So Long Farewell...

As many of you have noticed.  A Bird in the Hand has been slowly grinding to a halt.  It's not that we haven't had anything to say, but that we are so busy living our lives that we had not been posting as much.  Collectively it is time for us to take a break from regular posting.

Originally we started this blog to encourage one other and we will still do that when we have the time.  Thank you so much to those who have checked in here regularly and added your thoughts to the blog.  We may be back some day in a different season of our lives.  We aren't shutting down completely, but posts will be much fewer and farther between.

Sincerely Sarah, Sarah K., Elisa, and Jeni.


Swan Song

I was really tickled to read that the subject of "family" was chosen for this month. I had reached the conclusion last month that contributing to this blog was one of the things I needed to let go of. From this month's theme, to my placement happening to be last in the month's writing rotation, to the "my point exactly" fact of having had a least two other posts planned out in my head and no time to get them done, I feel that conclusion being clearly reaffirmed and my exit being made plain before me. I've enjoyed the fellowship and ideas shared here, thanks for sharing with me and letting me share with you! I'm going to leave with a poem I wrote recently that sums up some of my thoughts, fears, and reminders as a mother. Being mothers is such a blessing and a ministry. I love how the simplest things can be so meaningful and inspiring! It's hard work, but there is such joy and reward in it.
I look forward to still reading up on what you're all up to here!

Time, Like Bubbles

Pure delight on your sun-kissed face
Taking turns to blow and chase
Showers of bubbles cascade and rise
Catch them if you can!

Time, like bubbles, floats away, flies away.
My heart yearns to cry out, "please slow down; let's just stay!"
My arms yearn to reach out, hold you close, keep you near.
But I've got to let you go, watch you grow, release you, dear.

Pure delight on my son-kissed face
Soaking in each little sweet embrace
Showers of kisses blown my way
I catch them in my hand.

And time, like bubbles, floats away, flies away.
My heart yearns to cry out, "please slow down; let's just stay!"
My arms yearn to reach out, hold you close, keep you near.
But I've got to let you go, watch you grow, release you, dear.

Pure delight on your mom-kissed face
Maturity and adulthood will too soon replace
Showers of precious moment swirl around
Hold them while you can!

For time, like bubbles, floats away, flies away.
My heart yearns to cry out, "please slow down; Let's just stay!"
My arms yearn to reach out, hold you close, keep you near.
But I've got to let you go, watch you grow, release you, dear.

You have a skies limit to reach, an ocean of God's love to discover!
My job is to train and to teach, not to fret and to hover.
You are carried by His grace, purposed in His design.
Not isolated and adrift in the shifting winds of time.
Our faith is not frail and our hope is not hollow!
So I'll be thankful to hold you today and not fear for tomorrow.

Pure delight on my Son-kissed face
Resting in His faithfulness, peace, love, and grace
Showers of prayers and praise pour out and ascend
Lord, You are holding them in your hand!

Inspired by and dedicated to my bubbly little Loveskis, who are growing up way too fast and whom I'm always gonna wanna hold "just one more time!" - SMN, 2011


Homemade Bread

Growing up there was a time when my mom would make homemade bread. It seemed like an awful lot of work. She would get up early and knead the dough and punch it down and I don't know what else (I was in junior high and high school so I wasn't paying too much attention). I found out when I was older that she was making sourdough bread.

My mother-in-law also makes homemade bread. She has made it several different ways including using a bread machine and using a stand mixer. I loved her bread and it seemed so much easier to make than what my mom made. My husband's grandma passed her bread machine on to me and I got my mother-in-law's bread recipe, so I make homemade bread often.

Something I strive to do is to make a fresh loaf when we are having company for dinner. It is not always possible because of my work schedule, but I try because over the years I have gotten many comments about the goodness of homemade bread. Eating homemade bread is something that I now take for granted and I have forgotten what a blessing it can be to people who don't get to eat it but on rare occasions.

I am thankful for my bread machine and bread recipe and I look forward to blessing many people with homemade bread. For those of you who would like to try making homemade bread, here is my mother-in-law's recipe:

Oatmeal Bread (by Pam Kueffer)

12 oz. water
2 T. oil
1 c. oatmeal
3-1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. wheat gluten
1 tsp. salt
1 T. yeast

Works well in machine, or: Mix well, knead 3 minutes, mixer. Rise 1 hr., shape into two loaves, two 8x4 pans. Let rise until doubled. Bake in preheated oven, 350 degrees, 35 minutes.

