Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sweeter and Sweeter

I went to a funeral today. No funeral is fun, but today's was especially difficult. A wonderful lady that I used to teach with died this past week. She was 32 years old, married, close to her parents and siblings, had a 3 year old son, and was pregnant with a baby girl who was soon to be born. She had placenta previa and began to hemorrhage. The doctors were unable to save her or her baby.

This funeral got under my skin more than others I have been to because I related to way too much of it. Not only is this a person my age, she had children the age of mine, and was pregnant - like me. There are a few things in life that are just unnatural: a parent burying their child, and a young child losing their parent. But in the midst of this tragedy, there was hope. The funeral was not somber. There were tears, and the family and friends will continue to grieve, but there was hope. We sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Victory in Jesus." The huge choir at the church she was involved in sang of heaven and how wonderful it will be to be there someday. During their very moving and upbeat song, my friend's husband, in the midst of his grief, stood and raised his hands and sang with the choir. He has hope.

The pastor also spoke something that really resonated with my heart although I had not put it into words before. Each time someone we love goes ahead of us in death, if they were believers, heaven gets that much sweeter to us. When I was a child, I used to pray that Jesus would tarry long enough for me to experience more life here on earth. I couldn't understand how much more wonderful heaven would be because of my limited experience here on earth. As I have aged, and gone through hard experiences, I have begun to see heaven in a new light. Sometime in college, I was able to begin to pray that the Lord would return - soon. After I lost my first baby, I longed for the day I could meet him in heaven. As I carried Aaron in my womb, I prayed that he would hurry because I knew the pain my son would experience if he stayed long on this earth. After Aaron was born, I knew for the first time the sacrifice God the Father made in giving his only son in death - for me. I knew I wouldn't make the same sacrifice with my only son. Now I know that two of my children will greet me when I go to heaven, and heaven is a lot sweeter than it used to be. I will get to know one of my grandfathers for the first time in heaven, and get to know the other without the burden of alcoholism. Today makes my heart cry for the Lord to hurry and come!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reading List

I have to say that as much as I enjoy reading the Jane Austen books every year, I'm getting a wee bit tired of only reading those books every year. I decided that I am going to make a list of books that I am going to read this year. So, here it is. I'll add more as I figure out what I'm going to read.

- the Bible (One Year Bible plan)
- Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel
- Bamboozled by Anglea McGlowan
- Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
- Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham
- A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong
- Fatal Misconception by Matthew Connelly
- Stupid Black Men: How To Play the Race Card - and Lose by Larry Elder
- The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States by Benjamin F. Morris
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- The Shack by William P. Young
- Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One Disaster After Another

Well, at least I no longer have to worry about where to store it.


I am so thankful that the scary part of Ethan's trouble breathing is over! I hope to never have to take a child to the ER again. This is already the second time Ethan's had to go (the first was for a concussion...) and it really stinks. He is still not himself, but he is at least playing and although he has to breathe hard just with regular play, he isn't laying down or crying. I am still giving him treatments every four hours, but the difference is like night and day. Of course the camera isn't one of the things we grabbed as we rushed out the door in the middle of the night to go to the hospital, but after we had been there for about 5 hours and knew he would be staying at least another day, Jerry went home to get some things and to put in the payroll at work. (Somehow people still like to get paid even when you are having a personal tragedy...) He grabbed the camera while he was home.

Here's Ethan after the treatments started to work. He is still feverish...but just before we took this picture, he said to me, "Mommy, I am so happy. I can breathe now."

After we got a room, he was so happy to lay down after a night of not sleeping and 12 hours in a chair in the ER.

Aaron came up to visit after dinner Tuesday night. Ethan was so glad to see him! You would think that they hadn't seen eachother in a month rather than just in one day! One good thing about being in a children's hospital is that they have fun things for the kids to do. The boys were fascinated by this Troy Aikman display!

