Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday – Efficiency Is Not Always My Strength!

Eating vegan and gluten free can be expensive.  Very, very, expensive.  And we are cheap.  Very, very cheap.  So, one of the places we shop for specialty foods is the Asian Food Market.  We can get all kinds of unusual items for a fraction of what they cost at the health food stores!


Of course, there is no Asian market in our tiny town.  So once in a while, when Papa the Farmer goes into Dallas for a handyman job, he comes home with a variety of foods that appealed to him.  Since he doesn’t usually know that he’ll be stopping at the Asian Market, he doesn’t ever go with a list,  That means we just never know what he’s going to come home with!

Last night he came home with this:

Picture 140


The trick is to plan my meals around what he brought home.  If I can do that, I will avoid having to go the grocery store, which involves a full day’s outing and a lot of buckling and unbuckling Little Farmhands in their carseats…


Of course, every day we’ll be having salad before our cooked food.  This week, looks like we’ll be eating a lot of bok choy and beansprouts!  Mmmm!

Picture 144 Picture 141

This week’s themes will revolve around various countires.  Since we have so much Asian food in the house, we’ll be having Chinese food twice this week!

Sunday – Brazilian

Monday – Chinese

Tuesday – Italian

Wednesday – Mexican

Thursday -  French

Friday – Chinese

Saturday - Leftovers

One of the items I am really excited to try is this:

Picture 146

Spring Roll Wraps made out of Rice flour!  Yay! for gluten free spring rolls!  When we switched to a gluten-free diet, I thought I’d never taste good spring rolls again!

(Too bad the instructions on the package are in Chineese…)

Menu Plan Monday is the brain-child of Laura at "I'm an Organized Junkie."  Each week she posts her own menu plan and LOTS of other bloggers link their weekly menus to hers.  Click here to check it out!  Most of the menus are not vegan or gluten free but some are so there are plenty of ideas for everyone!

Friday, February 25, 2011


“Mama, close your eyes!”
….and when I opened them again just a few moments ago, this beautiful gift had been placed before me:

Spring is coming, my friends!

Lake Good Old Days

I thought I would take today to share some of the “real life” that happens around here.  When I write for the blog I try to stay upbeat and positive, and make this whole crazy farming idea sound like an adventure.  But sometimes things happen that make me want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head and just maybe when I get up again I will discover this whole farming thing was just a bad dream.

Recently something happened that made me want to do all that, plus throw up.

The day started simply enough.  We were all sitting down to breakfast when on of the Little Farmhands said, “When we were playing yesterday we saw a hole in the ground and water was coming out of it.”

With all the freezing and thawing that had been going on, Papa the Farmer and I knew instantly what had happened.  We jumped up and flew outside to try to contain the damage.

We found the hole.  It looks innocent enough, doesn’t it?

Picture 115

An underground pipe had burst and the water had forced its way up, creating a hole.  Water was gushing out of it.  Who knows how long it had been doing that.  Then the water flowed through our garden…

Picture 119

…and positively saturated the ground beyond that.  

Picture 114

Then it pooled up at the bottom of the hill and formed a small lake.  The photo below is only one section of what flooded.  My pictures really don't do it justice.  Our property was far more wet than it looks.

Picture 113

You don’t even want to know what our water bill looked like this month.  Let's just say that this one bill came in at more than we usually pay in a year and half.  Thinking about all that water just seeping into the ground made me want to be sick.  What a waste.  Thank you to God and the local water co-op for making an adjustment so that the bill is more manageable!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We have a Winner!

A big “Thank You”
to all who participated in the Motivated Moms Chore Planner Giveaway over this past week!


This has been our first giveaway!  I want to welcome those of you who have found our farm through this giveaway.  I've had so much fun meeting all of you!  As spring comes to the farm, I look forward to our posts becoming more about actual farm life and I'm also planning more great giveaways in the near future!

This morning, our winner was selected via
And the winning entry is…
Congratulations, Caroline!  

