Sunday, September 27, 2009

So Busy . . .

Getting ready for our first MOPS tomorrow morning plus we are leaving for 2 nights tomorrow afternoon (minus the kids!) sooooooo I am a "little" busy and won't have time to "chat" until after Wednesday night! See you then!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adoption Thoughts

Ever since I was a little girl, I know that the idea of adoption has floated around in my head with a hope that someday I might be able to adopt a child. More specifically, a black child. See, my mom was adopted and she has only ever had good things to say about it. Granted, she was adopted as a newborn and so she doesn't have feelings attached to another mother. But, she thinks it was a God-ordained thing that saved her life. Literally. So, the idea of being able to give a home, lots of love and maybe even life, in one form or another, by adopting a child has always intrigued me. Well, intrigued may be the wrong word. I believe that I have a lot of love to give and would be honored to share my home and my heart with another child that did not arrive in this world via my womb! I also don't look upon mothers that give their child away for adoption with anything but the utmost respect. These women have carried their child for 9 months, bonding with and loving this unseen creation. They have birthed these children. They have nursed these children. They have watched them smile, laugh, crawl, walk, run, grow and love. And, they have decided that what they had to offer was not the absolute best for their child. They had to decide that the life and future of their child is more important than keeping them close by. I cannot imagine the pain these mothers endure of having their child taken from them, even if it is willingly. No, I cannot think of these women with anything but respect.

I have told Jay many times about my desire to adopt but never once have I mentioned this to my kids. The other day, Pepe was talking about church. He wanted us to remind him to bring his Bible and his offering to Sunday School. The offering is for orphans in Africa so they can have clean water and food to eat. I guess in Sunday School Pepe mentioned that maybe the money could buy the kids some parents because as orphans they don't have parents and wouldn't it be good for them to have a mom and a dad? He was told you cannot buy people! I told him that he was right, it would be good for the orphans to have a mom and a dad. I told him that he should pray to God that God could bring a mom and a dad to the orphans. He said that he would pray that God would bring an orphan to live with US. That God should bring one orphan. No, that He should bring 2 orphans, a brother and sister, to live with US. Remember, I have never talked about adoption with him until this conversation. I explained to him about adoption and how his nana was adopted. But he came up with this idea of the orphans living with us all on his own, before I explained adoption. Maybe that boy will have more faith than I do and pray for those orphans and God will bring 2 to live with us, just like Pepe said! I think about the logistics, the expense, the space we don't have. Pepe thinks about the mom and dad, the food and the clean water the orphans don't have. I wish I could think more like him. Needless to say, I was slightly amazed at the end of our conversation! What will the future hold? Will it include the faces of a little African boy and his sister? Dare I hope?

You Are Only 3! No Bras!

I still cannot get over the fact that my son and Jesus are forever friends! Tears still come to my eyes when I think about it and when I read my last post. Think about it - the angels in heaven are having a party for my son! How incredibly cool is that!

This morning RJ saw the La Senza bag on my counter and asked what was in it. I told her I bought new bras. And a pink one! She said, with a huge smile on her face, and I quote, "For ME??". I laughed and said the obvious - no! Her smile dropped, continued to get lower, the pout came out and then the tears started. Big tears. And wailing. Lots of wailing. Crying and wailing. "I want a bra!". Yes, my 3-year old was crying because she wants a bra! A pink bra! Oh, little girl, just you wait. Soon you and I can go bra shopping together. For pink bras! Though that whole idea just about strikes fear in my heart. Bras means puberty. Puberty means . . . well, it means a whole lot more than I want to deal with right now! She is only 3. And part of me hopes she stays this way for a long time. No bras! And certainly no boys!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Matters of Eternal Importance!

