A Fiscal Fast: the what, why, how of it

Hi!  Long time no see!  I’m still around, and I want to get back around to doing some more blogging.

Last October, my family had what we chose to call a fiscal fast.  You may call it something different, but it was good for us.  Let me outline the what, why, and how of it :)


  1. Avoid unnecessary spending
  2. Spend money on only necessary items.  Our list included below *
  3. Yard Sale to sort what we have and clean things out
  4. Try to recruit others to join you!

*gasoline for the car, utilities, mortgage/rent, credit card bills, student loan, snacks for our Bradley® natural childbirth class, eye glasses for our son, eggs (We support a local farmer and didn’t want to short change them for a whole month), built in splurge to buy lunch on yard sale day


  • To answer the question of whether or not we could survive if the grocery store wasn’t available for a month
  • It’s good to rotate food in the pantry and freezer to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
  • To save money
  • To practice some self-control


  • Plan ahead!
  • Make a month of meal plans.  I just printed out a calendar page of the month that we chose.  My goal was to plan dinner for 31 days.  We would mostly eat leftovers for lunches, but I did plan an occasional lunch.  For breakfast, we mostly ate eggs.
  • Right before the month begins, stock up on fruits and veggies that will keep well.  Since we were in the autumn season, I stocked up on apples, squash, carrots, celery, etc.
  • Start going through your stuff to have items to sell for a yard sale.

yard-saleWhat did we eat?

  • We ate a lot of soups, frozen and canned.  We also had frozen meals that had been in the freeze for a while (i.e.- enchiladas, lasagna, etc.)
  • CONFESSION:  We decided that we could allow ourselves to go out to eat once, because we had a gift card.  WELL, I neglected to remember that a tip is required at a restaurant.  We paid for the tip, of course.  I couldn’t short change our hard-working waitress, because of my oversight.

What did we learn:

  • We learned that we could do it!
  • We learned that we had the self-control to make it happen.
  • We missed the option of running to the store for this and that, but we learned that our friends were willing to barter or share here and there :)  We have some pretty nice friends!

We are planning to embark on this fiscal fast again for October 2015!  Care to join us?  My allowances for the month of October will be the same expect for we don’t currently have a childbirth class, and I will also make a day trip out of town to get new eye glasses for our son.

Soaked Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

This is very similar to my soaked homemade granola recipe, but I’m trying to cut back on pasteurized dairy.  I knew that many of my friends were cutting out pasteurized dairy, but I guess I had to see it with my own eyes before I started making the step.

We do homeschooling, and as part of our curriculum, my son had to do an experiment with milk.  He had to put a small jar of milk in the fridge and one on the counter.  He had to hypothesize about which one would turn bad first.  So, he got our Organic milk from the fridge and proceeded with the project.  Lo and behold after over a week, the milk on the counter still had not turned bad!  That just ain’t right!

I will note that we were using ultra pasteurized organic milk.   That does make a large difference.  You will notice the presence of kefir, whey, buttermilk and yoghurt in the recipe.  I’d recommend the raw variety or just the lemon juice :)

As the result of our little experiment, I came up with a modification that doesn’t require milk over it.  :)

Note:  You can easily make this gluten free with gluten free oats and dairy free by using the lemon juice.


  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • water
  • 8 T whey, kefir, buttermilk, yoghurt, or lemon juice
  • 1 smashed banana
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flax-seed meal
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup walnuts or other nuts (I used slivered almonds)
  • 2 T cocao nibs

The night before, place 4 cups of oats in a pot along with 4 cups of water and 8 T of either whey, kefir, buttermilk, yoghurt, or lemon juice.  Cover the pot and let the oats soak.

Soaked oatsThe next day, cook the oats for about 5 minutes or to your desired consistency.  I like to make it fairly thick without too much watery consistency.

Put your cooked oatmeal into a big bowl.

In a small pot on the stove, add the honey and coconut oil.  Cook until a liquid.

Oil and honeyAdd the resulting liquid to the cooked oatmeal.

Freshly ground flaxseedAdd all the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, except raisins, walnuts, and cocao.  I always add the eggs last, in hopes they don’t cook because of the hot oatmeal.  :)

Mix in the raisins, nuts, and cocao.

adding chunksLine a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.

Plop the oatmeal mixture onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  In my house this recipe normally fills about 5 cookie sheets :)  You might have to make a few batches.

