Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Now THERE'S an Idea


Andrew got tired of oranges squirting
him in the eye when he tried to peel them.
Nerf goggles took care of that problem.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Christmas Story

I loved this last year
and I still
love it this year!

Click here
to see/hear
Orison recite
the Christmas story.

It's SO amazing!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Tamp Out

Nope--
Not quitting smoking.
No putting out fires.

A "tamp out"
is four-year-old speak for
a camp out.

In the living room,
with the only light
that of the Christmas tree.

Linnea, Andrew, Christopher, and Elijah
have had a couple of these this season.


Sleeping bags, a movie,
Dad sleeping on the couch...

It's so simple,
it's free,
and it's magical.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On Being a Quitter

I am often torn about how much to participate in outside our home.

I am often chastised for spending so much time with my family.

A friend once told me, "Hey, the world needs you, too."

I am a stronger person now--if she were to tell me that now, I would say in response, "not as much as my family does."

But I wasn't that strong then.

And I probably said something like, "Yeah, I know..."

But you know that feeling when someone is able to put into words what you've been feeling for a long time, but just couldn't put into words yourself?
I love that feeling--it's such a relief. Like, "Yes--someone finally gets it!"

I had that feeling when I read this post on Amy Roberts' blog.
She gets it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Guy


This guy is growing up so fast!

His speech is greatly improving,
along with his vocabulary, of course!

He is a dear, sweet boy.
And he's ours...

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Cheeeeese" Sandwiches



Actually,
they were
peanut butter sandwiches.
But the smiles were
quite cheese-y.

(Incidentally, Christopher had been outside
sledding. Hence, the rosy cheeks!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stuck a Feather In His Hat


A friend of ours
cleaned a wild turkey for us recently.

The feathers were a BIG hit
with the little boys.

Bipper wanted one to stick
in his fancy-schmancy
$5 Wal-Mart cowboy hat.

And the stick horse?
His constant companion...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


These are my favorite
Christmas cookies.

A bit tedious,
but oh, so yummy...

(I "sampled" so many last night
as I was baking them
that I decided to do a
3 mile walk today.)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You're Not a Stalker

It was Vanessa's comment on
my last post that reminded me:
I have always thought
Molly Piper's post
You're Not a Stalker
is SO right on!

Click on over and
read for yourself!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Walk Away the Pounds

While I'm pregnant,
it's more about
Staving Off Some Pounds
than
losing pounds.

One of the ways I do this, is using one of
Leslie Sansone's videos
called Walk Away the Pounds.

I really like it.
It is a good "get up and go" for my day.

I find that with other videos, I need to modify everything
so much for my pregnant belly that it hardly
resembles what the people on the screen are doing.

I usually do Leslie's 2 mile walk,
but occasionally (if I wake up late, or just plain don't feel like it)
I do the one mile.

'Cause let's face it:
at this stage in the game,
I have a pretty good reason to
not feel like it.
And a pretty good reason to just bite the bullet
and do it anyway.

So far, I've gained about 14 pounds.
Not too bad for me!
I'm in the best shape while I'm pregnant.
It's harder for me to stay vigilant about working out
once the baby is born.

So for now,
I'll just keep
Staving Off Some Pounds.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Belly Up

I've been thinking lately that
"belly up" to the sink
means different things at
different stages of pregnancy.

I think what I'm trying to say is
I need longer arms.

Or someone else to wash all the dishes.

I like the second idea better...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Like Ma


I never feel as much like Ma Ingalls
as when I bring frozen clothes in from the clothesline.
Remember in "The Long Winter"?
That picture of her with clothes as stiff as boards?

And, well, there are a few similarities between
Me and Ma.

She was a farm wife. I'm a farm wife.
She made her own laundry soap. I make my own laundry soap.
She was a school teacher "back East". I have my own school here.
They had their good old bulldog, Jack. We have our dogs.
Charles could encircle her waist with his hands.
Dennis can encircle my waist with his........arms.

See? Just like Ma.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Room Farm With a View




When Dennis climbed the silo and captured
this picture,
he also took these.

And now you have the view from the top of our silo.
You've waited a long time for that, haven't you?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Correction

I have changed the way I use my
homemade dishwasher detergent.

Instead of the 2 T.,
I've only been using 1 T.
and I like that a lot better.

Perhaps it has to do with our water
(hardness level, etc.)
but there was a sort of film left on the dishes
using 2 T.

I put up with it, well,
because dishwasher detergent costs $$$$$.

So I tried less
and less is more!!

Just thought I'd let you know!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Awww.....



Nothin' says "I love you" like a heart drawn in manure.
I mean really, how many girls can say that they've had an expression of love like that?

Dennis was out all night, until about 4:00 this morning,
hauling manure.
Near the end, (you can see how the "top" of the field is dark--that's what's covered in poo)
he decided to be a little creative and drive in such a way as to
leave a heart shape.

Just for me.

Who says farmers aren't romantic?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

1994

After reading Bonnie's post last week, I got to thinking about an old newspaper clipping that I recently came across.

This picture was taken in 1994 when I was a sophomore.
I am the in the back row on the far left with the ultra-cool Reba McEntire t-shirt on.

Our small town had a pageant called
Queen of the Lakes
and these other girls and I were all participating.

You know what?
I thought I was ugly.
Not as pretty as all the other girls
in my very small, rural school.

You know what else?
I thought I was fat.
WAY bigger and heavier than all the other girls
in my very small, rural school.

Why?
I don't know.
Because I look at this picture and I think
I'd LOVE to look like that NOW!!

Why do girls have such a poor self-image?
Why does it matter to us what everyone else
thinks of our clothes, our size, our hair, our makeup?

I wish I could have known then that
I was fine.
I lost too much time wishing I looked like so and so,
or wanting to be as thin as so and so.

Why couldn't I have been satisfied with
Me?

Oh, and in case you were wondering,
I was chosen as 1994 Queen of the Lakes...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The PHONE...

If you call me,
chances are you won't get me.

I rarely, if ever, answer the phone around here.

I am usually, if not always,
up to my elbows in something--usually dishwater, bathwater, laundry, or school
when the phone rings.

I wasn't always this way.
I would run for the phone.
I would interrupt conversations with
my kids in order to answer the phone.

I would say, "I'll just answer this quick,
and then I'll help you."
And of course, the phone conversation ends up taking longer
than I thought, and by the time I come back
the child has given up on me and is gone from the table.

I don't hear very well on the phone
so I need to go into another room just to
hear what the other person is saying,
usually it's my bedroom.

I have to lock myself away from my kids
just to answer the phone.
And I don't really like that.

So I let the machine take it.
And I don't feel guilty about it.

The truth is, I can't always talk.
It doesn't make sense to me to answer the phone
only to say, "I can't talk right now."
Not answering the phone
should be evidence enough that
I can't talk right now.

I'm not saying "don't call me."
Not at all!
I'm just saying
don't be surprised if you don't reach me.

