Saturday, February 21, 2015

Very Fun Valentine's Festivities

February 14th, 2015 found the whole family awaking at home and walking to church for the spoken daily Matins service. While David stayed at church to prepare for Sunday, the kids and I walked back home and over breakfast we chatted. As I finished putting away laundry, the kids held a conference.

They told me I needed to leave the main floor of the house. Sous la Maison was opening and only staff were allowed on the main floor.

Instead of watching Pride and Prejudice as they suggested and I really would have liked, I took my book-club book up to my room and continued reading in preparation for the up-coming discussion.  Snuggled up under the covers on a mound of pillows with a favorite classical playlist on Spotify filling the air, I settled in to find out what was going to happen to Anna and Vronsky, Levin and Kitty, and Dolly and Oblonsky. Anna Karenina has been a delightful read and I am quite enjoying Tolstoy's novel. It was only appropriate I thought that I finally read of Levin's proposal to Kitty on Valentine's Day. This was the first joy in a very fun-filled Valentine's Day.

I read for about an hour or so before David came home. He and I and Matt and Michele had planned to attend Schell's Bock Fest together. It was going to be cold, although not as bad as last year. We layered silk long johns under shirts and fleece and topped it all with snow pants, scarves, gloves and hats.

We arrived at Schell's Brewery and got our beer and brats and joined all the other crazy people who came out to enjoy the fun on a cold (sub-zero wind chill) Valentine's Day.
What's up with no snow?
Michele and Matt

Enjoying ice-cold beer on an ice-cold day!

We walked around and marveled at the many different hats people were wearing, the size of containers people were using to drink Schell's Bock Beer (always an excellent choice), and frankly to keep warm when we couldn't be around one of the many fire-pits.

We stayed enjoying the fun for about three hours before walking back to the van and heading home.
Wearing the right clothes and drinking beer helped keep us all warm and we are making plans for next year's Bock Fest.

After we got home, David and I were once again banished to the upstairs. Since we were going to be dining out at our annual Valentine's restaurant, we showered and dressed for dinner.

At six pm we were escorted to our table and came that much closer to finding out what the wonderful aromas our nostrils had been inhaling. We eagerly read the menu.

Not long to wait for our first course, Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Soup.

WOW, was this ever yummy.
I really wanted to have seconds of the soup, but I knew from previous experience that more was yet to come from the staff of Sous la Maison.

Next our salad:
With hear-shaped bacon!
My belly was bursting before the plat principal arrived:
A made up, yet extremely delicious, steak recipe by the staff
 I only ate half my steak because I wanted to eat all of my dessert.
This cheesecake is superb!
Once more the staff at Sous la Maison delighted us with their culinary skills. Our kids are truly a delight and helped to make this very fun Valentine's Day full of festivities another one we will remember.
Ellie, Nathan, Sam, Hannah, and Abby

Monday, January 26, 2015

Let's Talk History

Four years have gone by since I wrote this post. Which makes sense because I teach history on a four year cycle and this year we are once again covering the Middle Ages, the Reformation, and the Renaissance.

We got out our Kings and Queens of England Lapbook and I have begun again to read Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall. If you haven't read this book, find a copy and do so. It is a great read aloud to your children. Engaging and delightful to read, but also quite informative and interesting.

I also discovered, although now I forget from whom, probably Amy, she tells me everything I need to know. It helps to have smart, knowledgable friends, they keep me on track.

Back to discovering. . . H.E. Marshall also wrote this book, The Story of Europe. It covers the history of Europe from the fall of Rome until the Reformation. Having written, Our Island Story, which covers the history of England, its history is not included in The Story of Europe unless it plays an important role in the politics and events of Europe.

It is another very delightful read aloud. One thing I am enjoying more about this book is that she has included the dates of events in the margin. This makes it easier for reading, but also easy to look something up quickly.

In the back there is a nice chronological chart. The first column gives the century, the second column has the events in British history, the third column gives the history of the continent, and the final column gives the chapter in the book where it is covered.

Between these two books, our timeline, learning our Kings and Queens of England poem, as well as memorizing the fifteen pack of tricks in world history, we should learn something by the end of the year.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


My husband is so good to me.
And so is my daughter who took these photos.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I had intended to write all about our Christmas. And our trip to Camp Luther but now too much time has gone past so I will just sum up.

Christmas at camp.

