Saturday, February 28, 2009
I am setting this up for automated post, since today is Sabbath and my top droppers are competing so earnestly. I was planning to have my post written for automated post to announce the top dropper, but it is way too close to call ahead of time and changes back and forth daily. So, we will just have to wait and see. Last month's winner has some aggressive competition!
I will try to get on later tonight and post the top dropper, but no promises. My oldest son, Andrew (17), is getting baptized today. Praise God! Needless to say, this will be a day of celebration. Family first, then blogging.
Watch for my announcement soon!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Today, I thought I would share a recipe. This is a great standby. It is simple, nutritious, delicious, and can be cooked in the crockpot. Perfect for a Sabbath meal. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!
Pottage of Lentils
This stew-like soup is a scrumptious and hearty meal. Perfect for a cold winter's day served with a nice loaf of crusty bread.
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
2 Large Carrots, sliced
6 Stalks Celery with Tops, chopped
4 Large Red Potatoes, chopped
4 Cups Vegetable Stock, near boil
2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 - 2 cups Red Lentils, rinsed
3 Bay Leafs
Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender.
Add all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on high for one hour.
Change temperature to low. Cook another five hours.
Add the following ingredients:
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
6 dashes Hot Sauce, or to taste
The Juice of One Lemon
1 teaspoon Tumeric
Cook another hour.
* Serve with a salad and some good, crusty bread.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I received this via email and participated. I thought my visitors may like to do the same. Please visit the link below and cast your vote:
Will NBC be surprised?
Here's your chance to let the media know where the people stand on our faith in God, as a nation.
NBC is presently taking a poll on "In God We Trust" to stay on our American Currency.
Please send this to every Christian you know so they can vote on this Important subject.
Please do it right away, before NBC takes this off their web page. Poll is still open so you can vote:
I'll bet this is going to be a surprise to NBC.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
On the top of my list is likely to be the fact that so many people in the United States really, truly are not educated. When it boils down to it, do we really know the history of our country? If being honest, I would venture to guess that most would answer, "No." It is so, very dangerous, don't you think? I have learned in my mere 38 years that knowledge is indeed power, and there is real truth in the old saying, "Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it."
It seems to me that we are on a bee line to disaster, and there are so many out there that are leading the way. Why do they not realize where they are headed? How can they speak of tolerance and equality, when they do not live what they are saying? How frustrating it is to me to watch otherwise intelligent individuals discriminate against a person or group of people in the name of their right to not be discriminated. Oh, how we can be so narrow minded and suffer from tunnel vision!
Our society, in general, has gotten so bloody selfish! There is no peace in a lifestyle all based on what "I" want with no consideration to the overall good of humanity. No one can be healthy if they always have things their way just because it is what they want. Sometimes it is essential to consider the whole picture. More often than not, a closer evaluation of history and what has led to this particular point would be supremely beneficial, and might I add eye opening.
Please, take the time to educate yourselves! The more I learn, the more I find out just how much I do not know. Obtaining knowledge is an endless adventure. There is SO MUCH literature available in so many mediums, there really is no excuse for ignorance. If you have access to the Internet and your local library you can stay occupied for an innumerable number of years.
I implore you, get to know your librarian. Pick a subject that you think may be of interest to you, and explore it. Look for resources. Use them. Every journey begins with one step. Eliminate yourself from the stereotype. Become an informed citizen. Might I add, become informed on BOTH sides of whatever issue you are exploring. Know just exactly what it is you believe in and why you do not support the opposing view point. Do not remain narrow minded.
If you live in Michigan, or any other state that picks up Canadian television, watch their broadcast sometime. You'd be amazed at what you will learn about your own country that your local media does not report. It is a sad state of affairs when citizens of other countries know more about our history and current affairs than those that call themselves Americans.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Life is so different being that we have existed outside of the public school system completely for a few years now. For a long time we were at various stages of homeschooling. Now, we are just plain old homeschoolers, and I L-O-V-E, love it! There is such freedom and opportunity outside of the system. I feel like we are so much more able to be ourselves and live our lives the way we see fit now that we have completely separated ourselves from the confines of public education.
