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Since most of my updating is done via Instagram these days I thought I'd add a section that links to my feed. Click on any of the pictures to get an enlarged version. I hope you enjoy the pics:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Renovation - Kitchen Backsplash

Okay, so as I mentioned in my previous Kitchen Renovation Post, one of the things we were going to do is update the back splash around the kitchen cabinets.  After much deliberation, we decided to go with the Fasade Decorative Thermoplastic Panels as mentioned before.  We chose the Traditional #4 in Crosshatch Silver!

We could actually buy them locally at the Hardware Store in Downs, and we liked that idea alot!  They are also very easy to install and come with accent stickers for the outlets to bring a uniformed appearance.  And as Don Miller said (owner of the Hardware Store) they are alot cheaper than an actual kitchen makeover!  Marion got off CHEAP...hehehehehe!

So, here is what I did...

I bought enough panels to cover the area needed.  Precut and fitted each piece - placing outlet holes where needed and trim pieces in position.  Then I started at one end and began placing the very aggressive adhesive tape to the back of each panel - replacing it before moving to the next panel.

See how I would take one panel down.

The stove area finished.

Working around the corner.
You just place them right on top of the old tile or wall.
 When I had everything done, it looked like this:

Note...Marion LOVED the empty counter space...
I will definitely have to try to keep it less cluttered!
 You can tell in the above picture that it was getting later in the day.  So, I waited to 'finish' putting things together until the next day.  Here is what things started to look like:

drink station in the corner...
coffee, tea, hot chocolate in canisters with coffee flavorings on the side.
 The counter going down the long wall...I couldn't take a whole counter picture because there was 'stuff' already accumulated on the counter as I was putting things away...but I wanted to take a short break and blog this so I just shot a short picture.

New square canisters with regularly used items...
Wheat flour, brown sugar, sugar, coarse salt.
I am LOVING it!

I also have the paint now too, but first I need to get some other projects lined out before I can fully paint.  The new desk top should be ready early next week, so I need to get on tearing out the cabinet, but first I have to relocate the stuff inside of it...just one thing at a time!

But for now, I can cross of back splash!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, January 30, 2012

Loving Mondays

OKay...I know I'm strange but I am truly loving Mondays...or maybe it is more of loving the NEWness of Monday's.

Monday starts a new work week.  A new chance to get things right.  A new chance to start off on the right foot.  A new opportunity to get the house in order.  A new opportunity to get the laundry done.  A new opportunity!

Maybe that is what I'm loving the most right opportunities.

This morning I realized that no matter how wretched I feel, how badly I've messed up, or how awful things appear, God gives us new opportunities every day...every moment if we'll take them...His mercies are new every morning!

How amazing!  I don't have to wallow in my pit of black sticky icky despair.  I don't have to hold on to my sins and short comings.  I CAN walk in newness every morning...every minute!  But only because MY GOD is so gracious!

I'm not deserving, I'm not worthy, I'm not owed it.  It is by GRACE...God's great goodness that overshadows my frailty.

The key... choosing to do so!

WOW...that hit me like a ton of bricks.  The bottom line...I have to CHOOSE to accept it...walk in it...abide in CHRIST!

I can choose to wallow in my pit and focus on my wrong doings...OR I can choose to walk in His forgiveness, love, and grace.  AMAZING the difference!

I'm not sure if any of this is making any sense to you all, but it has been hugely freeing to me today!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, January 23, 2012

Our God is Good

And knows just what you need when you need it.

Earlier today, I had an experience that was not so fun, and I was wrestling with God and how I could have changed things. How I could have responded differently. Though I still believe I spoke truth in love, I realize I had not sought Gods guidance before doing so. When we step out on our own without His covering, things can go wrong. But the good news is that He forgives. He loves. He intervenes on our behalf.

I truly am sorry for how things ended up and I pray that all the people involved will be able to come to reconciliation. To know that our God is bigger than all miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Anyway, so I was up and God brought this song back to me. I got my iPod and listened to it...I bolted the text that ally spoke to me. Our God is good....