But do leave me a message and I'll call you back!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashback Friday


This picture was taken on Mother's Day, 2009.
Little did we know that just about two weeks later
Grandma Marjie would discover she had pancreatic cancer.
She passed away in August, 2 1/2 months after diagnosis.
I am so glad I have lots of pictures of her and my kids.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miss Ruby in the Cupboard


Miss Ruby's new favorite place to play:
in the cupboard
as toddlers have been doing for ages...
(and smiling her cheeseball smile)

Oh, and don't worry.
Since this picture, I have trimmed her bangs.
I know you were all beginning to fret about that...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of Dogs and Vans

We got our 15 passenger van bus from a church called "Good Shepherd".
Hence, those words are still painted on the side of our 15 passenger van bus .

If we're not going somewhere all together, we (the kids and I) still fit in our tired, old caravan.

One day as we were backing out the driveway in our tired, old caravan, Christopher (4) said to me, "See those words on the bus, Mom? They say 'German Shepherd'."

Close, honey.
Close.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elijah Turned 3!!

Good morning, Three-Year-Old!
For now, it takes two hands to do "three", but he'll get the hang of it soon!


Trying to make sure Bipper doesn't blow out Elijah's candles...


Bipper decided to quit teasing and let 'Lijah do it.



"I'M THREE!!!!!!!"

Yuck.

How can one little dead mouse in the storage room smell SO BAD???

Here's hoping he was indeed a he, and a homeless (nestless?), single, vagrant.

Yuck.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I made my own granola bars yesterday.

Sometimes my domestic prowess amazes even me.

Rest assured, it is entirely balanced out by my complete ineptitude in so many other areas.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Applesauce Cake

Fall is a plentiful time for apples.

Need something to do with all that homemade applesauce?

I tried this cake this week and it is really good!

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. stick butter
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (which I didn't have, so I put in some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9 pan; lightly flour.
2. Beat all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
3. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

To make it a banana cake, which I also tried and loved, substitute 1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas for the applesauce, and buttermilk for the water. Omit pumpkin pie spice and increase baking powder to 1 tsp.
(To make your own buttermilk, just add a tsp. of vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

My New Diaper Pail

After a late-summer hiatus from cloth diapering, I knew when fall began that I needed to get back in the game I have decided to play.

I was frustrated with my diaper pail arrangement, however.
I had been using a rubbermaid tub to store the dirty diapers in, which worked ok for the first year.

But I had found myself waiting to make the trek from upstairs (where all the diaper changing takes place) to downstairs (where all the laundry takes place) until I had a few at a time. 'Cause lets face it, I change a lot of diapers. And--I'll face it--I don't always feel like running up and down the stairs to put them in the soaking tub.

And that meant I had stinky, wet, dirty diapers sitting on the end of the changing table for too long during the day.

I needed a different way or place to store those dirty dipes.

I began to search the internet for "diaper pails", but all I came up with were either really expensive ones or the diaper genie-type ones which are not for cloth.

Then I had a duh moment when I hit upon an article about cloth diapering where the family just uses a cheap-o, small flip-lid garbage can.
They use a diaper pail liner, but they also said you could just use a garbage bag.
So, I spent $8 on a garbage can and I line it with a garbage bag for now, but a liner is on my "wish list".

Wow! So much easier! Toss the dirty diaper in the "garbage" just like a disposable. When it's time to wash (about every other day) I gather up the bag of dirties and head to the washer. If I had a diaper liner, I'd just toss that in with the diapers.
No need to wash out the pail each time, either.

People think that by the time you're expecting baby #8 you probably have got it all down.
Wrong.
I learn something new about mothering ALL THE TIME!!
And recently, this was it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

IF You Know What I Mean

Daily, I write the date and the "menu" on our little combination marker board/bulletin board.
It looked like this on Monday:

Monday, November 2nd
11-2-09

dinner: quiche
snack: brownies
supper: spaghetti

(The reason I do this type of thing is to avoid the endless times I was being asked "What are we having??")

Anyway,
the reason I am posting this particular bit of news is that Dennis got so excited when he saw what was "on the menu" for noon.
He misread "quiche" thinking instead of the "h" I had written a "k" and that I had inadvertently left out an "i" before the "e".

IF you know what I mean...
*wink*wink*

Monday, November 2, 2009

from "Stuff Christians Like": Is it True?

I didn't write this, but found it from another blog and LOVED it. Let me know your thoughts.


This is going to come as a shock for many of you, but I wasn’t popular in high school.

I know, I know, given the unibrow, constant braces, and tap dancing lessons, you would think that I would have been homecoming king. But that wasn’t the case. I was a bit of a loser. And by “bit” I mean “big” and by “big” I mean “wicked big.”

I just wasn’t popular and although I’ve committed to raising my own kids as dorks, I was taken aback when my daughter confessed something the other night at dinner.

L.E. is in kindergarten. After three years at a small local church preschool program, she’s started her journey through the public education system. And last week at dinner she told us, “Mary told Janice that I was a big, fat loser.”

She just threw that sentence out on the kitchen table in between forced bites of vegetables. And it sat there for a second, with my wife and I not knowing quite what to do. With big blue eyes, L.E. looked back and forth at as, silently asking a loud question …

“Is it true?”

She didn’t use those words, but that was at the heart of her confession. Someone had called her a big fat loser so she asked the people who have known her the longest, “Is it true?”

Am I big?

Am I fat?

Am I a loser?

Although my wife and I tried our best to talk through the situation with her and assure her it was not true, 10 minutes after we had conversationally left the subject, L.E. burst into tears at the table. She wouldn’t talk about it. When we asked her what was wrong she laughed it off and hid her face in her milk glass, desperate to hold it all together, but the question “Is it true?” kept pushing tears out.

That’s a tough question and I wish it was one that we all left in childhood.

But it’s not, is it?

If I’m being honest, I ask myself “Is it true?” sometimes when I get a negative comment on this site or a hateful email. Someone tells me I’m a horrible writer or a horrible Christian or a horrible anything, and I start to wonder, “Is it true?”

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Has someone ever told you that you were fat? Or untalented? Or unqualified? Or hopeless? Did a divorce try to tell you that you were broken, a job loss tell you that you were worthless or a parent that you were less than the child they hoped for?

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “Is it true?”

We all do at some point and the challenge is that we often try to find the answer to that question in the wrong place.

When I feel wounded or hurt, I often feel tempted to ask Google Analytics, a web traffic tool, if I’m any good. I want to open up my statistics and look at all the pageviews and say, “See, that’s not true. I’m not worthless, look at all the countries that have read this site.”

And maybe if you don’t have a blog, you go somewhere else for the answer to the question, “Is it true?”

Maybe you go to a memory, and try to relive a time in your life when you felt popular or loved.

Maybe you ask a new car or a new pair of shoes or a new anything your question.

Am I old? Is that true sports car?

