Monday, 28 February 2011

Veggies in a Vase and Hiding In our Food

 I'm sure, positively sure, that our new commitment to eating healthy won't last very long as I have approached it with wild abandon -  exercising zero moderation.  One minute my children are happily tossing down chips, pop-tarts and sour cream laden casseroles and when they turn around the mashed potatoes are not mashed potatoes at all, but just cauliflower masquerading as mashed potatoes.  The favorite side dish has gone from Kraft macaroni and cheese to creamed spinach. Dried fruits for chocolate.
  Can I just say that everyone is not happy with our new "feel good/ be healthy " eating plan. Maybe I should take this a little slower...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Put It Down

  We have these great rocks in the garden in front of our front porch and this afternoon Elijah had the task of blowing the leaves out that had accumulated all winter.  It was actually an enviable job as the boy who got the job also got to wield a loud leaf blower.
  As I watched him I thought about the story in John 8 that Pastor Tim talked about in church today.  A woman had been caught in bed with her lover.  If that had happened today it would have been made into a sitcom, but at the time it meant death by stoning.  As this bad guilty woman waited for her punishment to begin, Jesus challenged those who had no sin to throw the first rock.  As the crowd dispersed He showed His heart of mercy and forgave the woman.  Not a rock was thrown and she was free to go and "sin no more".  
  I don't know about you, but I have needed that same forgiveness from the Lord on a regular basis and I have many occasions to offer it to my kids as well.
  Pastor Tim said it well - "Forgiveness is about dropping the rock".  
They look better in the garden anyway.


Saturday, 26 February 2011

You're No Cheese Puff

We love junk food around here.  Cheese puffs are my- go to feel good all time favorite - thing in the world.  Little Debbie calls me mom.
But I know that it's bad for us.  And I've resolved to make some changes.  
This week, my grocery cart kept trying to turn down the chip aisle but I wrestled it over to the "organics/health food" one instead.
So what do you eat when you can't have chips?
Here are our two new home made snack mixes.  They're filled with dried apricots and apples, granola things and puffs.  The kids were all excited about helping me mix them together and declared them delicious.
I'm mostly okay with all this.  Although I miss the orange dusted fingertips and the hydrogenated crunchy curly goodness.

Friday, 25 February 2011

"I Should Have Been Good"

  With so many people in one house, you can always count on at least one person being in a funk.  This afternoon was Ezra's turn.  He earned the bad mood the night before while James and I ran an errand.  The narcs  sisters informed us that he was less than an angel and just shy of rotten while we were gone.  So on this windy, sunny afternoon all the kids are out playing, celebrating the end of the school week, except for Ezra, who was laying on the back porch, contemplating his misdeeds and I just wanted to run over and kiss him.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Glub, Glub, Glub

 This year our science class is studying physics and with every unit there is a project requirement.  We just finished learning about weight, mass and density and the properties of floating and sinking.  The kids had 3 weeks to design an all metal boat that could carry a load of 50 pennies and float for 10 seconds.  We filled up the aquarium and one by one they tested their project.  We only had one sinker and I won't tell you who it was.  I love science!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Take a Bite My Little Pretty

  Our homeschool celebrates each and every day of the year and today was National Dog Biscuit Day (I don't make these up).  We did a little research into the history and found that there was none.  I believe that this particular holiday was proclaimed by a consortium of dog biscuit manufactures as a cheap publicity shot, but finding nothing else even remotely interesting on the "What's Happening Today in History" calendar, we went with it.  And what better way to enjoy the festivities then to cajole my children into tasting them.  The first few tentative nibbles went off without a murmur, but then the experiment apparently went bad.  The taste was likened to blood, poop, worms and cardboard.  I personally refrained from indulging and it sounds as though I made a good choice.  
The whole affair was monumentally more interesting than our math lessons.  

