Starting the New Year with Vision!

Every year it is our family’s tradition to set goals for the upcoming year.  We sit down as a family, with a big pile of cinnamon rolls, a large tablet of paper, markers, and the day before us.  It is a wonderful tradition that we have built in our marriage and now our family.  We highly recommend it to you!!!

First, look over the past year as see what you are grateful for and WHY you are grateful for them.  THIS helps you prioritize ideas for the year to come.

Second, have everyone brainstorm dreams, visions, and plans they have for the year to come.  THey can be big or small, short term or long.  Just get them all down.  From reading that book you’ve intended or planning time to spend with friends- put it on the list.

Third, make some categories to organize your ideas.  We have categories for personal vs family, fellowship and ministry opportunities, educational goals and spiritual goals.

Fourth, we pray about everything on the list. Then, talk about it some more.  Are the goals realistic? Are they in line with our family’s vision for itself? Are the inline with God’s word?

Last, we set practical (daily or monthly) goals that help us accomplish these year long goals. We get the calendar and see what we can plot out, what needs to stay the same, and what needs to go.

We encourage you to involve you WHOLE family!  Everyone can be a part.  We’ve had little ones share GREAT ideas.  For example, one year we were talking about spending more time with people and one of our little ones said, “Lets have them over for a pizza party!”  That was a GREAT and TANGIBLE way for a little person to contribute to our bigger family vision of “Fellowship with other families”.

Each time we study a character quality with our Wisdom Books, we try to apply it to as many areas of our lives as possible. When our family studied the character quality of Responsibility, this monthly planner was “born”.  Feel free to print it out and use it how ever you see fit. In the little “scroll” on it we usually print scripture we are memorizing & in the “star burst” we put the character quality(s) we want to focus on.

Here it is:  calender  May this bless you as you plan out your year in 2012!

“A Vision without plans makes a visionary. 

Plans without a vision makes drudgery.

A vision WITH a plan makes a missionary!”

In addition, we have planners and journal pages to go along side the Wisdom Books listed to the right under “Recommended Resources”.  May these bless you as you plan out educating your children.

In gratitude for all GOd has blessed us with 🙂

The Martin Family


Variety- the spice of life

Feeling like sharing some yankee love in honor of Columbus Day………

Ok so I must add this initial disclaimer. If you are from the “north” this may not come as “variety” to you, I am pretty sure that narrows down the list to my sister-in-law, Michelle, our friends the Nelsons, and my immediate family. 🙂  But since most folk we know are of the mid-west or southern persuasion, we thought THIS would add some variety to your “side dish” at dinner time. 🙂

“Salt Potatoes”- an common dish eaten by salt miners in days past, now loved by many O’ New Yorkers!


  • one bag of “salt potatoes” (if you don’t live in new york, then your grocery store calls them “baby” potatoes- they used to call them “grade B” potatoes my first year I lived in MO, but then suddenly they we re-labeled with a new price tag as “baby potatoes” as if that made them sound fancier)
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1 large pot boiling water
  • melted butter

Add salt to water, boil, add potatoes, cook  until fork tender. Leave the potatoes whole- they should be about bite size.

Melt butter to dunk the potatoes in. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm a yummy yankee side dish! Seriously, I could eat this with fresh corn on the cob and be done!


Salt and Vinegar “chips”-  Since I spent most of my summer weekends pretending to be canadian with my friend Laura, I just LOVE vinegar on my “chips” which are really fried potatoes (any way you slice them is fine) Personally, I haven’t met a potato that I don’t like. 🙂


  • 1 large potato per person eating- sliced like very thick potato chips
  • 2 cups vinegar (more if you are feelin’ really northern, eh)
  • large pot boiling water
  • salt and pepper
  • olive or veggie oil

Add vinegar to water, par- boil potato slices- about 5 minutes.