The kids and I have our own victories, discoveries, and struggles. Every day presents something new to explore, remedy, share, conquer, you name it. We are definitely not short on things to do. There is so much that we would like to learn that it is evident that a lifetime is not long enough to cover a fraction of our interests.
What is most refreshing to me is the difference in the quality of the friends my children have. It was a different world for my oldest four, as well as our token middle child. Anyone that has a large family knows all about the whole "two batches" thing. Well, it seems we clearly have two batches. The thing that sets us apart is the middle child slot. We clearly have two batches AND a middle child; three very distinctly different categories of children. It is so interesting to watch. We have our own case study taking place right under our own roof. It's rather interesting to observe the differences in our children and relate that to our own personal stages as parents and our level of education and awareness. Poor guinea pigs!
Despite the fact that I love my teenagers, something I would have never thought possible before, I am also very excitedly looking to the light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot wait to freely unschool myself! There are so many things I would like to learn, so many places I would like to go, and so many things I would like to do. I am looking to the day where I will have more control of my time; where I can focus on improving me. What an exciting time it is, indeed!
We had seven children in one bedroom. There was just enough space to walk sideways through the two sets of bunk beds that we had in there. Then there was another bed with a mattress that got pulled out from under it when it was bedtime. Also, the kitchen was so small that we couldn't all fit around the table, so Pat and I always ate in the living room; not the best way to teach your children table manners, trust me!
The the upstairs was complete, and the kids all moved up there into the four new bedrooms. We had to be conscious of who shared what space with whom. With that many people we definitely had our share of personality styles. It really could be challenging. You know? The one thing that Pat and I have always found interesting is that we all got along better when we were crammed together in that little space. I can remember thinking that things would get so much easier once we all had some breathing room. WRONG! Things got tougher, and we weren't as close to each other. I think there's something to that, really.
Then we entered the stage of children moving out and moving back in. That was interesting! Nothing like a little upheaval every-so-often to keep you on your toes. Spaces got repurposed on a much too regular basis for a little while there. Now, the four older ones are permanently out barring some unforeseen catastrophe; God forbid.
It has become more easy to downsize and maximize our space now more than ever before. The thing of it is that you look around and wonder just how on earth did nine people ever live in this space? And more so, how on earth did nine people ever live in half of this space? Talk about mind blowing!
The room that is currently the office/music room, after it's recent repurposing, used to be our bedroom, just an office, and a space for transitioning children. Now, it is just the office/music room. It is still "under construction" so to speak. My musically minded son wants me to move the piano in there, too. It has resided in the living room ever since we acquired it several years ago. It's easy to move, but there are two shelves of books that need to be relocated in order to make room for this music maker. Then, there's the empty wall in the living room to deal with, and just where do we put the two bookshelves?
This type of re-purposing is fun, too an extent, and rewarding. There is also another type of re-purposing that is not quite as fun and rewarding. In our corner of the earth it always happens in the garage.
Initially, our garage was a place for bicycles, lawn mowers, gardening supplies, and my husband's tools. Over the years it has held cars in need of repair, quarter candy machines that need to be placed in businesses, the belongings of more than one person in transition, extra furniture after children moved on, now it houses all of the tools and equipment from our closed transmission shop that we are selling. One can only guess how long it may be before we can actually walk through our garage again and for just how long we will continue to be able to pass from one door to the other.
I am afraid to think of just how many hours I have spent reorganizing and cleaning that space. I do know that I will NEVER have a garage sale again. Freecycle and Purple Heart, plus the occasional friend for family member, will be the ongoing recipients of my castoffs. Last year my mom came down to lend a hand, THANK GOD, and we spent 10 HOURS in the garage going from one end to the other sorting, organizing, and setting aside things for a garage sale. What a job that was! We made a couple hundred dollars, and I gave what was left to the church for it's garage sale and some furniture to a young family that just moved in across the street, but it was so not worth the effort. Thanks anyway! I'll just donate it and take the write off at the end or the year, thank you very much!
