12.14.2011

I am NOT going to smile!


Lately, things have been hard! Dreams are dreams and life is well... life. We have life so much easier than most, here in the states. But when you're in the thick of it, it's hard to see beyond it. Some days I just really feel like I CAN'T smile. Can't and don't want to. I figure I'm not alone, so I wanted to briefly share with you something that was on my heart. When you feel like this...
 Turn to the word... the word of the Lord. I cannot explain how, but for some reason, at least for me. Reading the word the Father has given us seems to set things right when we're low or tired or discouraged. I know that the personal relationship we have with Him is a large part of it. But I also know there is strength given THROUGH the word. So let me encourage you, when you're feeling down, drained or just plain uninspired. Read, pray and refocus on Him. The world won't be set right in the blink of an eye, but our vision being focused on Him will help us to see our world in a right light.

"16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." John 17:16-18 KJV

Blessings,
Staci

Kind disclaimer: the above photos are copyrighted, contain my children and belong to me. Please do not repost them, share them, or use them for any reason. You're welcome to share a link back to the post if you like. Thank you :-)

12.08.2011

NEW Giveaway You Won't Want to Miss!

Autumn Beck of All About Cloth Diapers is hosting a HUGE giveaway she's calling My Favorite Things! She is giving away a new gift every day for 12 days (skipping sunday). She's giving away cool items from Bee All Natural, Monkey Foot Designs, Ragababe, and Abby's Lane. There are lots and lots of different ways to enter and you can complete one entry or do them all. Best of all you can win MORE THAN ONE PRIZE! Today is day 4 and she's not done yet! So get on over to All About Cloth Diapers and enter to win her My Favorite Things Giveaway!

If you like giveaways, be sure to go to my Facebook fan page, for our Windy Willow Pond store and "like" us! When we get to 38 fans we'll have a giveaway AND offer a discount code to ALL our fans too!

Thanks for reading! And come back soon, we're working on some new articles on lots of different topics!

Be blessed!
Staci
 
ps: you can find it here.

11.09.2011

Life is busy, life is good!

Blessings to any of you who are still reading, I've been gone so long I suppose I may be talking into a cave. But if not - how many blessings are we allowed to count during a storm? Some of you may remember, but for those who don't know, we have a home business, we started several months ago and it's been just slowly building. We are still pretty small, but the excitement is starting to buzz with new offerings and new ideas, AND the possibility of my hubby joining in on the adventure! The funny thing is that a lot of our excitement is really stemming out of chaos and unsettling changes in life. Some times I have to hide my excitement when things like that happen. I tend to be a "free spirit" if you will, who is always ready for the next grand adventure. However, my husband is a rock, a big bad bolder if you have to know. He does a fine job at keeping me grounded and my feet on the ground lest I fly away in the clouds. (I am truly thankful for that)

For now though, at least for a little while, he's allowing me to dream. I love having him home, so do the children. The circumstances that brought it on are difficult and painful, but he's here. So, with that in mind I'm running head long into the business adventure with him staying home for good as my final goal. Will it happen? I don't know, but for now it's nice to dream. And if it doesn't work out, he let me enjoy the idea for a time. Ultimately we want the Lords will. So we are bowing to that above all. But if it is His will for us to be successful in this business, oh what sweet success - to spend every day with the man I love! ( I really can't stifle the sappiness, I'm sorry, but I love him- what's not to love!- do you see the golden sun behind him! it truly is no accident, he's every bit a golden boy as he looks like he is)

So, what's the purpose of this post? I suppose a little bit of thankfulness. Maybe for someone else who's struggling with life, encouragement. Encouragement that there are amazing blessings even in the difficult times. We could spend our days grumbling about why he's no longer employed, or we can savor every sweet moment and soak it up, storing new memories away until our hearts threaten to burst. I, admit (unapologeticly) to being an optimistic one, and opt for the later option. Thank you. There is a reason that the Father gave a rainbow *AFTER* the storm! They would have been so busy with "life" that they wouldn't have even noticed it! But after 40 days of stinkin rain, stuck on a boat, with a bunch of stinky animals! You bet your belly button that rainbow was a sight for sore eyes!

Where are your rainbows? Are you too busy staring at the ground to notice? How is the Father blessing you every day? Please feel free to share!