Lift Me Up by the Afters

You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up

Waiting for the sunrise
Waiting for the day
Waiting for a sign
That I'm where you want me to be

You know my heart is heavy
And the hurt is deep
But when I feel like giving up
You're reminding me
That we all fall down sometimes
But when I hit the ground

You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I'm letting go
You lift me up when I can't see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I'm letting go

You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up

I know I'm not perfect
I know I make mistakes
I know that I have let you down
But you love me the same

And when I'm surrounded
When I lose my way
When I'm crying out and falling down
You are here to

Lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I'm letting go
You lift me up when I can't see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I'm letting go

I can see the dawn is breaking
I am feeling overtaken with your love
With your love
I don't know what I can offer
In this moment I surrender to your love
To your love

You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I'm letting go

You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I'm letting go
You lift me up when I can't see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I'm letting go

I can see the dawn is breaking
I am feeling overtaken with your love

You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up with your love
You lift me up

More lyrics:
All about Afters The:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My New Food Processor

I am so truly blessed!  My husband spoils me too!  (but don't tell him I said

After going through like 4 small processors, he finally agreed to let me get a nice big good quality Food Processor...and I've used it a TON!

9 Cup Cuisinart Food Processor
The first day I got it...I mixed up some butter real quick:

So easy and quick!
 I was so just churned that stuff in no time! There was no holding down the button...constantly standing in front of it to avoid the motor blowing to was SOOOOOO nice!

Then I got out my block cheese and and shredded several blocks putting cornstarch with it to keep it from sticking together.

Then as I got to exploring more...I realized I was out of brown I dumped my sugar into the chamber...turned it on and added the molasses through the top feeding tube...and wallah...perfect brown sugar.  Nathan even came in as I was putting it in the container and asked what I was making...I told him and his reply was "It doesn't look all clumpy like your usual brown sugar mom!"  LOL...and he was blended so smoothly!

I have also discovered that I can do doughs in it.  I made baking soda biscuits the other day and mixed my dough right in the processor.  I have made Root Beer Cookies...mixing both the dough and the frosting in the processor.  I even made my tortilla dough in it corn and one flour...saved my arm a ton of mixing!

Then, I decided to try peanut butter.  We had all these peanuts from I had the kids sit down and help me shell them...then we whipped up some homemade peanut butter!  I forgot to take the picture of the finished peanut butter...but here are the kids shelling the peanuts!

I've also used my processor to slice potatoes for our own tater chips...and chopped onions.  I just recently bought apples on sale and can't wait to slice them up and put them in the dehydrator.  

I'm telling you...this processor has already paid for itself!  
Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Friday, January 20, 2012

A New Page - Prayer Partners

Notice the new tab at the top next to About M&M Blog?

It was mentioned the other day that there are many who read this blog who are strong prayer warriors.  It was also mentioned that many would love the opportunity to join with our family in lifting up the needs we are facing or the decisions we are seeking guidance on.  Therefore, I decided to add this new page for those who would like to have a reference for what is currently going on in our family and what we are seeking God's direction in.

Note:  This is not the place for explanations, discussions, or disagreements.  This is not a place we are seeking or trying to draw attention to ourselves.  This page is for the benefit of those who have asked for a place to sincerely join with our family in prayer as we go along in the year.

We often pray for various people and the needs we are aware of around the dinner table - as well as personally.  If you have a request that our family can join in and lift you or your family up before the Throne of God, please e-mail us your concern and we will add it to our private prayer list (not on the blog).  If you are believing for a miracle or God's intervention in your life, please let us know so we can also stand with you in seeking God's will for your situation.

In His Hands -


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Abi's Big Day

Abi got her glasses today!

Check out our beautiful grown up little girl:

Everyone agrees they really age her...

The pretty sides.
She had told us many times that things far away aren't blurry anymore and she keeps noticing things like the smudges on the window and the skid marks on the road...things she never saw before!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Birthday Celebration with another Erupting Volcano Cake

Today we had the joint birthday party for Cousin B and Jonny.  The extra things that Aunt K brought really MADE the cakes! Oh to be in a large town with Candy Stores just down the road!  

She found some awesome gummy sharks and gators, some rubber reptiles and palm trees and then she brought the thing that capped it all off...Chocolate ROCKS!  I had forgotten such things even existed, but I'll tell you what...I think I'll be taking a trip down to Salina when my next cake is due!

