Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16th.  You just thought spring was here!

There are a few drafts in the works, but I will probably never get them written. Life happens. I am going to post one of them for the photos, if nothing else, because in about four years my girls will scroll thru my old blog posts again, and they will be greatly entertained.  

We've been to the history museum, gone to a play, dissected rabbits, shot a gun for the first time, collected maple sap for syrup, started walking (that was before we had mounds of spring snow), visited a lovely farm, baked cookies and muffins and that amazing whole wheat banana raisin bread, nearly slid off the road into the lake (that was today), and gone to a party for the 5th and 6th grade girls at our co-op.

I have taught math and English, reviewed algebra, read up on the terrible secret history of Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia/Finland under Stalin's regime, had a date with my husband, and invented succulent dishes for my family.

And today, after a long hiatus from reading all the weekly posts on the Carnival of Homeschooling, I was challenged again by other parents who are thinkers and movers and defenders of our privilege to teach our own children and to decide what that means. This post by Lori Pickert, at Project-Based Homeschooling, was particularly meaningful. Unfortunately for me, the timing was bad.  My reading of the post coincided with one daughter's bold insistence that this stuff we call "school" really doesn't matter in the long run and is therefore a complete waste of time. Other than my insufficient but standard response, "You need to be able to teach your kids this stuff, so they can teach their kids this stuff," I am out of arguments. She desperately wants a real job, to learn stuff of life the real way, and the PBH post backs her up nicely. I don't know what to do now. But I never really have known what to do, so I'm no worse off today than I was yesterday. :)  Lord, show me! ...I'll probably figure it out a week after I graduate child #4. And hopefully my realization will be accompanied by a sense of affirmation, not one of regrets.

I'll be back.

*     *    *

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; 
and what doth the LORD require of thee, 
but to do justly, and to love mercy, 
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Micah 6:8

(I didn't see anything about school in there. Did you?)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I broke my mini tablet a couple weeks ago. Three months ago I didn't have one and I didn't want one. But then Alison picked one up for me just because ♥. I got over the aggravating learning curve enough to get involved with "Scramble With Friends". And I practiced until I felt confident enough to play against a real online opponent. I won the first round! And then I dropped my tablet and smashed the glass thingie, whatever it's called. You know, the screen thing.


I kind of missed that aggravating thing.  

For a few days I wanted to replace it with a smart phone, or at least an iPod. I even went so far as to look for an iPod giveaway contest. (As if I'd win!)

But now that a few more days have gone by, I'm back to thinking like I did before I had my tablet.

I think I am.

But in the event that I am ever gifted with another one, that will probably make me happy.

I'm going to end up one of those old ladies who is still in the dark ages with her rotary telephone, without any friends or family because their friends and family are modern people and don't know how to connect with loved ones the old fashioned way.

But I'll still have my blog. :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

I believe there may be a law of Nature that states that whenever you have a serious banana bread craving, you will not have any super-ripe bananas, and any bananas to be found in the grocery store will be in shades of green varying from grass green to pea green and not one will be even remotely brown-speckled. So you will buy them under-ripe and set them on your counter, and then just as they are about to turn nice and ripe and spotty, your husband will eat them with peanut butter because you have been so focused on baking banana bread that you haven’t stocked the house with anything to eat for lunch. Cruel, cruel Nature. ~ Emily Vikre,
I just had to copy and paste this quote in an email to the preacher this morning, for he is this very husband who scopes out and eats the bananas that have been especially hidden away for the banana bread purpose. Excellent man that he is, he just can not stand to see food go "bad".

I have not been able to convince him that there is no such thing as a bad banana, unless it is a green one.

A few minutes later, noting four perfect banana-bread bananas in the fruit basket, I asked him if he had already eaten his daily breakfast banana today. He answered in the affirmative, and that was the end of the conversation, but I should have been listening for his unspoken, "And I can't wait to eat that banana bread that you are going to bake with the rest of them!"

But I wasn't. If I had been listening to his yearnings, I could have saved him a profound disappointment.  Instead, I was focused on Emily Vikre's recipe for Espresso Banana Bread, and I proceeded to smash up those last four perfectly spotted nanners. I changed up the recipe a bit, since I didn't have espresso granules, and because I thought 1/4 cup of sugar was just waaay too little sugar for banana bread. I used instant coffee and doubled the sugar, then subbed the sour cream with kefir. And I added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, because. (Do I need a reason to add chocolate??) AND, since I was too impatient to wait two hours for a loaf of bread to come out of the oven and cool, too, I made muffins instead.

The muffins turned out beautifully: nicely risen, a little bit cakey, and perfectly sweet and moist, with that wonderful heaven-made taste combination of chocolate and banana.  But the instant coffee didn't cut it.  There is not one trace of coffee flavor in those muffins!