UncookedCook the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

cooked dscf7014The result should be a crispy outside with yummy tasting mushy oatmeal in the inside.  I made the recipe big so that I can have a week’s worth of breakfasts for my family of 6.  I store the leftover cookies in the fridge and heat what we want in the toaster oven each morning.  We’ve decided that they taste the best warm.


Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

Dearest Jude (Yes, I’m revealing his name because it is significant),

You are the newest part of our family.  Before I give you your birth story, let me provide some background.

When I found out that I was pregnant with you, I was overwhelmed!  The pregnancy was completely unexpected, and I didn’t know if I would be able to handle all that went with it: the midwife cost, raising an infant and a toddler, balancing responsibilities, losing my figure again.  Rest assure, God had all these things handled.  I was just revealing my lack of trust in Him.

Throughout the pregnancy, I struggled with keeping my emotions in check.  Many seemingly well-meaning people decided to share their disapproval that I was bringing a fourth baby into our family.  They were worried about money, as was I.  Did their opinion help anything?  No, it just served to make we want to hide from the world.  Just because they didn’t approve, was your little life that was growing inside of me going to go away?  No, I wanted to love you and cherish you.  They weren’t helping!

The pregnancy had some physical struggles as well.  I got the stomach flu, all while taking care of your big brother and 2 sisters.  I got a terrible cough at the same time I had spasms in my shoulder and neck.  Every time I would cough, I would get shooting pains.  I was actually grateful for a fever that came later with the cough.  The fever seemed to ease some of the neck and shoulder pain.  Your dad and I figured out later that I had a magnesium deficiency caused by the close pregnancies.  Some extra minerals helped the shoulder and neck pain to finally subside.

As we neared the end of the pregnancy, I longed to hold you in my arms and not in my belly.  The end dragged on though.  The end of your pregnancy was unlike any of the other pregnancies.  I had four false labors.  The first one I thought was real, and we even dragged the midwife over.  She was beyond gracious, and we did get a chance to make sure everything was prepared for your arrival.  The first false labor was on July 20th, close to two weeks before your earliest guessed due date.

We were ready, but you were many days away from coming.  My biggest issue with all this is that it was public knowledge that we had a false labor.  Your dad had to put a sign on his office door saying “Closed due to new baby.”  This was the beginning of my social recluse stage.  I was extremely disappointed, and I felt like I let everyone down.  I didn’t deliver the baby they were waiting for.  I didn’t want to go to church and hear another person ask where you were or why you hadn’t arrived.  I just stayed home.

As weeks passed beyond the first false labor, the annoying questions continued.  People strangely asked that we tell them when you arrived.  Really?  Were we planning on having a baby and keeping it a big secret?  NO!  They realized this, but they thought it was a nicer way to nag.  Some of the questions came with implications that I was doing the wrong thing by waiting for your arrival.  Some implied that I was doing something dangerous to you!  If I was face-to-face with these people, I was afraid I would snap, so I just stayed home.

Each day, my body prepared for your arrival with lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and some more real contractions.  I wondered if I would be able to tell when it was real labor.  I jokingly told close friends that I wouldn’t declare it real until I was pushing.

Each day, my mind and heart grew more sad and disheartened by the fact that you hadn’t arrived.  Each morning, I woke up wondering why you hadn’t arrived in the night.

I know that one of the many reasons why you decided to stay inside mommy a little longer was that you knew that I needed by sweet midwife.  At the beginning of August, my midwife’s mother passed away, and she was dealing with grief and the arranging of her mother’s affairs.  You waited until all the affairs were in order.

On August 14, 2012 (25 days after the first false labor), we had what I thought was more false labor.  It started at about 4 in the morning.  I had a good strong contraction every 20-30 minutes, but they really didn’t get much closer together.  They were stronger than the other false labor contractions, but I still didn’t trust anything to be real.  We tried to pick things up by taking a bumpy ride, but it didn’t seem to change the contractions.

We tried to distract ourselves and enjoy the time.  Your dad took the day off of work, so I was feeling badly for that.  I decided to let everyone draw with washable markers on my belly.  I told your older brother and sisters that maybe you would want to come out to see the pretty pictures they drew.  It was a fun activity to pass some time.  We did take pictures, but there are too many stretch marks to share the pictures :)

As the evening came, we had to call the midwife and others to take them off the alert.  When we got to 10 p.m. that night, I had a nervous breakdown.  That’s the only thing I can think to call it.  I melted into a puddle of tears in your daddy’s arms.  I didn’t think I could take it anymore.  I told him that I couldn’t stand going to sleep one more night and waking up with no baby.  After an hour of tears, we finally laid down to sleep at 11:00 p.m.