Being organized pays in so many ways, and giving is really rewarding. So, what do you have to repurpose? What space have you been neglecting to spruce up? Is there a corner somewhere that could use a little love? Do you have things that you haven't used in years? Maybe someone else can benefit from your repurposing. Also, if you have a creative edge and would like a new project visit The Repurposing Roundup for some cool ideas. Give it a shot! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
After note: Since originally writing this post, we did repurpose our space, and I cannot tell you enough how happy we are with the results! The whole energy changed in both rooms. They feel more spacious, welcoming, and useful. It's amazing how much difference so little effort made.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
For those of us that have teenage and young adult children relating to the transitions that we go through as families is likely easy. It really is a journey with twists and turns, bumps and bruises, and plenty of hills to climb with the occasional slope to glide down, thankfully.
Our family is going through it's final stages of residential children and transitioning to the stage of visiting wee ones. This means that our children are growing up and moving on, and our grandchildren are coming to Nana and Papa's to hang out, cook, eat, play, eat, sleep, eat, sing, eat, read, color, garden, and did I mention eat? How soon we forget just how important food is to little ones! Thankfully, Nana loves to cook, especially with wee ones.
Our second oldest daughter got engaged on Valentine's Day with our blessing. She is planning to marry a wonderful young man. They both have a bright future ahead of them. He is a student at a technical college and almost ready to graduate. Kindness emanates from him. She is a tech for a sleep study company preparing to go back to college. With our new son-in-law we will also get another grandchild. He has a daughter just a couple months older than hers, our oldest grand.
So, for those of you that fell behind in our little math equation here we will have SEVEN children and SEVEN grandchildren as soon as the twins get here and daughter number two gets married. This provided that no one else gets pregnant before daughter number two gets married. This puts our family total up to 16! Can you imagine our holiday gatherings in our 1600 square-foot house with NO basement? It's not pretty people!
With these changes come new challenges. The twins that are being born this month are to our daughter that lives in southern Indiana. We are in Michigan. We already have one grandchild there that we are trying to figure out how to maintain a relationship with him, now there will be two more to keep up with. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do for him for his birthday this month. It's just in a few days, and I have no good ideas yet.
My goal is to make traditions with all the grandchildren for the holidays and their birthdays. I would like them to know what to expect from Nana and Papa. Obviously, I need to keep it simple. We're still raising children here, and now we have SEVEN grandchildren to buy for on holidays and birthdays. It is important for me to establish connections with them and for them to know who we are, like for real. I don't want it to be this abstract grandparent existence. I really desire for our grandchildren to be impacted positively knowing that their grandparents are there for them and really care about them and their futures. There is security in knowing that someone loves you and believes in you. I want us to be that anchor for them.
This year there will be much to do, much to learn, much to create, much to share, much to provide, and much love to spread around. We just need to figure out how to do it all. It is my goal to go through this transition as conscious as possible and keep it as simple as possible. Weddings, new babies, holidays and 20+ birthdays on the horizon all in the midst of our homeschooling lifestyle. Just how do we do it and stay sane? I'll let you know what I figure out and learn as I figure things out and learn them...
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I first saw this over at THE Andrea, and then my good friend Lisa tagged me on Facebook. So, I am giving it a whirl here. Why not get the brain juices flowing?
1. I was born in Hollywood...Florida, that is.
2. My maternal grandparents are farmers, and my love for cooking began with them.
3. I have my maternal grandfather to thank for my cookbook addiction. Yes, it can easily be classified as an addiction.
4. My paternal grandmother died when I was 11 of pancreatic cancer. She was an amazing woman that had a tremendous impact on my life even though she was there for so little of it.