Oh! and I almost forgot to share, for those who haven't seen them before, here are our store links.
Our Etsy store is here. and
Our Hyena cart store is here.
Both are under the name "Windy Willow Pond" and we are working on a huge stocking this week, one reason why I'm so excited, but I was really just wanting to share about my thankfulness!

"2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 28:2 KJV

 Staci
oh- pss: a study was done that showed that the people during the Holocaust and the great depression that survived with the best health were the ones with the most positive outlook. Some were even remarkably in good health! So on a side note - a great prep for a depression situation is to start counting your blessings! :-)

8.23.2011

It's a great time to try cloth diapers!

Yep that is a giraffe on my baby's butt!
 Cloth butts are adorable! Cloth diapers are awesome! They're better for your baby, better for your wallet and lets face it they're so stinkin cute! Who can resist! AND The best part is that today's cloth diapers are not your mama's or gramma's cloth diapers! There's no stinky vinyl, no fancy folding techniques, diaper pins are optional, and no dunking poopy diapers in the toilet! There is a ton of info on the net about cloth! One of my favorite info places is All About Cloth Diapers. There has never been a better time to try cloth diapers! Cloth diapers are the easiest they've ever been, and disposable diapers are more TOXIC than ever before! Cloth diapers are fun, healthy, cheap and easy to make, and disposables are boring, monotonous, full of chemicals and cost a small fortune! Need I go on?

Another great reason to try them is the giveaway going on right now! You can enter to win a free diaper making pattern. The giveaway is for a Rocket  Bottoms diaper pattern, and is done at the Crazy 4 Cloth blog. They're fun and easy to make! Plus you can even use old receiving blankets or trendy t-shirts to make the absorbent part of the diaper.

For the outside you'll need PUL, a special water proof fabric, and I have some for a great price on my hyena cart store, Windy Willow Pond.  I have a friend who also sells diaper making fabrics on hyena cart, named Monika and her store is Diaper Fabric Fanatic. With diaper fabrics easily available for cheap or free, and now a free diaper pattern, why not start making your own diapers today! Save lots of money, deck out your sweety in something that really reflects their cuteness and feel good about protecting their health. See for yourself why so many mama's try cloth and never go back!

"13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands." Proverbs 31:13 KJV

Blessings,
Staci

ps: if you don't win the pattern, you can find a many free diaper patterns online. Just google it! Celtic Cloth has a good one.
Oh and if you visit any of the links be sure and tell them I sent you! :-)

7.27.2011

Snow Cones!!! - the natural way! - MYO snow cone syrup

Snow cones are a favorite summer time treat! And any kid loves a snow cone, even if their parents are slightly crunchy! The store bought syrups are made with corn syrup or sugar, artificial flavors and artificial colors -YUK! Who wants to eat that? So our solution is simple, make a natural snow cone! YESSSS!!!! The cool thing is when you make your own syrups YOU get to decide what flavors you like, what goes into them, AND you save money! Have you seen the price on those syrups!? So to kick off the fun, why not ask your kids to come up with flavors they'd like to try! The crazy ones can be the tastiest of treats so go ahead and let them imagine!

Here's how to get started...

First you're going to make a syrup...

Using your own favorite recipe, or the one below make a syrup, or several syrups and let it chill. This is the super fun creative part! It's also the messy part, but hey, sometimes having fun means making a mess!

My recipe:
1 cup honey (raw is best)
1 cup water or 100% natural fruit juice
1/2 teaspoon 100% natural flavoring, or a couple of essential oils that are edible.

Mix honey and water/juice over low heat, stirring consistently, until well blended, so the honey is completely dissolved. Don't cook it, just warm it so the honey will mix in. Then remove from heat and add your flavors/ essential oils. Adjust the amounts to your own taste. If you really want colored syrups and are not using juice, you can purchase truly natural food colorings from a health food store or online. They're made from food, like beets make red etc.

A couple tips
  • If you use juice you can leave out the flavors or blend flavors and juices to make them super cool!
  • If you'd rather use natural unrefined sugar you can do that, either using 1 or 2 cups sugar, depending on how sweet and syrupy you want it. 
  • For younger children lean to the simpler side on flavors.
  • For an adult party you can get really complex flavor combinations and really wow your guests!
Beside, the typical flavors, here are a few more flavor ideas:
  • hazelnut espresso
  • blackberry lavender
  • lemon lime mint
  • watermelon pomegranate
  • pineapple coconut
  • green tea pear
Once your syrups have chilled put them in neat bottles like these, they look pretty and are easier to poor from. You could also use ketchup style squeeze bottles, used for candy making or picnics from the kitchen 
or cake decorating supply section at any department store.