Motivated Moms and I wish that everybody could win a free chore planner! 
So, as her gift to you, Deann, the original Motivated Mom, is giving 

$1 off any chore planner to all Good Old Days Farm Blog Readers!

To claim your $1 off, just click here:


Add the planner of your choice to your shopping cart, then type FARM as your discount code!

Thank you to all who participated, and thank you to Motivated Moms for donating the prize planner for the winner and the discount code for all our blog readers!

 As before, if  you purchase something from Motivated Moms by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission.  If that bothers you, you can go directly to the Motivated Moms website by using the URL:  The Good Old Days Farm donates a percentage of all our income to spreading the Gospel in third world countries.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gardening Inspiration!

Everyone thinks that the farm lady must have an amazing garden!  Right now, my garden looks like this:

nasty garden 

Sad.  Pitiful.  I can’t see past this and imagine that it will ever look different. 



So I am posting some pictures of our garden in better days, just to inspire myself. 


Lest you think I am responsible for this, I’m not. 

It’s Papa the Farmer who likes to garden.


I like pulling all last year’s dead plants out at the beginning of the season to give myself a fresh start.

I like looking through last year’s seeds and this year’s catalogues, planning what to plant. 



I like walking in the garden and sampling the snap peas when they are ripe. 

And I love a table filled with fresh garden-goodness!


But the weeding, watering, installing fences, fighting off animals and all the other work that goes into maintaining a garden? 

Not so crazy about that part.


So for now, I’ll just post pictures and dream about the really great garden we are going to have this year!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How To Get Children (and Adults!) To Eat Their Salad!

Around here we have rule at the table:  No cooked food before raw food!  Raw food contains vitamins and enzymes that are destroyed during the cooking process, so it’s really important for good health that everyone in the family eats raw food every day.

We’ve had visitors who are amazed at how heartily my little farmhands will eat their veggies!  But let’s face it… hunger is an excellent motivator!  I have discovered that children will happily eat almost any vegetable when they are good and hungry…


My other secret is to slather delicious salad dressing on raw veggies.  Be careful here!  Store bought dressings can be high in fat and contain a lot of nasty additives!  We made a quick salad dressing for lunch the other day that turned out so well, I just had to share the recipe!

Fresh Parsley Salad Dressing
In a blender, blend together:
1 package soft tofu
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 fresh lemon (peeled and seeded!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup of water (enough to make sure you don’t burn out your blender motor!)

After you blend, Enjoy!

Oh!  One other warning…  This recipe can lead to family fights:  “I want the last of the salad!”  “No!  Let me have it!”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Loving on my Babies Today

[February 23, edit:  Today would have been Mattias' 2nd birthday.  Please join me in celebrating his life by taking a few moments to do something in his honor and then posting about it in the comment section.  His mother has already read this post and I will be sure to invite his family to read the additional comments.  Thank you all for taking a moment to bless this sweet family!]  

About a month ago I was introduced to Dana's Blog, "Roscommon Acres" by a lady in my Bible Study Group. 

Roscommon Acres is a blog about a family in Nebraska with 6 children.  They live in the country.  They have an orchard.  They have geese.  They garden.  She’s thinking about taking up beekeeping.  They homeschool.  And Dana writes about family life.  Her life is not so different from mine.

Except in December, a heartbreaking accident killed one of her babies.  He was 21 months old.

About the same age as one of my little Farmhands. 

The thing is, when you have healthy babies, you take it for granted that they will be here tomorrow.

And the day after that.

And all the days after that.

This mom was careful, but some things can’t be prevented.

If it had been my child instead of hers, what regrets would I have right now?

I would regret that the house wasn’t cleaner and at the same time I would regret that I spent so much time cleaning it. 

I would regret that I didn’t play more.

What would you regret?

I invite you to post in the comments section one thing that you will do with your children this week in honor of Dana’s son.  I would like to invite her to come read this post and our comments and know that her son has made a practical difference in our lives.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have some serious business to take care of down in the sandbox…

(Incidentally, this story is what inspired this week’s Motivated Moms Giveaway.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

God is so Cool!