Am I ugly? Is that true new outfit?

Am I dumb? Is that true new laptop?

And we ask and ask and ask, but regardless of the answer, regardless of if our loved ones provide a temporary salve to a question that hinges on our true identity, something gnaws at us.

The only thing I think we can do in that moment is ask the only one who really knows the answer to the question, “Is it true?” And that’s God.

He, unlike your friend, unlike your boss, unlike that shiny new toy you purchased to try to beat back the feelings of inadequacy, He knit you in the womb. He knows you like no other and He loves answering questions like, “Is it true?” and “Who am I?”

The Bible is riddled with verses where God gives us glimpses of who we are, but one has stuck out to me over the years. I’ve written about it before and I’ll write about it again because I heart this verse. It’s Isaiah 30:18. The first half of the verse says,

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”

I love that idea, because it loudly answers, “Is it true that I am unloved” by saying, “No, God rises to show you compassion. He longs to be gracious. He gets up in the morning with compassion in His big God heart for small feeling you.”

I don’t know what in your life might have caused you to ask the question, “Is it true?” but I hope today, that you’ll think about a new way to answer it.

Regardless of why you’re asking that question, the answer might be:

“No, it’s not true. You are not that word, that thing, that label someone or even yourself is asking you to wear. Showing you compassion is the reason God gets up in the morning. That is what’s true.”

What have you been asking “Is it true?” about lately?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Handwriting Without Tears

We were recently given a gently used
Handwriting Without Tears workbook.

Wow!
I am loving this book!

We had not used this curriculum in the past,
but I plan to keep using it into the future.

Have any of you used this method?

Love it!!

Healing

Thank you, Bonnie and Angie, for your comments. I appreciated them very much.
And yes, Angie, I was thinking the very same thing: Thank the Lord I AM going to see the Heppners today!!!!!

I was thinking more on this last night and early this morning, and I was reminded of Wife to the Rockstar's post titled Inadequate.

I had left a comment on that post encouraging her (as a few of you have done, by phone, email, or on this blog) and in my comment I said something about "why is the cutting remark so much more hurtful than the many, many other positive comments are helpful?"
Do you understand what I am saying? It's like the hurtful things hurt more than the good things feel good.
(Such impressive grammatical structure, I know...)

Yesterday was a double whammy in a way because all four of those encounters not only attacked our conviction on family planning, but also our call to homeschool.
These two issues, while they do not define who we are, make up a large part of who we are.

I am convinced that yesterday was a total spiritual attack on our family.

God has been faithful to remind me of His promises and to show me, in the faces of our beautiful children, why we do what we do.

So, I am off this morning to a homeschool conference presented by the parents of 17 children. Perhaps I won't feel so ostracized there... *wink, wink*

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reeling

We are reeling this evening from some incredibly hurtful things that people said about us.

I won't go into great detail because my kids read this blog, but I will tell you about one of the encounters.

Four separate people, each of whom we deal with closely, each just totally stabbed us in the gut, all in the same day.

I am choosing to look at it, in part, in a thankful way. Thankful that at least now we know where we stand with them. And how from now on, I will be guarded in my interactions with them because my heart is not safe with them.

One of the people actually told my husband that he should stop having kids because having so many kids is hampering him from spreading the gospel.

Hmm.

He laid out how exactly that should happen--if you catch my drift (think procedure here)--and also said that I should go to work.
Because I am so "gifted" by being able to teach music lessons, that we are foolish for me to "have to go through all this over and over", that I could be making a lot of money if I would just go to work.

Dennis asked him if he thought we shouldn't have so many kids. He said he didn't mean the ones we already had, he just meant that we should stop having more. When Dennis told me about it, I said that if they had had this conversation six months ago (before finding out I was expecting our 8th) this man would have said the same thing.

I don't want to give this particular person so much credit by getting upset about it, but it does hurt me deeply.

I'll tell you why.

When people tell me something like this, what is really at the core--really at the core--is this:

they don't think my children are worthy of their own life.

That's what hurts me.
Say what you want about me, but when you tell me that my children are not worthy of life you wound me at my very core.

Some of you who read my blog probably share this man's opinion. I'm asking you--begging you--please don't share it with me.

Examine your heart and see if I'm not right about the root of that kind of thinking.

People pass judgment all the time on families who have "too many" kids. Tell me if the core of that kind of thinking isn't that you are deeming that those children are not worthy of their own lives.

For this man to say that my life is being wasted, staying at home and "going through this", I say this: no one needs me more than these children.
That doesn't stop once they reach school age. (He said he thought it was ok to stay home when kids were young, but once they are old enough for school, that's where they should be and at a job is where I should be.)
No kid who needs to learn piano needs me more than these children whom the Lord has entrusted to us.

No business needs my work more than these kids need me.

The way he spoke, it was the dollar that was more important to him than the souls within this family.

It was degrading, it was humiliating, it was awful.

And you know what else? He's not alone.
People in our family have implied the same things.
It's hurtful.

And it tells me that he, among others, have deemed that our children are not worthy of their own lives.

And that hurts.

Seasons

You may already know that the four seasons in Minnesota are
Almost Winter
Winter
Still Winter
and
Road Construction

I would like to propose that the four seasons for a farmer are
Waiting to Get in the Field
Still Waiting to Get in the Field
Working Like a Madman Trying to Get Something Done in the Field
Too Darn Wet to Get Anything Done in the Field

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Life in a Picture


This picture is from about two years ago.
That's Andrew and Christopher.
I just found it again in a stack of pictures
and I think it is one of my new favorites.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Money Saver--Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

I also make my own dishwasher detergent.

This one is SUPER easy!

1 part baking soda
1 part Borax

I usually mix a cup of each in a little gladware container, mixing it with my hands.
Use 1 T. in the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher.

I also use vinegar in the rinse-aid compartment.

Cheap and easy!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Money Saver--Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I started making my own laundry soap early this spring. I have made two batches. I cannot even tell you how much money this has saved us!!!

Here is the recipe I use:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value
4 Cups hot tap water
1 Goat Milk Soap Laundry Bar OR Dr. Bronner's Castile Bar Soap
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: I use Fels-Naptha Goat Milk bar soap, but you could use Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps. Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. I couldn't find Washing Soda at Wal-Mart, but did find it at our grocery store.
I also couldn't find the Fels-Naptha at Wal-Mart, but found it at our little tiny grocery/hardware store in a nearby town with a population of 200.
Recipe cost approx. $2.

Now, as a farm wife, I had no trouble finding a five-gallon pail. Finding a clean five-gallon pail was the problem.
If you are NOT a farmwife, you could buy one at Fleet Farm or Home Depot.

I had Dennis bring me one from outside. Mine is quite fashionable--it says "Case IH Hy-Tran Ultra". It used to house tractor engine oil, and then was moved to the barn to carry feed and I think milk for the calves, too.

I had some scrubbing to do, but had no real choice because when I asked Dennis if I should just buy one at Fleet, he said something like, "for goodness' sake, don't BUY a bucket!! I've got plenty outside!!"

This recipe makes quite a bit--10 gallons total, five of the "concentrate" but you dilute it in half to use--so if you don't do as much laundry as I do, or just want to try it out, team up and share it with a few friends.
Since two batches has lasted me at least six months (I can't remember for sure when I made the first one), I imagine it would last more "average" households quite a while!

Let me know if you have questions!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why am I so hard on myself??

One day last week I was sort of berating myself because it was 10:30 and I had not yet gotten in the shower.

I was telling myself, "this is ridiculous..."
I think, now, that it was my mortal enemy, Satan, who was telling me that.

It was then that I stopped that train of thought, and realized that if I were my own friend, I would say something like the following:

"Good grief, Girl! You may not have showered, but you have
*walked two miles
*did your weights workout
*changed and dressed two little people
*instigated the dressing of three other not-so-little people
*washed and hung out two loads of laundry
*washed a counterful of dishes
*prepared supper (in the crock-pot)
*fixed breakfast for six (Dennis and the bigger boys make their own)
*taught first grade
*started work with the fourth grader
*swept the kitchen
AND had devotional time with the Lord!"

I think I need to cut myself some slack.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Well That Stinks...

Seriously.
Literally.
That really stinks.

I'm not upset.
It's just the way things are on a dairy farm.

But that really stinks.

Hauling manure, that is.

Ahhh, the scents of autumn...

Fun with a Pharmacist

Sometimes it's fun to see people's reaction when they take in my, shall we say, youthful appearance, combined with the number of children I have.

Tuesday afternoon was no exception.

I was standing in line at the pharmacy counter, waiting for my prescription to be filled.

I happen to know the main pharmacist, and she was handing my package to another pharmacy worker to bring out to me. (I could observe all this through the giant windows they have in their raised area behind the counter. So, you know, people can tell if they were mixing all the drugs correctly or not.)

The pharmacy tech. looks at the package, looks out to me, looks to the pharmacist that I know with a questioning look, says something that looks like "that lady over there???", to which the pharmacist that I know responds with a nod and a giggle, and the pharmacy tech looks again and says, again quite apparently, "that one--right there???", to which she gets another "yep" from the pharmacist that I know.
("Yep" is a term in Minnesota that means "yes" or "that's affirmative".)

Would you like to know what was in my package?
A pair of compression stockings, perhaps more commonly known as TEDs, or varicose vein stockings, to help with my varicose veins. I have them because of the many pregnancies the Lord has blessed me with. (If you decide to follow the link to see what a varicose vein is, rest assured mine are nowhere near as bad as the poor guy's in the picture...)

Ok, so why do I find this so funny???
Probably because most of the prescriptions they fill for TEDs are for people who are much older than me. My guess is this small-town pharmacy doesn't fill too many scrips for women in their 30s for compression stockings.

I also find this funny because I am, quite obviously, easily amused.
Thank you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Murphy's Oil Soap


Murphy's Oil Soap is one of my very good friends.

You've probably all heard of the little trick to make your husband think you've started supper even when you haven't is to saute an onion?

Well, Murphy's Oil Soap is like that, but for housecleaning.

I should tell you that my method of "dusting" is to blow really hard as I stand in front of the shelf or tv cabinet.
If it is particularly dirty, I may even tuck my hand in my sleeve and give it a swipe, but only very occasionally.

This is probably why on my cleaning days, I really like to wash the surfaces instead of just "dust" them. 'Cause, see, I don't really "dust".

An added bonus is that if I leave the house and come back inside, it smells like I've really been cleaning!
It's sort of like the "spic and span" smell in your bathroom smells like you've been cleaning, but this is milder smell--for wood.

If, like Bonnie, you had not previously hear of Murphy's Oil soap, you can find it in any cleaning product section at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

Too bad I won't get any royalties off of my little advertisement for this...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Caribou Coffee

I had never been to a Caribou Coffee. *gasp*
Until Tuesday.
(I've still never been to a Starbucks. *double gasp*)

We don't have a Caribou coffee near us, as we live quite rurally. The town where we do most of our shopping/errands/appointments does not have a Caribou.

But on Tuesday, Dennis and I had an appointment in a town that does have a Caribou.
I had been given a gift card for Caribou, which preempted our visit.


Wowwwwwww. That was goooooooood.
Dennis and I shared a wild pumpkin coffee.

It was dessert in a cup, I tell you.

Dennis also chose an apple fritter and I chose the shockingly daring, go-out-on-a-limb-when-you're-somewhere-you've-never-been-before sugared donut.

What a warm-you-up-treat on a drizzly morning.
Yum.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Room by Room

Living room----check.
My bedroom----check.
Kitchen-----check.

As may already you know, I've been cleaning a lot lately.

And I am nearly done. I have two rooms left to go.

Each spring and again in the fall, I make a list of every room in our house. And I mean every room. My list looks something like
1. living room
2. upstairs bathroom
3. downstairs bathroom
4. front entry
5. laundry room
6. den (which we in reality so technically refer to as "the downstairs")
7. lower entry
8. hallway
9. my bedroom
10. Ruby's room
etc., etc., etc.

I then go down the list and C-L-E-A-N those rooms.
I don't go in order, but you could, seeing as I have no jurisdiction over what you do in your home.

Sometimes I have "assigned" myself a date to clean each room. If I know we have somewhere to be on a certain day, I would maybe only decide to clean the hallway that day as it would be a much shorter job than, say, the kitchen.

I save the kitchen, living room, and the downstairs for days when I have all day.

The type of cleaning I accomplish with this list is the real deep cleaning like pulling out furniture to vacuum behind it, washing woodwork, washing walls, vacuum out the furniture, and picking up endless bits and pieces of everything, it seems. In the kitchen, I pull out the appliances and wash under/behind them, the top of the fridge, the cupboard doors--you get the picture.

And when I'm done with the room, it's such a good feeling to know it is really clean!

Some years, it only takes me two weeks to go room by room, averaging a room or two a day. Other times it has taken much longer. Like this year. I still have two rooms to go, and I think it will have been more like four weeks until I am ALL done.

Of course, those rooms I cleaned two weeks ago are already messy again. It's not like a once and for all type thing. But at least I know that I cleaned them, and they are only messy and not so dirty.

It is a great time to declutter and rearrange furniture, too.

So those are some of my thoughts on cleaning and keeping a house.

The end.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's a.....

Baby!

Yep, that's right--we had our ultrasound today and it's a baby!

Dennis and I had decided that this time around, it would be fun to wait until the birth to find out if this baby is a girl or boy.

We didn't find out with Nathaniel, but we have found out with the other six.

(When you have this many, you can sort of "change things up a bit".)

So we were really living on the wild side when we decided not to find out.

This decision, however, was driving our kids NUTS!!! They suggested that we have the ultrasound tech. write it on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope.

We thought, ok, for fun, we'll let them have their little "ownership" of the situation.

It turns out that this baby is VERY modest and was not willing to reveal just whether he or she is a he or a she!

What a funny chain of events, in my opinion.

So, we will wait to see if it's a boy or girl.

At least we know it's gotta be one or the other.

Education

Remember these conversations?
Home Educating
My Husband's Response
My Response. Warning: It's Long
Tiny Addition to "My Response"

(Be sure to read through the comments, as some back and forth occurred there.)

I found these quotes, they stuck out to me and I remembered some of the things that were said in the above conversations...

Education, without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
~C.S. Lewis


You teach a little by what you say. You teach the most by what you are.
~Dr. Henrietta Mears

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's All Fun and Games...

People tease me.
And I don't mind.
It's when people make fun of me--then I mind.

Let me explain.

I grew up in a family/household that teased. We said silly things, told jokes, pulled funny little (harmless) tricks. Like if we got up from the table to get something, my dad would sometimes switch plates with us and wait for us to notice--that kind of thing.
We laughed often.
We were taught to laugh at ourselves when we said or did something a little foolish.

I say this to tell you that it's not like I've never been teased before.

But there is a difference between teasing and making fun of someone. Making fun of someone, to me, is the same as mocking them. Just so we're clear on how I define "teasing" and "making fun."

Teasing doesn't make someone feel bad.
Making fun of someone does.

For instance, I might tease our Andrew, who LOVES hamburger noodle hotdish in this way.
Andrew: "Mom, what's for supper?"
Mom: "Hamburger noodle hotdish. I know that's a real bummer for you...such a disappointment, since it's not really your favorite meal..."
Andrew: "Mooommmm...It IS my favorite!!!"

See, I'm just teasing; not making fun of the fact that he really likes hotdish.

Why am I posting this stuff?
I'll tell you.

Some people tease me about how many kids we have.
Many more people make fun of me--mock me--for how many kids we have. They say really hurtful things, often in front of my kids.

They make fun of our family size, as if we are uncontrollable breeders or something, with questions like,
Don't you know what causes that??
or
You do know how to put a stop to that, don't you?

These are the kind of things that are aimed at insulting my intelligence. Said to make it appear as if the other person is so much smarter, more enlightened than I.

What do we as parents teach our kids all the time?
That when we say something in an attempt to build ourselves up and put someone else down--that's wrong.

Please don't misunderstand me. I enjoy teasing--both to give it and receive it.
I don't enjoy making fun of someone or being made fun of.


Here are some things that people say, and how we respond (occasionally even out loud.)

Wow--glad they're yours and not mine!
Me, too.
or if the question is addressed to Dennis, he'll say
Me, too, 'cause their mom is my wife.

How do you remember all their names?
Do you not know more than seven people?
or
Remembering their names is no problem--putting the correct name with the right kid, therein lies the challenge.

Don't you know what causes that??
Dennis prefers to answer this one with: Yep. And I like it.

You sure have your hands full, don't you?
Better than having them empty.

Wow, I can hardly the stand the two I have!
I have no response for this, other than it makes me very, very sad. Especially because it is often said in front of their own kids.

I know that most people are not trying to be hurtful. I just want people to stop and think about what they are saying and how it will sound.

Couldn't more people just look at children--no matter how many there are--and say, "Wow...what a blessing."


Friday, October 9, 2009

I Didn't Teach Him

On my walk one recent morning, I realized something that has been ruminating in my mind since.

Our Nathaniel, 13, is an American history whiz. I am not exaggerating in the least. (This wasn't the realization--that's basically established fact...)

I want to assure you, the point of this post is not "homeschooling vs. government schooling".

That said, I am so glad that he is a child who is educated at home. If he went to the government school, I would think to myself, "Wow, that history teacher must be really something!!!"

But in that respect, I'm his history "teacher", and I assure you, I am not something.

I am probably the WORST at history. And I got straight A's in high school. Well, except for a B+ in phy ed one year, but we don't really need to bring that up.

I don't understand anything about history. I couldn't tell you who the Union or Confederate generals were , couldn't tell you which president served when, no idea about any territories becoming states, etc. etc. etc.

But Nathaniel can.
You could ask him, "who was president in 1841?" And he could tell you.
You could ask him about virtually any battle and he would know the specifics.
He knows which presidents didn't have a First Lady; he knows who was president when indoor plumbing was installed in the White House.
He knows when treaties were signed and which Native American tribes were involved.
He knows all about the railroads that were built and all the trails that took people into the West. He knows when those parties met with Indian attacks and how many survived.
He knows which war tactics were common among which Indian tribes.
He knows why we went to war each time and who were America's allies and when each country entered each war and under what circumstances and who their leaders were.

I think you get my drift--he's a walking encyclopedia when it comes to history.

And I didn't teach him a lick of it.

He learned it himself! He discovered it himself and retained it himself!

That, my friends, is one of the great joys of home-educating. I cannot possibly teach my children everything they need to know. I can only facilitate their education by making sure we get books from the library and books for Christmas and books for birthdays. My children drool over books. I drool over books. Books, books, books! We love 'em.

I have said for many years, "if you can read, you can learn."

People often ask questions like, "how are you going to teach fill-in-the-blank?" Usually it's a subject like chemistry, or just high school subjects in general. It is hard to explain that my philosophy is that I don't need to teach them it, I just need to help them learn it.

I will admit that a couple years ago, it bothered me to realize that my children knew things that I hadn't taught them. I felt like they were learning better than I was teaching them, because they knew things that even I didn't know. I realize that may sound funny, but that's the best way I can put my thoughts into words on that one.

It was so freeing to arrive at this conclusion that I am talking about today!

I am so blessed that God has asked us to educate these kids at home. I get a ring-side seat to all their light bulb moments and to watch them have conversations with other kids and adults where I learn things I didn't know!

I leave you with this: Nathaniel knows how historically challenged I am. He told me the other day as we were leaving the library, "Uh, Mom? I saw that they have a book here called History for Dummies. I know that's not a very nice title, but ahhh..."

I had him go back in and check it out for me.

It's about time I learned some history.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If My Husband Didn't Know Better...

Dennis said that if he didn't know any better, he'd say this baby is coming very soon.

He says I'm acting like I'm nesting---I'm cleaning like a crazy woman. Room by room, drawer by drawer...oh, the things that are getting taken care of! I love it!!

Of course, I'm not nesting. I'm not even half-way! Almost--but not quite.

I'm not nesting, I'm just sick of how disorderly the house has become.

So I'm cleaning. And not taking much time for anything else.
Except for the 3 minutes it took me to post this, of course.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ever had one of those days?

I hope this doesn't come off sounding completely rude, but I am so glad no one stopped over today.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, so you'd think I'd be fine with a visitor, right?

Wrong.

