Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Things I'm doing or have been doing, or need to keep doing:
1. A display board for confirmation pictures was donated as a memorial gift sometime last year. Our church will be one hundred years old next year and never has there been a display of Confirmation pictures. So myself and another lady have been gathering the pictures. We are missing, I think, only a couple of years, which is amazing to me. Now I'm working on typing in all the names so that they match the person. This isn't easy when I've not been in this church my whole life, but so far many other ladies are helping. Although I'm not sure how we'll know once we get to the 30's and 20's. Currently I'm at 1951. Next week we'll meet with a Creative Memories consultant who is happy to advise us on the best way to fasten them to the board, the layout, and how to deal with the oldest pictures which are still in the cardboard frames.

2. I cleaned and sorted through some things in the basement store room and toy room. I now have about 5 bags and 2 boxes of stuff to put on the curb in the morning for the Epilepsy Foundation to collect. What a nice feeling to have all that out.

3. I'm trying really hard to keep the children and myself focused on schoolwork and get a lot done before our mini-vacation in a couple of weeks. In history we're on the Revolution and the kids wanted to do another lapbook. Since I don't have this one from Time Travelers, I'm having to do it myself, which takes thought and time. Although Hannah is enjoying helping with ideas - she made a tea cup shape for writing about the Boston Tea Party.

4. I washed all the snowpants, scarves, hats, and mittens, and put them away. I haven't done the coats yet. We awoke to about an inch of snow this past Saturday, and this morning there was frost on the ground and roofs. We went out to lunch yesterday with a 90 year old lady in our church who is like a grandma to us. She told us that when her son was born (1938, 39ish) in May it snowed. Oh I how hope that doesn't happen again this year.

5. I'm now working on the multitude of laundry loads that got pushed to the side while I was teaching, typing in confirmation names, and washing the snow things. Maybe I'll see the laundry room floor and sink again one day soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Life hands you Lemons....

Or in our case, when congregational snowbirds arrive back north from their winter retreat in south Texas bearing very ripe, fresh lemons, straight from the tree make lemonade.

Lemonade (from my Betty Crocker cookbook)
3 cups cold water
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Mix together and enjoy!

I had enough to make a double batch which was ample for everyone to have some with lunch and then seconds if they so desired.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Must Reading

For all moms, daughters, fathers, sons, yes for everyone, go and read Pr. Stuckwischs's blog post on modesty in dress. You'll find it here. After reading, don't just forget it, remember it when you dress in the morning, when you buy your clothes, when you help your daughters dress and buy their clothes, especially as spring and summer come along and swim suit shopping becomes a necessity.

Monday, April 21, 2008


As I learn about healthy eating through friends and books they recommend, I tend to try to apply it to our life and eating. As I look back to the way we used to eat to today we've come along way baby. But two areas I really have trouble with are vegetables and beans.

I never ate vegetables growing up unless it was in mom's vegetable soup or the choice was corn. My dad use to gripe about me not eating the green beans, but it wasn't until I began dating David and then married him, that I ate green beans and peas. Yes Dad was shocked and, I think, quite delighted that this new son-in-law had such an affect on his little girl.

Now I fix corn, green beans, peas, or broccoli. We eat raw carrots, celery, and the various colored peppers. I'll even stir-fry veggies from a frozen package or ones I cut-up. But I really have a hard time remembering that we need to eat more veggies each day, not just once. But I also want some new ways to eat veggies to take advantage of those on sale at the store or at the farmer's market later this spring and summer.

In that light, I borrowed the book, Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen. It has some nice recipes in it, but I'm a little scared to try. My fear of not liking it, or the kids' (which I know they won't anyway, it takes giving it to them over and over again, but sometimes I fear the battle) grumbling prevent me. Also it is often easier for me to eat something at someone else's home and then ask for the recipe, because then I know I like it.

Same with beans. I hated beans growing up, but I'm learning to like them. But I want to somehow add more variety to the beans, than baked beans or bean soup. This would not only help health wise, but also make it a bit easier on the wallet at the checkout. However the fears listed above, are keeping me from this too.

I know silly excuses and I need to just jump in and start cooking, but fear is a hard thing to overcome. Anybody want to come cook for me? Or have us over for supper?

New Blogs Linked

I want to point you to a couple of new blogs I have linked on the side bar. Check them out if you haven't already.

