Lady is going to be on Good Morning America this Thursday Feb 19! How exciting!
She has a blog full of crock pot recipes and will be cooking one up on live TV in NY.
I can hardly wait to see what she makes!

I love to use my crock pots as well...I have 5 of them (in 3 sizes)and use one about 4 days a week! Its nice to have dinner ready at the end of a busy day! Its also fun to let the kiddos help cook...they feel like a super chef!

The Crockpot Lady has many yummy recipes (many are gluten free) on her blog and is a terrific source of fresh ideas for the greatest appliance in the kitchen the crockpot...the dishwasher comes in close at second!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Fun Day In The Kitchen!

We all had a very loving Valentines day! It was filled with fun activities and good food! We sat around the table enjoying the fruits of our labor and took turns telling one thing we loved about each family member! The younger ones faces glowed as there siblings spoke kind words to them! My face was glowing just as much to see the LOVE and hear what each child held dear about their Sib's! Yes,I had a MOM moment!

The whole evening brought such JOY to my heart! I thoroughly had the time of my life taking photo's of the kiddos! It felt like a photo shoot! The girls were dipping strawberries in chocolate and decorating cookies!

Well the kiddos are off school today, the house is a mess and I need to go to the store.
My sister took the 2 oldest boys (14 and 12)yesterday (Sunday) for pizza and a spend the nighter. Today she is taking them for a snowboard lesson! Its their first time...I bet they are having a blast! I can't wait to hear how it went!

Well I better go for is calling! The baby is needing a bath and the laundry is always waiting there like a loyal friend! LOL
Hope you remember to find the JOY in your life today!

Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tea and Cookies!

Today will be Church and Relaxation! I will drink a little tea and have a sugar cookie or two! See you tomorrow! I will be making a slide show of some of the 200 pictures I took yesterday of our fun family Valentines day! See ya then! Have a great and blessed Sunday!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

We will be in the kitchen cooking and baking today! The girls and I will be making sugar cookies and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert!

For dinner my Hubby and I will be having steak,bake potato and salad! I usually feed the kids homemade pizza or Pappa Murphy's but this year I think I will make chicken nuggets and homemade mac and cheese for them! I am straying from tradition this year..I wonder which of the kiddos will say something first?

In our home Valentines day is a day to celebrate the love of family....not just romantic love! We make the place settings special with the fancy stemware and special drinks. One year I made watermelon Italian sodas! I got the syrup from my local coffee hut! She sold it to me at cost! The red syrup looked very festive in the large clear tulip glasses!

I always line the center of the table with primroses and use my white table linens!
I love being together with all my kiddos and Hubby on Valentines day and creating special family memories and traditions!

It is up to us Mommas to create the mood in our home! We set the tone,the attitude. Mom's are the ones that bring forth the traditions that make our homes special and unique! Your kids will remember what it was that made their house a home, just ask them! You may even be surprised that each child has a different answer,depending on what is important to him or her and their personality!

Traditions can give a child a sense of belonging, something that they can count on!
At Thanksgiving every year my job was to open the cranberries,my sister made the potatoes! We still have those memories! That's what traditions are meant to create!

If you would like to share any of your traditions please do!

I pray all is well with everyone!

Now its off to the kitchen with the girls go get things ready for tonight!


Monday, February 9, 2009

My Treasured Gifts~

My Treasured Gifts~
My Jackie Rose loves red and her eyes are blue
She is the cutest girl I ever knew(well her sister too)
She brings her smile and her sweet little voice
To tell me she loves me and what a great mom I am
Even on the days I don't think it could be true
She reminds me of all I can do!

She makes colorful pictures for me to hang
She helps in the kitchen... she can open the beans
and can make the best potatoes and gravey I have ever seen!
She is a constant reminder of how blessed I am!
So I would like to take a moment to tell the Lord above "Thank You Jesus for my child to love!"
You gave her to me for me to love.... you knew just what I needed! and she gives great Hugs!