My mantra all day long: please don't let anyone come over, please don't let anyone come over...

It was the type of cleaning where I had to make a REALLY BIG MESS in order to get it clean.

Make sense?

Please tell me that it works that way sometimes for some of you, too.

I was pulling out furniture, cleaning under and behind everything, bringing virtually everything out of the storage room and deciding how to put it back in, sorting through boxes, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, sort and throw, sort and throw...it was such a mess.

And now it's not.

And I'm tired.

You could stop over now, but I'm heading for bed.

Maybe tomorrow?


Friday, September 25, 2009

Easy Yummy Homemade Applesauce

I made applesauce today.
It is delish.

10 cooking apples (we were given a bunch of 'em)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2--1 cup sugar, depending on the tartness of your apples. Today I used 1/2 cup and it is plenty sweet.

Peel, core and slice apples.
Place in your crockpot.
Add other ingredients.
Cook on low for 8 hours, until very soft, stirring occasionally.

That's it!
So easy--and SO yummy!

I froze two containers and kept one in the fridge.
I probably could have just put them all in the fridge, as it made about 4 pints. Our kids really like applesause, and really like the homemade kind.

Granted, applesauce isn't all that expensive. But if you have an abundance of apples, or know someone who does, this is a great way to use them up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's hard to blog with no internet connection...

Startling, I know.

Through an entirely too-complex-to-share chain of events, we were without email and internet for all of last week.

There were things that came up that I thought, "Boy, I wish I could blog that."

I could have done the old fashioned thing and, well, written it down but I didn't.

And so now I can't remember any of that stuff that I was going to blog.

Everyone knows that pregnancy muddies the brain, right????

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where do they come up with these things????

Christopher had a harmonica with him in the van on Thursday.

He was blowin' away and it was entertaining--for awhile.

Then it started getting a little bit old.

I said, "Christopher...time to take a break for awhile."

He said, "But Moooommm, I need to teep pwaying for da womans." (I need to keep playing for the womans.)

Seriously!!! Where does he come up with this stuff??????

Friday, September 4, 2009

Arghhh...

I FINALLY had a little time to try to put some pictures from the day of Ruby's birthday, but every time I do, I get a nice little message that says "Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close"

So after four unsuccessful attempts, I'll just have to try again later.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Would I Be?

We have a friend who is an excellent baker! I find myself wishing I would take the time to bake as she does.
I like to bake, it seems I just don't get much time for it. It seems that I always get interrupted; something small happens (skinned up knee for instance) so that I am called away and the cookies are three minutes overdone.
Or something bigger happens; cows are out or he needs a part for something. There are even days when I plan to bake something and everything goes haywire here with the children and I just can't get to it.

So I found myself thinking, "I could be a better baker if I didn't have all these distractions..."

And then I realized where that train of thought could take me.
"I could keep a cleaner house if all these people didn't live here."
"I would have more money if we were a smaller family."
"I could keep a better lawn if we didn't live on this farm."
"I wouldn't feel so rushed all the time if the kids would just get ready to go when it's time to go."
"I could be thinner if I had more time to exercise."
"I would be a happier mommy if I had some help."
"I would be more patient if I had more patience myself."
etc., etc., etc.......

BUT---then who would I be? Those things are really quite a big part of who I am. I think it's time for a little confessional.

~~I am a woman who struggles to keep her house clean. I like to clean house and I like a clean house, but with 9 (10!) people living in a house built for 5, there isn't a whole lot of room for us. And let's face it, kids make messes. And so do husbands. Is a dissheveled house the worst thing in the world? I'd say it's close, but not the worst.

~~We have a big lawn. It doesn't get mowed as often as it should. We have two push mowers and two bigger boys. They do the best they can. (For years I mowed it myself with a push mower--only one, as I am not quite talented enough to run two at once.) We have two dogs that drag stuff all over the yard, there are holes where critters have dug, there are over-grown edges of sandboxes and much trimming that needs to be done. We don't have a trimmer. Is a less-than-perfect yard so terrible? When I get to heaven, God will not ask me about our landscaping habits. I am responsible for the lives of the 8 (so far) children he has placed in my care. I look forward to hearing him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

~~We are always late. Church, appointments, engagements, meetings---always 5-10 minutes late. I HATE it.
Many (all??) times, it is because of chores. Something didn't go quite right during milking, cows got out, a calf was sick, etc., etc.
Sometimes, it's because I did one more thing: hung that load of clothes out on the line, folded that basket of laundry "real quick", or loaded the dishwasher when I should have just let it go and done it when we got back home.
Other times, it's because the baby NEEDED to be fed, or a dirty diaper made itself known as the individual was getting buckled into their carseat.
All of these things can make me late. But in the grand scheme of things, is anyone going to get that upset if I'm a few minutes late for a meeting? Or if our troop marches up the aisle during the opening hymn (our family always sits in front. There is no slinkin' unnoticed into the back pew...)? I can get all upset with the kids about how we're always late, or I could say (sadly, though, I usually don't) "good try kids--but we're going to be a bit late. Hopefully it'll go better next time."

~~I carry some extra weight. I try to tell myself it's because I don't have time to exercise, but really it's because I put too much food into my mouth.
I could really obsess over this, but isn't there more to life? I know so many thin people who say that they need to lose weight. !!!!????? Good grief, it their not thin enough, I don't have a chance!!
Again, in the end, it's really not that important if I have an extra 15-20 pounds. It's just not. Besides, as one of my children once told me, "I think it's good for mommies to be squishy. That way it doesn't hurt if you run into them."
Works for me.

~~Well, this one is probably pretty true. I do need some help. (Dennis--are you reading???) But I could rejoice in my suffering, instead of getting upset with the kids because I don't get enough help from their dad. I need to change my attitude about that. And be upset with him instead. *wink*

~~Patience is not a virtue of which I have an abundant supply. But how will God teach me patience? By making me wait. So while I'm waiting, I'm learning. Learning to trust Him more and rely on myself less. Learning to slow down, take a breath, gather myself,and then respond to the fussing and whining that DRIVES ME BATTY! Remembering that there will be times when the house is a mess--and there will be times when the house looks pretty good!

Knowing that now, amidst all the spills and the smears and the holes in the knees and the spitting up and the germs and the bickering and the messes and the diapers and the laundry and the endless dishes---one day my home will be too quiet and too clean (wait, is that really possible???) and I will wish for some people to come and fill it with the sounds of LIFE. One day I will wish for all these things that can bother me so much now.
Hmmmm.... I need to do some work on my own attitude.
I know I need to be a better and more faithful servant.
And I know who I am and how God made me. I can't be like everyone else, because I'm ME. I can't compare myself with all the other mommies who are skinnier, more patient, better dressed, more happily married with nicer lawns and on time for their engagements. She doesn't exist anyway, does she?
I can only do a better job of being ME.
Starting today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How I Do It

Alternately titled: "The Post in Which I Share a Lot About Our Pro-Life Convictions and Because I Am So Passionate, Do Not Always Have the Best Grammatical Progression From One Paragraph to the Next"

I get asked this question every time someone sees our family: "How do you do it?"