Now, the preacher absolutely hates anything to do with coffee -- the smell, the taste, and most especially the resulting poisonous breath of the one who has consumed it. (That would be me. He doesn't get close enough to anyone else to smell their breath.) So when the muffins were cooling nicely on the rack and Pastor J. came in to the kitchen to "test" the finished product (as if he doesn't know what banana muffins taste like), I felt I ought to warn him that it contained coffee. 

And that is how I discovered a no-fail method for keeping the preacher out of the baked goods or anything else that comes out of the kitchen:  "Oh Honey, I added a bit of coffee to that."

To be fair, I did assure him that he would not be able to taste it, not one tiny little bit. 

But the word "coffee" did it. The poor man was so disappointed.  I did try to convince him that those muffins were really good anyway, but he wasn't buying it.

And so there were enough of them to take a half dozen to our piano teacher this afternoon.

Who ever heard of a Swede not liking coffee??

Oh.  And the green-bananas-when-you-have-a-banana-bread-craving problem is easily solved.  See Jillee's quick banana ripening method.  It works!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Who would think, from this photo taken today, that April is just three days away??  Things are not always what they seem. :)
The younger girls enjoyed a nice walk/plod through the snow this afternoon with their dad. 
I should have gone along, too, but I was plodding thru curriculum ideas for next year's homeschool co-op. That was as taxing on my brain as this walk was for their bodies! I am cringing at the idea of Betz taking on biology or chemistry. Not that she couldn't handle it. Betz is my kid who likes to have all her ducks in a row: goals, checklists, records, map of high school plans made out, transcript. Eeek! I'll do my best to help you, Betsy. 
Pray for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Would you respect your pastor if he lived the way you do?

Remember them which have the rule over you, 
who have spoken unto you the word of God: 
whose faith follow, 
considering the end of their conversation.
Hebrews 11:7

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I keep hearing griping about more cold weather, and where's spring, and we're so sick of snow... But really, when did spring ever come in March in central Mn?  Today looks like this. Again. Of course. What do we expect in mid March?

Not a blade of grass or a piece of asphalt in site. And a LOT more white stuff on the way. So we are making the best of it!

Unfortunately for us, we aren't the only ones with this great idea, but we don't own the pool. In the old days we probably would have left when the half naked guy got in, or we might have avoided a rather public pool in the first place. (We're at the single motel in town. It's $5! per person to use the pool, which is why we've never done this before, and also one of the reasons I am not in the water. When I was a kid, it cost 25¢ to go swimming, and that was so cheap that we could go every day. Am I  that old??)

So as I was saying, we prefer modesty, but of course you can't impose your personal standards on the public. And this has become a problem recently because of our inconsistency. Sigh. It would be really easy to convince ourselves that God doesn't care what we wear or what we see, but there's that Bible that tells us differently. And really, we're better off doing things his way.  After all, who loves us more than Jesus Christ does? No one. 

It should be really easy to resolve this...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We have not had a whole lot of creativity going on for some time. Suddenly this afternoon a creativity bomb went off in my house, and wow! What fun!
Emily made a bendy family:
I don't know WHERE she ever got the idea to have the mom and dad kissing...*wink*

Betz got out the oil pastels and artified her own Phineas and Ferb and Isabella. Whoever they are. I know, they are from a cartoon. And I hope it's okay, because my kids watch it, but I've never even seen it. (Tell me if it isn't.)

Amy bought a Spirograph this afternoon, something to entertain her Other Johnson kids with. I had one of those things when I was about ten years old! 
And my own creative contribution to this creative Sunday was the pot of beautiful roasted veggies we enjoyed for dinner today. I love colorful food! And was it ever delicious! Chop up root veggies, toss with olive oil, sprinkle on some rosemary and coarse sea salt, roast at 375 til done. Put under broiler for a minute or two for a bit more color. Oh, and add a few pieces of sausage, too. :)  God's so good to give us stuff like this and not make us eat out all the time. lol. All that restaurant food tastes the same. But no, I wouldn't turn down an invitation to go out and get a night off from the kitchen. :)
Not my photo.  My veggies had bright pink beet juice all over them. :)

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 
Psalm 145:15,16

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Regarding Emily being the hands-on kid, here's a case in point:  
Em saw this on Pinterest and thought we needed to try it.  Right now.  A candle is made from a Cutie peel.  I was a bit concerned the olive oil in the "cup" would catch fire, so it was not allowed to burn long.  Fire experiments are very stressful in my house, since we have one daughter who is certain the entire place will burn down when we light matches.  Hence the metal baking sheet, and the adult-only lighting of the Cutie "wick".  This would have been neat if we had done it at night and turned out the lights.  I'm pretty sure the fire would glow thru the skin.

So.  That was fun.  What's next?

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