5. I am very proud of my Irish roots and hope to one day at least visit Ireland. I would also love to trace my family tree on both sides some day after the kids are grown and gone.
6. I am thankful to live in a home school friendly state and country for that matter.
7. I became a nana at the ripe old age of 34 and will soon have a grand total of SIX, which means I will have more grandchildren than my mother.
8. I have a twin that is pregnant with twins.
9. I love to volunteer and plan to do mission work somewhere in the future. Currently, I volunteer in my community and try to encourage others to do the same.
10. My ultimate goal is to completely convert to a vegan diet and live off the grid.
11. To me, success is living a life full of love and sharing what I have with others. I have many plans of how I will be able to make a difference in the lives of my fellow man.
12. I am working my way through the New Testament. I am currently in the book of I Corinthians. I really enjoyed the book of Romans.
13. This year will be my second year as VBS coordinator for our church.
14. I LOVE working with young children.
15. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and information. However, I would love to have a better memory!
16. My youngest child will be 15 next week.
17. I am writing a cookbook with my best friend of 27 years. She is like a God-given sister, and I consider her a gift.
18. I am VERY organized, but I can tend to procrastinate on things that I dread doing, like the taxes, or I think will be tremendously difficult or time consuming.
19. I would love to learn to paint and draw. I have an American Girls drawing book that is for kids that I love to play with when I get that creative inclination and have no idea what to do with it.
20. I bought this beautiful art set as a gift to myself for my birthday. I cannot wait to start using it.
21. I secretly get massages about every two months or so; not the relaxing kind, but the more therapeutic type. I have a bum shoulder that really gives me grief, and it helps...sometimes.
22. I beat myself up all the time about not exercising and really want to get into shape so that I can better serve God, myself and my family.
23. I desire a much closer relationship with my husband.
24. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that we are not going to be able to move from our house due to the current economic downturn and the dramatic decline in the housing market. We have been in our home for over 12 years, and our agreement was FIVE! Had we sold our home when I wanted to it would have netted us a nice 50K profit. Now, it would cost us to sell it.
25. When I am done educating the kids, I plan to go to college for photography.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
From Karen at Karen & Gerard Zemek
1. We can actively see God working in our lives and the lives of those around us.
2. We are on track with our debt elimination and savings goals.
3. We just signed the purchase agreement to sell our shop in Detroit.
4. We are on track to purchase our new shop right in our own neighborhood this year.
5. Our business is booming in an economy that is not! ~ Praise God!!!
The 5 blogger's I am passing this on to are:
The Sewing Mom
Angels on Your Shoulder
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thank you, Karen from "My Funny Dad, Harry", for this wonderful award! It is an honor to be recognized as someone who shows gratitude and has a wonderful attitude. What a wonderful way to be noticed!
As a recipient of this award I am encouraged to honor the following rules:
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post.
My nominees are:
Sound of a Soft Breath
Small Town Mommy
Over the Top Aprons
Art and Science of Parenting
San Diego Backroads
Melissas Homeschool Blog
Random Ramblings and Recipes
A Grateful Heart
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Well, two friends and I started writing a cookbook years ago. One friend dropped from the project, and the two of us were left holding the recipes, so to speak. We have struggled over the years on how much of a priority it was in our lives to make this happen. Writing a cookbook is a lot of work, especially when you are raising more than a handful of children AND homeschooling.
I am excited to say that we are resurrecting the cookbook project. It is something that is near and dear to my heart, and I pray that it will lead to other projects in the future. The cookbook that we are working on will really be good for anyone that is interested in eating more consciously. It will be a wonderful resource for many types of people including singles, couples and families. There will be something for those that are meat eaters, vegetarian and vegan.
This cookbook will encompass our varying dietary styles over the years which includes a struggle with knowing how best to eat and battling old habits. Everyone learns as they grow, hopefully, and this cookbook will provide recipes for every level of awareness. I am so excited that this project is back on!