10 minutes later, I started having a very strong contraction, and the next one came ten minutes later.  Finally, the real thing!  Your dad waited until he saw a real pattern in the contractions to call everyone that would be coming to your birth.  He called your grandma (who helps your daddy by filling up the birth tub and other details), our dear friend Hannah (who would be in charge of your brother and sisters if they woke up), the midwife, and our dear friend Lisa (who would be taking pictures).

The contractions were quite painful, and because my emotions had all unraveled, I was having a hard time dealing with them.  My body would shake with each contraction, and I was completely overwhelmed.  Of course, your wonderful dad was hugging and kissing me and telling me it was going to be alright.  I slowly got into the right mindset to start handling things better.

Your grandma and Hannah arrived first at around 12:20.  They immediately set about preparing the birth pool with water.  During a quick break from preparing the water, Hannah came to my side and said a prayer for me.  Such a precious friend!

When the water was ready, I was very ready for the water’s warm comfort and relief.  Once I was in the water, I relaxed much better during the contractions and didn’t fight against them so much.  Our dear friend Hannah put together an I-pod mix of music for the birth.  As I got in the pool, your dad turned on the music.  The water and the music helped to change the mood and relax me.

Our favorite Photog Lisa Holloway arrived at about 1 a.m.  She and I had discussed photographing a birth, when I was pregnant with your older sister, but it had to work into her busy life as the mother of 9.  The middle of the night worked!  Good timing, baby boy.  Through our friendship, I learned that Lisa would not bring judgment but rather encouragement to my birth.  She was nice enough to give up her precious sleep to provide the amazing pictures you see.  I barely knew she was there except for the noise from the shutter on her camera.

IMG_4501EditAs I labored in the pool, a lot of thoughts went through my head.  I really didn’t see the extra people who were there, but I was aware they were there.  The extra eyes brought extra pressure on me to do a good job.  Your dad says that I did just as well with the other births, but I felt a little more pressure to perform.  As the contractions came, it felt better to have your dad apply pressure to my back.

IMG_4518EditSoon, I felt the urge to push.  Your dad knew I was pushing, but he would say things like “It will be time to push soon.”  He was hiding the fact that I was pushing, because the midwife had not arrived yet.  He knew that your grandma especially wanted the midwife there. He called the midwife, and she said she was about twenty minutes away.

IMG_4519EditAs my body was pushing, my mind was debating.  “Are you sure you should be pushing?…Are you just in a hurry to get this over with?”  My mind cautioned me, but my body knew what it was doing.

With one push, I felt my water break.  The next push your head was out.  Your dad told me to stop pushing, as the cord was around your shoulders.  He quickly looped the cord off.  The next push you were born into your daddy’s hands.

IMG_4521EditThe midwife had not arrived, but your daddy was on the job!  He knew how to skillfully take care of you.  You joined the world at 1:53 a.m. on August 15, 2012.

IMG_4522EditYou can tell from the look on my face that I was ecstatic to have you in my arms!

So relieved!  I put you to my breast right away, and you took right to it!  While I was nursing you and you were wrapped in a towel, I asked, “Did we verify that it was a  boy?”  You dad said, “Oh, it’s a boy!”  Hannah laughed!


IMG_4535Edit8x10CropThe midwife arrived 10 minutes after you were born, and she saw you happily sucking.  :)  She said there was no need to worry about suctioning, as you were nursing so well.

IMG_4543EditThe midwife was curious to see if you showed any signs of being past due.  She quickly noticed the large amounts of vernix floating in the birth tub.  She said, “Overdue babies do not have this much vernix.”  I said the vernix looked like mozzarella cheese.  Hannah laughed.

The midwife helped me birth the placenta.  Mommy had her post-birth orange juice.

IMG_4541EditDaddy cut the cord.

IMG_4549EditThe midwife weighed you, and we found out you were 8 lb 11 oz and 22 1/4 in long.


She checked mommy to make sure I didn’t tear, and she reported that I didn’t.  Praise Jesus!  I made it through four births without tearing!

