Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ahhhh Butter

I planned to make sourdough pancakes for breakfast on Wednesday morning. The night before I made the sponge and left it on the counter for the next day.

In the morning, I made the coffee, then melted the stick of butter I needed to add to the batter. As it was melting in the microwave I went to get the eggs out of the refrigerator. Uh oh, no eggs there, so I ran down to the basement to look in our second refrigerator. None there either. Oh shoot. Plan B was to leave all there, have cereal for breakfast and then I would get eggs later and make the pancakes for lunch.

At 11:30, I called David to see if he would be willing to go get the eggs for me, oh and some sausage too, since I hadn't any. When he returned, I took the measuring cup with the previously melted butter and stuck it back into the microwave to remelt. Not too long after, we heard a loud bang, and various pops, and upon opening the microwave door discovered this lovely mess:

My microwave is now clean and we did finally get to eat the sourdough pancakes. They were good, but I don't want to have to go through this process again to enjoy them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It is all really simple

In Matins this morning Pastor read Luke 11: 14-36. He pointed out verse 24: "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'"

He asked why do the unclean spirits pass through waterless places seeking rest? To help answer he then asked the kids where do the unclean spirits live and eventually they answered in hell, after a brief discussion on living in our hearts which one child answered. His next question was what is hell like, and they said a place of torment and fire. The next question was what does fire not like? Water, some replied. And what removes the unclean spirits from our hearts?

Yep, water included in God's command.

Our catechism for the week:
What benefits does Baptism give?
It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Yes Prof. Marquardt was right, it is all very simple, it is a matter of life and death. May my sinful complexity continue to be washed clean and shown how simple it is.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Reviews

Here is a brief rundown on the books I have been reading recently (since November 2009). I tend to read in spurts, devouring a book or two or three, before moving on to something else to take away all my attention (schooling, scrapbooking, baking, etc.) before picking up another book and starting the cycle all over again. I'm really trying to learn to always be reading something at all times, but that isn't yet a completed lesson.

1. Going Rogue by Sarah Palin - I enjoyed reading this book and learning a little more about the former Alaskan governor. This was, I think, the first time I ever bought a newly released memoir. I did so because I didn't want to wait my turn for the library copy, plus I was able to get a discount. I'm happy I did, it is one that I will enjoy reading again one future day.

2-3-4. The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum - I have always loved the movies by the same name. I don't remember when I realized they were based on books, but last fall I decided to read them and requested them from the library. I quickly fell in love with them as much as the movies and promptly requested all three from Paperback Swap. The books aren't like the movie plots. That didn't bother me, I simply enjoyed this story, all the while envisioning the characters by the actors and actresses in the movies, imagining that what I was reading was more to the story. The movie was the first introduction to a "person", now I was spending more time with these "people", getting to know them more in-depth.

The only problem with this type of novel (one of my favorite genre's) is that I have a hard time putting it down and getting anything else done. I really get lost in the book and have to decompress afterwards, allowing myself to come back to reality and not have the pictures, plot, and scenes from the book rolling around in my head infecting my thinking. I know that there are three more Bourne novels, this time written by Eric Van Lustbader yet I haven't decided if I will read them or not. I don't know if I want to know more about this "friend" or if I would just like to leave it at this particular "happily-ever-after" moment.

5. Hungry by Crystal Renn - I first heard about this book from Elephant's Child. I thought it sounded interesting, and it was! This was a good book to read after The Bourne novels because it was so entirely different, it really helped free my brain from the plot of the Bourne story. I enjoyed reading about Crystal's life. I had to keep telling myself that this was happening now! Not years ago, but now, she is just on the healthy side of this awful problem. I was also amazed at what a strong-willed, self-determined, very-motivated woman she is. My eyes were opened to my own blindness of beautiful and how the media has shaped that through their portrayal of only certain, one-size-fits-all models. I hope that Crystal's message will help to change that and there are more models of every shape, size, and color shown in print. I still laugh to think that she is a "plus-size" model - at size 12!