Under Loopers is Ranch Wife. A ranch wife and homeschool mommy, I'm so excited Wendy is blogging and I get to live vicariously through her. One day I will go see her on her ranch and experience those big skies, but till then, I'll be sure to visit daily via her blog.

Under Lutheran Sites I visit are:
1. The Concordian Sisters. Lovely ladies who write beautifully on motherhood with all the ups and downs and in-betweens. What is nice for me is that in reading their posts, I can remember all those same thoughts, fears, joys, and worries that go through a mother's mind when pregnant, or just after birth of a child, or when the toddlers seem to run everywhere but the right place. And then I realize that mine are now older and I did make it through (and so have the children). So even though today's society is more mobile and we don't have generations living together anymore to comfort each other and help each other and simply to let each person on life's journey see the various stages while yet in a different stage, through blogging we can. What wisdom I have gained from these mothers and also from the mothers who are further on life's journey of raising children. Perspective is a good and valuable thing, not just for those who need to know that this stage will come to an end, but also for those beyond a particular stage to remember those worries and comfort and guide those going through it now.

2. Blogosphere Underground by Pr. Cwrila. I enjoy the witty writing of Pr. Cwrila and as he talks about the Issues Etc. cancellation, the insight and humor are a good thing.

Golf at Gittmo

Susan linked to an article that was posted on Loopers. This reminded me that I had also wanted to link to it in my blog. So without further ado, go here and read about a golf course and our military. Even if you don't play golf (which I don't) or even if you don't really like golf (which I don't), it is still a good article to read. So stop and go read, and then turn off the news and go thank the nearest soldier.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Eleonore Myrna

11 years ago today, God blessed us with the birth of our second daughter.

We were living in a small apartment in Ft. Wayne while David completed his fourth year of seminary studies. It was a Thursday night and he had a paper to write and both of us were anticipating the birth of this second child but also call night the following Tuesday, April 22nd. Would we miss call night due to birth or just what would happen?

Well after putting our 18month old to bed, I began reading or cross-stitching in order to keep from bugging David while he worked on his paper. After awhile I decided to go to bed, but as I laid down,I felt something wet and quick ran to the bathroom. Not sure if this is what I thought it was, I sat down in the chair again and after needing to keep going to the bathroom, I told David I think we'll need to go to the hospital as I think my water broke. We awoke Hannah and took her over to David's brother (a first year seminarian) and sister-in-law's home, then headed to the hospital. As we got to the hospital and I was wheeled to the correct floor, it became clear to me that definitely my water had broke. But as I was having no contractions, they simply gave me a check, and told me to sleep the night and they would talk to the doctor in the morning.

The next morning, Friday, April 18th, they had me get up and start walking to try and help things get going. No problem, David and I walked around and around and around and around the labor/delivery floor, lapping poor women in obvious labor. I simply looked like I was exercising, except for the hospital gown. By about 11 I was still not having any contractions, but it was now 12 hours since my water had broke therefore, they thought it best to induce.

7 hours later, at 5:05pm, Eleonore Myrna made her first cries for our ears. She was 8lbs 7oz and 20.5 inches long. She was such a cutey and looked exactly like her big sister did at her birth. We were so excited to have another darling little girl.

Eleonore was chosen because David's Grandma had that name and Mryna is his mother's name. So she inherited her Great-Grandma and Grandma's names.

4 days later, I was sitting beside my father (yes uncomfortably!) and mother in the pew at Kramer Chapel for call service where we found out that my husband had been called to be the pastor of a congregation in IL.

Happy 11th Birthday Eleonore!

From Yucky to Yummy

Yesterday we drove over to my in-law's farm for the afternoon and evening. The kids enjoyed playing outside in the grove and David and I enjoyed a nice visit with his parents. For supper, Grandma had fixed a beef stew. Our three youngest came to the table and screwed up their faces and made not so nice comments under their breath. But after prayers and dishing up and the eating and chatting began, Abby said this to Grandma, "Grandma this looks really yucky but it tastes yummy."

Yes, we all laughed. Life with kids sure keeps it interesting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

20/20 Vision or Not

Since I'm lazy, all through the fall and winter I've been wearing my glasses instead of my contacts. But summer is a comin and I want to be able to see when I'm at the pool with the kiddos and wear sunglasses while I'm driving or walking around or sitting at the pool. So I've been wearing my contacts for a few hours each day getting my eyes used to them once again.