I’m sorry that your story isn’t all puppies and rainbows, but this is the real story.  Rest assure, I love you so much!

We named you Jude.  It is the name of Jesus’ brother from the Bible, but it is also a great Beatles song.

Now that you know the story, listen carefully to the words.  They fit.

Side note:  The Olympics ended right before you were born.  Paul McCartney sang “Hey Jude” at the Opening Ceremonies!

You are my sweet Jude-jubee!  I have grown through all these struggles, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world.  If I didn’t go through them, I wouldn’t have my precious little boy.  I can’t wait to see what other adventures your life will hold.

your mom


How we keep Christmas costs down

Ready for a shocker? I don’t “really” buy Christmas presents for my children and husband. Okay, I did say “really” :) Let me explain.

My husband and I have decided that when it comes to Christmas that we should buy as little as possible. What that normally means is that we don’t buy each other gifts and we only buy stocking stuffers for the children.

The stocking stuffers are normally dollar store purchases and fruit. Fruit? Yes, fruit :) The stockings are the one item that the children are allowed to open as soon as they rise. My husband and I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn, so we fill their stockings with activities and something to snack on…hence the fruit.

Before you get the wrong impression that my children don’t know the joy of Christmas or that they don’t get awesome presents, let me explain more. We have been blessed with very generous family members. They give the kids tons, from clothes to dolls and gadgets. We don’t need to go overboard with presents. They are getting plenty.

What do we do for presents for each other? Well, we normally give gifts that don’t hurt the pocketbook. We do massages and dates. I cash in any points that I have earned through various programs to get a few gift cards. I might dip into my Paypal stash that I’ve earned through selling stuff on E-bay.

My situation may also be helped by the fact that my children have never believed in Santa Claus. They know who each present came from, and they are grateful. They have realized that the presents don’t normally come from their parents, and we have explained this to them. Mommy and Daddy provide for them with presents like food, shelter, and clothing. They get plenty of toys and goodies from everyone else.

We have lots of Christmas fun together that doesn’t involve presents.  On the Friday after Thanksgiving/Black Friday, we dig out the Christmas decorations and blare the Christmas carols.  We put up the tree, and the kids put up the ornaments.  They get an ornament every year from their grandma, and they love remembering the years past.  Fun is had by all, and we don’t spend a dime :)

We do buy presents for others for Christmas.  We try to make as many homemade gifts as possible, and the kids normally join in the present making.

I just wanted to encourage you that it is possible to not overdo this holiday. You might not be blessed with such generous family members, but you can still cut back to a reasonable level. Christmas isn’t about greed or how much we can get.  It is about the celebration of Jesus and his arrival in this world.  He is the greatest gift, and we should be content even if we have nothing but Him.

Soaked Homemade Granola Recipe

Happy Independence Day!  It’s great to live in a free country and for my soul to be free in Jesus!

First off, I want to explain why I soak my grains.  I believe that soaking the grains cuts down on phytic acid and makes the vitamins and minerals more absorb-able.  Another blogger has explained in a little more detail, and I encourage you to look into it.  Let me know your thoughts.

Another blogger that I follow fairly closely, The Healthy Home Economist, does not endorse even soaked granola, but she does admit in the comments that “If it’s nice and soft, then it should digest fine.”  I’m happy to say that my granola is pretty soft :)

Okay, now for the recipe :)  I normally triple the recipe, but I’ll give you the normal proportions.  Also, you should know that you can make this recipe gluten-free by making it with gluten-free oats.


  • 3 cups oats
  • about a cup of raw soaked almonds (Really, any nut would do.  Pecans are super yummy)
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 T. lemon juice.
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 T organic raw cocao
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)

Soak the oats and nuts in water and lemon juice overnight.  The next day, bake the oat mixture at 325 F for about 40 minutes or longer.  The goal is to have the oats still wet but not too soggy.

Then mix the oat concoction with the coconut, cocao, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

Melt 1/3 cup raw honey and 2 T. coconut oil.  Mix this warm sauce into the other ingredients.  Be careful!  Don’t burn yourself.  I do most of the mixing with my hands, so I have burnt myself.

Put the new mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 40 minutes, mixing the granola at 20 minutes.

Let the granola cool and add the dried fruit.

Voila!  You have yummy granola.  I store my granola in the fridge, because it will mold.  That’s how you can tell it’s healthier for you though ;)  Normally, a long shelf life means that the food doesn’t have much nutritional value.