Drain.  toss potatoes in oil- lightly

Lay out on greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with salt AND pepper

Broil on high 7-10 minutes (or more for extra crunchy)

Eat and enjoy. (oh, and to be more northern you can add additional malt vinegar before eating- but NOT ketchup)

🙂 Happy Belated Columbus Day!!!

Making the MOST of what God gives you each day!

The first weekend of October was FULL of blessings for our family!  Our friends the Johnsons came to visit.  They had family near by, so it was the perfect excuse to spend time together!  They are such a fun joyful, and faith-filled family.  We just LOVED getting to know them better! The guys worked together to build an extention on our goat barn to keep them dry in the wet fall and winter days!  What a HUGE blessing to have Mr Johnson and his experience in building!  We even had the goat vet stop in for a quick lesson in farming and vaccines- that went smoother than anticipated- phew!  As if the weekend wasn’t complete, God gave us James Staddon to enjoy as well!  He was “in town” so he spent a few nights here and brought blessings with him wherever he went. We took him sight seeing to get some “New England pics” and he blessed all the kids with a testimony of his recent time in Mexico at an orphanage.  To top the weekend off, the day after everyone left, Jacob celebrated his 12th birthday!


We all had a BLAST teaching the Johnsons how to play “gah-gah”  (don’t ask us where the name came from), but it is a FUN, simple game for all to play….here are the winners and a few “action” shots of the game!  We let it get down to two or three “winners” instead of one, that way a little person always won too! Note: that “light footed” Hope is in ALL of the winner shots…..she was FAST! 🙂


Then, James shared his testimony with the kids.  James hooked his laptop up to our flat screen (thank you Nauna for that gift a while back – it is soooo great for schooling)  James talked about the Big Vision of the Orphanage as well as the great importance of being faithful in all the daily living NOW as a kid.  He encouraged all our kids to work at being obedient, neat & orderly in household and school things, faithful and diligent workers, making the most of their schooling so they would be VERY prepared for ANYTHING that God gave them later in life.  Encouraging them that God would honor that and use it to bless their future!

Some great fun playing in the dark with glow sticks (a fun gift from the Johnsons)!!!


Some more great time just being together!

Jacob’s 12th birthday!  What a great day!  He even had a special visitor, Dr. Finn a dear friend from church, bring him hot cross buns as a birthday treat!!!  He’s a pic of Jacob in his new threads from his great Nana!  What a blessing for future music opportunities!

In the end,  each person had something to bless the other people with.  We all gave something to the other and THAT is a simple yet WONDERFUL way to MULTIPLY BLESSINGS!!!! 🙂



A WONDERFUL wedding!!!

Recently, our dear friends eldest son, Joshua, got married to Lisa.  Oh it was such a beautiful day!  Families gathering from all over to support, encourage, love, and sincerely welcome this beautiful union.  Joshua and Lisa patiently waited for God’s timing, even on the day of their wedding!  The rain started to come, but no one fussed.  We enjoyed each other while we waited for it to pass.  Then, at just the perfect time, the wedding began.  How beautiful to see young people wait patiently for each other.  To see them value purity and faithfulness!  What a testimony!

The pictures speak for themselves:




Of Course the kids (and adults) had a great time playing around and providing MUCH laughs as they “decorated” Josh and Lisa’s car 🙂  Of course, we won’t name names of who did what…..but a picture IS worth a 1000 words!! 🙂  And while most of the kids were “decorating” the car, Jacob found yet another instrument that he LOVES….the hammer dulcimer!


And last, but NOT least, we would like to THANK the Hollbach Family for the WONDERFUL hospitality!!!  What a Joy it was stay with them!  Everyone was so welcoming and hospitable.  Each child taking time to spend time with our kids.  Reading books, playing with chickens, playing piano, or just talking. We look forward to more times in the future. Just some of the Hollbachs are in the picture below- you can tell who they are from their HUGE, beautiful smiles…we really need to get better at taking group pictures!