Friday, January 30, 2009

The Month in Review -- January

For being a slow month here, it sure went fast!  We have had company, special meetings at church with late nights, and all manner of schedule-interrupting activities. We are having a terrible time getting back into school, and we never really got out.  Every day I am asked if we can skip this or that, and it's never anything like computer time, lol.  It's usually geography or chores.  Or the entire school day.   Well, here's our summary:

We went grocery shopping.  Who didn't??  Our local store had this cute stand set up, and Elisabeth pretended to be a farm girl selling apples, so that Amy could take her picture. 

Dad got in on the hammy fun and did a Kroger's pizza commercial for us.  (No, we don't always dress up to do our grocery shopping. This was a Sunday night, after church, on our way home.)

Alison learned how to do some bicycle maintenance, from the best cycling teacher ever -- Monocogman.  Here she is changing her tire.  Goatheads love innertubes, and we have lots of flats here. Personally I think anyone who likes cycling in the desert is a little bit crazy.  Who wants to fix a flat every time they go on a ride?  Well, Monocogman does. That explains that.

We had fun at the park, of course.  The photographer is Amy.  She has been connected to her "new" camera ever since her birthday.  I can see I pasted all these photos in the wrong order.  See Amy's birthday, coming up.

Amy made sock monkeys, one for her, and one for a dear blogging friend.  These monkeys appear to be part squid, as I accidentally purchased knee-hi socks!  (How was I to know they are normally made from crew socks??) 

Mom, what's this thing?  A typewriter.  What's a typewriter??  Below, Elisabeth types a story on this fabulous antique.  Way more fun than the computer, you know.  Too funny!

This avocado had already begun to sprout when I cut it open.  The pit was split in half, and roots were growing through the flesh.  I love a head start on a seed!  (This happened here not too long ago with an apple.  Are our fruits being fed hormones or something??)  We definitely do not  have the climate for growing avocados, so this project will go into the round file whenever I get tired of seeing it in my kitchen window.  Some questions for homeschool scientists: Will the plant flourish if it is watered with filtered soft water?  And, will it survive on half the nutrition it normally gets from the pit?

The girls fed wild burros.  This one is apparently not very wild.

We started Kings Kids at our church. Alison and Amy, while too old to be in the club, are not to old to be helpers, so we keep them busy making snacks and listening to the younger girls recite their memory verses.  And no, we are not saying the pledge to Obama

And, we celebrated Amy's twelfth birthday!  Grammy and Grampy spent a few days with us for the occasion, and that is where the camera came from.  Dad decided his nice Canon Powershot S1 was too awkward and bullky, so he bought a new, smaller one and stored the Canon away on the top shelf of his closet for .... someday.  He decided Amy would probably like to have it, and he was right!  It has become attached to her.  She is the resident staff photographer, and most of these photos are courtesy of Amy.  Just so you know, the print Amy (Booklover) is holding was on her birthday wish list.  Breezy Tulip, at A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles, did this.  Breezy is such a talented young lady and quite an inspiration.   Amy is busy working on a fun Breezy-inspired project, to be featured here next month.

The girls served and honored their dad by washing his dirtmobile.  (That doesn't qualify as work -- it's way too much fun!)  Actually, they were doing this so that our visiting preacher could have a clean car to use while he was here.  It would have been embarrassing to let him use it in the condition it was in before this photo was taken.  As it turned out, he didn't want the car after all, but Daddy sure was happy to have it washed!

As for me, I played the part of the pastor's wife given to hospitality.  Yes, I know that is a qualification of the pastor, not his wife, but since we are one flesh, I figure that applies to me, too!  I'm working on it.  Over three days during our missions conference, I attempted to have all of our church members at the house for lunch.  We did sort of an organized pot-providence meal each day, so I had lots of help. Mind you, this sort of thing is not my forte, but it could be if I did it more often, right?  It was great fun!  I was exhausted when it was over, but thankful to the Lord for stretching me.

Later in the month  I spent a couple of hours whipping together some of these cute oven door kitchen towels for hostess gifts.  The big blessing was that I already had everything on hand to finish them, and I didn't have to spend a cent!  I will be giving these away in the month of February. I know you will be waiting with baited breath to find out where we went and who got them, but I can't tell you until next month's Month in Review!

This afternoon Alison had a fun "jam session" (can you call it a jam session when it's just classical?) with her old violin teacher.  We'd love to start up lessons again... but the girls need braces... and utilities are going up... and incomes are going down...  God will provide our needs.  (Maybe music lessons aren't a need.)   But the Lord does have a way of blessing us with more than we think possible.  It never works out on paper, but we always end up with more than we give him. We've "proved" him (Malachi 3:10), and he is always faithful that way.

Be sure to join us again next month for The Month in Review!

