Link: Girls shouldn’t be highly educated

I shared this on Facebook, but I want to share it here on the blog too. It’s well worth reading.  Jacinda of Growing Home Blog does a great job of explaining what we are NOT saying when we say that college isn’t necessary for our daughters.  We’re not saying girls shouldn’t be highly educated.  We’re saying that their education should fit their targeted career.

Why spend 4 years and $40,000 or more training for a career that you don’t plan to follow, just in case you might someday change your mind?  Why spend all your time and money on Plan B, only to find yourself unprepared for Plan A?  Having a Plan B is good, but not at the expense of Plan A.

Our culture tells our girls they need to pursue a degree so they can be independent, and be able to provide for themselves (neither of which are biblical concepts). “Not everyone gets married,” they warn, “and not everyone is able to have children.”

We encourage them to pour their energies into one career, instead of recommending they study them all. We prepare them for singleness instead of God’s normative plan for women: to be wives (love their husbands), mothers (love their children), and homemakers (keepers at home…that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3).

Then, they find themselves married. They want to be godly wives but after years and years of being trained to think as an independent rather than a co-dependent, they don’t know how. They have children, but not a clue how to raise them. They have a home to manage, but are lost in the logistics of it all.

Read the article.

I have been remiss. You can be a better homemaker.

Edit: This sale has ended.  I hope you bought your bundle in time!

Friends, I’ve been bad.  I knew weeks ahead of time, but I’ve been too lazy to blog and tell you about the HUGE ebook sale going on this week.


I knew ahead of time because the 4 Moms book is part of the bundle.  If you already bought your copy of our book, you’ll have digital rights to an extra that you can give as a gift when you buy this bundle!

This week only, you can get any or all of the 97 ebooks in this Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for just $29.97, plus $140 in free products!  No fair jumping to the bottom to see the freebies!

Prepare to be overwhelmed.  Here is a complete list of the books included.  Remember, you don’t have to take them all unless you want them all.  You can choose just what you will use yourself – but your links are only good for a limited time, so do download anything you think you might want in the future.  At 30 cents per book, you can’t go wrong!




But wait! There’s more!



But if you’re like me, you jumped ahead to see what else you could get for free.  Right?  Everything below is included free when you buy your ebooks.


A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio, where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are tummy safe and particularly target Diastasis Recti (split abs). ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)

A $15 store credit to TruKid. With products like their aware-winning sun care, they are dedicated to providing all natural skin and hair care for kids, babies, and now pets. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

Your choice of incredible natural products like sea salt and clay for FREE. Choose from the Redmond Trading Earthpaste Bundle ($24.90 value) or the Facial Mud Bundle ($26.90 value). (Standard shipping applies. Continental US only.)

Your choice of a FREE heirloom sourdough starter or FREE yogurt starter from Cultures for Health, the leading supplier of starter cultures and supplies for making cultured and fermented foods ($12.95 value. US & CAN addresses only. Standard shipping applies.)

Your choice of: a FREE 3-Month Subscription (for new accounts) or 30% off a One Year Subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. ($15.00 valueNo shipping restrictions.)

A FREE Culinary Herbs Assorted Seed Pack Check just in time for spring planting from, a living whole foods company. ($11.95 value. Standard shipping applies to all US states and territories- no international shipping for seeds.)

Get $10 off Union28’s original “my husband rocks” tee. Their marriage apparel lets you celebrate your spouse in style. ($10.00 value.Standard shipping rates apply. International shipping available, but free shipping only available within USA.)

A $10 store credit plus 1 FREE lip balm from Bee All Natural. Their whole body products nourish and heal, and are made using only the highest quality, food grade, organic ingredients. ($13.49 value.Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

A FREE 2 oz. bottle of your choice of liquid herbal formula from TriLight Health. They specialize in fast acting, great tasting natural herbal remedies. ($12.95 value or moreStandard shipping applies, within the USA only.)

Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Membership toListPlanIt, whose mobile lists will help to organize your life. ($15.00 valueNo shipping restrictions.)
What’s your favorite part of the deal?  I love the mission and designs of Union 28!  Wouldn’t their shirts make a fun wedding or anniversary gift?

Snapshot: laundry


Parker is helping Natalie sort clean laundry into 4 baskets, one for each bedroom. I love hearing their playful banter as they work, and I’m always surprised at how well toddlers can identify the owners of laundry. What happens when the baskets get too full?


“Hulk smash laundry!”

4 Moms giveaway: Large Family Logistics!!!

This giveaway closed on 7/13/2011. Large Family Logistics book for moms of many

We’re really excited about this, and we think you will be too.  Did you see the 3 exclamation points at the end of this post title?  Think about it: how often have you seen me do that?  I am not an excitable person (unless there’s a scorpion in my bed).  But this, this is exciting!

Each of the 4 Moms is going to give away a free copy of Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman, highly organized mom of 10 kids.  Enter at all 4 of our blogs to pump up your chances of winning – you’re allowed!

And why do you think we’re giving away copies of Large Family Logistics?

Because we’re going to spend the month of August blogging through the book and we want you to join us.  We’re going to do 4 consecutive weeks of linkies!  The more, the merrier, so get ready and tell all your blogging friends to get ready too!

About the book:

Moms have many tasks to tackle and obstacles to overcome: the laundry monster, household clutter and cleaning needs, caring for babies and little ones, menu planning and mealtime routines, town outings, homeschooling, bill paying—and even more!

Like many wives and mothers, author Kim Brenneman didn’t start out with all of the answers. She struggled to figure out: What do I do next? What’s the best way to actually do the many things that need to be done? And how do I get everything accomplished in a 24-hour day and keep my sanity?

In Large Family Logistics, Kim outlines practical solutions she has learned to effectively manage a busy household. This how-to manual is filled with step-by-step procedures, easy-to- understand organizational advice, and a myriad of tips and hints for managing a bustling home with greater efficiency in a way that honors God and builds up family relationships.

Sensible and straightforward, Kim tackles the nitty- gritty, day-to-day challenges moms face and also offers sound counsel on how to plan and accomplish long-term domestic goals. An invaluable home management resource that will equip busy moms to get beyond survival mode and thrive!


Large Family Logistics Giveaway

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what area of your home could use the most help.

Additional entries: (Please leave an additional comment for each entry.)

  • Share about this giveaway on Facebook.
  • Post about this giveaway on your blog. (3 entries! Please leave 3 separate comments for this.  If you post about the other moms’ giveaways, your post can count be entered here too.  Just make sure it contains a link to this giveaway.)
  • Tweet about this giveaway. You may copy and paste: Win a copy of Large Family Logistics from @raisingolives , enter here
  • Don’t forget to enter the other 3 Moms’ giveaways!

We’ll announce the 4 winners next Thursday.

Don’t want to wait?  Vision Forum just kicked off a special which includes Large Family Logistics!


Save $21.00 (36%)
Regular Price $59.00

Through July 9, save 35% when you purchase Vision Forum’s complete family pack: Victorious Home Life for Families Large and Small. This collection includes two Vision Forum bestsellers — Tea with Michelle Duggar (DVD) and Large Family Logistics (book) — plus the Duggar’s new release,  A Love that Multiplies (book). Together, these resources will equip you to more efficiently run and manage your household, as well as disciple and love your children with renewed joy.

Upcoming topics:

  • July 14 – Lunch Menu linky
  • July 21 – Tips for remaining patient when you have a houseful of kids
  • July 28 – Q&A  (please leave your questions on my last Q&A post if you want me to find them)

Recent topics:

About 4 Moms, including more past topics


Spring cleaning

Not our own giveaway, but visit Homestead Drying Racks for a chance to win Homesteading for Beginners (a 3 DVD set)

It’s a fact of life that blogging slows down when spring cleaning starts up.  Today was bright, sunny, and in the 70’s.  We couldn’t resist.  We cleaned the storage shed.