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Live and In Concert

Tonight we were treated to -  yet another concert, staring my son Ezra and my granddaughter Annelise.  Someone neglected to teach Annelise that you need to play chords on the guitar and not just strum, but she made up for that instrumental faux pax with lots of wonderful choruses she had written about Jesus.  You can't go wrong with a Jesus song in my book.  Ezra had an interesting thing going on, reminiscent of a beatnik poet, but again with the whole Jesus theme.  Their performance obviously show cased original music, as it had that "I'm making up half the words as I go" feel and I did like the twist of Ezra with the pink guitar and Annelise the blue.  All in all, had they served popcorn or chocolate,  it would have been the perfect night.

Monday, 21 February 2011

You gotta go

  We realized recently that we had one too many dogs.  Our new rescue dog, Maddie Lou, is doing great.  She's sweet and cuddly and when she stands on her back legs and begs at me with her front paws, I just just about die from cute overload.  Our oldest Miniature Pincher, Whit, is handsome and snappy and so smart that he runs the street in front of our house - he runs the people and the kids on bikes and he tells strangers to "go back where you came from'.  
  And then there's Jack.  He's got a weight problem.  I think he has a B.M.I. of like 87.  Unfortunately he also has a small head.  Really it's a pin head, which pared with a barrel body is not a good look on a dog or on anyone for that matter.  Jack's genetic misfortune doesn't end there.  He's nice enough but there's not a lot of thinking going on with him.  I could tell you a million stupid Jack stories, but I won't embarrass him.
  All of this is to tell you that Jack moved today to my daughter Kara's house.  She loves Jack and thinks he'll do just fine with her.

  The kids were more than a little sad and tried to make me feel bad by calling him a foster dog.  I did feel a little bad and Baltimore is only a short drive away if we need to visit. And these broken hearted little faces don't faze me......much.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Picture This

  Since switching years ago to digital photography I've never settled on a good solution to the storage and display of my pictures.  Looking through them on the computer is limiting and I didn't feel like they were safe (they really weren't).  I took so many I couldn't possibly print them all and how could I decide which ones to print and just how many albums could I store?
  Last year I decided to give a try to making a book with some pictures.  It was easy and fun and not too expensive.  The book documents our vacation at the beach last year and it's very well read around here.  I think it's a good alternative to photo albums because of it's durability.   And who doesn't love a book staring themselves?
What do you do with your pictures?

Saturday, 19 February 2011

It's Not Really Begging

This is my keyboard- you might be able to see a little sticker on it that says "mom",  which would be me.  I've been writing in my blog for a long time -  a couple of years on Homeschool Blogger and now at this piece of internet real estate.  But it's lonely on my blog.  I guess most people have moved uptown to facebook and don't really visit here any more.  The average number of readers I have, according to my comments, is about, well 0 would be the actual number.  Pathetic.  I feel like that  unheard guy downtown that sits on the corner with his guitar, playing his entire repertoire of ballads and maybe you nod when you pass .  
If you happen by my blog, toss a quarter into my guitar case or a comment at the bottom.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Bet You Won't

 James is infamous for coming up with contests and today's was exceptionally amusing.

At dinner, he told Elijah that he would give him $10 if he would eat a giant red raw onion slice.

Who would turn that down?

So Elijah agreed and took his first bite.  It was bad.  (I think he threw up in his mouth a little.) Real bad, but he muscled through. VICTORY!

And the prize was worth it  - straight into his savings for an air soft gun.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Right In the Middle of Winter

A granddaughter over to visit.
67 warm, sunny, wonderful degrees outside.
I laugh in your face February!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Heads Up

Life is a work and lately I've had my head down getting it done. 
Pushing through - worrying a little - or a lot.
Tonight we visited David at his new place to drop off some of his mail.  Walked out the door thinking about him and what I still had to do.  
Worrying a little and a lot
Then I looked up into the night sky and saw this.
Seems God has everything covered and splendidly!

  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

You're Good With a Friend

 Life is sweet when you have that one friend.  You know, the one that sees things just the way you do and likes what you like.  Who knows what you mean even when you aren't sure yourself.  They think you're amazing and tell you the truth about pretty much everything.  That one friend who swears to you that everything will be okay and when you're together, you just kind of soar.  
You know you're lucky to have a friend like that.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Family Talent - Oh Yea!