I am so glad to be home now. Even though he still needs treatments every four hours, we are all so much more comfortable at home. Thanks for praying for us while we were in the hospital. It meant a lot to know that so many people were praying!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things I've Been Meaning To Post About

I got new shoes several weeks ago. I think I'm becoming something other than the alterna-chick I was so many years ago. My poor Chucks are lonely. I might wear them more often if they were cool blue plaid like these. And if I didn't have to tie them. I hate tying shoes. Aren't they cute?

I made this skirt for Easter. I like it but I have to wear a slip with it so I might add a liner to it so when the wind blows it doesn't show off my lacy slip-that-I-bought-for-$5-that-will-no-doubt-die-after-just-three-washes. I'm going to make another skirt out of this pattern because I like it so much.

Last night I got out my iron, ironing board, spray bottle, a whole boat-load of shirts and some pants to iron and found a television show I could watch while ironing. I plugged in the iron and IT WAS BROKEN. Argh! So, while I was doing school with the girls this morning Del ran out and got me a new iron. I just assumed that he would get another $20 version that lasted us nearly 10 years (the secret it to use a spray bottle and not put water in the iron itself) but my beloved came home with a Rowenta. Yes, it's true. He entered Joann's himself and bought me a Rowenta. He is so thoughtful. Let me just say how blessed I am to have him as my husband. I know it's just an iron, but there was so much love in the gesture and a heart to please me. I love him, in case you didn't know that or couldn't tell.
Tonight I will iron furiously with my new lovely iron and watch Top Chef. Is it 8 o'clock yet? I can't remember ever in my life looking forward to ironing.

I was pretty sure there were some other things I wanted to post about but I can't remember. I'll write them down next time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Activities

This is the first year that we've really done any "Easter Activities" at our house. Last year we were in Germany over Easter and had the joy of being with my grandmother at Easter. It was wonderful! We had bunny shaped bread for breakfast (bought from her local bakery), colored and hunted Easter eggs in her kitcen, went to her church (didn't understand much...), then to a traditional German lunch of lamb. That afternoon, we made some Easter crafts and went on a nature walk in the forest to find some branches to hang them on. We found some blueberry plants that had already budded and cut them. My grandmother told us after we left, they bloomed! It was really wonderful doing all of that with her. My boys actually remember most of that, which is amazing to me considering their ages, so I decided to make some of it traditional here. So here is some of what we did (if blogger will let me post all the pictures...):

colored Easter eggs

made bunny shaped Easter rollsopened Easter baskets

hunted for Easter eggs

"I want to find more eggs!"

I wonder if doing all of the bunny stuff takes away from learning about the real reason for Easter. We did talk about all of it. I even got to explain how the egg is a picture of the trinity (all one egg but three distinct parts) to Aaron. I heard someone say that each year they do all the "traditional" Easter stuff on the first day of spring and keep Easter Sunday about the resurrection. In theory I like that. I don't know if it will become our practice or not, though. We'll see.

He is Risen!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Allow me to introduce you to my new toy!! Just delivered - a brand spanking-new 20 cu. foot freezer! This thing is mammoth! It is my birthday present this year. I have been wanting a freezer for a long time, and I couldn't be more excited. Now, each month when I pick up my Angel Food box, I won't have to figure out a way to cram it into my existing freezer. When I want to make a double or triple batch of something, I'll have a place to put the leftovers. When I need to prepare food in advance for a birth, I'll have plenty of room to store it. Can you "see" me drooling?


I love bagels, however I haven't had one in a long time because I haven't been able to find one without sugar in it! However, I found the Alternative Bagel today! I found these at Wal-Mart next to the refrigerated bagels. I had one of the cinnamon spice bagels with cream cheese for lunch today, and it was yummy! They are really cheap too - the same price or a little bit less than the other brands! This really surprised me because I normally have to pay more for sugar-free food! I am also excited because this made a perfect lunch since I was very nauseated this morning. I cannot believe that I am already nauseated! This is almost a full week earlier than any other pregnancy for me! I am praying that it stays fairly mild for a while though...there's always hope, right?