Now that your syrups are ready, it's time to bring on the fun!
Shave your ice using a blender or ice shaver. Put the ice into cups and pour the flavors over the ice!


The only thing left to do is enjoy your cool sweet treat that you made yourself! (Oh and don't forget to share with the kids)
 The best thing about these is that although they are a treat, they're not nutritionally empty like the sugar syrups made from white refined sugar!

Tune in next time, we'll show you how to make your own home made juices! We're also going to teach you how to make herbal syrups! Did you know that Lemon Balm can help to calm super rowdy summer crazy kids! Learn how to have fun with your kids using herbal syrups that they'll love!

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 28:2 KJV

Blessings,
Staci

6.23.2011

HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!

HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!? Your quiver is too full! Yes, I've lost my mind now excuse me please I have a road to cross, ...did I mention that I was going to close my eyes first!?


It's amazing how people seem to know, even before we do, that we have too much to handle. And oddly enough it's not because they're encouraging us to keep up the good work, or offering to help in some way. But rather in their passing of judgment they manage to comment on our lives. Do we live in a fish bowl, just waiting for some onlooker to help us figure out what we're doing wrong? Well, I know many well meaning people have simlply spoken without thinking, but as the outspoken woman I am I had to say something. And since this is my blog, I figure what better place to do it. I shared these thoughts on my facebook wall:

"you need to plan on making this one your last" or so I'm told, "are you having any more?" so many have to ask and my response to them is this... "look at this sweet baby, and all the ones before, Could YOU look them in the eyes and tell them, "we didn't want more. we had a plan and you didn't fit, we'd had enough and had to quit" I know I couldn't and I know my God can decide just when we've filled our quiver full. ♥
Trusting in the Lord doesn't mean we only trust Him when it's easy. We trust Him, lean on Him, cry to Him, and let Him lead. If my life weren't in His hands another blessing could cost me dearly, but He is my all and I am His treasure and I can follow Him with my eyes closed walking in faith securely. Fear has no place where faith abounds.

Many will call me crazy. Many will try to criticize our choices. Some may turn to worry and concern. But only I will stand and face the Father for my choices. And only my husband and I can lead our children by our example. We have to stand by what we believe is right, even in the face of adversity. If we don't then we've lost our testimony and every word we've spoken falls to the ground. We have been given the greatest privilege and honor there is, raising God's army! Can we grow tired of the greatest honor bestowed. Can we concede that we have had enough of His blessings? Can our children trust the parents who say they trust in the Lord if we only do so when it's convenient, easy or affordable?

If we are to live by faith then I say we are to live by radical faith. Insane faith that defies all logic. Because logic is where we muck things up! Human logic is so small and insignificant to Yahweh's will for our life! If we are to walk in faith, then I believe we are to close our eyes and walk the road toward Him, forsaking the map, ignoring the guard rails, trusting in Him on the edge-cliff and follow after Him with a fire and a purpose in our hearts. That purpose I believe is to serve, to love, and to trust in Him and His plan for our lives, willingly following the Master wherever He leads us. For by faith we are saved. By our faith in Yeshua (Jesus) we are saved from eternal punishment and by our faith in Yahweh are we saved from ourselves. 


"5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

For another related blog post that is encouraging to read, go here

Blessings, 
Staci

MIA - Our baby is here!

Well for those who wondered, I disappeared cause I had my baby. He was 36 weeks and we are on the mend, but it's been a wild ride. God really protected us through all of it so I want to sing His praises first.  I had a massive placental abruption and the baby also had a prolapsed cord.

Thankfully my husband and I were close to the hospital, and everyone worked quickly and the baby was safe. Another blessing is that my children weren't with me to see the horrific scene. I am recovering by the grace of God. We're here, but we're slow. I may not be on as much, while we are trying to adjust to another blessing. But, I'm here. I'll post the birth story some time soon, for those who are interested. And hopefully soon I'll begin posting regular content again soon.

"My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2

Blessings,
Staci

5.05.2011

new giveaways to share!

SOMETIMES THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE! AND WE HAVE A COUPLE FREEBIES TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY!