But since Saturday my right eye has seemed blurry. And no matter what I did nothing seemed to help. A couple of times I even got a headache. It seemed like there was some sort of film that wouldn't wash off. It was driving me nuts as it affected my vision. Everything was a bit blurry and not quite right.

Today I realized once again why my name ends with the syllable, "duh." After wearing my contacts most of the day, with the same problems, I got to thinking maybe they're in the wrong eye. So I switched them, and voila, I could see again, clearly, without blurriness.

What a dummy! But now I see!

This helps to explain a few things

This is a song my husband grew up listening too on a loony tunes 45rpm. He was quoting one of the lines today and decided the kids needed to hear the song. Lo and behold he found it on youtube. The pictures don't do much for me, but simply listen to the song and it is funny. Now we all know why he always says at breakfast, "shoot the juice to me Bruce."

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last November I went to Germany with my husband and 48 other people. It was fun and I'll post more pictures of the trip at a later date. But the trip led to my bedroom closet finally being usable. This is how it went.....

David and I actually had to buy clothes as neither of us had enough nice clothes to make it on a 11 day trip even with wearing everything twice. So we hit the outlets south of us and picked up some nice things. One Friday night I finally got everything washed and went to put them away. But I couldn't, there wasn't room in the closet. I was in one of those "moods" so I took everything out of the closet, piled it on our bed and in the hallway and was determined to do something. David came home from work, saw that he wouldn't be able to sleep that night, and willingly took me to Lowe's where we bought the closet supplies to fix the closet as we had measured and drawn out prior to leaving.

Of course by the time we got back home, it was too late to do anything, so I put the piles back into the closet so we could sleep. And of course David works Saturday and Sunday, so nothing was done then. But along came Monday, and he worked away finishing most of the job, but not all. Then the following Friday night he was able to finish it all, I could vacuum up the dust and put our things in their proper place.

In one short week, my closet went from maddening, to this:

Now we have all sorts of room. How is that possible? Why is it that when one utilizes organizing skills and storage helps, a once crammed space now has ample room?

Anyway, I now love it. But for you to love it, realize how it looked before. It had one shelf set right where the ceiling angles to meet the back wall. It wasn't deep enough to put on a t-shirt without it hanging over. Under that shelf was a bar for hanging clothes. There was another shelf and half bar on the left and right front sections which where basically useless. Now in those places we put up hanging clothes and a shelf (deeper and therefore usable) all the way around.

Now it is like a walk-in, and I love it. Everything is in its place and there is a place for everything. All because I got in one of those "moods."

Hmmm......I haven't had one of those now for several months, and Lent and Easter are over, maybe I could have one and work on painting the living room and dining room.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Routine

Life is always throwing new routines my way.

Yesterday the spring swimming session began. During the fall and winter, the kids swim from 6:30-7:30pm Monday - Thursday, we usually only go three of the four days. But during spring the older group wants to get out early, so they are swimming after school instead of from 7-8:30pm, and my kids are now swimming from 5:30-6:30pm.

This means that we leave our house around 4:45 and arrive back home shortly after 7pm. That throws off meals. Now I have to fix the big meal for noon, usually it is hit or miss depending on the day. Then I have to make sure the kids have a big snack around 3 and then have something easy for a late supper. Just the thinking about this has thrown my gut into worrisome rumbles.

I know I'll get use to it, but boy I don't like the whole "getting used to it." Although you'd think, that would be "normal" since it seems that all I ever do is get used to one routine and then start over getting used to another.

As my friend Laura says, "Life is what happens while you are making other plans!"

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Pr. Heinz tagged me for a personality test. Who knew I would be this?!

You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.

You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.

You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.

Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

Time Traveler's Lap Book

The first lapbook we did was Time Traveler's New World Explorer's which went along with a until study created and put out by Amy Pak. Here is the link to see this. We had a lot of fun doing this unit study. We started last August with half days of school and pretty much only did the projects listed in the Unit Study. When you purchase this program, you purchase a cd rom which has everything you need on it to print out; daily readings about the topic, an overview of each day, project descriptions, project masters, pictures, etc. Mrs. Pak thought of everything and these Time Travelers are very well done.