This, I think, was one of the best, if not the best, weeks at camp. Everything was so much fun. The snow, the cold, the food, the friends, the fun, the fireplace, all of it and more made it very difficult for us to adjust to reality at home.

The first night we arrived we celebrated Christmas with our friends. Lots of eating interspersed with gift opening, conversations, giggles, and hugs. Ralph and Amy gave our family a set of egg cups, spoons, and an egg top cutter.

We love them. It makes having soft boiled eggs such a treat.

We first ate eggs this way in Germany. We've tried to replicate them at home with varying levels of success. But now, these new cups hold the egg perfectly. The cutter makes getting the top off simple, and the spoon slides easily to scoop out the scrumptious egg.

What is left after the meal is an empty shell, and a contented belly.


Monday, December 29, 2014


Anyone else feel like this after enjoying all the goodies during the holidays?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Let No Tongue On Earth Be Silent

For most of the last year I have learned the habit of carrying my hymnal with me to the communion rail.

I sing while I walk forward.
I sing the words of the communion hymn as I wait for others to be fed with the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
I sing the words as I walk back to my pew.
I sing when I sit in my pew while the rest of the congregation is fed.

Through all this singing, I've learned something about this new habit. It is a good act of Christian piety.

My mind wanders far less now that I have the words of the hymn in front of me than it used to when I  didn't carry my hymnal.

I always knew that I should be pondering nothing earthly minded. Like the clothes of other parishioners, or if I was going to trip over my own feet, or when the kids were younger, "Are they behaving in the pew?" But try as I might, my eyes and ears often led my mind away from prayer and pondering into distraction.

Now that I carry my hymnal and sing the words, more often than not, my mind is focused on Christ. That He is truly present. That He is feeding me His very body and blood. That He forgives me. That He loves me.

This past Sunday when I communed I was kneeling at the rail during the first verse of the hymn, "Lift up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates." (LSB 341)

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates!
Behold, the King of glory waits.
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here.
Life and Salvation He doth bring;
Therefore rejoice and gladly sing.
To God the Father raise
Your joyful songs of praise.

What a beautiful picture those words bring when sung at the communion rail. As the words
"The Savior of the world is here," were sung, Christ's body was place on my lips. Because I had just been singing and reading the words of the hymn, I was focused on what actually was happening at that moment. Jesus is my Savior right here, right now, and He brought me life and salvation right then in His own body and blood.

Yes, this new habit of carrying my hymnal and singing the hymns while waiting for my turn at the table of the Lord's Supper is a good thing. Just like I've learned to fold my hands and bow my head and close my eyes to pray, I've now learned that hymns are a great way to keep my mortal flesh silent.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Panic, Work, Enjoy.

Every time a holiday or vacation or some big event is approaching I will have some sort of panic attack. Not health related, except for what the yelling and stress does to my body and the psyches of my children who are usually on the brunt end of the listed actions. Just a panic of time running out and there is still so much to accomplish.

I've learned though over the years that this is coming. That it will happen. That I will despair, get edgy, and be annoyed at those sitting around while there is stuff to be done. In learning this about myself I've also learned that somehow it all gets done. If one thing doesn't, it is okay. If more than one thing doesn't, it is okay. I might have liked to have it differently, but it is still fine.

I've also learned that when I feel the panic coming, I need to make a list. Simply writing everything down that needs to be done and showing myself and the children helps. Because then we start tackling the items one after the other. And generally it all gets done much faster than I anticipate.

The panic subsides as the work begins and progress is seen in checking off the to-do items.

Yesterday was that panic day. I got official word that I am now hosting Christmas dinner for the family (19 people). My sister-in-law was going to host, but on Sunday, she came down with the illness her daughters had. Can you imagine her panic? I could so I said I would take hosting off her plate for her. Yesterday when she wasn't any better she graciously accepted the offer.

My panic began. I wasn't going to clean the house before Christmas. Now we need to. All the baking we've done has made a big mess and we will take care of that. Christmas linens and outfits need to be cleaned and ironed. Meals prepared plus the turkey and ham for Christmas dinner. Not to mention the preparations for vacation time right after Christmas.

Yes, panic happened yesterday. Which meant a big list was written and today, the kids and I are ready to tackle it all. At least I don't have to plan the Christmas menu nor shop for the food. I will just go to my sister-in-laws today and get the food from her. Cooking is the easy part.

Yesterday panic. Today work. Tomorrow enjoy.

Merry Christmas to all!