So, I just came home from spending the last 5 hours shopping in Winnipeg (and no, I was not shopping for myself - and I most certainly wasn't shopping at Ricki's where the new color for the season happens to be purple which I noticed when I passed the store, slowed down slightly then quickly picked up speed and continued on in case I should be tempted to enter. Which I was. But I didn't. Whew!!) picking up things for my husband and finding decor items for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers, a program I am coordinating at our local church). Oh, I guess I did do a little shopping for me - I needed new bras. Desperately. Mission accomplished. Though it was a little disturbing finding out what size I was - I mean, really! 36A???!!! What am I - 15?? (That is no offense to the 15 year olds, just a sad state of being for this 33 year old! That's what all those kids and nursing did to me. Sob!!!).
AAAAAAAAANYWAY! I came home just after the girls were in bed. One son was waiting upstairs, the other was wailing in his bed. I was checking in with Jay when my oldest says this to me from across the house:
"Mom, guess what? I asked Jesus to come live in my heart. I was talking to him and he said that I don't have to do any school or homework or any work at all!".
Okay, did I just hear that right? Could you back that up juuuuuust a little?
Me: "He did, did he?".
Him: "No, I'm just joking. But the first part is true. I actually did."
Me: "You did? You asked Jesus to be your forever-friend?".
Him: "Yup!"
Okay, so at this point I run to him and hold him and hug him and tell him that was the best thing he could ever tell me! I will see my son in heaven one day! What could be more exciting than that?! Apparently this monumentous event happened last night as he and dad were reading the Bible story about Peter and James following Jesus. Daddy asked if Pepe wanted to follow Jesus and he said yes. They talked with Jesus and he made the most important decision of his life. Which I only found out about 24 hours later. I was in a meeting yesterday, in my own house, but only found out tonight. Like all that time I spent in school with him today just wasn't enough time to tell me! I digress! My point? My son loves Jesus and wants to follow him! I couldn't be happier! Thank you, Lord!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Almost Family

For the past year, we have spent every third Sunday with a very special group of people - our care group. Some people refer to these types of groups as small groups but I like care group better. Why? It epitimizes the reason we get together. Because we care. Our group consists of 12 adults and 12 children (age 6 and under). This past year we would get together for a potluck supper then the adults would sit around and talk while the kids ran wild! It was great for everyone involved, especially the kids. Tonight we met just as adults to discuss plans for the future. Do we want to keep getting together? Do we like this thing called "care group"? The answer is a resounding "YES"! These are some of the most important people in my life, people that understand who I am and love me anyway. People who can make me laugh or make me cry. People who love my children. People who push me in my faith journey. Or my parenting journey. Or in my marriage. People that are more than just people - they are my friends. They are my 'almost family'! They are the biggest reason we still attend the church we do. They give me something to look forward to. They give me a reason to open up and share. This next year we will meet as adults every other care group Sunday and I am SO EXCITED! I love my kids, I love their kids but sometimes with all those little ones running around, it is hard for us adults to dig deeper. Find out what is really happening. This year that can change. We will be just the 12 of us - 6 couples. Couples that hopefully can talk about anything and everything. Couples that will pick you up when you are down, give you a hug if that is what you need. Couples that will cause your walk with the Lord to be richer, more significant. Couples that will hold your marriage to a higher standard, expect more from you while loving you on the journey. I am so blessed to have these friends in my life. I hope you have friends in your life that are able to be that source of encouragement, that place of laughter and honesty, those arms that will accept you, no matter what! Friends that are your 'almost family'!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Waiting . . .

One might wonder why I am sitting and writing a blog at 11:53 pm on a Saturday night. Surely I should be in bed getting some much needed rest before a busy Sunday. But, alas, no. I am wide awake. Waiting. For my hubby. You see, he is still in the combine, just as he has been for the past 12 hours. Yup, he left at 11:30 this morning, and, other than bringing him his supper, I haven't seen him since. (And, just to let you know what a hard worker he is, he was up at 6 this morning to do his chores at the barns {we are hog farmers}, came home around 10, mowed the grass, hung out with the kids, scarfed down breakfast and lunch then off to the fields.) For some reason, when he is gone, I cannot go to bed until he is home. It just doesn' feel right. Especially when I know he is supposed to come to bed. Sometime. Just not sure when. So, I wait. What do I do while waiting? I snuggle into my couch, grab a cozy blanket and a book and settle in for a read, my new-yet-trusty quote book by my side. This time it is "In the Grip of Grace" by Max Lucado. I think I need a constant reminder of his grace. My need for grace is obvious. The fact that Jesus gives it out so freely and lovingly is still a bit surprising. And the quote book? Well, it is just a hard-cover spiral-bound notebook but it contains bits and pieces of inspiration. Things I read that really make me think. Words that say what I am thinking better than I could say them. That sort of thing. Makes each book I read more memorable. Makes it easier to find inspiration if I can jot it down in a book that is easily reviewed. So, if you don't mind, I am going to find those books and that blanket and settle in for a wait!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Need a Side Car in John Deere Green!

