Friday, August 27, 2010

A This and That Post

I've now canned nine and a half quarts of tomato juice and 14 quarts of quartered tomatoes. I also was able to do 12 quarts of pickles! I bought some at the Farmer's Market and then I was gifted with some. I don't know if I'll get anymore tomatoes, but if I do they'll all be made into juice or maybe some pizza sauce. I also want to get the vegetables I need to can chow chow relish. My mom is coming again in October to can applesauce and apple jelly. I can't tell you how nice that is.

Nathan broke his right clavical on Tuesday evening. It was his first football practice. It was purely an accident - they weren't using helmets or pads or even footballs. The coaches were teaching them plays and drills. He tripped while running a 30 yard dash and fell just right (or wrong). Now he is in a sling constantly for two weeks and after that too, just maybe not constantly, as it will take 4-6 weeks to heal. The orthopedic surgeon told us they never operate on collar bones especially in children because they heal themselves. "Bones have been healing themselves for millions of years as part of the survival of the fittest." Oh really? I was just about feisty enough to say something, but thought better. How sad it is that this doctor whose been given the gift of helping people through surgery doesn't believe in God the Father, the Creator of the World.

I'm enjoying the nice cooler weather.

We went out to supper last night to Bostons, The Gourmet Pizza. We only did this because the kids had been given free meal coupons through the library reading program this summer. When we walked in, the hostess told us that we could only use two because it has to be with paying adults. But it doesn't say that on the coupon, there was no limit of one free with one paying adult. She was kind and gave them to us anyway and I really appreciated that. But that reminded me of why I hate those coupons - there is always a catch. They don't really want to give out free meals, just get you in the store in hopes you'll feel obligated to spend money.

I was scrapbooking on Sunday with the group at church. I'm still working on Abby's baby album, I'm now up to when she was 6 months old. I've now discovered that three of the shirts I still wear all the time I was wearing in pictures then. Sigh. Big Sigh. I knew that my clothes were old and that I need to get new ones. I just didn't realize how old. I don't really want to go shopping and face buying clothes. They're so expensive and it seems like such a waste of money. I don't have the emotional strength to face that, so I trudge on.

My weight loss/exercise increasing has stalled and even gone sour.

One way to make spending time in the ER with Nathan more enjoyable was quoting from Brian Regan's comedy routine. He, David, and I were always making some comment and that made the time pass more quickly and helped to ease Nathan's sorrow. Here it is if you haven't seen it before.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Well That'll Be Easy to Remember

I just talked to my sister-in-law. The one who moved a mile down the road. She wanted to give me her new phone number. It is the exact same as mine except the last two numbers. My last two numbers are 33. Her's are 22.

How Deflating

I've now canned 18 quart jars of salsa, that is three double batches worth of work.

I realized this morning that I forgot to put garlic in at least one, if not two of those double batches. And now I'm worried I forgot it in the first double batch as well. That's at least 12 quart jars with no garlic, maybe all 18.

How sickening.
How deflating.
How irritating.
How maddening.

Can I cry?

Monday, August 23, 2010

School Organization

The teacher's motto here at MLLA is and always has been, "Next year will be better." With that in mind I, the main teacher of MLLA, am always thinking of a better way to organize and get things done. This year is no different.

When the principal suggested the use of Family Fun Reward Days as motivation for getting our school work done, we stumbled upon something that really works for our family. Not that we're always successful, but it does give all of us motivation, incentive, and the stick-to-itiveness we all (read the teachers) needed.

So I dutifully printed off five blank copies of the current month and proceeded to write what should be accomplished during that month on each one. It became very repetitive and redundant. And some of the children were less likely to actually do the work or mark it off each day, so it got messy and teacher, principal, and student became less agreeable with each other.

I decided that didn't work as well as I would like and I would like the children to have more responsibility with writing down their work. So in talking with the teacher of St. Joseph's Academy I came up with an idea that we're trying for this year.

On the computer I made tables for each child. There are 6 columns. The first column is the child's name and the next five are the days of the week we do school. There is space underneath the days for the children to write the date of the day. The number of rows varies with each child because each row lists a subject the child is studying this year. I even included a row for the instrument(s) the child needs to practice.

I was able to copy two tables on one side of a page for each child. I then photo-copied them front to back for a total of 4 tables per page which equals 4 weeks of school. I printed nine of these pages and put them into plastic three-pronged folders, a different color for each child so it is easy to quickly see whose is whose.

Now instead of me spending a big chunk of time at the beginning of each month writing down what each child should finish that month, each child will write down daily what was actually done when it was completed. For the row listing their instrument they are to write down the number of minutes they practiced that day.

So far we've done two weeks and so far it is going like I hoped. I am trying to train myself to check their folder each day at lunch and then at supper. This way I hope to keep them and myself on track and we don't get to far behind and feel overwhelmed.

One good thing happened last week. Due to gifts of vegetables that I needed to can, Hannah working several days, and appointments at the eye doctor and dentist we didn't get as much bookwork done like we would have had we been home. But we could write those things down which we did, list the appointments that kept us away and now this week each child knows where to start.

I hope this works as the year progresses, but if not, "Next year will be better."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This is a New Experience

Yesterday David's brother, Matt, and his wife and three young daughters moved to our town. They now live one mile down the road from us. In our 17 years of married life we've never lived that close to family. They wanted to move farther out from the cities and closer to his parents. Their stipulations also included wanting a Lutheran school and a good church.

We're delighted that our town met their needs. Our oldest girls can't wait to babysit as needed (which they've started doing during the move) and our youngest daughter is delighted to have her only girl cousins around her age living so close.

Last night we helped move in some of their things and get the beds all set up. Then, while Matt and Michele left to go back and pick up their daughters and another load, I brought home their sheets, washed and dried them, and then went to make all their beds for them. Hopefully they slept well last night and will be able to face the day of unpacking.

We're all looking forward to this new experience.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Never-Fail Dill Pickles

I've tried canning Dill Pickles a couple of times in my married life and never have they turned out until last year.

Last year I was given lots of good dill pickle sized cucumbers and wanted dearly to have canned dill pickles turn out. So I turned to my newly published church cookbook and Lorna's recipe. Why Lorna? Because I've eaten her dill pickles at church and they are oh so good. Plus with a name like "Never-Fail Dill Pickles" it should work, right?

Well it did, it was super easy, and we loved them. Too bad all the cucumbers I've been given this year are too big for dill pickles. Oh well. For those of you who still have the small cucumbers for dill pickles, give this recipe a try and see what you think.

Never-Fail Dill Pickles
In bottom of quart jar put:
1 head of dill and some of the stem (about 6 inches and bend over to get in jar)
1 onion slice
and 1 garlic clove

Add cucumbers and then add to each jar:
1 Tbsp sugar
1 scant Tbsp canning salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup white vinegar

Add cold water to fill remaining jar. Put hot lids on and put jars in canner. Fill with water to tops of jar. Bring water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off and forget about pickles until canner is cooled down. Note: Do not take cover off canner.

That's it! Super easy. The hard part is forgetting about them until the canner is cooled down. I found that it was easier if I did it at night and let them sit overnight while I slept. Let me know if you like them and I'll try not to be too envious as I won't have any this year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get Active

I'm sure you've all read before the admonition to get more active in your daily life. Most articles then proceed with examples like, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest spot from the door, stand up every hour and walk to get a drink and stretch.

Those are all good and well, but they just don't work in my life of being a wife and mother who stays home. So here are things that I've thought of that could work (now just to put them into practice).

1. My house has two stories with a basement. There is a bathroom on each floor. I will use a bathroom on a different floor from the one I'm on in order to have to walk up and down the stairs. Bonus: waiting until I can't wait any longer and then running.

2. When I fold clothes, I will leave the laundry basket on the floor instead of propping it up between the counter and washer forcing myself to bend over or squat to retrieve the next item.

3. More times than not I will get up and get my own glass of water or pen or paper or whatever instead of enlisting children.

4. More times than not I will go to the basement to retrieve something out of the freezer or refrigerator or canned goodies off the shelf instead of enlisting the children. Bonus: the doors of the refrigerator and freezer might actually stay shut more consistently.

5. Instead of sitting all the time to teach the children some subject, I'll stand for part of the time.

It isn't much, but little things add up so I came up with the above list. Any other ideas you might have?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Do You Know What He Did?

He read my blog post and so this week he waits to pause after "in the same way" for us to repeat.

It's like he wants me to focus more on God's Word than an old song.

And it worked because it wasn't till today that I even noticed.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I Don't Think Like That

I've been confronted with the fact that I don't always think like other people and it always makes me stop and think.

For instance: family who redecorated two of their children's rooms, giving them each their own room. Not only did they paint each of the rooms in two colors, they have new curtains and other decorations put up all around the rooms making them look more like a picture from a magazine.

I don't think like that - My kids are lucky to get one coat of paint they picked and we'll make do with whatever else. It doesn't cross my mind to have the extras - decorative pillows, knick-knacks, lighting, etc. And if it does, the pocket book often determines not to do it, or do it later, which turns into never.

Another example: I don't cook like this. It looks and sounds wonderful, and I plan to try it, but I would have never thought about it myself. Or some of the meals Facebook friends state they're fixing I would never think of like "thai coconut salmon," or "garden meatloaf," or "chinese chop chop salad," or any number of other "fancy-schmanzy" meals.

One more example: I don't think to clean like my sister-in-law does. She is very good at it and I always learn something from watching her when we're together that I would never think to do on my own.

I understand that I probably do things that others would never think of, but since I think that way I don't think about it - know what I mean? I love learning all these things from family and friends and some of them I do try and some do become habits of my thinking. But for the most part I'm always partly amused when confronted with a different way of thinking because, well, it had never crossed my mind before. :-)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I Can See the Headline Now

In the mail today I got information on a Pastor's Wives Retreat which is held annually in our district. Here is a portion of a paragraph:
"The state laws re: liability are much stricter, and we can no longer bring in home baked items. Nor can we bring a bowl, and empty the contents of a package into it. We can bring manufactured, pre-sealed, individual serving snacks. So, bringing snacks for 4-6 people is optional."

The government really does not believe that people can make any decisions for themselves. So Mrs. Luther, famous for her oatmeal scotchies or Mrs. Walther, famous for her chocolate chip cookies, or Mrs. Wyneken, famous for her lemon-jello poke cake, can no longer bring them to share with the group. How ridiculous. Neither can Mrs. Melancthon bring in a bag of chips and pour them into a bowl apparently. Doesn't it seem like this is just asking for civil disobedience?

Headline in the local paper day after the retreat:
"Pastors' Wives Arrested For Sharing Home Baked Goods"

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It Seems Ridiculous

to my children how giddy I am when the house is clean and everything is in its place.

But I am and I love it for those few precious moments before once again life with 5 children causes it to all unravel.