Anyway, here are the pictures of the finished cake:

Both together on the blue ocean table cloth.

Cousin B's cake with palm trees, gators, and reptiles!

Gummy sharks in the ocean!

Jonny's volcano cake surrounded by lizards and snakes!

The boys blowing out their candles.

Opening presents!
Jonny didn't get his gift from us yet...he'll have to wait until his birthday for that but they did have a couple of gifts that they got to open.

This time around we were able to get the volcano on video.  We had a bit of a problem with it erupting, but we finally got it going.  Here are the two video clips:

I was so glad that the dry ice didn't all disipate before we had the chance to use it.  Though this eruption wasn't as 'awesome' as Nathan's, it made the cake special and the boys had a great time I think!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Tag Team Birthday Cakes

As Jonathan's birthday approaches, the discussion starts on what the plan will be!  Since we started the every other year celebration with Cousin B (since Jonathan and him share a birthday) we've had alot of fun coming up with joint themes.  

This year, the request came early (like right after Nathan's birthday) for duo volcano cake explosion!  As the months passed, the request changed to a crater cake with a volcano cake - because after all craters are older volcanoes!  

Well, yesterday I got the cakes baked and the fluff made and so today I was only going to start making the frosting and deciding on the color schemes.  It was requested that they be 'Island' lots of water and more grays and blues!  But, as I started just flowed and the next thing I knew I had Cousin B's cake done!  I really like it!

Started with a bluish gray then added a blue green.

Decided I better get the water on and some of the accents I had.

Finished up the beach and roughage -
I also poured in the lake water...but I guess I didn't get a picture of that!

The I hit a problem.  Jonny's volcano.  I really should have stopped and waited but hey...I already had a mess so why not just keep going.  But I really had no inspiration for how to make this work.

My blank canvas...with a blank idea!

What I finished with...hey...cut me some slack...
you can only have so much creativity in one!
I decided to have the volcano on a separate plate because if we can't get the dry ice, or if the dry ice dissipates before we use it on Saturday well then...we will go with plan b and I didn't want plan b to ruin both cakes!

Now comes the joint part...Aunt K is bringing more decorations to add to the cakes to make them more ISLANDY and I still need to get the 'boulder/rocks' for Cousin B's crater.  I tried to make rocks out of the chocolate chips I can see that wasn't such a hot idea...but hey...they are edible!

I'll get oreos for the crater!
I'll get pictures of the final final and the birthday fun.  Maybe this time we'll actually get a video of the eruption as!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Nathan's First Tooth

Wow...this week is full of firsts...

Nathan lost his first tooth!

the tooth to the right is also loose!

When he discovered his tooth was loose to begin with he was very scared and did NOT want it to come out because it would hurt! And this subject has been the issue of MANY conversations and prayers as of late, but I tried to down play it and actually ignore the inevitable encouraging Nate to give it to God and let Him help him with this part of growing up.

And lo and behold, praise God, it just happened!  He was apparently just laying down upstairs chewing on the lip of his sippy and 'pop' it came out...hardly any blood, hardly any he is so excited he can barely lay still!

Just one more proof that our God cares about us and He hears our prayers!  Even down to the loose tooth!

Welcome to the Big Teeth Family Nathan!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, January 09, 2012

Abi’s getting glasses!

Sure enough, the doctor today said that she grew enough that her eyes need some near eye adjustment (meaning she can see better closer up but not so well far away).

So, her glasses are on order and and we should have them in about a week. I'll post pictures once we have them but for now we are enjoying our glasses free Abi!

Ps.she wasn't very excited until she found out she could get pink glasses with diamonds...then they seemed to be!  (The picture below is not identical but very close to those that she will be getting)
View Actual Image Size for: Float-Milan FLT-KP 222 Eyeglasses, Frames

Sent with Writer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A Unique Recipe from Abi's School

Today in Abigail's Reading lesson, she was introduced to something called Halva!  They gave a recipe for us to try and so we did!