Book Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

It has been a while since I said I would post my thoughts about this book, but I am finally getting to it! The Awakening follows the main character Edna Pontellier through her awakening to her inner desires. The book is set in New Orleans in a wealthy neighborhood. This was a time of social expectations. Women had nannies to take care of their children, cooks to take care of the kitchen, and general household staff to take care of all the other household duties. During the summer season, Edna and all her friends go away from the city to the shore and have a long "party-like" season together. During this time, Edna becomes infatuated with a younger, single man, Robert. It is also during this time that she realizes she doesn't have the same natural feelings toward her husband or children that the other women with her have. This causes her to question the established way of things. When the season is over and all the families return to the city, Edna refuses to return to the status quo. Her social etiquette dictates that on Tuesday's she is to remain home to receive social callers. Her husband is shocked when their first Tuesday home, she decides to go out on Tuesday without leaving an adequate excuse! Also shortly after their return to the city, Edna learns that Robert plans to leave the US completely to go to Mexico and pursue wealth there. This puts Edna in despair as she realizes that she love Robert. After he leaves, husband and wife begin to have more conflict as Edna refuses to be the woman she is expected to be. Mr. Pontellier copes by escaping to his club, and Mrs. Pontellier copes by turning to painting and pursuing a friendship with another woman who is on the edge socially. The conflict comes to a head when Edna refuses to go with the family to her sister's wedding. Her parents come to take her children and her husband goes without her to try to save face. For the first time, Edna feels free.

At this point, Edna begins to throw off any restraint. She throws herself into her art and begins to shamelessly pursue a relationship with a man known to be loose with women. Although she occasionally misses her children and sends them chocolates and a note, she continues to be glad she does not have the expected social pressures of her family. After a visit to her children, she decides to move out of her husbands home and rent a small house down the street. She also allows her relationship with her lover to become openly scandalous. Right at that time, Robert comes back because he cannot be apart from Edna any longer. He is determined not to allow his feelings for her lead to an affair, but she pursues him. They are on the brink of consummating their relationship, but she is called away by a friend in crisis. He promises to wait for her, but when she returns, he is gone. He leaves a note telling her that it is his love for her that will not allow him to stay and come between her and her husband. This is the final straw for Edna. She loses her will to live and commits suicide by swimming into the ocean to the point of exhaustion. She does think of her children in her final moments, but feels that they would be better off without her.

This is a depressing story. It goes so far against everything I believe and feel! Not only is there a lot of immorality, but this woman only feels free when she has shaken off everything that God has ordained for women. It also makes me sad that anyone would feel that suicide is the only way out. I think it is somewhat normal to occasionally have doubts about your life, but that God has provided comfort, guidance, and assurance through the Holy Spirit. I find that when I turn to God and devote myself to prayer, any doubts I am feeling are quickly gone as God reaffirms in me His plan for me. Regardless of the way I cannot relate to Edna, and cannot condone any of the morals in the book, I thought the book was well written from a literary standpoint and enjoyed the style of writing. If I wasn't an "English Nerd" though, I wouldn't have made it past a few chapters in this book!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Thanks for the idea! It was a hit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Heard In My House Today

Rachel is bad at colors. Today I was working with her on this. I showed her a red Lego and reapeated "red" several times then asked her to go get me a red Lego. She runs back to her room and returns a bit later with a green Lego and pronounces, "white." So, I tell her no that's green and ask her to get me a red Lego. She runs off again (Rachel doesn't really walk) and comes back with a black Lego and says, "blue." Once again, I tell her no and give her the correct name for the color. This goes on for quite some time before she gets bored with the game and does something else.

This evening she wanted to play with a blue ball that Lily was playing with. We told her no and she was upset about not having a ball to play with so Del went and got her a pink tennis ball that we gave the girls for Christmas. She very slowly walks by me staring at the ball and saying, "I got a ball. I got a new ball. I got a ball. I got a PINK ball."

How's that for a girl for ya?