Of course with anything, I find that I like this and don't like that and "why did she do *that*?" all enter my mind at some point. So we didn't do everything just like she said, and our lapbooks reflect that. For the most part, though, ours have many of the same elements, simply a few additions here and there.

For starters the book itself:

Instead of using one file folder and folding the two edges into the center, I used two whole file folders. This meant that the sail is simply glued on the front, which is different than Mrs. Pak's suggestion. You can go to the above link or click here, scroll down and on the left are pictures of the lapbook per her instructions. This also gave us , once we added the two card stock flaps up and down, four whole, not partial, places to add projects.
Looking at the above picture the things that are from Mrs. Pak's are the following:
1. Routes the Explorers took. This is the yellow pocket with maps inside. Each map is a base of a particular part of the world. The kids colored this in, then we put on overlays which had arrows showing the routes the explorers took. This I felt was a very worthwhile project. It really shows the geography, and the kids are easily able to see which way these explorers went and how many times they went exploring.

2.The top and bottom flaps are full of little folded paper. On the front of these are the pictures of the various explorers we covered in this unit. Inside are lines for listing, who, what country explored for (also color-coded by card stock color), what found or discovered. This at first I thought was good, but in the end was a bit time-consuming. The little ones couldn't write in that small of space, so I did the work. Next time, it might be better to just let the kids write what they remember about each explorer, not using Mrs. Pak's template.

3. On the right flap, there is a "Navigational Equipment" spinning thing, and above them one pop-up showing "Sea Monsters" and the other the Line of Demarcation.

4. If you were to flip the bottom flap up, two other projects, one a treasure chest which inside shows how dublins, and pieces of eight (that we made) all divide out and also a picture of a typical ship with all the parts labeled. I forgot to take a picture of those. Ooops.

Now on to some of my additions:

First onto the left flap is taped The Explorer Weekly .

The newspaper is a suggestion of Mrs. Pak's but she says to put it into the notebook, not the lapbook. My girls loved doing this newspaper, which are various articles on the explorers, and they did such a good, creative job, that we wanted it to be seen with the lap book. Hence why I , on the suggestion of my friend Amy, made the lapbook using two file folders and not the one. Now we had the room to add the newspaper.

On the right you see a red piece of paper, it is a map of the new world listing the various tribes of Indians in their own locale. The kids then glued small circles of the explorers to the place they landed thereby showing which Natives each explorer encountered. This was also to be in the notebook, instead of the lapbook.

Now fold the top flap down and you see this:

Again some are the same, others are different. The bottom left is the same. It is the reasons explorers went exploring. Underneath each flap is the item, or a representation of the item; spices, gold, land, spreading of Christianity, and Adventure.

The bottom right is a brochure that the girls did advertising for people to come to the new world.

The top, skull and cross bones is our own addition. It has to do with Pirates. We did study them, but the projects were for the notebook. So we came up with this little flap to add to the lapbook. Inside you see this:

As you can tell, once you know how to do a lapbook, it is limitless as to what you can add.
So have fun trying one yourself! And don't be afraid to try one of Mrs. Pak's Time Traveler's Series. They are very well done, and fun too!

Friday, April 04, 2008


How about making this for supper tonight?

Go ahead, try it, it isn't as hard as you think.

First make your dough:

Pizza Crust:
5-6 cups flour
2 pckgs yeast
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Thyme (I don't like thyme much so usually omit or add extra oregano or basil)
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm (120-130 degree) water
4 Tbsp Olive oil
2 eggs

In a bowl combine 3 cups flour ( I used half white, half wheat), undisolved yeast, oregano, thyme (I omitted these this time) and salt. Add water and oil and beat till combined. Add eggs and 1 cup flour and beat till combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl and let rise till doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

While the dough is rising, it is time to make your Pizza Sauce:

Pizza Sauce:
Saute in 1 Tbsp oil 2 cloves garlic, minced.
Add to this:
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
parsley or cilantro to taste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
hot sauce to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Stir together and simmer for 10 minutes. This is great for dipping the crusts in at the table or breadsticks.

Now would also be a good time to gather your pizza toppings. Is your meat cooked? If not, go ahead and begin cooking it, so it will be ready. I used left over sausages from the Easter breakfast. They gave us a great big amount of leftover links. David chopped them up for me and put them into freezer bags just for pizza days. I also sauted some fresh mushrooms (although canned works just fine), took out the diced peppers from the freezer and the cheese.

By this time, your dough is probably ready, so go and turn your oven on to 400 degrees F.

Once the dough is doubled put it on an oiled surface, punch down and divide into three parts. Roll out to fit your pans. I used my two Pampered Chef stones, one round, one oblong. Anything will work - if you don't use a stone, make sure to oil or spray the pan with non-stick spray.

Then begin assembling the pizzas to your hearts content. This is what mine looked like:

This one is simply sausage and cheese - more kid friendly.

This one has the yummy peppers and mushrooms too.

Don't forget to sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top for extra flavor!

Now the recipe says to cover and let the dough rise again before baking. But I just wait till the oven is pre-heated and begin baking. Bake for 25 minutes or until done. Remember to switch the pans half-way through for even baking!

Now remember that third piece of dough? I didn't forget it, don't worry, it turns into.....

Roll out your third piece of dough. Melt butter and spread over top. Peel and slice apples and lay over the entire top (use as many as you want). Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over them. Now mix together: 1/4 cup sugar, 7 Tbsp flour, and 2.5 Tbsp butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Now you don't have to do it this way, you have options:
1. Use melted butter and simply add cinnamon sugar and the crumb topping.
2. Use canned pie filling of your choice.
3. Do number one adding mini-m&m's.

You get the picture - anything that strikes your fancy. We like apples, and usually have them on hand. This time I happened to have some in the freezer that weren't enough for a pie, so I grabbed them and used them - even easier than peeling and slicing!

Once the regular pizzas are done, put in your dessert pizza and let it bake for about 12 minutes. Check it and let it bake until it is done maybe another 5-10 minutes more. Then to make it even sweeter and appealing to the eye, make a simple frosting (powdered sugar and water or kick it up a notch by adding melted butter and vanilla) to your own desired consistency and drizzle over the top before slicing and eating.

So, go on, try it - you can have this delicious meal on the table in an hour and a half.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

New (to me) Homeschooling projects

We've completed now our second lapbook of the year. I never knew what lapbooks were really till this year. Sure I had heard of them, but it never registered with me what that really meant. I just ignorantly thought that I could never do those and they wouldn't be of any service anyway.

Boy was I wrong on that point. My friend Amy has been doing lapbooks for awhile and had even given me a sample lapbook with various folds for a model; but still I never ventured to do one. I mean, what good were they?

Then for history this year I bought Time Traveler's New World Explorers and Colonial Life. Both have lapbook projects to complete. Wow they are fun! Amy Pak is quite detailed oriented and certain of the lapbook projects were, in my opinion, more for show and not worthwhile in learning. But overall, it was fun and my kids really enjoyed doing them. They love looking at these books and showing people what they've done.

On the second lapbook, Colonial Life, we even omitted some of her projects and added our own. This gave my two oldest the confidence to create their very own lapbook of composers. Before we moved on too far in history, I wanted to go through some of the great composers that were living at this time, so we are covering with the help of the Great Composer series, Bach, Scarlatti, Handel, Beethoven, Hayden, Vivaldi, Purcell, and Mozart.

For those of you who like and use Five in A Row, there are lapbooks for those stories you can make. At this link here, there are all sorts of suggestions for how to lapbook, various templates for folds, even full lapbook project ideas.

So don't think you can't do them, if I can, you can. Go ahead, explore the link and try one. It is fun and a neat way for your kids to narrate their knowledge in a new, fun way besides just plain paper. The next one we'll do will be on our own state history using some of the suggestions from the above link.

As for the Time Traveler's series, they are good, but very time consuming. If your approach to homeschooling is immersion and unit studies, then make sure you check them out. Everything is included from copywork to artwork, to reading to projects, to cooking, etc. That isn't my approach, but I did enjoy doing these. There are more out, one now on The Revolution and then the early 19th century. But I won't use those this time, it would be overkill, we'll just go back to our "boring" way of reading and narrating, but we'll add some fun lapbooking things in from time to time.

So go on, go visit this site and start planning on what you'll have your kids complete a lapbook. You could even do one on their Catechism work and Bible Stories!