As I mentioned earlier in a blog, I was waiting for the day Jay was "relegated" to the combine. Today was that day. And, as I have every year since we started having kids, I packed up the troops and took them out to the fields for a ride! And what a ride it was! 7 of us, all snug and cozy, in the cab of that John Deere combine.

This was Ari's first tractor ride (well, at least while outside the womb!) and she seemed to enjoy every minute. I am not sure that I have found something she doesn't like. Ali, however, was a different story. Her hesitation was apparent to everyone around. The wails started the moment Jay made his way up the ladder. She was not so impressed with this mammoth machine. And who could blame her? The stubble in the field (just the stubble, not the complete stalks) came up to her knees. The combine is huge to an average adult - to this wee little 2 year old, it must seem extraordinarily huge and just as loud! She did manage to calm down a few minutes after settling into the surprisingly quiet cab. Then she started talking. About the "bombine"! She started turning the steering wheel and putting her handle on the throttle. She was good to go!

Things are a "little" snug when you stick 7 people in a cab meant for 2! So we have decided we need a sidecar. A combine sidecar in John Deere green. That way none of us have to miss out on the action.

Today's machines were working the canola. And canola dust is thick and black. It coats everything. Anything you touch is black. And anything you touch afterwards becomes that same black. RJ figured that out first-hand.

The boys couldn't wait for us to leave and have the cab (and the comfy seats) to themselves. Thus ended the family ride for the year! But it was memorable and we would do it all over again! With 8? Well, that might be pushing it!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preserving the Past {Old Barn Windows Made New}

A couple of years ago, my father-in-law was going to tear down an old hipped-roof barn that was standing on his property. It was an old barn that was being used for storing lots of "junk", was falling apart, and needed to come down. He told all of us kids to take whatever we wanted; the rest was getting burned. I immediately sent Jay for some barn wood and the windows! My FIL couldn't understand why I would want such old pieces of garbage! I saw them as pure treasure!

My original intention was to use them downstairs to cover up the door to the electrical panel. You know, sort of like a photo that hinges to a hidden door? Recently I was looking at the blank expanse above our loveseat in the living room and decided that something needed to go there. Some sort of art. Actually, I was intent on an iron grill hanging thing (that "may" not be the technical term but that is all I can think to call them. Funny, since I do have 4 of them hanging on the exterior of my house!!). Thankfully, I remembered these treasures tucked in the garage awaiting their fate. I figured two could fit perfectly and I was right! Now, I know in the world of decor, odd numbers are supposed to be better than even numbers but I threw out that rule and decided two would be just fine!

The first thing I did in this barn-window redo was to call the local glass company and order mirrors cut to the size of each window opening - 6-8x10's make up one window. Then, with that on order, I got down to the dirty work. As you will notice, the top of the window is one section, the bottom is another. Those first two panes of glass are actually hinged to the bottom four. Hinged with really rusty hinges. I had to remove them and separate the window into two sections - one with 2 panes, one with 4 panes. Then I carefully removed the old hard caulking or silicone that edged each pane of glass. I pried back the little metal diamond-shaped things that held in the panes of glass. Once that was done I could remove each piece of glass. Now, I could have taken a hammer and smashed the glass eliminating all the "careful" work but those ancient pieces may come in handy in some other area! For some other project! So, careful I was. Then, using pliers I pulled out all those diamond-shaped metal things. Then I cleaned the wood with a rag, getting rid of dirt, dust and spider webs. Some of the paint flaked off easily but the rest I sanded. I used a power sander and just smoothed out the surface. My intention was not to remove all the paint, just make it smooth. A lot was bare wood so the sanding was quite simple. I then got out the air-nailer (my FAVORITE power tool!!) and secured each corner with some nails, just to make sure it would stay in place. After all, this is old wood. These are old windows. I filled all the holes and any other imperfections I wanted filled.

Now it was time to paint! Some of the windows were in better shape on the back side, some on the front side. I determined which way I wanted the windows to face then I got to work. I first sprayed them with one coat of brown spray paint: Rustoleum Painter's Touch "Kona Brown". The wood is a naturally light color but I wanted the look of the old wood to show through. The wood is so old and dry that it absorbed that paint like a sponge!! Then I used a few coats of white paint (in the same brand line) and covered up that brown paint. Thanks to the natural variations in the surface texture of the wood, the dark brown was able to show through. I wanted it to look old - good but old! I think I achieved that look! This is the redone window. See how the dark wood shows through the white paint! I love it!

Once the paint was dry, I attached new hinges to the back side thereby reattaching the top section.