The short answer: "A lot of grace."

Family is a sort of hot-topic with me. That and homeschooling.
But you already knew that.

Oftentimes, I get this statement: "Well, we just couldn't afford more kids."

As if I can???!!!!

People ask how we afford all of their activities.
They don't have "activities."
Our kids don't do sports. I'm ok with that.
They don't do camps. I'm ok with that.
They do 4-H. This is cheap.
They live on a farm, play ball in the yard, swim at the lake, sled on our hills, make our own treats, cook our own food, and don't feel deprived.
Go ahead and ask 'em.

Am I saying that all large families are financially strapped? Not hardly.
We know many large families who are quite well off.
Our situation here has nothing to do with how many children we have.
God has provided over and over and over again.
I was telling my brother-in-law last night that I don't think there is anything in our pantry, freezer, or refrigerator right now that Dennis and I have purchased.
That is amazing to me!
It is all GOD, using other people to bless us with those things.

If I had to choose whether we would drive a nicer vehicle or have Elijah--I'd pick Elijah in a heartbeat.

If I had to choose whether our older kids would get to play sports or that we would have Ruby--I'd pick Ruby.

If I had to choose whether we would buy new clothes or wear hand-me-downs and have this coming baby--you guessed it, I'd pick the baby.

These children have eternal souls. They are forever.
Vans, furniture, clothes, camps, sports, eating out--these are all passing things.
I will not choose something over life.
I choose life over EVERYTHING.

Is it not an absolute miracle how babies are created?
Can any one of us say that we had anything to do with it?
Seriously--is it any action on your part that literally makes that baby?
Or would you agree that it is only because God is God and He alone fashions and forms those babies in the womb, causing all the cells to split and multiply, the skin to form, the placement of the eyes and nose and arms and legs and fingers and toes. That inside a mother is the perfect environment for that baby, temperature controlled, everything the baby needs is there. Without much participation from the mom, really.

Isn't it amazing that no one even knows what causes labor to start? All of our medical advancements and this remains a mystery.
It's not a mystery to me--God knew before time began when that baby would be born.




We had a sweet thing happen to our family after church yesterday. Dennis and I were asked to sing at a church in a nearby town.
Afterward, a dear lady asked us if she could take us out for lunch.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She asked where we would like to go, and I said (knowing that taking a family of 9 to a restaurant is costly) "McDonalds."
She insisted, "No, no, no, Silly. Somewhere where we sit down and eat all together. How about Pizza Ranch?"
I said that would be wonderful.
She told us over lunch that she figured we probably don't get invited out to eat much. I told her she was exactly right.

It was SUCH a treat for our family! We don't eat out--Ruby's nver even eaten in a restaurant. We had a delightful time of conversation with this dear Christian lady.
She is a widow and Sundays get long for her.
She was just beaming over our kids, laughing at the things they would say and just enjoying being with all the kids.
We thanked her profusely and she kept saying it was her pleasure.

Dennis and I didn't start out "sold" on the idea of a large family.
God did a work on both of our hearts, years ago.
We tried to "plan" each one. God had bigger and better plans.
He impressed on us that He alone is the Author of life.
Who am I to say that He should not use my womb? He created me. I am His.

It is my honor and privilege to be used of Him to raise up Godly children and to train them in the way that they should go.

3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

These are not my words. The very GOD of the Universe spoke them and they are true.

It is bothersome to me that in our culture today, we don't desire children. People surgically remove their ability to have a baby.
People say, "well, we have modern medicine now..."
It is a medical procedure where we take a functioning part of the body and disable it.
It boggles my mind.

I didn't know until a friend of mine told me that the birth control pill causes abortions. I only thought it prevented conception. But it also makes the lining of the uterus slippery so that, should fertilization "accidentally" occur, the fertilized egg cannot be implanted and is therefore aborted.
So many people do not know this. It's written right in the pamphlet that comes with the pills. Doctors sure don't tell you this. Go ahead and ask them about it, though, because they do know about it.

Here's what it comes down to for me:
Either God is God, or He isn't.
I know He is.

And because God is the Creator of life--well, He can use me.
Over and over again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This and That

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted something. This is going to be a catch-up post. A bit of This and That.

If you know me, you probably know that my Grandma passed away a week ago. I haven't really felt like blogging about it. I haven't felt particularly witty, or funny, or much of anything. When my Grandpa died, it was very sudden. (He collapsed on a bench on the sidewalk in our small town.) It took me quite awhile to stop crying suddenly after he died.
With my Grandma, it has been different. I think I cried more before she died than after. I spoke with my mom about that. I came to this conclusion: When you literally are holding someone's hand all the way to the Gates of Heaven, I think it's easier to let go.
I watched her make steady progress toward her ultimate goal--Heaven. I got the chance to ask her about her personal decision to accept Christ as her Lord. I watched as she gave up climbing stairs, gave up food, gave up using the bathroom, stopped talking, stopped responding, and eventually stop breathing.
There is no way to describe all that I experienced at her house these past weeks. It was wonderful and terrible and meaningful and life-changing...all at the same time.
I may share more on this as time goes by.

Let's see, what else...well, if you know me you probably ALSO know that we are having another baby in our family! We are all very excited.
I'm due in February, as God sends our children in one of three months.
In order, the children's birthdays go
February
February
September
November
September
November
September
and now February.
Isn't that a hoot??!!

Many people at my grandma's funeral said, "I'm so sorry...and Congratulations!!"

Generally speaking, I'm feeling pretty well. I'm about 13 weeks, so mostly past the icky part anyway. With Ruby, I pretty much was on the couch for a few more weeks, so I am very thankful to be up and about with very little morning (all-day) sickness.

Today, I had a meeting for our homeschool group board. We left home at about 9:45 am and got back home at about 6:30 pm.
Long day for me with all of the children.

Our kids all played during the meeting and then my kids and I ate our picnic lunch (in the van). After that, we went to the chiropractor and then Andrew had a birthday party to attend.
We dropped him off, went to the library and the recycling center, and then rest of the kids and I went to play at a park--which I never do. Of course, it had to rain. But they didn't care! They played and played on the equipment, got a little wet, but who cares?!

The reason we were killing all that time in town was that we were waiting to attend a benefit for a friend of ours who has cancer. The same kind as my Grandma had, pancreatic.
Cancer touches everyone it seems.

So, now I'm home.
And I really should be getting them all to bed instead of blogging.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to (Home) School

I found this article on www.BreakPoint.org

Back to (Home) School

A Growing Trend


by Mark Early
As children head back to class this fall, more and more of them are staying right at home.

Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in the number of homeschooled kids. More than 1.5 million Americans now choose to educate their children at home. And that number may be growing by anywhere from 5 to 12 percent a year. As of spring 2007, 2.9 percent of all school-aged children in the U.S. were homeschooled.

