Friday, August 23, 2013

In My Life This Week, 8/23/13

Does this city look like it might be treacherous when it's covered in ice?  I think so.
In my life this week (and last week)...  Amy and Betz are at teen camp this week, so it is somewhat quiet around here.  Poor Emily, who often feels like she is being neglected, misses being neglected. :) As soon as the girls left for camp yesterday, I sat down and made myself a list of to-do's that did not include ANY housework. This was the stuff of organizing our school year, ordering books, and catching up with correspondence! I am stuck on English and math for the middle two girls, but Emily's books are all on their way. That's one third of a relief.

This is also the week between Monocogman's 50th birthday and mine.  A lovely young woman from church gave us -- get this -- 100 truffles, 50 for each of us, and several pounds of caramels and fudge, all homemade.  Thank you, Cassandra, that is just what I needed for the birthday that marks the death of my metabolism!  
Each ribbon color signifies a different flavor. We have, among others, coconut creme, raspberry almond white chocolate, cinnabon, lemon cheesecake, hazelnut, cafe mocha, banana creme, orange... my favorites by far, for anyone paying attention to my preferences for future reference, are the orange, mocha, and hazelnut.  In the fudge box we have peanut butter, chocoholic, and regular ol' boring fabulous chocolate fudge, as well as caramels and dark chocolate sea salt caramels. Those dark chocolate sea salt caramels are wonderful.  I am really grateful that the Lord gave me several chocolate-addicted children to sneak these from me. It's just too much, and I have neither the sense nor the foresight to freeze the majority of these temptations!

In our homeschool this week...  we are all signed up for co-op for the first time.  Amy and Betz will be taking health and US government, and Emily will have physical science and ancient history. Their electives are art, ASL, culinary arts. I am very impressed with the organization of this group and with the VERY reasonable registration fee.  I am stumbling out of my comfort zone to team-teach the 3rd and 4th grade science class with another mom who is new to the co-op.  We are both nervous, but between the two of us I am sure we will be able to pull this off.  I hope.  I pray.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… There are some thing I said I would never do, and joining a co-op is one of them. That was not a conviction, but for a while I thought it was one. I hope I am learning not to be so dogmatic about the future, when I have no idea what the future holds, where my kids will be at, and what the Lord might ask me to do. Our children grow in many ways, and their needs change. It was time for me to step back from our usual routine and evaluate some potential changes in our schooling that might help meet those changing needs in a way that God can use and bless.  I realized my reluctance to change was due more to my own fear/selfishness/discomfort than it was related to my girls' needs. Maybe someone else can learn from this?

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… as I said, the middle girls are at camp.  That means this week I am going to church and the grocery store and Culvers and the library, but NOT to the nursing home or to Amy's three employers' homes!  Maybe we'll get better gas mileage this week?

Also, we recently had visitors to our home from Siberia. They have three really nice BOYS whom we enjoyed immensely! It's just amazing how two families can be from totally different worlds and have different backgrounds and not know each other very well, but love each other when they are both servants of the King of Kings. This is a wonderful thing to have in common.  
Overlooking Duluth Harbor

We took our friends to Duluth harbor to see the ships and the view and all the water, etc, climbed a tower, had a picnic, and enjoyed each others' company for the long ride there and back. At church Wednesday evening they blessed us by singing a hymn in Russian. The Lord has really blessed our family with the fellowship of others who are in the ministry, Christian families who are consecrated to the Lord's work regardless of the cost.  Not everyone has this privilege.

My favorite thing this week was… being 49 while my husband, who just had his birthday, is 50.  This gloating on my part is short-lived, twelve days, to be exact.  I catch up with him tomorrow.

My other favorite thing was trying kefir for the first time.  :)  We made kefir fruit shakes, and later I poured it over my granola. It certainly was an interesting experience. Kefir tastes kind of zippy and feels like it is frothing in your stomach.  I liked it enough to start my own culture!

My kiddos' favorite thing this week was… Emily's favorite thing was going shopping with Alison.  That special sister time has to be cherished!  It goes so fast!

Things I’m working on…  still working on my school order...................