Friday, March 14, 2008

To Drivel or Not To Drivel

I love to read (I've already read 8 books in 2008), but often times I gravitate toward mindless fiction. I generally stick to Christian fiction so I don't usually end up reading trash, but it isn't great literature by any stretch of the imagination. Then the things I pick up at the library - I've ended up with some real doosies. One of my dreams (probably after all my kids are no longer homeschooled - and since I'm clearly not even done having kids yet, this could be a while!) is to go back to school and get my masters, or even my PhD in some literary field. While I did really well in school, graduating summa cum laude with my BA in English, I know I have some real gaps in my knowledge. One of those major gaps, because of my tendency to read drivel, is that there are many, many classics I have not read. I did some research at various university web sites and found lists of both American and British literature that are recommended reading before entering a master's program. I decided that rather than check out mindless book after mindless book from the library, I would read through these lists. It's not that I don't think drivel has its place. Children's literature is full of it, and even though it doesn't teach the children much, it is very valuable for building vocabulary. For adults, it is a great way to relax. But I think I will require myself to finish a book of literary value before indulging in each mindless book this year.

For my first pick, just going down the list, I ended up with The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This actually cracks me up because this very happy to be a stay at home, homeschooling mom with extremely conservative views when it comes to marriage and family ended up starting her journey with one of the most controversial pieces of feminist literature of its time! Even though I completely disagreed with the book and its premise, I enjoyed reading it because it is very well written. It made me sad that this woman felt trapped in a loving marriage with loving children and saw desperate measures as her only way out. I am blessed to know that even on days I don't feel like it, my husband and my children are blessings. I don't know if you really want me to type many of my impressions of the book because a) I could be the only one alive interested in my impressions of this book, and b) if you ever wanted to read it, I would ruin the plot for you!

Even though I enjoyed The Awakening from a literary critique viewpoint, I am thankful to have just started Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. This is one of Austen's books that I have never read and it is a wonderful contrast to the book I just finished!

A Blast From the Past

I have started some spring cleaning and have discovered that we have accumulated a ton of clutter this past year! Ever since Christmas, my sewing room has become the "dump everything in here" room to the point that I could no longer sew! I have spent hours in there and it is better, but I have hours of work left. I also cleaned out my closet. This is what we have bagged up so far to be donated to charity:

Yes, that is nine bags of miscellaneous stuff, a tv, a Christmas tree, and a car seat. And I'm not done yet!!

In all the cleaning out of closets, I came across these gems:

I remember when my Walkman cassette player was the stuff! And look, the newer one on the left even has FM/AM radio! Score! We have a birthday party to go to tomorrow evening for a friend who is turning 40. The invitation says to bring a gag gift - no problem! Walkman cassette player, anyone?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Birthday Boy

We are having a party for Ethan on Saturday, but I couldn't let his actual birthday go by without anything for him. So I bought cupcakes for after dinner ::gasp! store bought:: and he got to open a gift. He was so thrilled with everything. Every time someone sang "Happy Birthday" to him, he just beamed from ear to ear and then ducked his head in embarassment! He was so cute! And he knows for sure that he is now three. I still cannot believe my baby is three...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wheat Bread

All I can say is, "wow." I mean, "WOW!" It is so good. I took enough off the whole lump of dough to make two dinner rolls and baked those at 350 for 10 minutes and YUMMO!!! This is *the* wheat bread recipe. I think even Del will approve of the wheat. It tastes better than any loaf of bread I ever bought at the store! Now I'm going to have to go buy a bunch of wheat flour.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Yogurtlu Kebab and Bread

Can I just say how much I enjoy Middle Eastern food? I really like it. I mean, they take the oddest ingredients, put them together and it's absolutely delicious. Take dinner tonight: I made the standard hummus, tabbouleh and pita. For the main course I made Yogurtlu Kebab or in English Kofta with Tomato Sauce and Yogurt. Doesn't that sound sort of...icky? You should have seen the look on Del's face when I put this on the table for dinner. I should have taken a picture. Especially with "yogurt???" Oh my lordy, it was hilarious. The were all sort of silent and I could tell they were thinking, "What in the world had Mom put on the table now? What sort of strange culinary experience is she subjecting us to now?"