I’ve written in the past about our friend Avery Akeman.  Avery is the same age as our Little Farmhands, except she was born prematurely and has spent her entire life battling serious medical complications.  (To read more about Avery’s story click here or to follow her parents’ online journal updates, click here.)  Among other issues Avery needs to be fed through a tube that goes directly into her stomach.  Worse yet, her immune system is so compromised that she can’t be around other children.  But, she can receive letters!  And the Little Farmhands love writing to Avery!  Around here, Avery is our Star!


Well, yesterday we took the Little Farmhands to the zoo.  As we were getting ready to go, the Little Farmhands were wishing Avery could come with us, but of course that isn’t possible.  But sometimes God surprises us!  As we were driving to the zoo, Papa the Farmer turned the radio on for just a couple of minutes.  We hardly ever listen to the radio, but yesterday we did.  It was the Christian station, and every day they pray for the military.  Yesterday, as they were praying for the military, they added one more sentence to their prayer…

and Lord, please bless Avery Akeman who was born prematurely and needs your healing power.”

If you were driving South on Hwy 75 through Dallas yesterday morning and passed a mini van filled with children who suddenly erupted into crazy-excited cheers, well, that was us! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Motivated Moms Review & Giveaway!

I confess.  Housekeeping is not my favorite thing to do.  There are so many other fun things I’d rather be doing and sometimes it just feels like I spend all my time cleaning the same rooms over and over again and not enough time enjoying my children.

The truth is, I’ve never really come up with an effective cleaning system. 
When we first got married I made a list of everything that needs to be done to keep a house really clean. The list was 4 pages long!  I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even attempt to start it.  I tried getting books out of the library, but it discouraged me to read advice like, “Use a toothpick to clean the dust out of the screws in door hinges.”  (Really?!?!  Do people do that?)   I tried setting up a housekeeping card-file system and that worked really well until it got knocked onto the floor and cards scattered everywhere.  (I never had the courage to put the system back together again.)  I signed up for one of these online cleaning systems…. but that was like giving a drunk a drink…. Giving me an excuse to spend more time on the computer did not help anything!

What I need is a mother… or maybe a drill sergeant.  Someone to just tell me what I need to do next.

Then, I found Motivated Moms!

Motivated Moms is a printable chore-planning system that I love, love, love!  It involves doing a few basic daily jobs (like “make beds” and “wash dishes”) and 4-6 extra tasks each day.  Some of the extra tasks are related to cleaning (“clean one shelf of the refrigerator”), some are seasonal reminders (“check your credit report”) and some are fun assignments (“spend time on a craft or hobby” or “pamper yourself”).  Imagine that.  Somebody telling me to go pamper myself!

Above is this week’s checklist.
Honestly, the first time I looked at the checklist I thought, “This will never work.”  I just didn’t see how I could keep the whole house as clean as I wanted without spending hours and hours working on it. 
But you know what?  It does work!  I’m the kind of person who likes checking things off a list and since none of the tasks take very long I am motivated to get each job done.  The plans are already laid out so I don’t need to worry about whether or not I am forgetting to do any obscure jobs.  It’s set up like a day planner, so if I miss a day, I can just cross the whole day off and move right on to the next day.  No Guilt!  I can easily look at my checklist and delegate tasks to the Little Farmhands.  The daily lists are so short that I am never overwhelmed.  And as you can see in the picture above, there’s plenty of space to add in little reminders to myself like “send Thank You cards” or “order horse manure” (something the rest of you probably don’t do!).

Know what I like best about Motivated Moms?  When I get to the end of the check list, I have permission to stop… even if the house isn’t perfect.  I’ll do more tomorrow.  This one key has given me so much peace and joy in my life… and more time to spend with my sweet little farmhands!

And you know what?  The house is clean!

Now, how can you get a copy of the Motivated Moms chore planner for yourself?