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
that there may be meat in mine house,
prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts,
if I will not open you the windows of heaven,
and pour you out a blessing,
that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground;
neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field,
saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 3:10,11

Art With Grammy -- Gustav Klimt

I love a visit to or from from my parents for many reasons, but one of them is that my mom loves to show the girls something artsy each time we are together.  Art is not one of my strong areas.  I enjoy beauty, and I enjoy art that is worth looking at, if you know what I mean -- I have little appreciation for abstract stuff that needs interpretation. Furthermore, I have little expertise in the technical aspects of art -- the doing of it.  Mom, however, has all kinds of info to share, and the expertise to go with it. 

Several days ago three of the girls did a project after the style of Gustav Klimt.  (I don't know who he is  -- use caution if you explore Google for his stuff.) Mom brought along a great display on the artist, complete with bio, methods, and examples of his work.  Unfortunately my the photo of the display is terribly out of focus, so I will just post some of its components here:

First the girls drew some fancy patterns and colored them in:

Then they cut a face shape out of brown paper and cut the patterns they made into shapes of clothing and hats:

Voilá!  A little bit of culture added to our school life.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homophone Fun

UPDATE:  The good people at Freely Educate are giving away two copies (one paperback, one e-book) of All About Homophones!  Head over there to enter three times!

This mourning eye found a fun sight, All About Homophones. Ewe can type inn a paragraph and halve awl thee appropriate words converted two there homophones.  This mite make a fun exorcise four thee kids -- they can dew thee proofreading and put inn awl thee write spellings. 

My girls awl just took off on a little mourning run down thee street, something two get thee blood moving.  Wee just finished with hour ladies coffee our, during witch wee are still reading from Deuteronomy, Trappers and Traders, and thee Yearling.  Wee are coming up two thee chapter wear Penny Baxter trades his worthless dog honestly four a vary gneiss rifle.  Hee hee.  Its a good won, and eye hope after this, thee girls will bee convinced wee knead two keep reading.  Its a sloe-moving book, butt good, as much as I've red sew far.

Well, ewe awl halve a grate day today.  I'll bee back as soon as life has something exciting two report, oar when my brain comes up with something else -- whichever happens first.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Praying Over Legos

Yesterday I was in the other room attempting, unsuccessfully, both to read and to ignore the noise of strife that was coming from the other room. I hoped for a minute that maybe if I ignored the girls, they would settle their differences by themselves in a godly, albeit childish, manner. That did not happen. Somehow the noise has a way of finding Mom, and in short order I had a crying child at my elbow. 

Elisabeth had made, in the builder's own words, a little "rickety" Lego house for Emily.  (The above photos do not show this house.) It was actually only a model slum home, a sample of what little sisters should build when the competition has taken all the good pieces for herself.    But Emily didn't care that it was a rickety slum home.  She was thrilled to have something designed by her, ahem, generous older sister. ...We all know how well Legos stay together in the hands of a five-year-old, right? So you know what happened next.  The rickety house fell apart, in a zillion maybe twenty pieces.  (The good ones were all taken, remember?) The horrified new homeowner insisted that the builder rebuild the slum house, but the builder had not guaranteed her work and was not interested in doing any more building.  Thus an emotional verbal brawl ensued, and was shortly moved to Mom's courtroom.

For the time being I ignored Elisabeth, the defendant and cheap contractor, and concentrated instead on Emily, the plaintiff.  I asked her if she had asked Jesus to help her rebuild the house.  No, she hadn't. (Big pouty face.)  She complained that the Legos never stay together when she tries to build something.  I asked her if she had asked Jesus to help her keep the pieces together.  No, she had not done that, either.  I asked her if she remembered this verse: "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."  Yes, she remembered that one.  I asked her if God keeps his word.  Yes.  Did she think maybe she  should pray and ask Jesus to keep the pieces together while she rebuilt the house?   She agreed, "Will you pray with me, Mom?"

So that is how I came to be praying over Legos yesterday.  I thank the Lord for honoring my prayers on behalf of my little girl, who was then successful in her efforts.  Emily is learning more and more to run to the Lord with her troubles, and she is realizing that God is very real.

Now if I could just learn to practice the things I am trying to teach her... isn't that just the hardest thing about parenting??

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birthday Time Again, and Other Stuff

Today is Amy's birthday, and I can hardly believe she is twelve, but I don't know why not.  She wears a size 11 shoe and she is 5'9 1/2" tall -- it's about time her age catches up with her size! Come to think of it, she started out long. But NOT skinny.  See this?  Would you want to make this baby mad?  lol!

I think Amy is praying that she will stop growing early.  I know I am.  I feel short and fat next to her now. Amy is lovely and willowy, but you know, it is really hard to find long shoes and long skirts in a small town!  She and her Dad are getting ready for their big birthday date.  This is a tradition with us.  Daddy escorts the birthday girl to dinner and a treat -- this time it is mini-golf and the free birthday ice cream scoop at Coldstone Creamery.  (On other birthdays it might be a trip to the dollar store -- cheap date.) By their twelfth birthday each girl is to sew herself a dress or skirt and top to wear on their date with Dad, so they can be all dressed up and pretty in something new.  This time Amy made her skirt, but I had to do the blouse for her.  We started this project, oh... last spring??  And as usual, I had to make alterations in the pattern.  (Has anyone tried to find nice patterns for young teens lately?)  I don't seem to be able to leave a pattern alone, for some reason.  Oh, too bad, I cut off her arms in the birthday photo with Dad. Just thought you might want to know she is wearing short sleeves.