Of course, the cookbook is always in my head. We have just had it on the back burner, so to speak, for at least a year or more. Making the decision to recommit to the project was rather easy for both of us. It is something that we would just love to see come to fruition and pray that God blesses it's publication. This cookbook has tremendous potential. It is my prayer that I will be offering it up right here in the not so distant future.
In just over a week we will be meeting to discuss the details of what we have accomplished, what still needs to be done, and how to go about doing said things. We will be making a business plan of sorts. Your prayers in regard to this project would be most appreciated. I just know that this is something that can be used to glorify God.
Over the coming months I will share recipes and seek your opinion. I will share struggles and triumphs throughout the process. You input will be sought and valued. I am really looking forward to the coming months.
Friday, February 06, 2009
(Exodus 20:8-11 NRSV) Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work--you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Take a walk, alone or with family members
Do something special for yourself like taking a nap or a bubble bath
Leave the computer, television and telephone off
Do a Bible Study, alone or with family members
Make a Sabbath meal and take time to savor it
Write a list of your spiritual gifts or ways you have been blessed
Play a game with your children or do a fun craft together
Visit an elderly or disabled person and bring them a meal
Make cards for the sick, shut-ins, or military personnel
Volunteer at a local homeless shelter
Do a kind deed for a neighbor
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Is there anyone else out there that has spent the childhood of their children sleep deprived? Mind you, mine are all in their teens and twenties, and I am STILL sleep deprived! What gives with this? Okay, my husband is an early bird with no regard to those of us that are night owls. The early bird might get the worm, but the night owl would like some sleep!
Now, it is not my children that deprive me of sleep. It is my husband! (And the grandchildren that I care for on a pretty regular basis.) Okay. He's never been considerate or understanding of the night owl. I get that. What I do not get is early birds! Of course, I am thankful that he wants the worm. One of us needs to, right? However, if I had to catch the worm, we wouldn't eat worms. We would eat rodents and other small animals, and poop pellets that no one will ever find on their car windshield! Alas, the worm does provide for our needs, and the early bird is the one procuring said worm, so I should just be thankful, right?
Okay, I'm thankful! Now, how do I get some sleep? My early bird husband can sleep through anything. Yes, ANYTHING! The kids could literally be bouncing off of his head, and he would be sawing a pile of logs. Noise has never bothered him, and since it doesn't bother him, and that is his normal, it should be everyone else's version of normal, right? Well, it is not my version of normal. For me normal would be that someone that gets up when other people are sleeping would be quiet and considerate of the person or people that are still sleeping. It has NEVER been that way.
Since consideration for the sleeping person or persons in our home has never been an issue for him, it was never an issue for our children either. I have literally spend the past 12 years without enough sleep. Now that I am nearing 40 I am finding that I do not handle it as well anymore. I NEED TO SLEEP! This is where the hearing loss in my right ear is an occasional blessing. When I need more quiet, I just lay on my left ear. Miracle of miracles! However, unless I am VERY tired this really doesn't work all that well. BUT, it does allow me more sound sleep once I am asleep, and when I am really over tired it allows me to sleep through the noise of my early bird getting ready to catch his worm.
The ear trick is really the only solution I have found that offers any little bit of assistance in my sleep quality. I remember when the kids, we had seven remember, would complain about not having their own room I would point out to them that I didn't even get my own room, so I didn't want to hear about it! Heck, I don't even get my own bed, and I never will have my own bedroom or my own bed. Case closed! Respect the sleeping mom, everyone. She has to share with EVERYONE in the household.
I have found some solace in the fact that any minimal research will inform you that we are genetically predisposed to our bird-style existence. Whether or not we are an early bird or night owl is not a conscious choice. God made us that way! According to Julie Piotrowski in her article at msnbc.com we are pre-wired as a worm getter or rodent hunter, and it is possible to change. However, it does not sound at all appealing to me. What would be appealing when compared with the same effort given in changing your diet? Somehow we are just going to have to learn to live with each other just the way we are...hmmm.