I experimented with the mirrors to see how I wanted them to lay on the window. I could either lay them on the front and hide some of the stiles (again, maybe not the right word - I mean those white pieces of wood dividing the window into panes) or lay them from behind, showing more of the stiles. I thought by laying them from behind it gave it a more dimensional look so that is what I did. I laid each of the mirrors in their spots and hot glued them in place (the day after doing this project my dear hubby went and bought me a new glue gun. One that has a trigger. The really small one I had required you to manually push the glue stick through. What a big pain!!). This is what it looks on the back side of the windows.

All I did was place the mirror in its spot and run a thick bead of hot glue around the edge, sealing in the mirror. When the glue dries nice and hard, the mirror cannot budge.

Once all the mirrors were in place, I attached a flush-mount wall hanger, one on the window, one on the wall.

I hung the window and VIOLA!! It was complete!

Once I had both windows hung it seemed like something was missing. It needed a little more . . . pizzaz. I looked around and the two white feather wreaths I had hung up elsewhere caught my eye. What would it look like if I hung those wreaths on the windows? You guessed it! PIZZAZ! PERFECTION! It reflects my personality, adds that much needed pizzaz and brings my livingroom a touch of elegance it so desperately needs (thanks in part to those lovely black lamps flanking the loveseat that I talked about in an earlier post!). Plus, I can switch out the wreaths for more season appropriate ones throughout the year.

I am in love!!
(As for those couches, we bought them 10 years ago right after we got married and decided forest green was the color choice for us. Now, they are still very comfortable, in fabulous shape but I am just not liking the green. Slipcovers will be made very shortly and I am almost giddy with excitement about what that change will bring! For now, the windows detract from the mammoth green sitting just below them!!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Thrifting We Will Go!

I love to shop! I love to buy clothes! I especially love Ricki's! Oh, that store has so many beautiful clothes, it makes me so happy just to enter it! Happier still when I walk out with bags of trendy, fashionable clothes just for me! However, there is a downfall to all this - the price! The price of fashion is not cheap. Well, I guess it could be a lot more expensive if I shopped high end stores. Which I obviously do not. I have a little bit of common sense! However, buying new clothes at a store such as Ricki's, as lovely as they are, is still spendy. A few months ago, I ran across a Facebook comment from a friend and she mentioned her year of thrifting was almost up. Or something to that effect. That got my attention. A year of thrifting? What exactly did that mean? She also has a blog so if you want to read what she was intending to do and why, you can check it out here:

So, since reading that blog this past June (it was written a year ago), the idea of thrifting was mulling around in my head. I couldn't get away from the idea. The notion that I was cluttering my life with all things "Ricki" was a true one. Like I couldn't feel good about myself until I went and bought new clothes. Then the feelings slowly faded and back to the store I would go. Now, thankfully, I live about 35 minutes away from the nearest store and I usually have the kids with me (trying on clothes with kids in the change room is not fun! It will kill any desire to shop instantly!). Maybe that was the Lord's way of restricting me. Of trying to tell me that something in me needed to change. So, I decided to take the plunge and make a decision - One Year of Thrifting. I made this decision sometime in June so let's say I officially started July 1. So, what exactly does that look like? Well, it means I will not buy any new clothes for me for one year (exceptions being undergarments and swim wear, which I need as all the stuff I wore while pregnant is severely stretched!). I will also only thrift for the kids clothes. And, surprisingly, since being on this journey, I have come to appreciate our local MCC thrift store, about a 5 minute drive from my house. The selection and price is fantastic. And the treasures I have found? Just as great! My hope in this journey is that my bank account will show a marked difference after this year. More importantly, I hope that the Lord talks to me through this journey, reminding me of his love for me, his acceptance of me, his desire for me JUST AS I AM! New clothes or not!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farm Girl Through and Through!

