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!