“His Deliverance” and Trusting God with Results

The chapter we read from The Power of a Praying Wife was “His Deliverance”.

Things that touched me:

  1. Stormie reminds us “Why would Jesus come as Deliverer if we didn’t need one?”  This may seem like a straightforward question, but I have met many who don’t believe they need any deliverance.  They feel they are good enough and can stand on their own two feet on judgment day.  They will be sadly mistaken, because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
  2. Stormie reminds us that we are “instructed to pray ‘Deliver us from the evil one’ (Matthew 6:13).”  We need to humble ourselves and ask for our all-powerful Creator to help.
  3. Stormie writes, “The best way I know to stand strong is to put on the whole armor of God.”  She then demonstrates how to pray for the armor of God in her prayer at the end of the chapter.

“I pray that he will be strong in the Lord and put on the whole armor of God, so he can stand against the wiles of the devil in the evil day.  Help him to gird his waist with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod his feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Enable him to take up the shield of faith, with which to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  I pray that he will take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication int he Spirit, being watchful and standing strong to the end (Ephesians 6:13-18).”

I didn’t find anything that I respectfully disagree with.

Trusting God with Results

Have you ever been in a place where you want things to change, and they just aren’t?  You feel like you’ve done everything that you could to make things change, and there is still not a difference?  What are you supposed to do in these circumstances?  Well, perhaps do our best and let God do the rest?

Or, have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything to get it?  Yes, you might have to bend the rules a little, but it will all be worth it in the end, right?  Well, perhaps we should do our best and let God do the rest?  Bending those rules wouldn’t be “the best” now, would it?

In both situations, we need to trust God with the results.  We need to walk in obedience to Him and His Word and watch the wonderful things that can unfold.

It might be easy to say that the ends justify the means, but that just isn’t the case.  Take that to the nth degree, and you might end up like the Children of God cult who lured men into their church through prostitution.  The end result was to get men to church.  Nothing wrong with men in church, right?  The means was women using fornication to get the men to church.  That’s not okay!

Sometimes we are tempted to go beyond what we should to get a job done.  Not quite as bad as the Children of God cult but in similar disobedience to God’s Word.  We want to scream and yell at our husband or children to whip them into obedience.  We want to give that lady at the grocery store a piece of our mind to let her know who’s boss.  Those things are not in obedience to God’s Word.

I just want to add that sometimes God gives us a goal, but He might not show us the steps of how to get there.  In that case, as long as the steps are in obedience to God’s Word, they are our “best”.  On the other hand, if God gave us specific directions and we don’t follow them, we are being disobedient and not giving our best.

Some Biblical examples of those who chose to do things their way instead of Gods:  Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:12), Saul (I Samuel 15:3-23), those so say “Lord, Lord” (Matthew 7:21-23)

When God gives specific instructions, we need to follow them.  Without specific instructions, we need to do our best within the moral confines of God’s Word.

I think Joseph was a great example of trusting God with the results.  His brother’s threw him in a pit then sold him as a slave into Egypt.  What did he do?  He was the best slave he could be, and he was promoted, as the result.  When Potipher’s wife lied and landed him in jail, what did he do?  He was the best prisoner that he could be and was well trusted, as the result.  When presented with the dreams of other prisoners, he interpreted according the ability that God had given him.  As the result of his interpreting skills and more so as the result of his mighty God, Joseph went from a slave to the second in command in Egypt!   God certainly had great results in mind!

During Paul’s shipwreck as a prisoner on his way to Rome, it would have been easy for Paul to lose his trust in God and give into fear.  He chose to believe and obey, and as the result, everyone was saved.  In the same way, Paul and Silas chose to praise God and pray in prison instead of trembling in fear of the situation.

“Just as the blind man had to obey the command of Jesus and wash his eyes before he could see, just as the paralyzed man had to get up and take up his bed and walk before he found the power he had been given to do so, just as the man with the shriveled hand had to stretch it forth before it was made whole, so you and I have to demonstrate our faith in God’s Word through our obedience if we want to experience the glory of His life-giving power” – Anne Graham Lotz in Just Give Me Jesus

In each and every circumstance, we need to do our best.

Colossians 3:23  “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

Then, we trust God with the rest of what will happen, or in other words, we trust with the results.

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