These giveaways are from a some other great bloggin mamas. And I didn't want to keep them all to myself. So here they are...

One for raw honey

and another for Simply Organic gluten free mixes.

And here is a great FREE FOR ALL! Its called Free Pattern Month at Grosgrain. For an entire month they're posting a free pattern every day, in a wide variety of styles, mama, baby, toys, household. How exciting! I love patterns and I love free!

And just to spice things up even more, we're offering a free shipping special at our stores, go to our Windy Willow Pond Etsy shop, or our Hyena Cart Windy Willow Pond shop and make a purchase. Then tell a friend by sharing our links on your facebook page or your blog and we'll refund your shipping! Just drop us a note letting us know about your qualifying purchase and where you shared it! Yeah for FREE SHIPPING! (This offer is good until May 31)

ENJOY!

Staci

4.22.2011

MYO Canned milk and French Fries!

My grandmother tells me about the vouchers used during the depression, each person was only allowed to buy a certain amount of things like sugar and gasoline per month, so they had to have vouchers to purchase them. She remembers her mother saving vouchers to be able to buy enough extra sugar for a birthday cake. I can't imagine what that was like, but I know hard times happen and I try to be prepared for them.
 One of the things I think we'll miss most during hard times is the occasional treat! I'm not a fast food person myself, but I do like to enjoy the occasional french fry, usually home made. You may be thinking, yeah I can make french fries! Sure, I make home made fries with fresh potatoes too. (You do NOT have to deep fry them!) But I'm going to share with you a video that teaches you how to put up potatoes when they're on sale, or abundant in your garden and then be able to use them later for home made french fries! How neat is that! There's also a tip in there about how to keep potatoes from getting starchy during the canning process! So for a great video on putting up french fries, watch this!

 

The next thing I want to discuss can often be a topic of heated discussion. What is it? Canned milk. Today I'm going to share with you not only the how, but also the why. Did you know that store bought canned milk is not only homogenized, but it is also irradiated! (who needs irradiated food!?) I for one don't want that, but there are different ideas on whether or not you can safely can milk at home. On the one hand you have people who have done it safely for years with never a problem. On the other hand you have die hard ball blue book advocates and extension program studiers who swear that you can't! WHY? They never give a good reason, other than the standard: "Because you don't have commercial equipment to do it with". My response has always been "SO WHAT? Give me a real answer. What is it about the commercial process that is supposed to be better than my processing abilities?" And you know what, there is never a clear, founded reason. My ball book says that 240` is the temperature at which bacteria, mold and yeasts are destroyed. The only time I've ever heard of foods not being able to come up to temp correctly is when they're too dense. Milk definitely is not. Then there are others who say it won't taste right. Well, sure if you over cook it, which you don't have to. Thirdly, I've heard "you can't kill the bacteria in milk". Well my answer to that is that raw milk from a trusted source is safe to drink, so why not canned? I am of the school of thought that there really isn't a good reason other than money. If you can it yourself, you don't have to buy it from them, dairy companies, big AGRI- business. HMMM. Shame on them.

I've found a video in which a lovely lady teaches you how to can milk, using a clean kitchen and proper canning methods. She shares with viewers that canned milk is over a dollar a can in some places. And the cost of canning it is much lower. (try 25 cents a pint!) She also has the testimony of actual use. She said it tastes great over cereal, because it's not over processed! I think that's a smart way to prepare for the future without going broke! Here you go!
(The embedding abilities were disabled, so I'll give you the link instead)
Canning Milk, by the Preppers Wife, Prepare today, for tomorrow come what may.

*Edited to add- On a side note, I just read an article that said you can use the same process for canning other kinds of milk too! And a woman shared that her grandmother canned fresh cream for many years, to use when they couldn't get to the market. 


Will you give me a moment to tug at your ear?... It is not conspiracy theory, sensationalism, or paranoia. It is a fact of life that hard times can and will come. Whether for just your family or for the world over or somewhere in between, they do come. We can certainly trust in the Lord for all that we need, but we do see scriptural examples of God telling His people to prepare. Please learn about preparedness, for your family, however you choose to do it, keep your eyes upon the Lord, but remember to do what you can to prepare yourself and your family for hard times that you may face. It is not my wish that any of His children would suffer and that's part of the reason why I share what I can.


35"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine." Genesis 41:35-36 KJV

Blessings,
Staci