Maybe you don’t have a storage shed so you miss the grandeur of this undertaking.  Or maybe you just don’t allow your children to carry stuff down to your storage shed while you sit and blog, so your shed doesn’t look like mine did.

Either way, we forgot to take before and after photos and I hang my head in shame.  I have failed as a blogger.

We were motivated largely by the fact that last weekend we managed to free up all 3 dressers in the house plus the nightstand.  We were able to organize the shed properly this time because we were able to add proper storage options rather than forcing some poor soul to decide between tossing 3 space heaters and 19 out-of-season dresses up into the rafters or climbing across 4 box fans, a double stroller, and a full size mattress to put the stuff on top of a 20 gallon fish – er, snake tank.

Are you laughing at my optimism that this time the shed will stay organized?  Are you wondering how can possibly believe this time will be different than all the other times we organized the shed?  I knew it.  Go ahead and snicker.  I’m ignoring you.  I’m pretending you’re just wondering how we managed to free up all the dressers.

And how did we free up the dressers?  Like this:

See?  Cubbies!  We love them!  It’s a work in progress: we plan to add a few more upward to create a sort of zig-zag line from upper left down to the window, then a little jag up on the right, sort of framing the window.  Make sense?  Well, it does in my head.  It looks nice, really.  Much nicer than this times two:

That wall of cubbies holds the clothes of 6 of the children, plus space for books, jewelry, toys, etc.  The 4 youngest have their clothes in my room, but they each have one cubby of their own here in the Kid Room for their toys as well.

We put a similar system in our own bedroom, but it’s much smaller.  Perry and I each have a 2×3 unit for a nightstand/dresser, and another conglomeration holds clothes for the 4 little ones plus shoes for all six of us.

Before – Ancient dresser on Mom’s side crammed with clothes for 4.  Nightstand on Dad’s side mostly crammed with forgotten and unidentified junk.

After – Mom’s side of the room:

Dad’s side of the room:

Did you notice our bling?  I have my jewelry organizer, improvised from a glassless picture frame.

Perry has a tie rack, topped by his grandfather’s old shoehorn.

Clothes for little people and shoes for all:

Hmmm.  Either I’m tired and grumpy, or it all looks better in real life.  Maybe I should have had one of my in-house photographers do the job.

Anyway, we’re all whupped tonight, and we all love our bedrooms now.  Tomorrow’s mission: potluck at our house with 40 or 50 people!

My new fridge

Our new baby has come home.  After visiting several stores to look at both new and used refrigerators, perusing the internet for reviews, and asking you all for input, we made a choice.

We had already decided to buy used rather than new; the main reason we looked at new ones was so we would know what was missing in the older models and make sure we didn’t pay top dollar for an “obsolete” used appliance.  To put it simply, I was afraid I’d be impressed features that were old news years ago.

After hearing the various opinions on my recent refrigerator post, we decided to shop for a freezer on the bottom, and possibly French doors if the price was right.  I knew I wanted something in the vicinity of 25 cubic feet.  I  knew I wanted white, and did not want an ice or water dispenser in the door.

On Saturday morning I checked reviews on 13 brands and models with French doors, taking extensive notes about the pros and cons of each.  I wanted one that kept a good steady temperature, especially in the doors.  I wanted glass shelves.  I wanted one that did a good job keeping produce fresh.  At my repairman’s advice, I had already decided to avoid GE at any cost.  I drew a line through the GE’s and put a star next to the LG, the only one that gave stellar performance when they heated up the surroundings to simulate a steamy southern climate.

I tucked my notes in my purse and we headed out to yet another used appliance shop on Saturday.  As we drove we talked about what we hoped to find and Perry asked me what I was expecting to spend.  I named a price range that I was sure would get us a nice used freezer-on-bottom model, and maybe one with French doors.  It was lower than most I had seen advertised, but I was willing to wait, watch and shop for a while, and I had resolved to negotiate aggressively.

It was more than we would have spent on a top-freezer model, but I was hoping the extra cost would save us money in the long run: more visible fridge areas would help us to find and use our leftovers before they went bad; more stable temps would keep food good longer; and freezer on bottom is generally more energy efficient.

