Month: October 2014

Just Picking Cotton

My family had a unique opportunity to visit a cotton farm yesterday. My husband is a member of a antique tractor club. As part of the club, we were invited to the farm to pick cotton by hand and then watch a demonstration of both an antique and modern-day cotton picker machines. The day also included a hay ride and yummy lunch.

I really enjoyed a bit of testimony given by the farm’s owner. I hope he can forgive me if I don’t remember his words exactly. He gathered everyone around a hay wagon and said he had something he wanted to say. He told us how he was admiring God’s creation of nature as he saw the cotton field in full bloom. He said the Lord revealed to him how a cotton plant could portray the Gospel. The white cotton bloom represents purity of Christ. The bloom then turns purple which reminded him of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The bloom then dies just as Christ did on the cross for our sins. The resulting cotton boll bursts forth just as Christ did from his grave during the Resurrection. It was a blessing to have been there to be a part of this time with this gentleman speaking from his heart.

The highlight of the day was my family getting to experience cotton picking by hand. I’ve grown up hearing so many stories about my relatives working in cotton fields. My memories of their stories was that it was tedious and painful work. Just last weekend, I went to visit my great uncle who talked about having to pick the remains of the cotton in the field. He had to save for quite some time just to buy a bicycle. While I did enjoy picking the cotton, I can very easily see how one wouldn’t want to have to do it for any length of time. However, for the short time we did it today, it was fun.

I’m thankful that my children (and I) got the chance to experience this harvest that so many of our ancestors had also participated in. I’m also thankful for the older members of the tractor club that took the time to explain the process to us and tell us stories of their memories of cotton picking. In this world of electronic gadgets and constant connectivity, it was nice to get away for just a day and enjoy life with my family. Although I may grumble from time to time about the tractor, I think it’s wonderful that my children get exposed to so many things from days gone by that they would miss if their head was buried in an electronic device all day long. I encourage you to do the same with your children. Find a local festival and spend time together teaching them about everything you can think of that is good. Unfortunately, children grow up too fast. Take time to make it count!

A Bit of History

Farmer Boy and I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Historic Haints and Saints Cemetery Tour presented by Crawford W. Long Museum on Friday night. It is a history tour that featured the stories of about six different people that were buried in nearby Woodbine Cemetery. The cast featured several well-known people from the area, including Representative Tommy Benton.

I was a little concerned that Farmer Boy might be still a little too young to appreciate it, but I was happy to see he enjoyed going. His favorites were the portrayal of Gustavus James Nash Wilson by Representative Benton and James Mauldin by John Jackson. He was particularly interested in the Mauldin story as it was a story of a Confederate veteran that participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. Mr. Jackson is an engaging storyteller.

It was a great time to spend with my son. I’m always trying to find things to do individually with each child. Since this had history and just enough of an air of mystery and scariness to keep him interested, it was a good choice. I highly suggest that you check this tour out next time it’s presented. It was great to learn more about local history.

Book Review: “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo

This is a Christian-based book that details twelve different virtues to teach to children. I had been thinking of implementing a similar study after listening to a podcast. I like that the virtues are intended to studied on a monthly basis so as to spend enough time to go into depth on the subject, but not belabor the point. The idea behind the book is that if we make it fun and memorable, the prescribed virtue that one is trying to teach will be remembered better. The following virtues are the ones covered in the book:

1. Joy – When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness
2. Love – Letting Concern for Others Guide Our Behavior
3. Forgiveness – Discover the Freedom That Comes Only Through Grace
4. Faith – Planting Seeds of Trust for a Lifetime of Spiritual Growth
5. Patience – Some Things are Worth the Wait
6. Perseverance – Pressing On Through Life’s Challenges
7. Respect – Words and Actions That Honor Others
8. Responsibility – Working Hard and Taking Ownership
9. Service – Meeting Needs with Our Hands, Feet, and Hearts
10. Humility – Giving God and Others Center Stage
11. Gratitude – So Many Reasons to Be Thankful
12. Genorosity – Join in the Adventure of Giving

Wow, what a list! All of these are virtues that I wholeheartedly want to impart to my children. As a matter of fact, I think adults could use to continue studying and practicing them as well.

I loved the frankness of the author in the introduction. I related and feel a lot of moms can too. Each virtue has a section that discusses it and also provides catch phrases for use during the month to reinforce it. There are also lists of suggestions such as letting siblings leave notes in each other’s backpack to teach them to love one another. Peppered throughout the book are sixty different ways to “bring out the giggles” which are silly activities that are loosely related to the virtue and are intended to make learning fun. From there, each chapter is set in the following manner:

1. Memory verse from the Bible
2. Virtue definition
3. A passage to read from The Jesus Storybook Bible (Bible references are provided as well)
4. A list of discussion questions
5. An example prayer
6. Activity (including a supply list and directions)
7. Additional discussion questions
8. Optional activities

This is a wonderful book for families. I love that it is based upon the Bible, and I also love the real-life examples the author gives which make the book very relevant and relatable. I also think the book would scale easily to children of different ages. Although some of the “bring on the giggles” parts might be too juvenile for my oldest, I think it will be a welcomed time of silliness and family bonding. This book is a very good way of deliberately and methodically making sure that they “catch” these all-important virtues as a child. I can’t wait to go all the way through it with my family!

Book Review: “flour + water pasta” by Thomas McNaughton

“flour + water” is a book detailing both the basics of pasta-making along with recipes for sophisticated pasta dishes. It is written by the chef and co-owner of a restaurant by the same name. After reading this book, I would love to visit the restaurant the next time I visit San Francisco.

For a long time now, I have wanted to learn to make my own pasta. I received a pasta machine as a wedding present years ago and haven’t used it often because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. A whole new world of possibilities have been opened with this book. This book contains details on how to make many different pasta shapes using basic dough recipes. The step-by-step instructions with numerous accompanying pictures are great!

The first part of the book covers how to make and cook pasta. The second half of the book lists recipes that are separated according to the seasons. The gorgeous pictures deliver portrayals of vibrant colors you would expect from each season. For instance, the Stradette with Leeks and Fava Beans on page 208 captures that intense green associated with the new growth of spring.

Other features of the book cover the backgrounds of the author and other chefs, a source page, and ingredient highlights. I was particularly interested in the section that talked about how Parmigiano Reggiano was produced. I also noticed that the matte pages will be easy to read while cooking because you won’t have to struggle with a glare on the page. I am excited to try many of the recipes, starting with Asparagus Caramelle with Brown Butter and Meyer Lemon!

I received this book for free from BloggingforBook.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.