It's been a busy week here in the windy, 70° desert, but a good one.  (Sorry, I am bragging about 70° as if I am responsible for the weather.)  We had missions conference/revival meeting at church last Thursday through Tuesday.  I was totally blessed to hear my kids say they wish the preacher could have stayed and preached a couple of weeks longer.   I did one of those things pastor's wives do, and that is I hostessed twenty, twelve, and thirteen people, respectively, for lunch three days in a row. (Including my own family.)  What a blessing, I survived and even enjoyed it immensely. It's nice to know that, as the old song goes, "He's Still Workin' On Me". A big THANK YOU to all of you ladies who helped out by providing food and keeping me under control, lol!  I did my best to be a Mary, and not be cumbered about much serving, ala Martha, but hey, the serving does need to be done, too.  Hopefully I was half Mary and half Martha. 

In other news... I am ordering Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 for Alison today.  We debated about whether or not to have her do geometry first, but other than a² + b² = c², I can't remember a single thing I learned in geometry.  And neither can our school principal.  It would be very frustrating for all of us to try to help her though that.  And why make her eat dreaded green beans, when she really likes other choices that are just as good for her, such as broccoli?  (Those of you who know my DH know who came up with that comparrisson, lol!)  I doubt she will use much of what she learns in Algebra 2, but she enjoys algebra, and it is good brain exercise. 

Thinking out loud here... I am otherwise thinking about maybe, possibly, perhaps switching over to ACE for school for Alison.  I would then feel like she is getting everything, especially now that we are in her high school years, but I know that is baloney.  There are always going to be... okay, what is the word I am looking for?  (I have a serious case of Noun Deficiency Syndrome today.  By the way, if anyone has seen [and has saved] the email that went around about that condition a while back, please let me know.  It fits me to a T.)  Back to what I was saying... what was I saying??  Oh yes, no one fills in all the blanks, or holes, or deficiencies (what is that word??) by the time high school graduation rolls around, anyway.  Hopefully we realize there are always going to be things that we don't know yet, and with some motivation, we can find out about all the stuff we are interested in, or that we think is worth learning about.  To me, it is more important to teach my kids how to learn than to make them memorize the life cycle of a gymnosperm or the dynasties of China.  Now if I could just restore the joy of learning, which we seem to have lost somewhere along the way...

In conclusion, here's a little gem from my email today:

Without Jesus, our week would be


Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

If you have left comments here, thank you from the bottom of my little heart.  I have been too busy to get around the bloggy world this week, but I want you to know you are appreciated!  Hope you're all having a happy week, if not a warm and cozy one.

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Online Science Classes

Are you interested in having your children learn why "the life of the flesh is in the blood"? Or, how the blood clots?  Or maybe how our innate urge to "go" proves creation?

We have had the privilege of participating in several of Greg Landry's free, forty-five minute, online science classes.  He uses a "V-Room", which is an online classroom complete with audio, white-board capabilities, and  class participation.  Tonight Mr. Landry is offering a free class called "Cadavers - What I (and students) Have Learned About Life, Death, People, God, Physiology, and Anatomy.. From Cadavers".  Sound morbid to you?  Not me.  I have a biology degree.  I love this stuff! 

To participate, go to the Homeschool Science Academy and sign up for Mr. Landry's free e-newsletter.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Photo of the Day

Hymn From the Heart - Where Jesus Is, 'Tis Heaven

Today's Hymn From the Heart is dedicated to my friend in the ministry, Merlynn Randall, whose family has recently moved from beautiful, green Ireland to somewhere south of Phoenix... I can't imagine a more marked difference in scenery, unless it is between the lonely and barren Sahara Desert and crowded, bustling downtown New York City... 

Where Jesus Is, 'Tis Heaven

Since Christ my soul from sit set free,
This world has been a heav'n to me;
And 'mid earth's sorrows and its woe,
'Tis Heav'n my Jesus here to know.

O Hallelujah, yes, 'tis Heav'n,
'Tis Heav'n to know my sins forgiv'n;
On land or sea, what matters where?
Where Jesus is, 'Tis Heaven there.

Once Heaven seemed a far-off place,
Till Jesus showed His smiling face;
Now it's begun  within my soul,
'Twill last while endless ages roll.


What matters where on earth we dwell?
On mountain top, or in the dell,
In desert, or a mansion fair
Where Jesus is, 'tis Heav'n there.

O Hallelujah, yes, 'tis Heav'n,
'Tis Heav'n to know my sins forgiv'n;
U.S. or Ireland, what matters where?
Where Jesus is, 'Tis Heaven there.

(Lyrics slightly changed.)
Listen to the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet sing it here.

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