Friday, August 29, 2008

Two are better than one

Together, David and I worked for 2 and a half hours, shared a bottle of this:

and now have 8 more quarts of salsa lining our shelves.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two down, what is next?

I posted yesterday about the way David creatively fixed our coffee when our pot wouldn't work. Well, the next thing to break was the shower door. I had sent the boys up to shower and I heard a loud crash, then one of them calling me up to help. Apparently the shower door had somehow come off the track (it has been known to do that and we simply put it back on) and Nathan tried to fix it, but it wouldn't work. One of the rollers came off and all these little beads that were inside the roller fell all over the tub. Oh boy. What now? Fortunately we have a second shower and I sent them there to bathe.

After thinking, I remembered our Germany trip. In our hotel in Rothenburg, our shower looked like this:

It was only a half glass partition and for the most part the water stayed in the tub (unless you are really tall like my husband). And the door to the bathroom was glass - that is one I doubt I'll try in my own home. But we're talking about shower doors for now....

So I slid the one working door close to the faucet, aimed the faucet down and voila:

We can know use the shower until I find a shower curtain I like. And more than likely, my bathroom floor will be moped quite regularly after certain kids' showers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's what I need

This morning I got up and made coffee then began making pancakes. In the middle of mixing, I realized the coffee wasn't dripping. I went over and checked the plugs, turned it off and started it again. After a couple of minutes I realize it isn't working. Uh-oh. "M-o-m-m-y needs c-o-f-f-e-e," but I don't have time to solve the problem right now.

A few minutes later, David comes into the kitchen and says oh yes coffee! I gave the sad news of our broken machine. But "D-a-d-d-y needs c-o-f-f-e-e!" And the fix-it hat is on and working. He boils water in the tea kettle and voila:

Everybody sing now:

"m-o-m-m-y needs c-o-f-f-e-e, d-a-d-d-y needs c-o-f-f-e-e."

Wait, you're not singing. Do you need help? Okay, sing along with Ralph:

Sunday, August 24, 2008


To keep up with the Jones, or in my case other homeschooling mommies, I thought I'd list out what the students (7th grade, 6th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten) at Mumme Lutheran Latin Academy will be doing this year.

  • Hannah and Ellie will continue working through Wheelock's under the tutelage of their father completing the book by next year.
  • Nathan and Abby will begin their Latin careers with Prima Latina taught by me.

  • Hannah will finish Saxon 87 and move into Algebra 1/2.
  • Ellie will finish Saxon 65 and move into Saxon 76.
  • Nathan will finish MUS Beta and then I have to decide if I'm sticking with MUS or switching him back to Saxon.
  • Abby will finish MUS Alpha and then I have to decide if I'm sticking with MUS or switching her back to Saxon.
  • I still haven't decided with Sam whether he'll be in Saxon or MUS. For now we'll simply work with counting and numbers and colors and "fun" stuff.

  • This year we are in year 4: 1850 - the present. I'll use SOTW, and VP as spines and then have lots of supplemental reading gathering books from the above lists along with TruthQuest History and All Through the Ages.
  • Plus since I really dropped the ball on our time lines last year, we'll pick that up again this year using a lot of the timeline figures from Amy Pak.
  • Hannah will be on her own this year working through General Science by Apologia.
  • Ellie, Nathan, Abby, and sometimes Sam will be doing Botany this year.
  • Hannah and Ellie will continue working through Classical Writing.
  • Nathan and Abby will work on basic grammar and sentence structure in The Writing Road to Reading.
  • Hannah and Ellie want to work through our Rosetta Stone program. (Dad and Mom do too, but somehow we don't ever seem to find the time.)
  • Hannah will continue with piano and violin.
  • Ellie will continue with piano and begin flute.
  • Nathan will begin piano.
Bible/Catechism (I never think of this as a subject, simply part of our lives)
  • We try to be faithful in attending Daily Matins.
  • We work hard on learning the Catechism, Bible Verse, and Hymn for the week using the Congregation at Prayer. Some weeks are always better than others, but we keep plugging along.
  • Nathan and Abby use the Catechism, Bible Verse and Hymn as daily handwriting practice.
  • This year I'm encouraging Hannah and Ellie to read through the Bible daily following the schedule Pastor includes on the Congregation at Prayer.
  • This year I'll work with Nathan, Abby and Sam to recall the Bible stories that are read at noon by Dad and using the "Bible Stories for Daily Prayer" by Pastor Fabrizus to help teach.
  • Hannah begins Catechesis class.
Wow, this looks like a lot - no wonder we're always so busy! But not everything is done every day and we just keep going till we're done, which in reality means, we just keep going. Our goal is always to be better at getting things done and moving along at a decent pace. Of course the best thing about homeschooling is that you move along at the pace family life dictates, knowing that the goal is not to create super-intelligent, 5-day, Jeopardy champions, but adults who love to learn and know how to learn regardless of where they are or what position in society they hold.

