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?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Color Change Because....

1. She did it and inspired me to "just do it."

2. Football is starting and in high school I was a football cheerleader. Our high school colors were orange and brown, therefore I yelled more times than I can remember, "Orange, Brown, Touchdown," while clapping my hands and stepping side to side. You remember right Jenny?

3. What most of my family will think is the real reason: Because Tony drives the #20 orange Home Depot Chevrolet. (This is mostly true, if I can't have an orange room in the house, at least I can on my blog.) :-)

What do you think?

4,100 Pages

That is the number of pages I have read aloud to my family in the last 13 months. Those pages represent all 7 of the Harry Potter books. We finished The Deathly Hallows on Monday morning. I read every last page except for chapters 34 and 35 on Sunday evening. I couldn't control the tears and David had to take over.

Wow, what an amazing story. I'm still sort of overwhelmed by all of it, and my thoughts are somewhat scattered. I can't imagine those of you who started the series with the first book and had to wait all these years for the end. We were able to go from one book to the next.

One thought is clear. These books are very good, and I have no problem reading them to my children, to myself, or letting them re-read them. I think Ms. Rowling has done a superb job of giving a series of books to children and adults that help them grow into better people. There are many examples of how decisions affect outcome and how some learn from mistakes, others take longer to learn, and others never learn.

Forgiveness, Love, and Sacrifice. "All was well."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Way to a Man's Heart... through his stomach. My mom knew this, and she obliged when I brought him home from college to meet them one weekend. She had a bowl of freshly cleaned and peeled shrimp and shrimp sauce on the table, set in front of him. Grilled t-bones (angus beef) and baked potatoes were to follow. Both mom and dad kept encouraging him to "eat." He did, and he was hooked ever since.

Now I understand the importance of keeping his belly happy, but I sometimes forget just how happy his belly can be when fed good treats. I relearned that lesson this afternoon, when I showed him this site. I had to wipe the drool from his chin and my keyboard.

Guess what I serving for dessert tonight?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Need a Purse or something Else Sewn?

A fellow homeschool mom has brought me out of my self-imposed blogging moratorium this week. In order to help get her sewing business up and going, she's asking us to point you to her blog and her business. I get a chance to enter her contest for one of her cute purses. Even if I don't win, that's okay, I hope this gives her some business!

Good luck Deb! Your skills are great!
Have you checked out the sites yet? If not go here and there now! :-)

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

On our last evening together with my Mom, Lynn, Andy, and Christian, we sat around the campfire and reminisced about our week. Andy summed it up by saying it was all about the birds and the bees.
Each night we would sit outside prior to dusk and watch the chimney swifts flying all around the roof of the church feeding, and then watch them drop one by one into the chimney for the evening. We always tried to wait until the very last one was in before averting our eyes elsewhere. It was an awesome sight and one we never tired of seeing.

The bees, or in our case wasps, took up a lot of the day's activities. A colony of wasps built a nest in a hole in the bottom of the front porch post right by the stairs in the spring/early summer. David had tried several different times to use hornet and wasp killer, but was unable to reach the nest due to where they had built, and therefore unable to kill them. So Andy used spray foam that fills holes and filled their hole along with any others he saw. Even after that, for the next couple of days we saw wasps who hadn't been in the nest at the time of closing, swarming around trying to get in. Andy stayed armed with the hornet/wasp spray and used it on them. The number has significantly decreased, so we're hopeful we won't have to compete with those residents while we use our front porch.

We had a wonderful time with my family and hated to see them go. Our week included, besides the birds and the bees and what I listed before, teaching Andy and Lynn to play Settlers of Catan (they loved it!); shopping with Lynn at the outlet mall while David and Andy spent the day fishing (they caught enough for us to have a delicious supper); and lots and lots of visiting with each other.

Here our a few pictures of our time together. There were lots of happy times, but not all were captured in pictures, most will simply be pleasant memories for us to enjoy.

Vikings Training Camp. Andy is a Packer fan, but even he had fun seeing the Vikings in training camp. Nathan got the signature of Sydney Rice on his pennant, the only one signing after practice.
We enjoyed two campfires. Andy, the boyscout made the best fires that burned beautifully.

After they left on Friday morning, we got back to school work and simply reading while remembering all the fun we had.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Aardvark Alley: An Ever-Expanding Blogosphere

I'm now listed among the BBOV. I guess my little ole blog is now grown-up. Don't worry, I won' t let it go to my head. Now there will just be the opportunity for more people to try and comprehend the meanderings of my mind. Good luck to you! Many thanks to Aardvark Alley for finding me worthy enough to be listed among so many other wonderful blogs. Here is the post listing me and other's to the ever-expanding roll.

What is the BBOV you ask? Look here to find the answer to your pressing question.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fun with Family

My mom, my sister, Lynn, and her husband, Andy, and my nephew, Christian, arrived at our house on Saturday afternoon. Here is what we've accomplished so far:

Saturday: I made a delicious supper (yes, I'm patting myself on the back, pathetic, I know) of Mexican Cheese Chicken, red beans and rice, mac-n-cheese, cucumbers-n-onions, and homemade buns. After supper mom and I canned 9 pints of chow-chow relish with the veggies she brought.

Sunday: After church mom made a delicious brunch of sausage gravy and biscuits and fried eggs, then she and I canned 13 pints of salsa. David, Andy, and the 4 oldest kids went to watch Viking's training camp while Mom and I watched the NASCAR race, Lynn took a nap, and the two younger kids watched a movie. After rejoicing that Tony won (Woo Hoo!), Mom and I started another batch of chow-chow relish (another 10 pints). After a supper of pizza, we went outside to play baseball (well, Lynn and I stole out and went for a walk around "Pleasantville" (Lynn and Andy's name for our town), leaving David, Andy, Mom and the kids to play) and then began a bon-fire complete with s'mores, and "spooky" stories.

Monday: Lynn, Andy, David, and I went to MOA and walked around almost all the 4 floors. Mom stayed home and canned 20 quarts of applesauce (from my neighbor's apple tree) and the kids played and watched Star Wars. After supper (left-overs), another baseball game was played.

What fun we're having! And they're not going home for a few more days! So we'll still get in lots more fun with them like fishing, swimming, more camp fires, and more baseball. Oh and games. David and I have to teach Andy and Lynn how to play our favorite game, "Settlers of Catan."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Way to go Tony!!!

Another fun race to watch today ending with a win for my favorite driver, #20 Tony Stewart. Woo Hoo!!!

I love watching road races and today's race at Watkins Glen was a good one. Tony lead for much of the beginning of the race before spinning out in turn 1 allowing th #24 of Jeff Gordon take the lead. Tony fell back into 19th but worked his way back to 2nd behind the #24. As the laps neared the end, Mom and I wondered if Tony would be able to pass Jeff. But with 2 laps to go, Jeff spun out in turn 1 and Tony took the lead and the checker flag. Woo Hoo!!!!

Go Tony, Go Tony, Go Tony!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Homeschooling..A journey worth taking

My friend Cheryl has posted her thoughts on homeschooling. She is very good at writing out eloquently coherent thoughts that make me ponder. Her gift is definitely not mine, but I have been doing a lot of thinking and the events of yesterday, really put into perspective for me why I love homeschooling so much. Following, I attempt to take those thoughts running through my brain, and put them into words for you to, hopefully, follow and comprehend.

As I posted earlier in the week, MLLA began again this past Tuesday. We've been doing half days with afternoons open allowing us to finish up projects, subjects, housework, or play. Overall it has been a very successful week. But it was yesterday's happenings that made me realize why I like homeschooling and say it is the most family friendly.

We began our day as normal. The older two arise at 7am and then have their Latin lesson with Dad at 7:30am. I awake the three younger ones at 7:30am, help get them ready (if needed) and we all sit down to breakfast together at 8am. After breakfast and morning chores, the two older girls begin their Math lesson at 9am while I teach the next two their phonograms. We were nearing the end of the phonograms for the day and I was going to start them in their Math, but the door bell rang. In walked a young boy the same age as my Nathan.

His dad and grandpa were mowing the church and parsonage lawn and he came over to play. I wasn't overly happy, I wanted to get the rest of the morning school work done because today we have company coming for the week. But we stopped and I let the three young ones go play. This boy stayed through lunch and the kids had a great time playing. Hannah and Ellie used the free time to read and finish Math work.

In the afternoon, neighborhood kids came over to play. I set Hannah and Ellie to work finishing up some history projects (we are using Time Travelers New World Explorers by Amy Pak at the moment) that I'm having them do but not the little ones. The day's big project was to make a cardboard ship, but I wanted David to help with that. We had to wait, though as he was working and also he had a wedding rehearsal that evening.

Late afternoon, I realized I needed some eggs for our supper of bacon and waffles, so Hannah, Ellie, and I went to a church member's home to get some. We stayed and visited for about an hour. She showed the girls her chickens, told us about the weasel that killed two in the last couple of days, answered their questions and showed them the nests in which were found two more eggs. She asked if they were anxious about the start of school, and they replied, "it already has." She then remembered that oh yeah you homeschool, school never stops and proceeded to ask how they like it, how I like it, and how long we might continue.

After supper, David and Hannah went to the wedding rehearsal. Hannah had to go because the organist couldn't be there do to a prior commitment. So she, the organist, recorded the songs on the organ and showed Hannah how to start and stop so the wedding party would be able to practice a little.

While they were there, the rest of us began in earnest house cleaning, preparing for my mom's, my sister's and brother-in-law's, and my nephew's arrival today for a week's vacation. We did a quick clean-up, dusting, and vacuuming finishing shortly before David and Hannah's arrival back home.

David and the kids then went outside (it was now about 7:30-8:00pm) to start building the cardboard ship. I stayed in and finished the dishes and some vacuuming, then went outside. David did a fantastic job (the kids helped and then played, helped and then played) and now the kids will do some finishing work of painting, etc. Once done, I'll post a picture.

We all came in about 9pm and while David helped me prepare the chicken for tonight's meal, the kids took turns in the shower, then off to bed.

If you're still reading, and wonder what I meant that this journey of homeschooling is family-friendly, and these events showed me that, please keep reading, I have a tendency to ramble with hopefully something worthwhile spilling out every now and then.

Home schooling is Family Friendly because:
  • School doesn't have to take place between 8-3 during the day. I can start or stop as the day presents itself and use all hours of the waking day to get it done.
  • Interruptions are more real-life situations that don't affect (as much) our school work. From being sick, to having company, we use these to teach the kids about house work, daily hygiene, etc. They are learning "life-skills" as it comes about in life, not a forced situation in a building and reading from a book.
  • We don't have to start and finish school or school books between September and May. We can start and stop as it is best for our family. Therefore, we've started at all sorts of times of the year and ended at all sorts of times. Plus, for example, we generally continue with the Math book or History, or Science books until we've completed the whole book, and then move on. We can stop and review as the child needs it, or skip ahead if they get it quicker. And we can take advantage of vacationing at times less busy and cheaper.
  • We don't have to do school Monday through Friday. We can take off on the days David has off, so our week tends to be Tuesday through Saturday. This allows the kids to enjoy Dad and Dad to enjoy the kids. Over the years this has lead to our life revolving around trying to get our work done in order to have Mondays completely free of commitments.
  • We can take advantage of interests when the child has them. So for example, when they capture a frog and want to build it a house like they have read, we stop and find the book and figure something out.
  • As their parent and teacher, I know what the standardized tests will tell me even before I get the results. And when the results come, I actually understand what that means, why the child is weak in one area and stronger in another. AND I can actually use that to help them IMPROVE, not just be a statistic on a page.
  • Best of all, my homeschool doesn't look like anyone other's. The only resemblance is the fact that all are based on family. Its needs, its likes, its dislikes, its determination of what is important, and that can change ebbing and flowing with the family's progression in life.
Homeschooling is a wonderful journey that I feel privileged to have embarked upon. The hills and valleys are sometimes challenging, but overall as I look at our journey, I'm glad to have started and I look forward to continuing down the path.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Small Town Life

One more reason I have grown to love life in a small town: appreciation suppers.

I grew up on a farm, on the outskirts of a small city (about 40,000 people). My husband, though, grew up in a township in the middle of farmland. He remembers all the time that banks and insurance agents would have an annual, "customer appreciation supper." I always thought that was neat but never really experienced it until our life here.

Last night was the bank's appreciation supper for all those who had an account with them. We walked down to the bank and enjoyed hot dogs (good, skin-on hot dogs), a bag of potato chips, a snack cake and either pop or water. The tellers and other bank employees served us with gracious smiles and many words of thanks for coming. They had balloons and face-painting for the kids. We sat and ate and visited with members of our church, before walking home.

I don't know if the banks and insurance agents feel they *must* do this. But I found it nice and really appreciate that they care enough about us as customers to do something like this. This is one more reason I see small towns as one big family. These appreciation suppers are like the annual "family reunion."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Harry Potter

We went to my in-laws farm on Sunday afternoon for a short, overnight trip. This provided an hour and a half's uninterrupted reading aloud of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince while driving. No I wasn't driving, my husband was. I'm not *that* talented. :-)

On our way home on Monday after the noon meal, we stopped to buy the various supplies the children needed for start of school. We were so close to finishing the 6th book, so a stop at the bookstore to purchase the final Harry Potter book also was a must. Well, while in Barnes and Noble, the kids saw that Bertie Bott's every flavor Beans were for sale and of course, wanted some. But we didn't give in.

Yesterday afternoon the kids and I went to the grocery after our library trip. Turning down one aisle, there again were the Bertie Bott's Beans. Mom gave in this time. One box plopped into the cart, with squeals of delight and constant reading of which flavors were included (black pepper, blueberry, booger, buttered popcorn, cherry, cinnamon, dirt, earthworm, earwax, grape jelly, grass, lemon drop, pickle, rotten egg, sardine, sausage, soap, toasted marshmallow, tutti-fruitti, vomit).

After supper, Dad handed out one bean to each person to try. We were to take a half bite, then try and tell what flavor it was (it is color-coded on the back of the box). Not being as puerile as the rest, I told my husband I wanted a good flavor, he kindly obliged as mine was blueberry. Sweet, and a bit tangy.

One child had black pepper, one vomit, one sausage, one tutti-fruitti, and I'm not sure of the rest. I was simply amused at watching their faces as they tried these flavors and figured out which flavor it was. The funniest was our 7 yr old son who upon figuring out he was eating the vomit one, said, "it's actually pretty good."

I doubt I ever buy a box again, but the kids sure are having fun with this one. And I won't be surprised if one of them decides to use their own spending money on a box.

Oh and for those who care, we finished the 6th book on Tuesday evening and right away began the 7th book.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

MLLA is now in session

Yesterday, Mumme Lutheran Latin Academy had its first school day after a short summer break. (Before you other homeschool moms start throwing rocks at the computer, know that the only new things we're doing are Latin and History, then finishing up Math and Science from last year). We are only having half days this month in order to retrain our sleeping habits. (Plus this mom really couldn't handle full days with all subjects at the moment).

This year, our oldest requested we make up house names and sort them into the two houses at an opening of term feast. She wanted me to get everything ready so bad, she took care of the entire kitchen clean-up work on Saturday in order for me to work in the office preparing.

Sunday morning at breakfast, waiting at their spots, were letters of welcome, schedules, and a supply list for each of the children. Why did it amaze me how excited they were? I do tend to forget the little things that make them happy.

Monday evening at our evening feast of biscuits, sausage gravy, and scrambled eggs, the Headmaster sorted the 4 children old enough to attend MLLA into the two houses of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Yesterday our day went very well. They were all excited to use some of their new things (pencils, glue) and were quite attentive to their lessons. We didn't get to science, but they did home-ec instead.

After lunch, I froze 10 quart bags of corn while the two oldest made Molasses Spice Cookies. Then a trip to the farmer's market provided me with the veggies needed to can 13 pints of salsa after supper.

All in all, not a bad first day. Now I need to keep this momentum flowing so it lasts longer than just one day.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I know I've said this before, but I really like John Rosemond. I don't remember who suggested his book, Parent Power, to me back when my oldest was 2ish, but thank you! Before I had kids I always told my mom she needed to give me a swift kick in the pants if I did dumb stuff. Never living close enough for my mom to do that, John Rosemond does it for me. After reading his advice I always feel more capable of tackling the battles. Not that I'm always successful, but that I have good, solid, common sense weapons arming me.

Read his latest article here. Now I know even more why I never read the parenting magazines, but stuck with his various books. I'm going to pick up his new book at the library in the near future and read it as well.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Jane Austen Quiz

I saw this on Jane's and Rebellious Pastor's Wife's and on Barb the Evil Genius's blog and thought I'd try it and see. I haven't read a Jane Austin novel in a long time (like since high school). Now I'm going to have to pick one up to read after completing Looking For God in Harry Potter, just so that I can know who they tell me I'm like. :-)

You scored as Emma Woodhouse,Emma is possibly one of the most loyal characters of Austen, always wanting better for those around her and doing all she possibly can to make it happen. Her motives sometimes get in the way of her good intentions and her own opinions can end up ruling her actions, but she has a good heart. She loves to be social and is welcoming to most, unless they are too silly to tolerate. While she sometimes changes her behavior to make others feel comfortable, she knows who she is and is always bettering herself.

Emma Woodhouse


Elinor Dashwood


Jane Bennet


Elizabeth Bennet


Marianne Dashwood


Charlotte Lucas


Lady Catherine


Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!
created with

Thursday, August 02, 2007

No sitting on the fence with Tony

You either love him or hate him. Tony Stewart is definitely one of those people who no one will have trouble deciding what to think about him. He was recently fined $25,000 and 25 points for his cursing on TV after winning the Indianapolis Brickyard 400 race on Sunday. You can read about it here.

Tony always has been and always will be the driver I root for week in and week out. I wasn't at all offended by what he said after the race, I even listed it as one of my favorite moments of the race. I've heard worse cursing on evening sitcoms and in movies. I've read that chosen word used by Tony in sermons by Martin Luther. Yes it is crude and I don't condone it. Yet I also understand that out of the heart flow evil thoughts and words. Not all make it to the lips and we fool ourselves thinking that since *I* don't say such things, how awful it is that *you* say those things. But in our heart of pure evil, those words and thoughts lie sometimes dormant waiting to spring out, often to our own amazement as it springs so easily from our lips.

But I'm a Lutheran and understand that it is my old Adam still living in me that arises and says those things. It is that old Adam that must be daily drowned by repentance and forgiveness, that the new Adam may arise in me and live a holy life. From this forgiveness I can forgive others, and even understand ever so slightly why they say it. Yes it is a choice to say such things and for NASCAR they have set rules and fined Tony accordingly.

But the whole hub-a-lub over his choice is funny to me, for no one is exempt from the saying of these words or thinking of them - it is in our heart. And if you are thinking, not in mine, your just fooling yourself as did Barbara Mandrell. You can read about her experience with her filthy language in her book, Get to the Heart. She was shocked to learn the foul language she used while in the hospital after her horrific car crash. If your still thinking, "not me," then drop something heavy on your foot, and just listen what first comes to your mind.

So don't use this as a reason not to like Tony, there are better reasons. But what I really like about Tony is that he acts today like he did when I knew him in school, passionate about racing and passionate about winning. And that makes for great viewer enjoyment on Sunday afternoons.

Go Tony, keep winning. I agree with David Caraviello's article. I would love to see the chase come down to a battle between the #20 and the #24 (and of course #20 winning). Even if it doesn't, I just love to watch the race.