  We have a lot of boy heads that need trimmed every month or so and the cost can get crazy.  So I was pretty happy to hear that one of my grown kids decided to go to beauty school.  No, not one of the girls - it's Andre, my tough, tattooed son.  You certainly wouldn't pick him for the hair dresser in a random crowd of people, but he is.  He's made it to the floor at school and informed me he's getting good at little old lady perms and manicures.  I'm proud of him and of course delighted that he can come to the house and make his little brothers look so zippy and handsome.  And guess what he learned this week?.....waxing eyebrows!  Jack pot!!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

I'm No Michele Duggar but I Feel Her PAIN

  Large families have some issues that are unique to them and number one is - how can you do it all?  There isn't enough hours in the day, let alone, energy in the body to pick up behind, feed, talk to, teach and be there for 10 kids.  Even doing away with all but 5 hours of sleep doesn't allow me to be super mom.  
  I've watched Michele Duggar on 19 Kids and Counting and saw how she copes with all her kids with a "buddy system".  Each older kid is responsible for a couple of younger ones and that responsibility includes teaching, dressing and being a second mom.  I've watched the show and wondered if she even talks to all of the kids on some days.  I knew that this amount of delegation isn't for me.  I'd miss "mommying" them.
  And I've read this post from another mom of many and she almost seems to resist having the older kids help the younger ones.  I understand that feeling of not wanting to force the kids into a role that they didn't choose, but I couldn't fly this solo.
 I guess I'm somewhere in between.  I need my older kids to be thinking about and helping out with the littles in our house.  When we go out to eat at a buffet, I need more than myself making sure the little guys don't fill a plate with just macaroni and cheese and gummy bears.  As we head out to church I can only tie so many shoes before I start to cry and please don't think I can negotiate all of my kids at one time through the Wal-Mart parking lot.  I need my older kids to listen to the new readers some times, because there's only so much "sounding out"  that I can take in one life time.
  I don't need second mothers, but I love seeing my kids take responsibility for their brothers and sisters.  Helping someone out can never be a bad thing.  Especially for this often overwhelmed mother!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Heat Wave

 I don't know about your corner of the world, but it has been less than hospitable here outside.  Seems like months and months of snow and colder than cold.
But today there was hope.  The temperature reached a balmy 41 degrees and like a pied piper, the warmer air called my kids out the door.  Bikes were ridden, chalk drawings showed up in the driveway and the ball was banging the backboard.
We might just survive another winter.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Around the World and Back

It's the middle of winter and you're sick, sick, sick of being inside.
Geography Fair - where you can travel around the world in one afternoon.
Our homeschool group had our first annual Fair today and it was a great success.  
Educational - The kids did all the research and made the display boards.
Socially Perfect- 28 kids from age 1 - 20, hanging out with and taking care of each other.  10 moms, talking to each other for 2 whole hours (heaven)
Yummy - Every form of chocolate goodie that you really shouldn't eat in the middle of the day and food to taste from every country.

We traveled from German to China today and the company was marvelous!
To see more pictures from our Geography Fair, click here!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I Spy Someone Bad

  This bizzare looking thing is one of three cameras that were installed here today. They're part of a home security package that alarms for fire and unauthorized entry.  This system can tell if a window is broken or if someone wakes up at 3am and sneaks into the kitchen for left over lasagna.  It has remote access and a touch pad screen that monitors all three cameras at once.  Pretty cool stuff.

  James is excited about all this gadgetry.  Me not so much.  I know that there are bad guys out there but it's sad that my house is armed and dangerous.  And I'll bet anyone that the first time this thing alarms it'll be me forgetting the code.  or sneaking lasagna or m&m's.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Some Assembly Required but Not Finished

We're getting a new grand-baby in June and my daughter asked me to come over tonight and help her put the crib together.  Which must be because she wanted my company because everyone knows I'm stupid when it comes to assembly.  I took one look at the parts she had laid out so carefully and I felt sick and hot.  This was crazy!  That was the exact moment that I changed my entire parenting philosophy about family bed sharing.  Who needs a crib?