6. Get the Salt Out by Ann Louise Gittleman - This is a list of "501 simple ways to cut the salt out of any diet" (the subtitle). I'm always interested in learning more about healthy eating and so I picked this up at the library when I saw it on the shelf. Some of it I already knew (#34: Taste food before you salt it), some of it I would never do ((#128: Switch to bathing in magnetically conditioned water instead of salt-softened water), and some of it I might attempt (#41: Fresh herbs can be frozen). One thing that bugs me are statements like this,
"Because the sodium content of the Paleolithic diet was quite low, the human body developed a taste for salt just to ensure adequate sodium intake. In addition, the body became adept at absorbing sodium and conserving every precious milligram it consumed.....What once was an evolutionary adaptation that served humans well for tens of thousands of years is now a hazard because we have dramatically changed our diet and, consequently, our intake of these important minerals. Simply put, the human body evolved to thrive on minimal amounts of sodium and much more potassium than sodium. Today, however, because we are faced with a growing number of environmental, emotional, and psychological stresses, many of us actually require more sodium than our Paleolithic ancestors consumed." (page 13-14)
I don't believe in evolution, but if you do, then why don't you believe that this is only the next step in the evolution process?

That is all of the books I have completed reading so far. Currently I'm reading three different books.
1. "Homeschooling: The Teen Years" by Cafi Cohen - Our oldest will be a ninth grader next year. It is now time to make the decision, will we send her to the local Lutheran High School or will we continue to educate her at home. We keep changing our minds, but I'm reading up on other homeschoolers who have educated their children at home during high school in order to get a better understanding and maybe confidence if that is what we decide is best for our daughter and our family.

2. "The Moon Spinners" by Mary Stewart - Our children watched the movie at Camp Luther in January with their good friends. Ellie liked it so well, she used her Barnes and Noble gift card to buy her own copy. She then found the book in the library and asked if I would pre-read it to make sure it was okay. I'm not reading it near fast enough for her taste. Better get crackin'.

3. "Before the Change - Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause" by Anne Louise Gittleman. A friend recommended this book awhile ago after finding it quite helpful to her. I remembered it once again when I read Ms. Gittleman's book I wrote about above. I'm interested to see what she has to say.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

I've written before about the Valentine's tradition in our home. This year I remembered my camera to share pictures with you. One day last week at the dinner (translate: lunch) I asked David if he was taking me out to supper for Valentine's day. He replied that normally we went to this nice, cozy, basement restaurant and wondered if it was still opened. By this time, as you can imagine, all five children are smiling and squirming in their seats just a bit (they knew that we knew they were planning something we just wanted to know what and when). So David decides to "call" (translate: pretend to dial a phone at the table) the restaurant. Nathan answered the phone telling us that yes it was open and that our reservations were for 6pm and in response to the question of what the special was, he replied, after coaching from Hannah, "Italian Surprise."

Then on Friday we got this "in the mail."

I love how they even put the postmark and canceling of the stamp on the back.

Sunday came. Everything was pretty relaxed. David and I napped while the children watched a favorite movie, then we watched part of the NASCAR seasoning opening race (translate: the Daytona 500). By this time the children would not let us in the kitchen and about 4:30 they kicked us out of the basement in order to decorate. To pass the time, David and I sat and watched Castle and Psych on Hulu in our office.

As time drew near, we then dressed for dinner and were led by the host and hostess to our table. Once again they had done a tremendous job of cleaning the basement, decorating a lovely table and providing mood lighting. As we were seated, on our places at the table were these lovely hearts:

If you can't read it, it says,
"Sous La Maison
Fine Dining at its best

Your Italian Surprise is....
The Food isn't Italian,

And then our menu was put onto the table,

It was to be a German meal!

a bottle of Riesling brought and our Vorspeisen:


This was a very tasty cheese bread that complimented the wine and salad wonderfully.

And Gruner Salat mit su-saurem Dressing (which I forgot to take a picture of ) A delicious salad with a sweet and sour dressing they had made - very yummy!