We got lost on the way, not realizing that the advertised location was a general vicinity rather than an actual location.  We finally got directions and found the shop more than a mile from the intersection specified.  As we had suspected, it was a small warehouse tucked away behind a cluster of buildings on the edge of town.  We parked out back and made our way through neat lines of appliances toward the entrance in the back of the building, wondering if we should be nervous.

Inside, my eyes went immediately to the French doors against the far wall.  There were 2 white ones without dispensers on the front.  One was an LG – a big one – and the other was a slightly smaller Maytag.  I looked them over, trying to appear casual, checking out both models, but I don’t think I was very convincing.  After a minute Perry laughed at me: “You want the LG, don’t you?”  Then he turned to the salesman.  “How much for the LG?”

It was an ’09, gloriously oversized, beautifully lit, with digital controls just inside the door.  We could barely hear it running, except for the nagging beep when I kept the door open too long.  There were a few small dings and minor scratches on the sides and handles, and the smallest of the 3 (count ’em: three) produce drawers was missing.

I was too smitten to try to negotiate but incredibly the total price came to $10 under my self-imposed budget.  That included a Monday delivery to Vision Forum, where Perry could use the van to bring the fridge home since they wouldn’t deliver as far as our house.

And so last night my new fridge came home.  I’m thinking of calling her Ellie, short for LG.  Or maybe something more French.  Suggestions?  I’ve never named an appliance before, but I’m already attached to this one.  I would have named my slide-in glass top range if I had thought of it.  More than one of us planted a big kiss on that glass top when it arrived here.

Here she is, in all her glory.  She’s all loaded up with tons of space to spare and purring happily.

Opening one door at a time makes for a more efficient appliance.  Only half of the cold air spills out into the room while we stand there staring into the beautifully lit interior, admiring our leftovers.  Fortunately the angry beep of the door alarm jolts us back to reality.

Look: 2 jugs of milk in the door, and they’re both opened.  Do you hate that as much as I do?  The new jug is on a shelf.  From now on, the open jug goes in the door and that’s the one we use first, got it?

Also, did you note our insane number of condiments loading down the doors?  Miraculously, they all fit but does anyone really need 6 different kinds of mustard?  Anyone but us, I mean.  Obviously we need them.

Are you judging me?  The wine came from church, and the beer has been there since summer.  Just sayin’.  Anyway, we’re Presbyterian.

The little shelf in the freezer compartment stays in unless you slide it out.  That’s where I’m keeping baking supplies (nuts, yeast, etc.) and ice.  We didn’t have room for ice in our last 3 fridges, but now we have 8 trays in 2 neat stacks taking up just a small part of that top shelf.

The little shelf is nice, but the primary freezer storage is a big basket with a sliding divider.  According to reviews, it holds two 24 lb. turkeys, though I found a better use for it: 7 lbs. of grated cheese, 8 lbs. of homemade sausage, 8 lbs. of frozen veggies, 1 lb. of bratwurst, 2 lbs. of smoked sausage, 6 lbs. of tomato paste for pizza sauce, 10 lbs. of chicken legs/thighs, 1 lb. of ground chuck, and a partridge in a pear tree.  With all that, it still looks mostly empty and there is zero chance of an avalanche of food smashing my feet.

There’s also a long narrow basket at the top of the freezer door, right in front.  You can’t see it, but it’s currently holding 2 long loaves of pumpernickel and my personal ice cream stash.

One small problem I foresee: it’s going to be hard to make a space for our gallon sized jars of pickles from Costco.  I’m pretty sure I can live with that problem.

Is your fridge running?

Then you’d better go catch it!

My mom told me she really used that line for prank calls back when she was young enough to get away with it.  As far as I know, she hasn’t done it lately, but you never know about those quiet, respectable looking women.  Maybe she still does prank calls when none of her 14 children or 30-odd grandchildren are around.  Maybe we all should once in a while.