I got calmed down, picked up the assembly book and took control of steps 1, 2 and 3.  And then....we discovered five major missing parts.  Might have happened when the corner of the box was dented and torn.  We had to quit for the night but I'll be back when the parts come in.  I could possibly like this and I know I'll like the little thing that will soon be sleeping in it.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Sugar Makes All Things Right

I dropped in last week to visit my granddaughter Scarlett.  She took one look at me and hid under a table.  I didn't take it personal.  I did however start working on a plan to once again win her affections.
What did I come up with?
Fruit Loops.  I met her and my daughter at Ikea today and handed her a pink bag (the pink part was important) with a box of this sugar drenched cereal.  (The sugar was also intricate to the plan as her mother is one of those people who believe that children should eat healthy food - I never raised her to be that way, but kids do what they want.)
And Scarlett said, "I love you Grandma Kate".

Monday, 7 February 2011

What Do You Want to Know?

 Leaving public school to come home and learn is extreme.  
It's like stepping off a crowded bus and climbing onto a bicycle.  

There's no other passengers to hide among.  It's you and your mom and she KNOWS what you don't know.

You can't sit and stare out the bus window while the driver brings you to your destination.  Your mom shows you what you need to learn and you have to find your way to do it.

And just like anyone who has been on a very long boring bus ride, some new to home learners are just not very excited about learning.    I've been trying to wake up my two boys this first year home and it's been tough.  I pull out a book and they glaze over.  I read to them and they can't hear.  And math.  Numbers make them angry.

This picture is of Elijah and it was taken at 8:30 tonight.  He's doing research on education in China.  And he's excited.  EXCITED!

Our homeschool group is having a geography fair on Friday and I told the kids they had to each take a part in the presentation.  All of them have been searching the internet and writing and asking questions.  They are planning and typing, drawing and loving it.

My two boy are grabbing the handle bars and pedaling their way into leaning!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Can You Butter That for Me Please?

While your husband was watching the Super Bowl, mine was grinding wheat berries and baking his fabulous bread.
For a copy of my book, "How to Train your Husband in 36 Short Years", send me an email and I'll hook you up.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

They Did It

After hours of cutting, frying, and laughing, these kids produced a fantastic 8 course Chinese meal for us.  Neighbors and friends dropped by and everyone ate till they were ready to burst.
There was more than a little homesickness for these kids who have been out of their home country for almost six months now.  It did them all good to bring a little China to America.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Chopstick Cooking

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Corrine, our exchange student invited some of her friends over for the weekend.  They were busy tonight chopping up vegetables for the Chinese feast they're preparing tomorrow.  They are excited to show us what real Chinese food tastes like! (Chinese restaurants are apparently NOT real Chinese food)
It was all very loud and messy and I'm hungry for it already!
Happy New Year!!

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Today my guest photographer is James because I am too sick to do most anything.
The kind of sick that requires blankets and dogs cuddling with you.
Be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How Low Can You Go?

  Elijah can get low.  So low that he's skated away with the Limbo prize more than once.  
  Today he got low in his heart.  It looked like "mean"  to his brother, who happened to be in the way of his heart drop.  And it was, but it was more.  And I told him I would never give up and that God was in the business of loving him till he didn't hurt so much any more.
  I took his tears as wanting that.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

2 snowballs plus 2 snowballs equals a math lesson

  With a nod to the predicted winter storm in our area, public school was cancelled.  Which makes those of us who homeschool just a little annoyed.  It's hard to teach "changing improper fractions to whole and mixed numbers" while your child's best buddy is sledding down the hill right outside your window.
  The snow never materialized but by the early afternoon I was able to release the kids into their boots and send them out to play.  
  The gang was back together and Isaiah  now knows that you always divide the denominator into the numerator.