Once again the wait staff was very attentive to our needs and always checking to make sure we weren't in need of anything, and clearing our dishes as soon as we were finished.

Next was the Hauptgericht: Schweinebraten, Karoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus
I think David's and my mouths dropped open when we realized they had made a pork roast. When we tasted it, we were even more amazed. It was succulent, wonderfully seasoned, and so good. The Karoffelpuffer was an absolutely outstanding potato-onion pancake. It was so good, we asked for seconds - and they obliged making a fresh one for each of us.

Here is David enjoying the food and a glimpse of the table. Originally the candelabra was in the middle, but we couldn't see each other well, so we moved it to the side.
After our delicious main meal came dessert. On Saturday the kids had baked and decorated heart-shaped sugar cookies, I thought that would be our dessert, but I was wrong. According to the menu we would have:

Another mouth-watering yummy, yummy food. It had apples in it with a lemon flavored cake crust. It was very, very good.

David and I kept wondering where did they get all these recipes and after our meal was ended we asked them. Hannah and Ellie replied, "From the library," and brought down the books they had borrowed and showed us the recipes.

We took a picture of the staff at Sous La Maison (which means "under the house" - they used our google translator app on the ipod to translate all the words) and thanked and hugged them for a wonderful evening.
They then asked us what movie we wanted to watch, and we offered them to watch with us, but they wanted to play Nancy Drew on the computer instead. So still dressed for dinner, with full bellies and happy hearts, we sat and watched McClintock starring John Wayne.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Smart and Amazing Girls We Have Been Blessed With

David is teaching Hannah Omnibus I. They are doing it together with our good friends Ralph and Ramona, and about once a week they have a phone conversation discussing the current book. They began the study of the Odyssey. Today's conversation was an introduction to the book and discussing how it is an epic poem and written in dactylic hexameter. Hannah and Ramona were to write 10 lines of poetry on a heroic theme, using dactylic hexameter. I think it is incredible what they wrote. I can't even begin to wrap my idiotic brain (see previous post) around where to even begin. Following is their assingment: (Note: I have copied it like the girls wrote it, capitalizing the stressed syllables to help see the rhythm.)

OUT from the GATES comes the MOUTH of the EYE, with the MITHriel of FROdo

TAUNTing the LEADers of MEN and their ARmy with LIES, to deCEIVE them

ARagorn SMITES off his HEAD with a SWORD and thus STARTS up the BATtle

RIDES back and SAYS to the SOLdiers of GONdor "toDAY we will STAND strong!

COURage may FAIL, and all MEN will then FALL but for THIS day we FIGHT, men!"

AFter his SPEECH the great KING leads his PEOple to BATtle with Evil.

WAR cries and SWORDS and BODies of MEN fill the FIELD of the BATtle

TOO many ORCS are surROUNDing the SOLdiers and THEY can not HOLD on

ALL looking HOPEless and THEN in the DIStance they SEE the great EYE fall

NAZgul and ORCS and the REST of the ARmy of SAUron the PERish

EARTH cracks and FIre eRUPTS from the MOUNtain of DOOM, and the MEN stare

WHAT could have HAPpened to FROdo and SAM, who deSTROYED the one RING there?

GANdolph rides EAGle to MOUNTain and THERE he finds HOBBits toGETHer

BRINGS them to RIVendell WHERE they can REST and be HEALED from their LAbors

BUT what is THEIR story, HOW did two HOBBits sucCEED and deSTROY him?

Ramona's continues where Hannah's ends:

RUNning and SCRAMbaling UP toward the DOORway of MOUNT Doom went FROdo

EYES fixed on HIS goal his HAND gripping THAT thing he MUST destroy FOR all

Every step MORE of a WEIGHT pulled don ARound his NECK what a BURden

THEN he was THERE pulled the RING held it OVer the FIRE but it STOPPED him

"THROW it in!" SAMwise yelled BUT the ring's POWer was STRONGer than FROdo's

FROdo put ON the ring HE suddenLY could not STOP himself FROM it

VANished did FORdo but SUDdenly SMEAgol came, RAN for the PREcious

BIT off the RING finger FINally HE had the PREcious but FROdo ran toWARDS him

BARReling OVer the EDGE Frodo PUSHED him both SMEAgol and RING fell

IN just one MOment the POWer of SAUron deSTROYED by the WEAKest

THIS huge task WAS conquered BY the most UNlikely AGainst the GREAT odds

TWO lowly HOBbits had SAVED Middle-EARTH from all EVil; had BROUGT peace

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If The Shoe Fits

I always try to qualify my ineptness and stupidity, but really I am an idiot.

My beloved bought me Photoshop Elements for my Mac, and I'm too dumb to know how to use it, heck I can't even get it started. The stupid go-green-lets-not-print-any-useful-manuals movement means I have to traipse all over video web tutorials which still haven't answered my questions.

In the days of sefdom, I would have been hired out as a maid, and been the poster child for why women shouldn't be allowed to attend school. And in Luther's school in Eisenach, I would've been the one continously with this on my head.
If I knew how to use photoshop elements I would have been able to draw an arrow and point to the donkey's head so you knew exactly what I was referring too. But I don't because I'm an idiot.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

It's That Pivotal Moment

When I started my sophomore year of college, I was thinner than when I had left the following spring (oh the pain of the freshman 15-20-30!)and more determined to make the Dean's List. I ran cross country again that year. We ran every day in the afternoon. Most every weekend there was a meet somewhere in the greater Chicago area. That was most of my life that fall semester of 1990; classes to attend and cross country practice in the afternoons with meets on Saturdays.

It was most, but not all of my life. I had begun to have a crush on a certain fellow classmate. It started during "O" week. "O" week is Orientation week for the freshman and transfers. Upperclassman tried out the previous spring to be on one of the staffs, Freshman Orientation Staff, Transfer Staff, or Camp Staff, that would lead the week's festivities. I had really enjoyed my freshman orientation week and wanted to make it as fun for the next group, so I had tried out and was chosen for "O" staff. During that week, we held different activities and Bible studies for the freshman to get acquainted with each other and their new school. It culminated in a skit show at the end of the week before they headed off to camp with the Camp Staff for the weekend.

This crush of mine was also on "O" staff. But it wasn't until the Camp Staff skit show on Saturday night, that I started to really think how cute he was. "O" staff's responsibilities were finished except to have a skit in the Camp Staff skit show. I don't remember our full skit, but I remember the parts I and that cute guy had. We each had to hold a piece of poster board. His said "CUR", mine "TAINS." Our role was simple, we were on stage at the beginning holding the posterboards together, our heads hidden behind. When the narrator began reading, he said, "The curtains parted" and we were to walk away like we were angry with each other. Our next part didn't come until the end when the narrator read, "And the curtains came together." We then were to quickly walk on stage, like lovers who were making up after an argument. It was that moment that I thought, hmmm, I wouldn't mind actually being this guy's girlfriend.

But how could that happen? I wasn't going to ask him and did he even know I existed? So I decided I would at least make sure he knew and remembered me the rest of the school year. As the school year began and daily life meant classes and running practice, I tried my best to be in the same areas he was. Although we had no classes in common, we did have lots of mutual friends. Therefore meals were the easiest time to be around him.

As the quarter continued, and I was getting to know this tall, dark, and handsome classmate, I was becoming more and more smitten. But I still didn't know what he thought. Was I simply another one of the good friends, who happened to be a girl? Did he already have a girlfriend? Questions, questions, always swirling questions, but never any answers. Would I ever know?

One day while all the gang was together chatting, the conversation turned towards what we thought our life would look like. I distinctly remember David saying that "I have no doubt I will be an elder in the church and be there every Sunday." I remember being so awed by that statement and knowing that David was the kind of guy I would like to date and eventually marry. He was smart, funny, a Lutheran, and proud of it.

It was becoming obvious to other people that I liked David. We were always around each other, although it was always with other people. I had several people ask me if David and I were dating, my reply was always, "I'm working on it," while grinning ear to ear. It was even easy to go to his room. His roommate, Roy, and other good friends, Scott, and Tim were also my friends. They tried to tell me that David liked me, but I always wondered why he never asked me out. But as fall quarter had turned to winter quarter and Christmas break had come and gone, I knew that I still liked him, and maybe, just maybe he might like me.

Super Bowl Sunday he invited me over to watch the game with him, Roy, Scott, and Tim. I remember having a great time watching the game and watching them watch football. At halftime I remember suddenly being aware that we were alone. Then I remember that David reached over and quickly gave me a kiss. It was that pivotal moment - I knew he really did like me!

And tonight is marks the 19th time we'll watch the Super Bowl together.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


*I was lamenting to my husband that I feel like we don't eat many vegetables in the winter. Then today I realized we eat various soups quite regularly in the winter; like lentil, chili, wild rice, split pea, taco, broccoli cheese, and potato. Guess what...they are full of various vegetables. Another strike against "feelings."

*I need things to be pointed out to me quite regularly in Bible Study. I would never have come up with them on my own. Thanks be to God for His patience, mercy, and grace and for the gift of Pastors who teach us His Truths. I wish more people could see that Bible study isn't something to be done with after 8th grade confirmation and Sunday School. It isn't about head knowledge, it is about faith and how much or little it grows in relation to how much it is fed the Word of God.

*My children like all sorts of things I wouldn't have had any knowledge of, or cared to have done growing up. Like classical music, C.S. Lewis novels (one child is currently devouring The Space Trilogy), practicing the piano or other instrument for fun, planning and cooking surprise meals for parents, and the list could go on.

*Most women crave chocolate , but not me. (I don't really like chocolate unless it has some caramel with it). I crave cake and doughnuts. And I really would like some RIGHT NOW!

*I'm going to have to start being more pro-active in the education department around here. My laziness and desire to sit around and do nothing but read or play on the ipod or computer is not setting a very good example. And really it isn't just the education department, it is all departments. If I'm not modeling good behavior, it isn't good for the children or me or the house.

*I'm really enjoying scrapbooking again. Even if I only do it when the group at church gets together once a month, it is more than I use to do. And wow, doing even a little means something is getting done. I need to apply this to other areas of my life (yet again). Oh and if you enjoy scrapping and want to come join the fun, our group is hosting a scrapbooking weekend in March. Email me and I'll get you the details.

*Our dishwasher isn't working again. We've had more trouble with this machine. It seems like it has never worked well. For the past week or more Hannah and Ellie have been the main dishwashers, switching off each day. Two things I've learned. One, the girls couldn't care less about actually getting the dishes clean. But when I think about it, they do so much more work around the house than I ever did. (Sorry Mom!) Two, I can get by on less dishes when we actually have to wash them after each meal.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Beautiful Books

Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff are wonderful books. I had never read them before. I'm not sure I had even heard of them before I saw them in this year's Veritas Press catalog.

I finished reading Black Ships Before Troy last week

and today I began The Wanderings of Odysseus.

I bought the illustrated versions because the illustrator, Alan Lee, was the conceptual artist for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you didn't know, we are big Lord of the Rings fans. With their Christmas Barnes & Noble gift card (thanks again Aunt Lynn and Aunt Margie!)

Sam bought this book:

and Nathan bought this book:

They are ones they've checked out of the library so many times already and now are quite excited to have their own. You can bet your bottom dollar that they sit and pour over the pages for as long as I don't holler at them to do something else.

That love of all things Lord of the Rings, helped make the decision to spend the money on the illustrated versions of Sutcliff's books. I haven't regretted one penny. They are truly beautiful illustrations, and the story really captivates the young'uns. I highly recommend them to you!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Truth of it Makes it Funny

My husband shared this with me the other day. If you, like us, don't always appreciate the musicality of singers singing our national anthem, I think like us, you'll laugh at this till you cry.