Harvest is in full swing around these prairie lands and it is a time I both anticipate and dread, to some extent or another. I anticipate the time the boys get to spend with their daddy as he helps out his dad with all that harvest time requires - swathing, combining, baling, hauling grain, cultivating, etc, etc. I dread the amount of time he will be gone as he first works at his "day" job and then heads off to the fields for his "night" job! Those days with the kids get particularily long. And a bit harried as I figure out how to feed the kids and their dad as I pack up food to bring to the fields. (I could easily pawn this job off on my mother-in-law who would gladly feed her son. However, I consider this my pleasure!) Jay has no problem taking the boys with him (the girls still think the tractors are too loud!) but yesterday I thought it was my turn! When we were dating and before we had kids, I spent many hours in the tractors with my hubby! Hours talking, watching and just being with the love of my life. I loved the closeness, the intimacy of being "stuck" in such a small space. Things are a little different with all the kids. We have taken every single one for a ride. At the same time! Imagine 6 people squished into the cab of a combine. Or swather. But that's what we do. And we love it! We are just waiting for the right time to take Ari for her first ride. Hopefully soon Jay gets to drive the combine and that will be the ticket to a family ride. 7 people this year! So, anyhow, back to yesterday. I get jealous of the boys and the hours they have spent with their daddy so I figured I paid my dues and it was my turn. We arranged it with MIL that she would watch the kids so I could spend 1 hour with Jay. 1 hour hopping from grain truck to grain truck. 1 hour with my love in the middle of a sunny, busy harvest day! Well, if you know anything about farm life, that 1 hour didn't really happen. It was interrupted. Continually. I maybe spent a 1/2 hour with him. 45 minutes max. Spread over the course of 4.5 hours! But, the time I did spend, was great! I am such a farm girl! I think that my husband is incredible sexy when he drives a grain truck! And every moment I sat beside him I was thanking the Lord for giving him to me. And for giving me this life. This life where the harvest seems to be abundant. In more ways than one. And I am thankful that there will be many more years of being able to sit beside my love and join him in this wonderful life the Lord has given us. This crazy busy life as a farm girl!

Watching the Harvest - Fall 2008

Friday, September 4, 2009

Celebrate Life

September 2, 2009

So many times these days I hear people complaining. About their age. About getting older. Grumbling that another birthday has come and gone. Wishing they could just stay "young". Now, if you know me at all, I truly believe that being young is far more about your attitude than it is about your age. And my attitude towards birthdays?? I love them! And I am not just talking about the kids' birthdays. I love MY birthday! Well, and Jay's, but especially mine! I act like a big kid waiting for my birthday to finally come then smile a silly smile all day. I mean, think about it! The world was graced with my presence 33 years ago (see, I just admitted my age and I have no problems with you knowing just how old or young I actually am!) - how could I not celebrate??! ☺ As I was driving home from lunch out with a wonderful friend I was thanking God. For making me. For sustaining my life. For keeping me from taking it when I was younger and thinking there was nothing worth living for. For blessing me over and over and over again. Have these years been easy? No, not always. Obviously, when I was younger I hated my life and cried more tears than I care to remember. Over silly things (tomato soup???), over important things, over big and little things. I think I cried more than I smiled. Or maybe I smiled a lot just to hide the tears. Whatever the case, I was sad. A lot. But God sustained me. Kept me in the palm of His hand. And eventually brought joy to my life. More joy than I thought possible. I married an amazing man that I love more than anything. God has blessed me with 5 unbelievable children. I am so overwhelmingly blessed. So, I take this opportunity, this birth day, to say thank you. Thank you, Lord, for knowing me in my mother's womb. For seeing all my faults, my "issues", for seeing all the good and not-so-good things I would do and deciding to give me life anyway! Thank you, mom and dad, for taking care of me. For giving me life and love and faith. Happy Birthday to me!

September 4, 2009

5 years ago I was given the best (belated) birthday present ever in the gift of my son, AJ! He is fire and passion, laughter and silliness, spunk and gentleness all rolled into one! His party is on Sunday but as his birthday is today, he got to choose his supper meal. Waffles (I have never put candles in waffles before but it worked!)! After he opened his present first thing this morning he came to me and told me that the present was the best present ever. Exactly what he wanted! The fun part about having a 5 year-old is that they already have a very defined personality. Strong likes and dislikes. Shopping becomes a bit easier. His present has sat on my closet shelf for months already in anticipation of this day. What was this "best present"? 2 coil-bound sketch pads (large and small), tracing paper, sketching pencils, a kids book on drawing and a Usborne book on machines! Perfect for my tractor-loving artist! And as I watch him draw a tractor carrying a load of bales I cannot help but marvel at this complex child God has put into my life! There is no one in this family that is able to elicit smiles like he can. And no one who can elicit tears as easily either! From the time people laid eyes on him 5 years ago, they said he would be trouble. And they were right! Though I don't really like to say trouble. More like spunk. Fire. Passion. And a whole lot of laughter! Son, I love you so much! I am thankful God put you into our family. And I cannot wait to see what else God will teach me through you! May you grow up to be an amazing man of God, a prayer-warrior, an example to his parents of faith and love, compassion and strength! Happy Birthday, little man!