Enjoy! My favorite is hot out of the oven with butter and homemade strawberry freezer jam!!


A Legacy

When sitting down to write about the topic of family.  I found myself quite stumped.  It's not because I don't have anyone to write about, but because I am so blessed with so many family member that mean so much to me.  Even narrowing the topic to family AND homemaking didn't really help.  I have two delightful grandmothers that are both excellent bakers and cooks, and a wonderful Mama that puts creative flair into everything that she whips up.  Even the men in my life have secret recipes stashed up their sleeves.

It made me realize what an amazing legacy I have received and will be able to pass on to my children.  It has made me so excited to continue to cook both with, and for, my children.  Though I don't have those secret recipes {yet}, I do have the time and ability to make sure my kids eat fresh, delicious {at least I think they are, the kids don't always agree} and nutritious homemade meals 3 times a day. {except when 'Papa' brings donuts, but who is going to complain about that?}

In order to keep this blessing going my 3 oldest take turns being my Sous Chefs while I prepare dinner.  It is always their favorite "chore", so much so they sometimes end up quarreling about whose turn it is.  I always figured that my girls would enjoy cooking with me, and they do, but it's my oldest son that takes the most pleasure in it.

{And what boy wouldn't when he gets to wear this amazing "Cape-ron" made by Aunt Sarah!}  
I think it gives him some special one on one time and allows him to show off all of his measuring, chopping and pouring skills.
This has been so wonderful for me because in most of the other areas of his life he seems to thrive on making things...er...difficult for all those around him.  But when he has his Sous-Chef outfit on and his Mama Chef by his side all seems right in his little world.  And it reminds me that with God's grace this is exactly who he can, and hopefully will be, and then all is right in my little world.  


Simply Sweet Cinnamon Rolls!

Along the lines of my last post - this one is dedicated to my mom. As noted previously, my mom was not really "into" baking. Cooking was done in order to feed the family. She did not enjoy cooking or working in the kitchen (for me, cooking/baking is like therapy/stress relief - nothing better than handing over the boys to Eli after a long day and making some cookies or something!). BUT, she did and still does make some killer cinnamon rolls!

Although she is notorious for not following recipes in an exact manner, my mom does carefully measure and make bread in order for it to turn out right. Therefore, this was one recipe that I was actually able to copy down and not hear a "well, I just put a little of this, and little of that"!

I can't tell you the number of times that my mom, my younger sister, or I have brought this cinnamon rolls to a shower or event, and gotten rave reviews. YUM. That's all there is to say. And although Jonah does not eat any other type of yeast bread, he devours Cinnamon Rolls.

The recipe is not unique. Probably almost the same to many others. But, if you have never tried to make homemade cinnamon rolls, or a recipe that you attempted previously just did not turn out well, I'd love for you to get these ones a try!

My Mother's Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 c. water
3/4 c. milk
1 T. yeast
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
3-4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

*Warm milk and water together. Pour into mixing bowl and add yeast and sugar. Give a swirl and let the yeast proof for about 5 min. Add in butter, egg, and 1 c. of flour. Mix well. Add rest of flour and salt in 1 c. increments, kneading until you get a slightly sticky dough. Knead an additional 2-3 min. Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled - about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 min. Roll out to about 14x10 or so (I just have this large cutting board that I roll out on until I get to the edges all around). Spread with 6 T. of softened butter or margarine, 1/8. c. white sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, and LOTS of ground cinnamon (I never measure this, just sprinkle over liberally until everything looks good and covered)!. Roll up and cut until 12 rolls. Place in greased 9x13, cut sides up. Let rise until doubled, and then bake at 375 degrees about 20 min - DO NOT OVERBAKE! Just until tops are browning. Pull out of over, and spread with desired glaze or frosting. We prefer cream cheese frosting! Eat, eat, and enjoy!

I did not take pictures to create a tutorial, because there are so many great tutorials already posted, like Gina's. But, here is my finished creation:

And the boy who was eagerly asking all morning when they were going to be done!