I'm glad I trusted God with my family size
because if I hadn't Jackie would not have arrived
and he has since blessed our family with baby #6
We now have quite a mix

The Lord gave me my fertility and free will to choose!?
I will accept more children if that be his plan and don't care pink or blue?
they are all blessings and we can make them fit
into our house no matter how small it is and I won't throw a fit!

God will provide for all my needs
he can see around the corner and knows just what I need
I would be kidding if I say at times I don't get scared..trusting in what you can't see can be hard for some to bare!

I just read my bible
THE WORD is there
it calms my fears
and I can feel HIM there.

Happy Valentines Day!

I love you girl~ you are a true gift from God!

With all my heart,
poem writtten by Georgiann

All children are a blessing from God!
Trust in the Lord in all you do!

I love the 3-4 age! Jackie is such a Joy to be around! She is a great helper,says the cutest things and makes the best art I've ever seen!

I pray everyone is having a great day!

I'm painting some kitchen cabinets a Cherry Red! I can't wait to post pictures on my other blog! Its hard to get it done I have the girls as helpers! Well I think the first coat of primer is dry so I better get back to work...bye for now!

{I just realized this it my 100th special is that!}

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Bug Is Gone~

Well I'm happy to report that we are all finally feeling better. Jackie had the bug for 10 days. The final days were fine by day sick by night? I pray its now over. The bug is gone!

The other bug that is gone is the "I want to move to the OLD VICTORIAN".
The sun has been out on and off....I can feel spring starting to show it beautiful face. I have now fallen in love with my own house again. We have plans to make it shabby chic or cottage style on the inside! When the economy gets better we plan to add on out the back.

We want to add a large sun room full of windows and a french door out to the patio. The sun room add on will be off my current dinning room. So my current dinning area would be a high traffic area and need to be moved (just the table). Above the sun space we would add two new bedrooms on the upper level,and a second set of stairs in the sun room to take you up. You would land in a new hall way. Once up, the bedrooms would be on the left. On the right a french door (where the large window is now) into a large family room (its currently a bdrm).

Down stairs I will change my main living room into my very large main dinning room. It has a fire place and is the main room down stairs. I will fill it with 2 or 3 large dish hutches and our large dining table thats seats 10. It is curently in out kitchen/dining rm. It will be great as we are a family of 8 and when we have more than 2 guests there is no more space at the table.

I have started a 3rd blog "My Garden Cottage". I have not posted on it just yet as I was setting the basics yesterday. The blog will house all my before and after pictures of craft projects and home improvements. I will feature furniture makeovers and creative ways to use thrift store finds! I'm very excited!

Blog #2 that I have is "The Rustic Kitchen" its a recipe blog...I don't post much on it. I have many photos and the recipes to add.

And of course my first and main blog "The Garden Gate". That is where I will post most often!

Peace and Prayers,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Jacob~

Happy Birthday Jacob~
My son Jacob is now more year and I will have 2 teenagers!
I only have a few minutes to I still have kiddos that are sick and a messy house to tend to. My sister is going to come over tonight with a cake. I will make homemade MAC and Cheese along with some baked chicken!

I would like to say that I really love my son Jacob. He has a goofy and very lovable personality. He is a jokster and can be a challenge at times but would give you the shirt off his back if you asked him for it. He shows great empathy towards others...he shines like a bright star in this fast pace world.

Up here in our state there is a LOTTERY commercial....the winner of the money is shown to be taking a hand gliding trip. The winning man has many friends along with him....each person with a non flying bird of some kind strapped to them. ie. chicken,osterage etc. Its funny to see. The slogan is:

"Everyone deserves the chance to fly".

With all his money he decides to take these birds on a flight. SSSoooo different.... so cool! My Jacob would do something like that...his favorite word is chicken!

He is different in a good way! He is a blessing to this family! He knows just the right time his MOM (me) needs a Hug! He is full of encouraging words and can make me laugh! He likes to interrupt my thoughts or when I'm talking at times by blurting out the word "chicken". He is so loving towards his brothers and sisters! Jacob is a true joy to me and our family!

He hates for his picture to be taken but I managed to get one of him on his new pogo stick. He got it last weekend for an early Birthday present! The other picture is of him playing with his sister in the back yard!

Peace and Blessings,