As you can read from the lesson, it is a Pakistan recipe.  Now, we don't have Cardamom anywhere around here, so I had to find something different.  Interestingly enough, they don't have a really great substitute suggestion, but we did find this site that we went off of. I started making it, I thought "The kids are NOT going to eat this!"...I mean...the staple ingredient is CARROTS!  But I gave it a try anyway.

I even had the pistachios on hand...
though next time I will probably have to try a different nut!
And I didn't have we used dried cherries.
I also have to admit that when cooking the carrots in the milk and then reading we had to cook down ALL the liquid...I was feeling a bit hopeless that this was going to work...but here you can see...we melted the butter and added the mixture...

It didn't take long before it started browning and turning reddish...when it was done...I made it into balls and put it on a cooling rack for the kids.  They could hardly keep their hands off it to let it cool down and once it was cool...IT WAS GONE!

I'm not kids DEVOURED them!  C-A-R-R-O-T-S!  It was like the best thing EVER!  We will definitely be making this again!  What a healthy snack...I does have alot of sugar...but I might be able to fudge on that some...they still ate FOUR CUPS OF CARROTS!  I'm in awe!

Here are some awesome texture was really good!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, January 02, 2012

Chores Again...A New System for a New Year

I don't know about you, but Chores seems to be an endless battle around here.  Trying to figure out who does what, when they should do them...ugh...sometimes I wonder if it is worth it...and then when it all goes smoothly and I go to bed with a clean house I say "YES IT IS!"

Some of you might remember when I introduced a new chore system for us in is the post if you want to read it.  Anyway, it didn't really WORK.  I mean...the idea was good, but the follow through was horrible.  The kids never remembered to move their little slips of paper and we always forgot to put them back.  It just didn't work like it was supposed to - at least not for us!

After trying several different options last year, I decided why not ask the kids.  I is THEIR chores after all...why not ask them what THEY want to have to remind them of their chores.  I was sure they were tired of me harping on them all the time so...I gave it a try!

I sat the kids down and told them I was tired of harping on them and I was sure they were too.  I told them we needed to come up with a system that THEY would DO!  After several minutes of discussion, we decided to try note cards in envelopes.  

I wish I had pictures for you but I didn't think of taking them then because I wasn't sure how it would work. What we basically did was take plain old note cards and I printed a chore on one side (pictures for those that couldn't read) and a stop sign on the other side.  Then I taped three envelopes to the refrigerator and put their cards in the envelopes.   Then in the morning, I would say, "Chore Time" and it was understood that they went to their cards, did each one turning them so that the stop sign faced out when done and placing it at the back.  When all the stop signs were facing forward, their chores were done! worked!

It worked so well that we soon had to laminate the cards because of the constant use.  Then we had to replace the envelopes because the laminated cards were too heavy for the paper envelopes.  This was when I decided to start looking into making the system more durable for us!

This is what I came up with:

First I reprinted the cards
(most were unusable by now anyway)
 I chose to use the color coded system we had in the house (Abi - pink, Nate - blue, Jonny - green, E - yellow) to help them keep their cards from getting intermixed.  So I just bought a pack of colored index cards at the store and printed them from the computer.

Then, I took clear contact paper
and sandwiched the cards in between two sheets to laminate them good.
 See the brown scraper at the top of the above helped alot in getting the bubbles and creases out of the sheets for better laminating.  If I ever have to do this again, I will probably cut the width twice as big and just fold it over instead of cutting to similarly sized pieces.

Now that we had new fresh cards, the problem came with what do we put them in!  Fortunately, I was walking through the office supply area of our local Alco and I found these:

I cut off the top flap of these plastic envelopes,
and bought some self adhesive magnetic sheets to attach to the back.
The whole backside of these are magnet now so they hold pretty sturdily to the refrigerator.  You can see how they fit two sets of is for morning chores and the other is for evening cores.  I designated the evening chores with a star at the top so they could keep "brushing teeth" or other duplicate cards on the correct side.

It has been AMAZING!  No more constant instructing, harping, or griping (except for timeliness...if only I had a great solution for that!  Even Jonny can 'read' his cards with the pictures.  Morning chores run smoothly - though evening chores we struggle with when to start them...but I just introduced them with the new plastic I have hope!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter