Thursday, May 31, 2007


John Rosemond has a good article on family picnics. You should read it here.

I love picnics and so do my kids. As soon as the weather turned nice this spring, they have been begging to eat outside. However, are plastic round table is still not out of the garage and frankly for our family, it doesn't fit us anymore. But when dad was gone for a couple of days to his conference, the kids and I took a blanket outside and ate our lunch. They thought it was great.

We'll go on more picnics this summer, it is one of our favorite things. Often though, we ride our bikes down the trail, instead of driving. Our picnics usually involve sandwiches and chips, although I've been wanting to try the old-fashioned picnics of fried chicken, potato salad, and of course, pie! I think this summer will be the year. Where do you picnic?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Time Off Work

Usually when my husband has an extra day off we tend to find somewhere to go, whether it is out to his parents' farm, or to a siblings' home or a day trip to see some site around our Land O' Lakes. But this past weekend, plans fell through and we stayed home working on various chores around the place.

Memorial Day found us all sleeping in way past our normal waking time. After leisurely eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and reading the paper, we decided on what project to work on first. Since it was nice and a possible chance of rain the next day, we decided to work on the outdoor project.

When we first moved into this parsonage, each summer I would see weeds growing on the back hill. It was rather unsightly. I kept thinking this would make a lovely flower bed, but with five young kids, three of whom under 2, I didn't have the time to get it done. But each year, I kept trying a little something, not sure exactly what was best to do. Finally, last fall, we figured out what to do. My sil was getting rid of day lilies. She graciously gave me a wheel-barrow full. That meant one day last fall, David and I dug and weeded and planted on that hill. Plus we then decided to do some better landscaping in the front of our home. So another whole day, and then some, we spent digging and planting in the front. Yes we were quite sore, but it looked great. And this spring it looks even nicer. With added flower boxes, I'm liking the way the front porch is shaping up.

Back to Memorial Day. The day lilies were coming up but so were the weeds and last year we ran out of time (and money) to put in the landscaping edging to make it easier to mow and keep weeds/grass out. Monday was the day to get to work. David and I began digging and edging around the bed. It went in easier than either of us thought and turned out decent which made for a successful day. :-) After the edging was in, we were tired, but began on the weed removal, enlisting child labor in the process. We tuckered out before all the weeds were removed, but there's always tomorrow right? Besides do you know how hard it is to tell grass from day lilies?

Here's the picture of before the weeding began and after. Behind me you can see the limbs we cut off a tree last fall, we burned that (did the boys have fun with that! they ran and picked up sticks all throughout the yard!) and are going to get rocks from my in-laws' farm and make a fire pit right there to enjoy.

After a delicious supper of grilled pork, much needed showers and baths, we all fell into bed exhausted that evening. The beauty of his extra day off was we could once again sleep long past the normal time in the morning. We took a morning walk after breakfast and found our way over to Kamp Dels. Nathan had some birthday money left he wanted to use to purchase some more Shleich knight figures. The walk was about 3 miles round trip and now I know the kids can handle the walk for our trips to the pool this summer.

The indoor project began after lunch (although there was still no rain). For the sake of the children (hmm, hmm), we sold our universal weight set, took the treadmill out to the garage for my mom to come get one day, and began converting the room into a play room. David had built a 6x8ft playhouse for Hannah's 4th or 5th birthday. It has been in the garage for the past year. But we cleaned up the concrete floor, bought some indoor/outdoor carpet (this room has been known to have water) and began to re-assemble the house. There is still more to do, like sorting through the toys, and this and that, but more or less it is done. The kids awoke this morning and were all excited to have the playhouse back up and able to be used once again. David and I are glad to be back to "work." ;-)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Learn by Heart

10 years ago, my dh was finishing his fourth year at CTSFW, while I was learning how to be a mother of two, having given birth to our second daughter in April. Pr. Bender came to give an evening class on catechetical instruction. I attended with the nursing babe while the oldest stayed with dad.

It really is quite simple. Speak the words of the catechism daily, repeating one section/week and over time those words become part of you. So much so that you can't help but say those words when you hear part being spoken. The same goes with hymns and Bible verses.

During that class 10 years ago, Pr. Bender at one point used my weeks old infant daughter as the example. How was she going to learn to talk? Of course by her father and I talking to her. So how else will she learn the language of faith if we don't also speak that to her. I will never forget that moment; of course he was right.

That fall, having moved to my husband's first call, we began following the Learn By Heart Schedule, Pr. Bender set up for his school. Our oldest was only 2, but we kept at it. In the evenings for bedtime prayers, we would sing a favorite hymn. We were simply amazed at how these two young girls were complete sponges and soaking up the words of Christ through the catechism, hymns, and Bible verses. By the time they were 5 and 3, they would often know it by heart before their parents.

Now we are the parents of 5 lovely children. We have been fairly consistent with the daily Learn By Heart. We use the Congregation at Prayer, but the one my husband writes for his flock here. I have noticed something. The younger set doesn't seem to know as many verses or catechism sections or hymns by heart. Granted two are boys and I do see the difference with learning, but there is still not the recollection like it was with the older two.

I'm not sure why, but we'll keep plugging away because I do know they are still listening by some of the questions they ask. This is another reason I love attending this conference. It renews me into seeing just how important this is. It isn't just another "thing." It is *the* thing. These are the words of Christ, the words given to us to cling to, believe, cherish and treasure. These are treasures that I simply can't not give to my children. So even though I'm tired, dh has visits to make, the children are squirrely, there's a million things to do, "No children you can't be excused from the table, we will first say our prayers." "Yes we will say prayers before bedtime." Why? Because hearing Christ and His Word is what Life is.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are You Registered Yet?

The Thirteenth Annual Symposium on Catechesis will be here soon, will I see you there?

This is one (if not *the* one) of my husband's and my favorite conferences. In the ten years since his ordination we have only missed 3 of them. It is a time for my husband to meet and talk with other confessional pastors; to learn, to be reminded and to be encouraged.

While I would like to be able to sit through the sessions with my husband, my duty right now is to watch the children so that not only my husband can learn, but also the other attendees can hear and learn. So we spend our days in the water park and pool. Now that the youngest is almost 5, I plan to bring them to the morning Matins each day before heading off to the water.

Even though we miss the sessions, the kids and I do attend both Divine Services. Oh what a great treat. There we sit amidst others who sing and sing loudly, who listen, who crave the body and blood of our Lord. Those two services, even with young children whining (mine) about having to go to church or being hot or being tired or hungry, or that a sibling is poking them, or they have to go potty is worth the trip.

So will you be coming? If you've never attended, please consider coming, I don't think you could be sorry if you did.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Yesterday, we continued our trip around the world with a stop in Austria. I dropped the ball with this one and didn't make it as nice as some of our other days. I didn't take pictures, I didn't get all the meals Austrian; but we did try some new things and watched part of "The Sound of Music."

Fruhstuck (Breakfast)
Buchteln* (jelly rolls)
Milch (milk)
Kaffee (coffee)
* these are made by rolling thawed dinner rolls into squares, adding a spoonful of jelly, pinching up the sides and then baking.

Festessen (Dinner, which we ate at supper)
Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal, except our butcher didn't have veal, so I used cubed steak)
Schupfnudeln (potato noodles - so we could sing, "Schnitzel with noodles.")
Salat (the easy kind - out of a bag)
Salzburger Nockerln (Salzburger Sweet Souffle)
Milch (for the kids)
Gewurztraminer (for the parents)

Like most countries we've studied to date, most eat their big meal at noon and a light supper. Well, I had planned to do that, but realized to late that the potato noodles took longer, so had to switch at the last minute. Therefore, our noon meal was simply lunch meat sandwiches, veggies, and chips.

The potato noodles were quite interesting, I've never made anything like that before. They tasted good, just like noodles. It was a little difficult to make as I didn't know how the dough should "feel." Most of the kids liked them, but we all agreed they needed more salt, and some sort of sauce would have been even better.

I had never made a souffle before and this one was very easy. It turned out delicious. Beginner's luck was on my side in that I put it in the oven and we were ready to eat it when it finished baking.

Tagged twice

Jenn and Cheryl tagged me to fill this out.

What did you want to be at 5, 10, 15, and 20?

5 - I don't know am I suppose to remember being 5?

10 - I don't know, but I do remember being so excited that now I was finally a "ten"-ager. :-)

15 - Hmm, I probably wanted to be at some point a professional cheerleader (yeah I was big into that!). I also remember thinking being a nutritionist would be cool, until I realized all the science I would need to take. To this day, I still find the whole nutrition aspect of health very, very fascinating.

20 - Well, at that point I was studying to be a Lutheran High School History teacher, but I was engaged too, and really, deep down all I wanted to be was a wife and mother.

I don't know who to tag, if you want to play, consider yourself tagged. Oh Jenny, lil' sis, consider yourself definitely tagged. ;-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I thank God for my Looper friends. They are so smart and witty and knowledgeable. I'm not at all like that. Any little bit that may come out of me is completely repeating what I've heard them say.

I thank God for my friend Amy. Her wisdom and friendship has taught me a lot about myself. She is much smarter than me and I am so glad she shares that with me and doesn't mind my simple-mindedness or the borrowing of all her ideas.

I thank God for my sister-in-laws. They all know what it is like to be married to a Mumme (and a couple of them to a Pastor on top of that). We all agree we married the right Mumme and it is so nice to be able to count them as friends as well as family.

I thank God for my family. Although I don't see them much and we aren't always as close as friends, they are my family.

I thank God for the faithful, confessional Pastor's He has placed before me. From them I have received gifts that have mattered the most. I pray God will continue to bless them and keep them faithful shepherds as they battle the various wolves surrounding the flock.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Susan tagged me to name seven things I've learned in life. Hmm....this will take some thinking.

1. Mom was right about ____________________ (I can put just about anything in there) and I still don't like to acknowledge it.

2. Everyone wastes money in some way and somehow justifies that waste.

3. Drinking an adult beverage or two in the evening really puts the aches and pains of the day into a better perspective.

4. Mom's example sets the tone for the house.

5. I hate to admit it, but Maria was right, "When you wake up, WAKE UP, it's healthy."

6. People make time for what is important to them.

7. Marquart was right, it is all about life or death.

Who to tag? How about Charity, Kristi, Elizabeth, Jenny, and Angie. What words of wisdom do you have to share with us?

Biking and Camping

On Sunday afternoon we took our first family bike ride of the season. This one was extra special as our youngest, a 4yr old, rode his own bike (with training wheels) instead of being pulled in the trailer. Riding along, I realized we looked like quite a site. Dad was in the lead, followed by the children in order of age (imagine stair-steps) and me in the rear.

Our bike trail is really nice. It is a paved path where the old train tracks were. It stretches about 20 miles east and about 30 miles west. Check it our here. When we first moved here and saw how nice it was, we decided to splurge on nice bikes, and it has been worth it. We enjoy our family bike rides. Plus David and I can arise early to go for longer, faster rides before the kids awaken.

I'll once again make a plug for Kamp Dels. This is run by a family in our church. The Dad (Del) and his wife started it 52 years ago. Today his two sons run the camp. A daughter also works there and the other 4 kids all live close by and have worked there and their kids have worked (or work) there. We have lots of fun swimming there during the summer and visiting the animals, etc. If you like camping, consider Kamp Dels. It is one of the cleanest campgrounds I've ever seen (they power-wash the bathrooms every day). Let me know if you're planning on coming, we'll come visit you at the pool, or have you over for a meal, or both.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Too Funny

My husband arrived home yesterday afternoon from his pastor's conference. He told us that at the banquet, Pres. Harvala of the ND District told many good, funny jokes. Here, so far, is my favorite:

My wife is a NASCAR fan. I asked her what she wanted for Mother's Day she replied, "I want something that will go from 0-200mph in under 10 seconds." I bought her a scale.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home Improvement

We've lived in this parsonage for about 5 years. I think that, finally, we have the kitchen where I like it.

At first, we had a table in the kitchen for an "eat-in" kitchen. That table quickly became too small and we had one like it, but bigger, built by a member of the church who builds cabinets for a living. We loved this table. Unfortunately, with 7 of us we couldn't fit the food on the table along with all our plates. So (thanks to Lori's suggestion) we got rid of the individual desks in the school room and put the kitchen table in there, and began eating exclusively in the dining room. This was about 1.5 - 2 years ago. For that time, my kitchen looked like this:
Very limited counter space. All my baking and cooking and meal prep were done in that corner between the dishwasher and the stove. Sure I was used to it, but it was getting very annoying! The little ones wanted to be up on the stool helping, but there wasn't always room and bickering would begin and I would end up sending them all away.

The kitchen table had been perpendicular to the wall under the picture. Imagine a shaker-style oak table 3ft x 6ft. When we put it in the school room this is what we put in its place:
The coffee/toaster school desk weren't exactly ideal. It was a very small space to butter toast that was finished and to even get to the coffee pot took care and it seemed like that spot was always the one forgotten when kitchen clean-up took place.

The school desk beside was borrowed to us by members and I kept it here so the little ones would have a place to practice their letters. I loved the way the desk slants so it allows them to have their arm in the correct position for writing - especially helpful when they are first learning to write.

The problem was there was no place for anyone to be in the kitchen. It was this giant open space with very little counter space. We thought and thought and thought and finally came up with having a kitchen island built. So we talked to the man who built our table and game him our ideas. That was over a year ago. He is so swamped with building kitchen cabinets, our little project was down the list. But that worked to my advantage.

We began re-thinking what to put on the school desk wall. I finally decided I would love a Hoosier Cabinet and use it as my main baking center. If we did that, we would have to re-think the island. We began searching on-line and finally found what we were looking for. Now my kitchen looks like this:

I LOVE IT!!!!! The island is wonderful. I now have a place for dirty dishes and cooking prep and all the kids can be there watching and/or helping. The Hoosier Cabinet is fabulous. All my cooking supplies are right there. Inside the tambour doors sits my Bosch (I had them drill a hole in the back for the cord). I just love it. Come visit sometime and see it in person, the pictures don't do it justice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I never really liked science during school. I remember finding some of it interesting but overall, I never did very well and never would place it as one of my favorites. That has changed since I've been homeschooling. I am finding it absolutely fascinating.

For the first few years with the two oldest, we followed The Well Trained Mind's guide to teaching science. We did lots of library books and a few little experiments. We weren't perfect by any means, in fact our dedication had a lot to be desired. However we did enjoy scrounging for books in the library that interested us and reading them and discussing them.

This year I switched and bought Jeannie Fulbright's "Flying Creature's of the Fifth Day." Wow do I ever like this book. Now that the range of my children's abilities is from pre-school to 5th grade, I wanted something that would work for all of them at the same time. This does! It challenges the two older ones yet allows the little ones to join in the discussions without feeling overwhelmed.

Mrs. Fulbright has notebook pages to download and use for the book and they are great. The older ones have lines for writing a summary of what they remember from our reading (and I am amazed at how well they remember and are doing well at articulating their thoughts). The younger version is mainly for drawing while I also will have them dictate to me what they remember.

Currently we are in the middle of studying birds. The kids helped dad build bird houses to hang and watched to see which birds would move in and build their nests. We've also hung up bird feeders and now enjoy watching several goldfinches enjoying their meals while we are enjoying ours or are working in the kitchen. We're waiting for orioles to find our feeder and hope that other birds will find the suet we made.

Most days one of the kids will be scouring through our field guide book trying to identify a bird or just look up their favorites; while another kid has the binoculars looking at a particular bird in hopes of identifying it.

Next year we will work through Mrs. Fulbrights Astronomy book, and then as the following years come we'll proceed through the others. Check them out if you haven't already.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all of you had a lovely day. Here is how mine was spent:

1. At church that morning, a family who is adopting a foster child was given permission to baptize her. She has been with them since a few weeks old and is now almost 2. What a joyous day. The adoption becomes official on Friday.

2. My wonderful husband fixed waffles and ring sausage for our brunch. Delicious! On the table were cards from my children. Ellie used her new stamping and stencils to decorate her card - it was beautiful. Hannah did a pattern of paper squares on the front and wrote a poem for me:

G is for good, the best in the land,
l is for loving, you do understand,
e is for educator, the teacher of me,
n is for noble, as true as can be,
d is for dependable, we can count on you,
a is for admirable, whatever you may do.

Of course I teared up - it's in the mommy contract.

3. After brunch, I went to watch the NASCAR race with my dearest, while the kids cleaned up the table. Lo and behold when I came upstairs it wasn't just the table they cleaned. They picked up everywhere! The kitchen was spotless - one even mopped the floor. The living room, which had looked like a tornado took all the books off the shelves and scattered them about the floor, was now picked up with everything in its place. They also picked up the school room, the dining room and the hallway. It looked wonderful! What a great Mother's Day gift! It was perfect!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I'm picky when it comes to chocolate. I only like it with caramel or peanut butter, or in something where it doesn't taste too "chocolaty." That's one more thing to add to my list of "What Makes Me Weird." So when you all suggested I go get some chocolate after "Grumpy Bear," I smiled. I knew what you were doing, cheering me up, and it worked. I didn't have chocolate but I did have the kids break out the ice-cream and we put either chocolate syrup (see, I haven't ruined my kids with my likes, completely) or Carmel syrup on top. I was all out of peanuts and m&m's for the top though. It was good, and I feel better.

And we all know, a happy mommy is a happy family.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Grumpy Bear

I've started about five different posts and deleted every one. Everything sounds so dumb, and pointless. I'm just not happy with anything these days. I feel like everything is against me and I'm so far behind in (insert your favorite thing here) that what is the point of even trying. UGH!!! I hate this "mini-depression" I often go through.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Since You've been asking....

I'm feeling much much better. I think that I may actually be back to 100% now. Yippee! What a great blessing is health.

While my mom was here she did a lot of work for me, like washing all the windows and curtains, and doing all the cooking and cleaning, so I could concentrate on teaching (that is after I was feeling better).

Last week Tuesday, the kids and I drove her home, "back to Indiana, back to where I come from." We spent a few days there with her and then left on Friday for Chicago and our good friends the Tauszs. Yesterday, we drove home and David was just delighted to have us back home.

The only problem is that the two oldest came down with bad sore throats on Tuesday. What is weird is that they haven't had this sort of sore throat since we lived in IL. Hmmm I wonder if there is some sort of allergy connection. Either way, they are miserable and spent the drive home taking pain relievers.

I just don't want to get sick again....