Basically this dish is some toasted pita pieces covered with a tomato sauce made of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and oil cooked on the stove until hot and soft (10 minutes?), plain yogurt, a drizzle of paprika oil (olive oil with paprika in it) and the kofta on top. Kofta is ground lamb (you can use beef), onion, salt, pepper and parsley made into little one-inch hamburger patties basically. You broil them. Anyway, it did look strange and different from anything we'd ever had before, but it was delicious! There's supposed to be pine nuts on it but I forgot to put in on the grocery list so they didn't get bought.

Let me know if you'd like the recipe.

AND, I finally was able to make the bread dough tonight. I really should be ironing. But I like making bread better. Plus, Lily won't go to sleep so we're listening to Sara Groves, Del's playing a game on him game machine and entertaining Lily and I'm futzing around in the kitchen. I like it in there, even though it is really small.

I kneaded it for a full 10 minutes I think because you're totally right, the dough is so different. I hope it turns out! Oh and I used 2 cups of white, 2 cups of wheat and it felt alright to me. I proofed the yeast in all the buttermilk and honey, then added everything else and then the flour. For the record.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Humongous Anatomy

I added One Thing to our list of mothering blogs, did you see that? Please have a good belly laugh and see her post about humongous bovine anatomy today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Well, I finally branched out and tried a bread with whole wheat flour in it. It really works so differently from all white flour! The dough feels different, acts different, tastes different...Here is the recipe that I used:

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

(This bread recipe was originally for a bread machine, so it did not call for proofing the yeast at all. Since I didn't want to use my machine, and because I was using buttermilk powder, I used 1/2 cup warm water to proof the yeast, and then mixed the amount of buttermilk powder for 1 1/2 cups into the 1 cup of remaining water.)

Mix all ingredients together and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Place the dough in an oil coated bowl, covered in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Remove dough and allow to rise until doubled in size. Punch down gently and place dough in a well greased loaf pan. Let rise until double in size again. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes, or until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

The good news is that the bread comes out tasting absolutely wonderful!!

The bad news is two-fold. The dough as described is too sticky to work with. I added an additional 1 cup of wheat flour and 1/2 cup of white flour to get this dough to knead properly. Even then it was way more sticky than what I was used to. The other problem is that I had read way too many bread recipes the day I made this trying to decide exactly which one to use. I thought the dough was to be divided into two loaves, but it was only to be one. Which is why my loaves are really, really flat. But the texture and flavor of these loaves is wonderful! You just have to eat two slices for every one you would have eaten, which really is no problem at all!

Anyway, I highly recommend trying this recipe as a good gateway into whole wheat flour use.

On a totally unrelated note, have you used any of the lapbooks from Hands of a Child? I ordered the one for early childhood on airplanes and Aaron just loved it! We took a week to do it and only continued Bible and reading and otherwise only looked at airplanes - oh, and we began telling time lessons. Anyway, it was such a good break from our regular schedule. Each day he woke up asking, "Are we going to do plane school today??" I'll definitely order more of these!

California Judge Outlaws Homeschooling

Its getting scarey around here.

Chritian Examiner online has an article about what happened.

Sign On San Diego has an article.

The Jeubs have a post on their blog.

I'm going to sign the petition that HSLDA has out to get the judge's opinion depublished.

See HSLDA's information on it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mathematics Trouble

I notice that a lot of people that are doing a classical style education with their kids do Singapore math. I'm under the impression that you do this, too. I am currently doing Right Start math with the abacus. I am having some serious trouble with this. The instructions are so complicated. I wish I could show you their instructions for telling time. It's so complicated that I get overwhelmed and then don't want to do math at all and here we are just teaching telling time. I often stall and stall and stall and we end up a couple of weeks behind. Much of what Ella is good at in Math is because Del gets a hold of her once a month and drills it in. Somehow he just gets it and doesn't need any sort of instruction on how one teaches math. I feel like I'm drowning. AND ITS JUST TELLING TIME!!!

What is it about Singapore math that you like? Where can I get a sample of it?