Advice needed

My fridge is still running, but we have managed to break nearly every piece of plastic on it.  All the shelves are creaking and groaning under the weight of our addiction to food.  One produce drawer has lost its entire front – we just reach into it through the gaping hole – and the other only opens and closes if we use one hand to hoist up the sagging shelf above it.

One of the racks on the door has lost its bar so the fridge has turned into a booby trap: open the door quickly and get a lesson on inertia when 2 lbs. of butter, a package of cream cheese and 3 bottles salad dressing hit the floor.  Close the door quickly and get a lesson on the flip side of inertia as the same 6 items fly deeper into the fridge, wedging themselves into various nooks and crannies, where I will find them a week later and yell, “Why is the catalina upside down in the back of the fridge, and who’s the genius that put a fully wrapped stick of butter inside the container of mashed potatoes?!”

It’s also a very modestly sized refrigerator which fits well in our modestly sized house but not in our lifestyle.  We like to eat food.  Every day.  A lot.

And so we’ve decided to look for another fridge.  I want your help.

Here’s what I think I know about the choices out there.  Feel free to set me straight.

  • Refrigerator with freezer on top – This is what we’ve always had, and what I assume we want.  It’s supposed to be the most efficient to run, and the most reliable.  Used ones are relatively cheap, because this style has fallen out of favor.  This may have been your grandma’s refrigerator.  Grandmas tend to be very sensible, and I’m inclined to follow their example.
  • Side by side – I have always heard these cost more to run and the space in the tall slim freezer is very difficult to use to its full extent.  These are very common in used appliance shops because everyone has them now, and when they upgrade this one lands in the shop.  In spite of what I’ve heard, I find them surprisingly appealing.  Am I crazy?
  • French doors – Love at first sight is easy with these, but we wonder if the freezer space below is really usable.  I’ll grant the freezer doesn’t get used as often as the fridge, but can you even reach into that freezer?  How hard is it to clean?  Is the space inside the fridge easy to use well?  Also, the internet seems to hint that this style has some extra reliability issues.  I know they’re expensive, but these are widely available secondhand now so we could afford one if decide it’s a good idea.


My single biggest question: Which brands and styles do you own or have you owned in the past?  What are your thoughts on durability, reliability and performance?

More questions:

  1. I want doors with shelves deep enough to hold a gallon of milk.  Are those shelves strong enough to hold a gallon of milk?
  2. Simple geometry tells me that the freezer in a side-by-side has greater surface area than if the freezer is on the top or bottom.  Is it harder to keep these freezers cool, especially in the summer?  Remember, we have very hot summers and no a/c.
  3. I’ve always preferred white, but should I quit being a fuddy-duddy and consider black or stainless?  I have oak cabinets and a black-front range in my kitchen, and a stainless sink.  Glancing around my kitchen, I see that my microwave is also black/stainless, and my big Kitchenaid mixer is black.
  4. What would you look for in a new/used fridge?

Career choices

Posted by Megan

So, today I was thinking about all the stuff I’d like to do. I’d like to be a writer. I’d like to be an editor. It would pretty cool to be hairdresser.It would be flat out awesome to be a chef. Then I realized, being a SAHM  means that you can do all of that, and much more!

My mom blogs: she is a writer.

My mom edits whatever we blog: she is an editor.

My mom cuts, trims, tapers and layers all of our hair: she’s a hairdresser.

My mom cooked for all of us, for years before we started helping: she’s a chef.

It seems like some career woman think we have no choices.  I’m sorry, but that makes me want to laugh. It’s just plain silly, SAHMs (or SAHMs to be) have far less limited choices than career women. That’s my thought, anyway.

I have a canner. I AM a canner.

After visiting my grandparents, I came home with a deep desire to start canning.  The first thing I did was buy a Presto 1781 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner from Amazon – after I talked to hubby and we assured each other that this wasn’t just a passing fancy.  I owned a smaller pressure cooker many years ago and actually used it, so we were reasonably confident that this would be a well-loved gadget, both as a cooker and a canner.

