Monday, February 25, 2008


When my oldest two were little I spent oodles and oodles of time reading to them. When number three came along, I also read to him lots and lots. It was fun to snuggle on the couch and read through the Sandra Boynton books or "Madeline", or Dr. Seuss, or whatever happened to be the favorite that day.

But then 17 months after number 3, came number 4; and 14 months after number 4, number 5 arrived; and when number 5 was 3 months old we moved. I was too tired to read, I was too tired to clean, I was too tired to teach the older ones, I was too tired to do much of anything. But I go through it, I survived and so have my kids, but I regret not taking time to read to the younger ones as much and now it is five years later.

I admit, at times I thought I'd failed them, that they'll never love reading and listening to stories, but this just isn't true. I have read to them, but just not all the "baby" books. They were listening all the while I read in the car, so they've heard all of "The Series of Unfortunate Events," "Harry Potter," "Little House on the Prairie," and currently "The Chronicles of Narnia." They love these stories and use them as springboards for their imaginative play. They've also listened to all the history readings and science readings; my oldest two didn't have that chance when they were their younger siblings ages. And the younger crew know some of the other stories too, maybe not as well as their big sisters, but they are coming close.

One of my favorites has always been "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer. I read that one to pieces for the older three and we ended up having to toss it. With new babies and a move I had forgotten all about it until about 3 months ago when I chanced upon it at the library. My youngest fell in love with it. I put it on my list to buy but before I had the chance we were at my sister's and she let me go through a stack of books she was giving away - and it was in there!

He keeps it in his room. Every night after he has gone upstairs to put on his jammies and brush his teeth, he comes back down carrying that book. He looks up at me with those sparkling little eyes, holding out the book; then crawls into my lap awaiting the story. I oblige, having him "snuggle in tight, that's right, like that," and giving him the "very last kiss" at the story's end.

After tonight's reading and Sam trotted back upstairs, I remembered that the other night time book I read to pieces and had to toss as well was "Good Night Moon." I think I'm going to have to go hunting for another copy of that one too, I might just get two stories worth of snuggling in each night that way.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We've begun once more our culinary trip around the world. Having stopped in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, one day a couple of weeks ago we stopped in Spain.

The food was quite delicious and we have some new recipes to add to our collection of "will make again." I took pictures this time around so you could enjoy.

El Desayuno

La Comida
Primero, Sopa de Lentejas Madrilena:

Segundo , Ensalada:
Tercero, Arroz con Pollo:

Postre, Flan:

Supper is to be eaten late in the day like 10 pm. But that doesn't work for Americans (or at least not for us couldn't live like the Spanish one day and then be expected to be Americans the next), so we had a normal meal which wasn't Spanish because we were still too full from our big dinner.

Next stop, Italy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Down Germany Memory Lane once again

Here is the 50 member group that we went to Germany with last November. We are standing in front of the castle church doors where Luther nailed the 95 thesis.

This trip was fun. I've finally edited all my pictures and have them printed. My bil has his edited and shared them with me, oh wow are his great. I'll have to share a couple of his, like this favorite one of David's:

Now I'm choosing pictures from his shots that I want printed and I will begin putting all of the pictures into a couple of scrapbooks.

While in Wittenberg we bought a couple of posters at the city church. One is of Cranach's altar piece. Here is my photo of it.

We bought the poster in order to have it matted and framed for David to hang in his vestry. The neat thing about his vestry is that it is a room directly behind the altar. The wall where the print will go is the wall directly behind the altar. Neat huh?

We also bought a poster of Martin Luther and Katie Luther, like this:

We framed those ourselves and they now adorn a wall in our living room. We thought it appropriate that the first family of Lutheran parsonages, should now adorn a wall in our Lutheran parsonage.

One of these days, I'll share more of the Wittenberg pictures with you. We took a lot of pictures there as that was one of our favorite cities, for many, many reasons.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I haven't anything to post about that is earth shattering, or life changing, or even remotely interesting.

I do have several things that are in need of being done. I need to make some more bread today. It has been turning out each time lately and is a joy to make now. Yippee!

I need to do laundry as it has piled up after not getting to it for three days.

I also need to get to the kid's studies. After helping with Ash Wednesday's soup supper and this past weekend's Youth Valentine's Dinner, my cooking has interfered with lots of the school books. This week we'll try to catch up.

So now I'm going to go do what I should be doin' instead of what I shouldn't, like catching up on blogs and emails and general web-surfing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

One more reason I homeschool

There are many, many advantages to homeschooling, but Valentines Day has become one more reason I love it.

Yesterday afternoon I was banished to my office with the door closed (I know, rough sentence I had to serve, alone in my office with the computer!) for a time while the children prepared their "Holiday Restaurant."

This all started a few years ago, when I had no idea what to get David for Valentines Day. We had young children and didn't feel it monetarily appropriate to dine out, but I wanted to do something. So the kids and I made a cozy spot in our basement for a table for two. I fixed all the food, and while David and I dined alone downstairs, the kids ate upstairs. The kids loved decorating the basement and serving us the food in courses, and a variation of this has been done each year since.

This year though was the best. It started about a week ago when David was given an invitation. Imagine a pink construction heart folded in half. On the outside, "A Valentine's Offer!" On the inside, : "Come to the Holiday Restaurant for a Valentine's meal and movie. The cost is free on Valentine's Day and the food is great. Take your sweetheart out and have a great time!"

Monday they made sugar cookie dough, Tuesday they baked the cookies, again I was not allowed in the kitchen during this time. Thursday, Valentine's Day, they asked me to make the frosting and divide it into three colors, red, white and pink. I obliged and then they banned me from the school room while they decorated the cookies.

It was later that afternoon that I couldn't go into the kitchen. For a time, as I said, I was only allowed in the office, but then I could come into our living room. I sat and continued reading my book, "The Three Musketeers." I heard the children in the kitchen, sometimes fighting, and bickering, but mostly I heard sounds of chopping and kettles and other "cooking noises." David came home shortly after 5 pm, he sat down with me in the living room and we enjoyed a nice time of conversation about our day. At 6 pm, we were told the restaurant was ready for us. I had to make a stop in the kitchen to make our strawberry daiquiris, but I could do that with my back to where the main cooking was done.

Upon descending the stairs to "The Holiday Restaurant," we saw a beautifully thought out, decorated room. Everything was cleaned, the rope lighting overhead was on, the candle-abra on the table was lit. A red tablecloth was covered with one of lace, the silverware was rolled in a nice white linen napkin and a hand-written menu and Valentine's cards were awaiting us as we sat down. On the side table another cloth (pink) was covering it with a red poinsettia as decoration; underneath a cd player which was begun upon our sitting, and throughout the meal the strains of Bach were heard.

Our first course was brought soon after sitting, a delicious salad on my good china. The presentation was simply beautiful, the time and love and pride in creating this salad was apparent. A glass pitcher of ice-water was placed upon the table and then we were left to dine on our scrumptious salad. But the wait staff was always very prompt and considerate, coming several times to see if we needed anything and when we were ready for the main course.

After we had finished, our plates were taken away and our main dish was served, "Yummy Creamy Chicken" served on top of rotini noodles. It was a delicious blend of cubed chicken, chopped carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and peas in a creamy sauce with hints of garlic. It was very, very tasty and again the presentation on the plate was superb! They also served our daiquiris with our meal and while we ate, the staff fed themselves upstairs, but never forgot to check on us to see if we needed anything or how we were enjoying our meal.

After the meal, it was dessert time. David and I knew it was heart-shaped sugar cookies as they had shared one with us after our noon meal. But they had a surprise for us. Down came a great big heart-shaped cookie for each of us, decorated with white frosting, trimmed in red and a pink initial in the middle. I don't have a cookie cutter that size, they had cut it out by hand, and the surprise was nice. Besides being delicious, the surprise in our eyes added to the satisfaction in the children's eyes.

As we ate, David and I talked about how lucky we are to have such thoughtful children. Hannah, our oldest is the planner and comes up with these ideas and sees them through, Ellie was the one who did the presentation of food on the plate, and Nathan, Abby, and Sam helped where they could. These are children who range in age from 12 - 5 and they cooked an entire meal, one they had never done before, by themselves without any assistance from me except the two things I mentioned above. (Note to self, more Emeril kid's cookbooks are needed.)

For our children, who are homeschooled and out-of-touch, Valentine's Day means doing something nice for Dad and Mom, not sending candy-kiss grams, or orange crush, or picking "the best lips" or teasing and being teased about who likes whom. I think that is really nice and to show them we loved them and appreciated all their hard work, David and I cleaned up the kitchen and for that, they were entirely grateful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The two shall become one

January 5th, 2008 Miguel and Jenny became one as they were united in holy matrimony.
Yes sis, I'm finally working on your pictures.

Here is our mom and my daughter who was the flower girl.

Oh and Elephant's Child, does this picture remind you of home?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Book MeMe

Kristi tagged me with the book meme that is making the rounds.

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Well the nearest book is The Riverside Shakespeare textbook I used in college. However it is currently the pedestal to raise my monitor up to the proper height, so I ain't taking it out. But just to the right of our computer are bookshelves. On the bottom, closest to me are the 1956 edition of The World Book encyclopedias. That's no fun, so I'll go one shelf above and pick the first book.

It is A Book of Famous Fairy Tales edited by Roswell M. Field.

Page 123 finds us in the fairy tale of "The Cock and the Fox by P.C. Asbjornsen.

"The cock kept peeping and peering to see what it could be.
"What have you got there?" he said.
"Oh, some letters I have got from the Pope in Rome," said the fox.

Now wasn't that more exciting than pg 123 of Encyclopedia A which on pg 123 was "Kinds of Air Lines."

"Nonscheduled Air Lines fly over definite routes, such as between Chicago and New York, but they do not fly on a definite time schedule. A nonscheduled air liner usually takes off as soon as enough passenger or cargo space is sold to make the flight profitable.
Local-Service Air Lines, or feeder air lines, are small air lines that carry passengers or cargo between small towns, or from small towns to large city airports, to connect with scheduled or nonscheduled air lines."

Now to tag 5 people. Hmmm.. Kristi, Karen, AmusedMomma, Kim, and Polly. If you've already been tagged feel free to ignore this one!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Name That Place - Winner!

Ding Ding Ding, Pr. Heinz has guessed correctly. I was at the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt. Your prize is..........adulations and applause!

Remember this picture of the stained glass window? It is behind the altar; in front of the altar is the grave of Johannes Zacharias. Luther took his monk's vows in 1506 while lying on this grave in front of these windows. Who was Johannes Zacharias? "He was the fiercest opponent of Jan Hus and helped to ensure that Hus was burned as a heretic in Constance in 1415." (from my Luther travel guide page 85).

Here are some more pictures from the Augustinian Monastery. Enjoy!

This is Luther' Bible complete with his hand written notes in the margins. The second picture is of a psalter.

This is the cell which measures two-by-three meters, that Luther occupied most likely after his journey to Rome in 1511. The following pictures are all in cells of the same size which are off the dormitory hallway (more like a big rectangular room) and show what the monks would have done to occupy their day.

A typical desk where monks would have sit and studied:

How the monks would have eaten:

Imagine sleeping on stone floors with only rough sackcloth to surround you:

The monks were called the "The Black Cloister" because of what they wore:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Name That Place

Here are some more pictures to help you guess where I was in Germany.

This is the same door Luther walked through.

This is the courtyard inside the building.

This is the stained glass window that Luther remembered when he created his "Luther Rose."

Do you know where I was ?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Name That Place

So where in Germany was I when I took these pictures?

They are all at the same place, and I will add more as the days progress.

Who of you can name it in the fewest pictures?

No fair to my relatives currently living in Germany or those of you who went on the trip with me! Although you can email me with your guess.