Now I say - celebrate! Celebrate life!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Keepin' It Together!

In the past I have really stuggled to find a method of organizing all the chaos, errrr, I mean events that dominate our lives! I have used day planners, computer programs with alerts, small hanging calendars - all had their limitations and frustrations! Things got missed, events got forgotten - life was not finding the order I really needed. Craved! Until last year. I stumbled upon a calendar called "Mom's Ultimate Family Fridge Calendar"!

It caught my attention for several reasons.

  1. It was designed for moms. And I am a mom. Therefore, it should work. (Fingers crossed)
  2. It was large in size. 18" x 13.5" - lots of space to write lots of things.
  3. It was the ultimate calendar. Said so right on the front. And if it says so it must be so! (Fingers crossed. Again)
  4. It is a fridge calendar. I don't know about your home but the central zone for all people in this house is the fridge. It draws all of us like bees to flowers. Hummers to red. Flies to - well, you get the idea! So a fridge calendar seemed really logical. At least to me.

I took it home with fear and trepidation and started to employ this organizer, this "Mom's Ultimate Family Fridge Calendar"! And it worked! Still works 1 year later. Now I am hooked. I just picked up our 2009-2010 copy of this amazing little life-saver and I cannot wait to transfer all that information from one year to the next! It really is the Ulimate Calendar! Let me share a little bit of it with you.

It has large spaces to write lots of information. Each square measures approximately 2 1/2" x 1 1/2". On my fridge we have a magnetic container that holds Sharpies of various colors. Each of the colors is used for different people or events. With spaces this large and Sharpies of differing colors, a single glance at the calendar yields lots of very useful information. Plus, the calendar comes with over 400 stickers that can be used to identify different activities or events.

The illustrations on the calendar are absolutely adorable and my kids love to see the pictures on each month. Maybe they should have made them less appealing so they would leave my calendar alone! As it is, they love to flip the pages and check out what the cartoons are doing!

This year's edition also included a chore chart for kids. We will see if this particular chart will work for our family but I think it is a great idea!

There are many other great reasons to love this "Mom's Ultimate Family Fridge Calendar"! To learn even more about it and find out where to buy them, check out their website at

Now I must ask: How do you keep track of your busy schedule?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nothing Like Homemade Bread!

I have purposed in my heart to stop buying bread products and, instead, make them myself. However, when you have fallen in love with a particular store-bought bread (Country Harvest Flax is my all-time favorite!!), it can be difficult to find a recipe you like. You find yourself comparing everything to that soft, tasty yet good-for-you loaf. In my attempt to recreate that wonderful bread, I have tried a few recipes. Most failed. Usually too heavy. I don't want a really hearty, really heavy wheat loaf. I also don't want a colon-clogging loaf of white nothingness. I think I finally found "the one!" The recipe I keep making over and over. It is soft. It is full of flax (a prerequisite for me!), it contains lots of whole wheat and it is delicious! And, I will happily share the recipe with you!


6 3/4 tsp. yeast
3 cups warm water
3/4 cup sugar

Mix this together and let the yeast bubble up and then add:

1 tbsp. and 1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp. oil
1 cup ground flax
1/2 cup 100% natural wheat bran
1/2 cup wheat germ
3 cups whole-wheat flour*
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix together well then let stand for 10 minutes. I was told the lemon juice softens the whole-wheat flour, creating a softer loaf of bread.

5 tbsp. whole flax seeds
approximately 5 cups white flour

Mix well and knead for 10 minutes. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Place in a greased bowl and then spray the top of the dough with oil,too. Cover with a piece of waxed paper and a tea towel then place in the oven with the oven light turned on. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough and divide into 4 loaves. Place dough into greased bread pans. Spray tops of loaves with oil again, cover with waxed paper and tea towel. Place back into oven for 1 hour rising time. Remove from oven, preheat oven to 375F. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (I usually check at about 20 minutes) or until golden brown. Slice and enjoy!

* I use home-milled whole-grain whole-wheat flour. I am sure store-bought whole-wheat flour would work just as well.

**For a softer crust, cover loaves with a tea towel while cooling. The steam cannot escape as easily, creating a softer crust.

Doesn't that look yummy? My dough is currently rising and I look forward to slathering that first hot slice with butter and savoring every moment of home-baked goodness!

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