Thursday, August 8, 2013

My New Blog

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to stop by and say that I've created a new blog. Our Path Home is about our families journey through foster care, to adoption, and ultimately to having a stay at home mom.

I would love if you would check it out. If you like what you read then please follow me. But at least read the first post.

I did find out that I missed blogging but Lemonade and Gingerbread just didn't fit for me any more.

Lastly, for those of you who were praying for our family on the adoption front. We finalize our adoption of Princess B and Fix it Man on Monday.  We also said yes to their little brother and the transition process for that starts on Tuesday.  Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and some of the love notes we've received along the way.

That is one thing I really want to share at Our Path Home is our journey through adoption and my journey home.

Blessings

Sandra

Friday, July 12, 2013

Please pray for our family as we make a big decision!!!!!!!!!!


Yes I know I said I wasn't going to blog any more but I've been thinking about it and considering returning after some encouragement from friends.

However, right now I'm only coming on to ask for your prayers.  We got a call this morning that Princess B and Little Man's younger sibling has been in the foster car system for some time - we don't know how long or why. His social worker wants to talk to us about adopting him as they are recommending no reunification.

It's very scary to think of reopening ourselves to all of this. Not to mention all the other issues associated with bringing another child into the home from a logistics point.

So please pray for us as we consider what is best for all involved. I know God already has his plan worked out but we need to figure out our part in that plan.

Thanks

MamiaS.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Final Post

Hello Everyone,

After 5 1/2 years of blogging, I've decided to pull the plug. I so enjoyed it when I started but for now life is more pressing.

Perhaps one day I will start a new blog - but not thru this site.  Thank you to those of you who have been faithful with me over the years.

Blessings

Sandra

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Insanity Must Stop Now

Well I'm a little over two months away from the stay home date. We've picked August 23rd as the last day of work in order to give us a week before we start our homeschool preschool program.  I'm really thrilled that Princess B was accepted and I'm going to be the Assistant Music Director on our day.  It's a co-op program through our church and it meets once a week. They have two different groups of students on two different days. We are doing Tuesday this year and God willing we will get Little Man into Friday next year so that we can join the homeschool PSP that meets on Fridays at our church with Princess B.

In the mean time, self sufficiency, homesteading, and healthy eating have gone out the door - hence the title of my post. But it must stop!!!!  There has been a lot of illness in our household the last few months and I really blame it on the quality of food we are eating. Additionally, there are a lot of ailments we suffer from in our home that I've been reading about lately where food affects them. In our household we have people who suffer from acid reflux, asthma, allergies, psoriasis, eczema, Alzheimer's, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and gallbladder issues. I won't go into who has what except to say my mom was diagnosed about a month ago with Alzheimer's and I'm trying to avoid having gallbladder surgery. I've really been suffering but I'm trying to loose some weight so I can avoid it.

Here are some interesting articles that I've read recently that show a potential link between diet and some of the not so obvious connections to the ailments we suffer from -- Alzheimereczemaacid refluxgallbladder and I could go on and on.

The truth is we've fallen into bad habits due to busy schedules; trying times; picky eaters; and even exhaustion because of the diseases we currently have.  We had justified it that it would all stop once I was at home full time and it was one of the reasons for me to stay home.  But after talking about it a few weeks ago we've decided we can't wait until August to change our habits -- they must stop now.

The garden is flourishing and each night we walk around the property eating different fruits with the children. Even Princess B, our picky eater, is enjoying the fruits. And I'm enjoying teaching her to cook -- it is really making her want to eat more healthy.

Stay tuned for the next blog -- some pictures of our newest family member. Give you a hint she is fluffy and likes to hope around a lot ;0)

Sandra

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Soup's On....


G-man loves soup. He would eat soup every day for lunch if possible. Now that we are eating less processed foods this was one of the areas I looked to change -- getting us away from canned soups.

I thought I'd take a minute and share two of our favorite recipes:


Meatball Soup 

Meat Balls: (Sometimes I change this up -- using turkey meatballs and changing the size).
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 lb. each ground beef and ground pork
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh mint, minced or 2 tsp. dried

     Mix together and shape into small balls. Brown lightly on all sides.

SOUP:
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 c. chicken broth
1/2 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 carrot, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped

You can do this two ways (use the grease from the meatballs or use 1 Tbsp Oil). Heat drippings or oil in large pan. Cook onion and garlic until soft. Stir in broth and tomato sauce. Simmer 10 minutes. Add meatballs and carrots. Simmer 20 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.

You can switch it up on the veggies. Sometimes I add just spinach, other times the veggies mentioned above. I think even green beans and corn would be good in season. If you like at the end you can either a handful of rice or small pasta (about 1/4 cup I guess).


This next soup comes from a great book -- The Taste for Living Cookbook

Potato and Leek Soup 
No-stick cooking spray
3 leeks, halved lengthwise, washed thoroughly and sliced (4 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 quarts (2.8 L) vegetable stock
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Spray a large soup pot once with cooking spray and set over low heat. Add leeks and onions, cover pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender or
food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat gently and serve hot.




Both these soups freeze nice. I make large batches of both and put it into smaller containers for the days when Gil wants soup.

Enjoy.

Sandra

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

You Wanna Do What???????

So how does a marketing assistant in one of the largest movie studios decide she wants to be a homesteading/homeschooling mom?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be 3 months away from quitting that life to be a SAHM, I would have said you were nuts.

It all started about 9 years ago when we moved into our current home. Even though our home is in the suburbs of Los Angeles we have almost 1/4 acre of land. It's really what sold us on this home - because trust me the house itself left a lot to desire. Praise God for giving me a handyman for a husband because our home is far from the way we found it.

We both came from farming/gardening families and we looked forward to planting a huge garden. Fast forward 4 years and we had the beginnings of a city farm. We added all sorts of fruit trees and each year we increased our vegetable garden area. However, we were happy being weekend gardeners and had no plans on becoming a one salary family.

The other part of this story is that after years of infertility we finally realized God had other plans and we started looking to adoption. After looking at different options, we decided foster care would be best for us and started the process (that's for another post).

The idea of homesteading exploded for us in March 2008 when I went to a convention sponsored by the LA catholic archdiocese. One of the speakers was talking about Christian stewardship and how homesteading involves great stewardship. It was like he was describing our life except for owning farm animals. Could it be we were city homesteaders?  I came home and shared the information with G-man and we started looking at ways we could do more.

This led me to the internet to search out what I could find on homesteading and wow - I found whole blog communities on the subject and started learning so much and eventually started sharing what we were doing. But yet we both saw it as a hobby not a lifestyle.

We were truly living in two worlds - one of self-sufficiency and one of excess. We spent money like we had a money tree out in that garden and we accumulated debt like compost. However, the more and more we began to look at the beauty of homesteading and self sufficiency we realized we needed to address our spending and debt - so the process of becoming debt free started Fall 2008. We also started our process to become foster parents at that time. The homeschooling bug was also nipping at my heals in that a lot of the online friends I had made were also homeschoolers.

April 2009, in the middle of a torrential downpour God would bring us great friends who would further grow my desire to homeschool. G-man had noticed our neighbor trying to shut off his water in the pouring rain because of a leak in the house and he sprung into plumber mode to help. Here to find out they were a homeschooling family. We had lived across the street from them for 5 years at this point and had no idea. They would later lead us to local homeschool resources, money saving ideas such as magic jack, and even our current church. I would lead her to the ideas of line drying clothes and making your own laundry soap.

By the beginning of the summer I was convinced we would homeschool and I would find some way to quit my job. G-man still wasn't convinced we could make it on one salary, but I was. We also started our classes to become certified foster parents which would take about 6 months to complete.

Then things started to fall apart (looking back we see it was all part of God's wonderful plan). September 2009 - I was told I was being laid off in January 2010 (hmm could this be my way home); November 2009 - I was diagnosed with uterine cancer; December 2009 - I had surgery; January 2010 - I was laid off on a Friday and started radiation on a Monday.

During early 2010 we realized that I would go back to work. We had to put our adoption on hold and it could take us a year to be matched with a child. In the mean time we were no where near ready financially for me to stay home. We could barely afford our mortgage.

Back I went and forward we went on the adoption path. During the next two years we would face two layoffs for G-man; have our children placed with us in foster care; and almost have them return to birth mom (which praise God he protected them from that).

However, during this time we were also able to pay off some debt; negotiate away more debt; and modify our mortgage. It also provided us with time to make changes we needed to make around our homestead in preparation for me staying home. Last April was a monumental month for us. We modified our home mortgage (reducing our mortgage taxes and insurance by almost 50%) and our children became adoptable again -- it was at this point G-man realized we could do this and it would be a good thing.  We agreed we would wait however until our adoption was finalized -- giving us a little more time to prepare and to make sure we would have children to homeschool :0)

So I guess this still leaves the why homeschool to be answered -- stay tuned for next time to find out.

I will tell you that in the current state of our country if you haven't found ways to be more self sufficient you need to. If it wasn't for the steps we had taken we wouldn't have kept our house during that journey.

Until next time

Blessings

Mama S.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Time Flies When Life Gets Crazy

I never planned to stay away so long but things have been a little crazy around here. So what's been happening.

Well first of all my mom was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's. Did you know that 50% of people over the age of 80 are diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There are three types of dementia: 1. related to a stroke; 2. related to long term battle with Parkinson's disease; and every one else gets put in the Alzheimer's category. Personally I think it's a little silly -- yes I know there are issues with my mom and I can't say I don't agree with them that she has dementia but as the doctor even explained -- getting this diagnosis at her age is not the same as someone who is in their 50's or 60's and may never become fully realized. They've given her some medicine to help with the comprehension and it really seems to be helping.

Then Little Man jumped off the slide at school and broke his toe. According to him he was doing a "cannonball". Princess B quickly informed him that cannonballs are for the water. Smart girl.

Additionally, we're making a few changes around the homestead in prep for my staying home in September. We decided to get rid of the carpeting in our home and put in laminate wood flooring - we love it. And I'm so blessed to have a husband can do these types of things. The children's room is finished and our is 3/4 finished. Next up is living room/dining room. Little Man and I suffer from allergies and respiratory problems and I can see a big difference already.

We are also making some repairs that were over due and putting in the summer garden. It has been a little slow going with all the other issues going on around us but we are finally making progress. Next up is developing a compost system. We haven't been very good about this in the past and we've relied on the LA County's free compost. However, we are now ready to do it ourselves.

And yes we are still on track for September as staying home date. Actually, I think it will be late August. Princess B and I were accepted into our church's preschool coop program that meets once a week. I've also been asked to be the Assistant Music Coordinator for our day. Exciting!  The class meets on Tuesdays and the first class is September 3rd. It makes sense for me to have a week at home with the children before we start on the 3rd. It really works out good because G-man works Tuesday thru Saturday and we plan to home school during those days and have our weekend be Sunday and Monday so we have good family time.

On the financial front we've paid off all but one of the bills we needed to pay off before September and that will be paid off by July. We will still have our mortgage and 3 other loan amounts but we have accounted for them in our monthly budget and any surplus will be used to pay them off faster.

So there you have it - we have a lot going on but we are so excited to see how our life is going to change come September.  I do hope to be blogging on a more regular basis from here in out.

Blessings Dear Readers

Mama S.