What’s behind this growth? Although the Supreme Court ruled in 1925 that parents have the right to homeschool their children, the homeschooling movement didn’t really gain traction until the ‘80s and ‘90s. That’s when many decided they wanted their children to be grounded in a Christ-centered education, something not available in the public schools.

But today, homeschooling is growing dramatically among people who don’t claim Jesus as their main motivation for educating children at home. In fact, according to a 2001 Time magazine article, some three-quarters of homeschooling families said that the driving motivating factor was really simply quality of education.

Beyond that, the reasons for homeschooling are as varied as the types of parents who choose to do so. Take, for example, Leo Damrosch, a Harvard English professor, who homeschooled his two sons because his two favorite authors—men he considered geniuses—were homeschooled as well. Or Robert Phillipps from Glendale, California, who was sick of the violence his son witnessed at his elementary school. Or Susanne Allen from Atlanta, who homeschools because she believes it will teach her children to care for each other and, therefore, the rest of society.

You know, Susanne may be on to something. One study by the Fraser Institute in Vancouver indicated that homeschoolers tend to be more mature, happy, and better socialized than their peers.

They also boast better academic performance. Standardized test scores for homeschoolers are well above that of private and public school students. And in a survey of those homeschooled between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, 74 percent have taken college-level courses, compared with only 46 percent for the general U.S. population. Homeschoolers have also made a name for themselves in national spelling and geography contests.

Many states have discovered that homeschooling is saving taxpayer dollars. Nevada homeschoolers save the state education budget between $24 and $34 million in expenses per year. And one estimate places North Carolina’s savings at a whopping $546 million per year.

Of course, homeschooling is just one option, and many parents choose to send their children to public or private schools. But with the growing cultural decline in our country and the growing concern over the quality of education, there’s no question that more and more Christian parents will be either homeschooling their children or sending them to private Christian schools.

Wherever we choose to send our children to school, our goal is to raise our children to love God and to love others. We want them to become productive citizens, not only of this earthly society, but of the Kingdom as well.

Visit our website at BreakPoint.org, where you’ll find more information on homeschooling and links to organizations that help Christian parents teach their kids at home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ever Thought About Homeschooling?


Has the thought of home educating your children crossed your mind? Have you ever wondered if it might work for your family? Attending a MACHE sponsored Considering Homeschooling workshop might be just the thing to help you decide if it is the right thing for you.

These workshops are designed especially for parents who are exploring the possibility of home educating or have recently begun the journey. Parents with children of all ages will find this workshop informative and practical. From the infant to the high school senior, parents are the most significant teacher their child will ever have.

What are some of the questions this workshop will answer?


Check the
Homeschooling Workshop Calendar to find out when and where the next Considering Homeschooling workshop is scheduled.



MACHE is adding a second traveling workshop option for home educating families. There is a growing need for information regarding homeschooling your high school student in Minnesota and we have created this workshop to address some of the most common questions. This 3 1/2 hour workshop will provide information about:


Homeschooling through the high school years can be a tremendous blessing and an opportunity for you and your children. This workshop will address parents' questions regarding these important years of growth and potential. You can do it!

Check the
Homeschooling Workshop Calendar to find out when and where the next Finishing the Journey - Homeschooling your High Schooler workshop is scheduled.


For more information contact MACHE at:
MACHE
P. O. Box 32308
Fridley, MN 55432
Metro area: 763-717-9070
Greater MN (toll-free): 866-717-9070
Email: info@mache.org


Copyright 2005, MACHE

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Evidence That I Am Indeed The Worst Mother Ever

The other day, Elijah woke up, came running out to the kitchen and said, "Hi Mommma, I want my oatmeal!"

I, however, did not feel like cooking up a batch of oatmeal that morning and so offered him a pop-tart instead.
He said he really really wanted oatmeal.
I said I really really wanted him to have a pop-tart.

I'm terrible I know.
Report me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More about my Grandma

To back up a bit, my grandma was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer in the beginning of May.
In less than three months, this cancer has aggressively attacked her body. She now has a hospital bed in her living room, a make-shift bathroom in the front hall (a curtain rod with a sheet hung on it to give privacy for her commode)--basically we have moved everything to be on one floor and to be convenient for her and for those of us who are caring for her.
Today was a good day. Last night she slept soundly. My aunt along with my grandma's sister have been staying there since Thursday. I go over during the day.
The night before, she was up throwing up basically all night long. Some days are good, some aren't as good.
She has had a fair amount of company, which she really enjoys. She can't be left alone. She does not want to be left alone--she prefers when someone is sitting in the room with her all the time.
People have been coming by to tell her how much they have enjoyed her friendship--to tell her that they'll miss her--to tell her they love her.
They pray for comfort for her pain, and for peace to reign in her house and in her spirit.
And it does.
We have absolute assurance of where she is going. She asked Jesus to be the Lord of her life many years ago.
She's going to Heaven--not because she's a "good person". Not because of good things she has done.
Christ did the work for her. She accepted His gift.
All the good things we do are like filthy rags compared with His righteousness. We can't do a thing to earn His salvation. It's not our work, but His.

It is and has been such a blessing to care for her this past week and a half. I will never forget this time. Ever.
People are concerned about it being a burden for me--I am quick to assure them it is not. It is my honor to care for her when she needs it the most.

She has moments when she says "ohhh...to be so helpless." I tell her that "helpless"would be if we weren't there to help her.
Isn't that what being a family is all about? Helping each other when the need is great?

All the housework that needs to be doing here at my house can wait. Grandma doesn't have much time left. I can clean later.
I will care for her now--while I can.

You only get one chance to do something like this. I want to make sure I have no regrets. I can't go back after she's passed and say "I wish I would have..."

We have VBS this week, so I'd better get the kids a quick bite before we go.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Quick, Yet Difficult Post

I have been "out of blog commission" lately, as you may have noticed.

Last week was our County Fair from Tuesday through Saturday, during which my children and I practically lived at the fair. My mom graciously took Christopher and Elijah to stay at her house so it wasn't quite as busy.

On Sunday, my three oldest children went to spend a week with my aunt and uncle in Nebraska. This is the third year they have done that. We affectionately call this time "Camp Omaha."

On Sunday, I also began caring for my grandma pretty much round the clock. My sister-in-law and my brother came up on Tuesday night and they stayed overnight at her house that night and last night.
It is so difficult to see her fading right before my eyes. Yet, I would not trade these days for anything. We have had sweet times of conversation and laughter. She loves to look at the children and hear their laughter in her home.
I never thought I'd be doing all the things I am doing for her. For her sake, I'll not include all the details. Let's just say I have a new appreciation for nurses...

Anyway, that's why I've been "gone" from my blog. I have things going on that are requiring all of my attention.
I am heading back over there this morning for the day.
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