I found this quiz over at Canadian Living:
The following questionnaire is based on a longer questionnaire first published in 1976 and known as the Horne-Ostberg test. It explores whether you have a tendency to function better towards the end of a 24-hour day or at the beginning of one. Consider each question in turn and choose one response which best describes you. When you have answered all the questions, add up the score for each response. The final score will give you some indication of whether you are more of an "evening" person or a "morning" person.
1. Breakfast: how is your appetite in the first half hour after you wake up in the morning?
a) Very poor (1)
b) Fairly poor (2)
c) Fairly good (3)
d) Very good (4)
2. How do you feel for the first half hour after you wake up in the morning?
a) Very tired (1)
b) Fairly tired (2)
c) Fairly refreshed (3)
d) Very refreshed (4)
3. When you have no commitments the next day, at what time do you go to bed compared to your usual bedtime?
a) Seldom or never later (4)
b) Less than 1 hour later (3)
c) 1–2 hours later (2)
d) More than 2 hours later (1)
4. You are starting a new fitness regime. A friend suggests joining his fitness class between 7am and 8am. How do you think you'd perform?
a) Would be on good form (4)
b) Would be on reasonable form (3)
c) Would find it difficult (2)
d) Would find it very difficult (1)
5. At what time in the evening do you feel tired and in need of sleep?
a) 8pm–9pm (5)
b) 9pm–10.15pm (4)
c) 10.15pm–12.45am (3)
d) 12.45am–2am (2)
e) 2am–3am (1)
6. If you went to bed at 11pm, how tired would you be?
a) Not at all tired (0)
b) A little tired (2)
c) Fairly tired (3)
d) Very tired (5)
7. One night you have to remain awake between 4am and 6am. You have no commitments the next day. Which suits you best?
a) Not to go to bed until 6am (1)
b) Nap before 4am and after 6am (2)
c) Sleep before 4am and nap after 6am (3)
d) Sleep before 4am and remain awake after 6am (4)
8. At what time of day do you feel your best?
a) Midnight–5am (1)
b) 5am–9am (5)
c) 9am–11am (4)
d) 11am–5pm (3)
e) 5pm–10pm (2)
f) 10pm–midnight (1)
9. Do you think of yourself as a morning or evening person?
a) Morning type (6)
b) More morning than evening (4)
c) More evening than morning (2)
d) Evening type (0)
10. Suppose that you can choose your own work hours, but had to work 5 hours in a day. When would you like to START your working day?
a) Midnight–5am (1)
b) 3am–8am (5)
c) 8am–10am (4)
d) 10am–2pm (3)
e) 2pm–4pm (2)
f) 4pm–midnight (1)
Scoring: Add up the number of circled points that you scored for each answer to find out just how much of a lark or an owl you are. The maximum number of points you can get from this questionnaire is 46 and the minimum is 8. The higher your score, the more of a morning lark you are. The lower your score, the more of a night owl you are, and you probably function better in the evenings. The majority of people come somewhere between these two extremes.
Based on past experience, I know for certain I am a night owl. I definitely try to adapt to this early bird world, and household, but I just cannot seem to do it completely. When it boils right down to it, I would be happiest going to bed between 11PM and 1AM and getting up between 9 and 10AM. Oh, my perfect world!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Anyway, on ocassion I take my dog pal Gypsy out to my country friend's house for a romp in the woods. She is Labrador/Husky mix. Her two favorite things are water to swim in and snow to play in. Go figure! You can just see her light up. The closer we get to where we are going the more excited she gets, especially after she has figured out where we are headed.
Well, at my friend's house there was a good two feet of snow. Gypsy was thrilled. My friend and I walked back through the property with Gypsy, and I did what I like best; take pictures.
Here are some pictures from our day in the snow: