Monday, December 31, 2007

This was my favorite Christmas gift

The kids surprised David and I with a gift. I had helped them buy something for David (a new coffee thermos, a german chocolate bar) and David had helped them buy something for me (new set of everyday wine glasses). But they then bought something for both of us. I only knew it was something because Hannah and Ellie asked me to take them to the store after swim club one night. I stood by the door why they went and made their purchase. Oh boy oh boy, I'm sure glad I did. This is what we opened on Christmas:

Wanna come over for movie night? I'll make popcorn.

I think this is neat

Friday, December 28, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yummy, Yummy Treats

Hear are some of the yummy treats I've been working on for Christmas.

Honey Spice Cookies
a delicious hard cookie that especially likes to be dipped in a cup of hot coffee

Ritz cracker Cookies
oh so easy, but oh so good; a little salty, a little sweet, makes them oh such a treat.

Toffee! Chocolate Fudge! Peanut Butter Fudge!

Sugar cookies
decorated awhile ago with our South Dakota friends.

Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream!
I added green food coloring this time, doesn't it look yummy?

But wait - it does get better...

Pour some into an ice-cream pail,

add some crushed candy canes,

Pour the rest of the ice-cream on top.

Add the rest of the candy-canes and mix.

And now, just look! Tempting? Oh I can't wait for Christmas day and dessert time!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This and That

I always use very hot water to wash and rinse the dishes I do in the sink. After I'm done I always dry my hands and put on lotion and I never have a problem until winter. Two weeks ago my hands became dry and red and cracked. Yuck. Every year that happens, so I took out my rubber gloves and have begun wearing them to wash and rinse the dishes. I can use much hotter water, which is nice, but I hate that I can't feel the dirt as well. Nor can I always find the silverware that hides in the bottom under the plastic liner. I never realize until I use these gloves each winter how much I wash dishes by feel. My sister in law, who has to wear gloves always due to very sensitive skin, must be use to it, but I don't know how she does it, or how the dental hygienist, or nurse gets use to it either.

Christmas shopping is all done except for Grandpa and Grandma's gift. Now it is time to get everything wrapped. David usually does a lot of that at night after the kids go to bed. He spoils me so!

Today I'll get all the groceries while Hannah and Ellie are at piano lessons. I'm hoping I'll find a candy thermometer. I've looked in about 5 stores and none have had any. It is looking like I'll skip trying to make various candy this year.

Yesterday I made the buns for Christmas dinner. We keep our house about 68 degrees and I find it hard to get my bread or buns to rise the second time during the winter. Those of you who make bread, after the first rise, and shaping to go into the pans, what do you do? My pans are cold to the touch - do you warm yours somehow prior to putting in the dough? Any tricks I should know?

The kids are working on perfecting their parts for the Christmas program. I'm trying to help them pronounce it clearly and loudly, so far they're not doing to bad.

I'm hoping to take a picture tonight after service when everyone is dressed nice for our Christmas card. My goal is to have the cards in the mail during the Christmas season, but if it falls into Epiphany, that works for me as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin,...

I'm trying to get all the pre-Christmas preparations done before Christmas.

Last Thursday night, David put up the tree and on Friday the kids helped me to decorate it.

Saturday Grandpa left us and took Grandma home from the hospital. Oh wait, I didn't tell you that. Two weeks prior, Grandma was in the hospital mainly due to a bad cold/flu bug. After going home and going back in a couple of days later and staying for a day or so due to serious bloating, we thought she was on the mend. But the Saturday after her first initial visit, she fell at home and was once more taken by ambulance to the hospital. Blood clots in both lungs and her leg were found and she promptly stayed in the hospital all last week as the doctors and nurses began to administer blood thinners and monitor the clots. Grandpa stayed with us since we live closer to the hospital than they do. It was nice to have him here, and we were sad to have him go, but oh so glad that Grandma is doing much better and can return home.

Sunday after Bible class David was called to the nursing home. A member's health was fading fast and she was taken to her eternal home 10 minutes before he arrived. That afternoon David and I put up the outside porch lights before Christmas caroling with a group at church to the shut-ins. When walking out the door, David slipped on an icy patch, and now has a very sore right ankle.

Monday after David met with the family at the funeral home, he and I went Christmas shopping and almost finished. I stayed up editing photos and uploading them to order a gift for my mother that she expects every year. That was done, but I couldn't come up with a Christmas card photo that I liked.

Today we will head to a town near the farm (Grandpa and Grandma's) for haircuts and also a stop to see how Grandma is doing. On the way through the "big city" between here and there, we'll stop and get the last couple of presents needed, that we couldn't get yesterday because the coupon is good starting today.

Tomorrow David will have a funeral in the morning, catechesis classes in the afternoon, and Advent services in the evening with a meeting afterwards. He'll be tired.

I still need to finish the Christmas card and letter, bake rolls, both buns and cinnamon, bake gingerbread cookies, and a honey spice cookies, clean the house, and on, and on. I usually decorate more for Christmas, but this year time has kept slippin' into the future. So, I'll pull out the manger scene and with the tree, call it good for this year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yep, this is Me

What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Pint of Beer. You're happy with who you are. Sure, you may not be the 'sophisticated' and 'refined' type, but at least you're real. You don't let the little things get to you, and you have a good time no matter what life throws at you. Keep it up.
Find Your Character @

Which is another reason why I enjoyed Germany so much.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thanks Mom!

I have a beautiful table (the one I wrote about in my last post) with new handmade linens.

The 99 cent poinsettias from Aldi and the candleabra from Wittenberg look extra special with my new place-mats and napkins. Thank you Mom for making them for me, I absolutely love them!

The Advent calendar (I also wrote about in the last post) is hanging on the window in the back. It is very similar to the Jesse tree which Presbytera uses, but ours isn't tracing the lineage of Jesus as much as using symbols representing the Christian faith; today we hung up the celtic cross.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Memories

Amused Momma tagged me for this meme. I've enjoyed reading hers and others who are tagged and I'm glad I get to play along.

Memory 1 : The children's Christmas program was on Christmas Eve. After it was over all the children were given a brown paper lunch bag filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges and apples and candy canes. I thought that was the neatest thing ever, well next to the great big bushel and half-bushel baskets filled with fruit, cheese, and nuts (in their shells) that my dad was given as gifts for Christmas from business associates. We ate so much fruit and cracked the various nuts with the neat dog-shaped iron nutcracker. I also liked the spreading cheese Dad would be given. It came in a crockery jar with the metal wire attached on each side to come over the top of the lid and clamp it down to seal. Mom would use one of the empty ones to store bacon grease on the stove. Last fall, I finally found one for my own bacon grease.

Memory 2: My family is a "his, hers, and ours." My mom's first marriage was blessed with 5 children; my dad's first marriage was blessed 3 children, and when mom and dad married they were blessed with me and my little sister. Yes, you counted right, ten children. But all were out of the house, most were married and with their own children when my sister and I were growing up. But usually everyone came back for Christmas; sometimes it was held on Christmas Eve after the service, sometimes Christmas Day, sometimes the week before. Mom would make a huge dinner which included ham and homemade crescent rolls (a must!), beef-n-noodles (homemade and often hand cut especially for one son), mashed potatoes and corn, pies and cookies and probably lots more I'm forgetting. It was so good. We used the good china and set the tables so nicely. Mom always made sugar cookies and my sister and I would help decorate them with colored frosting. I always thought they were so good until an older sister brought hers for dad as part of her gift. Her frosting was so scrumptious, thick and creamy, and I could never get enough. I know those cookies were suppose to be for dad, but I loved them just as much. At gift time, especially when I was little, I was the one that took the present from under the tree and brought it to Dad. He would read the name and then I would take it to that person. Mom always made food gifts for the older kids. Each son and son-in-law got a bucket (Schwan's 1.5 gallon ice-cream pail) of homemade caramel corn. Some years it was fruit pizza, (not the sugar cookie with cream cheese and fruit, but more a pie dough on a pizza pan with different pie fillings - again often homemade - spread to look like a cut pizza, with frosting on the dough that was in between each "piece"), or cookies, or jelly rolls.

Memory 3: Christmas memories I am making with my own family stem from the memories I have from being a child. Each year I make sugar cookies and have to decorate them with colored frosting, no all-white with sprinkles for me, unless it is a snowflake with white sugar crystals. I use to do this with sister-in-laws when we lived close, now a Looper friend has come the last two years to help and our children are old enough to help and have fun.
Christmas dinner includes many, if not all, of the same foods Mom made. I even have the dining room table we use to gather around, which, when there are no leaves is a circle but can stretch to seat comfortably 14+ people and all the food.
I give food gifts to many people just like Mom did. Cookies and homemade hot chocolate mix, caramel corn, homemade buns and jam, homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade candy, etc.
Two of my favorite Christmas memories from David's childhood we've added to our family's traditions. One is the advent calendar. On a large, rectangular shaped piece of burlap is a green felt Christmas tree with 5 rows of felt pockets, numbered for the first 25 days of December. Inside each pocket is a felt symbol which in some way represents the Christian faith. For example there are many crosses, an ark, stars, a lamb, the manger, an apple, the bread and the chalice, a dove, etc. The four Sunday's in advent also have a felt candle to add to the tree. Our children really love taking turns taking out the symbol, telling Dad what it is and watching him pin it onto the tree. Being a good dad, David also takes the opportunity to review and explain what the symbol means quizzing the children to see what they know.
The other memory from David's childhood we brought to our own family is the 12 days of Christmas. The children open their gifts (one from us, one from Santa) on Christmas Eve. Then starting on Christmas Day and the following days of Christmas they find one present in their stocking. The first day is always an ornament and the other days are little things like chapstick or glue or gum or a deck of cards. But they have such fun getting up each day to see what is inside their stocking. David and I have fun watching them and trying to remember to put it into their stocking the night before! If it doesn't fit in the stocking (one year we gave them their favorite bag of chips), we leave a note telling where it is hid in the house. That is almost more fun for them than pulling it out of the stocking.

There you have it, Christmas memories of Glenda. I think I'll tag some others and if you've already played, let me know, I'm far behind on blog reading. I'll tag Jenny (it will be fun to see what memories she has growing up in the same home), Laura, Uvulapie's Girl, and The Rebellious Pastor's Wife.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In God's Time

This year Pastor has chosen to focus the Advent midweek services on the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist - the Forerunner of Jesus. Last night's sermon considered the wonderful events which surrounded his conception and birth.

Pastor read from Luke chapter 1 for the two readings last evening. The first was the annunciation of John's birth and the second the birth of John the Baptist. I was able to read both readings prior to the service, so when Pastor began reading them, I was able to listen and contemplate and this verse struck me, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." (Luke 1: 12)

"For your prayer has been heard" is the phrase that caught my ear. What prayer? He was serving as High Priest and praying for the people, but not that prayer. The prayer heard was the one he had prayed and Elizabeth had prayed their whole married life - to have children. And now, when they probably aren't praying for that due to being "advanced in years," now God is ready to fulfill that request.

A prayer that had seemed to go unheard for all these years and now to our shaded human eyes seems impossible, is now granted. When God allows us to see His viewpoint, it makes perfect sense. But we live in this veil of tears and the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh cloud our vision and obscure the true picture.

God's timing is perfect, whether we see it or not. May He grant us the faith to see and believe and confess, just as He did for Zechariah.

"And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, 'His name is John.'" (Luke 1:63)

"And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us that we,
being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us
from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.'" (Luke 1:67-79)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Mind

I'm having trouble getting things done.

I'm still reveling in my Germany trip, editing the photos, reliving the fun. But things need to get done. I knew that I would need to get back to teaching the children after the trip, that hasn't been the big problem. The problem is my mind.

Every year the world is putting up Christmas decorations and shopping and thinking about this gift and that gift starting close to Thanksgiving. Even though I do not put up the decorations as early as the world, I usually am mentally preparing myself for the Christmas season. I make lists of gifts to purchase, foods to bake for home and church bake sales, parties to attend or plan; and then I organize how to get them all done keeping my sanity somewhat in tact.

But this year, my mind is still consumed with Germany. And even though I had planned out the gifts ahead of time and therefore can check that off the "to-do" list, I'm not ready for the baking, violin concerts, parties, decorating, etc. that is coming quickly upon me. And why do they all come in the same week?

This is my upcoming week:
Saturday and Sunday: All day swim meet - as in at the pool from 7am until 3:30-4:00pm. Yes I'm going on Sunday because this meet is the closest town to ours and allows us to return home in time for worship on Saturday evening.

Monday: A Looper friend and her 5 children are coming for a few days for our second annual cookie decorating fun. With her husband out of town on business, we use this time to decorate our sugar cookies, let the kids socialize (they're all homescooled, and therefore need lots of that - right?!), and enjoy all the Mom time we can.

Tuesday: We'll spend the day cookie decorating. This year another Looper who lives "next door" will join us. The more the merrier!

Thursday: I'll spend the day helping another lady in the church prepare the meal for that evening's Ladies' Aid Christmas dinner. That evening I'll help with the dinner and then zoom off to hear Hannah play her violin in a Christmas concert with other students of her teacher.

Friday: I'll finish up, or start, any baking for the Ladies' Aid Bake Sale and luncheon, plus make the Turkey Tetrazinni for the luncheon.

Saturday: I'll help at the luncheon all morning and most of the afternoon.

I know others do this and more. But my problem isn't doing it, it is that my mind isn't ready for it, therefore I'm not ready. Yes it will get done, and yes I will have fun, but I'd rather be here:

I think my mind would be up for that....But for now, bake to cookie baking.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Germany Churches

While in Germany we visited many churches. Some were Lutheran, some weren't. Some were very ornate, some were not. The one thing all of them made me do when I walked inside was look up. The grandeur of the building, the soaring sides to the very high ceiling added to the sense of majesty and holiness of the space.

But the one church that, by far, was the most beautiful and precious to David and I was Christekirche in Erfurt. Not because of the way it looked, because it was the plainest, less ornate church of all we saw, but because of what we received, which was more beautiful than anything we saw.

Christekirche is a member of the SELK, in fellowship with the the LCMS.Through a cousin, Jonathan who spent a year as a vicar in Berlin and who gave Paul a church and pastor's name to contact, Paul was able to email Pr. Schneider and ask if it would be okay for 50 Americans to come and worship with them on Sunday morning. Pr. Schneider was delighted to welcome us.

While in Eisenach the day before, we met another NAWAS group. Pr. Gier, who knew Mark at the seminary, was leading 16 from his church on a Lutherland tour. When he found out where we would be worshipping on Sunday morning, he was able to work it out with his tour guide to join us. Therefore 76 Americans descended upon Christekirche on Sunday morning, Nov. 4, 2007.

We arrived early and had the opportunity to look around at the church and for Paul, Mark, David and Pr. Gier to visit with Pr. Schneider. The church was in need of repairs having been under the communist regime for many years. There were flyers in the narthex informing members of upcoming fundraisers to help with the repairs.

The outside and inside of the church were very plain compared to other churches we had visited and would visit in the coming days. No beautiful paintings or stain glass windows. No ornate crucifixes or pulpits. It was all very "plain" to the eye.

It was also chilly. Stone walls do that. Once all the Americans were settled in the pews and were given some hints as to what to expect, some of the German parishioners began to arrive.

Every one of them came to the vestry to announce to Pr. Schneider their intention of communing that morning. All smiled genuinely at us, welcoming us with their faces. At the beginning of the service, Pr. Schneider welcomed the congregation in German and then also in English.

We had their hymnal, similar in size to the new personal editions of LSB. David was able to follow along and point where we were so that he and I were able to try and pronounce the German liturgy and hymns.

All came forward to receive absolution with Pastor laying his hand on each parishioner announcing God's grace, mercy and forgiveness. He said it in German for his parishioners and in English for us Americans. Notice there aren't any railings, although there is a cushion to kneel upon. That was a bit tricky for some of our older members to get up and down without the aid of a rail.The German parishioners sang and sang well. They didn't need prompting for when to stand, kneel, or respond with an "Amen". There weren't ushers. When it was time for the absolution, everyone came forward to fill a table. It was the same for receiving the sacrament. Once a table was dismissed others came forward to fill the next.

Pr. Schneider preached in German. But he had translated his sermon into English. One of his parishioners stood to the side and after he preached in German for about a paragraph, he would look at her and she would read in English what he had just said. A couple of times he stopped and looked at her, she shook her head "no," he continued. then when she spoke, it was only a few words. Her look on her face made us think she was thinking that we would never believe that all those words he had just spoke in German were only a few in English.

I also loved how many of the chant lines were the same, especially the proper preface. When Pastor Schneider began chanting, I could sing along and know what he was saying. "It is truly, good right and sal-u-u-tar-r -y,....."

After the service Pr. Schneider welcomed us and asked us to stay for refreshments and to visit with the members. Unfortunately we had to go. But we were so thankful to have been blessed to worship with the saints in Erfurt. Hopefully we will again one day on earth, but if not, we look forward to the day we will worship with them and the whole company of heaven for all eternity.

Why was this the most beautiful church in Germany? Because here God came to me in His word preached and in His Body and Blood given and shed for the forgiveness of my sins. There isn't anything more beautiful or precious than that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I blame it on my Dad

He use to always tell me, "You're dutchy girl." I never really knew why or what it meant. But he even said that about my two oldest girls when they were toddlers.

Your Inner European is Dutch!

Open minded and tolerant.
You're up for just about anything.

Here is where I was for 10 days:

Yep, you guessed it, Germany. This picture is of David and I, Paul, and Lori, and Mark and Beth in front of the castle church doors in Wittenberg. This is a door in the same place where Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis. The original door was wooden and burned in a fire. The current door is made of metal and the 95 thesis are written in Latin upon it.

We had a wonderful time touring the Luther lands and also some "tourist" towns in Bavaria, with a half-day trip to Innsbruck, Austria. David, Paul, and Mark, all brothers who also happen to be pastors, put the tour together and there were 44 others who joined us, some from their congregations and some family members.

Here is a picture of the family members who came. Gloria, a cousin, is sitting in the back right. Next to her is Mary, the oldest sibling to Mark, David and Paul. (The youngest sibling, Matt was unable to come with us). In the front on the right is Roxanne and her husband, Terry, is sitting across from her. She is another cousin. You can't see David's face, it should be right beside mine, but is hand is right there holding onto his brew. This was our last night in Germany. We all went out for supper at the Augustiner Brewery in Munich. As you can see, we enjoyed ourselves.

I'll post more pictures and stories as the days progress. Right now I'm trying to catch up on life. After arriving back in the states late on Sunday night, the 35 people who flew from our state all were without luggage. Monday morning, I left to drive 11 hours to pick up my kids from my mom's. Tuesday morning, I left mom's to drive back home. David had the unenviable job of trying to deal with the lost luggage and catching up on work. Delta promised that all of our bags would be delivered via UPS to each home between 12 and 2pm on Tuesday. Every one's were except one of our bags and two other people's. David finally drove back to the airport after his 7 pm Tuesday evening meeting and picked it up. I don't think we'll ever fly Delta again, if given a choice. The people at the airport where helpful, but the inefficiency of everyone else put a big damper on our wonderful trip.

Now I have to figure out how to sort and edit in my new Adobe Photoshop program the 200+ pictures we took. I had hoped to do that on Monday, but instead when I didn't have luggage to do the laundry, I decided to drive to Mom's to get the kids instead of waiting two days to meet her half way. Oh well, it will get done sometime. Right?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday's Visit

On Monday we met my mother half way between here and there and gave her our kids. Not permanently, just for a short vacation. Here they are before they hopped into Mamaw's van and drove away. They were looking forward to this trip. That is my Aunt Dotty in the plaid shirt. She rode along with mom so she wouldn't be alone on the trip.

Afterwards, David and I drove to the little town where David's great uncle was a pastor for twenty-five years. The church building was built while he was pastor there, and from pictures we saw in the narthex, it has changed some on the inside, but not much. A small country church on a gravel road that has a long history. It is the "mother" church of the area and was begun during the civil war. For those that like to know, TLH is in the pew and in the basement, brand new LSB's newly taken out of the box, awaiting the day the arrive upstairs in the sanctuary.

We visited his grave in the cemetery behind the church. I love cemeteries around churches. My home church is like that and each time I visit, I can see my dad's cross-shaped tombstone. It just seems *right* that the saints who worshiped together here on this earth are also laid to rest together to be summoned together on the last day.

When we called David's mother to find out for sure if the church we found was the right one, she told us to drive a mile down the road and visit her cousin. So we did. We had a wonderful visit with Vern and Esther. Esther grew up in the parsonage (just to the right of the cemetery), and now she lives not far away.

As we headed home, we made one more stop. This time to visit Wendy and Her Lost Boys. I wanted to meet the newest lost boy before they moved west. Little D is as cute in person as he is in pictures and he contentedly slept the whole time we were there. N right away took David away to play a game. J was playing his new science game he just got for his birthday. R showed me her beautiful American girl doll. C was in and out like big brothers and I was here and there just like two year olds. I did get a picture. Aren't they cute?

Wendy is a great mother and handling 6 children 11 and under and an upcoming move with the grace and strength of a strong woman. God's Blessings on your move west!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thinking Blogger

I'm finally getting around to this. Me nominated me as a thinking blogger. Now I must admit that at first I was pretty flattered, because I also have to admit that I was a bit discouraged and downtrodden when this award was making its way through the ranks of blogs I read way back when and no one ever mentioned me. What?! I don't make people think?! With all my witty, great, in-depth, insightful musings on my life?! Amazing! But I got over myself and moved on, knowing my place in the blogosphere. Then wham, here I am with the award dropped into my lap.

After being passed over before, I realized I'm not a thinker, I'm a doer, and then usually have to live with the various consequences that arise due to my not-thinking before hand. (Yes I'm a woman and have to live with the emotional craziness that means.)

I'm not smart enough to make my readers think about the world or life. I don't even know how to do that for myself. The Elephant's Child is good at that. She writes posts not just about this country's problems but other countries problems too! Wow. And I didn't even know her blog name was the name of a Rudyard Kipling story until last week when I happened to open a library book the kids brought home and saw the story in there and read it. I just figured it was a clever way to point out she grew up in Africa. Dumb me. Her brother's name is from the same story. How cool is that?

I'm not smart enough to know the hymns by heart that Susan does. I'm always thankful there is a hymnal to follow along with. She is also very smart when it comes to all sorts of other things. One can really learn a lot from her, I know I do.

I'm not smart enough to know English like Cheryl. Heck I can't even follow along when she is explaining something. She must cringe when she reads this blog. I'm sorry Cheryl. I always use to think I was smart in English, but like everything else I'm realizing how dumb I really am and how much torture it must be to read my writing.

Then there is Kim, whom I learn a lot from. I am completely amazed at how she manages to live and figure out solutions to hard problems like no electricity or water or whatever. She is a strong woman!

All the rest of my Lutheran Friends and Family Blogs listed on the right make me think. Every one of them. But who am I to only nominate 5 of them like the rules say:

Rules are--

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.

Plus some of the other blogs I read, why would they care that I nominate them for a thinking blogger? I doubt they even know I exist. So I'm going to break the rules. I've been trying to search and see who has the thinking blogger award and who hasn't but, well, I keep forgetting. So I nominate all you Loopers who haven't been nominated before. You are my thinking bloggers. I love reading about your lives and times. By the way, if your a looper whom (or would that be who Scott?) I haven't linked too in the sidebar, let me know! My blog is tending to get dusty around the edges and needs a good cleaning, but well, I keep forgetting. :-)

A Smackeral of Honey Please

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

BTEG had this fun quiz on her site and I couldn't resist playing along. The description seems to fit me pretty well.

Friday, October 19, 2007


My son Nathan requests Fried Apples and Bread Slices for breakfast quite a bit. This recipe, we first tried on our Switzerland day, and have enjoyed it many times since. Now that it is apple season, I thought I would share it once again with you, so you can enjoy a tasty breakfast.

Fried Apples and Bread Slices (Opfel Broisi)
4 Tbsps unsalted butter
2 apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thin
Dash of cinnamon
2 Tbsps brown sugar
4 slices white bread, toasted and cut into 3/4 inch squares

Heat 2 Tbsps butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cook the apples for 5 minutes, turning frequently with a spatula. Add bread squares and turn heat to medium low. continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place apple and bread slices on serving platter and top with remaining butter, melted. Serve immediately. (Recipe from Cooking The Swiss Way, available at your library.)

I usually add sliced cheese (havarti and colby today) and eggs (usually boiled, but today I fixed poached) to a double batch of Fried Apples and Bread Slices for a really nice, filling breakfast, like this:

So what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest orchard, pick some fresh apples and make this for your next breakfast. I think you'll enjoy it. Who wouldn't like to eat something that tasted like fresh apple pie for breakfast?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Trails...

Here are some pictures from the girls' ride last week. This was the first time that they rode without Bob and Brenda walking beside them using lead ropes.
Wasn't it a nice day for a ride?

This time, Bob and Brenda rode their own horses with Hannah and Ellie. David didn't even stay and walk. He dropped them off and came home.

This is Brenda in between Hannah and Ellie. Bob is busy taking the pictures.
The ride lasted for a couple of hours. Hannah and Ellie said the horses started to get naughty. They wanted to stay in the field and snack on the grass. A lot of their pasture grass is short from their eating. This field was the equivalent of children being in a candy store and wanting to sample everything.

One day David and I will go for a ride. We told Bob and Brenda that the last time we rode horses was on our honeymoon. It wasn't the enjoyable rides the girls have experienced.... although it was a memorable one.
It was a trail horse ride in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. David and I made the mistake of saying that we had ridden horses before. By that we meant we'd both been on a horse once or twice. Not that we were ready to don chaps, boots, and a hat and head out west to gather cattle.

But that must've been what they meant when they asked the question. They gave me a horse and said, "This one doesn't like to ride the trail, and usually wants to try and get home as fast as possible." And to David they said, "You have to go last, your horse doesn't like other horses." Silly us, we still got on the creatures.
The trail guides were women. Mean looking cowboy women who seemed to chew and spit and have a look of loathing upon us "city slickers" wanting a horseback ride experience.
After going over the instructions --which doesn't matter on trail horses, they do what they want anyway; horses may be beasts of burden, but they're definitely not dummies --we set out on the trail. First the cowboy woman guide, then 6 or 7 other "city slickers", myself next, then David on the anti-friendly horse and the last cowboy woman guide bringing up the rear.

The setting was beautiful. It was a great sunny day and we saw wonderful views and the guides relayed some great information about the land we were seeing. We stopped on the trail in front of one of the mountains to view "The Sleeping Indian." David took the opportunity to change the film in his brother's very nice Cannon EOS SLR camera he had loaned us for our honeymoon (what a nice brother).
My horse, wanting to get home and not mess with stopping, gets too close to the horse in front. But I had listened to the instructions from those cowboy women. I knew to pull back on the reigns and give some more space between me and the rider in front. I proceed and my horse obeys very well, too well in fact. It backs right into David's horse who promptly decides to bite. They had told us his horse doesn't like the others.

Suddenly I'm on a bucking bronco and like any "city slicker" (especially of the female gender), I screamed and tried to calm down the horse (and myself). Those cowboy women trail guides came riding fast and got the horses calmed. David's had even started bucking. He, being a farm boy, although not a horse rider, was able to ride that horse holding on to the open camera with one hand. What a stud. I married the right man.

Those mean women, still with disgust in their eyes, spat, "That's what you get for getting too close to each other."
Thanks for that. I was only trying to do what they had said.
The rest of the trail ride went smoothly and I was glad to get off and neither David nor I have been on a horse since.

So when our daughter asked to learn to ride horses, these repressed memories came flooding back to my mind. She suggested she could learn at the Camp near our home on the trail rides. Although we know the family very well who runs the camp and they would have been a-ok with the girls riding, I knew I would have to be there with them and I don't know a thing about horses.

Then I remembered Bob and Brenda, members of our church, and asked if they would be willing to teach the girls. Oh they were so delighted and have done an excellent job. They love horses and want all people to enjoy them, even David and I. So I imagine we'll go for a ride one day. And I just hope it will look like this and not the picture in my memory.


"me" tagged me. :-)

The rules of this are:

1. Link the person who has tagged you.
2. Tell seven true things about yourself.
3. Tag seven new people.
4. Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it. I am supposed to name seven truths about myself............. and tag seven new people.

1. I love NASCAR.
2. I know Tony Stewart
3. I love to cook and host parties.
4. I like Van Halen and went to their last concert reunion with Sammy Hagar.
5. I like Country Music.
6. I don't mind driving a long distance to visit friends.
7. I like Coke *not* Pepsi!

Now, the hard part. I'm supposed to tag seven new people. Hmm...Jenny, Kim, Laura, Elizabeth, Cheryl, Presbytera, and Wendy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dancing With The Stars, A rant

We've watched this show each season and have enjoyed it each time. There are always stars whom we think we won't like and end up really getting a good impression of their personality. Stars like Jerry Springer, Emmit Smith, and this year, Marc Cuban. We have our favorite dances and dance professionals and we love the host Tom Bergeron. We have lots of discussions with the children about the appropriateness of clothing.Last night, wasn't so much of a discussion as a rant and warning.

The co-host, Samantha Harris, had her first baby, a girl, on September 23rd. Drew Lachey, a former Dancing with the Stars champion, had been filling in as host for her. Last night she was back. I told my family, that is awful, she has a little baby not even a month old at home and she should be home feeding that baby and taking care of it. Then I told my girls if they do that, I'm coming to their home and kicking them in the rear and taking the baby. One daughter responded, "Okay, I'll wait till the baby is more like 5 months." David jumped in then and said, "No you won't. If you have a baby, you stay home and raise it. Don't send it off to someone else to raise."

Babies, toddlers, school children need their mommies at home, caring for them and their daddies at work providing for them. This is the right thing to do, even though it isn't always the easy thing to do. And the older I get, the less sympathy I have for the various, "exceptions."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Birthday Girl

Hannah is now 12 (and 2 days)!

One of our birthday traditions is to make homemade ice-cream. It has always been just plain vanilla, because frankly, homemade ice-cream is delicious all by itself. But last year we started expanding into flavors. On her last birthday, which just happened to be her golden birthday, Hannah requested chocolate chip cookie dough. Her all-time favorite. Wow did that turn out delicious! Her sister, Ellie, requested chocolate for her birthday, and every one liked that (me, not so much).

This year, Hannah requested Peppermint ice-cream, her second favorite. Wow! That was so good! Sorry Schwan's I won't be buying your peppermint ice-cream this fall (which I normally do because it is one of my all-time favorites). I can make my own that tastes, dare I say it?, even better.

If you haven't ever tried making home-made ice-cream, you need to do it....soon! Electric freezers from your local store, make it easy to turn cream, sugar, eggs, and flavoring into delicious frozen treats. Go get yours and make some now! Your family will love you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hysterical Schedule

My husband loves to point out that the Greek word for womb also is the base word for hysteria - not funny, but crazy. The poor man, he must really love me, because I've really put him through some crazy emotional roller coaster rides. Like last week....

On Monday morning at 7:20am I'm awake and talking to him about all that we should accomplish that day. This is *me* the one who loves, loves, loves to sleep in, especially on his day off. But we get up and accomplish quite a bit that day. By night, the roller coaster has zoomed to the bottom, and I'm in a not so nice mood.

That mood generally stays near the bottom as the roller coaster is zooming this way and that, up and down small hills and twisting and turning. I am getting school-stuff done, as the coaster progress (thanks to the schedule), but laundry and dishes are piling.

By Friday, I tell my dear man, that I'm trying to see how long I can go before I have to wash a pot. He replies, "Good, tell me how it turns out." See how clever he has become the last 14 years? He won't even let himself be pulled into a response where I might use it against him!

Finally the roller coaster is coming to a halt and Saturday while, grilling supper (every other dish was dirty, I had to cook on the grill), I took the time and finished the dishes. If the children hadn't been in charge of loading/unloading the dishwasher, and that I had bought lunch meat for sandwiches which we could use paper plates, I would have had to break long before in order to have something to eat our meals on and with.

Oh how nice the kitchen looked. I really love a clean kitchen, especially the sink. If the kitchen is clean, I'm generally happy. So why don't I keep it that way all the time? Why don't I do the dishes after each meal, or at least once a day?

Because I'm a woman, full of hysteria. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007


For the past two weeks, we have been following a school schedule relatively successfully. In the past, I have let other things overrun our school time, but this year, I am trying to conscientiously make school time a priority in our lives. Hence the schedule I made for us and we've been following.

I started with the daily time form from Donna Young and then edited it for our life. I made it into six columns. The first is the time of day in half hour increments, the next five columns are all headed with one child's name. I have five of these sheets, one for each of our school days, Tuesday - Saturday. In the past, some days have been able to be repeats, but this year due to piano lessons, the oldest violin's lesson and swim club practice, each day is just a bit different.

While on vacation a couple of weeks ago, my friend brought along her book, Managers of Their Homes by the Maxwell's. I perused it and took the idea of having siblings working together at different parts of the day. I also used the idea of having the younger ones play with certain things at certain times. Both of these have worked very well for the past two weeks.

But there is a problem (isn't there always!). *I* don't have as much time to sit and read blogs, or post or catch up on Looper mail. And there were times this week, that brought me to depression. I need to come up with time to do that, in order for me to unwind and not be "mom" at the moment. Because otherwise, I'll end up doing more of what I'm doing now, posting/reading when I should be teaching and that will lead to the downward spiral that is so hard to get out of again.

Overall, though, the schedule does work better for us. If it is planned, I do it. We are even getting art done! Plus, by having the older two work with the younger ones, they are learning things and getting read too, and the little ones look forward to it!

For example, the youngest is too young to participate in the art class, but he needs to be quiet so the others can concentrate. So I planned that time as his own special movie time. Last week I borrowed from the library the video of the Robert McCloskey Library collection. It had all his stories with beautiful art and a nice voice reading the stories of Lentil, Blueberries for Sal and others. He simply loved it. This week I borrowed, "Notes Alive, Dr. Seuss's My Many Colored Days." We got it on Wednesday, and this morning, before he even got dressed he brought me the movie and said, "Remember today is the day I get to watch this all be myself." That made me smile. And yes, I'm not mean enough that the other children won't get the opportunity to watch, but they have to wait until after their youngest sibling watches it all by himself first.

Now back to my regularly scheduled day. :-)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Being involved

Often, when people miss church for a long time, it is hard for them to start coming back even when they want to. The feelings (whether real or imagined) of "what will everyone think," "I don't want others to make a fuss over me," "nobody really missed me, or likes me, or cares about me," all can float through the mind and prevent the person from once again attending worship. That is sad. But I can understand those feelings. I have them too, but with groups, not worship.

When I'm not active in Loopers and I come back to the conversations, it isn't always easy. The conversations seem to be all going along, and I'm not any part. Why should I jump in with my thoughts? Others seem more able to keep up with the dialog, than I. What does anyone care what I think? Yes, I have those thoughts, too, whether real or imagined.

Same thing with the Ladies' group at church or the Family Fun group (of which I basically run). Why would they miss me? What's the point? What does my involvement matter.

But when I just jump in with both feet, I find that it does matter. Maybe not to everyone else, but to me. I enjoy being part of those groups. Sharing thoughts, ideas, work, and fun with each group. They help me to wrench my thoughts from centering on myself, to others. I need that constant reminder, maybe more than others.

So even though I'm behind on looper mail and not sure how or when I'll catch up, I'll keep at it.
Even though I don't always *feel* like attending the Ladies' meetings at church or planning the Family Fun events, I will, because I need to keep reminding myself that it shouldn't always be about me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Favorite Soup

Barbara Bush's All-American Clam Chowder
3 slices bacon
1 (7.5 oz) can minced clams (save liquid)
1 and 1/2 cups milk
dash of pepper
1/2 cup minced onions
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 can cream of celery soup

Cook bacon in frying pan until crisp. Remove and break into 1 inch pieces. Brown onion in bacon fat. Add clam liquid and potatoes. Cover and cook over low heat until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes. Blend in bacon pieces, minced clams and other ingredients. Heat, but do not boil. Bacon may be used for garnish.

This is one of husband's favorites. This will be our supper along with French bread, cheese, and apple slices. The kids will finish the home-made chicken noodle soup I made last week. We save the clam chowder all for us.

The recipe comes from my "More Hoosier Kitchen Favorites" recipe book, published in 1993, which I received as a wedding gift from my cousin. Thanks again, Ed and Tammy! I think of you each time I make this soup, and other favorite recipes from this cookbook!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Are You Okay?

This was the title of the email awaiting me in my inbox from a dear Looper friend two days ago. She was concerned because I hadn't joined in the conversations on Loopers for awhile and my previous blog post had her concerned. Isn't that sweet? I love Loopers, she really made my day.

In case you too are wondering, here's what has happened.

We planned on leaving for vacation on Sept. 16th. Lowell, the man about whom my previous post was written, has been battling cancer for years, but recently has been getting worse. My husband visited him both on Friday and Saturday and called his wife on Sunday before we left. He wasn't doing well, and neither was she. He didn't know for sure what to do and we ended up driving to the hospital allowing my husband to visit Lowell one last time and also chat with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Then we left for vacation. That night Lowell was called home to his Father in heaven.

My husband had arranged with another pastor in the area to arrange the funeral and he would come back to officiate, then return to vacation. He left Thursday evening to arrive home for the Friday funeral. Unfortunately, he got sick during the night, was able to do the funeral, but then went back home to bed and slept all day. By Saturday morning, he sounded worse, and I'm in tears on vacation wondering how I'm going to get myself, the kids, and all our stuff home. Our friends who went on vacation with us, helped me locate a vehicle to rent, took me to pick it up, and we all cleaned up our cabins, loaded the vehicles and left for home. The kids and I arrived home late Saturday night.

I had called my in-laws and they had arrived at my house late Saturday afternoon, to bring their son some food and company. On Sunday after service (which due to the fact we were suppose to be on vacation, members wondered why the kids and I were there worshiping), they helped me get the rental van back to the right place, bought us lunch, and then had to head home.

Monday morning, my husband wasn't any better, so off to the doctor. Diagnosis: strep throat. He often has sore throats and swollen tonsils, but it is never strep throat. We're sort of relieved it is this time, because now, on the medicine, he is improving.

That's life in our home so far. Oh and my sister called on Sunday evening, her husband is in stage 4 liver cancer. Death is always drawing nearer.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Not the day I thought

I was going to be busily and happily preparing for our adventure, helping the children finish their New World Explorer projects, cleaning and straightening the house, but now it seems all sort of pointless.

Impending death does that. Especially the impending death of a loved one or a dear friend, or a dear church brother.

Merciful Father, God of all truth, we commend Lowell into Your gracious keeping, for You have redeemed him. Guard and shield him from all the powers of darkness as he walks through the valley of the shadow of death. Grant that he may fall asleep in peace and awaken to the bright joy of Your eternal presence; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lord, let at last Thine angels come.
To Abr'ham's bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me,
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's that I hear?

There are new sounds coming to my ears. Here is the source;

Our oldest had her first violin lesson yesterday. She was so excited. She did well, for getting a lot of information from the teacher in the first day.

I feel incredibly lucky to find this teacher. I had found someone else originally. But when she sent the lesson schedule, she included a note saying she wouldn't give lessons beyond December due to expecting her first baby in January. Why didn't she tell me that when I talked to her in August? I scrambled looking for someone else. Mrs. Stangler was recommended and upon talking to her, would gladly teach Hannah. This turned out even better for us than we could have hoped. Mrs. Stangler, a mother of 10 children ages 35-15, is charging two dollars less and is 14 miles closer to our home than the first instructor. She has lesson hours for homeschoolers in the middle of the afternoon, and I was able to pick one that would work best for us.

Now I'll keep in mind that she also does piano lessons, so if the new piano teacher doesn't work out, I'll switch to Mrs. Stangler for that as well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just One More Thing....

I love Columbo. My husband loves Columbo. Good friends love Columbo and bought us Season 2 shows on dvd. They have Season 1 and we switched to watch each other's. I love the way Columbo solves the crime. I think about Columbo a lot during the day.

As I'm teaching and we're nearing the end: "Wait, one more thing, before you leave."

As I'm getting ready to leave the house, I think, "Wait, one more thing I need to get, or do."

As we're cleaning house, "One more job before you're through."

As the kids come into the office while I'm at the computer, "One more thing first before I answer your question."

As I'm planning for a trip, "Wait, one more thing I should pack, bake, or clean before going."

I think I need a brown trench coat, and to take up cigar smoking.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Home Schooling Treat

Every year the local children head back to their respective school buildings the day after Labor Day. And most years that week happens to be nice, hot, and sunny.

Perfect days for this:
Yes we have the pool mostly to ourselves. It is one of our favorite treats; to go swimming while all the other munchkins normally splashing about in the pool are sitting at their desks in a (most-likely) too hot, sweaty and stinky room.

There were two other children there, but they had to leave about five minutes after our arrival. Another couple, who was camping came and enjoyed the pool, then left after about a half an hour. Then another mom and her daughter, who have a seasonal site at the campground came about five minutes prior to us leaving.

But even with those few other people, it was most like our own pool. The kids enjoyed the water, I enjoyed getting in, getting wet, and then sitting on a lounge chair reading, Emma, by Jane Austen while drying off, getting hot and repeating the cycle all over again.

If you're worried about the education of my children, stop it, they're not yours, that is for me to worry about. But if you must know, today we accomplished:
Latin, Math, History, Reading, Home-Ec (cooking and cleaning up lunch, and helping me freeze 5 one gallon bags of whole tomatoes) and then 2 hours of P.E.:

I wonder if tomorrow will be as nice? We all hope so, this will be the last week the pool will be open, and so we'll want to take advantage as much as possible, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


This is Bob with my two oldest daughters. Bob and his wife Brenda own 6 Arabian horses and for the last several weeks have been teaching the girls all about horses one night a week.

The girls are really enjoying their time. David has been taking them, but last night, he had other obligations (he had to draft his fantasy football team), so I went with the girls.

Wow, what great riders they are becoming. Bob and Brenda are very knowledgeable and are doing an excellent job of teaching the girls what it means to own a horse. Normally they have the girls help saddle the horse, and then off down the trail we walk. Bob and Brenda will use lead ropes and then after awhile, take them off and let the girls learn to be the master. But Bob and Brenda are there just in case and are constantly teaching and telling them what to do and what not to do.

Last night the mosquitoes were exceptionally bad, so the horses did not want to be walking on the trail. So after just a short walk, we turned around and went back home. Once there, the girls took the horses into the round pen and practiced. Bob was the "Show announcer" and they had to have their horses perform his commands. They did a great job of having them "walk," "turn," "stop," "trot," and "back-up."

I thought how graceful they looked. Not just the horses, but my daughters. They both have good balance and are learning how to be assertive to the horse but also to listen to it as well. After they were done, they helped take off the saddles and walk them back to the pen. Then we went in to Bob and Brenda's home where we enjoyed cake and a concert! Their daughter plays the harp, and her boyfriend, the violin. They were practicing for an upcoming wedding and graciously gave us a brief concert. What a nice treat!

Here are a few other pictures from past week's horse riding lessons. Enjoy! I know my girls are!

Isn't the view on the trail beautiful? They ride at sunset, simply lovely.

This is one daughter brushing DeeDee.

This is the other daughter brushing Starfire.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Why does she think it is necessary to roll her collar around in her (ahem) business? And why does she do it on days when I don't have time to bathe her? And recently after being groomed?

You naughty, naughty dog. Now you'll have to stay outside and only in the laundry room of the house until bath time.

Oi, and mom you thought I needed a dog - why? See what you have to look forward to in a couple of months?