If you’re like me and just want a little direction, you definitely want this planner!  The planner is available in several different formats.  It’s all the same list of chores, but you can buy it in different sizes, different formats (page per day or week per day) and with or without Daily Bible Readings.  There’s even a really cool iphone app for those of you who are more technologically savvy than me!
Buy it 
by going over to Motivated Moms and buying it for only $8. 
(Seriously!  That’s 66 cents a month…2 cents a day.  It is so worth it!)
Win a free copy! has graciously offered to give away one ebook chore planner to one reader!  To enter, just go to the website, browse their products then come back here and leave me a comment telling me which of their chore planners you would like to win!

Edit:  You must complete this first step, first!  In your comments, be sure to leave a way that I can reach you if you win!  For example, leave your email address in the following format:  
GoodOldDaysFarm (at) gmail (dot) com

Extra Entries!
After you have completed the first entry, you can do any of the following for extra entries.  Be sure to leave a separate comment for EACH thing you do.  If you already follow us in one of these ways, that still counts as an extra entry, as long as you comment on this post that you are still following us. 

1. Follow Motivated Moms on Facebook.
2.  Follow Good Old Days Farm on Facebook.
3. Subscribe to our blog via email.
4. Follow us on our blog using Google Friend connect!  (Link on right side bar).
5. Share about this giveaway on your Facebook page, and leave a comment with the link.
6. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link in the comments below.  (2 extra entries - leave two comments saying you did this).
7.  Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post (that is relevant to that post) here on the Good Old Days Farm blog.  Then return here and tell me which post you commented on (Limit 1 entry for doing this).

This giveaway will end Wednesday, February 23rd at midnight, and a winner will be chosen via and posted the following day. We will notify the winner and they will have 36 hours to respond! Failure to respond will result in another winner being selected. 

This post is an honest review of the Motivated Moms Planner basely solely on my own opinion.  A big “Thank You” to Motivated Moms for supplying the product for the review and giveaway.  If you purchase something from Motivated Moms by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission.  If that bothers you, you can go directly to the Motivated Moms website by using the URL:  The Good Old Days Farm donates a percentage of all our income to spreading the Gospel in third world countries.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday – The Vegan, Gluten Free Way!

Last week I wrote this article about menu planning for my friends at, so this week I am joining up with many other bloggers on the web to bring you:

Except here at the Good Old Days Farm, Menu Planning has a twist… It’s all vegan and gluten free!  So if you have the kind of diet restrictions or allergies that make people ask, “What can you eat?” this menu plan just might be for you!

I remember one time when I first got married, Papa the Farmer came home from work to a wonderful spaghetti dinner I had prepared.  (This was long before our Gluten-Free days!)  It was all laid out on the table looking beautiful and I was so excited about it.  He took one look at it and disappointment instantly flashed across his face.

“Don’t you like spaghetti?” I asked.

“Well…” he said very slowly.  I could see he was thinking about exactly how he should approach this conversation so as not to hurt the feelings of his new bride.  “I like spaghetti…. It’s just that we’ve already had spaghetti three times this week….  and it’s only Wednesday.”


I hadn’t noticed.  So these days, I give each day it’s own theme to ensure variety!

Sunday – Vegetable Casserole (Broccoli Casserole with brown rice and Salad with Olive oil and Lemon Dressing)

Monday – Beans (Pinto Beans on Cornbread topped with the usual Taco Condiments)

Tuesday – Soup & Salad (Minestrone Soup, Salad with Tofu Dill dressing)

Wednesday – Patties (Lentil Patties with Celery/Carrot Topping, Rice and Salad with Olive oil and Lemon Dressing)

Thursday – Beans (Italian Bean Casserole with Rice and Salad with French Dressing)

Friday – Chinese (Rice Noodles in a Honey-Ginger-Garlic Stir fry with Salad and Tofu Dill Dressing)

Saturday – We always share our meal on Saturdays with friends, so I only have to make one dish!  This week I’ll make Quinoa with onions and cilantro!