Also, I am attempting to type out all my family's favorite recipes so that later I can make each of the girls their own cook book.  Problem is, after I started this project on Google Drive, I realized you can't print Drive documents. At least, I don't think you can. Copying and pasting to Open Office messes up the formatting.  *sigh*

I’m cooking…
Experiment #737
Even though I have lived almost half a century, I STILL don't seem to be able to make a menu plan and stick to it.  That means that most days at about 4:00 pm (like now) I am wondering what is for supper.  (I could do without this stress...) A glance into the cupboard/freezer revealed a can of black beans and one of diced tomatoes... some frozen chicken... some tortillas, a bit of onion, cheese, maybe some left-over rice... and the remains of a bottle of salsa. Oh, and some Progresso roasted garlic cooking sauce that has been there forever... Sounds to me like the makings of some sort of Americanized enchiladas.  Combined with the garden's green beans with Montreal Steak Seasoning and a bowl of fresh fruit, we had a colorful and delicious meal!  My family is so impressed with me.  If they only knew.

I’m grateful for…  a scripturally authorized church and a husband/pastor who loves God and his word.  I'm also grateful for the people whose path the Lord has put us in, visitors to church and Bible study, and for those who keep coming back.

I’m praying for…  guidance for school choices, a truly blessed week at camp for Amy and Elisabeth, and for friends going thru the fire.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
Thymes Olive Leaf scented candle (or room spray).  I discovered this fragrance this week and spent some of my birthday money on a small bottle of lotion.  I'd love to have my whole house smell like this!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. It it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?
~ Edith Schaffer

*   *   *   *   *

  Greater love hath no man [woman] than this, 
that a man [woman] lay down his [her] life for his [her] friends [family].
John 15:13 
Unauthorized Sally Version

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

32 Places to Find FREE Clipart, Illustrations, and Photos

This was shared by my Google+ friend, Betsy.  She says, "I know many of you may search and search looking for the right page or printable for your child/ren and simply can’t find it. I also know that many of you can’t just go purchase every page or printable you come across for sale in the hopes that it may work out for you…"  

Check out this awesomely helpful blog post HERE.
Thanks, Betsy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I was reading thru some of my old posts this morning and wow, our life used to be exciting!  We had kids playing in orchestras, doing art projects, traveling (believe me, we are still traveling), hiking in the desert, building stuff, sewing... we're just as busy as ever, but now that 3/4 of the girls have matured quite a bit our busyness doesn't look nearly as  It's still fun; it's just more... more what?  I am suffering from Adjective Deficiency Syndrome.

Today is Day 2 of day care substitution for our neighbor girl.

8:48 a.m.:  Make playdough.  I came here to my blog to find my tried and true playdough recipe, and behold!  I have never posted it!  So here it is:

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe
1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup salt
1 TBS vegetable oil
Schilling neon food coloring
1. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
2. Add oil and water.
3. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add 4-6 drops of food coloring. (Or, if you are going to divide your lump into two or three colors, add food color with kneading.)
4. Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to ball up.
5. When the dough is no longer wet, remove from pan and put onto wax paper or a cutting board to cool until it's not hot to the touch.
6. Knead playdough until it is cool and smooth.
This will make you about a cup and a half of playdough. Beware of mixing those neon colors. We got an ugly ball of something that was supposed to be purple and ended up looking like an old bruise.  And if your guest gets the ugly one, you feel bad for her and have to make a whole new batch so both girls can have pretty playdough.  Store in airtight container in fridge.  Keeps for ... a week?  Two weeks?

9:22 a.m., a half hour later:  Still playing with playdough. :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

No, this is not one of those "how many things can you find wrong with this picture" puzzles.  I can already spot about twenty -- don't tell me.

We have a house guest for the next few days, a neighbor girl who HATES day care. :)  Emily, big-hearted as she is, thought it would be much nicer for her friend to spend her time with a real family than to go to a day-care center. And I agreed. I feel bad for kids in day care. So we have Autumn, and we'll see if these girls still like each other at the end of the day. :) 

It's only 10:00 am, and already they need suggestions about what to do. Here they are making Wacky Cake, the one where you put vinegar and oil and vanilla into the dry ingredients already in the pan, add water, and stir it all together. We added some chocolate chips, of course. What is dessert without chocolate chips? And now there is a huge mess on the kitchen table, a mixture of spilled flour and cocoa, a dribble of oil, and lots of cake batter. This is something that would normally stress me out, but you know what? It only took 15 seconds to wipe it all up. :)  I'm improving.

Okay, cake's in the oven, and it's now 10:32.  What else can we do? 

It's a long time 'til 5:00...

(I think I need an imagination!)

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