Here's to a productive year!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


On Tuesday of this week a member of our church delivered her fourth child, a son. This morning another member called to tell Pastor (who wasn't here, so I got to receive the good news) that she had delivered her first child, a daughter. I have a sister-in-law expecting her third, and various friends and acquaintances expecting. It is really a nice, happy time. But I have pains in my heart.

I was told by many that the feeling of wanting another baby would go away, but it hasn't.

I was told that I would love having older children and be glad to be out of diapers, I do and I am, but I still would love to have another one to name and to nurse, to hold and to cuddle.

I know that I have been able to do lots of neat things because my youngest is 5 going on 6, but that hasn't made the pull of wanting another little one any less strong.

I know that more babies would make homeschooling even more crazy than it is now and my ability to want to be organized even less.

I know that I am as much, if not all, to blame for not having more children; that sinful flesh is sinful flesh. That sinful desires and decisions have consequences of which I must bear and that they wouldn't stop if more babies were in my arms, just be turned into different sinful thoughts and deeds.

I also know that I'm overly emotional right now and this is hitting me pretty hard.

So just know that I am overly ecstatic when I hear of friends, family, and church members who are expecting or have recently delivered. I think it is wonderful. But it is also a time for my heart to ache.

Life is full of decisions.
Hindsight is 20/20.
The baby desire never goes away.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Relish the Salsa

On Wednesday about 2 pm I began chopping cabbage, cauliflower, green tomatoes, peppers, and onions so it looked like this:

Then I began chopping tomatoes, more onions, more peppers, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, and carrots so another kettle looked like this:

After all that my kitchen looked like this (does anyone notice my coping mechanism?):

But by 11pm, I had 20 pint of Chow Chow Relish and 6 quart of Salsa finished and the kitchen cleaned. Of course I was too tired to take pictures, so just imagine all that mess gone, and pretty jars lining the counter.

I would have had 7 quarts of salsa, but one jar busted when it was in the hot water bath. All that pretty salsa floating in the water, made me almost cry. First time that has ever happened to me.

Here's the Salsa recipe I use which I got from my sil Beth:

Coarsely chop (by hand):
8 cups tomatoes - skinned (I use 10 cups)
2 cups onions (a little more since I use more tomatoes)
1 cup green pepper (again a little more and sometimes I use part red peppers)

Finely chop (by hand):
1 cup jalapenos adding seeds to desired heat (please wear gloves, unlike me who completely forgot and I dealt with burning hands all evening - although pouring rubbing alcohol on them, and then using 100% aloe on them worked and I didn't have a problem the next day.)
6 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Shred (in a food processor):
2 cups carrots

2/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp white pepper

Boil all ingredients, simmer 20 minutes removing any foam that collects. Ladle into clean, sterile jars. Cap and process using water bath method for 20 minutes.

Yield: 6-7 pints

Here is the Chow Chow Relish from the Ball canning book. We use this for tartar sauce, in salads (chicken, turkey, tuna, egg, etc.), and on hot dogs and brats.

Chow Chow Relish
Chop (in a food processor):
1 quart cabbage
3 cups cauliflower
2 cups green tomatoes
2 cups onions
2 cups green peppers
1 cup red peppers (or use all green)

Combine the vegetables and sprinkle with 3 Tbsp salt. Let stand 4-6 hours in a cool place. Drain well. Rinse and drain. Then in a large saucepot combine:
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
2 1/2 cups vinegar

Simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables, simmer 10 minutes. Bring to a boil. Pack hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Cap and process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

Yield: about 4 pint

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Work now, enjoy later

Yesterday afternoon, we waded through this:

dealt with hot, cranky children who often looked like this:

brought it home, loaded it into the wheelbarrow, sat in the yard and as a family shucked it all while arguing, I mean, conversing with each other. After all of that my dining room table looked like this:

Then I stood cutting it from the ear and freezing it so that this winter I can grab one of these 38 quart bags for our meal (and praise and thank God each time for wonderful friends like Charlie who share his bounty with us):

Other work for future rewards includes:
  • two chicken tetrazinnis in the freezer thanks to David and Hannah who made a triple batch while I was preparing the corn. We ate one and froze the other two.
  • a double batch of buns (both hamburger and dinner buns) in the freezer.
  • 3 meals of sloppy joes, because I made way more than I needed for the family fun outing for church in order to freeze some.
Today at the farmer's market I bought a big bag of Roma tomatoes to make into salsa. I also have cabbage to make into chow chow relish. The freezer and shelves are starting to fill up again. It is a good thing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dear Readers, (if there are any left)

I'm still here, but I'm actually doing things I should be doing, which is quite a change for me. Like attending a family reunion last weekend, hosting David's brother's family for a few days, planning out science for this coming year, along with all the normal things a wife and mother do.

But I'd rather be here, sitting at my computer, editing pictures to share with you, or reading blogs. Or I'd rather be over there sitting at my desk continuing to scrapbook on my Germany trip (so far 16 double sided pages complete!).

But not yet, I have buns to take out of the oven, chicken to bake and fix into tetrazinni, beef to buy and cook for sloppy joes, cucumbers to slice and prepare into freezer pickles, and all the normal things a wife and mother do.

If you are willing to remain, I promise to post again, along with pictures, one day soon....I hope.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

When there is time to myself....

...I can get a lot done!

  • I've scrapped ten 2-page spreads on our Germany trip with still time to complete more.
  • I cleaned my sewing desk so that I could do the scrapping.
  • I finished organizing the school room.
  • I organized my homeschool papers into one three-ring binder. Now I no longer will be searching in several different places for what I need.
  • I spent most of the day today at church helping other ladies on the finishing touches of our church cookbook.
But unfortunately the flip side of this coin is that I still have a lot to do!
  • I need to make lots of different foods for the weekend activities (my in-laws 45th wedding anniversary) and next week's company.
  • I need to pack for the trip.
  • I need to do some cleaning.
  • There is still laundry.
  • I need to go pick up my kids tomorrow evening and do some grocery shopping.
  • And more things that I'm sure I'm forgetting.
But the kids are having fun. They are playing games, sleeping in tents, staying up way late, enjoying their friends, and playing on a fire truck:
Back row: Ellie, Luke
Front row: Sarah, Hannah, Grace, Samuel, Abby, Rachel, Samuel, Nathan

No, the kids didn't do anything to cause alarm. The fire department was making rounds requesting donations for their annual fundraising dance and let the kids climb all over. Steve (Melanie's wonderful husband) got the kids to pose for a picture.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Quiet House

The house is very quiet and will be until Thursday evening. Yes it is a nice treat, and yes I love that I will be able to sit uninterrupted (well, only my own interruptions!) and accomplish some much needed projects, but I already miss the kids and their noise.

Yesterday afternoon, David and I met Melanie (a fellow looper) halfway between her place and ours. We then loaded her suburban with our 5 kids, their sleeping bags, and clothes, kissed them good-bye, and parted ways.

Melanie (who should be awarded the good friend of the year award) also has five children who are all basically the same ages as mine. She asked to keep my kids for a few days of fun with her chitlins. The munchkins were all excited and will have lots of fun.

On our way home, David and I stopped in New Ulm to tour the Schells Brewery and eat supper at the Kaiserhoff as a delayed anniversary meal. The tour was good as were the samples, and we enjoyed the Kaiserhoff special, bbq ribs. New Ulm also has many neat shops and also Herman the German. We did stop with the kids on the way to meet Melanie and climbed to the top to see Herman. But we didn't have time then or later to tour many of the shops, and decided it would be a fun day trip in the future.

Now I need to utilize my time wisely to get as much done as possible, not sit here at the computer the whole time. So while my house is quiet and I'll turn on the radio, I'm guessing Melanie has a lot more noise and be thinking, "Calgon take me away!"

She's my hero.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday."

Yesterday, July 31st was our 15th wedding anniversary. David awoke me with a kiss at 7:31 am and later in the afternoon brought me these:

Daisies are my favorite and they were in my wedding bouquet.

It was a nice day despite:
  • Having to eat breakfast (I had made pancakes) by candlelight in the basement because the town siren had blown and the electricity went out just as we sat down to eat a little after 8 am.
  • The electricity staying off for the next 12 hours.
  • Having not been to the grocery store in over a week and trying to plan meals was hard enough before, but more complicated due to no electric.
Yes it is definitely "Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva..."