You see?  We vegan, gluten-free people CAN eat well! 

Menu Plan Monday is the brain-child of Laura at "I'm an Organized Junkie."  Each week she posts her own menu plan and LOTS of other bloggers link their weekly menus to hers.  Click here to check it out!  Most of the menus are not vegan or gluten free but some are so there are plenty of ideas for everyone!

I Love You, Papa the Farmer!

Today is Valentine’s Day and everyone is thinking about love, so I thought something romantic posted on the blog today, would be fun...

This photo was taken in a public garden.  We asked an elderly man standing nearby with his wife to take the picture for us.  “We’re on our honeymoon!” we explained and he was glad to oblige us.


But he had a request of his own.  After he had snapped a picture, he said, “Now turn around and give each other a kiss.”  We did, and he snapped another picture!
“That,” he said, “Is going to be your favorite picture.”
And you know what?  It is!

That man must have known a lot about love.  And life.  And how it all gets mixed together sometimes.

Papa the Farmer, I love you as much as I ever did.
I love our life together and I am a better person because of you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Becoming Facebook-Free!

I love Facebook!  When Papa the Farmer and I got married I moved to Texas from Canada to be with him, leaving all my friends and family behind.  So when Facebook came along I was very excited to have a quick way of keeping up with everybody all at once!

Papa the Farmer had a Facebook account for a while.  He deleted it a year or two ago.  He keeps telling me how great life-after-Facebook is!  “Delete it and you will never look back!” he says.  The fact is, he would be a very happy husband if I deleted my Facebook account.

Facebok is time consuming. 

Being a good Wife, Mother, Keeper of the Home, Homeschool Teacher and Farm-lady is also time consuming.

I belong to a great Moms’ Bible Study group.  These wonderful women challenge me to be the best wife and mother I can be

I could be a better wife if I deleted my Facebook Account.
I could be a better mother if I deleted my Facebook Account.
I could be a better Keeper of the Home if I deleted my Facebook Account.
I would probably read my Bible more if I deleted my Facebook Account. (ouch!)

So, as a gift of love to my dear husband, I am taking the plunge and deleting my personal account.  
I will be very interested to see how this goes.  I have a feeling that this will turn out to be a gift of love to myself, too.

Does anyone want to join me?  If you want to take the plunge and become Facebook-Free with me, please post in the comments!  I would love to have some company!  Because I really like Facebook and I think I’m going to be going through withdrawal for a little while….

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Planning Tips!

 Sometimes I live in Survival Mode.  This week has been one of those weeks...

Over the past week and a half or so, North Texas has had some crazy weather!  We've had about 8 inches of snow and record low temperatures!  Here at the Good Old Days Farm we've been splitting wood and struggling with freezing pipes, pipes that spring leaks as they thaw out, a flooded field (from an underground pipe that burst) and finally our washing machine broke.  Our littlest farmhand wears cloth diapers, so we really need our washing machine!  Yay that Papa the Farmer was able to fix it all!  Today, the sun is shining (for now... more bad weather on the way!), things are fixed and I took a little time to go visit my friend Kelly at

Today we're talking about meal planning!  Sometimes I feel so much like that lady in this picture!  Around here, meal planning is a chore!  We are all vegan vegetarian and some of our family members have gluten sensitivities and nut allergies.  It can be a challenge to think up meal ideas that everyone can eat!  Planning my menus in advance has cut way back on the amount of time I spend standing in front of my pantry wondering, "What can we have for dinner tonight?" 

Menu Planning is smart for everyone... not just for mommies that have to deal with food allergies.  Why should busy people plan their meals?  How do you get started?  There are some great links to free menu planning forms and some nutritional hints that you might not have thought about.  So, won't you come visiting with me?

(Note:  Thank you to Kelly Lester from for today's great picture!  And thank you for the opportunity to guest blog on your site!  I always enjoy interacting with your readers!)