A water bath canner might be a better choice for some, but I went with the pressure cooker for 4 reasons:

  1. The inexpensive water bath canners weren’t approved for use on a glass-top range like ours.  Those that were approved cost nearly as much as the pressure canners.
  2. I wanted to be able to can low-acid foods, beginning with pinto and black beans, but certainly not stopping there!
  3. I looked forward to use it for cooking again.  Did you know dry beans cook in 3-6 minutes?
  4. I had enough Swagbucks to pay for it.  🙂

The canner arrived in just 2 business days (with free shipping, no less!) and with just a few more supplies, we were ready to get started.

Our trusty old apple peeler/corer/slicer made short work of 20 lbs. of apples.  We did another 10 lbs. for crockpot applesauce.

20 lbs. filled an 8 quart stockpot and a 4 quart pot to the brim.

We stirred in a mixture of sugar, flour, lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and LOTS of cinnamon.

After cooking them just enough to thoroughly heat the liquid and soften the apples, we ladelled  the mixture into hot sterilized jars.  We had enough to fill 7 quarts, plus one for the fridge.  We’ll use that one for a pie tonight.

We worked out the air bubbles and left 1/2″ of headspace, then processed according to the directions.  This time, I used the pressure cooker as a water bath canner.  It can be used either way.  I love that!

Later that day, we turned a huge gallon-sized can of tomato paste into seasoned pizza/spaghetti sauce.   We may or may not add meat when we serve it, depending on whether it’s lunch or dinner.

Aren’t they beautiful?

The next day I did 4 quarts and 7 pints of pinto beans and black beans, all at the same time.  We’re trying the first one in our taco salad tonight, and it turned out perfect!

Now the girls say I’m obsessed.  I’m even canning animal crackers.  OK, so I didn’t process them, but a gallon pickle jar is perfect for holding them.

But I’m finally finding a use – or multiple uses – for the jars that have filled the dark recesses of my container cabinet for so long.  I was tickled to stumble across these links today:

What about you?  Do you can?  How many other uses have you found for jars, Mason or otherwise?

4 Moms share the secrets of storage

edited to add Mr. Linky at the bottom, which I referred to in the post but forgot to add.

Well, maybe that was promising too much, but we’ll share what we know and then you can set us straight with your tips and methods because I know some of you are much better at this than I am.

For that matter, I’ll bet the other 3 Moms are much better at storage than I am.  Go see – but promise to come back!

Back already?  OK, then.  I’ll start with the obvious.

My first and best tip for storage: just don’t. By that I mean don’t keep anything you don’t need now or soon.  If in doubt, pitch it.  I try, but this is more easily said than done for me.  I want to second-guess myself before I get rid of clothes that don’t fit, a heat rock, or an unidentifiable piece of kitchen equipment.

How do I know I won’t need it next month or next year?  Maybe I’ll change my mind.  Maybe I’ll lose 15 lbs, get a pet iguana, or decide to try my hand at exotic new cookery.  Maybe not.  Somebody needs to tell me to quit being a packrat and ditch the goods.

My storage triumph: the kitchen.  Shelves are labelled, and it works. I won’t try to convince you that everything stays neat and perfectly organized, but it is much easier to keep them neat or to straighten them when they get into a mess.  Any child can put things away properly or restore order, and the small ones are thrilled to do it for a dollar or even just for fun.

We have labels for the canned goods:

…er…maybe I won’t show you that particular cabinet.  Moving on:

Labels for the pantry:

Labels for spices, etc:

And my latest triumph, labels for the glass/plastics cupboard!

That’s what is working for us.

Now I want to hear what’s really working for you because I know we’ve got room for improvement.  That may be the only place I’ve got room.   So where is your great idea helping you?  Closets?  Linens?  Toys?

Join the linky this week to share your storage triumphs, or any other post on the topic of storage.  Remember the 2 rules: link to a single post about storage, and link back to one of the 4 Moms in your post.

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Upcoming topics:

  • September 23: Questions for the Four Moms, in which we answer questions from our mailbag.
  • September 30: How to find individual time with our husbands without spending money